Archive for the '70s' Category

“Kelly Kilogram” by Janeen Brady

metrics.jpgSorry for two reasons! First, I apologize for not posting for so long… I’ve been having some hardware issues lately that are keeping me from getting good recordings. Hope to have that sorted soon. So, on to the next apology: this post is only about half as good as it should be. I bough this metric system indoctrination LP in Boston several years ago because of this song, “Kelly Kilogram.” It’s got a great groove, but I was disappointed that the singer envisions Kelly as a man, instead of a woman. I was hoping to make this my wife’s theme song.

Anyway, here it is. I wish we were on the metric system.

Janeen Brady, “Kelly Kilogram” from the The Metrics Are Coming LP (1977)

“Spread the Groove” by Bohannon

bohannon.jpgWhat else can be said about you after your name is repeatedly shouted out in one of the greatest songs ever recorded? Not much, so I’ll let Hamilton Bohannon speak mostly for himself. I have to admit, I’d listened to and loved the Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love” for more than a decade before I bothered to figure out who this guy was. He created some of the tightest and funkiest dance music of the 70s, I my opinion, and was no slouch when it came to album covers either.

From the sleeve to Dance Your Ass Off:

PLAY THIS RECORD LOUD
P.S. Dance Your Ass Off is not used in the sense of profanity.

There’s a signed 8×10 of Bohannon in the basement of Union Hall, a bar in my neighborhood, that I think is there mostly to spotlight his hairdo. I covet it.

Bohannon, “Spread the Groove” from the Dance Your Ass Off LP on Brunswick Records (1975)

Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love”:
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“Behavioral Disorders & Therapy” from the Psychology Today Record Series

psy.jpgThese are two exceprts from “Behavior Disorders and Therapy” the strangest disc in the 1972 Psychology Today 4LP set. Each side of this disc is only one band, but anywhere you drop the needle is golden. It’s almost as if they were trying to cause Behaviorial Disorders with this.

The whole disc is thick with a strange FIresign-Theater-esque subversive sense of humor, and its cut-and-paste aesthetic has me longing for a time where people were willing to engage in a sort of impressionistic presentation of things. There’s no way you could recreate this in a Powerpoint slideshow.

The other topics covered in the series are Memory and Problem Solving, Human Development, Learning, Perception, and Social Psychology. I’ll post more excerpts if there seems to be any interest.

Behavior Disorders and Therapy (Excerpt 1) from the Psychology Today Record Series (1972)

Behavior Disorders and Therapy (Excerpt 2) from the Psychology Today Record Series (1972)

“Inkpot” by Shocking Blue

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Continuing in the same genre: another tough, layered female-led pop song.

Most know Shocking Blue from Bananarama’s cover of their hit “Venus.” This is probably my 2nd or 3rd favorite song by SB (“Hot Sand” and “Send Me a Postcard” figure in there too), but the lyrics for this one are the best. Is “putting the ink in the ink pot” really something everyone can relate to? It kinda makes me think I don’t properly know how to put some love in my heart. Notice the early sitar lead-in that they didn’t edit out. All of these pieces make a great whole.

Shocking Blue, “Inkpot” (1972)

Check out this great video for their version of “Venus”:[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/U2DBcbZc3ck" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
They have such a great look.

I’ll post more tunes from this era in Dutch music soon.

“Show Business” by Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson

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I love any song that reminds me of the circus. This is from one of Gil Scott-Heron‘s strong, funky post “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised“-fame late 70s LPs with Brian Jackson.

This music is so polished and tight; the keys and beat in it sound like they came right out of a computer to me. Madison Avenue is my other jam from this album. I prefer his groovier, more singy music, which I feel often out-politics his spoken word work because the verses are so well-crafted and succinct. I’ll probably end up sharing a lot more in this vein.

Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson, “Show Business” from the Secrets LP on Arista Records (1978)

The Bottle:
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Hold On:[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/uTCQSk2l8bc" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

“Strip Me” by Suzi Quatro

suzi.jpgThis sludgey rocker is my favorite Suzi Quatro song. Like much of her work, it’s kind of dirty-clean.

The best part of her career, let’s call it the pre-Leather-with-a-capital-L phase, consists of this rocky, glammy, screamy type stuff; I can’t believe she’s not much more popular. Her later stuff gets a little lite-rock, but my second favorite Quatro jam, “Stumblin’ In,” which she recorded with Smokie (see below), is about as lite as it gets. Picture me and Kelly in a karakoe duet: this is the jam.

Suzi Quatro, “Strip Me” from the Your Mama Wouldn’t Like Me LP on Arista (1976)

SO BAD ASS.

Her breakthrough 1973 song, “Can the can”:
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& 1979′s “Stumblin’ In”:
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“Afro-Strut” by the Nite-Liters

nite.jpgThis one’s a bit of a dissonant squealer with a great mid-tempo beat and a sweet wah-wah breakdown. The Nite Liters put outa bunch of records in the early 70s, but eventually spun off into New Birth Inc., and had up to 17 members.
The Nite-Liters, “Afro-Strut” from the RCA/Victor 45 (197?)

You can find a best-of compilation at Amazon and some vinyl at Dusty Groove.
They also rocked K-JEE:

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Interestingly, Steve Keith, who seems to have played in another band called the Nite Liters, chimed in on a post over on Flea Market Funk. It’s cool to see the original artists getting into the fray on the mp3 blogs… it even happens here sometimes!

Athens, GA-related megapost!

