Posts Tagged ‘soul

02
Nov
11

songs everyone should own: timmy thomas – why can’t we live together

Timmy was a great soul singer, producer and keyboardist who originally cut his chops accompanying Donald Byrd and Cannonball Adderly.  This remains his only big hit (from 1972), and not one you hear very often…but if you were to dig into his lengthy back catalog you might find a lot more gems like this as Mr Thomas has been dropping bombs since the mid sixties.

I will give props to the local oldies station for dropping this the other day, I take back all those things I said about you.

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08
Sep
11

ike & tina turner – the soul of ike and tina & dynamite

So the other week I decided to open an ING savings account, because…who doesn’t want to earn 1% interest on their money.  I gotta say it was a mistake.

After closing my savings account and transferring my cash to my checking account, I filled out their online forms and waited for the go ahead to transfer my money over.  A few days went by and …nothing happened.

I got worried and called to find out what the deal was, and was informed by the Customer Service rep that while my routing number was fine, my account number was invalid.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a hard enough time deciphering the hieroglyphics on the bottom of my check as it is.  So I asked the guy which number, specifically that he needed.  He told me it was all the numbers after the routing number (I had originally only given them the last five.)  I gave him the new number, he said it should all be kosher in a day or two, and I waited.

When nothing happened four days later, I called again.  I talked to another rep who I went over the same info with and he said it was all fixed and would be ready in a few days.  WRONG!!!

Jump ahead four days later when there is still no activity.  I call ING again (notice that I’m doing all the contacting.)  This time the  rep tells me my account has been deleted, and she goes to find out why.  The next thing I know I’m talking to some harpy who informs me that my account number was still invalid and that ING would be terminating any business they had with me.  I protested that all I wanted to do was give them my money, she insisted that they had tried to contact me about this issue…which was a lie because no one from ING ever tried to contact me!!!  EVER!

So I guess ING doesn’t need your money.  Fuck ING!!!  <<<That’s the moral of my story.  Fuck them right in their fucking asses!!! And fuck their customer service too…

Now on to things that are far more awesome, I give you this sparkling reissue of two of Ike and Tina Turners most bad ass albums…The Soul of Ike and Tina and Dynamite.  First of all I gotta say I’m loving these two for one package deals.  It’s nice that someone finally realized that a CD can hold over an hour’s worth of music and anything less was a waste of space.  As a bonus they even threw in five bonus tracks to round it all out!  These two gems from 1960 and 1962 catch Ike and Tina doing what they do best…producing some of the most high energy, gritty, dark, funky southern music.

What makes it even better was that the two original albums weren’t even recorded as albums.  These were just compilations of their many hit singles of the day, so you don’t get the typical handful of hits with a bunch of filler.  You get ALL HITS.  And when it comes to Ike and Tina, this is exactly where you want to be. It’s also got the world famous Ikkettes on back up too! It’s got the kind of musical power on it like “Worried and Hurtin Inside,” “Letter from Tina ” and “I Had a Notion” guaranteed to make you the hero of the next soul BBQ you attend.

I’ve listened to this collection at least ten times since I discovered it a month or two ago.  If any of this sounds good the folks at Emd also gave the same treatment to another two early sixties albums with:Ike and Tina Turner Don’t Play Me Cheap / It’s Gonna Work Out Fine.  So if this album gave you an ear boner, you’ll definitely blow your audio load over the other one too.

Only $9 on amazon for the downloadable version!  But if you google the fucker you might find it cheaper…or free.  Just sayin.

13
Nov
08

Sparkle – OST

sparkle

Sometimes you have to remove people from your life.  A process that Billy refers to as “making your big black book into a little black book.”  It’s a sad fact of life, but let’s face it…not everyone makes the final cut.

A year ago I started cutting one group out of my life…not because I hated them, nor because they were bad people, but I just came to the realization that I had nothing in common with them and really didn’t enjoy doing anything they enjoyed doing.

That and they were always late.

The kind of late where they tell you to show up at 2pm for a camping trip, and when you get there at 2…people are still sleeping, and three hours later people still won’t be ready to go.  That shit drove me nuts.

My friend T-Bags had it much worse recently when she began to extricate a certain girlfriend from her life…we’ll call her “Amy.”  Now I never liked Amy anyways…she was self centered, obnoxious and horribly over-dramatic. But when I asked -Bags about her reasons…she said it came down to the cock-blocking.

Apparently a few weeks ago they went out with some guy T-Bags was seeing, and at the end of the night the three of them ended up at his house.  T-Bags and her boy were ready to get their groove on, and they were showing Amy to the guest bedroom when she declared “No, I’m sleeping with you!”

