Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Digging discovery: Charles Jackson

Had a dig at Real Groovy this afternoon and came up with this 1978 LP by South Carolina-born Charles 'Chuck' Jackson. Got a stellar funk groove on it called Ooh Child, with bass by James Brown (not the James Brown, I'm picking).

In an August 1978 interview Jackson talked about the album title, saying it was something of a self-description. "I'm quiet, private, I feel things deeply, I'm passionate in what I believe and how I believe. And you know how a breeze has a certain element of melancholy about it - well, that's there too."

Bit of researching came up with this, via a listing on Dusty Grooves... "Passionate Breezes – a smoking solo debut from Chicago's Charles Jackson – a hell of a great singer, songwriter, and producer – who'd already had great fame in the Independents, and was working hard at Capitol Records with Marvin Yancy to help shape the early years of Natalie Cole [Yancy was married to Cole. The songwriting team recorded her early material at Curtis Mayfield's Curtom Studios in Chicago].

"During that time, Jackson stepped into the studio, and really stunned us with this sublime set of his own – a wonderfully mature batch of soul tunes that really reflects the great changes for male singers in the 70s – a mode that was particularly helped along by Windy City contemporaries Jerry Butler and Walter Jackson.

"Yet Charles has a warmth here that's all his own – gently stepping along grooves arranged by Mark Davis and Gene Barge – the latter of whom helped co-produce the record with Yancy. Yancy also wrote most of the cuts with Jackson – and titles include "Love Of You", "I Really Want You", "The Train", "Get On Down", "Passionate Breezes", and a remake of "Ooh Child".

Source: "... the set is best and rightly remembered for the title song. 'Passionate Breezes' is a classic Quiet Storm ballad... indeed it helped define the genre and it still sounds great today. Testament to its beauty is the fact the Dells (who knew a thing or two about decent ballads) cut a version of it too. Other highlights include a medley of Jackson's own 'I'm In Heaven' with Billy Preston's 'You Are So Beautiful'.

Surprisingly – considering Jackson was such an acclaimed writer – there's also a cover of Rod Stewart's 'Tonight's The Night'... odd, but odder is the fact that on the follow up LP, 'Gonna Getcha Love' there's only one Charles Jackson song, the gently insinuating 'I Really Want You'. 

Most of the other tunes are down to producer Gavin Christopher (must've needed the royalties). His 'Just For Your Lovin'' is worth checking out though – a decent, sophisticated, sedate dancer. There's also a great Sam Dees' number – the mournful 'For The Sake Of The Memories'.

Neither album fared particularly well and for reasons never fully explained Jackson faded as an artist and went back to writing – achieving notable success with songs he pitched at Whitney Houston. Apparently he now lives in comfortable retirement in Los Angeles..."

His songwriting partner Yancy died of a heart attack in 1985, aged 34.

Charles Jackson: AllMusic biography

The vinyl revival: Is it a victim of its own success?

Graphic: Pitchfork

The ongoing vinyl revival sees 2014 serve up Lorde with one of the top ten biggest selling LPs in the US - but the revival has one downside for record labels - now pressing plants can't keep up with demand.

Ian Henderson of Dunedin based label Fishrider Records reports via Twitter that the current turnaround for pressing vinyl for his label via "UK/ Europe is 5 months from masters to LPs. 8-10 weeks from test pressing approval to LPs. Some plants imposing 500 minimum [quantity]." He adds "I'm dreaming up ideas to make CDs as cool as Jack White is making vinyl now."

There are similar reports on the lengthening time around pressing up vinyl in this story below...

From Pitchfork:

“You used to be able to turn over a record in four weeks,” says John Beeler, project manager at Asthmatic Kitty, the label home of Sufjan Stevens. “But I’m now telling my artists that we need at least three months from the time they turn it in to the time we get it back.”

Across the board, lengthy lead times that were once anomalies are now the norm. “They’ve been longer this year than they were even nine months ago,” says Nick Blandford, managing director of the Secretly Label Group, which includes prominent indie imprints Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, and Dead Oceans, and artists including Bon Iver and the War on Drugs.

“We crossed our fingers and hoped that turn times would improve after Record Store Day in April, but they’re still about the same. We’ve just accepted this as the reality.”

The Pitchfork story goes on to mention that " ... in 2014, the trickiest part for record stores is keeping those LPs in stock. One of the dirty secrets of music retail is that most distributors allow record stores to return unsold CDs—but usually not vinyl." This was why some Record Store Day releases are so hard to find this year, and stores only carry RSD releases they are sure will move.

