Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Working Man's Soul (Live At The Barn)

Coming from a predominantly white populated part of the country, over the years I've learnt to look at the less obvious records when searching for breaks and grooves in the local charity shops and car boot sales. Black music just doesn't turn up that often. Occasionally the odd gem will pop up but generally I find myself sifting through a lot of Easy Listening, Classical and run of the mill Pop sh*t. When I first started hunting for breaks and samples, along with my long time digging partner Barry Styles, I was only really looking out for the original artists, the obvious ones like James Brown, Funkadelic, Isaac Hayes, etc. although having said that, we'd pick up anything with a black musician on the cover (which isn't always a good thing but you learn by your mistakes). I can't remember a specific point, but one day it dawned on us that a lot of these Easy Listening records we were passing by actually contained some great Soul, Funk, Rock and Jazz covers. Huge selling artists such as James Last, Geoff Love, Percy Faith, etc, would occasionally dabble with the funky side of things and sometimes the results were amazing. Of course 99% of their output is complete sh*t but it's finding the good 1% that makes it all worth while. These obvious artists led us to discovering the less well known - records by people like Ray Davies, Alan Hawkshaw, Brian Bennett, Nick Ingman, John Gregory, etc... We'd be picking up anything with a Sly Stone or James Brown cover on but soon realized some of their own compositions were just as good and in some cases, better. Recognizing certain names in turn led to discovering Library music and all sorts of other genres. This was well before the internet took off so our finds were first hand - no Google searches or looking sh*t up on The-Breaks dot com. It's all a bit too easy for the new generation of 'diggers' (I use the term lightly) nowadays. Sorry, I'm babbling a bit now, but you can see where I'm heading...

Anyone that's interested in the artists mentioned above will more than likely be familiar with 'Licorice Soul', a U.K. record label that specializes in unearthing and re-issuing some of the most obscure funky British music recorded. More often than not the titles are by white 'session' musicians recording under a pseudonym or by little known Cabaret acts who just happened to knock out one or two exceptionally funky tunes. In the case of their superb 'Working Man's Soul' compilation it features nothing but Cabaret acts who earned their living performing up and down the country in Pubs, Clubs and Holiday camps. I must admit, when this first came out I was a bit p*ssed off as I had a few of the records they'd included. The sort of records probably only a handful of people know about and you wanna keep secret. Anyway, after the initial feeling of "sh*t, I wish they hadn't exposed that" I figured it doesn't really matter. I've still got my original pressings and at least the artists are getting some recognition and maybe a little bit of money as well. It's not like every Tom, Dick and Harry's gonna go out and find the original LP's anyway 'cause they just don't turn up that often - most of them only had a run of about 1000 and were sold exclusively at their gigs.

Just recently I've picked up a few more of these Cabaret albums so thought I'd put together a little compilation for your downloading pleasure. Big Band Jazz, Soul and some funky Pop. I've included a track listing below but I'm not giving up any other details - yet. Thought I'd run a little competition. If anyone can name all the artists and the albums the tracks come from then I'll post up full reviews of the individual records along with pictures, MP3 downloads and even sort out some goodies for the winner. Don't know what yet, but I'll make sure it's appropriate and worthwhile. I've already written about one of the tracks elsewhere on the blog so there's a little head start for you...Enjoy.

Mr. Krum 'Live At The Barn (Volume 1)'

1. Intro
2. Hoops
3. Watermelon Man
4. Changing With The Times
5. Sunny
6. Dancing In The Street
7. Superstition
8. Why Did You Do It?
9. Taurus The Bull (this is a personal favourite)
10. Get Ready
11. '2001' - Also Sprach Zarathustra
12. Masquerade

1 comment:

Licorice Soul Ed said...

Thanks for the kind words about our Working Man's Soul compilation! It was a real labour of love for us, so much so that we're releasing Working Man's Soul Volume 2 on Monday 20th July 2009. We've dug even deeper for this one: for the full track listing, see:
http://www.licoricesoul.co.uk/lsd015.php. Send a an email through the site with your postal address and we'll send you a promo - hope there's something interesting on it that you'll like!