Wednesday, 8 October 2014
'Issue #5: Spring 2014' is the fifth edition of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine, which was lovingly assembled to coincide with the NZ Soul All Dayer event at Golden Dawn on Saturday 13th September 2014.
It's now available onlineright here, so check it, pass it on and celebrate the community!
Thursday, 2 October 2014
FIVE X FIVE
Five Top Fives with Kris Holmes, TC, Campbell Ngata, Pete Nice and Gin
Top 5: Sweet Soul Jams You Should Know But Probably Don't (Youtube them!)
1. Fuller Brothers - Stranger At My Door (GD&L)
This is a West Coast record but damn it sounds like Chicago! Hands down one of the greatest sweet group soul tracks ever, it's really hard to track down an original of this record and when you hear its beauty you'll understand why - it's one that appeals to everyone. The Fuller Brothers have other 45s on several other labels and they're all worthwhile. They even re-recorded this track a few years later for a different label. It's nice enough but unsurprisingly it didn't recapture the perfection of the original.
2. The Exits - Under The Street Lamp (Gemini)
This 45 got played back in the day, so it's nearly impossible to run across one in the wild which isn't thrashed. Another West Coast group but their discography is even shorter than the Fuller Brothers: only three 45s on these guys and this, their debut, was their biggest "hit" - it even got covered by Joe Bataan. When they hit into the bridge, wow! Makes the hairs on the back of your neck stick up. An asbolute stunner and easier to find than the Fuller Brothers 45, at least.
3. New Holidays - Maybe So Maybe No (Soulhawk/Westbound)
Detroit brings it on this one. You might know this from Mayer Hawthorne covering it recently but this has always been a great 45. The Holidays were a long-standing vocal group with a fairly fluid membership, and they have a bunch of other great 45s. On this though, Popcorn Wylie and Tony Hestor come correct with the writing and arrangement - the initial Harp run and then when the drums kick in? So good. Initially released on the small local Soulhawk label it was then scooped up for wider release on Westbound. Thanks to Hawthorne reviving this it's now driven the price up and unfortunately it's another 45 where most copies one finds are hammered.
4. Steve Parks - Still Thinking Of You (Reynolds)
Some days I think this is the best 45 of all time. Then I think it can't be since that's such a huge call, but more often than not I'll come back to it. Such a sparse arrangement, understated and just carried perfectly by the flute and the absolute fragility in his voice. Another West Coast 45, there was so much stock of this around last decade it must have sold next to no copies on release. All those have pretty much been blown out and snapped up by collectors now and the price continues to rise on the originals. I still think it's worth whatever you pay for it. You might know of Steve Parks from his later modern stuff but the falsettos on this will win you over, trust me.
5. The Intentions - Blowing With The Wind (Tiki)
A Chicago mega-rarity which was reissued as part of Numero's "Eccentric Soul Omnibus". Only a handful of original copies have ever surfaced and it's a record which just doesn't leave collections - if you can ever find a copy. Good luck. The other side is a killer Funk bomb but this sweet side just slays with the flute lead and sublime group vocals. This is the only 45 they cut but the backing band was The Pharoahs who have much easier to find records (which are all great too), and included members who would go on to form Earth, Wind and Fire. The only reason this 45 wasn't better known before now is that only a few people knew it even existed.
www.mixcloud.com/kris_holmes and 'The Boil Up', 8pm Thursdays, Base FM
TC aka TONI COOPER
Top 5: Current Favorites
1. Bernard Wright - Bread Sandwiches (GRP, 1981)
Happylil' number always sets the tone early evening, anywhere. Now's the rolling drums!?
2. Pamoja - Oooh Baby (Lotus Land, 2005)
Originally released on 7" on Keiper Productions this is not a cheap 7". Was happy on the repress in 2005 as this is a wedding gig favourite.
3. Willie West - Did You Have Fun (Deesu, 1967)
What can you say about this New Orleans Soul Survivor? Heartbreaker joint and this is just one of many during his '60s production.
4. Caprice - Candyman (PPU, 2006 re-issue)
Another re-issue originally from the flipside 7" of 'Missing You' from the '80s. This is the joint your lady should jame for you! Very special ;)
5. Charles Bradley - Where Do We Go From Here (Dunham, 2013)
My all-time favourite Soul Singer of late - he's been through a journey and you feel that with every tune he puts together. Not necessarily for the dance floor, but certainly will suffice for the soul searcher.
Top 5: August/September 2014
1. Pan Assembly - Mr Magic (Carotte, 1986)
Cover of the Grover classic, steel drum style.
2. Quickest Way Out - Hello Stranger (Karen, 1974)
Barbara Lewis cover, sweet down-tempo jam.
3. Nightwind - Why Can't We (Star City/Sound Boutique, 1982/2013)
Down-tempo soulful '80s boogie out of St. Peters, Missouri.
