Soul Station π is an adventure in time, history, groove, rhythm and repertoire. Many of π's shows concentrate on Chicago music, Rock, Soul, Blues, Soul-Jazz and R&B from the city during its strongest and most productive years, circa 1960-70. The variety and talent on display, not to mention the dance grooves, are staggering! But these are not just history excursions. The grooves and the connections will have you dancing and finger popping.
In addition to featuring Chicago music, Soul Station π drops in on the latin thing, not just from New York and Puerto Rico, but also from Texas, California, Columbia and elsewhere, with Boogaloo and Latin Soul that show how much what became salsa borrowed from Rock, Soul, Jazz and R&B, but which aslo shows how much those musics took from latin music of the 60's and early 70's!
And that's not all! There's early Western Swing, the Garage Rock and Blue-Eyed Soul of St. Louis, and single artist tributes that present the music of bands, singers and song writers everybody ought to appreciate and groove to, but that almost nobody knows.
Free your mind, spirits, feet and ass! Come explore Soul Station π.
The Day the World Turned Day-Glo
This fabulous and still timley X-Ray Spex 45 is mostly about our "plastic, chemical, toxic world". But there are other ways to understand it and react to it. Right now, mine is something like this:
I'd like to watch that missile strike again, while I eat my wimpy bun NOT!
Does everyone feel better now? Even the 'Nelson' response fails to capture my feelings!
At the end of the 1950's, drummr Max Roach led a piano-less group that featured Julian Priester on trombone, Tommy Turrentineon trumpet and his brother Stanley on tenor sax. Stanley achieved fame and fortune on CTI doing a commercial, if not pop-r&b version of soul jazz. The high quality of his jazz contributions must not be overlooked. Like his playing with Max Roach. On Nica, written by pianist Sonny Criss about the well known jazz patron, Panonica de Koenigswarter, Turrentine takes a dry, penetrating solo that shows the influence of Sonny Rollins and hard bop. He was an original master, even this early!
Charles Atanga & Emitas
Charles Atanga is a bass player from Ivory Coast. He recorded as Charles Atanga & Emitas, and made this moody, dark as deep mole sauce, track in 1975. The electric organ gives this a layer of strange texture. It is mildly funky, like some of the bleaker tracks Curtis Mayfield cut during the early 1970's. Like Right On For The Darkness. It fits well with this di and rainy morning.
I Like Your World
Judy Mowatt might have gotten her biggest career break via the I Threes and their backing of Bob Marley when Bunny and Peter left, but she was around years before that, solo and as part of the Gaylettes, who made a number of great records for Merritone and Island in the late 1960's. This one combines soul with a 'girl group approach' and is quite successful. Mowatt sounds great, too!
Joni Sledge, of Sister Slege, died just a few days ago. She and her three sisters formed the singing group in the early 1970's and had many hits, while also cheering on the Pittsburgh Pirates in their World Series run in 1979. The hits more or less ended in the mid 1980's, when they released their last album for several years, When the Boys Meet the Girls. The worked with Chic's Nile Rodgers on this one, and it did yield their last major hit, Frankie (only #32 on the US r&b chart, but #1 in the UK). Frankie sounds like an early 1960's girl group disc, has a strong NOLA groove and a fantastic horn arrangement! It IS finger licking good. A fine salute to Joni, who at 60, is gone far too soon!
Pianist Valerie Capers, the first blind person to graduate from Julliard, is not even as well known as her trumpet playing brother, Bobby! Val has been recording and writing great tunes (several for Mongo Santamaria) since the early 1960's. Her first solo record, a great slab of latin jazz, has never been re-issued, and it deserves a hearing here! Get ready to be moved!
Toshiko Akiyoshi grew up in Manchuria, and after the secons world war ended, she and her family resettled on the island of Kyushu. It was there that she was exposed to jazz, and her long, unusual trip led her to America and close relationships with several jazzmen. She began to record in the early 1950's, well before she became interested in leading a large ensemble and integrating japanese musical themes into jazz and blues forms...this is from a very early record featuring Boots Mussulli on alto. Mussulli had played with Kenton, Krupa and Ventura before this date. The tune is by trombonist JJ Johnson, and it is delightful!
Nellie Luther & Her Rhythm
He's a Real Gone Guy
From Lake Charles, LA, pianist and singer Nellie Lutcher had many hits after WWII and into the 1950's. She wrote most of them and plays spectacular piano on all of them! Her singing and diction was unusual and she seems to have been a significant influence on Nina Simone. Here is one she wrote (still shows at ASCAP) that is a favorite, and was also much covered as a vocal and an instrumental in the 1950's
Don't Mess With Cupid
The Shirelles were not known for doing great southern soul, but when they left Scepter after almost 10 years, and were signed to Blue Rock, their debut 45 was a cover of Don't Mess With Cupid. Originally done by Otis Redding, it was the B-side to his top 10 R&B hit, My Lover's Prayer. The Shirelles version is excellent and it is too bad they did not do more records like this. It was also the second to last record done by the original four Shirelles, as they continued as a trio several months later on.