Sunday, December 31, 2006
With New Year's Day being just around the corner, I've been spending some time contemplating what my resolutions should be for 2007. I can always generate plenty of ideas about what I should be doing---the difficulty is in having enough discipline to assure that any changes I propose amount to something greater than a pool of little white lies.
At any rate, the only resolution I'm considering that would be of any relevance to you is that I intend to keep things flowin' in the right direction here at Souled On, and will continue to strive for greater things in terms of quality, content, and frequency. Let's hope (for our collective sake) that I'm not just blowin' smoke up all of our asses...
Anyway, I dug out a few more classics from the crate to tide you over until my next links post. Things get a little slow on a lot of sites around this time of year, but it should only take me a couple more days to serve you a relatively substantive post.
Wishing all of you peace, prosperity, and wisdom in the coming year. Hopefully these tunes will help you get started in the right direction:
"The Message From The Soul Sisters, Parts 1 & 2"---Vicki Anderson
As yet another tribute to the legacy of The Godfather of Soul, I decided to post a track by Vicki Anderson, one of James Brown's Soul Sisters. According to JB's autobiography, he thought that Anderson was the best singer he ever had in his revue. She claimed Anna King's spot in 1965, and continued with Brown until 1968, when she was replaced by Marva Whitney. However, she joined the revue again in 1969 when Whitney departed, and remained until Lyn Collins came on board a few years later.
This particular track by Anderson has been a popular resource for sampling artists---Above The Law, LL Cool J, The Geto Boys, Lil' Kim, Gang Starr, Big Daddy Kane, and Main Source are just a few examples. This is another...
"Son Get Wrec (Evil Dee remix)" ---Black Moon
Released in 1996, Black Moon's LP Diggin' In The Vaults contains several remixes and a few miscellaneous B-sides. In my humble estimation, it's one of the more worthwhile efforts at making the Anderson sample fit nicely into the context of a hip-hop joint. By all means, judge for yourself...
"Tighten Up My Thang"---Soul Children
The Soul Children were composed of Anita Louis, John Colbert (aka J. Blackfoot), Shelbra Bennet, and Norman West. Not only did Isaac Hayes and David Porter form this group, they also co-wrote the majority of their finest tracks. "Tighten Up My Thang" is one such example, a song from their 1968 self-titled debut. I'd venture to say that it's pretty difficult not to like this track---it has a certain infectious quality that makes me return to it time and time again.
As far as the sampling history of this song, right now I can only think of one example---"Fountain Of Youth" by Arrested Development. I'm sure that there are others---drop some knowledge in the comment box if you can remember any of them.
"Check It Out" ---(The Diabolical) Biz Markie
Even though The Biz has always been somewhat of a cartoonish character in hip-hop, I still couldn't help losing some respect for him after repeatedly being exposed to unflattering shots of his plentiful gut on VH-1's "Celebrity Fit Club". That said, I guess my post-traumatic stress disorder is finally going into remission, because I flipped this record today and thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. "Check It Out" is a joint from his 1989 LP The Biz Never Sleeps, and features a sample of Yvonne Fair's version of "Let Your Hair Down". It's hard to imagine that this track didn't somehow inspire Jay-Z's "Where I'm From" (from 1997's In My Lifetime, Vol. 1), although in fairness, Hov's version contained a sample of The Temptations recording of "Let Your Hair Down" instead. It can be argued that Biz's lyrics tend to be a bit sophomoric at times, but throwback joints like this can serve as a reminder of days when hip-hop was infinitely more innocent. Enjoy...
Word From Your Moms:
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."---Steve Jobs
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
It goes without saying that the death of James Brown is a moment in time which must be respectfully recognized and observed. It's practically inconceivable to imagine what soul, rock, jazz, R&B, disco, funk, and hip-hop would have been without the many talents and pervasive influence of this legendary icon.
It's predictable that over the course of the next several weeks, thousands of music writers and fans will dissect this man's character, and analyze his numerous achievements through a microscopic lens. His personal life will be meticulously scrutinized, as will the validity of his entire musical legacy. He will stand accused of beating, cheating, lying, stealing, and just about any other transgression you can possibly imagine. He will be ridiculed for things like those crazy-looking mugshots, his tattoed eyebrows, and even his outspoken support for crazy-ass Richard Nixon. I don't know about you, but I'm bored with these articles and media segments already.
