Sunday, December 30, 2007

That River Knows That I Can't Swim...

A couple more days of lazy bloggery, and I swear I'll be back to my regular hustle around here...

Traffic tends to reach its lowest point towards the end of the year, so it seems logical...maybe even momentarily pause the rotation.

Meanwhile, meditate on the sound of trees falling in an empty forest, bitches...

"Can't See My Way"---Erma Franklin (zShare)

"Can't See My Way"---Erma Franklin (savefile)

*I have a little shower rendition of this groove that I think would make Erma laugh her ass off if she was still alive. Thanks for the divine inspiration, soul sister...

Dig deeper...

"Roc Boys (Small Professor Remix)"---Jay-Z (zShare)

"Roc Boys (Small Professor Remix)"---Jay-Z (savefile)

*Respect to all of the DJs and producers who've sent me copies of their AG remixes. I'll be listening to all of them in the coming weeks. As a whole, Small Professor's Crooklyn Gangster has been one of my favorites so far, but that's still just scratching the surface. I haven't heard most of the mixes in my inbox yet, not to mention the ones that are steadily circulating around the internets.

Keep hittin' me up...

Dig deeper...

"I Let Love Slip Away"---David Ruffin (zShare)

"I Let Love Slip Away"---David Ruffin (savefile)

*Could the first fourteen seconds of this track be any nearer to perfection?

Dig deeper...

"So Many Ways To Die"---Oohna Truth (zShare)

"So Many Ways To Die"---Oohna Truth (savefile)

*Awww...don't worry soul kids...I'm not diggin' this because I want to hurt myself or anything. And'll be the first to know if I feel so empty inside that I start thinking about giving away my record collection...

Dig deeper...

"One Night Of Sin"---Tami Lynn (zShare)

"One Night Of Sin"---Tami Lynn (savefile)

*"Unsaintly acts seamlessly intertwined with a sincerity and conviction reserved only for the most righteous of melodies." That's what I wrote down about this song the first time I listened to it.

Dude... what the fuck did I mean by that?

Dig deeper...

"Baby Your Light Is Out"---Young-Holt Unlimited (zShare)

"Baby Your Light Is Out"---Young-Holt Unlimited (savefile)

*The moral to this story seems obvious. Hell...even Ray Charles can see this girl's trying to diss you, lil' homie .

Dig deeper...

"Uncut"---Talib Kweli/ Ghostface Killah (zShare)

"Uncut"---Talib Kweli/ Ghostface Killah (savefile)

*An ill uptempo joint from Kweli's Focus bootleg (2007)

Dig deeper...

Word From Your Moms:

I've known rivers:

I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Langston Hughes

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Souled On Samples Part XVII

"I Cry"---Millie Jackson (zShare)

"I Cry"---Millie Jackson (savefile)

*Sampled on "Cry" by Freeway, "No Glory" by Beanie Sigel, "Perceptions" by Oh No, and "Killa Tape (intro) by 50 Cent

Dig deeper...

"Maybe"---The Three Degrees (zShare)

"Maybe"---The Three Degrees (savefile)

*Sampled on "Beauty Jackson" by Ghostface Killah and "Hi" by J Dilla

Dig deeper...

Gypsy Woman"---The Persuasions (zShare)

Gypsy Woman"---The Persuasions (savefile)

*Sampled on "Campfire" by Wu-Tang Clan

Dig deeper...

"Cry Together"---The O'Jays (zShare)

"Cry Together"---The O'Jays (savefile)

*Sampled on "Kill Niggaz" by Slick Rick, "Planes & Trains" by Zion I, "Mo Money Mo Murder" by AZ and Nas, and "Real Niggas" by The Diplomats, and "Pour Out A Little Liquor" by 2pac

Dig deeper...

"Ike's Mood I"---Isaac Hayes (zShare)

"Ike's Mood I"---Isaac Hayes (savefile)

*Sampled on "Getting Married" by Nas, "Beautiful Mind" by Cormega, "Letter To The Firm" by Foxy Brown, "Still Got Love For You" by Beanie Sigel, "Today" Royce Da 5'9", "Bitches From Eastwick" by The Lox, "Jealousy" by Fat Joe, "The Streetz Iz A Mutha" by Kurupt, "I Love You" by Mary J Blige, "Make the Music 2000" by Rahzel, "Mary Jane" by Tha Alkaholiks, "Still Can't Fade It" by Warren G, "East Coast" by Das EFX, "One Love" by Massive Attack, "He Cuts So Fresh" Marley Marl w/ Juice Crew, "Cool V's Tribute To Scratching" and "Make The Music" by Biz Markie, "Six Minutes Of Pleasure" by LL Cool J, "Knock 'Em Out Da Box" by Naughty By Nature, "The Chronicles (I Will Always Love H.E.R.)" by Peanut Butter Wolf, "Down For My Niggas" by C-Murder/Snoop/Magic, "Out In The Park" by Saigon, and "Grand Groove" by Intelligent Hoodlum

Dig deeper...

"With You"---Main Ingredient (zShare)

"With You"---Main Ingredient (savefile)

*Sampled on "Why You Hate The Game" by The Game/Nas

Dig deeper...

"Goo Goo Wah Wah"---Wah Wah Watson (zShare)

"Goo Goo Wah Wah"---Wah Wah Watson (savefile)

*Sampled on "I'm The Man" by Gang Starr and "Say Word" by Def Squad

Dig deeper...

"Fell For You"---The Dramatics (zShare)

"Fell For You"---The Dramatics (savefile)

*Sampled on "Fallin'" by Jay-Z

Dig deeper...

"A Day In The Life"---Les DeMerle (zShare)

"A Day In The Life"---Les DeMerle (savefile)

*Sampled on "Time's Up" by OC

Dig deeper...

"Call Me"---Aretha Franklin (zShare)

"Call Me"---Aretha Franklin (savefile)

*Sampled on "Selfish" by Slum Village w/ Kanye West and "Spazzola" by Method Man

Dig deeper...

Supplemental Materials:

Vintage clip of The Main Ingredient performing "Everybody Plays The Fool" on Soul Train:

Bet you haven't seen this in a while...OC's "Time's Up" video:

Bonus mp3s (zShare only):

Millie's "I Cry" flipped in two entirely different ways:

"Perceptions"---Oh No (produced by Oh No)

"I Cry"---Freeway (produced by DJ Noodles)

Word From Your Moms:

"Different strokes for different folks, and so on and so on and scooby dooby dooby."---Sly And The Family Stone

Friday, December 14, 2007

As The Incense Burns and The Turntables Turn...

What's good, soul children? Hopefully all my peoples are feelin' fat and happy right about now. As for myself, I'm already making preparations for a very lazy weekend. To hell with productivity...sometimes it's more clever to endeavor to do nothing whatsoever. Screw whatever it is you think you have to do and get mellow right along with me, fam. These joints are already so hot, you ain't even gotta burn 'em...

