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!



josé neves said...

hello! i'm new here, found out your blog by chance (you know, one blog leads to another) and i'm simply delighted and/or astonished.
Wonderful music, many many thanks!


Simon666 said...

Welcome josé, have fun here :)

Simon666 said...

.. oh and everyone, please thank VPEX for sharing the Seldon Powell, Frank Owens and Sands of Time albums.

el goog said...

Hi I've waited this so long :)
Thank you Simon.

el goog said...

Of course, VPEX thank you a lot too.

Simon666 said...

Thanks for waiting El Goog :)

So you're one album away from completing the Groove Merchant catalogue ? Amazing ...

el goog said...

Yes Yes, three labels are the same situation now. I think whether it is GM to be the easiest in that.
So thank you for the fastest cooperation as always.
Well have a great weekend, playing DJ.

ish said...

Thanks, Simon. I've enjoyed all of these, looking forward to another taste.

What do we do when ALL the funky jazz is found??

Simon666 said...

I sometimes wonder that ... but there always seems to be more :)

MG said...

Thanks as always, appreciated the work.

MFS Equipe ♪ said...

very thanks!


Solomon said...

Thank you.

djandpete said...


johnv said...

Thanks Simon. With the generosity of you and Vpex, I am now the proud owner of all the Encounter albums. Great work as awlays.

Gianni aka Cesare Barbetta said...

grazie Simon,
wonderful post!

AMM said...

superb posts simon!
not been here for a while!
your work is appreciated!
thank you

cheeba said...

Man, I love these funk farm team recordings. Was aware of The New York City Players but didn't know of East Coast or their connection. Always learn something from you, Simon. Big thanks!

E-mile said...

simon, it's a beauty!! thanks a lot
peace, E-mile

Simon666 said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

E-Mile, very funky version of "Summertime" coming up on tomorrow's album ... for your next collection ... :)

GHoSTFiNGeR said...

join my blog is open for a few days...peace

Thomas said...

Wow, just discovered your site via Flabbergasted Vibes. Top notch post! I will definitely be back.

Art Simon said...

Nice, I'm groovin' to it. Love the combination of guitar and horns, too bad that's fallen out of fashion. Nice stuff, and thanks so much to VPEX for the other great posts!

gotz said...

wonderful discovery

thanks a lot

Funk Drops said...

Hi Simon!
Thanks for sharing the Seldon Powell album on Encounter label.
But the file is corrupt...
Can you repost, please?
Thanks in advance

Funk Drops said...

The same thing for the Profile file...

Simon666 said...

hey funkdrops,
I'll upload these later today.

Simon666 said...

Actually Funk Drops ....
The files are fine. I just downloaded 'Profile' again, extracted it, and it's all fine. You've got a problem with your computer.

T.R.O.Y. said...

Thanks for this. Great records on your blog and great links, too.

Unknown said...

Had absolutely no idea Blackmon was part of a band before he was with Cameo. Shows how much I know. Have been listening to as much 70's Cameo as I can find all day, so I will enjoy this too thank you

Intensivo said...

I cannot thank you enough for this fine East Coast post.

I actually own the original '73 release, which also features some great artist portraits on the inside of the cover, but my record has suffered significantly after it was in a cardboard box in the basement during a little flood :(

The last track, You Can't Let It Get You Down, makes me shiver everytime I hear it!

Midnite Passions said...

Thanks. Great Post.

Visuals said...

Wow Simon!

It's been a while since I stopped in but I am glad that I did. I am a HUGE Cameo fan and own every single CD from their 70's output and quite a few of their early 80's albums. For many years, I have always heard about the "East Coast" & "New York City Players" albums but never could get my hands on any of the material. Thanks to you, I will finally be able to absorb some of it. Long time coming bro....I mean a long time.

Thanks again

Simon666 said...

hey Visuals,
glad to help and good to see you here :)

Bonobo said...

Thanks, Simon.

BTW I've also had dropped d'loads (and therefore corrupt files) a few time here, tried again and then they were OK, so if anybody has broken files, then try d'loading them again. You could also compare d'loaded file sizes with the sizes mentioned by Simon (first comment).

Gildas said...

Hey Simon, I was looking for some Freddie Hubbard 1973 LP (I thought I have almost all from that period!!). And I found this !!

Music is such a journey, the journey of my life, a true open sanctuary

Simon, you're one of a kind pilot for all jazz lovers journey. Thanks again (should be 12 times now that I thank you !)

PS. Mediafire link is invalid though rapidshare is OK


Simon666 said...

Glad you're enjoying it Gildas :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. I am giving this to Mr Blackmon who does not have a copy of this album. Your efforts here are much appreciated. Keep up the good work

CMAN said...

got some spare time and going getting some of your rhodes masterpieces!
this is such an amazing blog Simon!
looking forward to next thursday set!

Simon666 said...

Hey Craig! Thought you'd find your way down here :)
YES next Thursday!!

And 'anonymous' - sorry to answer two years late, but great that you got this album to Larry Blackmon! :)

Anonymous said...

These albums have just been reissued (at least in digital format, not sure about physical releases) by Essential Media Group and can be listened to in their entirety here:

Cope said...

I remember Candy from Cameo!
Of course i am an old head so... Thanks

varonos said...

thank you! !!!!!!!!!!!

Guitarradeplastico,scraping oddities said...

Many thanks

Unknown said...

thank's a great album

Bird said...

Fantastic blog!
I would like to know when was the first reissue of this East Coast album cause i've got an EN 3002 version with a runout S-62528 but i don't know the year....
Thanks for the help ;)

Simon666 said...

Hi Bird,
I have the same runouts on my copy as you. I imagine it's the undated reissue at the bottom of this list on discogs :

Possibly a bootleg? Not a lot of info out there, so all I can say is that it's 2009 or earlier (i.e. earlier than when I posted it here) :)

Simon666 said...

....also Bird, I've just added images and runouts to that Discogs entry.