Thursday, March 31, 2022

Trumpet Project: Herb Alpert Is Funky

I've been working on a little birthday present and I think it's ready, just in time for the birthday guy.

He's turning 87 today, which is impressive for anyone.

For someone to still be playing after 60 years doing it is yet more impressive.

Six decades ago he burst onto the scene and took over the world.

Like an Italian Western soundtrack on legs, his Mariachi-meets-Milestones music left an indelible impression on the world and on the charts.

He got so huge, he needed his own label.

It turned out that the label he co-founded -- A&M Records -- went on to become one of the best ones in the wax business.

He got burned out and took a break, then gradually re-entered until he began having hits again.

I was watching the stellar documentary about him a few weeks ago, where they ask all these luminaries who he is.

Questlove from The Roots answered "Herb Alpert is funky."

Who can argue with Ahmir Thompson on that question? Certainly not I.

So I spent parts of the last two weeks substantiating the sentiment, courtesy of Herb's output from the end of the 1960s through to the start of the 1980s.

Herb Alpert Is Funky

01 African Summer (with Hugh Masekela)
02 Red Hot
03 The Midnight Tango
04 One Night Lover
05 Rotation (12'' version)
06 Popcorn
07 People Make the World Go 'Round (with Hugh Masekela)
08 Blow Your Own Horn
09 Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor
10 Country Lake
11 Reach for the Stars
12 Save the Sunlight
13 That's the Way of the World
14 Gently (Suavemente)
15 Skokiaan (with Hugh Masekela)
16 Last Tango In Paris
17 Rise (12'' version)
18 Mama Way (with Hugh Masekela)

19 Alone Again (Naturally)
20 Besame Mucho
21 Moonza (with Hugh Masekela)
22 Foreign Natives (with Hugh Masekela)
23 Catfish
24 Fire and Rain
25 Fantasy Island
26 Love Is
27 Margarita
28 Grandpa Lou
29 Kamali
30 Just You and Me
31 I Have Dreamed
32 Jerusalem
33 Magic Man
34 Yankee Doodle
35 Beyond (extended mix)
36 Kalahari Nights (with Hugh Masekela)

Total time: 2:38:50

compilation of Herb Alpert's stickiest funky tracks, assembled and remastered from the best possible sources by EN, March 2022
898 MB FLAC/March 2022 archive link

All of the selections are from digital sources but five, which are from pristine vinyl.

That'll do it for March as we welcome in the foolishness of April.

I couldn't let today pass, though, without shouting out the 87th trip around the sun completed for one of the true Maestros of our lifetimes, and the A in A&M!--J.


Friday, March 25, 2022

Aisle of Dwight: Elton John 75

I'm gonna break my little rule of not covering anyone I've done before, but I have an excuse.

Since I last celebrated him seven years ago this May, the concert I posted has been reissued officially, so I had to take it out of the folder and make a link to the page for it.

But I haven't ever tributed the guy on his birthday, so we'll fire this up in lieu of the dearly departed Queen of Soul -- whom I've covered several more times than he -- and who was somehow born exactly five years before him.

Today's queen makes me proud to be one of them homosekshuls, you know? Back when he came out, it wasn't a ticket to the keynote slot at the $10,000/plate Human Rights Campaign dinner and your own reality TV show on Oxygen.

He's on the cusp of retirement -- I think he is finishing or just finished his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. OK, I looked it up and the postponements from COVID-19 mean it ends in the summer of 2023.

One of those rare superheroes that's both a queen and a Knight, he got his MBE in 1998.

You've seen the movies, you've bought the records.... heck, you even have the Captain Fantastic lunchbox set. Can you believe Elton John is 75 years old???? Jesus Christ I feel ancient, and I'm 20 years his junior.

You know what else is baffling? He's had the same band since I was in Partridge Family coveralls, and I love those guys, but somehow I have always been partial to him solo at the piano, with the orchestro-percussive flourishes of the great Ray Cooper (he's 75 in September, watch out) alongside.

That was what that tremendous From Russia with Elton show from 1979 was all about, from back when the Cold War -- now freezing back to an ICBM frenzy faster than a cool seven figure executive bonus at Lockheed Martin -- was beginning to thaw. Did you ever think we'd be fucking pining for the days of Nineteen Seventy fucking Nine?

But like I said, that one's been issued for real (buy it here), so we'll pop one up that's just as hot -- with a ton of nearly-never-performed deep cuts, too -- from 45 years ago this Spring, that features the birthday boy (with an ebullient Mr. Cooper in the 2nd hour) doing his solo thing in the historic Rainbow Theatre in London, just before running off with Thom Bell and a whole South American country's worth of cocaine.

Elton John
"Rainbow Rock"
Rainbow Theatre
London, UK

01 Your Song
02 The Greatest Discovery
03 Border Song
04 Daniel
05 Sweet Painted Lady
06 Rocket Man
07 I Heard It Through the Grapewine
08 Candle In the Wind
09 Roy Rogers
10 Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)
11 Cage the Songbird
12 Where to Now St. Peter?
13 Ticking
14 Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me

01 Take Me to the Pilot
02 Funeral for a Friend
03 Tonight
04 Better Off Dead
05 Idol
06 I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford)
07 I Think I'm Going to Kill Myself
08 Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
09 Crazy Water
10 Bennie and the Jets
11 Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)
12 Goodbye

Total time: 1:58:52

Elton John - piano & vocals
Ray Cooper - percussion

low gen, perhaps master, soundboard capture of unknown origin
sourced from the 1992 Silver Rarities bootleg silver CD "Rainbow Rock"
declipped, clicks and gaps between tracks removed & track markers optimized by EN, March 2022
625 MB FLAC/March 2022 archive link

I might do one more in March, or wait until August for that person's birthday. I'll decide over the weekend.

