=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.