Posts Tagged ‘Funk’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #9 – The Pointer Sisters: “Yes We Can Can” b/w “Jada” – Blue Thumb 45 RPM Single BTA-229 (1973) (Q1/R1)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #9 – The Pointer Sisters: “Yes We Can Can” b/w “Jada” – Blue Thumb 45 RPM Single BTA-229 (1973) (Q1/R1)

This Allen Toussaint-penned gem comes from the Pointer’s self-titled debut album from 1973. It’s infectious…it’s funky…it’s contagious…it’s been often sampled, but never improved upon!

The Pointer Sisters were indeed real sisters. They began as a duo performing under the moniker “Pointers, A Pair” in 1969 featuring sisters June and Bonnie. Anita joined in 1970 and they became in-demand background vocalists, singing for the likes of Grace Slick, Sylvester, Boz Scaggs and Elvin Bishop. While backing Bishop in 1971, they were signed by Atlantic Records where they released several singles that went nowhere. Sister Ruth joined in 1972 when they signed with Blue Thumb Records.

On Blue Thumb, their goal was to meld their jazz and vocalese style of singing with the sounds of be-bop and funk in order to create something new and unique. They topped this all off by dressing in 1940s clothing making them stand out amongst the funky threaded artists of the early 1970s. One of the first songs they recorded for the album was Allen Toussaint’s “Yes We Can Can” which came to them via producer David Rubinson.

The song established the sisters as a recording act reaching #11 on the pop charts and #12 on R&B. Backing the Pointers on the album were Willie Fulton on guitar, Dexter Plates on bass and Gaylord Birch on drums. The album also included the top forty hit “Wang Dang Doodle,” plus the Wilton Felder composed “That’s How I Feel” and the flip of today’s single “Jada,” which was named after Anita Pointer’s daughter.

While the group found early success in the 1970s, their career really took off in the 1980s with a string of smash hits including their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire,” “He’s So Shy,” “Slow Hand,” “Automatic,” “Jump (For My Love),” “I’m So Excited,” and “Neutron Dance.”

Today’s Song Of The Day was written by Allen Toussaint and originally recorded in 1970 by Lee Dorsey under the title “Yes We Can.” Toussaint is one of New Orleans’ favorite sons, responsible for penning a jukebox full of classics that have spun gold for those who have recorded them. Songs like “Mother-In-Law” (Ernie K-Doe), “Working In The Coal Mine” (Lee Dorsey, Devo), “Fortune Teller” (Benny Spellman, Rolling Stones, The Who), “Southern Nights” (Glen Campbell), “Java” (Al Hirt), “Whipped Cream” (Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass), “Sneaking Sally Through The Alley” (Robert Palmer), “What Do You Want The Girl To Do” (Boz Scaggs) and today’s Song Of The Day have poured out of his pen and up the charts, and these are just the tip of his iceberg of hits.

Toussaint has also contributed his arrangement and production talents to a stellar list of albums including Paul McCartney & Wings’ Venus And Mars and its single “Listen To What The Man Said,” Labelle’s Nightbirds and its single “Lady Marmalade,” The Band albums Rock Of Ages, Cahoots and The Last Waltz, and Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees. Post Katrina, he recorded an essential album with Elvis Costello called The River in Reverse, a traditional New Orleans jazz album called The Bright Mississippi and an exceptional live album.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over fourteen years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: March 24th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Dancing Machine” by The Jackson 5

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Dancing Machine” by The Jackson 5

They were growing up…but the world liked their Jacksons young.

By 1973, The Jackson 5 were becoming somewhat of a spent force around Motown. It had been a few years since the group scored a bona-fide top ten hit, and there was plenty of dissatisfaction to go around.

Brother Michael was no longer the pint-sized dynamo that he once was. He was now a pimply 15 years old geek with a much deeper voice. Motown had been grooming him as a solo star much to the detriment of his singing brothers, and between 1971 and 1973 he scored several substantial solo hits including the top five smash “Got To Be There,” “Ben” which was a chart topping hit about a rat from the movie Willard, a cover of the Bobby Day hit “Rockin’ Robin” which climbed to the #2 position on the charts and “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” which went to #16 on the pop charts and #2 on the rhythm and blues charts.

