Archive for the ‘Brooklyn Bowl’ Category

Vicki Wickham / Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Listen: The Flick (Part I) / Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers

Listen: The Flick (Part II) / Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers

Of Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers’ six Soul/Motown single releases, ‘The Flick’ is one of the lesser known.

Sounding very much like the casual late night jam at 2648 West Grand Boulevard that it probably was, Motown’s house band, as they were, or The Funk Brothers, as they became known, got to record some instrumentals under the name Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers. These guys really didn’t like the commercial records they were required to make by day, preferring jazz instead. So not surprisingly, these dabbles sound not unlike the Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff soul jazz releases from the period, and make for great jukebox ambience.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing like a late Sunday afternoon spent digging through a few hundred Motown promos. Happened yesterday, so I can attest.

This all started at the Brooklyn Bowl 60′s Music & Memorabilia Show. One dealer displayed a Motown white label, and it set me off. To be honest, I’d been waiting a few years to start filing these, Vicki Wickham’s Motown singles, into my wall shelves. It suddenly felt like that moment had arrived.

Yes, Saint Vicki. This woman has performed many miracles in my world. As if giving me her record collection several years back wasn’t miracle enough, she out of the blue rang a few days before Thanksgiving 2010, announcing another multi-box discovery in storage. About a thousand singles from her READY STEADY GO days, completely forgotten about for decades.

“Might you want them?”

I nearly had to make the trip over to hers in an ambulance.

There they were, several white boxes, all stacked, labelled and waiting for me to collect. Plus perfectly separated out, a Vicki VIP section: two boxes of Oriole/Stateside/Tamla/Motown. All organized chronologically by label, then catalog number.

Now I have tripped out on these many times, even let a few friends have a look through, well Phil and Eric, and that’s about it. Duane wasn’t interested.

Yesterday began the process of folding these into the master collection. Playing many and nearly blacking out a few times.

No drug has ever gotten me this high. Not ever. Not any.

Ike & Tina Turner

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Listen: Sexy Ida (Part 1) / Ike & Tina Turner IkeTinaSexyIda.mp3

You are correct, this is not my first Ike & Tina Turner post, nor will it be the last. My wall shelf easily has a foot long upright section dedicated to their singles, all of them essentials.

I recently played ‘Sexy Ida (Part 1) at the Brooklyn Bowl residency, and man did it sound hot through a big PA. Parts 1 and 2 would certainly have you thinking a six or seven minute album version was lazily divided into halves so as to fit the whole song onto a 7″. Not the case here, which is a rare occasion – indeed possibly one of a kind.

Listen: Sexy Ida (Part 2) / Ike & Tina Turner IkeTinaIda2.mp3

‘Sexy Ida (Part 2) is in fact a less black, more rock-of -the day rendition. Sounds to me like their recent mainstream successes with ‘Proud Mary’ and ‘I Want To Take You Higher’ inspired Ike Turner to record a more guitar heavy rendition to the track, just in case the white underground and pop stations took a shine. In fact, it has a uncanny resemblance to The Rolling Stones, who Ike & Tina Turner had been touring with quite frequently at the time. Despite Part 2 being pressed up as a double sided DJ promo, it was Part 1 that got some traction, eventually struggling to an unjust #65 on Billboard’s Top 100 (#29 Black) in early ’74.

Choose your favorite – but it should be well easy to guess mine.

Gladys Knight & The Pips

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Listen: Nitty Gritty / Gladys Knight & The Pips GladysNitty.mp3

What’s really proof of this record’s power: the most addicted to any other genre of music fan can’t resist instant curiosity when ‘The Nitty Gritty’ powers through a set of speakers. I had quite the time spinning singles at Brooklyn Bowl last Sunday with Lord Wardd, playing mostly 60′s – present, basically tomorrow’s sound today stuff – even the one’s from the 60′s and 70′s, when released, would have been considered that: The Small Faces, T. Rex, or X. So it’s really fun to watch a younger but musically informed crowd light up when some down and dirty funk or soul hits. Even better, a whole bunch of parents and their young kids, out bowling for a fun afternoon, suddenly doing an about face toward the DJ booth with that ‘Oh my God, I remember this’ look burned onto their face.

