I was reminded of this song the other day when I heard it on Dr. Delay's REM Sleep psych mix. Delay is a Brooklyn producer/DJ who has made several great mixes over the past few years-- Psycrunk, in which he somehow managed to pull off a CD worth of psych and southern rap mash-ups, the Medium Rare tapes, which draw together loads of late-80s rap singles I wish I owned, and Rajaz Meter, which freaked funky Middle East and Indian sounds.
While I'm jocking, let me say that his Spoon remix is retardedly hot:
Last spring a pool serviced me with a new song credited to Kurupt that featured him and some other folks rapping over a bubbly, Prince-ish track. The song was kinda lo-fi but sexy and addictive. I tried to track down a higher-quality version but googling just led to some crappy home-made youtube videos with comments suggesting the song was actually by Terrace Martin. I thought, "who"?"
Last week I picked up the new Snoop Dogg album and Martin’s name was all over the credits—he co-produced a couple tracks and seemed to have his hands in about half of the others, whether arranging, mixing, singing or playing various instruments. Curiosity led me to his myspace, where there’s an album-length mixtape you can download free. The drops are annoying but there a ton of unreleased songs with Snoop, Kurupt and others (Too $hort!) as well as the dirty version of the song below, which is the one that got me curious in the first place.
Terrace Martin feat. Kurupt, Problem & Mykestro: “All Night”
Faust: "BBC 1.3.73 [excerpt]" (a/k/a "The Lurcher")
This recording is from 1973, but it sounds like the Faust dudes were hanging out 20 years later, heard some early-'90s NYC rap music, bobbed their heads for a minute, then hopped in their time machine and whisked back to record their version of the sound for a John Peel show. (I'm sure Peel would have been cool with that.) Even more than Marc Moulin's Placebo, they uncannily anticipate the later sound, down to the little reverbed saxophone parts and the oppressive, claustrophobic mood.
The version I've posted is trimmed from a 20+ minute track that has appeared legitimately a few times in the last decade and also on the vinyl bootleg pictured above, where I first heard it.
Here's a mix I recorded for last Thursday's KALX show, my last for a little while. There's not a ton of super-new-new stuff, just some records I wanted to hear mixed together. Please pardon the distortion on the last two songs-- it was a one-take deal and Serato was acting a fool.
Fixxers: "So Good" feat. Rich Boy M.I.A.: "Paper Planes" [Ad Rock rmx] Just-Ice: "Moshitup" feat. KRS-One El Hijo de la Cumbia: "La Mara Tomaza" Roberto Carlos: "Nao Andianta Nada" M.O.P.: "Big Boy Game" feat. 50 Cent WC: "80s Babies" feat. Ice Cube O.C.: "Jewelz" 4 Tops: "Still Water" Geto Boys: "I Tried"
Dirty Filthy Mud: "The Forest of Black" (Worex, 1968)
According to my homeboy Vernon, Dirty Filthy Mud were from Oakland and only had one release, the single pictured above. I've never seen a copy of it, but "Forest of Black" has been bootlegged a bunch of times; the bootleg I have features both sides of the single. The other side, "Morning Sun Flower", is folk-rockish but on this track they really knock the psych + electronics steez of Fifty Foot Hose and United States of America out of the box.
Earlier, my man Cosmo Baker texted me that he was watching X perform at South by Southwest, something he must have sandwiched in between like a dozen gigs he's playing down there today. I'm not self-involved or paranoid enough to think it's Cosmo's mission in life to make me feel like DJ Herb, but if it was, mission accomplished.
Further evidence: Cos recently finished up Too Much Posse, a colossal mix devoted to the posse cut. I'll let him explain:
Back in the days there used to be a certain formula to doing albums - meaning there were distinctive types of records that you just had to put on your album. There was the single, the rap for the girls, the club (or hip-house) jam, the DJ cut, the slow jam, the reminisce record, the shout out dedication song at the end of the record, the list goes on and on. But for the record my favorite type of record was the posse cut. This was the record where the artist would invite some of his boys to drop verses on a song, and the end result usually ended up sounding like teh best rap party that ever. Sometimes it was a crazy combination of rappers that you would never think would even bless the same city, much less the mic. Sometimes it would end up being the jump start to a legendary career. Whatever it would be, the posse cut always brought the fire.
