Monday, December 29, 2008


Well, it's list-making time. Here are a few of the songs that I played endlessly in 2008:

"Campbell Lock" - Don "Soul Train" Campbell

A funky dance number from the creator of "locking" (soon to be paired with "popping"). Campbell was a founding member of The Lockers, a pioneering dance troupe that also featured a young Fred "Rerun" Berry and a pre-"Mickey" Toni Basil.

"Thrills and Chills" - Helene Smith

This is one of my favorite tracks from the Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label compilation. There's something about the insistent beat and reverberative organ that makes this track instantly memorable.

"The Shadow of Your Smile" - Jack McDuff

Speaking of reverberative organ, this song oozes with sensuality thanks to Jack McDuff's fluid mastery of the Hammond organ. I first heard this on the What it is! Funky Soul and Rare Grooves box set, but it's originally from McDuff's Tobacco Road album. If you love soulful jazz, pick it up.

"Ice Cube Island" - Merrell Fankhauser & H.M.S. Bounty

I read about Merrell Fankhauser in high school (Richie Unterberger's Unknown Legends of Rock and Roll, again) but his stuff is so obscure that I didn't hear much of it until recently. "Ice Cube Island" is from the 1968 Things album, which is really just a great folk-rock record with slight psychedelic tinges here and there. This song, however, embraces the album's druggy subtext with a dreamy, sighing vocal and gloriously vague lyrics. (Why, for instance, does she "hate us all?") I also love the sunshine pop-esque backing vocals.

"Yokomo" - Yamasuki

I learned about this record from Oliver Wang's Soul Sides blog. Yamasuki was, apparently, a bizarre French project aiming to fuse Japanese culture with funky soul. There's a whole album of this stuff, most of it really freaking awesome. This is my favorite track from the record.

What did you keep on repeat this year?

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