Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Said The Joker To The Thief
In case any of you are wondering why I find Satchmo so damned amusing, let's just say that I jacked this classic photo from his Blogger profile. Dude can make me laugh no matter what the hell I think I'm pissed about at the moment. Y'all better recognize...this kid is the realness.
It's been a few days since my last post (in pothead years anyway), so let's hurry up and do this damn thing, soul children...
"I Can't Take It"---Otis Clay
Otis Clay's deeply soulful sound is firmly rooted in the gospel tradition, followed by a gradual progression into secular music that truly accelerated when he signed on with Chicago's One-derful Records in 1965. He would later go on to cut some excellent records in Muscle Shoals, Alabama for Atlantic's Cotillion subsidiary. The last 45 he released on Cotillion was produced by the legendary Willie Mitchell, which ultimately led to Clay's celebrated tenure at Hi Records in Memphis, Tennessee.
Although I find great value in Clay's recordings from every phase of his career, there was something particularly magical about his collaborations with Mitchell. This intense ballad (from the I Can't Take It LP, 1977) is but one piece of evidence to support that grandiose claim. If I had to describe this track in a single word, I'd have to call it stunning.
If you thought there was only one phenomenal Otis in the history of soul music, seek to educate yourself by any means necessary. This all-too-brief overview can't even begin to tell the story of a man with this prodigious of a career.
"Black Hollywood"---Camp Lo
Since I'm one of those pessimistic types who thinks that most post-millenium rap releases have been less than stellar, I kind of had to brace myself before listening to the new Camp Lo record. Uptown Saturday Night (1997) was one of my favorite hip-hop LPs of all time; Let's Do It Again (2002) was not. It made sense that I should prepare myself for the inevitable letdown that was bound to ensue.
Actually, the Black Hollywood LP didn't turn out to be as compromised as I'd expected---although there's quite a bit of distance between that and great. If I wrote reviews for The Source I'd probably give it three mics. Four if I put it up against most of the genre's other releases this year---dopeness, after all, is somewhat relative. The only way I'd give it even half a mic higher than that is if the record company offered me enough payola to lie like a dirty old rug.
I know---it's like taking candy from a baby to hate on hip-hop in '07. If I'm being honest, there are a few joints on the album that have significant replay value, the title track being the most obvious candidate. Yes, Scheme beat me to this at least a month ago, but what the fuck do you want from me? We all know it usually takes me at least 30 years to start appreciating a good record...
Just for the sake of reminiscin'---the almighty "Luchini" video...
"Soul Popcorn Parts 1 & 2"---Doc Oliver
This Doc Oliver tune is another gem from Tobias Kirmayer's Movements: 14 Deep Funk Pearls compilation (2005). Kirmayer is a German DJ/producer/collector who has an amazing collection of funk 45s and rare grooves that most crate diggas would kill to possess. Whenever he decides to share some of these choice selections, you cough up the asking price without a moment of hesitation.
Admittedly, I don't know a great deal about Doc Oliver, so I'll put all pretentiousness aside where that's concerned. Regardless, unless you are completely without rhythm, this song has the power to make you invalids shake whatever Moms gave ya. In my experience, "popcorn" tunes tend to get pretty damn funky. Here's a good article by Doug Wolk about the whole popcorn phenomenon.
"I Get My Groove From You"---Bobby Patterson
Despite the fact that Bobby Patterson never saw the commercial success of many of his Southern soul contemporaries, you shouldn't be fooled into believing that he was slighted due to a lack of talent or genuine artistry. On the contrary, this Dallas, TX native was an exceptionally gifted vocalist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer.
"I Get My Groove From You" is a sweet, infectious soul gem that was originally released on Paula in 1973. The track has since been re-issued on a compilation of the same name, including 20 noteworthy offerings from his recordings in the '70s (Charly, 1999).
"Triple Threat (Beirut Remix)"---Nature ft. Nas and Noreaga
Nature was born Jermaine Baxter in Long Island, NY. He later found himself in the enviable position of going to school with Nasir "Nas" Jones. As legend would have it, Nas saw potential in Nature's rhyming skills, a fact that means a lot or a little, depending on whether or not you've ever listened to the Bravehearts (smirk).
At any rate, having a famous rapper friend helped Nature skip the whole demo tape circuit, and he got bit parts on a few records before landing a spot in The Firm with Nas, Foxy Brown, and AZ. Regardless of whose reasons you believe, Nature ultimately replaced Nas' one-time friend Cormega in the "supergroup". Although Nas dedicated part of "One Love" to 'Mega when he went to prison and recorded The Firm's "Affirmative Action" single with him, Nature was brought in instead when it came time to record the full-length LP. Although Nas has blamed Steve Stout for this (and the album was essentially a commercial flop anyway), Cormega still felt pissed and dissed enough to drop "Fuck Nas and Nature". Nature survived being fucked by Cormega, but after all that, most people don't give a shit about either one of them. Damn...
This is definitely the stuff of fairy tales---you gotta love hip-hop beef.
As for Beirut, I've been checking out his mixes for quite some time now, and a few of them are pretty dope. I was reminded of this fact again recently, when Missingtoof pimped some of his music for the masses.
"Summertime"---Bobby Womack/ The Roots
I hope that Womack and the legendary Roots crew go without introduction for the average Souled On reader. This deserves as much acknowledgement as anything else I've posted, but I'm sick to death of typing...ugh. At any rate, this is one of my favorite takes on the Gershwin classic. Wanted to make sure I delivered this before it became unseasonal.
Compare and contrast, kids---which one of Nas' homies had better skills? It's a stupid question---don't bother answering it.
By the way, Nas made nice with 'Mega and brought him onstage in December of '06 for an "Affirmative Action" reunion. Any further developments are more than I care to burden my brain with at the moment.
"All Along The Watchtower"---Bobby Womack
Duel of the Bobs---Womack covers Dylan...
"Burnin' And Lootin'"---Bob Marley/ The Roots
From Chant Down Babylon, 1999; one of the more positive results of Marley masters being mixed with contemporary artists.
Word From Your Moms:
"One good thing about music, when it hits- you feel no pain."
"You ain't gonna miss your water until your well runs dry."
Both quotes courtesy of the great Bob Marley