Meanwhile, some of the other brothers were also branching out. Jermaine released a solo record in 1972 that included a cover of the Shep & The Limelites’ hit “Daddy’s Home” which rose up to the top ten of the charts, and Jackie also released solo record the following year. All of this activity was beginning to play on the dynamic within the group in negative ways.

What the group collectively craved most was more control over what they recorded, and more involvement in the making of their records. While they were writing, producing and playing songs in their home studio, Motown wouldn’t let them play on their own records insisting that they use the Motown house band, The Funk Brothers, or The Wrecking Crew (for West Coast sessions). Not only that, they were only allowed to record songs that were chosen for them by “The Corporation.”

Changes needed to be made, and it was within this atmosphere of disillusion that the group’s father and manager, Joe Jackson began to look for a new record deal for his charges.

The group’s 1973 album, GIT: Get It Together, was the first Jackson 5 album to feature lead vocals by each brother. The album also found the group dipping their collective toes into disco waters by segueing all the songs together in order to provide a non-stop mix of music for dancing.

By far, the best song of the album is today’s Song of the Day by Eric Berman, “Dancing Machine.” The song was an “automatic, systematic” call to the dance floor featuring syncopated funky rhythms and terrific vocal interplay between Michael and the rest of the group who traded off lead vocal lines and sang backup on the track. It was also one of the first songs that Michael employed the vocal hiccup that would end up being one of his lasting trademarks.

Like “Billy Jean” and the moonwalk, “Dancing Machine” also benefitted by an accompanying dance move which helped propel it up the charts. When the group appeared on Soul Train to promote the album, Michael Jackson was seen doing the robot dance resulting in a spectacle that left fans wanting more.

The song was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1975 for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, but lost out to Rufus’s hit “Tell Me Something Good.” While the other seven tracks on the record were less commercial, the title track was a moderate hit that charted at #28 on the singles charts, and “Hum Along and Dance” became a popular favorite in the group’s live act.

Shortly after the release of the album, the group found themselves riding high in the charts again as background vocalists on Stevie Wonder’s 1974 single “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” from his Fulfillingness’ First Finale album.

The group signed with CBS/Epic Records in 1975 and had to change their name to The Jacksons, since Motown owned the rights to the Jackson 5 name. Jermaine chose to stay on at Motown since he was married to Berry Gordy’s daughter, and was replaced by the youngest Jackson brother, Randy.

While the group’s commercial prospects at CBS weren’t much better, Michael eventually scored a huge hit with the 1979 album Off the Wall, and then came Thriller and The Victory Tour, and Jackson mania swept the world again…

Edited: December 11th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Electricity (Drugs)” by Talking Heads

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Electricity (Drugs)” by Talking Heads

One of the musical highlights of our 16 hour car trip from The Outer Banks of North Carolina back home to Chicago was listening Talking Heads’ live double album entitled The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads. The second half of the album features recordings from the 1980-81 Remain In Light tour when Talking Heads expanded from a quartet of David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz to a 10-piece band adding Adrian Belew on guitars, Busta Cherry on bass, Bernie Worrell on keyboards, Joe Rossy on percussion and Dolette McDonald and Nona Hendryx on vocals.

By 1979, Brian Eno’s influence was felt all over the Heads’ music, especially on more atmospheric songs like today’s Song Of The Day originally from their Fear Of Music album. Eno’s input was beginning to create a chasm within the band because the rest of the group felt that he was monopolizing David Byrne’s attention. Today’s song’s title was changed from “Drugs” to “Electricity” by the time it was released on the album in 1979. Whatever tension Eno’s presence created also resulted in the band taking off in a far more interesting direction with a brand-new funkified line-up. The video portion of today’s posting shows the expanded Heads in action (particularly Belew) from a show broadcasted on TV from Rome in 1980. (Today’s Song of The Day begins at 20:00 into the 64-minute clip.) Having seen this version of Talking Heads several times in concert, it is well worth watching if you have the time.

By the time we got around to hearing the The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads album at the tail end of our trip it was as a follow-up to a most-enjoyable spin of XTC’s Black Sea. And it was just the tonic we needed to wield our way through Saturday night Chicago city traffic and back up to the northern suburbs. Home Sweet Home!