4. Candy Bowman - Since I Found You (RCA, 1981)
Sweetest groove. Mtume/Lucas production. Killer boogie on the flip of this 12" too.
5. Dr Tree - Euginio D (EMI, 1975)
Steel drums, jazz-funk revival, killer Kiwi jam. This needs to be played more. And loudly.
High-flying lawyer by day, low-down music fiend by night...
Top 5: Favourite Tracks
1. Lonnie Liston Smith - Expansions
I first heard this in the early '80s and it stopped me dead in my tracks. It still has that effect all these years later. SImply one of the best jazz funk classics of all time.
2. Eddie Russ - Zaius
Another one I first heard in the early '80s. To buy it I had to post a money order to a record dealer in the US and face a long uncertain wait for something to come back! This is another stone cold classic and anthem on the '80s jazz dance scene - definitely one of the best tracks ever made.
3. James Mason - Sweet Power Your Embrace
I first heard this when Patrick Forge played it after 'Expansions' at Dingwalls one summer Sunday afternoon in 1989. It brought the house down and I thought my life had peaked right then and there.
4. Tommy Stewart - Bump and Hustle Music
Massive i the late '80s Rare Groove scene in London, and a stalwart tune at Norman Jay's 'Shake and Fingerpop' parties. The original cost shedloads of dosh - lucky I got my copy on a cheeky bootleg from the legendary Groove Records in Soho.
5. Beau Dollar - Who Knows
Beau Dollar is the stage name of William Bowman Jr. - drummer with the Dapps, James Brow's backing band before he replaced them with the JBs. This tune is a triumph of funky drum and bass. Never mind Shapeshifter - this is the real DnB deal!
Top 5: Most Played Tunes
1. Dorothy Ashby - Soul Vibrations (from Afro Harping)
I love the Harp because it's such a physically imposing instrument yet it often transmits the most delicate of sounds. In Ashby's hands it's true bliss, as evidenced on this psychedelic jam from 1968.
2. Funkadelic - Maggot Brain (from Maggot Brain)
Ten minnutes of pure emotion from the hands of Eddie Hazel, illustrating that he truly was one of the great guitar players of the late twentieth century. To think that he supposedly recorded it in one take just blows my mind.
3. Prince - Erotic City (from Let's Go Crazy 12")
According to Mr Rogers Nelson he recorded this immediately after seeing Parliament / Funkadelic perform in 1983. The sexually charged lyrics and interplay between Prince and Sheila E meant this track would never gain commercial radio play. Who cares. It's Prince.
4. Parallel Dance Ensemble - Run (from Run 7")
Robin Hannibal's sweet falsetto vocals and Coco Solid's top-shelf raps combined with synth-driven funk ensure this tune gets a regular workout on my turntable. Instant classic upon release.
5. Julien Dyne with Parks - December (from December)
The title track from one of my favourite releases of 2013. Multi-instrumentalist, beat maker, visual artist - is there anything this man can't do? Add Parks to the mix and you just can't lose. Perfection.
Listen to Gin, 1pm Tuesdays, 95bFM
All excerpts taken from Issue #5 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. Check out the full issue, and all the back issues, here.
Monday, 22 September 2014
SOUL TRIPPIN' CALIFORNIA STYLE
Written By Murray Cammick
I managed to see about fifteen soul/funk acts in about eight Los Angeles August evenings. They were not "hot August nights", evenings are chilly in LA. The sunny days were largely spent inside vinyl record stores, art galleries or boutique breweries.
~ Have I ever seen anything funkier than Lakeside (five band members, four vocalists) blast through 'All The Way Live' and 'Fantastic Voyage'?
~ Bettye LaVette delivered good humour, funky anecdotes and great voice at the tiny Viper Room.
~ The Gladys Knight voice is still 200% and on her arrival on stage, the lady seated behind me announced - "She just got off the train!" - "From Georgia!". Lots of folks were there for openers Kool and The Gang. They did not disappoint.
~ At 73, Darlene Love, free in a San Francisco Park, still sings 'River Deep, Mountain High' like it should have been hers, and took on 'What's Going On', her Spector classics and a Motown medley. Her opening act, The Monophonics with French guest Ben L'Oncle Soul, were also very fine.
~ The Time's Morris Day with his mirror-carrying assistant schtick is still funny. Mr Day explained that he is still cool and has not had it despite the appearance that he was perspiring. He clarified that "Like fine French champagne, as you take it from the fridge, Mr Day does not sweat, Mr Day condensates!".
~ On a very hot Friday lunchtime, DJ Nu-Mark entertained office workers, food hall diners and school children in the Downtown California Plaza outdoor concert area. After a crowd-pleasing funky set DJ Nu-Mark kept the beat with his toys. I loved the squirrel who sang "And we were Kung Fu fighting" but Maurice the Monkey holding down the beat was the crowd favourite.
