Sunday, June 13, 2010

Todays post is a bit of a strange one. It's the entire works (as far as I know) of some geezer who called himself Caleb Sweetback. Coincidentally, it also features the entire back catalogue of the New York-based Black Spade record label (proprietor: Caleb Sweetback).

Backing on both tracks is provided by Zap Pow and it's rock hard. Sweetback is sometimes off-key, but very listenable and very original. These records are what's known as 'Private Press' in soul circles: some guy's decided he's got something he wants to share with the world, and he's gone and done it all off his own back. Even though we may never know anything more about Sweetback, we should be grateful that he's made the effort to create these two fantastic records.

When I was little, the man who drove my school bus was a salsero called Oscar who'd cut a stack of records but never quite made it to the big time. He used to keep a cardboard box of his old singles under the front passenger seat, and even gave a couple to me and my sister. I lost the single years ago, and have no idea what his last name was, or what his stage name might've been. There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of people out there who cut a handful of really really great tunes before disappearing forever back into their everyday lives.


david said...

wicked cuts....many thanks for posting! Instrumental is particularly nice but i like Caleb's vocal too.

novu said...

Nice little story. Indeed the ones you hear nothing about are often doing a great job. Reminds me of the poem "strongest of the strange" ^^

i am grateful sweetback created these songs and i am grateful you share it with us!

Zion here i come is an absolute killer tune, great unique singing.
interesting mix on both, but the bubbling organ on sweetback rock together with the twisted bassline and drum action really thrills me.

einjoy the weekend

Johnny Roots said...

There's also this full LP featuring Caleb Sweetback!