Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Somethin' That Means Somethin'

When I first decided to run the guest series, I made a vow to myself and the soul children that I would only extend an invitation to the truly worthy---people who I personally respect and greatly admire. The man of the hour is certainly no exception. DJ Prestige runs an amazing spot called Flea Market Funk that has proven to be a utopian goldmine for funk and soul enthusiasts worldwide. Pres has not only mastered the fine art of mixing, but he also gets mad props from me for being a crate digger extraordinaire. I sincerely can't stop listening to this mix he created for us, and I'm confident that you'll find it every bit as addictive. High regards and eternal gratitude, Pres...

You probably don't know who I am. I wouldn't expect you to. I'm the new kid on the block in this blogosphere. I finally got serious in March and started documenting my obsession with vinyl. I've been digging seriously since the mid 90's, mostly at flea markets and yard sales. When everyone else is going to bed at 5:30 am, I'm getting up to go to the spot. I don't pay a lot of money for records, for me it's all about the thrill of the chase. I can say, I've never paid more than $20 for a 45, and I'm ok with that. I'm sure at some point if I have to have an expensive piece, I will cross that bridge when I get there. When I first started writing, other than Funky 16 Corners and Soul Sides, I didn't really know many other bloggers. Scholar was one of the first cats who put me on positive blast, saying something like: "I don't give many links to blogs that are less than a month old, but this one has potential". That quote stuck with me, and I appreciate it. He's sent some really cool people my way, and I'd like to hope I've done the same. Since the inception of FMF, I've met a lot of people on here, who have thrown out some knowledge about the record game. I dig that because I'm always a student, we all are, no one can have all the records. Even if the Biz says he does, we learn every day.

Here's a mix of 17 choice Deep Funk and Raw Soul cuts I'm digging at the moment. There are 3 reissues: the Chuck Womack, the Latin Breed, and Abraham & the Metronomes. All the rest were dug up in the field. You see, I wanted to give you "Something That Means Something", because this music means a helluva lot to me. Thanks for the opportunity Scholar, I appreciate it brother. Keep Diggin'!

Somethin' That Means Somethin' (FMF Guest Mix for Souled On Music) (mp3)

Delia Gartrell - Fight Fire With Fire/ Right On
The Sweet Cherries - Don't Give It Away/ T-Neck
Chuck Womack & The Sweet Souls - Ham Hocks& Beans Part 1/ Rejoin
The Village Choir - The Switch/ Paramount
Willie Mitchell - 20-75/Hi
Donald Austin - Crazy Legs/ East Bound
Lee Eldred - Shakin' Baby Part 1/ Mercury
Latin Breed - I Turn You On/ Funk 45
Chet "Poison" Ivey & His Fabulous Avengers - Shake A Poo Poo/ Tangerine Record Corporation
The Joneses - Pull My String (Turn Me On)/ MP
Thomas East - Funky Music Part 1/ MGM
James Carr - Coming Back To Me Baby/ Goldwax
Renaldo Domino - Don't Go Away/ Blue Rock
All Points Bulliten Band - Sexy Legs-Pretty Ways Part 1/ Little City
Abraham and the Metronomes - Party/ Funk 45
Gloria Taylor - You've Got To Pay the Price/ Silver Fox
The Witches and the Warlock - I Don't Want To Live My Life Alone/ Sew City

Word From Prestige's Moms:

"In my music, I'm trying to play the truth of what I am. The reason it's difficult is because I'm changing all the time." -Charles Mingus

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Souled On Samples XI

"If There's A Will There's A Way"---Don Covay & the Jefferson Lemon Blues Band
(Sampled on "Southside" by Common/Kanye West)

Dig deeper...

"Our Generation"---Ernie Hines
(Sampled on "Let's Straighten It Out" by Pete Rock & CL Smooth)

Dig deeper...

"Clouds In My Sunshine"---Redbone
(Sampled on "This Means You" by Reflection Eternal---Talib Kweli + Hi-Tek)

Dig deeper...

"In The Hole"---The Bar-Kays
(Sampled on "Crime Pays" by Kool G Rap, "Living In The World Today" by GZA/RZA/Method Man, "Dead Men Tell No Lies" by Compton's Most Wanted, "You Suck" by Edan, "Rock Stars" by Non Phixion, and "Ring The Alarm" by Fu-Schnickens)

Dig deeper...

"Tune Up"---The Dells/The Dramatics
(Sampled on "Show N Prove" by Inspectah Deck)

Dig deeper...

"If You Wanna Love Me" --- Hodges, James & Smith
(Sampled on "Back In The Days" by Infamous Mobb-prod. by Alchemist)

Dig deeper...

"Blacks And Blues"---Bobbi Humphrey
(Sampled on "The Art Of Easing" by Digable Planets, "Peachfuzz" and "Plumskinzz" by KMD, "Another Wild N----- From The Bronx" by Fat Joe, "Return Of The Hip Hop Freaks" by Nice & Smooth, and "Keep The Beat" by Eric B & Rakim)

Dig deeper...

"Tramp"---Lowell Fulsom
(Sampled on "Time 4 Sum Aksion" by Redman, "Let, Let Me In" by De La Soul, "Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)" by Wu-Tang Clan, "Get Funky" and "Third Of The Trio" by The Beatnuts, "Rampage" by EPMD, "Mellow Says Hello" by Mellow Man Ace, "Somethin' Like Dis" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, "Harmonize" by Nice & Smooth, "Step To The Rear" and "All 4 One" by Brand Nubian, "King Tee's Beer Stand" by King Tee, "No BS Allowed" by Stetsasonic, "360 Degrees" by Grand Puba, "Jump Around" by House Of Pain, "Tramp" by Salt-N-Pepa, "7" by Prince, "Back Off" by Fu-Schnickens, "Don't Curse" by Heavy D, "Tap The Bottle" by Young Black Teenagers, and "How I Could Just Kill A Man" by Cypress Hill)

Dig deeper...

Simply Beautiful"---Al Green
(Sampled On "Good To You" by Talib Kweli)

Dig deeper...

"I'm Hooked On You"---Jeannie Reynolds
(Sampled on "Stuck On You" by Prodigy)

Dig deeper...

