Thursday, November 29, 2007
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)
"The Truth"---Handsome Boy Modeling School w/ Roisin Murphy & J-Live (zShare)
"The Truth"---Handsome Boy Modeling School w/ Roisin Murphy & J-Live (savefile)
"Answer Me"---Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (zShare)
"Answer Me"---Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (savefile)
"Question"---Danja Mowf (zShare)
"Question"---Danja Mowf (savefile)
"Tell All The People"---Merry Clayton (zShare)
"Tell All The People"---Merry Clayton (savefile)
"Listen To This"---The Roots/ Walking Large (zShare)
"Listen To This"---The Roots/ Walking Large (savefile)
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
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 music...it does a body good...
"Snake In The Grass (Part 2)"---Roshell Anderson (zShare)
"Snake In The Grass (Part 2)" ---Roshell Anderson (savefile)
"Some Say"---Nite People (zShare)
"Some Say"---Nite People (savefile)
"I Love You Still"---Zilla Mayes (zShare)
"I Love You Still"---Zilla Mayes (savefile)
"Listen To My Song"---Darondo (zShare)
"Listen To My Song"---Darondo (savefile)
"Split Personality Part 1"---Arts The Beatdoctor (zShare)
"Split Personality Part 1"---Arts The Beatdoctor (savefile)
"Feeling Good"---Mooncakes Project (zShare)
"Feeling Good"---Mooncakes Project (savefile)
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"My People...Hold On"---Eddie Kendricks (zShare)
"My People...Hold On"---Eddie Kendricks (savefile)
*Sampled on "People" by J Dilla
"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)
"Gone Away"---Roberta Flack (zShare)
"Gone Away"---Roberta Flack (savefile)
*Sampled on "What You Know" by T.I.
"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)
"Tripping Out"---Curtis Mayfield (zShare)
"Tripping Out"---Curtis Mayfield (savefile)
*Sampled on "Black Nostaljack" by Camp Lo
"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)
"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)
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
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!
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
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
Thursday, November 08, 2007
First of all, there's often too great of a volume for one human being to process. It's not as if I have some sort of assistant, henchman, or weed carrier in my employ who I can pay to filter the content of my inbox for me. Either I sample the products myself, or they go untouched. As a result, I have an abundance of material that I'm planning to review...tomorrow.
Another issue I have is that 95% of the music sent my way just isn't suited to my taste. If you're trying to revitalize the polka movement, there must be a blog or website for you somewhere, but sorry---Souled On just ain't it. I know you think that you and your brothers make a stupendous kazoo quartet, but unfortunately, I just can't fathom spending 40 minutes of my life listening to Wally Wickety-Wack & The Three Blowhards (name changed to protect the innocent).
That said, every once in a while someone or something emerges from the wreckage that is my inbox and commands my full attention. Such was the case with both Donny Goines and Shelly Bhushan, two artists who have not received the respect and acclaim that they deserve...at least not yet.
Donny and Shelly are quite different in terms of musical style, but it's what they share in common that's won my admiration, friendship, and support. Both of them are talented beyond belief and work tirelessly to get their message out and their music heard. The recording industry is infamous for marginalizing true talent in favor of gimmicks and whatever most quickly lends itself to the almighty dollar. As music lovers, we often criticize this element, but fail to properly support the authentic artists in our midst because they're not in our face on BET fifteen times a day. Donny and Shelly may not be making millions from their art, but what they are doing for music is essentially priceless.
Take a moment out of your day to get to know them both and give their music a listen. Embrace the understanding that SoundScan numbers bear no importance when it comes to genuine artistry, and open your mind (as well as those big Dumbo ears that your mama gave ya)...Scholar
First up, Donny Goines, a Harlem MC who possesses the kind of skills that illustrate what is still possible for hip-hop in '07---intelligent rhymes and authenticity on the mic. I asked him to write a little something so that my readers could get to know him. Within an hour, my man had written this phenomenal piece to share with you. Talk about being inspired...
When I first heard this term growing up I really thought nothing of it. Like many cliches thrown around, I felt this was just some sort of tagline associated with musicians, painters, and the artsy crowds you see in Soho somewhere. Now sitting in those shoes, I feel quite differently.
When I first started, I remember watching the countless videos on BET/MTV and listening to the same artists in rotation on the radio. I saw the promotion they got on websites and blogs and they all seemed EXACTLY the same to me. They all looked like they were having a ball. Women, money, cars (which is all good cause I love all three haha) but I keep thinking to myself "Where is the great music at?". Eventually I just stopped watching and listening altogether but I just couldn't understand how some people were able to achieve these things unless they were actually paying someone (Big name producers, slot time/payola, publicists, etc.) or nepotism was involved (My cousin is T.I, my uncle is Jay Z, etc.). It just didn't seem logical to me.
