The Conservatives: Who Understands Pt. 1
Chicago soul group (arranged by the Pharoahs) that blends a little doo wop, a little Northern and a lot of heart on this funky soul groover. The A-side is the vocal cooker and it pulses with fantastic energy. Reminds me a little of the Impressions, just a lot dirtier. B-side (Pt. 2) is great too – it strips everything down and is more slinky…plays mostly as an instrumental except for the vocal bridge at the front and back end. What I want to know is whether or not there were any other groups on Ebonic Sound? I did a google on this Chi-town label and the Conservatives were the only group to come up on it!
Scott Bros. Orchestra: A Hunk o’ Funk b/w They All Came Back (Toddlin’ Town)
Still in Chicago… From what I can surmise, this is the group that recorded with Alvin Cash while he was at Toddlin’ Town Records, including on the infamous “Keep On Dancing” 45 that everyone and their mama has post-Brainfreeze. “A Hunk o’ Funk” is a lot better than any Alvin Cash 45 I’ve ever heard on TT however – it begins with a slide whistle, kicks in a little brass overture and then launches into absolute funk burner set off by guitar, that aforementioned horn section, and some solid bass work too. It’s just a superb instrumental – I’m surprised this hasn’t gotten comped somewhere (or is it?) B-side is ok – it has some moments but overall, the song is a little too brass heavy and it’s arranged more like a conventional pop instrumental that you’d hear on a soundtrack as “Car Chase #3”.
Odell Brown and the Organizers: The Weight b/w Think About It (Cadet)
This has long been a real favorite of mine ever since DJ Om played it for me years ago. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why more kids aren’t jocking this – “Think About It” is easily one of the best B-3 Hammond groovers I’ve ever heard. Unlike organ vamp orgies that you hear elsewhere (including on Brown’s other stuff), this is kept pretty mellow in comparison but it still cooks hard. Best of all, the arrangement is just so bright and sunny that it makes you wish everyday could feel as good as this song. I can NEVER get enough of listening to it. This is 7″ only – it was never on LP. Cop this – believe me, you won’t regret it.
Sugar Pie DeSanto: Git Back (Jasman)
Smokin’ female vocal funk on Jim Moore’s Jasman Records (of Johnny Talbot fame). I got extra special love for this since it’s an Oakland record but DeSanto f*ckin’ cooks on this like Julia Child. The track is a rollicking gem – a lot of spicy piano and heavy bass guitar rumbling through and DeSanto is tearing up over it. One of the better female funk tracks I’ve heard of late. B-side is a straight blues cut.
The Fame Gang: Soul Feud b/w Grits and Gravy (Fame)
This 45 came from the third incarnation of Fame Studio’s (i.e. Muscle Shoals) in-house rhythm section including a scorching Junior Lowe on guitar and Clayton Ivey slapping it down on organ. You got here a really nice double-sided instrumental funk cooker. I have a hard time choosing between the two of ’em – “Soul Feud” is a hard-driving funky blues tune, complete with some mean interplay between harmonica and guitar. Slaps down like shot glasses in a drinking contest. Meanwhile, “Grits and Gravy” is a more uptempo organ funk cooker – very soul jazzy in sound, with a touch of Kool and the Gang like flavor too. Like I said, a great double-sided 7″. It’s just too bad their LP wasn’t anywhere near this good.
Eddie Long: It Don’t Make Sense But It Sure Sounds Good b/w Did You Ever Dream Lucky (Skye)
Speaking of great double-sided 7″s, this Eddie Long single appars on Cal Tjader, Gabor Szabo and Gary McFarland’s rather short-lived NYC imprint, Skye. Side A opens with a cool 4 bar drum break and then winds into a slick, downtempo blues groover that invokes images of long cruises down some city southside in a droptop, easin’ into the seam with a gangsta lean. “Did You Ever Dream Lucky” picks up the pace though it’s still in the funky blues vein – all twitching guitars, tight rhythm section and just a sprinkle of organ at the beginning. I’m a big fan of the funky blues and this single’s been rocking for weeks now in my head.