I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina for the next few days, running my first marathon dsc_0005.jpg(wish me luck!), so I won’t be posting frequently again until the end of next week. So, please enjoy this hastily assembled, under contextualized early-80s Athens, Georgia megapost… more to come next week when I’m back in NYC.

Two tracks from the all-hits Squares Blot Out The Sun compilation of odds and ends on DB records, the label that really drove the Athens scene.

Pylon, “Party Zone (live in 1983)” from the Squares Blot Out The Sun LP on DB Records (released 1989)

Jack Heard, “Burnin’ Love (1982)” from the Squares Blot Out The Sun LP on DB Records (released 1989)

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I played this Side Effects track out at a bar in Brooklyn in 2001, and someone came up to me afterwards dying to chat. We spoke for a while about the band and the great music that came from that scene, which he’d come up in. When he was heading out of the bar much later, he stopped by again, introduced his wife, shook my hand. It felt a little strange, and when I looked down at my hand as he turned away, I realized he’d pushed into my palm the damp remains of the joint he and his wife has covertly smoked in the bar. Gross! That was the day I started lobbying for an enclosed DJ booth.

Once again, I realized the Side Effects are also on Myspace, after years of radio silence. Grab versions of their tracks (which sound a little better than this file there).

The Side Effects, “Pyramids” from the Side Effects EP on DB Records (1981)
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Love Tractor was one of the most prolific bands from this scene, with lots of great mostly instrumental songs. This cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” makes the case that they could have easily had way more great vocal tracks. It comes from a Bigtime records compilation, but also appeared as the bside to one of their later singles. More on Myspace, of course (including a great loungey cover of “See Emily Play”). Pat Irwin, of the Raybeats, produced this track.

Love Tractor, “Got To Give It Up” from the Bigtime Syndrome compilation LP on Bigtime Records (1987)

method.jpgThe Method Actors made a lot of noise for just two guys. Like Pylon, they bring a bit of the UK sound you hear in the dancey songs of Gang of Four, the Pop Group, and the Au Pairs.

This album is particularly mind blowing because of the tiny little details and dynamic shifts that show up in many of the songs. Plus, I love the vocals and the near-droney reverb.

The Method Actors, “Bleeding” from the Little Figures LP on Press Records (1981)

shake.jpgAny B52′s fan should track down the Fred Schneider & the Shake Society album from 1984. Apart from a few uncomfortable guitar solos, it is pure party music. Fred is in the foreground all the time, and busts out some amazing lines. Those of you who know me will understand why I had to post this particular track. “Cut the Concrete” was what I was planning to post, but when I listened to “Boonga!” again, I knew what I had to do.  Maybe I’ll post the other one in the comments next week. Bernie Worrell produced this with Fred! Don’t skip the intro on his site either.

Fred Schneider & the Shake Society,”Boonga! (the New Jersey Caveman)” from the self-titled LP on Warner Bros. (1984).

Fred Schneider & the Shake Society,”Cut the Concrete” from the self-titled LP on Warner Bros. (1984). 

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Though Mitch Easter lived and recorded in North Carolina, there were few more influential folks as far as this music is concerned. He played in the Sneakers with fellow North Carolinian future dBs member Chris Stamey, recorded R.E.M.’s “Radio Free Europe,” and put out a bunch of albums in Let’s Active.

Mitch Easter, “Law of Averages,” from the Shake to Date compilation LP on Shake Records (1979)

Chris Stamey,”Get a Job” from the It’s A Wonderful Life LP on DB Records (1982)

While this isn’t Athens Music per se, the aesthetics of the music and the relationships involved have me placing them in this post. Most importantly, you will probably have the chance to see one or both of these guys perform live. The dBs are playing in NYC this weekend!

Things to buy: DFA’s re-release of Pylon’s Gyrate, B52s new album out on Astralwerks soon!, Let’s Active’s Cypress/Afoot double CD, dBs Stands for Decibles/Repercussions CD Mitch Easter’s newest album.

“Lean Meat,” by Lonnie Smith

lonnie.jpgSuspenseful near-disco funk number with almost no resolution. A great tranistional track, I’ve always thought.

Not to be confused with Lonnie Liston Smith (of “with the Cosmic Echoes” fame), this track comes from jazz organist Dr. Lonnie Smith. So many Lonnie Smiths, so little time.

This was released in 1976, but didn’t appear on an album until 1980′s When the Night Is Right, one of Lonnie’s many awesomely named albums. Many of these items are still in print and for sale, and all of them are funky, as far as I know. Please purchase some. From both Lonnies.

Lonnie Smith’s website says it all, so I won’t waste any more of your time. DO NOT SKIP INTRO.

Lonnie Smith, “Lean Meat,” from the Groove Merchant 45 (1976)

“Suicide Jockey” by Tyla Gang

279855.jpgA mishmash of 70s styles. I first fell in love with Tyla Gang because of their enigmatic rambler “Styrofoam,” which Stiff released on 45 in 1976, and I heard on an early Stiff Records compilation. Buy that song.

This song is equally as confusing as “Styrofoam”, but endearing in how it pulls together the sounds of Thin Lizzy, Frampton, Santana, Stooges, Buffalo Springfield, and Alice Cooper into one strangely subdued song about suicide. Y’all hear all of that?

The bside, “Cannons of the Boogie Night,” however, does not live up to the promise of its title.

Tyla Gang, “Suicide Jockey,” from the Skydog Records 45 (1977)