Now here I am today, Donny Goines. The musician, the rapper, the hip hop artist. Pick one, its your choice. Im not a hustler, Im not a drug dealer that happens to rap, and Im not someone who is doing this as a hobby. This is my life. My cousin ain't an A&R, my daddy ain't rich and I damn sure don't have a budget or label behind me (shit I can hardly get in the studio to record, let alone anything else). Once I decided that music would be my career of choice Ive made alot of sacrifices. Like quitting my day job at a high end retail store making good money because "I needed more time to write and record". Abandoning my apartment in Westchester to move back into my mother's apartment in Harlem so "I could use the money I paid on rent to put towards my career", and giving up on partying, shopping, and hanging out because "I felt it was just a waste of money that I could use for studio time". I pawned all my jewelry, borrowed all I could, and spent all of my savings. Why do you ask? We'll get back to that part a little later.
A lot of people look at my myspace page, read the interviews, hear the music and automatically assume that I am doing "good". I must be right? How can I manage to do what Im doing if I wasn't? Let's start with the second word in the phrase. Artist. I'm not sure what your definition is, and I dont have a dictionary in my hand either but I assume it means a person who practices in the arts. The truth is tho', not many people out there get "PAID" to practice art until they become successful. This is why you have so many part time rappers and half ass rhymers out there because they can't sustain with just there craft alone. People like Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Picasso (I know Im drifting a bit but stay with me) and any other great artists in the past had to rely on "investors" (these days they're called record labels) to buy the supplies and tools needed for their work. Without those people you wouldn't have the Sistine Chapel, the Mona Lisa, or the Garçon à la Pipe (google it).
Now back to the first part. Starving. Alot of times, unless you have these "investors" you are not able to acquire the resources needed in order to compose your art and therefore you cant eat (if you're a true artist, your main source of income typically comes from the profits of your sold work)---sometimes literally, because if you were following where I was going with it, once you call yourself an artist that becomes your livelihood. A lot of real artists dont like to compromise their work or follow trends (even for a profit). They tend to feed off their own creativity and just perfect their craft until someone out there recognizes their talent and invests in them. I'm sure there were the "Party Like a Rockstar" or "insert the latest dance song here" types in those eras, but imagine what the Sistine Chapel would look like had Michelangelo painted it with pastels because that was the "in" color? Had Da Vinci painted Mona Lisa with her tits out because "sex sells" or Picasso putting weed in the boy's pipe because he wanted him to look more "gangsta". Where would the great works of art be then?
A Starving Artist. I now fully understand where the term derives from (in my own interpretation, yours may differ). True artists dont fold. They sacrifice because they believe in their work. They dont care about the naysayers and nonbelievers. They follow their hearts and use all the energy and resources at hand to share their work with the world. Sometimes I think It would be easier to write a whole bunch of dance songs or some down south shit because that's what's selling. So I won't be stuck in my mom's house. So I can buy a nice a outfit. So I can have my jewelry and cars back. But then reality sets in and I think to myself "What would people say about me in the next century?" They would say nothing. Because people only talk about TRUE artists as time passes and those who make it in the history books are then finally understood (in rap, you usually have to die or get locked up for this to happen). So if that means I have to be broke in the meantime, then so be it. I'll just have to be a starving artist until someone funds my Sistine Chapel....Donny
Download a couple of joints from the CD Donny just dropped (The Excerpt PG. 1):
"Do It For Hip-Hop"---Donny Goines (zShare)
"Do It For Hip-Hop"---Donny Goines (savefile)
"The Renaissance"---Donny Goines (zShare)
"The Renaissance"---Donny Goines (savefile)
My nomination for hip hop video of the year--"Do It For Hip-Hop":
If you appreciate Donny's admirable efforts to bring some much-needed credibility back into the hip-hop game, show the man some love over at his page on MySpace, where you can also purchase his phenomenal CD, The Excerpt PG. 1.
Now let's talk about Shelly Bhushan, a stunning and incredibly emotive singer/songwriter who just released her Picking Daisies CD on September 20th. Her music gracefully transcends the confines of any particular genre, blending a tapestry of various sounds that can only be described as breathtakingly unique. To help you become better acquainted with her, I asked the soulful vocalist to answer a few probing questions:
As a recording artist who's relatively new to many listeners, it's inevitable that fans, critics, and music writers are going to try to categorize your material. How would YOU describe your musical style?