"No One Could Ever Love You"---Freddie Scott (zShare)

"No One Could Ever Love You"---Freddie Scott (savefile)

Dig deeper...

"I'll Understand"---The Soul Children (zShare)

"I'll Understand"---The Soul Children (savefile)

Dig deeper...

"Ran It In The Ground"---Bloodstone (zShare)

"Ran It In The Ground"---Bloodstone (savefile)

Dig deeper...

"Good To The Very Last Drop"---Millie Jackson (zShare)

"Good To The Very Last Drop"---Millie Jackson (savefile)

Dig deeper...

The first wave of American Gangster remix projects have been released, and I've listened to quite a few of them over the past few days. The results run the gamut from pretty damn good to awfully fuckin' terrible...but I suppose that's to be expected. I'm of the mindset that the best mixes have yet to make an appearance on the internets, but meanwhile, here are a few I'm kinda diggin' right now....

"Hello Brooklyn 2.0 (Beirut Remix)"---Jay-Z/Lil' Wayne (zShare)

"Hello Brooklyn 2.0 (Beirut Remix)"---Jay-Z/Lil' Wayne (savefile)

"Pray (MIDIMarc Remix)"---Jay-Z (zShare)

"Pray (MIDIMarc Remix)"---Jay-Z (savefile)

"Success (Grinehouse Remix)"---Jay-Z/Nas (zShare)

"Success (Grinehouse Remix)"---Jay-Z/Nas (savefile)

"Party Life (Marvol Remix)"---Jay-Z (zShare)

"Party Life (Marvol Remix)"---Jay-Z (savefile)

"No Hook (Beirut Remix)"---Jay-Z (zShare)

"No Hook (Beirut Remix)"---Jay-Z (savefile)

"Say Hello (DJ Doc Rok)"---Jay-Z (zShare)

"Say Hello (Dj Doc Rok)"---Jay-Z (savefile)

Feel free to share your thoughts on these---the good, the bad, and the ugly. Since I have an obsession with collecting remixes, you're also encouraged to contribute to my depravity by dropping suggestions on any dope AG reduxes I may have overlooked. My future therapist thanks you...

Word From Your Moms:

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."---Hunter S. Thompson

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Fusion of Jazzy Blue Beats With Equal Parts Soulful Heat

"Leave Him"---Don Covay (zShare)

"Leave Him"---Don Covay (savefile)

In keeping with the other nearly forgotten artists and musicians I prefer to spotlight, Don Covay is amongst the ranks of the most underappreciated soul men of all time. Not only was he a gifted singer/songwriter, he was also associated in one way or another with some of the most legendary artists in music history. It would be a fool's errand to attempt mentioning all of his achievements within the range of a single post, so in the interests of providing a brief overview I've extracted a few highlights of his career that you may find interesting:

*Covay's first gig as a vocalist was with the Cherry Keys, his family's gospel quartet. He later crossed over into secular music by joining The Rainbows, one of Washington D.C.'s pioneering doo-wop groups. Although it's frequently stated that The Rainbows' line-up also included Marvin Gaye and Billy Stewart, there are conflicting accounts which suggest that the two actually only occasionally filled in for absent members during the group's live performances.

*Covay's solo career took off after he took a job chauffeuring Little Richard, and was then invited to be his opening act as well. Richard went on to produce Covay's 1957 solo debut, "Bip Bip Bip", a single that was credited to Pretty Boy (Richard's nickname for Covay).

*After jumping from one label to another for several years, Covay eventually signed to the Rosemart label in 1964. His debut single there (with the Goodtimers as his backing band) was "Mercy Mercy", a legendary recording that featured a young Jimi Hendrix on guitar. After Atlantic picked the single up for distribution, the song sailed its way onto the Top 40 charts. The track greatly impressed The Rolling Stones, who released a cover of the song in 1965 on their Out Of Our Heads LP. In fact, lead singer Mick Jagger's persona is said to have been greatly influenced by Covay's phrasing, swagger, and overall style.

*Although The Soul Clan may have never reached the epic supergroup proportions that were originally intended, the one single that the group did record is one of soul music history's absolute gems. The group was comprised of Covay, Solomon Burke, Joe Tex, Ben E. King, and Arthur Conley. The project (which at one time was also meant to include Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding) was the brainchild of Covay, who also wrote both songs the group recorded with an uncredited Bobby Womack. The A-side of the single was "Soul Meeting", while the flip side was the amazing "That's How It Feels". I posted the latter track some time can still download the mp3 I posted here.

*In addition to writing "Chain Of Fools" for Aretha Franklin, Covay's compositions have been recorded by Otis Redding, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Solomon Burke, Steppenwolf, Gene Chandler, Etta James, Bobby Womack, Wilson Pickett, The Small Faces, Chubby Checker, Grant Green, Jerry Butler, Little Richard, and more. Although he managed to score a few hits as a performer, he was infinitely more successful in his role as songwriter.

While many soul fans would argue that Covay's most monumental work came out of the 1960s, his Super Dude LP (Mercury, 1973) has probably gotten more spins on my turntable than any of his other albums. There's no denying that much of his best material was recorded for Atlantic Records, but his first set on Mercury deserves its own nod of unapologetic approval. Although some of his audience undoubtedly grieved the raw intensity that was a hallmark of his earlier recordings, I never found that the more polished arrangements and production on Super Dude compromised the irresistibility of Covay's material. It still provides a generous helping of stunning southern soul mixed with a twist of gritty funk.

Super Dude was intended to be somewhat of a comeback album for Covay, and it did generate a hit record for him---the unforgettable tale of promiscuity known as "I Was Checkin' Out She Was Checkin' In". Since I suspect that some of you may have heard that track on the radio, I decided to instead focus your attention on "Leave Him", another song on the record that explores the timeless theme of infidelity.

There are a few things about "Leave Him" that make it a point of interest on the LP. Although the song is about an adulterous situation, it's a deep southern soul ballad with leanings towards a traditional gospel sound. It's no small feat that Covay is incredibly convincing at making a presumably sinful act sound downright heavenly and sublime.

Covay's one-sided conversation at the very beginning of the track makes the whole affair sound relatively shady, setting the tone for a tawdry down-low creep. When he pleads with his lover to tell her man that she has to work late so that he can pick her up in his Mustang at their secret meeting place, you may feel a bit of regret for the poor bastard who's being unknowingly deceived. However, as the music begins to swell and Covay starts singing from his gut about the heart-wrenching emotions he feels for this woman, you can't help but transfer your pity for the other man into a sincere hope that Covay can somehow manage to get the girl.

