Friday, March 27, 2009

We Be So Sincere With This Here...

"The Waves Are High Today"---Don Adams (LimeLinx)
"The Waves Are High Today"---Don Adams (YSI)

Although I've been known to call out the pompous audacity of blah-blah-bloggers whose egos are too big for their tight-ass spandex britches, I have to speak for a moment with the bloated arrogance of a self-appointed tastemaker and declare this: you're stupid, uncool, and crazier than cat piss if you don't like Don Adams .

Not only was Adams a mesmerizing vocalist who could effortlessly channel the spirits of Jackie Wilson and Otis Redding, he was somewhat of an intriguing and enigmatic character as well. Born in Glasgow in 1942 (I see you, Styler), the amazing vocalist was the youngest in a family of seven children. He was a scrawny kid who got picked on quite mercilessly during childhood, but he literally came out swingin' after undergoing intense daily training to become a boxer. As legend has it, Adams (born Donald McKay) emerged a scrappy little ass-kicker, feared by...well...just about everyone.

Even as he began to pursue a career in music, it apparently wasn't uncommon for his violent temper to flare, often fighting people in the audience who didn't care for his performances. Perhaps not surprisingly, the first band Adams sang with was called The Macho's. He teamed up with the group in Germany, having moved there in the late '60s as a staff member of the musical Hair.

The ballsy singer became a regular fixture of the club scene, and would soon come to be known as "the black voice from Munich". From a purely physical standpoint, that particular description was no more reliable than the other label that's often haphazardly applied to his style~ blue-eyed soul (see the pic below to test the questionable veracity of these claims).

While the drive to categorize every-fucking-thing is a naggingly persistent feature of the human condition, it's often misleading and downright moronic to apply stereotypes or phony organizational principles to something as variable and unpredictable as music. Hearing Adams' stirring and incredibly affecting vocals will undoubtedly affirm this notion: the only way one can fully appreciate the immense gift of his artistry is to approach his material with absolute colorblindness and an uncluttered mind. Close your eyes and tell me the homie Don Adams ain't had no soul, children...

Watts Happening (a reference to the 1965 LA riots) was originally recorded in Munich in 1969 and was treated to a limited release on the German Sunset label. The record was such an obscurity that it was damn near impossible to obtain, until Sonorama graciously reissued the LP in 2007 (along with bonus tracks culled from the archives). In addition to showcasing Adams' immeasurable talent, the LP boasts an impressive array of musicians who once comprised the cream of the local jazz scene in Munich.

Following the album's original release date, Adams continued recording studio tracks, although the consensus was that his later material never matched the quality of his earlier efforts. In the '70s he appeared on German television as a member of Love Generation, and later relocated to Hamburg to join the Les Humphries Singers. However, according to the liner notes on the Watts Happening reissue, the vocalist's health and career began a downward spiral due to years of bad habits and excesses. He passed away in London in 1995 due to complications with his liver.

"Sometimes I Don't Like Myself"---Steve Colt (LimeLinx)
"Sometimes I Don't Like Myself"---Steve Colt (YSI)


The first Steve Colt track I was introduced to was "Dynamite", an irresistibly infectious groove that's highly revered by a good many collectors who really know their shit. Larry Grogan of Funky 16 Corners aptly described the single as follows:

"Speaking of brilliant proto-funk, Steve Colt's 'Dynamite' is as heavy as it comes. If ever another white guy laid down a 45 as heavy as this I haven't heard it. Colt grunts and screams his way through the tune backed by slamming drums and bass deep enough to throw the tone arm off the wax."

I never actually copped the original 7" (sometimes compilations make life way too easy), but I used to occasionally price it on the internets just to check the going rate. The first time I saw the label on the 45 I was floored. This dude lookin' like the long-lost brother of Potsie on Happy Days laid down those killer vocals on "Dynamite"? Noooooo shit...(furrows brows, rubs chin).

While the image on the label surely makes for a fascinating conversation piece, I didn't realize how badly I needed to have this side in my crates until DJ Blueprint (aka Mike from This Is Tomorrow) dropped the B-side ("Take Away") as one of his stellar contributions to the Love Lockdown series. Evidently I'm not the only one who fell in love with the song. Quite a few readers e-mailed me to see if I could possibly send them something else by Mr. Colt, so I decided to share one of the best songs from his Paradox LP (Vanguard, 1970).

