Monday, 25 May 2009

JR. WALKER AND THE ALL STARS - SHOTGUN (SOUL 1965) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

Born Autry DeWalt Mixon in Blythesville, Arkansas on June 14, 1931 grew up in South Bend, Indiana. It was there while in high school where he took saxophone and picked up his nickname. Inspired by Louis Jordan Walker fell in love with the saxophone. Soon after graduating high school Walker turned professional and played in local jazz and R&B clubs with bands such as The Jumping Jacks and The Stix Nix. Moving to Battle Creek, Michigan in the late '50s he formed Junior Walker and The All Stars. The group consisted of Junior Walker, sax, vocals; Vic Thomas, Keyboards; Willie Woods, guitar; James Graves, drums. While playing the local club circuit the following year the group was spotted by Johnny Bristol. Bristol recommended them to Harvey Fuqua, who signed them to his own Harvey label. Fuqua's Tri-Phi and Harvey labels were taken over by Motown Records in 1963, and Junior Walker and the All-Stars began recording for the subsidiary label Soul in 1964.
In early 1965, Junior Walker and The All-Stars recorded "Shotgun (#4 pop, #1 R&B, 1965) and had a string of party hits that included "Do the Boomerang," (#10 R&B) and "Shake and Fingerpop" (#7 R&B) in 1965; "How Sweet it is (to Be Loved By You)" (#18 pop, #3 R&B) and "I'm a Road Runner" (#20 pop, #4 R&B) in 1966; "Pucker Up Buttercup" (#3 pop, #11 R&B) and "Come See About Me' (#24 pop, #8 R&B) in 1967, and "Hip City, Part Two" (##7 R&B 1965) in 1968.
In 1965 Walker hit it big with “Shotgun”. After “Shotgun” there were a string of hits, none of which were totally in the Motown mode. For one thing they were loud, wild and raucous as a Saturday night at a Mississippi Delta throwdown. For another it was instrumental music with the leader howling out catchy phrases.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

KAKO & HIS ORCHESTRA - SOCK IT TO ME LATINO (MUSICOR 1968) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

A go-go dancer on the cover, and some very tasty grooves on the record -- hard and heavy Latin work from the mighty Kako, cut with a sound that's a lot more classic than you might guess from the image on the front! The style here has a slight nod to the boogaloo generation, but also really revels in older Afro-Cuban modes -- sounding especially strong on the descarga tip, as Kako and combo jam nicely with a really frenetic sort of approach. Menique sings vocals on some numbers, and other members of the group include Ricardo Ray and Victor Paz. Titles include "Kako's Boogaloo", "Guajira En Carnaval", "Bomba Sabrosa", "Descarga Panama", and "Negro Soy".
MENIQUE:..."In 1968, Kako came to play at Los Carnavales de Panama, and you know, he was left without a singer. So he asked the musicians in Panama if they knew a singer that could learn his music fast. He was told there were two singers, Beto Duvois and Meñique. He wanted both of us, but I was the lucky one to come to New York because I was able to get my visa, and Beto could not come. After a year, Kako became my brother-in-law when I married one of his sisters.
The recording of the long player Sock It To Me, Latino! was a great experience. I have great memories of everyone that participated in Kako y su Combo.
Some of the musicians that participated in Sock It To Me, Latino! were Chamaco Ramírez, Frankie Figueroa, Manny Román, Víctor Paz, Cheo Feliciano and Raymond Maldonado. All the musicians were in good humour and I blended into the group, even though I was only with them for about three months. Kako was a great guy; he took me in with his family when I came from Panama."

