Besides being one of the great golden-era deep soul belters still on the scene, Otis Clay is also a formidable gospel stylist, who established his rep with the Pilgrim Harmonizers, Gospel Songbirds and Sensational Nightingales.
But unlike many of his contemporaries who crossed over, the hard-singing Clay never lost his touch for delivering a stirring hymn. He reaffirms this on the excellent gospel set Walk A Mile In My Shoes (Echo), for which Clay recently received a Grammy nod for best traditional R&B vocal performance. He’s reunited here with brothers Arthur Crume (who originally brought Clay into the Nightingales) and guitarist Leroy Crume of the Soul Stirrers for a rafter-raising tear through the songs associated with Clay’s contemporaries (OV Wright, Johnnie Taylor and others) that have always been touchstones. Stax fans will enjoy hearing Carla Thomas go to church on the closer If I Could Reach Out And Help. The King of West Cermak has definitely still got it. www.otisclay.net.
Funky kid stuff
Unless you happened to grow up in Rio or São Paulo watching Vila Sésamo (the Brazilian version of Sesame Street, with a blue Big Bird and a giant red elephant named Funga-Funga), you may have missed out on some of singer/composer Marcos Valle’s funkiest recordings, which were made exclusively for the children’s program. The good news is that as part of the Som Livre label’s 35th-anniversay celebrations, it’s reissued 24-bit remastered versions of a number of obscure back-catalogue titles, including the surprisingly dope Vila Sésamo soundtrack, with such boffo bumpers as Abecedário, Differenças and the bangin’ Funga-Funga theme
. You need to hear that.
Evidently, B-Music DJ and Finders Keepers mainmain Andy Votel was also taken by the freaky Funga-Funga groove, because he included the track on the Brazilika mix of subtropical psychedelia he put together from the Som Livre and RGE holdings for the Far Out label’s guest selecta series. Although Votel isn’t known for his expertise in rare Brazilian joints, he knows what he likes, and that includes the trippy stuff by Os Brazoes, Novos Baianos, Tim Maia, Sydney Miller and not too much else. On the upside, most of Votel’s track choices haven’t already been comped. www.faroutrecordings.com.
Os Brazões - Módulo Lunar
Os Brazões - Gotham City
Navos Baianos - Colégio de Aplicação
Fans of vintage Mississippi hill country blues will probably already know about Fat Possum’s amazing CD reissues in the George Mitchell Collection series. But even some serious blues collectors are unaware that Fat Possum has also been releasing 7-inch vinyl EPs of music from Mitchell’s seemingly bottomless archive of incredible field recordings dating back to the 60s. Of course, trying to track down and buy each of the 45 EPs in the series individually is both time-consuming and expensive – three bills’ worth – so I’m happy to report that Fat Possum has just packaged the whole fantastic lot in one killer seven-CD box that you should be able to score for under $40. If you haven’t yet heard Cecil Barfield, Othar Turner, Maxwell Street Jimmy, Lonzie Thomas and Precious Bryant playing on their porch, it’s about time you did. www.fatpossum.com.
Green Paschal - Mother Is Dead
William "Do Boy" Diamond - Just Want to Talk to You
Bud Grant - So Sweet