Sunday, March 06, 2005

Evigan gets a new lease of life at Ear Fuzz

So, first off thanks for all the feedback, nice to know people appreciated what I was doing.

Let start with the bad news, Evigan Funk is being closed down for good, I just don't have the time anymore to update this site often enough to make it worthwhile for you guys to read.

Now the good news, I've joined the excellent writing staff at the really rather good Ear Fuzz. It's a blog with similar tastes to mine plus they cover a wider range of music than my blinkered vision. Go check out the quality stuff they've got up there and I look forward to posting my first music sometime this week.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Is this the end for Evigan?


Well maybe, maybe not. Basically I'm looking around for a good cheap deal on webhosting as even I'm sick of Rapidshare and I only have to use it to upload tracks. Add to this the fact that I'm having trouble juggling work, a relationship, a social life and posting here so at the very least I think I'll have to reduce the number of posts.

If I can discover an easy solution to hosting and get some new music on my pc that is not already being covered by one of the many excellent mp3 blogs out there then I may return in the future............

Anyway, I leave you with another great funk classic, Tony Alvon & The Belaris' Sexy Coffee Pot, an awesome, awesome record.

Tony Alvon - Sexy Coffee Pot

This song is M4A again which means you can play it in realplayer or, alternatively, transfer it to Mp3 using one of the many free services out there (Google it).

I'm also going to leave you with the Beach Boy's original version of Surfs Up just because it's a truly beautiful song and it's my blog so I can post what I want.

Beach Boys - Surf's Up

Anyway, drop me an email if you ever want to chat and maybe, just maybe, I'll be back in the future..............In the meantime check out all the links on my righthand side as they're excellent sites. Apart from the obvious blog legends like Soul Sides and Number One Songs In Heaven make sure to check out all the newer sites as well such as Xanax Taxi, Ear Fuzz etc.
who are busy slogging away for your benefit too.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Gals and Pals vs. Royksopp

Gals and Pals

Gals and Pals - Blue On Blue

Royksopp - So Easy

A real quickie today from Swedish vocal group Gals and Pals. I've been unable to find out anything about them apart from that they were most prominent in the sixties and apparently did a mean cover of Sandie Shaw's Always Something There To Remind Me.

This track, a cover of the Bobby Vinton classic, first came to my attention thanks to the Royksopp track So Easy of their album Melody AM which uses a large sample from it in it's chorus. I love the incredibly mellow backing track with these beautiful harmonies laid over the top. The separation of the male and female (or pals and gals) is excellently choreographed and listen out for the tinkling piano that comes in half way through. Definitely a cover version that to my mind blows away the original.

I've also included Royksopp's So Easy so you can compare. Its a funky little electronic number which uses the sample well and sparingly. However, maybe it's just me, but it kind of pales next to the original.

You can get a copy of Gals and Pals greatest hits HERE

Or alternatively get the superb album I got my version off, Sampled Vol 4, which I'm loath to reveal as the series is a goldmine for obscure tunes.

If you haven't already got a copy, the Royksopp album is worth checking out and can be bought HERE.

In other news, new PC came last night, getting internet connected tonight, so sometime next week I should finally be able to put up some of my obscure and deeply funky vinyl on here, sort out proper song hosting and also improve the quality of the Mp3s.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Richard "Groove" Holmes hammering the funk

Richard Holmes

Richard "Groove" Holmes - Flyjack

When you've been labeled with a nickname like "groove" then you had better be extremely funky and this man more than satisfies all requirements.

A Hammond organist like Dr. Lonnie Smith, Holmes was less interested in the jazzy side and much more concerned with making records that were insanely funky. "Groove" started his career as a jazz bassist and apparently switched his talents to the organ without any training. While influenced by the late great Jimmy Smith, Holmes music is there specifically to groove to. Unfortunately Holmes passed away in 1991 aged just 60. You can read much more about him here.

The track I'm sharing with you is from his classic 1973 album Night Glider and is 3 and a half minutes of funk goodness. I love the way Holmes uses the saxophones to contrast with the Hammond tune. A slow builder this track really takes off half way through where the percussion steps up a gear with wooshing high hats making the urge to nod your head almost irresistible.

You can get a copy of Night Glider HERE. Though have a look around and you should be able to get it cheaper.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Gravediggaz - Niggamortis / 6 Feet Deep


Gravediggaz - 1-800 Suicide

Gravediggaz - Pass The Shovel

So back to 1994 and the supergroup The Gravediggaz. The brainchild of the godlike Prince Paul, the group was made up of the Prince, RZA (then known as Prince Rakeem), Frukwan (from Stetasonic) and Too Poetic (now sadly passed away). They released their debut album 6 Feet Deep which was amazingly mainly slept on by the public before being reappraised and rightly raised to classic status when they released their second album, The Pick, The Sickle And The Shovel, in 1997, as RZA rose to the height of his fame. If you need more info there's a reasonably complete biography here.

A not widely known fact is that there are two versions circulating of their debut album 6 Feet Deep, the standard version and the original version released in Europe which included extra tracks and was superbly titled Niggamortis.

The first tune for your expectant ears today, 1-800 Suicide, is from the standard released version and was probably their biggest hit off the album. I love the bass and organ carrying the track before the guitar riff kicks in for the KRS One sampling chorus. On top of all that it's got a Ferris Bueller sample thrown in there as well - what more could you ask for? I always thought the Too Poetic verse stood out as the lyrical highlight of the track more for his delivery than the lyrics themselves.

The second track for your listening pleasure is the Niggamortis exclusive track, Pass The Shovel. Why this wasn't included on the 6 Feet Deep version is beyond me as it's a sweee-eet little track. A pounding beat and chorus of building horns with occasional whoops give the track a real vital energy. Once again the bass is funky to the extreme and I love the way Paul plays around with the basic backing, scratching it, throwing in a choir for one part - absolutely brilliant.

While the second album is decent and I certainly don't have a problem with RZA's talent behind the production desk I do feel it misses the fun of this debut release.

You can get a copy of 6 Feet Deep HERE.

Or you can get a copy of Niggamortis HERE.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Defecating On The Microphone With Nina Simone


Nina Simone - Sinner Man

Talib Kweli - Just To Get By

Nina Simone - Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter

Some music from the great lady herself today. Nina Simone first came to light in the music business in the mid 50's when, having trained as a classical pianist, she was told she had to sing as well as play. This introduced the world to one of the most unique voices in Jazz, a voice that has got better and better throughout the years until her death in 2003. I'm sure you already know all about her so I won't waste precious time though you can read a full biography of the great woman here.