Supplemental Materials:

"Let's Straighten It Out (Pete Rock Remix)"---Pete Rock & CL Smooth (bonus mp3)

"Southside" and "Misunderstood" excerpts from Common's Finding Forever studio sessions:

KMD's classic "Peach Fuzz" video:

Some funky-ass footage of The Bar-Kays at Wattstax:

Word From Your Moms:

“'But I don’t want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
'Oh, you can’t help that,' said the Cat. 'We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.'
'How do you know I’m mad?' said Alice.
'You must be,” said the Cat. 'or you wouldn’t have come here.'”
Lewis Carroll (from Alice In Wonderland)

Friday, August 24, 2007

In Dangerous Rhythm Mix For Souled On

There is nothing more rewarding than getting feedback from readers who say that they've discovered some wonderful music or learned something new from frequenting this site. That said, I'm humbled by the realization that I still have much to learn. Without a doubt, one of the people I turn to in hopes of furthering my own education is Colin Dilnot. Colin is an accomplished writer, not to mention the fact that he is virtually a human encyclopedia as it relates to knowledge of soul, funk, jazz, and the blues. His main blog is In Dangerous Rhythm, but I'd highly recommend viewing his profile to seek out some of his other writing as well. I'm quite honored to share a mix he created especially for Souled On readers. Rest assured, it's nothing short of incredible. Thanks for the mix Colin, and for being so instrumental in keeping soul alive...Scholar

In Dangerous Rhythm Mix For Souled On (mp3)

Thanks Scholar for letting me post up this mix on your blog and giving me the opportunity to share my soundtrack of politicised soul from the 60's and 70's.

1. Rufus Woods- "Before 2001" (Espanola)

A piece of Texan soul from 1968 which begins the soundtrack with hope as Bobby spells out his dream for his future life. I wonder whether Bobby ever achieved his dream?

2. Mighty Hannibal- "Hymn No 5" (CDB Yugoslavia)

A totally different dream than Bobby's written from the view point of a grunt in a Vietnam fox hole. A deeply disturbing opus from Mighty Hannibal who was heavily involved in politics at this time. One of the very few 45s issued in a 1960's Communist country - I think you might guess why? I am currently working on a Hannibal feature based on an interview with him which will be published later this year.

3. Bobby Brown- "Why" (Verve)

One of Johnny Brantley's best ever productions. A driving piece of bass laden soul with blaring horns from the Ohio Players. The lyrics of this song are as desperate as the music - with Bobby screaming why things are so bad? - he wants to know why we suffer? This is not just a plea for justice but also a plea for the decency of being given an answer to why things are so bad. The backdrop to this song was the burgeoning civil rights movement and this is one of the most expressive songs to emerge from that era. The only song of the era which I know which uses the phrase equal opportunities. It was also recorded by the Ohio Players as Tell Me Why on their album of Compass recordings called First Impressions. You can read more about Johnny Brantley productions on my blog as well as a feature in the next issue of There's That Beat magazine.

4. Brothers & Sisters- "Don't Let 'em Tell You Pt 1" (Nickel)

The Brothers & Sisters released a few political songs and may have been involved with the Reverend Jessie Jackson back in the late 60's. Here they are on this powerhouse number heavily influenced by Norman Whitfield's Motown productions.

5. Tenison Stephens- "Don't Rip Me Off" (Aries)

One of many songs written in the late 60's and early 70's about sticking together and not fighting each other.

6. Larry Saunders- "Free Angela" (Golden Triangle LP Free Angela)
7. Larry Saunders- "This World" (Golden Triangle LP Free Angela)

2 tracks from a project organised by Dickie Wonder, the then President of Golden Triangle Records to support the campaign to release Angela Davis from prison. The album featured tracks by Larry Saunders, Nitroglycerine, Dickie Wonder, Brother Love, Tyrone Thomas, Judd Watkins and Geraldine Jones. You can read more about this track and Larry's career in the UK magazine In The Basement.

8. Meditation Singers- "Stand Up And Be Counted" (Checker)

The Meditation Singers were the creation of Ernestine Rundless back in the 50's Detroit. This side features Laura Lee on lead who continued to sing gospel at the same as she was cutting all those classic sides for Chess and later with Invictus/Hotwax.

9. Gary Brown- "Do Something" (Icepac)

This mid-70's side follows on from the one above with the message that people need to help themselves and not rely on others.

10. Amnesty- "Everybody Who Wants To Be Free Part 1" (Now-Again)

Amnesty recorded this side for the legendary Lamp label out of Indianapolis and it was later re-issued on Now-Again. You can still get copies and the picture cover features the history of the group and includes archive photos.

11.George Perkins- "No Need For A Black Man To Cry" (Crying In The Streets)

George sang one of the most famous pleas for recognition and freedom in the 60's - Crying In The Streets on Silver Fox. Here he is back in the 70's and do you think that there might be a hint of irony in his voice. Did things really change and get better or am I being too cynical?

12. Laurence Armour- "Throw The Guns In The River" (Karmoura)

I finish the mix with a plea to think about what we are doing to ourselves.

Word From Colin's Moms:

"Give me an old wall and a garbage can and I can by God sit there forever. Because I am the wall and I am the garbage can."---William Burroughs

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

HeavySoulBrutha's Jazz-Funk Guest Mix

Today's guest blogger/mixologist is another first-rate soul/funk/jazz aficianado---HeavySoulBrutha Dave B from Put The Needle On The Record. His site features lots of good tunes, mixes, links, videos and information. If you're a fan of any of the aforementioned genres, or just an all-around vinyl enthusiast, I can assure you that Dave's your kind of people. Welcome to the family Soul Brutha, and thanks for blessing us with such an exceptional mix. Keep on keepin' on-Scholar

"HeavySoulBrutha's Jazz-Funk Guest Mix"

01. Superstition - Ahmad Jamal
02. Four Play - Fred Wesley & The Horny Horns
03. Root Down (And Get It) 'Live' - Jimmy Smith
04. Fat Mama - Herbie Hancock
05. Changes - Bernard Purdie
06. Starsky And Hutch Theme
07. "T" Plays It Cool - Marvin Gaye
08. Nautilus - Bob James
09. That Spiritual Feeling - Paul Weller & The JB's
10. Chain Reaction - The Crusaders
11. The Smile - David Axelrod
12. Ummh - Bobby Hutcherson
13. The Baron - Chico Hamilton
14. I'm Still Sad 'Live' - Gene Harris & The Three Sounds
15. Journey In Satchidananda - Alice Coltrane

Just wanted to say thanks so much to Scholar for asking me to contribute a guest post to the Souled On blog. I've only been blogging for a short time and I can honestly say this is a great community full of generosity not only to each other, but to the artists that we pay tribute to each and every day. I hope you dig this mix of some serious Jazz-Funk that I've done for you and I hope your readers do as well. It's a pretty long one as some of these jams are superb workouts.


