Wednesday, 30 October 2013

"Last Night A Soul Song Changed My Life" (Pt. 2)

"Last Night A Soul Song Changed My Life"

Tell us one song which turned you on and changed your life...

(Southern Soulspinners, Los Angeles CA)
Dimas III Clown - You've Succeeded
In my long journey through the world of record collecting, many records have left an impact on my life but none have touched my heart more than "You've Succeeded" by the late Dimas Garza. It was this recording that put me on a search for Dimas, other Chicano soul singers and eventually led to the book "Chicano Soul". Two years separated our first meeting and his death. A retired carpet layer and a humble man, Garza was living a simple life in San Antonio, Texas when I met him. I convinced him to come to Southern California to perform. The love and respect that he received from his California fans was overwhelming. When the book project was finally finished I was able to get his music into EMP's "American Sabor" exhibit in Seattle, and the Smithsonian Institute exhibit in Austin. Dimas passed away too soon but he was given one last chance to see that the music that was born in his heart would live on through his records. The idea that we as record collectors are able to help give forgotten artists the recognition they deserve really made this vinyl junkie a lot more aware of our responsibilities to the artists and their creations.

(Timmion Records, The Soul Investigators, Helsinki)
Lee Moses - (Reach Out) I'll Be There
I was underage and somehow got into this bar in Helsinki where I heard the DJ play Lee Moses' "(Reach Out) I'll Be There". It was amazing! I'd never heard anything like that. The very next day my friends and I decided to start a band which would sound like that song. Sometime later I was lucky to find a copy of the single in a local record shop for a few bucks. It was one of the first funk 45s I ever bought.

(The Hook Up, Memphis TN)
Parliament - Red Hot Mama
Memphis, where I grew up, is (was) a place where soul music and its practitioners were ubiquitous. However when I was a kid, I didn't understand the impact of neither the music nor the musicians. To me Al Green was just that guy that played at Memphis in May Party at the river, Rufus Thomas was the funny old dude that was in those Ronco macaroni commercials and "Green Onions" wasn't a genius piece of instrumental music, it was merely the bumper music for the local morning talk show. I didn't get it. I was more interested in going to the mall to get that new Slayer LP or hoping I could find a copy of Blue Cheer's "Vincebus Eruptum" at the used record store. Then in '91 or '92 a buddy of mine played me a compilation of early Parliament tracks. There was a song on it called "Red Hot Mama". Eddie Hazel's riff was the gnarliest, fuzziest and toughest thing I had ever heard, but, it had those R&B back-up singers. It was FUNKY; I didn't know I liked funky. It blew my mind. It opened the doors to becoming a soul junkie. It was my gateway drug. That's why it means so much to me.

(The vinyl Don at
Al Kent - The Way You've Been Acting Lately
In 1969, as a music curious 16 year-old, a 20 year-old local MOD invited me to go to the BRIT CLUB Nottingham, mainly because he fancied my girlfriend but he said I'd like the music. Already into Soul and Motown I eagerly awaited my first experience of the Big City club. The queue was long; it ran the full length of those rickety wooden stairs. Whilst crushed and waiting to get to the top I heard for the first time in my life Al Kent's "The Way You've Been Acting Lately". Not even inside the club and the sound of Ric-Tic was changing my life, steering me on a course of seeking more USA Soul that sounded anything like this. Next week I had secured ownership of Al Kent: Ric-Tic #123 from Nottingham's legendary Select-A-Disc Record Shop Soul Cellar, along with J.J. Barnes' "Please Let Me In". I was hooked, spending most of the rest of my life eagerly trawling through vinyl.

(Owner / Operator / Organizer at Good Records, NYC)
Syl Johnson - I'm Talkin' 'Bout Freedom
Today I'd have to say I"m Talkin' 'Bout Freedom" by Syl Johnson. The groove is super heavy, a deep blues. The lyrics talk about Johnson's desire for the most basic rights, contrasting with birds in the sky or fish in the sea. It always gives me chills and reminds me of the constant struggle that so many in our society face. Tomorrow it will probably be something different.

(Breakaway Records, Austin TX)
Aaron Neville - Tell It Like It Is / Lee Williams - I Love You More
I remember the first soul song that changed my life: "Tell It Like It Is" by Aaron Neville. I was maybe 8. There have been many since. The last night that a soul song changed my life was not last night, but was not that long ago. "I Love You More" by Lee Williams and The Cymbals was the most recent to do a real number on me. Although I've now had it for months (and love it more!), the story I most associate with it is from last week. I drunkenly spun it (and unabashedly flailed/sang along in a corner of the stage) as a closer to a long night of dancing. At the next month's event, a girl from the previous show came up and said she was blown away by how into it I was and that she had become obsessed with it and couldn't stop listening to it via a Youtube clip. So to customize: apparently, a few nights ago, a soul song I played changed someone else's life. Good stuff.

Taken from issue #2 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. Read the full issue here.
Part One of 'A Soul Song Changed My Life' here

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

"Last Night A Soul Song Changed My Life" (Pt. 1)

Anyone who's into music - and I do mean really into music - will remember a particular tune which truly turned them on: turned them onto music. Or onto collecting records. Or onto the infinite possibilities of the universe. Or onto sex, or drugs, or rock n' roll. Or pretty much life in general. I remember mine.

