Tag Archive for 'instrumental'

Phantom Tollbooth two-fer

tollbooth.jpgA few days ago, I went on a long walk on Brooklyn in search of some clementines. I ended up getting some at a produce stand in Cobble Hill, which is separated from my neighborhood by the Gowanus Canal, a filthy, opaque body of water that fills with poop when it rains. Jonathan Lethem called it the only body of water in the world that’s 90% guns in Motherless Brooklyn.

Anyway, when I was walking across it, I was reminded by Phantom Tollbooth‘s song “Down by the Gowanus,” and here it is, a fittingly fractured, sludgey ode to the canal. It’s short, so I’ve also included the brief instro freakout “Circle of Wolves.”

I’m sure someone could prove me wrong on this, but I think that Homestead Records pretty much ruled the late 80s– I’m only appreciating how much this is true in hindsight. Most everything they but out but the Dinosaur Jr/Sebadoh/Big Black stuff bored me to tears back then. Maybe this is grown up rock.

Phantom Tollbooth, “Down By The Gowanus” from the Power Toy LP on Homestead Records (1987)

Phantom Tollbooth, “Circle of Wolves” from the Power Toy LP on Homestead Records (1987)

“Back Too Black” by Keith Levene

levene.jpg btooback.jpg

Strange white-vinyl EP from PiL’s (and early Clash member) Keith Levene released about a year after he left the group. I had to post both the front and back cover images because I love the picture of him with the boombox. You really get the sense that he’s going it alone until you realize someone had to take that shot.

Levene left PiL over disagreements during the recording of their breakthrough This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get (which was rerecorded after Levene’s departure). Levene released his versions of the songs on Commercial Zone. This is pretty much where PiL changed course, from great post-punk band to pretty-great pop band. I still got love for you, late 80s/early 90s PiL!

But my loyalty lies with the originals like Levene and Jah Wobble, who continued to release interesting, funky, and inspired music well after their PiL years. This rough and dubby track is representative of the whole EP, which lived on a Penelope Spheeris movie soundtrack and on his Violent Opposition album.

Keith Levene, “Back Too Black” from the 2011 Back Too Black LP on (1984)
Keith and Jon Lydon on Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow Show (around the release of Second Edition, I believe):[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/uc3KDmX96jw" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

“Booyaka (Version)” by Verdy Green

verdy.jpgHappy new year! Here’s a a dinky dancehall gem to start your year right. Another one I know nothing about, but spin all the time. Both the instrumental and vocal versions posted here. I don’t know why I always prefer the instrumentals, perhaps so I can apply my own inner monologue as lyrics.

Booyaka!

Verdy Green, “Booyaka (Version)” from the Chopper Productions 12″ (198?)

Verdy Green, “Booyaka (Vocal)” from the Chopper Productions 12″ (198?)

“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!

“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)

“Dr. Follow’s Dance,” by Gary Bartz & NTU Troop

bartz.jpgAnother jazzy funk number posted mostly for Sam. I love the bassline on this one.

It’s great music for standing in line, and gives even the most mundane event a nice little exciting soundtrack. A little short, though.

Gary Bartz & NTU Troop, “Dr. Follow’s Dance,” from the Prestige 45 (1973)

Lots of information on Gary Bartz at his website (wot no myspace?), & another great track (w/ vocals) posted at Groove Provider.

“Funky Snakefoot,” by Alphonse Mouzon

snake.jpgTrippy, uptempo police-chase jazz-disco on Blue Note. A great beat, but I I kind of get the feeling the only thing that can dance over this is some film credits shooting in from either side of the frame, and then, on a freeze frame on the grille of some 70s American car:

THE FUNKY SNAKEFOOT
©MCMLXXIV

Mouzon is the drummer, if you couldn’t tell from the lead in. There’s a lot going on here, and I really like the delay on the saxophone and the little bass stabs.