In the original vinyl format, the continuity of the tale is somewhat jeopardized by the fact that the track was divided into two parts (appearing on opposite sides of the LP as an additional pain in the ass). That decision always struck me as curious, but even this slight irritation doesn't diminish my overall affinity for the song. Since the two tracks combined clock in at nearly 10 minutes, I decided to relegate the portion from the record's B-side to the supplemental section. If you really like this, don't hesitate to start digging for your own copy...

Dig deeper...

"Lonely Room"---The Smile Rays (zShare)

"Lonely Room"---The Smile Rays (savefile)

Travis has been telling me to check out The Smile Rays for quite a while now, and this week I finally had an opportunity to hear their digital-only release on Rawkus called Smilin' For You. At this point, my only regret is the days I slept before I got around to seriously checkin' for this outstanding trio from Jacksonville, FL.

Although The Smile Rays have really just begun making some audible noise in the underground sector of the hip-hop community, all three members have some noteworthy previous experience to boast on their individual resumes. The trio's skillful MC, Therapy, is also in the AB's (formerly known as Asamov). Therapy is also a proficient DJ who's been affiliated with a number of key players in the independent hip-hop scene. The lovely Daisey (vocals) and DJ Batsauce have been recording together for a few years as Heavenly Noise, as well as each having been involved in some other projects of their own.

"Lonely Room" may give you a somewhat limited perspective on the group's overall sound since it's a purely instrumental joint. However, it meshed nicely with the other selections for today's post, and quite honestly, I can't seem to get enough of this beat. The melancholy, soulful vibe immediately put its hooks in me, and I'm not exactly struggling to get free...

These true-school heads will prompt many of you to reminisce on the essence and vitality of hip-hop's roots, so exercise due diligence and take a moment to dig deeper...

"Have A Little Mercy"---Ann Sexton (zShare)

"Have A Little Mercy"---Ann Sexton (savefile)

Ann Sexton is another artist who is commonly overlooked in discussions of exceptional female vocalists. Although she could easily tap into the emotions of her listening audience with the sweet, soulful quality of her voice, she was equally capable of exposing a grittier funk side on many of her recordings.

Sexton started out as a gospel singer, but she fully crossed over into secular music after being discovered in 1971 by songwriter/producer David Lee. Her first album, Loving You Loving Me, was released on John Richbourg's 77 label out of Nashville. Her second and final LP, In The Beginning, was recorded in Muscle Shoals and released on Sound Stage 7 in 1977.

For a number of years, both of these albums remained highly elusive, which has undoubtedly contributed to her relative obscurity. Some of the Southern Soul gems she recorded became favorites on the Northern Soul scene, but her material has never been widely recognized or acknowledged in the United States.

Fortunately, the content of these albums (as well as her 45s) have gradually become more readily available via compilations and anthologies of her work. The UK label Charly released a collection of her 7" singles in the mid-'80s called Love Trials. In 1995, the same label released a more comprehensive collection (You're Gonna Miss Me) that included several more tracks than Love Trials. Finally, Soul Brother Records released the sought-after content of her two LPs under the title Ann Sexton: Anthology. As an added bonus, they were also kind enough to include the rare 7" track "You Got To Use What You Got", so the collection is a must-have for anyone who's interested in more fully exploring her work.

"Have A Little Mercy" is one of her deep soul gems that I've never seen posted anywhere else. Although the song's lyrics imply that she's been whipped into a certain degree of subservience by her torturous feelings for her inconsiderate lover, Sexton's delivery is strong enough to save the song from excessively wallowing in martyrdom. In fact, the determination in her voice implies that there may be sufficient anger boiling under the surface for her to actually leave the sorry bastard behind one day...

Dig deeper...

"Northern Girls"---Belleruche (zShare)

"Northern Girls"---Belleruche (savefile)

Belleruche sounds like a little bit of everything and a whole lot of nothing that you've ever heard before. They're an eclectic London-based trio, comprised of Kathrin deBoer (vocals), Ricky Fabulous (guitar), and DJ Modest (turntablist). Their impressive debut album, Turntable Soul Music, was released this summer on the Tru Thoughts label.

The group has two ways of describing their sound: 1) "handmade hip hop blues soul" and 2) "like Sarah Vaughn, Charlie Christian and Cut Chemist stuck in a dusty secondhand record store with wine and a sampler". They claim a diverse array of influences, including James Brown, Lyrics Born, Eddie Bo, Jimi Hendrix, DJ Shadow, Nina Simone, Kid Koala, Miles Davis, Groucho Marx, Memphis Slim, DJ Premier, Bill Withers, Les McCann, and Chuck D.

If you love vinyl, beats, jazz, soul and/or funk, you may find yourself diggin' this group as much as I do. If you don't love vinyl, beats, jazz, soul and/or funk, have you ever asked yourself what the hell you're doing here?

Dig deeper...

"I Still Care"---Pieces Of Peace (zShare)

"I Still Care"---Pieces Of Peace (savefile)

Pieces of Peace were a funk and soul outfit from Chicago who backed numerous artists during studio sessions and live performances in the '60s and '70s. One of their most notable gigs was acting as Syl Johnson's touring band for quite a few of his shows, as well as backing him up on his Is It Because I'm Black LP (1970).

Despite their affiliation with some of Chi-Town's greatest legends, the Pieces of Peace only released a single 45 of their own material---"Pass It On Pts 1 & 2" on Twinight in 1971 (recently reissued on vinyl by Numero Group, by the way). They did have a full-length album planned for release , but it got shelved when the group disintegrated before it came to fruition. Due in large part to managerial disputes and some of the members experiencing homesickness, the unit disintegrated during a tour of Southeast Asia. Several of the members (including Benjamin Wright, Michael Davis, and Fred Crutchfield) went on to work with Earth, Wind, and Fire, and for all intents and purposes, their unreleased album was lost and all but forgotten. That is, until just recently.

Assisted by DJ Shadow, Quannum unearthed the tapes from these recording sessions, and assembled them into the LP that Scarab Records had intended to release in the 1970s. The result is a groovy and occasionally spectacular album that's an essential relic dug up from the vaults of soul and funk musical history.

While most of the set consists of funky grooves and extended jams, the group's versatility is perhaps most evident on the ballad "I Still Care". On the few songs that aren't purely instrumental, King Johnson was selected to perform vocal duties on the tracks. While it's highly unlikely that he's the best vocalist that you've ever heard, he holds his own while accepting the difficult role of fronting such a powerful group of musicians.

My verdict on the album as a whole? I'd have to give it a B-, but major props to DJ Shadow and Quannum for salvaging this musical artifact for all the funky collectors in the universe.

"Caught Up"---Joe Beats (zShare)

"Caught Up"---Joe Beats (savefile)

Joe Beats is a sample-based producer out of Newport, RI who's been officially releasing music since 1999. He's recorded under several different aliases and project titles, including The Joe Beats Conspiracy, The Joe Beats Trio, The Non-Prophets, The Joe Beats Experiment, Joe Beats & Blak, Joey Nose Beats, etc.

