Singer/songwriter/producer Clarence Reid, like David Bowie and P-Funk's George Clinton, had multiple musical personalities. One was of an earnest Southern soul singer, born February 14, 1945, in Cochran, GA, and recorded for TK Records president Henry Stone's Alston imprint.
Talk about a group who didn't quite get there due,the Natural 4 is one of those groups.They are as smooth stepping as they are singing.Such tracks as "Heaven right here on Earth" and"Try love again" are just a little sample of what these four men from Oakland California can do.If you can find anything by these guys,but it!They are truly in the category with The Stylistics,The Whispers and The Dramatics and ChiLites.
This album, PEOPLE...HOLD ON, is my all time favorite by Eddie Kendricks. This was his second solo effort after leaving the Temptations, and it clearly defined the musical direction he would be taking in his career. Recorded a year before his first real taste of commercial (read: crossover) success (1972), the material and production presented here probably outshined anything he ever made that came afterward. Now this is not to downplay Kendricks' smashes "Keep On Truckin'" or "Boogie Down" or any of his stellar subsequent LPs; I loved those songs as a little kid and I still enjoy listening to them to this day. But PEOPLE...HOLD ON marked a real departure for Eddie: he got rid of the formulatic sound that had marked most of Motown's records, and chose a Washington, D.C.-based R&B band, The Young Senators (which was also his backup band on tour), to play behind him on these sessions instead. The result: an amazing chunk of funk with a splash of honey added to it. And Eddie's confidence as a soloist had definitely grown since his debut in 1971.
Produced by (now the Reverend) Frank Wilson and Chess Records alumni Leonard Caston, Jr., PEOPLE...HOLD ON was a concept album that was specifically geared towards Eddie's largest fan base --African-Americans -- and sold well among that market (as would all of his solo works). It featured cut after cut of songs that made the Thin Man from Birmingham get back to his roots: gospel-drenched ballads ("Day By Day", "Just Memories"), ballads with a funk/reggae-tinged edge ("If You Let Me", "Eddie's Love", "I'm On The Sideline"), hot dance cuts ("Girl You Need A Change of Mind", "Date With The Rain") and soulful message music ("Someday We'll Have a Better World", "My People...Hold On").
The title song, "My People...", is an absolute triumph, an adventurous, hypnotic tune that features African drums, chants, hand claps, and dramatic spoken passages. Talk about going back to your roots? Well, Eddie really put it on us here, taking us all the way back to the Motherland, with an almost revolutionary message. Particularly worth noting is the full version of the brilliant arrangement of "Girl You Need a Change of Mind", a song that addresses feminism, which is included here in its full glory. Relentlessly coming at you, it has a couple of breakdowns in the song that were similarly used with great success on Eddie's later hits "Truckin'" and "Boogie Down". "Change of Mind" has been documented by many to be the first disco record (playing time: 7:30), and it is still very popular in club circles and on classic soul radio. It stamped Eddie with the reputation for waxing some of the tightest dance tracks to ever come out of Motown in the '70s. His falsetto sounds wonderfully seductive, with the male voices in the background encouraging his rap...convincing an independent woman that he's in her corner, but he's asking her not to get so caught up in being a superwoman that she puts making love to him out of her mind ("Now I'm for women's rights, I just want equal nights"). Whatcha say to that?
Also worth mentioning is the the opening tune, a Frank Wilson composition, "If You Let Me". Eddie's pristine natural tenor is the focus here, and it is one of the best vocal performances he has ever turned in -- in or out of the Temptations. Pouring emotion into each lyric, you kind of get the feeling that the song indeed held some deep personal meaning for him. When he sings "Just tryin' to make ya see, my mind done all but left me"-- you honestly believe it. It was also Eddie's highest charting R&B single since his departure from the group, and signaled that something huge was on the horizon.
IMO, the only flaw on the album is "Let Me Run Into Your Lonely Heart", which is a raw, funky little cut, but the arrangement of the song is a bit too discordant for me to fully enjoy. But aside from that, PEOPLE...HOLD ON is something definitely worth "holding on" to, a true soul classic. Once you get this in your hands, you'll never want to let go. Motown, you know what to do -- get it back out there for us to enjoy on CD! This is, without a doubt, EJK's masterpiece.
