=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.