I go through periods where I listen to a lot of instrumental releases---it's my refuge from lackluster MCs and uninspired wordplay/lyricism. That said, an LP without words has to be a multi-dimensional and exceptionally engaging listen for me to keep it in regular rotation. Joe Beats' Diverse Recourse (Bully Records, 2007) is an effort that meets and even exceeds those standards in my opinion. It's the follow-up to his Reverse Discourse LP, but unlike most sequels, this is a welcome continuation rather than a desperate and unnecessary rehashing of concepts and ideas.

If you like what you hear, you can download quite a few of Joey's beats and remixes for free via his MySpace page. Then show the man some gratitude by coughing up the change to buy a few of his LPs...

Dig deeper...

Supplemental Materials:

If you've never heard "Mercy Mercy" by Don Covay, you can listen to it via this video clip. Then tell me that Mick Jagger doesn't owe a thing or two to Super Dude's cool-ass steez...

Bonus mp3s (zShare only):

"Leave Him Pt. 2" ---Don Covay
The wrap-up from the point where we left off...

"Gone Head"---Asamov
As I mentioned above, Therapy from The Smile Rays is also in The AB's, who were formerly called Asamov (got that?). I decided to blow the dust off of one of my favorite Asamov joints to turn a few heads who haven't heard this yet. This track appeared on their And Now... LP (6 Hole Records, 2005).

Word From Your Moms:

"Music is my religion. Music is the only thing that has never failed me. People let you down, music won't."-Gary Bartz

"Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard."-Anne Sexton (American poet/writer, not to be confused with the soulful songstress featured above)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sisters Got Soul

The last time my man DJ Blueprint dropped a mix over here, it was downloaded over 3,800 times. Crazy, right? It didn't take a whole lot of insight on our part to figure out that the soul children might be ready to get down with a second round.

As always, Blueprint came through with the undeniable goods. If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'---this is one of my friend's dopest mixes yet. If you accidentally slept on his first guest mix, it's still available via this post.

I have watched this guy evolve into the amazing soul juggernaut that he is today, and I couldn't be more proud of what he's bringing to the table(s). If you want to keep track of what he's up to, be sure to check him out on the regular over at his almighty throne, better known as this is tomorrow.

dj blueprint - sisters got soul mix (zShare)

dj blueprint - sisters got soul mix (YSI)

01. lyn collins - think (polydor)
02. saundra phillips - miss fatback (brown dog)
03. etta james - you got it (cadet)
04. gloria taylor - born a woman (king soul)
05. marie franklin - bad bad woman (westbound)
06. betty wright - secretary (alston)
07. yvonne fair - funky music sho nuff turns me on (motown)
08. laura lee - crumbs off the table (hot wax)
09. erma franklin - i'm just not ready for love (shout)
10. dorothy moore - here it is (malaco)
11. betty lavelle - do your duty (silver fox)
12. marie adams - get on up and do it baby (vantage)
13. jean knight - you think you're hot stuff (stax)
14. laura lee - what a man (cotillion)
15. betty harris - there's a break in the road (sss international)
16. koko taylor - instant everything (yambo)
17. mystic five - girls get out of the way and let a woman in (cunity)
18. gigi - daddy love (sweet)
19. pearl dowell - good thing (saadia/jazzman reissue)
20. marlena shaw - wade in the water (cadet)

If you're not mixed up enough yet, let me also direct you towards a new mix from another one of my funky soul brethren, Colin Dilnot. My man just celebrated his 1500th post over at In Dangerous Rhythm last week, which is quite a jaw-dropping achievement as far as I'm concerned. Shit...I'm tired after 260. Anyway, Colin also dropped an exclusive mix for Souled On this summer---check it out here.

Stay tuned...I'll be back in just a minute to share some more gems from my collection with you.

Word From Blueprint's Moms:

"Only sick music makes money today." ---Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Question Reality...

Those of you who actually bother to read between the hyperlinks have probably noticed that I generally don't offer much in the way of self-disclosure. Besides being a very private person, I choose to remain fairly anonymous in order to keep my focus where it should be...on the music. Despite the fact that it's somewhat contrary to my nature, when Travis from Wake Your Daughter Up asked me if I would consent to doing an interview with him, I simply couldn't refuse. Travis has become much more than a blogger affiliate...I greatly respect his hustle over at WYDU and consider him to be a truly good friend. With very little persuasion, I agreed to break my code of silence and answer everything that he wanted to know.

I can't blame you for not really giving a damn, but it turned out to be a pretty interesting discussion. For example, have you ever wondered whether or not people send me underwear because they love Souled On so damn much? Ever pondered the origin of Word From Your Moms, or asked yourself why I call my readers soul children? These essential truths (and many more) came to light thanks to Trav's relentless and illuminating interrogation.

If that's not enough to convince you, I also dropped a few quality tracks exclusively at his spot to express my gratitude for the opportunity to expose myself to his readership. Okay...that sounded borderline illegal...but you get the idea...

Scholar's interview with Travis at WYDU

The unofficial soundtrack:

"Ask Me 'Bout Nothing (But The Blues)"---Bobby "Blue" Bland (zShare)

"Ask Me 'Bout Nothing (But The Blues)"---Bobby "Blue" Bland (savefile)

Dig deeper...

"The Truth"---Handsome Boy Modeling School w/ Roisin Murphy & J-Live (zShare)

"The Truth"---Handsome Boy Modeling School w/ Roisin Murphy & J-Live (savefile)

Dig deeper...

"Answer Me"---Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (zShare)

"Answer Me"---Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (savefile)

Dig deeper...

"Question"---Danja Mowf (zShare)

"Question"---Danja Mowf (savefile)

Dig deeper...

"Tell All The People"---Merry Clayton (zShare)

"Tell All The People"---Merry Clayton (savefile)

Dig deeper...

"Listen To This"---The Roots/ Walking Large (zShare)

"Listen To This"---The Roots/ Walking Large (savefile)

Dig deeper...

Word From Your Moms:

"I Am"---from Weldone Irvine's Time Capsule (mp3)

"A Word Of Advice"---MF Doom (from Fog)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

God Is Great, God Is Good...Let Us Thank Him For Our Soul Food...

Hello world...hope that all my peoples are feelin' good today...

Since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I wanted to spread some love and cheer by serving up some outstanding music. To all of my readers who are also celebrating today, I wish all the best to you and yours. For those who hold a special place in my heart (you know who you are), I'll undoubtedly spend some part of my day reflecting on my gratitude for your kindness, friendship, and support. Without you in my life, I would have definitely gone (even more) insane by now.

If you don't fit into either one of those categories, I'm still grateful that you like Souled On enough to pass through here once in a while. Stay loyal, and I will return the favor in whatever capacity I possibly can.