T-Bags protested, but Amy insisted.  Then when they got to bed, Amy also insisted that she sleep between T-Bags and her boy because “that’s where it was warmest… and she was cold.”  How do you not get cut after pulling shit like that?

Another group that didn’t make the cut was the original cast of the 1976 film “Sparkle,’ which tells the storey of three female singers on the bumpy road to success.  The film was pretty ridiculous, although out of said ridiculousness came a decent cult following…like “Showgirls,” which is kind of funny since Warner Brothers only just reissued the film on DVD hoping to capitalize on the story’s similarity to the Oscar winning “Dreamgirls.”

sparkle_031976

But the movie doesn’t matter here.  What matters is the soundtrack! It’s all produced by the legendary Curtis Mayfield, and what’s even better is that be decided to dump the cast recordings and have Aretha Franklin take over vocal duties.  I can almost see some sort of hallway collision happening at the studio:

“Hey!  You got your Curtis Mayfield all over my Aretha Franklin!”

“And you got your Aretha all over my Curtis!!!”

“…wait a minute?!?!  This is delicious!!!”

Thank God this collision happened or you might have been left with the most forgettable Curtis soundtrack ever, instead of the gem that emerged. About the only negative thing I can say about it is that it’s too short….but since the movie was only about an hour and a half, I figure Curtis worked within the time he had.  The album is notable not only for the awesome Mayfield score and Aretha’s dramatically soulful vocals…but for having two songs that were eventually covered by En Vogue:  ‘Something He Can Feel’ and ‘Hooked on Your Love.’

This is a must for any Curtis Mayfield completist and any fan of Aretha.  And, let’s be honest…who isn’t a fan of Aretha?

31
Oct
08

Robin Thicke – Something Else

Well, we’re coming up on my favorite time of the year again.  I’ll be able to wear jackets soon, I’ll have an extra hour of sleep on Sunday, and soon the airwaves will be free of these incessant political ads.

I hate that fucking shit.

I rarely use my land line at home any more, and I never answer it because anyone who really needs to get a hold of me has my cell phone number.  So I was pretty surprised the other day to check it and find eight messages.  My first reaction was that maybe I had forgotten to pay a bill…or the Elks Lodge autodialer was on the fritz and called me eight times.  Wrong on both counts.

All eight were recorded political messages.  Why anyone thinks these things are effective is beyond me.  I just erased all of them without listening.  And while I don’t hate Robin Thicke and his fucking mind-blowingly awesome new album “Something Else,” I would certainly like to.

I mean, come on…look at him!  He looks like a million douchebags out there.  Pretty boy good looks, rich pimp of a dad, connections up the ass.  It’s almost a shame that he kicks so much ass.

Born in 1977 to actress Gloria Loring and actor Alan Thicke, Robin showed an interest in music from an early age…especially the sound of classic soul music.  It probably didn’t hurt that his father was a well known theme music composer and writer who wrote the theme songs to “Different Strokes,” “The Facts of Life” and a slew of popular game shows. So at 16 he decided to pursue music as a career and was soon to Interscope subsidiary Nu America recordings where he started writing songs for artists such as Mya, Usher and Marc Anthony as well as writing and co-producing his own album under the name Thicke.

The album, 2002’s “A Beautiful World” was released on the strength of it’s ‘Fifth of  Beethove’ sampling single ‘When I Get You Alone.’ But, without a strong second single and minuscule promotion, the album didn’t do very well.

At 28 he had his first Grammy for his work on Usher’s “Confessions.” He signed with The Neptunes Star Trak label and  started work on his sophomore effort “The Evolution of Robin Thicke.”  After building the hype with the first single ‘Wanna Love U Girl,’ released in 2005, the album was released a year later and eventually went platinum.  I love that album a lot, and had considered using it here, until I heard “something Else.”

While I enjoyed Robin’s previous work and his amazing retro sound, “Evolution” seems to be a lot like it’s title…an evolution towards something better.  With “Something Else,” it seems like the evolution is over and Robin Thicke has finally made it to where he was going. Whether he’s channeling Jimi and Curtis on ‘Hard On My Love,’ or Marvin on the smooth ‘Loverman’ Thicke looks back affectionately at the past while blasting into the future.  When my friend Sean played it for me in his car on the way to the Clippers game, I prayed the drive would take long enough for me to absorb the entire album without stopping.

It would be easy to dismiss his work as just a throwback sound-alike if he wasn’t such a great songwriter and producer.  The problem with most new soul and R&B artists is they tend to sound alike.  Reaching back to bygone hits, taking everything that made them great and making it his own…Robin pretty much just kills it here.

