CROWN HEIGHTS AFFAIR
Brooklyn natives, Crown Heights Affair were a 70s disco/funk band originally known as the Neu Day Express and who achieved moderate success with tracks such as You Gave Me Love, Galaxy of Love and Somebody Tell Me What To Do over the course of the 70s and 80s but some of you may know them best for Say A Little Prayer For Two which was featured on David Mancuso's The Loft compilation that came out on the sadly defunct Nuphonic Records a few years ago. They're also a heavily sampled outfit and most recently LSB used You Gave Me Love on their fist-pumping floor-filling anthem FOG that was massive for Paul and I over the course of last year during over various DJ exploits. Having said that as much as I love FOG I probably prefer the original especially when the bassline kicks back in after the break.
Crown Heights Affair - Say A Little Prayer For Two
Crown Heights Affair - You Gave Me Love
LSB - FOG
Hailing from Detroit, MI, Donald Byrd initially found his legs in the industry much in the same way that Roy Ayers did by being a member of legendary vibes man Lionel Hampton's touring band 40s and 50s. He was also a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and over the course of his career he played with the likes of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk during the hard-bop era. Later he would team up with the likes of the Mizell Brothers and Isaac Hayes to move away from the sound previously associated with him to a jazz-fusion sound and, for me, it is during this period that his best work was released. The record that I've chosen to share with you may be an obvious one to those of you who spend their free time covered in dust digging for lost treasures in record stores and second hand stores the world over but for me this record is as good as anything that you'd care to mention and is a good gateway to the rest of Donald's vast catalog. I love Love Has Come Around as it is one of those 'any time any place' that gets people up off their feet and dancing, that and it is probably one of the best end of nighters ever written. As you can probably guess my copy is worn out good and proper. Some of you who are more inclined to hip hop will remember his collaboration with MC Guru on Loungin' in the 90s.
Donald Byrd - Love Has Come Around
SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS
Former Sing-Sing correctional officer (I shit you not), Sharon Jones has been tearing up dancefloors with her politically charged firebrand soul since 1996 when she recorded Switchblade with Philip Lehman and Gabriel Roth. Previously a backing singer for Lee Fields, Sharon has gained notoriety ever since she hooked up with New York's finest funk/soul band, The Dap-Kings with whom she has released three albums - Dap Dippin', Naturally and last years immaculate 100 Days, 100 Nights. Some of you may know the Dap-Kings from their work with Mark Ronson on his marmite Versions album as well as from their Daptones Imprint which has successfully managed to update the funk and soul sound of the 60s and 70s without diluting the message. Some of her work is incredibly politically charged and is probably best shown on her storming record What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes? which denounced the war in Iraq and all the cronies in the White House. I've chosen 100 Days, 100 Nights as it was one of my favourite records from last year and it captures the very essence of the band. Catch them on tour soon and look out for Sharon on albums by Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed and in The Great Debaters starring Denzel Washington that is showing at the moment here in the States.
Sharon Jones & The Dap King - 100 Days, 100 Nights