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Barrabas - Musica Caliente
(RCA Victor LSP-10458 Spa-72 VG+ 300:-)

Wonderful work from Barrabas -- a hip Spanish group of the 70s who effortlessly blend together elements of funk, rock, and soul -- at a level that made them surprisingly big!

They fit right in the record racks with other funk records of the time -- as they serve up a wild safari of grooves that's almost in a sort of party mode, with the band jamming on congas, organ, and guitars! The vocals trade back nicely between the lead singer and the ensemble in a soulful mode that shows that everyone was paying attention -- and the best tracks have a tight groove with choppy guitar and driving conga, almost in an LA Chicano funk mode.
Billion Dollar Band - same
(Good Sounds GS102 US-77 EX 400:-)

One of the coolest records to come from the TK Records Miami soul empire of the 70s – and one of the few that was ever issued on their tiny Good Sounds subsidiary!

The approach here is great – kind of all the strengths of the usual TK/Criteria Studios groove, but taken to a sharper, tighter edge – with maybe less of the obvious try for commercial crossover that some of the label's other material might have. The tunes are a mix of uptempo grooves and mellower soul, and mostly avoid the more standard disco approaches of the time.
Brown, James - Grits & Soul
(Philips SBL-7664 UK-64 VG+ 300:-)

James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul," was a prolific singer, songwriter and bandleader, as well as one of the most iconic figures in funk and soul music.

This is one of the grooviest of the James Brown instrumental albums. Unlike some of the other weaker albums on Smash, this one's got a great batch of material, most of which are originals, and not weak covers of pop tunes. Plus, the tracks are longer than usual, which gives the band a lot of time to stretch out and get really groovy!
Brown, James - Hell
(Polydor PD-2-9001 US-74 VG+ 600:-)

James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul," was a prolific singer, songwriter and bandleader, as well as one of the most iconic figures in funk and soul music.

"Hell" is JB's wildest album, with a crazy cover that shows him running away from the devil, and great gatefold inner photo with him standing amidst a bunch of declarations of "Hell". The double album is filled with lots of different styles from James' funky bag – but the real highlight is the epic 13 minute version of "Papa Don't Take No Mess", as tight and jamming as any cut from "Doin' It to Death" or "The Payback"!
Brown, James - Revolution of the Mind
(Polydor PD-3003 US-71 VG+ 500:-)

An amazing double-live album that's to concert records what James Brown's "Payback" was to the sound of studio funk!

The JBs are wonderful – really showing their chops here, in a way that maybe even blows the tightness of the previous James Brown Band to pieces – as the long tracks allow for plenty of solos, rhythm changes, and monstrous moments of soul from James. Brown also opens up with some cool bad-rapping moments, too!
Flack & Donny Hathaway, Roberta - s/t
(Atlantic SD-7216 US-72 VG+ 400:-)

An amazing record from the team of Flack & Hathaway – one of the hippest duos in soul!

Individually, each had taken the music to new heights and new audiences, through the use of jazzy phrasing and sophisticated lyrics, while never selling out in the way that earlier pop soul acts had been reduced to. Flack's somber folksy style is a perfect match for the warm spirituality of Hathaway – and the pair work beautifully in counterpoint!
Franklin, Aretha - Hey Now Hey
(Atlantic SD-7265 US-73 VG+ 275:-)

One of Aretha Franklin's greatest records -- and a complicated batch of jazzy tunes that features arrangements and production by Quincy Jones!

The record breaks way past the stock southern soul style of some of Aretha's earlier work for Atlantic -- and it features a more sophisticated style that hits a number of different moods, and which shows off Aretha's strong commitment to growth as an artist.
Funkadelic - One Nation under a Groove
(Warner Bros BSK-3209 US-78 VG+ 500:-)

An instant classic the day it was released – and a perfect blending of the group's older freaked-out style with a slick late 70s funk sound that started showing up in the work of many other groups.

