Thursday, December 24, 2009

Move over, Bing.

Here's the obligatory Go-Fi holiday post:

"Groovy Christmas" - the Tropics

Despite the lyrics, I'm fairly certain these guys didn't have a clue about running in the snow. They were from Florida. I lived in Florida for 26 years and saw snow flurries twice.

"Merry Christmas" - Frank Cosmos

This is one of the few Jamaican ska tracks to feature an electric piano. It fits perfectly, though. Love the harmonica solo too.

Speaking of Jamaican Christmas tracks, I love this one:

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - Johnny Clarke

And yes, there is a "Santa Claus Dub" out there somewhere.

I'll leave you with a slightly less joyful take on the season:

"In the Hot Sun of a Christmas Day" - Caetano Veloso

If you're in dire need of more holiday goodness, check out Funky16Corners. They've been posting some fantastic stuff. Also, peep my buddy Gavin's holiday mix over at Unfashionably Late.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's that time of year.

We apologize for the lack of substantive posts, but we're both swamped with finals this week. So in honor of the mad end-of-the-semester rush, here's an appropriately melodramatic song with "school" in the title:

"The School Bus" - Lalo Schifrin

I'm currently finishing up my final paper, so hopefully Go-Fi will resume regular posting shortly.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Some of you may remember this post from waaaaay back in the history of Go-Fi. While watching MST3K a few nights ago, I noticed some familiar music in the background of this scene from the truly awful "Pod People" -

(It begins at 2:56.)

Yep, that's Georges Rodi's "Morning Song" being ripped by Joel and the Bots. Awesome.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dillon in Dub.

Phyllis Dillon, although a truly sublime artist in her own right, isn't exactly known as a popular source for versioning. That's part of the reason why I was so blown away when I finally heard Treasure Dub, Volumes 1 and 2. These two albums--which are currently out of print--contain dubs of classic Treasure Isle material from John Holt, Dobby Dobson, the Techniques, and others. Versions of Dillon's work show up on both volumes in characteristically spacy fashion. Dillon's voice--always the focus of her Jamaican hits--appears only sporadically here. Perhaps that's what makes these dubs so striking. We normally take her for granted as a cooing, simmering songstress. The echo bath demonstrates just how powerful (and mesmerizing) her voice is - it's an essential rhythmic element, not just a tool for melody.

I've included both the originals and the dubs in this post. Enjoy:

"Don't Touch Me Tomato" - Phyllis Dillon
"Touch A Dub" - Duke Reid

"The Love That a Woman Should Give to a Man" - Phyllis Dillon
"Love Chant" - Duke Reid

"Midnight Confessions" - Phyllis Dillon
"Midnight Dub" - Duke Reid

Note: These releases are typically credited to Jamaican music impresario (and Treasure Isle boss) Duke Reid, but I'm guessing that he wasn't the one at the mixing board. Anybody know who actually remixed the Treasure Isle stuff?

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Tuneful Turkey Day.

Well, Thanksgiving is nearly here and you know what that means: lots of food. In the spirit of the season, we here at Go-Fi thought we'd share a number of tasty musical morsels with you.

We all begin Turkey Day hungry (gotta save room, after all), so an empty stomach seemed like an obvious place to start:

"Hungry Belly Dub" - King Tubby

Next up is Grandma's mouth-watering dumplin(g)s, served in a bouncy ska dish:

"Dumplins (1960 Version)" - Byron Lee & the Dragonaires

We'll fill our plate with a number of side dishes, including the ubiquitous cranberry sauce - made even sweeter by Shirley Scott's smooth organ:

"Soul Sauce" - Shirley Scott

Don't forget to add some string beans! (They're good for you.) John Patton makes them more palatable if you happen to be a picky eater:

"String Bean" - John Patton

And now the main course - succulent roast duck prepared by Uncle Lee! He's a bit crazy, but a damn good cook:

"Roast Duck" - Lee "Scratch" Perry

And what would a Thanksgiving meal be without dessert? It's always important to end on a sweet note:

"Sugar, Sugar (Featuring Junior Byles)" - Big Youth

Enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Josie vs. Jackson

There have been quite a few twee funk compilations released lately and most of them contain a fair share of glorious Jackson 5 rip-offs. The artists included are kids, of course, so these comps tend to miss out on some of the J5 facsimiles created by adults.

