(Editor’s Note: I first started reading Zilla Rocca‘s Rework the Angles series on Jeff Weiss’s blog and 1) loved the concept and 2) thought it aligned in spirit with the After Further Review series I’ve tried to mount. I reached out to Rocha about collaborating for a podcast where we combined our mutual interests in revisiting older albums and because of our crazy schedules, we ended up banging this out in print instead over the courses of several weeks. –O.W.)

Oliver Wang: Zilla, since you’re my guest here, I did the host-ly thing and let you pick what album we’d revisit. You chose Method Man’s 1998 album, Tical 2000. Why?

Zilla Rocca: I always like looking back on albums that were misunderstood or downright hated on arrival. That’s the case with Tical 2000 — it’s a victim of the late ’90s Music Industry Boom. CDs were moving millions every week, but CDs also gave artists too much time. There was no restraint in the CD heyday – 22 track albums with 75 minutes of playing time was the norm in rap back then.

The original Tical is a great cassette album: it’s muddy, it’s bass heavy, and it’s 13 songs long. That was ’94. By ’98, when Tical 2000 dropped, Def Jam was on fire, and Method Man was a super duper star. So when I revisit Tical 2000 now, I have to wade through literally TEN SKITS and countless wrong turns before I find an album worthy of Method Man’s talent. If you have some patience and rearrange the tracklisting, you’ll notice that Tical 2000 shows Method Man as one of the best emcees of 1998 (he was competing with Jay-Z, DMX, Big Pun, Canibus, Busta, Outkast,Black Star, etc)

Tical 2000 never comes up when discussing great Wu-Tang solo albums (and rightfully so), but when I cut it down to size, it’s a really devastating record. And enough time has passed for people to get over the disappointment or the bad experiences they had with it back then to just enjoy a great rap record by one of the most entertaining rappers of all time.


(Note: Ok, this is a bit of a cheat since it’s a re-post and not a new one but as I just got a copy of this 10″ myself, I thought it apropos. Also, new added details at bottom! –O.W.)

Lou Rawls: Strange Dirt (A&R, late ’60s, Lou Rawls Sings For Cold Power Powder)

I was at Andy Zax‘s house recently and pulled out what had been one of his biggest white whales for me to check out: Lou Rawls Sings for Cold Power Powder.

This wasn’t an album; it was a 10″ upon which Rawls recorded ten short, minute-long ads for Cold Power washing detergent. The fact that big stars recorded ads is nothing new but the fact that any of these records, which were intended to be played on radio stations and later discarded, survived is pretty damn extraordinary.

Andy thinks H.B. Barnum is behind the production here and I see no reason to disagree; it’s certainly right for the late 1960s, which is when the EP was likely recorded and distributed. Musically speaking, it’s competent enough though nothing will necessarily blow your mind…except for listening to Rawls shill for a detergent company, which is its own kind of awesomeness.

Thanks to Mr. Zax!

UPDATE: After this originally ran in 2012, someone wrote to contribute valuable new information:

Jim Ellerbrake: “I worked as a Brand manager at Colgate-Palmolive from 1966 to 1969. In 1968 I was one of the people that came up with the idea of using Lou Rawls for Cold Power. I called the local DJ at the Harlem radio station and asked for a recommendation for an artist to sing the praises of Cold :Power….the first suggestion was Mahalia Jackson, whom we could not afford…then he recommended an up and coming male singer by the name of Lou Rawls. We contacted his agent and Lou agreed to do the recording in New York, where he was scheduled to appear. We gave his arranger the creative strategy for Cold Power along with product benefits…the arranger came up with the words and music, which were terrific….we recorded the songs in studio in the evening and worked till 1:00 AM to complete the gig……..Lou was great to work with…The use of Lou for Cold Power was later reported in Newsweek Magazine as a “great concept”…for ethnic advertising….I remember when we did the recording his arranger would say “take 1 for ETHNIC ADVERTISING”.”

365 Days of Soul, #150


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Matthews Southern Comfort: Sylvie (Decca, 1971, Later That Same Year)

Truly, I know nothing about the band except for the fact that it was fronted by Ian Matthews after he left Fairport Convention (and again, I only know this because of a thing called “google”). What I do know? “Sylvie” is some sublime shit (and while not nearly as good, “And When She Smiles” is rather glorious folk pop).

365 Days of Soul, #149


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Meireles E Sua Orquestra: Aquarela Do Brasil (EMI, 1974, Brasilian Explosion)

Listen: do I seem like the kind of guy who’s going to pass up a bossa-nova-meets-moog album? Of course not.

365 Days of Soul, #148


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Gary Numan: Are ‘Friends’ Electric? (Beggars Banquet, 1987, 12″)

Once upon a time, before I got into hip-hop, I listened to a lot of new wave (translation: I was an Asian dude growing up in the SGV in the ’80s). All said, this still sounds pretty good to me. Also: can’t you imagine Kanye or someone flowing over this? We need more modern rock sampling.

365 Days of Soul, #147