DJ Schedule Saturday 11/19 I Love Vinyl @ Louie & Chan 10:00 p.m.–4:00 a.m. 303 Broome Street NYC
Monday 11/21 Friends @ Kinfolk 8:00 p.m.–1:00 a.m. 90 Wythe Ave, BK 11211

Archive for June, 2005

I Need You
The Temptations
1990, 1973

Think you know the Temptations? I thought I did too, until I was in Academy LPs one day about three years ago and that cool bald dude (I never caught his name) put “Ain’t No Justice” (from this LP) on the store turntable before filing it in the $1 bin. Well, it never made it to the bin.

This is easily one of the best, if not the best LP from the Temptations’ “psychedelic” period, but very few people seem to know it or have even seen it. If I was one of those competitive record dudes, I wouldn’t be posting this song because the drum breaks are sick! And I haven’t really heard anyone use it for anything big. The look I get from people when I play it for them is too priceless to keep it to myself. My friend Tony gave me the look when I played it for him but then I gave it right back when he played me the Jay-Z remix he made with it.

I buy this LP whenever I see a clean copy of it for cheap. I have three right now and I know I’ve given at least a few away. If you buy vinyl, keep your eyes peeled because I’m guessing that there are no plans to reissue this anytime soon on CD!

>> songs are available for two weeks [4.3 MB]

blessed with free will – so we choose to be ill

Respiration (Flying High Remix)
Black Star featuring Black Thought
12″ Single, 1999

I remember the day my friend Dale asked me if I had heard the Pete Rock Remix of “Respiration” featuring Black Thought. My jaw dropped; “Respiration” was one of my favorite tracks, Black Thought was my favorite MC at the time and…well, Pete Rock is Pete Rock. I couldn’t think of anything more perfect. When I finally heard it, I was underwhelmed. The high drama of the original driving beat was gone. The stuttered snares (1:51) and bass kicks (2:42) were gone. You could have legitimately called me sad about the whole situation.

The remix grew on me though, and it soon became one of the most quoted songs…in my head. Do you have certain lyrics that you replay in your head at appropriate or funny moments? The title of this post is one of the top ten lines in my ongoing mental commentary on my life. Situations that might warrant an “oh damn” get a “blessed with free will – so we choose to be ill” or “I/we/you choose to be ill” for short. Getting off the train and at a unfamiliar grimy stop gets a “where i rotate ain’t nothin to grin at.” Any police/black teen interaction gets an “police department raid the park bench on nonsense/cause they fear to see the brothers conference.”

Some other great quotes:

“When the nighttime covers the city like a cloak, I approach and assemble my hopes into notes.” (When has going to the studio sounded so good?)

“Dedicating this song to Scott LaRock, Big and ‘Pac, Kwame Ture, Betty Carter and John Henrik Clarke, Ron Brown and freedom fighters going down – you set the pace, now we finish the race – it’s on now.”

>> songs are available for two weeks [7.9 MB]

i got a last minute call to play at moe’s tonight …

i got a last minute call to play at moe’s tonight and i actually got a little dance party going in there for a while (there’s hardly room to walk around in there, much less dance).

Rock Your Baby
The Sunshine Band
The Sound of Sunshine, 1975

This isn’t the deepest song i’ve ever posted but i think it delivers on the album’s promise: “the sound of sunshine” and that’s perfect weather we’ve been having here in NYC. Yes, this is the same band Sunshine Band as KC and the Sunshine Band and this album actually came out the same year as the biggest KC album. I’ve yet to track down the story on the two names; if someone knows it, please leave a comment.

KC and Sunshine Band get a bad rap, but don’t sleep on them. My friend Ben calls them the “white Kool & The Gang,” as in they got known while doing some really funky, good stuff but ended up being remembered for their cheesiest songs. In Kool & The Gang’s case, the commercial stuff came much later. In the case of KC and the Sunshine Band, it all seems to be mixed together.

One tidbit that I love to share about them: on Biggie’s Ready To Die album, the sample for “Respect” is incorrectly listed as George McCrae’s version of “I Get Lifted.” It’s actually KC…’s version. (compare for yourself: 1st: Respect, 2nd: George McCrae, 3rd: KC and the Sunshine band – keep in mind, Poke slowed it down a lot when he sampled it).

George McCrae also did the most well-known version of “Rock Your Baby.” It guess T.K. Records (which they were both on) like to keep it all in the family.

>> songs are available for two weeks [5.4 MB]

pictures from stephanie mckay at BAM 6/4

this show was part of a series put on in conjunction with Sista Factory. the show was slammin and I highly suggest picking up the McKay album whenever possible (evidently it was only released in Europe) – i picked one up at the show. you can hear snippets of all of the songs on her site. seek this woman out!

another recommended show in the series is Julie Dexter on June 18. i haven’t heard the newest album Conscious yet but Dexterity is still in rotation, especially “Moving On” and “How Can You Feel.” You can get the details for the free show from BAM’s site.

stir of echoes

Spellbound (Rae & Christian Remix)
Rae & Christian Presenting Veba
12″ Single, 1996

Mark Rae (the Rae in Rae & Christian) is the head of Grand Central Records out of Manchester and the subject of a story that I love to tell. I was at PS-1 “warm-up” summer event series back in 2001 (I think) and he was the DJ at the outdoor “urban beach” area.

This is what I love about New York. In any other city, at an outdoor museum party you would have some “you can rent my speakers and if you need me to play too, let me know” type of guy. But in NYC, even at events smaller than this one, it’s common for the DJ to have flown over oceans to be there.

Anyways, I had no idea who he was at the time but he was doing his thing so I stuck around for a while. As the afternoon turned to evening and the event was nearing its end, the organizer got up and made a little “this is the last event for the summer” speech and then said “we have a few more minutes, so if you’ve got one more tune…?” Mark then unleashed this track that just made my jaw drop. It actually seemed like I was in a movie for a second. The last tinge of orange sun was fading and this perfectly dark, intense, chest-rattling track just take hold of the crowd. Similar to what I wrote about the end of “Please Don’t Go” at the Wonderfull party, this track seemed to bring everyone into the same moment when it dropped. It was almost as if someone said “no side conversations please” and everyone redirected their attention to the group and the task at hand.

Despite my best efforts to think “this sounds kinda like…”, I could finish the sentence and I couldn’t even decide if it was R&B, Hip Hop, or Electronic. I decided that I had to find out what the track was even if standing in line to talk to him like a groupie was the only way to find out. So, I got in line…behind the 20 year-old girls…and waited. I finally got up to him and I asked what the track was and the exchange went like this:

me: “what was that last track!?”

mark rae: “spellbound, that’s one of mine”

me: (i squinted my eyes and tilted my head – indicating I needed more info)

him: “rae & christian – i’m rae…mark rae”

me: (still making the “not enough info” face, now shaking me head a little)

him: “grand central records…?”

me: (still shaking my head, I raised my shoulders a bit)

-he gets up and goes to his record bag and pulls out the 12″ and hands it to me

-i check it out

him: “it would give it to you but I have to play in San Francisco tomorrow”

-my eyes get big at the thought

him: “oh what the hell, I don’t need to play it, take it!”

The hottest thing about it was the more apparent it became that I didn’t know anything about him, the more gracious he became. There was no eye-rolling, he just seemed to smile more with each question – I guess he knew he had a new convert.

Before, you listen to this on your tinny computer speakers and don’t understand the big deal, please do yourself a favor and either check it out on headphones or better yet on a good car system (if possible).

>> songs are available for two weeks [8 MB]

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