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Archive for March, 2007

This Time (I’m Gonna Try It My Way)
DJ Shadow
The Outsider, 2006

This is post #2 inspired by my good friend dale. He and I have been exchanging mixtapes (yes, tapes…now cds) for ten years. This is the lead-off track on the most recent mix he sent me. We usually send the track listings a few weeks after we send the cds to heighten the mystery a little and ward off each other’s prejudgments about certain artists/genres (he caught me sleeping hard on a Sizzla track back in ’99).

When I first heard this track, I didn’t have the privilege of knowing who it was and I was off by decades. I was sure it was some Eugene McDaniels unreleased track or something of that sort. When he eventually told me it was DJ Shadow some questions immediately came to mind…and they still remain…What is live? What is samples? Who’s singing? How was he able to achieve such a cohesive early 70′s sound?

Apparently there was a submit-a-video contest on youtube for song. If you search for “DJ Shadow This Time” you’ll get about 4 pages of entries, including this one that consists wholly of low-grade footage of people hoola-hooping.

>> songs are available for two weeks [4.5 MB]

Everybody Here Wants You
Jeff Buckley
Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk, 2005

This is pretty off the beaten path from my usual soul/hip hop posts but I’ve been listening to this song all week and why limit myself, right? Jeff Buckley is a pretty known quantity and I don’t know that much about him so this will be a short.

My good friend dale put me onto Jeff Buckley’s heart-breaking live version of “Last Goodbye” (“kiss me out of desire not consolation” gets me every time) four or five years ago. I eventually picked up Grace and Mystery White Boy but i didn’t realize he had a posthumous album until I saw it at another friend’s house last week. Then I realized that I used to own it before I knew who he was…and I gave it away while trying to clear out a glut non-essential free cds from when I used to work at Sony. I guess I always figured there might be something in there that I would regret…

Well, I’ve listened through it once and I don’t love every song (as is the case with his other albums) but it contains this jewel which is plenty to make me wonder what else I’ve given away without listening to over the years.

>> right-click to download “Everybody Here Wants You” [6.7 MB].

She’s Got Soul
New Sector Movements
Turn It Up, 2004

I’ve been meaning to post this song for a long time. Turn It Up is the second album from New Sector Movements which is one of the many projects (or aliases) of prolific London producer IG Culture. And I wonder if it might be the last, as, which was linked to in a March ’04 article now displays a Network Solutions page (although the NSM myspace has been logged into today).

The first NSM album (Download This) was pretty squarely in the Broken Beat sphere but the second one sounds more like an R&B album from 2020 (or at least the direction I wish for popular music). It features Eska, who’s voice I cannot get enough of, on six tracks (and all four of my favorites on the album). IG also produced “La Guerre,” my favorite song (by far) on the Les Nubians’ 2003 One Step Forward album. It could easily blend in on this album, perhaps forecasting where he was going with NSM.

It was hard to pick which song to post but I chose this one because I love the way the melody in the verses sounds like cascading waves but perhaps more importantly because I appreciate that it acknowledges that this future soul album (and the rest of the more out-there music that IG & Eska create) is all part of the black music continuum and inspired by it. In this particular case, female soul singers, which Eska names by first name in the choruses:

Ella (Fitzgerald), Sarah (Vaughn), Nina (Simone), Syreeta (Wright), Billie (Holiday), (???), Brenda (Russell), Chaka (Khan), Gladys (Knight), Berta (Roberta Flack), Deniece (Williams), Patrice (Rushen), Sandra (Cassandra Wilson?), Angie (Stone), (???), Brandy (?).

If anyone can fill in the blanks, please leave a comment.

Listen to it loud (and maybe late at night) or you might miss the magic.

>> songs are available for two weeks [6.0 MB]

I Don’t Know Why
Stevie Wonder
For Once In My Life, 1968

Building on this post of two years ago; as it turns out, Stevie’s version didn’t only appear on the b-side of the “My Cherie Amour” 45, it also came out on this album, the year before. I’ve seen a single with a b-side from a previous album a few times before and I really would like for someone to explain the thinking behind it. It’s like saying, “Oh, if you didn’t pick up the last album, here’s that hot song you missed, no need to go back and buy it. Have a nice day!”

That aside, the Stevie version has really grown on me. I slightly regret the certainty with which I announced that young Michael outperformed Stevie on this song. The Stevie version is definitely more sparse but the emotional peak that he reaches in the last third of the song is pretty intense. His adlibs sound like he is lost in the emotion of the song and unaware of the people in the studio (I love the noise makes at 1:55).

Since my last post, The Brand New Heavies (with the original lineup) came out with a new album and covered this song as the first single. The album version was pleasant but the “4 Hero Folk Soul Mix” is worth repeated listens.

Shout out to Megan @ Kingsize for playing me the Stevie version for the first time a few years back.

>> songs are available for two weeks [4.4 MB]

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