Anyway I'm staying away from rock stars unless they're top tier ones I've never covered, or barely covered lol. Sir EJ is clearly in that category and you only turn the big 7-5 once, so here's some Saturday Night fighting on Friday for you all.--J.

Sunday, March 06, 2022

Super Soul Sunday

We'll rejoinder the Saturday Night Beaver with a soulful slice of Sunday, courtesy of one of the greatest.

He woulda been 78 the other day, but I waited until today for the 34th anniversary of this concert.

Obviously if you don't know who he is/was, you must have missed out on the last 60 years of modern music, as he's a central figure in it all, even a decade deceased.

He began as Sam Cooke's guitar player at the start of the 1960s -- a pretty tasty pace to start -- and ascended from there.

Whether for his own songs or the ten trillion hits he wrote for others, there can be no doubt that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame salvaged a tiny shred of its dubious credibility in 2009 when it inducted him.

I'm trying to recall when I first heard the music of Bobby Womack. I think it was the soundtrack to Across 110th Street, one of the greatest of the Blaxploitation films.

This wild show was taped at the legendary Bremen club Moments, and circulated partially for years before it was rebroadcast in its entirety a year ago.

If you're looking for a stellar two hour example of what this guy was all about, you're about to get one.

Bobby Womack
Bremen, Germany 

01 The Things We Do
02 Nobody Wants You When You're Down & Out
03 Daylight
04 Woman's Gotta Have It
05 That's the Way I Feel About 'Cha
06 Inherit the Wind 
07 Only Survivor
08 Breezin' 
09 Surprise Surprise
10 Fly Me to the Moon
11 Living In the World 
12 You're Welcome, Stop On By
13 Harry Hippie
14 Tryin' to Get Over You (incl. band introductions)
15 What a Wonderful World
16 That's Where It's At
17 Having a Party
18 Love Has Finally Come At Last
19 Lookin' for a Love
20 If You Think You're Lonely Now
21 I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much
22 It's All Over Now
23 I Wanna Make Love to You
24 (No Matter How High I Get) I'll Still Be Lookin' Up to You (incl. FM outro)

Total time: 1:53:12
disc break goes after Track 14

Bobby Womack - guitar & vocals
Courtney Sappington - guitar
Frank "Rusty" Hamilton - keyboards & harmonica
Gail Johnson - keyboards
Bernard Baisden - trombone
Fernando Womack - saxophone & vocals
Louise Baranger - trumpet
Roy Weagan - trumpet
David Shields - bass & vocals
Arnold Ramsey - drums
Tony Flores - percussion
Friendly Womack - vocals
Alltrinna Grayson - vocals

digital capture of a March 2021 Bremen 2 "Sounds In Concert" 192K digital FM rebroadcast of the full show
671 MB FLAC/March 2022 archive link

I'll whip up some more grist for the mill as we March on into the Spring here. I'm trying to do people I've never done before, you know?

So happy b'day -- and happy anniversary to this performance -- to the late, great Bobby Womack... you can always tell the immortals by observing how their music isn't leaving us anytime soon.--J.

3.4.1944 - 6.27.2014

Saturday, March 05, 2022

Saturday Night Beaver

OK, jazzheads, it's your night to shine with a nice 36th anniversary bombshell in two acts.
Tonight we'll kick down the first of two for the weekend, beginning with one of these ridiculous Brandeis tapes from the '80s

This one's another smoking iteration of the WBRS-FM series "The Joint," which thankfully someone dubbed off the air back when these things were broadcasted live.

It features two heavyweight players going at it mano-a-mano in a frenetic duo performance stretching over two, continuous sets.

In the months to come I am gonna post more of these Joints, because there's quite a few, and they're all off the chain in one way or another.

This particular one is the bomb in and of itself, with drummer extraordinaire Beaver Harris and alto athlete Vincent Herring engaging in 82 minutes of telepathy, as they blaze a wide open trail through two medleys totaling nine jazz standards.

Sadly, the days when this sort of thing would be played over the radio are as long gone as any sense of human dignity or purpose, other than the monetization of suffering, left in this world.

Well, at least people had cassette decks back in the day, and were hyped to turn them loose at the appropriate moments.

Even better, we thank Providence that dynamic captures like this tape exist for us to enjoy decades hence.
Beaver Harris & Vincent Herring
"The Joint"
Winer Wing, USDAN Student Center
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA

01 Cherokee/Ladybird/In a Sentimental Mood/Pursuance/St. Thomas
02 U.T./Afro Blue/Rhythm-a-ning/The Theme

Total time: 1:22:10
disc break goes between the 2 tracks, each of which was performed as a distinct, continuous set

Beaver Harris - drums
Vincent Herring - alto saxophone 

1st gen cassettes of the original WBRS-FM live broadcast
volume throughout increased +4dB by EN, March 2022

Did I mention Beaver Harris is one of my all-time go-to drummers, and that I've been meaning to cover him on here since I started this page? Here, he provides a fertile bed of funky swing, enabling his partner Mr. Herring to remove the roof of the student union using just an alto horn.

I'll be back in less than 24 with some super Soul for your Sunday, but enjoy the blazing Sat. Night Beaver blast from Brandeis, taped 36 years ago tonight and resurrected here so you'll remember what real culture on public airwaves once sounded like.--J.

                                                               4.20.1936 - 12.22.1991