Monday, June 27, 2011

Pretty Boys  

Here is a raw track from the Bronner Brothers out of Atlanta. These Thriller-posing guys recorded two slick funk LPs then switched to gospel mode before dropping out of the music scene in '87. "Pretty Boys" is from their first 7" released on Neighbor Records in 1983. The track is minimal with no vocal harmony or overdubs, giving it a one-take feel. I dig the hesitant-sounding keyboard player paired with relentless, precarious slap bass riffs. This is an unintentionally perfect groove.

Bronner Brothers - Pretty Boys

Posted by Dogtones | 4 comments

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Little Mazarati  

Mazarati are known for being an early Minneapolis based Prince produced side project, starring Prince And The Revolution bassist Mark Brown (also known by the bizarre stage name BrownMark). They put out two albums, Mazarati I & II, but are better known for the songs that Prince wrote for them, then took back after hearing the bands demos when he realized the songs had real potential to make some loot.

Amongst the weird and wonderful world of the Prince bootleg collector community, cassette tapes of early Mazarati studio sessions and unreleased material have long been prized. 'Little Mazarati', a mock up of a sort of title track for the band, was never released, and comes from such a traded stolen studio session tape, which then eventually made it onto a Prince Bootleg CD-r compilation in the late 1990's (hence its 128kps, which was standard back then in the olden days of dial up modems and ambient drum'n'bass).

This is some low-fi indie, stripped down boogie funk rock by one of the all time grand masters.

Mazarati - Little Mazarati

Posted by Black Shag | 4 comments

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Funk  

The saxophone is very much maligned instrument for good reason. In most instances, it can spread so much smooth cheese that it is difficult to taste the funk. Here are some sax heavy cuts that are pretty palatable for a Sunday afternoon pool party.

Marcus Miller was a session bass player and this cut is off his first record, 1983's Suddenly. There are good funky basslines all over this LP. The cheezy saxophone solo in this track adds a campy element against a backdrop of serious funk. Think of it as a workin' man's hand in a velvet glove.

Kenny G needs no introduction. The university trained accountant and full-time cheezmeister learned his chops by playing along with his Grover Washington Jr. records. His curly head adorned the cover of The Jeff Lorber Fusion's Wizard Island album in 1980 before he got his own record deal at Arista. This track is from Kenny's first record, which was produced by Lorber in 1982. 1982 was a banner year for soul and not even Kenny G could disappoint. This cut has some great sax work tightly intertwined some funky jangly guitar. Lorber lets loose with a janky synth solo to round out the whole package.

Markus Miller - Suddenly
Kenny G - Stop And Go

Posted by Joel Brüt | 0 comments

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Monday, June 20, 2011


There are two Steve Harvey's and both have links to funk and R'n'B, there is the American born actor Steve Harvey who used to play a retired funk musician who teaches highschool in downtown Chicago in a short running sitcom back in 1999, and then there is Scottish born musician Steve Harvey who also lives in the US that produced two of the most perfect synth led proto house funk tunes of the early eighties. They make it hard to google one another.

Tonight and Something Special both have a contemporary quality to them, like they could have been produced in Paris yesterday by some up and coming producer on the current house or 'nu-funk' scene. Tonight gets slightly less shine, but I think the dub version of that particular track has one of the most transcendent basslines to come out of the eighties. Steve did a couple of garage house records in the early nineties too, although as for what he has been up to recently I don't know, he is still working in LA somewhere I would imagine.

Steve Harvey - Tonight (dub)

Posted by Black Shag | 6 comments

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Under My Spell  

Spellbound were an obscure group from Ohio. This track is the b-side to the band's first single released on their own private label Great Records in 1983. Spellbound went on to record a sought after and (as evidenced above) killer looking full length LP on Heat Records in 1985. This is the perfect poolside slow jam for the summer that just won't seem to get hot enough (at least in LA) to kick off proper.

Spellbound - Under My Spell

Posted by Magnum | 7 comments

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Sunday, June 05, 2011

Welcome to Cosmic YOUniversity  

Spoken word and funk artist Gary Byrd, the 'Professor Of The Rap', wrote the Stevie Wonder produced The Crown in 1982 for Stevie's short lived Wondirection label. The single didn't do much in the US, but reached #6 in the UK charts in 1983, and broke some sort of record for being up until then the longest ever top ten single weighing in at 10 plus minutes long.

Gary's early example of socially conscious rap isn't included on this instrumental side, but you do get some of Stevie Wonder's accompanying verse about 6 minutes in, which will catch the crowd pleasantly by surprise, as the disco funk groove sort of just loops up until then, never seeming to get old.

New Yorkers may know Gary Byrd better today as Imhotep Byrd, the radio talk show host WBLS 107.5

Gary Byrd And The G.B Experience - The Crown (Instrumental)

Posted by Black Shag | 2 comments

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Finest Thing I've Ever Seen  

I finally got my recording rig sorted; hopefully these are loud enough for you. Now, if I could just keep my computer from crashing! Here are some early 80's gems. This 1982 D Train cut is a no brainer. No group can put me in a good mood like them. They are so filled with positive energy and they make me want to get up and dance. This dub version is on the flip of the Walk On By 12". This 1983 track by Bobby Nunn is a jam, a warm up or a cool down for sure. Has a lot of garage flavor in a modern soul dish.

D Train - Tryin' To Get Over (Dub)
Bobby Nunn - Do You Look That Good In The Morning?

Posted by Joel Brüt | 3 comments

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