One of the longest running compilation series is Movements, compiled by Tobias Kirkmayer. The first instalment in the series, Movements was released back in 2005 on Perfect Toy Records. In an ever crowded compilation market, Movements was well received. A year later, in 2006, came Movements. Then nothing. Four long years passed without another instalment in the Movement series. That’s a long time between Movements.
Then in 2010, Tobias’ Movements’ series found a new home at Tramp Records. Movements was released in May 2013. Nearly two years later, Movements 4 was released in March 2012, with Movements 5 released in May 2013. The Movements’ compilation series was a survivor. It had lasted eight years and five volumes. Now was a case of stick or twist.
The problem with long-running and successful compilation series’ is knowing when to quit. It’s always best to get out while you’re ahead. The last thing a record company or compiler can do, is release too many in a compilation series. This can tarnish the memory of a series. Fond memories are tarnished by one too many compilation. Many compilation series have suffered this fate. There’s several reasons for this.
Probably the most obvious, is with each compilation that’s released, the pool of quality music available shrinks. Then there’s copycat compilations. Usually, when a smaller label hits on a successful formula, someone at a major decides they should jump on the bandwagon. That was the case back when downtempo compilations were the musical flavour of the month. Everyone jumped on the bandwagon and as a result, downtempo compilations became a four letter word. So when a compilation series reaches five or six volumes, the worry for the compiler, record company and especially the record buyer, is that it’s one compilation too many. Will that be the case with Movements 6 was released by Tramp Records on 17th March 2014.
For Movements 6, Tobias Kirkmayer has headed on another crate-digging mission. Whether it’s dusty warehouses, thrift stores, backstreet record shops or junk shops, no pile of vinyl is left undisturbed. Not when Tobias is about. He’s always on the look out for that elusive hidden gem. Will his persistence and determination often pays off. That’s what I’ll tell you, when I tell you about Movements 6.
Movements 6 is a seventeen tracks compilation. Eclectic describes the music on Movements 6. Everything from funk, jazz, R&B and soul sits side-by-side. This includes contributions from Clarence Daniels and Obie Jessie, Rudy Lambert, Ural Thomas, Los Keys, Billy Young, Changes and Professor Lett and Study. These are just a few of the tracks on Movements 6 which I’ll pick the highlights of.
Clarence Daniels and Obie Jessie’s Hard Working Girl opens Movements 6. This single is a real rarity. Recently, a copy changed hands for $1,100. It was penned by Clarence and Obie and released by Affiliated Records. Sadly, it wasn’t a commercial success. That was the story of Clarence’s career. Fame and fortune eluded him. Indeed, between1976 and 1981, he was Esther Phillips’ musical director. Clarence’s solo career was on hold. Working Girl was a distant memory. It’s propelled along by a standup bass and vibes, blues, jazz, R&B and soul is combined by Clarence and Obie. The result is a track that’s jazz-tinged, bluesy and soulful hidden gem that’s the perfect way to open Movements 6.
It was in New Orleans that Luther Kent was born and he’d immerse himself in music. Music was his life. Later, he signed to Lou Adler’s Ode Records and fronted Blood, Sweat and Tears on their 1974-1975 world tour. Before that, Luther dawned the persona of Dynamic Duke Royal. Using that alias, he released a series of singles. One of them was the blistering I Wanna Know. It literally, explodes into life. The Duke fuses blues, R&B and soul, his needy vocal pleading “I Wanna Know.” Blistering, explosive and joyous. The only thing to slightly tarnish the track is the sound quality, which could be better.
The Impacts’ Thunder Chicken is a driving R&B instrumental. Driven along by blazing horns, handclaps and the rhythm section, it was perfect showcase to Philly’s nascent musical scene. Thunder Chicken was written by Calvin Harris and produced by Wally O Productions. Released on Marmaduke Records, this was The Impacts only single. Why? Well, after the release of this single, Gamble and Huff signed most of The Impacts to their new label Philadelphia International Records and they became M.F.S.B.
When Bob French’s Storyville Jazz Band play the introduction to St. James Infirmary, its late night jazzy sound is captivates you. It’s a track from their eponymous album, which was released in the early seventies. Horns rasp and bray, while a piano meanders and a vocal full of pain, hurt and heartbreak adds the finishing touch. Laden in emotion, it’s easily one of the highlights of Movements 6
Singer and songwriter doesn’t do Billy Young justice. There’s more to him than that. During his life he’s been an entrepreneur, running several record labels. He’s also fought for justice and equality. Music is only part of the Billy Young story. He wants to make life better for his fellow Americans. However, one his finest moments was his 1973 single Suffering With A Hangover Part 1. He wrote the single, which was released on the Joyja label. From the opening bars, you can sense Billy suffering and sadness. His voice is needy and full of confusion and longing. However much he drinks, he can’t forget the love he lost.