Well, my goal had always been to fuse two musical styles I loved the most – songwriting skill – like what typical singer songwriter folks, but do it with soulful sounds…. It tends to be something that doesn't seem to ever coexist. They sometimes seem like such opposites, but I don't believe they are. I believe you can be soulful and not be trite, and/or be a singer/songwriter without being boring and "straight". So, that's what I had hoped to become and believe that maybe I've started assuming that role, I'm sure I still have a lot of work to do…. I'm not sure if that answers your question?
So far you've drawn comparisons to a fairly wide array of artists--Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone, Alanis Morrisette and Bonnie Raitt just to name a few. Have any of these comparisons gotten on your nerves? Are there certain parallels you appreciate more than others?
Yeah, I guess they kinda do sometimes, because these post modern comparisons occur because people can't just take something for what it is, they need to put things in a box to feel comfortable with it, you know? But, I guess we all do it and we need it to understand what we are listening to, watching, etc. I don't mind getting compared to legends though, that's pretty sweet and unbelievably flattering, considering it's just me…you know?
Who were your greatest influences in deciding to pursue a career in music?
Well, I think life was the greatest influence in my musical career, not necessarily a "who". I have never lived my life without song and I was always saying – yeah, I'm going to be someone someday… and I found myself going to the same bars, same places every night – waiting for that " I was pumping gas at a gas station and this manager came up to me and told me he'd make me a star" moment… and I realized, that's never going to happen. I have to make my life happen, so I basically made a commitment to myself to do this
In addition to having a stunning vocal range, you're also a songwriter. Tell us a little about your creative process when it comes to writing music.
Songwriting has come in many different ways for me. I write a lot in my head, without the aid of instruments. There are times where I'll just be doing stuff and something pops into my head so I reach for a recorder or call my voicemail and start singing into the phone to remember ideas. Or sometimes, divinity will step in and I will just start writing lyrics and by the end, I'm like – wow that totally makes sense and is what I've been feeling. Other times, I write with my band. We'll go to rehearsal and just start jamming on stuff. Sometimes I'll have a melody or lyrics and we'll just go and start putting things together. Sometimes it's completely organic – like "Show Me A Sign"… one night, we just started vamping on a gospelish type riff and I just started singing what I was feeling. What the music was making me think of emotionally and within a couple of weeks, "Show Me A Sign" was born.
I love songwriting, it was never my first love or something that I found came natural to me, but now I can't imagine my life without it and I can't imagine not singing my own songs – although I love covering material. I've been thinking of covering a Chicago tune or a Donny Hathaway tune, but I guess I'm scared to cover Donny because he was just so amazing, it's hard for someone to do anything better then what he did. I've been in love with Daniel Johnston – amazing songwriter… I've been playing one of his tunes a lot on my guitar. I love hearing what other songwriters do and what their subject matter is. I love hearing how they phrase life. I believe songs are a lot like films – there are about 12ish fertile themes, they are just expressed in different ways.
You're currently residing in New York, but your hometown roots are in Texas. Has this geographical shift had an impact on your overall sound?
I don't know if NY has shaped my sound so much, although I know the people I have around me, my band – John Celentano, Ben Hoffstein and Harry Cordew have shaped my sound and influenced me so much and they are all from the East Coast. I do think that Texas has influenced me more then I ever imagined. I guess I never really thought that I picked up any of that Texas/Soul/Blues thing that's inherent to the lone star state, but it's in everything I do, whether I want it in there or not.
Your recent LP Picking Daisies has so many outstanding songs on it, I'd be hard-pressed to choose a favorite. What do you consider to be the best song on the album, and why?
Jeez, that's a tough one because I have so many personal favorites and of course my mind changes every day on what I love and hate…
I think it's a toss-up between "Picking Daisies" and "Beautiful Me". "Beautiful Me", because it's super honest. The very first time I played it in public I basically was blushing the entire time. It was the first time that I had ever talked about myself in terms of real honesty – admitting in public my flaws and what I thought of myself, it was really hard, so hard, while I was singing it, was like – "what am I doing? This is way too personal". Also, on the disc, I LOVE the arrangement and production of it, I think it sounds super!
"Picking Daisies" – well, I feel like it's an evolution of who I am at the most current time in my life. The song grooves, it's funky, upbeat and interesting and the metaphor means something to me – "Picking Daisies" is a metaphor about finding your "happy place" a la happy Gilmore, I guess.