"One Nation Under A Groove" is a monster cut with a hook that won't quit, and the LP version runs way over 7 minutes long. Other tracks are equally great, and the whole thing's woven together with the same sort of skill as some of the best Parliament albums from the mid 70s.
Gaye, Marvin - Live at the London Palladium
(Tamla T7-352R2 US-77 VG+ 275:-)

This is the second of two live albums that Marvin Gaye cut during the 70s – and in many ways, it's the better one! The record features three sides of work recorded live at the London Palladium – mostly in these swirling medleys that are introduced by Marvin in a very soulful mode, then swing into well-arranged combinations of classic tunes with some excellent instrumentation. All very funky, and Marvin's big bid at a club cut – one that worked pretty darn well!
Hearts of Stone - Stop the World
(VIP VS-404 US-70 EX 300:-)

Soaring soul from Hearts Of Stone – a group who only ever cut this one album for Motown, but who really use the best of the label's talents to hit the same sort of groove as The Originals! Like that better-known group, these guys have a sound that really bridges the 60s and 70s – not as heady as other Motown groups of the period, but still with some modern funky soul touches in the mix – and a real old school sense of harmonies that makes the vocals breathtaking throughout.

The Sleeve has a small cut-out hole in the upper left; the vinyl is in Excellent condition!
Higgins & Alex Brown, Monk - Sheba, Baby
(Buddah BDS-5634-ST US-75 VG+ 500:-)

A nice one! This obscure blaxploitation soundtrack features a hip Monk Higgins score for a Pam Grier film that's supposedly "Hotter than Coffey and meaner n' Foxy Brown".

The music's strong enough, right up there with the best of its kind. Barbara Mason sung the title track and a few more vocal numbers, all in the mode of her hipper work during the time, but the best cuts are the instrumentals, of course!
J.B.'s - Hustle with Speed
(People PE-6606 US-75 VG+ 600:-)

One of the most fantastic albums by the JBs – a masterpiece of funky jamming, tight instrumentation, and that free yet tight style of the James Brown 70s years!

The tracks are longer than on some of the earlier singles – especially the 8 minute jammer "(It's Not The Express) It's the JBs Monourail", a fantastic cut that you'll be playing for your grandkids!
Jackson, Chuck - Arrives!
(Tamla Motown STML-11071 UK-68 VG+ 600:-)

Chuck Jackson only worked with Motown for a few short years, but his time at the label marked a big shift in his work – there's a growing southern soul sensibility to many of these tracks – as Chuck seems to be taking a cue from some of the better singers of the late 60s, and deepening his sound with influences brought north from Memphis and Muscle Shoals.

The core sound's still prime Motown, though – with top-shelf arrangements and productions – and in a way, these recordings mark the link between Memphis and Detroit that would be explored a lot more heavily in key 70s recordings by Don Davis and other producers who skirted between the two cities' scenes.
Johnson, J J - Willie Dynamite
(MCA MCA-393 US-74 EX 600:-)

One of the greatest soundtracks of the blacksploitation era – served up with some incredible grooves from maestro JJ Johnson!

The album's got a non-stop, hard-hitting groove that ranks it with the best of its time – and which is arguably even better, because most of the record isn't nearly as well known as "Shaft", "Superfly", or other classics. Martha Reeves sings some of the deepest vocals of her career on the great title track "Willie D" – an old sample cut that you're sure to recognize – and the instrumental tunes are even better, filled with great percussion and jazzy flourishes from JJ – in a style that really keeps things interesting!

Original US pressing.
Love Committee - Law & Order
(Gold Mind GA-9500 US-78 VG+ 500:-)

A classic club album, and one of the most sought-after albums on Gold Mind/Salsoul – a soulful set of club classics that almost beats most of the other work by its contemporaries!

