Friday, January 30, 2009

"East Coast" (1973) / Encounter Records discography

Please welcome the new cheapass scanner to Never Enough Rhodes ..

This is a funky soul album by the group "East Coast", released on drummer Bernard Purdie's short-lived label Encounter Records in 1973, and completes the label discography - see the base of the post to links for all five releases.

Veering away from the soul-jazz focus of the other four, this is more of an RnB/soul effort with some psych-funk guitar flavours. "East Coast" is notable as the debut of two figures who would both enjoy later n' greater success :

Vocalist Gwen Guthrie later became famous for her self-penned 1986 gold-digger anthem "Ain't Nothing Going On But the Rent". After working on some background sessions for Aretha Franklin soon after the "East Coast" album, she became quite prolific as a songwriter, working with collaborators like Patrick Grant on albums like Sister Sledge's debut, "Circle Of Love" in 1975, of which the two composed the majority. Between 1982 and 1990 she released eight solo albums, with 1986's "Good To Go Lover" spawning the aforementioned big hit.

"Leader"/drummer Larry Blackmon formed the seven-piece East Coast Band, who had a house gig at 'Small's Paradise' in Harlem, which was co-owned by the famous basketball player Wilt Chamberlain. Over time, the band evolved into the thirteen-piece New York City Players, which also featured keyboardist Gregory Johnson from East Coast, and were heavily influenced by goups like Funkadelic. Upon signing a contract, they changed their name to Cameo, and went on to record an astonishing seventeen albums.

Blackmon (second from right, back row in top photo) took center-stage as vocalist with Cameo, refined his flattop haircut, put on a red codpiece, and like Guthrie will probably be most remembered for one hit single - in his case, his nasally-twanged "Word Up!" from the band's 1986 album of the same name. If anyone's looking for a good party trick, here's a tab for playing it on ukelele. Ukelele players who end up here via Google, please leave MP3s of yourself playing the track in the comments.

But meanwhile, back in 1973 with East Coast :

This is clearly a live party band recorded pretty straight-up in the studio. Hammond B3 organ with full tremelo versus a distorted-wah-wah guitar anchor a heavy sound. A tough brass section push through, while Blackmon's drums are all cymbal crashes. 22-year-old Gwen Guthrie has a strong soulful voice, which she obviously needed over this sort of density.

The opener "I Found You" is a seven-minute soul stormer, while "Something Deep Inside of Me" crosses the soul with some Chicago-ish pop touches. "Keep on Trying" starts out with the funk before the (uncredited) guitarist adds a distorted rock layer a la Funkadelic.

The loose instrumental "Miss Gigi" gives a workout and a solo space to everyone except for vocalist Guthrie, who somewhat paradoxically composed the track! The closing seven minutes of "You Can't Let It Get You Down" veer in prog territory, with political lyrics alluding to Vietnam and other troubles of the 1970s. You can tell that this is an ambitious band after some success, but it was all perhaps a little too rough n' ready for the charts, though this roughness gives it some of its charm 36 years later.

I hope you enjoy this one or any of the other four albums!
Scroll down for links.

Quality note : I've ripped this from a clean reissue (now O.O.P) vinyl, but I strongly suspect that the reissue master has been taken from an original vinyl copy rather than from master tapes. There are some edges of distortion and a slightly overcompressed sound, which lacks definition in the high frequencies- it's not in the league of great reissues. OK, I'll remove my sound lecturer hat and get back to the party ....


01. 'I Found You' - 7:12 - (Billy Jones - Larry Blackmon)
02. Keep On Trying' - 4:07 - (Larry Blackmon - Gregory Johnson)
03. 'Miss Gigi' - 5:14 - (Gwen Guthrie)
04. 'Any Thing You Have In Mind' - 3:22 - (Larry Clement)
05. 'Something Deep Inside' - 2:30 - ( Gregory Johnson - Larry Blackmon)
06. 'I've Got to Reclaim You' - 4:08 - ( Gregory Johnson - Larry Blackmon)
07. 'You Can't Let It Get You Down' - 7:08 - (Larry Clement)


Larry Blackmon - leader, drums
Pat Grant - trombone
Gwen Guthrie - vocalist
Michael Harris - percussion
Gregory Johnson - keyboards
Melvin Whay - bass
James Wheeler - alto sax
Hikey Muldune - Alto Sax solo on track 1
Unknown - guitar


Encounter Records catalogue # EN3002
Produced by Larry Clement for Crude Productions
Executive Producer - Lloyd Price
Photography - Chuck Stewart
Design - Steve Malinchoc
All selections published by Access Music Corp / Lori-Joy Music / Integral Image Music (BMI)


Label run by Bernard Purdie, all releases 1973.