This particular track, and Paradox as a whole, was quite a different look for Colt in comparison to the vibe he had goin' on with "Dynamite" and its flipside. There's the obvious fact that he grew a nice furry David Crosby porn 'stache in the interim, but the music itself also underwent a fairly radical transformation towards the softer side. Many of the songs were written and produced by Brand Harris, but the album also features soulful interpretations of "Walk Away Renee" and Dylan's "Memphis Blues Again". In sum, if you dig the Muscle Shoals/Stax-Volt sound, there's a very good chance that you'll be feelin' this record as well.

"Sometimes I Don't Like Myself" is arguably a bit maudlin and self-deprecating, but its vulnerability is also undeniably earnest and charming. You may find that it's more subdued and less gripping than "Take Away" in an immediate sense, but it's still tremendously affecting once the substance of the song settles in your soul.

If you missed the post with "Take Away", be sure to take a moment to rewind.

"Dumb I Sound/ATLiens (Tor Mix)"---Outkast vs. Sufjan Stevens (LimeLinx)
"Dumb I Sound/ATLiens (Tor Mix)"---Outkast vs. Sufjan Stevens (YSI)

It's not difficult to harbor some resentment towards Danger Mouse for dropping the Grey Album. I thought it was pretty damn terrific at the time, but who could have foreseen all the ugly little demon spawn that would be gratuitously birthed from its grossly overproductive loins?

Fast forward to 2009, and the guy who's trying to be adorably quirky by smashing apples and oranges into the fruity concoction du jour is a Canadian fella by the name of Tor. In all honesty, I downloaded his Illnoize EP fully expecting to loathe every horrific moment of it. I couldn't imagine that it was going to be particularly aurally delightful to hear Sufjan Stevens' songs of emasculated tenderness struggle beneath the weight of some of the heaviest hip hop lyrics of all time.

As it turns out, my fears were only half-assed justified~ a few of these mixes are actually rather legit. The Outkast redux is my favorite at the moment, but I fuck with a few of the other tracks as well. All in all, I gotta give Tor all due propers for...almost...changing the mind of a stubborn skeptic.

Download the EP in its entirety here

And...if (for some bizarre reason) you find yourself jonesin' for more Sufjan remixes, The Metermaids also dropped a free remix of Stevens mash-ups called...mmm hmmm...Illinoise.

"Hang On To A Dream"---Cissy Houston (LimeLinx)
"Hang On To A Dream"---Cissy Houston (YSI)

Hopefully most of you know a thing or two about Whitney's mama, but if not, here is a brief rundown...

Cissy Houston (born Emily Drinkard) entered the world on September 30, 1933 in Newark, NJ. Five years later she was already pursuing her musical aspirations, singing in a gospel act called the Drinkard Singers with her siblings. As a member of The Sweet Inspirations, she laid down backing vocals for countless artists and recorded a couple of albums with the group before deciding to go solo. In addition to recording her own material, Houston has performed in some capacity with the likes of Dionne Warwick (her niece), David Bowie, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Elvis, Chuck Jackson, Luther Vandross, Patti LaBelle, Dusty Springfield, and of course, her daughter Whitney.

In 1970, the powerhouse vocalist recorded a supreme album for Commonwealth United, entitled Presenting Cissy Houston. In what can only be seen as an unfortunate turn of events, her contract was sold to Janus Records later that year. While she recorded quality material for the label well into the mid-70s, she never received the promotional support she needed to facilitate her success. A prime example of this is that she rendered the original recording of "Midnight Train To Georgia", a song that popular culture clearly associates with Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Midnight Train To Georgia: The Janus Years is a collection of her work with the label that showcases many of the forgotten highlights of her career. "Hang On To A Dream" is one of the finer moments, Houston's striking cover of a beautiful tune penned by Tim Hardin.

Houston has been granted most of her accolades for her gospel recordings, but if you're more interested in delving into her secular material, this digitally remastered compilation serves as quite a worthy introduction.

Dig deeper...

