20.01.2008 г.

Young-Holt Unlimited - 1973 - Plays Superfly

Fantastic! Young and Holt lay down a monster set of grooves from Curtis Mayfield's Superfly soundtrack (all the good ones -- like "Freddie's Dead", "Give Me Your Love", "Pusher Man", and "Superfly"), and they also get into some funky tracks of their own (like "Hey Pancho" and "Mystical Man"), and do a super-dope cover of "People Make the World Go Round". The album's nice and stripped down -- perhaps closest to their Oh Girl LP on Atlantic in feel, with loads of cool electric piano by Ken Chaney, laid out over the group's harder funky grooves! One of their rarest in the original, too -- and an essential bit of early G-funk!

01 - Freddie's Dead
03 - Pusher Man
04 - Superfly
05 - Hey Pancho
06 - Could It Be I'm Falling In Love
07 - (They Long To Be) Close To You

Eddy Senay - 1972 - Hot Thang

A heck of a great little guitar funk album -- one of two rare sides cut by the amazing Eddie Senay! The record's all-instrumental -- and Eddie's fuzzed-out guitar takes center stage over tripped-out arrangements that recall the best psychedelic funk of the early 70s -- bubbling along with just enough drums, bass, and keyboards to make for a chunky bottom groove -- while Senay wails over the top on guitar! The record reminds us of similar guitar funk albums from the time -- including the work of Dennis Coffey, Eddie Fisher, or Donald Austin -- but the groove's even more laidback and trippy, with a few nice breakway moments from the rhythm section.

01 - Just Feeling It
02 - Down Home
04 - Zambezi
05 - Jubo
06 - Reverend Lowdown

Frank Owens - 1973 - Brown 'N Serve

A lost bit of mellow funk, and one of the few rare releases on the Encounter label -- which was sort of a doper, more soulful version of CTI! Frank Owens plays organ and keyboards, and the group includes Bernard Purdie lending his trademark soul jazz drums (a very welcome fixture on most of the albums that appeared on Encounter), Bad Bascomb on guitar, Rick Cutter on vibes, Norman Pride on percussion, John Helstone on violin, Julian Buck on viola, Kermit Moore on cello, and others. Purdie produced the session, which includes a nice version of "Freddie's Dead", plus "Everybody Is A Star", Aretha Franklin's "Rock Steady", "I Don't Need No Help", Galt MacDermot's "Suzie Moon", "Corner Of The Sky", Frank Owen's own "Brown & Serve", and more!

Bernard "Pretty" Purdie - Drums, Producer
Doug Bascomb - Guitar
Frank Owens - Organ, Piano
Hugh McCracken - Guitar
Julian Buck - Viola
Kermit Moore - Cello
Norman Pride - Percussion
Rick Cutter - Vibraphone
Selwart Clarke - Violin

01 - Freddie's Dead
02 - Brown 'N Serve
03 - Everybody Is a Star
04 - I Don't Need No Help
05 - Rock Steady
06 - Suzie Moon
07 - Corner Of The Sky
08 - Ben

5.01.2008 г.