Edited: August 10th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #92 – WAR: “The Cicso Kid” b/w “Beetles In The Bog”– United Artist UA-XW163-W

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #92 – WAR: “The Cicso Kid” b/w “Beetles In The Bog”– United Artist UA-XW163-W

Welcome back my friends, to the series that never ends…

When they first began recording, it was Eric Burdon and WAR and WAR was billed as the backing band for Eric Burdon of The Animals. The group was the brainchild of Burdon and Jerry Goldstein who was a member of The Strangeloves and the co-writer of a whole host of classic singles like “I Want Candy,” “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Come On Down To My Boat,” “Sorrow” and “Hang On Sloopy.”

Goldstein was Sly & The Family Stone’s manager when he saw WAR performing in a bar and signed them to his own Far Out Production company. With Burdon at the helm, WAR scored the smash hit “Spill The Wine” from their 1970 debut album Eric Burdon Declares War. Another album followed, before Burdon went his own way leaving WAR to establish themselves as an entity in their own rite.

With Goldstein’s management of the band, it wasn’t long before WAR began scoring hits on their own like “All Day Music” and “Slippin’ Into Darkness” from their 1971 All Day Music album. WAR’s unique sound was steeped in Latin Jazz, psychedelic Rock and Funk, layering Lee Oskar’s harmonica lines over Charles Miller’s saxophone in unison on extended jams.

The year 1972, saw the release of their breakthrough chart-topping album, The World Is A Ghetto, with its title track hit (#3 R&B, #7 Pop) and AM radio classic “The Cisco Kid” which climbed to #2 Pop and #5 on the R&B charts.

The origins of the character of The Cisco Kid came from the O. Henry story The Caballero’s Way in which the character was a villain. When The Cisco Kid debuted on TV, he became a Mexican hero and the show centered on his adventures in the old west. The show ran from 1950-1956 and starred Duncan Renaldo as The Cisco Kid.

The song was written by the group’s guitarist Howard Scott who wanted to write a song about an ethnic hero. On the day he wrote it, he was visited by drummer Howard Brown.

Drummer, Howard Brown: “Howard has always been a major contributor. He was in Compton, he had this apartment. I came up there and when I got up there he was sitting on his amp. He said, ‘Harold, I got this idea. Cisco kid was a friend of mine.’ That idea came about because there were no ethnic heroes at that time. Mainly, we were seeing people like Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers. There wasn’t really anybody to relate to except Cisco Kid. He was like the total different kind of person.

We wanted to give kids, people, another alternative besides the ones that were right in our face, obvious heroes. And it worked out really good, because it had the right kind of hook, it was a fun song. People at that time didn’t want to be hearing about no more wars or anything, they just wanted fun music. And the tonality was brilliant.”  (Songfacts.com)

Today’s jukebox classic features the group’s classic lineup of Lee Oskar on harmonica, Lonnie Jordan on vocals, organ and percussion, B.B. Dickerson on bass, Papa Dee Allen on percussion, Howard Scott on guitar, Harold Brown on drums and Charles Miller on saxophone. The flip is a tribal funk instrumental that closes out he The World Is A Ghetto album.

WAR continued to score hits throughout the 1970s including “Low Rider,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” “Summer,” “Gypsy Man” and many others. Charles Miller was murdered in 1980 and Papa Dee Allen succumbed to a heart attack while performing on stage in 1988.

In the mid-1990s, Far Out Productions/Jerry Goldstein won the use of the name WAR in federal court, and original keyboardist Lonnie Jordan began touring under that name. The other 4 surviving core members toured under the name The Music Band and formed The Lowrider Band in 2007. Meanwhile Burdon got back together with Lonnie Jordan for a one-off reunion, billed as Eric Burdon and WAR, at The Royal Albert Hall in 2008.

“The Jukebox Series” focused on the 80 records that currently inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. Over the years, records have come and gone out of the ranks of the juke, but they were all at one time juke-worthy. I’ve decided to expand “The Jukebox Series” to include many of the “juke-worthy” records that are no longer currently in the mix, but at one time inhabited a coveted slot.

Edited: March 24th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #9 – The Pointer Sisters: “Yes We Can Can” b/w “Jada” – Blue Thumb 45 RPM Single BTA-229 (1973) (Q1/R1)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #9 – The Pointer Sisters: “Yes We Can Can” b/w “Jada” – Blue Thumb 45 RPM Single BTA-229 (1973) (Q1/R1)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

This Allen Toussaint-penned gem comes from the Pointer’s debut album from 1973.  It’s infectious…it’s funky…it’s contagious…it’s been often sampled, but never improved upon!

