lundi 30 juillet 2012

Carmen Mcrae - Can't hide love (Soul/Jazz)

1. Can't Hide Love 
2. The Man I Love 
3. Only Women Bleed 
4. I Wish You Well 
5. All By Myself 
6. Music 
7. Lost Up In Loving You 
8. You're Everything 
9. Would You Believe 
10. A Child Is Born 

 Carmen McRae went in to A&M Recording Studio in May 1976 and the legendary singer was more than prepared to record a solid Masterpiece Collection, returning to the high level of quality established in her classic Atlantic Records recordings. Supporting cast reads like who's who of the recording industry over the past fifty years with greats like Dave Grusin, Harvey Mason, Joe Sample, Thad Jones, Dale Oehler, Johnny Mandel, Gerald Wilson, Larry Carlton, Ernie Watts, and so on plus her great traveling conductor/keyboard master Marshall Otwell who was amazing the years fronting Carmen's touring group. Carmen McRae loved to stretch and the stuffy jazz community didn't give support to these avant-guard productions because she was singing current material and a Jazz Singer (Carmen clearly didn't like this label) was expected to stand in cobwebs singing old standards...clearly this wasn't Carmen's vision singing everything from Alice Cooper, Thad Jones, Cole Porter, Bill Withers, Kenny Rankin, George Gershwin, Earth, Wind & Fire, Eric Carmen and Chick Corea, with each stellar performance in this mind-boggling eclectic mix of great songs definitive...throughout this tremendous collection, the legendary lady is so loose & scats giving torchy & soulful performances that define what the art of singing is all about. Carmen toured with a magnificent concert in 1976, singing all these great songs live with a sublime group that featured the best of the best and memory remains strong of the haunting pathos in "Would You Believe", soft beauty of "A Child Is Born" then the edgy soulfulness of "Only Women Bleed"...thankfully this great collection remains but too bad the concert tour was not filmed as it was a totally memorable experience. Sadly radio gave no support to this Vocal Masterpiece so it was to be just enjoyed by those of us who knew the legendary lady never did anything less than great and "Can't Hide Love" is the ultimate musical treasure! Bravo Carmen, you are loved & missed RIP great lady...

samedi 28 juillet 2012

Dr John - Babylon (Funk/Jazz)

1. Babylon 
 2. Glowin' 
 3. Black Widow Spider 
 4. Barefoot Lady 
 5. Twilight Zone 
 6. The Patriotic Flag Waver 
 7. The Lonesome Guitar Strangler 

 Dr. John's sophmore effort replaces Gris Gris' relaxed groove with some pretty intense avant music. The first track opens like Sly Stone Riot, and later on you swear you hear moments of Van, Sun Ra and even the Captain. The man is working really hard to blow your mind here. Not his best party album, but Babylon is certainly one of a kind fascinating in its own restless, relentless way. (Even the Moral Eels like patriotic comment manages to be more interesting than as dated as you'd expect.) One can only imagine his live shows at that time, with all the silver glitter thrown at the strobe lit revelers.

jeudi 26 juillet 2012

Al B Sure - In Effect Mode (RNB)

1. Nite And Day 
 2. Oooh This Love Is So 
 3. Killing Me Softly 
 4. Naturally Mine 
 5. Rescue Me 
 6. Off On Your Own (Girl) 
 7. If I'm Not Your Lover 
 8. Just A Taste Of Lovin' 
 9. Noche Y Dia 

 "In Effect Mode" was released in 1988, the year in which New Jack Swing was starting to bloom, but to call this album merely a New Jack record is to do both the LP and Al B. Sure a disservice. It's more than a great album-- it's a textbook lesson on how an r&b record is done. A CD with a mere 8 tracks with no samples is pretty unthinkable in today's creatively bankrupt music climate, but "In Effect Mode" is a triumph of quality over quantity. Sure sings these songs in an impressive style that distinguishes smooth from slick; the ballad "Ooh This Love Is So" is faultless and honey-smooth, while the hit single "Night and Day" still sounds like it could have been recorded in 1998 and not 1988. But just when you think Sure can't top himself, we move on to the second half of the disc, which gets more uptempo. "Rescue Me" and "Off On Your Own Girl" are New Jack at their finest; the beats still have bite and the rhythm has roll. "In Effect Mode" is a stroke of r&b brilliance that many of today's upstarts would do cartwheels to achieve. It's a collection of finely crafted jams that serve as a reminder of how records used to be made.

mardi 24 juillet 2012

Black Sheep - Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (Rap)

1. Intro
 2. U Mean I'm Not [Explicit]
 3. Butt In The Meantime
 4. Have U.N.E. Pull
 5. Strobelite Honey
 6. Are You Mad [Explicit]
 7. The Choice Is Yours
 8. To Whom It May Concern
 9. Similar Child
 10. Try Counting Sheep
 11. Flavor Of The Month
 12. La Menage
 13. L A S M [Explicit]
 14. Gimme The Finga
 15. Hoes We Knows [Explicit]
 16. Go To Hail [Explicit]
 17. Black With N V (No Vision)
 18. Pass The 40
 19. Blunted 10
 20. For Doz That Slept [Explicit]
 21. The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)
 22. Yes 