~ Angelique Kidjo ruled, fronting the James Brown band (Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis, Clyde Stubblefield, emcee Danny Ray, etc.) for three songs at the Hollywood Bowl - but Aloe Blacc, D'Angelo and Bettye LaVette were also amazingly into it. D'Angelo was the final singer - he has misplaced his six-pack but not his vocal power on uptempo JB songs including 'Soul Power'. Kidjo said that as a child she told her Mum "I'm going to be James Brown when I grow up." Her Mum replied, "No you're not." Kidjo said to the Bowl crowd, "So what am I doing now?" She really got that band working.
~ Low point: Smokey Robinson at the Greek Theatre - he can still sing but his band was lightweight. I don't like 74yr old singers showing their pelvic thrusts and wasting time with a log, competitive sing-a-long to 'Cruising' - and then no encore. Berry Gordy was in the audience. Too much talk and not enough classic Motown tunes. Could do a lot better!
Photos above of the Gladys Knight and Kool and The Gang show at the Hollywood Bowl; and DJ Nu-Mark, the Kung Fu squirrel and Maurice the Monkey at the Downtown California Plaza, both courtesy of Murray Cammick.
Listen to Murray on your radio: 'Land of the Good Groove', 1pm Fridays, 95bFM
This feature taken from Issue #5 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. The rest of the issue and all of the back issues, can be viewed online here.
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
DO THE CREEP!
Written by Peter McLennan
Jay Epae wrote 'Tumblin' Down' for Maria Dallas, had a top 5 hit in Sweden, and created a magnificent Kiwi dance craze with a swinging little number called 'The Creep'.
Born in Manaia, Taranaki, Epae made his way in the local music scene, eventually shifting to the USA in 1957, to further his career. Signed initially to Mercury Records, then to Capitol, he cut a handful of groovy pop singles, including 'Putti Putti', which hit big in Sweden. It got picked up by Radio Nord, a Swedish pirate radio station broadcasting offshore from a ship (a-la Radio Hauraki). It hit the top 5 on the Swedish charts, selling over 50,000 copies, leading Epae to tour there.
Epae came home and released his one and only solo album Hold On Tight! It's Jay Epae in 1966 on Viking Records, the same year he penned the pop hit 'Tumblin' Down' for Maria Dallas. Author Chris Bourke describes Epae's album as "an eclectic showcase of R&B, country and pop styles, showing how adept Epae could be at emulating Arthur Alexander, Fats Domino, Bobby Charles as well as Dean Martin and - on 'The Creep', an Epae original - James Brown."
'The Creep' is arguably his greatest musical contribution. A fantastic dance number, it's a wickedly slinky slab of R&B. The cover of the original single even has a handy diagram of the dance moves. The song got rediscovered when John Baker included it on his Kiwi garage punk compilation Wild Things Vol. 2, in 1995. Epae's album got a digital reissue in 2012.
TRIVIA: Jay Epae's brother Wes was a member of the Maori Hi Five. They topped the charts in Sweden for several weeks in 1963 with their song 'Poi Poi' and toured there as well, alongside Duke Ellington and Count Basie.
Images courtesy of Chris Bourke's excellent Blue Smoke blog. Treat yourself!
This feature taken from Issue #5 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. Check out the full issue and all of our back issues here.
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
NZ Soul All Dayer #5
2pm-2am, Saturday 13 September
It's the return of Tamaki-Makarau's friendliest and most soulful all day party!
Emerging from the chilly depths of Aotearoa's winter months, the Soultearoa Crew are ready to warm souls, hearts, minds and feets with another edition of New Zealand's premier soul music event.
NEW ANNOUNCEMENT OF DJS!!!
Full lineup features:
For more information, check out the event page on facebook, or google NZ Soul All Dayer.
Everybody's gotta nourish their soul, so getcho self together and climb aboard the Soultearoa train...
Thursday, 24 July 2014
Top Fives: Campbell Ngata and Jeff Neems
The Undercover Brother from the Bay
Top 5: Killer Modern Soul LP Tracks That Are Overlooked Because Of Another Track
1. Emotions - You've Got The Right To Know (Columbia)
From the 1976 LP Flowers, 'You've Got The Right To Know' is overlooked because of the classic title track, but holds its own. And by classic, I mean Gisborne RSA Club classic.
2. Champaign - Do You Have The Time (Columbia)
Champaign's 'How 'Bout Us' was a slow jam chart-topper, and was my Mum's jam in 1981, but hardly anybody flipped it over to expose modern killer 'Do You Have The Time'.
3. Ingram - Music Has The Power (H&L)
Ingram has been destroying dance floors since 1977 with 'Mi Sabrina Tequana', however 'Music Has The Power' has the, erm, power - from the That's All LP.
4. Atlantic Starr - Love Me Down (A&M)
'Love Me Down', from the 1982 Brilliance LP is a soulful mid tempo treat with killer b-line, often overlooked in favour of 'Circles'... play both though.