One group that straddles the kiddie/adult line is Josie and the Pussycats. (No, seriously.) In 1970, "they" released a full-length album of excellent pop-soul directed at the animated series' pre-teen audience. The "group" was fronted by the very adult Patrice Holloway, sister of steamy soul chanteuse Brenda Holloway. The album contains a faithful cover of "I'll Be There," but the influence of the J5 is felt throughout. "You've Come A Long Way Baby" obviously uses "The Love You Save" as a blueprint, while "Stop, Look and Listen" is based around the the main riff of "ABC." Far from being mere copies, though, these tracks are fantastic in their own right. Indeed, the Josie and Pussycats record is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable releases of the bubblegum era. The pre-fab genre was big on singles, of course, but bubblegum albums were often cluttered with filler. In contrast, the Pussycats' album is lean--a mere 10 tracks--but all are quite good. Track it down if you can. In the meantime, enjoy these:

"You've Come A Long Way Baby" - Josie & the Pussycats

"Stop, Look and Listen" - Josie & the Pussycats

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Go-Fidelity Halloween.

And now, a few terrifying tunes to complement your hellish Halloween experience.

First up is an enjoyably creepy Poppy Family song, "Where Evil Grows." That minor-keyed melody and disturbing subject matter should be just enough to make your skin crawl:

"Where Evil Grows" - the Poppy Family

Lavern Baker makes black magic sound downright appealing in this next track. The girl's got boogie in her bones:

"Voodoo Voodoo" - Lavern Baker

This is a zany Joe Meek production (weren't they all?) featuring fuzzy guitars and a multitude of graveyard sound effects. Like all great works of horror, this recording was followed up with a sequel, "Return of the Vampire."

"Night of the Vampire" - the Moontrekkers

Speaking of instrumentals, this rocked-up arrangement of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" is a true lost classic of the British Invasion - even the Beatles were fans. In fact, this band's horn section ended up on "Good Morning Good Morning." See if you recognize them:

"In the Hall of the Mountain King" - Sounds Incorporated

I'll leave you with a song that I consider one of the creepiest ever. Pat Hare's "I'm Gonna Murder My Baby" is so sonically disturbing that Robert Palmer (no, not that one) discussed its distortions in his essay "The Church of the Sonic Guitar." Lyrically, though, it's just as violent. We listen as Hare pleads his case, proclaiming that he's "gonna kill her tomorrow." The kicker? He soon went to jail for--you guessed it--murdering his baby.

"I'm Gonna Murder My Baby" - Pat Hare

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Believe it or not, I had never heard of a Scopitone before today. As you can see from the picture above, a Scopitone is basically a primitive video jukebox. There are a number of excellent sites on the web dedicated to archiving Scopitone films, but the best for novices (like me) is probably They're doing a fantastic job unearthing and posting these early music videos. Here are two of my favorites so far:

(In a just world, the Tornados would be as famous as the Ventures.)


Friday, October 16, 2009

Gankin' from the Godfather.

After the success of our last covers post, I figured we'd turn it into an occasional series. (BTW - if you've got suggestions, email me or leave a comment.) This week we are sharing a number of artists covering the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown.

Just as we began with two covers of "Eleanor Rigby" last time, we're starting with two markedly different versions of JB's classic "I Don't Want Nobody." The first is by jazz guitarist Grant Green, whose laid back, muted version of the song pretty much exemplifies why he's a jazz-funk legend. In contrast, Randy California's version (from the aforementioned Kapt. Kopter & the (Fabulous) Twirlybirds) rocks hard. If Hendrix ever covered James Brown, I'm fairly certain it would come out something like this:

"I Don't Want Nobody" - Grant Green

"I Don't Want Nobody" - Randy California

Next up is the Blues Magoos' typically garage-y, blue eyed soulish take on "I'll Go Crazy." Structually, it's quite similar to JB's original. The prominence of the (Farfisa?) organ sets it apart, however, and the "you got to live" sections (with gang vocals) are particularly exuberant:

"I'll Go Crazy" - the Blues Magoos

The Kashmere Stage Band have certainly seen a revival of notoriety lately. Their material has finally been remastered and rereleased - deservedly so. Their version of "Super Bad" is brassy, fully orchestrated, but unrelentingly funky. Also, I love the organ solo near the end:

"Super Bad" - the Kashmere Stage Band

Gene Chandler's cover of "There Was a Time" is well known to Northern Soul fans and dare I say it, his amped-up version is even better than the original. Just try not to dance to this:

"There Was a Time" - Gene Chandler

And finally, we have Arthur Brown's manic version of "I've Got Money" (from 1968's brilliant--and vastly underrated--The Crazy World of Arthur Brown). Brown used to perform in a flaming helmet, but you don't need gimmicks to appreciate this:

"I've Got Money" - Arthur Brown

Enjoy and send me your suggestions for our next covers post!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nasty Gal.