Considering that this album is the follow up to Herbie Hancock's brilliant 'Headhunters' and 'Thrust',the albums that wrote the book on the funk-jazz sound 'Man-Child' is bound to be as magical an album as the mysterious cover art suggests and it is."Hang Up Your Hang Ups" is a strident,funky blacksploitation thats chocked FULL of guitar and Moog breaks for you hip-hop samplers!Elsewhere "Sun Touch" and "Bubbles" are smoldering,drippy funky fusion filled with lush,melodic keyboard and analog synth textures."The Traiter","Heartbeat" and "Steppin In It" are harder edged uptempo funk.Overall 'Man-Child' comes off as the 'pure funk album' Herbie was planning to make with his previous two records because the jazz influences are kept to a bare minimum.For fans of fusion and mid 70's electronic Moog/ARP funk this album is a treasure but for those interested in earlier,more abstract fusion this may not be your thing.It's only a pitty that some very similar sounding and conceived albums by George Duke and Jan Hammer from roughly this same period remain out of print.It's a testament to the fact that,luckily,Hancock managed to be connected with Columbia records who have kept classic funk LP's by Herbie Hancock like this in print!
Blue Mitchell made his name as a member of Horace Silver's quintet, where his lyrical playing and beautiful timbre perfectly complemented Silver's simplified, soulful brand of bop. When Silver disbanded his group the members stayed together under Mitchell's leadership; Silver and Brooks were replaced by Chick Corea and Al Foster, whose places were later taken by Harold Mabern and Billy Higgins.
A very good and very funky record by Blue Mitchell.
Imagination turns out to be some of the most energetic and sentimental albums The Whispers had released in their long career. Thanks to the production wonders of Leon Sylvers, Don Cornelius (for jammin'), and the band (for romancin'), Imagination was a great follow up to 1979's self titled lp that contained the #1 hit, "And The Beat Goes On." Now on to the songs, "I Can Make It Better" and "It's A Love Thing" was what rocked the whole lp with the violins, guitar picks, and slick bass lines and smooth lyrics (written by in-house SOLAR extrodinaire, Dana Myers). Those jams well mixed romance with funk. Another familar groovy tune was "Up On Soul Train" (obviously produced by Soul Train host and founder, Don Cornelius) of which served as Soul Train's theme song from 1980 to 1982 (before O'Bryan's "Soul Trains A Comin'" replaced it mid-way in the 12th season). "Continental Shuffle" (written by Lakeside's Mark Wood) was groovy while the sentimental "Say You (Would Love For Me Too)" stood as a great classic Whispers' ballad. Nothing much to say but to enjoy another Whispers classic album. Like their 1979 self titled lp, Imagination was a big enough hit for a SOLAR all star tour (with Lakeside, Shalamar and Dynasty) as well as four promotional videos (two of them were for "It's A Love Thing" and "Say You (Would Love For Me Too)") of which the latter which were new promotional tools for African American musicians.
Obviously this is not the actor James Mason, but this mind movie is made by Roy Ayres guitarist of the same name.
This album has a funk disco feel, but when I say this, I am not talking about mirror ball glitter, but a danceable, 1970s CTI feel. Rhythm Of Life is covered by early synthesizers, and grooves you can step to, but glide with a cool vibe and not a mirror ball stomp.
The title track reminds me of listening to late 1970s FM radio: one of those amazing and novel detours a well versed DJ would take, back when DJs could cook sets the way they pleased.
The rest of Rhythm Of Life does not have quite the grip of the title track, but with excellent female vocals and tight as a right foot step playing, the whole album has a compelling grip you will be digging on for a long time.
Mixing impassioned political and social protest with stellar Rasta bats, these sons of Jamaican immigrants-led by David Hinds rose out of humble Birmingham origins to become one of the U.K.'s all-time greatest reggae acts and a globallyl revered band. Their live shows-both headlining and opening for Bob Marley and others-are legendary. Steel Pulse's Elektra debut album, True Democracy, ranks as one of their strongest, and Earth Crisis further built on their legacy as musical innovators and human rights advocates. Often fusing elements of jazz, dancehall, hip-hop, and Latin music into a roots reggae base, Steel Pulse will forever remain icons of the genre.
Love Is Here and Now You're Gone album by Tamiya Lynn was released Aug 23, 2005 on the DBK Works label. Lynn attempts to do what Margie Joseph did with "Stop in the Name of Love": tack a sassy monologue on the front of a Supremes hit and see if it flies. Love Is Here and Now You're Gone music CDs It didn't. Love Is Here and Now You're Gone songs Though it's a nice effort, it didn't cause any rumblings like Joseph's Fred Briggs production did. Love Is Here and Now You're Gone album The album is consistently good, however, and one wonders why there isn't a CD compilation of Tamiya Lynn's recordings. Love Is Here and Now You're Gone CD music Bert Berns' "I'm Gonna Run Away" is a tearjerker that's a big favorite in England with the Northern soul crowd; she gets funky on a Major Lance remake, "Ain't No Soul (Left In These Old Shoes)," and does a splendid "Mojo Hanna," originally done by Henry Lumpkin on Motown; Marvin Gaye also recorded the song about the New Orleans' roots woman, but the Ideals' rendition on Cortland Records is the best version for your money.
