Category archive: Random Record Rants

Ohio Players Cover

With the death of Ohio Players frontman Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner (69) in 2013, room was left to make the legacy of funk group Ohio Players even more significant to Funk music in general. For those who are not yet familiar with the Ohio Players, Bonner co-founded the group back in 1964 with the former members of The Ohio Untouchables and the group skyrocketed the charts with major hits like ‘Love Rollercoaster’, ‘Fire’ and ‘Sweet Sticky Thing’.
ohio players
Album covers, especially in the 70’s, were specifically created to serve as a visual extension of the music. In these triumph years of a changing and revolving social and political climate, records and their album covers often pushed the awareness amongst the listening audience. Music was not the only tool anymore. The visual aspect of powerful album art became equally important in drawing in new listeners and revolutionists.

I first became aware of the Ohio Players and their fascinating album art at a record fair in Rijswijk, about 6 or 7 years ago. I had just gotten into the world of crate-digging and enthusiastically let my amateur fingers glide through thousands of records in the funk/jazz/soul section. This all under the careful
guidance of my dear crate-digging peer Nilez. I always knew our shared love for records would someday venture into a business mainly revolving around music, but that’s another story. As I felt the records slide through my, still rusty, fingers I stumbled upon this 1973 Westbound Records released Ohio Players album named ‘Ecstasy’. What drew my undivided attention that particular moment was the insane unconventional photography art by Joel Brodsky. Central on the album cover graced this dominant, bald African-American dancer and model Pat Evans. Though the chains around neck her suggest submission, it contradictory expresses everything but a submissive model. Empowerment, individuality, controle and the freedom of choice for women of color became important social and political movements in the 70’s. They are the basis of nowadays liberties for women of color. Granted, we aren’t near where we should be on these matters, but as with every revolution, a seed must be planted first in order for it to grow into a tree, deeply rooted in society. No longer the victim in chains, but rather power contained, and released by choice.

Unfortunately in nowadays music industry the social and political aspects are becoming less and less important. Esthetics have taken the front seat, together with commercial goals. No seat belts there, I might add. The front car window being the representation of our society as it presently is.

With the rise of the influence of major labels, came the decline of artistic freedom of artists as well as designers, illustrators and photographers. It is time to tip the scale again in favor of creativity, social and political awareness. They always precede positive change and revolution.

Erik Tagg Rendez Vous

Erik Tagg’s obscure album “Rendez Vous” is one of those albums you don’t come across much. I guess at times I’m a lucky bastard, for I have found two copies of this wonderful LP. And get this at the same record shop.

One of my favorite record stores is located just a few blocks from where I grew up and I remember visiting it first at the age of fifteen. As a youngster my knowledge of records was not what it is now…almost two decades later. The small shop is ran by a guy called Erik (is this a coincidence or what?), who has been the nicest guy for almost twenty years.
The shops basement once housed over twenty-thousand records, but throughout the years numbers have decreased. A few years back Erik was cleaning up the basement and I helped him alphabetize a couple of thousand records. Of course I came up with more one great finds, most memorable being a copuple Erik Tagg or Eric Tagg albums.

Erik Tagg was born in Illinois and began his musical career in the Netherlands as band member of Beehive (1973-1974) and Rainbow Train (1975-1979). During the 1980’s he worked with Lee Ritenour. His Rendez Vous album on Poker is not only a rare find. It contains “Got To Be Lovin’ You”, which is one of my favorite AOR songs. His blue eyed soul was recognized worldwide and in 2001 Zafsmusic and Mark Goodvibes Taylor licensed the previously unreleased track “Living Off The Love” for the compilation album Americana: Rock Your Soul – Blue Eyed Soul And Sounds From The Land Of The Free.

Sorry it took me almost two years to do a follow up Random Record Rants post. I realize this is a great way for some of you to get to know me a little better and I truly hope you will dig the records I’m sharing here.

Samuel Jonathan Johnson

I grew up buying vinyl so for me music was always something special. Something you would go out and search for. The first record store I grew fond of was Dance Tracks (R.I.P.) and after that Fat Beats came to Amsterdam. I spent many hours (and all my allowance) hangin’ out in records shops, soaking up every bit of knowledge I could. Just a few blocks from my house was this dusty old record spot that had a huge basement full of records. Must have spent weeks in there. I still visit this place on the weekend and hang out and talk music with old guys.

In the second half of the nineties I came in contact with Soul, Funk, Jazz, Disco and many other forms of black music. Before that it was all about Hip Hop and R&B music. Now when I first met Nevill, he wasn’t into vinyl as much I was. It wasn’t something of his generation, yet years later we share the same passion. He introduced me to music from FlyLo, AFTA-1 and Sa-Ra. I introduced him to Leon Ware, Pleasure and Leo’s Sunshipp.

We’ve been talking about posting about our love for old records and thought now would be as good as timing as ever to start. These Random Record Rants will shine some light on our personal taste in music and might open a whole new world for some people. For us it’s just a way to share our passion!

Yesterday Front2blaq helped me remember about this Samuel Jonathan Johnson record I hadn’t heard in quite a while. Arranged by Richard Evans (Soulful Strings) and with John H. Hammond as executive producer this album can only be good. It’s no secret I love smooth & sexy songs, so if I have to pick a winner of this album I’d personally go for “Just Us”. After having read the following quote on the back of the sleeve, I soon realized Samuel was one smooth fellow. “Age exists only to disclose the perpetual advancement of time, but love exists mainly to unveil the resolute purpose of man’s existence.”

This Samuel Jonathan Johnson record is going straight into my record bag that I’m bringing this Sunday to the North Sea Jazz club this Sunday. Going to play some mellow rare groove classics for sure!