Hey! You! Wanna pretend like you were chilling with me in the Manlair tonight, slapping wax on the Rega? Arrite, here we go...
Jimmy Castor Bunch - It's Just Begun: OK, Mr. Castor really isn't an album artist, per se, but this thing hangs together really well. The title track is a killer, I mean one of the heaviest funk tracks ever. The rest of the album leans more to Castor's "Mr. Everything" philosophy, but it never dips into the schmaltz like some of his later records. Very enjoyable. Dull sounding Scorpio reissue on red wax (and why in the heck is an OG copy of this so hard to find? I've never seen one, and I've been looking.)
Joe Chambers/Larry Young - Double Exposure: Impulse purchase. One of those things I didn't know existed. Duet album between underrated drummer and one of my fave organists. But hold on! I didn't realize Chambers also played piano. First side is piano and organ duets. After Chambers doing a solo "After the Rain," he finished out the second side on drums. Sounds a little like Lifetime without guitar. Sadly, Young was dead about four months after this session. Sadly, this record left me really wanting more from these two. Both sides give you just a taste and leave you wanting a lot more. Sadly, this is a typical Scorpio reissue and side two is slightly off center.
Lou Donaldson - Musty Rusty: Oh snap! This album is smoking. Prime Lou with Grant Green and Ben Dixon (who is quickly becoming a new favorite drummer.) Billy Gardner is no Big John Patton, but he still keeps things going on the B3. This is house party jazz, stuff you can dance to, though it's not out and out funky like Lou would get about three years later. This music makes you glad to be alive and it's a damn shame Universal keeps this stuff locked up in the vaults, though there is a Spanish bootleg CD out there. And I'm convinced that Chess, like Motown, used the cheapest vinyl possible as this record looks beautiful but plays like Snap, Crackle and Pop made an uncredited cameo.
Marva Whitney with Osaka Monaurail - I Am What I Am: Finally, damn! First off, the Monaurail have NAILED the classic JB's sound. I mean, close your eyes and you'd swear you were listening to some unreleased track with Fred Wesley. And these dudes are Japanese! So, when they hook up with Marva, perhaps the most underrated of all James Brown's ladies, you know it's going to be good. And it is...mostly. There are a couple of songs on here that make me go "meh." I suppose that's keeping authentic to the 1969 vibe they have going on here, though I don't think it's intentional, that's just my taste. Still, I like this album a lot, maybe not as much as Osaka Monaurail's own Reality for the People, but when this hits, it hits hard. The big question for anyone who is not me will be is this worth the import price? The vinyl was $20. I've seen the CD as much as $15 more.