The Claude Mono Blog

essential LPs – Kashmere Stage Band
February 20, 2010, 11:42 am
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Theme From Shaft – Kashmere Stage Band – Texas Thunder Soul – Now Again Records

All Praises – Kashmere Stage Band – Texas Thunder Soul – Now Again Records

As featured on the Soulsides radio show everytime any one of the DJs has to name one of thier all-time favourite LPs. I never real new that school band funk was a genre until I discovered The Kashmere Stage Band and this album which defines the genre. In Houston, Texas, Conrad O. Johnson pursued a lofty goal with his stage band at Kashmere High School, a predominantly black school located in the city’s north end (referred to in Houston as “Kashmere Gardens”). He wanted to lead not only the best high school stage band in Texas, but the best high school stage band in the world.

If you want want more than just the music and to immerse yourself beyond the grooves then check out some beautiful thoughts that were captured in a letter written by Egon Allapat of Now Again Records in Feb 2009 just after Johnston’s death. The letter was written by Egon to help the family raise funds to pay funeral expenses. You can read Egon’s letter here on the totally FAB Nerdtorious blog.

Learn about Conrad Johnson and the Kashmere Stage Band with this quality radio spot on NPR featuring interviews and tracks  – listen here

Learn more about the phenomenal LP issued on Now Again Records here


Want more? – then get more school band funk with these totally on it LPs

Frayker has amazing compilations up for your listening pleasure on his blog.

Compiled by DJ Shadow Schoolhouse Funk Volume 1 and 2 are unsurpassed in thier rawness and essential turntable companions to The Kashmere Stage Band. This was the first release on the Cali-Tex label, compiled by Shadow under the alias “Motorcycle John.” It was also THE first compilation to highlight obscure high-school and lab band records. The version of Rod Stewart’s own Do Ya Think I’m Sexy done by a testosterone fueled male student is a highlight as I am sure it was for his parents back in the day.

– War Is A Ghetto – of School House Funk Vol 1 – (…real deepness here…)

Vital Trivia – The Cali-Tex logo was designed by Shadow’s father, who provided the illustration.

School Me Volume 1 on the appropriately titled Stage Band Research Label (oh yeah) offers the promise of further volumes.. from the covernotes…

“We present you with white bands, black bands, mixed bands… bands from well endowed universities and those from impoverished, overlooked high schools… bands from the sticks and those from the bricks… Bands who obviously worshipped James Brown and those who inspired by Cream. We’ve focused on the era between 1968 and 1975 for this compilation. But this is only the beginning. Let’s hope it doesn’t take us a decade to find enough to make it to volume two”

Lots of stuff as good as this….

Compared To What – TSU Jazz Ensemble – School Me Vol 1 – Stage Band Research Records

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essential LPs – Barbara and Ernie – Prelude To
February 6, 2010, 9:57 am
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Featured on the Folk Funk and Heavy Soul compilation

This 1971 LP on the groovy Cotillion label is an all-time heavy soul psych folk classic that should be in everyone’s collection. These days its sought after for its beats and samples but Claude definitely digs the whole package. The unlikely pairing of jazz guitarist Ernie Calabria and soul session singer Barbara Massey came together only once on this LP to record an album of out-there, genre-defying hybrids lavishly orchestrated by the legendary Eumir Deodato. File next to Arthur Verocai.

Barbara nd Ernie – Play With Fire

Barbara and Ernie – My Love and I

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Essential LPs – Arthur Verocai
December 31, 2009, 2:28 am
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Arthur Verocai performs at the Luckman Theater in Los Angeles at the TIMELESS series on March 15, 2009. Presented by VTech, MOCHILLA, and ArtDontSleep. It isnt often that the cosmos align as perfectly as they did on Sunday to bring Arthur Verocai to L.A. for the first time. Though some people in attendance may have been familiar with his work through hip-hops skillful integration of his epic sound, there was no mistaking that Verocais symphonic artistry extends beyond the confines of sampling. With a 36-piece orchestra—including Brazilian heavy hitters Ivan Mamao Conti, Aloisio Aguiar, Jose Bertrami and Airto Moreira—Verocai made his fabled 1972 album unfold before all ages of admirers.

An album from 1972 that is less then 30 minutes long but my god what a 30 minutes it is. As essential in 2010 as it was back in 1972 – find out more here