Johnny Hodges —
Perdido ... LP Norgran, Early 50s. Very Good ...
A stone cooker from Johnny Hodges – just the right kind of small group session to perfectly showcase his amazing sound on the alto sax! The group's a slightly unusual one – and features Arthur Clark on tenor, Harold Baker on trumpet, Lawrence Brown on trombone, Leroy Lovett on piano, and Louis Bellson on drums – all working with Hodges in a set of longer, more open tracks than some other Verve sides – with a really strong emphasis on solo space, in a way that makes Hodges tone sound even more delightful! Titles include "Blues For Basie", "Rose Room", "Perdido", "Mood Indigo", and "Squatty Roo" – plus a version of "This Love Of Mine", done with a vocal by Al Hibbler! LP, Vinyl record album
(Norgran pressing, with a trumpeter logo and deep groove.)
New Edition —
Candy Girl ... LP Streetwise/Get On Down, 1983. New Copy (reissue)...
A poppy record, but a great one too – and a surprisingly enduring pleasure from the Streetwise scene of the 80s! This is the album that started it all – the wave of younger groups that would come into play in 80s soul strongly by the latter half of the decade – New Edition with its now-classic lineup that includes a young Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, and the Bell, Biv, Devoe trio! The album's really the brainchild of producer Maurice Starr, who's also working here with a fair bit of help from Michael Jonzun and a bit of guidance from ArthurBaker – all of whom serve up tunes that are sweet and catchy, and which are almost an 80s update of the sound of the Jackson 5 or Five Stairsteps from a decade before – given a hipper, more streetsoul undercurrent. Titles include "She Gives Me A Bang", "Pass The Beat", "Ooh Baby", "Popcorn Love", "Candy Girl", "Should Never Have Told Me", and "Gimme Your Love". LP, Vinyl record album
A breakin' classic – and the record that almost got ArthurBaker into a lot of trouble! The track's presented here in the original pic sleeve version – very abstract cover art and label notes, almost obscuring Baker's original relation to the tune – quite possibly why he felt free to issue his own US version of the track! 12-inch, Vinyl record
A solo set by pianist Jason Moran – but one that's got the intensity of a full group session! We honestly didn't know how we'd respond to this one, but we find the album to be really compelling – a great blend of tunes from sources that include James P Johnson, ArthurBaker, and Muhal Richard Abrams, next to some sparkling originals by Moran. Titles include "Planet Rock", "You've Got To Be Modernistic", "Passion", "Gansterism On A Lunchtable", "Time Into Space Into Time", and "Gentle Shifts South". CD
Raw instrumental dance soul from sax great King Curtis – recorded for RCA in 1961 – really great, energetic covers of big band numbers and more in a hard grooving R&B mode! Don Covay and others sing on the "Twist" tunes – "Peppermint Twist", "The Arthur Murray Twist" and a couple more – but the instrumentals are pretty incredible, too. Mickey Baker and Billy Butler are on guitar, and the whole group of musicans really cook! Other tracks include "Jersey Bounce", "Honeysuckle Rose", "Stompin' At The Savoy", "The Fly" and more. CD
A later bit of Philly disco – recorded at Sigma Sound studios with really soaring production from Tom Moulton – and some surprising help on a number of tracks from a young ArthurBaker! The style here has that Instant Funk sort of groove – a bit more bass at the bottom than earlier Philly disco, and a real penchant for instrumental breakdowns in the Salsoul mode – stepping out nicely on a set of longer tracks that really bubble over with energy! Titles include "Put Yourself In My Place", "Small Circle Of Friends", "I Don't Need No Music", and "Am I Dreaming". This Big Break UK remastered edition has 3 bonus tracks: "Storm Warning", "Put Yourself In My Place (Single Version)" and "Am I Dreaming (Single Version)". CD