Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Still Waters Run Deep...

I'm going to exercise some economy of expression today, and just let you enjoy these covers and remixes without a whole lot of teachin' and preachin' on my part. Be easy, soul children...

"Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)"---Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

Random Facts: Made famous by The First Edition; said to be reflective of an LSD experience; rumored to be Jimi Hendrix's favorite song.

"Back To Black (The Rumble Strips Remix)"---Amy Winehouse

Random Facts: Some think Amy's the second coming of Christ, while others see her as little more than a product of the great-white-hype machine; both Ms. Winehouse and The Rumble Strips are infinitely better than their names suggest.

"Intergalactic"---Reuben Wilson & Bernie Worrell

Random Facts: Originally a track by The Beastie Boys; Worrell is a musician/composer best known for his work with Parliament/Funkadelic; Wilson is a musician who recorded for Blue Note, and is known for fusing jazz with several other musical styles.

"Survival of the Fittest (Mums Ca Dreamin Remix)" ---Mobb Deep

Random Facts: Another fantastic remix from Reworked 4; the kinder, gentler version of a street thug classic.

"Ain't No Sunshine"---Harlem Underground Band w/ Willis Jackson

Random Facts: Originally by Bill Withers; this particular version was released on The Kings Of Funk LP (2005), a compilation overseen by RZA and Keb Darge.

"Cutting It Up (Ratatat remix)" ---Raekwon w/ Ghostface Killah

Random Facts: Despite being decidedly electronica-ish, Ratatat's two volumes of hip-hop remixes are nothing short of spectacular; this particular mix appeared on the first volume.

"Bridge Over Troubled Water"---Aretha Franklin

Random Facts: Originally by Simon & Garfunkel; Aretha took this song to church, and now it's saved, sanctified, and holier than thou for the rest of all time; anything other than her version officially constitutes blasphemy; you can watch the video here.

Word From Your Moms:

"It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows."---Epictetus

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Heavyweights Keep It On The Grand Scale...

It's been a while since I took a little excursion around the interweb---here's what's been happenin' on the block...

Flood masterfully executed a beat dissection of Pete Rock's "In The House".

"What Can You Bring Me" by Charles Wright and The Watts 103rd St. Band is available for download at Flea Market Funk. This record should hold appeal for funk and soul fans, as well as my peoples who seek samples and breaks.

Apparently, is pissed that John McCain used The Beach Boys to make a tasteless joke about bombing Iran. Now they know how we felt about Karl Rove, the rapper. Will the GOP just stop fuckin' with the music, please???

Head over to fiftyone:fiftyone to cop Kool Herc's Notorious B.I.G. Blends & Remixes.

Download "Call My Name" by Joe Bataan, courtesy of sneakmove.

There's a new "mixtape" of mp3s over at surviving the golden age. Artists featured include Sa-Ra/Talib Kweli, El-P, Amy Winehouse/Pharoahe Monch, T.I., Fat Joe, Freeway/Sleepy Brown, and more...

Speaking of that Sa-Ra/Kweli joint ("Feel The Bass"), you can catch the video over at HoneySoul.

"The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)" and "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" (by soul legend Joe Tex) are available via Idolator.

Thanks to the RIAA, internet radio is becoming an endangered species. Read more at 33 Jones.

Cam'ron is appearing on "60 Minutes" tonight, allegedly to elaborate on his brilliant thesis about why snitches get stitches (video clip via Nah Right). Guess this means he's too much of a thug to press charges against Oh Word for thieving his rhyme book.

A random mix of popular Stax soul singles are available for download at silence is a rhythm too.

Most hip-hop fans probably already know this, but the legendary Stretch Armstrong now has a blog called Konstant Kontact. He's sharing some dope joints from his personal collection, so don't sleep.

Download De La Soul's "Freedom Of Speak (We Got More Than Three)" (from the "Plug Tunin' 12", Tommy Boy) @ B-Side Wins Again.

To celebrate the first birthday of Brown Eyed Handsome Man, Rob Whatman is offering several versions of the song by the same title. Download mp3s by Chuck Berry, Nina Simone, The Million Dollar Quartet, and Buddy Holly.

AngryBlackBitch is "fascinated by the inability of fuck-ups to get fired in the world of Bush."

No matter what kind of music you are looking for, "ANYTHING YOU CAN DO, I CAN DO META" guarantees to offer plenty of mp3s you can appreciate.

Nobody's remix of "Mighty Healthy" by Ghostface Killah is available at gorilla vs. bear.