Be easy for the next couple of days, soul children, and make sure you don't leave here without a full plate. Fried turkey legs, chitlins, and sweet potato pie are bound to make you chubby, but soul does a body good...

"Snake In The Grass (Part 2)"---Roshell Anderson (zShare)

"Snake In The Grass (Part 2)" ---Roshell Anderson (savefile)

Dig deeper...

"Some Say"---Nite People (zShare)

"Some Say"---Nite People (savefile)

Dig deeper...

"I Love You Still"---Zilla Mayes (zShare)

"I Love You Still"---Zilla Mayes (savefile)

Dig deeper...

"Listen To My Song"---Darondo (zShare)

"Listen To My Song"---Darondo (savefile)

Dig deeper...

"Split Personality Part 1"---Arts The Beatdoctor (zShare)

"Split Personality Part 1"---Arts The Beatdoctor (savefile)

Dig deeper...

"Feeling Good"---Mooncakes Project (zShare)

"Feeling Good"---Mooncakes Project (savefile)

Dig deeper...

Also, before you get back to spending time with your fam-a-lam, be sure to stop over at my man Vincent's house to partake in a Fufu Stew Thanksgiving. He put together 3 phenomenal mixes with a little help from his friends, and I was fortunate enough to be asked to contribute some of my records for the party.

Word From Your Moms:

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.”---Albert Schweitzer

Monday, November 19, 2007

Souled On Samples Part XVI

"Make The Road By Walking"---The Menahan Street Band (zShare)

"Make The Road By Walking"---The Menahan Street Band (savefile)

*Sampled on "Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)..." by

Dig deeper...

"Star Children"---The Mighty Ryeders (zShare)

"Star Children"---The Mighty Ryeders (savefile)

*Sampled on "Love Jones" by RZA and "It Could Happen To You" by Mobb Deep/DJ Muggs

Dig deeper...

"Life Of Fortune And Fame"---Sly And The Family Stone (zShare)

"Life Of Fortune And Fame"---Sly And The Family Stone (savefile)

*Sampled on "Game Theory" by The Roots

Dig deeper...

"Put On Train"---Gene Harris & The Three Sounds (zShare)

"Put On Train"---Gene Harris & The Three Sounds (savefile)

*Sampled on "What Comes Around"---The Beastie Boys

Dig deeper...

"My People...Hold On"---Eddie Kendricks (zShare)

"My People...Hold On"---Eddie Kendricks (savefile)

*Sampled on "People" by J Dilla

Dig deeper...

"7 Rooms Of Gloom"---The Four Tops (zShare)

"7 Rooms Of Gloom"---The Four Tops (savefile)

*Sampled on "Puff Puff Pass" by Frank N Dank (if you slept when I posted this track, the mp3 link is still available here)

Dig deeper...

"Gone Away"---Roberta Flack (zShare)

"Gone Away"---Roberta Flack (savefile)

*Sampled on "What You Know" by T.I.

Dig deeper...

"That's What Love Is Made Of"---The Sylvers (zShare)

"That's What Love Is Made Of"---The Sylvers (savefile)

*Sampled on "All That You Are" by Foreign Exchange (Nicolay + Phonte of Little Brother)

Dig deeper...

"Tripping Out"---Curtis Mayfield (zShare)

"Tripping Out"---Curtis Mayfield (savefile)

*Sampled on "Black Nostaljack" by Camp Lo

Dig deeper...

"Bittersweet"---Chairmen Of The Board (zShare)

"Bittersweet"---Chairmen Of The Board (savefile)

*Sampled on "Bittersweet" by Kanye West/John Mayer (if you haven't heard this joint, which dropped out before Graduation, you can d/l it via Resonator Magazine)

Dig deeper...

"The Road We Didn't Take"---Freda Payne (zShare)

"The Road We Didn't Take"---Freda Payne (savefile)

*Sampled on "Life Changes" by Wu-Tang Clan (from their upcoming 8 Diagrams LP)

Dig deeper...

Supplemental Materials:

Bonus mp3s (zShare only):

In honor of the reunion of my favorite hip hop group of all time and the recent anniversary of ODB's death, a new Wu track, as well as a couple of dope remixes...

"Life Changes"---Wu-Tang Clan

"Shimmember Me (DJ Not I remix)---ODB vs. Blue Boy (an Ol' Dirty tribute joint)

"Run (Ratatat remix)"---Ghostface Killah

Curtis Mayfield performing "We Got To Have Peace" in 1972. This song is every bit as relevant now as it was 35 years ago...a timeless classic:

Word From Your Moms:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”---Maya Angelou

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Tracks Of My Tears

I welcome today's guest writer with all due respect and admiration. Darcy runs one of my very favorite music blogs--a haven for diggers, collectors, and enthusiasts known as Feel It. Darcy truly embodies the spirit of soul music (as well as the title of his blog) by writing straight from the heart about the music that he loves. His appreciation for the records that he shares readily becomes infectious, as he is particularly gifted at writing about music through the lens of his own unique perspective and experiences. Anyone is capable of regurgitating facts, but Darcy takes his readers to a place where they don't just comprehend what he's saying---they can actually feel it. Welcome, Darcy...thanks for blessing us with some phenomenal music, as well as your invaluable thoughts and insight...Scholar

Turn back the hands of time a couple of months or so and there I was having a bit of a crisis of confidence, or possibly indifference, surrounding my labour of love - Feel It. I had changed the look of its page in an attempt to snap out of this state of mind, but nagging doubts remained concerning my ability to hang in for the long haul on my excursion into the land of audio blogging. Then Scholar dropped into my inbox and asked me if I would like to guest on his baby – the wonderful Souled On.

I found Souled On after I had started Feel It so can’t claim it was an inspiration to me in starting on the audio blogging road - Funky16Corners and #1 Songs In Heaven (RIP) probably take that prize. But of all the blogs I have found over the last couple of years Souled On is now one of my most treasured “constant clicks”. Thank you Scholar for the constant stream of high quality tracks you spotlight, so many of which I missed on original release - your knowledge, and appetite for digging and research which must constantly expand that knowledge, is prodigious. Thanks too for your timely offer of a guest appearance here. That was instrumental in giving me fresh impetus to continue with Feel It.

So, this post ought to have a theme, and a title.

The theme is simply – songs that make me cry. The title I can’t resist:

The Tracks Of My Tears.

You may think the theme a bit of a hoary old chestnut. Furthermore I am aware it is one that has made an appearance in this month’s issue of the UK’s Word magazine. But all I can say is I had been harbouring this idea of a theme for an occasional set of posts on Feel It for some time, honest.

I often find the tears welling up. It can be embarrassing, I can be simply talking fondly about something – anything really - with someone – anyone - and I can feel my eyes getting moist. I think I take after my father because I have noticed the same thing in him. My wife is pretty adept at it too. Our children have learnt to don sou’westers and wellies if, as a family, we are all watching a film that is anything approaching moving! There we both are brushing away the tears.