Peace and SOUL,

Word From SoulBrutha's Moms:

"I think it's a common vibrating tone of the musical notes that holds all life together."---Marvin Gaye

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Freedom Of Speechless...

Tune into a popular or contemporary music station for any length of time and you'll have to agree that listening audiences today tend to prefer songs with vocals, no matter how irritating or bereft of intelligence the lyrics might be. Yes, I'm fully aware that a subset of the population enjoys classical music and instrumental jazz compositions, but how often do you see such recordings making even the slightest dent on the Billboard charts? Rarely.

While it's obvious that there's an endless stream of vocalists and MCs who I unquestionably admire, I also have an infinite number of instrumental joints that I consider to be invaluable staples in my record collection. Sadly, I often second-guess myself when I think about sharing something from this treasury of tunes. I inherently realize that most people would rather hear a song about "My Humps" than listen to a comparably outstanding selection that doesn't feature any mind-numbingly stupid vocal hooks. Furthermore, I've come to the sad realization that when the masses do gravitate towards instrumental material, it tends to be something as God-awfully unforgivable as Kenny G. Maybe people are just mystified by his ultra-chic afro mullet. Who knows?

Today, I made a conscious decision to go against the grain and post a random selection of instrumental gems from the crates de la Scholar. Before I drop these on you, a bit of historical wisdom to support my enthusiam for songs without words:

"It is better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt."--Anonymous

"Speech and silence. We feel safer with a madman who talks than with one who cannot open his mouth."--E.M. Cioran

"Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent."--Dionysius the Elder

"Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us all without words?"--Marcel Marceau

"Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage."--Publilius Syrus

I uploaded the tracks to divShare today as a trial run. For those who aren't familiar, you can listen to any of the songs by clicking the play button. To download the song, hit the divShare icon to the right. If you still don't get it, try asking your 5-year-old nephew...

"Planet Rock Pt. 1"---Breakout

"Keep On Dancing (Instrumental Version)"---Alvin Cash Scott Bros. Orchestra

"Big Game (Instrumental Version)"---Diverse (prod. by RJD2)

"55 Dollars"---Visioneers

"Doin' The Thing"---Leftie's Soul Connection

"Juicy (Pete Rock's Instrumental Mix)"---Notorious B.I.G.

"Ghetto Funk"---Ike Turner & The Kings Of Rhythm

"Hold Tight (Remix Instrumental)"---Slum Village (prod. by J Dilla)

"II B.S. (RZA's Mingus Bounce Mix)"---Charles Mingus & RZA

Gratitude is extended to DJ Blueprint for hippin' me to that Breakout joint---it still flips me out every time I hear it. If you still haven't stopped by This Is Tomorrow to scoop up Scholar's Got Soul? Mix, what the hell is you waitin' for, children?

Word From Your Moms:

“Silence is as deep as eternity; speech, shallow as time.”---Thomas Carlyle

Friday, August 17, 2007

Metal Lungies' Confessions Of A Hip Hop Nerd

Lately, I haven't had nearly as much time as I'd like to visit sites/blogs that I used to keep in fairly regular rotation. Although my acquaintance with Metal Lungies is relatively short-lived in contrast to some of the spots I've been frequenting for years, you can often catch me hanging around there these days. This speaks volumes about the quality of their content, especially considering that I have no less than 5,067 hip-hop related sites bookmarked for "future reference".

What sets Lungies apart from the rest is that these guys keep things extra-thorough. They cover a fairly wide spectrum when it comes to their subject matter, but somehow manage to maintain an overall sense of continuity and focus. They keep me well-informed about current happenings, but are just as likely to feature a retrospective that encourages me to reminisce on the best of days gone by...

Since I'm such a superfan, I asked buhizzle if he'd be willing to stop by and bless my readers with some of his infinite wisdom. What follows is his immensely creative response to my request...Scholar

Hello, new world, here I come. I'm a hip hop nerd. You may remember me from such conversations as "Blueprint 2 would've been better as a single disc," or "Yea, the album version of 'Still Not A Player' is edited for some reason, there's nothing wrong with your copy of Capital Punishment."

You'd probably identify a "nerd" as someone who strives to know everything about whatever subject matter interests them the most. Someone who might chastise you for not knowing as much, but not to be rude -- rather, to make sure that his words stay with you. Someone who passed every test with no worries because knowing the bare minimum to simply "get by" just wasn't enough for him. Well, that's how I am with hip hop. Your average person may be content with purchasing a new CD and skipping through each track until they get to the hit single that they'd heard on the radio 30 times previously. Meanwhile, I'm trying to find out more about the guest rapper on track #9, or where I had heard that sample on track #14 before, or why that one song I heard on a mixtape a month ago didn't make the final album.

Sure, my knowledge of such things may be superior to the average person's, but I don't try to sound holier-than-thou because of it -- most likely, everything I know about hip hop has come at some expense for me. There's a classic episode of Married With Children where Al teaches Kelly every single fact known to man about sports in order to get her on a sports trivia game show and win big money. However, in the midst of the process, Al discovers that for every new thing Kelly learns, she forgets something that she had previously known -- for example, as a result of her new-found knowledge of Julius Erving, she no longer knows the steps one must take to shampoo their hair ('Lather, rinse, repeat'). The episode ends with Kelly destroying the competition on the game show, only to miss the grand prize question: "Who scored 4 touchdowns in a single game at Polk High?" [For those that didn't watch the show, scoring 4 touchdowns in a single game was Al Bundy's only claim to fame.]

Sometimes, I can't help but wonder if I don't have some similar sort of problem. If I didn't know at least 10 songs that sampled Zapp's "More Bounce To The Ounce", perhaps I could've attained the social skills necessary to talk my way out that $200 ticket for making a U-turn in a "business district" at 2 a.m. (when there were no businesses even open)? Or, maybe if I wasn't able to provide a second nickname for every member of the Wu-Tang Clan (The Abbott, Maxamillion, Osirus, Toney Starks, Louis Rich, Rollie Fingers, Jemel Irief, Lucky Hands, Iron Lung), I would've remembered to have kept a condom with me that night in sophomore year, when that girl I met at a party was ready to put out? [Rest assured, I didn't make that mistake twice.]

