Saturday, December 29, 2007

posted by O.W.

Aaron Neville: She Took You For a Ride
From Tell It Like It Is (Par-lo, 1966)

Quantic Soul Orchestra: Tropidelico
From Tropidelico (Tru Thoughts, 2007)

The B.U.M.S.: West Coast Smack
From Lyfe N' Tyme (1995)

DJ Shadow: Best of the KMEL Mixes Part 1 (snippet)
From The 4-Track Era (DJ Shadow, 2007)

Crystal Mansion: And It Will Take Your Breath Away
From S/T (Rare Earth, 1972)

It's been a while since I've done one of these GM posts but I was recently in the Bay Area on a short holiday/family trip and, of course, had to make my pilgrimage. As I've written before, the joy in going there is simply the vastness of music I can get acquainted with. Especially in L.A., where the geography isn't conducive to a similar arrangement, I miss having someplace to just kick back and chew the fat about records. That is, of course, partially why I do this blog.

This time around, I was hanging around when DJ B.Cause slipped on the Aaron Neville LP. You wouldn't think this album would be such a pricey piece - "Tell It Like It Is" is one of Neville's biggest hits ever, but the original album is quite the collector's item but luckily, the excellence of the music helped defray the sticker shock. "She Took You For a Ride" is a magnificent track, with a different soulful feel from "Tell It Like It Is," especially with the background vocals. I was initially struck by that element since I don't normally associate it with Neville but it gives this song an added dynamic in this case.

Joining me at the GM was my man Beto, who I last wrote about in July. This was the first time the two of us actually got to sit down and build for a minute...I was bouncing a ton of Latin music (especially boogaloo-related) questions off me and it is downright scary how much knowledge he's been soaking up for his research on the music scene in the Afro-Antilles. I'm going to say this now: when his book comes out, it has the potential to be a major game-changer. Remember the name: Roberto Gyemant.

In any case, while we were hanging, he hit me off with the new QSO CD - something I had been meaning to check out but still hadn't gotten around to yet. It's a great concept: Will Holland (Mr. Quantic himself) decided to record a series of songs inspired by music of the Latin American tropics, basically covering ground throughout the Greater Caribbean Basin; he recorded on location in Panama City, for example.

Beto helped turn Will Holland onto some of the artists that he works with on the Tropidelico CD, including (I presume) the incredible Peruvian pianist Alfredo Linares (I have an upcoming post about Linares and other Peruvian Latin players). That's Linares you hear at the beginning of "Tropidelico"; he has such a distinct touch on the piano with his chords and tempos. I love that Linares was killing it back in the '60s and is still holding it down in the '00s. (Rappers should be so lucky).

Speaking of which, I quietly threw on the B.U.M.S. album at the store, just for kicks, and took the assemblage on a reminisce trip back to the mid-'90s Bay Area hip-hop scene. The B.U.M.S. always makes me nostalgic, partially because I've always wondered why the didn't do better than they did, partially because the album itself was produced by one of my favorite, slept-on producers from that era, Joe Quixxx. B.Cause mentioned he'd actually been giving "West Coast Smack" some spin at his gigs and though my fave cut remains the title cut, it was worth giving some shine to one of the other tracks, especially with this CD long, long out of print.

Sticking to the Bay Area hip-hop tip, the GM had a copy of DJ Shadow's 4-Track Era CD for sale and I scooped that with a quickness. I actually had some of this on an ancient dub tape I got from the old Solesides crew but it's great that it's been compiled onto CD. The back story is this: Shadow first came to prominence on the strength of these crazy mega-mixes he did for KMEL back in the early '90s (this is back when KMEL was arguably the greatest hip-hop station on FM, west of the Hudson). You young'uns, raised on Pro Tools off your Mac Books, probably can't even remember the era of Tascam 4-Tracks and what not but sheeyit, I grew up on listening to radio DJs create these insane, multi-layered mixes off them and created most of my early mixtapes (back when they were actually tapes) off analog 4-tracks myself ('tis true: check for Head Warmers on the Private Press inset), following their inspiration. To make a long story short: even in 2007, these kind of mixes are incredible to listen to, without even factoring in the technological acumen that it would have required (f--- a mash-up, back then, we called 'em "remixes"). Damn, how old do I sound right now? I need to get out of this "back in the day" mode! Too late.