"Funky Cat"---James Knight And The Butlers (LimeLinx)
"Funky Cat"---James Knight And The Butlers (YSI)

The music scene in Miami during the late '60s and early '70s never achieved the same legendary status as Muscle Shoals, Memphis, or Motown, but the southeastern region of Florida undoubtedly spawned some incredibly heavy funk and soul acts in the years preceding the disco invasion. The Miami Funk compilation spotlights some of the region's funkiest citizens, celebrating not only the artists who released major hit records, but some who were rather underappreciated and obscure. James Knight was a phenomenal musician and frontman who unfortunately happened to fall into the latter category.

Born in Miami in 1946, Knight began playing the drums at age 2, joining a calypso band only four years later. At age 14, he started playing around on his brother's guitar, and became so accomplished within a short time that he was jamming with the likes of Sam & Dave, Gwen McCrae, Betty Wright, Frankie Beverly and Ben E. King by the following year.

Around the time Knight turned 19, he formed a group called The Butlers (aka The Fabulous Butlers). The ensemble started doing shows outside of the Miami area, and would eventually perform with Joe Tex, The Chambers Brothers, John Lee Hooker, The Persuaders, James Brown, Muddy Waters, and many more of the era's most popular artists.

While it certainly appeared that Knight was destined for success, his professional woes began shortly after he recorded his Black Knight LP in the '70s. According to the artist's website, the album was put on the back burner because studio executives cautioned him that the material was at least 20 years before its time. It's since been reissued and is available through many online retailers for a fairly reasonable price.

"Funky Cat" has probably been comped the most times (with "Fantasy World", sampled by DJ Shadow, running a close second), and in my opinion, it's the standout track on the LP. It's to your discretion whether your dollars are better spent on copping Black Knight or a more diverse collection of tunes such as Miami Funk. I've read glowing reviews that compare Knight to stalwarts such as Jimi Hendrix, Charles Wright, and Sly Stone, but other collectors have expressed a degree of disappointment with the album as a whole (individual tracks can also be purchased via Knight's website, linked below). I personally kinda dig it, but my suggestion is to stream those bitches before you unass any cash, children.

Dig deeper...

"Kickin' Afrolistics"---The Afros (LimeLinx)
"Kickin' Afrolistics"---The Afros (YSI)

One of the illest things about having a giant music collection coupled with a long-ass history of abusing weed is...aww snap...I forgot. Nah...I'm just playin'. What's dope about it is pulling out throwback joints that you haven't listened to in forever because...ta da...those shits get to be brand new all over again. I had love for this record back in the day (produced by Davy D and Jam Master Jay), but right now it might just sound better than ever.

If you skipped class on The Afros the first time or your silly ass wasn't born yet ('s hard to believe this album is almost 20 years old), get your learn on by diggin' deeper.

"Oh, Baby"---The Time (LimeLinx)
"Oh, Baby"---The Time (YSI)

Every once in a while, I have to throw in a jam that will ensure the future generation of soul children, so you know...quit reading and go make some beautiful babies for the love revolution.

Dig deeper...

Before you check out, one last little bit of feel good~ a video by my homies Lady Daisey and Batsauce called "Magical". It actually came out quite a while ago, but it never loses its sublime sweetness and power to uplift. More from these two coming soon at SO:

Word From Your Moms:

"A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become."---W. H. Auden

"It is the stretched soul that makes music, and souls are stretched by the pull of opposites--opposite bents, tastes, yearnings, loyalties. Where there is no polarity--where energies flow smoothly in one direction--there will be much doing but no music."---Eric Hoffer

"All paths lead nowhere, so it is important to choose a path that has heart."---Carlos Casteneda

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I May Be Paranoid, But Not An Android

How we doin' out there, soul babies?

Apologies for momentarily dipping out on you again---I realize it only takes half a nanosecond to be forgotten in the vicious cycle of relevance peculiar to the blogosphere. Nonetheless, those of you who still throw down with me despite my erratic and often unpredicatible blogging behavior are the only people I really give a fat damn about in the first place. Thanks for staying true.

Anyway, I was working on a post the other night, but clearly I was too mentally tired to write/type anything remotely intelligible. At the same time, I wasn't able to sleep no matter how many fuckin' chubby white sheep I attempted to count. Somewhere in the midst of this wide-eyed and half-crazed dilemma, I started compiling some of my favorite Radiohead reduxes, and it was in the early hours of that morning that the I'm Kinda Sleep Ee mix was born.

