Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Soul - Think (About It)

This morning I cracked my knuckles, did some serious diggin', and came up with a PHENOMENAL haul of LPs (ten of them) and 45's (twenty nine to be precise) for only about $50. It was probably my best outing ever, so when I got home it was difficult deciding what to throw on. I must have gone through the 45's a dozen times trying to figure out what I wanted to flip first, and in the end, I just took one at random, otherwise I would still be scratching my head and himming and hawing.

In the end, the winner was a single from James Brown's People label, a song that's been dusted off and sampled by hip hop heads many times over (most famously by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock on their mega-hit It Takes Two). It features one of the many great female back up singers that were lucky enough to share the stage with the Godfather of Soul, Lyn Collins. Although I had been familiar with Lyn before, I hadn't realized until I did some reading today that she was related to Bootsy Collins, the man who was involved in making more of the funk music in the 70's than anyone else, playing in his own band The Pacesetters, behind James Brown, in George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic collective, and another of his own bands, Bootsy's Rubber Band.

Anyway, when Lyn finally got to step out of JB's shadow and take center stage to cut a single, she cut the monster hit Think (About It), a song that would be her biggest hit ever and become one of the biggest women's anthems ever. While the Female Preacher (as she would known) would continue to back and record her own material, this is the song that she'll be forever known for. I actually posted a cover of it back in July of last year from Ubiquity Records' Lions with Noelle Scaggs singing, but here's the original for you to enjoy backed with a very original cover of Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine.

Get them both on the full length Think (About It).

Jazz Brunch Jam - Hindsight Is Awesome

I know it's a little morning for brunch right now, but I'm off to dig for some vinyl today and wanted to drop this in a quick minute before hand. It comes from the J. Davis Trio, and as you might guess, yeah, they're a trio and they hail from Chicago. Listen to their latest CD These Things Happen, and it's definitely got that stripped down trio sound. What makes it different than your usually trio fare though is immediately obvious; on top of some solid and funky grooves are laid down some equally solid and carefully metered old skool type hip hop rhymes that mate up beautifully. The blending of trumpet, drums, bass, vibraphone, and other traditional jazz instruments with hip hop beats brings to mind Madlib's Shades of Blue (as well as his work with Yesterday's New Quintet) albeit with more rhymes laid down on it all.

Enough with the talk, I'm off to score some records. If I'm lucky, maybe something will pop up for Sunday Soul later! While I'm diggin', check out Hindsight Is Awesome, the lead off track on the album.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Chilling at home on a Friday night and figured I'd share some music with y'all. It comes from musician and beatsmith Stefan Fuss, also known as Protassov (don't ask me what a protassov is, I haven't the faintest idea). Fuss has played the part of guitarist, singer, producer, musical inventor, and it shows in these pieces. They're a medley of downtempo house, techno, and even a little ambient, resulting in a sound that sounds part rave-ready, and part mystical mind exploration. Looking to chill yourself? Try these two on for size.

Visit his label Switchstance Recordings and become his friend on MySpace.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hello My Jukebox

So while I didn't write much about her then. I posted up a song from Priscilla Renea last May that I really dug off her debut, a short, three track EP. In fact, I'm adding it on to this post for those of you who missed it the first time; check it out below. But, today is not just about reminiscing, it's about her latest release, this one a proper full length album that came out in December and titled Jukebox. And I like it just as much as I liked the three songs I heard before!

I'll tell you right off the bat - indie she's not. This is fully produced, glitzy pop goodness ready for mass consumption, and I'll happily take a mouthful. Think an R&B version of Katy Perry meets I don't know who (Lily Allen maybe?) and add some electronic beats in the mixture. And it's really good, honest! And upbeat, with a few exceptions, like my favorite track, Baby Please, which I'll also include below to balance out the optimism of Hello My Apple, the song that I had posted before. So, yeah, it's a catchy album that's really enjoyable if you don't mind being forced to be sunny.

Visit her website, her label Capitol Records, and become her friend on MySpace.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yah man

I'm home today sick as a dog, but I'm not going to let that prevent me from sharing some music with you. Today's tracks hail from down under, New Zealand to be precise, and they come from The Black Seeds. To be honest, I hadn't known that the Kiwis were down with the reggae, but I was schooled after listening to these guys. Come to find out, it's pretty popular down under. I guess you can only rock out to Angus Young and AC/DC for so long.

The Seeds have been together for a while, and are a top selling act in their own country, but they made a go at the world stage at the end of last year with the release of their latest album, Solid Ground, in the US. The album boasts some laid back dub and funk heavy grooves that are great for kicking back to. Especially when you're sick. Blah. Anway, below you'll find a track from the album, Love Is A Radiation, as well as a second from a live album that has yet to see US distribution. Listen, kick your feet up, and dream about growing out some dreadlocks.