For real though, I'm still trying to figure out how he remixed that De La song at the end...was there an acapella to "Afro Connections" I didn't know about?

I'm ending with a song I've been meaning to blog about for, oh, at least a few years now but just never got around to it: "And It Will Take Your Breath Away" by Crystal Mansion. I copped this from the GM years ago and I still don't know a ton about them, apart from the fact they were a blue-eyed funk group, in the vein of Rare Earth, who never hit it crazy big but managed to stick together for about half a decade. I've always loved, loved, loved how this song opens, especially with those soulful piano melodies and then the drum drops. If this sounds familiar to anyone, there's a reason why.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, December 27, 2007

posted by O.W.

Proof that there is some greater cosmic wisdom in the universe...there are videos to the songs off of Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson.

Thanks to DJ Sheep.

BTW, I'm still on holiday break but I'll be back around soon enough and expecting the true heads to roll through the Redwood Bar, ya heard?

Labels: ,

Friday, December 21, 2007

posted by O.W.

The Peddlers: This Strange Affair + I Have Seen
From Suite London (Phillips/Odeon, 1972)

If you've noticed, my posting rate's picked up of late - god bless winter break. We'll see how long I can keep this up but personally, it's been fun knocking out these posts because it means revisiting a slew of songs that have been in queue and are just now getting some shine.

Case in point: I've had this Suite London album since before I moved to L.A. but it's taken me this long to get around to it despite it being one of those albums that I'm constantly amazed by. It is, by any accounts, a very special performance, pairing the UK's '60s rock group, The Peddlers, with the London Philharmonic. You might think that's yawn-worthy but think of it like the best jazz-meets-rock-meets-funk-meets-symphonic collaboration David Axelrod never sat in on. It's a completely mesmerizing album, filled with these strikingly beautiful vocal and musical passages with unexpectedly sophisticated polyrhythmic passages. Way ahead of its time and an album you can pretty much needle-drop onto, leave alone and enjoy. The two tracks I pulled out are both slow burners - let them build and you can watch how masterfully they come together.

The original vinyl versions of this album - on either label - are scarce but luckily, the group has enough of a fanbase that they've been able to reissue this on CD (which is probably an easier way to enjoy the whole thing as a suite.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

posted by O.W.

Latin Jazz Quintet with Pharoah Sanders: Daria + Haarlem
From Oh! Pharoah Speak (Trip, 196?)

La Clave: Soul Sauce
From S/T (Verve, 1973)

The Sanders/LJQ LP is something I've had for years but didn't think to revisit until more recently when I caught one of the songs from it off the radio. It's difficult to over-talk this is such a wonderful meeting point between jazz, Latin and soul that each cut will have you guessing as to what style might come next. I pulled out two songs to illuminate that diversity: "Daria" opens a classic Cuban piano montuno and clave rhythm, some slick guitar work before opening into a wonderfully Latin-fied groove where the guitar switches from melody to rhythmic and the horn players get to play off. I'm not sure if this qualifies as a formal descarga but it has all the verve of one.

"Haarlem" switches up things completely with a slinky, smoky soul jazz track that could have easily found its way onto a Lou Donaldson or Donald Byrd album from the same era - feel that funky boogaloo style.

The La Clave is part of Dusty Groove's reissue series and it's one of their more interesting inclusions: a relatively obscure Latin rock/funk album from Verve. Sure, Verve had a few recordings by Willie Bobo, trying to capitalize on Latin music's popularity in the late '60s but this La Clave LP is something else, coming out of San Francisco's underrated Latin scene. Benny Velarde leads the arrangement, with Lalo Schifrin popping in for a few sessions and it's hard to imagine a funkier album on Verve's catalog. Great stuff.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

posted by O.W.

