=Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cracker Jack - Mickey and His Mice

This week's single is one of many finds from last Sunday at the Milwaukee record show. Luckily for me, a pretty good turn out dealer-wise led to the pick up of a good number of great sides that will be making an appearance here one way or another over the next few months. This week's single comes to us from a small label (I'm only aware of 3 releases) out of Baltimore, Maryland...

Cracker Jack - Mickey and His Mice - Marti

"Mickey" is actually the prominent Baltimore jazz tenor player Wilfred "Mickey" Fields, who is featured prominently wailing away throughout the track. Aside from "Mickey", I don't know who any of the other players on this record are. What I do know is that this song was arranged by Eddie Drennon*, who presumably is the same Eddie Drennon as that of Eddie Drennon & BBS Unlimited, the D.C. group responsible for the disco hit, Let's Do The Latin Hustle. Aside from today's selection, Mickey and His Mice also recorded for the Bell and Samar labels.

*Drennon is credited alongside "Mickey" and the record producer M. Cantine with writing the song

Enjoy the new year, and be sure to check back in next week for a new single and mix.

=Thursday, December 25, 2008

Xmas Twist - Twistin' Kings

Well, it's the first Christmas here at Trunk of F.U.N.K., so I figured I'd spread a little holiday cheer with an appropriately themed 45...

Xmas Twist - Twistin' Kings - Motown

Very early on in the Motown records days, a little group known as The Twistin' Kings recorded two 45s that, White House Twist b/w today's selection and Congo Twist pts 1/2 (both obvious attempts to cash in on the current twist craze). Despite only having a short recording career as the Twistin' Kings (and subsequently one LP as Earl Van Dyke and the Soul Brothers), the group actually had a huge hand in great number of Motown singles, as The Twistin' Kings are actually the Funk Brothers, the Motown house band. Outside of the players, very little seems to be known about the specifics of this record, with one looming question being who the vocalists are. If anyone has any additional information, it would be greatly appreciated if you could pass it on.

=Friday, December 19, 2008

Cultivating Classics

With a number of holidays fast approaching here in the states, I figured it was only appropriate to provide you all with a little gift of my own…

Trunk of F.U.N.K. vol. 012 – Cultivating Classics


Artist – Song – Label

Syl Johnson – Is It Because I’m Black – Twinight
First Natural Hair Band – Ripped Open By Metal Explosions – United Artsts
Quincy Jones – Summer In The City – A&M Records
War – Magic Mountain – MGM
Linda Lyndell – What A Man – Stax
Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne – Let Me Be Your Lover – Sunshine Sound
James Brown – Funky President – Polydor
Rufus Thomas – Do The Funky Penguin, Pt. 1 – Stax
Cymande – Brothers On The Slide – Janus
Monk Higgins and the Specialties – Big Water Bed – United Artists

A quick perusal of today’s tracklist is probably all that is necessary to figure out the underlying connection of each of these tracks. For those not readily making the connection, today’s mix starts with Syl Johnson’s classic race relations anthem, Is It Because I’m Black, which has been sampled a boat-load of times, but was used most notably for the Wu-Tang Clan’s, Hollow Bones. Following up is The First Natural Hair Band, a musical project headed by Hair composer Galt Macdermot, with Ripped Open By Metal Explosions, used most appropriately for the Artifacts track, C’mon Wit Da Get Down. Next on the list is one of my all-time favorite electric piano sides, Summer in the City, from none other than Quincy Jones, which was sampled for The Pharcyde’s, Passin’ Me By, off of their album, Bizarre Ride II. The pace then picks up a bit with Magic Mountain by War, the intro to which later served as the basis for De La Soul’s, Potholes in my Lawn. Lynda Lyndell then follows things up with a little tune about the greatness of the man in her life, What A Man, which is one of those tracks with a sample that’s easily recognized from the very first note by just about anyone who listens to it. Up next is a tune with a sample that I recognized almost immediately upon putting the needle to the wax, however, I couldn’t quite put my finger on the exact tune that used it quite so easily. A quick bit of Google searching informed me that the track I was listening to, Let Me Be Your Lover by Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne later re-emerged as the backing track to Stereo MC’s, Connected, a song I was only previously familiar with from radio play, which is probably why it didn’t jump to mind right away. The Godfather of Soul and the Crown Prince of Dance then serve up two classic breaks back to back, which have been used so many times that there’s hardly a point in putting together a list. The mix then moves to a song that is most likely the least recognizable sample of the bunch, as it was recently chopped up by MF Doom as the basis for John Robinson’s, The Replenish. The mix then closes out with a Monk Higgins and the Specialties classic, Big Water Bed, which provided the horn sample for Big Daddy Kane’s, Ain’t No Half Steppin’. Hopefully this mix suits your fancy and provides some solid listening enjoyment over the course of the upcoming weeks. I’ll be back early next week with an all-new single, so be sure to check back in.

=Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Boogalo-Tramp - A.C. Reed

Welcome back, listeners.

Hopefully things are well on your end. After a few hectic weeks in a row, there's finally been some good news at the Trunk of F.U.N.K. compound. Luckily for me, good news typically allows for some free time, which was aptly spent this last weekend getting in some digging at a spot I'd only been to once before. While browsing through boxes and boxes of uninteresting 45's, I stumbled across this little nugget, which caught my eye almost immediately due to the interesting label design and name of today's selection...

Boogaloo-Tramp - A.C. Reed - Nike

A.C. Reed (birthname: Aaron Corthen) was a blues saxophonist working out of Chicago from the 1940's through the early 2000's. Born in Missouri, Reed moved to Chicago during World War II and got his start in the music business shortly thereafter playing for the likes of Earl Hooker and Willie Mabon. Throughout the 1960's Reed recorded singles for a number of small Chicago labels, including the Nike label, the home of today's selection. In the late 1960's, Reed joined Buddy Guy's band, during which time he went on tour with Guy, Junior Wells and the Rolling Stones. He later formed his own band, The Sparkplugs, and continued writing and performing music until he passed away in 2004.

