Barbara and Ernie – Prelude To… (1971) Day 11 of FV’s 12 Days of Xmas

Barbara & Ernie – Prelude To…
Original release 1971 Atlantic
Reissue, 2013 Real Gone Music

I almost headed off to bed without posting Day 11 of this 12 Days of Xmas thing.  It’s only the fifth day of the year and I’m already exhausted with stress.  Too tired and strapped for time to give this album a proper tip of the hat.  This record pushes all my buttons in all the right places.  It’s a shame that Barbara Massey was relegated to background vocals for most of her career.  Ernie Calabria had done lots of session work with the likes of Harry Belafonte and others.  With Deodato doing the arranging, this is a treasure of soulful-psychedelic-folk-rock. #autoharp Continue reading

Fat Larry’s Band – Off The Wall (1977) (Stax STX-4103) Day 3 of FV’s 12 Days of Christmas

Fat Larry’s Band – Off The Wall
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | FLAC |  300 dpi scans | Funk, Soul, Disco
1977 Stax Records STX-41303

 

Two words: Peaceful Journey…  I mean, the lead-off song Sparkle is fantastic: it’s about getting it on with an alien, so how could it not be?  I like to imagine it as an alternative version of the film of the same name with the Aretha Franklin / Curtis Mayfield soundtrack.  But Peaceful Journey, that’s where it’s at.  The group must have thought so too since it was the first single off the album, though it barely registered on the R&B charts, reaching No.98.  Still, you know you have a first-rate start-to-finish funk and soul album when even the slow tunes burn with a tight, smokey groove.  That rock solid beat just kills: founder and bandleader Fat Larry, aka Larry James , was a drummer. This is definitely a classic highlight from Fat Larry’s Band’s brief catalog.  And, like another classic highlight, Soul Makossa, it contains an idea that Quincy and Michael J would rip off a few years later. Continue reading

Joe Bataan – Gypsy Woman (1967) (Fania SLP 340)


Joe Bataan
Gypsy Woman
Fania Records SLP 340
Original release, 1967
1990’s CD reissue

Emerging out of the hybrid crossroads of boogaloo, R&B, Latin Soul, and the nascent salsa scene, Joe Bataan was defying categorization and bending genres long before it was hip.  The first album I heard by him was “Subway Joe”, but it was years before I realized he didn’t actually sing any of the Spanish-language numbers in his repertoire – those, in the early days at least, were handled by Joe Pagan.  For a fascinating glimpse into the complexities of being an Afro-Filipino in the barrio, you can watch this interview with him done by Red Bull Academy. Although I personally like that there is an entire 2 hours of it, somebody could probably edit that down a bit, for the non-fanatical. Continue reading

100 Proof Aged In Soul – 100 Proof (1972)


100 Proof Aged In Soul – 100 Proof
1972 Hot Wax HA 712
Vinyl transfer at 24-bit / 192 khz

Classic soul here, on an album that has only been reissued on CD in Japan. Nice and warm northern soul arrangements and production values, pure pleasure from start to finish. The group was put together by the very busy Holland-Dozier-Holland team and featured veterans of R&B groups like The Falcons, The Contours, and The Originals.  The record was produced by General Johnson, who also has a few writing credits on it, and it has a similar sound to other gems from the other Detroit ‘HDH’ labels Hot Wax / Invictus Records catalogs, like Chairman of the Board.  There aren’t any big hits here like their first albums, Somebody’s Been Sleeping In My Bed, but there’s no duds here either.   Alongside the very fine original contributions, there is a cover of the early Bee Gee’s tune “Words” as well as The Association’s “Never My Love”, which closes the record.  I’m posting it today to help your 2020 go out on a mellow and upbeat note.  I have a super-clean copy of it and did a vinyl transfer sometime in 2019 just for fun, with editing and tweaks done sometime this year.

A1 Everything Good Is Bad 4:53
A2 Since You Been Gone 3:50
A3 Nothing Sweeter Than Love 3:50
A4 Ghetto Girl 3:47
B1 Words 3:56
B2 I Don’t Care If I Never Get Over You 3:59
B3 Don’t Scratch Where It Don’t Itch 3:46
B4 Don’t You Wake Me 3:39
B5 Never My Love 4:02

Arranged By – H.B. Barnum, McKinley Jackson, Paul Riser
Producer – General Johnson, Greg Perry
Producer, Executive Producer – Ron Dunbar
Recorded By, Mixed By – Barney Perkins, Ed Redd, Jerry Hall

 


 

 


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16-bit 44.1 khz

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Ned Doheny – Hard Candy (1976) (2014 Be With Records 180g reissue)

Ned Doheny – Hard Candy
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | FLAC |  Art scans at 300 dpi
1.4801GB (24/192) | 714MB (24/96) + 238 MB (16/44) |
2014 Be With Records BEWITH003LP | Genre:   Soul, Funk, Rock

I’m not sure that the release of Ned Doheny’s 1973 album sold enough copies to inculcate anything much in the way of expectations, but anybody who had happened to own that album could be forgiven for wondering if his second record in 1976 hadn’t accidentally been switched with the latest Vangelis when they first put it on the turntable. A full thirty seconds of  slowly faded-in, droning synth chords opens the album before a splash of Ned’s acoustic guitar, chimes and eventually drummer Gary Mallaber laying down a rock-solid beat on the moody “Get It Up For Love.” The whole record is heavenly blue-eyed soul, folky funk, swimming pool dreaminess and about as Laurel Canyon 1976 as it could possibly be.

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Helio Matheus – Matheus Segundo Matheus (1975) (AOTNLP017)


Helio Matheus – Matheus Segundo Matheus (1975)
Original release, RCA-Victor, Brazil
2018 Reissue, Athens Of The North, AOTNLP017

A short-and-sweet Friday post for you to get your weekend started on point.  Scottish label Athens Of The North (or AOTN) serves up a reissue of this cult classic that, thanks to a collector’s market gone mad, I will never be able to afford as an original pressing. No idea what they used for their source but it sounds pretty decent, so I feel like this label has done music fans a huge favor by making it available.   As you can see below, the list of contributing musicians here is huge and includes members of Azymuth, Sá, Rodrix & Guarabyra and other heavyweights. Helio himself was well established as a writer and arranger in MPB circles at this time, but recorded very little under his own name. It’s a solid offering of samba-soul, samba-rock, MPB, and even a little dreamy orchestral psychedelic pop thrown in. It may have some questionable lyrics (for example, “Briguenta”) but the grooves make up for it. Plus it has maybe the best back-cover photograph of all time..

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