Tuesday, May 05, 2009

posted by O.W.

First of all, Soul Sides is celebrating its 5th anniversary party in Los Angeles at the Shortstop next Thursday (May 14th). I'll be spinning solo, trying to mix in as many "Soul Sides classics" (presuming such a thing exists) as possible. I would love to see my Southland posse roll out in full force.

That night, I'm also debuting the 5th Anniversary Special CD, which will include as many of the 20 "5 Year Rewind" songs as I can fit. Free to anyone who comes up and asks for one (while supplies last, of course). I'll also try to tape the entire 4 hour set and I'll make that available (via an email list) to anyone who rolls through.

For the rest of you not living in LA (or who actually have to work on Friday mornings), I decided to try a little experiment. Rather than sell these, I prefer to barter them - for goods or services. People can offer what they want; it obviously doesn't have to be expensive but ideally, it's something connected to you - your interests, your career, your hobbies, etc. To me, this is just an interesting way to learn more about the people who read the site.

(This said, I'll be completely self-serving right now and say that I''m definitely down to barter one of these to anyone who can help me get some discount tickets to Disneyland. The Great Mouse is sticking me for my papers!)

Mull it over - this could turn out to be a complete failure of an idea but I'm hoping there's folks out there who'd be game to swap something of theirs for something of mine. Drop your barter offer to here.

And hey, just so you don't leave empty-handed right now, here's a cover of Dennis Coffey's "Scorpio" I recently came across, from some random exploitation LP. Overall, it's not better than Coffey's but the percussion breakdown in the middle is pretty massive.

The Sound Effects: Scorpio
From Summer '72 (QMO, 1972)

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Monday, April 06, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on April 23, 2006).

Lijadu Sisters: Life's Gone Down Low
From Danger (Afrodisia, 1976)

(New comments:) Ok, so technically speaking, I actually have never posted this song before, at least, not on its own. I did post it (I think) as part of a snippet from DJs Matthew African and B-Cause excellent Soul Boulders mix-CD, probably the most influential mix I've heard in the last few years based on how many of its songs I've tried to hunt down after first hearing them on there.

"Life's Gone Down Low" has been practically at the very top of that list; I just love the slow burning funkiness of the song and having twin female voices doing the vocals made it all the better. Alas, given that copies of this are really only to be found in Nigeria, it happens to be a legitimately tough LP to come by at any price.

Like the Mighty Voices of Wonder, I also scored this (finally!) on my NY trip and appropriately enough, I got it from JP over at Good Records which happens to be the same place Matthew originally scored his copy. (Moral: Good Records is one helluva spot to score African LPs of all stripes. You should hear the Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo de Cotonou album I got there too...hot damn!).

And with that..., so concludes our 5 year retrospective. What I plan on doing (if I can manage the time) is to bundle most (I won't be able to do all) of the 20 songs I've run through and put it on a limited edition CD that I'll give away at gigs and may make - in very limited quantities - available through the site. This whole spin back has just a way to say "thank you!" to everyone for supporting the blog over the years. It's been my honor and continued pleasure to do so.

We're going to throw a 5 year anniversary party in Los Angeles, probably the first Thursday of May - stay tuned for that!

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on August 28, 2006).

Mighty Voices of Wonder: I Thank the Lord
From 7" (Revival, 197?). Also on Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal

(New comments:) On my recent NY trip, I picked this 7" up at Big City and not only did it mean the end of a nearly three year wait, the timing couldn't have been better.

To explain: this was the one single off the excellent Good God! compilation I really wanted; I just loved the sound of it and at the time, it didn't even dawn on me that the Mighty Voices of Wonder were covering Sam and Dave's big hit, "I Thank You." I just thought it was a sick gospel funk tune with a bangin' intro. Turns out...it's a cover (so you know that'll score bonus points with me).

But more recently, I also realized that this 7" was recored at Double U Studios in Ecorse, MI, the focus of that incredible Downriver Revival comp I reviewed for NPR the other month. That just made the single all the more special and when I flipped through a stack of 45s at Big City and saw it sitting there, I just stared for a moment to make sure it really was it and then promptly said: I'll take this.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on June 14, 2008).