The Nike* record label was started in Chicago in 1961, by Charles Colbert, Sr. as a means to release a single recently recorded by The Daylighters, his son's band, after the group had been dropped by Talty. The label was reorganized in 1962, resulting in the formation of two new subsidiaries, TipTop and Jive. Over the course of it's existence, the Nike record label was primarily home to DooWop groups, however, today's selection would defnitely not fall into that category. Writing for today's selection is credited to Corthen, a individual by the name of Neal (who I can't find any relevant information on), and Tony Gideon, a founding member of the Daylighters. Today's selection was recorded in 1966. The track opens with drums and a twangy blues guitar not unlike Lowell Fulsom's version of Tramp, is quickly filled out with some backing horns for a few bars, and finally capped off with Reed's saxophone, introduced immediately after the title of the song is yelled out.

*The letter I in Nike represented by a missile on the label is most likely a reference to the Nike missile sites in the land around Chicago.

Be sure to check back in on Friday, as an all-new mix will be ready to get your weekend started off right.

=Tuesday, December 9, 2008

African Walk - Oliver Sain

Today’s selection is one of the 45’s I picked up during my last visit to Chicago a few weeks back…

African Walk - Oliver Sain - Vanessa

Born in Mississippi in the early 1930’s, Oliver Sain relocated to St. Louis, Missouri in the late 1950’s, only after a military stint in Korea and a short-lived musical career in Chicago playing behind a number of big names. The choice of St. Louis was a wise one for a man so heavily rooted in the blues (he’s from Mississippi, after all), as Sain would quickly emerge as a prominent saxophonist, releasing recordings for a number of different Midwest imprints, including Bobbin and Vanessa. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of information out there on either of these imprints. Of the few details available for these imprints, it has been noted that the group led by Sain on his Bobbin imprint recordings featured future soul greats Fontella Bass (featured in the most recent Trunk of F.U.N.K. mix) and Little Milton. As these recordings are some of the earliest in the careers of both Milton and Bass, Sain is often credited with “discovering” these artists. Additionally, Sain is given responsibility for kick-starting the career of Bobby McClure, a northern soul singer who would record at least one 45 for Sain’s own Vanessa imprint, I Got A Good Woman, before moving to Chess records out of Chicago. Later in his career, Sain would release a string of recordings for the Abet imprint, including the fantastically funky, Saint Louis Breakdown, as well as a number of sides aimed at the emerging disco craze, like Booty Bumpin’, Bus Stop (previously featured at FleaMarketFunk), Party Hearty, She’s a Disco Queen, and B-OO-G-IE. Today’s selection, released on the Vanessa imprint, is one of Sain’s funkier outputs. The song features his saxophone prominently wailing away over tightly snapping backing drums and a twang-y, funky, blues guitar line that really helps move things along at a great pace.

Enjoy this tune for now, and be sure to check back in next week, as there’ll be a new single and mix available for your listening pleasure.

=Saturday, December 6, 2008

Don't Touch That Dial

Well ladies and gentlemen, here it is, the next installment in the Trunk of F.U.N.K. mix series. In a slight change of pace from the first ten mixes that have appeared here, I’ve whipped together a little something for all the soulies (as well as the regulars who don’t fancy themselves the soulie-type). Looking over the course of mixes here, it’s pretty obvious that the soul end of the spectrum has been pretty well overlooked to date, so I figured now to be as good a time as any to remedy that situation. I’m gonna keep things short and sweet this time around, that is, no back-story on the particular artists or singles, as things are still pretty hectic at the Trunk of F.U.N.K. compound. So, without further ado, I bring you…

Don’t Touch That Dial – Trunk of F.U.N.K. vol 011


Song – Artist – Label

S.O.S. (Stop Her On Sight) – Edwin Starr – Ric-Tic
I Want My Baby Back – Tyrone Ashley and the Funky Music Machine – Phil-LA
There Oughta Be A Law – Joe Hinton – Backbeat
What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am) – Bill Deal and the Rhondels – Heritage
I Can’t Rest – Fontella Bass – Checker
Tell Mama – Etta James – Cadet
I’m Not Tired Yet – Jay Jay Taylor – Dynamite
I’ve Got To Get Over – Syl Johnson – TMP-Ting
Mr. Pitiful – Otis Redding – Volt
Truer Words Were Never Spoken – Chris Bartley – Vando
We Gotta Make Up – Spencer Wiggins – Goldwax

I hope you dig the sounds, and be sure to tune in early next week for the next installment in the Trunk of F.U.N.K. singles series.

=Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stop Sneaking Around - Brenda and the Tabulations

Well, hello again regular visitors. It's been quite some time since I last posted anything, but don't worry, now that things are back in order at the Trunk of F.U.N.K. compound, I should be at this on the regular again for at least the next few months. All aspects of my life, both personal and work-related, have been beyond hectic lately. In particular, my hard drive failed a little over a week ago, leaving me without a home computer for a bit and making it impossible to put anything up here. Luckily, nothing of significance was lost with the untimely demise of the hard drive, as I've learned my lesson in the past. This unfortunate event, mind you, was coupled with 80+ hour work weeks that made it even less possible to put anything up here. Taken together with some major personal life events that I'm not going to get into here, things have been pretty poor lately. Luckily, last weekend was a long holiday here in the states, so I got to head down to Chicago to see some family and friends that have been sorely missed (as well as getting in some great digging at a new spot and a pretty alright set at a party on Saturday night).

So, to get things back in working order around here, I figured I'd send out a good bit of sister soul from the city of brotherly love...

