THE NEW BIRTH: TELL ME WHY, IS IT SO?

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The New Birth: Never Can Say Goodbye (RCA, 1971, Ain’t No Big Thing, But It’s Growing)

I originally picked up this LP for “Honey Bee” but totally forgot that the New Birth do a commendable job here, covering the Jackson 5. Shout out to the late Harvey Fuqua.

365 Days of Soul, #144

KANTÉ MANFLA: AFROBOOGALOO

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Kanté Manfla: Mosso Gnouma (Boogaloo) (Djima, 196?, 7″)

I was writing the other day about Afro-Latin music…out of Africa and this track by the Ivory Coast’s Kanté Manfla highlights that tradition with a deliberate spin on New York’s boogaloo style. I love examples of how music criss-crosses regions to create spin-offs like this, especially with how soulful this version becomes thanks to those guitars.

365 Days of Soul, #143

WAR: THE WORLD IS A DISCO

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War: The World Is a Ghetto (Disco Instrumental Mix) (MCA, 1980, 12″)

Until recently, I had no idea this existed: an instrumental disco remake of War’s “The World Is a Ghetto.” It was included on the groups’s The Music Band 2 album (which clearly, I never copped) and then the 12″ version I have is a shorter, 9 minute version of what was 13+ minutes on the LP. Not sure what the hell MCA was cooking up here with that but *shrug*.

Personally, I dig this …it’s not better than the original but it does have this melancholy, Sunday afternoon vibe to it. Interestingly, most of the reviews I’ve seen of the version have savaged it…I think one review called it “elevator instrumental-lite.” Ouch!

365 Days of Soul, #142

OMEGA: HEAVY IN HUNGARY

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Omega: Kérgeskezű favágok (Callous-handed Woodcutters) (Qualiton, 1969, 10000 Lepes)

Psych is one of those rabbit holes that I’ve deliberately avoided jumping down because I’m scared at how far I’d fall. It’s albums like these – one of the big hits for this popular Budapest band – that keep beckoning me to the precipice. The album’s best-known track is “Gyöngyhajú lány (Girl With Pearly Hair)” (just ask ‘Ye) and while I get the appeal of its rousing, anthematic vibe, I’m even more about a song dedicated to callous-handed woodcutters. Swing swing swing, chop chop chop.

365 Days of Soul, #141

GLORIA JONES: TOO MUCH TAINT?

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Gloria Jones: Tainted Love (All-Nighter Mix) (Inferno, 1982, 12″)

Can one have too much of a good thing? I picked this 12″ back when I didn’t own Jones’s original 7″ yet and at the time I figured, “hey, everyone loves this song but the original is so short, why not extend it to nearly five minutes?”

Then I started to play it out aaaaaaand maybe it runs just a bit long. You can only lead a crowd through that chorus so many times before you start to feel the itch to mix in some Supremes. Maybe?

365 Days of Soul, #140