cannonball adderley – why am I treated so bad
sir victor uwaifo & his melody maestros – jungle beat
junior mance – don’t cha hear me calling’ to ya
the olympians – sirens of jupiter
james brown – funky drummer (jorun bombay remix)
bronx river parkway – la valla
sharon jones & the dap kings – this land is your land
skeletons – over the bridge (afrostreet mix)
lafayette afrorock band – darkest light
the politicians – free your mind
pearly queen – quit jivin’
rare earth – (I know) I’m losin’ you
manu dibango – motapo
doctor stereo – la cumbia perida (tahira afro cumbia mix)
kenny smith & the loveliters – go for your self (EDIT)
zafari – addis ababa
gino dentie & the family band – express
Celestial Blues – Starting this mix out mellow with a nice 2010 cover from Denmark’s premier Jazz Funk unit, Povo. They had the good sense to bring back the original vocalist, Andy Bey, who first recorded this with Gary Bartz’s NTU Troop on their 1971 “Harlem Bush Music” LP. I had the good sense to put the original on a mix about 20 years ago, which I highly recommend you contrast and compare with HERE. It was a real crate digger find back in the day, before the avalanche of early 90s represses of obscure Jazz records.
Why Am I Treated So Bad! – The title track on a great live album from Cannonball Adderley, recorded at Atlantic Studios in 1967. Producer David Axelrod would essentially stage these recordings. He’d get the band liquored up and bring in a bunch of friends to sit in the studio, get high, and have a listening party. The result is beautifully raw and loose. That’s Cannonball’s brother Nat on cornet, and Austrian keyboard wizard Joe Zawinul burning up the Rhodes piano. Zawinul is a Jazz Fusion legend, playing with Cannonball, Weather Report, and most crucially on Miles’ “In A Silent Way”, one of my all time favorite records. The song itself is a Staple Singers cover, another version of which you can hear on the first installment of my BACKGROUND MUSIC FOR BEING COOL AS SHIT mixes.
Jungle Beat (Mutaba) – This sweet slice of raw Nigerian High Life came out on a 7” in 1969 on the Phillips label. Sir Victor Uwaifo is a guitarist and flutist known for playing instruments with his feet and his tongue. He is also credited as the founder of his own style of music, “Joromi”. Listen to the man (kind of) explain it HERE
Don’t Cha Hear Me Calling’ To Ya – Junior Mance cut his chops at Chicago’s Bee Hive club in the 50s, backing up heavyweights like Bird and Coleman Hawkins. He later toured with Maynard Ferguson, Max Roach, and Dizzy, to name but a few. His discography, as both band leader and sideman, is staggering. This came out on his 1970 “With A Lotta Help from my friends” LP, with Eric Gale, Chuck Rainey, and the always badass Billy Cobham. Hip Hop heads may recognize the baseline from this 90s gem (side note: before the word “jiggy” took hold, thanks to Will Smith, Uptown NYers pronounced it with a “ZSHU” sound, hence the name of that group. And as far as I remember, it just meant dressing fresh as fuck.
Sirens of Jupiter – Another offshoot of all these Brooklyn throwback bands that contains members of The Dap Kings, Lee Fields & The Expressions, and The Menahan Street Band. It ain’t nothing new, but it sure as fuck stomps all over the same old shit that passes for 98% of club music today. Give me live musicians any day. This LP came out just last week. every song on the album is about one of the Greek Gods.
Funky Drummer (Jorun Bombay remix) – Sometimes you just need some stripped down JB in your ear to remind you why he’s the best that ever did it. Halifax O.G. Jorun Bombay from the Haltown Projex Crew hooked up the remix nicely - tightening things up a bit, and playing with the sequence. But don’t fret, the meat is still on the bone. They pressed about 300 of these on 7” in 2014. Still looking for the vinyl, but this digital version will work for now.
La Valla – More new shit that sounds like old shit. Bronx River Parkway are some local cats that Pablo Rodriguez (Candela Records) brought down to PR in 2006 to team up with a slew of Latin Funk session men and carry on the tradition of old school groups like Apollo Sound and Ocho. The end result was a very dope sounding LP called San Sebastian 152. Wepa!
This Land Is Your Land – The dons of the Brooklyn throwback sound, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, doing what they do best. From their 2005 “Naturally” LP. Also was used in the opening credits of the Clooney film Up In The Air, if you must know.
Over The Bridge (Afrostreet mix) – Another nice afrofunk cut from that Rich Medina compilation I’ve been promoting left and right. Skeletons is really just Benedic Lamdin (aka Nostalgia 77), veteran UK producer. It was originally part of a fake afro jazz library sounds number he was planning on slipping into the collector scene as an undiscovered gem, but he liked it so much, he recorded a whole album and released it on his own label, Impossible Ark, in 2010.