The Pointer Sisters were indeed real sisters. They began as a duo performing under the moniker “Pointers, A Pair” in 1969 featuring sisters June and Bonnie. Anita joined in 1970 and they became in-demand background vocalists, singing for the likes of Grace Slick, Sylvester, Boz Scaggs and Elvin Bishop. While backing Bishop in 1971, they were signed by Atlantic Records where they released several singles that went nowhere. Sister Ruth joined in 1972 when they signed with Blue Thumb Records.

On Blue Thumb, their goal was to meld their jazz and vocalese style of singing with the sounds of be-bop and funk in order to create something new and unique. They topped this all off by dressing in 1940s clothing making them stand out amongst the funky threaded artists of the early 1970s. One of the first songs they recorded for the album was Allen Toussaint’s “Yes We Can Can” which came to them via producer David Rubinson.

The song established the sisters as a recording act reaching #11 on the pop charts and #12 on R&B. Backing the Pointers on the album were Willie Fulton on guitar, Dexter Plates on bass and Gaylord Birch on drums. The album also included the top forty hit “Wang Dang Doodle,” plus the Wilton Felder composed “That’s How I Feel” and the flip of today’s single “Jada,” which was named after Anita Pointer’s daughter.

While the group found early success in the 1970s, their career really took off in the 1980s with a string of smash hits including their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire,” “He’s So Shy,” “Slow Hand,” “Automatic,” “Jump (For My Love),” “I’m So Excited,” and “Neutron Dance.”

Today’s Song Of The Day was written by Allen Toussaint and originally recorded in 1970 by Lee Dorsey under the title “Yes We Can.” Toussaint is one of New Orleans’ favorite sons, responsible for penning a jukebox full of classics that have spun gold for those who have recorded them. Songs like “Mother-In-Law” (Ernie K-Doe), “Working In The Coal Mine” (Lee Dorsey, Devo), “Fortune Teller” (Benny Spellman, Rolling Stones, The Who), “Southern Nights” (Glen Campbell), “Java” (Al Hirt), “Whipped Cream” (Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass), “Sneaking Sally Through The Alley” (Robert Palmer), “What Do You Want The Girl To Do” (Boz Scaggs) and today’s Song Of The Day have poured out of his pen and up the charts, and these are just the tip of his ice berg of hits.

Toussaint has also contributed his arrangement and production talents to a stellar list of albums including Paul McCartney & Wings’ Venus And Mars and its single “Listen To What The Man Said,” Labelle’s Nightbirds and its single “Lady Marmalade,” The Band albums Rock Of Ages, Cahoots and The Last Waltz, and Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees. Post Katrina, he recorded an essential album with Elvis Costello called The River In Reverse, a traditional New Orleans jazz album called The Bright Mississippi and an exceptional new live album released several weeks ago.

Edited: October 18th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 8/20/13 – “Jungle Boogie” by Kool & The Gang

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Jungle Boogie” by Kool & The Gang

When Kool & The Gang topped the charts with “Celebrate” in 1980, they were at the peak of their success, but as far as I was concerned, they were long past their prime. To many, that prime happened seven years earlier with the 1973 album, Wild And Peaceful and its clutch of super funky singles.

Kool & The Gang hailed from Jersey City, New Jersey and formed in 1964 as The Jazziacs. They then changed their name to Kool & The Flames, and later settled on Kool & The Gang so as not to be confused with James Brown and His Famous Flames. Their most famous lineup included Robert “Kool” Bell on bass, brother Ronald Bell on tenor saxophone, James “J.T.” Taylor on lead vocals, George Brown on drums, Robert “Spike” Mickens on trumpet, Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas on alto saxophone, Clay Smith on guitar, and Rick West on keyboards. While James J.T. Taylor would later go on to become a solo star in his own rite, he was not a member of the band when they recorded today’s Song Of The Day.

The group signed to Gene Redd’s De-Lite Records in 1969, but it was their 1973 album Wild And Peaceful that put the group on the musical map. The album included three bona-fide hit singles including today’s Song Of The Day, “Hollywood Swinging” (“Hey Hey Hey, What cha got to say!”) which topped the R&B charts in 1974 (#6 Pop) and the two horn-driven funk workouts that opened the album, “Funky Stuff” and “More Funky Stuff” (“Can’t get enough…of that funky stuff…”). The three singles were all recorded in one night and were based on aspects of Manu Dibango’s hit recording of “Soul Makossa.”

