Review: One of the leading cuts from Tramps' Moments Vol 9 collection, Connie Kaye Trio's super rare "Woman" playfully riffs on Peggy Lee's "Fever" riff but comes with a completely subverted message and mood behind the lyrics and a powerful northern soul stomp. Strident, striking and full of drive, this special 45 release has been long overdue. Catch it while you can.
Review: Tramp Records has stayed close to home for this release, reissuing two killer cuts from the 1981 album "Mittwochs In Marl" album by Tyree Glenn Jr. While he is American - his father, Glenn senior, was famously Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong's trombonist - Glenn Jr had moved to Germany (where he still resides) around the time that the album was recorded. Lead cut "Superbad" is a genuinely heavy, full-throttle funk beast, with Glenn Jr doing his best James Brown impression over an insatiable groove and rousing sax solos. "Ma(r)l Sehen", on the other hand, is a much more breezy affair - an instrumental jazz-funk outing rich in dueling sax and electric piano solos.
Review: A northern soul rarity of the highest order, one 45 wonder Hank Hodge's two sided emotion bounty has been known to pass hands for over $1000 and was famously covered up by premiership diggers such as Colin Law to hide its identity. Now democratised by Tramp, both sides still pack an incredible punch: "One Way Love" pumps with a real urgent passion and dramatic horns while "Thank You Girl" should be reserved for a little later in the night with its straight up soul dynamic, big backing vocals and sympathetic orchestration that droops into the background enough to let Hodge cut through with overwhelming power.
Review: George E Johnson's "Wake Me Up" is another of those killer funk rarities that very few people know about. It was released at some point in the dim and distant past on C.R.S Records, a deep funk imprint from Philadelphia that will soon be the subject of a Tramp Records compilation. This reissue, then, is something of a teaser for that set. "Wake Me Up" is a suitably heavy number, with George E Johnson delivering an impressively impassioned lead vocal over a fuzzy, intoxicated groove rich in distorted guitars, psychedelic-era Hammond organ licks, snaking sax lines and bustling drum-breaks. B-side "The Penn Walk" strips out Johnson's vocal, allowing the backing band's killer instrumentation to really shine.
Review: "Sweet Tea (With My Sweetie)" was originally destined for inclusion on Lucky Brown & The SG's 2018 album "Mesquite Suite", but for one reason or another ended up getting cut. Happily, Tramp Tapes has decided to make it available as a 7-inch single instead. As with previous Brown excursions, the title track sounds like it was recorded sometime in the late 1960s, with authentically fuzzy production, punchy horns, Meters style Hammond licks and sweet, eyes-closed guitar riffs riding a loose but punchy funk-soul groove. "More Sweet Tea" sees the assembled band offer up a jazzier, solo-heavy instrumental revision of the title track that's even dustier and heavier than the A-side.
Review: George Brown (Vocals, Bass) Johnny Prejean (Drums), Charles Conrad Greenway (Vocals, Keyboards) Cliff Faldowski (Guitar) and Henry Boatright (Sax) made for quite the ensemble under their Soul Brothers Inc moniker, a project that ran from the late 60s through to the mid 70s and one which defined the Texas soul sound thanks to countless releases through the infamous S.B.I. Records. "Put It On Him" and "Go On & Have Your Fun" featured on one of the 7" singles that the band put out in 1971, and they still sound as fresh and as funky today as they did back then. Most importantly, both tunes have a very definite 'Texan' sound running through them, nodding to a country living that could not be matched by artists from Detroit or Philadelphia. It's their city, their vibe, their sound - and it sounds damn fine.