Iron Leg Digital Trip #32 – A Not Unpleasing Splash of Colour
101 Strings – Jesus Christ Superstar (edit) (Alshire)
Jimmy Smith – The Cat (45 edit) (Verve)
Enoch Light – C’Mon and Swim (Command)
Living Strings – Out and About (Camden)
Mariano and the Unbelievables – Sunshine Superman (Capitol)
Lady Nelson and the Lords – Soho Strut (Dunhill)
Louis Bellson – The Eel (Project 3)
Quincy Jones – Mohair Sam (Mercury)
Lloyd Green – Steel Blue (Chart)
Mike Sharpe – Spook A Lou (Liberty)
Dave Pike Set – You’ve Got the Feeling (Wagram)
Vic Mizzy – Daybreak In Malibu (MGM)
Andre Brasseur – Pow Pow (MFP)
Virtues – Meditation of the Soul (Andee)
Enoch Light – Bond Street (Project 3)
New London Rhythm and Blues Band – Soul Mate (Vocalion)
Freddie Scott and the Seven Steps – It’s Not Unusual (Marlin)
101 Strings – Spinning Wheel (Alshire)
Mohawks – Baby Hold On Pt2 (Cotillion)
Moe Koffman – Funky Monkey (Jubilee)
US Air Force Academy Falconaires – Day Tripper (USAFA)
Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare (KPM)
I hope you’re all well and ready to soak up some prime au-go-go flavour.
I’m heading off for some hard earned rest and relaxation, so I figured I should whip up a tasty mix for your delectation while I’m on the road.
Today’s mix, Iron Leg Digital Trip #32 – A Not Unpleasant Splash of Colour is in many ways a sequel to ILDT#5 The Party.
As is explained at length in the post that accompanied that mix, in assembling those songs (and the tunes in this collection) I was attempting to capture a specific vibe, redolent of a kind of ‘Playboy After Dark’, crushed velvet, puffy sleeves, bell bottoms, frugging and the like.
I’d always intended on doing a second mix long those lines, but the idea remained dormant until the recent acquisition of an exceptional album that stood as the perfect representation of the aforementioned feeling.
This mix has a slightly different tinge to it, with a number of records that would not be out of place over at Funky16Corners, bringing a touch of high energy soul jazz, blazing Hammond and a breakbeat or two into the recipe.
There are a couple of repeat appearance by artists from ‘The Party’, but I think that once you give the mix a listen, you’ll agree that their inclusion was a foregone conclusion.
Things get off to rousing start with Keith Mansfield’s original version of ‘Soul Thing’. This tune is one of the more interesting numbers from the library music master’s oeuvre, with a theme that was rerecorded (and renamed) several times, by Mansfield himself, his collaborator Alan Hawkshaw, Tony Newman (see the version of ‘Soul Thing’ from the earlier mix), vocal versions (under the title ‘House of Jack’) by the Establishment (in the US) and James Royal (in the UK) as well as the psychedelic treatment by Arzachel (Queen Street Gang). This version, from the ‘All You Need Is Keith Mansfield’ LP is special because not only does it feature Mansfield’s piano (as opposed to the Hammond) but it opens with an exceptionally crisp break.
Next up is a brief, but fuzz filled excerpt from the 101 Strings version of the main theme from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’.
Exploding from your speakers comes the mighty Jimmy Smith with ‘The Cat’. Written by none other than Lalo Schifrin for the Alain Delon feature ‘The Joy House’. It’s one of the truly great Hammond 45s of the 60s and moves along like a runaway freight train.
Those that follow the “easy” side of things at Iron Leg will be well acquainted with the sounds of Enoch Light. Oddly enough I first heard is blazing version of Bobby Freeman’s ‘C’Mon and Swim’ when someone at a DJ night found Light’s ‘Discotheque’ LP behind the bar and played it as a goof. Good thing too since it’s a dance floor mover.
The Living Strings arrive with a fantastic, fuzzed out take on Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart’s ‘Out and About’, which sounds like it was lifted from a discotheque scene in a mid-60s TV show.
Mariano and the Unbelievables appeared in this space recently with a cover of Young-Holt’s ‘Wack Wack’. Their take on Donovan’s oft-covered (there must be hundreds) ‘Sunshine Superman’ is a little more on the laid back tip, but exceedingly groovy nonetheless.
