Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Top Rankin': The Soul Shakedown Party

Sorry for my absence and neglect ... but I'm back - and with some serious sounds!  

I'm in my hometown of Miami for the next couple of weeks diggin in the crates hard with my boy (and South Florida's hottest record collector) Mr. Brown aka Rankin' Brown.  We've hit some serious gold mines out here and bought a few collections, so of course I'll be posting some of the heat we've managed to dig up.

But before that ... 

I've posted a promo mix for my Soul Shakedown Party, which if u don't know is a monthly I started in Brooklyn, dedicated to the funkiest vintage roots, culture, rocksteady, and whatever we're feelin at the time, reggae music.  The Party features the Cool & Deadly Soundsystem, which is comprised of myself Prince Bam (PQ) and longtime BK veteran toaster, Squintee (of the mighty Macintosh Hi Powered soundsystem of the 80's) and a slew of special guests.

It's a great time ... and a perfect party for the summer heat.  The next date will be Saturday May 24th in Prospect heights at SODA Bar (629 Vanderbilt Ave) from 11 - 3am.  Be there!

Enjoy these very large chunes!

The Soul Shakedown Party - Mixtape Sampler - Mixed by Prince Bam (PQ)   
1 - Intro/Chosen Few - Do Your Thing
2 - Judah Tafari - Rastafari Tell You
3 - Lloyd Parks - We'll Get Over It
4 - Sylford Walker - Burn Babylon
5 - Bob Marley - Rainbow Country (Bam's Live Dub)
6 - Prince Lincoln - Whopping Good Vibration (PQ Edit)
7 - Inner Circle - Jah Music
8 - Donovan Carless - Be Thankful
9 - Sugar Minott - A Little Love (Prince Bam RMX)
10 - Cornell Campbell - Soul Rebel
11 - Jacob Miller - I'm a Natty Knotty
12 - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - How Long Do I Have To Wait? (Ticklah RMX)
13 - BT Express - Herbs
14 - Carl Dawkins & The Wailers - Cloud Nine
15 - Al Barry & The Cimarons - Morning Sun
16 - Larry Marshall - Run  Babylon
17 - Christel & The Goldmaster All-Stars - Government Man
18 - Hugh Mundell - Oh How I Love Him
19 - Capital Letters - Smoking My Ganja
20 - Junior Delahaye - Rentman
21 - Blood Sisters - Ring My Dub (Bam Dub)
22 - Outro/Bob Marley - Soul Shakedown Party (Afrodisiac Soundsystem RMX)

Friday, March 28, 2008

The New Dance Show ... Cooley High

The New Dance Show came about in Detroit in the early 90's after Don Cornelius and Soul Train went off the air.  As we all know, Detroit has always been a mecca for music in the US, from Motown to the birth of techno, the city defined and innovated a slew of musical movements.

I've always been a huge fan of anything Detroit ... so when I discovered these clips on You Tube, I was ecstatic (thanks to my boy Mr. Brown).  

The show featured some of Detroits finest DJ's dropping the hardest Detroit house, techno, and bass cuts from that era.  From Juan Atkins to Kraftwerk, it'll amaze you to see such bootyshakin' over these tunes.  Most people don't realize that the majority of the Detroit pioneers of techno, were all members of the black community.  Techno was very much a black thing, and to see these kids jitting and bumping to Kraftwerk in the auditorium of Detroit's iconic Cooley High will open your eyes to the context of this particular movement.

I've been living off these clips on You Tube ... people don't dance like this anymore ... and peep the fashion - you see the same styles in the club today with all the throwbacks pointing directly to this era.  2008 is the new 1992!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Big Boi pulls a Royal Flush

The first single to leak off of Big Boi's upcoming solo record, Sir Luscious Left Foot, featuring Andre3000 and Raekwon.  No release date as of yet, but this one totally wets the appetite.  

Also, makes me incredibly anxious to hear Rae's long awaited follow-up, Only Built for Cuban Linx II, which is supposed to drop later this year.

I think its safe to say we might have a couple a nice hip hop records to listen to this year ... Kanye, take a long nap.

Big Boi feat. Andre3000 & Raekwon - Royal Flush

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Miguel De Deus ... Funky Brasiliero

Miguel De Deus was an active member of the Brazilian Black movement of the 70's.  He was a part of several important bands like Os Brasoes and Assim e Assado.  Born in Bahia, De Deus went on to record only one solo LP in 1977 called "Black Soul Brothers".  This solo effort has become one of the most collectable and desired pieces of this era in Brazilian music.