Although I'm a big fan of much of her early work, it really gets interesting for me in the mid to late 60's period. Always a force to be reckoned with, Simone's increasingly husky and powerful voice was put to good use with a range of epic songs.

The first track I have for you her today is from the 1965 album Pastel Blues and is without doubt an epic track in every sense of the word, coming in at just over 10 minutes long. About the struggle to stay on the right path in life the song is carried forward by the relentless piano rhythm. As the rhythm builds up and the drums and backing singers come into the mix it builds up a gospel power to the track. However, what always sold this track to me was the breakdown around 4 and a half minutes in when it breaks down to nothing more than handclaps and the piano - absolutely brilliant.

While remaining firmly on the fence about the talents of Kanye West I have to admit his use of the piano and handclaps in Talib Kweli's Just To Get By is a stroke of genius. I've posted it up here as well so you can judge for yourself.

The third track today is that perennial favorite, Nina's cover of Ike and Tina Turner's Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter from her superb live album Is It Finished. This track is rightly regarded as a true classic, from the bongo intro onwards this track is all about the brilliant use of percussion and you really can't get much funkier than this.

You can buy Pastel Blues HERE
You can buy Is It Finished HERE

Monday, February 21, 2005

Dr. Lonnie Smith - Spinning Wheel

Lonnie Smith

Spinning Wheel - Lonnie Smith

So, mixing it up again a bit this week as I dip my toe in the waters of Jazz/Funk fusion. What better way to start it off than with an absolute classic and a song that's had it's beats sampled so many times you'd think it was in the hiphop producers starter pack.

First things first, this is not the legendary Lonnie Liston Smith despite the similarity in names. Dr Lonnie Smith was also a keyboardist but of the Hammond organ variety. Making a name for himself in George Benson's quartet in the 60's he went on to release a couple of funk/jazz fusion albums in the 70's on the ever reliable Blue Note. Surprisingly enough, Mr Smith isn't actually a qualified MD, legend has it that the moniker "Dr" came from his reputation of being able to doctor up fellow musicians music. You can read a full biography here.

The track I have for you today is taken from his 1970 album Drives and is nearer the funk end of the spectrum of fusion. I've always loved the playfulness of this track set in motion brilliantly by the combination of Smith's organ playing and the lively horn playing of, I think, Dave Hubbard and Ronnie Cuber. The track swings back and forth throughout and is a rare example of how to keep a piece of music fun and extremely cool at the same time. Check out the change of pace 6 minutes in as well, great example of how to keep jazzy improv from getting lost up it's own ass.

Spinning wheel is available on lots of Blue Note compilations but if you're feeling wealthy you could always pick up a copy of the original album HERE.

Oh yeah, the ongoing saga of downloads on this site is coming to an end. My new computer's being delivered monday and I should have a working site to directly link tracks by the end of next week at the latest.

Friday, February 18, 2005

A bit of Curtis for your weekend with a side helping of Patti Jo

Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield - The Underground

Patti Jo - Make Me Believe In You

After Noz's guest post on Soulsides the other day it occurred to me that while I put up some Curtis produced Five Stairsteps I haven't really touched on the man himself.

However, I'm rectifying that today with one funky track by the man himself and another track that has his production stamped all over it.

What can I say about Curtis that hasn't already been said in greater depth by other people far more qualified than me? Renowned for his merging of political commentary with extremely funky music, Curtis Mayfield was one of the great stars of funk during the seventies, probably most famously for his classic soundtrack to Superfly and his funk anthem Move On Up. Like a disturbingly high number of his fellow soul/funk musicians from that period(Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass) he suffered personal tragedy when he was struck by a falling lighting rig at one of his concerts in 1990 and left paralysed. He passed away at the depressingly young age of 57 in 1999. You can read his full biography here.

The first song I've got up here today, The Underground, is taken from Mayfield's classic 1971 album Roots. I've always loved the textures of this song, with the layered voices over the start and Curtis putting forward his manifesto before the funk groove starts up around 45 seconds in. From then on the riff keeps the track rolling along while Curtis puts his sweet vocals over the top and an excellent backing vocal.

The second song is another producer's credit for Mayfield, Patti Jo's Make Me Believe In You. I've put up the 7" version rather than the more famous 12" disco version as I think it more ably displays Curtis's signature production. Listen to the strings and riff on this and it could have been taken directly off the Superfly album. Patti delivers great vocals over the top as well, surprisingly mature for an artist who was apparently 16 when this was recorded.

You can get Curtis's Roots at a stupidly cheap price HERE.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Brand New Second Hand - Roots Manuva

Roots Manuva

Roots Manuva - Movements

Roots Manuva - Juggle Tings Proper

Going back to my limey roots today with a couple of choice cuts from Roots Manuva's debut album, Brand New Second Hand. Thought it was an appropriate time to post some Manuva due to his third album, Awfully Deep, having just been released and proof that he is maintaining the quality of his output.

I was originally planning to post a couple of more obscure tracks including a sublime cover of Yellow Submarine but wasn't really sure how familiar people were with this UK rapper/producer so thought I'd start off with the perfect introduction of Brand New Second Hand.

Roots Manuva has carved out a niche for himself as a genuinely talented British rapper. He burst onto the scene in 1999 when the idea of a decent English rapper that wasn't just a pale imitation of an American was still just a dream. The secret to his success for me was the mixture of dub/reggae/hip hop and electronic music he used as the blueprint for his tracks - a style that originally had him dismissed as being too eclectic in some circles of the UK music press. However, when his second album Run Come Save Me hit the shelves he cemented his position as the king of British hip hop with his interesting production and witty lyrics. You can read a full biography here.

The first track I've selected is one of the first tracks I ever heard from Mr Manuva, Movements. I love the blissed out bass and synths of the track. Couple this with Roots flow and the tracks has an almost hypnotic effect on the listener. It probably helps that Manuva doesn't have a standard British accent either, his voice a mixture of Jamaican dancehall and English Londoner resulting in a singsong style.

The second track I've selected, Juggle Tings Proper, is a more dancefloor orientated track. I love the little vocal sample in the background and the farting bassline. You can't knock a track that starts with the rapper exclaiming "great scott" either. Both tracks display the way Roots kept the production simple and effective, not afraid of people being able to hear his unusual rhyme style clearly.

These tracks display the confidence of an artist knowing it's his time to shine.

Both tracks are available on Brand New Second Hand which you can purchase HERE.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Welcome in Wednesday with the Reverend Al Green

Al Green

Al Green - I'm Glad You're Mine

Al Green - I Wish You Were Here

Ok ok, I know it keeps on switching but bear with me people, we're now back using Rapidshare for downloads. This is due to their unlimited download option so you all get a share of the music. Files will be available for seven days from posting and I've also reposted Rasputin Stash and Detroit Emeralds with this.