Here's some exciting news. After 33 years in limbo, feminist funkateer/sex goddess/all-around-badass Betty Davis' lost record "Is it Love or Desire?" is finally being released. You can download a free mp3 and order the record here.

Oliver Wang (of Soul Sides fame) wrote the liner notes. He's got a post on the album (and more free music!) here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

John Cale & Terry Riley - "Church of Anthrax"

John Cale famously played violin and bass for The Velvet Underground before Doug Yule replaced him in 19 68.

Terry Riley was among the pioneers of minimalism (along with Steve Reich and La Monte Young). He published and performed "In C" in 1964. Many other versions would follow, and In C's mathematical approach to improvisation not only set the groundwork for minimalism, but influenced many other genres as well.

In 1971, Cale and Riley released this collaboration which somehow sounds like both musicians while being very different from what either had done before. At times, the music recalls later Soft Machine. "Church of Anthrax" is a unique, hard to find record.

strongly recommended.

download "Church of Anthrax"

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fuzzy Bubblegum Goodness.

And now - the versatility of the fuzz pedal, as demonstrated by three bands that only existed inside the teevee:

"Melody Hill" - The Archies (Tastefully utilized in a pop format.)

"I'm Gonna Find a Cave" - The Banana Splits (No one raves-up like four anthropomorphic animals.)

"Dark Part of My Mind (Part 1)" - Captain Groovy & His Bubblegum Army (Alright, so this group never quite made it to TV - perhaps the depravity of this cut explains why.)

Incidentally, "Part 2" ended up on the b-side of Crazy Elephant's "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'." You can hear it here.

Yeah, I'm doing research for a paper. Still awesome.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pre-fabricated awesomeness.

Here's a surprisingly funky tune from the kings of late 60s bubblegum:

"Creations of Simon" - the 1910 Fruitgum Company

(Well, at least until 1:55 or so.) Love the 6/8 breaks.

Also, because it's awesome:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Modifying the Mopheads.

I thought it would be fun to share a bunch of Beatles covers that I love. I figured we'd begin with two wildly differing covers of "Eleanor Rigby:"

"Eleanor Rigby" - the Nite-Liters
"Eleanor Rigby" - the Ventures

The Nite-Liters' version is characteristically funky, with a heavy emphasis on horns. The Ventures' version, however, is understandably guitar-based. The track begins with the original's famous string arrangement, but their cover comes into its own as soon as the lead guitarist engages his fuzz pedal at :38.

In the early 1970s, Randy California took a break from Spirit to record the succinctly titled Kapt. Kopter and the (Fabulous) Twirlybirds, his first solo effort. Upon its release in 1972, the album's druggy acid rock seemed badly dated and the record promptly sank without a trace. California recorded a number of covers for Kapt. Kopter, including James Brown's "I Don't Want Nobody" and Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion." Neither of these touch his wonderfully deranged cover of the Beatles' "Rain," however:

"Rain" - Randy California

In contrast, Davy Graham's subdued take on "Mother Nature's Son" combines the folky atmosphere of the original with a distinctly impromptu, after-hours feel:

"Mother Nature's Son" - Davy Graham

And what kind of post would this be without a samba-fied Beatles track?

"Michelle" - Os Sambeatles

Thursday, July 30, 2009

El Guincho - Folìas

Last year El Guincho released what was supposedly his "debut" album. Many people fell in love with his blend of tropicalia, dance influenced looping, and generally sunny melodies. It's certainly a good record, but many aren't aware of this self released album from 2006. I personally prefer it to Alegranza, as the songs seem a little more developed and less monotonous. This record is long out of print, as it was only a cdr release to begin with. His record label has apparently O.K.ed the free downloading of this record, so enjoy!

Download "Folìas"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Various things.

"Angel of Air - Angel of Water" - Alice Coltrane & Carlos Santana
"Angel of Sunlight" - Alice Coltrane & Carlos Santana

Recorded during Carlos Santana's jazz fusion period, Illuminations (1974) is sometimes regarded as the lesser counterpart to Love Devotion Surrender, his 1973 collaboration with John McLaughlin. That's a shame, though, because re-examination reveals Illuminations to be an unusual, intriguing, and occasionally excellent album. Alice Coltrane's string arrangements are particularly striking and function as a smooth complement to the ensemble's (occasionally free) soloing. Eastern motifs occur frequently, particularly on the noisy modal jam "Angel of Sunlight," while "Angel of Air - Angel of Water" embodies the blissful, contemplative tone of much of the record.