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

JEAN KNIGHT - MR. BIG STUFF (STAX 1970) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 6 bonus

Jean Knight (born Jean Caliste, New Orleans, Louisiana), is a soul/R&B/funk singer, best known for her 1971 Stax Records hit single, "Mr. Big Stuff."
After graduating from high school, Caliste began singing at her cousin's bar 'Laura's Place' and caught the attention of many different bands who were willing to accompany her. In 1965, she recorded a demo of a cover version of Jackie Wilson's song "Stop Doggin' Me Around." Her demo attracted record producer Huey Meaux, who signed her to a recording contract at the Jet Star/Tribe record labels. Shortly thereafter, Caliste adopted the professional name of "Jean Knight," because she felt that her surname was too hard to pronounce. She recorded four singles, making a name for herself locally, but was not able to attract any national attention. By the late 1960s, it was obvious that her career was not living up to her high expectations, so she went to work as a baker in the cafeteria of Loyola University in New Orleans.
In early 1970, she was discovered by songwriter Ralph Williams, who wanted her to record some songs. With Williams' connections, she came in contact with record producer Wardell Quezergue. In May of that year, she went to Malaco Studios in Jackson, Mississippi for a recording session in which she recorded "Mr. Big Stuff." After the session was finished, the song was given to several national labels, who all rejected it. But when King Floyd's hit "Groove Me" (also recorded at Malaco Studios) became a #1 R&B hit in early 1971, Stax Records remembered Knight's recording of "Mr. Big Stuff," reconsidered, and released it. The song proved to be an instant smash in 1971, reaching #2 on the pop chart and becoming a #1 R&B hit. It went double-platinum and received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female; it lost to Aretha Franklin's version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water." The next year, Knight was named the 'Most Promising Female Vocalist'. An album of the same name proved to be fairly successful. A couple more minor hits followed, but disagreements with her producer and her label terminated Knight's involvement with Stax...

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

JAMES BROWN & THE FAMOUS FLAMES - PAPA'S GOT A BRAND NEW BAG (KING 1965) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

He is recognized as one of the most influential figures in 20th century popular music and was renowned for his vocals and feverish dancing. He was known as "The Godfather of Soul".
As a prolific singer, songwriter, dancer and bandleader, Brown was a pivotal force in the music industry. He left his mark on numerous artists. Brown's music also left its mark on the rhythms of African popular music, such as afrobeat, jùjú and mbalax,and provided a template for go-go music.
Brown began his professional music career in 1956 and rose to fame during the late 1950s and early 1960s on the strength of his thrilling live performances and string of smash hits. In spite of various personal problems and setbacks he continued to score hits in every decade through the 1980s. In addition to his acclaim in music, Brown was also a presence in American political affairs during the 1960s and 1970s.
He was also recognized by numerous titles, including Soul Brother Number One, Sex Machine, Mr. Dynamite, The Hardest Working Man in Show Business, The King of Funk, Minister of The New New Super Heavy Funk, Mr. Please Please Please Please Her, I Feel Good, The Boss and foremost The Godfather of Soul.
"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" released as a two-part single in 1965, it was Brown's first song to reach the Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten, peaking at number eight. It was also a number-one R&B hit, topping the charts for eight weeks.
"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" is widely considered the first recording to showcase what later became Brown's signature musical style, and marks the beginning of the development of the musical genre of funk. As Brown sings the praises of an old man brave enough to get out on the dance floor of a nightclub, Brown's band provides a horn-heavy backdrop with a prominent rhythm and an electric guitar riff for a hook. It is considered one of Brown's signature songs, and has been covered by many artists, both within the R&B genre and outside of it.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

CHRIS CONNOR - CHRIS IN PERSON (ATLANTIC 1959) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