Ralph Tresvant is undoubtedly one of the most attractive, smooth heartthrobs in the music industry. He has this subtle sexiness about himself that women just can't deny. Further, he also has a very nice singing voice. Hey, he wasn't New Edition's lead singer for nothing! His self-titled debut, although solid, is more of a hit and miss than anything. The best songs on this album are memorable, but his more lackluster tracks really brought the album down. His biggest missteps were his rapping and that a lot of the material on his debut sound dated, with so much of the New Jack sound infused.
The New Jack sound is all over the tracks "Ordinary Guy (Public Figure)", "She's My Love Thang" and "Girl I Can't Control It." "Girl I Can't Control" is one of the weaker songs on Ralph's debut. The lyrics are corny and the production sounds like it was created within five minutes. Vocally, though, he sounds good. "Ordinary Guy (Public Figure)" is a decent song. Ralph needs to leave the rapping to the rappers, but the rap on this song? The lyrics are good. He's letting everyone who doubts him know that he is very intelligent and can do more than just hold a note. "Rated R" is the opening track, however, it's also the weakest track on the album. The production samples James Brown, he is once again rapping and there are these annoying women in the background. He definitely could have opened his album better than he did.
Ralph really had a hit on his hands with "Sensitivity". This song was a hit when it was released and it's no wonder: The lyrics are fantastic, the vocal arrangement is great, and the production is good too. This is overall a superb song. "Alright Now" is another great song. This song was co-written by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Ralph makes a great rendition of this song, and I found myself going back to listen to it several times because it's just that good. "Do What I Gotta Do" emotes a lot of pain and uncertainty. Here, Ralph is deciding whether or not he wants to end a relationship. He brings much personality to his voice in this song. "Do What I Gotta Do" is one of Ralph's all-time best songs.
Overall, this is a solid album. Ralph Tresvant is a truly talented artist and should be recognized for his vocal skills. This album is worth investing in.
On his debut solo album, Hi-Teknology, Cincinnati producer Hi-Tek brings together some of hip-hop's most innovative lyricists to complete his multilayered musical collages. Hi-Tek made his name producing for Black Star and Reflection Eternal, creating impressive tracks that were always as complex as the rhymes that Mos Def and Talib Kweli rhymed over them. On Hi-Teknology, however, he's not limited to the range of just two MCs, and each track is fashioned to custom fit the artists featured. "The Sun God," featuring Common and Vinia Mojica, is a musical composition that is nothing short of perfect. Common is at his poetic best, telling a moving story over Hi-Tek's soulful production, which blends unidentifiable sounds to create an atmosphere that has a mysterious story of its own. "Breakin' Bread" is an archetypal hip-hop track with a hazy flute sample that gives the song a jazzy feel. And the funky production on the risqué "L.T.A.H.," featuring Slum Village, will transport listeners to the '70s. With Hi-Teknology, Hi-Tek secures his place among the great producers by bringing serious musicianship to hip-hop production and creating a truly satisfying album.
Johnny Robinson's sole studio LP remains a lost classic of Memphis soul. Produced by Willie Mitchell during one of his rare sabbaticals from the Hi Records stable, Memphis High captures a rougher, earthier sound than Mitchell's landmark work for Al Green or Ann Peebles but proves well suited to Robinson's gritty, impassioned approach. Robinson is a quintessential deep soul balladeer, rooted in gospel and haunted by demons. Mitchell's slow-burning arrangements mirror the intensity of his subject, evoking the purity and turmoil of his psyche.
Anyone who really knows TOP, knows, that Lenny Williams was the most incredible lead vocalist TOP has had, or will ever have. With that being said, new vocalist Hubert Tubbs had a tough act to follow, and filled the space admirably. His vocals on this album really are soulful, gruff, funky and moving. The songs here, 3 or 4 being instrumentals, are all first-rate TOP. The horn and rhythm section on this album is the BEST that TOP has ever had, period! Along with the albums "Bump City", "Tower Of Power", "Back To Oakland", "Urban Renewal" and "Live And In Living Color", this album is truly a gem among those other TOP classics!! And most important, it is funky like a mo-fo!
