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Archive for December, 2007

how not to request a song – part 9

this happened at sip last weekend (during the ice/snow storm)…there were about 12 people there and i was playing some pretty low-key hip hop.

him: yo play that gnarls barkley
me: “crazy”?
him: i know it seems played out, just see what happens. that’s a hot album.
me: didn’t really like it, a couple cuts
him: what?! but you weren’t in atlanta is 2006!
me: no i was…here
him: cause that’s the home of outkast
me: i’m well aware
him: so you can play that weird s#%t and still get low! just play it…as an experiment
me: as an experiment? no
him: see what happens! it’s three minutes (with a “what do you have to lose?” shrug)
me: (staring at him)
him: how about that “transformer”? just as an experiment – see what happens
me: no
him: how about prince?
me: um
him: play “kiss.” let me groove to “kiss” and then eat my sandwich
me: how about i’ll be in charge of the music and you be in charge of the sandwich?
him: the sandwich is under control!

Little Ghetto Boy
Donny Hathaway
Live, 1972

This is #1 on my list of albums I can’t believe haven’t been reissued on CD in the US. I’m sure someone can come up with something to trump this but this one is particularly noteworthy as the album is outstanding and everything else that he’s done (except for a live album from 1980) have already been reissued – including, as of this year the soundtrack to Come Back Charleston Blue, which is a Blaxploitation movie soundtrack that he did with Quincy Jones as music supervisor. I only heard it briefly once at someone’s house but from what I remember it’s mostly instrumental and not that moving, or at least not typical D.H. soul. It is however the first place that “Little Ghetto Boy” first appeared so we have it to thank for that.

I remember when I bought this album 6 or 7 years ago; talking to people about it then, it seemed like it must only be a matter of time before Atlantic would put it out on CD. That “matter of time” was longer than I thought (and getting longer every day) but the good news is that the import is now available on amazon for “only” $16, which actually isn’t that bad. Dusty Groove also has a reissue of the LP for the standard $9 price. Dusty Groove has the CD (out of stock) listed as a UK import at $19.

Side A of this album was recorded live at the Troubadour in Hollywood and Side B (including this song) was recorded live at the Bitter End in NYC which is on Bleecker near Laguardia. I was going to say that despite The Bitter End’s good musical reputation over the years, that it seemed sad Donny would be playing such a tiny place after putting out Everything Is Everything but…I just read that Curtis Mayfield classic Live album was recorded there the year before so…what do I know? (not much apparently…)

I will say that whoever wrote the Bitter End website is given to a certain level of hyperbole, claiming the owner has “play[ed] host to every important entertainer in the last thirty or more years.” I’m still waiting on that “Prince Live at the Bitter End” album to come out…

The darker intro to the song has served as good source material for Dr. Dre and The RZA (and others, I’m sure) but don’t sleep on the redemptive ending!

>> songs are available for two weeks [6.2 MB]
>> songs are available for two weeks [10.3 MB]

Starchild (12 Inch Version)
Level 42
12 Inch Single, 1981

This is another record that I got from Jonesy (who finally has something I can link to). He probably has the illest record collection I’ve ever seen. He told me downsized it (to 20,000 from 40,000) because he only wanted to keep the stuff he knew he was going to play (whoa). As you might guess, most people with 20,000 records struggle a bit with organization. Not him, which is especially impressive as he keeps his records with the spines facing in, for easier access to the actual records, but that means he can’t see a single title.

I made a few trips out to his NJ lair a few years ago and came back with about 50 records each time for about 1/5 of what they were worth. This was a record I got on one of those trips. I was passing over stuff left and right (Cloud One “Atmosphere Strutt,” Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne “Dance Across The Floor,” Odyssey “Inside Out,” this record, Seawind “Light the Light” – which I ended up using on Juxtapose Vol.1) and he kept asking me, “do you already have that?” and I’d give him a tentative “no” which meant, “um, no…do I need it?” Then he’d play it for me and 4 times out of 5 I it would go immediately onto the pile of stuff I wanted.

This song is a surprisingly great bit of spacey-dance-pop-rollerskating-music. It’s a lot more varied than their more famous hits like “Something About You” and the synthesizer bits (especially 2:06) don’t sound like anything else I can think of.

>> songs are available for two weeks [9.5 MB]
>> songs are available for two weeks [15.7 MB]

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