MAY SHOWERS: LAURA MVULA, LADY, BIZ MARKIE, AND MORE

My recent deluge of work means a drought in posts but I’m finally back. Pardon the kitchen sink but I got a lot to cover.

First off, my early runner for “album of the year” goes to Laura Mvula. I’ve been singing her praises for a while but had been looking forward to finally reviewing the U.S. release of her Sing to the Moon for NPR. I feel like any kind of superlatives I might throw her way will be woefully inadequate. Listen to this, the first song on the album. If you’re not awed…well, maybe […]

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SINGLE SERVINGS: BOB AND THE MOB

Bob and the Mob: It’s a Shame
From 12″ (Holiday, 1989)

What’s not to like about this?

Spinners’ sample? Check.1
“Synthetic Substitution” drums? Check.

Sometimes, it’s just that easy. (That said, every time I hear how they flip the drums, the phrase “individual with intellect” keeps popping into my head).

And before Monie Love, no? ↩

FROM COMMON TO THE FANIA ALL-STARS

Cross over

While I am a fan of salsa and of the Fania All-Stars more specifically, I’m not such an aficionado as to be a completionist of their catalog. As a result, I never bothered to pick up Cross Over since I assumed (both rightly and wrongly) that it wouldn’t be my cup of tea, especially coming so late in the 1970s. However, I recently came across it while sample-hunting for the source of this track:

Thanks to the sleuths at Soulstrut, it turned out to be this song:

Fania […]

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THE MANY FLIGHTS OF DONALD BYRD

Donald byrd

This isn’t some grand insight but what I find remarkable about the career of the late Donald Byrd was his ability to span so many different phases of jazz. For a cat who started in the bebop era, he bridged from there into post-bop, dabbled a bit in free, became one of the giants of the soul jazz era, and then became a massive force during the heyday of fusion. The vast majority of artists – of any genre – have trouble transitioning between even micro-changes in musical styles.1 Donald Byrd stayed relevant for at least 20 years. That’s as impressive a feat as I’ve seen by any artist above or below the platinum line.

The following playlist is absolutely not meant to be comprehensive. There’s dozens of songs I could have included but opted not to, either because they seemed so obvious to replay them would be redundant or, more to the point: they weren’t my favorites. But even this modest sampling gives you the idea of the astonishing range of Byrd’s musical genius.
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  1. Case in point: the year in hip-hop in 1992.

DONALD BYRD: RIP

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I decided, in late 2012, I really didn’t want to write RIP pieces anymore. I meant, absolutely, no disrespect to the likes of Marva Whitney or Inez Andrews or Fontella Bass or Ravi Shankar, et. al. But it is depressing when your site begins to resemble a roll call of the dead and as I’ve said in the past, for people like me, in love with music of the 1960s and ’70s, we are definitely entering into a time when a lot of our heroes and heroines will be passing away. […]

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2012 REWIND: BJ THE CHICAGO KID + KENDRICK LAMAR

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I feel like I’ve been drowning in music the last couples of years. It may sound like the wrong problem to complain about but I do, at times, feel paralyzed by all the records and tunes demanding my attention. That’s one reason why I never did a 2011 rewind post even though I had begun to collect my list.

I didn’t want to repeat the same neglect this year, least of all because I actually do enjoy the process of combing backwards through the year to find those songs that […]

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BASSLINE SAMPLES…THAT WEREN’T SAMPLED

Infini bass
First things first…the inspiration behind this post came from this Soulstrut thread, started by “IndianaCornikova,” regarding Cypress Hill’s “Real Estate.”

Now, like many, IndianaCornikova had heard that opening bassline came from Tony Avalon’s “Sexy Coffee Pot,” specifically the bridge portion about 2/3rds of the way in.

Certainly sounds like the bassline, no? The problem, as the poster noted, is that there are rather major drums underneath that bassline but on the Cypress Hill song, it starts “clean” – no drums. So where did the drums go? If you […]

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FOLLOWING THE FLAIR

Killer mike elp

Killer Mike: Ric Flair
From Pl3dge (SMC, 2011)

Late pass. I only heard this the other week when DJ Phatrick was pumping it in the car. Once the main beat dropped in, I lost it because I recognized the sample:

Eddie and Ernie: You Made My Life a Sunny Day
From 7″ (Ever-Soul, 2008)

Daptone/Ever-Soul put this out in 2008. If I recall, it’s a vault rescue (rather than a reissue) and good god, is it awesome. That intro is pure fire: whirling organs, a wall of […]

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MY SUMMER PLAYLIST

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This is the first year where I’m putting the Summer Songs series on hold – too much else going on – but that doesn’t mean my summer listening has disappeared or anything. The thing is though…in any given summer, my heaviest rotation songs are almost never from that actual summer and 2012 (so far) is no different. Here’s the top rundown:

Lianne La Havas: Is Your Love Big Enough?
From digital single (Nonesuch, 2012)

Lily Allen: Smile (Mark Ronson Revisit)
From internet single (2007)

Cloud Control: Just For Now
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BLIND ALLEY: THE FLIPS

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Remember that “Blind Alley” challenge I put to folks about a few weeks back?

Here is a running tally of our entries:

First was an entry from TBird of TBird and the Breaks.

TBird: Blind Alley Flip

Then came a flip from 2 Mello:

2 Mello: Blind Alley Flip

First off, I like how both flips really laser in on the big horns on the song; whereas most uses of “Blind Alley” have typically focused on the opening bars, they’re looking at other key moments in the tune […]

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