I'll keep this short because I'm too busy enjoying the music. No filler here -- just great 12" versions that will rock your party. High points include "Wah Do Dem" by Eek-A-Mouse, "Look Youthman" by Barrington Levy and my personal favorite, a stunning 7:56 long version of "Firehouse Rock" from the Wailing Souls, which closes out with about three righteous minutes of crackling, rocking dub.
If you've only heard the LP versions of these songs, you haven't really heard them. The 12" versions are so much better, combining the original hits with necessary B-side dub remix versions in all their trance-inducing fury.
What I especially love about the musical period represented here is that the electronics never got in the way of the melodies or the performances, in contrast to the often over-processed sound of today's music. This is a fine additon to your conscious party. Enjoy and peace.
1. Synopsis One: In The Ghetto / God Save The World
2. Poverty's Paradise
4. Synopsis Two: Mother's Day
5. Mother's Day
7. Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth
8. 24-Carat Black (Theme)
Dale Warren, the leader of this musical project, was one of those talented musicians and producers who eventually was overwhelmed by personal problems. But in the short time he was recording music he delivered this amazing album in 1973. "Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth" is a mesmerizing musical concoction; a blend of soul and funk and pop and rap. This music was light years ahead of its time. Warren and crew did not play sweet, short singles, but long and funky numbers, stained by tears and pain, with socially concious lyrical content. Nope, not your basic Top 40 formula. But this is music that lasts, and despite some of the 70s lamentations on here, it has aged very, very well. Still powerful stuff. In addition to the funky jams, there are some raps and vocals on a few track by Warren's wife. And the album's closer, the instrumental "24-Carat Black" (Theme) is a monster track, a true rhythm delight! Fans of 70s funk and soul; Don't miss this one!
Released back in 1991, this was an underrated debut album from the duo known as Nice & Smooth. The two offer some of the most creative hip-hop of all-time, especially with songs like "Hip-Hop Junkies". Of course, most people have never heard anything like the voice of Greg Nice, but that's the beauty of this album.
This showcase collection features all six of Jacob Miller's Augustus Pablo produced single A-sides back to back with their respective dub versions. It's a great collaboration: Miller's impassioned vocals, Pablo's uniquely strong rhythms, melodies and arrangements played by some of Jamaica's finest musicians; plus the legendary King Tubby at the mixing desk. All the tracks were recorded over an 18 month period (1974-75) at Randy's and Dynamic studios and provided much of the source material for the landmark "King Tubby meets rockers uptown" album, after being mixed at King Tubby's studio by the master himself.
Miller was still a teenager when he started working with Pablo, but handles each vocal performance with an assurance that belies his youthful inexperience, whether it's the dread lyrics of tracks like "False rasta" or love songs like "Baby I love you so", and Tubby's dub mixes beautifully complement the A-sides. Dub was still a relatively new phenomenon when these recordings were made and hardly known outside of Jamaica. The idea of stripping a track down to its bare bones, adding effects such as echo and reverb, and dropping its constituent musical elements in and out of the mix was pioneered by Tubby, opening the door to a whole new world of sonic exploration.
It's difficult to pick favourite tracks on a compilation as good as this one. The most famous of these singles is undoubtedly "Baby I love you so" or rather its dub version "King Tubby meets rockers uptown", which was one of the first examples of dub to make any sort of impact internationally. But from the opening "Keep on knocking", which begins with a statement of intent by Miller ("This is rockers! Original rockers!") it's non-stop quintessential mid-70's reggae from start to finish.
Miller wanted to make more records with Pablo (who can blame him?) but given Pablo's dire financial status (he was often dependent on many of the musicians playing on his records for free on the basis that he would do the same for them), the promises of fame and fortune from other producers soon became too tempting. Before long Miller would become hugely successful with his band Inner Circle, but artistically at least, he never surpassed the recordings on this album. Sadly he was killed in a car crash in 1980, while Tubby was tragically gunned down outside his studio in 1989 and Pablo died a decade later in 1999.
Although the rhythms collected together on "Who say Jah no dread" are all available elsewhere, these are the definitive versions and if you only ever buy one Augustus Pablo record make sure this is it. In view of the album's title it's also pertinent to mention that Pablo was a deeply religious man who often credited Jah as co-producer of his works and this one is no exception. On the sleeve, after the words "produced by Augustus Pablo" you can read the following in parenthesis: "produced by King Selassie I through his divine powers working through I and I to manifest these inspirations". What more can I say?
OK kids, it's rockin' time! Detroit's MC5 kicked off the '70s with a bang on Back in the USA, released January 15, 1970. A roadmap for punk's class of '77, the album condensed the epic, throbbing sprawl of Kick Out the Jams into the pure essence of rock & roll: machine gun blasts of pure energy and hooks, with nods to the founding fathers (Chuck Berry and Little Richard) and freshly-minted teen anthems for the ages ("Shakin' Street," "High School," "Tonight," "Teenage Lust," etc., etc.).
