The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Willie Hutch - Foxy Brown (1975)

1. Chase
2. Theme Of Foxy Brown
3. Overture Of Foxy Brown
4. Hospital Prelude Of Love Theme
5. Give Me Some Of That Good Old Love
6. Out There
7. Foxy Lady
8. You Sure Know How To Love Your Man
9. Have You Ever Asked Yourself Why (All About Money Game)
10. Ain't That (Mellow, Mellow)
11. Whatever You Do (Do It Good)
Willie Hutch on top form. A great soulful album packed with his superb guitar work mixes a number of strong slow funk vocal tracks with several faster chase theme style instrumentals. Don't miss the superb 'Give Me Some Of That Good Old Love'.

Ed Bogas - Fritz The Cat (1972)

1. Black Talk
2. Duke S Theme
3. Fritz The Cat
4. Mamblues
5. Bo Diddley
6. Bertha S Theme
7. Winston
8. House Rock
9. The Synagogue
10. Yesterdays
11. Love Light Of Mine
12. The Riot
13. You Re The Only Girl ( I Never Really Loved)
Ed Bogas and Ray Shanklin were responsible for many of Fantasy's soundtrack albums. This album, from the soundtrack of the adult cartoon, comprises enjoyable soul jazz material with a heavy dose of funk. Mainly instrumental, 'Fritz The Cat' features some big jazz names from the era.

J.J. Johnson - Willie Dynamite (1974)

1. Willie D (Vocal: Martha Reeves & The Sweet Things)
2. Willie Chase (instr.)
3. King Midas (Vocal: Martha Reeves & The Sweet Things)
4. Willie Escapes (instr.) | Passion's Dilemma (instr.)
5. Keep On Movin' On (Vocal: Martha Reeves & The Sweet Things)
6. Make It Right (Harmonica Solo By Tom Morgan)
7. Parade Strut (instr.)
8. Gospel Family (Keyboard Solos By Pete Jolly & Ian Underwood)
9. Willie D (Vocal: Martha Reeves & The Sweet Things)
Probably J.J. Johnson's finest soundtrack, and very hard to find. Superb, big band funk with the great vocals of Martha Reeves featured on several tracks. The instrumentals are the gems of this album, with strong breakbeats and driving percussion. Particularly noteworthy are "Willie Escapes", "Parade Strut", and a storming main theme.

Booker T. & The MGs - Uptight (1968)

1. Johnny, I Love You
2. Cleveland Now
3. Children, Don't Get Weary
4. Tank's Lament Liste
5. Blues In The Gutter
6. We've Got Johnny Wells
7. Down At Ralph's Joint
8. Deadwood Dick
9. Run Tank Run
10. Time Is Tight
An early entry into the black soundtrack genre, this album by Booker T and the MGs finds them at their best. It's a good album with a sparse, jazz-tinged feel. Note the long version of 'Time Is Tight', considerably different to the original.

Marvin Gaye - Trouble Man (1972)

1. Main Theme Form Trouble Man
2. 'T' Plays It Cool
3. Poor Abbey Walsh
4. The Break In (Police Shoot Big)
5. Cleo's Apartment
6. Trouble Man
7. Theme From Trouble Man
8. 'T' Stands For Trouble
9. Main Theme From Trouble Man
10. Life Is A Gamble
11. Deep-In-It
12. Don't Mess With Mister 'T'
13. There Goes Mister 'T'
Marvin Gaye's beautiful album is one of the very best soundtracks of the genre. This album gave him the opportunity to explore a jazz feel without losing the soulful funk of his trademark sound. Sparse and almost empty in sound, some truly awesome synth-driven funk instrumentals compliment a great theme and several excellent vocal tracks. Check out "T Stands For Trouble" and "T Plays It Cool".