" ... The decision to purchase LPs now is an aesthetic choice as much, if not more, than a sound preference ... So if it’s less about sound, then vinyl is a badge as much as a format—a way listeners can self-identify as true music fans. And when assessing the current state of vinyl, perhaps the harbinger of its eventual decline or plateau is the durability of that badge status:

If enough music fans decide vinyl’s perceived authenticity has been compromised, will it become a hollow gimmick? And if vinyl fatigue sets in, will consumers be satisfied to stream or download? If they still crave something physical, will they revert to CDs? Or cassettes?"

The story also discounts some chatter that the major labels are solely to blame, by hogging the pressing plants with endless reissues. "Everyone is competing with everyone to get their records made and, at this rate, there won’t be enough presses to meet demand for some time, if ever."

There's some great background behind the scenes at pressing plants in there too - Read it in full:
Wax and wane- the tough realities behind vinyls comeback

Tropical Disco Hustle

This is a great compilation... via Wax Poetics: "Our friends at Cultures of Soul have recently released Tropical Disco Hustle, a very tasty compilation of Caribbean disco and funk that’s fitting perfectly in our summer soundtrack. Sourced via a bevy of the deepest diggers around, the rarities made available here are many and all pack plenty of dance-floor heat.

Favorites include Mavis John’s slinky “Use My Body,” the punchy Trinidadian disco burner “Got to Have You” by Joanne Wilson, Merchant’s jazzy “Instant Funk” and a pair from the rare groove stalwarts Wild Fire. The set, available as a single compact disc or a pair of vinyl LPs, also includes reworks by the Whiskey Barons, disco evangelist Al Kent. and Waxist Selecta."

"Highlights of the 13 tracks included on this compilation are: the under-the-radar cosmic disco tune “Got To Have You” by Joanne Wilson, a rare P&P Records-influenced track “Dance With Me” by Odessey One, the icy cool synth-trenched “Living On A String” by Wild Fire, the incredible dance floor-friendly “Instant Funk” by Merchant, and the disco reggae cover of “Rapper’s Delight” by Prince Blackman masterfully edited by Waxist Selecta.

This compilation was compiled and researched by Deano Sounds and includes edits by Al Kent, the Whiskey Barons, and Waxist Selecta." Out now on CD and 2LP gatefold. All of the tracks here were officially licensed and reissued for the first time ever.

MORE READING: compiler Deano Sounds on The 12 Best Caribbean Disco Records

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Brand new song from Hallelujah Picassos out now

It's out now! The new Hallelujah Picassos single Salvadore is on Bandcamp, name your price. For a free copy, just enter '0' - we'd like your email address tho, so we can keep you up to date with our plans and future releases. Go have a listen!

Monday, July 28, 2014

'Land of Plenty' stoush continues for Pauly Fuemana's widow

Kirstine Fuemana with her children Imogen, Santos and Salvador.
Photo : Doug Sherring, Herald on Sunday

In September last year, car manufacturer Audi got in hot water over their sound-a-like use of a song very similar to Land Of Plenty by OMC (Pauly Fuemana). Audi got LA-based Kiwi Greg Johnson to create a song for their ad.

I have it on good authority that the agency who made the Audi ad tried to licence the original but decided it was too expensive.

At that time, Fuemana's widow Kirstine heard the ad on tv, saying "The thing that upset me the most is that the kids were watching TV and saw the ad and they yelled out, ‘hey Mum, they're playing Dad's song'," she said. "I rang Pauly's publishing company because they usually run these kinds of things by me and asked them what was going on. They told me it might sound like it but it wasn't Pauly's song." She was left to raise the couple's six children when Fuemana died in 2010.

Land of Plenty's co-author Alan Jansson said he "felt sick" when he heard the commercial. "It was hideous because it just sounds so much like Land of Plenty. I've produced commercials so I understand how songs can be played around with in the studio and tweaked but it just sucks."

... Lawyers for Kirstine Fuemana and Universal Music have written to Audi, pointing out what they claim are "noticeable similarities" between the soundtrack for its "Land of Plenty. Land of Quattro" advert and OMC's 1996 hit single Land of Plenty. The song featured on OMC's multi-platinum chart-topping album How Bizarre.

Yesterday's Herald On Sunday has a story that suggests the matter was not fully resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. See Pauly's widow chasing Audi over ad

The story says "[Mrs] Fuemana, 45, and copyright-holder Universal Music NZ, launched legal action against Audi over the 1996 song Land of Plenty last year, saying there were "noticeable similarities" with a "Land of Plenty. Land of Quattro" commercial.