So, after the couple of days away and feeling the song of love in my heart after Valentines day I see this as the perfect time to post up some music by one of my all time favorites, Al Green.

I've heard people dismiss Al Green as the poor man's Marvin Gaye before which boils my blood as while Marvin's voice is the ultimate in seduction and foreplay I've always thought Al's voice was more like the act of sex itself, all shrieks and growls. Look I've had a couple of days off, I've had no sleep, forgive me this bit of pretentious twaddle.

Anyway, onto the music and two tracks that not only showcase Al Green's amazing voice but also the excellent production work of longtime collaborator Willie Mitchell, I've always loved the washed out sound of his strings and beats and the sound of the organs that immediately signals it as an Al Green track. I'll assume you know all about Al but if not you can read more here. You can also find out more about Willie Mitchell here.

The first song, I'm Glad You're Mine from the 1972 album I'm Still In Love With You has had it's beats sampled many times, and is a superb upbeat song from Al. I love the playful organs that run throughout the track and the way Al's voice is layered over the beats.

The second song, Wish You Were Here from the 1975 album Al Green Is Love is more of a standard Al Green slow number. I love the strings at the beginning of this track, only sampled once to my knowledge by Lootpack. Once again the production is stunning and Al Green delivers, as ever, perfect vocals over the top.

Seriously, listen to these two tracks and then try and tell me he's a poor man's anything.

You can buy I'm Still In Love With You here
You can buy Al Green's Greatest Hits here

Friday, February 11, 2005

Go Now - The Original Version

Bessie Banks

Bessie Banks - Go Now (Link 1)

Bessie Banks - Go Now (Link 2)

When I was growing up I was always under the impressions that The Moody Blues version of Go Now was the definitive article, the original and best version. Then one day I came across a collection of soul music entitled Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures and my eyes were opened as I heard this, the real original version of the song.

Dave Godin is basically a legend in soul music, having a great influence on the continuing interest people have in obscure soul and responsible for saving many many great records that would otherwise have been lost to obscurity for ever. In fact, my research since hearing this has revealed that when the Moody Blues released their cover of the song, Godin wrote a piece in the British press rightly informing people that this was actually a cover version of an earlier song. For a full biography of the man go here, you can also read more about Bessie Banks here.

Well, onto the song itself. A lot rawer in sound compared to the Moody Blues version, it also touches the heart in a way their version never did for me. Bessie's phrasing, while unusual, captures the faltering feel of the lyrics perfectly and the backing singers anguished sound makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Just noticed that The Mirror Eye did a post about Godin a while ago and off the same compilation but you can never have too much of a good thing.

Also, unsurprisingly, the ever excellent The Number One Songs In Heaven has posted twice on Godin with a piece on Deep Soul Treasures Vol 4 and an obituary after he sadly died last year.

You can buy the compilation HERE

This is also an appropriate track as I'm away the beginning of next week doing romantic things but I should be back with more new music Wednesday. To cover the fact that you only get a 100 downloads now and I'm away for four days I've put up two links to the song, basically if one's used up switch to the other one.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Detroit Emeralds tell it like it is, Rasputin Stash pass the buck

Detroit EmeraldsRasputin Stash

Detroit Emeralds - You're Getting A Little Too Smart

Rasputin Stash - The Devil Made Me Do It

No real link between these two groups except they're both master of funk.

The Detroit Emeralds are rightly regarded as a classic funk combo and here's one of the reasons why, You're Getting A Little Too Smart from their 1973 album I'm In Love With You. You can read a full biography of the group here

This track has been sampled many many times thanks to the opening beats but it's a great song in it's own right. It's got an insanely funky bass riff and strings that could keep your head nodding for ever. I love the way the track breaks down for a moments reflection before kicking back in, it's a fine example of a track that sounds like it requires no effort at all but is perfectly honed. Great organs as well. Absolutely brilliant and seriously underappreciated.

I was going to post up Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms), the soulful track sampled by De La Soul on Say No Go but I'm still having difficulties getting some of my vinyl on the computer (so many classic tracks unheard) so instead I'm posting a track from Rasputin Stash's 1974 album The Devil Made Me Do It, an overlooked gem of an album which offers up a more broody funk sound.

The bassline and delicate piano are extremely reminiscent of Isaac Hayes at his best but I really love the use of harmonies on offer here, as halfway through the track they drop the funk and delve into sweet soul before kicking back into the funk. Basically a great example of how the great bands of the time could fit a track of epic proportions into four and a half minutes.

Apologies for the rushed style of today's post, time is limited my friends, time is limited.

You can get a best of The Detroit Emeralds HERE

You can get a copy of the whole of Rasputin Stash's album HERE

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Omar's Best By Far


Omar - To The Top

Omar - Syleste

Excuse the shit title please. Am breaking with tradition today by posting music that's only 5 years old but I believe sometimes rules need to be broken when music like this is being ignored.

Omar rode the wave of acid jazz that blew up in the early nineties and scored one absolutely massive hit with the song There's Nothing Like This. After hitting the big time he then, as far as the public were aware, disappeared off the face of the earth.

However, Omar was still working hard in the studio and in 2000 released the brilliant nu-soul album Best By Far, an album that lived up to it's title but that was shockingly slept on by the general public.

Offering a mixture of funk, lounge, garage and soul all produced to the highest level it really is about time that people start reevaluating his work. You can read more details of the man and his haircut here.

To The Top is some sort of staccato funk monster. I love the use of live instruments on the track rather than relying on samples and, as always with Omar, the track features truly beautiful harmony arrangements. The track builds from a slow groove into a storming middle and then breaks down beautifully again.

Syleste is a whole different kettle of fish, taking it's cue from lounge music but once again done to perfection. The production side is brilliantly layered and I particularly love the subtle use of trumpets. Who knows, maybe the albums diversity was why it never took hold in the mainstream as it should have.

You can buy the album HERE. Do it, do it now.

On a sad note, sorry to see the demise of Deep Soul Junkie, was enjoying the musical selection he put up. I've got a track that I was going to post end of this week anyway which now seems perfectly suited for this occasion.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Don Covay

Don Covay

Don Covay - What's In The Headlines

I promised to make a change from the funk today though how long this will last is a matter of doubt. Anyway today I give you another great example of music with a message.

