Archive for the motown Category

Who Are The Mystery Girls ?

Posted in 60's, Funky Friday, james jamerson, motown, northern soul, re, Soul on October 10, 2008 by planetmondo

I only know a limited amount about each of these performers, and I think I’ll keep it that way. It’s actually quite liberating enjoying these songs for the songs sake – and not having the added baggage of facts and figures or being weighed down with the relative worth worked out on some ready reckoner of rock, pop and soul, which would burst the mystery bubble and take the gloss of the goodies anyway.

And for more funky nuggets why not check out what’s a popping on all new That Black Magic blog


Judy Clay

‘Private Number’ the duet with recorded William Bell, was her only UK hit.
Judy Clay – ‘It Ain’t Long Enough’

Chris Clark
Was the first white female artist signed to Motown.
Chris Clark – ‘Everything’s Right Everything’Wrong’
(It’s that man again- James Jamerson on bass)

Dee Dee Warwick
Is Dionne’s elder sister.
Dee Dee Warwick –Rescue Me

Dee Dee also does a belting version of ‘Monday Monday’ – I’m desperate to get any version of this – so I’d be eternally grateful if anyone could slip a ‘Monday Monday’ MP3 my way.

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Funky Friday – Bloggers Banquet

Posted in Cover Versions, Funky Friday, motown, northern soul, Remake Remodel, Rolling Stones, Soul on October 3, 2008 by planetmondo


Most of the Stones uptempo output comes with a fully formed stomp in it’s step, created by a combo of Charlie’s pumping pulse-beat drums, Keef’s louche grooves and Mick’s swishery (check out ‘Bitch‘ or ‘Monkey Man’ for examples of all three in perfect synch’), so it only takes a touch of extra heat under the tunes to clonk them up a groovy gear…

Merrie Clayton – Gimme Shelter
Merrie’s belting version of ‘Shelter’ was my proto-Funky Friday post

Anadar Shankar – Jumpin Jack Flash
Sitar Hero a Go-Go

Little Richard – Brown Sugar
A screeching, squawling, Southern Soulish re-work of ‘Brown Sugar’

Mary Wells- Satisfaction
A Tamala flavoured twist on the Stones Standard

And also worth lending an eye too…

Sympathy For The Devil

Recording possibly the most influential “ooh-ooh’s” ever (kicks in at 1:18)

Thelma Houston – Jumpin’ Jack Flash

A beaut’ of a belter

Otis Redding – Satisfaction

Otis’s (backed by Booker T and The MGs)entire Monterey set is explosive, but this track is unrelenting – listen out for ‘Duck’ Dunn’s piledriving bass runs.

Funky Friday – Get Back and Get Down

Posted in disco, Funk, Funky Friday, motown, Remake Remodel, The Beatles on September 25, 2008 by planetmondo

I’ve always had a thumbnail theory about the distinction and differences between The Beatles and the Stones songs (based on my own eye witness evidence from family parties during the seventies) – The Beatles make people sing, the Stones make people dance – or put another way The Beatles are about the tunes. The Stones are about the groove.

This isn’t set in stone or tried and tested under strictly controlled conditions, it’s just a rough rule of thumb, and as these fab four flavours of ‘Get Back’ show Beatles tunes can just as easily be refried funky side up…

Get Back – Chris Clark

The Merseybeaters get given a Motown makeover


Get Back – Deidre Wilson Tabac

A bubbly,shuffely, loose limbed lollop-a-long re-work.

Get Back – Sarah Vaughan

A brain-frying team up between those beardy buggers brothers from Toto and their squiddly diddly synths, a’topped off with Sarah Vaughan’s deep velvet vocals.

Get Back – Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes

A hat-popping, horn-stomping spectacular so fast and furious it rollocks along like a runaway train.

There’s a couple of other tasty Beatles treats well worth grabbing…

BLTP’s unearthing of a gorgeous rework of ‘Rain’ – nothing like the original and none the worse for it – here

And Larry F16’s Beatles based million-hit-mix here

Funky Friday – Roman Holiday

Posted in Funky Friday, guest blogger, motown, northern soul, Soul on May 2, 2008 by planetmondo


It’s a bank holiday!!! There’s an end of term ambience and spring tingle in the air – so to kick-start this three day weekend, the super chirpy Suzy Pepper from the Roman Empress blog is here, right here – pushing the buttons and choosing the tunes for a Funky Friday May Day special……

Girls and Boys

Men and women go together like soya peas in a pod, like raw tuna in sushi, like onions in gravy. Sure men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but man, the need of a man for a good woman is as old as the hills. A man needs a maid (with a voice that will blast you backwards).

Well, sometimes, these things need highlighting, you know?

And by gum, with this formula in mind, these songs sound as urgent and exciting as anything the recording industry has produced. Imagine sweeping the floor and brewing some builder’s tea of the production studio when these sensational offerings were being smashed out – sure wish I’d been tea lady that day.

To explain, these are all carefully chosen songs to highlight how a woman’s voice can take an already fantastic male-fronted song to a whole new dimension. The singer is male and the backing singer/s is/are female.

Here’s five examples for you, four absolute stompers and one seering, soothing work of genuine beauty.

You have my permission to enjoy.

Watch Your Step (Bobby Parker)
Repeat back, ‘watch your step,’ with these womanly vocals, that’s all this song needs to make it an amazing pearl, even though Bobby Parker does great Tim Buckley-esque faltless falsetto.

Watch Your Step

Money (Barrett Strong)
The best things in life are free, but great backing singing is the order of the day here. The result is well-polished and clipped backing singing creating a new deal for Strong’s voice.