I am sure all of us will find that certain songs make us fill up. Some songs by simple dint of their sentiment will have an almost universal effect – for example I’m betting Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” increases tissue sales whenever it’s played. But equally, songs can be very personal, evoking very special and private memories.

Listening to music is one of my favourite pastimes so it’s not surprising that I find many songs exercising the tear ducts. What is it about a piece of music that gets the tears flowing? As touched on above: the sentiment of the song; triggered memories – fond or painful; simple nostalgia. There again it could be the fact that the track is just so damn good. Or it could be simply inexplicable. Forgetting lyrics for the moment, the way that the music is structured or nuanced can also be crucial I think. I’m no expert on musical structure but elements such as chord patterns, cadence, particular tones, the profoundly sad sound that most stringed instruments make, can all play a part in moving someone to tears, and I am sure there will be some science behind this that can prove it.

But let’s not overanalyse. The danger then is the evocative power of a song will evaporate, and with it the tears. And I don’t know about you, but I enjoy a good cry.

Here, for your delectation, are some tracks that have the desired effect with me. As Millie Jackson once put it: “I Feel Like Walking In The Rain”!

Kicking things off are two tracks that are segued by seagulls! I think Kool & The Gang were at the peak of their powers in 1974 when they released “Light Of Worlds”. “Whiting H. & G.”, an instrumental, was track 1 on side 1 of this album. Who says you need lyrics to bring on the tears, these guys could funk it up with the best of them but they also really knew how to drag emotion out of their synthesisers, and the long fade is irresistible. Cue long shot of a couple, or a lone person if you prefer, in the distance, at dusk, walking along an otherwise deserted beach (er, except for the seagulls). And they walk around the point and right into Jean Carn’s “You Are All I Need”. The scene’s gone all misty now – that will be the tears! Dexter Wansel consistently came up with sublime arrangements and this is one of them. Put that together with Jean’s beautiful jazz tinged vocals and the sentiment of the lyrics and you have a marriage made in heaven.

Kool & The Gang – Whiting H & G ~~~ Jean Carn – You Are All I Need (1974/1976)(zShare)

Kool & The Gang – Whiting H & G ~~~ Jean Carn – You Are All I Need (1974/1976)(savefile)

The next track appeared on Lucinda Williams’ 2001 album “Essence”. A dead slow Country waltz is not something you will likely find very often at Souled On, or Feel It for that matter. But I defy you not to be moved by Lucinda’s memories of her Grandmother’s house brought into sharp focus by a final visit. Lucinda may have her roots firmly planted in Country music but she is as soulful as they come.

Lucinda Williams – Bus To Baton Rouge (2001)(zShare)

Lucinda Williams – Bus To Baton Rouge (2001)(savefile)

Disco may seem like an odd genre of music to make you cry, but I find no shortage of Disco numbers that do it for me. Some examples – Candi Staton “When You Wake Up Tomorrow” (The uniquely ‘hurt’ quality of Candi’s voice seems to be highlighted even more by the backdrop of a disco track); Tata Vega “Get It Up For Love” (just a fantastic arrangement); Chantal Curtis “Get Another Love” (so melancholic and wistful); Patrice Rushen “Haven’t You Heard” (can’t explain). All those are pretty long tracks on 12” so I’ve chosen a 7” from Marlena Shaw. I love Marlena’s delivery as she sings her tale of loneliness and lost love. Dance your troubles away. Perhaps there was a situation or event in my life associated with this record that causes me to shed a tear still, but if there was then it is now buried deep in my sub-conscious. I don’t know why, but I have always kept this single in it’s original cardboard mailer, maybe that is part of its enduring charm.

Marlena Shaw – Love Has Gone Away (1976)(zShare)

Marlena Shaw – Love Has Gone Away (1976)(savefile)

As 1976 was coming to an end Parliament released “The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein”. It was the follow up to “Mothership Connection” and has somehow always remained under that album’s shadow. For my money though “Clones” is at least its equal. The funk is looser, the feel is more laid back, horn arrangements to die for abound, and there are some great vocal performances (for example just check Gary Shider on the track featured here). To my mind the more stripped down feel reveals a melancholic undercurrent to many of the tracks. Cut through the invented on-the-one-cosmic-science-thang world of Clinton and his cohorts and what you have is a really soulful album. The soulfulness struck me on first hearing, just after it’s release. Back then I wasn’t aware of the group’s history and previous incarnation as The Parliaments. Now of course it all makes sense.

Parliament - Getten’ To Know You (1976)(zShare)

Parliament - Getten’ To Know You (1976)(savefile)

I was struggling to pick just one Rufus track here. Their albums are littered with tracks that readily induce my tears, but especially those from the album “Ask Rufus”. What an album this is. I’m sorry, but they just don’t make them like this anymore. Chaka was in a more restrained mood on this album, and the better for it in my opinion. But though her voice is of course a sweet and wondrous instrument, it wasn’t all about Chaka. All the members of Rufus deserve the plaudits, their musicianship was superb, and their arrangements were lush and complex, and by this album they appeared to be operating on a higher plane, music as art. Sweetly complemented by Chaka Khan they made a unique contribution to the world of soul music. “Better Days” from “Ask Rufus” contains the line ”I don’t know why, but I want to cry…” so in the end it picks itself really. (NOTE: the sound dynamics on this may not be too good, I really must get another copy of the album – or were all the pressings like this?)

Rufus featuring Chaka Khan – Better Days (1977)(zShare)

Rufus featuring Chaka Khan – Better Days (1977)(savefile)

The term “marriage made in heaven” was used earlier in these outpourings. Here’s another one – Country and Soul music. So many Country songs tell stories, simple but powerful tales about human relationships and feelings – hearts swollen, torn, broken, mended. What makes someone a Soul singer is the extra level of emotive power they seem able to impart in their delivery, a feeling that they are singing from the heart. Put these together and you have a potent brew.

In the mid 70s Dorothy Moore had a string of ballad hits on the Malaco label at a time when the whole world was turning disco. Love songs - new love – “Misty Blue”, “I Believe You” – old flames - “Funny How Times Slips Away”, “For Old Times Sake”, written by, or for, Country artists. Actually “For Old Times Sake” was written by Frederick Knight so my premise falls down somewhat – but it sure has a Country feel to it. I have never been in the situation that “For Old Times Sake” recounts, but the way Dot sings it she makes me feel like I want to be the partner, even with the pain that would obviously come with the territory.