The Staple Singers enjoyed a brief spell when their popularity reached beyond the Soul fraternity and into the Pop charts and thus they are well known for a few classic singles. One of those appears here, "If You're Ready(Come and Go with Me)" and it gives you an idea of the quality contained in this album.
With a resolutely Southern Soul feel, this represents the best album the Staples ever recorded. While it seemed the rest of the Stax roster were busy extending the boundaries of Black music, the Staples kept faith with the elements of the music which had elevated the label to pre-eminance in the 60's. So you won't find overblown orchestration, or proto-disco here. What you will find are magnificent lead vocals (Mavis Staples has few equals), superb harmonies, and production which lets those voices take centre stage.
The Staples also kept faith with their Gospel roots, and there are a couple of tracks here that fit that profile - "If you're Ready" is essentially Gospel and "Heaven" has an ambiguous lyric which could be secular, but which in Mavis' hands must be a hymn to her God.
Stand out tracks are many, their version of Grandma's Hands for example is excellent and "the aformentioned "Heaven" is exactly that. But I would recommend this in it's entirety as an example of Soul at it's 70's best and as a musical counterpoint to the way some of their contemporaries were developing Black music.
Of course, the Queen of Hip Hop Soul got her start with What's the 411? in 1992 along with a blowout single 'Real Love' that proved she wasn't just an ordinary R&B singer. With famed success, of course we knew that she'd release a remix CD for her hit album (common back in the day) a year later to create a teaser for her November 1994 album 'My Life', which was evident from Diddy repeatin 'In 94, we got somethin new 4 yo azz'. All the remixes are the bomb, especially with teaser beats on the beginning of 'Real Love' & 'Love No Limit'. Mary also has appearances from Heavy D, Biggie Smalls, Sean Combs, Grand Puba, Craig Mack, & her alter-ego Blige J. Blige. They replaced Intro Talk & Slow Down with You Don't Have to Worry & Slow Down, which is kinda weird seeing as Mary/Andre is kinda useless & you could just have 13 tracks instead of 12. Nonetheless, my favorite is Changes I've Been Going Through which has a better beat than the original & the pain in Mary's voice is so tender. Hardcore fans this is for you. New fans, I'd recommend that you get this album, the original CD, & My Life seeing as the 1991-1996 period was her best experience.
With songs custom-made for those tender moments up at Inspiration Point ("There'll Never Be," "I Wanna Be Closer," "I Call Your Name," "Love Over And Over Again"), Switch was a hot Motown band who came on the scene at a time when that label really needed them. At the time of Switch's debut release in 1978, Motown had lost The Four Tops, The Temptations, Martha Reeves, The Marvelettes and Mary Wells, and had also been without The Jackson 5 for a couple of years. Of the star artists that remained, only Stevie Wonder still had mass appeal with the younger crowd. Switch and Rick James were Motown's (successful) effort at turning that trend. The creative mainstays of the band of multi-instrumentalists were Bobby DeBarge and Greg Williams, who wrote and produced the bulk of Switch's hits. (Bobby wrote some beautiful songs with his sister, Bunny, for some of the group's later albums.) Switch was obviously quite adept at churning out songs to get busy by, but they got down too, on cuts like "Best Beat In Town," "We Like To Party," "You Pulled A Switch," and "Go On Doin' What You Feel." I feel the inclusion of a few songs ("I Wanna Be With You," "Why'd You Let Love Fall," and "This Is My Dream") would have made this collection 5 stars. The group was outstanding in concert, and was a big hit with the ladies. Bobby DeBarge was an outstanding singer, as well as a crack writer and producer. But perhaps his greatest gift to popular music was the introduction of his brother, El. Bobby was a huge influence on his younger brother. El grew to have a singing style very similar to that of his mentor. He also became a reknowned writer and producer. Bobby DeBarge produced the first album on the family act (DeBarge) led by El. Switch's star seemed to fade just as that of DeBarge rose. After 5 lps for Motown, Bobby and brother Tommy left Switch, and the group left Motown for Total Experience Records, before fading from sight. When El and sister Bunny left DeBarge for the solo spotlight, Bobby took their place in a four-man version of DeBarge. The one album from that union, "Bad Boys," was a good effort produced by Bobby and brother James. Sadly, Bobby and his solo-star brother Chico were incarcerated on drug charges soon after that album. Bobby DeBarge contracted AIDS from drug use while behind bars. By the time he was released, he was in very ill health. But he released a solo album, "It's Not Over," before his tragic death. It had a very up-to-date sound and is worth looking for. Chico DeBarge served his time and has returned to the charts. He has insisted in interviews since his release, that he and Bobby were not involved in drug dealing and were made scapegoats. El has had tremendous highs in his career, but is a very religious man. He has kept a very low profile since his brother's death. This compilation of the best of Switch is the legacy of Bobby DeBarge. He should be remembered for being the gifted musician and unselfish brother he was.
