Saturday, 7 June 2008
It’s 1990 and People Instinctive Travels by ATCQ is on permanent rotation on my stereo. Part of the appeal for me as an 18 year old was the rich jazz sounds used as samples to build the album. One such track was Footprints and it used a sample that was also found on Main Sources Looking at the front door as well as cropping up in Lisa Lisa’s Let the beat him them.
Hip Hop Connection used to have a small section in the magazine which named the sample sources of hip hop records of the time. They featured People Instinctive Travels and I find out that the record used on Footprints is Donald Byrd’s Think Twice.
Fast forward a couple of years and a best of Donald Byrd is released. I buy it straight away to get a copy of Think Twice (still is one of my favourite records) and reading the sleeve notes I find out that the “best of” is just focusing on an era in the 70’s where Donald Byrd worked with a couple of producers called the Mizell Brothers.
As a result of this discovery I was led to other music they had produced such as Bobbi Humphrey, Johnny Hammond, Gary Bartz and L.T.D. Since this time a Mizell Brothers production is something I will always associate with the highest quality soul music.
The Mizell Brothers (Larry and Fonce) started as producers for Motown and were responsible for many Jackson Five hits such as 'I Want You Back' and 'ABC'. (Check out the Marvin Gaye track Where are we going, unearthed a few years ago for some more quality Mizell Motown work)
They left Motown to start up their own production company called Sky High Productions producing many albums on Blue Note for the artists listed above.
Possibly the biggest hit for the Sky High production team was Taste of Honey’s Boogie Oogie Oogie. (Also check out I Love You by this duo for some mellow two step action)
The Mizell Bothers are supposedly retired from the music industry after leaving us this amazing legacy of music however Larry Mizell produced and appears on the title track of 4 Hero’s last album Play with the changes (2007)
This mix is just a few of my favourite Mizell productions, there is plenty more I could have included. Maybe a volume 2 is needed.
Johnny Hammond – Gamblers Life
Bobbi Humphrey - Harlem River Drive
L.T.D - Love to the World
Rance Allen Group – Peace of Mind
Bobbi Humphrey – Jasper Country Blues
Johnny Hammond – Fantasy
Gary Bartz – Music is my Sanctuary
Donald Byrd – Dominoes
Gary Bartz – Carnival De L’Esprit
Johnny Hammond – Tell me what to do
Donald Byrd – Wind Parade
L.T.D – Love Ballad