I've been a hip hop nerd since as long as I can remember, but didn't really find out that I was one until high school. Memories remain vivid to this day -- lending my homie my copy of Cormega's The Realness, only to have him give it back to me the next day because he didn't like it (sure enough, 1 year later, he was trying to put ME on to The True Meaning); letting this girl in 1st period biology borrow my Discman with my copy of Ras Kass' Rasassination in it, and her asking, at least twice, "What's this guy's name again?"; trying to convince my friends that Limp Bizkit's Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water was actually a piece of shit.

It continued through college. In my first year, when I lived in the dorms (Anacapa 14-North, holler back!), there was this computer program called DC++ (short for "Direct Connect... Plus Plus") which was basically a file-sharing network strictly for students living on campus. I basically flooded that program with as many hip hop songs as I could that weren't popular-as-fuck at the time. I could recall being in people's dorm rooms, smoking weed or drinking beer or what not, and watching them play a song that they had clearly downloaded from my DC++ account -- even the typos in the file names matched up with mine. And, just to be nice, I'd try to play it off as if these songs were brand new to me. "Smif-N-Wessun, huh? So it's like that gun company, but with an 'F' instead of a 'TH'? Interesting. No, I've never heard of them." All the while, in my head (which was often spinning as a result of the weed smoke and liquor consumption), I'd be thinking to myself, "These guys have NO idea!"

These are the cheap thrills of the hip hop nerd... sharing songs with people in the hopes of them possibly becoming a fan of an artist that likely doesn't even know how you're trying to help them... telling that same artist, following a by-chance encounter after a live show, that your name is "Steve... no, I said Steve", when they borrow your Sharpie to sign your T-shirt, and then keep your Sharpie to sign other people's T-shirts... spelling out that artist's name to the random teenage girl working at Best Buy, just so that you can feel the satisfaction of being 1 of 2,000 people who actually purchased that artist's CD, as opposed to just downloading it for free... inserting random hip hop lyrics into everyday conversation in the hopes that someone might notice, but mostly for personal gratification (case in point, the first sentence of this post -- Hell Hath No Fury, biatch! 7th best album of 2006, I-M-O!).

I am a hip hop nerd. Here are 10 songs that are completely unrelated to one another outside of the fact that I know about them, and that most people might not know about them, and that I feel like they are worth being shared. Much respect to Scholar for letting me post here, and, for the record, none of these pictures are of me (though I've always been a fan of the whole mustache-and-taped-glasses look).

Canibus - "Allied Meta-Forces" featuring Kool G Rap

Diverse - "Wylin' Out (RJD2 Remix)" featuring Mos Def

Dramacydal, Stretch, Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac & Buju Banton - "Runnin'" (not to be confused with Eminem's Alvin & The Chipmunks remix)

Grouch & Eligh (of Living Legends) - "Streetwalking"

Large Professor - "In The Sun" featuring Q-Tip

Lifesavas - "Clutch Moments"

O.C. - "Half Good Half Sinner" (sampled on Common's "The Game")

Smif-N-Wessun - "Toolz Of The Trade"

Souls Of Mischief - "Cabfare" (fittingly sampling the theme from Taxi)

Zion I - "Kharma"

Word From buhizzle's Moms:

"To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research." -Steven Wright

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Top Five Barry White Songs

Instead of blowing the dust off of my trusty old thesaurus to seek adjectives that might describe the phenomenon known as floodwatchmusic, I'm going to break this down into terms that even the elementary level soul children will understand...Flood is fuckin' brilliant. Whether he's creating an infectious mix of unforgettably dope tunes or using his razor-sharp mental skills to examine the intricate complexities of a particular track, this man comes about as correct as it gets. Be sure to explore the mind (and record collection) of this genius even further by paying a visit to his site or checkin' for his exemplary posts over at the almighty ear fuzz. With that, let the music play...Scholar

I won’t lie – brainstorming ideas for a guest post here at Souled On was no easy task. The challenge of writing a post to equal the level of content here is daunting, to say the least. I have been a regular visitor of Scholar’s long before the idea of starting my own audioblog even entered the picture, so to be asked to drop something here is truly humbling. Much love.

The late, great Barry White created a body of music that has different meanings for everyone. Some will forever associate him (and moreover, his voice) with the idea of tender romance set to music, his songs occupying the centerpieces of those dime-a-dozen Midnight Love compilations, his sound encompassing the very definition of sensuality. For others, the name “Barry White” signifies the worst of ‘70s excess: flat-out vulgar fashion trends and hairstyles, endless a.m. coke binges, nauseating disco lights. Many unfairly lump him in under the “music I’ll never listen to outside of a wedding” category. What most overlook is the indisputable fact that Mr. White, aka The Maestro, aka The Man, was a phenomenally talented songwriter, arranger, and producer that the music industry has rarely seen before or since. In fact, few Soul artists dominated the ‘70s charts like he did, and the amount of quality material in his catalogue extends far beyond well-known party favorites like “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” and the exhaustively-parodied sex jam “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby.”

My affinity with White’s music has grown into something more complex a dozen years or so into our relationship. Sure, at times it’s bordered on unhealthy: I’ve snapped on more than one person as the result of some innocent jibe about the man’s weight or hair. I played his records for nearly fourteen hours straight when I heard the news of his death a little over four years ago. I’ve often fantasized about the number of house keys – somewhere in the tens of thousands – mailed to him over the years by housewives of all ages, with notes containing nothing but an address and the hours of the day when their husbands aren’t home. What can I say? Dude’s music has that effect on me, and my bashfulness about it ceased years ago. It took me hours to narrow down the five favorite Barry White songs that follow.

