Friday, November 30, 2007

Funky Friday - Hitsville U.S.A

Every Friday is Funky Friday on Planet Mondo and this week brings you two youtube alternative takes on Tamla tunes, and three tracks that breakdown the mechanics of Motown classics.

Funk Brothers band leader Joe Hunter on the start of the Motown Sound

There can be an element of sniffery towards Motown from some Soul and Funk purists - the production line production, the radio friendly Funk arrangements (I feel the same about Trojan Reggae - it's good but the high frequencies and searing strings are a sweetened and diluted version of Studio One), but one of the first albums I owned when I started moving away from stand alone singles to the joined up listening of LP's was 'The Big Wheels of Motown', so I'll always have a soft spot for Motown.

The template, foundation and roots of Northern Soul can be traced back to the Motor City sound and in particular The Supremes 'Love is Like An Itching in My Heart' - Larry over at Funk 16 Corners does a great piece on this theory here.

First up is a Tamla team up with The Supremes and The Temptations vamping like crazy on a franticly funky 'I'm Losing You' - the Rod and the Faces Rock and Soul rework is also well worth a peep here.

Marvin Gaye's 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' may be the definitive version of the song but Gladys knight and the Pips were the first to record it in 1967. GK and the P's version is a faster, looser, downtown shakedown and completley different 'Grapevine' to Marvin Gaye's snake hips take.

This trio of treats are instrumentals of Motown classics and have deliberate drop outs and isolated instrumental breaks which give a peep at the engine, mechanics and component parts of the Motor City sound.

I Was Made To Love Her -instrumental

For Once In My Life -instrumental

I Can't Help Myself - Piano Version

There's an unreleased Motown nugget on a previous post here

And finally If you do happen to be in the sunny Southend (Leigh on Sea)area tonight, why not pop along to Weird Fantasy where Paul Sigg's, Agent Cooper and possibly even me may be spinning a few of these winners.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dennis Hopper Choppers - The Midnight Rider

I was on the browse recently at my nearby Rough Trade East nosying for new nuggets - but digging through the racks soon got swift shrift when a seismic swell of rumbling sound spread through the shop from the stage area. Expecting to find a four piece gang going flat out at full volume I was almost dropped on the spot to see a solo performer sat on a delicously vintage Fender amp strumming ghostly notes and crooning moonlight mantras about Fu Manchu and red brides while taking care of business on percussion and bass at the same time. This was dennishopperchoppers playing songs from his album 'Chop' - I had discovered my new nugget.

Imagine Sergio Leone remaking El Topo on motorbikes with a soundtrack by Link Wray, Ennio Morricone and Johnny Cash - that is the sound of 'Chop'. Hypnotic, cinematic and with a voice as rich and resonant as the chimes of a church bell at midnight 'Chop' is full of melancholy confidence, lonely moonlight drives, and Death Row confessions.

'Listening to MC5' is a waltz in black, 'I Was Born' swaggers like a ghost town showdown and 'The Ballad of Fu Manchu and the Red Bride' is Venus in black furs singing songs to the siren.

There was a thread recently on the The Word site
"We just want one record that you came across this year that you have really grown to like and you suspect that hardly anybody else has heard" there was no doubt for me X marks the spot for the buried treasure that is Dennis Hopper Choppers and 'Chop'.

Dennis Hopper Choppers - 'The Ballad Of Fu Manchu and The Red Bride'

Dennis Hopper Choppers - 'If I Lied'

Check out the DHC sites for album details and gig dates.
dennishopperchoppers - myspace

Friday, November 23, 2007

Funky Friday - Top Of The Pops

Every Friday is Funky Friday on Planet Mondo and this Friday continues the week's theme of glam a go-go with a classic title sequence from a vintage episode of Top Of The Pops, sauce and scatter cushions from Pan's People and two TOTP related downloads.

Every one of the graphics for the top 30 numbers in the opening title sequence would make a tip top T shirt design - just picture any of them on a ringer T shirt. Once the titles are over and Tony Blackburn appears I would recommend hitting the pause button, putting the hand brake on and shimmying down to Pan's People - (not 'cos it's Tony) but because the clip continues with a chart run down set to Ringo Starr's 'Photograph' and an Alvin Stardust appearance neither of which are really five star Funky Friday fodder.