Stop Sneaking Around - Brenda and the Tabulations - Top and Bottom

A fluke of quite serendipitous sorts is the easiest way to describe the early incarnation of Brenda and the Tabulations. During the summer of 1966, two teenagers, Brenda Payton and Maurice Coates, were working a summer job at a children's park. They decided it would be fun to practice a few popular numbers that they could peform for the kids at work one day. Luckily for them, as they were performing the newly learned numbers, the wife of a prominent Philly radio jock and owner of a couple of Philly record labels, Gilda Woods, drove past and liked what she heard. She approached the duo and asked if they had any original material, to which Coates responded that they did, prompting the duo to put together the future hit, Dry Your Eyes, at the ripe old age of 15 or 16. The original incarnation of the group (featured in today's selection) assembled for this recording consisted of Brenda Payton as the lead with Eddie Jackson, Maurice Coates, and Jerry Jones providing backing harmony vocals. This group lasted until 1971, at which point the guys parted ways with Payton. Payton didn't call it quits, however, chosing to be replace the men with the female backing vocalists Pat Mercer and Deborah Martin. During the decade-long existence of Brenda and the Tabulations, three albums and a number of singles were recorded for the labels Dionn and Top & Bottom, both of which were run by Gilda Woods. Today's selection was written by Maurice Coates and Brenda Payton, with arrangements prepared by Sam Reed.

I should also mention that a few months back, I posted a single from a Philly group, The Broad Street Gang, despite having little/no information on the group. A few weeks back, the brother of the bass player sent me an e-mail with the following information: The bass player on this particular track is my brother "James Alexander Fox" (a stage name). Chester Greere, Mitch AKA Mitchell Rowe, and the brother of the bass player were present during recording of several of the tracks for the LP.

Additionally, I've heard a bit of speculation on the group Lunar Funk, who were featured here previously with the single Mr. Penguin. A friend Paul from Detriot area sent me an e-mail that Lunar Funk may have actually been the band The Fabulous Counts, covered exhaustively previously by our friend Larry from Funky16Corners.

Enjoy the week, and rest assured that a new mix will be posted for your listening pleasure this Friday.

=Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Gotta Find Out For Myself - The Intrigues

Today’s selection comes from the Philly soul quartet*, The Intrigues

I Gotta Find Out For Myself – The Intrigues – Yew

The Intrigues consisted of four member, Alfred Brown, James Lee, James Harris, and Ronald Hamilton. They got their start in the late 60’s and were fairly consistently active through 1972. During this time they recorded a handful of 45’s for Toot, Bullet, Yew, and Janus, as well as one LP for Yew in 1970. The LP released in 1970 carried the same title as their biggest hit, In A Moment. Between 1972 and 1985, the group seems to have no recorded output, however, in 1985 they released the song Fly Girl for the World Trade record label. Writing credit for today’s selection is given to Al Brown, with production and arrangement handled by Bobby Martin and Thomas Bell.

*During this same time frame, another group known as The Intrigues (out of Boston, Massachusetts) recorded a few sides for the Port label. There are no common members between the two groups.

**My apologies for the poor quality band photo. I tried to blow up an image that was cropped from the cover of their only LP.

=Friday, November 7, 2008

Windy City Workout

Well, it's come time for a new mix again. Since this is the 10th mix here at Trunk of F.U.N.K. (somewhat of a milestone for me, as I never thought I'd keep doing this with any regularity), I figured I'd do something a little special. I've mentioned before that I lived in/around Chicago until just a few years ago when I moved up to Madison, Wisconsin to continue my education. I feel like growing up in Chicago has had a pretty big influence on the music that I've listened to (this ranging anywhere from punk to soul, although I don't see myself taking the time to blog about the former anytime soon), so it seemed only appropriate to assemble some of my all-time favorite funk and soul tracks out of the Windy City to commemorate the 10th mix here at Trunk of F.U.N.K. With that said, we've got a little bit of everything today, making sure to keep things heavy on the snapping drums and punchy bass lines, production features that have always made Chicago sides really stand out.

The mix starts off with a dancer from Floyd Smith, followed by a Northern monster from Clea Bradford. Two heavy hitters penned by Chicago soul great Jo Armstead (who was featured here just a few weeks ago) are then brought to you by The Deacons (this particular track is an instrumental version of the Syl Johnson classic of the same name) and Syl Johnson. Next up we've got a classic break from Alvin Cash and the Scott Bros. Orchestra, follow up by a little bit of kid soul from Cindy and the Playmates. General Crook then moves things to a more serious tip with a track that was as relevant on the day it was recorded as it is today. Jodi Gales then keeps things moving with a great bit of sister soul that grooves along with a choppy biting (almost bluesy sounding) guitar similar to the intro on the earlier Alvin Cash side. The Brothers and Sisters then utilize an almost baroque singing style to really send home the point that they plan on doing whatever it is that the came to do. Five Stairsteps & Cubie then provide us with another classic break right in the intro that's most assuredly the result of genius production work by Curtis Mayfield. The Dynamic Tints then provide heavy harmony soul output courtesy of backing work by the Pieces of Peace Orchestra who were featured in part here previously as The Pharaohs. The Soul Crusaders Orchestra then close things out with a number that slinks along rather strangely, relying on a piano part that sounds neither in tune nor in time.

Windy City Workout - Trunk of F.U.N.K. Vol. 010

Title - Artist - Label

Floyd Smith - Soul Strut - Dakar
Clea Bradford - My Love's a Monster - Cadet
Sock it to me pt. 1 - The Deacons - Shama
I Feel an Urge - Syl Johnson - Twinight
Keep on Dancing (inst.) - Alvin Cash and the Scott Bros. Orchestra - Toddlin' Town
Now That School is Thru pt. 2. - Cindy and the Playmates - Jay Pee
What Time It Is pt. 1 - General Crook - Down to Earth
Jodi Gales - You Gotta Push - Thomas
Nobody Is Gonna Turn Us 'Round pt. 1 - The Brothers and Sisters - Toddlin' Town
Don't Change Your Love - Five Stairsteps & Cubie - Curtom
Be My Lady - The Dynamic Tints - Twinight
Funky Jive - Soul Crusaders Orchestra - More Soul

Be sure to check back in Monday for another new single.

=Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's a New Day

Today marks a new day for America, and a new hope for a brighter future...

Skull Snaps - It's a New Day - GSF

=Monday, November 3, 2008

(Who's Your) Favorite Candidate - The Intruders

We won't usually get political here at Trunk of F.U.N.K., but with tomorrow being election day in the states, I figured this week's single should be in some way related to what (fingers crossed that all goes well) will be an important day in American history and a much needed step in a new direction. So, in a very non-political way, The Intruders beg you to get out, cast your vote, and let your voice be heard as you answer the question, Who's Your Favorite Candidate.

(Who's Your) Favorite Candidate - The Intruders - Gamble

The Intruders were a Philly soul group that was active mostly during the 1960's and 70's. The group consisted of Eugene "Bird" Daughtry, Phillip Terry, Sam "Little Sonny" Brown and Robert "Big Sonny" Edwards. The Intruders were the first group to work with Gamble and Huff after the duo left Cameo-Parkway records to start their own label. However, this wasn't the only first that The Intruders would claim for the now independent Gamble and Huff, as they would also be the first group to score a major hit for Gamble and Huff after the duo chose to venture out on their own. The major recording success of The Intruders, the flagship of the Gamble and Huff sound, would open the door for the duo to have an illustrious songwriting career, ultimately serving as one of (if not) the cornerstones of the "Philly Soul" sound throughout the late 60's and 70's.

Today's selection was released in 1969 and is the flip to the more widely known single, Me Tarzan You Jane.

=Monday, October 27, 2008

No Messin' Around - Pauline and Bobby

First things first, it’s unfortunately time for yet another obituary post here. I’ve just recently found out that Merl Saunders, who was featured here just over a month ago, passed away last week. Saunders had a long and successful career on both the organ and electric piano, and he will be greatly missed.

Second, I wanted to mention that I will no longer be making the weekly singles available for download as a result of concerns with copyright infringement and blogger removing some of my posts. From here on out, you will only be able to listen to the tracks via the player that is included in each post. Please do not e-mail me asking me to give you a link to download any singles, as I simply will not do it. Until further notice, mixes will still be available for download.

Now onto today’s single, which was released on the Expo label out of Chicago…

Pauline and Bobby – No Messin’ Around – Expo

There isn’t a whole lot of information available about Expo Records, Pauline Chivers (or sometimes Shivers, depending on which 45 you have in your hands), Bobby Jones. Today's selection was written by Browley Guy and arranged by John Cameron. The little bit of additional information I can provide is that Chivers had seen success prior to No Messin’ Around in the form of a duet with her husband Sydney "Bird" Chivers* entitled, Spring, that was released on the Vee Jay label in 1963. Chivers would also see success later in her career with the singles, You Better Tell Him No, Won’t You Come Back Home, and, Tough Stuff, released on the O-Pex label (a later incarnation of Expo) in the late 60’s. Bobby Jones never really had what would be considered success with recorded material, but was a regular in the Chicago soul scene for a pretty lengthy career.

*The track is credited to Pauline and Birdlegs, not Sydney, in the event you go about searching for it

=Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An Hour of 45 RPM Power - The Fufu Stew Guest Mix

I don't know what's happening here, but posts are disappearing like crazy (maybe it's time for me to make a move somewhere else...), so here's a re-post of Vincent the Soul Chef's Fufu Stew guest mix for Trunk of F.U.N.K., An Hour of 45 RPM Power.

Hello, kiddies.
I'm pleased to be able to share this exclusive set of 45s,
handpicked from my collection with you, the faithful readers of
Trunk Of F.U.N.K. This set represents just a small sample of tunes,
some common and some rare, that I have acquired over the past
four years. Some of these tunes I am playing for the first time...
There are way too may people to thank for providing me
with the education and inspiration to continue digging through
piles and piles of dusty record bins which allows me to keep the
decks spinning. Fasten your seatbelts and get ready for an hour of
45 rpm power, chock full of all things funky...

An Hour of 45 RPM Power - Fufu Stew Guest Mix

The tracklist
Song-Artist (Label)
01 Kool And The Gang-Melting Pot (Ampex)
02 Charge-The Mod Squad (Tangerine)
03 Black Frost-Grover Washington Jr. (Kudu)
04 Doing My Thing-Ray Bryant (Cadet)
05 Who You Been Socking It To-The Isley Brothers (T Neck)
06 I Can't Stop Loving My Baby-Linda Jones (Loma)
07 Somebody's Watching You-Little Sister (Stone Flower)
08 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-Kool & The Gang (De-Lite)
09 Misdemeanor-Foster Sylvers (Pride)
10 I Been Hoodood-Dr. John (Atco)
11 The Funky Bird-Rufus Thomas (Stax)
12 Got To Have Your Loving-King Floyd (Chimneyville)
13 Got What You Need-The Fantastic Johnny C (Phil LA Of Soul)
14 (If You're Going To Do It) Do It Good-The Formula IV (Rocky
15 Hey Gyp-The Soul Survivors (Crimson)
16 I Want To Dance Dance Dance-Freedie / Henchie & The Soul
Setters (Reprise)
17 Rose Marie-The Dynamic Tints (Twinight)
18 Boogaloo Tramp-A.C. Reed (Nike)
19 You Funked It Up-Gradual Taylor (Queensgate)
20 Let's Go Skinny Dipping-Hank Ballard (Stang)
21 The Cook Out-King Curtis & The Kingpins (Atco)
If you like what you heard, then by all means, drop on by and visit
Fufu Stew for more of the same and then some. Thanks and mad
props to DJ GA for the invite, and know that you have an open
invitation to bring the Trunk Of F.U.N.K. heat to the Fufu Stew
kitchen... Have fun(k) and as always, be safe.
Peace and blessings.

=Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I've Been Turned On - Jo Armstead

I put up this post last Friday, and for some strange reason it was gone today, so I'm going to put it back up and see what happens.

