Tuesday, August 31, 2004


John Klemmer: Free Soul (removed by request of copyright holder)
From Blowin' Gold (Cadet Concept, 1969)

Charles Wright: What Can You Bring Me
From You're So Beautiful (Warner Bros, 1971)

I recently was asked by my fave publication, Wax Poetics, to help with scanning some album covers and these two were among the batch. I figured that if I was going to go through the trouble of scanning them, I might as well also just pull some music too.

Saxophonist John Klemmer's later career is better remembered, especially for the ways in which he pioneered the use of the electric sax. However, Klemmer's early career, beginning in the late 1960s, was experimental in its own way too, especially in his fusion blend between rock, soul and jazz. His song, "Free Soul" comes out of this era, featured on an album he cut for Cadet Concept, one of the most forward looking rock imprints of the time. With its big, full sound, powered by Klemmer's powerful wails on the sax, "Free Soul" is one of the best examples of "soul jazz" I can think of, embodying the best qualities of both genres. This is funky yet easy like Sunday morning.

I promised before to bring back the sounds of Charles Wright and/or the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band. This is Wright sans the main Band but he's still expressing himself and keeping the groove together in the jungle, baby. "What Can You Bring Me" is off his 1971 You're So Beautiful LP and it comes with more snap, crackle and pop than a box of Rice Krispies. I love that guitar lick that starts it off and feel them chattering drums too. Wright's vocals are rock solid here - he's got a great, edgy voice that can swing from lilting balladry to screeching soul screams. Holla.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


The Frank Cunimondo Trio feat. Lynn Marino: Beyond the Clouds & Feelin' Good
From Introducing Lynn Marino (Mondo, 1969?)

Jazz vocalist Lynn Marino reminds me a lot of Blossom Dearie - both have that same, high-pitched tone that lacks any real timbre but there's a certain charm in her voice nonetheless. Marino was "discovered" at a Holiday Inn in Pittsburgh by Cunimondo, whose other works like Sagitarrius are already legend in rare groove circles. "Beyond the Clouds" is a pleasant, easy-going Cunimondo original that highlights his piano talents. The real gem from this album though is their cover of "Feelin' Good" and that title is so dead-on: this song just feels gooooood and Marino adds just the right touch of light joy. Straight butta.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Nostalgia 77: Seven Nation Army
From 12" (Tru Thoughts, 2004) and Songs For My Funeral (Tru Thoughts, 2004)

Soul Village: We Gettin Down
From 7" (Jazz Makossa, 2004)

I came upon both of these on my weekly sojourn to S.F.'s Groove Merchant (act like you knew). As is well-documented, Soul Sides is a straight sucker for covers and remixes and I couldn't pass up either of these. The first remixes the White Stripes' bass-chomping "Seven Nation Army" but switches out the cold, cold vocals of Jack White and replaces it with Alice Russell's searing soulistics. I'm not saying this is get a bunch of emo kids into the mosh pit but I'm feeling how this just rips things up a bit but keep the mood very tense and controlled.

As for Soul Village, we think this group is out of Sweden France or somewhere else suitably Nordish European. This 7" was initially released in Japan (but has managed to crawl out to other places) and an astute Soul Sides reader notes that the Village's Dela also remixed a version of the Neptunes' "Frontin'." Soul Village have two covers on this one: the A-side remakes Roy Ayers' all-time picnic classic, "Everybody Loves the Sunshine," but Soul Sides couldn't pass up the B-side, which covers one of our personal favorites, the late Weldon Irvine and his "We Gettin Down" (ATCQ fans know what's up). Soul Village stays pretty close to the original and just lets the composition shine.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Group Home feat. Brainsick Mob: East NY Theory
From 12" (white label, 1997)

Third Sight: Rhymes Like a Scientist
From 12" (Darc Brotha, 199?)

Soul Sides has spent the week packing up our worldly possessions (including roughly 60 boxes of records, bleah) and in the process, yanked out two songs from the collection that caught our eye. The first is Group Home's "East NY Theory,", a white label 12" they put out themselves in 1997. Surprisingly, DJ Premier did not produce this - Lil Dap handled the beat himself and it is, in our humble opinion, one of the most sublime tracks from the '90s in its melancholy beauty. The song's so good, even Malachi sounds good over it and Lil Dap drops some of his best verses ever.

