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JAMES BROWN/A Family Affair: Do you really know any James Brown material after he left the Scottis? His late period voice is a surprise if you never heard it before once this disc of previously unreleased material starts to play. Featuring his daughters, Brown brings the funk without compromise on his then new joint venture label with Henry Stone. If Brown was still with us, this would fit right in with the DIY albums heritage acts on their own are turning out today. Brown was always the trend setter no matter what the water level. It might not be prime stuff with good budgets but it is a nice visit from an old friend who had no intention of letting you down when you laid your money down.

SKILLET & LEROY/Big Dead Dick: In top form with rapid fire delivery, this pair of Sanford & Son regulars were younger and full of energy and firing away at then contemporary issues that were ripping at the social fabric and mores. Aunt Esther is part of the duo's act and the innuendo flies like you never heard when she was on Sanford & Son. Even if it came from LA, this was top of the key chitlin circuit comedy. Also included is another comedy set, Baby Seal "Not Guilty". I can't speak to how well he is remembered today, but Seal offers straight up chitlin circuit stand up. Redd Foxx was on the label around the same time and you can almost imagine Seal was brought in for the bench strength and to cover any defections. He's funny in the same vein.

THE BOPCATS/25 Years of Rock n' Roll: The leader of this crew always had a good day job. And he had various supportive friends and family helping him realize his sound for the last 25 years. Taking his music seriously but never straying too far off the farm, this rockabilly crew has been tearing it up live over the last 25 years any time they could. And they recorded profusely. Going back to the original vinyl releases, all the tracks have been remastered. Since this is music that exists in it's own time zone, if you are a rockabilly rebel, it doesn't matter when it was recorded because by it's nature it doesn't get dated. A fun bopping party that just doesn't quit and a great discovery for the hipper than thou.

ALBARE iTD/Long Way: Cool school jazz guitarist Albare puts together a group of likeminded pros that know how to support his vision and turn in a highly righteous session. Recording upon their first meeting, this contemporary jazz super group shows the simpatico in the air is clear from the start. This will remind you of a lot of stuff you like that's come before, but the amalgam stands on it's own and all the cats here are smoking. A dandy taste treat that'll easily wake up jaded palettes.

NAT KENDRICK & THE SWANS: Not exactly one of the great music biz scambos of all time but when James Brown was first breaking in the JBs and was having problems at King, he turned to Henry Stone who was open to making a hit out of "Mashed Potatoes", slapping the drummer's name on the label and having a local king maker do voice over Brown's vocal tracks, with Brown still lurking in the mix. Yvonne Fair is even along for the ride on two tracks. There's a lot of part one and part two stuff onboard so the next effect isn't that this is an essential piece of the Brown canon--but you know those northern soul fans and completists. A nice slice of fun funk recorded on the fly.

WALL OF VOODOO/Seven Days in Sammystown-Happy Planet-The Ugly Americans in Australia: Ok breakfast clubbers, the Andy Prieboy years are well documented on this three record twofer that serves up the sound of the 80s in a way that would make a Duran Duran fan run for the hills. Alt before there was alt, Prieboy picked up the Stan Ridgway mantle quite nicely and led the gang to some real power pop triumphs. If your idea of nostalgia starts in the mid 80s, this is a trip down memory lane that is too glorious to miss. Check it out.

SAM NEWSOME/The Art of the Soprano V. 1: This part of a trilogy of soprano sax solo releases, let's just say you really have to be into the sound because as Newsome explores works well worth exploring, all you get is solo soprano sax. I don't know if even arts councils would go this deep despite the critical acclaim prior entries in this series have garnered.

REBECCA CORRY/My Story: Looks like the new wave of alt.comics are here, and because they don't have corporate hook ups yet, they speak their minds pretty freely. Looking like Edith Ann's Raggedy Ann sister on the cover, complete with a pit bull to let you know this is coming from the street, Corry's no holds bar delivery might be a touch too raw at times to bubble up too far from the underground, but it hits the target well. Like a white update on the old black party records, Corry is carving out her own niche with loads of laughs left of mainstreamers will dig.

Volume 35/Number 340
September 25, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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