February 27, 2006

In Memoriam: Raymond "Ray" Barretto

Drummer and bandleader: born New York 29 April 1929; married 1978 Brandy Rivera (three sons, one daughter); died Hackensack, New Jersey 17 February 2006.

Ray Barretto, the towering Puerto Rican percussionist who straddled the occasionally conflicting worlds of salsa and Latin jazz during a career that spanned more than half a century, died Friday. He was 76.
Barretto, who had asthma, was hospitalized last month in New Jersey, where it was discovered he had suffered a heart attack. He was also treated for pneumonia and later underwent quadruple bypass surgery. His condition suddenly worsened because of unspecified complications, according to longtime friend and family spokesman George Rivera, who declined to state a cause of death. "He fought to the bitter end," Rivera said. "There was never any doubt in his mind that he was going to play again. If he could survive, he was going to play, because that was his mission in life." (www.LAtimes.com).
Tracklist: El Nuevo Barretto; Mercy, Mercy Baby; Acid; A Deeper Shade of Soul; The Soul Drummers; Sola Te Dejare; Teacher of Love; Espiritu Libre.
Produced by Jerry Masucci & Harvey Averne
Listen HERE to Ray's Soul Drummers on the Home of the Groove blogspot!

February 08, 2006


The proud history of New Orleans is by now somewhat overshadowed by recent disasters, but to many, including yours truly, the city is and always will be the home of the groove. The city where jazz was born, R' & B' flourished and the upcoming sound of funk was treated with a typical "New Orleans Roots" point of few, and in the process creating the most exciting sounds in funk ever to see the light of day. The city also, where a lot of pioneering Jamaican producers got their influences from throughout the years.

One of the most interesting sites on the subject is Home of the Groove. A weblog that features rare, hard to find or just plain good New Orleans-related R&B and funk tracks with interesting background stories. While reading you can listen to the commented tracks as well. A great source of info indeed!

February 02, 2006

Check the Sample: Amen, Brother by the Winstons

The "Amen break" is one of the most frequently used sampled drum loops in jungle and drum and bass music. It consists of 16 beats of the drum break lifted from the song "Amen, Brother" as performed by the 1960s funk/soul outfit The Winstons. The song is an uptempo instrumental rendition of an older gospel music classic. The Winstons' version was released as a B-side of the 45 rpm 7" vinyl single "Color Him Father" in 1969 on Metromedia. The Amen break can be found in many different forms: looped straight as in old-skool drum and bass, or entirely dismembered and rearranged as in some tunes by artists like Squarepusher and Aphex Twin; it is used in literally thousands of drum and bass songs and (notably) many hip hop tunes, such as NWA's "Straight Outta Compton". The Amen break has also been used by more well-known musical acts including Perry Farrell and Nine Inch Nails, and can even be heard in the background of car commercials and television shows such as The Amazing Race and Futurama. The Winstons were a Washington D.C.-based soul act led by Richard Spencer, signed to Curtom in early 1968 and lasted there for one single, the rousing "Need a Replacement." They had a sound that was somewhat similar to the Impressions, but were unfortunate enough to have signed with Curtom before the label had national distribution, and the single never got the play it should have. A year after leaving Curtom, they hit for the Metromedia label with a huge single called "Color Him Father," which became a Top Ten R&B and pop hit, just missing number one on the R&B list, and also earned a Grammy for Best R&B Song. It was both a great tribute number and outstanding lead vocal from Richard Spencer, along with Ray Maritano, Quincy Mattison, Phil Tolotta, Sonny Peckrol, and G.C. Coleman. Mattison and Coleman were veterans of Otis Redding's band. The Winstons eventually toured as the backup band for the Impressions, but never again made any noise on the charts. And never got paid for their break.
Check http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Agency/3263/ for what they are doing at the moment.
Some of the tunes using the Break: 2 Live Crew - "Feel Alright Yall", 3rd Bass - "Wordz of Wisdom”, 4 Hero - "Escape That", Amon Tobin - "Nightlife", Aphex Twin - "Boy/Girl Song", Atari Teenage Riot - "Burn Berlin Burn”, Brand Nubian - "The Godz Must Be Crazy", Deee-Lite - "Come on In, the Dreams are Fine",Dillinja - "The Angels Fell", Eric B and Rakim - "Casualties of War", Funky Technicians - "Airtight", Goldie - "Chico: Death of a Rock Star”, Heavy D - "Let it Flow", Heavy D - "Flexin'", Heavy D - "MC Heavy D!", Heavyweight - "Oh Gosh”, J. Majik - "Your Sound", J. Majik - "Arabian Nights", Lemon D - "This is Los Angeles", Level Vibes - "Beauty & the Beast", Lifer's Group - "Jack U. Back (So You Wanna Be a Gangsta)", Ltj Bukem - "Music", Maestro Fresh Wes - "Bring it On", Mantronix - "King of the Beats”, Movement Ex - "KK Punani", Nice & Smooth - "Dope Not Hype", NWA - "Straight Outta Compton", Oasis - "Do Y'Know What I Mean”, Roni Size - "Brown Paper Bag", Salt-N-Pepa - "Desire", Scarface - "Born Killer", Schoolly D - "How a Black Man Feels".

Information was lifted from the excellent sites Allmusic.com and Wikepedia.org
RECOMMENDED: Click here if you are interested in elevating your consciousness & understanding of music as it is today, then listen to Nate Harrison's oral history of the Amen break, placed into his cultural background!

February 01, 2006


BRENT DOWE, lead singer of one of the harmony trio The Melodians, which also includes Tony Brevette and Trevor McNaughton, died suddenly of an apparent heart attack shortly before daybreak yesterday.

Reports are that Dowe, who appeared to be in good health, fell ill at his Hughenden, St. Andrew, home yesterday.

One of the most memorable of many hits which he sang lead on was Rivers of Babylon, the adaptation of a Psalm which was included on the soundtrack of the 1972 film Harder They Come.

Dowe also sang lead on the songs Little Nut Tree, Swing And Dine and You Have Caught Me.

source: jamaican gleaner