When I was in the second grade, my English teacher asked us to write a paragraph on whether we'd rather be 2 or 20 and I chose 2 because I said something to the effect of: to be 2 would mean that I could sit in the sunflowers with the wind in my hair and never have a care in the world…which I guess is pretty deep for a 7 year old. And since then, when I am stressed, thinking about bad things, I think about me as a 2 year old in a field of sunflowers and I'm ok…. Daisies = Sunflowers, as sun flowers are hard to sing about…
I also love "Not to Me"- that's my personal favorite… but, you asked for 1 and I've given you 3!
You've released your debut LP on an independent label, which undoubtedly offered you a greater degree of creative control over the decision-making process. Would you ever consider signing a major label contract?
Um. I don't know, I guess so, if the terms were right. I just don't want to be one of those artists that gets a deal and then gets shelved. It happens so much and personally, I'd rather be unsigned and have the ability to play my music and sell it, etc then have someone running my life without my input, but yeah, if the terms were right, I'd consider it.
It seems as if you've toured endlessly in support of your music. Any amusing stories from life on the road?
Well, I would have to say, the funniest thing I experienced was when I was touring with the band I was with before I went solo. We were in some town and we were touring with a few other bands…and I was doing Laundry in the hotel we were staying in and one of the other guys in another band was doing laundry too…. And he basically picked up one of his dirty briefs and blew his nose in it and I was like –"I'm sorry, what just happened here?", it was disgusting. I know people do lots of things in the privacy of their own home, but that? That was pretty nasty.
Once your fame is well-established, what kinds of demands will you be making on your tour rider?
2 vegetable options, turkey burgers and no candy within my eyesight. Bottled water, and a working TV on the tour bus. Also, ac/heat that works on the bus.
Name 5 LPs you can't imagine leaving home without.
Right now, I'm obsessed with Chicago's IX, which was their greatest hits album in 1975, KT Tunstall's Eye Through a Telescope, Etta James "At Last", I have this collection of Aretha from Atlantic, it's a 4 disker that I LOVE, Donny Hathaway's Everything is Everything.
When they make a movie about your life, who should be cast as Shelly Bhushan?
Big Bird from Sesame Street . Just kidding. I have no idea.
If my broke-ass readers can only afford to buy one CD this month, why should it be Picking Daisies?
Well, I think if you are looking for dance beats, this is probably not your thing, but if you are looking for something that's heartfelt and honest, organic and real…then this is your disc. I think it has something for everyone on it. I'm so crappy at self promotion...
That's okay, Shelly---your music does an amazing job of speaking for itself:
"Beautiful Me"---Shelly Bhushan (zShare)
"Beautiful Me"---Shelly Bhushan (savefile)
"Not To Me"---Shelly Bhushan (zShare)
"Not To Me"---Shelly Bhushan (savefile)
Visit Shelly at her website or her MySpace page. Picking Daisies can be purchased via CD Baby.
Word From Your Moms:
"A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it."---Michelangelo
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Like all the guest bloggers before me, I’m honored to be part of the Souled On Music family. The idea of writing a guest post here was intimidating because it’s the best blog ever. But I hope you get something new from this… much love from your girl...
In college, I got an internship at a small re-issue label called Tuff City. Tuff City has an incredible catalog of funk, soul, blues, and New Orleans music. It’s divided into sub-labels by genre: Funky Delicacies; Soul-Tay-Shus; Night Train International; they’re all under the Tuff City umbrella. They also have some old hip hop under the label Ol’ Skool Flava, but I’m not crazy about it. (sorry Spoonie G)
I expected to be filing, typing, answering phones, etc. But soon, my assignment was to transfer the owners’ mountain of reel-to-reel tapes to Pro Tools. The owner, of the company and of those tapes, deserves another story which I will post on my blog soon. But despite everything, that was a really fun job, because I was basically swimming in old funk & soul tapes. Plus I was an intern, so I didn’t have any responsibility. So for my guest appearance, I decided to share some of those Tuff City finds:
Betty Davis- It’s Strange The Way Two People Change (zShare)
Betty Davis- It’s Strange The Way Two People Change (savefile)
Tuff City doesn’t have anything to do with Betty Davis, but I acquired this track during my first month on the job, transferring tapes. I don’t think it was ever released, so I don’t know the real name of the track, but it’s beautiful. It’s not her usual funked-up craziness; instead it’s a softer, sadder side of the "anti-diva." And not the weak kind of ballad that was on Crashin From Passion either.
Black Blood and the Chocolate Pickles with Valerian’s Voice – Mississippi Mud (zShare)
Black Blood and the Chocolate Pickles with Valerian’s Voice – Mississippi Mud (savefile)
(from Funky Funky Baton Rouge)
*This one is heavy and spooky, especially post-Katrina.