"Time" - The Tropics
"You Better Move" - The Tropics

In the mid to late 1960s, the Tropics were supposed to be the next-big-thing, at least according to other Floridians. My dad mentioned this band when I got into garage rock in high school and believe it or not, they're actually pretty good. They kinda devolved into a poor man's Vanilla Fudge by 1969, but their earlier recordings are enjoyable, particularly if you're a Nuggets obsessive like me. "Time" is a Zombies-style minor keyed pop number, while "You Better Move" is a harmonica-laden rave-up.

"Jaws" - Johnny Otis

The best part of this song is the totally unexpected vibraphone solo.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mort Garson - Electronic Hair Pieces

As ridiculous as this may sound, this is an electronic re-imagining of the Hair soundtrack by the same mastermind that brought us "Lucifer - Black Mass." For the most part it's another kitschy electronic artifact from the late sixties, but Walking In Space is a legitimately great track. And come on, that artwork is awesome!

Download "Electronic Hair Pieces"

Friday, March 20, 2009

More Eddie Harris/Melvin Jackson

This is a video of Eddie Harris performing "Listen Here" at Montreux in 1969. You can actually see him flip on the Echoplex at around 3:20 in the video. Just listen to the difference it makes in the texture of the song. The track goes from being a funky soul-jazz number to a spacy--even avant garde--excursion. Harris' bassist for the Montreux performance was longtime collaborator (and fellow electric jazz pioneer) Melvin Jackson. Jackson's Funky Skull album was thankfully reissued by Dusty Groove in 2007. If you enjoy Harris' work, you'll love this:

"Funky Skull, Pts. 1 & 2" - Melvin Jackson

"Dance of the Dervish" - Melvin Jackson

Thursday, March 5, 2009

John Martyn

John Martyn was originally an English folkie active in the late 60s/early 70s scene that birthed Pentangle (bassist Danny Thompson was a lifelong collaborator) and Nick Drake (one of Martyn's best friends). At some point in the early 70s, however, Martyn discovered electronics and began experimenting with phase shifters, fuzz pedals and the Echoplex. Martyn's experimentation came to full fruition on 1973's Inside Out which combined his virtuosic acoustic guitar technique with cutting edge electronic innovations. The first track on that album ("Fine Lines") is a subtle, quiet beginning that embodies the record's seemingly idiosyncratic combination. Martyn's slurred vocal and acoustic guitar continue throughout the entire song, but an electrified guitar solo (at about 1:35) lets us know that this isn't exactly Pink Moon.

Martyn's experimentation with spacy electronics continued throughout the decade. He even collaborated with Lee "Scratch" Perry on the seminal "Big Muff." Martyn's interest in world music and electrified jazz is particularly evident on "Root Love" from Sunday's Child (1974), a track which (to my mind, anyway) shows the influence of Miles Davis' On the Corner album. Also, I absolutely adore this song's gritty guitar riff.

Sadly, Martyn died earlier this year. He will be missed. Take a listen:

"Fine Lines" - John Martyn

"Root Love" - John Martyn

Also, check out this video of Martyn performing "I'd Rather Be the Devil." Note his rhythmic use of the Echoplex:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sunday Songs.

After Soul Sides featured Blossom Dearie's "Sunday Afternoon" and Mixtape Riot featured Margo Guryan's "Sunday Morning," I thought it might be fun to post a few other "Sunday songs."

"Sunday Date" - the Flee-Rekkers

Produced by Joe Meek, this song has all of his signature gimmicks: tremelo, treble-y guitars, cheap tape echo and wordless vocals. So good, it almost makes you forget that he murdered his landlady. (Incidentally, another of Joe Meek's groups, the Moontrekkers, recorded a track called "Sunday Sunset.")

"Black Sunday" - the Skatalites

I'm still trying to figure out which Black Sunday this song is referencing. Personally, I think the Skatalites were inspired by Italian director Mario Bava.