5. Brothers Johnson - Celebrations (A&M)
OK, 'Celebrations' ain't a modern spin, but I love my jazz-funk - this masterpiece is ignored because of another 1980 staple, 'Stomp', from Light Up The Night. Get them out, flip them, give them another lease of life.
Aka Cpt Nemo: DJ, Writer, Record Collector and Family Man
Hear him spinning everything from deep Jamaican roots and dub to contemporary house, soul, funk, Latin, Afrobeat and hip hop every Saturday night at Wonderhorse, Hamilton's leading cocktail and fine liquor bar.
Top 5: Current High-Rotate
1. Kamal Abdul Alim - Brotherhood
Originally released in 1983, this gargantuan piece of gorgeous instrumental jazz funk stretches out over nearly eight minutes. A truly uplifting piece, recently reissued on the BBE compilation Kev Beadle Presents Private Collection. Total killer.
2. Byard Lancaster - Just Test
Philly saxophonist Byard Lancaster is largely unknown, but Kindred Spirits reissued his awesome 1974 album Funny Funky Rib Grib in 2008, and this three-minute ditty is the highlight. It could be on an endless reel and I'd never get sick of it.
3. Byron Morris - Kitty Bey
Gilles Peterson added a live version of this potent uptempo jazz-funk cut to his Sunday Afternoon at Dingwall's release in 2006. Just the ticket for the dancers in the place, it even features an introduction from the band leader.
4. Wildcookie - Serious Drug
I paid way too much money for an autographed copy of the rare Drugs EP, by Wildcookie - producer Red Astaire and vocalist Anthony Mills, A stripped back Latin-flavoured head-nodder provides the basis for Mills to sing about the dangers of cocaine. Must-have tune which I often use to open or close the night at Wonderhorse.
5. Moodymann - Misled
Moodymann (Kenny Dixon Jr) is the greatest house musician to walk the planet and the King of Detroit. 'Misled' is the opening tune on his 1997 debut album Silent Introduction, and it eases the listener into the most sublime album of soulful deep house ever released.
(*both of these excerpts are taken from Issue #4 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. You can read the full issue, and all the other back issues, here.)
Sunday, 20 July 2014
Top Ten: Soul Sheets
The characters behind the records you love.
1. "Marvin Gaye: Divided Soul" (David Ritz)
Harrowing yarns from Motown's Trouble Man.
2. Miles Davis "Miles: The Autobiography" (Quincy Trope)
High curse word count from the ever-opinionated Miles.
3. Nina Simone "I Put A Spell On You: The Autobiography Of Nina Simone" (Stephen Cleary)
A hell of a life from Julliard to Liberia.
4. James Brown "The Godfather Of Soul: An Autobiography"
JB is a man of many titles, but you can add teller of unreliable tales to the list.
5. Ray Charles "Brother Ray: Ray Charles' Own Story" (David Ritz)
Forget the film, the autobiography is a rollicking, hedonistic ride with one of music's great characters.
6. Al Green "Take Me To The River" (Davin Seay)
Southern soul and selective stories.
7. Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson "Mo' Meta Blues"
Meta musings from The Roots' meter man.
8. Charles Mingus "Beneath The Underdog: His World As Composed by Mingus"
Mind expanding musical insights and tangential tales.
9. Frederick Dannan "Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business"
Fascinating industry backgrounder on the corporatisation of the record business.
10. Charlie Gillett "The Sound Of The City: The Rise Of Rock n' Roll"
The definitive backgrounder on the blues.
"Dream Boogie: The Triumph Of Sam Cooke" (Peter Guralnick)
"Prince: Inside The Music and The Masks" (Ronin Ro)
"To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown" (Berry Gordy)
Written by Jubt Avery.
Hear him on 'The Boil Up', alongside Kirk James and AWDJ, Thursdays from 8pm on Base FM.
(* this excerpt taken from Issue #4 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. You can read the full ise, and the back issues, here.)
Monday, 7 July 2014
Last Record I Bought: Miles Tackett
Ray Sharp and The Soul Set - Earthquake
I heard this funky, syncopated, late-'60s psych-soul burner spun by my man Ray from East L.A.'s Spinout crew at a party last fall down in New Orleans, while hanging with Kris Holmes and other fellow Ponderosa Stompers. The record flipped my wig back a bit when I heard it, so I duly noted it - thanks to Ray's generous nature. Luckily there wa a copy sitting around collecting dust at Crazy Beat Records on the outskirts of London. (Incidentally, this was one of the first stores to buy copies of my first 7" Breakestra single 'Getcho Soul Togetha' in the UK.) Fortunately, I merely needed to go to musicstack.com to find out that 'Earthquake' was ready, rumbling and available to come back to the land of earthquakes for some spins at my Funky Sole party. Some records travel farther than the people who are looking for them...
Miles Tackett is the main man in Breakestra, runs L.A.'s Funky Sole party, and is an all round good dude.
(* this excerpt is taken from Issue #4 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. You can read the whole issue, and all the back issues, here.)