The Impressions: I'm Loving Nothing
From This Is My Country (Curtom, 1968)

(From the original post:) "This LP is easily the best thing I've heard in months. I just cannot get enough of it and am marveling at its overall consistency and sheer sublimeness at times. I feel sheepish that it took me this long to get around to listening the Impressions' solo albums but if they're anywhere near this good, I'll be copping the catalog soon.

I've been trying to figure out, in my own head, just what makes the sound of this album so incredible to me and so far, the best I can come up with is: everything. The vocals, the melodies, the rhythm section, the sense of drama, the sense of delicate lightness, the lilt in Mayfield's voice, the hooks that haunt you; take your pick. I haven't been this enamored by a soul album since...I don't know...discovering Eddie Kendrick's People...Hold On (and that's one of my all-time favorites).

Bottomline: if you can't feel "I'm Loving Nothing," well, there's just no hope for you. ;)"

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on May 2, 2008).

Joe Bataan: Ordinary Guy
From 7" (Fania, 1967)

(From the original post:) "Joe Bataan's "Ordinary Guy" is not just a fan favorite - he's recorded it five times (and released it six) - but it's also a song integral to his own sense of self; he may be a star but in his own mind, he's still just a regular Joe (you saw that coming, right?) From the man himself: "While in prison, we did a lot of experimenting with songs. I had first heard the title “Ordinary Guy” in prison in Coxsackie, so I eventually rewrote the words, came back home, put ‘em to music. The song makes me cry sometimes when I see the reaction of people. In New York, it is so popular. People just love that song, and I guess the words mean a lot. “Hey, I’m just an ordinary guy, don’t expect anything else. That’s me” and I’ve always been that way. Having sung the song and how I have endeared a lot of people, how they felt about it, only influenced me more [to] give more of my heart than almost any other song. It describes me.""

"For reasons not entirely clear, Fania decided to re-record the song to release on single. For the most part, this 7" version isn't wildly different from the LP except that Fania brought in pianist Richard Tee. Tee changes the opening to the song, giving it a stronger presence, especially with a striking arrangement that sounds very much like the beginning of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "Precious Love." This is probably my favorite version of the song, precisely for that intro which gives the tune such a rich, soulful feel to it."

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on April 16, 2007).

The Intruders: Together
From The Intruders Are Together (Gamble, 1967). Also on Cowboys to Girls: The Best Of.

(Original notes:) "Had a grand time at Bumpshop over last weekend. Here's the thing you have to understand: Bumpshop might start up around the same time (10pm) but they go until 4am. As routine as this might be for any NYer, it's damn near incredible for folks like me, stuck in cities like SF and LA where most nights begin winding down around 1:30am since the bar staff doesn't want to stay there a minute past 2am if they help it.

Better yet, the last 30-40 minutes of Bumpshop winds down all the uptempo funk and just rides out on sweet soul and hand-clapping goodness; some tracks just leave you, head bowed, in reverent contemplation. As you'd expect, resident DJs Chairman Mao and Jared kilt it (you have to respect DJs hardcore enough to put a song - not otherwise available on vinyl - onto acetate, just so they can spin it out. CD lovers will no doubt shake their head at such things).

In any case, there's nothing like listening to four straight hours of soul/funk/jazz/Latin to really 1) bring out the trainspotter in one (, I have no shame in admitting that I was giraffing over the DJ booth more than few times) and 2) make you realize how much insanely good music there is out there. Thus inspires today's post.


I had more or less forgotten the Intruders' classic "Together" until Jared played it last night (backed with a cover version that's now parked at the top of my want (nay, need) list) and good god, what an insanely great song. The chorus, especially played loud, is incredible. On a related side note: for many years, I pushed this kind of soul to the background but in the last year or so, it's all I really crave. Musical tastes are strange that way, no?"

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posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on April 5, 2007).

UGK feat. Outkast: International Players Anthem
From Underground Kingz (2007)

(New notes:) Hands-down, one of the best hip-hop songs of the decade.

Andre 3000 kick off verse? Check.
Pimp C still here and kickin' verses? Check.
Willie Hutch's "I Choose You" loop? Check. [1]
Slick video? Check.

[1] When I was waiting for a delayed flight at JFK's Terminal 7 on Sunday night, "I Choose You" came on over the terminal loudspeakers. So proper.

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posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on February 7, 2007).

Brothers of Soul: A Lifetime
From 7" (Boo, 1968). Also on I Guess That Don't Make Me a Loser.

