August 19, 2011 Playlist

Hippie Xmas
Junk Vinyl Special
"Songs" by Rotary Connection (1969)
Rotary Connection  "Songs"  1969 (USA)
We're spinning all vintage vinyl (used records) on the show this week, and one of my favorite dumpster diving discoveries of recent years is the "progressive soul" band Rotary Connection.  They were the flagship act on Chess Records' psychedelic subsidiary label Cadet Concept (which also released farout classics like Electric Mud), and featured the soprano singing of Minnie Riperton (recruited from a secretary job at the label) and the compositions and arrangements of unsung genius Charles Stepney (whose most famous affiliation came later as producer of Earth Wind & Fire's early LP's).  Rotary Connection's six albums are a quintessential example of the eclectic style of the late 1960's, combining soulful group vocals with horns, strings and acid rock guitars.  Songs was their fourth release, and consists entirely of cover songs by the likes of Cream, Hendrix, Stevie Wonder and The Band.  Based in Chicago, the Rotary Connection sold quite a few records in the big cities of the Midwest, but never really achieved much national exposure.
I don't think Rotary Connection ever performed for the video cameras (or even toured much for that matter -- they were really more of a studio project).  So here's a fan video for their version of Aretha Franklin's "Respect" from Songs, which shows you how radically they rearranged popular material!  The final Rotary LP from 1971 included a track called "I Am The Blackgold Of The Sun" which has come to be regarded as something of an unsung classic in recent years.  The most famous member of Rotary was their remarkable singer Minnie Riperton, who had a successful solo career until she died of cancer in 1979.  But the visionary of the group was Charles Stepney, whose other credits include his later work with Earth Wind & Fire, and some very strange late-60's psychedelic blues albums for Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf.  One of the Chess studio musicians who played on these records was Pete Cosey, also something of a cult figure nowdays due to his work with Miles Davis.
Artist Song Album Year Country
The Doobie Brothers Disciple Toulouse Street 1972 USA
The Isley Brothers Listen To The Music (The Doobie Brothers) 3 + 3 1973 USA
Quincy Jones Summer In The City (The Lovin' Spoonful) You've Got It Bad Girl 1973 USA
Kool & The Gang Funky Man A-side 7" single (The Best Of Kool & The Gang LP) 1970 USA
"King's Road" Do It Again (Steely Dan) Superhits Volume 9 ("played & sung like the original hits") 1973 USA
Rotary Connection Sunshine Of Your Love (Cream) Songs
1969 USA
Rotary Connection I've Got My Mojo Working (Muddy Waters) Songs
1969 USA
Rotary Connection Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (Jimi Hendrix) Songs
1969 USA
The New Rotary Connection I Am The Blackgold Of The Sun Hey, Love 1971 USA
Earth Wind & Fire New World Symphony (live) Gratitude 1975 USA
Stu Phillips Waimea - Straight Down "Follow Me" Original Movie Soundtrack 1969 USA
The Waikikis Bali Ha'i (Rogers & Hammerstein) Greatest Hits From Hawaii 1973 USA
Massimo Rainieri (arranged & conducted by Eumir Deodato) Serenata (based on Schubert) Meditazione 1976 Italy (Brazil)
James Last On The Beach Beachparty 2 1971 Germany
Heino Wir Lagen Vor Madagaskar Halli, Hallo, Wir Fahren 1970 Germany
Dr. John She's Just A Square Nite Tripper At His Best rec. 1960's?,
rel. 1974
Janis Ian Everybody Knows The Secret Life Of J. Eddy Fink 1968 USA
Mason Proffit Two Hangmen Wanted 1969 USA
The Electric Prunes I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) 1967 USA
New Riders Of The Purple Sage I Don't Need No Doctor Powerglide 1972 USA
Tom Jones Resurrection Shuffle (live) Live At Caesar's Palace 1971 UK (Wales)
UFO Prince Kajuku UFO 2: Flying (One Hour Space Rock) 1971 UK
Herbie Mann (with Sonny Sharrock, Larry Coryell & Roy Ayers) Hold On, I'm Coming (Sam & Dave) Memphis Underground 1969 USA
Chicago Introduction Chicago Transit Authority 1969 USA
Jean Luc Ponty Aurora - part II Aurora 1976 France
The Mothers Of Invention The Idiot Bastard Son (alternate version) Mothermania (compilation) rec. 1968,
rel. 1969
Redbone New Blue Sermonette Potlatch 1970 USA
Nektar Nelly The Elephant Down To Earth 1974 UK/Germany
Patrick Gleeson Death Star Patrick Gleeson's Star Wars 1977 USA
Vangelis Alpha Albedo 0.39 1976 Greece
Emerson Lake & Palmer The Hut Of Baba Yaga (Mussorgsky)
   / The Curse Of Baba Yaga
The Hut Of Baba Yaga (Mussorgsky)
Pictures At An Exhibition 1972 UK
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