Monday, August 29, 2005

posted by O.W.

Eddie Palmieri and Cal Tjader: Samba de Sueno
From Bamboleate (Tico, 1967)

Ray Barretto: Together
From Together (Fania, 1971)

A Latin Sides post has been long overdue. "Samba de Sueno" is a gorgeous, mellow piece of Latin jazz put together by two giants: vibraphonist Cal Tjader and pianist Eddie Palmieri. Tjader gets more shine here - his vibes give the song its heart and spirit; this is such a beautiful piece of music, perfect for the waning days of summer, no?

With Ray Barretto's "Together," I'm boosting up the energy level with an adrenaline shot through the chest. This is one of Barretto's most fiery and exciting post-boogaloo tracks. His percussion section is locked deep in a fierce groove and Barretto scorches his way through this with vocals promoting social unity. That's the win-win.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

posted by O.W.

Byron Lee and the Dragonaires: Who Done It
From Reggay Blast Off (Trojan, 1970)

Carl Maults-By: Nowhere
From Honey Baby, Honey Baby OST (RCA, 1975)

Still more sound file closet cleaning...

I don't know if Byron Lee and the Dragonaires were the most prolific reggae band of the 1970s but it sure feels that way considering how many albums they put out. I own a handful of his titles, my favorite being Reggay Splash Down with its cover of "Express Yourself" (tasty!). This LP has at least one solid cut, "Who Done It" which begins with a nice percussive break (and yeah, it's been looped). Not exactly designed to blow your socks off but it's pleasant enough.

"Nowhere" comes off of the blaxploitation soundtrack for Honey Baby, Honey Baby (composed by Carl Maults-By). The soundtrack isn't the illest ever but it has a handful of solid numbers, "Nowhere" being the best with its driving rhythm and small touches in the arrangement that you appreciate as you listen closer. I can't really make out what the vocals are saying but the rest of the song speaks to me just fine.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

posted by O.W.

Teegarden and VanWinkle: Can't Get Enough of Your Love
From An Evening at Home With Teegarden & Van Winkle (Plumm, 1968)

N/A: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
From Schoolhouse Funk II: Raw Business (Cali-Tex, 2005)

Still cleaning out the sound file closet...we lead with Detroit's pair of blue-eyed funk/blues/rockers, Teegarden and VanWinkle (I would have thought they were British actually). This is actually a pretty cool, very listenable live album (well, presumably live, you can never tell if they're just overdubbing the audience post-recording) that has the two vamping up some surprisingly funky tunes, most of them original compositions. It's VanWinkle on organs and Teegarden on drums - a very spartan band but they have a louder sound that their numbers would suggest. VanWinkle, in particular, is tight on the drums.

That cover of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," comes off Dj Shadow's sequel to his Schoolhouse Funk series, sub-titled, Raw Business. It's more school and stage bands for you (all names concealed), all doing funked up original and cover songs (including a surprisingly good cover of Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" This is one of those albums, strictly for the uber-funk nerds (which would be, you know, me) who find little delights in random bits of musical happenstance...such as a high school marching band trying out their own rendition of Iron Butterfly.
By the way, I preview the new Kanye West album here. No sound files though.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

posted by O.W.

Cannonball Adderley feat. Rick Holmes: Leo
From Love, Sex and the Zodiac (Fantasy, 1974)

Growing up, I knew very few other people like me who had birthdays in August. I'm still not sure why since, as an adult, I've met far more fellow Leos. Maybe it's just like a Leo to think we're rolling solo.

This much is for certain - anyone who blogs as much as I do must have a need to shake my mane. I'm as textbook Leo as they come - pompous and patronizing but also loyal and generous. Or is that pompous to say that?

F--- it. It's my birthday and I'll preen if I want to. Shouts to those who share the day with me:
Marcus Garvey
Robert DeNiro
Posdnuos of De La Soul.

Gas face to:
Davy Crockett

"Leo" comes off of the deliciously smooth Love, Sex and the Zodiac album by Cannonball Adderley, narrated by Rick Holmes (he of the bedroom voice). Watch out - there's two albums by the same men with the same concept. The other is called Soul Zodiac and came out on Capitol. Personally, I don't think it's as good. (Thanks, H. Todd).

Not every cut on the LP is as funky as this - "Taurus is a great sign in that regard and "Scorpio" isn't bad either but I'm digging on Leo's "Get Up, Stand Up" chord progression.