(Original post): "I don't use the word "perfect" very often (well, actually, ok, I probably do) but if ever there were a song that should inspire such an honorific - here it is.

I discovered this 45 a few weeks ago, along with my friend Hua - it was some crappy lo-digi-fi copy of the tune but it was still promising enough that we both went out and hunted out the original that evening. Hua got his earlier, digitized that sucker and sent it over. Suffice to say, within minutes, the song quickly became an instant classic in my personal catalog.

Every single part of this song just works: that anchoring piano melody, the background vocals, the rich voice of Fred Bridges singing, "...but I have no regrets" to begin his verses and the changes in the arrangement. The first minute of the song alone makes me want to crawl inside it and live there forever but make sure you get to the end where the sweet soul harmonies of Ben Knight and Robert Eaton come flying in unexpectedly. I tend to throw around terms like "sublime" a bit loosely at times but this song resets the bar and then some. I can't say enough about it.

Soul Sides' readers have heard the group before - in a manner of speaking - on my Ruby Andrews post from October. The BKE collaboration of Bridges, Knight and Eaton were discovered by Zodiac Records' Ric Williams and they ended up one of Andrews' main producers/composers/arrangers for her first album (Everybody Saw You) while Eaton and Williams produced most of her Black Ruby LP. Unfortunately, though the BoS had a few decent hits on 45, they never became major stars on their own and instead, were more successful working with other artists (a pity). That I Guess That Don't Make Me a Loser is the definitive (by virtue of being the only) anthology of their 7"s and is well worth checking out just to hear their slim but grand catalog of music. (It includes their $200+ Northern Soul track, "I'd Be Grateful" which is also amazing). Also, please see Soulful Detroit's long profile of Fred Bridges and the Brothers of Soul, a fantastic resource of information on BKE and their work."

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posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on February 22, 2007).

Aretha Franklin: I Can't Wait (Until I See My Baby's Face)
From Runnin Out of Fools (Columbia, 1964)

I was originally introduced to this tune by my friend Hua, who put me up on the Sonji Clay version of it. I didn't realize until this year however that the songwriter was actually Jerry Ragavoy (and yeah, I know I just reposted this very same song not that long ago but damnit, it's so nice, I'm gonna post it thrice!).

Not only is the musical arrangement here a thing of beauty but just listen to the songwriting and how Ragavoy flipped the title phrase to go from defiance, to uncertainty, to desperation. Brilliant.

Best of all? There's a music video for the song. Yeah, for real.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on Jan 7th, 2006).

Nas + AZ: Life's a Bitch (DJ Delay Remix)
From Medium: Rare II Mix-CD (Funk Weapons Int'l, 2005)

My original comments on this were kind of thin so I'll just write up some new ones...

Personally, "Life's A Bitch" was always my least favorite song off of Illmatic, music-wise. I just thought it was too soft and syrupy and even though I've tried to give it new listens in hindsight, it still doesn't really do it for me.

So when I heard DJ Delay flip a new beat under it, to me, it improved my personal experience of really listening to everything about it - not just the new beats, but the old verses as well. You'd be surprised how much you can pick up when your ear is more fully engaged with a song rather than trying to listen past a track you're not that into.

For many, I suppose anything but the OG is blasphemous but f--- it. I ride for the diggy-diggy Doc Delay on this one.

Pity the mix-CD this came out on (as a bonus track) is out of stock though!

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posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on July 8, 2006).

Donny Hathaway: What a Woman Really Means
From Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Brothers (Atlantic, 2006)

"I'm wholly enamored with the Donny Hathaway song. I'm always discovering and appreciating new songs by him and marveling at how me manages to announce his presence with just a two-note hum. You just KNOW a Donny Hathaway song by its sound and feel - it really speaks to the amazing personality he infused into his songs. This track is no exception and that chorus is killing me something wonderful with its chord changes and background vocals. So good. This is one of few songs on the comp that's never been heard before and god bless 'em for that. (It was originally recorded during the Extension of a Man sessions but wasn't released for whatever reason."

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on August 9, 2006).