Audi admitted it had considered using Pauly's songs, but denied copying one.

Fuemana said yesterday [Saturday] the first legal claim had petered out, but she has a new lawyer and will file a personal damages claim, including a request for compensation of an amount yet to be decided.

"Just because Paul's passed away doesn't mean that you can just go and use whatever you like."

Universal Music NZ managing director Adam Holt would not comment yesterday. Land of Plenty co-writer Alan Jansson said Audi was "disrespectful", but he would not take legal action."

The story says there are plans to make a movie based on Pauly's life, and "A documentary on Pauly, titled How Bizarre, after OMC's breakout 1995 multi-platinum album of the same name, will screen on Maori TV next month. The How Bizarre album will be re-released too." The How Bizarre album is also being remastered. Tiki Taane is also involved in helping finish an album of previously unreleased OMC tunes.

Pauly Fuemana. Via Audioculture

Reggae reworks from Grant Phabao

More reworks of Jurassic 5, Big Daddy Kane, Lyrics Born, over here.... all name your price DLs

Sunday, July 27, 2014

New Hallelujah Picassos single out Tues, cover art....

Press release
Salvadore - New song from Hallelujah Picassos, and it's free! Out July 29

The insanely catchy new single Salvadore (Miles Away From You) represents Hallelujah Picassos first new recording from the recently reunited lineup. The band’s legendary frontman, Roland Rorschach says the song is “A pensive, wistful tale describing a period between defeat and triumph.“

The band came together in 2012 to follow up on their reissues (Rewind The Hateman, Picasso Core Jukebox) with a handful of live shows with the likes of Drab Doo Riffs, Bloodbags, and Labretta Suede and the Motel 6.

The lads enjoyed playing together again immensely, so they continued on their merry way, blasting through old tunes and mixing up some new gems. This is the first fruits of their labours. Their last recorded outing was 18 years ago. It’s been a minute.

Salvadore (Miles Away From You) is a jaunty pop ditty, with a melancholy vocal and skiffle drum shuffle bouncing along over electronic beats, and some fruity skanking guitar chops over the top. Soak it up! Best feedback so far - “It sounds like nothing you guys have done before, but it definitely sounds like the Picassos.”

The current lineup of the band features the original members – Roland on vocals, Bobbylon on drums and vocals, Peter McLennan on guitars, with Darryn Harkness on bass (Loud Ghost / New Telepathics / Braintree), and original bass player John Pain, shifting to keyboards – his original instrument before joining the Picassos.

Salvadore (Miles Away From You) is available via Bandcamp as a free download, and serves as a taster for an EP of more new recordings the band plan to release in mid September.

The song was recorded and produced by John Pain and Hallelujah Picassos at the Institute for Telepathic Research, and mastered by Angus McNaughton. Cover art image by Erin Forsyth. Released on Loopy Fruit Recordings, July 29, 2014.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ring The Alarm playlist, July 26

MAW - Zoe
Ikebe shakedown - Tujunga
Mulatu and Heliocentrics - Dewel
Jim Brown - Cure for the fever
Devon Russell - Thanks and praise
Adrian Sherwood and Lee Scratch Perry - Kingston tower
African head charge - Throw it away
General Levy - The wig
Bohannon - South African man
Sheila B Devotion - Spacer - Greg Wilson edit
Gil Scott Heron - B Movie
Marc Rapson - The kalimba
LCD soundsystem - 45/33 - Padded cell remix
Shreikback - All lined up - disco mix
Bernard Wright - Bread sandwiches
The Capprells with the Sul Bros - Close your eyes
Gladys Knight and the Pips - Who is she and what is she to you\
Bahama soul stew - Funky Nassau
Machito - Knock on wood
Richie and his PS54 schoolyard - Listen to Louie
The Notations - Take it slow
Gwen McCrae -Funky sensation
Driza bone - Real love
Bomb the bass - Braindead
Jackson 5 - Get it together - 4Hero remix
James Brown  -Funky drummer

Friday, July 25, 2014

James Brown biopic - 1st trailer out

This trailer makes the film look like it might be halfway good. Love the moment when they say to Mr Brown "They want the Rolling Stones to close the show," and he says they haven't had a hit in America,  then Mr Brown goes out and plays a blinding show, then walks of and says "Welcome to America".