5. “Your Love – So Good I Can Taste It”Barry White
(from Is This Whatcha Wont?, 1976)

Without a solid chart-topper in two years, White’s popularity had waned a bit by 1976, but that didn’t stop him from releasing two full-lengths that year, Let the Music Play and Is This Whatcha Wont? Both records had their share of duds, but it was the centerpiece of the latter, the twelve-minute bedroom epic “Your Love – So Good I Can Taste It,” that justified its purchase entirely. Essentially a two-part suite, the first half is an instrumental showcase for White’s own Love Unlimited Orchestra. All of his signature musical elements are in place here: caressed Fender Rhodes keys, gently sweeping strings, weeping guitars, all atop an irresistible quiet-storm groove. If there’s one thing that White didn’t lack, it was patience –the track has the feeling that the music could continue on forever, a concept that formed the backbone of his whole “we’ve got all night, baby” steez. The actual song itself enters around the halfway mark after a slow buildup, at which point White begins pushing the limits of taste with another one of his signature love raps: “You know, ever since I was a young boy, I used to get in devilment and I used to do all kind of things with little girls, but when I become a man I put away childish things.” The pendulum-like 12/8 rhythm provides the foundation for White to describe his late-night fantasy: “Whole lotta lovemaking, a lotta butt-shaking.” As the track concludes, his delivery has escalated into an urgent declaration, and one can just envision the beads of sweat glistening off his forehead and off the tips of his Jheri curl. It’s corny and crass, overblown and overlong, and that’s what makes it so brilliant.

4. “Never Gonna Give You Up”Barry White
(from Stone Gon’, 1973)

The success of “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby” (from White’s 1973 debut I’ve Got So Much to Give) was so overwhelming that what did he do? Replicated it, of course, but in doing so he actually surpassed the original. “Never Gonna Give You Up” takes the structure and mood of “I’m Gonna Love You” and injects it with more everything: more grandiose orchestration, more provocative lyric content, and
naturally, more dirty talk – note White’s orgiastic “uugh!” as the music enters, after a long, tension-building intro with the drums and strings. Every arranged bit of music here radiates with steamy sexuality: that throbbing bass, the electric harpsichord, those rapturous flute runs. This was one of my earliest introductions to White’s music, as a standout on a record full of highlights, the soundtrack to the film Dead Presidents (1995). It has remained a favorite since.

3. "Oh Love, Well We Finally Made It"Barry White
(from Can’t Get Enough, 1974)

Bonus: "Oh Love, We Finally Made It"Love Unlimited
(from Under the Influence of…, 1973)

“Can’t get enough” sums it up about right, as I’ve been known to play this song on repeat for hours. Originally composed by White for his Supremes-like project Love Unlimited, he eventually got around to covering his own version of “Oh Love, Well We Finally Made It,” nestled into side two of his best selling album Can’t Get Enough (1974). It could have been the song’s unique structure that kept it off the airwaves, which eschewed the usual verse-chorus routine for an extended orchestral intro, multiple sax solos, and more key changes than the average listener would detect upon first listen. While I have a special place in my heart for Love Unlimited’s more stripped-down (relatively speaking) version, it’s ultimately White’s take that wins me over, and with the female trio providing animated backing vocals, it’s like the best of both worlds in my book. Just listen to the amount of push and pull in the shuffle, which makes it nearly impossible to sit still for the song’s duration. There are also two sonic curiosities in the production that deserve mention, as they give White’s version even more character. For one, Nathan East’s thick, rounded bass tone is jacked up alarmingly high in the mix and almost seems like it could explode out of the speakers; it would likely be a hindrance were his playing not so remarkably tasteful. Secondly, the amount of reverb on the strings borders on grotesque, but instead of washing out every other instrument in the stereo field, the effect creates a swirling, hypnotic bed of sound that’s the aural equivalent of standing in the rain during a sun shower. Studio tricks aside, what really matters is White’s inimitable ear for melody and arrangement, of which “Oh Love, Well We Finally Made It” demonstrates at the height of his abilities.

2. "All Because Of You"Barry White
(from Just Another Way to Say I Love You, 1975)

For me, few songs embody the essence of summertime like “All Because of You,” an achingly gorgeous, uptempo ballad that is perpetually overlooked in discussions of White’s contributions to the R&B songbook. But the effectiveness of this track lies in the contributions of his band, beginning with East, who thumbs out a lovely bass solo to open the track. This leads into yet another extended interlude of syncopated bass hits under a floating string arrangement by White and Gene Page. White certainly loved that skipping 12/8 rhythm, and when it kicks in nearly halfway through the song, the band shifts into the groove like they’ve been anticipating it for years. The sleazy porn guitar from “Love’s Theme” is all over this track, slithering around every beat and dropping those scratchy wah-wah slides that Charles Pitts (from the Isaac Hayes Movement) was lacing tracks with at the time (listen at 5:53 for an example). It’s unfathomable for me to place this song in the context of winter or cold weather, but even if I did, I would still be able to detect the aroma of a nearby barbecue, hear a light breeze rustling through the trees, and feel the late afternoon sun warm my skin.

1. “Playing Your Game, Baby”Barry White
(from Barry White Sings for Someone You Love, 1977)

Take a moment to think about a song that theoretically, you could listen to once a day, every day for the rest of your life and not tire of it. Not easy, is it? Since this is the kind of topic I spend most of my free time musing over, I can state with full confidence that White’s “Playing Your Game, Baby” is one of those songs. As the opening cut on Sings for Someone You Love (1977), this track, and the rest of the album for that matter, revitalized White’s career after a mid-decade drag, in no small measure because of his decision to enlist outside songwriters for the bulk of the record’s selections. “Playing Your Game, Baby” was penned by Austin Johnson and Smead Hudman, two gentlemen whose identities I know nothing of, and frankly, don’t care about. Put simply, the seven minutes that make up the duration of this track are some of the sexiest ever committed to analog tape. The arrangement is responsible for a significant chunk of the song’s potency, as the orchestra is relegated to the background, serving to accentuate the interplay between the rhythm section, keyboard, and horns. “Playing Your Game, Baby” also displays White in a rare mood, as he concedes his avoidance of playful bedroom shenanigans and uncharacteristically says, “bring it, girl.” The song is seductive tease, baadasssss attitude, funky pimp strut, and sweaty, carnal sexuality all wrapped up into one, and there isn’t another selection in White’s discography like it.

Word From Flood's Moms:

"Nothing contributes so much to tranquilizing the mind as a steady purpose - a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye." ---Mary Shelley

Monday, August 13, 2007

Just A Soul Whose Intentions Are Good

Lately I've been waxing nostalgic about the origins of this site, and more importantly, the roots of my love for soul music. Doing the guest blogger series (which is far from over) has fostered an even greater appreciation for the mutual respect and sense of community that now surrounds me from music lovers all across the globe. At times it seems like a tremendous amount of work to keep this whole operation running smoothly, but at its fundamental core, making Souled On happen has always been a labor of love. It's something that I genuinely enjoy doing for myself and all of my fellow soul children around the world.