Last Night A Soul Song Changed My Life: Neil Kaiser
Charles Sheffield - It's Your Voodoo Working
This is a song that has particular meaning to me because up until I played this for my wife (who at the time was my girlfriend) she had been somewhat reserved around me. We were in the new stages of our relationship and feeling each other out. She heard that song and just let go, dancing like a crazy woman; silly and goofy, but rhythmic and wild. I am pretty sure that was when I knew we'd be together forever. That was eight and a half years ago, and we just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary.
Neil Kaiser, out of Seattle, USA, is also known as DJ Zimmy.
(* this excerpt is taken from Issue #4 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. You can read the rest of this issue, plus all the back issues, here.)
Strangest Place I Found Records: Tarik Thornton
I just picked up some records from an Adult Toy Store a few days ago. I found the spot on Craigslist, so I thought, let's go check it out. As I'm digging through a small section of 45s, I look back and there's a huge dildo - that was a little weird, I admit. I ended up grabbing three 45s and take them to the counter to check out. The owner says hey, I have some higher priced ones also, and points me to a box which has an OG copy of Mickey and The Soul Generation's 'Iron Leg'. I didn't pick it up, but hey, I was very impressed it was in an adult toy store!
Tarik is a DJ and Radio Host from Minneapolis, USA.
(* this excerpt is taken from Issue #4 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. You can read the whole issues, and all the back issues, here.)
Monday, 30 June 2014
The New Orleans Report
Back in October I had the good fortune to be invited to DJ at the official opening night of the Ponderosa Stomp Festival in New Orleans. The night is called the Hip Drop and is curated by Brice Nice, a great guy who some of you may have met on his visit to New Zealand a few years back.
This was the 6th Hip Drop and was held at a great bar called DBA on Frenchman St. I had last been in New Orleans in 2008 (I had actually seen Walter “Wolfman” Washington at DBA back then) and my last time in the US was in 2010, so I was really itching to get back there, spin some 45s, catch up with friends, buy records and of course check out the Ponderosa Stomp. The Ponderosa Stomp is a long running festival held traditionally over two nights. This year it was held at a great venue called the Rock N Bowl which is a bowling lane and music venue - great combo - of course the bowling option was closed while the Stomp was on.
I started this American trip with a 7 hour stopover in San Fran, so I did what any self-respecting vinyl junkie would do in that situation: on-checked my luggage and then hopped a cab to Haight St to buy 45s. It was a Monday so my favorite shop Groove Merchant was closed, but across the street Rooky Ricardo’s was open for business, so I told the taxi to come back for me in 3 hours and set about digging. Made it back to the airport in time for my flight to NOLA with nearly 100 new additions to my record box.
I touched down in NOLA late at night (the Saints won on the flight so the other passengers seemed really excited about that…."Who Dat?" etc). Hopped a cab to the Hotel and tried to familiarize myself with the streets again as I was driven there. I had a couple days until the festival itself started but already a few people were at the official Hotel in readiness. The next morning I got my VIP pack and then went off to hit the Hard Rock Café for some late breakfast before hitting the Louisiana Music Factory looking for more 45s. LMF is a cool store located right in the heart of the French Quarter and is seen as something of a hub for the local scene. I spent the day there upstairs clearing out around 100 45s and got a heap of great titles for really good prices. I knew I had to get in quick before the rest of the Stomp tourists also hit the record stores (the reason I’d hit town a couple days early to be honest). I paid a visit to Drago’s that night for some of their must-try charbroiled Oysters; always a spot I hit in NOLA, words can’t begin to describe how good the oysters are and this is from a dude who doesn’t usually do shellfish.
The next day I got up, started to notice some of the famous faces (classic R&B artists) had started to appear at the hotel. Cool. I took a ride to Jim Russell’s Rare records on Magazine, once a legendary record store and a must hit spot; I was saddened to see it closed with a great deal of the stock still sitting inside half covered by tarps, to try to protect it from roof leaks I guess. Realizing I wasn’t going to get anything there I traveled across the other side of the town to Euclid Records, a newer store but a very worthy stop and definitely a must hit spot for records in NOLA. I spent the day there and came away with another 100 or so 45s. They had just put a load of 45s out especially for the Stomp crowd and luckily I was the first to get to them that morning. It was at Euclid that I first ran into Carlos and Elisse, two fellow 45 collectors from Mexico in town for the Stomp too. It was a great day digging and James at Euclid was really helpful and friendly, even coming to check out my set at DBA the next night. That evening a few of my friends had started to roll into town so I got in touch with my friend Miles and we rolled way out to a great restaurant he knew called Jacques Imo’s, beautiful food and a great time.
The day of the Hip Drop saw everyone hit town, there were catch-ups and autograph sessions and photo ops with all sorts of people. Early that evening there was a special screening held of the Muscle Shoals documentary film. A whole bunch of us filed into a local art gallery for this special occasion and we were even treated to Fame/Muscle Shoals recording artist Spencer Wiggins being in the audience.