Money

Mama, I got a Brand New Thing (Undisputed Truth)
For the hawk-eared among you, this isn’t strictly a female only backing singer only. She does sing lead too in places, but her inclusion makes this one of the most impressive male/female parings I’ve ever heard. This song is really exciting.

Mama, I got a Brand New Thing

Get Ready For Love (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds)
I believe this is the greatest opening track ever recorded and Abbatoir Blues/ The Lyre of Orpheus is in the top 5 of albums ever recorded. This had to be included. Warning – get ready – a bullet is about to go off in your brain and I don’t want to be around to pick up the pieces.

Get Ready For Love

Poor Boy (Nick Drake)
Piquantly perfect, it’s no coincidence the supporting voice in this track makes this the stand-out track in what is already the finest Drake album. This song just floods into itself, maturing as the music progresses.

Poor Boy

So friends, please do reflect – a man just ain’t gonna do right – without a good woman by his side. These songs will join you in court to testify the fact.

This just leaves me to say I hope you all have a fab bank holiday weekend and please stop by either of my sites for a cuppa anytime.

Roman Empress xx

Funky Friday – Hitsville U.S.A

Posted in Funky Friday, james jamerson, motown, northern soul on November 30, 2007 by planetmondo

Every Friday is Funky Friday on Planet Mondo and this week brings you two youtube alternative takes on Tamla tunes, and three tracks that breakdown the mechanics of Motown classics.

Funk Brothers band leader Joe Hunter on the start of the Motown Sound

There can be an element of sniffery towards Motown from some Soul and Funk purists – the production line production, the radio friendly Funk arrangements (I feel the same about Trojan Reggae – it’s good but the high frequencies and searing strings are a sweetened and diluted version of Studio One), but one of the first albums I owned when I started moving away from stand alone singles to the joined up listening of LP’s was ‘The Big Wheels of Motown’, so I’ll always have a soft spot for Motown.

The template, foundation and roots of Northern Soul can be traced back to the Motor City sound and in particular The Supremes ‘Love is Like An Itching in My Heart’ – Larry over at Funk 16 Corners does a great piece on this theory here.

First up is a Tamla team up with The Supremes and The Temptations vamping like crazy on a franticly funky ‘I’m Losing You’ – the Rod and the Faces Rock and Soul rework is also well worth a peep here.

This trio of treats are instrumentals of Motown classics and have deliberate drop outs and isolated instrumental breaks which give a peep at the engine, mechanics and component parts of the Motor City sound.

I Was Made To Love Her -instrumental

For Once In My Life -instrumental

I Can’t Help Myself – Piano Version

There’s an unreleased Motown nugget on a previous post here

And finally If you do happen to be in the sunny Southend (Leigh on Sea)area tonight, why not pop along to Weird Fantasy where Paul Sigg’s, Agent Cooper and possibly even me may be spinning a few of these winners.

Funky Friday – Northern Soul Nuggets

Posted in Funk, Funky Friday, mini mix, motown, northern soul on September 28, 2007 by planetmondo

This week’s Funky Friday brings you a couple of long lost Northern Soul nuggets, with downloads of both tracks available via the links.
Plus a 5 track home made mini mix featuring both songs posted at the bottom.

The Supremes – Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart.mp3

An overlooked and underplayed Supremes stomper from 1966, when Diana Ross was just a lowly Supreme and not the separatley billed superstar. It also features(yes,it’s him again!) James Jamerson on bass.

I’ve uploaded the instrumental version of this track as it just seems to have more ‘bounce to the ounce’ than the vocal version.

The Flirtations – Nothing But a Heartache.mp3

Two videos were made for this single. One’s a black and white mime filmed in a night-club, but I prefer the colour clip with it’s Hammer Horror overtones and swishy hipshaker strides. It seems to have been filmed at Tintern Abbey? A long way to hoof when Highgate Cemetery must surely have been closer…

Mondo Mini Mix

This 5 track mini mix includes The Supremes, The Flirtations and 3 other tracks that seem to suit the mood. It’s absolutely free of frills, having only had 10 minutes to rustle it up.

The Track listing is

I Surrender – Bonny St. Claire
Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart (vocal version)- The Supremes
Nothing But a Heartache – The Flirtations
Tainted Love – Gloria Jones
Billy Sunshine – Judi Scott

Funky Friday – James Jamerson – Fever In The Funkhouse

Posted in bass, Funk, Funky Friday, motown, Soul on September 7, 2007 by planetmondo


After seeing how many downloads the Merri Clayton track received (almost as popular as Los Punkrockers). I’m going to sprinkle some sparkle over Fridays by sharing a few funky nuggets on the Blog.

For openers it’s a hair-raisingly rare track I managed to grab while the online goldmine Winmx was up and running

James Jamerson – Fever In The Funkhouse.mp3

Who’s James Jamerson? No, he’s not the shouty, cigar chomping editor from Spiderman. But was the bass playing virtuoso with The Funk Brothers – Motown’s in house band that played on more number 1’s than Elvis,The Beatles,The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones combined.

Checkout his discography here

James Jamerson was one of those rare talents that crackle with natural ability and genius.

And like all genuine geniuses the usual rules don’t apply. He rarely changed the strings on his bass “The Funk Machine”,it’s neck was notoriously bowed with a crazy high action between the strings and the fret board. He didn’t rake the strings (the standard spider like hand movements bass players employ). But instead used just his index finger – Which he nicknamed “The Hook”

Try re-listening to I was Made To Love Her, Bernadette, or What’s Going On to hear this Funk Brother bounce around the Fretboard

Fever in The Funkhouse is James Jamerson’s own composition and is still unreleased