Funky16Corners Mix v.2 - Sookie!
The Mighty Hannibal, Andre Williams,
Chuck Edwards and Mickey Lee Lane.
Andre Williams - Pearl Time (Sport)
Cha Cha Hogan - Grit Gitter (Soulville)
Mighty Hannibal - Jerkin' The Dog (Shurfine)
Mickey Lee Lane - Hey Sah-Lo-Ney (Swan)
Charles Kynard - Here Now! (World Pacific)
Bobby Parker - Watch Your Step (V-Tone)
Teddy & The Fingerpoppers - Soul Groove Pt1 (Arctic)
Don Gardner - My Baby Likes To Boogaloo (TruGloTown)
Johnny Jones & The King Casuals - It's Gonna Be Good (Brunswick)
Flamingos - The Boogaloo Party (philips)
David Rockingham Trio - Soulful Chant (Josie)
Gate Wesley & Band feat. Billy LaMont - (Zap Pow) Do The Batman (Atlantic)
Roy Lee Johnson - Boogaloo #3 (Josie)
Chuck Edwards - Downtown Soulville (Punch)
Sir Latimore Brown - Shake and Vibrate (SS7)
Perry & The Harmonics - Do The Monkey With James (Mercury)
Greetings fellow soul fans. It’s Wednesday again, and I bring you another mix. I know I said something along the lines of “every couple of weeks”, but I got an itchy trigger finger so I decided to do it now (post a mix, that is..). This time out, it’s a kind of R&B, soul, proto-funk mixed bag, most of the material hailing from the middle of the 60’s (with a few notable exceptions). The heads in the crowd with the deeper crates may – upon their initial perusal of the playlist – spot what seem like stylistic incongruities, but let me assure you: once you hear these vinyl delicacies rubbing up against one another like perverts in a sweaty subway car, all will be revealed. I figured I’d open things up with bang, dropping Roy Thompson’s 1967 cover of Don Covay’s mighty ‘Sookie Sookie’. Other than the fact that the record charted briefly in January of 1967, and that it sounds like Roy was listening to a lot of Jr. Walker and the All Stars 45s, I haven’t been able to track down any other info. Since all the evidence for the greatness of this disc resides in the grooves, all you really need to know will be revealed as it plays. If you aren’t already familiar with the mighty Andre Williams, performer, writer, producer extraordinaire and all around slick operator, you should get with the program. Most of his records are both deadly and cheap (an uncommon combination), are redolent of bacon grease, fortified wine and Cadillacs, and should be collected with as much speed as you can muster. ‘Pearl Time’ is a grooving, half-spoken, double-entendre filled dance-craze number from 1967.
Released on the Harrisburg, PA Soulville label, ‘Grit Gitter’ by Cha Cha Hogan is actually a Detroit record. Hogan, who recorded R&B sides for the Star Talent and Great Lakes labels (among others) also recorded a comedy album for the Laff label, and appeared on a few episodes of Sanford and Son (no, I’m not making that up). ‘Grit Gitter’ is a laid back, subtly funky piano instro. Cha Cha ended up working lounges in Las Vegas.
If you weren’t already awake, the lightning-bolt strains of the Mighty Hannibal’s ‘Jerkin’ The Dog’ ought to get you off your ass. Hannibal (aka James Shaw) was an Atlanta soul singer with a sideline as a pimp, who descended into drugs and survived, coming out the other side intact (and funky). 1965’s ‘Jerkin’ The Dog’ is a party starter, floor-filler, foot-stomper etc, with musical backing from the band St. John & The Cardinals.
Mickey Lee Lane’s 1965 ‘Hey Sah Lo Ney’ – despite being soulful by association only– fits into the mix nicely. It has an all-around manic feel, propelled by heavily distorted guitar and an extra-chunky horn section. Lane recorded a number of 45s for the Swan label in the mid-60’s. ‘Hey Sah Lo Ney’, which became popular with the UK mod/soul crown was covered (as ‘Hey Sha-lo-ney’) by The Action, perhaps the most soulful English band of the 60’s. Prepare yourself, because Charles Kynard’s ‘Hey Now!’ is a jet-propelled Hammond instro, engineered to peel the wallflowers out of their seats and onto the floor. A non-Lp b-side from the sessions for his 1963 LP ‘Where It’s At’ (the title tune is it’s a-side) is one of my fave Hammond sides. After his one LP for Pacific Jazz, Kynard went on to make a grip of high-quality soul jazz and funk Lps for Prestige and Mainstream.