The Couch Sessions is offering some mp3s by Pharrell & The Yessirs, which I guess basically boils down to ?uestlove remixes of songs from In My Mind.

"A New Day" by JC Davis is the song sampled on "Project Jazz" by Hell Raza/Kweli/MF Doom. Listen to this amazing groove by way of In Dangerous Rhythm.

Before I go, I want to thank Matt at los amigos de durutti for "nominating" me for the "Thinking Bloggers Award". I'm humbled at the thought, although I have to admit it's more likely that my name just creates the illusion that I'm really fuckin' bright...

Peace and hair grease, soul children...I'll have some good music up for you later this week.

Word From Your Moms:

"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it."---Andre Gide

"When a student is ready, the master appears."---Buddhist proverb

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Souled On Samples Part II

My dog, or some other being I have absolutely no control over, has apparently eaten that "official" post I made reference to last time. It doesn't even matter that I don't have a dog...or a post---I'm sticking to that as my pathetic excuse.

However, to make up for my underachieving bloggery ways, I am bringing you the second installment of Souled On Samples. Damn the sophomore jinx and the fact that sequels almost always suck---I trust that you'll dig these anyway, soul children...

"I Like It"---The Emotions
(Sampled on "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" by ODB)

"Something"---Al Green
(Sampled on "Maybe One Day" by Brand Nubian/Common and "Married To Marijuana" by Noreaga)

"That Ain't the Way You Make Love"---ZZ Hill
(Sampled on "Fancy Clown" by Madvillain)

"The Edge"---David McCallum
(Sampled on "Dark Days" by DJ Shadow, "No Regrets" by Masta Ace, and "Next Episode" by Dr Dre)

"Be Real Black For Me"---Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway
(Sampled on Scarface's "On My Block")

"We'll Always Be Together"---Billy Stewart
(Sampled on "Be This Way" by Ghostface Killah)

"It's Too Late"---Otis Redding
(Sampled on "Gone" by Kanye West)

"Come On Down"---Greg Perry
(Sampled on "Look At Me Now" by Beanie Sigel)

"Eastern Market"---Yusef Lateef
(Sampled on "Who You Think I Am?" by MF Doom)

"Soul Travelin' Pt. 1"---Gary Byrd
(Sampled on "Halftime" by Nas and "Jazzie's Groove" by Soul II Soul)

"Keep The Faith"---Mel & Tim
(Sampled on "The Prelude" (from Kingdom Come) by Jay-Z)

"Shoo-B-Doop And Cop Him"---Betty Davis
(Sampled on "Once Upon A Time In The Projects" by Ice Cube and "Jersey, Yo!" by Redman)

"I'm Your Mechanical Man"---Jerry Butler
(Sampled on "Bring The Pain" by Method Man)

If you don't love me now, you probably never will...

Word From Your Moms:

"I've learned that my people are not the only ones oppressed...I have sung my songs all over the world and everywhere found that some common bond makes the people of all lands take to Negro songs as their own."---Paul Robeson

Friday, April 13, 2007

Souled On Samples Part I

I'm still working on my next "official" post, but I thought the time might pass more quickly if you could hear some great music during the intermission. All of these songs are original recordings that have been sampled on hip-hop joints. The selection is fairly eclectic in terms of genre, but they do share one thing in common---excellence. Appreciate...

"Tell Her"--- Fred Williams & The Jewels Band
(Sampled on "Listen" by Talib Kweli)

"On The Hill"---Oliver Sain
(Sampled on "Day One" by DITC, "Young G's" by Puff Daddy/Notorious B.I.G./Jay-Z, and "Take You There Interlude" by Pete Rock & CL Smooth)

"(You) Got What I Need"---Freddie Scott
(Sampled on "Save Me Dear" by Ghostface Killah, "Just A Friend" by Biz Markie, and "Mary Jane" by Tha Alkaholiks)

"Soul Vibrations"---Kool & The Gang
(Sampled on "Scenario" by A Tribe Called Quest and "Things Get A Little Easier" by Biz Markie)

"That's How Long"---The Chi-Lites
(Sampled on "December 4th" by Jay-Z)

"Rosie"---Bill Withers
(Sampled on "Roses" by Kanye West)

"I Know I've Been Wrong"---Mashmakhan
(Sampled on "Mr. Clean" by Viktor Vaughn (aka MF Doom)

"Get Off Your Ass And Jam"---Funkadelic
(Sampled on "Holla If You Hear Me" by 2Pac, "Rhythm" and "The Pressure" by ATCQ, "99 Problems" by Ice-T, "Make It Happen" by Ultramagnetic MC's, "Bring The Noise" by Public Enemy, "100 Miles And Runnin" by NWA, "King Of New York" and "Get Off Your Ass And Get Involved" by Schoolly D, and "Eazy-Duz-It"---Eazy-E)

"What Am I Waiting For"--- The O'Jays
(Sampled on "Ski Mask Way" by 50 Cent and "You Must Love Me" by Jay-Z)

Peace & Love, soul children...

