FUNKIFY YOUR LIFE - SHOW #8 - PLAYLIST
Air dates: Thursday, September 25, 2014, 1:00 PM, and Friday, September 26, 2014, 9:00 PM, on KRVS 88.7 FM Lafayette/Lake Charles, and online at krvs.org. You can hear a podcast of this show and previous shows on the website under “Programs” anytime.
“Funkify Your Life” [Intro] - The Meters
“Ride Your Pony” (Naomi Neville) - Betty Harris - from the Charly LP compilation of Betty’s Sansu material, In the Saddle, 1980.
My original 45 (Sansu #480), is a bit worse for wear on this side, so I went with this re-issue track. I played the flip side of the single, “Trouble With My Lover”, on show #1. For more thoughts on this tune, which is a Toussaint-written/produced cover that beats Lee Dorsey’s 1965 original, see my post from 2010. And for some background on how Ms Betty came to record in New Orleans, check this one.
“Love, I Can’t Seem To Find It” (Larry Williams) - Larry Williams - from his original Venture single #622, 1968.
For some background on Williams’ music career, his gangster lifestyle, and this single in particular, check out my post from 2006, where I featured the other side, “Shake Your Body Girl”.
“Don’t Stop Now” (Tony Bryce) - Lloyd Price - from his original JAD single #212, 1968.
I featured this single back in 2006; and the post is chock full of interesting factoids, most of which I’d since forgotten. Glad I wrote it down, and caught back up.
“Chasing Rainbows” (Teddy Royal) - Johnny Adams - from his original Ariola single #7701, 1978.
This single was featured in the first of my two-part post on the career of Teddy Royal, who got the writing credit on this single, which had its initial release on Hep’ Me. Later, when I did a feature on soul singer Willie West, he told me that he had co-written (uncredited) the song with Royal, contributing the lyrics. Adams only did a handful of true funk songs; and his voice classed up all of ‘em.
“Freddie’s Walking” (Chuck Mangione) - C. P. Love - from his original Stone single #201, 1973.
C. P. Love is one of the many fine soul singers who were signed to Elijah Walker’s artist management company in New Orleans, Skyline Productions, and the A&R company he ran with Wardell ‘Big Q’ Quezergue, Pelican Productions, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That got Love a chance to record at Malaco in Jackson, Ms, when Big Q and Walker worked with the studio; but the one single that resulted did not sell. Walker died around 1973, and Love moved on, recording this one-off single for Stone, a Baton Rouge label, that year. [See my post from the Big Q series, for more on Love’s story.]
While his take on the gospel flavored “Freddie’s Walking” (anybody know what this song, written by pop-jazz flugelhorn player Chuck Mangione, is about?) showed off his vocal chops, the record was another commercial non-starter. Love later recorded for Orleans records and recently has joined the band Fo’Reel, about which see below.
“What I Can Do” (M. Domizio-C. P. Love) - Fo’Real - from their independently released CD, Heavy Water, 2014.
An impressive aggregation of veteran players, Fo’Real greatly benefits from the participation of C. P. Love, one of New Orleans’ best unsung vocalists, whose career stretches back to the 1960s. The other members are guitarist and songwriter, Mark Domizio, bassist David Hyde [since replaced by another great, David Barard], and Johnny Neel on keyboards. On this track, Allyn Robinson played drums. Other tracks also feature a fine horn section. I’m sure I’ll get to other tracks as time goes by.
“New Orleans Twist” (P. King-D. Bartholomew-W. Quezergue) - Blazer Boy - from his original Imperial single #5801, 1961.
At the time of this recording, producer Dave Bartholomew was nearing the end of his long association with Imperial Records, which started in the late 1940s and brought about the huge success of Fats Domino. Wardell Quezergue was doing a lot of the arrangements for these later Imperial sides. The young Smokey Johnson was likely drumming on this standard issue dance song, featuring the not often recorded George Stevens, dubbed Blazer Boy, on vocal.
“Olde Wine” (James Black) - Red Tyler - from his original At Last single #1003, 1963.
The At Last label was a subsidiary of AFO (All For One) Records, started by producer/musician Harold Battiste and a group of like-minded black studio musicians who wanted to get more financial rewards from the records they played on, arranged, and helped make hits. Saxophonist Alvin ‘Red’ Tyler, who played on countless R&B records starting in the late 1940s, was a founding member of AFO and the featured artist on this track, written by drummer/composer, James Black. Like the majority of the AFO associates, Black was primarily a jazz musician who played R&B to make a living, making a lot of music history in the process.
“You Ain’t Hittin’ On Nothing” (Naomi Neville) - Irma Thomas - from her original Minit single #666, 1963.
Among Irma’s best and most remembered recordings were the tracks she cut for the Minit label in the early 1960s, with Allen Toussaint writing, arranging and producing. This funky, sassy little number ,written by Toussaint under his nom de plume, was the flip side of her classic, “Ruler Of My Heart”, with backing by a stripped down rhythm section headed by Roy Montrell on guitar. He was also one of AFO’s founders, many of whom Toussaint used at the time, such as bassist Chuck Badie and drummer John Boudreaux, who very likely are on this, too.
“Love Slip Up On Ya” (Neville-Nocentelli-Porter-Modeliste) - The Meters - from their original Reprise LP, Fire On the Bayou, 1975.
I wrote a short tribute to this funk-sway groove monster back in 2006.
“Hear The Words, Feel the Feeling” (L. Dozier-M. Jackson) - Margie Joseph - from her original Cotillion LP, Hear The Words, Feel the Feeling, 1976.
While I think she did her best records and funkiest tunes with producer/arranger Arif Mardin for Atlantic a bit earlier, this album on Atlantic’s subsidiary, Cotillion, has its moments even though disco tendencies were evident. After all, it was produced by the great Lamont Dozier on out the Left Coast. The distinctive, stylized funk of the title track is far from the New Orleans feel [She recorded next to nothing in her hometown.], but still mighty effective. Read David Nathan's thorough overview of Margie’s career at SoulMusic.com.
“Mojo Hannah” (A. Williams-C. Paul-B. Paul) - Aaron Neville - from his original Mercury single #73310, 1972.
I wrote-up Aaron’s hot take of this tune, backed by the Meters, back in 2010.
“Junk” (Fantoms) - The Fantoms - from their original Power Funksion single #10002, 1972.
Covered this single and some of the band’s backstory in a 2007 post.
“I Want Somebody (To Show Me The Way Back Home)” [W. Turbinton] - Willie Tee - from his original Atlantic single #2302, 1965.
Just pre-Katrina, during the first year of HOTG, I discussed this side, one of my absolute faves by Mr. Turbinton.
“We’ll Figure It Out” (S. Allen-J. Butler- and band) - Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs - from their POME/Threadhead Records CD, Box Who In?, 2009.
As the title of the CD implies, it’s hard to box in Shamarr and his band, as their musical adventures range from jazz to funk, hip-hop to hard rock, and tosses in some rap from Dee-1 for good measure. Check Shamarr’s website for more details.