 A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing is one of the best old school records I've ever heard. It's seriously just an awesome listen straight through, all 70 minutes of it. For reasons unknown, the Sheep never really got recognition for there amazing beats and rhymes. They were members of the Native Tongues crew, along with The Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. Those groups are all better known than the Sheep, but they're certainly not any better. This cd has tracks with smooth beats commensurate to Tribe's best tracks on Midnight Marauders (Butt In The Meantime, Strobelite Honey), hilarious rhymes on point with De La's 3 Feet High and Rising (Pass The 40), and straight up great hip-hop tracks (Similak Child, Black With N.V. and Blunted 10), as anything from The Jungle Brother's Straight Out The Jungle. This is really a great album. I recommend it to everyone.

vendredi 20 juillet 2012

Benny Sings - Art (Funk/Pop)

1. Big Brown Eyes (Radio Edit) 
 2. Can We Try
 3. Honey Bee
 4. Realize
 5. All We Do For Love
 6. This Is A Samba
 7. Dreams
 8. Each Other
 9. Downstream

mercredi 18 juillet 2012

John Coltrane - Meditations (Jazz)

1. The Father And The Son And The Holy Ghost 
 2. Compassion 
3. Love
 4. Consequences
 5. Serenity 

 This recording of John Coltrane's five-part suite MEDITATIONS is one of the most cohensive, wide-ranging and exploratory efforts of the jazz saxophonist's career. By this point, Coltrane had embraced free jazz, and his enlisting of Pharaoh Sanders on second saxophone brought a kindred spirit, though a distinctive counterweight as Sanders' style with its overblowing and multiphonics was unique. Similarly, the signing on of Rashied Ali on drums alongside Coltrane's longtime drummer Elvin Jones opened the rhythmic possibilities of the music greatly. Bassist Jimmy Garrison and pianist McCoy Tyner are also present. Coltrane's free jazz does not always appeal to neophytes. At the opening of the first part, "The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost", we hear only inchoate honking on the two saxophones before the main melody arises, and the rest of the track is explosions of sound where the energy perpetually seems at a peak but paradoxically keeps on rising. However, if you've followed Coltrane's career all the way up to this point, the continuity is obvious. Just as it's a mistake to think Arnold Schoenberg talentless or academic for writing atonal music when he was really searching more direct emotional expression, Coltrane's unrestrained explorations are only the cries of his heart and soul. From this point on, the suite becomes a tad more tame. That's in part due to the fact that "Compassion", the suite's second part, is a long solo for Tyner, whose stylings hadn't completedly transitioned to free jazz. "Love", the third part, has a long, slow duet for Coltrane and Garrison, and when the rest of the ensemble joins in, things nonetheless remain very calm. "Consequences" recapitulates the first part to some extent. The closing "Serenity" is the most similar music here to A LOVE SUPREME. This is a wonderful record, and if you've already come to love early Coltrane, this is probably the best introduction to his late style.

lundi 16 juillet 2012

Hugh Mundell - The Blessed Youth (Reggae)

1. Rastafari Tradition
 2. Oh How I Love H.I.M.
 3. Great Tribulation
 4. Blackman'S Foundation
 5. Time Has Come
 6. Don'T Stay Away
 7. Live In Love
 8. Time & Place
 9. Feeling Allright (Extended Version)
 10. Stop'Em Jah (Extended)
 11. Short Man
 12. Can'T Pop No Style 
13. Hey Mr Richman
 14. One Jah, One Aim, One Destiny
 15. Rastafari'S Call 

 Hugh Mundell's tragic life story -- he was a promising young roots reggae singer who, at age 21, was senselessly killed during an argument over a refrigerator -- has always overshadowed any examination of his actual vocal skill, which was impressive enough when he began his career as a young teen but did not have time to mature into anything more exciting than that. His songwriting talent was similarly middling overall, but remarkable in someone so young. Most American reggae listeners, if they know his work at all, are familiar with the album Africa Must Be Free by 1983, recorded under the supervision of producer Augustus Pablo between 1975-1977; Blessed Youth brings together selections from his subsequent three albums, which were recorded at a variety of studios between 1978 and his death in 1981. The music is a bit uneven, but there are moments of real brilliance, among them the powerful "Time & Place" and the repatriation anthem "Time Has Come." Mundell's mediocre singing on "Oh How I Love H.I.M." is saved by a nice cameo on the part of DJ Jah Bull, and he is charmingly diffident on the love song "Don't Stay Away." The best introduction to Mundell's art is still Africa Must Be Free by 1983 (which includes the album's dubwise counterpart on the CD reissue), but anyone who is left wanting more will enjoy this collection just as much.

