(Collector Allen Johnson aka Overflo is a Chicago native who produced for Rhymesayers, EV Productions, and Chocolate Industries and he’ll be bringing us funky contributions of rare, random tracks from his crates. Though he leans towards old funk, hip-hop and electro, he also mingles with Jazz, garage, soul, Latin and boogaloo. He also founded and manages Birthwrite Records; get at him and his storefront at email@example.com. Below are some 45s from his stacks. – DM)
Frank Armstrong & the Stingers “I Feel Like I Want to Holler” on Modern. I dug this out of a garage in San Jose this past year, and I don’t know much about it. I skipped by it at first, but when I listened I knew I had to have it. It starts with a swanky guitar riff joined by some drums and a fast-paced bassline. It’s got some swing but stays funky. The rhythm section is arranged perfectly, and Armstrongs’ scruffy vocals make the entire song an enjoyable seemless tablespoon of how it’s done! As a bonus, the flipside “Humpin’” is a pretty groovy instrumental track.
Bill Coday “I Got A Thing” on Galaxy, year unknown. This is by no means Coday’s biggest hit, for me it’s an obvious pick! Coday worked with producer, Willie Mitchell (Hi Records) for years recording for Denise LaSalle’s Crajon label. LaSalle also wrote the song, which could just as easily have been composed by Fred Wesley & Maceo Parker. Many were funky but came off as imitators. Codays’ screams are the real thing.
The Leaves “Get Out My Life Woman” on Mira 1966. The Leaves were a southern Cali based garage rock outfit who successfully interpreted this Toussaint classic! I remember being introduced to this break years back (the Lee Dorsey version) and instantly I was drawn to the drums; always the drums. To top it off the whole song is killer. The vocals bring a psychedelic vibe with nice harmonies. The song develops well with a slammin’ horn arrangement at the end. Ah, the ’60s rarely did they disappoint.
Z.Z. Hill “What More” Kent. Okay, of course when I think of Z.Z. Hill immediately the blues comes to mind. He didn’t have much success until the ’70s & ’80s recording the blues. However, he started recording in the ’50s and this hard to come by ’60s ballad on the legendary Kent label is smooth and downright soulful! The back-up singers lay some nice harmonies on the chorus as well! If you see this floating around somewhere grab it.
(“Only in America could you find a way to earn a healthy buck / And still keep your attitude on self-destruct”- MF Doom)
Judgements aside, it’s no doubt that Amy was enormously talented. During her short span she made one of the best albums of 2006, Back To Black, a slick, modern ’60s throwback done with the help of the Dap Kings. And while people, for the most part, have fixated on her antics, it’s apparent she bolstered the modern soul revival, bringing it mainstream regard, opening doors for similar projects both commercial and independent. And she did so in large fashion simply by killing every track (with such ease, as seen HERE).
“It’s always the good ones that have to die.” RIP.
In addition to “Valerie” and “He Can Only Hold Her”, Amy’s cover of The Specials’ “Hey Little Rich Girl”, off The Ska ep, is one of her best.
Paul is a character who equally adds as much character to his projects. He’s hip-hop royalty and has made some of the dopest, most endearing albums ever– most of which have aged so well, especially in the face of rap records that worsen with time. I was stoked to speak with Paul recently for EGOTRIP’s sample flip series (DJ Spinna and Jake One have been recent subjects).
Read/listen to it HERE and check out the Underdog flip at the end! Below is the rest of our rather lengthy talk, touching briefly on his career points and some current items. Thanks Paul!
Of all the revered MCs you’ve worked with, who struck you the hardest?
I know a lot of rappers and they can all rap in their own way. All those dudes I’ve worked with are just so talented. Look, there’s a laymen’s MC and there are MCs of different calibers. Out of all them, Slick Rick impressed me the most; he had a way about him, he just rhymed with no effort. I remember meeting him early in the morning at the studio and he was just sitting down laying down tracks with perfectly delivered lines with a coffee cup in one hand [laughs]. So casual and natural and delivering perfectly. That’s an image I won’t forget of Rick.
What’s your favorite solo release of yours?
None of ‘em! [laughs] Probably Psychoanalysis because it was so dumb! It was made primarily for my friends and I and I was just gonna do like 1000 copies and kinda put it out to see what happens. I think besides 3 Feet High and Rising, Psychoanalysis brought about the most good things for me and is probably one of the more pivotal records of my career.
What do you remember most from the Stetsasonic years?
I just remember being so young and full of ideas and just being in awe. Imagine a time when making hip-hop records wasn’t something everyone did. Back then, you could name like just a few groups that made rap; it was popular but not commonplace. I remember the experimentation and digging and just meeting cats. These days you can type in ‘hip-hop’ and ‘1979’ and find out everything about it. But back then, you had to go through it.