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.