Thursday, May 05, 2011

Choice Cuts- The Premiere

I know that you have all been patiently awaiting the next post on Eclectic Grooves, so I hope that this one is more than worth the wait. Over the past couple months, I have been painstakingly working on a couple new series that will serve as a replacement for the now defunct Plain Brown Wrappers and What's Playing on My Stereo.  My plans are to revitalize the somewhat successful Rediscoveries of Lost Gems series with some incredibly mind-bending sonic trips into the great unknown. The albums featured in this series will be extremely rare or out of  print, and will only be available for a limited time. Hopefully this will increase the interest in the blog, and encourage readers to stop by more often to make sure that they aren't missing out on these rare gems. Also, another coal that I have on the fires is an ongoing post featuring live shows that I have amassed over many years of downloading from various sources on the internet such as Dime-A-Dozen, Soulseek and live sharity blogs. I'm not sure exactly when this series will premiere, but I envision this to be in the near-future.

Last, after many months of weighing my options, I have finally decided that it is in my best interest to focus my efforts on Eclectic Grooves, and I will no longer be a contributing writer on Ear Fuzz. Writing for Ear Fuzz over the past few years has been a great deal of fun, and I am genuinely thankful for the opportunity to work with such a diversely talented and professional group of writers, but it is time for me to move on to new avenues.  What all of this means is that I plan on having more time and energy to dedicate towards more regular posting and updates on what's going on in my world. If this revitalizes the interest in Eclectic Grooves and encourages readers to comment more often, then it's a win-win situation.  

With that being said, I introduce my latest venture into unknown sonic realms with a new series called Choice Cuts which focuses on classic tracks that can't be easily shaken from the cerebral cortex. Each time, I will be featuring 3-4 sizzling and succulent morsels that are grabbing my ear right now that range from funk to country, from afro-beat to garage rock, etc. Sometimes there will be a theme to these songs that ties them all together in a nice bow, but other times the songs featured will just be a musical hodgepodge of eclectic delights. Without further ado, lets see what "choice cuts" the vinyl butcher has prepared for us today:





From: Free Your Mind [Now Again Records, 2007]

Released almost 34 years after they had likely languished in a dusty storage facility, these previously unissued tracks from Amnesty were finally given the treatment they deserve. Amnesty's opening track is a mind-blower,  featuring an opening motif that leads you to believe you are about to delve into the quiet storm for the duration, only to pull the rug out from underneath you with a sticky funk-groove at the one minute mark. The musicianship on this track is stellar, with complex basslines, horn charts that soar and melodic group vocals that rise over the top of everything like classic soul with a serious jazz bent. I was telling a friend of mine that this song would be the perfect introduction to Choice Cuts, as it is like a trip, a sonic journey that travels along many disparate musical excursions along the way, while maintaining a strong and soulful backbone that keeps the listener coming back for more. If I seem a little bit long winded about this one, it's because I'm trying to catch my breath.

Eddy Senay: Zambezi
From: Hot Thang [Sussex, 1972]

I downloaded this album from one of the soul-funk sharity blogs ages ago, and filed it away to listen to at a later date. A few weeks ago, while playing my I-phone on random, "Zambezi, " finally graced my eardrums and I knew that it was a perfect track to feature on Choice Cuts.  Starting with a Meters-esque groove is usually a solid bet, but the stunning wah-wah guitar playing coupled with a killer hammond organ groove is what sold it to me. Again, the musicianship is stellar, and this instrumental track will have you burning a hole in the carpet of your living room while you grind to this infectious track.

African Brothers: Sakatumbe
From: Ghana Soundz Vol 2 - Afro Beat, Funk And Fusion In 70's Ghana [Soundway, 2004]

I was so taken by the sound of this song that I searched tirelessly for other material by the African Brothers that was of this caliber. While I was able to locate other albums by the African Brothers, nothing seemed to compare to the electrifying excitement of this track.  The opening breakbeat definitely gets the party started on the right foot, but it's the undulating, free-flowing afro-beat rhythms that manage to keep your feet tapping to the groove. There is a slight change in the tempo at around the 2 minute mark that reveals a secret affinity for the classic JB's breakdowns from the old-school, only to return to the relentless funk once again. Towards the end of the track, lead singer Nana Ampadu showcases his skills of channeling the classic ear-piercing scream that was a foundation of James Brown's early funk material. Overal, this track is a burner that will have you reaching for that repeat button.

I hope you have enjoyed the first episode of Choice Cuts. I would greatly appreciate any feedback that you have on this new series, as it is helpful to me in planning material for future posts.

Until next time...

9 comments:

Alan said...

Yo Yo Yo...I'm digging the new "choice cut" debut. Nice touch with the picture as well...those steaks look good. I think I'll be firing up the barbie tonight as I rock out to some rare tunes-)

Airport said...

nice

Kevin said...

Alan:

Thanks for stopping by, and I am glad that you are digging the new series. I hope that the tunes provided a great soundtrack to your BBQ.

Thanks for stopping by Airport. I would love to hear more of what you think of the songs.

Best, Kevin

s.m. smith said...

super sweet . thanks.

said...

Late again to the party, but loving it all the same. Being a big fan of both funk & African tuneage, these cuts are indeed choice (being a live-long vegetarian, the picture caused me to laugh). Hope this is a successful & on-going element. Thanks as always, Kevin, I'm definitely after Amnesty as soon as I leave here.

said...

Life-long not live-long (though I plan on doing that, too.)

Kevin said...

Nathan:

Thanks for stopping by man. I am glad you are diggin' the new "Choice Cuts". It also makes me happy to know that you are going to check out some more Amnesty, and possibly even purchase it. Hope you like the latest podcast that I just posted today. Hopefully I can continue to post more often. Also, be on the lookout for a couple new regular series dropping soon.

Best,

Kevin

L said...

I actually just got ahold of Ghana Special- Modern Highlife 1968-81 recently. Some great stuff (and more my speed than the 80s funk).

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