From East New York to the East Bay, it's Third Sight with "Rhymes Like a Scientist." The opening portion is fine with its laid back style but the song transforms into the illness halfway through as the beat switches up and Third Sight go off the dark end: "I'm serious [read: Sirius] like the Dog Star/furious like Melle Mel/errrah!/I'll crack your jaw with a crowbar/I'm raw as Moamar Qadaffi/monopoly on my property/my life's philosophies/come talk to me/fuck Socrates/Plato and Aristotle/I'm fatal as hemlock in the bottle." Siiiiiiiiick.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


Sunshine Anderson: Heard It All Before (QSO Remix)
From Rebtuz Remixes Vol. 1 (2003)

Nas: Get Down (QSO Remix)
From Rebtuz Remixes Vol. 2 (2004)
(sound files courtesy Hua Hsu

DJs worth their salt know that the Rebtuz 12"s have been their secret weapon for club play since the first volume appeared last year. Each volume features 5-6 remixes and while there are some fine works on each (Vol. 2's "Pushin' Ronson" is another jammy jam), the QSO mixes that lead both volumes are the main attraction.

Quantic's remix of Sunshine Anderson's 2002 R&B hit works around a slick, funk track, making this song work across genre beautifully - you can drop this at a gully club, funk basement or outdoor park and it's golden. Personally though, I'm loving the remix for Nas' "Get Down" even more. You'd think, in 2004, the song would feel a little old by now, but this reggae-tinged track makes you feel like you're hearing it for the first time.

Vol. 1 has been out of print for a minute but there are still a few copies of Vol. 2 still left out there. Don't snooze.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Supreme Nyborn: Breathless
From ? (Payroll, 198x)

Supreme Nyborn: Rhymes From a Swift Mind
From 12" (Payroll, 1988) (B-side of "Versatility")

It's strange: of all of Payroll's artists, Supreme Nyborn (aka Supreme DJ Nyborn) had the most releases, and the biggest career yet look online and you'll find NOTHING on him, anywhere. Apparently, all we have is his music. (Update: as always, Chairman Mao comes with the knowledge.)

Nyborn began his career on Payroll (far as I can tell), best known for "Versatility" and its remix "Versatile Extension" ("Rhymes From a Swift Mind" appears on the B-side of "Versatility" but I seem to think there's another version of "Versatility" that is missing one of these B-sides (probably "Extension") As always, Nyborn's fast-rap lyricism is a pleasure to witness. That's why "Breathless" is such a treat: as far as I can tell, this song appears on nowhere else besides Payroll's 1989 sampler tape and it simply burns. Feel this.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Mitty Collier: I Had a Talk With My Man Last Night
From: 7" (Chess, 1964) and Shades of a Genius (Chess, 1965)

Etta James: I'd Rather Go Blind
From: 7" (Chess, 1968) and Tell Mama (Chess, 1968)

The Valentinos: I’ll Make It Alright
From: 7" (SAR, 1963)

This if the first offering by Tommy Tompkins who combed through the riches of the Black Label collection (that he donated to Soul Sides). His comments:
    (Mitty Collier) Ms. Collier’s voice is deep and thick, and she had a way with smooth sexy R&B tunes like “I Had A Talk,” which she cut for Chess Records in 1964. Actually, I’d have served up the infinitely superior “If This Is The Last Time,” which my old friend Mark Edmunds (R.I.P.) from Baytown Records turned me on to years ago, only my son cut his teeth on the outer 1/2” one afternoon when I wasn’t looking. He missed this, so take it and enjoy.

    (Etta James) I threw this on the playlist last week for my fabulous 6 am spin class at the Oakland YMCA, and Ronnie, the woman with the dreads who tends to speak up when there’s something on her mind, let me know in no uncertain terms that this line – “You see I love you so much I just don’t want to see you leaving” – did not make it, muttering something about “see who goes blind” as Ms. James poured out more pain in 2 and 1/2 minutes than most folks bleed in a lifetime. A great great song.

    (The Valentinos) This is the Womack Brothers (and I swear I heard Sam Cooke for a moment somewhere in the first few bars),when they left the gospel world behind and went after the hit parade with uptempo pop numbers like this. It’s not on Sam Cooke’s SAR Records Story, but “It’s All Over Now,” a hit for the Rolling Stones, is. Download this, buy that collection and you’ll be happy.


I've been so busy with Black Label material, I feel like I've neglected hip-hop selections but god bless Cocaine Blunts who's been straight killllllin' it of late with his Heavyweights/Freestyle Fellowship week and is currently dropping the audio bombs from Oakland's The Coup (only one of my favorite groups ever).

