Somehow in the midst of 18-hour days that otherwise consisted only of skimming Lil B's million MySpace pages, deleting party promoters from my Facebook friends and bathroom breaks, I found time for this:
Feist: Sea Lion Woman (Feisty RMX) Moodymann: Tribute Omar-S: Day Puzique: Don't Go Earth People: Dance DreDay: Spider People Kid Sister: Get Fresh INST
I had completely forgotten that Feist had covered Nina Simone's "See Line Woman" until I saw this 12" up at Turntable Lab. I didn't get the hype over Feist's Reminder LP but I thought it was a really cool song choice and liked how spare her version is. The remix is subtle but really good-- they strip the guitars and dub it out a little, but leave the best parts intact. There are a lot of good versions of "See Line Woman" but I think Yusef Lateef's is my favorite.
This weekend I finally found time to check out the homie B-Cause's Record Haterz, a new mix that he did with his 4OneFunk partner, Mista B.
The theme is all-Bay Area and all-vinyl, and the mix is really well-executed. The selections are mostly from the mid-90s, bypassing both obvious stuff and alt-rap in favor of mobb music drawn largely from Vallejo and Frisco. They're mostly really good, too-- I got about two-thirds of the way through the mix before I heard anything I wanted to skip.
B-Cause and Mista B are both pretty savage on the scratch but they confine most of the wikki-wikkis to the intro and outro and keep the mixing smooth and unobtrusive. The mix sounds like it was made to be bumped while driving around slowly, just like the records that appear on it and the analog crackle adds to the nostalgia. (Favorite all-vinyl authenticity moment: hearing them re-reverse the curses on E-40's "Record Haters" in order to turn out radio-friendly vinyl.)
Here's a link to the mix. You can cop a physical copy with separately-indexed tracks by hollering at B-Cause; at $10 post-paid, it's really with supporting if only so they'll be motivated to make more mixes like this. Full tracklist and ordering details (buried in the comments) here.
Speaking of record haters, I was really psyched to catch this on a recent trip to New York:
This version of the song didn't make AZ's Doe or Die album, apparently due to problems clearing the Lou Donaldson sample. It's been bootedmultipletimes but I had never found an original copy before.
I like a lot of AZ's catalog-- even his recent records on Koch and Fast Life sound better than, say, much of the bullshit Nas puts out-- but this is the record he was born to do. His voice was made for melancholia like this and his flow just meshes perfectly with the beat.
UPDATE: Via the comments, I learned that the song was produced not by Buckwild or by Pete Rock, as some assumed, but by Spunk Bigga. Big shout to Spunk for setting the record straight!
When I was relatively new to buying funk, the Nite-Liters' five records were among my favorites. Their brand of instrumental funk was mostly of the same ilk as the J.B.'s and early Kool & the Gang but a little more streamlined and, on tracks like "Damn", "Do the Granny" and especially "Afro-Strut", heavy. Along with a group of vocalists the Nite-Liters also made up the New Birth, which was sort of a soul version of Voltron.
Both groups were overseen by producer Harvey Fuqua, who began his career as a singer and songwriter with the Moonglows, the quartet that cut doo-wop classics like "10 Commandments of Love", "Sincerely", "Most of All", etc. When the Moonglows fell apart, Fuqua replaced the other members with a new line-up that featured Marvin Gaye, then brought Gaye to Detroit where Fuqua formed the Harvey and Tri-Phi labels, married Berry Gordy's sister and brought Gaye, Jr. Walker & the Spinners to Motown. Fuqua spent the remainder of the 1960s as a writer and producer at Motown before landing a production deal with RCA and putting together the Nite-Liters and the New Birth.
Fuqua had conceived of the New Birth as a revue composed of four separate acts recruited from his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The New Birth's first album describes the group's composition like so:
After the New Birth's second album, Fuqua jettisoned the Mint Juleps and the Now Sound, replacing them with three vocalists who had been recording for him at RCA as Love, Peace & Happiness: Ann Bogan and brothers Melvin & Leslie Wilson. That lineup cut a number of hits including "I Can Understand It", "It's Been a Long Time" and "Wild Flower" before breaking with Fuqua and hopping labels.
The soul revue is really an artifact of a different era, so it's cool to see it captured in the Soul episode-- vocalists come and go, so you see the Nite-Liters alone, then backing the New Birth, then the Moonglows, followed by a New Birth reprise. The highlights are great-- there's a blazing version of Bobby Womack's "I Can Understand it" (good lord can Leslie Wilson sing), a very clever "Do the Granny"/"Grandma's Hands" mash-up, and a rip-off of Willie Dixon's "I Just Want to Make Love to You" that segues into this Harry Nilsson rip-off:
This is such a perfect end-of-the-week song. I love the its lazy feel, its lyric, its warbly synth and especially its bassline. It's a Chicago record but in my mind I always group it with Miami stuff that Clarence Reid & Willie Clarke were producing at the time, particularly Little Beaver's sublime Party Down album.
Ric Williams's Zodiac Records is mostly associated with Ruby Andrews, who cut two really strong LPs and about a dozen singles for the label. As far as I can tell this was the last release Zodiac put out.
Gloria Taylor has a really scattered discography. During the '60s and '70s she recorded for a half-dozen labels (King Soul, Silver Fox, Mercury, Selector Sound, Columbia, House Guests, Glowhiz, Whizenglo) and seems to have moved around a fair amount--Cincinnati, L.A., N.Y., etc. The only constant in all the recordings is producer/arranger Walter Whisenhunt.
On Selector Sound she cut some collectible disco, a decent Leon Ware cover and this moody oddity, which is the eeriest "Welcome to Dumpsville, Population: You" song I know.
Too Def: I Am What I Am Ministers of Black: Step Into My Office YZ: Tower with the Power Blvd Mosse: You Can't Escape the Hypeness Poor Righteous Teachers: Strictly Mashion YZ: In Control of Things Poor Righteous Teachers: Shakilya (JRH) Tony D: Inspiration Abstract
Wise Intelligent: Steady Slangin' Scott Lark Da Sensei: Insight Poor Righteous Teachers: So Many Teachers Poor Righteous Teachers: Rock Dis Funky Joint Poor Righteous Teachers: Time to Say Peace RMX YZ: Thinking of a Master Plan Ice Cream Tee: Keep Hushin'
It was the first time I'd recorded mixing vinyl in a long while. It felt weird.
Although he's best known for producing the first two Poor Righteous Teachers albums, he also rapped (solo and in Crusaders for Real Hip Hop) and produced a ton of other great rap music, much of which remains below the radar. Here are two of my favorites:
Post-"The Message" message rap. They name-check a bunch of generic social ills (crime, nukes) but display real creativity in addressing the problem of ugly girls. Too bad they were never able to get their solution off the ground.
I'm a long-time Chic fan but hadn't heard this until relatively recently. Norma Jean Wright was Chic's original singer but left after their debut album. Her 1978 solo LP never grabbed me but this non-LP single is one of my favorite Bernard Edwards/Nile Rodgers productions. I think it epitomizes their gift for crafting songs so smooth and funky that they sound effortless and natural even when they aren't; you don't notice how far-out they are until you start to pick them apart and seize on details.
As a bonus, here's Whipper Whip, Dota Rock & Easy AD rocking over "High Society":