Monday, November 30, 2009

posted by O.W.

Bobby Reed: Time Is Right
From 7" (Bell, 196?)

Tek and Steele: We Came Up (Crystal Stair) (feat. Talib Kweli)
From Reloaded (Duck Down, 2005)

Tek and Steele: We Came Up (Bobby Reed Section)

My man Hua hepped me to this Smif N Wessun cut from 2005 that missed my radar and the first thing I noted was, "oh schnap, they're looping up Bobby Reed's "Time Is Right For Love," aka "one of the few records I'd current break the $300 mark to cop".

I can't believe I didn't already write about Reed for the site (I got brief mention before but never a dedicated thread.) Best. Thing. Ever. Seriously. This song is one of the best two minutes you'll ever enjoy. It's so good I'm not even going to try to explain why it's so good, lest I tarnish its greatness with my descriptive inadequacies.

Now - I'm not saying, at all, that this song needs a remix. But listening to "We Came Up" made me think, "ok, this is cool but honestly - I think someone could do a better job with it." I isolated the end of the song, where it's really just Reed's OG with a beat behind it so you can get a sense of how they play with it. (And yes, yes, I know, Saint Etienne already messed with this but I'm not really feeling their take either. And if you want to truly hear an abomination, check this.)

So heck, I know a few Soul Sides readers mess with production so I thought I'd put out a high-quality copy of the Reed to see what folks might come up with if anyone is so inclined. If anyone actually messes around with this, please send me a copy to peep.

Wait, did I already mention that the Reed original is one of the best things ever? And that I cannot believe I haven't written about it until now even though it's quite possibly my favorite record of the last two years?

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posted by O.W.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

posted by O.W.

I'm trying to clear out a bunch of old records, most of them priced very inexpensively to move 'em out the door. Check 'em out.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

posted by O.W.

The 80s keep coming back!

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posted by O.W.

I've been derelict in reviewing this but thankfully, Weiss hasn't.

I'll get around to my write-up soon.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

posted by O.W.

So, I'm in the middle of planning to move and I've worked out some numbers that I thought might be useful to share.

Apologies to folks on the metric system.

1" = 6.67 LPs
1' = 80 LPs
Standard 18 x 12 x 12 book box = 115 (looser) - 120 LPs (snug)

2 LP = 1lb
1' of records = 40lbs
Book box of records = 60lbs

My Vinyl Weighs a Ton = 4000 LPs or roughly 34 boxes.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

posted by O.W.

You asked for it - here it is:

The Listener Request Soulcast
Funk instrumental edition (11/25/09).

1. Intro
2. B.W. Souls: Marvin's Groove (from 7")
3. Little Royal: Razor Blade (from 7")
4. Toussaint McCall: Shimmy (from 7"). Also here.
5. Host
6. Brer Soul + Earth, Wind and Fire: Sweetback's Theme (from Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song)
7. Los Holys: Reunion Sicodelica (Cissy Strut) (from 7")
8. Andy Loore: Drummer Bells (from Ambiance Rhythmes Vol. 5)
9. Host
10. Ricardo Marrero: Babalonia (from 7"). Also here.
11. Afrosound: Tiro Al Blanco (from Tiro Al Blanco)
12. The Latin Breed: Marantha (from 7")
13. Host
14. Certain Lions and Tigers: El Soul Condor (from Soul Condor). Also here.
15. Artist n/a: Aquarius (from LP)
16. Host
17. Mary Lou Williams: Credo (from Mary Lou's Mass and 7")

To listen:

Option 1: Direct download (ctrl/right-click) (Note: This won't work with the automated, streaming Yahoo Media Player)
Option 2: Soulcast Feed (click here, then click on "Subscribe With iTunes" or just copy and paste this into iTunes --> Advanced --> Subscribe to Podcast)


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

posted by O.W.

First of all, thanks to everyone for supporting the site by buying copies of my recent mixes. I have exactly four sets left. If you're interested, email me soon; I don't plan on repressing these unless demand suddenly skyrockets.

(All gone, thanks again!)

For everyone else - I mailed out your CDs today so you should get them before week's end (except for those overseas). Hope you enjoy 'em!

As for the of the podcasts I admire is Coverville. I don't always share their taste in music but I like the concept and more importantly, I like that they sometimes build their show around listener requests.

It's almost been a year since my last "request lines" post but that was for a physical post and I want to try putting together a podcast instead, built around 8-10 songs.