It really is that good, and with a range that swings from “getting busy” to “getting down” it’s as versatile as it is awesome.  Gets my vote for R&B album of the year.  No doubt.

I can’t wait to see where he goes next.

21
Oct
08

Darondo – Let My People Go

I’ve always been the guy who gets heavily into things, fully immerses himself in them, them drops them to move onto the next thing.  It’s not that I can’t commit, it’s just that I love so many things.

At one point I was really into animals.  I worked at a wildlife rehabilitation center and at home I had a gopher tortoise, a painted turtle, a cat, a dog, and a parakeet.  I was like Doctor fucking Doolittle.  Then, as I matured and realized how much I was missing out on by spending all my time with animals…I dropped it.  Just like that.

(I did not leave my animals to die BTW, they all died of old age…except for my tortoise who simply crawled away one day to live a life of fulfillment in the city I expect, and my parakeet who escaped through the garage one day, hopefully to rejoin his flock somewhere.)

I also used to be way into art. It was once regarded as a plain fact amongst my classmates that my friend Pete and I were going to be animators for Disney.  Looking back now, and realizing that we were basically aspiring to be the bottom of the pile, it seems pretty naive.  We might as well have aspired to be janitors.  But anyway, soon I was no longer carrying around scrap books full of sketches and drawings.  The same fate befell my coin collection, stamp collection and collection of Garbage Pail Kids (I still have all that shit in the attic though!)

Point is, my hobbies jump around a lot…just like Darondo.

After listening to the collection “Let My People Go,”it’s hard to believe he only released three 45’s in his short career.  Even after that, he considered his music a hobby and never looked back at a musical career that never was.  And it certainly might have been…especially when you listen to the title track ‘Let My People Go.’

Born William Puliam, Darondo was a Bay Area native who started playing in the seventies, releasing his three singles and playing four shows.  His final show, opening for the Godfather of Soul himself, ended with Darondo getting into his white Rolls Royce and (licence plate: Darondo) and drove home.  After that, no more music.

But that wasn’t the end of Darondo.

HE was soon traveling the world collecting all kinds of interesting artifacts, he became king of the early Bay Area cable scene putting out three shows a day, then went to work as a physical therapist.  He lived a high lifestyle that would eventually sap his resources, but in his words “I used to get my suits tailor made, one of a kind, like my rings. A player can’t have the same ring as someone else. Got my rings specially made with diamonds and stones. But in order to get yourself together you had to get away from all the fastness. I was driving around in a Rolls Royce, I was a fast young man.”

And who doesn’t need some custom pimp rings?

His recordings are highly sought after by collectors, especially after getting serious airplay from Gilles Peterson and props from John Mayer.  Mostly over his sound ‘Didn’t I?’ His sound is as hard to categorize as it is to get out of your head.  A heavy mix of R&B, soul, funk, latin and blues, Darondo could have been a superstar had he continued on that path, but soon he was chasing another dream…then another.

Luv ‘N Haight recently compiled the six songs from his singles and added three more unfinished tracks found in a box with some VHS copies of his cable show into a smart little reissue.  He recently has been working with San Francisco soul man Bing Ji Ling and says the experience has got him excited about music again, so keep your fingers crossed!

Don’t be left out on this one folks…you deserve better, and Darondo certainly delivers.

17
Oct
08

Young Holt Unlimited – On Stage

Welcome everyone to the 100th post here at Albums Everyone Should Own, I’m so glad you could make it! Did you remember to bring beer?

No?  Well, there’s still time to run to AM/PM.

You know, it was only seven months ago that I started this blog with a hope to not only fill the dead space during our off season, but to inform the general public of fucking awesome music that they need.  Along they way, I’ve tried to give props to the great albums out there that most people know about, but also to some albums that not everyone knows…records that may have slipped through the cracks.

So far, I think it’s going pretty well.

I’d like to take the time to thank those bloggers who have supported my cause, so shouts out to CorrinaCorrina, What The Deuce, And Ya Don’t Stop and The Musics Over for all the great linkage.  Come on down to my bar sometime and the drinks are on me.

But, I’d also like to take the time to thank you, the anonymous Internet reader for allowing me an audience.  If it weren’t for all the hits, I probably would have lost interest long ago and gone back to my other job…drinking until I can’t feel feelings.

So keep on visiting, and I’ll keep throwing up the bomb for all who care enough to dig for it. And speaking of digging, I dug up some dusty soul jazz grooves for you today by the name of Young-Holt Unlimited with their 1967 live release “On Stage.”