Lady Nelson and the Lords are something of an oddball find from my frantic early days as a Hammond nut. Portia Nelson was best known as an actress on Broadway and in the movies (she’s in ‘Dr. Doolittle’). I have no idea how she ended up recording an entire album of Vox organ features, but the enterprise is not without its charms. There are a couple of cool covers on the LP, but the number featured here is an original entitled ‘Soho Strut’.
Coming under the Enoch Light umbrella is legendary drummer Louis Bellson’s swinging ‘The Eel’, recorded for Light’s Project 3 label.
Speaking of legends, can you dig something by Quincy Jones? His version of Charlie Rich’s (and Slim Harpo’s) ‘Mohair Sam’ features a band including none other than Ray Charles on the organ.
The real wild card in this set is ‘Steel Blue’ by Lloyd Green. Green was a busy Nashville session musician, playing steel guitar on countless albums, country and otherwise. ‘Steel Blue’ is something of an aberration in his catalog, mixing wailing pedal steel with electric sitar and a go-go beat.
Mike Sharpe – who co-wrote and recorded the original version of ‘Spooky’ – chimes in with the wild ‘Spook A Lou’ which features him on the sax.
Vibraphonist Dave Pike got his start playing Latin-tinged soul jazz, but found his was to the swinging side of things by the time he recorded his cover of James Brown’s ‘(I’ve)Got the Feelin’ in 1969.
Vic Mizzy wrote some of the finest – and quirkiest – soundtrack music of the 1960s for TV (the Addams Family) and the movies (several Don Knotts vehicles). ‘Daybreak In Malibu’ is from the soundtrack of the Tony Curtis feature ‘Don’t Make Waves’.
Belgian organist Andre Brasseur’s ‘Pow Pow’ appeared in this space as a single track, but it’s so mod, so groovy, so wild that I had to include it in this mix.
Philadelphia’s Virtues recorded a number of instrumental 45s from the late 50s onward. Led by guitarist, producer and studio owner Frank Virtue, they recorded the funky sitar number ‘Meditation of the Soul’ for the local Andee label.
Enoch Light is back again with his insanely produced (slap on some headphones and check out the wild stereo separation) version of Burt Bacharach’s ‘Bond Street’ from the soundtrack to ‘Casino Royale’. If there’s a single piece of music that can be considered to have inspired the whole, unfortunate ‘Austin Powers’ thing, this is it.
As I’ve state before, I have my suspicions that the organist on the New London Rhythm and Blues Band LP sounds (at least to me) like the mighty man behind the Mohawks, Alan Hawkshaw. I’ve never been able to confirm this (or anything else about the group) but ‘Soul Mate’ is more proof that you need to find yourself a copy of their album.
Miami soul/funk legend Freddy Scott recorded several excellent 45s in the 60s with a number of group configurations. The smoking Hammond cover of Tom Jones’ ‘It’s Not Unusual’ was recorded with the Seven Steps.
The 101 Strings were a product of the cheapo exploito label Alshire Records. I’d love to know who the brains were behind their insane, phased out version of Blood Sweat and Tears’ ‘Spinning Wheel’.
Speaking of Alan Hawkshaw and the Mohawks, here they come with the amazing ‘Baby Hold On Pt2’, one of the two Mohawks 45s to be released in the US.
Canadian flute player Moe Kauffman is another cat who got his start playing fairly straight-ahead jazz. By the late 60s he was all Nehru jacket and pointy booted, wailing on the electrified flute and sax, recording a number of groovy albums for Jubilee and Buddah. ‘Funky Monkey’ is a killer.
We head to Colorado and the United States Air Force Academy for a Beatles cover by the USAFA Falconaires band. The gatefold to their album includes a blurb by Dick Clark, and a mention of the group having had their own syndicated radio show.
This edition of the Iron Leg Digital Trip closes out with another one of the aforementioned iterations of Keith Mansfield’s ‘Soul Thing’, retitled ‘Funky Fanfare’. Mansfield and Alan Hawkshaw re-did the tune a few times for the UK library music label KPM, twice as ‘Funky Fanfare’ (once with a big band and the small group version heard here) and a number of variations on the them under other titles.
I hope you dig the mix, and let it rip the next time you fire up the lava lamp and mix up a shaker full of Zombies.
See you next week.