Dorothy Moore – For Old Times Sake (1976) (zShare)

Dorothy Moore – For Old Times Sake (1976)(savefile)

I have just noticed that many of these tracks come from the same period of the 70s, a period that coincided with my late teens. We seem uniquely impressionable at that stage of life and perhaps this explains why I have such a special relationship with these songs. Looking back I appeared particularly shy at that time of my life, especially where girls were concerned. Maybe in immersing myself in these songs I was acting out an otherwise fairly non existent love life! Then again, maybe these songs move me so much simply because they are so damn good.

Now, if you will excuse me, after digitizing this lot I must go to the supermarket and find a ‘buy one get one free’ offer on boxes of tissues!

reat yourself:

Kool & The Gang – Light Of Worlds
Jean Carn – Jean Carn
Lucinda Williams - Essence
Marlena Shaw – The Blue Note Years
Parliament – The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein
Rufus – Ask Rufus
Dorothy Moore – Greatest Hits
Mavis Staples - Only For The Lonely (teardrop picture)

Word From Darcy's Moms:

"It is such a secret place, the land of tears." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery: The Little Prince

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On Second Thought...The Third

How we feelin' out there, soul children?

Since there are literally zillions of divine cover tunes that I haven't shared with you yet, I couldn't resist the urge to drop a few more and conclude the series as a complete trilogy. Although I'm not planning any more posts of this nature in the immediate future, my inclination to bring closure to the series is about as certain as Jay-Z's decision to hang up the mic a few years ago. I might just get all George Lucas on your asses and decide that this isn't the beginning or the end. Only time will tell, but for now just live in the moment, and get lost in these deep grooves with me...

"Bridge Over Troubled Water"---Merry Clayton (zShare)

"Bridge Over Troubled Water"---Merry Clayton (savefile)

*Written by Paul Simon; originally appeared on Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water LP (1970), the fifth and final studio album released by the duo. It's still the biggest selling LP in the history of Columbia Records.

*Simon's lyrical inspiration for the track reportedly came from the line "I'll be your bridge over deep water if you trust in me," a lyric he remembered hearing in The Swan Silvertones' "Oh Mary Don't You Weep". The song's musical arrangement was apparently greatly influenced by Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" production technique.

*The line "Sail on, silver girl" is often thought to be associated with needles and heroin usage. Simon has denied this metaphorical association, stating that it was actually an inside joke about his girlfriend being upset over finding a few grey hairs.

*Simon originally only penned two verses for the tune, but after receiving some feedback, he made the song "bigger" and more fully developed. He's remarked on more than one occasion that the song's final verse sounds a bit out of place for this very reason. In the initial stages, Simon simply referred to the tune as "Hymn".

*Garfunkel sang the song solo on the recorded version, but he and Simon later expressed some regrets about the fact that they didn't share vocal duties on the track. When performing the track live, the duo generally takes turns singing the verses.

*Simon hired an outsider to write the string arrangement, and mailed a copy of the rough mix on a demo tape. Evidently the vocals were somewhat garbled, because the sheet music came back entitled "Like a Pitcher of Water."

*This is one of those songs that everyone and their baby mama has covered. Roberta Flack, Elvis, King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, The Jackson 5, Gladys Knight, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Quincy Jones, Annie Lennox, Bobby Womack, and countless others have recorded versions of the track. It's difficult for me to choose a favorite rendition, but I've always considered Merry Clayton's take (from Gimme Shelter, 1970) to be among the best.

The worst version was undoubtedly rendered by Clay Aiken---the "I'm not gay, I'm just masculinely-challenged", mischievous little elf who nearly won American A-Hole a few years ago. Sorry Claymates...his version of this song inexplicably managed to suck more than he does.

One of Aretha's many live performances of the track:

I posted Aretha's version several months ago. The mp3 link is still active if you haven't downloaded it yet.

"Let's Stay Together"---Margie Joseph (zShare)

"Let's Stay Together"---Margie Joseph (savefile)

*Written by Al Green, Al Jackson Jr., and Willie Mitchell. Jackson is a legendary drummer who recorded with Booker T & The MG's, while Mitchell was Green's producer; first released as a single by Green in 1971.

*Legend has it that Green wrote the lyrics within a few minutes after receiving a rough mix of the song from Mitchell and Jackson. Green apparently didn't want to record the song, and only did so after a heated argument with Mitchell prompted him to reconsider. It became his first #1 song, and held that position for no less than 9 consecutive weeks.

*Another song that's been remade a host of times, "Let's Stay Together" has been revisited by Isaac Hayes, The Shirelles, Billy Paul, Roberta Flack, Tina Turner, Aaron Neville/Chaka Khan, Jimmy McGriff, Shirley Bassey, etc. Margie Joseph's amazing version was released on Atlantic in 1973. Although some have criticized her rendition for not straying far enough from the original, there's still no denying the exceptional quality of her vocal performance.

The worst offering can easily be attributed to Donny Osmond, who released his rendition on a collection of horrendous covers earlier this year. Actually, he butchered a whole slew of seemingly innocent tracks on his Love Songs Of The '70s LP (Decca, 2007)...for what reason, I will never know...

"Purple Haze"---Johnny Jones and the King Casuals (zShare)

"Purple Haze"---Johnny Jones and the King Casuals (savefile)

*Written by Jimi Hendrix

*I already discussed much of this song's history in the last covers post, but I couldn't resist the temptation to share this notable version with my beloved soul children. I am guessing that Jones' take will be infinitely more palatable for soul enthusiasts than the last rendition I posted. Jimi Hendrix was actually the guitarist for The King Casuals in the early '60s. It's apparently unclear when Johnny Jones joined the group, but it seems that he and Hendrix at least played together live at some point. More background info is available by way of Funky 16 Corners.

"I'm A Good Woman"---Cold Blood (zShare)

"I'm A Good Woman"---Cold Blood (savefile)

*Written by Barbara Lynn

*Although Lynn's best known version of the song is phenomenal, I've always been partial to an alternate take that I previously posted. Fortunately, the mp3 link is still available here.

*While I tend to favor Lynn's untouchable original, I consider Cold Blood's version to be an essential in my collection (from their self-titled debut, 1969). Lead vocalist Lydia Pense could belt out tunes like nobody's business, and if you don't know much about the band, make it a point to educate yourself. Donny Hathaway dug their blue-eyed soul so much that he even produced one of their albums (First Taste Of Sin, 1972).

"Proud Mary"---Solomon Burke (zShare)

"Proud Mary"---Solomon Burke (savefile)

*Written by John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, first appearing on CCR's 1969 LP, Bayou Country. Their original rendition peaked at #2, which became an all-too-familiar position for the band on the charts. They hold the record for the group with the most #2 singles that never managed to reach the top spot.

*Fogerty's other working titles for the song were "Riverboat" and "Rolling On A River".

*Despite implications made by the lyrics, Fogerty actually hadn't ever travelled east of Montana when he wrote the song.