Don Covay had been around a hell of a long time already when he released this beautiful folk/blues tune. Starting his career in the 50's in doo-wop groups he slowly moved through soul and r'n'b, continuously playing with different styles. Though he remained most famous for the song Mercy Mercy he also wrote songs for artists such as Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin and was held in extremely high regard by the Rolling Stones back when they had some credibility. You can read a full biography of the man here.

The track I've focused on today is from his 1970 album Different Strokes for Different Folks and shows off a different side to Don Covay. The song's brilliance is in it's simplicity, not an instrument or vocal is wasted as Don sings about the troubles facing him on a daily basis. I love the combination of the happy go lucky feel of the tune with such miserable lyrics. Plus, is the muted trumpet effect made with a paper and comb? Who knows and, more importantly, who cares when it works so well......

You can get a best of Don Covay HERE.

Friday, February 04, 2005

The Meters bring the funk into Friday

The Meters

Eldridge Holmes - Pop, Popcorn Children (New Link)

Betty Harris - There's A Break In The Road (New Link)

It's Friday and it's time for The Meters. After all I am a blog who specializes in funk and soul so it had to happen sooner or later. However, rather than list some of their excellent own music I thought I'd put up two songs where they were the backing band. Both songs have The Meters funky fingerprints all over them and are blisteringly energetic.

The first track, Pop, Popcorn Children by Eldridge Holmes is almost too good for words. It draws you in slowly with a sweet little guitar and piano intro before the drums kick in and these drums are something else entirely. Add in a the horn section, Eldridge's "Popcorn" shout outs and one of the most bizarre bridges I've ever heard where the whole song sounds like it's falling apart and you end up with something that is really very very special. You can read more about Eldridge in the very complete biography here.

The second track, There's Break In The Road by Betty Harris is more of a standard Meters affair but that doesn't make it any less funky. Once again I love the drums on this track and the way the tightness of the trumpets and guitar slowly warp until you get layered noise over the track. Special mention should go out to Betty's vocals as well which are just the right level of sassy, you can read more about her here.

Hmm, just noticed those sites highlight the two tracks I've posted, a coincidence I assure you.

You can get Betty Harris' full back catalogue on CD HERE. Not so sure about Eldridge Holmes but have a look around and you should be able to pick up his stuff on an Atlantic compilation.

With those funk stormers I think it might be time to diverse a bit next week.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Sly & The Family Stone Get Fresh

Sly & The Family Stone
High kicking funk

Sly & The Family Stone - If You Want Me To Stay

Sly & The Family Stone - Skin I'm In

Ok now we're delving into the classics but I just had to post some Sly today. The groups early albums There's A Riot Goin On and Stand are rightly regarded as classics but I've always had a soft spot for their 1973 album Fresh. Take a look at that front cover and tell me that isn't something special.

Recorded just before Sly self destructed the album is a mixture of sublime music and mumbling oddities - probably a pretty decent indication of what the Sly's drug addled mind was like at that time. If you're unaware of the band's turbulent history you can read a full biography here.

The two songs I have for you today are both sublime uplifting tunes, a lot lighter than anything on the previous There's a Riot Goin' On album. If You Want Me To Stay is probably my favorite Sly & The Family Stone track they ever did. It starts off with a cheeky bass line before the most delicate piano comes over the top. From then on it's close to perfection as Sly delivers just the right level of earnest need in his voice. By the time he's screaming out over the chorus you'd be hard pressed not to think this music is manna from heaven. Shame it just sort of pitters out at the end but it always gets me putting it straight back on.

The second song, Skin I'm In, boldly takes about 30 seconds before it even really gets started, relying on another great bassline and scatty drums before the trumpet hook comes in. This song displays perfectly how by the time of this album actual verses to the songs were quickly becoming a thing of the past, and it didn't matter a jot when the music was this good.

You can pick up a copy of the album HERE and, while you're at it, buy their other albums too.

Apologies about the lack of a new hosting services - i tried doing all the ftp stuff but it just made my head hurt - will try again next week maybe, otherwise would be grateful for anyone who can send me very basic instructions on how to use it.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Feeling the supermarket blues

Eugene McDaniels
Awesome front cover, awesome album.

Eugene McDaniel - Supermarket Blues

There is more killer funk later in the week, but due to me currently suffering the after effects of a night out we're going to explore a more thoughtful world today, the world of Eugene McDaniels.

Eugene started his career way back in the 50's as an r'n'b artist and had a couple of top ten hits in the early to mid 60's. However, his career became interesting for me when he grew tired of the direction his music was taking and decided to branch off into a more experimental mode of music. You can read a full biography here.

This new style of experimental music produced his classic album Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse in 1971 displaying a far more political stance and an idea of song structure ahead of it's time.

The track I have for you today is Supermarket Blues from this album. One of the more "normal" songs from the album it combines witty and meaningful lyrics with a deliciously catchy hook which was sampled by Quasimoto on Return Of The Loop Digga. Not really sure what you'd class this music as, though it probably fits most comfortably into the funk category. You can pick up a copy of the album HERE. It's a classic, go pick it up.

Eugene was also a great writer for other people, his hits including Roberta Flack's hit Feel Like Makin' Love. I have an excellent Marlena Shaw cover of this I must post sometime.......

By the way, I've switched sharing servies again, see if the new one offers more joy, it's got a higher download limit, no pop ups and is valid for ten days so you get three extra days you lucky buggers.....

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Wilson Pickett Back On Time

Wilson Pickett

Wilson Pickett - Get Me Back On Time (Engine Number 9 pts 1&2)

Wilson Pickett - Funky Broadway

First of, thanks to Soul Sides for including me in their round up of recommended blogs, nice to be appreciated.

Today I'm looking at one of the greats of funk, Wilson Pickett. I'm sure most people know about his classics Mustang Sally and In The Midnight Hour but today I'm going to take you into the later stages of his career and a real heavy funk classic, Get Me Back On Time (Engine Number 9 pts 1&2) from 1970. You can read a full biography of the man here.

What really gets me about this track is the way it slowly builds up from a slow funk groove over Wilson's traditional heartfelt cries and growls to something altogether more epic. The track really gets going for me about 3 minutes in when the organ backing kicks in, from then on Wilson limits himself to the occasional vocal grunt and lets the keyboard, bongos and guitar do the talking. Absolutely awesome.

I've also included one of Wilson's more famous tracks, Funky Broadway, for you to listen to. It's a more standard funk track and has particularly decent horns. There, don't say I never do anything for you. Both tracks are available on his best of compilation which is available HERE.

