DJ Shadow put the instrumental version of this on a comp a few years ago. I way prefer the vocal version although I've never been able to comprehend the lyrics (stuff like "we're the only hope for the human race" and "you can skin my hide/love will keep bubbling inside")-- is he singing about love in the face of a zombie attack?
E.T. White & His Great Potential Band: "Psyco" (Great Potential, 197?)
Probably my favorite lyric in the entire school of "baddest man alive" songs.
I was watching a documentary from last year, Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten, and there was a shot of a flier for a gig where Strummer's pre-Clash pub-rock band, the 101ers, opened for these guys:
Gonzalez was an English soul band who had a minor disco hit with "I Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet". A few of their records got released in the U.S., but not their debut, which this was taken from. I first heard this in the early 90s and it took me years to find a copy, although that probably says less about this record's rarity than about how much the record game has been changed by the internet.
In the last minute-and-a-half it goes into a "Hot Pants Road" rip-off and then borrows from "Giving Up Food for Funk". The first 7 minutes are a cover of this:
As a treat to myself I arranged to get my #1 homeboy DJ Eleven to come out from New York and join me in spinning at my weekly Friday party, Hubba Rock. Eleven's travel schedule and my planning skills being what they both are, it took 2+ years to actually make this happen, so I'm super-psyched he'll be there. As an added bonus, the homie Willie Maze will be joining us on the wheels, too.
Neal Hefti passed away Saturday. Before he achieved his most lasting fame as a TV and film composer, he was prominent as an arranger with Count Basie's big band and he wrote a number of great jazz standards.
Growing up, I heard various versions of this one all the time:
My mom used to listen to KJAZ religiously and in particular to a weekly segment (Sundays, 10:00 a.m.?) where they'd play a different version of "Li'l Darling". I doubt they ever played this one, but there are dozens of others. (BTW, it's killing me that I can't think of a good version of Hefti's "Girl Talk"-- I know I have a cool one lying around somewhere.)
Of course, Hefti is best-remembered these days as the writer of the themes to the "Odd Couple" and this, here bastardized by unidentified members of Sun Ra's Arkestra and the Blues Project:
The Sensational Guitars of Dan & Dale: "Batman Theme" (Tifton, 1966)
This one has always reminded me of the Batman theme:
The Mitch Mitchell who made this is not the Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer, but instead an Ohio guy featured on this fine compilation and this l'il mix. Gene King also collaborated on Mitchell's "Never Walk Out on You" and, to hear the record tell it, was a real cool cat.
Finally, this one reminds me of the scatting on the Mitch Mitchell record, and has been stuck in my head on and off for months:
Segun Bucknor & His Revolution: "La La La" (Polydor, 197?/Strut, 2001)
The compilation it's drawn from, Nigeria 70, was released well ahead of the current glut of Afrobeat compilations but remains one of the best. The recent sequel is pretty great, too, and is still in print.
Too many R.I.P. posts lately. I think I may have to change the name of the blog to "I hear dead people". Or maybe "but I digress", to account for all the "reminds me of this" side-trips.
As much as the catalog of James Brown productions has been mined over the years, this Chi-Lites-ish track is pretty slept-on. It's been comped a few times but never reissued in the U.S., perhaps because THE MAN understands how much righteousness might ensue. On the other hand, the Minister of New New Super Heavy Funk himself endorsed Nixon the following year, so who's to say?
This was written and arranged by the great Weldon Irvine, who led Nina Simone's band, nurtured a lot of young talent (Tom Browne, Don Blackman & Bernard Wright) and recorded a half-dozen albums of his own that are worth hearing. He also died a really sad and strange death.
The beat is atrocious and the flows are clumsy but the Red Alert/Jungle Brothers diss about 2 minutes in is a great moment in rap homophobia featuring some truly impressive linguistic invention ("he's a swill-swallowing smegma-smacker"!). Kind of ironic given the cover....
If you know of a more embarrassing cover image on any rap album, please send it my way.
Lately DJ Anonymous has been posting a ton of stuff on his blog that I had been meaning to rip, largely 90s rap and reggae classics that are just slightly too old and/or forgotten for me to play out much but which I nonetheless had really been wanting. Him posting my favorite Kurious song prompted me to rip a few more.
For those who don't remember Kurious, he was a likable, funny and low-key NYC rapper who was part of an extended crew that included KMD, Lord Sear and others. He cut one LP for Columbia, 1994's A Constipated Monkey. Although he got three singles, his record never did much and, aside from a few appearances on MF Doom projects, he's mostly been M.I.A. for the past 15 years.
The first is Kurious's second single. Although the production is credited to the Beatnuts, the songwriting credit tells me that it was probably really done by their boy, V.I.C., who produced a ton of slept-on stuff from Renaissance's "Tap the Bottle" to the Artifacts' short-lived foray as the Brick City Kids. Regardless, it's a great track-- there's so much warmth in it.
The second is a freestyle over Nasty Nas's "Halftime" from Stretch & Bobbito's WKCR radio show. Although it's all but impossible for me to enjoy freestyle rapping these days, he and the Souls of Mischief kind of kill it here. SOM's performance opened a lot of doors for them at a time when New York was not at all receptive to Cali rap.
Last night I went out to see David Banner perform on a bill with Talib Kweli and Little Brother. Along with Too $hort & M.O.P., Banner's about the only rapper I'd pay money to see perform-- he just gives way more of himself than most.
If you were to rank all of Belgium's cultural products in terms of awesomeness, the late Marc Moulin would rank somewhere between the french fry and Tintin.
He was one of those artists who managed to be way ahead of the curve not once, but several times-- first with the moody jazz funk of his early 70s recordings with Placebo, which eerily anticipated the sound of mid-90s NYC rap, and then with his late 70s recording with Telex, which were a big influence on Detroit's techno pioneers. Shit, even what little I've heard of the stuff he released in the last decade was pretty cool.
Last night I played records with my homie Cosmo Baker at Sake One's party, Pacific Standard Time.
Cosmo has a new mix CD that's a tribute to probably my favorite soul artist of the past 20 years, Raphael Saadiq. You can get it here or here. The CD features many of Saadiq's biggest songs-- solo, with Tony! Toni! Toné! and with Lucy Pearl-- as well as a lot of songs he wrote and produced for others (the Roots, Erykah Badu, Amp Fiddler, Joss Stone, etc.).
It's a great mix CD and a really cool overview of Saadiq's work, but at 72 minutes there's no way he could include even half of the great stuff Saadiq has been involved in. So, without throwing any shade on Cos's selections, here's a completely subjective group of Saadiq-related songs that aren't on there but which I love:
The best song ever about getting the fuck up out of Oakland. I had to look at the credits to figure out that the second vocal is by Leslie Wilson of New Birth, who destroys it from the 3-minute mark on. Honorable mention to every other song where Saadiq breaks out the sitar.
Tony! Toni! Toné!: "(Lay Your Head on My) Pillow" (Mercury, 1993)
Basically a Baltimore version of Lucy Pearl's "Dance Tonight". I first heard it a few weeks ago when DJ mOma played it at his Monday party on Rivington. I was kinda faded, so it took a moment to register exactly what I was listening to, but it made me happy the second the vocal hit. It's from this EP.
I have no idea who reads this blog or if people who do actually buy records, but if you do and you went out and bought the new Saadiq album on the strength of this, I'd feel a little bit better about my place in the world.