Next up the Hip Drop. We all got there in the early evening and there was already a great crowd. The DJ lineup was incredible, some real heavy-hitters and deep collectors of the 45 world. The music policy incorporates Garage, R&B, Soul and Funk, as long as it is off of original 45s. Each DJ (invited from all around the world) has a half-hour set only to move the crowd. This years lineup was: Billy Miller and Miriam Linna from Norton Records in NYC; Miles Tackett from Breakestra/Funky Sole in LA; Beyondadoubt from Portland; Todd-O-Phonic from New Jersey; Pierre Baroni from Soulgroove 66/Soul-A-Go-Go in Melbourne; Kitty B Shake from Paris; Alex LaRotta from Houston; Emma Peel from Melbourne; the Alligator Chomp Chomp crew of Mitch, Matty and Pasta representing New Orleans; and myself from lil ol’ NZ.
A special mention must be made of Tony Janda, one of the original Hip Drop DJs who sadly passed away recently. This Hip Drop was held in his memory and I have fond memories of talking 45s with Tony over the years, a great guy who had a real love and knowledge for the music. My friends Brice and Eric spun a couple of 45s in his honor and spoke a little about the man. A poignant but nice touch.
Everyone played killer sets, I’d be hard pressed to choose a winner on the day and it was just incredible to be playing alongside some of these DJs and playing a packed out club jumping to vintage soul 45s again; a killer feeling.
After the high that was the Hip Drop we then had to face another couple days of the Hip Drop concerts, Record Fair and Music Conference. An overload of amazing experiences. I well and truly made out good at the record fair having had my friend Dave in Austin sort a local dealer to bring me a box of awesomeness that I got first hit at. Killer, so many great 45s. I must have grabbed at least nearly 100 more 45s for my collection.
It was just an amazing few days getting to hang out with great like-minded friends again, trade records, talk 45s like the mega geeks we are and be treated to live performances by R&B royalty. Getting to see artists like Lil Buck, David Batiste, Irving Bannister, The Sonics, Baby Washington, Chris Clark etc. etc. (the list is long) was like a dream come true and then getting to actually meet a lot of them over the few days and chat about their careers etc. was too cool.
The rest of the time in NOLA was a blur of friends, good food, records (I ended up coming home with 300 new addition 45s for my collection), live music and even karaoke. Hope I get invited back.
Special thanks to Dr Ike for organizing the Stomp every year, Brice for booking me on the Hip Drop and all my other friends; Miles, Alex, Kim, the other Hip Drop DJs, Ricky, Eric etc. etc.
So many people. Such a time.
Written by Kris Holmes
Picured (R-L): Kris, Miles and Ricky on their last night in New Orleans, all wearing their respective soul night T-shirts.
Kris is NZ's deepest funk and soul 45 collector, and we're delighted to be able to include this piece written about his time in New Orleans. We're hoping to be able to entice Kris to write further stories about his travails overseas digging for black gold. Watch this space!
Also check his blog Greenville And Beyond.
* An edited version of this piece appears in Issue #4 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. You can read the whole issue, and the back issues, online here.
Monday, 23 June 2014
On a recent Saturday morning, my DJ partner and good friend, Stewart, and I went on a record dig to an old-timey (and self-proclaimed) ‘amusement company’, located somewhere deep in the heart of Texas – or, within a few hours drive from our hometown, Houston. (Excuse the vagueness, as I’m keeping said spot hush-hush – record fiends know the deal!)
Stewart had come here before, and I’d heard of it but was never able to track it down. Stories of rooms filled with stock 45s had caught my attention – “excited” to finally make the trip didn’t quite capture my eagerness. Some hours-long drive later, accompanied by plenty of strawberry-filled kolaches (a uniquely Texas-via-Czech breakfast pastry) we finally arrive, to a place seemingly untouched by the twenty-first century – my kind of joint! Among a heap of gutted, busted, and dusted Wurlitzer-brand jukeboxes and mid-century radios, the stock room contains wall-to-wall 45s, conveniently categorized and alphabetized for the digger’s pleasure. Truly a sight to see. Portable record players in hand, we plunge!
It was a great day of dusty soul singles and fantastic bargains. We’ll definitely be making our way back again, as there was far too much soul on wax for one days’ dig. (Not pictured is another room of bargains 45s where I pulled every Impressions/Curtis Mayfield 45 that I didn’t have yet, among other soulful treasures.) You can catch these favourites below and more at our monthly soul party – A Fistful Of Soul – every third Friday in Houston, Texas.
1. Jackie Hunt – Since You’ve Been Gone b/w Security Of Love (Jetstream, 1963/4?)
Groovy party R&B from my hometown, Houston, Texas! One more notch on completing the Jetsream label discography. Glad to finally track a clean copy. Nice moody soul ballad on the flip makes this a fantastic Texas two-sider.