I've seen this record auctioned off on e-bay for a pretty penny.  Its one of those records that I always look for when I hit the record bins - so far no luck.  There are, however, a few nice Brazilian comps that have recently licensed the use of the LP's title track (check Mr. Bongo's Brazilian Beats series).

The tune is a funky romp that will get the dancefloor on a full-tilt boogie.  Complete with an infectious hand-clapping rhythm, a brilliant horn section, and a chorus that conjures up visions of blaxploitation, this track is gigantic.  Enjoy the heat!

Miguel De Deus - Black Soul Brother (1977)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Top Rankin': Johnny Too Bad

This track is a jamaican classic and one of my favorite reggae tunes of all time.  Produced by Byron Lee in 1970 and featured in the excellent film, "The Harder They Come", the tune was recorded by an elusive group called the Slickers.  There isn't much info on the Slickers, but they are rumored to have been made up of several band members from the top-notch reggae outfit, The Pioneers.  I've also read that Delroy Wilson and his brother Trevor Wilson actually wrote the tune.  

There are several versions of this song, including a Lee Perry production, but the 1970 soundtrack version is by far the best.  It features an amazing vocal performance by a super young Abraham Green (later known as Ras Abraham).   There is something so sweet about the way he belts out this tune.  The cautionary wisdom within the songs lyrics, resonates with every note he sings.  This song is deeply moving.  Play it loud - and sing along!  
Critical Rating:  999% Dynamite!  

The Slickers - Johnny Too Bad (1970)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday Night Disco ... Double Action

Wow!  My god the 70's ... disco chic, huh ... I don't think I'll ever get tired of the ultra suggestive disco artwork of this decade, but damn this italian released disco 45 is almost pornographic.  The old addage "never judge a book by its cover" maybe true, but not when it comes to the records of the 70's.  You're not as likely to be misled - if the cover looks funky, chances are the tunes are funky.  

This 45 features an ultra deep and super sexy b-side banger called "Double Action".  The mysterious record was produced by Italy's Green Light label in 1976 by a group called Fantastic Soul Invention.  I tried to dig up as much info about this group that I could, but found almost nothing.  The track, however was one that I swore I've heard before ... sure enough as I took a closer look into my disco 12's, I found a UK pressing of a group called the Sarr Band, which had a b-side of the same title.  Ahah!  It's the same track, slightly different dub.  

The mystery of this 45 can only be speculated on, but I believe its just an italian bootleg that they labeled the Fantastic Soul Invention.  (I've seen this before on some Portuguese and Spanish disco 12's).  They probably didn't even license the tune, some straight Italian thievery.

You gotta love this track, from its cover, to its history, to its sound.  Its a dance floor heater with a heavy groove and a chorus thats  as suggestive as its cover ... "double action with me - I'm trying to do the deed".  Thats right she's talking about a menage' ... yes sir a disco threesome.

Critical Rating:  X-rated Boogie!

Fantastic Soul Invention aka Sarr Band - Double Action (1976)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New Badu ... New Amerykah

The latest effort from Erykah Badu, New Amerykah: Part 1 (4th World War), hit record stores this week.  The record is part 1 of a supposed 3 part trilogy concept Badu has been developing, in which she promises to take on sociopolitical issues like poverty and 9/11. 

With Madlib and Sa-Ra Creative Partners behind the boards, Badu has found a new place to dwell, shedding the conventional VH1 neo-soul format she helped define, for a more dark and eccentric, stream-of-consciousness vibe.  Badu's quirky vocals fit nicely among the headnodding funky jumble of sounds - she certainly doesn't sound out of place.  However, the starkness and headiness of many of the compositions make this record a much harder listen than her previous ones.  

I've only listened to this record once, but so far I'm really feelin it.  Its very much a step in the new direction soul has been taking - a little less produced a little more contemplative.  On my first listen, I couldn't help but think of the work Georgia Anne Muldrow has produced in recent years for Stones Throw.  I started to think that it may sound a little too derivative, but Muldrow's guest appearance on "Master Teacher" dispels this notion.  

Badu has really shed some skin on this record.  Beyond the 9th wonder produced "Honey" (which I like), Amerykah really has no pop-friendly chart-topping singles - no sign of VH1 at all on this one.  In fact, "Honey" is labeled on the record as "bonus track".  

She's left behind the soulquarian grooves for smoked-out psychedelics.  I really admire the way she challenges her fans to follow her creative impulses.  This record is incredibly daring and still very much Badu.  I'm on board.  Ok, its safe now go buy this record.

Critics Review:  Feelin it.

Erykah Badu - Telephone

Erykah Badu - Honey