My familiars know that I'm a Radiohead stan, but for the most part I'm a purist. Too many DJs have (inadvertantly?) done their damnedest to make a mockery of the band's music---I mean, hey...can we all agree that there's nothing particularly cute about mashing "Creep" with a Britney Spears joint, children?

In spite of said skepticism, I'm inexplicably inclined to peep the trainwreck, and find myself obsessively collecting the entire gamut of their remixed material. Even the most absurd reworkings can make for an entertaining conversation piece, and I'm Kinda Sleep Ee will hopefully provide substantial evidence that quite a few of these mixes truly don't suck. Some of them might even be described as borderline genius...or so said my sleep deprived brain, anyway.

For those of you who aren't feelin' Radiohead, I offer my sincerest heartfelt regrets. I'll be diggin' from the funk and soul crates again before you can say "Scholar's a silly fuck up" 99 times. Word.

Preview/ Download via Limelinx:
I'm Kinda Sleep Ee: An Insomniac's Tribute To Radiohead

Download the mix via Sharebee

Track List:
Sooo Tired---DJ Panzah Zandahz
Five Step---Overdub Bootleg
Nude---Shanghai Restoration Mix
Atoms For Peace---Four Tet Remix
Weird Fishes---AmpLive Remix
Reckoner---Elijah's Horrible Wind Remix
Skip Divided---Modeselektor Remix
Nude---Three Leaves & A Head Remix
Get Em High//Videotape---Hippomothamus
How Ya Want It---DJ Panzah Zandahz ft. Jungle Bros.
No Karma---Jaydiohead
Paranoid Android---B2 Mix
Nude---DR's Raggedy Anne Remix
Change Order---Jaydiohead
Nude---sayCet Remix

Fundamental Supplementals:

My man Mike from This Is Tomorrow requested that I share a link to the beat tape he just released, a collection of dope remixes he crafted in Sept/Oct. of last year. Check it here, where you can also find links to some of his other remixes and fantastic workouts on the ones and twos.

Track List:

01. Intro
02. 1nce Again featuring A Tribe Called Quest
03. Stakes Is High featuring De La Soul
04. Stick To Your Gunz featuring MOP And Kool G Rap
05. Universal Magnetic featuring Mos Def
06. The Light featuring Pharaohe Monch
07. Broad Factor featuring Quasimoto
08. Funkorama featuring Redman
09. Boom featuring Royce 5'9
10. The Man, The Icon featuring Big Daddy Kane
11. The Revolutionist featuring Guru
12. Outro

Word From Your Moms:

"Sleep is the most moronic fraternity in the world, with the heaviest dues and the crudest rituals." ~Vladimir Nabokov

"Sleep... Oh! how I loathe those little slices of death...." ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Happiness consists in realizing it is all a great strange dream" ~Jack Kerouac

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Dead Men Walking Don't Dream...


"Gotta Get Away"---Gloria Barnes (LimeLinx)
"Gotta Get Away"---Gloria Barnes (YSI)

I've been interested in hearing Gloria Barnes' Uptown LP for quite some time, but unfortunately I didn't treat it as a matter of great urgency. I have notebooks full of albums I plan to dig for at some point in the future, and I'd be hard-pressed to put the slightest dent in this ever-growing list before the Funky Mothership arrives to collect my soul. Thankfully I have some of the illest readers in the universe, and one of them sent me a rip of the LP a few weeks ago. Hearing this for the first time put me on the kind of natural high that record junkies live for, so I had to share some love with everyone who hasn't had an opportunity to hear this yet. If I was a contortionist, I swear I'd kick my own ass for failing to be up on this sooner.

The most reliable information and insightful commentary about Barnes I've run across comes by way of my friend Colin Dilnot's blog, In Dangerous Rhythm. Colin featured a breakdown of every track on this Harlem vocalist's killer LP, and was also involved with Uptown's reissue on Castle/Sanctuary Records in 2007. The reissue is part of the Outta Sight Soul Essential series, and is paired with The Chosen Few's Taking All The Love I Can LP for a ridiculously generous price. The common denominator of these fine albums is that they were produced by Johnny Brantley, whose underappreciated mastery is also evidenced on records he cut with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Lee Moses, The Ohio Players, Jimmy Castor, and Hermon Hitson.