So yes, I'm asking for people to throw their ideas in the comments below and I'll try to pluck one out that meets my fancy and spend the next week or so assembling it. Remember, this should be an idea that easily lends itself to a 8-10 song playlist. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to working on this!

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

7 x 7 + 12
posted by O.W.

Johnny Holiday: Nobody Loves Me But My Mama
From 7" (Bold, 196?)

The Combinations: Bump Ball
From 7" (RCA Victor, 196?)

Fruko: Langaruto
From 7" (Fuentes, 197?)

Orquesta Zodiac: Tremendo Problema
From 7" (Costeño, 1972)

Jimmy and Eddie: Stop and Think It Over
From 7" (One Way, 196?)

Mandells: Now I Know
From 7" (Hour Glass, 196?)

Family Affair: I Had a Friend
From 7" (Authentic, 197?)

Bonus: Frankie Nieves: True Love (English + Spanish Version)
From 12" (Disco Int'l, 1979)

A few 7" single songs to share with ya'll...

First up, I've been hunting down a copy of this Johnny Holiday single for years now. It could very well be one of the roughest things I've ever heard - sounds like a funk garage band with a flutist sitting in and Holiday just raging on the mic like he's mad at the world. Holiday has cut other singles, including for Bold, but none of them sound like this; I don't know if the studio was having recording problems that day (the flipside is also a monster but the mix is completely f---ed up, burying his vocals over a crushing, blues-influenced funk number) but whatever happened - god bless. I love grimy cuts like this. Thanks to Records L.A. who sold me their last stock copy.

The Combinations 7" is something I bought on a lark; I was already buying another 45 from the same seller and decided to take a chance on this despite minimal awareness of the group. As I dug deeper, I was surprised to learn that the group originally began as a garage band from Easton PA; mostly white save for a lone Black member. They described their sound as "a blend of white rock under black soul." What's funny is that they somehow managed to record "Bump Ball," a funky R&B boogaloo, in conjunction with the release of Milton-Bradley's Bump Ball. I'm not clear if the 7" I have was the one actually included with the game (as some sites have reported). There was also a Bump Ball album (but it's not clear if the Combinations recorded all the songs on here or just the title track, which was credited to "The Bumpers"). Interesting history but all that aside - I like the track. It, uh, bumps.

Moving into some Latin, this Fruko cut is a 7" only song as far as I know (w/ "Bang Bang" on the flip but not Joe Cuba's well-known boogaloo hit). "Langaruto" shows off the strong piano work of (I think?) Hernán Gutiérrez who really is the secret weapon for all the best Fruko y sus Tesos tracks. This song, in particular, has that massive salsa dura sound that manages to be distinctly Colombian in a way I still haven't been able to put my finger on - it opens like a guajira before switching things up to a quicker son montuno about half a minute in (again, I think. Corrections welcome!). So fierce.

Puerto Rico's Orquesta Zodiac drops the other Latin cut in this set, another strong '70s slice of salsa. I really like the use of organ on here; it's subtle but it adds that spritz of sonic lime to flavor up the rest of the track. I'm also feeling the vocal interplay between the lead and background singers - great call and response.

The Jimmy and Eddie is a strong funky soul cut I nabbed at Big City Records in NYC earlier this year; the mix sounds just a tad off here but in favor of the rhythm section and especially the bassist and drummer. Their team-up really brings this whole tune together - it pushes along nicely and the drums are mic-ed just right to lend that extra oomph.

Give the rhythm section some love on this Mandells' single too. The group perfectly blend some Chicago-style sweet soul vocals with that deep, deep bass, the chicha-chicha of the hi-hat patterns...with a string arrangement to book? Are you kidding me? Best thing - this 7" is usually found for $10 or less - an incredible value given how good the music is.

Last on the 7" tip is one of the straight up strangest 45s I've come across of late. I could have sworn I originally heard this on Matthew Africa's blog but I can't seem to find it there again. Nonetheless, it really pays to listen to this beyond just thinking, "ooooh, nice groove." I mean, it's a great groove - so soulful with what I think of as subtle disco edge. And then the sweet, falsetto vocals drop in and you're thinking, "man, this is so butter." But then you start listening and you realize, "uh, ok, this is not setting things up well, with the singer talking about, 'I had a friend who had everything'" since you always know how those stories end. I won't spoil it for you but just wait until you pass the two minute mark. I feel like there should be a sound effect inserted here, just to hammer the point home. An otherwise beautiful tune.