The Velvet Underground only put out 4 albums (5 if you include the Doug Yule only Squeeze album, which most of us Velvet fans don't), but everyone was a masterpiece, and the journey commenced right here. This is my favorite VU album. It is adventurous, eclectic, tuneful, scary, moving, and assaulting, a true work of art. There isn't one throwaway track (in fact, the Velvets never wasted a track on any album). Sunday Morning begins the album beautifully. I love the drug songs Waiting for the Man and Heroin. Venus in Furs is sad and powerful, and All Tomorrow's Parties is scary and hypnotic (with Nico's best vocal). The Black Angel's Death Song is pure, avant garde Cale, and European Son predates the sonic assault we were going to get on White Light/White Heat. You think that the Velvet Underground would have choked after making such a fine debut album, but they followed it up with 3 masterpieces. How many bands only made a handful of albums and yet have had such a lasting impact? The MC5 is the only other band that comes to mind. This is one of my favorite albums of all time, and I listen to it once a week. Lou, John, Mo, Sterling, and Nico rule.
One-man show Dwele’s debut, Subject, comes correct with neo-soul staples in place. That is to say, there are enough acoustic guitars, stacked harmony vocals, mid-tempo grooves, and sound effects of scratchy vinyl to power an old-school symposium. What the Detroit-bred associate of backpack-rappers Slum Village lacks in depth, he makes up for in sheer summer-ready listenability. Dwele’s genre could be called neo-neo-soul; he seems to owe as much to the foundations laid down by D’Angelo as to obvious idol Stevie Wonder. While lacking the idiosyncrasies of those artists, Dwele manages to slide out of the speakers with enough skills to convince a casual listener to let the languid mood take over. Subject’s title track is its most fully imagined; the needle-on-record gambit that obscures its likable chorus could actually be heard as a conceptual gambit rather than a mere irritation. Elsewhere, Dwele piles on the quiet-storm stuff so masterfully that he sows confusion, while at least seemingly hoping to settle down with one conquest. Vision is hardly up to talent here, but for now, Dwele gets a pass on winning sonics alone.
"Finger Poppin'" (1959) followed Silver's most under-appreciated (and perhaps most ambitious) Blue Note date, "Further Explorations" (1958). The cast is different (though the fiery Louis Hayes remains on drums), but the compositions and arrangements by Silver are no less artful and the soloists as inspired as the frontline of Art Farmer and Clifford Jordan from the preceding album. This time it's Blue Mitchell and Junior Cook negotiating the fast tempos and tricky stop-and-go melodies with precision and ease, with Mitchell impressively setting the pace with the first solo on the date. He's crisp, lyrical, inventive, melodic--reminiscent of Kenny Dorham with a fuller sound--and Junior Cook takes his cue accordingly, delivering a solo that's almost as melodically arresting as an inspired Hank Mobley construction. Both soloists employ the too-rare practice of "listening to themselves," repeating and modifying their phrases while developing whole structures at top speed as opposed to letting fly with a stream of bebop cliches.
Besides "Finger Poppin'" the program has one other indispensable Silver standard, a number that's infectious if not irresistible in its communication of a visceral groove: "Come On Home" (Lambert, Hendricks and Ross would add lyrics and re-record the tune). But this album will strike some listeners as atypical Silver. There are lots of quiet moods, ample space allocated to each of the soloists, and a willingness to go beyond the formulaic, hard-driving and boppish, frequently "danceable" miniature gems with which the composer is primarily associated. (I know some jazz devotees who, because of such unsophisticated, "limited" qualities, consider Horace's records a waste of time and money.) But the arrangements on this occasion have some of the complexity and sophistication of earlier Silver masterpieces like "Ecarole" and "Moon Rays," stylings reflective of the creative (even Ellingtonian) side of Silver which, unfortunately, became less apparent beginning in the 1960s and especially after simpler fare like "Song for My Father" (1964) proved a commercial formula that could best serve to keep tiny Blue Note records financially solvent (though it should be noted that the operation folded within several years after such Blue Note blockbusters as the aforementioned and Lee Morgan's "Sidewinder" (and its numerous imitations).
