Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Drugstore Soul-Jazz

Pickwick SPC-3290

(extracted and updated from an older, deleted blog...)

As a youngster with an insatiable appetite for music and usually less than $5 in his pocket - Woolworths, local drugstores and a store called Masters (now Modells) were indispensable and invaluable destinations. I beefed up my classical collection with Masters' sizable selection of Nonesuch cutouts. On rare occasions they'd have a big washing machine box filled with 45's for 10 cents each.

If I had to guess I'd say this one came from Nichol's Drugstore in Selden (now a hero joint). I'm not sure who dropped the $2.99 - my brother, me or my mom. Either way it became 'mine'. (This is not my original copy, tho' - see this post for explanation.)

Pickwick records made their living putting out knock-offs like "Shaft", and by picking up unwanted budget releases/artists from other labels. The silver label usually meant you were in for iffy performances, a low count on actual audio time, poor vinyl quality, an off center pressing etc.; this album being a major exception in the performance department. I had a collection peppered with Pickwick releases. Here's the pickwick wiki (fun to say!) and here's another site about them - although it's been "under construction" for months (or maybe years); there are links to Pickwick subsidiaries which are very interesting reads if you're into such things.

Haha love the movie mockup artwork by Ken Beckles!

After comparing track by track Mr. Hayes' version with Soul Mann and the Brothers - I'm of the opinion that the Pickwick release is rawer (in part due to a slightly pared down instrumentation), looser and funkier.  There is no banter in the title track. Soul Mann is actually Sy Mann*, and "the brothers" were mostly a bunch of white dudes, including Will Lee on bass. The musicianship is outstanding; track lengths and tempos vary from the Bar-Kays performances, always for the better.

I won't often be posting audio files from other artists - but since this is so tasty (and out of print) here's Bumpy's Blues with a sly flugelhorn solo by one of my favs Lew Soloff. Just so nice! - KM

* - the last sentence on the spaceagepop page about only 2 tracks being from Isaac Hayes' soundtrack is untrue - all of the tracks are from the movie. I've notified the editor.

1 comment:

  1. it appears that Pickwick released this overseas on the Hallmark label - with the artist listed as Mack Browne and the Brothers...