Taking things back to the essence of what drives this passion, I decided to do today's post on the artist who's probably influenced me the very most over the years---the late, great Nina Simone. I have no desire to write a scholarly article about her work, particularly because her impact on my life has been primarily visceral. There is a voluminous amount of available material about her career from a biographical standpoint, and there's probably not much I can add to the base of knowledge regarding her work. Rather, I would like to present a handful of songs and videos that have become an essential part of my audiophilic existence. Through these means, I am hoping that you will simply feel her presence, as opposed to trying to understand my devotion from a more cerebral perspective.

Thank you to all of my readers for taking this journey with me. This is where it all began...

"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"
I posted a studio version of this track some time ago, but this is the live version that was sampled on Common's "Misunderstood" from his new Finding Forever LP. I love both versions, but there's something incredibly organic about this particular take on the song.

"Either Way I Lose"
A stunning track penned by Van McCoy and recorded by Nina during a studio session in New York in the autumn of 1965.

One of my absolute favorite Nina performances---a live rendition of the powerfully affirming "Ain't Got No/I Got Life":

"I Shall Be Released"
As an activist as well as an artist, Nina often chose songs that were representative of achieving both personal and political freedom. This is just one fine example.

"Lilac Wine"
This is one of the first Nina tunes that grabbed me, shook me, and just wouldn't let me go. Besides being a gorgeous song, no one says the word "lilac" quite like she does...

"I Can't See Nobody"
Nina breathed a heart-wrenching intensity into this particular track, written by Robin and Barry Gibb; she recorded it during another New York session in 1967.

Footage of Nina performing the Screamin' Jay Hawkins classic "I Put A Spell On You" live in Montreal in 1992:

"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"
A brilliant cover of a Bob Dylan track, this is another song I discovered fairly early in my search for all things Nina.

Easily one of the most recognizable and frequently sampled Simone songs---perfectly illustrates her strength in performing more uptempo jams.

Another touching performance by Nina---this one more stripped down and emotional. From a concert at Ronnie Scott's club in London in 1984; this is "If You Knew":

"The Assignment Song"
A Nina track with an entirely different flavor than the rest of these selections to give you a glimpse into her exceptional diversity as an artist...

"Everyone's Gone To The Moon"
A fitting endsong---Simone's arresting cover of a tune by Jonathan King.

This still hasn't done justice to an artist of her caliber, but it's an excellent start on a primary education...

Bonus mp3s:

"Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair (Jaffa Remix)"
Redux of a Simone song from the Verve Remixed 2 compilation

"Get By (Remix)"---Talib Kweli/Kanye West/Busta Rhymes/Jay-Z
One of many songs that features a sample of the phenomenal "Sinnerman"

Word From Your Moms:

“Music is a gift and a burden I've had since I can remember who I was.”

“To most white people, jazz means black and jazz means dirt, and that's not what I play. I play black classical music.”

“Everything that happened to me as a child involved music. It was part of everyday life, as automatic as breathing.”

“If I had my way, I’d have been a killer. I would probably be dead today, I would’ve used guns; I was never non-violent.”

All quotes courtesy of Nina Simone

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fufu Stew's Funkiest 45s in F

My pal Vincent from Fufu Stew may still be relatively new to the blogging game, but it seems as effortless for him as if he'd been doing it for centuries. Focus, skills, and delicious ingredients combine to create magical recipes that he serves up in generous helpings to his many voracious readers. In fact, he creates such a cornucopia of delectable concoctions that he has enough for leftovers and some scrumptious Fufu Snax. If you hunger for a variety of tasty musical selections, Vincent will undoubtedly keep you fat, happy, and well-fed.

Vincent mentioned to me that he feels this mix is his finest effort so far, and I'm inclined to agree. This is the starting point for a "best of" series he is planning, although it's hard to imagine how can he can top his previous top-quality endeavors. I've already listened to this mix several times from beginning to end, and I believe it's destined to blow your little minds. With that, I give you the amazing Vincent...

Hello, kiddies.

Thank you Scholar for letting me jump on board... I owe you and your readers a huge debt of gratitude for all of your support over these past few months. If I hadn't posted that King Curtis 45 back in the Spring, who knows where I'd be right now...Anyway, on with the festivities.

This guest post is brought to you by the letter "F". Why? As I began preparing this recipe, which pretty much took on a life of its own as I started sampling the ingredients, I found the common thread that made this extra special. This is an all 45 rpm exercise of some of the funkiest nuggets that I could find in the Fufu Stew pantry (purchased or otherwise obtained from the mighty blog community), presented in the key of F. Thanks mommy for plunking out the chords for me... Gather round the ol' victrola and have a listen.

Fufu Stew's Funkiest 45s in F (mp3)

01 Here Comes The Judge-Pigmeat Markham (Chess)

02 Charge-The Mod Squad (Tangerine)

03 Tuck's Theme-Bill Deal & The Rhondells (Heritage)

04 Vacuum Cleaner-The Isley Brothers (T Neck)
05 Working My Way Back-The Unifics (Fountain)

06 Freedom Blues-Little Richard (Reprise)
07 There's A DJ In Your Town-Samson & Delilah (Indigo)*
08 TCB Or TYA-Bobby Patterson (Jetstar)**

09 Do It To Me One More Time-Joey Gilmore (Phil L.A. Of Soul)

10 Golly Zonk, It's Scat Man-Scat Man Crothers (Hanna Barbera)

11 Sock It To 'Em, J.B. Pt. 1-Rex Garvin & The Mighty Cravers (Like)

12 Do The African Twist-The Mad Men (Gamble)
13 Intermission: The Beat Goes On (Phase 2&3)-Vanilla Fudge (Atco)***
14 Sock It To 'Em Soul Brother-Bill Moss (Loren)****
15 Humpin' Thumpin' And Bumpin'-Andre Williams (Checker)*

16 The Seeds Of Life Pts. 1&2-Harlem River Drive (Roulette)

17 We Are Neighbours-Chi-Lites (Brunswick)
18 Till I Get My Share-Clarence Reid (Alston)**

19 Mr. Penguin Pts. 1&2-Lunar Funk (Bell)
20 You're Losing Me-Ann Sexton (Seventy Seven)**
21 Blow Your Whistle-Soul Searchers (Sussex)

22 The Drunk-James Brown (Bethlehem)

23 Soul For Sale-Ace Cannon (Hi)
24 Yes-Suh'-Charlie Earland's Erector Set (Eldorado)
25 Exitus: The Beat Goes On (Phase 4)-Vanilla Fudge (Atco)***

*Thank you DJ Bluewater... He's da muthafukkin' man! Visit and you'll see why.
**Lest I forget what brought me to this point in time, thanks to the Nazty Soundz Tribe team for the jumpstart...
***Taken from the eclectic concept LP "The Beat Goes On", circa 1968
****While I have owned the "Eccentric Capsoul" comp CD for quite some time, I used an .mp3 from an old episode of Galactic Fractures, simply for the sake of preserving the integrity of this all 45 mix. Thanks PJ!

