Ten Wheel Drive with Genya Raven: How Long Before I’m Gone
Stay With Me
From Brief Replies (Polydor, 1970)
The Highlighters: You’re Time Is Gonna Come
From 7″ (Chess, 1970)
I save a slew of songs with the intention of “eventually posting them up” and what inevitably happens is that they just end up “hanging around” and go nowhere fast. Right now, I have at least 1.5 years worth of stuff and decided to get off the proverbial pot by finally posting some up.
The Ten Wheel Drive’s “How Long” came to my attention after hearing this Black Moon cut (arguably the last good one they ever put out), “Way of the Walk.” This combines at least two pet loves: 1) funky rock bands fronted by 2) female singers (in this case, Genya Raven who has a huge voice – very post-Joplin. I don’t think her version of Lorraine Ellison’s “Stay With Me blows the OG out of the water but it was an interesting take.
Th Highlighters were an Indiana group probably best known for their uber-rare “Funky 16 Corners” funk 45. “You’re Time Is Gonna Come” (not to be confused with the Led Zep song of similar title) is a taste of the group’s penchant for crafting a great little, doo-wop influenced power ballad that showcases lead singer James Bell’s pipes. I also really dig the organ here – unexpected but quite welcome.
Jan Jankeje: Elsa Marie
From Sokol (Jazzpoint, 1974)
Roger Saunders: Darkness
From The Roger Saunders Rush Album (Warner Bros, 1972)
I previously posted (anonymously) another song from Jan Jankeje’s funky fusion LP, Sokol back in the “Breaks and Basslines” post. I’m not remotely as big on fusion stuff as I was about 10 years back but I still have a soft spot for this album by the Slovakian Jankeje which is one solid footing in funk-influenced rhythms but also healthy touches of avant garde jazz as this composition, in particular, seems to capture. File under “I can’t believe I never posted this”: Preston Love’s Omaha BBQ was one of the earliest funky blues albums I ever became acquainted with and I still find it to be one of the most consistent efforts in the genre. “Kool Ade” especially is killer – as gritty a groove you can imagine. The drummer gets some special attention here on the two bridges where band members rap with each other over a chattering like series of breaks and fills.
Speaking of breaks, you’d be hard pressed to find too many songs with a better 8 bar opening break than this. The actual song itself is a decent, mid-tempo country-rock ballad which isn’t quite what you’d expect with an intro like that but it’s definitely a step up from “Put Your Hand in the Hand.”
Prisoners of Watts (POW): Language of Funk
From 12″ (No Busters Allowed, 1990)
Da Lench Mob: Ain’t Got No Class (T-Bone Remix)
Ain’t Got No Class (Beatnuts Remix)
From 12″ (Street Knowledge, 1992)
King Tee: The Great (Distorted Alcoholism Mix)
From 12″ (“Bust Dat Ass”) (Capitol, 1992)
I picked up this 12″ by L.A.’s P.O.W. (Prisoners of Watts) on a whim and while it’s not exactly the unsung NWA or anything, I do digthe early ’90s L.A. hip-hop production steez on here. Bonus points for having Battle Cat (back when he was mostly known as a DJ) on the cut.
Less obscure (but still staying in the Southland), we have two mixes from Da Lench Mob’s “Ain’t Got No Class” 12″. Again, I don’t really ride that hard for the song itself (there are better Lench Mob cuts out there) but I do like the contrast in production style you can here between the Beatnuts and
T-Ray. Especially because T-Ray was doing stuff for Cypress Hill and his style and Muggs’ seemed so compatible, I always associate it with a Left Coast thing even though neither Muggs nor T-Ray were originally from California. T-Bone’s remix (which I, embarrassingly, confused for a T-Ray remix for, uh, years now) is some classic West Coast, post-Sir Jinx/Muggs ruggedness while
The Beatnuts mix is classically ‘Nuts with the filtered bassline and use of horns.
One more from the West (actually, now that I think about it, these three songs were probably from a long-forgotten “early 90s West Coast hip-hop post”) – a remix of King Tee’s “The Great” found on the “Bust Dat Ass” 12″. King Tee = unsung and then some. I always like going back and listening again to his catalog (especially anything connected to The Triflin’ Album – such a good voice and such a damn shame his Aftermath album never got official release.
Los Pakines: Hojas Verdes
From S/T (Sono Radio, 197?)
I don’t know much about Peruvian chicha but this fusion of Colombian cumbia with American surf rock makes for style that’s hard to forget once you hear it. I got turned onto this Los Pakines album when I was looking for stuff by Los Diablos Rojo, another group in a similar vein. The Pakines, in particular, seemed to love that reverb and just drench every song on this album with it. “Hojas Verdes” is a slinky cumbia piece with some funk undertones while “Oh! Cherie” sounds like a cover of a ’60s tune I should recognize (but don’t).