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bloodstone - Train Ride To Hollywood (1975)

1. As Time Goes By
2. Yakety Yak
3. Train Ride
4. What Do I Have To Do?
5. Hooray For Romance
6. Rock 'N' Roll Choo Choo
7. Go To Sleep
8. Toot! Toot! Tootsie (Goodbye)
9. I'm In Shape
10. Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream)
11. Money (That's All I Want)
Bloodstone provided the score to this odd mid-seventies movie. The soundtrack is relatively easy to find and showcases a very strange mix of cover versions and original tracks in a variety of musical styles. The outstanding track from a funk perspective is a great, uptempo version of 'Money (That's What I Want)' that sounds similar to Tower Of Power's early funk material. Nice movie dialogue and Jack Davis cover art, too.

Barry White - Together Brothers (1974)

1. Somebody Is Gonna Off The Man
2. So Nice To Hear
3. Alive And Well
4. Find The Man Bros.
5. You Gotta Case
6. Killer's Lullaby
7. Theme From Together Brothers
8. Getaway
9. People Of Tomorrow Are The Children Of Today (Instr.)
10. Somebody's Gonna Off The Man (Instr.)
11. The Rip
12. Stick Up
13. Dreamin'
14. Killer's Back
15. Do Drop In
16. Killer Don't Do It
17. Here Comes The Man
18. Dream On
19. Honey, Please Can't Ya See
20. Can't Seem To Find Him
21. People Of Tomorrow Are The Children Of Today
One of the more readily available and cheap blaxploitation albums, this should not be overlooked. Barry White, Love Unlimited and the Love Unlimited Orchestra really turn up the funk on a strong album featuring many short, stripped-down funk instrumentals and several larger-scale vocal numbers. Well worth the cheap asking price.

Isaac Hayes - Three Tough Guys (1974)

1. Title Theme
2. Randolph & Dearborn
3. The Red Rooster
4. Joe Bell
5. Hung Up On My Baby
6. Kidnapped Lis
7. Run Fay Run
8. Buns O' Plenty
9. End Game
10. Main Title 'Truck Turner'
11. House Of Beauty
12. Blue's Crib
13. Drinving In The Sun
Isaac Hayes' score to Three Tough Guys was pressed in enormous quantities, but don't let that put you off. It's a good score and remains faithful to his Shaft funk sound. "Joe Bell" is one of the best tracks on the LP.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Herbie Hancock - The Spook Who Sat By The Door (1973)


1. Revolution
2. The Spook Who Sat By The Door - Reprise
3. Revenge
4. At The Lounge
5. Training Day
6. The Stick Up
7. Main Theme
8. Underground
9. The Spook Who Sat By The Door
10. The Big Rip Off
11. Recruiting
12. The Pick Up
13. It Begins
14. Dialog

Solid album with a nice jazz and funk mixture. Not as impressive as many other blaxploitation soundtracks, but it does provide a good feel to the film.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Good Times [First Season] (1974)


  • Esther Rolle
  • John Amos
  • Ja'net DuBois
  • Jimmie Walker
  • Bern Nadetta Stanis
  • Ralph Carter

Episode Guide

Amamzon .com
Good Times was that rare hit show which was a spin-off of a spin-off (TV's All in the Family begat Maude, which in turn spawned Good Times on CBS). Airing for five highly rated seasons, Good Times altered America's cultural landscape by tackling topical, often controversial issues from a uniquely African American perspective, while delivering heart-warming laughs. Focusing on a poor but proud family in the Chicago projects, the Evans clan--headed by James (John Amos) and sharp-tongued mother Florida (Esther Rolle)--struggled against adversity while keeping their heads high, striking a chord with audiences of all colors. The trailblazing show also made a star of jive-talkin' comedian Jimmmie Walker, whose catchphrase "Dyn-O-Mite!" became part of '70s pop culture.

