Monday, July 10, 2006

Reality Used To Be A Friend Of Mine

People who know me on a personal level already know how I am about my record collection. You could pee on one of my relatives, and I probably wouldn't give a damn, but if you handle one of my albums carelessly, I might just have to cut you. I have music in every format you can possibly imagine, but I'm especially partial to my vinyl for a couple of reasons. For one thing, I love the warm scratchy sound of an old record, while the crisp, clean sound of compact discs doesn't even begin to touch that emotion. When you play an album bearing scratches and grooves, it often generates a sense of nostalgia. When a disc has a scratch, on the other hand, it's usually time to throw it out the window. Additionally, I'm inexplicably drawn to the cover art on many of my favorite records. When I was short and unimportant (i.e. childhood), I sometimes used to pull all of my records off the shelf, and just sit and stare at them for hours. Some would consider this a hallmark of insanity, and I can't say for sure that it's not. Regardless, I feel much more connected to the covers of my albums than I ever have my CDs. I partially attribute this to the somewhat sterile and mass-produced packaging of compact discs, but I also think part of my opinion is related to my age. If you haven't gotten there already, there will come a time in your life when you reminisce on "the good old days", and everything happening today will appear to be shit. I guess I've finally reached that pivotal point in the cycle of my existence. Is it just me, or did Kentucky Fried Chicken used to taste good?

Anyway, don't get it twisted---I'm not too senile to recognize that a lot of old school records had atrocious covers, while some contemporary musical artists and groups continue to put a lot of time, thought, effort, and creativity into the outward appearance of their recordings. However, if one is to speak generally, it's relatively safe to say that cover art today is largely boring and uninspired. Back in the day, when Millie Jackson put a picture of herself on a toilet on the cover of her album, the visual was arguably hideous, but it was considerably entertaining, nonetheless. On the other hand let's assess the appearance of 50 Cent's Get Rich Or Die Trying. Unless you're a teenage girl, is there really any reason to look at the cover of that LP any longer than necessary? Probably not. And what about the damn No Limit army? I hate to single those artists out, but I remember thinking that their records somehow epitomized and symbolized the death of an art form.

{If your name is 50 Cent, please don't take this to mean that I'm encouraging any photo sessions in the little boys' room---I'm definitely not}.

Unlike the majority of my rambling, stream-of-consciousness "essays", this one actually has somewhat of a point---or two. I actually started thinking about this subject the other day when I was organizing some of the stuff in my collection, and I was checkin' out some of my Funkadelic records. They employed some genuinely dope cover art to match the funkiness of the music within---don't you agree? Once I started that thought process, my "maggot brain" just kinda started flowin' with the rest. I found a few links that seemed relevant enough to support the concept---and the rest is history,so to speak:

All funk fans in da house should head over to short term mp3 loss, where you can acquire mp3s by Funkadelic, Ann Sexton, Brass Construction, Tony Alvon & The Belairs, The People's Choice, and James Young & The House Wreckers.

Random is featuring a stellar selection of tracks by artists such as Bootsy Collins, The Delfonics, The Stylistics, Isaac Hayes, The Dramatics, and more.

A list of the 100 worst album covers ever. As always, Millie Jackson's "pot shot" makes the grade.

Speaking of Ms. Jackson, you can download her song "It Hurts So Good" courtesy of to die by your side.

Before I venture too far away from the mothership, let me drop a few Funkadelic videos on your dome:

Live MTV performance footage. Few things are as amusing as a grown man playing a musical instrument in a diaper.

Some vintage advertising for Parliament and Funkadelic-related albums/items.

Mary J Blige performing "One Nation Under A Groove" and "Atomic Dog" live with the group. This one's for my friend Kim.

Head over to The Funk Store to satiate even more of your audio/visual desires.

Now for some things relevant to Planet Earth:

At The Sole Life, you can download two classic joints by the Roots---"It's Comin'", as well as their remix of Sweetback's "Au Natural", featuring Bahamadia.

At Funky 16 Corners , you can download quite a few mp3s by a variety of "soul sisters" in one compressed file. It's an impressive collection of tracks, including songs by Erma Franklin, Thelma Houston, Lyn Collins, Tina Turner, Gladys Knight, and many other other fine musical artists of the female persuasion.