Thanks to the eventual purchase of the label by mega-conglomerate EMI, "Blue Note" still lives on at least in name, but it's albums like "Finger Poppin'" that testify not merely to its commercial niche but its invaluable contributions to a vibrant American art form in full bloom.
Cameo play the late 70's synth funk card extremely well and
where it with a flare on the thumping title song,"Insane" and
just about every cut here.A note on Cameo in my opinion:where I
grew up on the 'Word Up' era small band Cameo this gagantuan addition has a special sharm that I actually didn't fully partake in until I was a teenager with the advent of the
Funk Essencial CD series.So I popped onto the vinyl in a used
record store and over time fell in love with it's Funkadelic-
inspired grooves,yowling vocals and tight arrangements.Even the
few slow songs here off a nice change.So if you can afford it pick up this import-it'll change your opinion of Cameo.
15. Ball Of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today)
16. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)
17. Papa Was A Rollin' Stone
18. Shakey Ground
19. Treat Her Like A Lady
20. Error Of Our Ways
21. My Girl (A Cappella) (Excerpt)
The Temptations was the soul band that captured me most in those years when I was entering in my early adolescence. Their sense of dynamical rhythm, their variegated gamut of timbers, imaginative compositions and frenetic proposals really engaged not only me, but besides a vast audience all over the world. So, when they decided to join with the Supremes to create that unforgettable song "I'm going make you love me" - one of the most original soft ballads of 1968 - together with "Sitting on the dock of the bay", "Honey", "Little green apples", "Hey Jude", "Over you", "I say a Little pray for you", "This magic moment", "Promises", "Angel of the morning", "I love how you love me", I`m coming home" and "Release me" - among my affective memory retains - they reached an even major recognition around the world.
But mostly, they knew to readapt themselves as band as any other soul ensemble with three master-songs , "Papa was a rolling Stone", "Psychedelic shack" and "Ball of confusion."
That outburst of igneous creativity was indeed, their golden passport for the immortality, neither more nor less.
"96 Degrees in the Shade" is Third World's most militant album, and in my opinion their best album so far. I loved this album on vinyl in the 1970's, so I was delighted to find it available on CD now. Beautiful melodies, strong roots rhythms, masterful musical arrangements and superb musicianship combine with powerful Rastafarian lyrical messages to make this CD a "must have" for anyone who appreciates great reggae music.
The title of the album derives from the refrain of its best-known and most moving track, but the original and true title of the song is "1865." This reggae ballad is a narrative tribute to Jamaican freedom fighter Paul Bogle, who was hanged for leading a slave revolt in 1865, but was named a national hero 100 years later. This should be a lesson from history regarding the death penalty, not only in Jamaica and other Third World countries, but also in the United States, where capital punishment continues to be used extensively and almost exclusively as a weapon of genocide and political repression. Third World's lyrics are as relevant now as they were in the 1970's:
"Some may suffer and some may burn,
"But I know one day my people will learn,
"As sure as the sun is shining way up in the sky,
"Today I stand here a victim, the truth is I'll never die."
(Third World, "1865")
"96 Degrees in the Shade" is reggae music at its best. Enjoy - and learn!
This is, by far,the best Del album to date. YOU are not a fan of hip hop, if YOU do not have this album in your hip hop collection. Del comes with raw rhymes and great unconventional hip-hop beats (some of which he produces himself). "I'm looney with language...this art form is truly endangered", Del says on the spitting "Jaw Gymnastics". He is truly in pure MC form,as his word connections carry you through seventeen linguistical experiences. The opening track,"Time Is Too Expensive", gets the listener ready to constantly rewind or skip back to songs and re-listen to verbal blurbs from Del. Like Ghostface Killah, Del has mastered the art of "breath control",pushing the limits of rhymes-per-air-taken-in. It amazes me how much Del is underrated as an artist.More importantly, Del finds ways to elevate the hip hop genre (who can forget past tunes like "Catch A Bad One"), staying away from the Rah Rah rap that plagues most of the California scene. Del directly addresses this issue on "Stay On Your Toes",saying "I know you're hungry pal...me too... I need food...but I don't re-do what he do... I'm lethal". One of the highlights on this album is the ode to video game life, "Proto Culture",which offers visual and reminiscent imagery about growing up in the game development culture.Khaos Unique also does a guest spot on this song, adding their gaming tidbits. El-P,from Company Flow, also appears on a tune with Del-- "Offspring",and definately commands the attention of the listener. One of the most catchiest songs and hooks for this album appears on "Skull and Crossbones". Del spits the lines,"Give me the keys...I'm ok... Quit telling me I'm drunk... I've only had five hurricanes", which will undoubtedly surface a few times in the listener's head! On "BM's", Del shows how good of a beat composer he has become. Del presents a very thumping and atmospheric sound,as he contemplates 'slowing down'."Phoney Phranchise" serves as the call to hip hop tune. Del ponders his verbal powers when he says, "Bench press rappers...doing sets...with my syntax". For a great laugh,one can't miss listening to "Soopa Feen",as Del talks about this guy,who interacts with some funny interventions. The head knodding underground hip hop purist will definately love "Press Rewind" (I would have loved to hear Ghostface spit over this one)!Del speaks with conviction,when he rips the line, "Who ever hearing this... Deltron Z be a lyricist...Fronting on your fake false appearances". You Can not contest that.......