Don Costa Orchestra and Lou Rawls - The Soul Of Nigger Charley (1973)


1. Main Title - Charley (Don Costa Orch.)
2. Main Theme To Water Tower (Don Costa Orch.)
3. A Lonely Summer (Love Theme) (Don Costa Orch.)
4. Can You Dig It? (Working Music) (Don Costa Orch.)
5. Sometime Day (Lou Rawls)
6. The Lonely Summer (Don Costa Orch. And Chorus)
7. Train's Comin' (Don Costa Orch.)
8. Lord, It's A Long Time Comin' (Don Costa Orch. And Chorus)
9. Fiesta (Don Costa Orch.)
10. Sandoval (Don Costa Orch.)
11. Morning Comes Around (Lou Rawls)
This might be expected to be an uninspired easy listening album considering the featured artists. Don't make that mistake. It's a great funk album with a Western feel featuring a superb wah guitar theme and strong performances from Lou Rawls.

Allan Alper - The Black Gestapo (1975)

1. Main Theme
2. The Rally
3. Patrol
4. Trouble
5. Double Cross
6. Payback
7. Love Theme
8. Get Some
9. The Set Up
10. In Deep
11. Vengeance
12. Get Together
13. Collection
14. Big Battle
15. Recognise
16. Just Fine
17. Battle
18. My Way
19. Pay Up
20. End Theme
21. Dialogue
Funky music, dialogue and sound effects from one of the most notorious blaxploitation movies ever. The Black Gestapo, directed by Lee Frost in 1975 and starring Rod Perry, Charles P. Robinson Phil Hoover and Ed Gross tells the tale of an inner-city People's Army established to relieve the misery of the citizens of Watts, Los Angeles. After Mafia thugs put increasing pressure on the locals, the Army's second-in-command asks for permission to start a protection squad to take more direct action.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sanford and Son [First Season] (1972)


  • Red Foxx
  • Demond Wilson

Episode Guide

Red Foxx is just simply hilarious. I watch this guy all the time and none of his shows get old to me.
One of television's all-time classic sitcoms, the Norman Lear-produced "Sanford and Son" debuted just three days after the one-year anniversary of Lear's fabulously successful, "All in the Family." Fred Sanford is a cantankerous 65-year-old, black, widowed junk dealer living in Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood. Helping him is his restless son, 34-year-old Lamont; Fred's beloved wife and Lamont's mother, Elizabeth, had died more than 20 years earlier. Fred's schemes and bigotry especially toward Julio, a Puerto Rican who was Lamont's friend, whites and other minorities often frustrated Lamont. Fred also showed overt disdain for his sister-in-law, Aunt Esther (the feeling was mutual). Many times, Lamont threatened to leave for meaningful work, but Fred faked a heart attack each time ("Oh, this time its real, I'm a-comin' 'Lizabeth!") as a sympathy ploy to get his son to stay. By 1977, Fred and Lamont had sold their business (stars Foxx and Wilson wanted to leave the series); it became the Sanford Arms, a rooming house. The show continued as the short-lived "Sanford Arms" (without Foxx or Wilson); it was revived in 1980 on CBS as "Sanford" (starring Foxx and without Wilson).

Melvin Van Peebles - Sweet Sweetback's Badasssss Song (1971)

1. Sweetback Losing His Cherry
2. Sweetback Getting It Uptight and Preaching It So Hard the ...
3. Come on Feet
4. Sweetback's Theme
5. Hoppin' John/Voices
6. Mojo Woman/Voices
7. Sanra Z/Voices
8. Reggin Hanging on in There as Best They Can (Bye and Bye)/Voices
9. Won't Bleed Me
10. Man Tries Running His Usual Game But Sweetback's Jones Is So Strong He
Alongside Shaft, this is the album that started the whole blaxploitation boom. A young Earth, Wind and Fire (friends of one of the film's production crew) provide a great, driving psychedelic theme. Interspersed with dialogue you'll find a number of strong funky soul vocal tracks.