Cop a few Nas freestyles (representin' various points in his career) at Rebel To America.

I realize this may completely demolish my nonexistent street cred, but I can't help the fact that I genuinely liked both this song by Baz Lurhmann, and this one by P.M. Dawn. At least I know I'm wack...

...But not quite as wack as Ice-T saying he's going to astonish us with David Hasselhoff's rhyming skills , and expecting us to believe it. Somebody needs a pink slip and a hospital gown, but I'm not sayin' who.

Cop "Older Gods" by Wu-Tang Clan via disco-not-disco.

And while we're on a religious tip, this Big Religion Comparison Chart guarantees to make your spiritual awareness levels rise within a matter of seconds.

Two classic joints by Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf are available at just like music.

If you like Leon Thomas, or you still need to get familiar, hit up Ear Fuzz to download "L-O-V-E" and "Let's Go Down To Lucy".

Cop "Biggie Got the Hype Shit (Demo)" at The Mark Out.

As if having HIV wasn't harsh enough, Gil Scott Heron is currently facing 2-4 years in prison for leaving a rehab facility that wouldn't supply his meds.

For all your rollerblading/rollerskating needs---jams by De La Soul and Vaughan Mason and Crew are available at Banana Nutrament.

Gasoline prices just hit their highest point this year. Too bad I sold my stupid moped for about 50 bucks fifteen years ago.

Download "Funky Rhymin'" by Edan at sneakmove .

In case you ain't heard, Rhymefest is the dude who co-wrote "Jesus Walks" with Kanye West. Check out his joint "Devil's Pie" at stereogum.

If I forgot anything, I'm sincerely and terribly fuckin' sorry. I have to get up in several hours to do the whole day job thing, so I'm ghost for now. Be easy, peoples...

"Conservatives are not necessarily stupid people, but most stupid people are conservatives."---John Stuart Mill

"Truth is powerful and it prevails"---Sojourner Truth

"Reality can be beaten with enough imagination"---author unknown

"I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste."---Marcel Duchamp


Gav - Just Like Music said...

Thanks for the mention, man. It's a nice blog you have here. :-)

Anonymous said...

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Kunt Puppet said...

Lovin that Biggie hype shit! props!

Ben said...

Thanks for the link, cool blog! Glad you enjoyed the track kunt puppet :)

Anonymous said...

just in case you really like the bad album covers.

Anonymous said...

great post. thanx 4 the linx

Anonymous said...


sorry for being derelict!

these summer classes tend to suck away my leisure time.

i wonder if ice-t thinks he's going to pull off something akin to the success of willaim shatners album- which was a hit with the college kids

frankly i don't think hasslehoff has it in him- even if he single-handedly cause the berlin wall to fall

i'm glad someone is keeping up vynl.

thanks for the excellect post- especially the random stuff!!!


Boogs said...

I like you cuz you collect vinyl.....


Scholar said...

Gav---I'm a big fan of Charizma and PB Wolf. That was an excellent post.

Kunt Puppet---Glad that Biggie joint was good to ya. Sassbucket is a great blog, too, by the way.

Ben---thanks for stopping by...that B.I.G. track is definitely cooler than a fan.

Anon---gratitude for the link. I do have a strange fascination with strange album covers.

Anon 2---merci beaucoup.

Firpo---Damn---I actually worry when I don't hear from you...Have you ever had the displeasure of listening to any of David Hasselhoff's other recordings? Oh my God, his stuff sucks beyond belief. The only reason to anxiously await this record is so we can make fun of it. Great links you dropped, too. As always, your humor made my day.

Boogs---The fact that you're a vinyl kind of guy is what made me start reading your blog all the time in the first place. Too bad we live such a great distance from each other, because we'd probably have a great time raiding each other's collections ;)

Boogs said...


True indeed!

obifromsouthlondon said...

souled you couldn't be more right. was looking at my "midnight marauders" vinly cover. fresh to death.

still remember my old man's mantovani and fela vinyl covers. nostalgia is an understatement. pour out a lil' liquor for the best times of our lives. when shit wasn't instant.