Announcing: Richard Marks “Never Satisfied”

Now-Again | Mar. 31, 2015 | News | , ,

Legendary soul and funk singles from Atlanta guitarist/singer/songwriter Richard Marks. Includes previously unreleased tracks. Book w/ CD, 2 LP w/ booklet. Out now!

Seven years in the making, Never Satisfied is our collection of legendary soul and funk singles by Atlanta Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter Richard Marks. This 21 track anthology follows Marks’ stylistic development, from his earliest work for the legendary Tuska label, from 1968 until approximately 1972, through his more mature releases on the Shout label and smaller regional labels like Note, Free Spirit and RSC. It also includes two tracks never released in any form, found on reels Marks had maintained in his Atlanta home.

Marks’ story is that on an unsung soul and funk hero; a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter whose number was in Al Green’s, Barry White’s and Eddie Kendricks’ rolodexes, but whose talents have only been heard in sporadic bursts since his 45s were released and disappeared into Atlanta’s urban expanse. This is the story of a father and husband who managed to keep his family together as he gigged the third shift six nights a week. The story of a man who wished for more and whose talent is overdue for reassessment.

Marks and his music are unknown to the majority, but to an obsessive minority, he is a lightning rod, that singular point at which numerous Southern soul and funk musicians converged and exploded, spreading wondrous music in all directions. Marks’ impeccable run of 7” singles, released largely on tiny, local labels, are the stuff of legend, and are hen’s-teeth-rare.

Marks died of cancer in May of 2006, never having issued an album, either in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when many of his peers were able to find a way to issue an LP, or in anthology form in his later years. He never granted an interview. Given the caliber of his recordings and the near complete lack of information available about him before the issue of this anthology, Marks stands out as the most mysterious talent to originate from Atlanta, a city that birthed no shortage of genius, from acclaimed worldwide (the Mighty Hannibal), obscure yet celebrated (Lee Moses) and local, but well documented (Tommy Stewart). Never Satisfied aims to illuminate the life and career of this all-too-talented musician.

56 page perfect bound 9″ x 6″ book with CD and 2LP with 20 page booklet. Book/Booklet contains extensive essays on Marks’ career and is full of never-before-seen photos and ephemera from this crucial Southern soul and funk epoch. Download card included with LP version.

Out NOW: the lost James Brown/Bootsy Collins album “These Are The J.B.’s”

Now-Again | Nov. 28, 2014 | News | ,

Previously unreleased and unheard 1970 album by James Brown’s backing band the JB’s, led by Bootsy Collins. Out NOW. 
First edition limited to 3000 pieces – vinyl only.

More information at our webstore at rappcats.com!

In 1970 James Brown perfectly captured a definitive moment in modern music when he called Bootsy Collins into the studio to record the tracks that would be These Are The J.B.’s, a title given to a King Records test-press LP that was never released, and only rumored to exist.

This album is the epitome of funk music, Brown’s innovation that influenced everything that came after it, from Afro-beat to disco to hip-hop. And if there is any funk ensemble as influential as Brown’s in the post-“Cold Sweat” musical landscape, it’s the Bootsy Collins/Parliament/Funkadelic contingent. Those two streams, as Grammy-winning James Brown historian Alan Leeds details in this album’s liner notes, converged for the first time here, making this a Rosetta Stone of funk’s dominant idioms.

This link between Brown’s funk and all that followed features Bootsy and his young band running through twelve-minute instrumental take of Marva Whitney’s “It’s My Thing,” replete with blues chord changes, alongside interpretations of the Meters, Kool and the Gang and none other than Jimi Hendrix. This is a young band’s James Brown-turned-on-his-head style of funk that they nail in a one-minute vamp – available to hear now on our Soundcloud – that embodies the essence of the psychedelic-flavored music that would propel them into the orbit of George Clinton’s mothership.

This is the first commercial issue of this album, overseen by Now-Again’s Eothen “Egon” Alapatt alongside Leeds and Universal Music Group’s James Brown expert Harry Weinger. It was mastered specifically for vinyl by Elysian Master’s Dave Cooley, from the original two-track stereo master that James Brown and his engineer Ron Lenhoff delivered to production forty-four years ago. It’s packaged in a thick, “tip-on” Stoughton jacket, with a booklet with liner notes by Leeds and Alapatt and unpublished photographs.