James Brown - Slaughter's Big Rip-Off (1973)

1. Slaughter Theme
2. Tryin' To Get Over
3. Transmograpfication
4. Happy For The Poor
5. Brother Rap
6. Big Strong
7. Really, Really, Really
8. Sexy, Sexy, Sexy
9. To My Brother
10. How Long Can I Keep It Up
11. People Get Up And Drive Your Funky Soul
12. King Slaughter
13. Straight Ahead
Without a doubt, one of James Brown's finest tracks is featured on this album. "People Get Up (And Drive Your Funky Soul)" is worth the album price by itself - the rest of the LP shows James and the JBs at their creative strongest.

Don Julian - Shorty The Pimp (1973)

1. Shorty The Pimp
2. Message From A Black Man
3. Vato's Brew
4. Schoolin' & Foolin'
5. Super Slick
6. Brother What It Is
7. (Ooh Baby) I Love You
8. Show & Tell
9. Check Your Mind
10. Hell Below
11. Just Tryin' To Make It Pt. I
12. Just Tryin' To Make It Pt. II
13. A Woman Ain't Nothing But A Stone Trip
14. Respect Yourself
15. Inner City Blues
16. I Love You
17. My Cherie Amour
18. The Look Of Love
19. Win Your Love
A new addition to the blaxploitation catalogue, this album from Don Julian & The Larks was never issued in its entirety through Money Records, unlike their Savage soundtrack LP. The theme and several other tracks from this album were issued as singles. The film itself is equally obscure and never saw a cinema release. It is rumoured that Quentin Tarantino owns one of the few remaining prints, in which Don Julian's band take a starring role. The music is a great mix of appropriate cover versions and small group funk with a 'lounge' edge compared to the Savage LP. The original tracks, particularly the theme, make this album worth buying. Note that many of the tracks were previously unissued.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Monk Higgins - Sheba Baby (1975)

1. B B D
2. Three hoods
3. Sheba baby (vocal)
4. Get down Sheba
5. I'm in love with you (vocal)
6. Railroad
7. "Who the hell is that"
8. Heavyshot
9. A good man is gone (vocal)
10. Number one man
11. Sheba
12. The shark
13. Breast stroke
14. Speedboat
15. Good bye
16. She did it (vocal)
An interesting album from jazz players Monk Higgins and Alex Brown. Barbara Mason sings a strong late 70's funk feel theme, while the rest of the album is taken up with short, tight instrumentals. The album has a clean, crisp and jazz-influenced sound.

Isaac Hayes - Shaft (1971)

1. Theme From Shaft (Vocal)
2. Bumpy's Lament
3. Walk From Regio's
4. Ellie's Love Theme
5. Shaft's Cab Ride
6. Cafe Regio's
7. Early Sunday Morning
8. Be Yourself
9. A Friend's Place
10. Soulsville (Vocal)
11. No Name Bar
12. Bumpy's Blues
13. Shaft Strikes Again
14. Do Your Thing (Vocal)
15. The End Theme
Without a doubt, the best known and most enduring of all blaxploitation soundtracks. Isaac Hayes at his very best. Every 1970s record collection contains a copy of the 'Theme from Shaft'. The theme's wah guitar defined the music of an entire decade. Too many good tracks to miss, it's a beautiful blend of lush orchestral film score and out-and-out funk.

Gladys Knight & The Pips - Pipe Dreams (1976)

1. So Sad The Song
2. Alaskan Pipeline
3. Pot Of Jazz
4. I'll Miss You
5. Nobody But You
6. Pipe Dreams
7. Everybody Got To Find A Way
8. I Will Follow My Dream
9. So Sad The Song (Instrumental)
Gladys Knight starred in this Alaska-based love story. The album features a number of distinguished arrangers, including Michael Masser (also responsible for Diana Ross' underrated 'Mahogany' soundtrack), Bubba Knight and the great Dominic Frontiere (take a listen to the fabulous Brannigan main theme, sadly never issued on LP). Much of the album is standard Pips material and lacks depth, often descending into lounge jazz-tinged soul. The album features one stronger funk track, a slower guitar-based jam called 'Alaskan Pipeline'. An album for completists.