Chris Connor is a jazz singer known for her distinctive style and expression. She was born Mary Loutsenhizer, the daughter of father Clyde, a telegrapher who also played the violin, and Mabel, a homemaker. Connor studied and became proficient on the clarinet, having studied for 8 years throughout junior high and high school. Her mother died in 1940 when she was just 13 years old. She first sang publicly in 1945, at the Jefferson City Junior College's graduation. She performed the song Amor and it was well-received. After that debut she decided she wanted to pursue a singing career. Initially, she stayed in Kansas City, working weekdays as a stenographer and singing on the weekends. Her first professional job was with the University of Columbus college band playing various functions in the Jefferson City area. She moved between local bands from 1946-1947 and then decided to make a big move.
In 1948, she trekked off to New York City to make it big. Unable to find a singing job and nearly broke, she took a stenographic job for a local office, and spent the next 7 weeks trying to secure a singing job. She met a band manager who knew bandleader Claude Thornhill's road manager, Joe Green. Fortunatley for Chris, he was looking for a new singer to round out his vocal group, the Snowflakes. She successfully auditioned for Thornhill and joined his group, touring around the United States and recording harmonies in the studio. Of her time spent with the Snowflakes, there is only evidence of her vocals on two recorded songs: "There's A Small Hotel" and "I Don't Know Why," both performed in 1949.
She continued to tour with the Thornhill band sporadically until March 1952, when she joined Jerry Wald's big band and recorded five songs: "You're The Cream In My Coffee," "Cherokee," "Pennies From Heaven" "Raisins And Almonds" and "Terremoto." She also reunited with Claude Thornhill in October 1952 for a radio broadcast from the Statler Hotel in New York City. She sang four songs: "Wish You Were Here," Come Rain Or Come Shine," "Sorta Kinda" and "Who Are We To Say."
After leaving the Kenton band due to exhaustion, she decided to move back to New York in the fall of 1953. Soon after, she hired Monte Kay to manage her solo career. He found work for her at the famed club Birdland. One night after a show, the owner of Bethlehem Records, Gus Wildi, offered her a recording contract. She signed with the label in 1953, and in 1954 released dual long play LPs, Chris Connor sings Lullabys Of Birdland and Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers. She recorded for Bethlehem Records originally and then began a long association with Atlantic Records. Her trademark songs are well known to most people familiar with jazz of the 1950s and 1960s.In late 1956, Ms. Connor hit the popular-music charts with the title cut from her album “I Miss You So.”

Sunday, 10 May 2009

OTIS SPANN - CRYIN' TIME (VANGUARD 1969) master edition

While the Muddy Waters sideman is best known for piano, his soulful organ steals the show on this late-'60s release. His singing is serviceable, helped by wife Lucille Spann on two cuts. Country Joe & the Fish co-founder Barry Melton plays lead guitar, with Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson taking the second chair. - by Mark Allan, AMG
Undoubtedly,the finest blues pianist of the late Fifties & Sixties,Otis Spann recorded "Cryin' Time"in 1968 (but released in 1970) with a great band that included not only Muddy Waters' guitarist Luther Johnson but also Country Joe & The Fish's guitarist Barry Melton.
Otis Spann (Piano, Organ and Vocals)
Lonnie Taylor (Drums)
Jos Davidson (Bass Guitar)
Barry Melton (Guitar)
Luther Johnson (Guitar)
Lucille Spann (Vocals) - 5,6

1. Home to Mississippi (Otis Spann) 3:26
2. Blues Is a Botheration (Otis Spann) 4:02
3. You Said You'd Be on Time (George Spink/Otis Spann) 4:46
4. Cryin' Time (Otis Spann) 3:11
5. Blind Man (Traditional) 3:18
6. Some Day (Otis Spann) 4:35
7. Twisted Snake (Otis Spann) 3:02
8. Green Flowers (McKinley Morganfield) 3:44
9. The New Boogaloo (Otis Spann) 2:09
10. Mule Kicking in My Stall (Otis Spann) 3:29

JOHN LEE HOOKER - ON CAMPUS (VEE JAY 1964) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

