Thursday, 2 October 2014

Top Fives: Kris Holmes, Toni Cooper, Campbell Ngata, Pete Nice and Gin

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. and 'The Boil Up', 8pm Thursdays, Base FM


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.

No comments:

Post a Comment