Stevie Wonder - Visions (Tamala/Motown)
Stevie Wonder - As (Tamala/Motown)
Stevie Wonder - We Can Work It Out (Tamala/Motown)
Stevie Wonder - Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours (Tamala/Motown)
Stevie Wonder - I'd Be A Fool Right Now (Tamala/Motown)
Stevie Wonder - I Don't Know Why (Tamala/Motown)
Stevie Wonder - I'm More Than Happy, I'm Satisfied (Tamala/Motown)
Stevie Wonder - Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday (Tamala/Motown)
Stevie Wonder - Living For The City (Tamala/Motown)
Stevie Wonder - My Cherie Amour (Tamala/Motown)
Stevie Wonder - If You Really Love Me (Tamala/Motown)
Stevie Wonder - All I Do (Tamala/Motown)
Stevie Wonder - Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer (Tamala/Motown)
The Meters - Hand Clapping Song (Josie)
Chakachas - Stories?? (AVCO)
Pigmeat Markham - Here Comes The Judge (Chess)
Andre Williams - Cadillac Jack (Checker)
Young Holt Unlimited - Hot Pants (Cotillion)
Isaac Hayes - Hung Up On My Baby (Enterprise)
The Javells feat. Nosmo King - Goodbye, Nothin' To Say (PYE)
The Nite-Liters - K-Jee (RCA)
Herman Kelly & Life - Dance To The Drummer Beat (Electric Cat)
Brick - Ain't Gonna Hurt Nobody (Bang)
Moments - With You (Stang)
Busy - Ecliptic Armilla (Rush Hour)
Onra - Shhhhhh (All City)
The story has been told again and again and chances are that if you have even a passing interest in soul music you know it well. Blind from just after birth, signed with Motown at just 11 years of age, singer, songwriter, multi instrumentalist, producer, one of the best and most influential run of albums in the history of music, continues to record and tour to this day...
I had the honor of seeing him live the last time he played in Dublin. I'd be completely incapable of describing exactly how amazing this show was, but it affected me on a level that could really only be described as spiritual. The man is a genius. I don't normally attach that word to musicians, but it's really the only word I can think of that could begin to do the man justice.
On top of his musical achievements he seems like a truly humble and giving human being who has dedicated much of his time over the years to social and political activism.
This month I'll be paying tribute to the legendary music of Stevie Wonder.
Brick - Ain't Gonna Hurt Nobody
Brick formed in 1972 but didn't release their first record until 1976. They had quite a bit of success throughout the second half of the 70's with funky disco tracks like "Dazz", "Southern Sunset", "Dusic", and "Happy". Great party music.
Herman Kelly and Life - Dance To The Drummer Beat
This is one of those classic breaks that every self respecting hip hop DJ should have a couple copies of. Oddly, the track was released on three labels in 1978, Electric Cat, Alston, and TK Disco, (Electric Cat being the first pressing). For some reason the Electric Cat issues are titled "Dance to the Drummer Beat". Later pressings added the s to the end of drummer. That fact really shouldn't interest anyone but for some ridiculous reason it interests me.
Busy - Ecliptic Armilla
Nice forward thinking beat music off of the Rush Hour compilation "Beat Dimensions Vol.2". Busy aka Bradford Johnson Jr. has been making beats for around 10 years. He's got some musical training under his belt too (sax, bass, and keys). He released his debut E.P. "m0ths" last year and is currently working on a full length album for the Tasteful Licks label.
The Meters - Hand Clapping Song
Greatest funk band of all time? Not quite. Parliament/Funkadelic or the JB's probably wear that crown, but after that there are very few groups that can hold a torch to the Meters.
"The Hand Clapping Song" is a bit of a classic in Hip Hop circles and is a great example of why Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste is still so highly influential to drummers worldwide.
Isaac Hayes - Hung Up On My Baby
The Geto Boys "Mind's Playin Tricks On Me" was a childhood favorite of mine. I still remember how excited I was when I finally discovered the Isaac Hayes sample. After all these years the track still does it for me.
Andre Williams - Cadillac Jack
Born in Alabama in 1936, Andre Williams moved while he was still a toddler to a Chicago Housing project where he was raised by his mother until she sadly died when Andre was just 6 years of age. His aunts took on the job of raising the boy untill he left for Detroit when he was 16. It was here Williams started his music career with a group called The Don Juans.
Feeling like he couldn't compete vocally with most of the other singers on the label he decided to try a spoken word style that could be considered a pre-curser to hip hop. "Bacon Fat" was the first song in which Williams tried this new vocal technique. Almost everyone who witnessed the session thought he was wasting time and money by just talking over the record, but they were proved wrong when "Bacon Fat" went on to become one of Fortune Records biggest selling singles.
In 1961 Williams signed with Motown. He would work with the label as a songwriter and producer until 1965, but he clashed often with Berry Gordy who sacked and rehired him several times during that period. While with Motown Williams co-wrote Stevie Wonder's first single "Thank You For Loving Me" as well as songs for Mary Wells, Eddie Holland, Marvin Gaye, and Henry Lumpkin.
Around this time he also wrote some hits for artists outside of Motown including "Twine Time" by Alvin Cash and the Crawlers and "Shake a Tail Feather" by the Five Dutones.
In 1965 Williams signed with Chess Records where he released several 45's including the song featured here. He also continued to write and produce for many artists including Parliament/Funkadelic.
In the early 70's Williams was asked to produce an album for Ike Turner but sadly this was the beginning of a very hard time for him. While working with Turner, Williams developed a serious coke addiction. He returned to Chicago where he would struggle with his drug problems for many years. He was often homeless and could be found begging on bridges and street corners.
It wasn't until the mid 90's that Williams would start to get his career back on track. In 1996 he released an album with new versions of some of his classics from his time on Fortune records. In 1998 he released the sleaze rock album "Silky". With songs like "Pussy Stank" and "Bonin" the LP earned the title of "the worlds sleaziest album". Williams went on to release many albums over the following 10 years. He continues to record and tour to this day.
A documentary released in 2007 titled "Agile, Mobile, Hostile: A Year With Andre Williams" tells the story of his music career, his troubles with addiction, and his return to the stage.
The Chakachas - Stories??
The Chakachas were a group of Belgium based session musicians that were formed in the late 1950's. The early releases were soul records with a heavy latin influence but they adopted a funkier sound in the 70's that can be heard here or on their chart topping hit "Jungle Fever".
Pigmeat Markham - Here Comes The Judge
This one is considered by many to be one of the first "rap" records. Starting his career in the 1920's Pigmeat Markham was mainly known as a comedian but he also found time to act, dance, and release some very funky music. An all around entertainer you might call him. "Here Comes the Judge" was a popular piece of his comedy act that can be heard on the b-side of this 7".