2. The Third Guitar – Sad Girl b/w Lovin’ Lies (Rojac, 1968)
Scorching psychedelic soul from Harlem, New York via Miami, Florida – popular on the northern soul scene.
3. The Boys In The Band – Sumpin’ Heavy b/w The Boys In The Band (Spring, 1970)
Funky-ass instrumental funk! I don’t pick up deep funk 45s as much I used to (nor do I play ‘em out as much), but this here single is a bonafide funk stunner. Highly recommended for the drum heads. (Cheap on eBay, too.)
4. The Icemen – How Can I Get Over A Fox Like You b/w Loogaboo (ABC, 1968)
Exquisite low rider-inspired soul from this relatively obscure duo. The Icemen are best known (in some circles, anyways) for their earlier Shamar label 45, which featured a pre-LSD, Curtis Knight-era Jimi Hendrix on guitar. Haven’t met an Icemen single I didn’t wanna scoop – they’re all pretty damn good. File this little 7” gem under: “Baby-Makin’ Soul.”
5. Willie Hutch – Brother’s Gonna Work It Out b/w I Choose You (Motown, 1973)
Minted up on this smokin’ early-seventies soul 45 – with sides culled from 1973’s The Mack OST – from this storied soul legend. Not a pricey one, but definitely essential. ‘I Choose You’ goes over well as an end-of-the-night closer at A Fistful of Soul, popularly recognized as the primary sample/melody source for ‘International Player’s Anthem (I Choose You)’ – the 2007 hit single from Houston rap legends, UGK.
Written by Alex LaRotta, who did his Masters Thesis on South/Central Texas Soul. For real.
(* excerpt taken from Issue #4 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. Read the whole issue - and the back issues - right here.)
Tuesday, 17 June 2014
In the early '90s, Scott and Steve (aka Cheeks), my two close friends from New Orleans, showed up to our bi-annual Austin Record Show (aka ARC) gathering with a magical record.
The tradition since the mid-80s was for a group of like-minded music fiends to spend Friday and Saturday nights in a motel room to play records and catch a buzz. Numbers at these gatherings have ranged from as few as ten to as many as fifty people, there to hear amazing, newly discovered and virtually unknown records. It started as a strictly psychedelic/hard rock music gathering with the odd garage rock record thrown in. It has evolved today into a wide variety of sounds from Disco to Rap to Heavy Metal, etc. etc.
If there is a seminal moment when this gathering became musically integrated, it was when Steve placed the aforementioned magical record, Del Jones Positive Vibes 'Court Is Closed', on the motel room turntable. From the opening notes I was sucked in... hard. This was some shit I had never heard the likes of before. A few of the hard rock/metal guys immediately squawked to take "this crap" off. Being the guy that paid for the room I had the leverage, and that LP stayed on the turntable - for almost three hours. The room slowly emptied until there were maybe five or six dudes that were completely under the spell of Del. None more so than Scott and myself. This record had crawled inside us like an inner city spirit that had travelled a thousand miles and twenty years to find our cracker ass vessels.
Scott grew up in Algiers, a section of New Orleans where survival of the fittest is a game and they talk like Brooklyn Cajun Mafioso. He connected with this Philly ghetto vibe immediately and had listened to it ad infinitum prior to springing it on the rest of us. There was virtually nothing known about this LP in the record world, mainly because there were only three hundred copies ever made and most were distributed in Del's neighbourhood. Once Scott knew I was hooked like him he said "We need to reissue this." And he was right. But I had my doubts it would happen: after all, the first thing we'd have to do was "simply" find a guy named Jones in Philadelphia.
About a week later I got an excited call from Scott, he had spoken to Del, and it just so happened he was going to be in New Orleans a week later - and then Dallas! I called Del and told him how much I dug his LP. He explained that the LP had been released twice. The first was the one we were familiar with. It was his labour of love and a stark portrait of Del's life and his life's work. He explained that his brother worked for a major record label and he told Del the LP wasn't "commercial enough". He took the original tapes to Electric Lady Studios in NYC and had horn-tracks laid over the original songs, really transforming them into something completely different, and a little sterile. Del was thrilled that we liked his version and was looking forward to meeting us.
Del was going to 'Nawlins' and Dallas to give "talks" at local colleges and was travelling with an entourage. Scott went to meet him at the airport and Del was genuinely shocked that he was a "white boy". The combination of the Algiers accent and the fact that he loved Del's LP, had given Del a totally different mental image. He knew what to expect when I met him for breakfast in Dallas. He made sure his entourage didn't see us together. We spent a good three hours discussing a reissue, his life and what he was doing in Dallas. I was so infatuated with this record I wanted to hear the story behind every song. He explained that one side of the LP was the "Anti-Drug" side and the flip was the "Kill Whitey" side. The title track is a mtter-of-fact announcement that even reparations could not square things up; Del was coming for your ass. That fate had already been decided, Court Is Closed.