Gladys Knight could belt it out every time, when she was given the green light that is. Looking back on a few gems like ‘The Nitty Gritty’ need only one listen to show us why.

Some friends stuck with her from the Motown move to Buddah. Suddenly she was sounding a touch buffed around the edges for my tastes, but the pre ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ era, all that Tamla/Norman Whitfield stuff, there’s no topping it.

The Wildare Trio

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Listen: Cruising / The Wildare Trio WildareCruising.mp3

Listen: Bossa Nova Blueport / The Wildare Trio WildareBlueport.mp3

Don’t go to Yahoo searching for info on The Wildare Trio. The message from them: “Sorry, no matches found for “wildare-trio”. If you didn’t find what you’re looking for, try another search.” Why thank you very much. Glad I exchanged my YHOO shares for AAPL some seven years ago.

Now if you do want some history on The Wildare Express aka The Wildare Trio during their Brunswick days, check out FUNKY 16 CORNERS. Well, you really should check it regularly anyways. There you’ll discover many wonders of the 7″ black vinyl world. And specifically, this trio’s swinging, soulful Hammond organ leader Rueben Wilson, not to mention his combo’s historical timeline.

Me, I found this record, as with a good hundred or so more, at an Evangelist Church rummage and cake sale not too far from our house. I’d love to tell you where, but it’s one of my last undiscovered secrets. It’s a yearly do, and all the elderly church ladies sell traditional food: rice, string beans, sweet potato pie, mac & cheese and I mean a MEAN mac & cheese, corn bread, blackeyed peas, the lot. Every last morsel is homemade and laid out in a mismatch of their pots and pans from home. And then there’s the dessert table: pies galore, we’re talking homemade crusts, pineapple upside down cake, fresh peach and cherry cobblers with real, heart attack threatening whipped cream. Heaven right out there in front of a church – perfect.

I’m usually one of the first to show up, really early, like 6am. Certainly the first looking for vinyl. I try to go every year and have for at least fifteen. Even when there’s a bunch of records already out – the pastor still seems to enjoy leading me downstairs to dig through a few more.

‘Crusing’ / ‘Bossa Nova Blueport’ was part of a particularly good crop in that infamous basement. The lot were all pretty used, but nicely scratchy – almost to the point of politically correct. If one didn’t sample the music, the surface noise would’ve been of equal value. Despite their condition, the records were all housed in their original company sleeves. First miracle.

The best part of all this being I didn’t know what record it was for a few years now. Meaning I’d spent one entire festive Saturday night converting vinyl to mp3, getting such a machine like assembly line process in motion, that I forgot to identify a few of them until the next day, by which time the records, mixed with that evening’s simultaneous friends, food and drinks, had been shuffled and re-stacked beyond logic. It was the one last single I struggled to identify for ages, until this past Sunday morning. I was digging, really digging to find something fresh for the DJ set Phil and I were doing at Brooklyn Bowl later that afternoon. I found this, thought hmm and threw it onto the turntable. Boom – it’s that record! Found it. Always hoped I would but you know what it’s like when a single slips into that black hole of the unfiled. This was the last, evasive, unidentified mofo in my itunes library that was making me crazy for years. So I found some sort of peace, just as the Evangelist’s good book promises, I think.

Thelonious Monk

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Thelonious, Thelonious Monk, CBS

Listen: Hackensack / Thelonious Monk TheloniousHackensack.mp3

Phil and I spent the night trolling through boxes of 7′s looking for fun stuff to play this Sunday during Lord Warddd’s Happy Sundays at Brooklyn Bowl residency. As always, even if a record clearly won’t work for a particular dj event, sometimes you still need to listen. A Thelonious Monk UK single from ’62 being the perfect example. We agreed, given that neither of us are jazz fans and probably don’t know good from great, there are occasionally pleasant ones to listen to every so often. And we also agreed this was just that.

An edited version from some album, it makes for a very pleasant 2:58 on the ears, and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Like all jazz singles, one of the great things about them – is that they’re pressed up as singles at all.