I've seen the footage of the actual TV show this event is taken from, the TAMI Show, and Mick Jagger and co come on after Mr Brown, and poor lil Jagger shimmys, shakes and flails around, trying to outdance James Brown - doesn't happen. It's hilarious. Watch it below

Do Not Sell at Any Price: book on 78 collectors

Coveting Vintage Discs in a Digital Universe
New York Times book reviews on ‘Do Not Sell at Any Price’ and ‘Dust & Grooves’

Snip: "Something unexpected happened to Amanda Petrusich when she set out to explore the “oddball fraternity” of fanatical collectors of 78 r.p.m. records, the increasingly hard-to-find shellac discs that circulated before World War II. At first she was almost repulsed by the avidity of their passion. But when she heard the music of Skip James, Charley Patton, Blind Uncle Gaspard and Geeshie Wiley played in its original format, she fell under its spell, just as the collectors had.

“Eventually, I started to want what they wanted,” she writes. “For me, the modern marketing cycle and the endless gifts of the Web had begun to feel toxic,” its surfeit of always-available music leading to a response that surprised her: “I missed pining for things. I missed the ecstasy of acquisition.” ...

.... “Collectors of 78s, maybe more than any other curators of music or music memorabilia,” she writes, “are doing essential preservationist work, chasing after tiny bits of art that would otherwise be lost.”

Ms. Petrusich’s collectors of 78s view themselves as a breed apart from — and superior to — the people who focus on LPs and 45s, which are vastly more plentiful. For one of her collectors, she reports, “the distinction is acute, comparable to collecting pebbles versus collecting diamonds.” ...

... "The difference between the Petrusich and Paz approaches can be gauged by the way they portray the one collector who appears in both their books, Joe Bussard of Frederick, Md., whose collection of about 25,000 discs is the product of six decades of what Ms. Petrusich calls “boots-on-the ground grunt work, pointedly removed from the estate-sale lurking most contemporary collectors indulge in.” She provides excerpts from a daylong conversation with him and tells us that “watching Joe Bussard listen to records is a spiritually rousing experience” in which he “sticks his tongue out, squeezes his eyes shut and bounces in his seat, waving his arms around like a weather vane.”

Mr. Paz’s photographs, in contrast, let the reader actually see the delight Mr. Bussard feels in listening to his collection, and instead of interpreting what Mr. Bussard says, uses a question-and-answer exchange that allows his clipped and cranky voice to be heard clearly. Here is Mr. Bussard on why he hates rock ’n’ roll: “Don’t like the sound of it, the meaning of it ... doesn’t promote anything meaningful. Idiotic noise, in my opinion.”

Nana Love - Disco Documentary Full Of Funk

Out August 11 on BBE, who say "Nana Love - A “Disco Documentary Full Of Funk” proves that it stands the test of time by sounding as fresh and original as any other sought-after Disco / Soul Funk LP from the West coast of Africa in the late 70s.

BBE went on another crate-digging journey and found the original producer Reindorf Nana Oppong and the original master tapes were dusted off, transferred to digital. In the process of this, even unreleased material was discovered on the tapes, which makes this a rather special package.

“Nana Love - Disco Documentary Full Of Funk” is one special journey through Afro Disco & Boogie in the late 70s, and we at BBE can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wild Style Breakbeats 7x7" Vinyl + Book from Kenny Dope

Described as "Kenny Dope revisits and edits the Wild Style soundtrack" - how good is that?

This includes 28 page book featuring new interviews and vintage photos from Wild Style archives. The Book doubles as a 7" vinyl holder ("Kay-Dee Casebook"). It features (7) 7" singles (13 songs total) featuring Kenny Dope edit versions from the Wild Style soundtrack.

Ships Early-Mid August. Link: Kenny Dope -Wildstyle vinyl/book at Turntable lab

ADDED: So what were the Wildstyle breakbeats? Here's the story [source]...

Kenny Dope: ”When it comes to “Wild Style”, it’s a movie that I have loved since I was a kid, because of what it stood for and how it showed real hip-hop culture to the world. As I became a producer in the late 1980s and into the 90s, when I listened close to the breakbeats that the DJs used in the film, I could tell that they were done in a studio....but I never knew the actual story behind them. It was always a mysterious thing, and no one seemed to know much about it.”

Wildstyle director Charlie Ahearn: “We didn't want to be dependent on the hit of the month but, more importantly, I was afraid of (filming) MCs rhyming off a pile of records that I wouldn't be able to clear”

And so, with a vision about the movie’s backbone: instrumentals that would replace breakbeats that DJs in New York were using at the time, Ahearn enlisted Fab 5 Freddy to oversee the production of material specifically for the film.

Freddy comments, “It was very smart on Charlie’s part...he said we should create our own, so I went and did that.” Using the “Orchestra” from the public access show “TV Party” (where Freddy was the camera man) original recordings were made for the film. That orchestra consisted of Leonardo “Lenny Ferrari” Ferraro on drums and Blondie’s Chris Stein.

