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Archive for July, 2008

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Pleasures – Part 2

Pains of Love
The New Birth
It’s Been a Long Time, 1973

And This Is Love
Gladys Knight & The Pips
Neither One of Us, 1973

My Man’s Gone Now
Nina Simone
Nina Simone Sings The Blues, 1967

Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)
Frankie Beverley And The Butlers
The Sound Of Philadelphia, 197?

This is a response/continuation of a post on Captain’s Crate, one of my favorite mp3 blogs. The post is called “Desperate Times Call For Desperate Pleasures” and the four songs posted are about “The kind [of anguish] that can reduce a grown man to pathetic teary desperation.”

“The Pains of Love” by The New Birth was the song that immediately came to mind and gave me the idea to do a Part 2 on this theme. I love how this guy’s woman left him and he’s giving her a lecture on the pain that she’s going to be in. He’s just projecting away, “Why am I hurting this way?…you will say.” He ends the songs whispering “You’ll be lost, you’re gonna need me…”

The Gladys Knight song was sampled on “It Takes More” by Goapele. This one is definitely over the top. It’s basically a list of things objects/memories like “drinking too much pink champagne” that remind her of her former man. There are few interesting items like “how you used to cheat at checkers” and “a TV Guide.”

The Nina Simone song is a slow burner but builds to an intense ending. I actually recorded this from “The Best of Nina Simone” on RCA but wanted to give the original album info.

I found this pre-Maze Frankie Beverly track on The Sound Of Philadelphia compilation. It’s originally from this 7″. Not sure if there is an album or not. I love how he slow he says “now the pain keeps getting deeper” at :52, its as if the pain is affecting his speech.

Anyone up for doing a Part 3 on this theme? Send me a link if so.

Songs are available for two weeks.

Free John Legend/Estelle Show In Brooklyn Tonight

This day on their schedule said “surprise guest” or something like that until recently.

Everything Good To You (Ain’t Always Good For You)
B.T. Express
Do It (‘Til Your Satisfied), 1974

I’ve been meaning to do a post about bootleg vinyl breaks compilations for a while…and this isn’t really the post I was writing in my mind but that’s ok (as I can’t really remember it). I feel like I have to say that what write is inevitably going to be colored by DJ Premier’s tirade on breaks records on Gang Starr’s Moment of Truth album (text below).

That aside, I have to give respect, well, at least acknowledge that a lot of my early record shopping was fueled by the names and tracks found on those compilations. That said, the producers of these compilations take some serious liberties when preparing the tracks for release. This B.T. Express song is a great example. It appears on Strictly Breaks Vol. 5 which come out in 1998. Its listed, like the rest, with a subtitle that says who sampled it, in this case, “Used by DMX for ‘Get At Me Dog’” (it was also sampled on “Get The Bozack” by EPMD 9 years earlier). The Strictly Breaks folks knew that DJs would want to play it right before or after the DMX song which was getting a lot of attention at the time so they went ahead and decided it was ok to slow the song down from 117 beats per minute to…104 (i.e. a lot, making it much closer to tempo of the DMX song – 97) and repeat the first bar four times (creating a clumsy 11-bar intro).

To expect more integrity from a compilation who’s “copyright” line says “Warning: Unauthorized duplications of this joint will end you up with cement shoes at a river near you!!!” is perhaps foolish. But that it doesn’t say “Re-Edit” or “*Remix by Louis Flores” like the Ultimate Breaks and Beats series seems irresponsible. I guess the lesson is that if you are going to get your samples the “lazy” way then you are getting something on par with the amount of effort you are putting out but something about it still bothers me. I guess its that the state of affairs is only getting more sloppy in the internet age of “crate digging.” I haven’t been djing that long but I felt like a senior citizen when a young DJ recently asked me “where do you get all those samples? because they’re really hard to find at good quality [read: download at good quality], trust me I looked…do you [pause] dig?” with a tone that implied he expected me to laugh, say ‘hell no” and tell him the right place to look online.