Regarding files being in m4a/aac instead of mp3 you should be able to play them with most music software (they definitely work in realplayer) but I'll try to post mp3s only from now on.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Getting Salty with Lewis Taylor

Lewis Taylor

Lewis Taylor - Lucky

Lewis Taylor - Bittersweet

So we begin the week with a personal favorite of mine, Mr Lewis Taylor.

Lewis came onto the scene in 1996 in the wave of nu-soul led by D'Angelo and Erykah Badu. However, unlike these artists, Lewis chose to steer clear of the laidback grooves and instead head deeply into a more progressive soul including multilayered harmonies, electric guitar, the works. It's worth pointing out that Mr Taylor plays all the instruments on the album himself - a sign of his not to be sniffed at talent.

Maybe it was due to his earlier years as a punk artist but I don't think Lewis Taylor has ever comfortably fitted in to the nu-soul bracket. Perhaps this is why his albums have never sold as well as you would expect. You can find more about the man here.

The two tracks I have for you today are off his self titled debut album as Lewis Taylor. The first one, Lucky, is still his biggest hit by a long way which isn't saying too much. The record company strove to promote it by chucking him on the National Lottery show - hardly the best audience for an experimental soul artist.
The song works round a slow funk groove and features a common subject in Lewis Taylor songs: frustrated love. I forgot to mention that he also performs the backing harmonies on the tracks as well and blends them beautifully here.

The second track, Bittersweet, is a slightly more upbeat number than Lucky but still maintains that brooding edge to the music. This was the song that first introduced me to Lewis and I love the way it slowly builds up into a killer epic chorus before breaking down again into a funky loop. Lewis has been criticized for sounding too much like Marvin Gaye but in my eyes that can only be a plus.

See what you think and if you like it you can buy the album HERE.

Lewis has made three more albums since which have, sad to say, slowly reduced in quality but if you like what you hear let me know and due to my vast collection of Lewis Taylor music I'll be more than happy to post up some more in the near future.

Posting may be a bit sporadic this week but I have got some killer funk for you when I have the time to post it.......

Friday, January 28, 2005

Timmy Thomas gets low down and dirty

Timmy Thomas

Timmy Thomas - Sexy Woman

This next song goes out to all you lovers out there. Ok, it may be seventies soul of the sleaziest kind but this is a killer tune. Thomas started his career playing accompanist to greats like Donald Byrd. However in the early seventies he went solo and hit the big time with the track Why Can't We Live Together?. That was a blissful keyboard led track, this on the other hand, is pure funk groove.

The track Sexy Woman came out in 1977 and is more reminiscent of Teddy Pendergrass at his best. Thomas keeps the vocals down to a minimum and lets you bask in the swinging groove of the guitar and bassline with bursts of trumpet layered over the top. It's an obvious ode to all the women out there but rarely are they pulled off as successfully as this.

It's one of those songs that once heard, keeps you coming back again and again.......

It's a pretty rare track and the only place I know it is available is on the Dj Shadow/Cut Chemist album Product Placement which is available here. Otherwise, be sure to check out his individual albums which are decent soul/funk offerings. There's a pretty good one available here.

Keeping it short and sweet today, will try and post a bit more if I get a chance later, if not, look forward to next week when I should be exploring some Don Covay, Eugene McDaniels, and the criminally underrated Lewis Taylor.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Minnie Riperton

Minnie Riperton
Minnie does the ice cream trick 30 years before Kelis

Minnie Riperton - Reasons

Minnie Riperton - Take A Little Trip

I've been planning a post on Minnie Riperton since I put up a couple of tracks by Syreeta a while back.
An extremely talented singer, her music has wrongly been written off as cheesy lounge music. Basically, if you've only ever heard Lovin You then you are really missing out on a great star who worked with, among others, Stevie Wonder. Her career was tragically cut short when she died in 1979 aged just 31. You can read a full biography here

Minnie first came to fame when working with the Rotary Connection on tracks like the brilliant Black Gold Of The Sun and Les Fluer. Both of these songs have been covered in recent times by Nu Yorican music and 4 hero respectively. While both of the covers are decent enough, check out the originals for some proper caffeine burst music - best wake up call you can get.

However today I'm focusing on her solo career and the second album she released: Perfect Angel. This album did feature Lovin You which, although beautifully sung, I can make no excuses for but you'll find from these two songs that it wasn't all sweetness and light in Minnie's world.

The first track, Reasons, is more dirty funk than soul and shows obvious signs of her previous work with Rotary Connection in its wailing guitars and big sound. In fact it was cowritten by Richard Rudolph one of the founding members of the group and also Minnie's husband. Riperton's big voice works excellently in this environment and pulls the vocals off well.

The second track, Take A Little Trip , has much more of Wonder's influence on it, having been cowritten by Stevie. It's got that classic seventies Wonder blend of soft keyboards and is a much more laidback track than Reasons but no less heartfelt.

The album is worth picking up and it available to buy in a double pack with her Adventures in Paradise album HERE.

On a side note, been getting feedback about some people having difficulty with the new download system. Sorry for any inconvenience caused, hopefully I should have a proper link site set up real soon.......

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Best Part - J-Live


J-Live - Wax Paper

J-Live - Them That's Not

So back to the hip hop today and an underground classic, the awesome The Best Part by J-Live.

Famous in hip hop circles for the fact that it took 5 years for the album to be released it is also legendary for being a great showcase of J-Live's immense talent as an mc. Recorded in 1996 after the release of two excellent singles, the album then sat on the shelf for five years as bootlegs and label relocations kept it from release. Finally in 2001 the album saw the light of day and it was worth the wait.

The two tracks up here today are both great examples of how fluid J-Live's style is and the difference in the subject matter to most mc's out there.

The first track Wax Paper is an absolute killer of a tune as J-Live takes the break from Gz and Hustlaz (Haboglabotribin) and lays down what is more akin to spoken word than rap - no chorus or hooks just a quality Slick Rick style tale.

The second track Them That's Not is another track that shows the lyrical capability of J-Live. The Eddie Russ trumpet loop slows down and speeds up but J-live's vocals match the warped rhythm perfectly. This and Wax Paper are both great examples of what a gifted MC can make out of what are very basic songs production wise.

Both tracks are available on the album HERE. Since the release J-Live has produced another album and an EP but, while decent, neither has scaled the heights of this debut album.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I know you got (northern) soul

Back then it was all about the badges

Sue Lynne - Don't Pity Me

The Metros - Since I Found My Baby

Sorry, this isn't about Eric B and Rakim's legendary track, we will return to hip hop later in the week (got some quality J-Live and, just possibly, some quality British 80's hip hop) but I thought I'd turn back the clock today to visit the world of northern soul.