Drummer Isaac ‘Red” Holt and Bassist Eldee Young were a part of the famous Ramsey Lewis Trio in the early sixties where they had a hand in creating two of Lewis’s biggest hits of the day ‘The In Crowd’ and ‘Hang On Sloopy.’ In 1966, though, they left the group to pursue their own direction and hooked up with pianist Hysear Don Walker in 1966 to form The Young-Holt Trio.

Said trio only made one album, titled after their only hit ‘Wack Wack,’ after which Hysear left the group.  After a period with Ken Chaney on Piano, he was replaced by Floyd Morris and the group became Young-Holt Unlimited.  There seems to be some confusion as to when this happened, as all the information I’ve found says the name change didn’t happen until 1968, but our album “On Stage” was released in 1967 and clearly names the group as Young-Holt Unlimited…but then again does it really fucking matter?

No, but I’m a little hung over from celebrating, and it makes me testy.

(If you’ve heard of Young-Holt, it’s probably because of their famous backing track to the Barbara Acklin hit ‘Am I The Same Girl?’ Their arrangement was so hot that the group also released it as an instrumental called ‘Soulful Strut’ with Floyd’s piano replacing the vocals.)

I’ve always loved the soul jazz genre because it had a much smoother sound than the jazz funk era that was to come, and while it had a good run, I’ve always felt they could have dome more.  This is pretty self evident considering the raw energy captured in “On Stage.”  The recording captures more than the music, but also the feel of the famous Bohemian Cavern in which it was recorded …right down to the band’s banter with the audience and the screams of delight from the crowd. No track displays this better than the medley of ‘Wade In The Water/ Ain’t There Something That Money Can’t Buy,’ part of which you’ll hear above.

Truth be told, I’m not that thrilled with their version of Mellow Yellow, but the monster ‘Yon Gimme Thum’ that closes the set pretty much seals the deal for me anyways.

I got introduced to these guys in college and their Greatest Hits album was a staple of our pool room/bar/garage hangout for the three years that we had it.  This album is highly recommended to people who have hangouts and the folks that like to hang out in them.  Grab it HERE!

And next time bring beer.

03
Oct
08

Sam Sparro – ST

My house has kind of become DJ central these days, at least amongst my friends. Andrew has a nice set up at his place, but mine is the one with Serato…which everyone wants to use so there you have it.  My friend B-Dog showed up on Monday night itching to give it a try and I was happy to oblige.

At first I had him practice on my rig, because I have thousands of songs on there, but eventually he wanted to plug in his Mac Book and give that a whirl. This would have been ok if not for his selection. As it turns out B-Dog, who DJs a little more often then I do, had only bought his laptop recently and had only used it for only one gig.  That gig was a birthday party for a six year old girl. 

What B-Dog was doing DJing a party for a six year old girl, I may never know.

Needless to say, his music folder contained a lot of Hannah Montana and (shudder) The Cheetah Girls.  I started browsing the Internet for porn …content to allow B the opportunity to play around a bit when, unexpectedly, something good came on.

Something real good.

As I’ve said in the past, I don’t expect too much from other people’s crates, but I spun around in my chair, turning away from the porn.

“What is this?”

“This” was Sam Sparro. and if you haven’t heard of him yet, I have no doubt  that you will soon because the kid has talent. Born in Australia in 1982, Sam Falson (“Sparro” was a family nickname) discovered his talent for singing after the family moved to Los Angeles in 1993.  His father Chris,a gospel preacher and musician, was at work on a soul album at the time and introduced Sam to the genre through a church in Tujunga. 

Aside from his singing, Sam soon got work acting in commercials and radio.

In the late nineties he headed back to Australia for a short time before moving in with some cousins in England.  He immersed himself in the music scene, but couldn’t stay…returning to Los Angeles in 2002 and finding work at a coffee shop.  It was then that he began writing the songs that would become his debut  album.

His sound is somewhere between Justin Timberlake and The Scissor Sisters…with a dash of Justice style electro to boot.  Really juicy…as you can hear on his second single ‘Black and Gold’ or his 2007 single ‘Cottonmouth.’ It’s a good bit of music to fill out a dancefloor or make you hit the stairmaster with a good bit of soul inflected intensity.

I wish I had more juicy tidbits for you, but that’s the problem with these new kids…they’re still new.  He’s openly gay, but I hardly think an openly gay musician is news these days. 

Oh!  He’s writing some songs for Lindsey Lohan’s new album!  Wait…no…that’s not a good thing is it?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  But in the meantime, I recommend this debut as a sign of good things to come.

Get it while you can!




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