Fela Ransome Kuti and Afrika 70: Water No Get Enemy
From Expensive Shit (Editions Makossa, 1975)

"I've listened to a decent amount of Fela's stuff over the years but I either just let this slide past my radar or missed it completely but now I'm completely obsessed with it. I was instantly infatuated with it and here's why: like most of Fela's biggest Afro-funk songs, this track unfolds with a steady and sublime patience that reveals depths to the rhythm that might go otherwise missed unless you have the advantage of a longer view. But like "La Murga" what also makes the song such a pleasurable listen is how Fela brings in an electric keyboard...a softer, gentler sound for a song writhing in such thick rhythms and (once again) a monster brass section. The main riff are the horns (just like in "La Murga") but it's the piano that deepens the song's personality and elevates it towards the sublime. Even though the song is nearly 11 minutes, I've put it on repeat over and over and simply lounge into its folds. Heavenly."

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on May 20, 2006).

The Dells: I Can Sing a Rainbow/Love Is Blue
From Love Is Blue (Cadet, 1969).

"What's so great about this song? Three things. 1) The shift from the mellow, almost folksy "I Can Sing a Rainbow" and then the out-of-nowhere dip into the funky soul blast of "Love Is Blue". 2) The call and response between the lead vocalist and the rhythm/brass sections, i.e. "Blue!" BLARE! Blue! BLARE! BLARE!" There's that moment where you know the hammer is about to drop between voice and instruments and you just know it's going to be incredible. 3) Check out the string arrangement that's subtly slipped underneath following that call-and-response. It adds this extra musical layer which turns a really good song into a wholly awesome one."

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on October 26, 2005).

Dionne Warwick: You're Gonna Need Me
From Just Being Myself (Warner Bros, 1973)

"This Dionne Warwick is one of the most amazing songs I've heard in a long, long, long time. I put it on repeat and literally was listening to it over and over for hours. I was trying to figure out how to articulate just what makes it so perfect - Holland-Dozier's amazing arrangement, Dionne's piercing vocals - but really, you just know it's that good when you listen to it. It's catapulted to the very top of my "favorite soul songs of all time." I just can't believe I never heard it until recently (thanks HHH for putting me up on it)."

(2009 update + preemptive comment - yes, I know Dilla and Just Blaze and others have sampled it.)

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Monday, March 09, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on July 1, 2005).

>Amerie: One Thing (Siik Remix)
From Siik.org (Siik, 2005)

"Given that the 4th of July is already upon us, I'm trying to kick off a mini-meme by asking folks the simple(?) question: What does a summer song sound like to you?

I don't mean songs that happen to become popular during summer, though I respect the institution of the summer hit. I'm talking about songs that invoke summer - the type of song where you could be neck-deep in snow, in the middle of February, with the heat broken but once you hear it, you can almost see the sunset or smell the scent of backyard BBQs or feel the hot, humid air of nights where it's 2am and no one's ready to go home yet.

My favorite memories of summer are droplets of reality dissolved into a vat of fantasy. After all, what else is summer if not a delicious swirl of nostalgia and idealism, a lemonade cup filled with what we want summer to be rather than what it is. The perfect summer songs are the ones that invoke a sensation of innocence, optimism, and beauty yet also tinged with the slightest daub of melancholy. For what else is summer if not the feeling of sadness from knowing that summer will eventually pass, consigned into the darkening days of autumn? I guess that's why my favorite summer songs are rarely brash, loud anthems. I prefer tunes with a hint of fragility in their melody, a vulnerability in their sensibility.

With Siik's remix of Amerie's "One Thing" - I know ya'll are probably sick of the original already but I swear to God/Jah/Allah that hearing this made me think it was a completely new song. Especially compared to the forceful funkiness of Rich Harrison's original, Siik takes it in the other direction with that sublime guitar melody. I can't stop listening to this remix - it is so perfect to me and most definitely on a summer vibe. Makes me want to go trade my Prius in for a drop top just so I can play it out (but alas, foggy as hell right now in S.F.)."

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Friday, March 06, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on June 28, 2005).

Patrice Rushen: This Is All I Really Know
From Posh (Elektra, 1980)

"I'm definitely no modern soul expert but I've been turning up more songs of late (cleaning out my record stacks helps) that are part of that late '70s, early '80s vibe and I've been loving some of the tunes in that vein.

When I was combing through my jazz stacks, looking for LPs to cut, I gave my Patrice Rushen section a quick review and rediscovered her 1980 album Posh which features this great ballad, "This Is All I Really Know."