Word From Your Moms:

"Only an inventor knows how to borrow, and every man is or should be an inventor."---Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Cymbalism In The Abstract

"Don't Mess With Cupid"---Buddy Miles Express

Buddy Miles began his musical legacy at age twelve, when he joined his father's jazz band, The Bebops. A gifted drummer and vocalist, Miles has performed with a variety of different bands and artists since then, including The Delfonics, Ruby & The Romantics, Wilson Pickett, Jimi Hendrix, George Clinton, Electric Flag, Santana, Bootsy Collins, Barry White, Stevie Wonder, The Ink Spots, and Muddy Waters. His career spans 50 years, during which he's appeared on more than 70 albums, and embarked on six world tours. In the '80s, he also provided the lead vocals for the California Raisins ad campaign, which (despite being kinda irritating) many consider the most successful TV commercial of all time.

It's always seemed to me that Buddy may have come along a bit before his time. His style varied greatly depending on the particular project he was working on, which seems to have caused him to fall between the cracks when it's come to gaining iconic status within any particular musical genre. His first noticeable shift from making jazz and R&B records came after he joined Electric Flag, a group whose musical ambition was to successfully fuse soul, rock, blues, jazz, and psychedelia. This spirit of eclecticism continued to guide Miles as he formed the Buddy Miles Express.

BME was signed to Mercury Records, and contained the sensational horn section that Miles had played with in Electric Flag. "Don't Mess With Cupid" appeared on their debut album, Expressway To Your Skull (1969). The liner notes on the LP were written by none other than Jimi Hendrix, who would eventually produce tracks for the group's subsequent LP, Electric Church. Many of the songs on Expressway exemplify the fusion of styles that was typical of Miles' musical palette. I chose "Don't Mess With Cupid" because it's an outstanding tune that leans more heavily towards the soul side than most of the other tracks on the album. However, if you can appreciate music that falls outside of those parameters, by all means, consider purchasing this LP.

More info about the legacy of Buddy Miles can be found here and there.

"Scars And Pain"---Jemini The Gifted One

Jemini The Gifted One is probably best known for his collaborations with Danger Mouse, including the underground hip-hop essential, Ghetto Pop Life (Lex records, 2003). Despite the cult-like popularity of that particular album, I would argue that the Brooklyn MC's best material to date comes from his criminally slept-on Scars And Pain EP (1995). Polygram/Mercury released a limited number of vinyl promo copies of the EP to create some buzz for an LP that never materialized. There's a great article about the whole ordeal in the archives at Oh Word.

To be honest, I never got my hands on a copy of Scars And Pain until just a few years ago. I played it fairly often after acquiring a copy, but then it ended up gettin' dusty until just recently. My renewed interest came by way of the release of Buckwild's massive Diggin In The Crates compilation. Both of the songs on Scars And Pain that Buckwild produced are included in the collection---the title track, as well as the equally impressive "Story Of My Life". Listening to these joints again, I'm more in tune than ever with Buckwild's tight beats and Jemini's skilled delivery. Since Oh Word already posted "Story Of My Life" a while back, I decided to give you "Scars And Pain"---figuratively speaking, of course...It should definitely give you an idea of how dope it would have been if the recording industry hadn't dropped the ball on this one...

"Spead"---Soul Partners

I don't happen to know very much about this record, except that it's one of the friendliest grooves I've ever heard. I tried to do a little research, but for the most part, it was to no avail. Googling on "soul partners" yielded some alarmingly unattractive photos of people who are desperate to find someone to...screw. When I searched on "spead", Jeeves couldn't tell me shit either, because he just wanted to know if I really meant "spread". I guess this places you in the unfortunate position of having to trust my somewhat questionable judgment...

What I can tell you is that the group hailed from Columbus, Ohio. They released a couple of sides on Bell, including "Walk On Judge/Lose The One You Love"(B-758), a single that was first pressed on a smaller label called Holiday. "Spead" originally appeared as the B-side to "Boo Boo" (Bell, B-792). This exceptional tune may be available on other rare funk and groove compilations, but I know for sure that you can track it down on Hard To Find! Volume 1 (FUNK-O-RAMA Records, 2005). This one is practically guaranteed to get you on your feet, soul children...