Today we have a little switcheroo from the normal schedule here at Trunk of F.U.N.K. Unfortunately, the real world often gets in the way of one's hobbies, so instead of a delivering a new mix today, I've decided to leave you with a single that will hopefully hold you over until a new mix is dropped by sometime early next week.

I've Been Turned On - Jo Armstead - Giant

Jo Armstead formed Giant Records with her husband Mel Collins shortly after moving to Chicago in 1965. However, she had already maintained a solid music career prior to this point. Jo (a.k.a. Joshie) got her start in the music business as an Ikette for the Ike and Tina Turner Revue in 1961, during which time this group recorded their top 20 single, I'm Blue (The Gong Gong Song). She later moved to New York, where she teamed up with songwriters Ashford and Simpson who were working for Scepter/Wand Records at the time. Her work with Ashford and Simpson resulted in the release of her biggest hit, Stone Cold Lover, as well as co-writing credits for Ray Charles', Lets Get Stoned, Ruby Andrews', Casanova (Your Playing Days are Over), and Garland Green's, Jealous Kind of Fella, to name a few. Aside from forming Giant Records, the husband-wife duo is also responsible for the Globe and Gamma Record labels, which were home to a number of big names in soul.

=Monday, October 20, 2008

The Short Stack

For everyone who's been precariously hanging on the edge of their seats, the new mix I promised last week is finally here. Vincent the Soul Chef from over at Fufu Stew was kind enough to drop a guest mix here a few weeks back, so I've repaid the favor in kind this week...

Trunk of F.U.N.K. vol. 009 - The Short Stack


Title - Artist - Label

Funky In Here – Willard Burton & The Funky Four – Capitol
Funky Walk pt. 1 (East) – Dyke And The Blazers – Original Sound
Sophisticated Cissy – Rufus Thomas – Stax
Gator Bait – The Gaturs – Gatur
Hey, Mr. D.J. – Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces – Checker
There Was A Time – Dee Felice Trio – Bethlehem
Do It One More Time (The Twine) – Alvin Cash & The Crawlers – Mar-V-Lus
Spreadin’ Honey – Soul Runners – MoSoul
Let It Crawl – Society’s Bag – Warner Bros.
Pearl Time – Andre Williams – Sport
Boogaloo No. 3 – Roy Lee Johnson – Action
Hole In The Wall – The Packers – Pure Soul Music
My Baby Likes To Boogaloo – Don Gardner - Tru-Glo-Town
Break Through – Mike Sharpe – Liberty
The Pearl – Jerry-O – Shout
The Goose – T.S.U. Tornadoes – Atlantic
Philly Dog – The Mar-Keys – Stax
Doin’ The Banana Split – The Banana Splits – Hanna-Barbera

Since I've been away for a few days, I haven't had an opportunity to pay homage to one of the greatest voices in soul, Levi Stubbs, who passed away late last week. Your sweet voice will be greatly missed.

=Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mr. Preacher Man - Bobby Adams

Although not filed under “the rarest of the rare”, today’s selection has been a long time favorite of mine…

Mr. Preacher Man-Bobby Adams-Home-Town Records

Bobby Adams was a soul singer working out of New York in the late 60’s and early 70’s. His earliest recording efforts feature a number of duets with Betty Lou, who I believe is properly known as Betty Smith, his co-writer on the single Sugar, which was released on Old Town Records out of New York in 1966. Aside from duet work, Adams also recorded a number of solo sides (today’s selection being one example) for a variety of different record labels. Examples of the various labels he recorded duet or solo material for include: Old Town, Home-Town, Bo-Ad, Pilma, Purdy, Battle, Colpix and Tra-X. Today’s selection is a Home-Town Records release (I have one other Bobby Adams release on Home-Town, Love Ain’t Nothing but a Business b/w instrumental in my collection), which was written by Adams and arranged by Horace Ott.

Be sure to tune in Friday for the next installment in the Trunk of F.U.N.K. mix series.

P.S. A friend sent this across, and if you haven't seen it yet, it's pretty great. Crate digging, don't do it

=Monday, October 6, 2008

Size Large - Spaceways Inc.

Today's selection is from a now defunct contemporary free-jazz trio that really knows how to lay down a groove...

Size Large - Spaceways Inc. - Altavistic

Drummer Hamid Drake, bassist Nate McBride, and reeds-man Ken Vandermark assembled into the trio known as Spaceways Inc. in 1999, after Vandermark had previously worked with each on a variety of different projects in Chicago and Boston. Taken from Ken Vandermark's website, "The initial version of the project focused on the work of George Clinton's Funkadelic and Sun Ra's various ensembles. Spaceways took those ideas about funk and free jazz and brought them someplace new on the album 13 Cosmic Standards (Atavistic, 2000). During a tour of Austria in the Spring of 2001, the trio talked about further developing the stylistic polarities suggested by the pieces of Clinton and Ra by applying them to compositions of their own. Spaceways followed though on this idea with the work recorded in August 2001 for the cd, Version Soul (Atavistic, 2002). This document expands on the hard funk/free jazz intersection of the first record and includes elements of reggae, "cool school" jazz, Southern back beats, and "new music" abstractions.

Today's selection certainly encompasses all of these elements into a seriously funky groove. Size Large starts off with Hamid Drake laying down the backbeat while Vandermark introduces a saxophone groove that will re-emerge time and again throughout the track. Drake then provides a size-large break that really sets the tone for the rest of the song. At the culmination of the mighty break, Vandermark re-emerges to intermittently return to the original groove while also stretching out in a number of equally funky directions. Throughout this time, the rhythm work of Drake is supported by solid upright work intermixed with sparse feedback/noise from McBride that really aids in pushing the sound of the trio out. This is all, of course, before McBride and Drake tighten things up again with solid rhythm work that allows Vandermark to really get down through the end of the track.

*Today's selection was taken from a CD only release, so don't bother digging in the crates for it.

=Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bag of Goodies - The Soul Machine

In the midst of what feels (at least in the Midwest) like the first real week of fall, I figured I’d try to brighten the mood with a real jazz-funk groover…

Bag of Goodies - The Soul Machine - Pzazz

There isn’t a whole lot of information about The Soul Machine out there. What I can tell you is that this side, which was written by Leon Haywood (a session musician and writer who played on The Packers, Hole in the Wall), was released on Paul Gayden’s (yet another N.O.L.A. songman) Pzazz label (which advertised itself under the slogan, “Put some pzazz in your jazz”) in 1969. The track prominently features a wailing saxophone, tightly snapping drums (don't miss the break near the end of the track), and an organ groove that’s sure to pull anyone in (maybe played by Haywood himself?*).

P.S. Be sure to tune back in Friday as Vincent the Soul Chef from FuFu Stew is whipping up one of his culinary delights for your listening pleasure as the next installment of the Trunk of F.U.N.K. guest mix series.

*This is pure speculation on my part, as Haywood was known as a pianist/organist in his early days in L.A.

=Monday, September 22, 2008

Everybody Needs Somebody - King Floyd

This week’s single comes to us from another N.O.L.A. soul man…

Everybody Needs Somebody - King Floyd - Chimneyville

Early in his life, King Floyd had a relatively minor music career in New Orleans, singing in bars on Bourbon Street. Deciding to make music a bigger part of his life after a brief gig in the army, King Floyd moved from New Orleans to California in the late 60’s. In 1969, Floyd recorded his first album, A Man Called Love, featuring songs co-written with Dr. John and produced by Harold Battiste (who aside from producing some great sides, is also responsible for starting All For One Records, a.k.a. AFO Records, the first African American musician-owned record label). Despite some heavy-hitters involved in the recording process, A Man Called Love, struggled on the charts and failed to raise King Floyd to stardom, so he moved back to New Orleans in 1970. Shortly after getting back to New Orleans, music arranger/composer Wardell Quezergue (a guy nicknamed “The Creole Beethoven”, who’s worked with some major names like Eddie Bo, Willie Tee, and Smokey Johnson), convinced Floyd it would be worth his while to record a song that Quezergue had recently arranged called, Groove Me, at Malaco Studios in Jackson, Mississippi (to further exemplify Quezergue’s funkiness at this point in his career, it is worth noting that Jean Knight recorded Mr. Big Stuff during this same session). Groove Me would ultimately reach #1 on the R&B charts and #6 on the pop charts after being picked up by Atlantic for national distribution. King Floyd would subsequently record another album, Think About It, released by Chimneyville/ATCO in 1973, which was also arranged with help from Quezergue. However, creative differences developing between the two would strain their working relationship and result in a record that would not chart as well as their previous output. Today’s selection, written by King Floyd and Theodore Royal and arranged by King Floyd (rather than Quezergue, an example of the growing discord between the two) was released as a 45 in 1972 by Chimneyville as the b-side to the track, Woman Don’t Go Astray, which is considered to be one of the highlights of the LP, Think About It.

=Friday, September 19, 2008

Baby, Do Right By Me

For your listening pleasure, I've assembled a mix featuring some of my all-time favorite soul sister sides. The mix starts off with a heavy soul number from Roberta Flack, taken from her 1970 album, Chapter Two. Aside from her stunning voice, this album strongly benefits from arrangement and production work by a number of heavy hitters, including King Curtis, Deodato, and Eugene McDaniels (who is also credited with writing this particular track). Next up is a track from Marva Whitney that has been a personal favorite of mine for a long time, as her LP, It's My Thing, is one of my earliest soul sister purchases (this track was released as both a single and on the LP, It's My Thing. This is the LP version, as I've never been able to get my hands on the single). Jean Knight, most well-known for song, Mr. Big Stuff, then follows up with a recent acquisition that is seriously funky and was the inspriration for the title of today's mix. The Sister and Brothers then provide another few minutes of funky madness (thanks for the hot tip, Pres) that has also recently made an appearance in a FuFu stew creation from Vincent the Soul Chef. From there, the mix moves to a pair of funky classics from Jeannie Reynolds and Betty Wright that don't need a whole lot of introduction, followed by a great piece of Motown sound from Honey Cone, that was penned by none other than General Johnson (I can assure you that this name will pop up here in the future). Ike and Tina Turner then turn out the quintessential funky sister side, a side that easily falls within my all-time top ten, that's an insanely heavy adaptation of Sly and the Family Stone's, Sing a Simple Song. To start rounding things out, Inez and Charlie Foxx bring things back to the soulful end of the spectrum, and Bobbi Humprey serves up a nice slice of jazzy funk from her days working with producer George Butler (pre-Larry Mizell) to finish out the mix.

Baby, Do Right By Me - Trunk of F.U.N.K. vol. 007


Song - Artist - Label

Roberta Flack – Reverend Lee – Atlantic
Marva Whitney – Get Out of My Life – King
Jean Knight – Jesse Joe (You Got to Go) – Dial
The Sister and Brothers – Yeah, You Right – Uni
Jeannie Reynolds – The Phones Been Jumping All Day – Casablanca
Betty Wright – Clean Up Woman - Alston
Honey Cone – Stick Up – Hot Wax
Ike and Tina Turner – Bold Soul Sister – Blue Thumb
Inez and Charlie Foxx – (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count the Days – Dynamo
Bobbi Humphrey – Smiling Faces Sometimes* – Blue Note

*R.I.P. Norman Whitfield. When I put this mix and post together last week it was prior to finding out about his passing. When I looked over this post last night before posting it, I had totally overlooked the fact that the mix closed out with Bobbi Humprhey's cover of Norman Whitfield's classic, Smiling Faces Sometimes (originally recorded by The Temptations). This is really an unfortunate coincidence, but nonetheless an appropriate tribute to one of the all-time great soul songwriters.

=Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Easy Evil - Merl Saunders

Since Trunk of F.U.N.K. is coming to you from the Bay Area rather than the usual stomping grounds in the Midwest this week, it seemed only appropriate to highlight a funky single from an artist who calls San Francisco home.

Easy Evil - Merl Saunders - Fantasy

Merl Saunders has been working the keys for the better part of his life, beginning with the piano at age 10 and continuing on until just a few years ago. Throughout junior high, Saunders played in a band with his classmate Johnny Mathis (who would also have a notable career as a musician), at which time he made the decision to pursue a career in music. His biography indicates that the decision to pursue a career in music was centered around the energy of the audience and musicians Saunders felt at concerts by jazz greats such as Cab Calloway. Shortly after this time, Saunders attended a number of different music schools, and also apprenticed under “the greatest Hammond jazz organist of all-time” Jimmy Smith. In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Saunders began collaborating with Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, while also pursuing a career as a jazz keyboardist, adopting the Hammond B3 as his instrument of choice. In the early ‘70s he also lead his own group, Merl Saunders and Friends, with the “friends” encompassing a staggering array of musicians, such as Jerry Garcia, Tom Fogerty, Mike Bloomfield, and Shiela E. Saunders’ work in collaboration with Jerry Garcia would continue from the early 70s until the release of the album, Blues From the Rainforest, in 1990.

Today’s selection comes from Merl Saunders’ self-titled album released on Fantasy in 1974. The track was written by Alan O’Day, and features Saunders on clavinet and electric piano, Billy Fender on guitar, Bill Upchurch on bass, Jimmy Nelson on drums, and King Errisson on congas. Although not highlighted in today’s post, this same record contains a longer, alternate take of the nicely funky Hammond 45 from Merl Saunders and Heavy Turbulence entitled, A Little Bit of Righteousness*, which was released on the Galaxy label a few years earlier in 1970**.

I've recently been making my way over to the site AM, then FM, and I highly recommend you do the same. Aside from holding it down in the land of beer and cheese with yours truly, Jeff does some mighty fine work.

Be sure to tune in Friday for an all new mix featuring nothing but bold soul sisters laying it all out.

*On the 1974 s/t album, the title has been shortened to Righteousness. The track, A Little Bit of Righteousness, also appears on the album, Keepers, released in 1997.

**This 45 recently appeared in Funky16Corners radio vol. 53 for any listeners interested in checking it out.

=Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ain't It A Shame - Guys & Dolls

Up this week is another side from my collection that comes with little associated information.

Ain't it a Shame - Guys & Dolls - Astrophe Records

My usual avenues of research have garnered no pertinent information on the group, the label, or the single. I have no idea if this group released any other singles, where they were from, or what year this track was recorded/released, nor do I have any idea as to whether or not other singles were ever released on Astrophe records. The only details I can share with respect to writing and production credits come directly from the disc label. In particular, writing credits for this track, as well as the flip, Pretty, Pretty, Baby, are given to Chestleigh, Sullivan, Lane & Lane. Production is credited to Thumbe Productions, and the track is BMI registered to Star Point 7. So, if anyone out there has any other information, passing it along would be greatly appreciated.

=Friday, September 5, 2008

Music is the Message

Another mix is in the can, so here it is for your listening pleasure...

This week's funky workout starts with a stormer from The Pharaohs, a group out of the Windy City who worked closely in a mentor-protege type role with the Pieces of Peace, a group who would be responsible for backing some of the greatest funk tracks to ever come out of Chicago. From there we move to the b-boy tested, beat-head approved funky instrumental of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's all-time classic, The Message, from Mighty Mo and the Winchester Seven, followed by a Hammond monster that is quite possibly the quintessntial funky organ groover of all time, brought to you by none other than Brother Jack McDuff. Up next is a track from Lloyd Price that is guaranteed to get any dance floor cooking, while killer work from the Counts will definitely keep bodies moving. From there things get a little more emotional, with a classic break served up by Tom Jones in a joint about love lost, followed by a fantastic instrumental version of Bill Withers', Ain't No Sunshine, by Eddy Senay. The Incredible Bongo Band then picks up the pace with some incredible percussion work, a groovy synth line, and punchy horns that sound like they're straight out of a 70's action film. Black Heat then keeps things rolling with a similar style of synth heavy jamming chock full of stabbing horns and solid rhythm work to help set the tone for the rest of the mix. In the end, Little Sister rounds things out with a groovy number with a deep, rolling bassline assembled by none other than Sly Stone.

Trunk of F.U.N.K. vol. 006 - Music is the Message


Song - Artist - Label

Is That Black Enough For You? - The Pharaohs - Capitol
The Message - Mighty Mo and the Winchester Seven - Peace St.
Hunk O' Funk - Brother Jack McDuff - Blue Note
They Get Down - Lloyd Price - GSF
Funk - Counts - Aware
Looking Out My Window - Tom Jones - Parrot
Ain't No Sunshine - Eddy Senay - Sussex
Ohkey Dokey - Incredible Bongo Band - Pride
No Time To Burn - Black Heat - Atlantic
You're the One pt. 1 - Little Sister - Stone Flower

P.S. Be sure to check back in Monday for an all-new single.

=Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm Gonna Leave You - Bobby Powell

With yet another major hurricane making its way through Louisiana, I found it appropriate to celebrate a single from this home to a number of great funk and soul acts this week.

I'm Gonna Leave You - Bobby Powell - Whit

Like a number of his contemporaries, Bobby Powell got his start singing in local church and gospel groups. He would carry this influence with him throughout the course of his career, which began in 1965 and continued well into the 90’s. His earliest recordings were for the Whit label, which was run by Lionel Whitfield, out of Shreveport, Louisiana. It was at this time that he would also see his greatest success, as his 1965 remake of blues standard, C.C. Rider, hit #1 on the Cash Box R&B charts. While recording for Whit, he also reached the charts with a few more singles, including today’s selection, I’m Gonna Leave You, which reached #34 on the R&B charts in 1966. Unlike his bluesy singles recorded for Whit in 1965, by 1966 Powell had begun infusing biting blues guitar, his down-home gospel-soul voice, and a tight, snapping rhythm section to create some seriously funky music, as evidenced by today’s selection. All in all, Bobby Powell’s funky sound is quite different from that of New Orleans greats like Eddie Bo and The Meters, but is no less important in demonstrating the significance of Louisiana music, not only in the history of funk and soul, but when considering American music in general.