Friday, March 12th, 2010

CloutSubstituteUSA, Clout, Epic

Listen: Substitute / CloutCloutSubstitute.mp3

It always sounded like Abba to me, I didn’t even know it wasn’t Abba for a minute. I did radio promotion for a year or two during the late 70′s, when this was current. John Sykes was the Epic local. I worked for MCA. He oddly had a hard time getting it played. I couldn’t understand why. I used to suggest to some of my Top 40 program directors that they add this instead of whatever I had in my bag at the time. Sandy Beach at WKBW being one of them. What a great guy he was. I think he did play it to tell you the truth.

Basically a #1 everywhere else on the planet. I spun this out when I was dj’ing at Brooklyn Bowl a few weeks back. Sounded mammoth through their PA.

Lesley Gore / Quincy Jones

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

LesliePartyUKA, Lesley Gore, Mercury, Quincy Jones, Reprise

Listen: It’s My Party / Lesley Gore LesleyParty.mp3

We had a Christmas lunch today, but friends actually started showing up around 10AM. I find the simplest background music solution for these gatherings to be Music Choice, part of the Time Warner cable selections. Our setup spans the kitchen, den, living room, basically the ground floor, so everyone’s covered. For the more hardcore, it’s off to a whole ‘nother part of the house with the turntables, jukebox, record library, memoribilia, the works, but I digress.

Back at the main floor party, the 60′s channel got everyone’s vote. It was a nice if predictable mix, nothing obscure that might put off a WalMart shopper of course. On comes ‘It’s My Party’. The mood turned up a notch. An all time favorite combined with champagne at 11AM did the trick. Seriously, she sounded great, and I’d been forever meaning to spin some of her 7′s lately. Having spent the last few days trying to file a couple thousand singles that have just enveloped my existence, I happened on a nice original UK A label from Tony’s collection of ‘It’s My Party’ – a repeat play was in order.

LesleyShesFoolPS, Lesley Gore, Mercury, Quincy Jones, Reprise

Listen: She’s A Fool / Lesley Gore LesleyFool.mp3

I keep forgetting that the first 1/3 or so of her Mercury hits were produced by Quincy Jones just after he took over the NY Mercury offices in ’64 (Shelby Singleton and Bob Crewe divided up the last 2/3′s pretty evenly).

Yes, that Quincy Jones. If you want your mouth to drop and eyes to bug, check out his discography. A cat does not have this many lives. There’s hardly a bad one in the bunch.

‘She’s A Fool’ rivaled ‘It’s My Party’ as my favorite for ages. I’d forgotten the autographed sleeve Howard got me one time. Apparently she visited a friend at CBS often back when he was there.

QuincyUKA, Lesley Gore, Mercury, Quincy Jones, Reprise

Listen: Money Runner / Quincy Jones QuincyMoneyRunner.mp3

His many accomplishments included writing and producing some 33 film scores and soundtracks. I’d bet that number is even higher, but even if it’s not, wow, can you imagine? Another of Tony’s singles that almost got filed, but instead has been played about 20 times, is ‘Money Runner’ from the ’71 film/soundtrack THE HEIST. Quincy Jones even dipped his toe into Blaxploitation, with a bit of ‘Shaft’ mixed in. It was this year’s Christmas Day favorite.

Will Lord Warddd play it at Brooklyn Bowl on January 1?

Fred & The New J.B.’s

Friday, December 18th, 2009

FredJBsBreakin1, Fred Wesley & The New J.B.'s, Fred Wesley, The J.B.'s, James Brown, People, Polydor

Listen: Breakin’ Bread / Fred & The New J.B.’s FredWEsleyBreakinBread.mp3

It was hard to keep up with their constant and annoyingly slight, name changes. Does one file all Fred Wesley & The J.B’s singles together despite the little details, or by the exact artist name as it appears on the label? A dilemma for the meticulous record collector. I stuck to my rule: file exactly as the label reads. All record alphabetical by artist, then chronologically within each. Hence my Fred/J.B.’s singles are in several places on the wall shelves. I had to check a few spots before tracking this one down. Every time I file it away, I swear I’ll remember it’s exact location next play. Never happens.

As mentioned in prior posts, I’m a sucker for records about food. None better than this ‘NEW NEW SUPER HEAVY FUNK PRODUCTION BY JAMES BROWN’ to satiate that appetite.

Will Lord Warddd play this when he dj’s The Funk Hangover Party at Brooklyn Bowl on January 1?