The session's grounded in some very solid help from the Sigma Sound team – production and arrangements by the likes of Norman Harris, Ron Tyson, or BHY Productions – in that wonderfully soulful style that was the best mode of the Harris Machine when it was working overtime! The style is disco, but far from the cliches of more commercial work like this – and much more in the legacy of Philly soul from the earlier part of the decade.
Mayfield, Curtis - Curtis
(Sequel NEMLP-965 UK-99 VG+ 275:-)

A mindblowing set from Curtis Mayfield – a record that not only foregrounds all the subtle politics he'd been forging in the Impressions during the 60s – but one that also really has Mayfield exploding as a force to be reckoned with in the studio!

The album is a personal masterpiece – a bold, unfettered statement of pride and power – of the sort that would both make Mayfield and the Curtom Records label forces to be reckoned with in the 70s. Every cut is a classic!
McDaniels, Gene - Wonderful World
(Liberty LBY-1179 UK-63 EX 375:-)

Gene McDaniels had some early-'60s success with a pop-flavored R&B style. Born in Kansas City, he sang in Omaha choirs during the '40s and attended the Omaha Conservatory of Music. McDaniels led his own band in the '50s, then signed with Liberty. He had a Top Ten pop and Top 20 R&B hit in 1961 with "A Hundred Pounds of Clay," but the follow-up single, "A Tower of Strength," was his biggest.

Original UK MONO pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded EX.
Meters - New Directions
(Warner Bros BS-3042 US-77 VG+ 300:-)

Considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of funk, The Meters created a unique sound that lasted through the sixties and seventies and was reborn in the late eighties. Their trademark sound blends funk, blues, and dance grooves with a New Orleans vibe.

"New Directions" is the eighth and final studio album by the funk group The Meters. It is the band's first and only album produced outside New Orleans and features the Oakland-based Tower of Power horn section.
O'Jays - Family Reunion
(P.I.R. PZQ 33807 US-75 VG+ 275:-)

A great sense of righteousness and groove – the key mix that made the O'Jays so great back in the day – and which really helped put the Philly International enterprise on the map! The album's miles from the group's simple harmony soul roots – even though those were pretty darn great – and it blends together soaring backings with a sweet Gamble/Huff finish, and really makes some magic in the way the whole thing comes off.

US Quadrophonic pressing.
Parks, Gordon - Shaft's Big Score!
(MGM 1SE-36ST US-72 VG+ 275:-)

One of the more unusual albums in the Shaft Legacy – put together by director Gordon Parks!

After directing the first Shaft film, and letting Isaac Hayes have such a big hit with the music, Parks decided to handle the music for this sequel himself – and scored the whole thing with just as much skill as Hayes! The music is conducted by Dick Hazard, and produced by jazzman Tom McIntosh – but all the scoring is done by Parks, and he stays very true to the funky vibe set up by Hayes. OC Smith sings the vocal theme.
Parliament - Live
(Casablanca NBLP-7053 US-77 VG+ 600:-)

Headed by George Clinton, Parliament's distinctive funk style drew on psychedelic culture, outlandish fashion, science-fiction, and surreal humor; it would have an influential effect on subsequent funk, post-punk, hip-hop, and techno artists.

This is what a live album should sound like -a quality recording with the full sound of an authentic performance. The exuberance. This is NOT a sterilized studio recording.

Includes the 22" x 33" poster and an iron-on T-Shirt transfer.
Simon, Joe - Joe Simon sings
(Monument SLP-5005 Ger-69 VG+ 275:-)

Joe Simon was born in Louisiana. Similar to many other African American artists from the era, Simon began singing in his father's Baptist church. He pursued his vocal abilities full-time once the family moved to California in the late 1950s. There Simon joined the Golden West Gospel Singers and became influenced by Sam Cooke and Arthur Prysock.