…and one other thing, what’s the deal with you break record cats that’s putting out all the original records that we sample from, and snitchin’ by putting us on the back of it saying that we used stuff – you know how that gostop doing that – ya’ll are violatin’, straight up and down! word up man, i’m sick on this sh-t; ya’ll motherf-ck-rs really don’t know what this hip hop’s all about; so while you keep on fakin’ the funk, we gonna keep on walking through the darkness, carrying our torches…

Songs are available for two weeks.

Community Service Announcement
Kylie Auldist
Just Say, 2008

The Australian soul singer that I was intrigued by on this song that I posted in November released her debut album May 26 on Tru Thoughts (the same label that released the Bamboos album that she guested on). Her album was produced Lance (aka Lanu) from the Bamboos and it has a fairly similar feel to the Bamboos vocal songs. This is the first single and what I would consider (so far) to be the best song on the album.

It also seems to be part of a larger move in the new soul “movement” to dial the sound back from 1973 to 1967. I think it’s cool that people are being creative and switching it up but that “everyone” seems to be doing at the same time (Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings “Tell Me” and the 100 Days, 100 Nights album is the best example I can think of) makes me think of this music as trendy and makes it a lot harder to idealize it as timeless (which I enjoy doing).

Thematically, this song bears a strong resemblance to Bill Wither’s “Lonely Town, Lonely Street.”

“Community Service Announcement” opening line:

Living in the jungle
Is same as living in the town
If your not living near your brothers
We all need someone around

“Lonely Town, Lonely Street” opening line:

You can live your life in a crowded city
You can walk along a crowded street
But the city really ain’t no bigger
Than the friendly people that you meet

I was really surprised to find a cover of the Jeff Buckley song I posted in March ’07. I like to pretend that she was google-ing herself and found my site and decided to cover the song for me.

>> right-click –> here to download “Community Service Announcement” [10.3 MB].

Sunday and Sister Jones
Roberta Flack
Quiet Fire, 1971
wikipedia | official site

I came back across this album in my collection this week while recording a bunch of borrowed records and was aghast that I hadn’t recorded this song yet. I’ve shared my love of early Roberta Flack before but am glad to give another example of how her easy-listening reputation is unfortunate or at least not all there is (the duets with Peabo Bryson and Maxi Priest are hard to dispute).

This is her second sultry song about a preacher, not coincidentally both were written by Eugene McDaniels. “Reverend Lee” (the other song, some lyrics here) is intentionally lyrically provocative whereas the seduction of this song is all in the performance.

The basic plot of the song is that Reverend Jones is sick and his wife prays to the Lord for him to save him, saying “if you take him away i don’t want to live another day.” He dies and she dies the next day. I don’t know if they recorded this song at 4:00 a.m. or what but (tell me if I’m wrong) somewhere beween Roberta’s delivery of birth, death, kneeling, and “Life was crying (?) from her body / Like water from a drying well,” this song has a clear sexual vibe to it.

It was early Sunday evening
Just before the death of day
All the family friends were grieving
Reverend Jones just passed away
Sister Jones had seen it coming
She was familiar with the signs
Late one night I heard her hummin’
While strolling through the Georgia pines

She said, Lord if you take him away
I don’t want to live

It was early Sunday morning
Just before the birth of day
I can hear the rooster crowing
Sister Jones knelt down to pray
She said Lord he’s slipping through my fingers
Is death the master of us all?
She said Lord I’m humble here before you
Just grant this life and don’t let him fall
She said, Lord if you take him away
I don’t want to live another day

Later on that Sunday evening
Just before the midnight dawn (?)
Sister Jones was heavy breathin’
I still hear the mourning song
Life was crying from her body
Like water from a drying well
Well, I heard her whisper thank you Jesus
Just before midnight ___

Sister Jones was taken away
She didn’t live
Sister Jones was taken away
She didn’t live another day
Sister Jones was taken away
She didn’t live
Sister Jones was taken away
She didn’t live another day
Sister Jones…taken away
She didn’t live another day

Looks like Roberta Flack is selling the piano that she used to record her masterpiece debut First Take. Times must be tough…

Perry, thanks for this record.

>> right-click –> here to download the 192 kbps version [6.9 MB] or here for the 320 kbps version [11.5 MB].

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