For a thirteen year-old obsessed with ghosts, and the first movie in the franchise, the second Ghostbusters film was disappointing to say the least. That is right up until the moment I heard the jangling tambourine and insistent chop of the rhythm guitar intro for "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher". And then Jackie Wilson's voice. Oh wow, that voice! Where did this come from?! My record collection at this point was mainly made up of stuff I'd raided from Mum and Dad (The Beatles, The Monkees) alongside some pretty dodgy stuff I'd picked up myself around Waihi (Whitesnake, Guns n' Roses), so you can imagine the impact Jackie had on me. I was hooked. And I still am, almost a quarter of a century later.

So, we asked a bunch of folks: what is one song which turned you on and changed your life? We love the answers, and we reckon you will too.

-- Nyntee

"Last Night A Soul Song Changed My Life"

(Conch Records, Auckland, NZ)
Happy Mondays - Bob's Yer Uncle
Sure the pundits will be frowning, but soul can mean many things to many people. Rather than the sickly sweet, some of us like it slightly left of centre. Dare I say it but Shaun Ryder was a poet for my generation. This was my favourite cut from the 'Pills, Thrills And Bellyaches' album. I had it on constant rotation on my Walkman during my first Asian excursion and it conjures up many images, tales and people from that trip. A great soulful love song with a twist, from a band described as a cross between Captain Beefheart and Sly and The Family Stone.

(Fat Freddy's Drop sax player, NZ)
Marvin Gaye - I Want You
The title track from Gaye's 1976 album is two-step slam dunk perfection for me. The production (Leon Ware) is so deep it's like a gateway drug to techno (this is a good thing btw) and the way it builds and builds without ever really losing its shit is simply amazing. Importantly, for me at least, the horn and string arrangements are the blueprint for pretty much every horn chart I've ever attempted to write; and of course, it's sex on wax. This is an all-time top 5 soul song for me.

(Resident 7" 45rpm Record Nerd at the NZ Soul All Dayer)
The Impressions - People Get Ready
This was the first Impressions or Curtis Mayfield thing I ever heard. I think I was about 16 and just getting into soul music. The lyrics are amazing, just such a beautiful message song. The guitar playing is great; as a guitarist that is something which always sticks out for me. Really, just a perfect song and even though thee are so many great covers of it, the original is always something I return to. I even performed an acoustic version of it at my Grandfather's funeral.

(Fat Albert / DJ / Promoter / Radio Host / Father / Lover / The Guvnor, Auckland, NZ)
Willie "The Beaver" Hale - Groove On
This is the first tune I played to my son Otis who was three days old at the time. The feeling of warmth, love and completeness was overwhelming - Getting my "Groove On", dancing on the rug at home, with my new born son wrapped tightly in my arms, changed my life.

(95bFM and Head Of Talent at Golden Dawn, Auckland, NZ)
The Crabbs - Land Of 1000 Dances
"Land Of 1000 Dances" may seem an obvious choice, but without it I would never have immersed myself in the World of Soul. PC Molasses, one of the chief songwriters of my soul band The Cosbys, asked me to join his covers band The Crabbs on stage one night as guest vocalist on the Wilson Pickett classic - and the rest is history. I was hooked on soul and even more hooked on performing it!

(Sugarman 3, Daptone, NYC)
Tyrone Davis - Can I Change My Mind
This is a song that hit me hard and still does every time I hear it. It is hard to put your finger on exactly why one particular song can leave you so happy, melancholy, and a feeling that you can get through whatever hard times you are dealing with. This is a song that does all that for me and more. This is for me what soul music is all about...

(Soul, Funk, Hip Hop Guru, Melbourne, Australia)
Milton Wright - Keep It Up
Me and a lovely lady used to grind to this all the time, just a pure sexy soulful love song.

(Agent 45, Atlanta GA)
The Mighty Hannibal - Fishin' Pole
When I moved to Atlanta in 1996, I was still young but becoming more familiar with rare records that were being played on various scenes (mostly the Mod and Northern Soul scenes); but for whatever reason, there was something missing from my normal record digging diet. Working my way through box after box of dusty old singles was fun, but I knew there was something more. I was working one day a week, for store credit, at a local record shop when I pulled out a copy of The Mighty Hannibal's "Fishin' Pole" 45 on Shurfine. Having never heard the song before, though loving everything about the artist's name and song title, I threw it on the store's turntable, and the owner said "You know that one's from Atlanta and was recorded just up the road from here". Everything changed in that moment. Since that day, I have dedicated much of my time and resources to researching locally produced Soul and Funk 45s. I've been fortunate enough to have met countless singers and musicians and had the time of my life talking with them and documenting their journeys through the music industry. That single 45, one that isn't particularly rare, or highly in demand, continues to be immeasureably influential in my personal record collecting and DJing story. Fortunately for all of us, the records usually last long enough to "discovered" over and over again.

Taken from issue #2 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. Read the full issue here.
Part Two of 'A Soul Song Changed My Life' here.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

NZ Soul All Dayer #3: Christmas 2013 Edition

NZ's premier soul music event returns just in time for Christmas 2013!

Watch this space for more information regarding the lineup and the many other treats we have in store for you lucky little soul music fiends...