Be sure to tune in Friday for volume 006 of Trunk of F.U.N.K. radio

=Monday, August 25, 2008

Fair Skin Man - Broad Street Gang

Welcome back listeners!

Regulars around these parts have probably noticed a few changes. First, there's the face-lift. Now that I've stuck with this longer than I ever actually though I would, I figured it was time to make this place look a little classier. I've also included a section to announce live outings. I'm not doing much live work at the moment, but figured it would be worth announcing if and when opportunities arise. Finally, I've included a new section highlighting my favorite funky compilation at the moment. At this point, there won't be any reviews tagged to this section as most of these selections will have been expertly reviewed elsewhere (e.g. this month's selection was covered in Waxpoetics #29).

Now, back to the business...

I'd like to start today's post by thanking Mr. Grogan once again for cooking up something nice for all of us last week. I'd also like to thank Vincent the Soul Chef from Fufu Stew for the shout-out a few days back. Hopefully he'll whip up something tasty for the Trunk in the not-to-distant future.

Today's single is a nice slice of Philly funk from the Broad Street Gang.

Fair Skin Man - Broad Street Gang - Cougar

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to uncover much info on this group*. What I can tell you is that they released a few of singles and maybe a full-length at some point in their career. Today's selection on the Cougar label was produced by Mitchell Rowe, who is also credited with writing the track, and was engineered by 'Jungle Joe Regent', although neither of these names are familiar to me. Regardless of information on the Broad Street Gang, Fair Skin Man, is stone cold funky and should definitely feed your funky need until a new single is dropped in the Trunk next week.

*If anyone out there has any additional information on the Broad Street Gang, I'd really appreciate it if you could send it along to me.

=Friday, August 22, 2008

Shake and Shingaling

Two weeks have passed us by again, which means it's time for an all new Trunk of F.U.N.K. mix.

As promised two weeks ago, volume 005 of the Trunk of F.U.N.K. mix series will not be brought to you by yours truly. Instead, it is with great pleasure that I introduce the inaugural Trunk of F.U.N.K. guest mix. Luckily for you and I, we've been graced by a true funk and soul aficionado whose crates are by no means shallow. That's right listeners, Larry, from the always on point Funky16Corners, has been kind enough to whip up something special to get your weekend started off right.

Funky16Corners Guest Mix for Trunk of Funk - Shake and Shingaling


Artist - Song (Label)

Richards People – Yo Yo (Tuba)
Johnny Griffiths – Do It (Triple B)
Okie Duke – Ain’t No Color To Soul (Ovation)
Dave Lewis – Mmm Mmm Mmm (Panorama)
Stacy Lane – African Twist (Excello)
Different Strokes – Sing a Simple Song (Okeh)
Sod – Too Loose to Get Tight Pt 1 (Decca)
Gene Waiters – Shake & Shingaling Pt1 (Fairmount)
Kingpins – In the Pocket (Atco)
Ernie K Doe – Here Come the Girls (Janus)
Tammi Terrell – Oh What a Good Man He Is (Motown)
Rudy Ray Moore & the Fillmore St Soul Rebellion – Put Your Weight On It Pt 1 (Evolution)
Vicki Anderson – If You Don’t Give Me What I Want (King)
Backyard Heavies – Expo 83 (Scepter)
Joe Tex – You’re Right, Ray Charles (Dial)

And a few words from the maestro himself...

Greetings all.

Not long ago Greg, master of this very blog asked me if I’d be interested in laying down a guest mix for Trunk of F.U.N.K.. I said OK (natch), whipped together some hard hitters and scrambled myself up an omelette du funk. There’s something here for everyone: drum breaks (but of course), Hammond organ (again, who didn’t see that coming?) and solid vocals. There are some old faves, but hopefully some of these tracks will be new to you. I hope you dig it, and thanks again to Greg for the invite.


I hope you all enjoy this mix, as I know I surely will, and be sure to tune in Monday for the next installment in the Trunk of F.U.N.K. singles series.

=Monday, August 18, 2008

Ain't Love Wonderful - Fantastic Four

This week’s Trunk of F.U.N.K. single is a little something for all the northern soulies out there…

Ain't Love Wonderful - Fantastic Four - Ric-Tic

Fantastic Four, a four-member harmony vocal group out of the Motor City, recorded a string of singles for Ric-Tic in the mid- to late sixties. Their first single, Girl Have Pity, released in 1966, did not chart as well as the group or label had hoped for. However, the singles that would follow in the coming years were quite successful. This week’s selection, Ain’t Love Wonderful, is actually the flip to their 1967 single, The Whole World is a Stage, which reached #63 on the pop charts and #6 on the R&B charts, and although The Whole World is a Stage is a great soul song, Ain’t Love Wonderful, is just the kind of solid northern soul mover that’s funky enough to get any dancefloor cooking.

The group followed up the release of The Whole World is a Stage with a handful of additional singles for Ric-Tic through 1968. After Motown bought out Ric-Tic in 1968 the group was signed to Motown’s Soul subsidiary where they recorded three singles before heading into semi-retirement in 1970. Later in the decade the group was convinced to sign with Eastbound, where they would release work on the Westbound label.

An interesting piece of trivia: Although artists like Edwin Starr and J.J. Barnes are commonly viewed as Ric-Tic’s shining stars, Fantastic Four was actually the biggest selling act on the label.

P.S. Remember to tune in to the inaugural Trunk of F.U.N.K. guest mix hitting the airwaves this Friday.