Kenny Dope: “From an audio perspective, I got the 2 track mixdown tapes of the final breakbeats from Charlie. I went in and re-EQed everything and did re-edits, to make all of the originals-which were only about a minute each- longer. I didn’t want to put in anything that wasn’t there originally, so I didn’t add kicks or snares. I just wanted to enhance what they already had.”

The story of the breakbeats, the backbone of “Wild Style” has never been told so thoroughly and colorfully (in both words and glorious pictures) as you’ll find in this collection spearheaded by Kenny Dope. This is more than a collection of audio, this is documentation of an integral part of hip-hop history!

“Wild Style Breakbeats” not only features a 7” single including each of the breaks from the film, it also tells the story of those breakbeats in words and pictures. The 14 page hardcover book is written by Brian Coleman with reminiscences from Charlie Ahearn, DJ GrandWizzard Theodore, Fab 5 Freddie, Leonardo “Lenny Ferrari” Ferraro, Chris Stein and many more.

Mind The Curb (Remixed & Reworked)

"Kerbside Collection's debut jazz funk and rare groove LP "Mind the Curb" (released May 2013 on Légère Recordings) gets the remix, rework and re-use treatment with a variety of interpretations from fellow Aussie and international friends with everything from dubby pacific nu disco, analogue breaks and beats to balearic Japanese nu jazz."

Remixers include Ennio Styles, Billy Hoyle, Two Dee, Blunted Stylus, Chikashi Nishiwaki, and Kerbside Collection's drummer Paprika. Out now on digital, ltd 12" vinyl. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jet Jaguar - Hoops

New EP, name your price. Very tasty electronica from the capital.

It's the culture, stupid!

Beyonce is shocked at Bob's suggestion that most people
don't know her new music. It's on the interwebz!

Bob Lefsetz on culture, some fascinating observations... excerpt from Modern Life, read it in full here...

"... So what we're experiencing is a winnowing out process. Everybody can play, but only a few can win. If you think the Huffington Post is for tomorrow, you only live in today. The "New York Times" has nothing to worry about, because they're the only company that features real, in depth reporting, and he who controls information wins in the end.

But the "New York Times" is laboring under the conceit that it's bigger than its writers, which is completely topsy-turvy. Today we believe in the individual, whether it be Elon Musk, Tim Cook, Ezra Klein or Rupert Murdoch. You hitch your star to the star. Otherwise you descend. 

Because people don't trust institutions, they don't trust corporations, they only trust individuals. So if you're building an enterprise, focus on the talent. We can all identify with the talent. We believe Nate Silver has authority when it comes to data, the new people writing in the "New York Times" Upshot...WHO ARE THEY?

So you've got two sides to the equation, the seller and the buyer, and what's even worse, so many are both. Very few are passive today. People may be surfing the headlines, but they're also embellishing their personal brand, they want you to stop by at their Facebook page, check out their Twitter feed, when we ran out of time eons ago. 

So we gravitate to that which is in our face all day every day. Which is why if you want to be a famous musician, you've got to dominate the news cycle. This is what the Kardashians do so well and the bands do so poorly.

Or else you could make a song so good that it dominates the discussion. But we can't even agree on a song of the summer this summer. Is that because one's not good enough or because there's no consensus, because we're all scurrying off in our own direction.

So there are some who sit home self-satisfied, saying they know what's going on, when that's damn near impossible.

And then there are those who not only yearn for the days of yore, they keep bitching about what is lost in the new era.

And then there are those who do their best to keep up. And they're the majority of the population. They're trying to cobble together a life. Trying to decide what is necessary. Whether to look for love online or in real life. Whether to turn off their devices to enrich the experience or be fearful of missing out.

It's the culture stupid!

You might think it's about money and quality and marketing, but the truth is the culture has changed, and those who do not adopt their companies and their products to the new culture are bound to be forgotten.

Today you can truly be famous for fifteen minutes and forgotten shortly thereafter.

The key is to sustain.

And you do this by being in front of everybody with a quality product on a regular basis.

And that's damn hard to do. That's why Luke Bryan puts out two albums a year, why his label keeps pushing singles to the top of the chart, and most Americans still have no idea who he is!

Beyonce may be famous, but few know her new music.

And "Orange Is the New Black" may get great reviews, but who's got 25 hours to dedicate to the show when there's so much else to experience? Or, if you do, what else are you sacrificing?

So stop bitching and start figuring out how to play the new game.

Everybody else is."