Hello and welcome to Funky Seoul Corner! My name is Scott Freeman (aka DJ Free).
I have been living in Seoul, Korea now for many years teaching English, but one of my hobbies is to collect records, especially jazz, soul, and funk 45s. I currently have 550-plus 45s in my collection, and occasionally I have the opportunity to spin these tunes in various locations around Seoul. In so far as I know, I am the ONLY one in this city of millions who plays this kind of music out on vinyl. (I wish this weren’t the case because I would love to meet and collaborate with like-minded people!)
Thanks to the kind folks at Three Wise Monkeys, I now have the chance to share some of my 45s with you. Every week I will select and present a different 45 from my collection. You will be able to view the actual 45 being presented, you will be able to read my little blurb about that 45, and you will be able to hear one-side from that 45. Guaranteed these 45s are all original pressings—no reissues and no bootlegs—so you will be seeing and listening to the real thing. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, comments and/or suggestions about Funky Seoul Corner. Now on to the music!
Now that the weather is warming up, I felt it would be time to plug Billy Stewart’s “Summertime.” Now, I’m not a big fan of this Gershwin tune in particular. Most versions I have heard have bored me to tears. But Stewart’s version is all-together different. Released on the Chess (Chicago) label in 1966, “Summertime” peaked at #7 on Billboard’s R&B chart and at #10 on the Pop chart respectively. Without a doubt, this tune was Billy Stewart’s biggest hit of his recording career. In a nut-shell, this track showcases Stewart’s dynamic vocal prowess. Soul Singing 101—that’s a fact! His liberal use of trills and scat throughout this track helped solidify his distinctive talent. Whenever I listen to this 45, I feel that Billy and his band are right there with me. Its live sound and high energy truly make this a song to hear during the summer months of the year. Listen and enjoy!
Note about Billy Stewart: Stewart cut almost all of his tracks for Chess from the late 50s until 1969. He cut four albums and twenty singles during his career. Nine singles made the top 50 in Billboard charts, most of them coming from the mid to late 60s. Chart success indicates that he must have had some credible fan-base. Unfortunately, he met an untimely death in 1970 as the car he was driving crashed into the Neuse River, North Carolina, killing him and three members of his band. He was only 32.
DISCLAIMER: Sound files are posted for educational purposes only.