Vee Jay's 1964 album John Lee Hooker on Campus is titled to sound like a live recording but it isn't. These 12 tracks originally tried to capitalize on Hooker's emergence on the coffeehouse college tours he was involved in at the time. This is an electric album that contains excellent material from Hooker, even though the occasional background singers get in the way, attempting to modernize his gritty blues with a smoother soul sound. All of the Vee Jay reissues of John Lee Hooker material are worth having...
...Once tied in with Vee-Jay, the rough-and-tumble sound of Hooker's solo and duet waxings was adapted to a band format. Hooker had recorded with various combos along the way before, but never with sidemen as versatile and sympathetic as guitarist Eddie Taylor and harpist Jimmy Reed, who backed him at his initial Vee-Jay date that produced "Time Is Marching" and the superfluous sequel "Mambo Chillun."
Taylor stuck around for a 1956 session that elicited two genuine Hooker classics, "Baby Lee" and "Dimples," and he was still deftly anchoring the rhythm section (Hooker's sense of timing was his and his alone, demanding big-eared sidemen) when the Boogie Man finally made it back to the R&B charts in 1958 with "I Love You Honey."
Vee-Jay presented Hooker in quite an array of settings during the early '60s. His grinding, tough blues "No Shoes" proved a surprisingly sizable hit in 1960, while the storming "Boom Boom," his top seller for the firm in 1962 (it even cracked the pop airwaves), was an infectious R&B dance number benefiting from the reported presence of some of Motown's house musicians. But there were also acoustic outings aimed squarely at the blossoming folk-blues crowd, as well as some attempts at up-to-date R&B that featured highly intrusive female background vocals (allegedly by the Vandellas) and utterly unyielding structures that hemmed Hooker in unmercifully...[net]

LOWELL FULSOM - TRAMP (KENT 1967) Jap mastering cardboard + 2 bonus

One of THE all time classics of funky blues a record built around Lowell's huge single "Tramp" a massive tune that spawned a whole generation of answer tunes! "Tramp" kicks off the set with a stone break that's worth the price of the album then Lowell slides into some tunes that have a bit more of a conventional bluesy approach, mixed with a few other nice cuts that get a bit funky too! A rough-edged classic that really stands out -- and which has made Fulsom one of the better-collected bluesmen of the beathead crowd. In addition to "Tramp", other tracks include "Two Way Wishin", "Back Door Key", "Year Of 29", "Pico", "Goin' Home", and "Black Nights". Includes 2 bonus tracks -- "Tramp (take 1)" and "Year Of 29 (alt take)"....
While most of Tramp's tunes lean more heavily on traditional blues structures than the title tune, Fulson was obviously aiming for a funky ambience rather than the heavy emotional crush of the deep blues, and his clean, uncluttered guitar solos are warmer and more approachable than the typical Chicago-style guitar work of the day. There's a sly playfulness to this material that's winning, and even the most down-and-out songs here display a light touch and creative intelligence that sets Fulson apart. you can hear where Albert king got his singing style from...

B.B. KING - KING OF THE BLUES (CROWN 1960) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

For more than half a century, Riley B. King has defined the blues for a worldwide audience. Since he started recording in the 1940s, he has released over fifty albums, many of them classics. He was born September 16, 1925, on a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, near Indianola. In his youth, he played on street corners for dimes, and would sometimes play in as many as four towns a night. In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis, TN, to pursue his music career. Memphis was where every important musician of the South gravitated, and which supported a large musical community where every style of African American music could be found. B.B. stayed with his cousin Bukka White, one of the most celebrated blues performers of his time, who schooled B.B. further in the art of the blues.
B.B.'s first big break came in 1948 when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson's radio program on KWEM out of West Memphis. This led to steady engagements at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis, and later to a ten-minute spot on black-staffed and managed Memphis radio station WDIA. "King's Spot," became so popular, it was expanded and became the "Sepia Swing Club." Soon B.B. needed a catchy radio name. What started out as Beale Street Blues Boy was shortened to Blues Boy King, and eventually B.B. King.
In the mid-1950s, while B.B. was performing at a dance in Twist, Arkansas, a few fans became unruly. Two men got into a fight and knocked over a kerosene stove, setting fire to the hall. B.B. raced outdoors to safety with everyone else, then realized that he left his beloved $30 acoustic guitar inside, so he rushed back inside the burning building to retrieve it, narrowly escaping death. When he later found out that the fight had been over a woman named Lucille, he decided to give the name to his guitar to remind him never to do a crazy thing like fight over a woman. Ever since, each one of B.B.'s trademark Gibson guitars has been called Lucille...[net]

GENE CHANDLER - THE DUKE OF EARL (VEE JAY 1962) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 5 bonus

