Monday, August 30, 2010

September Service Interruption

I doubt anyone much would notice given my usual erratic update schedule, but I'm going out of the country for most of September so there won't be any updates for a month or so.

I don't have a great amount of time or money to devote to record digging while I'm gone but I don't doubt that when the man and the hour come together, I'll distract my handlers and duck into a store .

When I am in London I'll try to find this:

And when I'm in Hungary I'll try to find this:

Though I don't much fancy my chances of finding either - but we'll see what I do find instead.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Frank Hatchett, "Body Shots" (late 70s?)

This seems to be one of a number of records put out by the obscure "Statler" label to provide soundtrack for dance classes. Frank Hatchett is not actually the recording artist but instead a dancer/choreographer who worked on the kind of Broadway stuff where numbers end with everyone freezing with their arms held out and then they yell "JAZZ!" on the final beat - or at least so I imagine, being deeply unqualified in such matters.

Here's what the liner notes say:

Sensational - that's Frank Hatchett! All across the country he has left his mark. Once you've seen him you're a fan for life. No one works with such electricity and warmth. His highly successful Springfield, Mass. school, The Frank Hatchett School of Performing Arts is a testimonial to his genius. 

Among his outstanding credits are the choreographing of off Broadway musical comedies, including "Reach for the Sky" and "Cartoons", the MacDonald TV Commercial, Black Miss America and Miss Universe. On his International agenda are choreographing for the Queen Elizabeth Hotel night club in Montreal Canada and the musical production of "Frick Frack" in Vienna Austria.

If you can catch him it will be at his school in Springfield or in New York where he teaches at Jo Jo's Dance Factory. 

Neither the Austrian production of the intriguing-sounding "Frick Frack" nor the other shows mentioned seem to have survived in popular imagination long enough to dent the Internet, but I suspect that this may be the McDonald's commercial that he choreographed (gotta have some sympathy for Frank given the portly white dudes he had to work with - okay guys, just uh, just line up in a row and march on the spot would you? okay let's try it one more time). There isn't a lot of information available on-line but Frank seems to be still hard at work and inspiring new generations of jazz dancers.

The music itself is late '70s sounding instrumental jams played by session musos, many of the tracks don't hit the spot but there are a couple of nice grooves, bedroom joint "The Lover In You" and the more up-tempo "Shamballa", presented here for your jazz-dancing pleasure:

Frank Hatchett - Body Shots by doggziller

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hard Stuff, "Bulletproof" (1972)

I was thinking about writing up an '80s slow jam today when I glanced down and noticed the hairs on my fore-arm quivering as they slowly retracted into their follicles at glacial speeds... this little understood depilatory effect is thought to be a consequence of listening to too much music like this. If unchecked it can leave a man completely smooth and shiny with all of his hair pointing inwards, curling into fanciful shapes such as love-hearts or stylized flamingos and saxophones.

The most effective antidote is tough 70s rock, so, time for some of that.

Hard Stuff - Time Gambler by doggziller

Hard Stuff were refugees from Atomic Rooster and Quatermass who fled those bands' increasingly fruity prog inclinations to devote themselves to strictly the whiskey-gargling real deal. The album title "Bulletproof" is a reference to their earlier band name, "Bullet", which they abandoned under threat of litigation from an American band of the same name. Prior to that they were also called "Daemon" for a while, which leads me to conjecture that they ultimately settled with the questionable though evocative name "Hard Stuff" out of exasperation.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lyn Collins & James Brown, "Babystabbers" (1975)

First thing to know about this song is that it's called "Babystabbers".

There it is, right on the label.
 James Brown and Lyn Collins were, I believe, the first musicians to ever explicitly take a stand and speak out against babystabbing, and they did such an effective job that nobody has ever really needed to mention it again since.

This is a really tough, soulful, beautifully arranged mid-tempo jam with James and Lyn singing  just the dumbest lyrics with utter commitment and passion. James Brown was famously incomprehensible, but this is a special effort even for him. Launching with a baffling monologue, he trades increasingly meaningless sentence fragments with Lyn until by the end he's intoning "Ga-gun. Ga-gun. Ga-gun." as we careen into the fade-out.

It is a truly riveting listen. RIP, James, I still think of you every day.

Lyn Collins & James Brown - Backstabbers by doggziller