With its “Get Down, Get Down” call to action, and a rumbling bass line designed to move the tush, “Jungle Boogie” crowded dance floors all over the world as it climbed to the #4 position on the pop charts in 1973. Samples of the track have turned up in The Beastie Boys’ “Hey Ladies,” Madonna’s “Erotica,” Janet Jackson’s “You Want This” and M/A/R/R/S’ “Pump Up The Volume.” The song was also featured in the Quentin Tarentino film Pulp Fiction, as well as in many video games. The clip of the song shown here is from the group’s 1974 appearance on The Midnight Special.

The hit albums Light Of Worlds and Spirit Of the Boogie followed in 1974 and 1975 respectively before the group decided to change their focus from funk to pop with the addition of new lead singer James J.T. Taylor in 1979. That’s when the group lost me, however they did pick up millions of new fans with their new pop direction.

The group’s signature single was “Celebrate” which became the go-to goodtime party anthem of the 1980s. The chart-topping single was produced by Eumir Deodato who had chart success of his own in the early 70s with his hit version of the Strauss-composed classical piece “Also Sprach Zarathustra.”

More hit singles followed including “Ladies Night” (#8/1979), “Too Hot” (#5/1979), “Get Down On It” (#10/1982), Joanna (#2/1983), “Fresh” (#9/1985), “Misled” (#10/1985) and “Cherish” (#2/1985). Over the years, the group has sold over 70 million records worldwide, and they still perform today.

Edited: August 19th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/30/13

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Dancing Machine” by The Jackson 5

They were growing up…and the world liked their Jacksons young.

By 1973, The Jackson 5 were becoming somewhat of a spent force around Motown. It had been a few years since the group scored a bona-fide top ten hit, and there was plenty of dissatisfaction to go around.

Brother Michael was no longer the pint-sized dynamo that he once was. He was now a pimply 15 years old geek with a much deeper voice. Motown had been grooming him as a solo star much to the detriment of his singing brothers, and between 1971 and 1973 he scored several substantial solo hits including the top five smash “Got To Be There,” “Ben” which was a chart topping hit about a rat from the movie Willard, a cover of the Bobby Day hit “Rockin’ Robin” which climbed to the #2 position on the charts and “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” which went to #16 on the pop charts and #2 on the rhythm and blues charts.

Meanwhile, some of the other brothers were also branching out. Jermaine released a solo record in 1972 that included a cover of the Shep & The Limelites’ hit “Daddy’s Home” which rose up to the top ten of the charts, and Jackie also released solo record the following year. All of this activity was beginning to play on the dynamic within the group in negative ways.

What the group collectively craved most was more control over what they recorded, and more involvement in the making of their records. While they were writing, producing and playing songs in their home studio, Motown wouldn’t let them play on their own records insisting that they use the Motown house band, The Funk Brothers, or The Wrecking Crew (for West Coast sessions). Not only that, they were only allowed to record songs that were chosen for them by “The Corporation.”

Changes needed to be made, and it was within this atmosphere of disillusion that the group’s father and manager, Joe Jackson began to look for a new record deal for his charges.

The group’s 1973 album, GIT: Get It Together, was the first Jackson 5 album to feature lead vocals by each brother.  The album also found the group dipping their collective toes into disco waters by segueing all the songs together in order to provide a non-stop mix of music for dancing.

By far, the best song of the album is today’s Song Of The Day, “Dancing Machine.” The song was an “automatic, systematic” call to the dance floor featuring syncopated funky rhythms and terrific vocal interplay between Michael and the rest of the group who traded off lead vocal lines and sang backup on the track. It was also one of the first songs that Michael employed the vocal hiccup that would end up being one of his lasting trademarks.

Like “Billy Jean” and the moonwalk, “Dancing Machine” also benefitted by an accompanying dance move which helped propel it up the charts.  When the group appeared on Soul Train to promote the album, Michael Jackson was seen doing the robot dance resulting in a spectacle that left fans wanting more.

The song was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1975 for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, but lost out to Rufus’s hit “Tell Me Something Good.” While the other seven tracks on the record were less commercial, the title track was a moderate hit that charted at #28 on the singles charts, and “Hum Along and Dance” became a popular favorite in the group’s live act.