Just remember, Leos are for lovers.

Monday, August 15, 2005

posted by O.W.

King Elio Boom: El Tren
From Champeta Criolla Vol. 2 (Palenque, 2003)

Irving Fields: Cha Cha No. 29 (Mexican Institute of Sound Remix)
(exclusive remix for Reboot Stereophonic)

Yolanda Perez: Aqui Me Tienes
From Aqui Me Tienes (Fonovisa, 2004)

Editor's Note: The latest in the Soul Sides Summer Songs series is from a treasured mentor, Josh Kun. A professor at UC Riverside by day, Kun's wears more musical hats than even I can keep track of, including author of the new Audiotopia and co-founder of the MP3 blog, Hippocampus Music
    Driving west down Pico Boulevard with the windows down, headed for lifeguard station 15, drive-thru McDonald’s fries in my lap. For me, every daytime summer song has to live up to that feeling. Every nighttime summer song has to live up to another one: winding along Mulholland, valley lights below, warm PM wind through a sunroof.

    Summer songs need drama, sex, & the promise of instant (and knowingly fleeting) catharsis, the guarantee that you will feel goose-bumps good and deeply changed (the summer song is the ultimate aural fix), just by listening. And in LA, they have to be able to move bodies that are sitting in cars, not hanging on stoops or dancing in fire hydrant spray. Songs that make other drivers turn down their stereos and throw you a glance to consummate a brief cross-lane relationship.

    GnR welcoming us to the jungle. Stevie B pleading to his “Diamond Girl" with Debbie Deb on deck. Champeta picatero King Elio Boom ordering Colombian kids to jump into disorder and ride “El Tren.” T Pain’s “I’m Sprung” coming through the radio on a Friday midnight as traffic clears on Sunset and you could drive anywhere, forever.

    I've spent much of this summer in Tijuana and Mexico City, and I’ve learned just how well all these feelings translate. At a Mexico City art party, Rinocerose’s “Bitch” poured onto the streets and mixed with the smell of tortillas, car exhaust, and wet pavement. Liquits and Natalia Lafourcade ran naked through an imaginary garden on "Jardin."

    I howled along with duranguense queen Diana Reyes as she tried to one-up Daniela Romo’s “Mentiras” and head-nodded to The Mexican Institute of Sound’s spot on remix of an Irving Fields “bagels and bongos” cha cha cha that I‘ve helped re-issue. But the LA-Tijuana back and forth has been the constant, and for the highway 5 migration between worlds, no song has worked better than Yolanda Perez reminding us that before Beyonce, there was banda.


Friday, August 12, 2005

posted by O.W.

Linda Hopkins: Walk On In
From S/T (RCA, 1972)

Roger and the Human Body: Freedom
From The Vinyl Days (Circe Communications, 1976). Also on We Can Make You Dance

I'm cleaning out my closet of old sound files that I've been stacking but never got around to posting. Sorry folks, no real deep themes here but at least the music's good (I hope).

The Linda Hopkins album I found a while back - her bio is so deep, I can't even begin to try to summarize it but I'll say this much about the music on the LP: you can definitely hear her gospel roots in both the singing and arrangement. The production is good - quite diverse actually since some of it shows off Hopkins' Broadway skills too. "Walk On In" drew me in for its blend of gospel and soul sensibilities (I'm a sucker for background singing too). I'd be curious to know who her rhythm section is too - they got nice chops here.

This Roger and the Human Body was a hand-me-down from Cool Chris at the Groove Merchant in S.F. It comes off of a compilation by Cincinnati's WEBN (part of a series of comps the station put out) designed to highlight the city's local talent. Along side a smattering of disco-influenced soul, folksy light rock ballads, and a dab of country is this early, early song by Roger Troutman and his first group, the Human Body. 45 copies of this song go over $150 and the LP it appears on can price well over $500(!!!) Chris thought this might have been the first place "Freedom" appeared though upon further research, the 7" was released in '75 so this is probably after the single came out. What I think it most interesting is how Roger was already playing with the vocoder that would become such a signature part of the late funkateer's sound.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

posted by O.W.

