Paris DJs Soundsystem - Standards, Versions & Revamps Vol.13 - 1972
1972 was a great year for music. Most 1972 albums in artists discographies are really good ones. Artists such as Bobby Gentry had many country/soul crossover hits in the US in the previous years and influenced many others. Well that's what we felt as quite obvious while preparing this selection. But don't worry, we've kept it as funky and soulful as ever - Paris DJs' style. Excepted that we added this time a track-by-track commentary. We like our podcasts thorough.
Paris DJs Soundsystem presents 1972 - Standards, Versions and Revamps Vol.13
(MP3 Podcast on www.ParisDJs.com) 2015-11-05
[comment faire?/how to?]
01. Maxayn - You Can't Always Get What You Want
(from 'Maxayn' album, 1972 / Capricorn)
THE ROLLING STONES cover, more info on wikipedia
Maxayn was an American soul group of the 1970s, with some of its core members coming from The Buddy Miles Express. The band took its name from the lead singer Maxayn Lewis, wife of band keyboardist Andre Lewis, and later became known as Mandré. They were a solid funk band with a female lead singer and pre-dated Rufus featuring Chaka Khan. Maxayn's first, self-titled album, is indeed something quite unique for a recording of early 1971 (released in 1972). It especially includes two storming covers of The Rolling Stones, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Gimme Shelter", it was quite hard to choose between those but we opted for the former, with its strange harmonies…
02. Roy Head - You Got The Power
(from 'Dismal Prisoner' album, 1972 / TMI)
VAN MORRISON cover, more info on wikipedia
Roy Head was a country/rock/soul singer from Texas. His 1972 album "Dismal Prisoner", recorded in Memphis, produced and arranged by Steve Cropper (Stax/Booker T. & The MG's, Blues Brothers…), is a cool piece of swamp pop, between early 70s Van Morrison and Tony Joe White. Both indeed got covered on the LP, with even White guesting on guitar on his own tune. But it's the "I Got The Power" from Morrison that we picked here. Is it funk rock or blue-eyed soul, it's hard to tell, but catchy as hell for sure. Who doesn't like a cool and rare Van Morrison cover anyway?
03. Ceasar Frazier - Hicky Burr
(from 'Hail Ceasar!' album, 1972 / Eastbound)
QUINCY JONES & BILL COSBY cover, more info on wikipedia
Ceasar Frazier was a funky soul-jazz organist from Indianapolis who recorded several albums for the Eastbound/Westbound label family in the '70s. His first album from 1972 featured musicians commonly associated with the Prestige label's jazz-funk outings — Melvin Sparks (guitar), Houston Person (tenor), and Idris Muhammad (drums). The LP included the sweaty acid jazz classic "Mighty Mouse", ad groovy versions of Quincy Jones' "Hicky Burr" and Sly Stone's "Running Away". The 8+ minutes of "Hicky Burr" with blazing Hammond solos is the one we couldn't pass on.
04. Al Green - The Letter
(from 'Green Is Blues' album, 1972 / Hi)
THE BOX TOPS cover, more info on wikipedia
American soul singer Al Green doesn't need any introduction. Everyone knows his 1971 hit song "Let's Stay Together", right? He was at the top of his career in the 1970s, and his cover of The Box Tops 1967 million-seller "The Letter" just kills it on the spot. There's more than 200 different covers of this song, but this slowed-down, terminally soulful one is hard to beat. It's extracted from Al Green's 1969 album "Green Is Blues", reissued by popular demand on 1972 with a different cover artwork.
05. Betty LaVette - The Stealer
(from 'Child Of The Seventies' album, recorded 1972 / Rhino)
FREE cover, more info on wikipedia
Detroit soul singer Betty LaVette signed to the Atlantic Records spinoff Atco in late 1972, and recorded what should have been her great breakthrough album, at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studios with producer Brad Shapiro. But only two 45s were released, her cover of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold", followed several months later by "Your Turn to Cry". The album was finally released by Rhino Records nearly 30 years later, including many killer tracks. If you"ve (re-)discovered Betty LaVette, like us, thanks to her 2005 album produced by Joe Henry, you might want to check this very first one a.s.a.p.! The album's opener is a cover of Ron Davies’ "It Ain't Easy" (recorded in also 1972 by David Bowie on "Ziggy Stardust"). Her interpretation is fantastic, full of hopefulness, but it's a gritty cover of English rock band Free, "The Stealer", which rocked our world.
06. Thelma Houston - Me And Bobby McGhee
(from 'Thelma Houston' album, recorded in 1972 and released in 1973 / Mowest)
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON cover, more info on wikipedia
"Me And Bobby McGee" is a country soul song written by Kris Kristofferson in 1969. The Grateful Dead soon added it to their repertoire and it became a huge posthumous hit for Janis Joplin in 1971. There's been a LOT of versions of this song, but the one to be found on the self-titled album from 1973 (recorded in 1972 though) from American singer Thelma Houston is one of the best out there — one of the most soulful, for sure.