Yikes alive - It's Pan's people bumping and grinding to Buddy miles. Thankfully though, only two of them - any more would just ramp up the raunch into red light entertainment and this routine is already dangerously close lap dancing at teatime. Phew....

Not the CCS version of 'Whole Lotta Love' that appeared in the TOTP titles, but an equally funky refit of the Led Zep'thumper by King Curtis.

King curtis - Whole Lotta Love

Led Zeppelin were always terrors for a bit of light fingered 'Poplifting', and they've borrowed so heavily from 'You Need Loving' that Robert Plant has almost cloned Steve Marriot's performance.

Small Faces - You Need Loving

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

B Side Babies Pt 2 - Roxy Music - Angel Eyes (original version)

1977 may have been the year the world turned dayglo - but 1978 was the year the world went Disco - Rod stewart, the Rolling Stones and Blondie all got caught with a dose of the Disco fever. Bowie, as always had been years ahead of his peers and got the funk out of his system with Young Americans.

Uncharacteristically when Roxy Music released Manifesto in 1979 they seem to have been caught on the back foot rather than the good foot with the let's go Disco phonomenon and gave the movement a complete swerve on their album of the moment. The version of Angel Eyes on the early pressings Of Manifesto is an almost textbook Roxy rocker that maintains a cool cocktail gloss while giving a nod to the New Wave movement. All Sax, drums and Rock n Roll it's a world apart from the commercially successful and commonly available Angel Eyes rework which is all high hats and handclaps, and seems to highlight that Disco had almost as much punch as Punk.

Roxy Music - Angel Eyes(original version)

As bonus I'm also including a rare remix of Virginia Plain - the Headman EDT remix made for a rewired and remixed Roxy project which never materialised and has never been commercially released

Roxy Music - Virgina Plain (Headman Remix)

If you're in the mood for even more Roxy why not have a peep at my review of the Roxy Music debut album here

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Wolfmen Go Wild After Dark

“Aaaaaooooowwww” that's me last Wednesday after being left bitten and buzzing by The Wolfmen.

Formed by Marco Pirroni (guitarist and co-writer in Adam's Ants ) and Chris Constantinou (bass playing ex Ant) I caught them strutting like roosters, and stomping like champs live and unleashed at the Islington Academy last week. Opening with a thundering cover of Eno's 'Needle in The Camel's Eye' The Wolfmen tore the place up with a snarling, snapping set of their own two fisted tunes and GlamGaragePunk all fired out with the vibe of vintage Roxy Music, and spirit of Johnny Thunders and Marc Bolan jamming down at Devil Gate Drive.

The Wolfmen's songs Cecile, Jackie Says, While London Sleeps are all hugely infectious (spin them up below) and highlight why Adam Ant went from being the King of Indie clang with 'Dirk' to King of The Wild Frontier and the Prince Charming of Pop after hooking up with Marco as a songwriter. But there’s more to this Wolf pack than tattooed knuckled sugar Pop Punk , Two Eyes is all space age breakbeats and Bhangra anthems wrapped in screaming guitars, flutes and sitars with a lead vocal from Daler Mehndi (Daler was unable to make the gig unfortunately, having being detained for something dodgy) but the celebrity credit rating was still high with endorsement from gig attendees Pete Shelley,Simone Stenfors, and Radio One's Bobby Friction all going wild for the Wolfmen.

If you like Rock that sparkles and Pop that wallops watch out for The Wolfmen in case they're prowling and preening near you soon.

Get your teeth into these Rollerball rockers

The Wolfmen - Cecile

The Wolfmen - Jackie Says

Then check out The Wolfmen sites for dates and details of gigs and releases
The wolfmen - Myspace site
The wolfmen - official site

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Funky Friday - Shake, Rattle and Soul

Every Friday is Funky Friday on Planet Mondo and to tie in with this week's theme of hidden nuggets and covers I've loaded up a couple of obscure Youtube treats and two Rock 'n' Soul covers from Wilson Pickett and Solomon Burke.

Arthur Conley is probably best known for 'Sweet Soul Music', but this is Art's shakedown of 'Shake Rattle and Roll'.

Arthur Conley Jr - Shake, Rattle, Roll

Who is Roger Martin? Why isn't he a superstar? Why is 'They Say' a secret stomper and not a soul standard? And where can I get hold of this track?

