Monday, 30 July 2012

A.A.V.V. "CANDIES FROM A STRANGER VOL. 2"



Welcome to the second issue of "Candies From a Stranger", this installment focus mostly on tracks culled from great albums by renowned artists who made music history, with a few rare or obscure gems thrown in for good measure.

All tracks are mixed together to create an uninterrupted flow and embrace the listener in a groovy and peaceful mood regardless of the original music style. Here's the tracklist of "Candies From a Stranger Vol. 2":

01. JOHNNY MATHIS - Life Is a Song Worth Singing (5:39)
02. ISAAC HAYES - Groove-a-Thon (8:32)
03. JOE TEX - Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman) (6:35)
04. HERBIE HANCOCK - Rockit (5:21)
05. GRACE JONES - Pull Up To the Bumper (4:44)
06. CHARLES MANN - Do It Again (5:05)
07. EAGLE-EYE CHERRY - How Come (4:04)
08. RAMSEY LEWIS - Jungle Strut (4:32)
09. MONEY MARK - Upon Closer Inspection (3:04)
10. MILES DAVIS - In a Silent Way (4:10)
11. GLOBAL COMMUNICATION - 9 25 (7:44)
12. GRANDADDY - So You'll Aim Toward the Sky (4:36)
13. PENGUIN CAFE ORCHESTRA - The Sound of Someone You Love Who's Going Away and It Doesn't Matter (11:46)


All selections were compiled and mixed in July 2012, they are available in a single FLAC lossless format file or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 file. Both formats include complete printable artwork as PDF files.

Before you burn the compilation on CD-R using the provided CUE file you will need to convert the original files to WAV format using an appropriate software. Here's an option for FLAC to WAV conversion and one for MP3 to WAV conversion.

As usual, please have a look at the comments for the download links.




01. JOHNNY MATHIS - Life Is a Song Worth Singing
original LP issue: I'm Coming Home, Columbia (1973)
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Johnny Mathis recorded his first hits in 1957 with elegant ballads that made him an anomaly when rock was emerging as the dominant musical force. In 1973 Mathis knew it was time to refresh his music and renew his career and decided to collaborate with the prime creators of the sound of Philadelphia: gifted composer, arranger and producer Thom Bell and incredible songwriter Linda Creed. "I'm Coming Home" is a timeless album of enduring beauty and passion that still sounds fresh and sophisticated today, and "Life Is a Song Worth Singing" is a perfect example of Bell's thrilling orchestrations.

02. ISAAC HAYES - Groove-a-Thon
original LP issue: Groove-a-Thon, Hot Buttered Soul / ABC (1976)
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Isaac Hayes's distinctively rhythm tracks and lavishly orchestrated arrangements helped lay the stylistic foundation for what would become known as disco, and in late 1975 / early 1976 he jumped headfirst into the new dance craze with "Disco Connection" and "Grooove-a-Thon". These albums undeservedly fell into historical neglect; it was a real pity because "Groove-a-Thon" most likely received substantial club play and would have probably been a monster 12-inch single if that format had existed at the time...

03. JOE TEX - Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)
original LP issue: Bumps & Bruises, Epic (1977)
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During the '60s and the '70s, Joe Tex was a sermonising country-soul star; his style of speaking over music, which he called "rap", made him a predecessor of this style of music. In the early '70s Joe decided to retire; he returned to music in 1975, and two years later enjoyed a comeback hit with "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)", which reached U.S. #12. This song was co-written and produced by the Nashville producer Buddy Killen and was based on a dance called "The Bump". Oddly enough, the same year Bobby Marchan recorded a track entitled "I Wanna Bump With That Big Fat Woman" for Mercury.

04. HERBIE HANCOCK - Rockit
original LP/CD issue:  Future Shock, Columbia / CBS (1983)
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"Future Shock" and his sister album "Sound System" conjured something quite fresh out of a surrealist mix of heavy metal revivalism, turntable scratching, robotic digital percussions, Herbie Hancock's signature jazz piano and various African elements. Largely conceived and initiated by maverick bassist and producer Bill Laswell, these records set a new agenda for adventurous pop producers as well as demonstrating Hancock's ability to involve himself again in fresh musical fusions. "Rockit" was accompanied by one of the most successful music videos ever directed by Godley and Creme of 10cc fame.