Donny Hathaway


An exceptional soul singer from Chicago, Donny Hathaway's life ended early, but he left behind a legacy of classic music. He started singing and playing piano as a young child, and eventually attended Howard University on a music scholarship. In the mid-sixties, he played with a jazz group called the Ric Powell Trio, and was soon producing and arranging for many other acts. He also worked as a session musician, playing keys with the Staple Singers and Aretha Frankin among others. That led to him joining the Mayfield Singers, backing up Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions. In 1969, he got a deal with ATCO and released his debut solo single "The Ghetto Pt. 1." His first full-length, the timeless Everything Is Everything came out the following year, establishing Hathaway as a visionary artist able to seamlessly blend funk, gospel, and social awareness in his music. His second album, 1971's Donny Hathaway was a much more somber affair, with minimalist, piano-driven cover songs.
On it, he hooked up with Roberta Flack for a duet version of "YouA’ve Got A Friend." The track became a hit and led to an entire album of duets between the two, released the following year. From that LP came "Where Is the Love," a huge hit single that won a Grammy and topped the charts. While his career was at an all-time high, Hathaway was gripped by severe depression, so much so that he had to be periodically hospitalized. His third and final studio album Extension Of A Man came out in 1973, after which he kept a low profile, performing infrequently and then only in small venues. Several years later he reconnected with Roberta Flack and scored another huge hit with "The Closer I Get To You," but it would be his final one. In January of 1979 he committed suicide by jumping out a 15-story window in New York City. Although his career was short-lived, Donny Hathaway made a huge impact on R&B and popular music in general, dozens of hip-hop artists have since sampled his records, reconfiguring his tracks into numerous rap hits.
Donny Hathaway was a star that burned brightly and too quickly was extinguished, but his legacy was a set of albums which stand comparison with the Soul superstars of the era. His first album was a classic, and comtained an instrumental giant "The Ghetto" On this, his second album from 1971, Donny Hathaway showcases his great voice and the stand out tracks for me are the big ballads - He Ain't Heavy.., A Song For You and She Is My Lady. There is no "The Ghetto" soundalike here, just great songs beautifully arranged and performed, and the gospel influence is very evident here, probably more than on any of his other albums. This is a real Soul album therefore. With the addition of a couple of bonus tracks, including the great "This Christmas", this is an album for fans of Soul. It would also serve for those fans of more recent R & B, as Donny was an undoubted influence on so many contemporary artists like India Arie, Alicia Keys, John Legend and Leela James.
Many of us will never have heard of Donny Hathaway. He was of a time when African American musicians were particularly inspired and wonderfully creative at the height of optimism for change in the early 70's (Stevie, Marvin, Isley Bros, Staple Singers, Al Green the whole bit). It is only because my mother loved Roberta Flack that I knew he existed. I also found out that he also played keyboards on a few Aretha tracks. So when I chanced upon this disc in a discount store I took a chance. Top choice. The man's voice is silk and his arrangement on the cover of "He ain't heavy.." makes the song his own. There is simply no other voice like Donny's. The pace of the disc is intense if not unique, there is a real mixture of gospel and contemporary influences, cosy up to the voice, composition and musical talents of Donny. For all the romantics in the world go straight to "Take a love song" (sing it in the air) and for the best Christmas song ever it has to be "This Christmas" then stay on for "Be there". I have all the other Donny's now and can't get through a day without listening to him.


Donny Hathaway - 1970 - Free Soul - The Classic Of Donny Hathaway

1. What's Goin' On (Live Version)
2. Little Ghetto Boy (Studio Version )
3. Love, Love, Love
4. Someday We'll All Be Free
5. Sack Full Of Dreams (Live Version)
6. The Ghetto (Live Version)
7. Hey Girl (Live Version)
8. Valdes In The Country (Live Version)
9. Flying Easy
10. Nu-Po (Live Version)
11. Little Ghetto Boy (Live Version)
12. The Ghetto (Live Version)
13. Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)
14. Magnificent Sanctuary Band
15. This Christmas
16. You've Got A Friend (Live Version)

Link:Part 1 & Part 2

Donny Hathaway - 1973 - Extension Of A Man

Perhaps Donny Hathaway's greatest album from the 70s, and certainly the one with the most amazing arrangements! The record was Donny's last studio session, and it's got him working at a level that's far advanced from even his groundbreaking earlier work -- using complicated rhythms and sophisticated string passages -- but also throwing in some killer jazzy bits that make for some of his funkiest work ever!

01. I Love The Lord He Heard Me Cry (parts i and ii)
03. Flying Easy
06. Come Little Children
07. Love Love Love
08.The Slums
09. Magdalena
10. I Know Its You
11. Lord Help Me

Donny Hathaway - 1972 - Live

Massively beautiful work from the great Donny Hathaway! After two studio albums that had firmly put him on the map as one of the 70s best soul talents, Atco had the genius to have Donny record this live album before very enthusiastic crowds in Hollywood and New York. The result is one of the best soul albums ever -- one that shows a totally different side of Donny, and which has him jamming with a smaller, hipper, jazz-oriented group in long versions of some of his best tracks. Features a massive 12 minute version of "The Ghetto", which has loads of excellent instrumental breakdowns, a 13 minute version of "Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)", a superior version of the track "Little Ghetto Boy", which was only ever on a soundtrack, and covers of "What's Going On" and "Jealous Guy" that really transform them from the original versions. Very similar to the classic Curtis Mayfield 2LP live set on Curtom -- and with a similar "Chicago studio soulster goes jazzy and intimate" feel.