Young Jeezy feat. Jay-Z and Fat Joe: Go Crazy Remix
Original version appears on Thug Motivation 101 (Def Jam, 2005)

Lil Kim: Lighters Up
From the forthcoming album The Naked Truth (Atlantic, 2005)

AZ feat. Ghostface and Raekwon: New York
Featured on DJ Kayslay's NYC Drama Pt. 4. From the forthcoming album A.W.O.L. (Quiet Money/Fastlife, 2005)

All three of these songs have already made the blogosphere rounds so I'm not claiming to have broken any of it. Nonetheless, they provide some good fodder for discussion.

1) The "Go Crazy" remix is easily one of my favorite songs for the summer - those horns and that loop are incredibly soulful and gives the song a musical depth that's considerably better than a lot of the more crunked out and bounce beats on Jeezy's CD. Maybe it's the Jay-Z cameo and how Jeezy references Scarface's "Guess Who's Back" on his first verse, but the two songs share a similar emotional tone. It doesn't hurt that on both too, everyone's braggin' about how much weight they used to move. I'm surprised Pusha T didn't cameo on this too. And yeah, so even if it's obvious that Jeezy probably ghostwrote Fat Joe's lines, at least they're decent lines.

By the way, caught this one off of Spine Magazine.

2) Let's just ask the obvious: why is Lil Kim trying to sound like Lauryn? I know everyone's said someone needs to step up and take L-Boogie's place ever since she went all Tracy Chapman but for a woman who's clowning Foxy Brown for having a ghostwriter, Kim's blatant channeling of Lauryn is not exactly a good look even though, all things considered, the bite is pretty good. It's not the best Lil Kim song you ever heard but it's not crazy wack either. Scott Storch does a nice job on the track.

Found this via Different Kitchen.

3) How hot is AZ's forthcoming LP, A.W.O.L. sounding right now? Spine Magazine linked to this burn off of a recent Kayslay tape and sh-- is bonkers with the old school loop, air raid sirens and Ghost and Rae on the cameo tip. I'm telling you - AZ rarely gets his due but his last album, Aziatic was one solid listen and totally slept-on by most. If "New York" is any indication (plus all the other recently leaked joints), AZ might have the best album of his career on tap.

Monday, August 08, 2005

posted by O.W.

William Bell: I'll Show You
From 7" (Stax, 1963)

Deanie Parker:Each Step I Take
From 7" (Volt, 1964)

Both also available on The Complete Stax/Volt Singles 1959-1968.

The other month, my friend Jazzbo had to travel to Memphis for work and asked if I wouldn't mind putting together a batch of my favorite Memphis soul and funk songs for him to listen to and get into the right frame of mind. Now...I love the musical heritage of Memphis, especially the legacy of Stax and Hi, unquestionably my two favorite soul imprints of all time (no disrespect to Motown and Atlantic). So I sat down and in the course of a few hours, had 40 songs ready to go. (The answer to the question, "can I also get a copy of that CD?" would be "no.") I kept the playlist around just for this occasion and since I noted last post, I've been in a soul mood, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to revisit Memphis.

It's been a minute since I've included a William Bell post, but as I noted last time, this was one of the big giants at Stax though he was rarely accorded the same recognition as folks like Otis Redding or even Sam and Dave. This song has a real Sam Cooke feel to it - melancholy, even a little dark and most definitely powerful.

Deanie Parker's "Each Step I Take," in contrast is more fragile - the arrangement lacks a heavy bottom and instead, floats on the lightness of Parker's voice and her accompaniment. I like that the song is a ballad yet one that I could imagine getting up and slow groovin' too. Parker never had an extensive singing career at Stax/Volt - only two singles - but she did co-write other songs and had a long, fruitful business career at Stax, eventually becoming CEO for Soulsville USA.

Friday, August 05, 2005

posted by O.W.

Sean Paul: Like Glue
From Dutty Rock (Atlantic, 2002)

Juan Carlos Coronel: Danza Negra
From Un Maestro Una Voz (Colombian import, year unknown)

Magic System: Premiere Gaou
From Premier Gaou 1+1 (Next Music, 2002)

Editor's Note: The latest in the Soul Sides Summer Songs series is from composer and sound designer Blake Leyh, who apart from his numerous album and film credits, also has one of the coolest jobs out there as the music supervisor for The Wire. (We'd be happy just fetching coffee on The Wire). Leyh also maintains the excellent audioblog The Ten Thousand Things where we recently heard the mash-up of Gwen + Miles = "Summatime Girl."
    We don't choose great summer songs. They choose us. Summer is when the windows are open, our guard is down, and we spend more time in the crowd. The joy of popular music is in its quality of shared experience, and summer songs are the lowest common denominator/highest pinnacle of shared musical street life.

