A lost blacksploitation treasure – and the only soundtrack we've ever seen from Motown funky drummer Jack Ashford! The album cooks with a sweet and tight groove – kicking back with a wah-wah heavy instrumental approach on some tracks, and sweeping things up with soulful female vocals on others! Ashford is one of the Motown's legendary Funk Brothers, known for laying down a slew of amazing percussion over the years, from drums to vibes, tamborine, marimba and more – and sure enough, there's an array of incredible percussion throughout! Fellow Funk Brother James Jamerson has co-writing credit on one cut – and the titles include "Blues For Bass", "Run, Run, Catch Him", "Blackjack", "Las Vegas Strut", "Freemont Street", "Vibe Interlude", "Hot Chrome", "I'm Back Home", "Study The Robbery" and more. This CD version from CreoleStream also includes the bonus track "DoThe Choo Choo". CD
Jack Ashford —
Hotel Sheet ... CD Magic Disc/CreoleStream (Japan), 1977. New Copy ...
One of the coolest club records ever cut – and one with a great gimmick too! That gimmick is the "hotel sheet" – an instrument created by percussionist Jack Ashford, which is a light piece of metal that's snapped back and worth to create these cool wibbly, wobbly waves of sound – almost like a moog at times, which gives some of these tracks a bit of a P&P Records vibe! Ashford was a member of The Funk Brothers – and a percussionist on countless classic Motown sessions – but this album was recorded in LA with a sweet electric groove, and a mix of strings and funk that almost rivals Jack's only other full album – a rare blacksploitation soundtrack. The set features full arrangements from Paul Riser, orchestrations from Gordon Staples, and the whole thing was recorded at the Marvin Gaye studios – which you can almost hear in Ashford's surprisingly great vocals. The title cut "Hotel Sheet" has this wonderful popping moogy sound that's very nice – and other tracks include "Funky Disco Party", "Shar", "Hi Mom, Hi Al", and "Get Right On Top". CD
Ray Camacho Band —
Reach Out ... CD CreoleStream (Japan), Early 80s. New Copy ...
Brilliant brown-eyed soul from Ray Camacho – an artist who was previously known for more border-styled work with his Teardrops band, but who steps out here with a surprisingly great blend of electric jazz and boogie! The approach is wonderful – a real re-direction of Ray's earlier groove into even more soulful territory – handled with that unique fusion that was happening in just a few of the best Texas spots, like the scene in Austin at the time. The album's equal parts soul and funk, but still has a few Latin roots too – and had this gem come out on Fantasy Records at the time, it would have pushed Ray and group into much headier territory. But we're also happy the set's been undiscovered for so many years (consider it our little secret) – and titles include "Reach Out", "Diggin Deep", "Shake What You Got", "Nobody But You", "Nothing But A Party", and "What A Day". CD
Maybe the funkiest albums ever from Marius Cultier – and definitely one of the records that perfectly shows off his wonderful post-colonial blend of sounds! There's bits of funk from both sides of the Atlantic going on here – roots in both Africa and the Caribbean, but fused through that new sense of freedom that an artist like Cultier found on the Parisian scene – where he could also explore some jazzier inspirations, and move the grooves into so many great areas! The album's got a wonderful vibe – a sound that appeals both to lovers of global funk from the 70s, and sweet fusion as well – thanks to some great work on Fender Rhodes and vibes by Cultier. Titles include "Sousaki", "Ouelele", "Missie Sirop", "Laini", "Ni Tellement Longtemps", and "Mazouk Souvenir". CD
A funky gem from reedman Manu Dibango – a set recorded hot on the heels of his huge Soul Makossa hit, and done with a similar blend of African roots and 70s funk! The main focus here is on the instrumentation – not just Manu's saxophone lines, but also some great keyboards too – and some especially nice guitar that both riffs along with the rhythms, then takes off on solo moments that often have some cool processing that makes the sound nice and flangey! The production is a bit tighter than before, but that only seems to sharpen up all the elements even more – making for a massive groove that rolls all the way through cuts that include "Big Blow", "Baobab Sun 7", "Afrovision", "Aloko Party", and "Dakar Streets". CD
Motion ... CD CreoleStream (Japan), 1981. New Copy ...