Bonus cut is the special bilingual disco 12" edit of Frankie Nieves' finest work for Speed, "True Love" (which, as you can figure out in one bar, interpolates "Soulful Strut.") I am super curious to know who ran Disco International; they seemed to specialize in (I'm assuming) unlicensed disco edits of many a great Latin jam, including Al Gonzalez' "El Rumbon" and this one. In the case of "True Love," Disco Int'l took the English A and Spanish B-side of Nieves' Speed 7" (which, by the way, came out 10 years prior) and then edited them together into a single, 6+ minute track (the B-side is a 6+ minute long Spanish-only edit). To be frank(ie), the edit does get a bit repetitive after a while but then again, it is one effective groove (Young Holt Unlimited knew what the f--- they were doing back in the day).

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

posted by O.W.

My nearly two-year old weekly in Echo Park, ¡Boogaloo!, is going from a weekly to a monthly (every Third Thursday) and while part of me is glad to leave the grind of having a weekly party, it would be nice to have one more monthly or at least, a cool spot where I can spin soul sides on an occasional one-off basis.

If any of my L.A. readers have suggestions of where to look, I'm all ears. The last time I put a query like this out, it actually helped net my weekly gig so I'm always appreciative of the reach of my readers!


posted by O.W.

The Jackson 5: ABC (Alternate Mix)
Buttercup (snippets)
From I Want You Back!: Unreleased Masters (Motown, 2009)

As you can imagine, there's no shortage of plans to plumb the depths of the J5 and MJ catalogs. I mentioned the Stripped Mixes a while back and I just got this new unreleased masters CD in the mail today.

Let me get the negative stuff out of the way first - in a few cases, I think the fact they went unreleased was probably justified insofar as the songs are kind of lackluster ("Love Comes In Different Flavors," I'm looking at you!). However, for a J5/MJ music nerds, there's some really fascinating stuff on here, including a medley that throws together "I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save" which is pretty much the hat trick of early J5 hits.

There's also a cool alternate version of "Never Can Say Goodbye" which has some notable changes in the arrangement, especially a whole different passage after the second chorus, but the real stunning contrast is the alternate version of "ABC." The music may sound alike but from the first stanza of verses, you can hear MJ take an entirely different approach to the vocal arrangement and check out the differences after the first chorus with the "la la las."

The other huge song that people have been talking about is "Buttercup," a Stevie Wonder-written/produced song that 1) totally sounds like a Stevie Wonder song (note: this is a great thing) and 2) gives you a window into a compellingly different sound for J5 compared to what Motown typically sent their way. I'd almost say the album is worth it just for "Buttercup" (it's pretty damn good) but thankfully, there's other strong material on here to sweeten the pot (check out "Listen, I'll Tell You How", an early J5 song from 1969).


posted by O.W.

I have three new mixes available.

I didn't mean for them all to get timed this way; I actually had the first two done months ago and was waiting for the "right moment" (translation: waiting to get off my lazy a**) but now with the Aretha mix around, it seemed ridiculous to put it off any longer. The Aretha Mix has its own post so I'm going to devote this one to talking about They Call Me Mr. Lonely and Love Me...or Love Me:

After finishing up Soul Sides Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, I began to think what a Vol. 3 might look like. The first two volumes often aimed for breadth but for a theoretical Vol. 3, I wanted to narrow in a bit and think more about mood and feel rather than style diversity.

As it turns out, Vol. 3 wasn't going to happen officially but that didn't stop me from contemplating a mix along the same veins and that's what lay behind both They Call Me Mr. Lonely and Love Me/Leave Me. Both are devoted (mostly) to heartbreak/slow jams, with Mr. Lonely featuring all male vocalists while Love Me/Leave Me is for all my XX Posse.

Here are the tracklists for both:


They Call Me Mr. Lonely
1. Labi Siffre: Saved
2. The Starlights: Going Out of My Head
3. Maurice Davis: Mr. Lonely
4. Frank Turner: All For the Kids (sampler)
5. The Impressions: The Girl I Find
6. Joe Acosta: I Need Her
7. Steve Parks: Still Thinking of You
8. Bits N Pieces: Sparkling In the Sand
9. Los Sunglows: I Want To Make It With You
10. Reuben Bell and the Casanovas: It's Not That Easy
11. Soul Majestics: I Done Told You Baby
12. Johnny and the Expressions: Now That You're Mine
13. Stevie Wonder: Hey Love
14. Mayer Hawthorne: I Wish That It Would Rain
15. Michael Jackson: We've Got a Good Thing
16. Michael Jackson: We're Almost There (DJ Spinna Remix)

