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.

Dig deeper...

"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...

Dig deeper...

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.

Dig deeper...

"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).

Dig deeper...

"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.

Supplemental materials:

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


Zilla Rocca said...


If you have iTunes, check out Camp Lo's last release "The Ft. Apache Mixtape" that came out last year. 4-5 songs on "Black Hollywood" were on there. It's longer and more cohesive, as they went for an 80s hip hop vibe on it. It's hot.

I'm not feeling the "Triple Threat" remix. That's actually one of my favorite Nature joints. I remember getting that song on a DJ tape back in like '98 before Nate's album dropped. The remix is a little too busy for my liking. The original was some dark, simple head nod shit. Atmosphere used the same sample on "Say Hey There" on their last album.

Satchmo said...

bitch ass tooolyboi. how you have so much fucking music?

dennis said...

I think the Trip Threat rmx is bangin, but it sounds like Beirut might have ripped off Mobb Deep a little. Everything is recycled anymore I guess. The Otis song is dat shit tho'.

Another hot one Scholar. Wish you would have posted Cormegas "One Love". I can't find my copy anywhere.

red one said...

Scholar, you are a wonder! No, I am not a stranger to Womack or The Roots, but that version of Summertime is a new one on me, for which much thanks.

Not keen on bitch as a term for women or girls though, so the fish pic left me less than laughing.

Yeah, controversy. Still loving your blog though.

Go Nicole Yourself said...

I'm a woman who won't allow anyone to refer to me as "bitch" but I still found the humor in the picture.

I'm just sayin....

Love that version of Summertime, kid. Is there anything you don't have?

Commish CH said...

Great breakdown of the science between Nas/Nature/Cormega.

I had fam that had no bizness in the Hip Hop game at all (translation: hard rock/thrash stoners) and they absolutely fiended for Camp Lo's first joint. You'd throw on "Luchini" and they'd flip their lids.


scheme said...

speaking of....where the hell is nature anyway?

once upon a time I thought dude had one of the smoothest flows, and it meant a lot that he won me over b/c I wasn't so happy at the time about The Firm "Family" playing musical chairs with it's members.

but anyway! thanks for the kind words on the last taster's choice scholar. I see myself more like a, my friend, are f**king connoisseur. keep killin' it

oh, and I hate to be mr. echo but yeah...this 'summertime' is proper!

travis said...

Good stuff going on this post.

You should def check out the Ft Apache mixtape. It is much better than "Let's Do It Again", which I have a healthy dislike for, despite me being a major fan of "Uptown Saturday Night". I like the new album as well and I think "Black Hollywood" best track from it, although I like the last track a lot as well (name escapes me).

I LOVED that Bobby Patterson joint. Name sounds familiar, I'll have to go through some of my stuff and see if I have more of his music laying around.

At first I kind of liked that "Triple Threat" remix, but after awhile, like someone said before me, it reminded me too much of that Mobb joint (Right Back At You?). I think it fit the track well, but I'd like to see more originality.

And yes, Nature sucked. Never bothered with his solo LP('s?) Hell even Cormega is a good cure for insomnia. People call me crazy, but I've never thought 'Mega was all that great

Adam said...

Hahaha, I also laughed out loud when I saw that image on Satchmo's site. PS, how does Bobby Womack make the best covers EVER? These two and that one of "Fire and Rain" that you posted a while back ... damn. Thanks as always

Darcy said...

Love the Otis Clay track. "It Was Jealousy" is another killer track from his Hi days.

Vincent said...

Yep, that Bobby Womack tune is absolutely amazing. I really need a cleaner copy of the "Facts Of Life" LP. The one I used in my latest mix is just a bit on the scratchy side, but I'll continue to play it till times get better.

Scholar said...

zilla---I'll have to check into that mixtape, especially on the strength of you and Travis' recommendation. I copped "Bed Rock" when it came out, but then didn't pursue finding the rest of it for some reason.

It's been so long since I heard the original "Triple Threat" that I honestly can't remember what the beat sounded like. If you still have a copy, send it my way.

Young Satch---Cuz I'm older than dirt, homie. Once you grow a little, you'll have shitloads of music, too, ya punk...

Dennis---You and Travis are absolutely right---dude got a bit heavy-handed with "Right Back At You" in the mix. There aren't nearly enough producers like Pete Rock and DJ Premier who really know how to chop samples properly--it takes mad skills to craft truly innovative beats.

Hit my inbox if you still want "One Love" by 'Mega.

red one---Glad you liked that version of "Summertime"...I discovered it a few years ago, and now it's a definite essential in my collection.

I'm sorry you were offended by the picture---I don't go out of my way to piss anybody off, but I have to throw some of my warped humor into the mix occasionally. I even interviewed Jesus once, and I knew that some people REALLY wouldn't get a laugh out of that. I see the fish picture as essentially harmless, but I still respect your opinion. I don't call women or little girls bitches either---just saw it as a funny thing with a couple of little kids.

Nic---Thanks for defending my honor about the fish pic ;) There are definitely a few things I don't have---doesn't mean I don't want them, though...feel me?

commish---Hope you know you're only encouraging more insanity. As long as you keeping drinking beer, I swear my shit will keep making perfect sense.

Scheme--Yeah--can we put Nature on a fucking milk carton up in here? Or can we at least get Behind the Music?

Much gratitude for the props, but anyone who regularly makes me wish I'd done or said something deserves nothin' but the utmost respect.

Trav---(Speaking of people who get the utmost respect)I can hook you up with more Bobby Patterson if you don't come across any. He made some incredible records, but it doesn't seem like he's gotten much shine outside of enjoying some modest regional success.

Adam---Co-sign about Bo Wo's covers. I'm going to post his rendition of "California Dreaming" some day, which is also very good. It pales in comparison to Lee Moses' version, but is still pretty damn amazing.

Darcy---Good pick---I love "It Was Jealousy". I actually enjoy most of Clay's records, except I could never dig his version of "She's About A Mover". I know that a lot of soul fans consider that a classic Muscle Shoals side, but I never cared for the song at all (including the Sir Douglas Quintet original).

Vincent---I know what you mean, but scratchy = well-loved in most cases.

red one said...

Scholar - damn, I'm sorry to miss your Jesus interview. Like you say some people really wouldn't enjoy... but that IS the sort of thing that makes me laugh. Humour's a weird thing really.

Anyway I wasn't offended, just had a different view is all. Since you've saved my week with Otis Clay, I'm certainly not gonna be offended with you!

Travis said...
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Travis said...
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Travis said...

*singing*...Ain't Ironic...don't you think...a little tooooooo ironic.....

Scholar...yeah, if you find it in the goodness of your heart, I'd love some more Patterson material. You are my hero! haha

ahem, that is all....

Perttu said...

I'm catching up on my Souled On reading after a summer of, well, summer activities. I'm so glad I read this post since "I Get My Groove From You" is an absolutely fantastic song. I love it. In fact, I'll always love you Scholar for putting me and my wife up on music such as "You Really Didn't Mean It" (Carolyn Franklin) and "Tell Her" (Fred Williams). Beautiful music.

Now let me get back to digging through the archives.