Wednesday 31 May 2023

Starfires - I Never Loved Her

Starfires - I Never Loved Her (1965)
That throbbing sinister bass is very the best. This one's all about the atmosphere: A restrained yet menacing vibe. You gotta love the contrast of the snarly lead vocals of the verses compared with the ominous sweetness of the backing vocals of the melodious chorus. A dark minimalist tune that's all about those tambourine hits for me. I mean you just never know when that tambourine is gonna be hit again. 

Dirty Wurds - Why

Top shelf unhinged neanderthal garage punk fun from the mid 60s. 

Pebbles Vol. 5... need I say more?

It's all about the haunting, funny and slightly deranged "Why?" backing vocals refrain innit. That tiny bit of melody is so intrinsically 60s, I'm sure you couldn't replicate it if you tried. 

Tuesday 30 May 2023

First Crow To The Moon - The Sun Light Up The Shadows Of Your Mind

What a great tune. A driving organ led psych-surf gem. Love the psychotropic flashes of reverb in the chorus, like King Tubby popped into the control booth momentarily.

Apropos of nothing. I just hadn't heard this tune since it last turned up on a cd compilation I Feel Like Acid in the 00s. Originally heard this in the 90s because it was on a Rhino 60s garage comp though.

Anyway wouldn't it have been cool to be in a group that did just one forgotten but ace garage-psych single, only to be rediscovered 15 years later via teen-psych-punk bootleg compilations? 

*Some Aussie 80s garage-psych band ripped this tune off I'm sure. I just can't put my finger on it though which is driving me mental.

Thursday 25 May 2023

Rufus & Chaka Khan - Ain't Nobody

Rufus & Chaka Khan - Ain't Nobody (1983)
Since the 80s ended I've thought this is the greatest R&B number of that decade. Thirty something years later, while I no longer have absolute lists in my head, it sounds about right. I mean top 5 anyway along with the previous four tunes posted and Billie Jean. There was a story that if the record company didn't release this as a single songwriter David Wolinski was going to give it to Michael Jackson who was recording Thriller (1982) at the time. Wolinski had been in a couple of groups previous to joining Rufus including 60s garage punks Shadows Of Knight who famously appeared on Nuggets (1972).

Saturday 20 May 2023

The S.O.S. Band - Just Be Good To Me

The S.O.S. Band - Just Be Good To Me (1983)
I feel like this was beamed down from another planet or at least a space station back when I was a kid in the 80s. To me it still is futuristic. This song gets better every time I hear it and it's been being heard for quite a while now. The incredibly atmospheric opening minute still sends chills down my spine. The synth bass drops and it's spectacular. Just Be Good To Me is definitely cinematic in all the 80s futuristic gloriousness and on screen dystopianism but adding a human soul presaging the likes of Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack. Also is there a running water sound or... there's definitely an ambient track running throughout. 

Just Be Good To Me is the only other tune that I could think of that had a similar vibe to the previous post's Don't Stop The Music with regard to that wonderful driving synthetic bass sound and in the last post's comments section Simon Reynolds agrees. I'm trying to come up with other examples. 

I know and love this tune from back in the days of school, footy and blue light discos and regional radio so it was a hit here in Australia. A quick check on the American R&B charts reveals it only got to number two. Sorry to disappoint. Maybe I'm not the chart whisperer I thought I was.  

It's funny when you read that an immortal anthemic tune such as this only got to number 17 on the strayan charts back in '83 because it seems a bit wrong. The influence of Just Be Good To Me has been far and wide with very high profile covers, rewrites, samples, mash ups and an appearance on Grand Theft Auto's The Vibe 98.8 as well as still being an actual perennial dance floor banger. So it has managed to stay in the public consciousness for the last 40 years whereas say Dionne Warwick's number one for two weeks in 1983 is totally forgotten, just try to name it.

The la la la la la-la luh though...las never sounded so good.

Friday 19 May 2023

Yarbrough & Peoples - Don't Stop the Music

Don't Stop The Music (1980)
That sound that is the hook is soo good. I assume it's some kind of synth but I dunno it could be anything, maybe some kind of bass key-tar. Whatever it is I love it and why wasn't it used one thousand more times in the 80s? When the funky maestros hit upon something novel like that in the studio, it must have been hard to contain themselves because they would know immediately that it was gonna slay on the dance floor. Don't Stop The Music's not just about that hook-y new bass sound either, it's all the funky R&B goodness moving into the post-disco boogie era. All the elements coming together: Supreme synth action atop a to die for groove along with the swirling funky riffs, a conga break and even a chipmunk bit. Irresistible!

