(Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes – Expansions)
So, down to this the final cut of the ‘Vintage Goodwood’ selection..which I’m laying down first in tribute to Chris Hill, (foundation Selector on the Jazz Funk scene and part of the ‘Soul Patrol’ back in the mid – late 70’s), who played it on Sunday night in the Casino. Secondly to all the original Rare Groove massive. There was NO way I thought I would be able to hold out for his midnight – 2am set considering I had to drive back to the ‘Smoke but it was well worth the wait and I shook and fingerpopped from start to finish…the perfect end to a great weekend.
Today’s cut needs no introduction..absolute classic Jazz Funk/Rare Groove slice from the Legend Lonnie Liston Smith and his band of monumental players Cecil McBee, George Barron, Joe Beck, David Lee, Jr, James Mtume, Sonny Morgan, Badal Roy and Geeta Vashi A.K.A ‘The Cosmic Echoes’. The introduction, (and the cut), NEVER fails to send shivers down my spine. BIG tune going out to ‘The Anthill Mob’. London clubland memories are made of this.
Saturday night at Vintage was B.I.G. The Soul Casino was rocking..Andy Weatherall threw down at the ‘Warehouse’ and the company kept was SUPERB. I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to make it through to see Leroy Hutson on Sunday night? but it was one of the main reasons for attending so I thought that if I stumbled around the festival into the early evening then I had a chance…
Why is Leroy such a legend?, (other than his musical genius), for those of us who had the pleasure to be ‘on the, (Rare Groove), scene’ back in the day (85-87), Leroy Hutson was one of the primary artists. His ‘Hutson II’ LP was IN DEMAND to say the least. If you were there you know what I’m talking about and to hear him perform today’s slice of the musicology pie Live and Direct was an experience never to be forgotten.
The legend wasn’t due on until 9pm so it was touch and go but I managed it, (due in part to Craig Charles who was on fire for the two and a half hours leading up to Leroy coming on). As soon as he walked on though I was buzzing and immediately found my second wind. The man proceeded to tear it up and wove his magic leaving the crowd screaming for more especially when he enticed a call and response session on today’s slice the Rare Groove classic ‘Love The Feeling’ getting the Kittens to sing “Love I Love I Love” and the Cats to sing “The way you make me feel” was as good as it gets and anyone who was there knows what I’m talking about. For me it will always be a cherished memory..Recorded for and released on Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom label in 1976.
BIG tune on London’s rare groove scene back in 1986 when first released. amazingly this cut was previously unissued but Soul Brother Number 1 and full crew, (The Jb’s), had already been tearing up the dancefloors of London’s underground movement for a year or more along with the cream of the soul and funk that came out of America during the late sixties and early 70’s. music which had largely gone unnoticed before it’s London revival. Not suggesting that it was unknown but guess what…it wasn’t called rare groove for nothing and no matter what is said it was in London that it sprung forth and multiplied. themusicologist was there and remembers it well. Great times, cherished memories.
Final cut from the birthdaybash rare groove selection and I’m finishing up with a top ranking piece of 80’s soul from a cat called Steve Parks. As far as I know he only waxed one set for the Solid Smoke label from which this, the title track, is taken. First heard by themusicologist in 1986 whilst raving out and about in London Town. Last ‘played ‘out’ by themusicologist at the birthdaybash on November 29th.
Tomorrow begins the Christmas selection. One a day to put us in the mood for when the sleigh bells ring…….
you know what … life is sweet like sugar at the moment and I’m enjoying it to the max. I would even go so far as to say it’s all good. I’ve got my mind right and it’s time for action. Over the past few weeks things and time have been synchronising harmoniously and ‘opportunity’ has been knocking hard on my door.
Iv’e let the kid in, we have sat down and reasoned, allowed our’self’ to let go and moved on, together, to face the dawning of the new day…where the sun is shining.
Today’s cut is courtesy of another London based group, The Equals, whose original members came from as far afield as Jamaica and Guyana but also included two local kids from Holloway and Islington, (hence the name ‘Equals’) . Hooking up in 1965 they tasted success in 1968 with a pop tune ‘Baby Come Back’, (about as far away from today’s cut as could be imagined).
Another BIG tune on the Rare Groove scene that was, for a while, one of the most sought after pieces of the day changing hands for around £50 which was a lot of money 20 odd years ago. themusicologist unearthed a copy of the 7″ in a ‘Junk-Shop’ in London’s ‘salubrious’ New Cross for the princely sum of 10 pence !!! and rinsed it for the next couple of years. Can’t remember if it was ever on a LP and like I said this was LONG before the days of CD’s, Ebay and of course MP3’s so to find a copy was true to the genre’s name, RARE.
Can’t remember exactly but from memory I think that the year of release was 1976 maybe even 1974.
Today’s slice from the ‘birthdaybash’ pie was one of the ‘Rare Groove’ anthems that NEVER failed to shake London’s floors in the mid 80’s. If themusicologist was compiling a top ten of cuts that were the soundtrack to them days this would definately be one. HEAVY funk from a London based collective of West Indian players who blended all the musical flavours of the day to deliver an almost unique sound.
Apparently discovered rehearsing in a Soho club, (there’s that place again!!), by producer John Schroeder who obviously knew quality when he heard it and signed them immediately. This was their first recording, released on the Janus, (Chess), label in 1972.
Ray King – Vocals/Percussion
Joey Dee – Vocals/Percussion
Steve Scipio – Bass
Sam Kelly – Drums
Derek Gibbs – Soprano/Alto Sax
Pablo Gonsales – Congas
Peter Serreo – Tenor Sax
Mike Rose – Alto/Flute/Bongos
Patrick Patterson – Guitar