Latin Blues Band: I'll Be a Happy Man
From Take a Trip Pussycat (Speed, 196?). Also on Big Ol' Bag O' Boogaloo Vol. 1

Willy Baby: Hot Buns
From 7" (Ding Dong, 196/7?). Also on Big Ol' Bag O' Boogaloo Vol. 2

Bruce Cloud: Soul Mambo
From 7" (Motif, 196/7?). Also on Big Ol' Bag O' Boogaloo Vol. 3

This isn't letting the cat out of the bag, but volume 2 of the Soul Sides Boxsets series will be boogaloo-themed. That's probably overdue on my part - I've done a few boogaloo-themed posts in the past, including a few podcast-style, but considering that it's one of those genres that I've focused an intense amount of attention on, that interest isn't necessarily reflected on this site. That's why I wanted to do a huge post on it for Uber but even then, it won't cover everything (btw, it should go live in early January).

In the meantime, I wanted to fill people in on a few titles worth checking out, especially this intriguing "Big Ol' Bag O' Boogaloo" series that came out earlier this year. Unfortunately, it's vinyl only which won't help non-turntabled folks but for any DJ with an inkling of interest in Latin soul/boogaloo, the entire series is highly recommended. I got mine through Dusty Groove but it looks like they're out right now - but I think Andale has them.

The deal with the BOBOB series is that most of the songs on here do NOT come from the usual suspects, i.e. Tico, Cotique, Alegre or Fania. Instead, they draw mostly on the smaller Speed label, one of those boutique Latin labels that collectors jones for. (The series claims to have titles from Ghetto Records, Joe Bataan's one-time project, but it's just one song (by Joe Acosta) so I consider the claim to be a bit suspect. There are, however, many songs not on Speed or the major Latin imprints, but these obscure one-offs (the Cloud 45, for example, is a $500+ piece). The series does repeat artists often - usually milking two songs off a single LP in order to stretch things out but the quality, overall, is very, very good, especially for beginning boogaloo fans.

"I'll Be a Happy Man" is an interesting cut insofar as the Latin Blues Band uses the identical backing track as two other Latin titles: the Moon People's "Hippy Skippy Moon Strut" and Dave Cortez's "Happy Soul With a Hook." Out of the batch, if you like vocals, this Latin Blues Band is the version you want (if you prefer an instrumental, then the Moon People track is pretty appears on Vol. 1 as well).

"Soul Mambo" is a slick, classic-style boogaloo though, from what I understand, the track is also a hit in Northern Soul circles. Can't say I know much about Bruce Cloud at all but had this appeared on, say, a Cotique album, I wouldn't have blinked an eye; it just sounds so "of that era."

"Hot Buns" by Willy Baby (another artist I know nothing about) is in Spanish, making me wonder if it originated in Puerto Rico though the sound is incredibly New York. The track is very raucous and the prominence of the guitar is unusual and a welcome surprise.

All in all, the entire BOBOB series is nicely assembled; reminds me of those great Latin soul comps that came out on the UK's Harmless back in the early '00s (but have gone out of print since). Keep 'em coming....


Sunday, December 16, 2007

posted by O.W.

Ben Westbeech: So Good Today
From Welcome to the Best Days Of Your Life (Brownswood, 2007)

Candi Staton: I'm Just a Prisoner
From I'm Just a Prisoner (Fame, 1970). Also on Candi Staton: The Early Years.

Timmy NcNealy: I Am So Glad You're Mine (snippet)
From 7" (Shawn/Truth and Soul, 1972/2007)

Hank Ballard: With Your Sweet, Lovin' Self
From 7" (King, 1969)

Bronx River Parkway and Candela All-Stars: Aqua Con Sal (snippet)
From 7" (From Truth and Soul, 2007)

The Three Souls: Herby's Tune
From 7" (All-Indy, 196?)

Donny Hathaway: Lord Help Me
From 7" (ATCO, 1972) Also on Extension of a Man.

UGK: One Day
From Ridin' Dirty (Jive, 199)

Here's an irony for you: I switched to audioblogging after doing 10 years of radio because, frankly, I found radio a bit exhausting. But nowadays, with teaching and family, blogging (at times mind you, only at times) feels like the burden. So instead of doing a few mini-posts, I'm back to cooking up mini-sets. I'd appreciate any feedback people have, namely over whether or not these 20+ minute mixes are more to their liking than single-song files. Personally, I like it better since I think music should be listened to in a sequence rather than bits of free-floating atomic units (I'm old school like that).