Word From Your Moms:

"It doesn't matter what you believe as long as you're sincere." - Linus Van Pelt

Peace and blessings.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Blunted On Music

The next guest blogger at the plate (you know---the metal one in your head) is Satchmo. Young Satch may not require an introduction so much as a black label warning. He's a little rude, a bit borderline psychotic, and well...funny as hell. He's the deranged lil' cousin who hangs out on the couch in the Souled On family attic---the Ol' Dirty Bastard of my online crew who turns up periodically when the cops are busy eating donuts. He recently dropped by with some crackalicious Dilla samples that he busted his ass to bring you---literally. Feed him some peanuts and give him his propers. I swear he doesn't bite--Scholar

Well, I did it. I liked Scholar's site so much that I made my own. And here I am about to drop some Satchmo musical knowledge on all of Scholar's readers. I been at this all summer long and plusplus even. But I did it. I found a bunch of the samples J Dilla used back in the day (prepre-Donuts). Labcabincalifornia, Like Water For Chocolate, Fantastic Vol. 1&2 etc. etc. plusplus. This is just a glimpse into the greatness that is me. I could write about how much Dilla changed my life, but I've already done that too much over at (Give Some Love To MaDukes and The Sickly Children). so I'll just talk about me. They've been tellin me basically the same thing since I could walk. They'd sit me down and say, "Mookie, always do the right thing." And I'd ask if that was it, and they'd confirm. Well I am here, now, to say "I got it, I'm gone." If that doesn't make sense to you then shut up, sit down, couch up, twist up, and spark. Now here's this:

Saudade Vem Correndo-Stan Getz (Runnin'-the Pharcyde)

The Look of Love-Barney Kessel (The Look Of Love- Slum)

The Colorado Trail - Dave Crusin ( intro to Fantastic Vol.2, Slum)

Heartbreaker-Zapp ( Give dis N***a- Slum)

Scrabble-Rene Costy (Fuck The Police)

Clair - Singers Unlimited (Players-Slum)

Come Running to Me- Herbie Hancock (Get Dis Money- Slum)

More Bounce to the Ounce- Zapp (Do You-Slum)

Swahililand- Ahmad Jamal (Stakes is High- De La Soul)

What Makes you Happy- KC and the Sunshine Band (Hold Tight-Slum feat. Q-Tip)

Morning Order - Hugh Hooper & Alan Gowen (Nag Champa-Common)


Worde Froume Youre Mommes:

"There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything."---Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai

Monday, August 06, 2007

Take This How You Have To Or Don't Take It At All...

"Im Sad About It"---Lee Moses
It may seem a bit overstated to refer to Lee Moses as one of my absolute favorite soul vocalists considering that he only released one full-length LP and a handful of singles during his entire career. However, Time And Place is an album of such magnitude that it offers more exceptional material than most artists could manage to produce in a prolific lifetime of recording.

For many years, Time And Place (originally released on Maple Records) was such an obscurity that even the most industrious crate diggers had a difficult time securing a copy. Because I felt so strongly that the record should be heard by soul fans worldwide, I've previously shared a couple of my favorite tracks from the LP. Many people wrote to me about how much they enjoyed those songs, and inquired as to how they might go about finding a copy of their own. Well, soul children---your day has finally come. A few months ago, Castle Records in the UK finally re-issued the album and included the material from his elusive 45s as well.

Moses wrote some of his own material, and "Sad About It" is one such example. While his coverage of other artists' material is stellar (see "Hey Joe" and "California Dreaming"), there is something particularly affecting about hearing him wail and moan over tunes that are biographical in nature. His emotional and gut-wrenching vocal delivery has come to epitomize the very sound of Southern soul---at least for myself and Moses' dedicated cult following. Your initiation begins now...

Dig deeper...

To really persuade you of the necessity of purchasing this LP, watch the record spin on the turntable while you listen to one of Lee's best tracks---"Bad Girl (Part 1)":

"Rumble In The Jungle (Arythematic 411 Remix)"---The Fugees/A Tribe Called Quest/Busta Rhymes/John Forte
The original version of this track was released on the soundtrack to the film When We Were Kings, a documentary about the famous "Rumble In The Jungle" heavyweight championship between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman in 1974. The song was also released as a maxi-single in 1996, and as a 12" that included a radio edit and some snippets from the film. Personally, I was checkin' for a remix, but no such luck until I scored this one by a basement DJ a few years ago.

Why bother, you ask? I always thought the lyrics were kinda dope, and you have to appreciate this line-up---especially since most of the players have since gone missing or insane. The original beat was a bit of a turn-off for me, but was doomed from the start with the lacing of that shitty ABBA sample. Sorry dancing queens, but "Name Of The Game" sucks. Arythematic's take on the track is still not sonic perfection, but like it or not, you gotta admit that his choice of sample is most agreeable in comparison.

The video for the original joint:

"Some Kind Of Wonderful"---Soul Brothers Six
We were having a discussion about music at work the other day, and someone asked who sang the classic jam "Some Kind Of Wonderful". The Drifters had a song by that name, but when the person started singing the tune, it was obvious that she was talking about the other "Some Kind Of Wonderful". I proclaimed that it was Soul Brothers Six, and a few of my co-geniuses started snickering, because they were positive that couldn't be the correct answer. Finally, someone googled the track, and announced that the credit belonged to Grand Funk Railroad.

Both answers are correct, depending on whether you're a soul junkie or a classic rock radio drone. The fact that I'm the former rather than the latter helped me prove to be just a little bit righter in my response. In fact, the song was originally recorded by Soul Brothers Six in 1967, although admittedly the more popular version (reaching #3 on the US charts) was covered by Grand Funk on their 1975 LP, All The Girls In The World Beware.

