Our next three Classics Records of the Month — which you’ll receive if you sign up for VMP Classics in April, May and June 2022 — feature crate-digging highlights in jazz and soul. Read below to find out more.
April: Boogaloo Joe Jones’ No Way!
VMP’s April Classics Record of the Month is a rediscovery of the jazz guitarist, Boogaloo Joe Jones. His 1971 album taps Grover Washington Jr., Sonny Phillips, Butch Cornell, Jimmy Lewis and Bernard Purdie as part of the band delivering unmatched rhythm and funk for the spring season. The record is pressed on 180g black vinyl with AAA lacquers cut from the original master tapes by Sterling Sound’s Ryan Smith, plated at RTI. The record will also include a “Listen To More Jazz” slipmat and Listening Notes written by UK-based music journalist Charles Waring.
“We haven't done much funky soul jazz in the Classics sub, and when I decided it was time for some jazz to turn on, tune in and drop out to, I immediately thought of this Boogaloo Joe Jones record, which feels like it lives in this weird venn diagram between horndog, blaxploitation funk and erudite, tweedy jazz music,” said VMP Classics & Country Director Andrew Winistorfer. “It’s a Classics record you can dance to, or think really deeply to, or jam the hell out to. Boogaloo is this unsung hero of this kind of guitar-jazz — George Benson and Grant Green were the stars of this genre — but his records deserve to be rediscovered and newly enjoyed.”
Sign up now to receive No Way!
May: Phineas Newborn Jr.’s Here Is Phineas (The Piano Artistry Of Phineas Newborn Jr.)
Phineas Newborn Jr.’s bold debut, Here Is Phineas, is the VMP Classics Record of the Month in May. While he was largely under-appreciated during his career and lacked modern recognition, VMP’s Classics and Country Director, Andrew Winistorfer, is trying to change that.
“I spent a week in Memphis last summer running down the story of Phineas Newborn, Jr., one of the best musicians ever from a city that for most of the 20th century, couldn’t not produce incredible musicians,” Winistorfer said. “I went to his grave, at the National Cemetery in Memphis, where, as a Korean War vet, he was buried with fighters in the Civil War. I went to the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, to see the exhibit dedicated to him and his equally talented brother and father. I stood on the sidewalk outside where his mom used to live, and I stood outside the studio where he made Solo Piano, the last-ditch album he made in the ’70s before he disappeared more or less for good.”
Winistorfer added, “I did all this to try to understand what happened, that this native son of Memphis whose talents inspired Booker T. Jones — who used to sit outside his house, listening to him practice as he folded newspapers in the morning — who plays piano better than I can ever hope to do anything in my life, would die destitute, and be largely ignored by the jazz cognoscenti. I look at our reissue of his debut — and I'd say masterpiece, except all his albums are unbelievable, front-to-back — as an opportunity for us all to correct the historical record, and give Phineas Newborn Jr. the accolades and recognition that eluded him in life. I hope we get even close to doing that.”
The VMP reissue of this album will arrive on 180g black vinyl plated at RTI with AAA lacquers cut from the original analog tapes by Sterling Sound’s Ryan Smith and Listening Notes written by Winistorfer.
Here Is Phineas will be available for sign-ups starting April 21.
June: Johnnie Taylor’s Wanted One Soul Singer
After Phineas Newborn Jr.’s record, we’ll be making way for another debut album with Johnnie Taylor’s Wanted One Soul Singer. Johnnie Taylor was a Stax Records mainstay who thrived in the soul and gospel genres. His first album has not seen a vinyl reissue since the 1980s. This record will be reissued on 180g black vinyl with AAA lacquers cut from mono tapes by Sterling Sound’s Ryan Smith and plated at Welcome to 1979. The album’s Listening Notes are written by Robert Gordon.
Winistorfer shared about Johnnie Taylor and the album, “Stax was one of the labels we started our Classics subscription with five years ago, so in some respects, it’s shocking it’s taken us this long to get to Johnnie Taylor in the Classics subscription, particularly after he was in our Stax Anthology a while back. While Who’s Makin’ Love was one of the best selling LPs in Stax history, the Classics selection always had to be Wanted, Taylor’s debut LP, a mammoth achievement in soul music, and one that planted the seeds that bloomed when Taylor became a superstar in 1968 and 1969. You've got the Stax house band, Booker T. and the M.G.’s, at their absolute peak, with Taylor singing his songs like his life depended on it. It hasn't been reissued in too long, and I'm glad we're getting to do this deluxe 180g reissue.”
Wanted One Soul Singer will be available for sign-ups starting May 19.