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Archive for May, 2005

little bobby and susie need you!

Can’t Take It With You
First Choice
Breakaway, 1980

First Choice is the group responsible for the disco classic “Let No Man Put Asunder” which you probably know, even if you think you don’t. They also did “Love Thang” which was sampled by Boogie Down Productions on “A Word From Our Sponsor” and “The Blueprint.”

This is one of my favorite songs by them and once you listen to it, you’ll see why, in 1980, three years after Saturday Night Fever, in the height of disco-gone-wrong, it was destined to be an album cut.

This is one of what i feel like is a large number of songs (large as in like, 10) that start out sounding like romantic/love-hanging-in-the-balance songs but somewhere late in the song (too late if you ask me), we find out that our two main characters have children together and the situation is more of a…family issue.

My other favorite example of this is “I Miss You” by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. 7:04 into the song, after saying “[my friend] told me you did ask about me” and “i even went out and got a gig, oh, i forgot you’re not hip to the hip talk – plain j-o-b baby” (and randomly mentioning that he won the lottery, thinking it “might make up” for past), he says “enough about you & me, how’s my little son? does he ever ask about me? does he still like to go down by the supermarket?” I don’t know why he’s surprised that she’s asking his friend where he is – she wants her child support you unemployed gambling dead beat dad!

The funny and great thing about this song is that after 3 minutes of singing about how her man/husband/whatever is caught up in the great paper chase (“what good is wealth if you lose your health?”) the leader singer suddenly breaks into “i love you i want you, the children need you!” and then tops it off with two made-up kid’s names that stick out like a sore thumb: “little bobby and susie – they need you! need you!”

Somehow, they pull it off and the song is still totally convincing…even while alternately saying “life is very short” and “life ain’t goin’ nowhere.” Check it out, you’ll see.

>> songs are available for two weeks [6.9 MB]

the sun setting from the Smith & 9th subway platform tonight

king for a day

i played at the Living Beyond Belief Awards tonight at BB King’s and it was kinda official…as in slightly scary. they had real sound guys and some serious-a$$ speakers as you might expect. anyways, it was fun to “play official” for a day, “yeah, yeah, i play 1000-person concert venues all the time!”

pimp $hit

I’d Rather Be With You
Bootsy Collins
Stretchin’ Out In Bootsy’s Rubber Band, 1976

bootsy collins was responsible for most of Parliament’s crazy-wack-funky basslines of the mid-70′s including “Flash Light.” this song is from his first solo album. it’s so PG-13. it starts out “above board” but the lyrics in the fade-out are not for the faint of heart.

it was inspiration for Adina Howard’s “A Freak Like Me” and also for NWA’s “I’d Rather F–k With You” and potentially behind the brilliant but cringe-inducing phife-dawg line “bust a nut inside your eye to show you were i come from” although that’s just conjecture on my part.

me, i just like it for the oboe (that’s an oboe, right?). nothing let’s a woman know you mean business like an oboe!

>> songs are available for two weeks [6.8 MB]

some pictures from madame x last night

dj alma on the wheels….

DJ I-Queue, James Blagden, Alma & Wes Jackson

I Need Somebody To Love Tonight
Stars, 1979

Warning, this song is not romantic. It’s actually a little…scary. Not in a “something bad is going to happen” kind of way but in a haunting, lonely kind of way. The spacey percussion (0:09), dualing basslines (0:23), swirling synthsizer parts (1:18), off-kilter singing (1:36), menacing guitars (2:31), and bird chirping add up to one of the coldest-feeling love/lust songs ever.

This song must have actually been perfect for the end of the night at the early 80′s New York clubs that played it. The people still at the club then were probably holding out for just this (someone to love…tonight) and probably feeling just this way (a little spaced out and post-romantic).

I bring this record out with me a lot but play it very little. As you might imagine, it’s hard to find the right time to work it in. I’m glad to get to share it this way!

Shout out to Monk One for playing this (late night) at Black Betty a while ago and putting me onto it!

>> songs are available for two weeks [9.3 MB]

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