Wednesday, June 9, 2010

COLOUR - unreleased Lo Fi soul & boogie

WHEN I posted for Beat Electric, I used to maintain a column called "Raw Boogie". The idea was to highlight boogie joints from the late 80's and other tunes from the quote unquote golden era that had odd mixes, usually from limited recording resources. Now that I have a record label the guest column days are over and it is now time to release these gems on vinyl.

Kicking things off in this department is Colour! Colour's real name is Colouria and she is hailing from the LA region. She and her husband & producer, George Gullet, created a very rare 45 single in the shy 80's. The record is unbelievably rare and highly sought after, and included the standout tune "I Want Your Body (Dancin')" b/w a moody stepper "Deeper". Both are nice examples of synth & drum machine pieces, recorded at home studios. A little more digging into her archives and we managed to locate a lost soul classic entitled "Do I Love You". A killer example of drum machines having soul, "Do I Love You" starts off with stark drum programming as well as a synth slap bass which warm into a stellar vocal performance from Colouria with a charming hook.

Set for a release in late July, we at Superior Elevation have put together "Do I Love You" from unrleased demos backed with "I Want Your Body" to be released on a picture sleeve 45.



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

CHARLIE CLEMONS - car interview


Conducted in a new car in Echo Park, parked next to a Laudromat, Tom speaks with Charlie about two songs that will soon be issued on Superior Elevation Records 12" single. The two tunes had both been previously issued on rare 7" singles, very stripped down mixes that managed to remain in obscurity since initial release date of 1979. Recently re-edited and remixed in an analog studio, the tunes have been given a proper disco mix just now, 31 years after the death of disco.

"The Devil Has Made This Land His Playground" b/w "God Is Fire (Air People)"

TOM NOBLE - Tell us who the band was?

CHARLIE CLEMONS - All them cats gone.
It was mainly us three, Melvin Webb (Bill Withers band) on drums, Melvin Dunlap (Bill Withers, Charles Wright 103rd st Rhythm band) on bass, and me on guitar. But then we had some others, they all dead now (laughs). Between alcohol and women they all dead now.

Melvin Dunlap on bass
Melvin Webb on drums
Charlie Clemons guitar
Bobby Cobbs on congo rip
Jasper Woodard rip
Ray Jackson arranged
Recorded at Warner Bros.

TN - Where were you when Melvin Dunlap was playing with Charles Wright & Bill Withers (Melvin played bass on classics such as "Express Yourself" & "Use Me Up")?

CC - I wasn't on any of those with them, I used to run around with Melvin (Dunlap). I came from the Ojays. Melvin (Dunlap) came from the Ojays. He was a ojays player then got in touch with Watts 103 guys. Some guy in Watts started the group, The 103rd Street Rhythm Band.

TN - You used to play with the Ojays?

CC - I used to run with the Ojays, I used to play with Vernon Green & the Medallions, that's about it, I had my own thing, Eugene Church & the Fellas, also Johnny Guitar Watson.

TN - How did you make it into Warner Bros studios to record?

CC - Through the arranger named, Rudy Hill. But see I been singing since I was 15, I was singing before Elvis Presley. My parents played blues, and us kids we had doo wap. We did it just for the hell of it, drank, get our head bad, then sing. As far as making money, I didn't think no one could get rich singing, until James Brown came along, then Irealised it was a business.

TN - What was your religious message in these 2 original tunes?

CC - When I did those things, I used to read the bible. I was lead by the spirit to do those records, and I did em. "the devil has made this land his playground", that was in 1973 I wrote that, you hear what I'm saying, it was the truth. Brothers killin one another, gamblin in the hospital--I didn't say that, or I didn't think I even said that, when I heard the playback I was surprised. But these days, you know they actually are gambling in hospitals. Who got the money can get the liver, who got the money can get the kidney. That's how I got all that, I was lead by the spirit is all I can say.

"God Is Fire" - that's also called "Air People", thats about another experience I had. You see we don't see everything, and dogs and animals don't see what we see. But everybody is looking for an image of a man, angels that look like man. But they don't look like man, they not made of earth. They ain't made of water and earth and fire. That's why I made that record, air people, you can't see em. But they with the spirits, they are spirits & spirits are not made of flesh. Ain't that something?

TN - Why did you choose disco?

CC - At the time, that's what was selling. I went to Tito Jackson, he said it sounded alright to him. But I didn't know how long it was going to be in style?

TN - Did you like disco?

CC - Disco is alright with me, Studio 54, John Travolta, and all that. It came and left. What it was was Jimi Hendrix had people listening to a message, and they (the "man") got tired of all that, cause the population was hearing to much of what was going on. So then the gov't backed disco, and got everybody into disco. Boom - boom - boom, they started dancing, and they forgot all about Jimi Hendrix. Now they talking about what Jimi was saying, but he was saying it back then. But he gone, that's the way it is. Disco was everyone dancin, they got away from that acid rock. Then the blues went out the door too.

It's a funny situation! In the 70's we had more money than we ever had. If I had to live my life over again, that's exactly where I'd do it, the 70's. Oh that was a great time for the Black folk, everybody happy, everbody had money. That was the best time of my life.

These 2 edits will shortly be available on 12" single, and is slated to be the 1st release for Superior Elevation Records. Here are mp3's of unmastered ruffs.