His third album for Sound Stage 7 featured many strong songs, including a splendid country-soul cover of Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away”. It was a solid and consistent album, mostly made up of somber string-backed ballads, which were fast becoming Simon’s specialty.
Soul Searchers - We the People
(Sussex SXBS-7020 US-72 EX 300:-)

One the all time great funky albums of the 70s – a mad little record with a sense of rhythm and timing that was years ahead of its time! The Soul Searchers (along with Chuck Brown) later became known for their heavy-hitting Go Go work at the end of the decade – but here, they're a really free-thinking outfit with a lot of jazz in their funk – and a willingness to change up the beats and timings in ways that push the record miles ahead from an average funk outing. Tracks swirl around with an amazing intensity – supported by guitar work from Brown, organ from Hilton Felton, and some really great horns from Don Tillery and Lloyd Pinchback.
Spirit of Atlanta - The Burning of Atlanta
(Buddah BDS-5135 US-73 VG+ 350:-)

Totally great – one of the greatest albums ever to come out of the Hotlanta scene of the 70s – a tight batch of funk tracks with a heck of a lot of guitar. The set was produced by Tommy Stewart, of "Bump and Hustle" fame – and it's got an unusual style that's equally appealing to fans of funk, and fans of clubbier music – lots of tight playing, hard riffing, and longer grooves that soar along with impeccable grace!
Starr, Edwin - Hell Up in Harlem
(Motown M-802V1 US-74 VG+ 400:-)

An excellent blacksploitation soundtrack - and every bit as funky as any of Willie Hutch's work for other Motown soundtracks at the time!

Larry Mizell and Dennis Coffey help out on the instrumentation - giving the album an extra funky instrumental edge, one that takes it way past Edwin Starr's other work -- and the tracks are a nice mix of vocals and instrumentals.
Supremes - A Bit of Liverpool
(Motown MS-623 US-64 VG+ 350:-)

Berry Gordy tried to move Motown out of the ghetto of US soul indies by attempting various moves to realign the music with other spheres bigger than the scope of Detroit soul.

Such is an album like this, in which The Supremes strangely sing hits of the British Invasion. It's hard to imagine that such an album would appeal to either the group's regular fans or those who liked true British rock, but perhaps that's also why the record features a version of The Contours "Do You Love Me" and The Miracles' "You've Really Got A Hold Of Me".
Tolbert, Israel - Popper Stopper
(Warren/Stax STS-2038 US-71 300:-)

Blind Israel Tolbert had a genuine surprise smash with “Big Leg Woman” in 1971. It’s a great party record, a throwback with rural image lyrics that recalls blues songs of long ago, a feeling reinforced by the subdued slide guitar fills, superb keyboard work and some funky drumming and horns.

Original US pressing: Still Sealed!
Trammps - Legendary "ZING" Album
(Buddah BDS-5641 US-75 VG+ 300:-)

The first full album cut by The Trammps – and a landmark bit of Philly club sounds!

The whole thing's got a massive Harris-Baker-Young sound – with that sweet groove that the trio were pioneering in Philly, a mixture of small combo grooving with strings added in at just the right points. The Trammps themselves add in some great harmonies – never overwhelmed by the full sound of the grooves, singing very much in a Spinners mode!
White, Barry - 20th Century Albums
(Mercury 02567-41068 EU-18 EX 1000:-)

Barry White followed in the footsteps of Lou Rawls, Isaac Hayes, and even the politically charged Gil Scott Heron, all sharing creamy baritones and a tendency to mix spoken word with song. Those pillow talk interludes showed White's speaking voice to be deeper (and more impressive) than his singing voice. Like an amorous Orson Welles doused in Brut 33, White used the heady brew of disco sheen and bedroom voice to score hit after hit in the '70s.

This 9LP Box Set bring together all the albums Barry White released with the 20th Century Records label. The albums have been remastered from their analogue
master tapes.
Wonder, Stevie - Songs in the Key of Life
(Tamla T13-340C2 US-76 EX 500:-)

A sweet little double LP – a real treasure with lots of hidden gems. Besides the hits "Isn't She Lovely" and "Sir Duke", which were more than enough to carry the set in the record shops, the record's got lots of other nice cuts, including many that have that complicated jazzy feel of Stevie's work on the "Inner Visions" album.

US pressing; complete with 24pg booklet and bonus EP