Announcing: New World Generation’s Disco-Soul-Boogie Anthology (… download a free MP3 now).

Now-Again | Nov. 29, 2011 | News | , ,

Rare and unreleased late 70s and early 80s disco, soul and boogie recorded by the cult New England ensemble.

We’re happy to present New World Generation’s self-titled anthology, a collection of rare and unreleased soul, disco and boogie by the cult New England ensemble. Presented as a 2CD and as a 2LP; both formats contain extensive liner notes with rare photographs and ephemera. Note: songs from CD disc two are not contained on the 2LP version of this album.

We first got a taste of the New World Generation when Phil Morrison, bassist for avant-garde, Boston-based jazzers Stark Reality, sent us a copy of New World Generation’s solitary recorded document: a five song EP that the band privately released in 1982. We heard echoes of the Roy Ayers produced RAMP sessions and the precise yet sensual vibes of the foundation known as Earth, Wind and Fire. We were intrigued, so we put in a call to New World Generation’s bandleader, Lekan Parsons and found that he had recorded more music in the years leading up to the New World Generation EP. But he’d recorded with different ensembles; finding the first threads of his musical tapestry would take time.

He promised to dig out his masters and send them to us for our consideration. It took years for him to collate the various components of the first phase of his recording career – which stretched from New York to Boston over the course of a decade – but when he did send the music, we were thrilled. The songs he’d recorded with the Universal Rhythms and Orison ensembles were harbingers of the sophisticated soul he’d proffer with New World Generation. They were winsome, hopeful songs – and their existence offered us the chance to present this album.

New World Generation references the faith that carried Parsons through the difficult and demoralizing times accomplished musicians like he and his friends experienced in a post-disco world. Download an example of New World Generation’s music below – “One Of A Kind,” from their 1982 EP.

Download: New World Generation “One Of A Kind.”

California Funk

Now-Again | Apr. 9, 2010 | News | , ,

The Jazzman/Now-Again Funk series has offered surveys as broad as they are deep: Midwest Funk, Texas Funk, Florida Funk, Carolina Funk. Yet this might be the most important trawl of all: California Funk. Over a decade in the making, this – from compilers Malcolm Catto and Gerald “Jazzman” Short – is the Funk masterpiece. This anthology examines what happened to the independent ensembles who gigged during Sly and the Family Stone’s Bay-area renaissance. It delves into the stories sidemen who worked alongside LA’s Charles Wright and the Watt’s 103rd Street Rhythm Bands and offers answers to elusive questions. At the same time, it offers thunderous drums, fuzzy wah-wah, fat basslines, blistering horns and exhortations akin to James Brown and his many disciples over its 21 track selection.

This official reissue was licensed by the lost bandleaders, bass players, drummers, label owners and studio-vets – independents, all, lost to history no more. This CD is packaged as a “mini-LP” in a thick, “paste-on” gatefold cardboard sleeve Now-Again’s issue of California Funk also comes with a 24 page full color booklet with full liner notes, annotation, and never-before-seen photos of these most impressive organizations.

Download a representative track L.A.’s own Apple and Three Oranges’ “Curse Upon The World” here.

The Equatics

Now-Again | Nov. 16, 2009 | News | ,

Read the full liner notes here.

The stories of great high school funk bands are, thanks to an abundance of reissues, commonplace. The tales of great high school soul-bands are still rare. A ballad or two on the random Douglass High School Stage Band album or Timeless Legend’s mesmerizing entry on Columbus’s 1972 1st Annual Inner City Talent Expo notwithstanding, high school bands rarely struck into the realm of “grown folks” music. Enter The Equatics and their brooding masterpiece Doin’ It!!!!

If this is categorized as a “funk” album – and it was for the last ten years, by those few lucky enough to own an original copy – it holds its own. But it was as a soul band – one as inspired by the melancholic musings of Bill Withers as the psychedelic-pop of the self-proclaimed “Black Moses,” Issac Hayes – that the Equatics shone. These young souls offered world-weary, beat-heavy ballads that stand on par with any of the great independent organizations of the early 1970s. That a group of teenagers could offer such an angst-ridden plea as that of Leo Davis’s “Merry Go Round” not only transcends the limitations that came from the band’s average age (seventeen, at the time of the album’s recording), but also the barriers the stood in front of this group of small-city hopefuls.

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