Here is a collection of some of my favorite posse cuts of all time. The initial list I had was much longer but in the end I had to trim it down. I had to make sure that (for the most part) the entire song played on this mix - I didn't want to leave anyone out. So here it is - let's go!
The mix runs 157 minutes-- enough to fill two CDs-- and includes many of the greatest posse cuts of the 90s. I'm not really a fan of posse cuts generally but Cosmo does his thing and, as with my Kells mix, this is a situation where excess is not only appropriate, it's necessary.
The guys at Fifty One:Fifty One are hosting the mix. Follow this link and you can see the complete track listing and download the thing for free.
You know who's kinda killing it right now? DJ U-Tern.
He made one of my favorite mixes of the past couple years (free download here), posts a ton of great rips and re-edits on his blog and, lately, has been sprinkling the web with great remixes and productions (e.g., on the Hollerboard, on Discobelle, etc.).
He's got a new 4-song EP that's on sale at Turntable Lab. Move quick; they only pressed 500 copies. This song, an interpolation of Three 6 Mafia's "Sippin On Some Syrup", is on there:
Crap! Last week I learned that my current radio slot has expired and tomorrow afternoon's show will be my last for a while.
KALX has some unusual ways of doing things relative to other radio stations and one of these is that when you are awarded a time slot, it's only yours for a year. When that year is up, you can continue to program the time slot for an additional two months, but then you're off the air for a while. There are some good reasons for the rule but from my perspective it's very frustrating because it makes it difficult to build an audience of regular listeners; by the time I do, it's time to move on again.
Shawn Phillips: "I Don't Want to Leave You, I Just Came to Say Goodbye" (A&M, 1976)
This song is drawn from Shawn Phillips's 1977 album, Spaced, which seems to be a contractual-obligation record-- most of the tracks including this one were leftovers from sessions for previous albums. Phillips wasn't really known for jazz-funk instrumentals, but his backing band on this includes Paul Jackson, Jr. & Mike Clark of the Headhunters (Oakland #1!). The song is almost 17 minutes and never switches up, but for me it doesn't get monotonous.
Last year, Luv n' Haight put out a reissue of music by Bay Area legend Eugene Blacknell. Blacknell was an Oakland/Richmond-based guitarist who led one of the most prominent soul and funk bands in the Bay throughout the 1960s and '70s. Although his recorded output was pretty limited-- less than a dozen singles, no LPs-- just about everything he released was great.
Luv n' Haight did a fantastic job with the reissue. I'd been wishing out loud for a Blacknell compilation for years (no lie-- back in 1996, I did so in a review I wrote about this comp for Vinyl Exchange (what up, Stef!)) and probably would've been happy with any set collecting his singles, but they went all-out, delivering quality unreleased material, great liner notes, photos, etc.
My favorite part of the compilation was the inclusion of a couple of radio spots for live appearances by Blacknell's band, this one in particular:
Eugene Blacknell: "I'm So Thankful Lucky 13 Radio Spot" (Luv n' Haight, 2007)
Dope, home-made production values aside, it's the local history angle that kills me. The Lucky 13 was located in Albany at the intersection of Solano and San Pablo, where this club is currently. The spot is also kitty-corner from the Ivy Room, which my friend Bill owned for many years, and across the street from where my favorite-ever record store, Bay Town Records, was. Growing up in the 1980s, Albany always struck me as a very square town, so it's hard for me to picture a club there circa 1974 playing host to Oakland's most popular funk band.
Even harder to imagine is any local club hosting live music from 2 to 6 a.m. Not only are police and the ABC super-hard on clubs, the Bay these days is a very much an early-to-bed place-- it's difficult enough to find anything decent to eat after 10 p.m., but finding anything to do after 2 a.m. is just about impossible. Maybe things were different back then.
Hi-Tension was a British soul group featuring vocalist David Joseph, who as a solo artist later had an underground disco hit with "You Can't Hide". This EW&F-style floater appears on their lone, self-titled LP. I guess they had a following in England, although it's hard to know-- other than Heatwave, which was partly American, none of the UK soul stuff of that era made much of an impact in the US.