07. Esther Phillips - Home Is Where The Hatred Is
(from 'From A Whisper To A Scream' album, 1972 / Kudu)
GIL SCOTT-HERON cover, more info on wikipedia
The socially conscious "Home Is Where The Hatred Is" is one of Gil Scott-Heron's most well-known compositions. It's a somber tale of disillusionment and hopelessness in the ghetto. Esther Phillips' version is heavy, full of sorrow, a reality check still relevant today. The arrangement is classy, between 70s soul-jazz and wah-wah funk. The definitive version of the song.
08. Candi Staton - In The Ghetto
(from 'Candi Staton' album, 1972 / Fame)
MAC DAVIS cover made famous by ELVIS PRESLEY, more info on wikipedia
First recorded by Elvis Presley in 1969, "In The Ghetto" was his major comeback hit. In the late 60s, American gospel singer Candi Staton was introduced to Rick Hall's Fame studios by Clarence Carter and launched her solo career as a Southern soul stylist, garnering 16 R&B hits and gaining the title of "First Lady of Southern Soul" for her Grammy-nominated R&B renditions of the songs "Stand by Your Man" and "In the Ghetto". The latter is our pick here, a deeply meaningful version, receiving praise from Elvis himself.
09. The Ice Man's Band - Come Together
(from 'Introducing The Ice Man's Band' album, 1972 / Mercury)
THE BEATLES cover, more info on wikipedia
The Beatles have been covered over and over again, and "Come Together" is no exception, but we felt this laidback take on the classic was worth the inclusion. Recorded in 1972 by Jerry Butler's backing band The Ice Man’s Band, and taken from their self-titled instrumental album, it's a less obvious choice than their amazing cover of "People Make the World Go Round", sampled by everyone.
10. Fred Wesley & The J.B.'s - Watermelon Man
(from 'Watermelon Man' 7 inch, 1972 / People)
HERBIE HANCOCK cover, more info on wikipedia
Recorded in 1972 in New York with James Brown on drums, this cover of Herbie Hancock's 1962 jazz standard "Watermelon Man" was arranged by Fred Wesley and James Brown, and is definitely in the JB's school of funk. It pre-dates Hancock's radical afro-funk rework of the song for the 1973 album "Head Hunters"… which makes us wonder how much of an influence Fred Wesley & The J.B.'s version had on Herbie Hancock's one.
11. Kashmere Stage Band - Scorpio
(from 'Zero Point' album, 1972 / Kram)
DENNIS COFFEY cover, more info on wikipedia
The funk instrumental "Scorpio", with its distinctive mix of Afro-Latin rhythm and Motor City psyche, was a hit for Dennis Coffey and the Detroit Guitar Army in 1971. The guitar line which begins the record actually consists of nine guitar riffs overdubbed on top of one another, spanning three octaves. The high school band plays it funk horns instead and it's the bomb! Read here what Dennis Coffey himself has to say about this killer band.
12. The Staple Singers - I'll Take You There
(from 'Be Altitude: Respect Yourself' album, 1972 / Stax)
Adaptation from HARRY JOHNSON's Liquidator, more info on wikipedia
The Staple Singers were an American gospel, soul and R&B family who started singing in churches as soon as the late 40s. In the early 70s, after Steve Cropper left Stax Records, Al Bell started producing their recordings, conducting some rhythm sessions at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, cutting the overdubs himself at Memphis' Ardent Studios, but more importantly moving in a more funk and soul direction. In 1972 the band got its first n°1 hit single with "I'll Take You There", using the bass line and introduction from Harry J Allstars 1969 instrumental hit song "Liquidator". It's gonna be hard not to feel good listening to this uplifting soul/gospel masterpiece with Mavis Staples on lead vocals.
13. The Chosen Few - Trespassin'
(from 'Taking All The Love I Can' album, Maple, 1972)
THE OHIO PLAYERS cover, more info on wikipedia
Not to be mistaken with other bands with the same name — including the reggae one — The Chosen Few only released 3 tracks on 45s, and the 'Taking All The Love I Can' soul/funk album for Maple Records in the early 1970s. Their cover of The Ohio Players' "Trespassin" (from the "First Impressions" album) sounds like the original recordings was used, with overdubs and The Chosen Few vocals added on top. But their version is quite stunning, in the same vein as The Temptations' psychedelic stuff!
14. Karl Bryan & The Afrokats - Money Generator
WILLIE BOBO cover, more info on wikipedia
Jamaican saxophonist Karl "Cannon" Bryan released this monster 45 in 1972, "Money Generator", produced by Coxsone Dodd on his Iron Side label. It's a nyahbingi-style cover of Willie Bobo's most well known tune "Spanish Grease" from 1965, and a perfect closer for this selection.
Total time : 48mn 22s
Original cover artworks :
Selected by Djouls (parisdjs.com)
Mixed and mastered by Grant Phabao (grantphabao.com)
Artwork by Ben Hito (facebook.com/benhito)
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Original post on Paris DJs