Just before I get into it I must offer an apology to Freemotion who I've only just noticed actually did an excellent post about Pharcyde at the weekend including the original version of Soulflower - well worth checking out.

Northern soul is really a collective term for a wide wide range of music. The term came into being to group together the Detroit style sixties soul music that limey's used to dance to in club nights set up in the north of the country in the seventies. You can read a more accurate summary of this tradition here.

Very basically, the music tended to be fast, energetic and extremely soulful. In fact, I was inspired to do this post after hearing the Ikettes song at Soul Sides which would have knocked the crowd dead at a northern soul night.

The actual two tracks I have for you today I know extremely little about. The Metros Since I Found My Baby is a real brooding track with superb lead vocals and the perfect haunting backing vocals that sixties soul does so very well. The second track, Don't Pity Me by Sue Lynne is a more upbeat track and I'm more than a little bit convinced that the stonking trumpet into wasn't sampled by Go!Team on their excellent recent album.

Both songs are lyrically predictable but you don't listen to this music for the lyrics. Funnily enough you can get both songs on the same cheap compilation which is available HERE

Anyway, back to the hip hop tomorrow, let me know if you fancy hearing some MC Tunes tracks (trust me, they're not all like The Only Rhyme That Bites).

Monday, January 24, 2005

Bizarre Ride II Early Nineties Hip Hop


The Pharcyde - On The DL

The Pharcyde - Otha Fish

It's a new week and a new method of download! That's right, I'm experimenting with something other than You Send It so let me know if it works ok. There may be a slight delay before the song downloads and you may get a pop up but it still looks a lot more reliable..........

Anyway, on to today's selection. As promised we're visiting the wonderful world of hip hop this week and what better way to start it than with a seminal group from the early nineties, The Pharcyde.

Formed at the turn of the nineties these guys have been producing quality hip hop for over a decade now and, while having lost two of their founding members, show no signs of slowing up in their old age. You can read a full bio of the group here.

The two songs I've got for you today are both off their debut album Bizarre Ride II which was released in 1992 at the back end of the native tongues wave of hip hop. The album caught my ears back then due to it's mixture of blissed out samples by the legendary J-Swift and the MCs who-gives-a-shit lyrics.

The first track I've listed here for your music pleasure is On The DL, a lesson in cutting through the bull and telling it how it really is. The beautiful laid back use by J Swift of a tired old meters sample works perfectly as the group rap about everything from wanking to robbery.

The second selection is my personal favorite Pharcyde track ever, Otha Fish. In it Slim Kid Tre pretty much goes it alone on a song that crosses between hip hop and soul and back again. It really is a sublime track and should really be held up there as a great achievement in itself.

The whole album is definitely worth getting (I haven't even touched on Ya Mama) and is available to buy HERE.

Oh yeah, for the people who have been experiencing problems downloading the tracks with You Send It, email me and let me know and I'll contact you directly with them. In the meantime, please let me know if you have any problems with the new system......

Friday, January 21, 2005

Its rollerskating time with Vaughan Mason & Crew

Vaughan Mason 12
They just don't make covers like they used to

Vaughan Mason & Crew - Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll

After the downtempo mood of yesterday's post I bring you the perfect song for a Friday. So maybe this is verging on being disco rather than funk but it's all about the rollerskating and how can you say no to that?

Released in 1980, I know very little about Mr Mason and his crew apart from that this was undoubtedly their biggest hit and has no doubt been sampled to death.

An irresistible groove to the track keeps it rolling all the way through and it really is a song that it's impossible to sit still to. A bubbly bassline and handclaps help keep things ticking over nicely before the bongos make their entrance about halfway through. The song has always reminded me of Chic's Good Times which is surely no bad thing? A guaranteed pick me up.

I've got an old 12" but a quick browse has revealed it's available on an Old School Jams compilation which you can get HERE

Right, it'll be mix up time next week when I bring hip hop up for posting (how could I have left it so long?) again and maybe, just maybe, some Tomita.......

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Galt MacDermot - Beyond the hair

Galt MacDermot
Never judge a man by his haircut

Galt MacDermot - Coffee Cold

Galt MacDermot - Space

Ok, a real quickie today I'm afraid as work has suddenly caught up with the blogging.

Today I give you two songs by Galt MacDermot. Still probably best known for his work on Hair he has also carved out a nice career making chilled out jazz music on the side.

You can read a full biography of the man here.

The first song I've put up here, Coffee Cold, was a bit of a revelation when I first heard it. I was always a big fan of The Truth by the Handsome Boy Modeling School until I heard this and realised they'd literally just laid vocals over the top of this tune.
It's extremely simple but the piano and drums create a really lovely tune.

The second track, Space, is even more minimalist but if you listen to it carefully you should be able to pick up the riff from Busta Rhymes Woo-Ha in the piano.

Both tracks are available on Galt's best of album which you can pick up HERE. They really are sublime piano numbers.

Once again, sorry about the quick post today but tomorrow should be back to normal posting tomorrow. In the meantime, if Galt isn't enough to keep you going Deep Soul Junkie has a great Isaac Hayes track available at the moment which is well worth checking out. Beat me to my post about Isaac as well.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Five Stairsteps - Jackson 5 with better beats

Five Stairsteps
How could such clean cut kids be so damn funky?

Five Stairsteps - Don't Change Your Love

Five Stairsteps - O-o-h Child

OK, that's a big boast to make but I think I can back it up........Five Stairsteps were a sixties/seventies soul group more than a little reminiscent of the Jackson 5 with their catchy hooks and well worked harmonies, not to mention the fact that they were all related. Maybe because of their similarity the Stairsteps never really achieved the success they most definitely deserved.

Their music is without a doubt extremely funk and well produced with a real high energy feel to it. You can read a rather garbled account of the group's history here.

The first track I've got for you, Don't Change Your Love, is from their Curtis Mayfield produced album, Love's Happening, from 1968 and is my all time favorite of theirs, it's a Jackson style upbeat number with a superb trumpet hook that continues throughout the whole song. What really sells it for me however is the supreme chunky feel of the beats. No wonder this song has been sampled so many times (yeah I know it's another sampled song but how do you think I first find out about a lot of these artists?)

The second track is without doubt their biggest hit, it's the original version of O-o-h Child, from the album Step by Step, and has been covered too many times to count. It's an altogether more downbeat affair and, dare I say it, more than a little bit cheesy, but get past that and it's still a beautiful song. Oh yeah, it was also used in De La's Buddy apparently.......

You've no chance in hell of getting the original albums on CD but have a look round for the vinyl versions. In the meantime you can get both of these tracks plus a lot more on their best of album which you can buy HERE.