I used to daydream about making a series of compilations devoted to reuniting two-part songs that had been split in half to fit on 45. I wanted to call the series "Part 3" (as in "Part 1" + "Part 2" = "Part 3"), although I concede that the numbering would've gotten silly after the first one (e.g., "Part 3, Volume 16").
"Swivel Your Hips" is one two-part song I wanted to rescue. The Gaturs were a New Orleans combo who cut a half-dozen instrumental funk singles in the late-60s/early-70s. They sounded kind of like a looser, jazzier version of the Meters. These days they're best known for their single "Gatur Bait", which has been a DJ staple since at least the early 90s. The Gaturs' leader, Wilson Turbinton p/k/a Willie Tee, had a quiet but amazing career-- he recorded an album with David Axelrod, he was the musical director for the Wild Magnolias and he cut music that didn't sell much but is revered on the Northern soul, beach music and funk collector scenes. He passed away last year.
"Swivel Your Hips" is probably the rarest of the Gaturs' singles. It's been reissued twice in extended form, first on Hubbub's Funky Jams IV and then on Funky Delicacies' Funky Funky New Orleans. Unfortunately both of those versions did a really sloppy job; I think they worked from a 45 and not the master tapes, and rather than deal with joining the long fades that end part 1 and begin part 2, they just slapped pieces of the two halves together in a way that's not even on-beat. Well, I fixed it.
The Gaturs: "Swivel Your Hips Pts. 1 & 2" (Gatur, 197?)
Gimmicks: Ye-Me-Le Roman Andren: O Mundo E Seu [Beatfanatic RMX] Idris Muhammad: Could Heaven Ever Be Like This U-Tern: All That Cha Got Marshall Jefferson: Mushrooms Chateau Flight: Discobole [Pepe Braddock RMX] Fred Falke: Sanctuary Snoop Dogg: Life of da Party feat. Too $hort & Mistah F.A.B. Fearless Four: Rockin' It Mantronix: Listen to the Bass of Get Stupid Fresh Part II Treacherous Three: New Rap Language feat. Spoonie Gee Super 3: Philosophy Rappin' Spree
I was trying to think of something cool and different to post and then over on Soulstrut, I saw that it was my homie DJ B.Cause's birthday and a light bulb went off.
This is a remix I did a while ago for a CD that didn't happen (or maybe I should say hasn't happened yet). It seems appropriate both cuz of the title/refrain and because B.Cause is kind of that dude when it comes to the crafty smush-togethers or whatever it is the kids are calling blends now.
Last night, my man Willie Maze and I were drinking and when I told him some anecdote involving Freddie Foxxx, he clowned me for liking him. After I pointed out to him that Freddie Foxxx could knock me, him and everyone we know the fuck out, I told him he had to hear this:
Jan Hammer Group: "Don't You Know" (Nemperor, 1977)
I love this song.
Jan Hammer's a synth-playing jazzman best known for the Miami Vice theme, but this is more airy and soulful than other stuff I've heard by him. Unfortunately, I think the only version that's commercially available is this remake, which has no good reason to exist. There is, however, a cool interpolation by Jel.
especially when he slows down enough that you can make out what he's saying.
Tung Twista with InfaRed: "Suicide" (Street Flava, 1994)
This single came out roughly halfway between Twista's debut flop, 1991's Runnin' Off at Da Mouth, and his renaissance, 1997's Adrenaline Rush. His Naughty by Nature, Beatnuts and Del the Funky Homosapien disses are vicious and funny, although I think he may be responding to some things that probably weren't even directed at him (e.g., I always assumed the Beatnuts' line, "all that tiggety-tiggety tongue-twistin' shit don't impress me", was about Das Efx, the Fu-Schnickens or some other crew that was actually selling records).
Regardless, since rap beefs are usually good promotion, the single got a write-up in the Source when it came out, although I suspect it was pretty tough to find outside Chicago (I've only found it twice). The beat sounds dated, but Twista's lyrics and flows easily hold up-- he was way ahead of his time.
P.s.: This song, from Twista's last album, is amazing.
P.p.s.: The Street Flava logo got me started musing about other label logos that depict records as food. Am I the only one who thinks the Delicious Vinyl logo looks like a racial caricature?