Picked this up at Record Jungle the other week: a really strange 12″ produced by Roy Ayers, featuring L.A. radio DJ Rick Holmes. Some of you might already be familiar with Holmes since his voice graces the Cannonball Adderley Love, Sex, and the Zodiac album but I didn’t realize he went onto record something with Ayers, a decade later.
Musically, this is vintage post-disco Ayers; very groovy and soulful. Holmes though… He’s ok in small nuggets, like on that Love, Sex and the Zodiac album but for a nearly 10 minute song? It’s a bit much to take even if I do like what Holmes is trying to do on “Remember to Remember” especially with his roll-call of great artists and historical figures.
(Editor’s note: It’s time to bring back the Summer Songs after two seasons off. Our first guest is Moe Choi aka DJ Choimatic. I’ve known Moe for years, back when he was a big presence in the NY hip-hop club scene but in more recent years, Moe has branched out into everything from swanked-out weddings to Fashion Week runway shows to, you know, DJing parities on the roof of The Met. He’s got Billy Danze’s number on speed dial and the inside lane on YSL couture; that’s how he rolls. For his summer song post, Moe takes it back to ’90 and the era of the Wu-Tang Super Models. –O.W.)
I lived with cousins for a summer when I was a kid. I credit a lot of my musical taste and knowledge to my cousin Eugene, who is 4 years older then me. He was up on The Smiths, Prince, Lightning Seeds, New Order, George Michael etc. and as a kid, I gravitated to his tastes on some “cooler, older lord” tip and that included “Freedom 90.”
I watched this video over and over as a kid especially since it set off my Linda Evangelista obsession. This was the era of the super models clique…Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford, aka the “we don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day” crew. To have all these breezys at the top of their game, in the same video, was some next level ish: they were the Wu-Tang Clan of the Model Game (with Linda as GZA. To this day, she is still my favorite model). I discovered “sexy” in music for the first time through “Freedom 90.” Fast forward to 2013, it still holds the weight. It’s aged magnificently.
It’s also my all-time favorite flip of “Funky Drummer” (sorry hip-hop purists).1 Sonically, the way the piano glides atop the drum loop is some amazing shit.
Also, as a working DJ, this is one of those cuts that I can play at almost any gig. It’s safe enough to run at a corporate function and sexy enough for a fashion event. You can easily drop this in a club setting or a secret, after-hours loft party. The build-up and chorus is epic to run as the last song at a wedding yet it’s not overplayed like Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.” Black people, white people, Asian people, straights, gays, bisexuals, asexuals…everyone seems to melt when I throw this on. The energy, vibe, nostalgia this song invokes is magic. In other words, it’s the perfect summer song.
Big shout to Lauren Stout, Jenny Mac, Ise White, Nuna Kim, Natalie Blacker, Courtney Warco, Madonna, The Statue of Liberty & all the other fly womens in my life. Y’all form my super model clique. [insert jukebox explosion scene here]
The name “Darondo” is so unique, it’s hard to forget. But for many years, all people knew of him was only that: a name on a faded label. In his brief recording career, the Bay Area native only released three 7-inch singles, all in the late ’60s and early ’70s. In the music world, only a select circle of sweet-soul aficionados and Bay Area music collectors had any awareness of his existence, though he held his own notoriety in local cable television and, shall we say, “other” pursuits.
The thing about Darondo’s music though—especially the sublime “Didn’t I,” his best-known single—is that once you hear it, you crave more. That curiosity is largely how the Bay Area native has resurfaced after thirty years. Ubiquity recently released Let My People Go—less an anthology and more of a long-delayed debut album that combines his six songs on single plus an additional three songs taken from a previously unreleased reel of recordings from the same era. At last, Darondo is finally emerging out of obscurity, bringing his small but intriguing legacy with him.
I forgot I had these…Justin Torres, who was a huge force behind Darondo’s rediscovery, recorded a few tracks with Darondo live and shared them with me. I shared these, in turn, on the site back in 2006 and I’m bringing ‘em back:
So Blessitt is an…interesting guy and this album was recorded during what I can only imagine was a really heady, psychedelic era of Hollywood history when Blessitt used to run a nightclub called The Soul Session.1 Among the folks who used to come in was a group called The Eternal Rush, whose lead singer Jim McPheeters is who you hear here. Really trippy, groovy stuff here, especially the mix of acoustic and electric piano. The rest of the album is whatever, but this one song is pretty amazing to me.