Oh, by the way, I'm away tomorrow so expect the next update on Thursday.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Welcome in the week with Roy Ayers

Roy Ayers

Roy Ayers - Hummin'

Roy Ayers - The Memory

So, um, a bit of a delay in getting the records onto the PC but should have it done tonight. In the meantime, lets have a bit of Roy Ayers to start the week.

I don't think I really need to tell you anything about this soul legend as his music speaks for him. I've always been a big fan of his music, particularly from the Roy Ayers Music Productions (RAMP) period. Seriously, if you've never heard Everybody Loves The Sunshine you need to go buy that right now.

I've selected a mixed bag of Ayers today, the first track, Hummin' is taken from his album Ubiquity from 1971. It's a blissed out track with some lovely vocals from Roy and a real RAMP feel to the track - like sunshine laid down on vinyl, right down to the expected but still superb xylophone solo at the end. This track had a brief rebirth in 2001 when Marley Marl covered it with Roy Ayers on his album Re-Entry.

The second track, The Memory is off his 1976 album Vibrations and came out the year before RAMP's Come Into Knowledge. It's a lot sleazier than Hummin' from it's distorted bassline upwards but maintains the beautiful harmonies of his earlier work. The track slowly builds up layers as it progresses with the piano being of particular importance. It's a personal favourite of mine and it gets me everytime when Roy comes in with his heartfelt plea about two thirds of the way through the song.

It shouldn't be too hard to find a decent copy of either album on vinyl. Otherwise I'm not too sure where you can get a copy of Hummin' but The Memory and 31 other great songs by the master are available on his anthology album Destination Motherland which you can buy HERE

Friday, January 14, 2005

Sly & Robbie - When hip hop and reggae collide

Sly & Robbie
If only all reggae artists looked this funky

Sly & Robbie - Boops

Ok, back to the mid eighties today with a less obscure but by no means lower quality track.
This song charted in 1987 but seems to have been lost in the wilderness since and it's about time it got resurrected.

Sly & Robbie are most famous for their influence on Reggae in the seventies/eighties. They started out in a band called The Revolutionaries playing drums and bass respectively before moving onto writing and producing hits for pretty much any major reggae artist you can name including Yellowman, Beenie Man, Horace Andy and Barrington Levy. They've since moved onto producing music for a much wider range of artists and i read somewhere that they've now produced over 20,000 songs.

This particular track is a somewhat different kettle of fish from their normal formula, mixing rap (from noted English/Jamaican rapper Shinehead), a seriously funky bassline, a soulful chorus and a cut up style of samples reminiscent of early Coldcut. All this thrown into the mix together equals a classic piece of eighties dance/hip hop music, in other words, perfect for a Friday. A warning though, the whistling is impossible to get out of your head for at least a day afterwards.

The track is taken from the album Rhythm Killers which also features Bootsy Collins and isn't a bad little album at all. You can purchase a copy HERE

Oh yeah, I'll be coming through with a lot of good funk from next week when i finally get more of my music uploaded onto the computer so stay tuned.......

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Welcome to the world of expert knob twiddlers Mike & Rich

Mike & Rich
Don't twist that knob µ-Ziq!

Mike & Rich - Mr Frosty

Mike & Rich - Jelly Fish

A new day, a change of sound. As a break from the soul and hip hop I've been bringing you I thought I'd post a couple of tracks of electronic funk by Mike & Rich, better known as electronic legends µ-Ziq and Aphex Twin. The album was released in 1996 when both artists were riding high on critical acclaim.

The cover alone makes the album essential but what really sets it apart is that, quite unexpectedly for such a high profile collaboration, the whole album is a lot of fun. The artists have strayed away from going too experimental and have produced what in my mind is without a doubt the closest thing Aphex will ever get to a commercial album. I would say that the style of the music is more µ-Ziq than Aphex and it all bops along happily like some sort of mutated robotic lounge music.

The two tracks posted here are both head nodders that would cheer you up on even the dullest morning with their squelching bass and hummable tunes.
The first track Mr Frosty hooks you into it's rhythm and is more like old school Detroit techno than any kind of normal electronic breakbeat with it's synthesized strings and modulated chords.
The second track Jelly Fish is even more fun with it's looping piano like something off an old Dj Mugg's production (think Cypress Hill - Break Em Off Some) and it's collection of strange noises including clattering xylophone and ghostly whistling.

Neither track has dated at all and it's a real shame that the Mike & Rich never decided to make a follow up album. Aphex, in particular, could do with making some more fun tracks again. You can get the album here and enjoy it as a unique coming together of too very talented but decidedly odd individuals.

Back to the more soulful tunes tomorrow......

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

New Birth goes loco, Melvin gets philosophical

New Birth Posse
Those crazy cats

The New Birth - Got To Be A Knutt

Melvin Bliss - Synthetic Substitution

Well It's back to the sampled songs today. Soul Sides post the other day featuring a De La remix has made me delay my planned De La post for a while. Therefore let me offer instead two songs that were used by Prince Paul in his glory days with the group.

Got To Be A Knutt by The New Birth is an excellent funky number which was sampled by Prince Paul for two tracks on Three Feet High And Rising. You'll recognise the horns from Can You Keep A Secret and the cry of "This is a recording" from, unsurprisingly, This Is A Recording.

The great thing about this record is that it more than stands on it's own two feet and after a few listens manages to get you to ignore the sampled areas, a problem that so often kills a sampled track (I can't begin to list the number of songs that I have difficulty listening to due to their subsequent heavy sampling).
The song is without a doubt totally insane, but if you haven't heard it yet, you need to download this asap. These guys are definitely having a good time and it translates straight onto the recording. Definitely one of the best party funk songs i;ve heard. You can get a "Best Of" album pretty cheap. Well worth checking out.

The second song, Synthetic Substitution by Melvin Bliss, is one that I now find almost impossible to distinguish from it's abuse in samples. Seriously, I reckon it's been sampled in over a 100 hip hop songs. Prince Paul used it for De La three times, probably most recognisably on Potholes in My Lawn. It's a decent seventies soul song made most noticeable by it's hypnotic piano beats and the fact that Melvin is singing about a post apocalyptic nightmare future where robots have replaced women as the sexual partner of choice. Melvin also sounds like he's singing from inside a drain but I've never been able to work out if the effect is intentional or not.

Apologies about the poor quality of text today, no sleep is damaging my brain and hurting the back of my eyes.

A good night's sleep tonight should mean that we'll get properly up tempo again tomorrow as we roll towards the weekend. Also, if anyone can give me tips on a good place to host these files instead of using You Send It then please email me

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Songs to soothe the Tuesday blues away.......

