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 April, 2008

This Is Your Life
Commodores
Caught In The Act, 1975

I had to take it back to the shag carpet classics this week. This is the Lionel Richie ballad that started it all. The Commodores first album was basically all uptempo funk. This album, their second, is mostly funk as well, “Slippery When Wet” was a #1 R&B hit, and although this song didn’t do as well, it clearly outclasses the other ballad that was written by the whole group. There are exceptions, but it wouldn’t unfair to generalize and say that each album after this featured (at least) one Lionel Richie-penned ballad which was the biggest hit and that the songs got progressively more mainstream (“Easy” (Like Sunday Morning), “Three Times a Lady” and country-goodness of “Sail On”). This of course, lead up to his leaving the group to pursue his very pop-friendly solo career.

But that’s not the part worth dwelling on. The first few ballads are so good! I couldn’t decide to whether to post this or “Just To Be Close To You” (and let’s not forget about “Sweet Love”). I like this song more, but Lionel’s preacher-ish spoken intro on “Just To Be Close To You” (“I found that material things…I thought had so much val-ya [value], did really have any val-ya at all…”) is slightly shocking if you don’t already know it. When I realized this is song didn’t make the “The Best Of The Commodores, The Millennium Collection” and that their 1978 Greatest Hits only has the radio edit with 2:29 of the song cut off, that made my mind up for me.

>> songs are available for two weeks (192 kbps) [8.2 MB]
>> songs are available for two weeks (320 kbps) [13.5 MB]

The World (Going Up In Flames)
Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band
7″ Single, 2007

This song is kind of a masterpiece. I’ve only had it for a few days but this isn’t one of those songs you come to appreciate after time. This song gets in your face a little bit; that slightly sour upright piano (sounding just like the piano on this track 40 years earlier) has moved into my brain and set up shop.

I honestly don’t know how they (Daptone Records out of Brooklyn, as well as Truth & Soul) are able to keep making such amazing soul. For those unfamiliar, that release year is correct, it’s not a reissue, this song was recorded in 2007. They have all of the right ingredients – analog studios, older black singers etc. – but there’s no young Isaac Hayes and David Porter as a songwriting staff (although I guess they weren’t famous when Stax came on the scene either). It just seems like they could have just as easily compiled the formula and not produced the results. I have to give credit where its due.

I was searching for an image of this 45 online and found a great-looking blog of vinyl recordings that I hadn’t seen before. When I pulled the image down, I realized by the way it was titled that it was from my favorite online store, Dusty Groove. When I went there I realized that the author didn’t only borrow the image, but also most of the review! That’s a personal affront to me as a music blogger!

Dusty Groove’s review:

Scorching raw soul from Charles Bradley — backed by the tight Menahan Street Band! “World (Is Going Up In Flames)” might be the best track yet from Bradley — an incredible groover with a heavy theme — but the apocalypse never sounded so sweet! The groove is raw and emotive, given a deeper feel thanks to some piano in the mix — with a rubbery bass line and backing vocals by the Gospel Queens! The flip “Heartaches And Pain” is another emotional workout — and has the feel of a lost southern soul scorcher, but with funkier bassline and drums! Amazing stuff!

“Dusty Nuggets’” “review”:

Scorching raw soul from Charles Bradley, a funk legend backed by the unbelievably-retro sounding Menahan Street Band. “This World (Is Going Up In Flames)” might be the best track yet from Bradley. (Which is saying a lot, because his prior 45 with the Bullets, “This Love Ain’t Big Enough for the Two of Us,” was explosive.) The groove is raw and emotive, given a deeper feel thanks to some piano in the mix, with a rubbery bass line and backing vocals by the Gospel Queens. As Charles bares down with his first wrenching moan, it is clear that this is not going to be a record made of empty gestures.

Come on homie!

>> songs are available for two weeks (192 kbps) [4.8 MB]
>> songs are available for two weeks (320 kbps) [8.0 MB]

We Almost Lost Detroit
Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson
Bridges, 1977

I haven’t been record shopping much recently but after taking the reMitch to The Thing and picking up 10 records, I uncoincidentally found myself walking into Good Records on East 3rd street, saturday after East Village Radio. This was the first record I found – a record I’ve wanted for about 7 years. I think the records are trying to tell me something (“don’t stop digging!”).

This is another one of those tracks that’s been sampled, then re-visited and re-sampled. The floaty keyboard intro was first sampled by the French duo Air on “Modular Mix” (you didn’t see that one coming did you, Dale?). I am pretty sure that was off the radar of J. Rawls who smartly chopped up the pieces of guitar between the lines of the first verse for Black Star’s “Brown Skin Lady” in 1999, which was definitely on Kanye West’s radar when he sampled the keyboard fills between the lines of the second verse for Common’s “The People.” I wonder if he was consciously trying to one-up J. Rawls, especially as he used the same technique. Who’s next? There’s still the horns at the end that are up for grabs.

From the album sleeve:

Wikipedia makes it really easy to know who Karen Silkwood was. He actually performed this song at a concert called “No Nukes” at Madison Square Garden in 1979.

>> songs are available for two weeks (192 kbps) [7.4 MB]
>> songs are available for two weeks (320 kbps) [12.2 MB]

Cozy
Bar-Kays
Too Hot To Stop, 1976

This is one of my first records, I wish I could remember where I bought it. I had always thought that “Cozy” didn’t have enough energy to play at dj gigs but I played it last week for the first time and realized I play songs that are more relaxed than this on a semi-regular basis. It’s funny how my notion of what is ok to play has changed a lot over the years and, like in this case, I sometimes come across some outdated assessments in my brain.

This song really seems like it’s destined to show up in a sketch comedy show or a love scene gone wrong in some sort of modern equivalent to Boomerang of Booty Call or some movie like that. The lyrics are just too literal; did people really say things like “the music’s playing soft and low, now’s the time to let our feelings show” in 1976? (Obviously, I hope so.)

Of note: the unexpected-overacheiver-drum fills, and key-change in the fade-out, I think that’s a first (ok, probably not).

This album has been reissued on cd with nicely sanitized artwork. The front cover isn’t so bad (ok, the level of sweat is a little creepy) but the back cover has the nice addition of a naked woman lying on stage at a concert:

>> songs are available for two weeks (192 kbps) [5.1 MB]
>> songs are available for two weeks (320 kbps) [8.3 MB]

record digging with the reMitch and Kyrstle 03-30-08

Search this website

Archives

Meta