Visit their website, their label Easy Star Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

Monday, January 25, 2010

25 years and counting...

So one of my gifts for Christmas was a gift card for Barnes & Noble, and since I didn't score I single note of music under the tree I figured I'd use it to buy some tunes. After some browsing, I settled on picking up the Def Jam 25th anniversary Box Set (pictured above - 5 CDs, liner notes booklet, and a special edition Adidas t-shirt packaged in a mini-crate).

While Sugar Hill Records might have struck the first blow in the commercial Hip Hop arena with the release of the Sugarhill Gang's self-titled, their presence wasn't sustained, and they folded in the mid 80's. Perhaps the biggest label to emerge at this time in terms of impact, success, and contributions to the growth of hip hop, was Def Jam recordings. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the story; Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin teamed up to form a dynamic partnership that would bring Hip Hop to the masses, thereby changing American culture (as well as the world for that matter) in profound ways.

The pair brought forth some of the brightest stars in early Hip Hop mythos: Run DMC, the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Slick Rick, 3rd Bass, and plenty others. And ever since then they've consistently stayed on top of the commercial hip hop game. I could run down name after name, but suffice to say the Def Jam stable includes a huge amount of talent. Check out Bill Adler, who worked with Def Jam in the early years, about the birth of the label

You can check out more of the interview over at Planet Ill.

So on to the actual music. The crate holds five CDs, each with twelve tracks on them, each covering five years of the label's history. A couple of comments:
1.) there is some incredible music on here that takes you back in the day and reminds you of where hip hop came from


2.) there are only twelve songs per CD, which begs the question, could they not fit any more on? Summarizing five years of such memorable releases seems a travesty.

3.) there is nothing here that you couldn't find elsewhere. no remixes, no demos, no unreleased tracks.
The verdict? At $54, it's still a nice best of collection, especially with the mini milk crate and Adidas t-shirt as well as the liner notes on each and every song thrown in to boot. Check out a couple tracks below. The first, Rock The Bells, came from LL Cool J's first album, one that I can remember sportin' on cassette tape! (the track listing incorrectly identifies the track as I Need A Beat, the very first single that Def Jam released) I'll bookend it with a cut from The Roots that comes from 2008 and the fifth disc in the set. Want to listen to the middle, order up a crate of your own. If nothing else, this is close to a 4 hour party in one dose.

Visit the Def Jam website.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Soul (part 2) - Lost & Found

So lately the tumbleweed have been about the only things shakin' in these parts. What can i say? It's a mixture of being busy with the real non-musical world and the labor of love of writing about music has felt more like a labor than a love. Don't get me wrong, I've been listening to some great stuff lately, and I'm going to start sharing more of it with you this coming week as I work my way out of this funk. That being said, I'm serving up a second helping of Sunday Soul this week to make up for the famine of last week, and oh what a meaty helping it is.

It comes from the always solid BBE Music and is titled Lost & Found: Real R'n'B & Soul. It's the second volume in the Lost & Found series, the first being Lost and Found: Rockabilly and Jump Blues, which came out back in 2007, and like the first was compiled by the dynamic duo of Keb Darge and Paul Weller. Not familiar with the names? Darge is a staple in the BBE diet, having compiled more albums than any other DJ for them. When not assembling masterful collections of gems he spins records in clubs all over the world. Weller started out playing with the English punk band The Jam, then moved on to The Style Council, then a solo career, and still holds a prominent position in the music scene in England. While coming from different floors of the musical spectrum, the two hold a passion for music of all forms as is evinced in the fact they hold enough weight to put together comps of Rockabilly and R&B.

This particular comp is an especially satisfying collection of 28 tracks! The first fifteen were dug up and dusted up by Darge, the last thirteen by Weller. The name of the album gives good indication of what you'll be listening to: nuggets of R&B and soul goodness brought forth from the 50's and 60's. These numbers are examples of the genres in their infancy, and hold an early grittiness and style which reveal the roots of the soul and funk that would later develop in the late 60's and 70's. While a very few of these names might be familiar to an avid collector or listener (Tammi Terrell, Bobby Bland, Jimmy Witherspoon, and The Dells jump out at first glance), the songs offered here are some great tracks that sound just as good as their better remembered counterparts. Although the album's name doesn't hint at it, you'll also find some bluesy numbers snuck in on the second part of the disc in Weller's collection, which you might have guessed when you saw Albert King's name listed.