*This harbinger for the rest of the decade is another delightful platter that hit the top spot on the R&B chart in the USA. All these R&B number ones! It's all a coincidence. Every time I'm about to post a monster jam and quickly look up the chart history it turns out to be an ultimate smash hit. I should just get a hold of an R&B chart book documenting the late 70s and early 80s and actually go through all the chartbusters. But nah that would be a bit arbitrary and staid. I'll just keep up the random gold and see what happens.

Never stop the music...

...boogie with me all night.

Thursday 18 May 2023

Zapp - Dance Floor

Zapp - Dance Floor (1982)
This is a pure perfect pop cultural artefact. It's also still one of the greatest ever dance floor jamz. It's roller boogie time, big time.

*I only discovered Zapp in the early 90s which is a shame because they would have been the perfect soundtrack to growing up in the 80s. This is another American R&B chart topper that didn't make the charts here but I assume it got played in the discotheques and roller rinks in Melbourne and maybe made it out to some regional discos. Who knows? I don't recall it though. Were there any "in the know" funky regional Victorian djs in the 80s? 

Monday 15 May 2023

Gap Band - You Dropped A Bomb On Me

The GAP Band - You Dropped A Bomb On Me (1982)
Back to the non stop groove action. Funk for you future nuclear winter. As kids of the Cold War in the 70s & 80s we were promised nuclear annihilation on what seemed like a daily basis. That never came to fruition thanks to peacemakers Gorbachev & Reagan. However Joe Biden's administration seems to be recklessly insane and hellbent on chaos. They are supporting and provoking all sorts of conflicts and festivals of human death throughout the world (They gotta keep the military industrial cash-cow flowing right) so a Nuclear Holocaust seems to be a distinct possibility once again. 

As far as the 21st century goes, the American government have got to be hands down the most evil empire on earth. I mean Victoria Australia during lockdowns was an insane breach of human rights along with China's C**** policy not to forget Canadia and their restrictions of freedom and economic sanctions on their own citizens during the truckers protest. America though is a death machine, that's their main business - DEATH. Let us not forget then those other two war mongering presidents, the most vile of war criminals George W Bush & Barack Obama. Oh... Iraq war wise I need to give special mention to allies Tony Blaire and our very own Johnny Howard whose lies led to so much human devastation. So how many dead people is that? How much human suffering have they caused? How many fellow human beings are dead? How many people like you and me, just trying to get through the day without too much hassle, slaughtered

A new report is estimating that the post-9/11 war machine has exterminated 4.5 million human people. Even if that's a 50% overestimate...'s still fucking revolting! 

Anyway this tune is da bomb! Hooks galore. It's like every single musical element here has a hook which makes this totally infectious. Its that heavy duty drone-y synth bass though that is absolute killer like a blanket of wavering bass tone. I guess that was a precursor to the drum'n'bass and tech-step pile-driving style.

Sunday 14 May 2023

Black Mountain Transmitter - Black Goat Of The Woods

Sorry to interrupt the blog's non stop groove action but I tripped over this in the cyberspace, clicked on it because I liked the look of it and it turned out to be good fun stuff. Eerie ambient of the highest order. Creepy occult happenings in the woods vibe. 

Black Goat Of The Woods was apparently inspired by the darkest of low budget 70s horror flix, spooky 70s telly, weird electronic OSTs, HP Lovecraft, VHS tapes etc., you know the sorta thing was soo de-rigueur in the 00s to the point of cliche. Luckily the music is much better than that would suggest, in fact it's quite a way ahead of his (now mostly forgotten) contemporaries. The music here is much closer to old school 80s post industrial dark ambient than say a cheap Radiophonic Workshop or Goblin knock off.

The fella behind Black Mountain Transmitter JR Moore originally released this as a cdr on his own diy label Lysergic Earwax in 2009. From what I can gather he picked up a cult following and some critical acclaim maybe. Black Goat In The Woods has since been reissued on cd, cassette and just recently on vinyl by a bunch of different labels. I mean this video's had almost a million views so that's something. Perhaps Black Mountain Transmitter are the next dark ambient haunt-y logic act to join The Caretaker in the crossover zone.

*Oh hang on this wasn't as random as I thought. I have a compilation 2cd from 2013, The Outer Church, that Black Mountain Transmitter contributed to. This cd had other like-minded abstract post industrial dark ambient experimental noise artists such as IX Tab, Hacker Farm, Robin The Fog, Time Attendant, VHS Head etc.

Thursday 11 May 2023

Atlanta Rhythm Section - So Into You

Atlanta Rhythm Section - So Into You (1977)

"When you walked into the room, 
 There was voodoo in the vibes"

This really swings... just right. The Atlanta Rhythm Section will have you hypnotised with Someone once neatly described this tune as like Steely Dan if they were southern rock. Then there's the whole relatable lyric that captures perfectly the intensity of an unrequited lusty obsession. I actually always thought it was about his new girlfriend until I read the lyric sheet today so it still works on that level of being so into your new honey that it's all you can think about.