(Download) donated by Vpex

Commercial soul-jazz session with CTI-touches led by saxophonist Powell, featuring players like Bernard Purdie, Frank Owens, Garnett Brown and David Spinozza. Covers contemporary soul songs like "I wanna be where you are", "Backstabbers" etc. Pick is the flute-driven "Afro Jazz".

(Download) donated by Vpex

Similar format and style to the Seldon Powell album with many of the same players - perhaps a little funkier and better! Great organ work from Don Sands. Tracks include "People Make the Workd Go Round', "Let's Stay Together" and "Shaft". My pick is the hammond number "Had a Dream", which I love.

Links at the base of this post. 

Uptempo soul and pop album with heavy guitar, featuring Gwen Guthrie and Larry Blackmon. See above!

(download) donated by Vpex

Still soul-jazz from keyboardist Owens, but a more produced edge with strings and some nice rhodes on tracks like Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead" and Franklin's "Rock Steady". Featuring Bernard Purdie, Hugh McCracken, Doug Bascomb and others. Good funk on the title track with some clavinet. Nearly killed by a saccharine version of Michael jackson's "Ben" but enough good stuff here to recommend.

also at Never Enough Rhodes, click the link

Soulful jazzy album featuring saxophonist/flautist Harold Vick recording under the pseudonym "Sir Edward", with Joe Bonner, Wilbur Bascomb and others. Recommended! More info at the link.


Vinyl rip of "East Coast" by Simon666
Vinyl rip of "The Power Of Feeling" by Simon666
Other Encounter files donated by Vpex

Other album links in this post go to the following blogs/sites :
Raider of the Lost Ark, The Sound Of Feeling, Blak's Lair, and of course

Please thank these guys if you download their albums or ukelele sheet music!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Herbie Hancock live at the Boarding House (1974, bootleg)

'Maiden Voyage' excerpt

'Actual Proof' excerpt

What better way to start Sunday than with thirty minutes of "new" Herbie Hancock from 1974 ?

Miles from Birds With Broken Wings was recently digging through some old boxes from the 1970s, a time when he worked as an announcer at a jazz radio station, and came across a tape of this broadcast performance, which he has kindly donated to this blog.

I've checked through the main Hancock bootleg database at db.etree and there doesn't seem to be any matching entry, so I think we've got a first here, which we'll of course also add into the ever-growing Herbie Hancock bootlegs post ...

Two long tracks here. The first is an extraordinary solo piano improvisation, which over the course of fifteen minutes dips in and out of "Maiden Voyage" several times.

In the second edit here, the band joins "Maiden Voyage" before soon segueing into an acoustic version of "Actual Proof", which Hancock recorded the same year on the album "Thrust".

Bennie Maupin
features strongly on flute, and I'm unaware if there are any other recordings of this track featuring Hancock on acoustic piano. Anyway, it's great stuff.

While there's no certain information on the other players, the Headhunters' lineup stayed pretty solid throughout 1974, so I think we can reasonably assume the the lineup is as below ... though there's touches of Pastorius in the basslines, but is this too early? hmmm ...

Quality note : My recording and production background has led me to be a bit of a quality fascist when it comes to bootlegs, and even though this has been through a cassette stage, it's all properly miked and mixed to the point where you're not missing any of the nuances of this great group of musicians. There's a bit of tape flutter in the last five minutes of "Actual Proof", but it's not too bad.

Enjoy this one! A big thanks to Miles, and you can check out more of his stuff at Birds With Broken Wings.


01. Improvisation / Maiden Voyage (14:57)
02. Maiden Voyage / Actual Proof (15:43)


Herbie Hancock - piano
Bennie Maupin - flute
Paul Jackson - electric bass
Mike Clark - drums


Recorded at The Boarding House, San Francisco, 1974


Herbie Hancock discography by Christian Genzel
Herbie Hancock discography
with downloads @ BlaxJive
Herbie Hancock bootlegs - the big post


Digitisation by Miles.
Post links to Birds With Broken Wings, Call It Anything and Blaxploitation Jive

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Harold Vick - "Watch What Happens" (1967) ft. Herbie Hancock

Not even I'M gay enough to write reviews like this

Some new year recovery music for you all ...