Gene Chandler esteemed by soul fans as one of the leading exponents of the 1960s Chicago soul scene, along with Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler. His signature hit is the #1 Billboard Hot 100 chart song, "Duke of Earl" (1962). Chandler wrote and performed many more songs, and collaborated with many of the greats in the soul and R&B world.In 1957 he joined a doo-wop group called The Dukays with James Lowe, Shirley Jones, Earl Edwards and Ben Broyles, quickly becoming their lead singer. He was drafted by the U.S. Army to Germany for three years, returned to Chicago in 1960, and rejoined his bandmates. Through music industry contacts, the Dukays were offered a recording contract by the Chicago based Nat Records. The first single was titled "The Girl Is a Devil." In 1961, Nat Records released a song titled "Nite Owl", and the band went back to the recording studio to record once more.
At the time, Nat Records wanted to release the new song "Duke of Earl", but was unable to. An executive with Vee-Jay Records, Calvin Carter, heard the song and wanted it for distribution as a song on his record label, but only as a Gene Chandler record. Vee-Jay was not interested in The Dukays.
Meanwhile, the previously recorded "Nite Owl" was on the charts, putting Chandler in a dilemma. He thus recorded with The Dukays under the name 'Gene Dixon' and recorded solo as 'Gene Chandler'.
When VeeJay was finally able to release "Duke of Earl", it sent it out as by Chandler, even though the Dukays had recorded it. The song sold a million copies in just over one month. "The Duke" was born. Chandler can be seen in the full 'Duke' outfit singing "The Duke of Earl" in the 1962 movie, Don't Knock the Twist, starring Chubby Checker.
After spending three weeks at number one on the Billboard Magazine charts, Chandler got a cape, a monocle, a top hat and a cane. He simply became "The Duke of Earl" and his concerts drew a large crowd. Occasionally he would come out for an encore, usually "Rainbow." "Rainbow" was one of Chandler's collaborations with Curtis Mayfield, and the only song Chandler has ever recorded three times. Each time the song has been re-recorded, it became a hit all over again...[net]

TEDDY BEARS - SING! (IMPERIAL 1959) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve mono &stereo + bonus

Were it not for the fact that Phil Spector began as a member of the Teddy Bears, this one-hit-wonder trio would most likely be a minor footnote in the history of rock. Spector moved to Los Angeles with his family at the age of nine following the suicide of his father, whose tombstone bore the legend "To know him was to love him". While in high school in Los Angeles, Spector sang at talent shows and assembled a group called the Sleepwalkers. He formed the Teddy Bears with singers Marshall Leib, Annette Kleinbard (b. 13 November 1940, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA) and Harvey Goldstein (who left the group shortly after its formation), after graduating from high school in June 1958. The group recorded a demo of Spector's composition "Don't You Worry My Little Pet", which Dore Records released. For the b-side, Spector's "To Know Him Is To Love Him" was recorded and it was that side which caught the ear of the public, rising to number 1 in the US charts in late 1958. Following that success, the Teddy Bears signed with the larger Imperial Records and recorded an album (the original vinyl is very rare and valuable today) as well as further singles. No more were hits and the group disbanded after Kleinbard was seriously injured in a 1960 car accident.

CARLOS LYRA - SARAVA! (RCA VICTOR 1970) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

(Text from the back cover):
"Gravado no México em 1970, lançado agora pela primeira vez no Brasil, “Saravá” inclui algumas das mais belas canções de Carlos Lyra, como “Também Quem Mandou”, “Feio Não É Bonito” e “O Bem do Amor”, somadas a temas de maior swing como “Até Parece” e “Sambalanço”. Além de inspiradas recriações de “Tristeza”, clássico de Haroldo Lobo & Niltinho, e do “Samba da Benção”, de Baden Powell & Vinicius de Moraes, em uma versão em castelhano preparada pelo próprio Lyra."
Arnaldo DeSouteiro
A nice mellow, old-school bossa album, recorded in Mexico, where Lyra and other Brazilian luminaries were in cultural exile. This dips a bit into iffy pop territory, but mostly it's exactly the sort of gentle gem that fans of lounge, bossa and jazz are looking for all across the world. Recommended!