You don't hear this song on golden oldies radio in Australia which is weird because it was a #27 hit but those stations seem to have set a particular playlist sometime in the 90s and now nobody budges from that oddly picked set of songs. 

Peak 70s radio rock, it really doesn't get better than this. 

This groove is just the greatest. The band are all on it. A twenty minute version of So Into You would be just the ticket.

Wednesday 10 May 2023

Dazz Band · Let It Whip

Dazz Band - Let It Whip (1982)
Peak early 80s funk for your disco. I can't be 100% sure this made it to the footy club and Blue Light discos in the Victorian bush in the 80s. It sounds very familiar though and it isn't on any of my old disco-funk-boogie compilations so maybe...I mean you used to hear things at discos that were never on the radio or Countdown. I'd guess tracks such as these were club favourites in Melbourne and Sydney imported straight from America's R&B charts and roller rink playlists that would then filter through to the disco djs in regional towns.

A quick search reveals this choice piece of Motown wax only got to #97 on the Australian charts and yes it was an American R&B chart topper. 

Anyway, loving this right now. All the right vibes: New wave synth funk with strong 80s R&B flavour. A hell of a squelchy synth bass line amongst mucho 80s goodness and hooks galore. The sorta tune that would perfectly slide in next to GAP Band, Cameo, Prince or Zapp on your dj's turntables Good times.

Saturday 6 May 2023

KOO DE TAH - Too Young For Promises

Koo De Tah - Too Young For Promises (1985)
Totally forgot this top 10 smash existed. If you're from the Antipodes you know. Actually I'm surprised it wasn't a hit in Canada. It was big in South Africa though. An 80s Sydney band consisting of Leon Berger a Russian bloke and a lady from New Zealand Tina Cross. She was a sex symbol for a moment. Anyway this is some 80s synth pop lost treasure. It still sounds good to me...teenage nostalgia, maybe, I don't care. Peak hair in your eyes, gotta love that.  

Thursday 4 May 2023

Herbie Hancock Jamz

Doin' It - Herbie Hancock (1976)
Once you get past the fact that these tracks ain't gonna be no 60s jazz or 70s jazz-funk-fusion you can free your mind to enjoy this handful of sweet delights that Hancock recorded amongst some absolute dross in the second half of the 70s and early 80s.

On Doin' It look out as this is one hell of an insidious groove. At the start you may think "Oh this is just ok" but by the end you will be in a funky trance that you won't want to end. As far as intergalactic disco-funk jamz go it doesn't get better. Infectious.

I Thought It Was You - Herbie Hancock (1978)
Vocoderized vocals over mellow grooves progress to driving funk then into a robotic vocal workout on this futuristic toe tapper. It was either Kraftwerk or Herbie who were the first to use Sennheiser VSM 201 treated vocals on recordings in 1978 but Man Machine was released before Sunlight, I think.

Stars In Your Eyes - Herbie Hancock (1980) 
Oh boy the magic happens on this one. For a start the glorious groove is laid down by legends Freddie Washington and Alphonse Mouzon amongst a bed of exquisite Hancock keys. The strings are just splendid, then Ray Parker Jr's sublime guitar hook enters at 2:22 and you know greatness is upon you. Not to mention the wonderful vocal from Gavin Christopher. Impeccable from all angles. Undeniable stone cold R&B classic. 11 minutes just isn't quite enough.

Satisfied With Love - Herbie Hancock (1981)
Another top slow jam with Gavin Christopher on vocals. Washington & Mouzon lay down the groove once again, I mean that is some funky shit emanating from the fingertips of Freddie Washington innit. Deluxe. 

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Roy Ayers - Wanna Touch You Baby

Roy Ayers - Wanna Touch You Baby (1978)
Obsessed with this track this year. The fact that Carla Vaughn's vocals don't infuriate me is a testament to the restrained approach on the production of this record. Producers Ayers & Vaughn reign this shit in to a flawless degree.

That synth/guitar/whatever break at 2:54 is in that perfect controlled zone, what could have gone berserk is reeled in, just. Again this tune is all about balance.

Years ago (pre-youtube/streaming) I decided to investigate the Roy Ayers oeuvre but I entered his catalogue in an incorrect place and got the wrong end of the stick. So I thought he was not for me but ten years ago I discovered this sweet spot which is the You Send Me LP from 1978. It wasn't a consensus record back then but it might be a bit more on people's radar today. You Send Me might not be the 60s jazzers or early 70s jazz-funkateers choice but these grooves are just fine by me. The soul jazz is heading further toward what would become known as R&B. Smooth, sensuous and melodically spacious, it's got the subtle luxurious vibes.