*This is one of those popular tunes that people tend to jack up the words to, and it doesn't seem to matter whether they're singing in the shower or the studio. Fogerty once had this to say: "Sometimes I write words to songs because they sound cool to sing. Sometimes the listener doesn't understand what I'm singing because I'm dedicated to singing the vowel, having fun with the word sounds coming out of my mouth. `Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis, pumped a lot of pain down in New Orleans,' is a good example. I think Tina Turner sang `tane' instead of `pain,' as in a contracted form of octane. But I knew what she meant."
*This is another widely covered tune. Although Ike & Tina greatly altered the structure of the song with the assistance of Soko Richardson, their rendition was undoubtedly the most famous (reaching #4 on the pop charts in 1971). The record has also been sung by Prince, Elvis, Tom Jones, and more. Solomon Burke released his rendition the same year that the record came out (1969).

*Without question, the most bizarre take on the song came courtesy of Trekkie Leanord Nimoy, who sang the final chorus imitating Elmer Fudd's characteristic speech impediment.

"I Feel Fine"---Tony Wilson (zShare)

"I Feel Fine"----Tony Wilson (savefile)

*Written by John Lennon, but attributed to the Lennon/McCartney songwriting team; released by The Beatles in 1964 as the A-side of their eighth single in the UK. In the U.S., it was released the following year on the Beatles '65 LP.

*The song marks the earliest example of feedback being recorded onto vinyl. Although artists such as Jimi Hendrix and The Who also used feedback, The Beatles were presumably the first to use it as a recording effect.

*Many critics and music lovers noted that Lennon's riff was quite similar to one found on Bobby Parker's "Watch Your Step", a song that The Beatles were known to cover during certain live performances in the '60s.

*Tony Wilson (not to be confused with the music mogul of the same name) was the bassist/songwriter for the group Hot Chocolate until 1975.

Interestingly, Hot Chocolate got their start by doing a reggae-style version of Lennon's "Give Peace A Chance". The outlook wasn't hopeful when the band was told they'd need to get Lennon's permission to avoid potential litigation. Lennon not only liked their version, he got the group signed to The Beatles' label, Apple Records. Unfortunately, the relationship wouldn't last long as both Apple and The Beatles folded shortly thereafter.

*Wilson's take on "I Feel Fine" can be found on the compilation, Beatles Blues.

"Yesterday" ---The Bar-Kays (zShare)

"Yesterday"---The Bar-Kays (savefile)

*Written by Paul McCartney, but attributed to the Lennon/McCartney songwriting team; first releases were on the Help! LP (1965) and as the B-side to "Act Naturally".

* The tune evidently came to McCartney in a dream. When he woke up, he immediately set the track to memory with the aid of a piano and a tape recorder. The melody seemed so familiar to McCartney that he was concerned he'd subconsciously borrowed it from another songwriter's material (a phenomenon known as cryptomnesia). After asking around for a short while, he became convinced that he could claim full ownership of the song.

*The working title for the track was "Scrambled Eggs".

*"Yesterday" was the first Beatles tune that featured only one member during the recording process. Paul McCartney performed two takes of the song, and the second version was deemed superior and used as the master take. A string quartet was overdubbed on the second take before the recording was finally prepared for release.

*According to most accounts, the other Beatles didn't much care for the song, thinking that it didn't fit well with the band's image and signature sound. Despite being ultimately destined for Muzak, the track helped the band reach a more adult audience than their previous efforts.

*"Yesterday" has been revisited by other artists on more than 3000 different occasions, making it the most frequently covered pop tune of all time. It also previously held the record for most radio plays, until "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" surpassed it in 1999. The Bar-Kays released their groove-laden instrumental rendition in 1969.

"Message From A Black Man"---Derrick Harriott (zShare)

"Message From A Black Man"---Derrick Harriott (savefile)

*Written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield

*The Temptations released the track in 1969 on their Puzzle People LP. Although some critics and fans viewed the song's lyrics as being too political and militant, the track still became a popular radio request. It's often been said that The Temptations themselves were concerned about the tune being too forward-thinking for the times, resulting in their reluctance to play the track during live performances.

*This socially-conscious song/anthem has also been recorded by Charles Earland, Don Julian, S.O.U.L., Byron Lee & The Dragonaires, Mickey & The Soul Generation, The Spinners, and The Whatnauts. Hip-hop fans will also recognize the fact that "Message From A Black Man" was sampled in the mighty Mos Def's joint, "Undeniable".

Derrick Harriott's reggaefied rendition appears to have originally surfaced circa 1970.

"Dark End Of The Street"---Oscar Toney, Jr. (zShare)

"Dark End Of The Street"---Oscar Toney, Jr. (savefile)

*Written by Chips Moman and Dan Penn; originally recorded by James Carr in 1966.

*Covered by a wide array of artists, including Percy Sledge, Elvis Costello, Dorothy Moore, Frank Black, Aretha Franklin, The Afghan Whigs, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and many more. For whatever reason, Oscar Toney's soulful rendition of the track gives me the chills every time I hear it.

"Let It Be"---Aretha Franklin (zShare)

"Let It Be"---Aretha Franklin (savefile)

*Written by Paul McCartney, but attributed to the Lennon/McCartney songwriting team. It was first released as a single in March of 1970, but the song reappeared as the title track on the Let It Be LP after being "remixed" by Phil Spector. Evidently, McCartney and Ringo Starr were both displeased with Spector's production work on the song. It's been reported that John Lennon pretty much hated the song in any form.

*Once again, McCartney reported that the inspiration for the tune came via a dream. This time his reverie involved a vision of his mother, Mary McCartney, who died of cancer when he was only 14-years-old. The "Mother Mary" lyric was reportedly written about her, not a biblical reference as many have assumed.

*This was the first Beatles song released in the Soviet Union---it finally made it there in 1972.

*Aretha Franklin covered "Let It Be" on her This Girl's In Love With You LP, which was released before The Beatles' version came out. She also recorded a rendition of "Eleanor Rigby" for that same album.

Bonus mp3s (zShare only):

To be honest, I've found that efforts to remix classic material generally leave something to be desired. Transforming a Marvin Gaye song into a crunk anthem is just...well...blasphemy, and I could also be at peace with never hearing a techno version of a Stevie Wonder song ever again. Despite some healthy skepticism on my part, I keep a very open mind about remix projects, and have found that some of them actually kinda float my boat...whatever the hell that means. Here are just a few examples:

"I Cover The Waterfront (James Hardway Remix)"---Billie Holiday

"Fried Neckbones And Some Home Fries (Dan The Automator Remix)"---Willie Bobo

"Where Did Our Love Go (quarterbar redo)"---The Supremes

*Note: You can generally find the latest quarterbar mixes via sneakmove.

Word From Your Moms:

"If you copy, it means you're working without any real feeling. No two people on earth are alike, and it's got to be that way in music or it isn't music."---Billie Holiday

"My role in society, or any artist or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all."---John Lennon