Marden Hill
Friends Of Distinction

Marden Hill - Bardot

Friends Of Distinction - Lonesome Mood

I don't know about you but personally Tuesday is the lowest point of the week for me. The excitement of the weekend's gone but you're still not even half way through the working week.

Therefore, allow me to soothe away those post weekend blues by offering up two downtempo masterpieces.

The first of these is by a group calling themselves Marden Hill. I've never heard or seen anything else by this group but this particular song appeared on the compilation Late Night Sessions Vol 2.
The tune begins with the vocalist warbling in a Serge Gainsbourg manner about "Bardot being next to bed in the dictionary" over delicate piano and strings. This then slowly builds up into an epic John Barry at his Bond Best style orchestral instrumental.
Seriously, if any of their other tunes are half as good as this I want to hear the album Lost Weekend

The second tune up for offer is by The Friends Of Distinction, a 60's/70's soul group who created some beautiful soul music. You can read more about the history of the group here. This particular track came to my attention thanks to Radio 1 dj and the man who shaped my music listening for many years on Kiss FM, Giles Petersen. Most of their stuff was more upbeat funk r'n'b but I think they handle the downtempo just as well.

It's a swooning track of mournful regret interlaced with sharp bursts of horn. Or, alternatively, it's just a really good soul song. It comes from the album Grazin released in 1969. Well worth picking up.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Lyrics Born

Lyrics Born
The Man himself

Lyrics Born - Send Them

Latyrx - Burning Hot In Cali On A Saturday Night (Feat Gift Of Gab)

Lyrics Born - Rise And Shine

One of my favourite MCs of all time is the great Lyrics Born. Though not the most gifted MC of his generation he has always been one of those MCs who make you sit up and listen to what he's talking about. His gravelly voice can fluctuate between Busta Rhymes style hyperflow and a laid back, semi comatose drawl but he's always worth listening to.

He first came to my ears as one half of Latyrx with the equally gifted Lateef on the self titled album Latyrx produced by DJ Shadow. If you haven't got a copy of this album, BUY IT NOW. There's nothing else quite like it on the market.

As part of the Quannum crew with Shadow/Chief Xcel/Gift Of Gab among others, Lyrics Born has been involved in many projects over the years but I thought I'd put up three cuts that show off the versatility of the rapper and how his style has changed since the early nineties.

The first one is taken from the compilation album Solesides Greatest Bumps and shows Lyrics Born ripping the microphone for all he's worth after an extremely funky beat - I defy you not to nod your head to this.

The second track is taken from the album Latyrx and also features Lateef and Gift Of Gab (who I will no doubt cover in a future post). The wailing guitar lick carries the rhythm as the three MCs finish off the album in style.

The third track is taken from Lyrics Born's recent solo album Later That Day and shows the new, laidback side of the MC. Needless to say it remains funky.

Born also produced his debut solo album and credit goes to him for never going down the path of easy commercialism that a hip hop/funk album could easily lead to.

Hopefully this is enough to convince you that this man deserves to be put on a pedestal as an example to all the production line rappers out there of what you should be sounding like.
Rumours still abound that he and Lateef are working on a follow up albumn to Latyrx so fingers crossed for that one.........

Thursday, January 06, 2005

20th Century Steel Band and the sample that will never die

Any excuse to use this pic of Doug E.

20th Century Steel Band - Heaven and hell is on earth

Just one track today I'm afraid but it's an absolute bonafide gem. I've only ever heart one song by the 20th Century Steel but it's enough to warrant edition here. Even more shocking is that I can't really tell you anything about the band themselves - maybe you will have more luck googling for details than me.

The reason why i'm posting this song is that it's been used in many many many hip hop tunes but, bizarrely, most of them sample the very opening of the song before the tune kicks in. It's most famous is probably still Doug E Fresh's Back In The Days though for a full run down check here.

The irony is that the song itself is a wicked little steel drums number with high pitched singing and a superb riff. If i ever start making music myself it'll be the first place i go to steal drums from.

If you want to pick up a copy of this song it's available off numerous beats/breaks compilations.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Shuggie Otis

Shuggie Otis
Proof you should never judge a man by his hair

Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information

Shuggie Otis - Aht Uh Mi Hed

I was first introduced to Shuggie by wandering into a store one day and seeing a new album on David Byrne's label. Not only that but it was covered with quotes claiming it to be a lost classic of soul and sounding like dj shadow meets marvin gaye or some such bullshit.

It was in fact the rerelease of Shuggie Otis' Inspiration Information with bonus additions of some of his Freedom Flight album.

The only song I recognized on there was Strawberry Letter 23 and that was only due to The brothers Johnson version of the song (inferior in my opinion) so I was amazed when I got home and listened to this album.

It's very rare that you can honestly use the word genius and even rarer when you can honestly use the cliche that this sentence started with but in both counts I think here it is deserved.

The album opens with the sublime slow funk of the title track before slowly getting more abstract and experimental as it continues on. Notice the early bold use of a drum machine in the background which I believe predated Sly Stone's use.

After proving he could do chill out funk, Shuggie then produces what in my opinion is one of the greatest songs of all time: Aht Uh Mi Hed which mixes a sublime backing track with vocals to rival any of the great legends of soul.

Sadly, after this release Shuggie's career ground to a halt, the classic story of being ahead of his time which you can read here.

However, for this album alone, Shuggie deserves to be held up there with the true pioneers and visionaries of soul.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Black Sheep - A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

The Black Sheep in their prime

Black Sheep - Strobelite Honeys

Black Sheep - To Whom It May Concern

So, a new year, the same old hip hop. Will start mixing up musical styles shortly but before that happens I had to put up a couple of tracks from the most shockingly neglected album from the early nineties native tongue gold rush of acts.

I am of course referring to Black Sheep and their superb debut album A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

While buddies of De La Soul and Jungle Brothers (They even make cameos on De La Soul Is Dead), DJ Mr Lawnge and MC Dres were less interested in the daisy age and more interested in getting drunk and getting their end away.

I would put this album up their with De La Soul's first three albums as one of immaculately high quality hip hop.

It was a difficult task choosing just two tracks to represent how great this whole album is but in the end I settled on the disco funk of Strobelite Honey and To Whom It May Concern which reflects their more considered side.

Just listen to the quality beats of Lawnge and the flow of Dres and tell me you don't want to pick up the album.

Unfortunately after this album they released a second record, Non-Fiction, which disappeared as soon as it was released.

Since then both artists pop up occasionally and Dres can be found on the new Handsome Boy modeling School album.