Love Me, Love Me, Love Me or Leave Me, Leave Me, Leave Me
1. Asha Puthli: Let Me In Your Life
2. Laura Nyro feat. Labelle: The Bells
3. Gloria Scott: Love Me, Love Me, Love Me or Leave Me, Leave Me, Leave Me
4. Lorez Alexandria: I'm Wishin'
5. Jennifer Lara: Our Love
6. Aretha Franklin: One Step Ahead
7. Dee Dee Warwick: It's Not Fair
8. Quinn Harris feat. Lady Bianca: Stop Telling Me Lies
9. Dusty Springfield: Piece of My Heart
10. The Soul Children: The Sweeter He Is
11. Ciel Miner: Stardust (sampler)
12. Nick and Valerie: I'll Find You
13. Sharon Forrester: Don't Let Me Be Lonely
14. Candi Staton: You Don't Love Me
15. Lezli Valentine: I Found Love On a 2-Way Street
16. Honey and the Bees: You Better Go Now
17. Lynn Williams: Don't Be Surprised
18. Lorraine Ellison: Stay With Me
19. The Emotions: As Long As I've Got You

Here are the annotated playlists (i.e. descriptions of each song) for the two mixes. There's three ways to listen to all this:

1) Podcast/free DL

Love Me/Leave Me will appear as a Daptone's podcast later this month and Mr. Lonely is slated to appear as a podcast on the Galactic Fractures site.

DJ Phatrick plans to make the Aretha mix available for a download soon as well.

Cost: Free

2) Digital album

Available through The Corner Store.
Cost: $8.99 per album. (Aretha mix not available as digital album.)

These will be individually tracked and of higher quality (the podcasts are one long, 128 bit track).

Downloadable artwork here.

>3) Compact disc

Mr. Lonely + Love Me are being sold as a pair. Each album is in a slimline case with original artwork. I made 50, individually numbered sets. (I'm unlikely to do a second run on these unless

The Aretha Mix is available for free as an "add-on". I may eventually sell them separately but currently, priority goes to people ordering the Lonely/Love pair.

Cost: Mr. Lonely/Love Me pair = $25
Aretha Mix = free (add-on only)

Shipping (US): free
Shipping (Overseas): $5 flat.

To order: Email me at soulsides AT and please include your mailing address and preferred paypal email account.


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Sunday, November 08, 2009

posted by O.W.

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)

Preston Love: Kool Ade
From Omaha BBQ (Also on LP) (Kent, 1969)

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
Oh! Cherie
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).

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posted by O.W.

Edan: Echo Party (snippet)
From Echo Party (Five Day Weekend, 2009)

Answering the question of "what's Edan been up to?" my favorite rapper/producer/DJ/collector from Boston whose name is an anagram of "Dane". No, seriously, Edan is awesome and on this new 30 minute mix, he really outdoes himself in assembling a creatively executed, sonically compelling mega-mix that's in the best traditions of cut n' paste mixes of the past (Steinski, holler) but with Edan's particular taste in echo boxes, fuzzed out effects, psych-meets-old school aesthetics and all else that make Echo Party as ambitious (and enjoyable) a project that I've ever heard from him.

Stonesthrow still has LP copies available for pre-order, sold-out of their CDs but the album doesn't actually officially drop for another week or so.

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

posted by O.W.

I heart Sesame Street. See more flavor here.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

posted by O.W.

Vicki Anderson: Answer to Mother Popcorn
From 7" (King, 1969). Also on Mother Popcorn

Bobo Mr. Soul: Answer to the Want Ads
From 7" (Ovide, 1971)

Joyce Jones: Help Me Make Up My Mind
From 7" (ATCO, 1969). Also on What It Is!.

Jeanne and the Darlings: Soul Girl
From 7" (Stax, 1968). Also on The Complete Stax/Volt Vol. 2.

By sheer coincidence, besides that Willie West 7", I also picked up two different "answer" singles at Records L.A. last week. As the name suggests, they are meant to follow-up on other (almost always, far more famous) songs and in that sense, they're both covers AND originals. In the case of the Vicki Anderson (I've had a crappy VG- copy for years and finally decided to upgrade), "Answer to Mother Popcorn," she's hollering back at James Brown and his big hit, "Mother Popcorn" (Brown got a lot of mileage out of the "Popcorn" dance in his music of that era), flipping Brown's leering gaze into a funky feminist anthem.