This stellar 2-for-1 release (aka Soul Twins Vol 2) is available as an import via Amazon for collectors in the US, and can also be purchased through numerous online retailers in the UK and beyond. I can assure you that the Gloria Barnes tracks are worth the price of admission alone, and The Chosen Few is another hands down Souled On favorite.


"Let It Be Me"---The Voices Of East Harlem (LimeLinx)
"Let It Be Me"---The Voices Of East Harlem (YSI)

I think "Let It Be Me" is one of the sweetest love songs ever written, although David Hasselhoff put its good reputation in jeopardy by fucking it up beyond belief on an episode of Knight Rider (note: bad outfits, lip-synching, offensive amounts of hair spray and a giant disco ball were also abused during this travesty). Despite being lightweight emotionally scarred by that unfortunate incident, gratifying renditions by artists such as Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, Chuck Jackson & Maxine Brown, Betty Everett & Jerry Butler, and The Sweet Inspirations have gone a long way toward restoring my faith in the song. Ultimately, I had to just get over myself know...drop it like it's Hoff.

"Let It Be Me" was originally a French song called "Je T'Appartiens". It was first recorded in 1955 by Gilbert Bécaud, who co-wrote the tune with Pierre Delanoë and Mann Curtis. The English version first came about when Jill Corey performed the song on the television series Climax. Corey released her version as a single in 1957, enjoying only a moderate degree of chart success. The song didn't fully penetrate mainstream culture until The Everly Brothers released their cover in 1960, a runaway hit that peaked at #7 on Billboard's Hot 100. Although they were hardly the only recording artists to popularize the tune, their harmony arrangement became the blueprint for countless versions that were subsequently released.

The Voices Of East Harlem were a vocal ensemble that was comprised of as many as 20 members, ranging in age from 12 to 21 years. They released four albums between 1970 and 1974, working with soul legends of the caliber of Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield, and Leroy Hutson. The group's obvious gospel/inspirational overtones caused them to be widely overlooked by the soul/R&B community, although their material gradually moved towards a more secular vibe.

Their debut album, Right On Be Free, may have been more heavily steeped in the gospel tradition than its successors, but it's every bit as soulful as it is righteous. While I don't necessarily find it quite as listenable as their latter LPs, I've come to appreciate it as an essential link in the evolutionary chain between gospel and soul music. Their rendition of "Let It Be Me" is a fine example of this: it's instantly reminiscent of holy sanctified Sunday mornings, although there's only the slightest hint of religiosity to be found within the content of the lyrics.

Initially, the song struck me as somewhat of an oddball choice for a choral ensemble. The other renderings I've heard have been a far more intimate affair, and I'm still not sure that this is the sort of song best suited to interpretation by a massive group of kids, but one day the brilliance of this record just sort of dawned on me out of nowhere and I've given it quite a bit of play ever since. Hopefully the spirit of this groove moves some of you as well.

Dig deeper...

"Baba Nla Iya (Intense Suffering)"---Kaleta & Zozo Afrobeat (LimeLinx)

" Baba Nla Iya (Intense Suffering)"---Kaleta & Zozo Afrobeat (YSI)

While I'm on the subject of amazing ensembles, I've been remiss in failing to mention Zozo Afrobeat up to this point. This phenomenal 13-piece collective is fearlessly led by Kaleta (aka Leon Ligan-Majek), one of the mightiest living legends of African music. Having recorded and performed during his formative years with Nigerian kingpins Fela Kuti and King Sunny Ade, Kaleta's style remains deeply rooted in the provocative sociopolitical messages and captivating musicianship associated with his predecessors. That said, he embodies his own distinct contemporary flair, and has toured in recent years with the likes of Fela's son Femi and Lauryn Hill. Based in NYC, Kaleta and the rest of Zozo Afrobeat hail from various countries around the globe, forging an eclectic sound that effortlessly blends a cornucopia of diverse musical origins.

What I've posted for you is an instrumental edit of "Baba Nla Iya (Intense Suffering)" that originally appeared as the B-side of their "Country Of Guns" 7-inch (Tramp, TR-1008). A longer vocal version appears on the Country Of Guns LP, but my guess is that fewer of you have gotten to hear the flipside of the single. Despite its somber title, this is a groove you can actually dance to...or at least my ass has made the attempt.

