musicology #0599

Flow #18

The Showmen – The Owl Sees You

Today’s cut is In memory of another Soul man who has left us…General Norman Johnson..whose voice rose to prominence first as Lead for the Showmen and then Chairman Of The Board. This was one of their, (unreleased), demo’s sent to Joe Banashak whose Minit label ranks high on themusicologist’s list of supreme Rhythm & Blues/Soul labels. Why this marrow trembler went unreleased is beyond me…Norman Johnson Rest In Peace…gone but never forgotten.

musicology #0597

Flow #16

Brooklyn Funk Essentials -For A Few Dollars More

Last day of the New York excursion…and signing out from the Big A with a cut from The Brooklyn Funk Essentials. Highly rate this collective of musicologists..proper 21st Century soundtrack..borrowed from their 2008 set ‘Watcha Playin’


musicology #585

Flow #4

(Terry Callier – The Hood I Left Behind)

Last time I looked it was Thursday !! what happened? time passed and ran…ran and passed. So before I lose track of it again hold this cut from MASTER Terry Callier whose music has not only been a source of inspiration but has been a GREAT help to me through some of my DARKEST days and nights. Already featured heavily on themusicologist last year. I’m off to see him perform in person tonight at the Pigalle in My home town, (London), so I would like to pay tribute here in honour of the man and his lyrical genius. Borrowed from his most recent (2009) set ‘Hidden Conversation’.

SPECIAL request to all the Cats and Kittens who for whatever reason left the hood behind. gone but NEVER forgotten…this one’s all yours. Listen Tune…

musicology #580

mOareEssentials #3

(The Spidells – Find Out What’s Happening)

Busy designing today so bit late with the 3rd instalment of the mOare selection…also I’m in the kitchen rustling up the evening meal, (Bangers & Mash), so It will have to be hit and run today while I’m running…Hold this TOP RANKING slice of Rhythm & Blues by the Spidells, (Lee Roy Cunningham, Wallace Brown, Billy Lockridge and Michael Young)..later covered by Elvis Presley, Nancy Sinatra and others. No prizes for guessing which one themusicologist favours. BIG Mod/ern/ist cut.

musicology #563

Tales From The Underground #5

Googie Rene Combo – Smokey Joe’s La La

Superb 1966 Rhythm & Blues instrumental and well known mod stomper from West Coast cats The Googie Rene Combo. Son of songwriter Leon Rene, Rafael Leon ‘Googie’ Rene was a suberb instrumentalist who led a combo full of legendary musicians that at various times included Plas Johnson, Rene Hall, Johnny Guitar Watson and Earl Palmer…

Special request to ‘Jumbo’…Hold tight.

musicology #493

SoulBoy #12

(Irma Thomas – Ruler Of My Heart)

Love the way the SoulBoy is shaping up….Soul and Reggae are the two musical languages that I am fiercely passionate about..I like many genres and almost all styles but nothing connects with the I like these two. Maybe it’s because I was brought up with them? especially Soul, the sweet sounds of Jamaica didn’t make an appearance until I was 3 or 4 years old but Soul is in my flesh, blood and bones…prenatal style !!

Seems like the Soul Kitchen’s hotting up with every cut so i’ll keep up the pressure with this piece from the superb Irma Thomas..well known to Soul Cats and Kittens for many a fine slice, (this being one of them), ‘The Queen of New Orleans Soul’ started out singing in a Baptist Church choir as a teenager but it wasn’t until 1960 that she ‘waxed her first side’. Like all the great New Orleans Soul singers of the sixties it was on the pioneering label Minit that she really begun to cut loose under the wing and watchful eye of the legendary Allen Toussaint, producer, arranger, songwriter and piano maestro whose contribution to the emerging sound now known as Soul deserves, (and gets), honourable recognition. Today’s cut was reinterpreted by the ‘Big O’ for his first solo outing ‘Pain In My Heart’ and as good as that is, for me, this one reaches out even further. 1963 recording on the Minit label. Already featured twice on themusicologist, (#150/ #359 Irma Thomas oozes Soul.

musicology #492

SoulBoy #11

(Doris Troy – Please Little Angel)

Ladies with Soul … Lots to choose from; Aretha Franklin, Carla Thomas, Candi Staton, Randy Crawford, Millie Jackson, Mary Wells, Gwen McCrae, Vicki Anderson, Marva Whitney, Lyn Collins, Barbara Lewis, Etta James, Dee Dee Warwick, Fontella Bass, Minnie Ripperton, Marie Knight, Dee Dee Sharp, Mitty Collier…as well as contemporary kittens such as Angie Stone, Brandy, India Arie, Beyonce…and those are just the ones off the top of my head !

As difficult as it was to’s cut, (courtesy of Doris ‘Just One Look’ Troy), has ALL the right ingredients; Vocals, Lyrics and Production..

