James Brown: Blind Man Can See It (from “Black Caesar” OST)

I originally wrote about this on my blog entry previous to when I started offering sound samples. Figure I should come on back and link up the song itself so you can see what I was raving about the last time. Here’s the original post: determining the best James Brown album is like arguing over what flavor of milkshake is best – people have their personal preferences but you’re not likely to come up with something crappy in the end. That said, you have think that the “Black Caesar” album is going to be in hot contention, ranking among the best blaxploitation soundtracks of the 1970s and one of the few OSTs Brown ever participated so fully in. This album helped produce numerous future classics from Brown’s catalog such as “Sportin’ Life,” “Mama Feelgood,” and “The Boss” alongside a variety of lesser known (but no less quality) cuts such as “White Lightning,” “Make It Good To You,” and especially the incredible “Down and Out in New York.” However, the super-duper-cream-on-top-whole-milk cut is “Blind Man Can See It,” – a song first introduced in the hip-hop generation by Lord Finesse, then blown the fuck up by Das Efx and most recently recycled by Jin. What makes this cut the jammy jam? It’s just the memorable guitar loop that everybody samples – it initially comes in around :45 but the money hit comes after the first four bars when the theme seems to momentarily float away and then comes back hard with a short drum roll. Pure head nod moment for the rest of the song as you just ride out on James Brown’s smoky groove. Makes you say unnnnnnh without the nah, nah, nah, nah.

Jesse Anderson: Let Me Back In
From 7″ (Thomas, 196?)

Anderson was a Curtom-related (Mayfield’s label) artist who recorded a few sides on the Thomas subsidary, most famously “Mighty Mighty.” I dig on this song though, “Let Me Back In,” for its slinky, soulful, funkiness, especially with that knockin’ cowbell at the intro (you can never have too much cowbell). And then dig on that groovin’ electric piano.

The lyrics too are hilarious. From what I can tell, dude breaks up with his girlfriend/wife in order to join his other girlfriend but she dumps him when she finds out he left his wife. THEN, he comes back, begging his old lady to “let me back in.” Is he crazy? No wonder he’s standing outside in the cold – dude’s a moron.

Rufus feat. Chaka Khan: Sweet Thing
From Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan (MCA, 1975)

If Chaka Khan never, ever did another song in her entire life, this would have been enough. I remember hearing Mary J. Blige cover it on What’s the 411? and ignorant as I was, just assumed it was the original. Then I heard the original and there’s no comparison – the OG is just so sublime in its soulfulness that it’s untouchable (then again, I feel the same way about “At Last” by Etta James and that has stopped countless American Idol contestants from singing that tune). I hope most of you have heard this song before – seems like a shame if you haven’t – but if this is your first-time to the magic that is “Sweet Thing,” hey, that’s just as good too.