Funky16Corners Mix v.1 - Funky Philadelphia
The Nu Sound Express Ltd.
Track listing The Show Stoppers – Shake Your Mini (Showtime) Interpretations – Blow Your Mind (Jubilee) Panic Buttons – Hitch It To The Mule (Chalom) Alfie & The Explosions – Safire (Phil-L.A. of Soul) Hidden Cost – Bo Did It (Marmaduke) Alliance – Pass The Pipe (Wand) Landslides – We Don’t Need No Music (Huff Puff) United Image – African Bump (Branding Iron) Broad Street Gang – 12th Street Man (Cougar) Big Al T Orchestra – Do The Slide (Virtue) Nu Sound Express – One More Time You All (Silver Dollar) Nat Turner Rebellion – Plastic People (Delvaliant) Fantastic Johnny C – Let’s Do It Together (Kama Sutra) Radars – Finger Licking Chicken (Yew) Georgie Woods – Potato Salad Pt 1 (Fat Back) Four Larks – Keep Climbing Brother (Uptown) Brothers of Hope – Nickol Nickol (Gamble) Greetings all. The beginning of another week is here, and I’ve decided to do something new here at the ole Funky16Corners blog. For quite a while I’ve been thinking about presenting something a little more substantial than a single (or double) song download, and though what I’m about to do doesn’t technically rise to the level of podcasting (I think...) it is a “cast” of sorts. Starting this week, and repeating periodically (maybe once every few weeks) from now on I’ll be posting themed mixes for download. Keep in mind that these will be comparatively large files and if you’re working with a slow connection they will take a VERY LONG TIME to download. However, if you have a faster connection it won’t be nuthin’ but a thang. I will continue the regular Funky16Corners format, i.e. one record/one story for the vast majority of the posts, so if you’re still on dial-up, you’ll still be able to get your regularly scheduled soulful taste, same Bat time, same Bat channel. Just keep checking back. Now, to the mix.... When I sat down to put this mix together, I decided that along with some personal faves (some of which – 4 of the 17 tunes - have appeared in this space previously), I was going to try to go for some of the more unsung 45s in my Philly crates.
Things start off with ‘Shake Your Mini’ by the Show Stoppers. Featuring a couple of Solomon Burke’s nephews, the Show Stoppers are best known for the classic ‘Ain’t Nothing But a House Party’. ‘Shake Your Mini’ (which includes a Hammond version of the cut by Ronnie Dee on the b-side) is by far their funkiest outing, and was their last US release (they went on to record a few 45s for a UK label).
The Interpretations had an interesting history. There were four 45s released under that name, two (Snap Out b/w Soul Affection and Automatic Soul Pts 1&2) on Bell, and two on Jubilee (Blow Your Mind b/w Trippin’ and Jason Pew Mosso Pts 1&2). Both Bell 45s – one of which which was originally released on the local Haral label – and the ‘Blow Your Mind’ side of the first Jubilee 45 featured the original Interpretations. The ‘Trippin’ side of that 45, and both sides of the ‘Jason Pew Mosso’ 45 are in fact the MFSB rhythm section, i.e. Ronnie Baker, Norman Harris, Bobby Eli and Earl Young et al. That same core group appears on this mix under the pseudonyms The Hidden Cost, Landslides and the Brothers of Hope (and probably play on many of the others as well).
The Panic Buttons were the work of Philly saxophonist Lou Lupo. They recorded 45s for their own Chalom label, some of which were reissued on Gamble. They are all worth checking out.
I know nothing about Alfie & The Explosions, other than they seem to have recorded into the disco era. ‘Safire’ certainly has a touch of that feeling, but stays funky.
The Hidden Cost, as I said before were one of a number names under which the MFSB rhythm recorded. Marmaduke records was owned by Bernie Binnick and Len Barry, and released a number of 45s on that imprint by Norma & The Heartaches, Power Play and Daley’s Diggers, as well as productions by the Electric Indian. The spoken parts on ‘Bo Did It’ are exchanges between Earl Young and Bobby Eli.
The Alliance was another studio group (and another Marmaduke production), this time featuring Daryl Hall (who’s voice is recognizable in the mix) and Bobby Eli (who are credited with the arrangement) among others. The flip side of ‘Pass the Pipe’ is an instrumental mix of the tune entitled ‘Cupid’s Holding’.
The Landslides were another Baker/Harris/Eli/Young alias. The Huff Puff label (with one of the coolest Philly label designs) also released sides by Ruth McFadden and the Producers. The flip of this one is an instrumental version, cleverly titled ‘Music Please Music’.
By the time the United Image recorded ‘African Bump’ for Jesse James’ Branding iron label, they had already recorded a few 45s for Stax. They later recorded as Double Exposure.
I wish I knew more about the Broad Street Gang. I have three 45s by the group, one on Cougar, one on Condor and another on Avco, all excellent. I’ve heard rumors that there was also an LP, but I’ve never seen it.
The ‘Big Al T Orchestra’ cut ‘Do the Slide’ was the flip of their cooking instrumental take on Edwin Starr’s ’25 Miles’. I believe ‘Big Al T’ was the same cat as ‘Al Thomas’, as in the Al Thomas Ork’, also on Virtue. It’s a nice jazzy slice of guitar funk.
The Nu Sound Express recorded two 45s for the local Silver Dollar label. The first, ‘Ain’t It Good Enough’ was sampled on DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist’s Brainfreeze mix. ‘One More Time You All’ was the a-side of their second 45.
The Nat Turner Rebellion is another extremely intriguing Philly group. They released several 45s, on Delvaliant, Philly Soulville and Philly Groove (one as just ‘Nat Turner’), but I have never really been able to track down any info on them. ‘Plastic People’ was the b-side of their Delvaliant 45.
The Fantastic Johnny C is best known for his Phil-L.A. of Soul 45s and LP (especially ‘Boogaloo Down Broadway’), but ‘Let’s Do It Together’ on Kama Sutra is by far his hardest hitting funk side.
‘Finger Licking Chicken’ b/w ‘Soul Serenade’ by that Radars was originally released (as ‘The Radors’) on the Leoso label. The Yew 45 is easier to come by and one of my favorite Philly funk sides.
The late Georgie Woods was one of the great Philly radio personalities in the 60’s and 70’s. ‘Potato Salad Pts 1&2’ borrows the tune from Lionel Hampton’s funky ‘Greasy Greens’, and was arranged by the great Vince Montana.
The Four Larks made some of the greatest Philly soul sides of the 60’s. ‘Keep Climbing Brother’ was an unusual instrumental b-side of one of their last 45s.
Last but certainly not least is ‘Nickol Nickol’ by the Brothers of Hope. This 45 is what is known in the digger community as “slept on”. It’s a dark, thumping piece of instro-funk and still one of the great 45 bargains (cheap and plentiful, that’s the way to go). Once again the MFSB guys, this also features Vince Montana on vibes (check out that ‘Eleanor Rigby’ coda).