vendredi 13 juillet 2012

The Meters - Rejuvenation (Funk)

1. People Say 
2. Love Is For Me 
3. Just Kissed My Baby 
4. What'cha Say 
5. Jungle Man 
6. Hey Pocky A-Way 
7. It Ain't No Use 
8. Loving You Is On My Mind 
9. Africa 
10. People Say (Single Version) 
11. Hey Pocky A-Way (Single Version) 

 When the Meters jumped from the Josie label to Reprise in 1972, their new label seemed intent on crossing them over to a wider audience. Released in 1974, Rejuvenation, the Meters' second Reprise album, stands as the best of this period, with their core funk sound embellished with elements of rock and mainstream soul. The success of this album can be judged by the fact that six of these nine songs stayed fixed in the (Funky) Meters repertoire more than 25 years after they recorded them. Their version here of "Hey Pocky A-Way" stands as the song's definitive reading, but tracks such as "People Say," "Just Kissed My Baby" (featuring the contributions of Lowell George), "Jungle Man," and "Africa" are career highlights as well, retaining the power of stripped-down funk while still fleshing out the sound with punchy horns, background singers, and a more rock-oriented production. These cuts don't quite reach the level of the gloriously funky three-minute instrumental nuggets they made for Josie, but they come very close.

jeudi 12 juillet 2012

Betty Davis - Betty Davis (Funk)

1. If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up
 2. Walkin Up the Road
 3. Anti Love Song
 4. Your Man My Man
 5. Ooh Yeah
 6. Steppin In Her I. Miller Shoes
 7. Game Is My Middle Name
 8. In the Meantime 

 The smoothness of slick beats and electric guitar riffs, wild and controlled at the same time, pure SOUL that stands right up to rock n roll. Quintessence of the build-up of 70 years of blues, ten years of James Brown and a rock n roll revolution at the sunset of its birth - 1973. Vintage era for music all around with predecessors already including Clinton's early P-Funk manifestions (a lot more rock than what came later). Captain Beefheart had been in action for 7 years. The build-up of 60s soul, Sly & the Family Stone at Woodstock, JANIS JOPLIN, Miles Davis, the end of the Viet Nam war, this and that revolution, and a whole lot of other things going on behind the scenes had brought funk to a slow boil. Three years after 1970, a nexus of tangled circuits were overloading, a soul flower doesn't bloom - it explodes. No holds barred, pure freedom of expression, emphasis on the X. She expressed things few knew were there for the expressin! If you liked this one, you'll want to check out "They Say I'm Different" - though this (her first) is still my favorite.

mardi 10 juillet 2012

Gramatik - Street Bangerz Vol. 1 (Instru)

1. Doin' It 
2. In My Hood 
3. Don't Get Weary 
4. Sumthin' 
5. Just Chillin' 
6. New Nautilus 
7. The Prophet 
8. Itz Over 
9. To Follow 
10. Shaft Funk 
11. Funk It Down 
12. Ass Kickin' Bass 
13. Now I Know 
14. Road Trip 
15. Bring It Fast 
16. Loungin' 
17. Lorena's Butterfly 
18. Brother 
19. U R The One 
20. I Love The Way 

 Gramatik s Street Bangerz Vol. 1 features raw and cutting edge Hip Hop beats, inspired by the classical soulful 70s with strong and warm sounds that make it the ultimate Street Soul of today. Released on Cold Busted on December 3rd, 2008 both digitally and on CD it has had a successful reception such it s prolonged spot on Beatport s Top 100 Chill Out Chart and after 3 months of climbing the German Chill Out Chart is finally at the #1 spot. And it s no wonder - full of funky and soulful beats it has an old school meets new school flavor. Complete with those warm pops from vinyl records and affective production techniques such as beat repeats, both modern day and old school lovers of Hip Hop and Funk would dig this album. Although the beats are Hip Hop such as the chill and funky Just Chillin there are some songs that have House vibes to them such as the track New Nautilus a piece to nod your head to and groove. Upon investigation, Gramatik, who is from Slovenia is no stranger to House music as he has done several House remixes most recently for the Parris Mitchell Project featuring Waxmaster. This is definitely an album to dance to, drive to, soak in with the warm rays of a sunny afternoon while barbequing to, and get ready for more. Gramatik is set to release a new album this year, along with Street Bangerz Vol. 2 on Cold Busted this coming December 2009.

mercredi 4 juillet 2012

Black Heat - Black Heat (Funk)

A1 The Jungle
 A2 Chicken Heads
 A3 Street Of Tears
 A4 Barbara's Mood
 A5 Chip's Funk
 B1 Wanaoh
 B2 You'll Never Know
 B3 Honey Love
 B4 Send My Lover Back
 B5 This Is Gonna Catch You