Roger Martin - They Say

I do know the backing musicians are Freddie Kingand his band though.

Finally two funky takes on sixties rebel rock classics
(click on the links to download and divshare to preview)

Wilson Pickett - 'Maggie's Farm'

Solomon Burke - 'Born To Be Wild'

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

B side babies Pt. 1 - Kelly watch the stars (Moog Cookbook remix)

In keeping with this week’s theme of undercover nuggets and hidden winners here's one of my fave' B side babies ever

Air – ‘Kelly watch the stars’ (Moog Cookbook remix)

Air's ‘Moon Safari’ album has the original version of ‘Kelly’, which is perfectly polished and presentable. The re-tweaked single release even adds some extra snap and sparkle - but the real sizzler is buried on the B side of Air's chill out anthem 'All I Need’.

The Moog Cookbook were a duo featuring Roger Manning Jr (Beck’s keyboard player, ex Jellyfish and Imperial Drag) and Brian Kehew who specialised in taking tunes from contemporary and vintage songbooks and reformatting, rebuilding and rewiring them into bionic rockers.

‘Teen Spirit’, ‘Black Hole Sun’ and ‘Hotel California’ were all given Moogie woogie makeovers - but ‘Kelly’ is the Moog Cookbook's star turn, where they customise,reconstruct and respray Air’s moon buggy into a Starsky and Hutch space hot rod.

Some clever clogs has made a tip top home compiled and edited vid’ for the 'Kelly Watch The Stars'remix - starring Jeff Lynn!,Toto!! and Sid Little on drums !!!?

And as a bonus have a peep at the another home made vid’ for ‘Hotel California’ featuring Rory McGrath on drums! and Ol’ man Branson on double decker axe!! (Great Hot Butter/Popcorn interlude in the middle)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Remake Remodel Pt.1 Lulu - Watch That Man

There's a couple of bits and bobs I've been meaning to log in the blog for an age but have become wrapped up with other bits and bobs until now - so today at last it's all go-go for;

Remake Remodel - obscure, cool or cranky cover versions.

B Side Babies - the ones that got away - B sides, alt takes or outtakes that are too good to be forgotten

Fortunately 'Watch That Man' falls into both categories.
Lulu’s version of ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ seems to pop up on the sort of budget seventies comp’s sold only at newsagents, garages and Woolworths. Glamtastic as the rewired TMWSTW is, the real golden nugget is on the B side, ‘Watch That Man’ which manages to out strut and stomp Aladdin Sane original.

It is an absolute that Bowie was a musical Midas in the seventies and almost everything he touched was left glossed and glittering. (There's a moment of revelation in Ian hunters ‘Diary of a Rock and Roll Star’ where he realises he’ll never be in Bowies league). ‘Watch That Man’ is effectively a Bowie retake with Lulu fronting the band, produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson and featuring rest of the band it captures the distilled essence of the pre ‘Young Americans’ sound with a splash of extra sparkle. The cherry on top being Bowies backing vocals – which swish through the mix adding stardust melodies and space age harmonies.

Lulu - Watch That Man

To set the scene and add some context here's a couple of Youtube treats

This has got to be one of the funkiest ad' songs ever!I posted this on channel mondo last Friday but it's so good I'm posting it here too.

Lulu - Happies Shoes

Lulu - The Man Who Sold the World’

Friday, November 9, 2007

Funk Friday - Good To Go-Go

Every Friday is Funky Friday on Planet Mondo - this Friday it's the turn of guest blogger and the bloke that got me blogging Marmite Boy who brings you two thumping vintage vid's and downloads...... over to MB

Thanks first of all to Mr Mondo for allowing me to choose something for Funky Friday. When he first asked me to do something for the blog I was not altogether sure what to write about as I'm not very knowledgeble about Da Funk (although I am a long term Northern Soul fan). Then all of a sudden it hit me, way back when there were some funky tunes that got my foot a tapping along with the best of them.

In Washington DC they had there very own sub-genre of funk called Go-Go that started in the mid to late 70's and was primarily a live band based genre. Using a funky horn section, almost rock like guitar solo's, complex percussion using all manner of conga drums, cowbells, timbale and conventional drum kits and a seriously funky based line they stormed the DC night clubs. The vocals are more of a call and response affair that allowed the crowd to feel part of the music. The songs all melded into one so that the dancing kept on going (Go-Go gigs sometimes go on for hours and hours).