Bronx born Doris Higginsen begun her career singing Gospel in her fathers choir but it was as a songwriter that she scored her first hit ‘How About That’ recorded by Soul pioneer Dee Clark in 1960. Three years later she was spotted by James Brown working as an usherette at the Apollo and in that same year she wrote and recorded the Mod/ernist classic ‘Just One Look’. Not sure how or why but Doris didn’t go on to receive the critical acclaim that her talents deserved. Employed by the Beatles at Apple as Artist, Writer and producer Doris sung backup and worked with some of the UK’s most established musicologists, (The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and The Moody Blues), but failed to make a commercial impact as an artist in her own right. After a few years in the wilderness Doris’s story became a successful stage show ‘Mama I Want To Sing’ which is scheduled for a cinema release this month? I didn’t know that before researching for today’s cut but musicology works in mysterious ways so it makes complete sense to me.

musicology #377

Modernist #5

(Ray Charles – What I’d Say)

Received this on an email last night and thought this was probably the best place to share it rather than on the Comments. Why? because It’s another piece of critical writing straight from the horses mouth so to speak and in keeping with the authentic nature of this theme deserves a place on the front page. There’s some excellent dialogue taking place in the comments so it’s a small dilemma as to whether to put it there but, (in the words of Rupie Edwards on ‘Census Taker’) “time is short and money a roll on this ‘ting”, (not really money but certainly time !!) anyway on with the debate..

“Purely out of academic interest I’ll start by asking a question. It’s a simple, honest, and open question that I’ve not only (and often) asked myself, it’s one I’ve left hanging out there since first stumbling across it for any other interested party or person to answer. To date no-one’s properly answered it!

The question is this. Do you or did you know a Modernist?

Well, put simply, I didn’t, or if I did then said Modernist didn’t make it clear to me (which is the same thing). Thus, and as no-one else responded to the question, I’m left to ponder the very existence of this mythical harbinger/precursor to “Mod”.

Who was he? Where was he? When was he? What was he into? How many “hims” were there? (I’ll stick with the “he” if that’s OK ladies? Purely as a literary tool, nothing else)

First. Who Was He?
According to the little what’s known he was well educated (grammer school at the very least) and he wasn’t working or upper-class. So does this establish him as “middle-class” then? Somehow I doubt it. The middle-classes were, well, the “middle” class: safe, plodding, grey, they were rocking no boats with “attitude”, they were quite happy living the “you’ve never had it so good” life in their “Little Boxes”. So if Modernist wasn’t upper, middle or lower (working?) class who was he? From which social category did this legend rise from? It can only be from the post-war “striving” class i.e. upper-lower/lower-middle class families (mainly second generation immigrants and of those most likely Jewish or Italian… now there’s a religious conundrum if ever there was one! ).
As we know he was well educated that means he was over 16 and under 21. Why? Cutting a long explanation short, bright boys like him stayed on at school to the 6th. form and he wasn’t conscripted into the army.

Again, according to what little is known, he was a very sharp dresser, neurotically so! Clothes were more important to him than money or sex. This guy was a real true dandy! The clothes he wore were either designed (sometimes made) by him or his VERY close circle of fellow Modernists or rare and expensive imports. Once worn or better said shown-off they were disposed of fast; past on/over to younger brothers or the such like. His clothes were SHARP to say the least. Every detail, from style of shirt collar down to the cloth cover buttons on trousers (yes, trousers) was meticulously thought out. What he wore no-one else wore (if they did he – and the other face – was a finished article in the circle). Styles changed at the speed of light. The pace of it all took it’s toll. Going out looking like he did was all about being SEEN; being looked at and being copied. It goes without saying that aggro was avoided like the plague.

To summerize… He Was.
Aged 17-19. Good looking, slim build. Clever but no academic (good head on his shoulders). Not short of a few bob (son of a local businessman perhaps). Street-wise but not tough (a lover not a fighter). An individualist (with those clothes he had no choice). A narcissist…Next installment… tomorrow.”

Today’s cut is from a legend who needs no Introduction with a tune that needs none either. The great Ray Charles Robinson with a groundbreaking piece of modernist musicology that as far as I’m concerned defines the word and essence of the elusive ‘Modernist’ in a matter of minutes…

musicology #374

Modernist #2

(The Miracles – Way Over There)

Today I would like to take the opportunity and quote from a top ranking piece of critique on the subject of Modernist by a Cat named Johnny Spencer who lived through as well as observed the changing face of London during the early Sixties.

“In London during the early sixties as in other parts of the British Isles a tiny minority of young, (mostly working class), boys and girls known only to themselves as ‘Modernists’ were walking, talking, dressing and dancing to a different song. These youngsters who were conceived in the heady and delirious optimism that marked the end of WW II had passed onto them in their genes a very real sense of supremecy, invincibility and confidence, a confidence that was fuelled and underpinned by the meta narrative of the western world, the concept of modernity, then at it’s zenith. By the early 1960’s the social fabric of cities in England had changed radically from the period before 1945, the war had dealt attitudes of authority and deference a mortal blow, conscription had ended, and the young en masse for the first time found themselves with a realistic disposable income. With history on their side this generation of independently minded teenagers felt able to think and act for themselves, not in a quasi-intellectual way as the ‘beatnicks’ had done, or to have to rebel, like the ‘Teddy Boys’, but as a truly autonomous entity.”

The musicology is courtesy of modernist icons ‘The Miracles’, (Smokey Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Marv Tarplin, Ronald White and Claudette Rogers), whose unique and distinctive sound epitomised the emerging sound that became known as Soul. The cut that was BIG on the London scene was in fact the second version, (with strings), but in the essence of ‘Modernist’ I had to lay this, (regional) one, (without strings), on you. Recorded for and released in 1960 on Motown.