Del was a militant, there is no other way to describe him, nor would he want you to; but I also found him to be a funny, honest dude who knew what his agenda was, but didn't let it get in the way of his everyday life. The night before he had appeared on local provocateur John Wiley Price's radio show who he described to me as a weak-ass country-somethin'. I asked him what I would see if I attended his speech that night and he immediately advised me not to show up. "I can't guarantee your safety; I get the brothers and sisters riled up". As we parted he gave me a cassette of what he was going to speak on that night, it was called "The American Nigger Factory". I listened to it on the way home and dude was powerful. Del also cared about his community, and walked the walk. His anti-drug crusade was strong but he laughingly related how people would come up to him on the streets years later asking him if he was "clean" having seen him perform his song 'Cold Turkey', the most realistic drug withdrawal song ever recorded.
Del was still in the neighbourhood. He published a monthly newspaper called The War Correspondent. He wrote many books about the inner city atruggle. We released the LP to a mediocre reception. The Funk and Breaks dudes liked the "horn" version better and bought a bootleg version of that instead of the rawer original. I gave the LP to anyone I thought would dig it (thanks Rich and Kris). Like with Scott and I, this record really hit a lot of people really hard and is a unique journey into a place no other record has ever been. A ballsy Gil-Scott Heron, who despises the drugs that destroyed genius. One of my most prized possessions is a letter that Del wrote me which is framed and on my wall. You can see his light in the letter defying the look on his face.
RIP Brother Del.
Written by Rich Haupt, from Rockadelic Records, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
Read this great interview with Rich from It's Psychedelic Baby, in which he talks about pretty much every release on his label!
And here's a non-LP track from Del Jones' Positive Vibes to whet your appetite...
* excerpt taken from Issue #4 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. Read the whole issue - and the back issues - here.
Wednesday, 11 June 2014
When I was at school my local St Heliers barber was the very hip Brit Barry Earle, who had cool vinyl imports and also managed local band Le Freme. I had joined the Atlantic Soul Appreciation Society in London and could not understand why I couldn't put my bright orange "UPTIGHT AN' OUTASIGHT" (name of fan club) sticker on the back of the family car. Anyway, Barrie put it on the rear window of his ultra cool mini for me.
I was in Melbourne ten years later (circa 1979) and I was informed that their punk label Suicide (that signed Nick Cave's Boys Next Door, but did not sign The Marching Girls, alas) was run by a "Barrie Earle", and I said, "That'll be my barber!" The Aussies said, "No, he's from London." I secretly thought, "No, he's from St Heliers!" That evening Barrie turned up at the Mushroom offices and barely said hello, but communicated: "Still into soul?" and in his low-key 'have I got a deal for you' manner took me to the boot of his car. He had some USA Hi Records pressings of Syl Johnson and O.V. Wright that he wanted to sell, so I paid him cash and we both lived happily ever after, I presume.
Written by Murray Cammick
Read more from Murray over at the excellent Audioculture site.
Listen to Murray's excellent radio show, Land Of The Good Groove, Fridays 1pm on 95bFM.
*this excerpt taken from Issue #4 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. Check out the whole issue here.
(Pictured is Johnnie Walker, President of the Uptight An' Outasight Fan Club)
EMI Dumped The Last Vinyl Pressing Plant In Wellington Harbour.
The last vinyl pressing plant in New Zealand closed down in 1987, and, so the story goes, the plant's owners EMI dumped it in Wellington Harbour.
I've heard this story dozens of times from musicians and music fans in recent years, and no one knows the origin of this tale. It's one of those romantic notions that sound like you want it to be true - especially if you're a vinyl fanatic: "Evil corporation destroys local vinyl outlet". But is there any truth in it?
There are several variations on this story - one is that the pressing plant was dumped in Wellington Harbour by a radio station as part of some competition. Another is that EMI dumped it in the harbour to drive up CD sales. Why would a business dump perfectly good equipment in the sea when it was still working and saleable? What really happened?
Frank Douglas worked at EMI for 34 years running their recording studios. He told me that EMI NZ had twelve vinyl presses back in 1987. When the plant closed, the eight newer ones were packed into containers and shipped back to Australia - he saw them being packed - and the older four were stripped for parts. What was left was sold for scrap or auctioned off. EMI Australia wanted a new cassette duplicating setup, and EMI NZ had the best in the world at that time, so that was also shipped to Australia.
Music historian Andrew Miller suggests the most likely reason for the legend: "The Pye pressing plant equipment was dumped in the Manukau Harbour in the mid-'70s after Pye ceased record operations. A former employee who helped with the operation told me this."
Written by Peter McLennan
Read more about this story here, with a massive thanks to Audioculture.
Also check Peter's outstanding blog, DubDotDash.
And listen to him on your radio with 'Ring The Alarm', Saturdays 10am, Base 107.3FM
* this excerpt taken from Issue #4 os the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. Check the whole thing out here.