So without further ado, here are a couple of tasters to get you hooked. The first, They Call Me Big Mama, comes from Big Mama Thornton and Darge's choices in the first half of the album. While her name might not ring any bells, one of her songs just might. It was a little number called Hound Dog. Yeah, that's right, the song that Elvis took for a ride not too much after. This track, They Call Me Big Mama, completely reminds me of Big Joe Turner's Shake, Rattle And Roll. The second, from the second half of the comp and actually closes it out, is bluesman Slim Harpo playing I Got Love If You Want It.

and one from volume 1:

Sunday Soul - To Love Somebody

in my prayers
i see your face again
god knows i pray every night
woman how could you be so blind, yeah
when i'm so sad, so doggone sad

i'm a man
can't you see that's what i am
well i live and breathe for you
what good would breathing do?
if i can't have you
if i can't have you


It's been a while since I've flipped a 45 around these parts, so here goes. Enjoy!

James Carr - To Love Somebody
: To Love Somebody 7"

James Carr - These Ain't Raindrops
: To Love Somebody 7" B-side

Find them both on The Complete Goldwax Singles.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jazz Brunch Jam - Dirty Osso Bucco

Today's jazz brunch jam is some keyboard magic from Eric Deutsch, an artist who's played with the likes of Charlie Hunter, Ron Miles, and Erin McKeown, as well as numerous other collaborations. In addition, he's recorded two albums on his own, the second of which is titled Hush Money, which digitally dropped in November, and if you're going to be in Boulder, CO this Thursday (the 21st), Eric is playing a CD release concert at the Boulder Theater. The album included ten compositions that revolve around his keyboard abilities, and some of the tracks blend up to five keyboard layers. There's a lot more meat to them though beyond his keys. Try out Dirty Osso Bucco below to see what I mean - a number that's got some New Orleans' style funk to it.

Visit his website.

Sunday Soul - Farewell Teddy

Earlier last week, Teddy Pendergrass passed away due to colon cancer. Teddy was one of the sweet soul voices of Philly soul in the 70's, and will be dearly missed (especially by the ladies!).

Visit his website.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Boogie Back

DJ Spinna, pictured above, knows how to lay down tracks. He's heavily called upon to produce albums, remix tracks, spin tunes, and record some music of his own every once and a while with the Jigmastas. Late last year, he assembled a compilation/DJ mix album for one of my favorite labels, BBE, titled The Boogie Back: Post Disco Club Jams. As the title suggests, the album blows the dust off some prime cuts of dance floor goodness from the late 70's and early 80's. There are actually two discs here, too: the first mixes together sixteen floor fillers in a non-stop groove and the second includes twelve of those tracks in their uncut and unmixed states.

While there are plenty of DJ albums out there that splice together dance numbers, this album digs up some obscure stuff that by all means shouldn't be. The term post disco really doesn't do justice to the breadth here. Some of these songs still wear the effects of disco proudly, others mix in more R&B and funk stylings, and you'll even come across some proto-hip-hop along the way (try the T.J Swan song And You Know That). Put it all together and you've got a strong collection that you can play from beginning to end at your next party to get people moving.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Love Will Find You (Again)

It's not often that I post twice on the same album. In fact, thinking back I can't say I've done it in the close to four years of writing MISB (with the exception of covering a concert and connecting it to the album it's in support of). Today that all changes. Today, nearly a year after first writing about it, Findlay Brown's album Love Will Find You finally comes out. I liked the album enough then (and still do now) to take the time to remind you about it. I haven't the faintest idea why it took so long for Brown to get the album pressed and to the public, but it's here, and with the backing of a major label (Verve) never the less. Here's what I said about it back in February of last year:
Findlay Brown dropped his first album a few years ago. I hadn't heard about it, and I'm not sure that anyone else had either, but he's back for round two, and this time I'm listening. It's titled Love Will Find You, and while I can't compare it to his earlier work, I can tell you that it's a heck of a lot 50's doo-wop meets Roy Orbison. Yea, you read that right, Findlay would make a damn fine Orbison tribute singer. I almost wish he had covered Pretty Woman on the album, but perhaps he's saving it for a b-side.

Seriously though, this album definitely has that AM radio oldies feel to it that reminds me a lot of fellow Brit Richard Hawley. The album is slated for release in May (not sure of a date, but you'll probably forget by then anyway), but here are a couple of songs to take with you and a link to check out some more of his music.
The record hasn't changed then, and my description still holds true. As of today, you can check it out for yourself. Below you'll find an unreleased version of the closing track of the album, I Had A Dream.

Visit his label Verve Records and become his friend on MySpace.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Soul - I Know It's You

nothing feels better
than my baby's arms
they've been around me a long time
nothing feels better
than some good news
makes you glad to face the new times

tell you nothing's better
when there's no need to look
cause you know who's there
i smile the world over
when i think of the past
how we passed all the tests
through the good and the bad

and that's why i want to say it right now
no i ain't got nobody else in mind
i know it's you

Donny Hathaway - I Know It's You : Extension Of A Man

Friday, January 08, 2010

If A Song Could Get Me You

Visit her website, her label EMI Norway, and become her friend on MySpace.