Curtis Mayfield & The Staple Singers - Let's Do It Again (1975)

1. Let's Do It Again
2. Funky Love
3. A Whole Lot Of Love
4. New Orleans
5. I Want To Thank You
6. Big Mac
7. After Sex
8. Chase
Curtis Mayfield lends a helping hand to the Staples Singers for a comedy drama film about a young boxer. The album contains a couple of good funk instrumentals, "Big Mac" and "The Chase", and the Staples Singers tracks are worth listening to.

Manu Dibango - Countdown at Kusini (1975)


1. Go Slow Streets
2. Motapo
3. Promenade (Kusini)
4. Bokolo's Boogie
5. Jam Session
6. Marnie
7. Bush
8. Lea's Love Theme
9. Blowin' Western Mind
10. Liberation's Song
11. Red Salter
Manu Dibango is one of the original fathers of the Afro-funk scene. His huge worldwide hit 'Soul Makossa' paved the way for artists such as Fela Kuti and Hugh Masakela. This rare soundtrack was produced in tiny quantities for the premiere of the obscure Ossie Davis movie in Seattle in August 1975. Each album is individually numbered, and signed by the cast. It's a superb blend of African rhythms, jazz, and a heavy dose of space jazz and funk. There are too many good tracks to mention, from uptempo dancefloor cuts to slower mellow numbers, all featuring Manu's superb sax playing. Thanks to Wonder B (the original French funkateer) for a hot tip on this one.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Edwin Starr - Hell Up In Harlem (1974)

1. Ain't It Hell Up In Harlem
2. Easin' In
3. Big Papa
4. Love Never Dies (Helen's Love Theme)
5. Don't It Feel Good To Be Free)
6. Runnin' | Jennifer's Love Theme
7. Airport Chase
8. Mama Should Be Here Too
9. Like We Used To Do
10. Ain't It Hell Up In Harlem (instr.)
Originally due to be scored by James Brown using material from what later became his 'The Payback' LP, this soundtrack by Fonce Mizell and Freddie Perren nevertheless contains some great funk tracks. Edwin Starr is in fine form on the slowburn conga-lead 'Easin' In', while the tight funk band can be heard to full effect on the instrumental 'Runnin'. A consistently good album with several noteable tracks.

Badder Than Evil - Gordon's War (1973)

1. Child Of Tomorrow (sung by Barbara Mason)
2. Just Plain Luther
3. He'll Be There
4. Roberta's Theme
5. Harlem Dreams
6. Come And Dream Some Paradise (sung by New Birth)
7. Tell That Man To Go To Hell
8. Child Of Tomorrow
9. Super Shine Number 9 (sung by Sister Goose And The Ducklings)
10. Hot Wheels (The Chase)
11. Child Of Tomorrow (sung by Barbara Mason)
Gordon's War' is one of the most consistently raw and funky soundtracks of the entire blaxploitation catalog. A superb studio band, Badder Than Evil, join forces with Barbara Mason, New Birth and Sister Goose And The Ducklings to create a classic blaxploitation album to rival the likes of Coffy and Across 110th Street. The sound is tight, small group funk backed with a strong brass section. 'Hot Wheels (The Chase)' is one of the very best soundtrack funk chase themes. The vocal tracks are strong and soulful, too.

Herbie Hancock - Fat Albert Rotunda (1969)

1. Wiggle waggle
2. Fat mama
3. Tell me a bedtime story
4. Oh! oh! here he comes
5. Jessica
6. Fat Albert Rotunda
7. Lil' brother
Taken from Bill Cosby's TV series, this album is superb from start to finish. Similar in feel (although more hip jazzy) to The Adventurers rescore by Quincy Jones, there's so many good tracks on here that it's difficult to pick the good ones. Suffice to say it's been sampled many times, from the snappy funky jazz of Wiggle Waggle to Fat Mama. The band are super-tight, really spacious and jazzy in tone, with plenty of strong brass work over some very, very groovy backline. A pleasure to listen to, and highly recommended.