Tag Archives: 1974

Cymande – Brothers On The Slide (1974)

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cymande-1974

Good morning everyone. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and London’s Cymande were obviously thinking of Chicago’s funk soul brother number one Curtis Mayfield when they dreamt up ‘Brothers On The Slide’. This “rare groove” featured on their 1974 album Promised Heights. Have a great week.

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Leonard Cohen – Is This What You Wanted (1974)

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Leonard Cohen 1974

I think I may be stuck in the 1970s this week. Leonard Cohen’s vocals on ‘Is This What You Wanted’, the first track on his fourth studio album New Skin for the Old Ceremony, are more acerbic than ever. What a way to kick off your best album to date.

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James Brown – Funky President (People It’s Bad) (1974)

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James Brown 1974

James Brown’s 1974 album Reality would be an undistinguished listen if it was not for this standout track. The quality of ‘Funky President’ is all the more remarkable when you read that the Godfather hired musicians instead of using his awesome house band the JBs. Those session men would hear their work live on as this song became a touchstone reference for sample loving hip hoppers.

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Roxy Music – Out Of The Blue (1974)

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Roxy Music 1974

After recording 1973’s For Your Pleasure as part of Roxy Music, Brian Eno left the band amidst an ongoing struggle with Brian Ferry’s ego. That is quite a big pair of musical shoes to fill, and so fans were taken aback when it was he was replaced by a 19-year-old Eddie Jobson. Jobson was also keyboards player, but had electric violin in his repertoire too. ‘Out Of The Blue’ featured on the the band’s 1974 album Country Life. The song begins with a sound that would greatly influence the likes of Duran Duran. It ends with something far more consistent with 1974 – a prog rock violin solo.

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Jorge Ben – Cinco Minutos (1974)

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Jorge Ben

To make the point that sound means more to me than lyricism, I understand 3 words in Portuguese. Jorge Ben released his album A Tábua de Esmeralda in 1974, by which time he was on fire. I overlook the brilliantly-named ‘Minha Teimosia, Uma Arma Pra Te Conquista’ (‘My Stubbornness, My Weapon To Win You Over’) in favour of the album’s last song ‘Cinco Minutos’ (1 & 2). Obrigado (3) Jorge Ben; you know how to create an unbreakable rhythm.

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Shuggie Otis – Aht Uh Mi Hed (1974)

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Shuggie Otis

Before he wrote the million-selling ‘Strawberry Letter 23’, singer-songwriter Shuggie Otis was doing something magical. In 1974, he used an electric drum machine, a simple rhythm and a stream of spirituality to create ‘Aht Uh Mi Hed’. The pioneering sound featured on his 1974 long player Inspiration Information.

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Richard and Linda Thompson – I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (1974)

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Richard and Linda Thompson

The cognoscenti have called Richard Thompson the “Coltrane of the guitar”, playing like a “Sufi-mystic Neil Young”. But to my ignorant ears, on ‘I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight’ I cannot help but think how much the husband and wife team sound like that other inter-married outfit, Fleetwood Mac. The title track of their 1974 album is a messy, celebratory track, complete with a brass band – the sound of a relationship.

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Love Unlimited – Move Me No Mountain (1974)

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Love Unlimited

40 years young today – the album that is, of course. The opening track on Love Unlimited’s 1974 long player In Heat may be the only one that Barry White did not have a hand in writing; it may not have the universal appeal and recognition of the album’s closing instrumental ‘Love Theme’; but it is the show-case pick for me. Glodean James’s vocals, the Walrus’s influence and LUO’s orchestration make for the outstanding. “Just love me baby!”

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Padre Miguel – So No Apito (1974)

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Padre Miguel

There’s a big match on for England fans today. You cannot mention football without reference to batucada. If bossa nova de-emphasised the percussion in samba, batacuda is all about fast repetitive tom-toms, snares and surdos. Grêmio Recreativo Escola de Samba Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel is one the famous samba schools from Rio de Janeiro. I chose ‘So No Apito’ off their collection Bateria Nota 10 – Vol. 4. because of it abundant use of Cuíca. I love that instrument. Come on England!

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Astor Piazzolla – Libertango (1974)

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Astor Piazzolla

Written and played on bandoneon by an Argentine composer Ástor Piazzolla, ‘Libertango’ is tango classic. But I didn’t know that when I first heard the tune as the backdrop to Grace Jones’s ‘I’ve Seen That Face Before’ – her spoken journey through a Parisian nightlife. It was the mid 1980s and Jones’ 1981 album Nightclubbing remained an art-dance-pop template. That was many moons ago and I am now more drawn to the source. Those familiar with my blog will know that I am quite taken with the sound of the accordion – my ignorance means that I should really include the concertina, bayan and bandoneon in my broad definition. The latter provides a wonderful accompaniment to Yo-Yo Ma’s cello from his 1997 homage to Ástor Piazzolla.

 

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The Lafayette Afro Rock Band – Darkest Light (1975)

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The Lafayette Afro Rock Band

Okay, let’s jump up into some break beat heaven. Lafayette Afro Rock Band was a funk band that formed in New York. In 1974 and 1975, they released albums Soul Makossa and Malik, respectively, which have been fertile ground for hip hop producers ever since they began to look beyond JB. The later album features “Darkest Light”. Once Public Enemy had sampled its horn and saxophone intro, it was open season. You gotta love that vocoder too.

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Elkin & Nelson – Jibaro (1974)

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Elkin & Nelson

In 1988, London Records’ Full Frequency Range Recordings released Balearic Beats – Vol. 1, a compilation of the type of music that Paul Oakenfold had been propagating in London following his regular trips to Ibiza. Spectrum would become the London club night to hear these sounds (dressed in day-glo, of course). The first track on the album was Electra’s version of ‘Jibaro’, an amazingly uplifting latin disco number. The original had been produced some 15 years earlier by Colombian brothers Javier and Leon Marin Velez (aka Elkin & Nelson). Come on, let’s all do the conga. Have a good week.

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Ramsey Lewis (feat. Earth, Wind & Fire) – Sun Goddess (1974)

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Ramsey Lewis

Friday was just miserable – a festival of rain. I’ve chosen this slowjam sun dance to usher in a better week this week. In the early 1970s, jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis reunited with former bandmate Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire, to move in a new direction. The result was the 1974 long player Sun Goddess; the title track is pure gold.

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Kool & The Gang – Jungle Boogie (1973)

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Kool & The Gang Jungle Boogie

‘Jungle Boogie’ is less Afro-beat, more Tarzan. This classic funk song was recorded by Kool & the Gang for their 1973 album Wild and Peaceful. Apparently, the song’s spoken vocal was performed by the band’s roadie. While the horn-heavy instrumentals became a regular sample in hip hop, the arced vocals would cement themselves into popular culture when the song featured in Tarantino’s movie Pulp Fiction.

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Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes – Expansions (1974)

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Lonnie Liston Smith

Like Gary Bartz, Lonnie Liston Smith passed through Miles Davis’ ever-changing line-up. Then, in 1973, he created his own entourage, the Cosmic Echoes. The band included James Mtume on drums and Donald Smith on smooth vocals – the result was glorious. The title track of his 1974 long player, ‘Expansions’ starts with a slow infectious bassline, and then builds up through a fusion of some tight percussion, the wah wah guitar and those pianovox keys. It all makes for one of the classic jazz funk tracks, which was brought back into the light in 1998, when Stetsasonic sampled it for their own classic, ‘Talkin’ All That Jazz’. Have a great week.

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