Today’s selection of 45s is a nice well rounded mix of funk, soul and northern, with a couple of mod tinged organ burners thrown in for good measure.
We kick off with Al Downing and ‘The Whole World’s Gone Funky’. This was released in 1975 on the Chess label and is a real grower! Slightly country sounding, I recently acquired this during a private viewing of a local dealers collection.
Ramón ‘Mongo’ Santamaria hailed from Cuba and was an established Afro-Latin percussionist. I pulled his cover of ‘Cloud Nine’ by The Temptations out by mistake whilst rooting through my collection for this mix, and having not heard it for a while decided to give it an airing here. This is a real stomper and is always a big B-boy favourite.
The next two fit into the ‘Mod’ mould. ‘Back Yard’ by Prince Valiant And The Knights is a record I first heard played several years ago by Keb Darge, it went on to be comped on his Deep Funk series and had been firmly on my wants list ever since then until I crossed it off courtesy of Jamie C and his sales list! The frenzied organ amazes me every time as does the flip ‘Front Yard’, which I’ll feature on a forthcoming mix for you.
Next up is Alan Hawkshaw’s library band The Mohawks. Formed of session musicians, you maybe aware of their highly sampled classic ’The Champ’ which shifted 12,000 copies per week in 1968. ‘Baby Hold On’ is maybe a little less known but IMHO just as good. The cut featured here is from an obscure Lebanese pressing I procured and also comes from the ‘Champ’ sessions the band recorded.
‘Tell Mama’ by Etta James follows along nicely, using the same hook on the horns as ‘Baby Hold On’. Released in 1967 on the Cadet label. This is a great feel good 45.
The Chairmen Of The Boards 1970’s release ‘Since The Days Of Pigtails (And Fairy Tales)’ is the B side to ‘Give Me Just A Little More Time’. The single made #3 in both the US and UK charts. This was one of the very first 45’s I had, having been relocated from my surprisingly soulful Mum’s collection. Very Motown infused due to the incredible talents of Holland-Dozier-Holland who left Motown and created the Invictus label in 1968.
‘So Anna Just Love Me’ is a bouncy soulful cut that shows off Roy Lee Johnson’s talents. It was leased to the Josie record label by Atlantic’s Wendell Parker, who also produced the track.
‘What Have You Done?’ by Naomi Shelton And The Gospel Queens is one of Daptone Records latest releases. These guy’s know how to produce consistent quality 45s!! Naomi Shelton nails this one with her incredibly powerful vocals, a must have that was turning heads at our latest night.
We round things up with a nice slice of blue eyed Northern soul from the legend that is Frankie Valli. ‘You’re Ready Now’ is an infectious stomper that is guaranteed to leave the chorus running round your head for hours after you’ve finished listening to it!!
Stay safe and join us back here after the weekend for more of the good stuff.
Track List (Click on individual track titles for label scans)
Al Downing - The Whole World’s Gone Funky – Chess
Mongo Santamaria – Cloud Nine – Columbia
Prince Valiant And The Knights – Back Yard – St. Clair
The Mohawks – Baby Hold On – SLD
Etta James – Tell Mama – Cadet
The Chairmen Of The Boards - Since The Days Of Pigtails (And Fairy Tales) – Invictus
Roy Lee Johnson And His Band - So Anna Just Love Me - Josie
Naomi Shelton And The Gospel Queens – What Have You Done Lately? – Daptone
Frankie Valli – You’re Ready Now – Phillips