Return of The Slits

Dirty Laundry Presents: The Slits from Dirty Laundry on Vimeo.

So what are the odds of a band taking 28 years off and getting a second change? If you're The Slits, pretty good. Rewind 30 + years and you'd find yourself in the midst of the punk movement, and leading the way for women everywhere were The Slits. Much like many of the bands of the era, what the group lacked in musical training and skill was more than made up for by attitude and shear bravado. All one has to do is take a look at the cover of their first full length record, Cut, with the girls all but naked wearing loin cloths and mud and you know that they freakin' rock!

Two of the original members have brought three new girls into the fold for their third full length release ever, titled Trapped Animal. In some ways, the album feels very original, especially in relation to the lead vocals of Ari Up, and in others, a new direction. Although always influenced by world beats, especially reggae, this new album really keeps that influence front and center. It also relies on a more well rounded stable of instruments, instead of on guitars as the main firepower.

Check out the video above where Up talks about their early days as punk pioneers and then listen to the opening track from their new album, Ask Ma, below.

and an older favorite:

Visit their label Narnack Records and become their friend on MySpace.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Fred Fisher Atalobhor & His Ogiza Dance Band

"If you want to dance, this is the album that make you dance away all the sorrows in you. And if you want to sit down listening, this is the album that can suit the purpose best. This album is designed to suit all the purposes that exist in every human being. Though it's a saying that you cannot satisfy everybody in this world, everybody cannot be disatisfied out-right because how bad something may be some people will still like it. That's why they say one man's meat is another man's poison."

-Fred Fisher Atalobhor

Bring up Nigerian music and Fela Kuti's name will be the first one thrown out there (and maybe even the last). As good as he is though, it's a shame, because Afrobeat isn't the only thing that the country's got going on. Take Fred Fisher Atalobhor & His Ogiza Dance Band for example (who coincidentally opened for Kuti at one point and who Kuti eventually stole a member from for his own backing band). Fred was a trombonist, composer, and vocalist who was active in the Nigerian music scene starting in the early 70's. Much like Fela pioneered Afrobeat, Fred created a new style of music named Asolo Rock, which blended afro funk rock and soulful melodies, and resulted in music lighter and sunnier than it's more famous counterpart.

The wonderful label Vampisoul, always on the hunt digging up treasure from around the world, has collected the best songs from four of Fred Fisher's albums: Say The Truth (1979), No Way (1981), Wahala Dey For Town (1988) and Ogiza (1990), and put them together on one double disc release titled African Carnival. It's easy to guess that based on the span of years this material covers, the texture and even recording quality vary quite a bit. You'll find music that has a very traditional afrobeatish feel and songs that are clearly products of the 80's with western influence. You'll also find vocals in English as well as what I believe is Yorubu. Unlike the political implications inherent in Kuti's music, Fisher's sound has an almost tropical, let your cares fly away feel to them.

Below are a pair of tracks from the two discs. The first one, Say the Truth, is an older one, and opens the first disc. It's a soulful number that's got a take it slow reggae beat. Ibhagbe comes from the second disc and brings a little more funk with it.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Sunday Soul Jazz Brunch Jam - Persistent

To spice things up for the new year, here's some groovin', get your funk on jazz out of the Bay area's Spaceheater's Blast Furnace. This ain't your traditional jazz trio doing airy compositions; there's a lot going on in this music. This is more of a melange of jazz, hip hop, soul, and funk (hence the blending of my typical Sunday features). There's definite compositional form here, it's just a complicated form that pulls in a lot of instruments (including some flute work that feels truly original) and beats to craft a sound with more meat than you might expect from typical jazz fare.

Visit their website, their label Ropeadope Digital, and become their friend on MySpace.

Friday, January 01, 2010

So Pretty

if you cry
if you cry my love
wipe those tears
wipe those tears away
and save them for a rainy day

hold your head
hold it high my dear
we are young
and we have no fear
we're shadows of people we used to be

and though the winter's here
i'm feeling colder than i was last year
and though the winter's here
i'm feeling colder than i was last year

you know you know
that you're so pretty
i know i know
that you're so pretty
you know you know
that you're so pretty
i know i know
that you're

woa woa wooooo

Here's a folky mix of Johnny Flynn and the late Page Francis from UK band Aspen Sails. Their five song Maud EP is up for free grabs. Snag it while you can.

Aspen Sails - So Pretty : Maud EP

Become their friend on MySpace.