(2009 update: jeez, I didn't really have much to say here, did I? Well, let me amend that error - this is an incredible song, especially how it opens with that piano melody and Rushen and her back-up singers give the song and an appealing set of vocal layers and the icing on the cake is the bridge chorus around 2:47 which adds an even richer drizzle of soulfulness. Considering that you can find Posh for super-cheap, it's well worth copping for this alone).

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on June 13, 2005).

Bill Withers: Can We Pretend
From +'Justments (Sussex, 1974)

For some reason, Bill Withers has the reputation as someone whose songwriting was better than his singing. I always found this a strange accusation - Withers was certainly a genius writer ("Ain't No Sunshine" anyone?) but it's hardly as if he had a terrible voice. It's true - he didn't have the range or purity of tone like Marvin Gaye or Sam Cooke but Withers was comforting and familiar - like a good friend to share an afternoon with. For some reason, he reminds me of what a happier Chet Baker might have sounded like singing soul.

Anyways, most soul/funk heads I know own two Withers' albums - maybe three, but that's about it: Still Bill, Just As I Am and Menagerie (for "Lovely Day"). But I admit, I've always passed by +'Justments and never thought twice about it. Until I listened to it.

The more uptempo, funkier stuff is ok - definitely not as good as what's on Still Bill but it's ok. However, it's the ballads that really shine. "Can We Pretend" is simply sublime, especially Withers' vocal arrangement. Damn, how did I sleep on this for so long?

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on October 23, 2004).

Pi-R-Square: Fantasy Pts. 1 & 2 (Unity Edit)
From 7" (Wee, 197?). Available on Jazzman 45.

"I had a minor epiphany the other day. It began with the general and rather obvious observation that I own a lot of records. Too many. What I have just barely fits into my current apartment and frankly, it's not going to sustain itself much longer if I keep bringing in more LPs without thinning the herd a bit.

The thing is: it's not at all clear if I even need/want most of what I have. In picking out songs for this site, I don't want to just throw up some half-assed songs just because I think they're "ok". I want to share music that demands to be noticed, tunes that will kick your ass and leave you, broken in an alley, songs that take you someplace that you never want to come back from. Forget the merely passable.

For example, I own at least half a dozen Brian Auger LPs and 'nuff respect to him but I don't know if there's anything on them that's truly amazing. I own almost every album on Bernard Purdie's Encounter label but seriously, I don't know if there's more than one or two songs on that entire imprint that can even ride the same train as with a descriptor like "sublime" Don't even get me started on CTI (why do I own any Deodato LPs on that label? I mean, really?). The list goes on.

Basically, I need to clean house and start dumping every mediocre or middle-of-the-road piece of vinyl stacked in my apartment. I need to focus on the music that's left, the indispensable records, the albums and singles that I'd protect with a passion that's normally reserved for childhood pets and letters from your first love. In short, I need to just keep the music that's on par with "Fantasy."

For a long time, "Fantasy" was one of the Bay Area's Holy Grail 7"s - costing well into the hundreds for an elusive copy. One assumes the group was lead by pianist Lonnie Hewitt (one of Cal Tjader's longtime collaborators) since Wee was his label. The song is not longer such a best-kept secret: it's been reissued and comped several times and a local collector turned up a few boxes worth of stone-cold mint copies that the 7" can no longer be considered all that obscure. But who cares - the point is that this song is really stunning. What I love about it is how slow and patient it builds and when the funk hammer drops, it transforms the song and takes it to that proverbial "next level."

I never get tired of listening to this song and among my various Bay Area-related records, it's top rankin', no doubt. Now if only all my records packed this much quality. Maybe we'll get there one day.

At least I can have my Fantasy."

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on April 11, 2004).

Kanye West: All Falls Down (original mix)
Deleted from College Dropout (Roc-A-Fella, 2004)

"Imagine you're Lauryn Hill. You've gone from one being one of hip-hop's greatest artists ever to landing somewhere between an enigma and a joke. Your career is so far gone that kids think "Doo Wop" is old school now. One day, Kanye West, one of the hottest producers in the game, calls you up and says, "hey, I've made this conscious song about the contradictions about being black and having class aspirations, blah blah blah and I really want to sample your song from the Unplugged album - you know, that double-LP that effectively destroyed your career? Anyways, I want to redeem it by making this really dope song using your voice, is that ok with you?" Somehow, you decide "no," thereby forcing Kanye to hire a sound-alike in the form of Syleena Johnson, a perfectly good Hill knock-off but the point is that she's a knock-off, not the real deal.