I realize that a lot of you snitches are afraid of anything you might consider "world music", but if you're adventurous enough to give this is a spin, I think you may be pleasantly surprised...

Dig deeper...

"4 AM Instrumental"---6th Sense (LimeLinx)
"4 AM Instrumental"---6th Sense (YSI)

"AM Set"---6th Sense & Wildabeast ft. Andras (LimeLinx)
"AM Set"---6th Sense & Wildabeast ft. Andras (YSI)

6th Sense is easily one of the illest hip hop producers on the scene at the moment, and the fact that he's also a prolific songwriter/MC makes him all the more worthy of your undivided attention. Heavily influenced by J Dilla, Miles Davis, Jay-Z, Nas, Stevie Wonder, and Kanye West, 6th draws his inspiration from some of the greatest to ever do it. These lofty aspirations are quite evident in the impeccable quality and precision of his output, and these echoes of the past are part of what makes him such a formidable contender for hip hop royalty in the present and future.

His latest effort, It’s A 6th Sense Beat, Yo!, was released on February 3rd, and is available for free download via Nodfactor. If this is your first introduction to his work, you'll also want to check for his free mixtapes with Mick Boogie, the killer tracks he's released with Wildabeast, and his It's Coming Soon LP. You should definitely do some checking on your own, but a couple more spots where you can find lots of free and legal downloads are included below.

Dig deeper...

"Amnesia"---Blu (LimeLinx)
"Amnesia"---Blu (YSI)

"Just Relax (Dan Aikido Remix)"---Noah ft. Blu (LimeLinx)
"Just Relax (Dan Aikido Remix)"---Noah ft. Blu (YSI)

I waited for Blu's new mixtape, Her Favorite Colo(u)r, with the same pins and needles anticipation that causes old people to get grumpy when the morning edition of the newspaper doesn't arrive on time. Blu simply can't release music quickly enough for myself and other members of his cultlike fanbase.

For the most part, I'm not sure what kind of reviews writers, bloggers and critics have been giving it. I usually try to form my own opinion about things so that I don't find myself falling under the influence of other people's thought processes. However, I did come across one writer (no sense giving him a shout) who essentially argued that emotionalism has no place in hip hop. Now I won't front---lyrically, Her Favorite Colo(u)r stands in stark contrast to the standard fare issued by prototypical gun-toting MCs...think 808s & Heartbreak minus the Auto-Tune. However, hip hop really ain't shit if it isn't the voice of the people. There are plenty of releases geared towards those who prefer heavy doses of misogyny, playerism and pimpitude. By the same token, however, there is undoubtedly a growing audience clamoring for Blu's more confessional style of lyrical poetry. Anyone who's so uncomfortable with the latter that they want anything heartfelt to be excommunicated from the genre evidently has some issues with their manhood. Stop typing and start checkin' for your balls, son.

Anyway, I would guess that many of you are already up on Blu's new mixtape, so I threw in a couple of bonus tracks to accompany "Amnesia", my favorite joint from Her Favorite Colo(u)r. Dan Aikido's remix of "Just Relax" is representative of jazz-hop at it's very finest, and Billie Holiday's "Am I Blue?" is the phenomenal Lady Day track that was artfully sampled on "Amnesia".


"Am I Blue"---Billie Holiday (LimeLinx)
"Am I Blue"---Billie Holiday (YSI)

*Sampled On "Amnesia"

"Once I Have You (I Will Never Let You Go)"---The Originals (LimeLinx)
"Once I Have You (I Will Never Let You Go)"---The Originals (YSI)

Although The Originals have quite a few outstanding sweet soul offerings in their canon of works, their legacy tends to be overshadowed by many of their Motown labelmates who were infinitely more successful. The group's popularity climaxed in 1969 with the release of "Baby I'm For Real", followed the subsequent year with another successful single, "The Bells". Marvin Gaye produced these two hits for The Originals in addition to a handful of other tunes, and this formula undoubtedly resulted in some of the most memorable moments of the group's recording career.

By the time they released their Naturally Together LP, the group was already beginning to lose their commercial appeal. Although "God Bless Whoever Sent You" rose to #14 on the R&B charts, the album as a whole didn't sell nearly as many copies as its predecessors. That said, there are a few gems on this record that I wouldn't want to live without, and "Once I Have You (I Will Never Let You Go)" is certainly one of them. The soaring harmonies and unfeigned lyrical sincerity certainly push the song to the very edge of sappiness, but if you happen to be a fool in love, the syrupy flavor might just be to your liking.