Shortly after the release of the album, the group found themselves riding high in the charts again as background vocalists on Stevie Wonder’s 1974 single “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” from his album Fulfillingness’ First Finale.

The group signed with CBS/Epic Records in 1975 and had to change their name to The Jacksons, since Motown owned the rights to the Jackson 5 name. Jermaine chose to stay on at Motown since he was married to Berry Gordy’s daughter, and was replaced by the youngest Jackson brother, Randy.

While the group’s commercial prospects at CBS weren’t much better, Michael eventually scored a huge hit with the 1979 album Off the Wall, and then came Thriller and The Victory Tour, and Jackson mania swept the world again…

Edited: May 29th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 1/11/13

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Silly Savage” by The Golden Toadstools

“Chuck Berry, strawberry, cranberry and dingleberry, baby!”

And so begins one of the most funked-up romps I’ve ever heard, this side of the Godfather Of Soul himself! Next to nothing is known about The Golden Toadstools, who originally released this one-off record written by Merlin Jones and Wayne Branham back in 1966. After doing much research I couldn’t come up with any information about who Jones and Branham are, who the group was or where they were from. All I could find is information about the record label that released this one of a kind record, which duly follows.

The record was released on the Minaret record label which was founded in Nashville in the early sixties by Herb Shucher, and then sold to Finley Duncan in 1966. Duncan leased the record to Shelby Singleton who re-released it in 1968.

Shelby Singleton ran Plantation Records (home of Jeannie C. Riley and the “Harper Valley P.T.A.”), and before that was a talent scout for Mercury Records responsible for finding hits by Paul and Paula (“Hey Paula”), Phil Phillips (“Sea Of Love”), The Big Bopper (“Chantilly Lace”), Bruce Channel (“Hey Baby”) and Johnny Preston (“Running Bear”). He purchased the legendary Sun label in 1969, the original home of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, to name but a few, and continued to mine their treasured vaults until his death in 1977.

This song came into my orbit via a 79-track soul and funk playlist called Funky Niblets, that was given to me by my cousin. I’ve had this playlist on my iPod for several years now, and like the record itself, I couldn’t find any other information about who made the playlist or where it came from. The b-side to this single is called “Weeping River.” I’ve never heard it…

Dead ends never sounded so good.

Edited: January 10th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 7/27/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Dead On It” by Prince

The follow up album to “Sign Of The Times” was to be Prince’s darkest and funkiest album to date. It was called “The Black Album” and was scheduled to come out in late 1987. At the last minute, and after a few promo copies had leaked out, Prince got cold feet and recalled the album replacing it with the far more positive “Lovesexy” album. Both albums had one song in common, the romantic ballad “When Two Are In Love,” otherwise the records were like night and day…or more to the point, good and evil. Prince saw the album as too negative which is why it was shelved.. When Prince released the first single and video from the “Lovesexy” album, “Alphabet St.,” it featured a hidden banner within the video that said “Don’t buy the Black Album, sorry.” When it finally got its contractual obligation, limited edition official release on CD in 1994, it was packaged in black with no credits on the cover and just a list of songs printed on the disc. The original title for the album was to be “The Funk Bible.” The album’s darkest song was called “Bob George” whose title was an amalgam of his manager Bob Cavallo and the critic, Nelson George who became very critical of his output at the time. The song stands out in Prince’s catalog for its gangster overtones and the line “That skinny m.f. with the high voice,” one of the few self-references in his work. This song pokes fun at the then-burgeoning hip-hop scene that threatened to make Prince passé. I’ve gotta get me a hat like the kid in this homemade video!

Edited: July 26th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 3/22/11

Song Of The Day – “Once You Get Started/Stop On By” by Rufus featuring Chaka Khan

A duo of songs from the 1974 album “Rufisized” performed live on the Mike Douglas Show in 1975. What can be said of Chaka Khan that hasn’t been said already…dynamo performer…dynamite set of pipes! No need for auto-tuned vocals here…nothing processed…everything is real down ‘n’ dirty groove. Little known fact…Rufus with Chaka Khan grew out of the ashes of Chicago group The American Breed who scored a hit in 1968 with “Bend Me Shape Me.” Side note: How Mike Douglas managed to keep his job as talk show host is totally beyond me. What a buffoon…

Edited: March 22nd, 2011