Anyway - here's the latest mega-post.

I have to thank Soul Sides reader, Ronnie Reese, who put me up on my current heavy-rotation player - "So Good Today" by the UK's Ben Westbeech. I'm a little surprised I didn't catch wind of this sooner, only because Westbeech is signed to Gilles Peterson's Brownswood label and I tend to follow Peterson's music. In any case, Reese was trying to put me up on the Dap-Kings mix of the song but I have to say: I rather prefer the original version. Sure, it's sugary sweet and probably only a touch less hippy-happy than, say, "Young Folks ," but to me, this is the perfect "start-your-day" song. Much better than waking up to that "ENH! ENH! ENH! ENH!" of the typical clock-radio. Dig the video too.

The Candi Staton is very, very overdue. I should have blogged about this a couple years ago, when Astralwerks put out that amazing Candi Staton: The Early Years anthology, featuring some of her best songs with Rick Hall's famous Fame studio in Muscle Shoals. I was reminded of this, pulling out songs for that recent Sharon Jones gig, and reminded about how insanely awesome "I'm Just a Prisoner" is. Seriously, it's G.O.A.T. status and I don't mean Capra aegagrus hircus. You gotta love how the song builds in intensity; it's not far past 3 minutes yet it sounds absolutely epic.

I follow that with one of the best reissues I've heard in a while; a cover of Al Green's "I'm So Glad You're Mine" done by the great Timothy McNealy, and re-released by our valued colleagues over at Truth and South in Brooklyn. This one is mega-mega rare, originally appearing on Shawn and what I appreciate about it is how McNealy strips down an already stripped-down's lo-fi but in this affecting, acoustic, intimate way. I only hooked up a snippet: cop the entire thing (hopefully, T&S will get a digital sales system set up soon).

The Hank Ballard side comes from a stack of 45s my man Justin Torres broke me off with a few years back but I had misfiled a bunch of them and only recently rediscovered them. This was part of a batch of James Brown-produced singles and the deeper I get with that catalog, the more impressed you get at just how many songs from the '60s, including a song like this Ballard cut, managed to carry that signature JB sound without having to smash you ever the head with it, ala "Think" or "More Peas" (so we're clear: I like being smashed in the head by JB-production). Sweet funk like this makes my day.

Back to Truth and Soul, just wanted to hit ya'll with a quick blast of Latin funk from their Bronx River Parkway recordings (I believe a full-length is imminent). As usual, a solid dancefloor cooker that's a good transition song for the Latin newcomers but doesn't dumb it down for the real heads either.

The Three Souls jazz tune is off another 45 I re-discovered from Torres' batch. This is an interesting single out of Indianapolis, given that the A-side, recorded with a vocalist named Aretta is a soul cut whereas this, the flipside, is obviously a straight-ahead jazz track and my, my, my...what a nice one at that. Much as I appreciate the soul jazz era of the late '60s/early '70s, it's "soulful" straight-ahead jazz like this which I never get tired of listening to. If anyone else has recommendations for albums in a similar sounding vein, let me know.

The Donny Hathaway is something I originally posted back in February and I was under the mistaken impression that it had been a previously unreleased cut, put onto the Extension of a Man CD. As it turns out, it had come out...but only on 45. Given that I just reacquired the single, I wanted to put it up again especially since it is, hands-down, one of my favorite Hathaway songs (which is saying a lot). So sublime and socially conscious to boot.

Lastly, I end with a song that was suggested to me by Soul Sides reader Laughlin Siceloff as part as a two-song, Pimp C dedication. I thought it'd actually work nicely as a coda here, in the memory of a rapper who passed far, far before his time. R.I.P.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, December 15, 2007

posted by O.W.

Fruko El Bueno: El Ausente
From Ayunando (Fuentes, 1973)

Fruko El Bueno: Soy Guajiro Del Monte
From El Caminante (Fuentes, 1974)

Fruko Y Sus Tesos: Manyoma
From Fruko El Grande (Fuentes, 1975)

First of all, let me echo the sentiments of both students and teachers everywhere: all praises to the end of the semester.

With that out of the way...I am, by no means, a salsa expert. Most of my Latin knowledge (which is still limited at best) is focused on Latin soul and boogaloo but one of the things I have that great Colombia! comp for was introducing me to the salsa caliente by Fruko Y Su Tesos, one of the biggest stars in Colombia's Latin music scene since the 1970s.

I've since tracked down a few Fruko LPs and what appears above represents a small sliver from his overall catalog but they do include a few of his salsa cuts that have appealed to me. The first, "El Ausente" features the famous Colombian canta, Joe Arroyo (Arroyo appears on most of Fruko's albums from this era). Great voice but it's all about the cowbell, admit it.

"Soy Guajiro Del Monte" slows things down a bit with but flavors things up with a slick piano riff and Fruko's wide-grooving basslines in the back. Love the use of back-up vocals too. That leaves us with "Manyomam," which flaunts an even more prominent piano loop, plus that bank of horns and that amazing, soaring hook (with reverb no less). So proper.


Monday, December 10, 2007

posted by O.W.

Pleasure Web: Music Man Pts. 1 and 2
From 7" (Eastbound, 1973). Also on Super Breaks 3

Jurassic 5: Jayou
From Jurassic 5 EP (Interscope, 1997)

Jurassic 5: Concrete and Clay
From Quality Control (Interscope, 2000)

Similar to the last "Which flip is better?" post, this one features a single producer who has used the same sample source twice for two different songs.

The source here is one of the more obscure 45s on Eastbound: "Music Man Pt. 1 and 2" by Pleasure Web. Personally, I couldn't find much on the artist at all; if anyone knows some details, illuminate the rest of us.

Cut first used "Part 2" of the song for "Jayou," arguably the most distinctive cut off the first Jurassic 5 EP from '97. Then, he revisited the same 7" and flipped "Part 1" for "Concrete and Clay" which first appeared on the "Improvise" EP of 1999 (and was later released on the full-length Quality Control album). Personally, I was always more partial to "Concrete and Clay" myself though "Jayou" had more buzz going. It's hard to choose b/t the different parts of "Music Man" though given that they're practically two different songs. My inclination is to go with Part 1 simply b/c I like it with lyrics better but it's hard to front on the flute flavor of its sibling.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, December 08, 2007

posted by O.W.

(Editor's Note: This post was written by David Jaffe to commemorate the life, times and music of the late, great Max Roach)

Max Roach was one of jazz music's great elder statesmen until his passing on August 15th of this year. His musical advancements in drumming were on par with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie (who first brought Latin rhythms to jazz) and saxophonist Charlie Parker (who used syncopation in ways previously unimagined), with whom Roach came to prominence. Roach fronted several important bands, and it is likely that only fellow bop drumming pioneer and contemporary Art Blakey was a leader-drummer of as many significant lineups. Roach was also an outspoken activist for racial equality, a musical experimenter, and jazz educator until the end of his life.

Charlie Parker: Dexterity
From S/T (Warner Bros, 1977)

Depending on which discography one is reading, Roach first rose to prominence in the bands of Duke Ellington and Benny Carter during the early '40's, although it is likely the influence of Coleman Hawkins, one of the few greats of the Swing generation to move fluidly into the new style bop, was of the greatest significance. Most writers will point to the jam sessions at Monroe's and Minton's with Gillespie, Parker and Pianist Thelonious Monk in the mid '40's in New York as the birth of bop. The recordings that ultimately sprouted from the seeds of those jam sessions are most famously with Charlie Parker and later, Miles Davis. Listening to the early Roach recordings gives the sense of both the drum kit floating along with the music and giving it drive at the same time. It is Roach's use of the cymbal along with the bass and snare that provide the propulsive movement. The chick-a-boom rhythm of swing had always provided momentum to jazz, and in many ways is one of jazz' defining characteristics, but Roach brought a new sense of movement with his accent on cymbals and ability to layer textures of percussion that was new to jazz. 

Max Roach: Drum Conversation Pt. 2
From Autobiography In Jazz (Debut, 1954)

Charles Mingus & Thad Jones: One More
From Jazz Collaborations Vol. 1 (Debut, 1952)

In the early '50's Roach became an owner of Debut Records along with Charles Mingus, the label on which Roach would debut as a leader and which would issue the Massey Hall concert recordings. The Debut Massey Hall records are a holy grail for bop diggers, both for scarcity and for the quality of the music within the grooves. It is not hyperbole to say that the performances on this disk are some of the best in the jazz cannon; all of the players, Roach included, are in top form. Also, listen to the give-and-take stop-time soloing with Thad Jones on One More, also issued on the Debut label.

The next two major phases in Roach's career were his band with trumpeter Clifford Brown, and the remaining bands that Roach lead following Brownie's death. Brownie was a unique voice in jazz who could play solos on ballads fast and up-tempo solos slowly with a fat, warm tone, and who, despite his young age, had a style of his own. The car accident that took Brownie also killed pianist Richie Powell (great jazz pianist and fellow bop pioneer Bud Powell's brother), devastating Roach. Not only was Brownie close to Roach, but the pair shared a musical simpatico that combined the lyricism of Brown and the drive of Roach. 

Max Roach Plus Four: Lover
From Jazz in 3/4 Time (Emarcy, 1957)

With great effort Roach soldiered on after Brown's death, establishing some fantastic bands that provided Roach the opportunity to further develop his drum stylings. During this period Roach experimented with 3/4 time and with continuing to place drumming in the context of multiple, reinforcing textures. Rhythms are played on every part of the trap set, including the stands, and with a wide variety of sticks, brushes and mallets. Roach's post-Brown bands include a who's-who of great jazz musicians including Kenny Dorham, Sonny Rollins, Booker Little, Oscar Pettiford, George Coleman, and Hank Mobley. In all of these recordings, multiple rhythms are played at once on different parts of the drum set, each pattern having its own logic while still providing propulsion to a given tune. Roach was even able to play a single part of the set for an extended solo in such a way a to completely hold a listener. Check out how on the drum solo on Lover the different rhythms skip from one to the next but never loose the beat of the song as a whole.

Max Roach: Freedom Day
From We Insist! Freedom Now Suite (Candid, 1960)

Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Max Roach: Money Jungle
From Money Jungle (United Artists, 1962)

Max Roach & Archie Shepp: Suid Afrika 76
From Force (Base, 1976)

In the '60's Roach was actively involved with civil rights. He recorded several lp's, including his own We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite for Candid and Money Jungle with Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus, where the theme was pain of racial inequality. These recordings foreshadowed many of the protest records that were to follow in all styles made by Black men and women in America in the following decades. So profound were civil rights to Roach that he would continue to explore its themes for the remainder of has career, including the protest albums Force, an extended duet with Archie Shepp, The Loadstar, and Sonny Rollins' Freedom Suite. The drum solo on Freedom Day almost mimics the breaking of the shackles of slavery days, while the drum intro on Suid Afrika uses brushes to mimic the sounds and rhythms of African tribal drumming ˆ for four minutes! Money Jungle is significant because it is an Ellington tune. Ellington, one of the greatest composers in American music was not known as a protest artist, but rather as a dance-band leader and master arranger. Try to hum the melody to the Ellington composition Take the A-Train while listening to outrage expressed by all three musicians on Money Jungle.

Roach continued his career almost until his death with innovative projects like the all-drum M'Boom, experiments in free jazz, and as an educator at both the Lenox School of Jazz and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. 

Certainly, a great deal of ink has used to recall Max Roach's great humanity and his profound influence on music. It is with a profound sense of both Max Roach's importance as a musician and character as a man that we say: Peace be with you, Brother Max.

--David Jaffe

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 06, 2007

posted by O.W.

50 Cent: I Get Money (I Dap Money Remix)

A Soul Sider (Andrew G.) sent this in: a remix of 50 Cent's "I Get Money" using a Sharon Jones and Dap-Kings song. Heck, if Jay-Z can flip about the "Roc Boys" over the Menahan Street Band, why not this? Reminds me of that Clipse/Lee Fields blend from last year.


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

posted by O.W.

First of all, thanks to everyone who came out and said "hi" to me this evening. I was genuinely touched by all the love. I don't do this for props (but props are nice!)

Second all, standing ovation for Sharon Jones and the Dap-kings for putting on a hellafied show that exceeded expectations. Part of me does kind of wish I could go back to the last time I saw them - at the tiny Elbo Room in S.F. - but seeing them rock a sold out El Rey was outstanding in its own way too. With apologies to Virginia Slim: they've come a long way, baby.

Top 5 Moments (in chrono order)
1) Playing "Behind the Blue Curtains" by the El Michels Affair, having someone walk up to me, say, "nice selections" and add, "I co-wrote this song."

2) Playing "Make the Road By Walking" by the Menahan Street Band without realizing that the guy who wrote and recorded it was standing six feet behind me. He came up, noted, "I wrote this in my bedroom" (or was it bathroom?) and then was telling me how he had to go down to meet Jay-Z and "approve the lyrics" in order for them to sample the song. When he gets off tour, Tom Brenneck's going to give me the full scoop, which I'll bring back to here.

3) Getting love from the staff. It's one thing to make the audience happy but props from the soundmen and security is who I'm always glad to please.

4) Hearing my name called from stage with applause from the full house. Again, I don't do this for props (but props are was getting paid even though I didn't ask to be).

5) Watching Sharon Jones "do the boogaloo" as part of her encore. She really is simply incredible live.

Bottom 3 Moments (in chrono order)
1) Discovering that the second turntable had a busted left channel. The upside was that the sound guys managed to rig up a way to play it, without losing volume, in mono instead. Saved my keister.

2) Dropping my MD recorder after nearly 2 hours of taping my set. The battery cover came loose and that negated everything I had taped until then. I love digital recording technology but I also hate how fragile it can be. You don't lose the recording when you drop a tape Walkman! Sheesh.

3) Standing for over five hours, much of it spent hunched over. Oof.

So check it out...after the show, I was asked to keep playing for about half an hour and that I managed to tape. All slow jams, fit for the end of a long evening.

I might "do" something with this in the upcoming weeks, maybe as a bonus recording for my next mix-CD. However, I'm offering it, as a digital download, to anyone who was actually at the show and came up to say hi. If that sounds like you, simply email me and tell me what I was wearing. That's all!

BTW: R.I.P to Pimp C. A terrible day for hip-hop fans.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 03, 2007

THE OZONE - 9/29/02
posted by O.W.

I often times forget that when I'm too busy to do a full post, I still have roughly 10 years worth of radio shows to draw from so long as I remember to digitize them once in a while. Here's a show from about five years ago (christ, I can't believe 2002 = five years ago. Damn, I feel old). I like how I talk about a "new segment" on the show but I'm pretty sure I stopped doing the "Under the Covers" segment after only a handful of times...not for any particular reason besides laziness. Still, some good "Cissy Strut" action there for Meters' fans.

So far, I've digitized the first two hours:

The Ozone, hosted by DJ O-Dub. 90.7 FM, KALX

9/29/02 - Hour 1
    Primeridian: Jigsaw
    The Meters: Cissy Strut
    Hoctor Records: Cissy Strut
    Trinidad Steel Band: Sissy Strut
    Earl Van Dyke: Cissy Strut
    Rod Piazza: Cissy Strut
    Ni Double Ki: Movin On
    Rupert Cobbett: Seven Heaven
    Nancy Ames: Pow, Pow, Pow (Mas Que Nada)
    Jadell: Spanish Fly
    The Cabilidos: Barrio Bueno
    Lee Dorsey: Yes We Can
    Sly and the Family Stone: A Trip To Your Heart
    The Vibrettes: Humpty Dump Pt. 1
    Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings: Cut the Line
    Lilith: Pick Up the Pieces

Hour 2
    James Brown: The Payback Mix
    Instant Funk: I Got My Mind Made Up
    Michael Jackson: Billie Jean (instr)
    Fat Larry's Band: Lookin' For Love
    Latasha: I'm Every Woman (from "Hustle!")
    Andy Loore: Mixed Drums
    West Coast Revival: Feelin' Alright (from "California Soul")
    Electric Church: We Had a Love (from "Welcome to the Newsroom")
    Horace Silver: Acid, Pot Or Pills
    Mickey and the Soul Generation: Football
    The Aquarians: Bayu-Bayu
    Bobby Paunetto: Fenway Funk


Saturday, December 01, 2007

posted by O.W.

Jim James and Calexico: Goin' To Acapulco
From I'm Not There (Sony, 2007)

The Flying Burrito Bros: Wild Horses
From Burrito Deluxe (A&M, 1970)

Cam'ron: Just Us
From Public Enemy #1 (2007)

Cyril Neville: Tell Me What's On Your Mind
From 7" (B-side of "Gossip") (Josie, 1970). Also on New Orleans Funk.

Freeway: When They Remember
From Free At Last (Roc-A-Fella, 2007)

Kanye West + Jay-Z: Never Let Me Down (9th Wonder Remix)
From The Graduate (2007)

Phoebe Snow: Poetry Man
From S/T (Shelter, 1974)

This isn't the most elegant way to go about things but with the end-of-the-semester crunch in full e.f.f.e.c.t., a mondo-posting, written while I'm vegging to college football, is about as good as things are going to get right now. Besides, these days, a playlist like what you see above is par for the course. Genres? Bah, where we're going, we don't need genres.

To start with...

I went to go see the new Todd Haynes film, "inspired" by Bob Dylan, I'm Not There and one of the musical moments that lingered most with me came during the Richard Gere/Billy the Kid thread, where Jim James and Calexico eerily performed Dylan's "Goin' To Acapulco" (from the Basement Tapes originally) as part of a funeral. Covering Dylan is not an easy task; in most cases, it's really not worth trying (see the rest of the I'm Not There soundtrack for other examples) but I thought James does a fine job here putting his own spin on a tune most folks (save hardcore Dylan-ites) probably don't even associate with Dylan. Think of it as a more erudite "Margaritaville."

Speaking of friend Hua recently hit me with this cover of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses," sung by the late Gram Parsons when he was with the Flying Burrito Bros (one of the worst names in rock, evah). Parsons, to me, just nails this. It's a cover but it sounds like it should be the original given that Parsons' heroined-out voice and affect makes the song even more melancholy. I wonder if Mick heard this and thought, "damn, I just got sonned."

Just to switch up gears really abruptly, now we get to Cam'ron. His new double-CD mixtape is a bounty for any Cam fan, especially since it's been a minute since he's had an album out. His signature rhyme scheme has become even more playful and intricate of late though I picked this song more b/c I'm down to listen to any rap song that loops Journey (Steve Perry, represent). I wonder if anyone could actually get this cleared in real life...

The Cyril Neville is a song I've been playing out more of late. Neville's backed by The Meters (he was a member, of course) and this appears on the B-side of his first solo single, "Gossip." Personally, I'd put it up there with the best of any Meters-related song I've ever heard. The band is on fire in backing Cyril and along with Neville's vocals, they lend the song a marvelous energy.

No less energetic is Freeway. I admit...I wasn't always into him given his voice but with time, I've really appreciated the intensity he brings. The new album, Free At Last is incredibly good. It's definitely one of the best rap albums I've heard in a long time; Free may complain that Just Blaze didn't "chirp back" but you'd hardly miss the Megatron Don here given that much of the production is already indebted to his style. It's hard to pick any one song off this album; the whole thing is so good and I was tempted to go with "Roc-A-Fella Billionaires) but in the end, "When They Remember" comes out ahead for sheer power. The song is so loud and grand, it's cinematic.

The Kanye remix comes off The Graduate mix-CD, put together by Mick Boogie and Terry Urban. The original was on College Dropout and I was never that crazy about the O.G., production-wise, but I really like what 9th Wonder does here (I'm sure it has something to do with its nod to Primo's remix of Show and AG's "Next Level"Das Efx's "Real Hip Hop"); it strips the sound down and gives the verses an added poignancy by being so sparse.

Laslty, I recently went to go see Queen Latifah in concert at Royce Hall and she has her own version of Snow's classic "Poetry Man" on her new Trav'lin' Light CD. Much as I'd like to back Latifah here...her voice just can't quite cut it and ultimately, though a loyal cover, it's not as satisfying as enjoying Snow's original (Zap Mama has a decent cover of it too). "Poetry Man" has a distinct Joni Mitchell quality to it (which might be why I like it so much) and it's one of those songs that go down so easy on a weekend afternoon.

Labels: , , , ,