    Summer 2003 in New York City was The Summer of Sean Paul. You could walk from your door to the subway station down the block with a stop at the corner bodega for an iced coffee and hear "Like Glue" four times. Sometimes while you were hearing "Like Glue" on the tinny AM radio at the newsstand, a gut shaking sub-woofer would drive by playing "Get Busy" - two Sean Paul songs at once! But "Like Glue" was the song seared
    into my reptilian brain and imprinted in my DNA by several thousand plays - even during the Great Blackout of August, nothing could quiet it.

    The other type of summer song is the one that evokes the interior, imaginary, archetypal summer ideal. Even though I grew up wading through broken glass in London, then spent many summers in Los Angeles in windowless air conditioned rooms, and now endure 100 degree asphalt-melting barnyard-smell summers in NYC, I still carry around a feeling that summer is mint juleps, haystacks, cicadas, and palm trees. It's tropical and breezy. Lying in a hammock with the sun refracting into rainbows through eyelashes. And just over the horizon there's a celebration, people are dancing, and if I can just move from
    this chaise lounge I might go and join them. When they start playing "Danza Negra" by Juan Carlos Coronel, I finally get up and join the party.

    Lastly, although we listen to African music constantly year-round at my house, there's even more of it playing in the summer. Anything by Fela, Senegalese hip-hop, high life, Myriam Makeba, Salif Keita, Bisso Na Bisso. And of course "Premiere Gaou" from Magic System.

    A few more random great summer songs:
    Khaled: Didi
    Abba: Fernando
    Mos Def: Ms. Fat Booty
    Herbie Hancock: Rockit
    Missy Elliot: Get Yr Freak On
    Max Romeo and The Upsetters: War Ina Babylon
    George Clinton: Atomic Dog
    Manu Dibango: Soul Makossa

More summer-y links:

  • DJ Applesauce's excellent In the Sunshine mix-CD
  • The Pop View's own summer songs post
  • VH1 Classics' summer songs poll. "I Got You Babe"? Seriously?
  • The NY Times Kelefa Sanneh on this year's summer jammy jam by Mariah Careh.


  • Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    posted by O.W.

    Charles May and Annette May Thomas: More Faith Is What It Takes
    From Songs Our Father Used to Sing (Gospel Truth, 1973)

    It's time to bring it back to some soul. I forget, from time to time, that this site is called Soul Sides and while I'm more than happy to bring out the jazz, funk, hip-hop, rock, etc. sometimes, what you need in your life is just some goddamn good soul.

    This is the story behind today's of my favorite 45s is this gospel-soul single called "Keep My Baby Warm" which I originally put up back during the Soul Hut collaboration of Oct. 04. I found this single randomly at a store in S.F. and I just loved how it perfectly fused soulful gospel with a surprisingly strong rhythm section - one of the best I had ever heard. Since then, I've been trying to find the album it appeared on (assuming there was one) and the other week, I finally got my hands on it.

    Some background: Charles and Annette are two of the children of Brother Joe May, a prolific and renown gospel singer of the 1950s and '60s. Upon their father's passing in 1972, Charles and Annette - both of them gifted musicians and singers in their own right - got together and released this album as a tribute to him (most of the songs were composed by Charles though there is a long medley of Joe May songs on the album as well).

    They hooked up with The Gospel Truth, a Stax subsidiary, to help produce the album that explains why the rhythm section is so impressive. Seriously, check this out: Wilton Felder on bass, David Walker on guitar, Bobbye Hall on Congas, Louie Shelton on rhythm guitar and on drums? None other than Mr. Cool Aid Chemist himself, Paul Humphrey.

    "More Faith" isn't quite as good as "Keep My Baby Warm" (if you missed it the first time, don't fret, it'll be coming back in one form or another, hint hint) but it's still great, opening with a slick interplay between Humphrey and Charles May on piano. Annette lets loose with the vocals, backed by the Jackson Ensemble and possibly also the 21st Century (Charles' secular band) and "the celebrity voices of..." Edna Wright, Rueben Franklin and Oma Drake. Put it all together and the song would make me want to get up early on Sunday for church. Testify!

    (By the way, I have a new job so I'm a lil busy these days. I'm trying to keep up with my posting but until I get my bearings on all this new work down, your patience is appreciated).