Posts tagged ‘soul’
The man who hasn’t released an album for 13 years is back with a very interesting project: he has joined forces with producer and XL label owner Richard Russell on this one. ‘I’m New Here’ is a fusion of Heron’s unique spoken word poetry and electronic beats, sometimes mellow, sometimes dark. This is not just your average one-trick pony-comeback record. It’s a big deal, especially if you think about his rollercoaster life.
‘Me and the Devil’ is the first single – a lyrical a nod to Robert Johnson’s blues and maybe a personal reflection. There’s no doubt he had a huge influence on rapping and soul music. Kanye West used his ‘Home is Where The Hatred Is’, a song about addiction and solitude. Masters at Work and many others have used his music and made their own versions of it, but they won’t compare to what’s still to come from the master poet.
Word has it he’s living on a farm somewhere in California. Shuggie Otis is definitely one of the most under-rated musicians ever, and I mean ever. He made his mark on modern music, but never got as much credit as he should have. His records have been sampled to death and the Brothers Johnson landed a chart topper with their version of his ‘Strawberry Letter 23‘.
Shuggie has not just got a very cool name, he was also a musical talent from early on. Aged 15, he played guitar and got title credit on all the tracks of Al Kooper’s ‘In Session’ and played bass on the Frank Zappa track ‘Peaches on Regalia‘. He released two solo albums.
Here Comes Shuggie Otis was followed by Inspiration Information, on which he was in his element: he played all the instruments on all songs, except for the string & horn arrangements, and also did early experiments with drum programming. After the album was released in 1974, it all got pretty quiet on the Shuggie front – mainly because he didn’t get the exposure he was hoping for. He withdrew from music and popped back on the scene in the 1990s with irregular appearances. He’s an urban legend who came up with some amazing tunes.
What’s he doing nowadays? No one knows. There’s a short video of Shuggie bigging up raresoul, in which he looks a little shaky, a performance with Mos Def and most recently, he contributed a track to the Novemberin’ compilation – whatever happened, it sounds like the man’s still got it.
Bust a move: dancers at Wigan Casino in the 70s; photo courtesy of Wigan Observer
It was the movement that started club culture: Northern Soul was born in sweaty clubs in the north of England and it’s still alive and kicking. That’s why a team of Vienna film-makers is taking a fresh look at this influential movement in music. The whole thing sounds very promising and you’ll probably read a few more posts about it on Beat Bungalow.
‘45 Revolutions per Minute‘ is a 12-month project: the film crew will be following DJs, dancers and record shop owners in the Austrian capital to get down with a new generation still keeping the faith.
No doubt, the scene has changed a lot since the days when people first packed into clubs like Wigan Casino, Blackpool’s Mecca and the Twisted Wheel Club in Manchester for stomping Allnighters. But there’s still a thriving scene across Europe and this film will tell you more about how Austria got hooked on this subculture.
The film crew say it’s ‘a documentary about life, passion, dreams and old vinyl’. In other words: lots of rare 45s, lots of floor shakers – watch this space!