Don't worry---I'm not posting this track because I'm still bitter about our little debate. We had a good laugh after this, and I merely warned them to proceed with caution before they try to fucks wit da Scholar again. The whole thing just got me thinking that '70s and '80s babies unknowingly attribute this song to Grand Funk, and the even more misguided Generation Y, Z, or whatever we're up to now, might not realize that its roots go any deeper in music history than Joss Stone. Just setting the record straight kids, because the original is far too exceptional to be casually overlooked.

Dig deeper...

"Soul Power '74"---Maceo & The Macks
If you've ever been listening to a James Brown record and heard The Godfather shout "Maceo! Blow Your Horn!", then you have an idea what a vital figure Maceo Parker is in the history of funk and soul music. Playing alto, tenor, and baritone sax, Maceo was indisputably a major influence on the trademark JB sound.

In 1971, James Brown released one of his most popular tracks---the monumental tune known as "Soul Power". Not long afterwards, an instrumental version of the classic jam was created when Parker and trombonist Fred Wesley added some overdubbed horn parts to the rhythm track from the original recording. The original horn track had bled into the rhythm in certain parts, so sound engineer Bob Both added various sound effects to disguise this and perfect the quality of the recreation. Subsequently, the track was named "Soul Power '74", and was credited to Maceo & The Macks. The song was initially released as a 7" on People Records (1973) and reached #20 on the R&B charts, and later appeared on Maceo's Us! LP (1974). The song has also been popular with hip-hop producers and DJs, having been sampled on tracks by Redman, MC Shan, Eric B & Rakim, Schoolly D, 3rd Bass, Stetsasonic, Salt-N-Pepa, Doug E Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, and more.

Dig deeper...

"Newniss"--- DJ 2Tall/Dudley Perkins/Georgia Anne Muldrow
As a longtime fan of Otis Jackson, Jr., I was introduced to Dudley Perkins (aka Declaime) primarily through his affiliation and collaborations with the Supreme Being, Madlib. Dudley's always been somewhat of a leftfield hip-hop personality, never quite tailoring his eccentricities to afford much acceptance from mainstream hip-hop enthusiasts. His latest venture, Beautiful Mindz, with DJ 2Tall and the stunning Georgia Anne Muldrow will likely not provide any realistic exception to this rule. Those who've appreciated his style from day one are likely to continue doing so after hearing this LP, while his detractors will find fault along the same lines that they usually do.

I can usually appreciate where Dudley's coming from and Muldrow's influence is more than welcome, although she does little in the way of altering his unorthodox hip-hop style. This is a pretty damn beautiful record, if you tend to like this sort of thing. However, there are a few elements that may be less than desirable to the masses. Perkins gets a bit repetitive at times, utilizing certain catch phrases through the LP that have the potential to grow rather wearisome by the end of the recording. Furthermore, the whole effort seems a bit a disjointed and improvisational, as if the entire LP was thrown together during a single recording session. I have friends who get intoxicated and enjoy freestyling such ramblings over some of their favorite beats, but to be fair, none of them are as skilled at pulling this off and making it work as Perkins obviously is.

Depending on your personal preferences, "Newniss" may or may not be one of the better tracks from the LP, but it should give you a pretty good taste of what you're in store for if you decide to cop the record (Amalgam/Eclectic Breaks, 2007).

The first video from the LP---the title track "Beautiful Mind"

"I Can Stand A Little Rain"---Esther Phillips w/ (Joe) Beck
The story of Esther Phillips has always struck me as a tragic one. She was born Esther Mae Jones in Texas on 12/23/35. She grew up singing in the church, bot got her first big break while living in Los Angeles when bluesman Johnny Otis discovered her through a talent show she won at his nightclub. She began her recording legacy as part of Otis' revue while still a teenager, aptly dubbed as Little Esther. While under his wing, she cut a successful record with The Robins (an early version of The Coasters), leading to a string of other popular singles bearing her name.

She eventually had a falling out with Otis, which marked the beginning of many of her personal and professional instabilities. She frequently switched labels around this time and began experimenting with drugs, culminating in a serious addiction to heroin. As a result, she frequently had to be hospitalized and the scope of her career was sizably reduced to the smaller circuit of the Southern nightclub scene. Finally, future country star Kenny Rogers rediscovered her in 1962 and she was signed to the Lenox label that his brother owned. At this point, Esther decided to drop the "Little" from her moniker, and allegedly selected her last name from a nearby Phillips gasoline station.

Phillips started recording country-soul tunes that also found popularity with a pop and R&B audience, but her fortunes changed again when Lenox went bankrupt in 1963. Atlantic picked her up, but guided her into performing a variety of different genres---jazz, pop, the blues, R&B, etc. Although the proposed idea was to find her niche, this lack of consistency may have ultimately led to a marked decrease in her commercial viability. Atlantic eventually dropped her from their roster in 1967, primarily due to a lack of sales.

Phillips' addiction continued to worsen and she ended up in a rehabilitation facility in 1969. While still in treatment, she cut some sides for Roulette. Once released, she again signed with Atlantic, who confounded her career ambitions a second time by imploring her to lose her gritty edge and and try performing more pop-oriented tunes. Those ventures failed to make the grade, and the company dropped her again in 1971.

Kudu Records then picked her up, and she recorded one of her most celebrated LPs to date, From A Whisper To A Scream (1972). In fact, the several albums she recorded for Kudu would mark the most stable and successful run of her rocky career. In 1975, she released What A Diff'rence A Day Makes, which became one of her greatest selling LPs of all time. The soulful blues of "I Can Stand A Little Rain" was one of the best tracks from the album, arranged by guitarist Joe Beck and featuring David Sanborn, Randy Brecker, Steve Khan and Don Grolnick.

In 1977, she left Kudu to pursue an opportunity with Mercury, presumably because she was offered a greater modicum of creative control. After releasing some relatively unsuccessful records for the label, she again found herself without a deal in the early '80s. Her last chart single was for the small Winning label in 1983.

The following year Esther's health began to fail, and she had complications resulting from years of drug abuse and a more recent penchant for alcohol. She died in Los Angeles on August 7, 1984 of liver and kidney failure.

Dig deeper...

Stay tuned for more pending updates from yours truly and more exciting guest contributions from members of the Souled On army...

Word From Yor Moms:
"The sincere, sensitive artist, willing to go beneath the cliches of popular belief to get at an underlying reality, will be wary of confining a race's entire characters to a half-dozen narrow grooves."--- Sterling Brown