No matter how great or small our accomplishments, at the end of the day, we are all still just human beings. Nothing less, and certainly nothing more. Although he had character defects just like the rest of us, JB left us with some invaluable gifts of music, rhythm, and dance. I can imagine no greater tribute than sharing a few of these treasures with you:
"There Was A Time"
Just like the song "Think", JB recorded more than one version of this particular track. This one is from his Gettin' Down To It LP, and showcases Brown's extraordinary ability to blend several musical styles within the space of a single recording. This song is highly recommended listening for fans of soul, jazz, and/or funk music.
"Down And Out In New York City"
This track appeared on Black Caesar, a soundtrack to a blaxploitation film that JB released in 1973. This was a very prolific and pivotal point in the Godfather's career. The same year he also released another soundtrack (Slaughter's Big Rip-Off), and his much-heralded LP, The Payback. The emotional perspective on this particular track may come as somewhat of a surprise to "fans" who've only seen the "I Got You (I Feel Good)" side of Brown's discography.
"Get Up, Get Into It And Get Involved"
If the origin of this post hadn't arisen so unexpectedly, I could have used some degree of forethought to offer a more thorough exploration of the multi-faceted nature of JB's musical career. That said, I included this final track to illustrate yet another distinct element of Brown's musical legacy---his ability to make us move. From the dancefloor to the socio-political world around us, JB encouraged us to get out there and do our thing to the fullest extent. Ever notice how many of his tracks include a command to "get up"...and do something??? Like so many of his songs, this particular track has been sampled by a cornucopia of hip-hop artists---most recently borrowed for the Nas joint "Where Are They Now?". In the late '80s and early '90s, Public Enemy and Big Daddy Kane sampled the hell out of it, and The Beastie Boys, Organized Konfusion, Special Ed, and Kutmasta Kurt also took their respective turns utilizing elements of the track.
Although I'm still mourning the loss of one of music's most wonderful and spirited personalities, I'm also comforted in knowing that James Brown will live forever in terms of his influence on music and popular culture. There is no doubt he will be missed, but I have a feeling he would want us to quit cryin', "get on the good foot" and let the celebration begin...
Word From Your Moms (And The Godfather Of Soul):
"The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing"---James Brown
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
"Mama Soul"---Harold Alexander
This funky lil' sonic freakout is one of many outstanding tracks from Harold Alexander's legendary Sunshine Man LP. I haven't encountered very many musicians who can masterfully play a flute and make bizarre vocalizations through it at the same time---have you??? Throw in some schizophrenic scatting over a jazzy, soulful groove, and you have one extremely essential recording. If you've heard DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist's Product Placement LP, or "Deep In The Jungle" by Blackalicious, you will undoubtedly recall hearing elements of this song in the mix...
"Georgia (dj erb remix)"---Ludacris/ Field Mob
This remix is absolutely bananas. If this doesn't make you snap your neck, then something must be broken...
"Project Jazz"---Hell Raza/ Talib Kweli/ MF Doom
This track is from the mixtape Talib Kweli Presents Blacksmith The Movement, an effort aimed at drumming up some hype for the artists on his record label. As a whole, the release has some distinct low points, but this particular joint is pretty unfuckwitable. It didn't necessarily stand out at first, but this track became an undeniable favorite upon repeated listens. "This is something you're going to be able to pass down to your babies..."
"Fire And Rain"---Bobby Womack
This James Taylor song has inspired cover versions by a relatively diverse array of musicians, including Cher, John Denver, Herb Alpert, Lou Rawls, The Isley Brothers, and Skeeter Davis. I've always been intrigued by the lyrics on the track, but something about Taylor's folky, turtlenecked, lukewarm delivery made the song come across as sappier than it really needed to be. Taylor wrote this song while battling with depression and drug addiction, so a hint of melancholy is to be expected, but Womack's rendition takes the cake because it doesn't make me feel like I'm riding in an elevator. He rescued this track from its "adult contemporary" and "easy listening" status by bringing out the soul that was lying patiently beneath the surface...
I put a lot of heart into these selections, so enjoy. Just some early Christmas presents for my peoples and all.
I know that some of you have your eye out for a new links post. I'll definitely get around to it, but it's a must that I do some partying for the sake of the season. It takes a lot of time to coordinate and prepare for one of those posts, and I don't fuckin' feel like doing it right now ;) More stuff from the crates coming very soon, though...
Word From Your Moms:
"Jazz is the music of the body."---Anais Nin
Friday, December 15, 2006
A handful of hot rocks from the pocket of my baggy-ass jeans:
"Oh Well"---The Clipse
"Posse Kut"---The Clipse
"Wamp Wamp (What It Do) (DJ Illipse Blend)"
The Clipse ft. Slim Thug
If you visit a lot of hip-hop and mp3 blogs, chances are that you've had many opportunities to download tracks from The Clipse's latest LP, Hell Hath No Fury. Since the joints from that album are already in heavy rotation on the internets, I decided to post a few tracks that you actually may not have heard yet.