Go-Go was almost single handedly developed by DC soulman Chuck Brown. He had been a stalwart of the Washington soul scene and incorporated a rhythm heavy sound with the call and response vocals and never ending songs. The beat he used was inspired by Grover Washington Jr's Mister Magic. Brown had a No 1 hit on the US R&B chart (before in was filled with dreadful Kanye West records) in 1978. Bustin Loose is an absoulute Go-Go classic and is as funky as a funky thing. It even reached No 34 on the pop chart. However it wasn't until the 1980's that Go-Go had it's Golden Age.

Brown continued to dominate Go-Go with his band The Soul Searchers but other great funk outfits like Redds And The Boys, Hot, Cold, Sweat and the absolutely fantastic Trouble Funk enjoyed a lot of success too.
Trouble Funk had been around in one form or another since the 60's so were well versed in creating music that people wanted to dance to. They had several sizeable hits including Hey Fellas, Don't Touch That Stereo,Drop The Bomb and Pump Me Up a song that was widely sampled with M/A/R/R/S, The Beastie Boys and LL Cool J all using the rhythms as a basis for tracks.

Go-Go made an all too brief appearence on the British scene with the NME championing it the most. In fact they released a very good double album complilation of all the best Washington bands. So for your viewing pleasure is the mighty Trouble Funk with a fantastic 9 minute version of

Don't Touch That Stereo

And the Daddy of Go-Go Mr Chuck Brown with
Bustin' Loose

For your further listening pleasure is the classic

Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers - We Need Some Money

Trouble Funk's - Get On Up.

Marmite Boy

Monday, November 5, 2007

Let's go bongo - 'A Psychedelic Trip To Outer Bongolia'

I've been shaking my troos and stomping my shoes to this winner for the last week, (which hasn't been off the Mondo Music Center since it's first spin) and as much as I want to keep it a secret it’s just too funky to stay under my dude hat.

Try and imagine Roy Budd, Brian Auger and Billy Preston making a three way tag team jamming on 'Rollerball' riffs, groovy synthscapes, hard and heavy Hammond exotica with bongo's a go-go. Well, in fact you don’t have to - The Bongolian’s rolled it all into a ready made Psychedelic space age bundle for you.

'A Psychedelic Trip To Outer Bongolia' could be the long lost soundtrack to a retro-futurist Sci Fi flick, full of Funky nuggets like ‘The Champion’ ‘Feel It’ and the anthemic ‘All Aboard’.

But don’t just take my word for what a sizzler it is - check out these two tunes.

Rock Me

All Aboard

And then beam over to these sites for all the dates, details and info.

The Bongolian - myspace
The Bongolian -Blow Up Records
Taste test the tracks at Juno

Spinning a winner at Cloudbase Mondo

Friday, November 2, 2007

Funky Friday - Billy's Bag

Every Friday is Funky Friday on Planet Mondo - and this Friday brings you two vintage synthy sizzler vid's and three downloads from Mr Billy Preston.

Billy P previously appeared on Funky Friday showing his explosive fruggery in a storming duet on Agent Double O Soul with Ray Charles here

Billy Preston - Outta Space

The studio version of Outta Space is stomping enough, but this impeccably afroed and impossibly funky live take is so heavy hitting that it leaves The Commodores 'Machine Gun' standing in the stalls and comes dangerously close to out vamping Stevie Wonders 'Superstition'. Given Led Zep's legacy of 'poplifting'('You Need Love' - Small Faces, 'Season of the Witch' - Donovan, 'Dazed and Confused' from something I can't remember)I wouldn't be surprised to find that 'Zep reworked and rocked up the 'Outta Space riff' into 'Trampled Underfoot'.

Billy Preston - struttin'

Another 'fro fest throw down with all the shuffle and funk of The Blockheads 'Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll' meets the 'Starsky and Hutch'(Blow out version) theme tune. Now if could just find 'Creature Freature'* I'd have Billy's squeal deal synth set sorted.

(*If you do have Creature Freature on MP3 I'd be eternally grateful if anyone could pass it on).

Why not treat yourself and fill your Space boots with these three lovelies.
Or shimmy over to channel mondo for some TV theme funk

Billy Preston - Outta Space

Billy Preston - struttin'

Billy Preston - Space Race