MARDI GRAS SANS BELLS: THE SHORT VERSION

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I was trying to work on a longer version of this story but “recent developments” (DCMA alert!) have short-circuited that, at least for the time being.

Here’s the very very very condensed version though, just to bring folks up to speed.

Years ago, Biz Markie claimed that he owned a 12″ copy of “Mardi Gras” by Bob James, but a version without the bells, thus leaving the breakbeat open. Here’s the regular version of the song:

So yeah, imagine that opening break, but without the bells. That’s what Biz claimed […]

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SLAUGHTERHOUSE: CUTTIN’ LOOSE WITH AVERNE

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Slaughterhouse: Cut You Loose
From S/T (E1, 2009)

Harvey Averne: You’re No Good
From Viva Soul (Atlantic, 1968)

Total late pass for me but I love the original enough that, even 3 years later, still worth posting. Nice flip by Mr. Porter here.

BETTY WRIGHT: BEST FOOT FORWARD


Confession: I continually sleep on Betty Wright. She has such a deep catalog but I’ve been hella lazy in exploring it and given the quality of it, that’s rather embarrassing. The upside though is that, even after all this time, I can be surprised anew by her material. Case in point, I finally copped My First Time Around, her debut LP, which was recorded when she was 14, which is crazy to me. I mean, listen to this and tell me that she sounds like she’s 14:

Betty Wright: Girls Can’t Do What Guys Can Do
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THE “BLIND ALLEY” CHALLENGE

Given that we’ve been talking about the various flips of “Blind Alley,” we figured: why not see what other creative steps people can take to work with this?

Here’s the original stereo version of the song:

The Emotions: Blind Alley

For beatmakers out there: what can you do with it that hasn’t already been done?

Submit your track here and we’ll try to put up the best ones for public feedback in a couple of weeks.

BREAKING DOWN “BLIND ALLEY” PART TWO

In Part One, Matthew Africa and I broke down The Emotions’ “Blind Alley” based on its production and arrangement. For Part Two, we look at how it’s been used as a sample source. (My comments are in plain text, Africa’s are in italics).

In general when producers categorize samples, they often break them down into either “loops” or “breaks”. A “loop” is any sample that’s repeated end-to-end to create a continuous pattern. This is frequently done with basslines, riffs, drum parts or even a whole arrangement, but a loop can be anything that’s repeated. By contrast, […]

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BREAKING DOWN “BLIND ALLEY” PART 1

The Emotions’ “Blind Alley” is one of my favorite Stax/Volt songs of all time and it’s been nearly eight years since I’ve written about it. I’ve been meaning to revisit it and do up something more elaborate after seeing how it got reissued in that Never To Be Forgotten boxset I just wrote about.

It’s been ages since I had done a post over at Soul Sides/Sliced and I decided to put “Blind Alley” through the treatment, joined by Matthew Africa.

Check it out: “Breaking Down ‘Blind Alley’”

In Part 2, Africa […]

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OTIS

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Exile feat. Blu: When Nothing’s Left
From 4TRK Mind (Soulspazm, 2011)

This Exile/Blu collabo has been in steady rotation for a minute and it got me thinking about how signature and powerful Otis Redding’s voice is. Obviously, Ye and Jay’s “Otis” made this clear to but in enjoying “When Nothing’s Left,” it got me to thinking about other examples of Otis’s voice coming directly into a sample.1

One of my all-time favorite examples is this:

Grand Puba: Check tha Resume
From Reel to Reel (Elektra, 1992)

The use of […]

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DON’T GIVE US NO BAMMER WEED

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Gabor Szabo and the California Dreamers: San Franciscan Nights
From WInd, SKy and Diamonds (Impulse, 1967)

“The above song is dedicated to the city and people of San Francisco” (decked out in red and gold…and not just for the Year of the Dragon).

Just a random observation/thought but music and sports are, of course, intensely personal but they’re also appreciated even better when others around you are just as passionate about it. So this past few weeks have been fun as hell, with almost everyone I know in […]

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MARLEY MARL/CRAIG G VS. ATCQ: WHO FLIPPED IT BETTER


Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band: What Can You Bring Me?
From You’re So Beautiful (Warner Brothers, 1971)

Craig G: Take the Bait
From Now, That’s More Like It (Atlantic, 1991)

A Tribe Called Quest: Rock Rock Ya’ll
From The Love Movement (Jive, 1998)

(Dec. 2011: This is another repost/resurrection. First posted in 2007 but original comments were lost. Since I just wrote about this Wright/Watts 103rd song for the Oxford American, it also seemed totally apropos to bring it back. –O.W.)

Original post from ’07: The original […]

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KMD vs. Eric. B and Rakim: Who Flipped It Better?


Bobbi Humphrey: Blacks and Blues
From Blacks and Blues (Blue Note, 1974)

KMD: Plumskinzz
From 12″ (B-side of “Nitty Gritty”) (Elektra, 1991)1

Eric B. and Rakim: Keep the Beat
From Don’t Sweat the Technique (MCA, 1992)

(This was originally posted four years ago but because of how my commenting system has changed since then, I lost all the original comments about it and that seemed like a shame. As it was, I was listening to “Plumskinz” again – I never can get enough of this song – and I figured, “hell, […]

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