The first two joints are a couple of gems from The Clipse: Lost Tracks CD, while the "Wamp Wamp" remix is from a mixtape called Beats and Rappers that I picked up a short while ago. On the latter track, DJ Illipse blended the song's lyrics with "I Got 5 On It" by The Luniz---a choice that some of you will disagree with, but it sort of takes me back...ya know? I remember a time when that Luniz joint was everywhere---freestyles, remixes, blends, square dances, church socials...you name it. It was overkill to say the least, and I swore if I never heard it again, it would be way too fuckin' soon. I can't explain it, but a couple thousand blunts later, and the shit sounds brand new...
"A Change Is Going To Come"---Baby Huey & The Baby Sitters
Recently, Adam at hahamusic posted Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come", in addition to Aretha Franklin's rendition of the song. Quite a few versions of the track have been released over the years, but this is my hands-down favorite.
Baby Huey's version appeared on his only album, The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend. The LP was released on Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label in 1971, but unfortunately, Huey had passed away months prior to this, following a drug-related heart attack in a Chicago hotel room. Afterwards, The Baby Sitters briefly attempted to continue their career by replacing Huey with a teenage girl named Chaka Khan. The rest, of course, is soul history...
"Everybody Is A Star"---Sly & The Family Stone
Who doesn't like this song, and what's your ailment, son?
Word From Your Moms:
"Be the change you want to see in the world."---Mahatma Gandhi
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I'm not going to serve up one of those pathetic blogger apologies for why I didn't get this post typed up sooner. You know how it is---I'm extraordinarily busy now that it's getting closer to Jesus' birthday and all. I'm having a really difficult time deciding what to get him this year---I mean talk about trying to find a gift for the guy who has everything. I can't possibly buy him another robe--maybe some bunny slippers, but I think he prefers open-toed shoes. If all else fails, he's getting the Jay-Z doll. I'm pretty sure he's secure enough with his masculinity to accept a doll as a gift, and he's been bumpin' Kingdom Come in the Granada lately...
Thank God no one gets overly sensitive about the occasional religious satire in my posts. I can and will apply sarcasm to just about anything, but I never intend to deeply offend anyone's personal beliefs. I've sometimes been concerned about totally pissing off my readership, but yesterday, I had a major epiphany. I received an e-mail from the Christian Bloggers Association, inviting me to join them in their internet crusade for salvation. Apparently the Jesus chronicles garnered Souled On some unexpected shine with the God Squad. That enabled me to realize one very important fact--- no one gets what the fuck I'm talking about anyway...I feel so much better now ;)
A'ight then, I'm sure you want your $#@^!& links before Jesus gets back:
A few worthy soul joints are available at The "B" Side. Download "I'm Gonna Git Ya" (Betty Harris), "My Desires Are Getting The Best Of Me" (George Jackson), and "How Can I Put Out The Flame (When You Keep The Fire Burning)" ( Candi Staton).
As you may know, the new Nas album (Hip-Hop Is Dead) leaked and quickly made its way across the internets. These are the last two tracks I'm going to link from this LP---"Can't Forget About You" w/ Chrisette Michele (via Fluxblog) and "Still Dreamin" (courtesy of Sumish.com).
Also at Sumish, you can cop "Alex", a joint from Ghostface's More Fish LP.
Nerd Litter recently posted a variety of hip-hop mp3s by artists such as Clipse, Gift Of Gab, Immortal Technique, Binary Star, Reflection Eternal, RJD2, GZA, and more.
Somehow this doesn't shock me, but apparently the U.S. imprisons more people than any other nation. Last year we reached a record high--- one out of every 32 American adults was incarcerated, on probation or on parole. Take heed---your grandma's probably next...
Download "It's My Thing (You Can't Tell Me Who To Sock It To)" by Marva Whitney at Funky 16 Corners. Also at The Corner, you may want to check out "Take Me For A Little While" by The Mirettes and "Blue Nocturne" by King Curtis.
Before Ghostface's Fishscale LP officially dropped, there was a track called "Charlie Brown" that leaked. Most sites only had a snippet of that joint to post at the time---if you still haven't found the full version, you can cop it now at The Mark Out. The same post features the song that was sampled on the track---Caetano Veloso's "Alfomega".
33/45 recently featured "Short Eyes/ Freak Freak Free Free Free" by Curtis Mayfield.