Darkest Light – If this intro horn doesn’t make you want to get in S1W formation, then we probably shouldn’t be friends. I used a pic of the Lafayette Afrorock Band for the cover of this mix, as they seemed to sit nicely in the sweet spot of all of these variations on Afro Funk, Soul, & Latin Jazz. Originally formed in 1970 in Roosevelt, Long Island, they relocated to Paris in 1971 and went on to record a bunch of under-appreciated Afrofunk LPs that are now regarded as certified breakbeat classics. Leroy Gomez played the sax solo on this record. He later went on to be the lead singer of disco band Santa Esmeralda, perhaps best known for their 1977 cover of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” – which played a nice role in this Tarantino scene - which is, of course, itself an homage to Lady Snowblood
Free Your Mind – Speaking of tracks that have been sampled forever, look no further than this cut by The Politicians. These guys started out as The Peps in Detroit’s famous 20 Grand Hotel nightclub. By the time they recorded this in 1972, they were known as McKinley Jackson & The Politicians. Mr Jackson was a Motown regular and a staple at Holland-Dozier-Holland recordings sessions. This came out on Hot Wax, the label that Eddie Holland formed when he split from Motown in 68. The label’s biggest hit was probably Honey Cone’s “Want Ads”
Quit Jivin’ – Some down south Cuban Funk from Miami 1974. Pearly Queen were one of Ray Fernandez’s groups on the Sound Triangle label. Ray also played with Mongo Santamaria and Bud Powell. He also recorded material under the name Ray & His Court. Peep the album cover
(I Know) I’m Losing You – Put on some headphones, dig that old bong out of your closet, and find a bean bag chair. This Rare Earth 11-minute cover came out in 1970, three years after the original by the Temptations, and it’s nothing short of epic. What it lacks in Motown funk, it makes up in pure psychedelic trippy weirdness. And I love any band willing to break down a song over and over, to the point where you’re sure “this time, it’s over” and then NOPE!
Motapo – This sleeper Manu Dibango song first appeared as an LP cut on the 1975 soundtrack to Countdown At Kusini, a black liberation saga directed by Ossie Davis and released in the states as Cool Red. The film starred Ossie, Ruby Dee, and Greg Morris, the brother from Mission Impossible. This song was also later released as a B-side on a Fiesta Records 7” in 1978.
La Cumbia Perida (Tahira Afro Cumbia Mix) – More throwback vibes from Brooklyn, this time inna Cumbia style. Doctor Stereo is Ezequiel Lodeiro, the Argentinean DJ behind B.A’s long-running Soulfood parties. This came out in 2011 on the BK label Names You Can Trust, home to my man Monk One, among others, and they provide all manner of funky offerings. Check them out HERE
Go For Your Self (EDIT) – This track connects back to my hometown, Cincinnati Ohio. Kenny Smith grew up less than a mile from my house and graduated from Withrow High School, who’s desolate black tar parking lot I spent many an 80s summer skateboarding in. He started out in a local band called The Enchanters and recorded for The King records offshoot Deluxe before briefly starting his own label, Goldspot. He did yield one semi-hit, “Lord What’s Happening To Our People”, that became a classic in the UK Northern Soul scene. Go figure. This Dayton based group The Loveliters recorded just three 7”s for Flo-Roe records, including this song from 1968.
Addis Ababa – My love affair with all things Ethio-Jazz continues. This is a modern homage to the genre, released as part of a compilation of similar sounds on the Beyond Addis LP. Like every other retro act on this mix, these guys Zafari probably live somewhere in Brooklyn, but I haven’t been able to dig up any details. More interestingly, I just recently learned that Ethiopian Jazz tends to make use of a particular pentatonic scale, the tezeta minor scale, a word that translates loosely as “gloom”. This explains why I’m so drawn to it LOL. It’s the Northern African version of American minor-key deep house. I’m through the looking glass now, people.
Express – A not too shabby cover of the BT Express original by Gino Dentie and the Family Band. Gino was an L.E.S. kid who went to Hollywood in the 70s to play Disco and become and actor. This band toured the country for a few years playing disco covers – and one can only imagine what a party that must have been. His acting career finally took hold when he landed a part in the 1986 Dick Butkus comedy, Hamburger: The Motion Picture. He was the limo driver, which was appropriate, since they were using his own personal custom cherry red Cadillac limo, which was the Guinness Book record holder for longest car in the world at the time. Final side note: I have long maintained that Dick Butkus is the hardest name any kid on earth could have growing up. Prove me wrong!