The Gaturs- Concentrate (zShare)
The Gaturs- Concentrate (savefile)
Puff Daddy- "Do You Know?" (zShare)
Puff Daddy- "Do You Know?" (savefile)
*Also sampled on Madlib's Mind Fusion Vol.2
The Enticers- Thief (zShare)
The Enticers- Thief (savefile)
(from New Orleans’ Funkiest Delicacies)
Mos Def- "Napolean Dynamite" (zShare)
Mos Def- "Napolean Dynamite" (savefile)
Hermon Hitson – A Dream I Had (I Love Her) (zShare)
Hermon Hitson – A Dream I Had (I Love Her) (savefile)
(from You Are Too Much For the Human Heart)
*I was hesitant to include this track because the chorus bothers me. The guitar is awful, and it almost ruins the song. But the verses are so soulful that they overpower the bad guitar riff.Anyway I wanted to include the song because Hermon is awesome; he’s just a great guy and he made my time at Tuff City more fun. I noticed that he played live recently at a Wax Poetics event, so I’m glad he’s getting some props now, so many years later.
Masters Of Soul - Sad Face (zShare)
Masters Of Soul - Sad Face (savefile)
(from Right On!)
The Unemployed- They Won’t Let Me (zShare)
The Unemployed- They Won’t Let Me (savefile)
(from New Orleans’ Funkiest Delicacies)
Reuben Bell- Superjock (zShare)
Reuben Bell- Superjock (savefile)
(from New Orleans’ Funkiest Delicacies)
Family Portrait- Natural Man (I Need) (zShare)
Family Portrait- Natural Man (I Need) (savefile)
(from Funky Funky New York)
Word from Lily’s Moms:
"Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition" --Timothy Leary
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Consider this whole thing a figment of your collective imagination. I had intended to focus my time and energy this week on a few upcoming projects and posts, but I made a last-minute decision to throw a little "spontaneous simplicity" into the rotation. These are just some tracks that I've been listening to a lot over the past few days---searching for some sort of rhyme or reason in the mix will only serve to confuse you. No greater meaning than sending a little love from my boombox to yours...
"Wichita Lineman"---Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (zShare)
"Wichita Lineman"---Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (savefile)
The most soulful version of this song I've ever heard...
"I Love You, I Need You"---Otis Clay (zShare)
"I Love You, I Need You"---Otis Clay (savefile)
Baby...why do you keep hurtin' me this way?
Puff Puff Pass---Frank N Dank (zShare)
Puff Puff Pass---Frank N Dank (savefile)
I'm usually not feelin' these guys all that much, but Dilla's gotta be up in the sky somewhere...smiling.
"I've Got You, Man!"---The Sweet Vandals (zShare)
"I've Got You, Man!"---The Sweet Vandals (savefile)
How can you not love me for this one?
"Dub Cutting"---Nobody Beats The Beats (zShare)
"Dub Cutting"---Nobody Beats The Beats (savefile)
I get completely lost in the rhythm every single time...
"Nuclear War"---Sun Ra And His Outer Space Arkestra (zShare)
"Nuclear War"---Sun Ra And His Outer Space Arkestra (savefile)
Whether you think Sun Ra was a prophetic genius or a complete madman, this is just one of those tracks that every man, woman and soul child needs to hear at least once in a lifetime.
"Threat(100 dBs Remix)"---Jay-Z (zShare)
"Threat(100 dBs Remix)"---Jay-Z (savefile)
"Be Like Hov"---Jay-Z/DJ Suss One (zShare)
"Be Like Hov"---Jay-Z/DJ Suss One (savefile)
I really wanted to drop a couple of joints from American Gangster because I don't give a damn what anyone says---this is one of the best commercial LPs that's been released all year.
Since the RIAA is probably on a mad witch-hunt for anyone who dares to leak a track or two, I decided on a couple of less worrisome options. Just don't forget to cop AG on Tuesday...
And screw a review by some boring-ass newspaper/magazine journalist...why not check out Trav's take instead?
Live footage of The Sweet Vandals:
Just in case you haven't seen Jay's new "Blue Magic" video yet. One of the album's weaker joints, but hell---what do you expect from the single?:
An excerpt from Brother From Another Planet about Sun Ra:
Word From Your Moms:
"It's AFTER the end of the world. Don't you know that yet?"
"The outer space beings are my brothers. They sent me here. They already know my music."
"But recently I began to feel that maybe I wouldn't be able to do what I want to do and need to do with American musicians, who are imprisoned behind these bars; music's got these bars and measures you know."
"The light of the future casts the shadows of tomorrow."
*All above quotes courtesy of Sun Ra