Thursday, August 12, 2004


Jackie Ross:Selfish One
On 7" (Chess, 1964) and Full Bloom (Chess, 1964)

Bobby Bland: Two Steps From the Blues
On Two Steps From the Blues (Duke, 1961)

Willie Mitchell: Take Five
On 7" (Ace, 1968) and On Top (Hi, 1969)

O.V. Wright: Eight Men, Four Women
On 7" (Back Beat, 1967) and Eight Men, Four Women (MCA, 1967)

Clarence Reid: Ten Tons of Dynamite
From 7" (Alston, 1971)

The Platters: I Love You 1,000 Times
From 7" (Musicor, 1966) and I Love You 1,000 Times (Musicor, 1966)

Call me crazy, but I hear the melody of the ballad "Tenderly" running underneath the beginning of this hit by Chicago vocalist, Jackie Ross (a Sam Cooke discovery). This has all the elements of great mid-60s soul; a little swing in its step, lush production and Ross, while not as passionate as other vocalists, has a pleasant sweetness in her tone. If you want to talk about great voices though, it's hard to do better than bluesman Bobby Bland who is blessed with one of the warmest baritones you'll ever get to enjoy. "Two Steps From the Blues" is one of those late-night ballads that you listen to at some dive bar, nursing one drink too many. Not that I'd know anything about that personally...

Staying in Bland's native Tennessee, it's Hi Records' legend Willie Mitchell...best known for producing Al Green, but also a competent musician and bandleader in his own right. This is his cover of Dave Brubeck's smash, "Take Five," but unlike the smooth stylings of Brubeck's version, Mitchell sasses his up on a jazzy soul tip.

Clarence Reid's "Ten Tons of Dynamite" is an obscure B-side from the man-otherwise-known-as-Blowfly (luckily, this song is a lot more PG-rated than his alter ego's fare. Not quite as explosive a song as you'd assume from its title, but it's still a solid soul groover (ok, his songwriting is just a little hokey though). Last, we have the honeyed harmonies of The Platters, with the title song from their mid-60s album, I Love You 1,000 Times (that's a lot of love). Nice arrangement on this one, especially that downward chord progression which gives the song an expectedly bluesy quality.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


Al Green: What a Wonderful Thing Love Is
From I'm Still In Love With You (Hi, 1972)

Brand Nubian: Momma
From Fire in the Hole (Baby Grande, 2004)

I'll have a much longer Al Green post coming up in the near future, in anticipation of the 4-CD, Immortal Soul of Al Green anthology that's coming out in September. For just a taste now, this is one of my favorite songs off of one of my favorite albums of all time - Willie Mitchell's production has never been better: the searing strings, the lushness of it all.

Clearly, I'm not the only one who thought so since Brand Nubian take a loop off this for "Momma," off their new album. For Brand Nubian fans of old - the new album won't come close in consistency or quality, but it's not nearly as bad as it could have been (yeah, this is kind of damning with faint praise, but compared to say, Puba's last solo LP, Fire in the Hole is a marked improvement).


Soul Sides was recently invited to participate in a roundtable discussion on audioblogging for the Morning News.

Sunday, August 08, 2004


Eddy Jacobs Exchange: Pull My Coat
From 7" (Columbia, 196?)

Maceo and All The King's Men: Shake It Baby
From Doing Their Own Thing (House of Fox, 1970)

Marvin Holmes and the Uptights: Ride Your Mule
From 7" (Revue, 196?) and Ooh Ooh the Dragon and Other Monsters (UNI, 1969)

Albert Collins: Do the Sissy
From 7" (Imperial, 1968) and Love Can Be Found Anywhere (Imperial, 1969)

Yeah, it's true that most funkateers post-James Brown were just trying to cop the style of The Man Himself, but occassionally, they nail the vibe down so well, you have to tip your hat. "Pull My Coat" by the Eddy Jacbos Exchange couldn't be more on fire if you dipped it in paraffin and crammed a wick in it. Totally post-JBs sound but the rhythm section is finger lickin' kickin', especially the brass on the opening and choruses. Of course, Maceo and All the King's Men don't have to make excuses for sounding like James Brown since they made his sound the funky standard it became. This is from the group's "we're fed up with Brown so we're ditching him and doing our own thing" album which JB basically shut down before it really had a chance to shine (great album tho'). "Shake It Baby" is classic JBs' flavor - sounds like something you would have heard Bobby Byrd screaming over.