Bobby Parker’s mighty ‘Watch Your Step’ is the earliest record in this set, hailing from 1961. If it sounds at all familiar, keep in mind that it’s the framework borrowed (admittedly) by the Beatles for ‘Day Tripper’ and ‘I Feel Fine’ and by Led Zeppelin for ‘Moby Dick’. Released on Philadelphia’s V-Tone label, the record was released twice in the UK, on London in 1961 and on Sue in 1964. Parker still plays and records today. I can’t tell you much about Teddy and the Fingerpoppers ‘Soul Groove Pt1’ other than the fact that it was a 1968 on the legendary Philly label Arctic (home to the Volcanos and Ambassadors among others) and was co-written by label owner (and popular local DJ) Jimmy Bishop and Jesse James.
‘My Baby Likes To Boogaloo’ by Don Gardner is one of those records that packs about a crates-worth of energy into a single 45. Gardner sounds like he’s buckled into a straight-jacket, and the raw guitar and pounding drums make for a lethal combination. Gardner, who had a long and illustrious R&B career from the early 50’s on, is best known for his duets with Dee Dee Ford. ‘My Baby Likes To Boogaloo’ was covered later that same year (1966) by Pennsylvania’s Emperors. The Emperors’ version may be less explosive, but it has it’s own unique charm and is well worth checking out.
Johnny Jones and the King Casuals are best know in some circles for the fact that Jimi Hendrix (and his Band of Gypsies cohort Billy Cox) both did time in their ranks (though they never recorded with the band). Nashville-based Jones had been the bandleader on Hoss Allen’s R&B/soul TV show ‘The Beat!’. The King Casuals recorded three 45s for Brunswick in 1968 and 1969 (some originally issued on the Peachtree label), including a wild cover of ‘Purple Haze’.
In case you were wondering, the Flamingos who recorded ‘Boogaloo Party’ are in fact the same group that recorded one of the greatest harmony records of all time, the brilliant ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’. By the time ‘The Boogaloo Party’ was released in 1966, some of the original members had moved on, but the group was still led by the Carey brothers. They went on to record the excellent – and funky – ‘Heavy Hips’ for the Ronze label. Though I don’t have much info on the David Rockingham Trio, it’s certainly not for lack of trying. They hit the charts briefly in 1963 with ‘Dawn’ on Josie, and had at least two other 45s on that label, including 1964’s savage ‘Soulful Chant’. They also had 45s on the Ritetrack and Dee Dee labels, all in a similar greasy, R&B style.
Released in 1966’s wave of Batman cash-in records, Gate Wesley & Band’s ‘(Zap Pow) Do the Batman’ is a nasty little slice of soul, that sounds like it was recorded with the entire band inside the bass drum. Lead vocals were supplied by R&B veteran Billy LaMont, who went on to record the funky ‘Sweet Thang’ for 20th Century, with none other than Jimi Hendrix on lead guitar.
Roy Lee Johnson’s 1966 ‘Boogaloo #3’ is another Atlanta-based record, and is a wicked-hot mod-soul mover. Johnson got his start as the lead vocalist on Dr. Feelgood & the Interns ‘Mr Moonlight’ (Okeh) which was later covered by the Beatles.
I have to start out my description of Chuck Edwards ‘Downtown Soulville’ by stating that it is one of my four or five favorite soul records, ever. Edwards, who made his first record in 1953, and continued recording through the 50’s for labels like Duke and Apollo. He later returned to western Pennsylvania and recorded a number of great R&B and soul sides on his own Rene and Punch labels, including ‘Bullfight’ which was picked up for national distribution by Roulette in 1966. The mighty ‘Downtown Soulville’ was released in 1967, and reissued in the UK on Dave Godin’s Soul City label a year later. The tune features Edwards vocals and guitar and like many of his mid-60’s sides has an almost garagey edge to it. Edwards later relocated to California, where he recorded with his family band The Edwards Generation. Sir Latimore Brown recorded seven 45s for the Sound Stage 7 label between 1965 and 1968 (some as just ‘Latimore Brown’). 1966’s ‘Shake and Vibrate’ is the hottest of them all. VIBE-A-RATE, indeed.
The final number in today’s mix is a killer (why would it be any other way) and a longtime personal fave. ‘Do The Monkey With James’ by Perry and the Harmonics manages to be both one of the greatest 60’s Hammond sides, and a mid-60’s Spy-craze novelty. Featuring vocal contributions by R&B hitmaker Ed Townsend, and organ by Richard McRea (“Perry” is saxophonist Clarence Perry), ‘Do The Monkey With James’ starts out slow and sinister, and then explodes into a piece of dancefloor madness. The LP can be pricey, but it’s easier to track down than the 45 (which is worth whatever they happen to be charging for it).