Sultry and funky describes Changes’ Feel So Bad. Powered along by a Hammond organ and the rhythm section, this sets the scene for a vocal that oozes emotion and loneliness. Grizzled horns enter, adding the finishing touch. Feel So Bad was the B-Side to Changes’ second and final single. Recorded in 1973 and released on Joey Records, it’s a shame Changes didn’t release more music, going by the standard of this track.
Society Inc’s Disco Jockey Jam was released back in 1974, on the Dot label. It’s a fusion of disco, funk, jazz and proto-boogie. Funky, futuristic and dance-floor friendly describes this track. Synths add to the sometimes futuristic, sci-fi sound. The result is a lysergic musical journey where musical genres and influences melt into one resulting in a track you’ll either love or loathe.
It was back in 1957, that The Dell Vikings released their debut album. They’d go onto enjoy commercial success and critical acclaim. Come Go With Me released in 1957, was their biggest selling single. It sold over one-million copies. Twenty years later, The Dell Vikings were signed to Fee Bee Records and released the uber funky Welfare Blue. It starts promisingly, with the rhythm section providing the pulsating, funky heartbeat, while horns blaze and bray. The only problem is the vocal. Here, The Dell Vikings sound like James Brown impersonators, vamping their way through the track. That takes the edge of a slice of prime funk.
Closing Movements 6 is Professor Lett and Study’s We Oughta Get Together. It was the B-Side to The Funky Professor. This is another journey into funk. At the heart of the track are the rhythm section. Chiming guitars and funky guitar lock into the groove. They provide the backdrop for a vocal that’s both heartfelt and sassy. Add to the mix growling horns and you’ve the recipe for some funky music.
For anyone who enjoys there music funky, jazz-tinged, soulful or dance-floor friendly, Movements 6 is a compilation that might appeal to you. It crammed full or rarities and hidden gems. Many of these hidden gems will be new to many people. Even dedicated crate-diggers will find something new on Movements 6.
Indeed, trying to buy copies of each of the tracks, or the albums they’re taken from, would require a second mortgage. However, let’s not confuse rarity with quality. Too often people do that. In the case of some of the tracks on Movements 6, including Clarence Daniels and Obie Jessie’s Hard Working Girl which is a real rarity, oozes quality. Copies of this track change hands for around $1,200. However, it’s not quality all the way.
A couple of the hidden gems would’ve been best left hidden. A prime example is are The Dell Vikings’ Welfare Blues. It starts of uber funky and goes rapidly downhill when the vocal enters. It makes me think of a James Brown impersonator, on a bad day. Without the vocal it would’ve been a slice prime funk, and a sampler’s delight. Then there’s the tracks that you’ll either love or hate.
This includes Marie Adams and The Tommy Dodson’s All Stars’ That’s The Way To Get Along and Society Inc’s Disco Jockey Jam. These two tracks will divide opinion. You could play them to a group of people and everyone will have their opinion. All I’ll say is they’re far from my favourites. However, there’s much to commend Movement 6, albeit with a caveat.
For fans of funk, jazz, R&B and soul, there’s plenty to get your teeth into on Movements 6. The same goes for crate-diggers and sample hungry hip hoppers. I guarantee there’s breaks aplenty on Movements 6. Tobias Kirkmayer has dug deep and come up with some musical gold. However, the only thing is the sound quality.
On some tracks the sound quality isn’t as good as I’d expect. Obviously, sometimes, master tapes aren’t in the best condition. If they’re not available, sometimes, compilers rely on vinyl copies. Either way, that might explain the snap, crackle and pop on some tracks. Of course, many of these singles are forty years old, so we can forgive this. Indeed, some people would say it adds to the rawness and power of the music on Movements 6. In some cases I’d be forced to agree. On others on Movements 6, the latest in the Movements’ compilation series the sound quality jars.
Earlier, I said that by the time a compilations get to the fifth or sixth volume in a compilation series, compilers and record companies should be considering the series’ future. That’s not the case with the Movements series. There’s still life in the series, as Movements 6 shows.