Throughout the 90's most artists in R&B,even famed legacy artists with a huge influence on the music scene were being forced to be pigeonhold into one or several catagories in order to survive. During the time this album was recorded you basically had two options:neo soul or some varient of hip-hip/R&B and it's a state in the R&B,soul and funk world that fifteen years on has yet to be improved upon to any serious degree. This Minneapolis sextet put the city into relevenece on the music scene for the 90's the same way that Prince did for the 80's and Mary Tyler Moore did in the 70's. One reviewer wisely put it that while Mint Conditions main claim to fame was the use of live instrumentation. Well...so what?We heard that before with The Roots and Toni Toni Tone. The question is in a musical environment that was totally dominated by very commercial styles of hip-hop based R&B that was sounding predictable what use was it to have strong instrumental skills anyway since the commercial enviroment worked against you?
This album finds itself in that same situation. Cover art flaunting their instrumental nature aside a good bulk of this album,about half actually is unoffensive but rather generic sounding hip-hop/R&B that,frankly sounds as if it could've been made by anyone. There's nothing wrong with songs like "Change Your Mind" and "Gettin' It On" but these songs could've been ten other songs from ten other artists in the mid 90's structurally. Interestingly enough the bands instrumental ability finds the most creativity in their interludes,similar to EWF although that band was thriving in such a more creatively stimulating commercial music environment no one noticed as much with them likely. "Asher In Rio" and the title opener,with their jazzy latin flavors are the best of them and should've been worked into more full songs. In terms of sheer funkiness this album really breaks out on "Funky Weekend",which does show their strong groove potential outside the hip-hop relm with it's bass oriented rhythms while "Raise Up" and "Missing" have some wonderully progressive jazz style chord sequences.
Even the majority of the more commerical of these songs have some excellent instrumental turns on piano and sax I cannot say this is an absolutely terrible album but one with an ear towards well produced live instrumentation can tell this band could and still can do a whole lot more than they do. Perhaps it was the need to be commercially relevent in their time,which meant sticking like glue to some variet of hip-hop styling. And I am not bashing the last two decades of music here even if I don't feel it was at all creatively stimulating as what came before. In the end Mint Condition became mainly based on a slogan and there are many of them:"they're such great singers" and,in their case "they play REAL music". And as we're finding out more and more,even in past decades all the live instrumentation and production in the world will never take the place of innovative,forward thinking songcraft and harmonic sophistication. I truely believe from what I hear on this album Mint Condition have that in spades but they try to keep up with the times and the result is a sound the underscores their own abilities as a result. Suppose it all depends on what your looking for in modern R&B.
This classic album should be considered a 1970s R&B essential. The chugging, bubbly, sensual mid-tempo title track remains one of Isaac's most compelling ballads and also foreshadows the Disco style which would take the world by storm just a few years later. "A Man Will Be A Man" and "I'm Gonna Make It Without You" were not released as singles but are pure vintage Hayes and are high points of this classic album. Nearly 40 years after its original release this album remains a true "Joy" to listen to.
Common's first album Can I Borrow A Dollar? may surprise those who are looking for some of Common's mature/insightful lyrics. Instead, Common offers up some humorous lines and songs that are just meant not to be taken seriously. Tracks such as "Breaker 1/9" show Common's humorous side while "Take It EZ" and "Penny For My Thoughts" have Common displaying his amazing lyrical skills. The production is mostly solid (especially the Beatnuts' beat for "Heidi Hoe"), but it still can't compare to the jazzy and diverse beats used on Resurrection. Some may also find it disappointing that "Soul By The Pound" isn't in its famous remix form, although the original is still very good. If you are looking for something just to sit back and nod your head to, Can I Borrow A Dollar? might be what you are looking for.
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