05. GRACE JONES - Pull Up To the Bumper
original LP issue: Nightclubbing, Island (1981)
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Grace Jones has transformed her musical and visual style on the turn of the '70s and '80s, evolving from disco to rock and reggae-fueled new wave music with the release of "Warm Leatherette" in 1980. "Nightclubbing" saw her teaming up once again with producers Chris Blackwell and Alex Sadkin to work with Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare and the remainder of the Compass Point Studios team in the Bahamas. "Pull Up To the Bumper" sparked some controversy since the the lyrics rumouredly refer to anal sex and a presumably-large penis...

06. CHARLES MANN - Do It Again
original LP issue: Say You Love Me Too, ABC (1973)
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Charles Mann is a sort of mystery to me and unfortunately "Say You Love Me Too" seems to be his only full-lenght release. The album offers ten tracks of soulful Philly Sound of the highest quality played by the likes of Earl Young and Ronnie Baker (both of The Trammps), Norman Harris, Roland Chambers, Lenny Pakula, Larry Washington and Vince Montana (all active in the studio band MFSB) along with Mann himself and producer Dave Crawford both on keyboards. "Do It Again" is a cover of the famous Steely Dan song included on the album "Can't Buy a Thrill" released the previous year.

07. EAGLE-EYE CHERRY - How Come
original CD issue: Sub Rosa, Polydor (2003)
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Eagle-Eye Cherry is the son of jazz artist Don Cherry and painter Monika Karlsson. His debut album, "Desireless", became a commercial success throughout the world during 1998 and 1999. "How Come" is a catchy tune and a potential hit-single produced by Tim Simenon, definitely one of the best songs included on Cherry's third - and so far last - studio album entitled "Sub Rosa" which saw him move away from the stripped-down, live feel of his previous albums towards a bigger, more panoramic sound utilizing electronic elements.

08. RAMSEY LEWIS - Jungle Strut
original LP issue: Sun Goddess, Columbia (1974)
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After his classic acoustic albums of the '60s, Ramsey Lewis headed into a new musical direction in the  '70s. For "Sun Goddess" he reunited with Maurice White who was formerly part of the Ramsey Lewis Trio in the '60s, and at that time was with his own band, Earth, Wind & Fire. The album was a huge cross-over hit, charting #1 both on the Billboard Black Albums Chart and Jazz Album Chart; the album also charted #12 in the Pop Chart."Jungle Strut" features vocals by drummer and percussionist Derf Rehlew Raheem, an original member of The Pharoahs.

09. MONEY MARK - Upon Closer Inspection
original CD issue: Stand Up For Your Rice, Rush! Production / Toy's Factory (2007)
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Mark Ramos-Nishita / Money Mark is a producer and musician who has collaborated with the Beastie Boys many times. "Mark's Keyboard Repair", his first album made up of keyboard driven pop-funk songs recorded in demo quality, was released by Mo'Wax in 1995 in the wake of the trip-hop phenomenon. In 1998 "Push the Button" was licensed to Polygram and probably became his most accessible and well-distributed effort. After coming close to success, Mark has continued to produce interesting releases on small labels. "Upon Closer Inspection" is taken from "Stand Up For Your Rice", a succulent Japan-only release.

10. MILES DAVIS - In a Silent Way
original LP issue: In a Silent Way, Columbia (1969)
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"In a Silent Way" was produced by Teo Macero and recorded in one session date. Incorporating elements of classical sonata form, Macero edited and arranged Davis's recordings from the session to produce the album. Marking the beginning of his "electric" period, "In a Silent Way" has been regarded by music writers as Davis's first fusion recording, following a stylistic shift toward the genre in his previous records and live performances. Upon its release, the album was met by controversy among music critics; since its initial reception, it has been regarded by fans and critics as one of Davis's greatest and most influential works.

11. GLOBAL COMMUNICATION - 9 25
original CD/2LP issue: 76:14, Dedicated (1994)
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Global Communication were formed by Tom Middleton and Mark Pritchard; "76:14" could easily be described not just as their best release, but the best ambient-electronica album released in the first half of the '90s. Originally on Dedicated, the album has been re-issued a number of times, most recently in 2005 in an expanded and remastered version. The title refers to the total length of the album in minutes and seconds, and each track on the album is titled simply with the length of the song to avoid implying any specific meaning in the music, and thus leave listeners completely free to interpret the music according to their own imaginations.

12. GRANDADDY - So You'll Aim Toward the Sky
original CD issue: The Sophtware Slump, V2 (2000)
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"The Sophtware Slump" is the second album by American indie rock band Grandaddy. Released in 2000, it is a concept album about problems concerning modern technology in society. Being their second album, the title is a reference to a sophomore slump, a term given to an artist's second album which is seen to fail to live up to the first album. "So You'll Aim Towards the Sky" is the closing song on the album, an ad-libitum lament of unutterable sadness and liberating catharsis.

13. PENGUIN CAFE ORCHESTRA - The Sound of Someone You Love Who's Going Away and It Doesn't Matter
original LP issue: Music From the Penguin Cafe, Obscure (1976)
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The Penguin Cafe Orchestra was a collective of musicians created by the sadly too-early departed composer and arranger Simon Jeffes. They were a sort of anomaly coming from some unknown space between progressive, the avant-garde, neo-chamber music and proto-post-punk. Their later work has achieved some popularity, but their first album - which is probably their best - remains seemingly unheralded. "The Sound of Someone You Love Who's Going Away and It Doesn't Matter" - ...what a gorgeous title! - could easily have been recorded today: based in no fads or even prevailing styles, it stands apart from its time or origin.


Hope you will enjoy this compilation, if you feel so inclined then make yourself a favour and search for the original releases, most of them are widely available on CD and you will be rewarded by their greatness, these are timeless masterpieces! All your inputs are more than welcome, if you want to get in touch please write to stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

THE SHEEP RECORDS STORY #5: STEREOPHONIC SPACE SOUND UNLIMITED "PHANTOM RIDER" (1998)



Sheep Records was a Swiss underground label specialized in Garage-Rock, Surf, Lounge and other Rock'n'Roll oddities. Run by Christian Müller from Zürich, along with friends Andi Frick and Andreas Egi, it was active from 1996 to 2004 and published about 30 releases, mostly on 7" vinyl singles.



In October 2006, after about two years of hiatus, all the contents of the now defunct Sheep Records website were deleted from the Internet, and replaced with a blank page announcing that "Der Kebab ist gegessen" ("The kebab is eaten"), a last goodbye and a reference to the label's cataloguing system that included the prefix "kebab" for vinyl releases and "gigot" for CD releases.



The fifth Sheep Records release was a 7" by Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited. The single was limited to 800 copies - 500 on yellow vinyl and 300 on black vinyl - and was released in February 1998.

Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited are a Swiss instrumental band formed by Ernest Maeschi (former member of Hungry For What, Sozz and Midnight To Six) and Karen Diblitz (former member of Chin Chin and Midnight To Six).

They have released several albums on their own Dionysus Records label; they also used to run a record shop called Spooky Sound in Zürich, the shop still exists but I'm not sure if they still run it or if it has a new owner...

Even with six full-length albums (including a soundtrack for a movie about Swiss racecar driver Jo Siffert) under their belt, not much is known about this mysterious duo and not one single Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited photograph seems to exist... But that hasn’t stopped them from garnering a legion of fans who love all retro, surf, spy, Henry Mancini, John Barry and electronica from buying and loving the group's music.

Their work has been used in American television shows such as The Chris Isaak Show, and they have created film soundtracks featuring their distinctive sound.

Here's the original press-release written by the Sheep Records staff:

"After their great Mai Tai album "Plays Lost TV Themes" we are proud to present two new instrumentals of Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited. This single brings you "Phantom Rider" - an organ driven classic - plus "Spooky Shore" - a thrill-filled off-beat tune. Very spooky indeed! All this comes in a full color hardcover."





Here's the track list for this 7" single:

01. Phantom Rider (2:41)
02. Spooky Shore (3:05)

Both tracks were remastered from vinyl in May 2012 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files, both formats include scans of the original item in PDF format. Please have a look at the comments for the download links.



More information about Sheep Records, and Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited is available here:

http://www.surfnroll.de/interviews/sheep/sheep.html

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Stereophonic+Space+Sound+Unlimited

http://www.dionysusrecords.com/

http://www.recordjunkie.com/stores/view/609

http://blogcritics.org/music/article/review-stereophonic-space-sound-unlimited-jet/

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/stereophonicspacespectacular-jet

http://www.gravediggerslocal.com/tag/stereophonic-space-sound-unlimited/

http://showcase.thebluebus.nl/soundtrack-of-my-life/august-2007/stereophonic-space-sound-unlimited

http://mreliminator.blogspot.it/2012/05/stereophonic-space-sound-unlimited.html

The Sheep Records story will continue in the next months. All your inputs are more than welcome, if you want to get in touch please write to stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

ISAAC HAYES MOVEMENT "DISCO CONNECTION" (1975)

"More than the great majority of his soul-soaked Stax contemporaires, Isaac Hayes adjusted admirably to the disco onslaught of the mid-1970s. That should have come as a surprise to no one, since the keyboardist's monumentally influential soundtrack to the 1971 film Shaft had played a mammoth role in the genre's invention. Isaac's funk-drenched rhythms, expertly spiced with wah-wah guitar and loose hi-hat, and the lush symphonic soul backdrops that rendered his megasexy bottomless croon irresistible to a legion of swooning female fans, were now being borrowed on a daily basis by countless producers, too often in far less imaginative ways. But as the disco era exploded, Hayes was no longer working his soul-steeped magic at Stax. In 1974, he estabilished hiw own recording studio on Chelsea Avenue in his hometown of Memphis, christening it Hot Buttered Soul in tribute to the groundbreaking album that has made Isaac an instant R&B luminary half a decade earlier. When Stax couldn't come up with enormous royalties he was due later that year, Black Moses confidently stroke away from the company where he had flourished for so long. Hayes estabilished his own record label, also baptized Hot Buttered Soul, affiliating it with ABC Records and getting right back down to creative business."

Bill Dahl, November 2008
[from the liner notes of "Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak)" CD re-issue]



In the waning days of 1975 Isaac Hayes had cause to feel satisfied. His first album on his own Hot Buttered Soul label, "Chocolate Chip", had been released in May and had stormed its way to the top of the R&B charts while also breaking through into the Pop Top 20.

Two singles from the album, "Chocolate Chip" and "Come Live With Me", had proven to be bonafide R&B hits. To his everlasting relief, Hayes was once again on a roll.

Scarcely twelve months earlier the man dubbed "Black Moses" had his back against the wall with the fate of his career hanging in the balance. Alongside James Brown, Hayes had been the preeminent star of black popular music in the first half of the 1970. His seminal recordings for the Stax Records subsidiary, Enterprise, had accomplished the unprecedented feat of simultaneously charting R&B, Pop, Jazz and Easy Listening.

In the process Hayes demonstrated unequivocally that, if allowed enough freedom in the studio, black artists could create albums that would sell in significant quantities.

Hayes's success challenged the prevailing wisdom within the industry which held that the black populace could neither afford nor support the higher-priced album format. The monster sales figures of albums such as "Hot Buttered Soul", "...To Be Continued" and "The Isaac Hayes Movement" led to a complete transformation of the political economy of black popular music, paving the way for classic album-lenght statements by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Funkadelic.

With "Shaft" Hayes had also pioneered the black soundtrack, while his recordings at large had pointed the way toward new possibilities for orchestration; fused elements of Soul, Jazz, Pop, Rock and Classical; introduced the concept of the spoken monologue; and had served to once again bring smooth, silky baritone voices into vogue.




At the midpoint in the decade things could have been all roses for Hayes, but unfortunately, the good ship Stax ran into financial troubles in 1973 and Hayes's career, alongside those of a number of his labelmates, suffered accordingly.

By late summer 1974, with his records selling in ever smaller numbers, he was forced to sue Stax for his release due to the company's inability to pay him the funds mandated in his contract. With Stax owing him thousand of dollars, Hayes found himself in a precarious financial situation of his own. Flush with success, he had spent much of 1973 and 1974 expanding his empire, buying his own studio, starting his own label, and concomitantly expanding his payroll.

By the time the spring of 1975 rolled around, Hayes hadn't had a real hit album in a year and a half, and his only steady source of income stemmed from live concerts and biannual songwriter royalties. At times it appeared that more cash was going out than coming in. The welcome success of "Chocolate Chip" allowed Hayes room to breathe.

Recorded in the second half of 1975, the completely instrumental "Disco Connection" LP was released in December the same year. Althought Isaac was credited with writing all the tracks, the album was issued under the moniker Isaac Hayes Movement.

Here's how Hayes himself remembered his working method in the liner notes of the "Groove-a-Thon" CD re-issue in 2002; that album was virtually recorded at the same time of "Disco Connection", and released just a few months later in spring 1976:

"I was aiming at disco, dance shit... I used to play games with the guys, they wouldn't know what the hell I was doing. I'd say 'Bass player, play this. Drummer, you play this.' I drilled them on it. When everybody got their individual parts down, I'd say, 'Now, let's everybody play together.' Boom! They'd say, 'Wow!' See I'd have it in my head so I could imagine what it would sound like. I'd keep it secret from them because I'd want them to learn their part and not depend on anything else. When they've learned it, they get a feel of what it is then they can groove with it."

Bass player Erroll Thomas confirms: "The guy was a genius when it came to putting stuff together, you never did know exactly which way his mind was gonna run. Sometimes if we laid a basic track, we really wouldn't know how it would come out, especially the top parts of it, the horn lines and stuff. All we would hear would be rhythm. He would hear the whole song!"


"Disco Connection" offers the following tracks:

01. The First Day of Forever (4:38)
02. St. Thomas Square (5:51)
03. Vykkii (4:55)
04. Disco Connection (6:16)
05. Disco Shuffle (8:12)
06. Choppers (4:32)
07. After Five (5:00)
08. Aruba (5:32)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in June/July 2012 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files, both formats include completely restored PDF artwork. Please have a look at the comments for the download links.





A detailed description of the tracks released on "Disco Connection" is available on this post published in 2006 by Tommy at Disco Delivery; I wouldn't be able to write anything better than that, so I recommed you to visit the link above to read more about the album. Allmusic also has a nice page to offer.


Here's the credits and personnel list of "Disco Connection":

Rhythm by Movement:

Guitar: Michael Toles, William Vaughn, Charles Pitts ("Disco Shuffle", "Disco Connection" and "Aruba"), Anthony Shinault (solo on "Disco Shuffle" and "After Five")
Bass Guitar: Erroll Thomas
Drums and tambourines: Willie Hall, Willie Cole
Temple blocks: Willie Cole
Conga: Jimmy Thompson
Keyboards: Lester Snell, Sidney Kirk, Isaac Hayes
Synthesizer: Isaac Hayes

Horns by Movement, reeds and double on flutes:

Tenor Sax: Tommy Williams, Darnell Smith
Alto Sax: Emerson Able, Bill Easley (solo on "St. Thomas Square")
Baritone Sax: Floyd Newman
Trumpet and Flugel Horn: William Taylor, Ben Cauley

Additional brass:

French Horns: Richard Dolph, Bryant Munch
Trumpet and Flugel Horn: Johnny Davis, Edgar Matthews
Trombone: Bill Flores, Jackie Thomas
Bass Trombone: Gary Russell
Special thanks to The Memphis Strings

Produced by Isaac Hayes
Arranged by Isaac Hayes and Lester Snell, Johnny Allen ("Aruba")
Engineers: Roosevelt Green, Henry Bush
Re-Mix Engineers: Isaac Hayes, Roosevelt Green, Henry Bush
Mastering Engineer: Lanky Linstrot

Art Direction: Tom Wilkes
Design: Earl R. Klasky
Cover photo: Olivier Ferrand
Back cover photo: Ron Slenzak

All selections recorded at Hot Buttered Soul Recording Studios, 247 Chelsea Ave., Memphis, Tennessee 38107
Mastered at ABC Recording Studios, Inc., Los Angelese

(P) 1975 Hot Buttered Soul Recording Co., Inc.
(C) 1975 ABC Records, Inc., Los Angeles, California 90048, New York, New York 10019
Marketed by ABC Records, Inc.


Original ABC Records advert published on a 1975 issue of Billboard


A few more information about Isaac Hayes and "Disco Connection" is available here:

http://discodelivery.blogspot.it/2006/12/disco-delivery-30-isaac-hayes-movement.html

http://www.allmusic.com/album/disco-connection-mw0000845534

http://www.flwrpt.com/blog/2010/11/04/disco-connection/

http://www.discomusic.com/forums/showthread.php/23014-Isaac-Hayes-Movement-Disco-Connection

http://www.whosampled.com/sample/view/2242/Metal%20Fingers-Charnsuka_Isaac%20Hayes-Vykkii/

http://www.avclub.com/articles/isaac-hayes,13967/

...and here's stunning a video that shows Isaac Hayes directing his musicians on the single version of "Disco Connection". Yes, it is staged, but what a treat!




If you have any other useful information about Isaac Hayes and "Disco Connection" - especially corrections and improvements to this post - or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

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