A sweet soul album with a bit of a tropical twist – put together by bassist George Oban, who's got equal parts experience in jazz, soul, and reggae – which definitely shows up in the style here! The rhythms are laidback and bubbling – almost lovers rock at points, but a bit more soul-tuned – which is a good fit for the album's mix of 70s soul covers, and a few strong originals by Oban! Vocals are mostly by a female singer, who's got a warm voice that goes well with the gentle grooves – and lots of the tracks have these nice mellow fusion touches in the instrumentation. Titles include "Walk On By", "Rainbow", "Basshoven", "Love Uprising", "Let Go", "Crazy Beat", "You Love Me Only", and "I'm Coming Home". CD
A wonderful bit of spiritual jazz from this richly collective ensemble! The album's got a groove that's as promising as its title – and features a large assemblage of percussionists, singers, and instrumentalists – all coming together in longer tracks penned by Wainwright, with a feel that's like the best Strata East sides from the mid 70s! Wainwright himself plays percussion on the session, and the tunes shift mood from number to number – sometimes coming on full on and soaring with a full vocal chorus – other times stepping out with a mostly-instrumental array of sounds that includes some nice work on vibes by Ricky Kelly! The whole thing's great, and extremely solid and visionary all the way through – with tracks that include "The Healer/Don't Break", "Imani", "Ayoka", "Our Song", and "The Mfecane". CD
Really great later grooves from bossa giant Walter Wanderley – an early 80s set that's got a different feel than some of his 60s albums for Verve Records – but a style that's still plenty darn nice! Walter plays Arp and moog next to his more familiar organ lines – and the overall feel is a bit like an update of his late 60s work for CTI records on the Moondreams album, but with a slightly more contemporary vibe! Bossa elements are still at the core of the rhythms, but they're handled in a looser way – by a rhythm trio that features John Pisano on guitar, Jose Marino on bass, and Alex Acuna on drums and percussion. Titles include "Perpetual Motion Love", "Recife", "Astronaut", "Jet Samba", "Amazonas", "Surfboard", and "On My Mind". CD features bonus tracks – "Laia Laidai", "Somewhere In The Hills", "She Told Me", "Jazz & Samba", and "O Barquinho". CD
One of the rarest funky records of all time – the hard-to-find second album by Beginning Of The End! This West Indian combo hit it big with their first album on Alston, but this second set, for some strange reason, never really got distributed – which is a damn shame, because it's every bit as funky as their first! The uniquely choppy rhythms of the group's first album are every bit as great here as on the first set – and if anything, the band's instrumentation is even better, especially on the guitar, which is wickedly tight, and played with a super-dope flanged-out approach on the solos. Vocals are great too, maybe even more soulful than before, especially on the album's few midtempo cuts – and the album's a must-have for any fan of the group's funky sound! Titles include "That's What I Get", "Super Woman", "Bluestrain", "Jump In The Water", "Falling Apart At The Seams", and "Trip To Nowhere". CD
A rare gem from percussionist JF Fabiano – a really unique little set of jazzy grooves that was recorded in Martinique, and features musicians both from the European and American scenes of the 70s! There's some mighty great horn work on the set – thanks to work from guests Clifford Jordan on flute, Marvin Peterson on trumpet, and Carter Jefferson on soprano sax and tenor – but the real strength of the album comes from the rhythms – which are a complicated blend of Fabiano's work on drums, gong, kalimba, and other percussion – then augmented by other percussionists, and electrified with some sweet work on Fender Rhodes, clavinet, mini moog, and guitar! The result is a record that's got the sharpness of a fusion outing, but the organic touches of a spiritual jazz set – all crafted in a space that's far away from the influence of mainstream studios of the time. Bunny Brisset-Fabiano sings on a few tracks, but most of the set is instrumental – and titles include "Half Moon Bay", "West Indian Meditation", "Butterfly Island", "Pointe Des Chateaux", "Creole", and "For Ca Change". CD