And because I think it's completely over-the-top and therefore strikingly different from Margo Guryan's recording, here's a cover of "Sunday Morning" by Spanky & Our Gang:

"Sunday Morning" - Spanky & Our Gang


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Slow Jam of the Moment

For some unknown reason, I've only recently discovered the work of electric saxophonist Eddie Harris. This is strange for a number of reasons, particularly my unhealthy obsession with delay and echo units (Harris used the Echoplex) and my interest in electrified, spacy jazz (a la Donald Byrd's Electric Byrd album). In any case, I've been lovin' me some Eddie Harris lately - especially this quiet, sensuous track from Is It In (1973):

"Space Commercial" - Eddie Harris

I love the delayed, (probably) Uni-Vibed guitar work and Harris' electronically treated solo. Supposedly the mechanism used for this song was built by Bob Moog, which should give you some idea of Harris' cred among the 1970s' electronic music community. Bonus points for the early drum machine.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Funky Foundations.

Despite three major pop hits in two years, the Foundations were floundering by late 1969. Their final Top 10 hit ("In the Bad, Bad Old Days (Before You Loved Me)") had fallen down the charts and two subsequent releases had fallen largely on deaf ears. Fearing that their pop-soul fusion was becoming irrelevant, the group (a septet at this point) began to incorporate funkier, more contemporary sounds into their sets. In June of 1970, they released "I'm Gonna Be A Rich Man" b/w "In The Beginning," the latter track an instrumental incorporating funk drumming as well as a middle section featuring jazz flute and a harpsichord. Unfortunately, the single went nowhere and the intriguing b-side remained mostly unheard. The group was all by defunct within a few months.

Just before their breakup, however, the Foundations recorded a track entitled "Where the Fire Burns" that remained unreleased until their material was reissued on CD in the 1990s. Like "In the Beginning," its relatively obscurity is unfortunate, given that the song's cinematic jazz-funk looks forward to the blaxploitation soundtracks then still a few years in the future. Indeed, it's hard to believe that this track was recorded by the same group who brought "Build Me Up Buttercup" to the top of the U.S. charts only a year earlier. Take a listen:

"In the Beginning" - the Foundations

"Where the Fire Burns" - the Foundations

(Much of the information from this post can be found in Roger Dopson's liner notes to the Foundations' Baby, Now That I've Found You release on Sequel Records.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Local Atomic-Age Paranoia.

Here's a slightly morbid bit of musical trivia from Polk County's past:

"Fallout Shelter" - Billy Chambers

(Incidentally, "Fallout Shelter" was recorded with a chorus of backup singers from my undergraduate alma mater, Florida Southern College.)

And while we're at it:

"This Cold War With You" - Floyd Tillmann


Sunday, January 4, 2009

2008 Playist

the rules I've imposed on myself are as follow: I can only pick one song from each record I've listened to or enjoyed from 2008. some records only have one track that I liked, so those were easy to pick. others were harder (especially from records that worked together as a full album, such as microcastle). anyway, I'm sorry for the lack of download links, but if you come across these tracks, they're all pretty good (even the vampire weekend song!).

Chopped N Skrewed (Feat. Ludacris) by T-Pain (Thr33 Ringz)

Kim & Jessie by M83 (Saturdays = Youth)

Time To Pretend by MGMT (Oracular Spectacular)

Things I Did When I Was Dead by No Age (Nouns)

Water Curses by Animal Collective (Water Curses)

A Milli by Lil Wayne (Tha Carter III)

Live-Long by Abe Vigoda (Skeleton)

Sabali by Amadou & Mariam (Welcome To Mali)

My Life (Feat. Lil Wayne) by The Game (L.A.X.)

Recent Bedroom by Atlas Sound (Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel)

All The Years by Beach House (Devotion)

I'll Be Glad by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (Lie Down In The Light)

Rode Null by Hauschka (Ferndorf)

The City In The Sea by Crystal Stilts (Alight Of Night)

Strange Overtones by David Byrne and Brian Eno (Everything That Happens Will Happen Today)

I Decided by Solange (Sol-Angel & The Hadley St. Dreams)

Gobbledigook by Sigur Rós (Me› su› í eyrum vi› spilum end)

Never Stops by Deerhunter (Microcastle)

Old Old Fashioned by Frightened Rabbit (The Midnight Organ Fight)

Oliver James by Fleet Foxes (Fleet Foxes)

Waves of Rye by Department Of Eagles (In Ear Park)

Weekend by The Sea And Cake (Car Alarm)

Wrestlers by Hot Chip (Made In the Dark)

Lights Out by Santogold (Santogold)

I’m Watching You by Jay Reatard (Matador Singles ‘08)

Another Day by Times New Viking (Rip it Off)

Tane Mahuta by The Ruby Suns (Sea Lion)

Black Rice by Women (Women)

A-Punk by Vampire Weekend (Vampire Weekend)

The Snow Leopard by Shearwater (Rook)