Thursday, May 29, 2008

3, 4, 5 HB7 45 and 33

Captain Hammond - "Origin [the APOLLO 7 version]" (Hammond Beat cat. HB7-03 Side A (Ltd. Ed. 250 w/ credits insert))
I watch A LOT of documentaries about Space. A WHOLE LOT of them. The intro to "Origin (Apollo 7 Version)" could easily be the best soundtrack to the Big Bang Theory or perfect accompaniment for a lift off out of our atmosphere. There is a unique feel here not found on other similar minded recordings. Funky Cha-Cha drums under the bleeps and bloops of the synth that suddenly give way to a thick bass line and atmospheric wash of synth elevate this moment from an intro to a happening. The Organ underpins everything holding its course and allows the Synthesizer to be the guidance system but the Hammond is the true Captain of this ship and soon takes control for the rest of our voyage. As we fade to the horizon while the synth continues communicating with mission control and all systems are go.
The Futuro Seven - "Mercury Wonderland [the MECHANAUT version]" (Hammond Beat cat. HB7-03 Side B (Ltd.. Ed. 250 w/ credits insert))
Another amazing intro. Percussion, with what sounds like a backward loop kick off a nasty bass line from the organ. It is almost a fight between good and evil as somewhat silly bleeps and bloops trickle down throughout one tough little groove. Soon the silliness fades to the back and the Organ cranks up leading the charge. Sometimes repeating a groove can ruin the effect or lessen the drive but here it is almost relentless and burns until the floor gives out. It all winds down to to an out of breath finish. This is recorded really well giving room to each instrument and sound. The drums sound huge but never crush or get in the way of the tasteful percussion and synth effects. This is the only track I know by The Futuro Seven but I would love to hear a less effected piece. For now I'll have to settle for this little slice of greatness.

Tony Face Big Roll Band Featuring Yo Kalb / Tony Face Big Roll Band - "Lady Day & John Coltrane" b/w "Hey Bulldog" (Hammond Beat cat. HB7-04 (Ltd.. Ed. 250 w/ credits insert))
"Lady Day & John Coltrane" is easily one of my favorite Gill Scott-Heron songs so I'll try not to compare them. But, what does come to mind is the incredible Dana Bryant version of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" from way back in 1993 (Yes, I used to frequent the Giant Step events. When they were good they were great but when they were great, they were transcendent). Tony Face and Band really push the tune along which adds to the songs tension but Yo Kalb (of The FABULOUS Soul Snatchers) never seems hurried. Her vocals have a confidence and a hint of sultry attitude enough to stand up to any thing the band serves. The band is certainly tight and dead on the money with their choices. The Organ steps out with some nice double timed playing that really gets the head bobbing. There is always something nice about playing or a player (Paolo "Apollo" Negri) who gets really aggressive right before graciously stepping aside to allow another to shine. In this case Ms. Kalb comes right back in never missing a beat and joined at the hip by the Guitar right to the end. On the B-Side of this Soulful Jazz Funk workout is one of the few Beatles songs I play on a regular basis. There is something very "Get Out My Life Woman" about the groove so right off the bat that's pretty damn appealing. This is the IN YOUR MOTHERFUCKING FACE treatment this song needs if you are going to cover it. Pounding Drums and stabbing Guitar are immediately followed by what seems to be a possessed Organ. There is control and things do appear to be organized but this is a blowing session of the best kind. Drums flail and crash, Guitar strings get tortured, Bass lines thunder through the house and the Organ is shook to its core. I will play this a lot and I will play it loud. If you are going to do a cover make it your own. Just like a stray you have to break it with love and then make it obey you. "ATTACK!"

Phat Fred - "Yu Nou Rili" [live in Denmark] b/w "Memphis Train" [live in Denmark] (Hammond Beat cat. HB7-05 (Ltd.. Ed. 250 w/ credits insert))
Goddamn these guys are tight. You can hear a thousand bands play a similar brand of music but when you hear it all come together like this it gives you chills. This is LIVE?! You gotta be shitting me. Aside from the completely outstanding playing the recording is equally as perfect. There is always an argument over whether the New Funk bands sound as good as their forefathers and whether or not to call this Retro or not. Here's a definitive answer to both of those questions, PHAT FRED! just listen to the sound of the Organ and the precision of the Drums and Bass. I am not kidding, at times I swear I hear horns but it is because of the layered combinations of sound. Extremely tasteful Guitar slips in and out with a warm lush tone but this is an Organ session so the Guitar will have to wait for the next 7-inch to take center stage. I'll certainly buy that one as well. On the B-Side the band takes Rufus Thomas' "Memphis Train" at a quick pace. There are vocals on this side though I wish there were not. Mr. Wilkinson doesn't have a particularly bad voice it is just that it isn't seasoned enough. Let's face it, you try to remove Rufus Thomas' voice from your memory. I hope I never do. Phat Fred is such a tight incredible band that an instrumental version would have been just as perfect as their performance on the A-Side. Here again the Organ bounces along with the slamming beat and Bass. Each time Mr. Wilkinson stops singing and tosses off one of his sweet ass guitar riffs so effortlessly it is inspiring. The band plays like they have been playing together since birth. In the fade we are treated to what may have lead to a tasty little drum break but fade it does leaving us wanting MORE!