The song above is the original mix, using the Lauryn Hill sample, as it appeared on the early promos for Kanye's album. In the opinion of most, includes yours truly, it is the considerably superior version simply because Lauryn just sounds better. You decide."

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Monday, March 02, 2009

posted by O.W.

(As part of our 5th year anniversary, we're revisiting 20 key songs. This post was originally published on April 30, 2004).

The Harvey Averne Dozen: You're No Good
From Viva Soul (Atlantic, 1968)

""You're No Good" kicks off the Harvey Averne Dozen's Viva Soul and the song is so good, so sublime in its affect, so remarkably not like anything else on the album that you wish Averne had pressed this up on 45 so you could have the song without the clutter of the rest of the LP to deal with. Don't get me wrong, Viva Soul is a decent Latin album in its own right and had "You're No Good" not appeared on here, I would still have found pleasure in songs like the mid-tempo mambo, "The Micro Mini." But "You're No Good" opens the album on such a stupendous note that the desperate desire for the rest of the LP to sound the same can only be met by consecutive waves of disappointment as you skip tracks to realize that "You're No Good" is some kind of aberration - lucky to exist but still alone in the world, at least the world of Viva Soul.

Averne himself isn't a great vocalist here - he belts out a passable but unremarkable performance that reminded me of a Tony Bennett knock-off in a Vegas bar. That's not quite as bad as it sounds but Averne isn't about to topple Otis Redding or Al Green off the top of the canon. What makes "You're No Good" so damn good is the chorus of female singers, sounding like the latter-day Ronettes or similar girl group. Averne sings against them in a call and response between himself and what sounds like a bevy of girlfriends he's cheated on. We hear their grievances first as the song opens on a brassy opening of horns and vibes that gives way to a funky, walking bassline and jabbing piano chords. They sing: "I don't trust you when you're out of sight/like you were last night.

On Averne's reply - "I don't want to hear anymore/enough of that jive/I know the score..." - the song brings the horns back in and the arrangement switches from soul into pop, only to swing back to soul when the women come back: "If you love me/like you say do/then make up your mind". It's a great exchange, not quite as tit-for-tat as, say, Otis Redding and Carla Thomas' "Tramp" but like that classic, "You're No Good," is light and playful in its attitude too.

It's those moments, when the women are seeking their revenge that every element in this song: the arrangement, production and vocals, all come together beautifully. There is something both incredibly soulful and funky about these women's singing and it creates that moment of pop brilliance that so many songs hope for but few attain. I don't know what Averne was thinking in writing this song, insofar as the rest of the album doesn't sound much like this cut, but whatever inspired him is our blessing as well."

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

posted by O.W.

Today, Soul Sides turns five years old as an audioblog. In internet years, that means we should qualify for a pension soon and I have, of course, all of you to thank for the constant support over that time. Soul Sides has also been graced with very supportive press over the years as well and I'm very humbled by their favorable words.

In honor of those five years, I plan on commemorating in a few ways. The first is in reposting key songs (in my opinion) that Soul Sides has plugged over the years - I picked 4 per year. At the end, I'm going to create a limited edition CD with all 20. And finally, later in March, I'd like to have an anniversary party at Boogaloo[LA] to commemorate as well.

And if you have some personal favorites, I'd be curious to know what they are - feel free to discuss in the comments.

To kick off the 5 year celebrations, here's the very first post (w/ sound) I made for Soul Sides, five years ago today:

Originally posted Feb. 29, 2004.

    Dizzy Gillespie: Matrix
    From The Real Thing (Perception, 1971)

    This has long been not only one of my favorite Gillespie cuts of all time but one of my favorite soul jazz tunes, period. Based on the original composition of Gillespie's pianist Mike Longo, "Matrix" just grooves with a smooth, smoky beauty. The recurring horn riff is super funky and catchy, the main guitar line is similarly memorable and the bassline breakdown? Sublime. Throw in some snappy drumming and you have one helluva dance floor spin not to mention excellent listening material.

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