Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Al Cobine: Hate to See You Go (Studio P/R: 1975)

See...when I first found this LP in Indianapolis, I thought I was on some killer secret digger shizzle. This is on some local Indiana label, looking and sounding like a private press album with some dude named Peter Bankoff carressing the Rhodes all over the place. The real blaster though is the cover of "Hikky-Burr" which is pretty fierce considering this is a big band album. Move over Caesar Frazier and let Al Cobine do this thing! Dope cover - clean and funky.

Anyways, so I'm all excited and what not, talk to some folks and it sounds like the only other time someone's heard about this is because J. Davis (no, not Q-Tip, the other J. Davis) had scouted it once. So now I know I'm sitting on some rare heat. Or not. A year later, my man J.Toro goes back to Indianapolis and turns up something like 25-30 copies of this. Now I see folks up on eBay selling it, titling it "Stage Band Jazz Funk LP". Oh the humanity, the humanity!

I'm not bitter though. Really. I mean it.

Daniel Janin: Jes Vais T'Aimer (Les Treteaux Int'l: 197?)

Someone who speaks better French than me (which would be probably anybody) can translate this title for me b/c frankly, I have no idea what this is. I found it at Rooky's in the Lower Haight for a $1 or something and the cover alone looked promising. I thought, from the looks of it, it was the French equivalent to an American pop exploitation record (think the Ventures) given the eclectic song selections which include The Rolling Stones' "Fool To Cry", some song called "Superbimbo" and two compositions credited to Janin himself. As it turns out, I think this is more like some weird blend between a K-Tel compilation with two original joints thrown in. The stuff not by Janin is not really worth your time - bad, strange rock and pop. But Janin's two cuts are worth peeping. "Trip For a Trap" is a so-so funky pop instrumental but the real joint is "Fat Fat Fellow" which was featured on Dusty Fingers 8 if I'm not mistaken. Real smoky funk instrumental with pop influences but mostly just sounds like a dope library cut (dig that sax that blows in later and just the whole brass section in general). I can see why Dusty Fingers comped it - it's right up their alley of strange but special brews.

Klaus Wunderlich: Hammond Fur Millionen (Helidon 1973)

Wunderlich has been nicknamed "the Super-Organ Wonder". [Insert your own joke here].

His organ playing is pretty damn cheesy by today's standards (actually, screw that, you'd have to think it was pretty damn cheesy by 1970s standards too...I mean, how can you do a Hammond cover of "Hey Jude" and not be a little cheesy?) This album is the Yugoslavian (yeah, you heard that right) issue of what I believe was a German album (on Telefunken, which is just a dope label name even if I have no idea what that really translate into). I first heard the main cut on this album, a cover of "Summertime", on this mid-90s break compilation that was also the first time I heard Galt MacDermot's "Space". I always remembered the "Summertime" version on that comp though because it was so light and funky, like it was aspiring to some kind of heavy Hammond greatness, slipped and fell into funkiness instead. It's some shizniz that the Beatnuts would have sampled. Or maybe they actually did? Try it. You'll like it. Hell, one Soul Strut feature already gave it some love.

Plus, look at that picture of Wunderlich - what a MFin' mack he was in his little tux. P.I.M.P. for real.

Country Funk: S/T (Polydor 197?)

As a record dealer listed this one: "neither country nor funk". That's for sure. Talk about not judging a record by its title - I was hoping for some ill ass breakbeatcountryrare jawns, like Willie Nelson meets Eddie Bo. Instead, I got an album of mostly acoustic rock ballads. Frowny face time :(

That said, "Poor Boy" is actually a decent, funky blues cut that made the album a keeper despite the egregiously false advertising.

Jimmie Haskell: California '99 (ABC 1971)

Ok, this record is pretty frickin' bugged out. You really need to see it to truly appreciate how bugged but it's like the soundtrack to an imaginary movie about an alternative future for America. The cover folds out into this huge 3 x 2 map of the United States - only that it's not called the United States anymore, it's called California (the whole country is renamed Calfiornia in 1980). And the map has some curious features, such as the fact that the S.F. Bay peninsula now stretches from Shasta down to Santa Barbara, and is renamed the San San Peninsula after an 11.7 earthquake floods the entire San Joaquin Valley in 1984. Oh yeah, and Florida becomes one big desert in 1987. 1992 - Moon Prisons built, prisioners all transferred.

There must have been some serious blunts passed around at this session, no doubt. Reading through the alternative timeline is probably as much fun, if not more, than listening to the album itself - it's just so bugged out. There's actually a MUCH bigger backstory to Jimmie Haskell, an LA arranger, but I have no interest in really getting into it. This guy does much better in his review of the album.

What's actually on the LP itself is a strange, strange mix of dramatizations, blues, jazz and rock. It'd go toe to toe with Marshall McLuhan's "The Medium Is the Massage" LP for quirkiness (but it's just as sample-able I suppose for that same reason). But what's REALLY weird is that Haskell does a bunch of cover songs taken from another rock group, Millenium (their album Begin has just been re-issued by the way). He covers "To Claudia On Thursday" and "Prelude", both of which have very cool funky elements, especially "Prelude" which mixes up what sounds like a moog or ARP and a harpsichord, rock guitar, and some bashin' drums. (The Millenium version is actually better but who the hell would have thought of doing a cover? That's like Tom Scott covering the Jefferson Airplane - wild!)

Seriously, this album is something else. For those out there who like some trippy '70s rock shizzle? This one's for you (and hell, I didn't even mention the Sexual Gratification Machines).