This is the time of year when most blogs are making their year-end "best of" lists. I usually make it a point to visit some sites who don't "specialize" in hip-hop to see what they are promoting as the best rap records of the year. My Old Kentucky Blog recently posted their list, complete with mp3s by Masta Killa, Hi-Tek, J Dilla, Mr. Lif, The Coup, T.I., Clipse, The Roots, Outkast, and many more. I would have to make a few adjustments if this was my rap-up, but these selections are pretty close to being on point.
I link this for the weirdness factor alone---a claymation parody of R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" series, featuring none other than Santa himself. One segment of "Trapped in the CLAUSet" can currently be seen by way of The Daily Reel.
At Tuwa's Shanty, you will find mp3s by Jerry Butler and Betty Everett, Little Milton, Ann Peebles, Little Johnny Taylor, and Muddy Waters.
All Up In Your Earhole is featuring a number of quality joints by hip-hop producer Nicolay.
Evangelical leaders are the topic of "The Word" on "The Colbert Report"---see the clip courtesy of onegoodmove.
An assortment of Roots mp3s are available by way of Le Gouter du Mercredi.
Adam at hahamusic recently posted some tasty joints with a food-like theme---cop such edible treasures as "Ham n Eggs" by A Tribe Called Quest, "Soul Food" by Goodie Mob, "Pass the Peas" by Maceo Parker, and more.
Another nice variety of sampled songs, courtesy of these two posts at This Is Tomorrow.
A couple of tracks from Hell Hath No Fury by The Clipse, as well as two remixes, can be copped at kissatlanta.
The Coup requests assistance from fans, following a terrible bus accident several days ago. It's the time of year when people are the most inclined towards charity, so why not show some love towards Boots and Pam?
Finally---visit Silence Is A Rhythm, Too to download "I'll Be Around" by The Spinners and "Time Is Tight" by Booker T & The MGs.
Until next time, be easy...
Word From Your Moms:
"I drink to sink my sorrows, but the damn things have learned to swim"---Frida Kahlo
Monday, December 04, 2006
I frequently go through phases where I get restless and bored listening to new releases. While I enjoy pursuing the occasional diamond in the rough as much as the next music fiend, I sometimes think my eardrums will explode if they have to be subjected to one more displeasing sequence of sounds. During such times, I tend to retreat into albums and songs in my collection that possess the ability to restore my faith in the power of music. Here are just a few of the recordings I've had on replay lately:
"California Dreaming"---Lee Moses
Although I'm not one to post music solely on the basis of obscurity, part of the reason why I chose to upload another track from Time and Place is because the album is so difficult to acquire. It's an amazing record that is essential listening for any die-hard soul fan, so it seems particularly unfortunate that it's not more readily accessible .
Once again, I found it difficult to select a single track from an album that verges on soul perfection. In part, my affinity for the one I selected stems from the fact that the song itself was never a particular favorite of mine. Since hearing the Moses version, however, I can appreciate this tune on a completely different level. This isn't just a song for me now...it's an entire experience.
P.S. Pay a visit to Breath Of Life this week to download Lee's jaw-dropping version of "Hey Joe", a song that was popularized by Jimi Hendrix.
"Hurry On Now" ---Alice Russell ft. TM Juke
There's something about the soulful, jazzy vibe of this track that I find irresistible. Some of Russell's music has to catch me on the right day and time, but this song can be part of my soundtrack whenever. If you're interested, Alice has a fairly extensive discography. This joint is from an album released in 2004---Under The Munka Moon.
"An Exodus"---Pelican City (aka Danger Mouse)
Long before The Grey Album, Ghetto Pop Life, and Gnarls Barkley, DM was recording music under the name Pelican City. This particular track is from The Chilling Effect, a dark, brooding soundtrack he released in 1999.
"You Want It"---Showbiz & AG ft. Diamond D
I have been listening to my old Show & AG records a lot lately. I guess I find some comfort in their older material, because heaven and hell both know that AG's recent release, Get Dirty Radio, can't quite measure up to some of these classic recordings. Perhaps I expected too much from one of the great microphone fiends of days gone by---and even more from the album's A-list producers (Show, Jake One, Madlib, DJ Design, J Dilla, Lord Finesse, Oh No). Or maybe it's just that rapping about Lisa Stansfield and flowin' over a Culture Club song ain't exactly the best new look for Andre the Giant. Either way, thank God (or, insert deity of your choice) for the memories.
Word From Your Moms:
"The beginning and the end reach out their hands to each other."---Chinese proverb
"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."---Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself."---Sun Tzu