Alphonse Mouzon, “Funky Snakefoot” from the Blue Note 45 (1974)

“The Big Country,” by the Raybeats

raybeats.jpgI put the Raybeats up there with the Fleshtones in terms of solid, high-energy acts from the early 80s that never really got their due. This track is from the Raybeats’ follow-up to the legendary Guitar Beat (which was re-released on a now hard-to-find CD in 97). “The Big Country” is a standout on It’s Only A Movie due to its more abstract, filmic approach– the rest of the tracks, in line with most of the Raybeats material is much more R&B/Surf-guitar oriented and up-tempo.

The band itself is comprised of some very important musicians who were highly influential, but seem to have flown mostly under the radar when it comes to their actual names. Jody Harris, one of the guitarmen in the group, teamed up with the late Robert Quine to record under their own names (more on that later), and also played with the Contortions, and eventually the Golden Palominos. Pat Irwin, also in the Contortions, has links to John Cage and William Burroughs, and eventually did some production for Love Tractor and ended up in the B52s. Check out more band history on their embryonic site.

The Raybeats, “The Big Country,” from the It’s Only a Movie LP on Shanachie (1983)

What I find remarkable about this track is that it sounds like it could have appeared on some of the late 90s Tortoise-crew records. This song actually comes to mind when I think of Tortoise’s TNT, and I can’t force myself to remember a note of music that actually appears on that.

Guitar Beat is a much more solid album, more in the party vibe than It’s Only A Movie. You should pick it up both if you see them. They’re strangely expensive online, but seem to pop up all the time in dollar bins.

Here’s a video of “Jack the Ripper,” also from It’s Only A Movie

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“Ain’t That Cold,” by Something Real

aint.jpgI really don’t know much about this track other than that it has the world’s best title. I picked this up for a couple of bucks based on the Mankind 45 label, which I think is the best ever designed. All of the Nashboro Distro labels were good, but the simplicity of this one seems out of place among the rest. I’m sure I’ll post some tracks and images of other Nashboro Group imprints (like ABET and excello), but on to the music.

Not only does this track a tight drum intro, but it all seems a little out-of-time. But, of course, the whining waaah-waaah-waaah horns pull it all together. A nice little uptempo number with a cool undermixed guitar solo. There’s even a scratch on the disc that creates a well-timed skip that is almost unnoticeable.

“Ain’t That Cold,” by Something Real on Mankind 45 (197?).

I haven’t found much of anything online about this act or this record save for a few postings of copies for sale for way too much money. I’ll update the comments if I learn anything.

“Franklin’s Theme,” by Bill Loose

cherryFirst off, this song is way too short. It’s the standout track on the soundtrack to Russ Meyer’s Cherry & Harry, & Raquel, which I haven’t seen. Franklin must be some slick, meandering cat though, if this is his theme.

I put this on a few mixtapes in the late 90s, and everyone who heard it wanted to borrow it to sample. I felt like it deserved to live on its own (and I am usually all about remixing things) because it was so unique. I’ve played this track at all points on my turntable’s pitch sliders, and it always comes out sounding sludgey & fresh.

Bill’s got some pretty impressive composing and music direction credits (including being the uncredited stock music composer for Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead). I bought this record at Papa Jazz in Columbia, SC, about 10 years ago. You see a lot of Russ Meyer soundtracks repackaged and reissued, but I’ve yet to see this one among them. All of the music is worth a listen, though.

Bill Loose,”Franklin’s Theme,” From the Original Soundtrack recording of Cherry & Harry, & Raquel (1970)

Incidentally, I was first pointed to Russ Meyer’s movies by Redd Kross’s first album, Born Innocent, on which they cover “Look On Up From The Bottom,” as played below by Beyond The Valley of the Dolls’ The Carrie Nations. I’m still not sure which version is better.
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Actually, while your at it, check out “In the Long Run” as well:
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& “Find it,” which is a terrific rip off of Shocking Blue’s “Hot Sand”:
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What a great movie.