Monday, April 26, 2010

Gene Dozier - Hunk Of Funk - Minit Records, 1967
Today's funky gem is by Gene Dozier aka Ugene Lloyd Dozier aka Billy Jackson.
Gene had a long career, working with tons of musicians like Dusty Springfield, Lakeside, Shalimar, the SOS Band, Minnie Ripperton, the O’Jays and others. Unfortunately, after all of his efforts he remains a bit obscure. This song is off of the 1968 "Blues Power" album (songs of the funky instrumental variety with a few covers like "Cold Sweat"), and this single in particular broke the R&B top 50. There's a strong beat running through this one as some serious guitar and horn work elevate it to absolute badass. Gene passed in 2007.
Minit is a classic New Orleans label. They released a ton of great music, and if you ever come across anything on the label you owe it to yourself to give it a good listen.
(Ed - The following is from the discography page for Minit at Both Sides Now. Thanks!)
The Minit Label was formed in 1959 in New Orleans, Louisiana, by Joe Banashak and Larry McKinley. Joe Banashak ran A-1 Record Distributors in New Orleans when he formed the label. The man responsible for most of the hits on Minit was Allen Toussaint, who wrote, played piano, arranged, and produced the music. The first artist recorded for the label was Matthew Jacobs, also known as "Boogie Jake," who had three of the first six singles for the label. Ernest Kador (Ernie K. Doe), Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas, and Benny Spellman were also early artists for the label. The first hit for Minit was Allen Toussaint's production of Jessie Hill's "Ooh Poo Pah Doo, Part 2" which reached No. 28 in the summer of 1960. In 1961, Minit reached a distribution deal with Lew Chudd of Imperial Records. Shortly after the deal was formed, Minit had a No. 1 national hit with "Mother-In-Law" by Ernie K-Doe. At the end of 1961, the Showmen made a fine tribute to rock and roll with "It Will Stand," which only reached No. 61 on the national charts, but has been a standard of sorts ever since. The 1960-63 Minit label has long been known for the early work of some of the most talented and enduring performers on the New Orleans scene. When Allen Toussaint went into the Army in 1963, the hits stopped coming and the Minit Record Label was sold to Imperial.
I've noticed that Minit went through several designs for the 45 labels, here are some examples from my collection:
Here's the first design, a simple orange and black number.
Then we have this design with a clock-themed logo.
And now the final label design, which seems to be a very stylized take on the previous design. This was used until the label closed.
Special thanks for Fleamarket Funk for some of this info!
For a introduction to the music of Minit, I recommend this compilation which contains many of the high points - including "Hunk Of Funk". The Minit Records Story
And now, the clip!

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