We went through the career of saxophonist Harold Vick in the "Don't Look Back" post back in October, so check back there for some history, some excerpts from all of his albums; and various discographies. Also see the "Power Of Feeling" post that followed that one.

In this 1967 album (also released at some stage as "The Melody is Here") we get Vick in two settings :

Three tracks feature a quartet comprising Harold Vick on sax , Herbie Hancock on piano, Grady Tate on drums and Bob Cranshaw on bass. The standout track from the quartet session is Joe Bonner's beautiful "Ode to Trane", with superb understated solos from Hancock and Vick.

The other eight tracks are arranged and conducted by the idiosyncratic Ed Bland, a classical composer who sidelined in in individualistic soul and RnB arrangements - check this great post at Office Naps for a rundown on Mr Bland. The aforementioned quartet are joined by an uncredited nameless female chorus, trumpeter Jimmy Owens, reeds man Joe Farrell and several others.

Bland seems here to arrange in tones rather than in individual instruments, with lots of unison work from the voices, vibes, piano, reeds and so on, with the characteristics of each instrument - percussive, melodic, tonal etc - emphasised in different parts of each note. While Vick gets to break out with solos, everyone else is tightly arranged in the manner of a conducted orchestra - though featured pianist Herbie Hancock gets to break out on a few tracks.

It's all quite breezy and light with smatterings of a cocktail ambience - but we're talking good quality cocktails, so drink up! The ones that are sticking with me are the move themes "This Hotel" (from Richard Quines' "Hotel"); "Watch What Happens" (from Jacques Demy's experimental musical 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg', which also gave us Catherine Devenue), and Vick's shuffling "Eloquence".

Hit this one with some deceptively strong cocktails. Please leave recipes in the comments.

Discography trivia :

* Herbie Hancock and Grady Tate had recorded a Don Sebesky arrangement of the track "Watch What Happens" two months before on Wes Montgomery's album "A Day In the Life".

* For Hancock, this album comes between Bobby Hutcherson's "Oblique" and his own "Blow Up" soundtrack.


01. 'Watch What Happens' (Legrand, Gimbel)
from the film 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg'

02. 'Ode to Trane' (Joe Bonner)

03. 'Serenata' (Leroy Anderson)

04. 'Where Butterflies Play' (Harold Vick)

05. 'If ever I would leave you' (A.Lerner, F.Loewe)

from the musical 'Camelot'

06. 'This Hotel' (Johnny Keating)
from the Warner Bros picture "Hotel"

07. 'Eloquence' (Harold Vick)

08. 'Angel Eyes' (Matt Dennis - Earl Brent)

09. 'Whisper Not' (Benny Golson)

10. 'Guava Gelly' (Edward Bland)

11. 'Autumn Sunset' (Harold Vick)


Tracks #3, 10, 11: Harold Vick Orchestra (21.08.67)
Harold Vick - tenor sax
Jimmy Owens - trumpet, flugelhorn
Tom McIntosh - trombone
George Marge and Joe Farrell - reeds
John Blair - violin
Herbie Hancock - piano
Everett Barksdale - guitar
Bob Cranshaw - bass
Grady Tate - drums
Teddy Charles - vibraphone
Dave Carey - percussion
uncredited female vocal chorus

Tracks #1, 4, 6, 7, 9: (22.08.67)
Same as above except McIntosh out and Lawrence Lucie (guitar) added.

Tracks #2, 5, 8: Harold Vick Quartet (23.08.67)
Harold Vick - tenor and soprano saxaphone
Herbie Hancock - piano
Bob Cranshaw - bass
Grady Tate - drums

PRODUCTIONRecorded in NYC, August 1967
Arranged and conducted by Ed Bland
Recorded in RCA Victor's Studio B
Recording Engineer - Don Miller
Produced by Brad McCuen

1963 "Steppin' Out" at Ile Oxumaré
1964 rejected Blue Note sessions May 27th
1966 "Straight Up" at
Call It Anything
1966 "The Caribbean Suite" at
Orgy in Rhythm
1967 "Commitment" (released 1974)
also at Never Enough Rhodes
1968 "Watch What Happens" in comments here.
1973 "Power Of Feeling" (as Sir Edward) also at Never Enough Rhodes
1974 "Don't Look Back" also
at Never Enough Rhodes
1977 "After The Dance" at My Jazz World


POST CREDITSRip by Simon666Blog links to Office Naps, Jazz Disposition, The CTI Never Sleeps and San Pasquale Entertainment.
Please thank these folks if you visit them.