Once again, I am pleased to bring you all another installment of Come On In My Kitchen. I want to thank DJ Bluewater for those phenomenal blessings last week, and let you all know that he has agreed to return to do it again! Keep your eyes and ears peeled as he told me he is up for the challenge of doing that brutal funk 45 set. I’ll have more details on that when they become available.
The next selector is certainly no stranger to those of us who travel around the land of blog. His is the stuff that legends are made of so without further ado, it is my distinct honour and privilege to bring him on in to the kitchen to serve up a heaping helping of “Outta Sight” funkiness. Give it up children for Funky 16 Corners and Iron Leg’s own, Mr. Larry Grogan!!!
Outta Sight aka Mancini King of Monsters!
Eddie Harris-Mean Greens (Atlantic)
Enoch Light-Theme From Shaft (Project 3)
Soulful Strings-Coming Home Baby (Cadet)
Bob Thiele-Light My Fire (Impulse)
Doc Severinsen-Cleopatra’s Asp (Command)
Henry Mancini-Police Woman (RCA)
Roger Coulam-Ode to Billie Joe (Contour)
Keith Mansfield-Soul Thing (Pronil)
Woody Herman-Memphis Underground (Cadet)
Jimmy McGriff-Charlotte (Solid State)
Moe Koffman-Sunshine Superman (Kama Sutra)
Henry Mancini-Pick Up the Pieces (RCA)
James Last-Power to the People (Polydor)
Enoch Light-Pass and I Call You (Project 3)
First Hippie (aka Bob Dorough)-Good Company (ABC TV)
Cal Tjader-My Little Red Book (Skye)
When Vincent the Soul Chef asked me to bring a hot dish over to Fufu Stew, the original plan was to put together a little something along the lines of the Digital trip podcasts from Iron Leg. Of course fate intervened and during a recent digging trip I scored some very tasty Now Sound stuff, and so (pushed along by inspirado) things ended up somewhere on the road between Iron Leg and Funky16Corners.
The mix opens with the title cut from one of Eddie Harris’s finer albums, “Mean Greens”. When Harris recorded the tune in 1966, he was one of the leading (and more creative) practitioners of the soul jazz movement with his Varitone saxophone (though he doubled on keyboards on this album) and a holster full of righteous tunes. “Mean Greens” is one of those.
If you’re not hip to Enoch Light, then get (hip, that is) because behind the facade of a fairly straight looking cat (and his nerdy hi-fi aficionado record covers) was a man with his ear tuned to the hip zeitgeist. Along with regular contributors like keyboardist Dick Hyman (a God among Now Sound collectors) Light made some very cool records in the 60s and 70s. His take on the “Theme from Shaft” takes a hard left turn from the very beginning, pairing the traditional wah-wah guitar with tablas (played by Tonight Show drummer Ed Shaughnessy). Very groovy indeed.
Next up is a cover of Bob Dorough’s “Coming Home Baby” laid down by Richard Evans’ mighty Soulful Strings (head over to Funky16Corners for the scoop on them).
Though Bob Theile is best known as the man behind both the Impulse and Flying Dutchman labels, but he did make a few LPs under his own name over the years. “Light My Fire” is from an Impulse LP that paired Theile with Tom Scott (and his group at the time the California Dreamers) and Gabor Szabo (a fixture of Impulse at the time).
Heading back over to the Tonight Show bandstand, I bring you none other than trumpeter Doc Severinsen. Known as much for his loud, hipster wardrobe as for his skilled work as a high-note artist, Doc brings a little Eastern flavor with “Cleopatra’s Asp”.
I didn’t subtitle this mix Mancini: King of Monsters for nothing. Henry Mancini was one of the truly great composers of film and TV music, and his albums are often filled with hidden treats for beat diggers. One such treat is his take on the theme from Angie Dickinson’s 1970s TV show “Police Woman”, which opens with a very tasty break by Harvey Mason.
Roger Coulam is best known for his work with the UK group Blue Mink, who had a number of hits in the 70s. He also recorded some very nice easy stuff on the Hammond, some of which was also funky. His cover of “Ode to Billie Joe” doesn’t disappoint.
One of the giants of library music, pianist/composer/arranger Keith Mansfield made some dynamite records in his day. One of these is his original version (covered to great effect by Tony Newman) of “Soul Thing”. Here, Mansfield’s piano (replaced by organist Alan Hawkshaw in the Newman version) takes the lead, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love the break that opens the record.
Woody Herman is one of the true giants of mid-century jazz, but by the 1960s he was struggling – in the face of modernism and a dwindling market – to keep his band together. He recorded a couple of very nice (and funky) albums in the late 60s with Richard Evans for the Cadet label. His version of Herbie Mann’s “Memphis Undergound” manages to stand up nicely next to the original.
I couldn’t very well put a mix like this together without throwing some extra Hammond into the pot. “Charlotte” is one of the funkier sides that Jimmy McGriff did for the Solid State label.
Moe Koffman spent most of the 60s and 70s playing jazz flute and sax, and managing to stay fairly current at the same time. His albums for Jubilee and Buddah are all worth tracking down. His take on Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman” is from the album Curried Soul.
Henry Mancini is back (with many of the same players) with his smooth take on the Average White Band’s “Pick Up the Pieces”.
James Last isn’t well known here in the US, but the German king of Easy is a pretty big deal on the Continent. Starting in the 60s and continuing to the present day he has recorded scores of albums of his arrangements of pop tunes. When I heard his version of John Lennon’s “Power to the People”, I knew I had to include it here.
We return to Enoch Light (and some more breaks of course) with his adaptation of Bach’s Passicaglia, entitled “Pass and I Call You” (heh..I get it…)
One of the biggest finds form me in my most recent dig was an LP of radio spots promoting the 1967 fall season for ABC. Though I expected it to be a feast of samples and drops, as I dropped the needle from tune to tune I soon discovered a very familiar voice on a couple of them, that being the great Bob Dorough. I don’t know how Dorough came to be involved with The First Hippie’s Last Stand (though his connection to Schoolhouse Rock was through an advertising agency), but his bit promoting a talk show featuring F. Lee Bailey visiting and interviewing celebrities in their homes (!?!?!?) called “Good Company” is a prime example of why Dorough was the master of a certain brand of jazzy wonderfulness.
Things come to a close with an intersection of two great streams of coolness, those being Burt Bacharach (songwriter) and Cal Tjader (performer). Tjader’s cover of “My Little Red Book” (previously performed by Manfred Mann and Love among others) is a groovy way to bring things to a conclusion.
…and now for the closing commentary, which I do plan to make brief as I am staring at literally hundreds of 45s in preparation for my next few offerings…
I’ve been listening to this really eclectic selection for a few days now and I have to say with pure certainty that this is another shining example of why Larry is held in the highest regard all over the land of blog. I for one HIGHLY recommend copping both the mp3 and zip on this one! I want to thank Mr. Grogan for this extra special blessing, as well as for his tremendous support over the past year. Let it be known that you are always welcome here… any time!
I plan to return at week’s end with another power packed edition of Fufu Stew that is sure to have you loosening your belts. I am also ready to head over to Planet Mondo’s place where I plan to once and for all unearth some of my favourites from my “Gothic Hippie” days. It’s a guest post that shouldn’t be missed. More details to come. Finally, I want to send a shoutout to the Funky Disposition team for dedicating their latest offering to me. Thank you, Pretoria, I am indeed honoured!
Have a good week everybody, and as always, be safe.
Peace and blessings.