Marvin Holmes' "Ride Your Mule," (which eventually would give birth to "The Funky Mule," a song covered by Holmes again, as well as Ike Turner) is more lo-fi in its engineering but no less cookin'. The guitarist is getting his best licks in on the song but don't ignore the drummer who's chattering off underneath. Closing up is blues guitarist Albert Collins with his slick hit, "Do the Sissy." I'm a big funky blues fan and Collins' track is simple but effective in its tightly wound rhythms. The opening, with the horns is killer too.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


213: Another Summer
From The Hard Way (TVT, 2004)

Theodore Unit: The Drummer
From 718 (Sure Shot, 2004)

"Another Summer" is the ultimate summer jammy jam - straight up park/picnic/backyard BBQ flavor. It's hard to go wrong with Eddie Kendricks' "Intimate Friends" to begin with and Kanye doesn't mess with the perfection of that sample - he just lets the vibe play out as it should. Once the lights go down and you want to get amped for the cruise down the amp? Roll with "The Drummer." The 718 album by Ghostface's crew gives you all the songs that people had been hoping for on the Pretty Toney Album, including this heater feat. Ghost, Method Man, Streetlife and Strife. This is so good, it's stooopid.


James Brown: The Chicken
The Meters: Chicken Strut

The Nite-Liters: Afro Strut

James Brown's "The Chicken" begins with this great brass blast and slides into a super slick bassline, followed by a snappy breakbeat. This is JB's taut but clean funk at its best (not to mention covered in ass-kicking fashion by Leroy and Drivers and as well as Breakesetra, but named "The Sad Chicken" both those times).

The Meters' "Chicken Strut" nods back to the first big hit, "Cissy Strut," and though the two don't sound exactly identical, both have that classic, sparse sound that the Meters achieved with their three Josie albums: chattering drums, a hard-driving guitar and bassline combo and, in this case, the Meters' squawking like birds.

Last, but not least are one of my favorites: Harvey Fuqua's Nite-Liters with one of their many deliciously funky 45s: "Afro Strut." This is off their Instrumental Directions - a solid LP from them, but not their best. Like the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band, we'll definitely be revisiting the Nite-Liters' catalog in the future.


Soul Sides is very happy to welcome a new member of the family: J.H. Tompkins. He, of course, being the benefactor of the Black Label Collection and gifted writer. Here's his intro, in his own words:

J.H. Tompkins - known to his friends as Tommy - has worked in the alternative press and lived in the Bay Area for a long time. Both streaks are about to end. He has too many albums and an ever-changing list of 500 top 10 songs. His first record purchase was "Penny Loafers and Bobby Sox," by the Sparkletones, and for the past two hours his favorite song has been "Young Hearts Run Free," by Candi Staton. You can find him online at www.artsjournal.com/tommyt.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


The Bizzie Boys: Hype Time
On 12" (Payroll, 1988)

The Bizzie Boys: Hold the Lafta
On the B-side of "Droppin' It" 12" (Payroll, 1990).

More items off the Payroll Vol. 1 cassette from 1990.

Hailing from Greensboro, NC, the Bizzie Boys weren't exactly long-lived (just four singles, one with NC's Fresh Jam, two on Payroll, one for the TX indie, Yo!) but the group did eventually give us Ski, the producer best known for Jay-Z's "Reasonable Doubt" and Camp Lo's "Saturday Night Uptown" albums. Back then, he was called Willski though. For more info, read this. As for these two cus: decent rhymes, chattering beats, i.e. "random rap" heaterade.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


Ruby Andrews: You Made a Believer Out of Me
    From 7" (Zodiac, 1969) and Everybody Saw You (Zodiac, 1970). Also on Casanova

Ruby Johnson: I'll Run Your Heart Away

Two Rubies from the Black Label. Confession: I'm a sucker for funky female soul songs and Ruby Andrews' "You Made a Believer Out of Me" had me from jump. Her hard-edged voice fits right in with the song's urgency and the rolling piano loop just nails down the rhythm as good as any hip-hop beat. Once you're done sweating to that, you can ease back with Ruby Johnson's big Volt hit, "I'll Run Your Heart Away." This used to be one of my favorites songs off the Stax/Volt Boxset (Vol. 1) and it's such a masterpiece of bluesy, melancholy soul. Like Andrews, Johnson benefits from a well-produced track that uses a key instrument - this time the guitar - taking a prominent role in the rhythm section but Johnson's hollers are what seal the deal and then some.


Moistworks.com has the "Welcome Back Kotter" theme available right now. This is such a great song...