Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The Fabulous Fugitives and their Review featuring Michael Sharkey on Cultures of Soul Records
It's always good to look outside the usual things I regularly listen to just to wipe the slate clean and start over sonically. It's easy to go down that garage rock rabbit hole for days but after just listening to '70s funk and soul like this you just might be able to hear some new thread running straight back to the blues.
Cultures of Soul, along with Electric Cowbell and Colemine Records have been occupying that funk and soul hole in this overwhelming genre. At the WFMU record fair I'm always tempted to check out the reggae vendors with thousands of 45's to just randomly test the waters if for nothing else than the culture of the seven inch singles is huge there. The crazy turnover of people recording and pressing records for a show that same weekend is amazing. Or it used to be anyway. In funk and soul singles that history with the 45 runs just as deep and this one from The Fabulous Fugitives is a reissue of a record from 1975 and it's one of those timeless documents that honestly doesn't sound tied to that specific date. It's slightly raw sounding almost something of a demo and I like it even more because of those rough edges.
A-Side's "What the World Needs" starts out in that smooth soul with a slight reggae slant and jabs of muted guitar. Michael on vocals actually reminds me of Faithful Man by Lee Fields, a record Ive been ridiculously into lately. Michael must have been younger here but there's something similar here in the instrumentation too. Plenty of layers of weird percussion while staying loose and the vocals aren't exactly the same volume, blowing out a bit here and there like a nice homemade session. The horn section gives this repetition momentum to the answer which is peace and love of course. A clarinet back there even carves out a little solo alongside Michael who is undeniably a great vocalist that would remind anyone of a lot of guys from that '70s golden era of soul. It's an understated track that leaves plenty of room for Michael to smoothly bring in his own groove even getting a little carried away but who can blame him.
B-Side's "You Made Me Cry" kicks off with that high pitch snare wound impossibly tight rolling in setting the frantic tone for a tighter organ section running off with this melody. Michael is able to slide in this melody when there's so much of that James Brown treble electric flying around you'd think it would have to stay instrumental. A hell of a drummer on this session and the soul is kicked up a notch to a sort of warning. Michael manages to keep it smooths along with that clarinet during a great breakdown. Just as raw and demo sounding as the A-side with enough roughness to keep it super interesting and real. Like real people actually recorded it.
Pick this up from Cultures of Soul Records.