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

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

 


 

 


Mirror 1 || Mirror 2

16-bit 44.1 khz

Mirror 1 || Mirror 2

Mirror 1 || Mirror 2

 

Mirror 1

Al Jarreau – Glow (1976)

 

Al Jarreau – Glow
1976 Reprise MS2248
This reissue, late-80’s German CD pressing

There has been another round of recent deaths of talented people in the arts, and I might be tempted to print another list here or to work up a bunch of “tribute” posts on this blog.  But my last post here was a bit ‘heavy’ and I thought I would change things up again for something more upbeat and life-affirming.  If you are the kind of person who sees the tag “vocal jazz” and are about to skip this post, please reconsider.  Many of the best jazz vocalists use their instrument to compliment an ensemble rather than dominate it, and the early Al Jarreau records fall into that camp.  Anyone who only knows Jarreau from his slicker, pop-oriented records from the 1980’s might even be taken aback but just how extremely funky his earlier work could be, yet he was always attuned to popular but soulful melodies that were ripe for improvisational riffing.  Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

James Gilstrap – Love Talk (1976) (Roxbury Records RLX 105)

James Gilstrap – Love Talk
1976 Roxbury Records RLX 105

Jim Gilstrap is better known as a backup singer, but Stevie Wonder fans might know him for singing the first verse of “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life”, which also makes him the first voice you hear on the epic Talking Book.  His name appears on tons of albums. You can see a partial list of his session credits here , where you can see that he was very busy in the 1970s, working in the worlds of rock, soul, jazz, and funk.  The fact that Gene Page did the arranging on this record is also worth noting. This album, which has never appeared on CD, is a nice, short set of soulful disco-funk, and the mellow version of Todd Rundgren’s “Hello, It’s Me” has me wondering if Prince ever covered the song on solo piano. Continue reading