Review: Tramp Records has stayed close to home for this release, reissuing two killer cuts from the 1981 album "Mittwochs In Marl" album by Tyree Glenn Jr. While he is American - his father, Glenn senior, was famously Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong's trombonist - Glenn Jr had moved to Germany (where he still resides) around the time that the album was recorded. Lead cut "Superbad" is a genuinely heavy, full-throttle funk beast, with Glenn Jr doing his best James Brown impression over an insatiable groove and rousing sax solos. "Ma(r)l Sehen", on the other hand, is a much more breezy affair - an instrumental jazz-funk outing rich in dueling sax and electric piano solos.
Review: George E Johnson's "Wake Me Up" is another of those killer funk rarities that very few people know about. It was released at some point in the dim and distant past on C.R.S Records, a deep funk imprint from Philadelphia that will soon be the subject of a Tramp Records compilation. This reissue, then, is something of a teaser for that set. "Wake Me Up" is a suitably heavy number, with George E Johnson delivering an impressively impassioned lead vocal over a fuzzy, intoxicated groove rich in distorted guitars, psychedelic-era Hammond organ licks, snaking sax lines and bustling drum-breaks. B-side "The Penn Walk" strips out Johnson's vocal, allowing the backing band's killer instrumentation to really shine.
Review: George Brown (Vocals, Bass) Johnny Prejean (Drums), Charles Conrad Greenway (Vocals, Keyboards) Cliff Faldowski (Guitar) and Henry Boatright (Sax) made for quite the ensemble under their Soul Brothers Inc moniker, a project that ran from the late 60s through to the mid 70s and one which defined the Texas soul sound thanks to countless releases through the infamous S.B.I. Records. "Put It On Him" and "Go On & Have Your Fun" featured on one of the 7" singles that the band put out in 1971, and they still sound as fresh and as funky today as they did back then. Most importantly, both tunes have a very definite 'Texan' sound running through them, nodding to a country living that could not be matched by artists from Detroit or Philadelphia. It's their city, their vibe, their sound - and it sounds damn fine.
Keither Florence - "Down Here On The Ground" (3:09)
Robert Cote - "Move On" (with Orange Lake Drive) (3:56)
Scott Cunningham Band - "Anita" (5:50)
Plas Johnson - "Buck Dance" (3:34)
Magic - "Sunshine" (2:32)
Charlie Chisholm Boss-tet - "Wade In The Water" (7:42)
David Lee Jones Trio - "Walk With Me" (2:59)
Al Walton Trio - "Al's Thing" (2:03)
Ulysses Crockett - "Funky Resurgence" (3:45)
Tim James - "Strange Things" (2:52)
Randy Larkin - "Empty Days" (2:46)
San Francisco Committee - "Never Before" (2:54)
John Wesley Dickson Band - "Barrows Blues" (2:58)
Anything Goes - "When She's Gone" (3:02)
Review: Tramp Records' Praise Poems series has so far delivered four essential volumes of deep and soulful 1970s jazz. Predictably, this fifth instalment in little over two years is every bit as good as its predecessors. Highlights come think and fast, from the bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed shimmer of Gunn High School Jazz Reunion's "Red Clay" and the hazy, sun-kissed West Coast rock/deep soul fusion of Robert Cote's "Move On", to the sprawling big band jazz-funk of Magic's "Sunshine", and the vibraphone-powered shuffle of Ulysses Crockett's "Funky Resurgence". We're also really enjoying Charlie Chisholm Boss-tet's wild and spaced out cover version of Ramsay Lewis standard "Wade in the Water". As the well-worn cliche goes: all killer, no filler.