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, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson


What You Don’t Know
The Jackson 5
Dancing Machine, 1974 (iTunes)
Motown Records

I’ve always avoided listening to this album because I disliked the title and cover art so much. It looked like a such a post-prime, we’re-out-of-ideas, made-for-tv album. Yeah…that was my bad.

First, my friend Maggie played me the epic two-part 7 1/2 minute, “I Am Love,” which didn’t fit my misguided description at all. Still I resisted. Then I heard “The Mirrors of My Mind” as the opening track on a DJ Argyle Mix CD. I pulled out the record, recorded that track (and gave it 5 stars in iTunes) and then put the record away. I finally listened to entire album the other week and the jewels just keep coming.

“What You Don’t Know”, like a lot of songs on this album having really surprising mixes of instrumentation. It’s hard to separate it all out but there’s definitely more traditional Motown elements like tamborine and a full horn section (with prominent baritone sax – so lovely) but there’s also prominent electric guitar (:20) and some synthesizers flitting around in the background (3:15). And it comes together lovely.

This is track is definitely going to be in my set at tomorrow’s I Love Vinyl party. Come on down!

This album also contains “If I Don’t Love You This Way”, the track sampled on Mos Def’s “U R the One.”

Songs are available for two weeks.

Oh Darlin’…Life Goes On
Minnie Riperton
Stay In Love, 1977 (not available on iTunes)
Epic/CBS Records

I ranted about the Minnie Riperton compilation I have before (and soul/funk single artist compilations in general). I’ve since picked up two more Minnie compilations (1,2) that are much more comprehensive. I have 5 of her 6 albums on vinyl and comparing them to the different Best Of’s I would estimate that about 75% of her songs are represented. I love Minnie but there are some real snoozers on these comps and the one stellar track that isn’t on any of them is “Oh Darlin’…Life Goes On.”

This track feels so true to life for me. It captures that moment some time after a painful breakup that, although the pain hasn’t gone away, the relationship steps back and assumes it’s appropriate amount of mental space. She presents both sides; that she misses him and regrets being with him but she does it from such a place of convincing tenderness that I feel myself cheering her on (meanwhile it’s not her life, she didn’t write the song).

I wake alone at night
I ache to hold you tight
Oh darlin’, it’s just not right
The damage has been done
I’ve got to have some fun
Forget you, i wish i never met you
Oh darlin’
I know you’ve done me wrong
I need you darlin’
But life goes on, life goes on
I’ll get along…

The tone reminds me of “Heartbreak Road” by Bill Withers where he says “wonder who’ll be waiting for me at the end of heartbreak road. I hope that she’ll be tender, someone I can know.” I thought I had posted that song already but I haven’t. Maybe I’ll post that next week, I love themes…

Songs are available for two weeks.

Lee Fields & The Expressions
My World, 2009 (iTunes, CD, LP)
Truth & Soul Records with an assist from Stones Throw

This is my summer ’09 anthem. Well, at least my early summer anthem, well see how long it stays in rotation, but I’m guessing it will be for a while. I’m sure this song’s “Ladies, you look so good in the summertime” theme works for anywhere but it seems tailor-made for NYC where the shift to summer clothing is discussed annually and especially noticeable due to the…uh, population density.

I’ve posted several songs from Brooklyn soul/funk label Daptone Records but this is the first that I’ve posted from their Brooklyn soul/funk rival (?) Truth & Soul. I would actually guess that they don’t consider themselves rivals, despite that they, as I understand it, both formed out the ashes of a label called Desco and have a lot of overlapping players. Lee Fields has actually released music on both labels although the first I heard of him was the “My World”/”Love Comes and Goes” 7″ which came out on Truth & Soul in 2007. Those two songs went easily and immediately into my mental top 10 list of new soul songs, so as you might guess, I’ve been waiting patiently for this album to come out for the last two years. The album isn’t perfect but does not disappoint, with “Ladies”, “My World Is Empty Without You” and “Last Ride” (as well as re-recorded versions of “My World” and “Love Comes and Goes”) being standouts. This album came out Tuesday. I encourage you to support independent labels like this that are going against the grain.

I have to give props to Monk One for giving me the Lee Fields 7″ and also mention that his weekly party, The Greenhouse (a Brooklyn institution since 2001) is ending this week as Black Betty is closing it doors permanently. If you are in Brooklyn Friday night, that is going to be the place to be, if you can fit in the building.

Songs are available for two weeks.

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