Monday, 7 January 2013

Larry Grogan

My latest guest castaway to be washed ashore on a lonely island is Larry Grogan.  
New Jersey vinyl junkie/crate digger, Larry has been writing about music in various forms (zines, newspapers, e-zines, blogs) since the mid-1980′s and his Funky16Corners blog started in November 2004 to focus on funk and soul vinyl.

Every Friday night, Larry hosts the Funky16Corners Radio Show on Viva Radio... "a mix of soul, funk, jazz and rare groove all recorded from OG vinyl for your listening pleasure."

So, over to you Larry...

"When Bill asked me to put together a “desert island” selection of 45s, to be honest it took some thought (and a revision or two). I basically dug back into my brain and tried to dredge up a selection of discs that were all undeniably dynamic, important to me personally, as well as things that I would recommend enthusiastically to someone looking to get acquainted with the power of soul music." 

"If you come by the Funky16Corners blog, it should come as no surprise that there are two Eddie Bo-related discs on the list. Bo was a master of R&B, soul and funk, working as a singer,songwriter, producer and arranger for a wide variety of performers and New Orleans record labels during his long career."

Roger & The Gypsies - Pass The Hatchet Pts 1&2
"The first 45 on the list is by any measure my all-time favorite, in any genre, and that’s saying a lot. Roger and the Gypsies were in fact a New Orleans-based group known as Earl Stanley and the Stereos. Seven B label owner Joe Banashak took their already hot instrumental track and had Eddie Bo punch it up by adding vocals. There’s no denying that without the vocals, ‘Pass the Hatchet’ has a propulsive drive, but with Bo added to the mix it is elevated to another level entirely. The record has a huge drum sound, which is the main reason it works so well on the dance floor. Not an easy 45 to come by, but worth whatever you have to pay when you find it."

Chuck Edwards - Downtown Soulville
"The second disc on the list is a great example of an r&b/soul singer who was capable of mixing a little rock into his sound. Chuck Edwards recorded for a few different Western Pennsylvania labels before relocating to the west coast in the late 60s. ‘Downtown Soulville’ (also used as the theme song for the mighty Mr Finewine’s famed WFMU radio show) is an upbeat soul mover driven by Edwards’ guitar and some tasty, almost garagey combo organ. It’s one of those records that is a mile marker of sorts on the road from soul to funk."

Barbara Banks - River of Tears
"It wouldn’t be a real desert island list if I didn’t include some Northern Soul, which is why Barbara Banks’ ‘River of Tears’ is on the list. I first heard this record on a comp assembled by the mighty Keb Darge, and I zealously pursued a copy for my own record box for a number of years after that. When I finally did pick it up (at no small expense) I played it over and over again. 

Co-written by Banks (and later covered fantastically – with a thundering drum break - by the Royalettes on Roulette), ‘River of Tears’ has that high-BPM Northern tempo, a fantastic bass/vibes riff and a remarkable vocal by Banks. The record builds in excitement until it just about explodes in the chorus."

Eddie Bo - Hook and Sling 
"Next up is the only explicitly ‘funk’ 45 in the mix. I’m a huge funk fan/collector, but I wanted to include a 45 that is not only representative of the sound, but also breaks with it on some levels. That 45 is Eddie Bo’s ‘Hook and Sling’. 

The biggest hit that Bo even had (Top 10 R&B in 1969) ‘Hook and Sling’ is a record that oozes the sound of New Orleans from its grooves. Light years away from a straight ahead 4/4 – thanks in large part to the stunning drum work of James Black – ‘Hook and Sling’ is one of those records that might take a few seconds for the listener to step into the grooves, but once they’re inside, there they’ll stay. This is quite literally a record that changed my life. It opened the door to New Orleans funk and soul (especially the sounds of Eddie Bo) and got me into funk 45s in a big way."

Rex Garvin & The Mighty Cravers - I Gotta Go Now (Up On The Floor)
"I saved ‘I Gotta Go Now (Up On the Floor)’ by Rex Garvin & The Mighty Cravers for last since it’s been a favorite set-closer of mine for years. Garvin & The Mighty Cravers recorded for a wide variety of labels through the 1960s, with ‘Sock It To ‘Em JB’ having some regional success in 1966 as well as being issued in Europe by Atlantic (and later covered by the Specials). ‘I Gotta Go Now (Up On the Floor)’ was released in 1967, and as far as I can tell failed to chart anywhere. If there was ever a 45 that tanked because it was too powerful and relentless, this is the one.

I always keep this one in the record box as inspiration to build a set worthy of a Saturday night crowd. It is a mind blower, with the band kicking into overdrive from the first notes, and once you get Rex and the band working the call and response of

‘I gotta go now!
Go ahead!
Out on the floor now!
Go ahead!’

It’s impossible not to move. I never, ever get tired of hearing, or spinning this record.

So, that’s my five. I hope you dig them, and that you got turned on to something new... Keep the Faith."

Click on the link below to go to Larry's Funky 16 Corners website which has links to his radio shows and podcasts: