Monday, August 31, 2009

posted by O.W.

I don't know how good his new album is but this is pretty damn slick.

posted by O.W.

Archie Whitewater: Track 3
From Unreleased Archie Whitewater album (Cadet Concept, 197?)

Unknown: It's Hard To Tell(?)
From unknown (label unknown, 197?)

Unknown: My Love Ain't No Play Thing(?)
From unlabeled acetate (label unknown, 196/7?)

Here's a trio of musical mysteries - unreleased and even completely unknown recordings:

I had heard rumors of a lost Archie Whitewater album but didn't realize the tapes actually existed. Clearly, someone booted 'em and put them out into the world, for which we're all better off (even if the mixing on these tracks are muddled as hell). Whitewater put together one of the most eclectic (and sought after) albums on the Cadet Concept label, which, true to the imprint's "Concept" part, seemed like a challenging but rewarding collision of jazz, funk, soul, and rock. I'm betting it sounds amazing on weed but I wouldn't really know. I'm not advocating for it either (but do comment about it if you try!) It seems that Whitewater recorded a second album for Cadet Concept but, for whatever reason, it was deaded before release. Nearly 40 years later, someone obviously decided to quit waiting and just put out a rough mix. I can't say it's better than his self-titled album - the submerged fidelity makes it a hard comparison - but I can say that it has enough stylistic similarities to warrant favorable comparison to the original.

Continuing our "unknown/unreleased" trip is a cut from Muscle Shoals, AL that our friend Andy Zax came upon and offered to share with us. Thanks Andy! An interesting cut to be sure; sounds a bit late '70s to me, only because of certain aesthetic features but it's hard to know since, when Andy found it in the vault archives, he had no info on it besides the Muscle Shoals connection. This isn't a bad tune, especially with those lingering piano stabs but I also could have done without the rock guitar. If this sounds like anyone you can think of, let us know in the comments.

Lastly, I had to borrow a cut from my friend Justin Torres' excellent The Break Up Letters mix (you better scoop that if you haven't already). Justin's pretty good at finding these unreleased-type tracks; he's the guy responsible for finding the untitled recording by "Joe" that became DJ Shadow's "This Time". This unknown female funk song, from an untitled acetate, is a scorcher; sounds late '60s to me (but could be easily early '70s) and while it's a bit rough from it being an acetate, you can imagine how awesome this would have been as an actual release.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

posted by O.W.

This dude is off the chain.

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posted by Eric Luecking

Kieran White: Hummingbird
From Wayfaring Strangers: Lonesome Heroes (Numero, 2009)

As any polite person would tell you, it's always ladies first. So back in 2006 when Numero released their first folk compilation in a (soon-to-be) series entitled Wayfaring Strangers, they followed the age-old tradition. Now, it's time for the men to get their shine. These “lonesome heroes” offer observations mainly on everyday life on their sojourns to whereverland.

You'll find sparse instrumentation throughout, usually just an acoustic guitar – although sometimes a flute pops up. The lone exception is the album closer by Robb Kunkel which features lush orchestration. Featuring quite a spectrum of takes on the genre, “The Tailor” by Jack Hardy features a rough-voiced lead with occasional backup touches by two sweet-voiced females, whereas former hockey player Jim Schoenfeld has a more tender vocal on anti-war themed piece “Before.”

Kieran White's “Hummingbird” is a sweet slice of soulful solace. Interestingly, White recorded this song as a demo/guide vocal for another artist for Gull, a label he was a staff writer for in the early '70s. As the track ends, I think we found where the Crash Test Dummies got their inspiration for “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” 20 years later. “Hummingbird” is one of the most instantly likable pieces of acoustic music I've heard in the last several months next to Alexi Murdoch's “All My Days” (which you, too, might have heard for the first time like I did in the trailer for “Away We Go.”)

Lonesome Heroes isn't a start-to-finish masterpiece but it has its moments more often than not. Throw this on at a campfire with friends, and it's sure to start more than a few interesting conversations. That's all the artists featured intended to begin with – a few laughs and a few stories shared with close cronies.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

posted by Eric Luecking

Pax Nicholas And The Nettey Family: Na Six Feet (Snippet)
From Na Teef Know De Road Of Teef (Daptone, 2009)

Fela Kuti's Africa 70 band was THE band to be in if you lived in Africa in the 70s. Percussionist Pax Nicholas had been interested in music even as a young kid, from American soul music such as James Brown to the music he sang and performed in in his church choir. So when he lucked into a chance meeting with Fela Kuti, he turned the opportunity into a big break and scored a job as a conga player and background singer with Africa 70.

In addition to cutting material with Fela through most of the '70s, he also cut an album on the side while in Nigeria. The material on Na Teef is classic Afrobeat. “Na Six Feet” has a funky organ at its forefront. Chants are prevalent throughout while Nicholas takes center stage on vocals. Like Fela, this is rebel music.

Most of the songs follow a similar pattern where the vocals don't come in until halfway through the song (sometimes even 5 minutes in) allowing the music to simmer into a funky brew. The BPM meter remains pretty constant throughout keeping an even pace for an unvaried, yet still fresh listening experience.

Due to its limited pressing and Fela's supposed blasting of Nicholas for recording on the side, the album has remained a reclusive treasure. Fortunately, Daptone has unearthed it for the rest of us to hear. Check your local record (and CD) racks for it this Tuesday, September 1.

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posted by O.W.

I'm trying to make SS as accessible as possible so I'm trying to consolidate the ways you can subscribe to our content besides the simple "visit our page" way.

Keep in mind, there's two distinct streams of content: 1) the main page (what you're reading now) and 2) our Facebook/Twitter stream. The latter always has links back to main page content BUT it also has its own exclusive content - mostly videos, links to other blogs, media stories.

The most efficient - but not heavily descriptive - way to subscribe is:
1) The Soul Sides Twitter feed (works in any RSS reader). This single feed will eventually include links to: all main page posts AND Facebook posts. You do not need to be a Twitter user to make use of this RSS feed. That's the beauty of this feed.

The only problem is that for those who like to read full posts, this won't be to your liking since it only offers up the first 140 characters. Therefore, there's still the old:
2) Main page feed. This should allow you to subscribe to all the main page posts. If you prefer email, there's our 3) Main page email feed. Many mail programs allow for RSS reading anyway so you may not need this until you're using an older form of email software.

Just remember, anyone subscribing to main page feeds should also subscribe to the Twitter feed to make sure you have all your bases covered.

By the way, for those who haven't tried it, I'm really liking Google Reader as my rss reader.

Questions? Leave 'em in the comments.


posted by Eric Luecking

William Bell and Mavis Staples: I Thank You
From Stax Classic Soul Duets: Boy Meets Girl (Stax, 2009)

OW has covered this release previously, but recently it has been (sort of) reissued on CD. Indeed, Boy Meets Girl was not a compilation but a concept album to join forces of some of the male and female artists on the label.

One of the highlights is the cover of Sam and Dave's “I Thank You.” Sam Moore's intro lines (you may have heard them in the '90s at the beginning of Naughty By Nature's “Clap Yo Hands”) were clipped in the remake, and the song starts off with William Bell and the heavily underrated Mavis Staples soulshouting over conga and tambourine and a few horn stabs for nearly a minute before the groove really kicks in. Midway through, it kicks back to this acoustic breakdown. This seesawing effect with the fuller accompaniment adds a churchy element to the already gospel influenced lyrics.

Also featured is a beautiful remake of the Everly Brothers “All I Have To Do Is Dream.” Considering Carla Thomas had her own hit with “Gee Whiz,” perhaps it was on purpose that she's half the duet, with William Bell being the other half, in a song that features that same phrase a couple times. It's sung with such yearning, which is appropriate given the song is about a lover daydreaming of his yet-to-be attained mate. This take on “Dream” would be much better if it was pared down to a three minute edit without the majestic buildup at the end, which diminishes its melancholy tone.

It's not all a William Bell affair. Former Soul Stirrers leadman Johnnie Taylor chips in with Carla Thomas for duets of “Just Keep On Loving Me” and “My Life” and Eddie Floyd chimes in as well on the uplifting “Never Let You Go” and more.

Additionally, the reissue isn't a full-on replication of the original release. Missing are songs such as “Love's Sweet Sensation,” “I Need You Woman,” and “That's The Way Love Is” (and more). In replacement, you get two Delaney and Bonnie songs as well as two versions of “Private Number.” The 1980's Dusty Springfield version of “Private Number” sounds dated (and not in a good way) and is far out of place on an album featuring mostly late '60s production. Fortunately, it doesn't sink the ship. The rest of the material is quite capable of keeping the album afloat.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

posted by O.W.

Jewel Bass: I Tried It & I Liked It b/w Richard Stoute: What Bag I'm In (snippets)
From 7" single (Sticky Records, 2009)

HE3 Project: Rapture of the Deep b/w Funk Punk (snippets)
From 7" single (Family Groove, 2009)

For those of you rockin' turntables, we have a special 7" giveaway - two new reissues. One is for a great slice of Southern funky soul by Jewel Bass, described as, "a backing singer...acknowledged as 'Mississippi's most recorded voice.'" Well, on this one, she gets to step out in front...on a Malaco single that is apparently among that legendary label's rarest. You can hear the obvious influence of "Mr. Big Stuff" (like that Jean Knight classic, Wardell Quezergue was behind the production) but it's not a fake cover; it's an incredibly snappy bit of New Orleans funk that holds its own. Great, great wtuff. (Flipside has a bit of island funk for you from Richard Stoute).

From Family Groove Records, right here in L.A., it's the first single off the HE3 Project, an anthology that highlights a tiny, private studio in the Bay Area, most of whose records were never released - but thankfully, whose tapes were preserved. This is a really remarkable find; I've gotten to hear several of the songs from that archive and it's an extraordinary mesh of jazz, psych, funk, soul, and whatever else was swirling around San Francisco's heady musical mix in the 1970s. "Funk Punk" sounds like a lost Eugene McDaniels' song off the Headless Heroes album; it has that same, eclectic vibe and vocal touch. The song neither sounds like conventional funk nor punk, but nonetheless, it's an absolute gem of a tune. "Rapture of the Deep" is actually the more purely funky of the two; a jazz instrumental that sounds like something Lonnie Hewitt might have recorded with the San Francisco TKOs. This single is limited to only 100 copies; buy 'em now before they're gone!)

For one lucky Soul Sides reader, you'll win both. Just ID the two snippets recorded here (clues to what they are can be found above) and email your guess to soulsides AT, subject "7-inch giveaway." Good luck!

Update: I'll give people until the end of tonight (8/31) to submit their answers and after that, I'll pick a winner at random from all correct answers.

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posted by O.W.

Soul Sides (soulsidescom) on Twitter

This is mostly to mirror our Facebook page updates BUT if you're not down with FB but are down with Twitter, it's a way to get the same content I direct down that stream.

Do like Red Astaire and just follow me.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

posted by O.W.

Meaghan Smith: Here Comes Your Man
From 500 Days of Summer Soundtrack (Sire, 2009)

This is a quick addendum to the last post but I just heard this for the first time today (and I haven't even seen the movie yet). A little voice is telling me I probably should find it just a touch cloying and overly XM-Radio-The-Coffee-House-Channel-ish but I tell that voice to shut the f--- up and I'm happier for it.

Keep in mind too, I think the original is the best damn thing the Pixies ever recorded and 20+ years, I still love the original. And somehow, Smith manages to tweak the emotional vibe of the song into something altogether more bittersweet and quirky and the type of pop ditty (I mean that in a good day) that I would have put on a mixtape back when I was in love with, well, anyone in my 20s.

What I'm saying is that this song makes me feel young and old at the same time. And it also seems to fit - perfectly - with the end-of-summer theme.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

posted by O.W.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

posted by O.W.

Please start by reading this first.

Part of why I solicit people for their summer songs posts is because I have a hard time reinventing the wheel for my own sense of what summer means via music. This year, the one song I knew I wanted to write about was "We're Almost There" by Michael Jackson and in many ways, that song brought me back full circle to my very first summer songs post.

I had a chance to revisit that theme for a post written for NPR's Summer Songs Series:

As much as I like classic summer anthems — bright, splashy, exuberant — they rarely capture what I think of as the essence of the season. Summer wants to be immortal and endless, and that beautiful delusion has birthed countless pop songs. But for me, summer is always a tangle of conflicted emotions: hope and disappointment, desire and frustration. It's the season of promises that, at their core, are impossible to realize.

Summer is more about what we want it to be than what it actually is — what I once described as "drops of reality dissolved into a vat of fantasy." Idealism may make a potent brew, but we know the season inevitably ends. That's why my favorite summer songs are almost always tinged with fragility and marked by melancholy. This is music that admits the painful truth about summer: Even the best times won't last, as long days fade with autumn's encroaching dusk.

And here were the four songs I picked to illuminate those ideas:

Michael Jackson: We're Almost There
From Forever Michael (Motown, 1975)

Like millions, I've spent the summer of 2009 revisiting the Michael Jackson catalog. The song that continues to haunt me is "We're Almost There," from 1975's overlooked Forever, Michael. I keep getting stuck on the idea of being "almost there." The song aches with the yearning to complete, as Jackson sings, "just one more step," but it's that "almost" that lingers. "Almost" teases and tantalizes, but it's as much a threat as it is a promise. Almost means maybe we won't make it. Almost means maybe "one more step" is, as Aretha Franklin once sang, "a step too far away." That's summer in a nutshell: an ambition within reach, but also one step from being lost.

William Devaughn: Be Thankful for What You Got
From Be Thankful For What You Got (Roxbury, 1974)

Has there ever been a smoother, more sublime summer jam than this? William Devaughn's ability to paint with such vivid lyrical imagery -- "Diamond in the back / Sunroof top / Diggin' in the seam with a gangster lean" -- is perfectly matched by the slick insouciance of the song's bass lines and conga slaps. This is no high-noon groove, though; it's a low-rider sunset, a time for quiet contemplation during the slow cruise home. Be thankful for what you got, Devaughn keeps instructing. Take nothing for granted. But even in the fading light, Devaughn's ultimate message is one of hope: "You may not have / a car at all / but remember / brothers and sisters / you can still stand tall."

Ice Cube: It Was a Good Day
From The Predator (Priority, 1993)

If Devaughn opens solemnly but closes on an up note, Ice Cube goes the other way on this 1993 hit. He ostensibly celebrates a halcyon day of basketball games, lucky dice and a late-night motel romp. But it's the turnaround at the end of each verse that tells the true story: "nobody I knew got killed in South Central L.A." & "I didn't even to have to use my AK." Those sobering afterthoughts carry an unease echoed in the somber mood of the music itself. The sample source is The Isley Brothers' "Foosteps in the Dark," which has all the feel of a classic seduction jam: the slow tempo, the syrupy strings. But there's a sadness that flows through; those "footsteps," after all, are of a sneaking lover. "It Was a Good Day" wisely taps into that implicit discomfort. (For a contrast, listen to the far sunnier remix, which uses a different sample.)

I should add: "It Was A Good Day" was inescapable in 1993, and even now, 16 years later, it still resonates with the summer.

The Heath Brothers: Smilin' Billy Suite Part 2
From Marchin' On (Strata East, 1975)

If I had to score summer's end, this early Heath Brothers song from 1975 would be an easy choice. It positively drips in melancholy, especially through Stanley Cowell's use of an African mbira (thumb piano) to play the memorable "Smilin' Billy" motif. I imagine the song patiently playing out as September days drift quietly towards the fall equinox. There's one last, rousing gasp of life that unexpectedly sparks at the end, but with one dramatic thump, it’s all over. Summer's gone

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posted by O.W.

Latin Music USA

Sunday, August 16, 2009

posted by Eric Luecking

Lushlife, whose debut album was released in July (and covered here at Soul-Sides), has been doing an acoustic covers series of classic hip hop tunes on the Rapster Records YouTube site.

Cru – Just Another Case

Jay-Z - Dead Presidents (version 1)

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

posted by Eric Luecking

Last week, we posted about the Horse Meat Disco compilation recently released on Strut. They sent me a 30-minute promo mix to share with all of you. Download away!!! Only the Empire Projecting Penny track is on the actual album.

Hot Chocolate - Disco Queen
Queen - Dancer
World Premier - Share The Night
Empire Projecting Penny - Freakman
Cerrone - Hooked On You
Charanga 76 - Music Trance
Fonda Rae - Heobha
Melba Moore - Standing Right Here

Additionally, another 30-minute promo mix encompassing tracks from the Black Rio 2 Samba Soul comp that they sent me is now available to download. My apologies as I meant to post this a few weeks ago.

Sonia Santos – Poema Ritmico Do Malandro
Emilio Santiago – Bananeira
Pete Dunaway – Supermarket
Os Diagonais – Nao Vou Chorar
Avan Samba – Ibere
Zeca Do Trombone E Roberta Sax – Coluna Do Meio
Balanca Pova – Novo Dia
Renata Lu – Faz Tanta Tempo
Bebeto – Princesa Negra De Angola
Cry Babies – It’s My Thing
Guimaraes E O Grupo Som Sagrado – Our Sound

No guarantees as to when these links may die, so grab them while they're available!

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posted by Eric Luecking

Bobby Freeman: Good Good Lovin
From Give My Heart A Break: The Complete King Recordings (Ace, 2009)

In between his big hits – 1958’s “Do You Wanna Dance” and 1964’s “C’mon And Swim” – Bobby Freeman recorded for a scant year for the legendary King Records. During this “lost” period, only one 45 was released during his stint, which, at the time, met with lukewarm results. Only after his Top 5 chart success with the Autumn label’s aforementioned “C’mon And Swim” did many of the recordings found on the new Ace release see a public release through 45s (as well as an accompanying compilation LP entitled “The Lovable Style Of Bobby Freeman”) as King was trying to capitalize on the success that they weren’t able to cash in on initially.

Most of the songs find their way on to the CD format for the first time, except for the cover of the Spaniels’ “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight.” More exciting than that is the fact there are 5 previously unissued songs, a couple of which Freeman penned himself. The material ranges from northern soul ballads to some real stompers.

Freeman found himself ready for Star Time when he recorded a very respectable cover of The Hardest Working Man In Show Business’ “Good Good Lovin,” which has some reminiscent, although not note-for-note, horn melodies of James Brown’s “Think.” Additionally, he covered Brown’s “Please Please Please,” using a more belting singing style than the more guttural approach of Brown’s version.

Freeman’s vocal abilities were beyond proficient, especially for a young singer who had just entered his 20s, as highlighted by his take on “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight.” The doo wop background helps to keep the song true to its origins of a sweet, end-of-the-night farewell, appropriately placed at the end of the disc.

His work at King carried on the tradition of early rock and roll while starting to show signs of his growing talent, artistry, and songwriting that would go on to influence Sam Cooke and others while keeping the crowd dancing with his performances on touring revues. In all, this compilation is an excellent snapshot of a growing artist that is as interesting for showing that growth as it is for exposing how labels hold back material (for reasons still unknown even today in this case).


posted by O.W.

Naomi Shelton feat. Cliff Driver: Wind Your Clock (snippet)

From 7" single (Daptone, 2009)

Nice, nice, nice: Daptone has resurrected an old single from the days of Desco - the most influential retro-funk label of the 1990s. Right towards the end of the label, before its founders parted ways to form Soul Fire and Daptone Records, respectively, Desco cut a pair of songs featuring Naomi Shelton and Cliff Driver, including "Wind Your Clock," an absolute mid-tempo stomper. However, they were only able to press up a few white label copies before the label folded and the song purely existed as an uber-rare collector's item. 10 years later and Daptone are finally putting it out (backed with "Talkin' About a Good Thing").

This song is superb, easily one of the best things I've heard from any of the three labels mentioned. Hopefully, for non-vinylites (and really, what's your excuse for not having a basic turntable?), they'll have this out in a digital format soon enough. In the meantime, if you rock records, you need this. Seriously.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

posted by O.W.

get down: Black Moses Forever

posted by Eric Luecking

Mayer Hawthorne - Maybe So, Maybe No from Stones Throw on Vimeo.

Stones Throw just released a new video for Mayer's “Maybe So, Maybe No” cover. Nice little summer party toward the end of the video. A couple of shout-outs to the King of Pop are mixed in the video, too.

Also, on Stones Throw's Jukebox you can hear “Your Easy Lovin (Ain't Pleasin Nothin)” from his upcoming album. He definitely shows his Detroit roots with this nice little Motown Sound backbeat. With the mini-break coming out of that first hook, I always think The Supremes are going to jump in with “No love, love... don't come easy.” Of course they don't, but that's okay. That infectious hook and the way he stretches out “blue” right before the chorus as well as that sax solo are more than enough to put a nod in my head and a smile on my face.

Best believe this album is one to buy come September 8/9. Hold off on just one Beatles reissue for this album. You won't be disappointed.

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posted by O.W.

The Dynamites feat. Charles Walker: If I Had Known
From the forthcoming Burn It Down (Thirty Tigers, 2009)

Nashville's Dynamites, with vocalist Charles Walker, are about to tour in anticipation of their upcoming album, Burn It Down.
    August 28th, Fort Wayne Botanical, Fort Wayne, IN
    August 29th, Sweet Corn Festival, Urbana, IL
    August 30th, Stokie’s Backlot Bash, Stokie, IL
    September 11th, Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN
    September 12th, The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA
    September 17th, Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA
    September 18th, Pianos, New York, NY
    September 19th, The Note, Westchester, PA
    September 20th, Southpaw, Brooklyn, NY
    September 22nd, Beachland Tavern, Cleveland, OH
    September 23rd, Schuba’s Tavern, Chicago, IL
    September 24th, Radio Radio, Indianapolis, IN
    September 25th, Southgate House, Newport, KY
    September 26th, TBA, Cleveland, OH
    October 2nd, Tipitina’s Uptown, New Orleans, LA
Looking forward to any West Coast dates they may add; I'm curious to see these guys throw it down live.

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posted by O.W.

The new Wax Poetics #36 is out and it's focused on Brazil's rich musical legacy.

I have a piece in here about the Ozzie Dasilva LP - Zig Zag With Love - a rather incredible L.A.-recorded Brazilian lounge album (yeah, that's a mouthful but it is what it is) that has one of the sickest examples of Brazilian-funk-meets-proto-rap I can think of. Ok, actually, it might be the ONLY example I can think of. But it's still pretty great.

Here's a snippet. One of these days, I may get around to posting the whole thing up* but in the meanwhile, do cop the issue and read about the full story behind Ozzie's zig-zagging.

And very special thanks to Rodney (aka Young Einstein) who was the first to put me up on this album.

*(Actually, I'll send out the entire song to a few folks (randomly selected) who can tell me who Ozzie Dasilva's announcer was - it's in the piece, so anyone with the issue has that info. Email me).

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Friday, August 07, 2009

posted by O.W.

You ever "out in the field" and want to do a price check on what could either be another dollar bin throwaway or a private press, 100-pressing, 7" worth $2000?

Voila: ceeFrenzy v.10 for the iPhone

For real, it's by the same folks who put together one of my favorite price check sites, Same functionality, now portable!


Thursday, August 06, 2009

posted by Eric Luecking

The Herbaliser Band: Geddim!
From Session 2 (K7, 2009)

Nearly a decade after first delivering on the idea of making live band versions of their sample-based songs, The Herbaliser are back again. The live band thing, slowly but surely making its way back industry-wide, is proving to be no fad. Just as Session 1 featured no vocals, this set follows the same pattern, aside from the vocal samples sprinkled throughout.

What you get here is richer, more organic pieces that put more meat on your plate. Think of the originals as appetizers and the Sessions albums as the main entree. The difference is comparable to hearing the original sample-based versions of N.E.R.D.'s “In Search Of...” or Pharrell's “In My Mind” and then hearing their live-band reworkings with Spymob and ?uestlove and crew, respectively. It's night and day, and after hearing the full-band jazz and funk it up you don't want to go back. The snares have more snap, the bass is a bit juicier, and the sax has more swagger.

The lead single, “Geddim!,” is pure spy movie chase scene material. It moves, it darts, and it throws things in your way as it turns the corner. Just as you're about to catch up, it jumps a fence and you're left pausing for a moment to catch your breath before resuming the chase. The album is not all cat-and-mouse, though. The closer “Stranded On Earth” is an almost mournful piece that moves from weeping to crying before the song's end.

Even though Session 2 covers material spanning 12 years, it sounds quite cohesive. It's freaked-out acid jazz/funk with a bit of turntable thrown in for good measure. While brighter in tone than Portishead, I haven't heard mood music like this since, well... Portishead's first 2 albums, which I hold in very high regard. And while Session 2 may not be as genre-bending, musically it certainly belongs in the same conversation with its strong aural aesthetics.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

posted by O.W.

Pax Nicholas and The Nettey Family

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

posted by O.W.

DJ Spinna's Tribute To Q | The Smoking Section

DJ Spinna - Best Of Sade Mix | The Smoking Section


posted by Eric Luecking

Karen Young: Deetour (Party Mix edit)
From Horse Meat Disco (Strut, 2009)

Disco is such a tricky genre. People love to hate it. After its supposed death, though, artists still trod forward trying to find that nice dance groove. It was a cash cow, after all. 1982 saw Atlantic still trying to push out the disco hits, even though, for the most part, the genre was on its way out. This Karen Young track has a catchy, although relatively meaningless, hook. Then again, it's disco – what can you expect? No one listens to disco for it's lyrical content; it's like saying you watch porn for the plot. With its light keys that border on kitsch (but fit in well with the melody), and of course those early '80s synthesizers, it definitely sounds dated. However, it still has a bit of bump to it, especially with that grooving bass, the glue to the entire song.

Was (Not Was): Tell Me That I'm Dreaming (12” Remix)
From Ze 30: Ze Records 1979-2009 (Strut, 2009)

Before Don Was was an in-demand producer and winning Producer Of The Year awards, he was making synthy, off the wall R&B songs in the '80s. Prior to their biggest hit ”Walk The Dinosaur”, Was (Not Was) had a 1981 hit on Ze Records featuring none other than President Reagan! The “Out Of Control” Reagan sample is reminiscent of (although it predates) The Information Society's sample of Leonard Nimoy's part in “What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy).” Like the song above, the bass really carries this jam. Then again, guess who plays bass? Mr. Producer Of The Year himself.

Aside: Is there a music statistician somewhere who can verify other presidents who were featured on a hit song during their tenure (this doesn't count presidents who won Grammys for spoken word books. Sorry Bill, Barack, and Jimmy.)? The biggest I can think of is Kennedy in Living Colour's “Cult Of Personality.” Although not a big mainstream hit, George W. Bush was featured at the end of People Under The Stairs “Hang Loose,” one of my all time favorite songs. Surely, Nixon has been sampled. “I'm not a crook” is just too good of a line to not have been used SOMEWHERE...


posted by Eric Luecking

The winners for the John Legend tickets are listed below. Thank you again to the Creative Artists Agency for sponsoring the contest.

August 15 – Philadelphia, PA (The Mann Center) – Debbie Belgrove – WINNER!
September 1 – Los Angeles, CA (Greek Theatre) – Jason Gilmore – WINNER!

I had the chance to see John in my hometown and he put on a very energetic show. He's much more comfortable away from the piano now than he was earlier in his career. The show featured a return to a lot of material from “Get Lifted,” and of course he performed many songs from his current album “Evolver.” My favorite was a stripped down version of “Everybody Knows.” John sat on a stool while an acoustic guitar strummed the melody for most of the song before the rest of the band kicked in for a spirited finale.

India Arie was more than worthy as the opener. After some opening technical difficulties with the microphone, she breezed through hits such as “Video,” played the flute on several songs, and performed a stunning version of “Ghetto,” from her latest album “Testimony Vol. 1, Love & Politics.” She even covered Sade's “Pearls” before her set was finished. Some around me were saying they didn't know if John Legend could top her performance!


1. John Legend founded this charity to fight extreme poverty that was, in part, named after a song from his sophomore CD Once Again.
2. John really upped the tempo for this lead radio single from Evolver featuring a southern ATLien rapper. Name the song.
3. Name the soul legend who John collaborated with for last year's Grammy-winning “Stay With Me (By The Sea).”


1. Show Me Campaign
2. Green Light
3. Al Green

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Monday, August 03, 2009

posted by O.W.

Biz Markie - Just A Friend (The Literal Video Version) | The Rap Up

Sunday, August 02, 2009

posted by Eric Luecking

Triorganico: Nana + Tempo De Amor
From Convivencia (Now Again, 2009)

Considering the “alternative” label Now Again is, “Convivencia” might be the most “alternative” release in their catalog yet. It's part of the “new” Now Again for lack of a better explanation. Whereas they previously were known primarily for their reissues of regional soul from yesteryear, the label has really reshuffled their image over the last 18 months. New music from the likes of afrofunk musicians Karl Hector and the Malcouns (a side project of Jan Whitefield) and Mr. Chop with his spacey brand of psychedelic funk can be an easily understood extension of the preconceived notion of the Now Again brand. Their latest release from acoustic latin jazz trio Triorganico showcases the label's refusal to be categorized as a one-trick pony.

Fabiano Do Nascimento gently strums his seven string guitar while Ricardo “Tiki” Pasillas provides the backbeat with syncopated percussion and Pablo Calogero woos you with various flutes and woodwind friends such as soprano sax and bass clarinet. Working like a singing group who could whisk you away with a breezy serenade by any of its members, the bandmates shift gears of lead instruments working as a harmonious conglomerate. No one overpowers their counterparts and instead choose to work cohesively as a unit.

“Tempo De Amor,” in its seven-and-a-half minutes, builds into a jam frenzy. Starting out lightly with a tantric guitar riff and Tiki's jaunty percussion, Pablo teases you with little flute stabs here and there before coming front and center to lead the pack. Midway through, Tiki starts to pick up the pace, feeding off Pablo's billowy breaths of bliss.

Aside from the lengua del amor, they also tackle Moacir Santos' “Nanã.” It's one of two Santos numbers they perform on the album, both with a bossa flair. Pablo trades in his flute for a bass clarinet to guide the rhythm that sways your hips. Like dance partners who have been performing together for years, the trio really dance about well with one another on this track, especially between the guitar and clarinet, moving in sync with their proverbial footwork.

The album, I must say, is an excellent companion to the latest Waxpoetics (issue 36), the Brazil issue. Pop in the Triorganico CD (or vinyl), sit back on the couch or favorite recliner, and get lost in the rhythms from south of the equator – which, when I think about it, is not a bad way to spend the evening after a long day of working for the man.

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posted by Eric Luecking

Nite-Liters: Anything Goes
From A-Nal-Y-Sis (Reissue) (RCA/Dusty Groove, 2009)

I first heard of this album through an article in Waxpoetics issue 4, which focused on the interesting body-painted cover. The music is less artsy and more straightforward instrumental funk. Dusty Groove got into the reissue game over the past couple of years, and their latest offering is the New Birth-associated, Fuqua III-produced offshoot The Nite-Liters’ 1973 album “A-Nal-Y-Sis.” While it has a wide release later in September, you can buy it now through Dusty Groove.

The album’s intro “Serenade For A Jive Turkey” is a sweat-it-out scorcher. Featuring a steady back rhythm, its horn section is the star. Like the title implies, this song ain't for suckers. While the album features no true lead vocals, the second cut peppers in some nonsensical lyrics on “Anything Goes,” perhaps the most accessible song on the album.

You might recognize the guitar lick from “Damn” from Dr. Dre's “Lyrical Gangbang” (albeit it with thicker drums on the Dre posse cut). They also give a funkier performance on the Hathaway-penned “Valdez In The Country” by adding in their powerhouse horn section. Finally, for you budding (and seasoned) samplers out there needing some drums, take note of the class-is-in-session workout on “Drumology,” aptly named for Robin Russell's almost Lesson-like session with Leroy Taylor with the assist on bass. Wowsers.


Saturday, August 01, 2009

posted by O.W.

As I've been stressing, there's a reason I encourage people to get on-board with the Soul Sides Facebook feed. You don't have to love the site but they do make linking items quick and simple (and heck, you don't even have to join to look at it).

As a courtesy though, here's some highlights of stuff I've been throwing up there of late:

  • Phil Da Soulman sharing a rare mix of LL Cool J's "No Airplay."

  • Philaflava's Latee compilation + Meters Samples Vol 1.

  • Passion of the Weiss' presents Murs and the L.A. Leakers' "Damn, It Feels Good to be a Gangsta" mixtape

  • Soundbombing's impressive journey through Africa series.

  • Elliot Wilson's Daily Breaks

  • An incredible story of a Sacramento man who discovers his mother's old records at a flea market.

  • Jared Boxx's Exclusive Secret Rendezvous Mixtape

  • King Most's rare ATCQ rips.

  • Breath of LIfe's essential Round Midnight Mix

  • Earfuzz's dissection of "Just Hangin' Out"

    And two videos you need to enjoy:

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    posted by O.W.

    Sad news out of Detroit (again): Baatin from Slum Village is dead.

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