Just as an aside, do you think RZA might be familiar with this track?

"Tell Me Baby"---Garnet Mimms

The greatest success that Garnet Mimms enjoyed was his original version of "Cry Baby", a track that would later become an essential component of Janis Joplin's repertoire. He scored a few minor hits after that (such as "Baby Don't You Weep" and his wonderful cover of Jerry Butler's "For Your Precious Love"), but the undeniable value of his material somehow didn't translate well in terms of sales. Regardless of this oversight, Mimm's vocal abilities were on par with the likes of Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke, and his style was definitive in the sense that it had a major impact on the evolution of the deep soul sound.

I chose "Tell Me Baby" (1964) to represent Mimms for a few reasons. For one thing, it's one of the only "baby" songs he recorded that wasn't covered by Janis Joplin, since in addition to "Cry Baby", she also offered a rendition of his single, "My Baby". Nothing whatsoever against Janis, but that fact alone makes this track unique. Also, the song proves that Mimms could effortlessly rise to the occasion of a song with a more funky, uptempo vibe, despite primarily being recognized as an accomplished balladeer. The man truly exhibited soul power, no matter what he was singing.

If you plan to begin an education on Mimms' material, I would suggest starting with The Best of Garnett Mimms: Cry Baby. It features most of the songs that he recorded between 1963 and 1966, and includes "Tell Me Baby" + 24 other outstanding soul gems.

More about Mimms here.

"Luchini AKA This Is It (Destruments Remix)"
---Camp Lo

Camp Lo is comprised of two MCs from the Bronx, Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede. They emerged onto the hip-hop scene in 1996, when their first single "Coolie High" (from the soundtrack to The Great White Hype) reached #25 on The Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart. Their next single, "Luchini AKA This Is It" reached an even higher commercial plane by reaching #5 on the rap charts, and crossing over into the top 50 on the Billboard Hot 100. Both songs were included on the duo's classic debut LP, Uptown Saturday Night (1997).

It's difficult to explain how this group fuses raw hip-hop sensibilities with jazz and funk overtones in such a smooth and effortless manner. They remind me of Outkast in this way---I frequently have no idea what the fuck they're talking about, but I can't help nodding my head in agreement anyway. Many of their lyrics are based on blaxploitation-era slanguage, and even though I'm somewhat familiar with that terminology, I still can't always comprehend their meaning. It's not important in this me. Their unique and original style, coupled with stellar production by Ski, makes this album a worthwhile listen every time.

Since most hip-hop heads have already heard this record, I thought I'd put a different spin on things with this chillin' little remix of the joint from the compilation Reworked 4. I already know that some of you won't like this, but in that case, may I suggest a blunt or two?

Check out more about Camp Lo here.

"No Money Down"---Jerry Butler

One of the main reasons why Jerry Butler is such a significant figure in music history is because he embodies the connection between gospel, doo-wop, and soul, having been proficient at performing all three. Butler was born in the South, but at age three he moved to Chicago, growing up in what would later be known as the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects.

Butler's first music lessons were learned in church, where he would ultimately end up singing in the same choir as Curtis Mayfield. The two would eventually begin performing secular music together as well, perhaps most notably as members of The Roosters, who evolved into Jerry Butler & The Impressions. The group's first hit came in 1958 when they released "For Your Precious Love", a song that Butler had written the lyrics for at sixteen years of age. That same year, Butler departed from the group to focus his energy on a solo career.

It's utterly impossible to do justice to an artist of Butler's caliber within the space of a few paragraphs, so I'm leaving that to the experts. Also known as "The Ice Man" (presumably because of his cool vocal stylings), Jerry Butler has released a wide variety of records that should be essential listening for fans of many different musical genres. I grabbed "No Money Down" out of the crates for this post because it's an engaging cautionary tale that soul and R&B fans should easily embrace. I also thought of my hip-hop enthusiasts, who will recognize this track as the sample Kanye West used on "Dreams" by The Game. This song can be found on Jerry Butler: The Philadephia Sessions---The Iceman Cometh, Ice On Ice, And More.

Word From Your Moms:

"I have been thinking about the notion of perfect love as being without fear, and what that means for us in a world that's becoming increasingly xenophobic, tortured by fundamentalism and nationalism."---bell hooks.