If you're interested in seeking out more from The Originals, the collection pictured above serves as an excellent primer. I've always been forthcoming about the fact that I much prefer the grittier vibe of southern soul, but no matter how bitter one might be, a little spoonful of sugar every now and then ain't never hurt nobody.

Dig deeper...

"Hometown Glory (Chewy Chocolate Cookies Remix)"---Adele (LimeLinx)
"Hometown Glory (Chewy Chocolate Cookies Remix)"---Adele (YSI)

"Make You Feel My Love (Remot Remix)"---Adele (LimeLinx)
"Make You Feel My Love (Remot Remix)"---Adele (YSI)

I honestly had to swear off British blue-eyed soul divas for a while after my ex-girlfriend Amy Winehouse went and fell in love with a crack pipe. It made some sort of twisted sense at the time, but I was wrong to intentionally look past Adele for such a completely illogical reason. Truth be told, the differences between the two are every bit as relevant as their commonalities, despite the fact that the media has incessantly plugged Adele as a kinder, gentler answer to Winehouse's unique brand of frenzied delerium.

The fact that Adele is somewhat of a safer and more wholesome option doesn't necessarily add to her appeal in and of itself. Some of my favorite artists of all time were insufferably tragic human beings, but it can be quite a nerve-wracking affair to stand by and wait for someone you admire to spontaneously self-destruct. It seems that if Adele leaves us it won't be with eyeliner smudges running down her face and a big needle sticking out of her arm. No...she's far more likely to accidentally drown herself in a bowl of oat bran cereal or something equally innocent and seemingly innocuous.

All ridiculousness aside, I do often find Adele's 19 LP refreshing, and the melodic lullaby of her mellifluous vocals can be all too engaging when I'm in the proper frame of mind. That said, my love affair with her material has only gotten more serious after numerous DJs and producers started releasing killer remixes of the tracks from 19. In many instances, these reduxes have inflated the replay value of her work, and effectively preserved the viability of her music long before it could descend into tedium and monotony. The CCC and Remot remixes are a couple of first class examples of why it's still easy to catch me these days with Adele bumpin' out the windows of my ride. If you can't respect that, your whole perspective is wack.

Dig deeper and deeper...


For those of you who aren't familiar with the revolutionary artwork of Emory Douglas, please do your homework. In his role as the Black Panthers’ official artist and Minister of Culture, Douglas created countless provocative images that were regularly printed in the organization's weekly newspaper. His graphic illustrations were crucial in visually defining the organization's ideology, and became a vital means of extending their message and objectives, even to those who were unable to read or write. While the philosophy and methodology of the Black Panther Party continue to incite much controversy and debate, it is virtually impossible to deny Douglas his rightful iconic status. The historic, cultural and sociopolitical significance of the boldly symbolic images he created simply cannot be forgotten or overlooked.

In 2007, many of these visual artifacts were reprinted and preserved in the book Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas. I would recommend buying this book only if you intend to actually open it, as opposed to casting it off as a coffee table prop to make your friends think you're cooler and more intellectual than you really are.

Recently, Station4 in the UK teamed up with Douglas to produce a series of limited edition silk-screened prints that are signed and numbered by the artist himself. The first few are already available, although there will be 12 in total before the series is complete. I ain't gonna lie...these are some expensive-ass posters, but they may be a worthy indulgence for yourself or someone you love if you've got it like that. The irony of these prices being so...ahem...unrevolutionary hasn't been lost on many critics, but on the flip side, it's mighty difficult to avoid participating in the great paper chase. Any thoughts?


The Obama administration releases a top secret Bush memo authorizing warrantless seizures of terror suspects; vows to continue releasing previously protected documents.

God isn't responding to your prayers quickly enough? Have you tried leaving a message on his answering machine?

The fearless leader of the No Cussing Club edges closer to persuading LA County to honor a weeklong silence on four-letter words. Scholar says: Fuck yeah!


If this doesn't make you smile today, nothing will (assholes aside, of course):

Word From Your Moms:

"Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real."---Tupac Shakur

"Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."---Edgar Allan Poe