02. The Ghetto
03. Hey Girl
05. Little Ghetto Boy
06. We're Still Friends
07. Jealous Guy
08. Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)

3.01.2008 г.

O.V. Wright - 1979 - We're Still Together

This is what is rightly called “Soul”. Soul with considerable feeling backing it up. Original Soul from the time that when given the label “Soul” meant that it was proud and unquestionably justifiable.
This is the music that you listen to when you are alone. When the highs of the day have already passed you by and now you are somewhat vulnerable. Relaxing with something other than watered down beer. This is when the meaning in the lyrics are so compelling, that you readily identify with them and find your mood is brought in line with the music – and not the other way around as we’re all so used to.

01. We're Still Together
03. It's Cold Without Your Love
04. Baby Baby Baby
05. I'm Gonna Stay
07. Today I Sing The Blues
08. Mirror Of My Soul
09. Sacrifice

O.V. Wright - 1969 - Nucleus Of Soul

O.V. Wright - "Nucleus Of Soul "
Producer: Willie Mitchell

There were two distinct periods in Wright's 15-year secular career, delineated by the demise of his first record label, Back Beat, which had been owned and operated by the don of Houston rhythm and blues, Don Robey. Midway in his career, Wright migrated to Hi Records, where his longtime producer Willie Mitchell was the principal talent director. Few artists in any medium exhibit so huge a gap between artistic quality and commercial success as O.V. Wright. Wright's two most successful records, "You're Gonna Make Me Cry" and "Eight Men, Four Women," came early in his career at Back Beat, and neither recording received any airplay outside the circumscribed world of 1960s R&B radio. In fact, R&B radio in the late 1960s, the heyday of southern gospel-inflected soul music, is the only radio format during the years spanned by Wright's career in which it is possible to imagine Wright's chilling statements from the spiritual void finding a home. Wright is an artist whose reputation is destined to grow with the historical perspective afforded by time.

01. Blowing In The Wind
02. Gonna Forget About You
03. I Have None
04. You're So Good To Me
05. Why Not Give Me a Chance
06. Pledging My Love
07. This Hurt Is Real
08. I'll Hate Myself Tomorrow
10. I Want Everyone To Know
11. Poor Boy
12. I'm In Your Corner
13. Gone For Good
14. How Long Baby

2.01.2008 г.

O.V. Wright - 1978 - The Bottom Line

O.V. Wright recorded one of the all time great slow-burners with The Bottom Line. Joining O.V. once again is super producer Willie Mitchell (who also wrote or co-wrote over half the tracks here), and the team he's assembled for The Bottom Line is nothing short of phenomenal. Aside from your basic Memphis rhythm section (which there is actually nothing basic about), The Bottom Line boats a 7-person horn section backed by four female gospel singers and The Memphis Sting Symphony. So many musicians could make an album cumbersome, noisy, or (as the album ages) sound dated, but under Mitchell's guidance (along with Aarion Nesbit focusing on the strings) this isn't the case at all.
The genius and pure pleasure of O.V. Wright doesn't have to continue on going overlooked. The Bottom Line is the kind of album that'll draw endless praise from fans of southern soul music, and could very possibly win over new fans who enjoy great heartfelt storytelling, skilled and accomplished musicians, and a singer who puts himself deeply into the song (country music, blues, and folk fans - I'm looking at you).

01. The Bottom Line
02. I Don't Do Windows
04. Your Good Things About To End
06. I Don't Know Why
07. No Easy Way To Say Goodbye
08. Little More Time
09. Since You Left These Arms Of Mine
10. A Long Road

Gary Chandler - 1972 - Outlook

Gary Chandler - “Outlook”
(LP Eastbound Records, 1972)
Catalog # LP 9001 Stereo


01. Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)
02. Flamingo
03. Kaleidoscope
04. The Jet Set