With Bobo Mr. Soul...I initially thought this was Willie Bobo under a different name but nope, that'd be Beau Williams from Houston. Here, he's answering (appropriately enough) Honey Cone's big hit "Want Ads," though unlike the relatively fresh track Vicki was grooving on, Williams tends to stay fairly close to the original arrangement.

Lastly, there's no "answer" in the title but clearly, Joyce Jones is talking back to Tyrone Davis' great "Can I Change My Mind?" I really love the musical flip here - it's reminiscent of Davis' OG but changes things up enough to put a different spin on it and make this all its own. Same goes for Jeanne and the Darlings' slept-on answer song to Sam and Dave's classic "Soul Man" - they built their arrangement off some "Soul Man" riffs but don't follow it so closely to be identical.

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Monday, November 02, 2009

posted by O.W.

Tullio de Piscopo: Medium Rock
From Suonando La Batteria Moderna (Vedette, 1974)

I've said this before but I'm not the most ardent collector of drum breaks since, if you're not producing, it's hard to get all that excited over a one-bar break no matter how dope it sounds once you put it through an SP or MPC. Despite that qualifier, I'm still a sucker for a good beat though and that probably explains why I spent somewhere in the ballpark of 10 or so years trying to track down an "affordable" (and I use the term loosely) copy of this Tullio De Piscopo album after first hearing Egon play it at some long-forgotten party in the Bay Area from the early '00s.

The "Tullio LP" (he has many but everyone knows which one you mean) just looks like it's bad ass - the cover art could just be a red herring but the album delivers on the promise for the most part. It's not pure funk drummage the whole way through - this is an instructional album after all so there's a variety of styles, especially two samba cuts and a host of other Latin-flavored rhythms alongside "Medium Rock" (boring name, ridiculous cut), and "Rocking Special" (the other funky cut), plus "Drum Fantasy" which doesn't sound so much instructional as it does inspirational.

Piscopo, who seems to have been a major Italian drummer in the '70s and '80s, includes notations for his tracks though I don't know how actually useful they would be to a beginning drummer. I mean, I have a basic knowledge on how to read music but I don't know if I could easily figure out how to replicate "Dodiciottavi" based on what they have there. However, the album (a gatefold) also comes with a cool history of jazz drumming, tracing it back to NOLA (and then offering the same lesson in Italian).

As for "Medium Rock," the one thing that keeps nagging me there a second musician playing the tambourine and cow bell? Because unless Tulluio has a third arm, I just can't figure out how they make those elements work in the song (though, there's the more obvious explanation: over-dubbing). But good gawd, talk about a drum solo to end all others - this is three-plus minutes of pure percussive fire that's about as good as anything else I can put it up against (including strong competition from library or dance LPs). "Guns Blazing" indeed.

I included "Dodiciottavi" just to demonstrate some of the range of Piscopo's stylings; it wasn't all funky-funk stuff. I happen to like the rhythms he's putting together here, especially his use of what sounds like a timpani(?).


posted by O.W.

Willie West: Fairchild (2nd version)
From What It Is! (Rhino, 2006)

Willie West: Fairchild (promo version)
I Sleep With the Blues
From 7" single (Josie, 1970)

I first became familiar with "Fairchild" off the What It Is! box-set that I helped work on; I had never heard it before but within the first bar or two, the influence of NOLA's Allen Toussaint was obvious. Strip singer West off of here and this could have been a Lee Dorsey track or something Cyril Neville put out (and indeed, it seems likely some of the Meters played on here). The version of "Fairchild" on here is pretty stripped down - a sparse bass and drum combo and not much else besides West's vocals.

I came upon a 7" promo version of the song at the brand spankin' new Records L.A. store in West Adams and in listening to it, I realize there were subtle differences (or perhaps not so subtle) between it and the version that was on What It Is!. Clearly, the two were done from two different mixes since the promo version has horns that don't exist on the other version at all, plus more prominent guitars. I did some research and I'm hardly the first to have noticed this difference. Others seem to prefer the 2nd version better but personally, I like the density of the promo version given the added elements. True, it does mask more of West's vocals as a result but I didn't have a real issue with that. I've included both for you to compare and contrast. (You can really hear the difference on the post-chorus bridge, w/ and w/o horns).

I also don't want people to, uh, sleep on the B-side, "I Sleep With the Blues" which I thought was an interesting slow jam that's even more sparse but mesmerizing for all its minimalism. You keep expecting some snares to fall in, but really, all there is are those kicks.

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