Catching Up With Mayer

I caught up recently with Mayer as him and his crew were out and about celebrating their upcoming tv gigs. The brief piece ran for URB and can be read HERE.

It’s been a longtime coming for Mayer, who first caught our (and everyone’s) attention with his debut, “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out“. We were the first to interview him right before he blasted into fame and subsequent world tours. Check out that interview HERE and stay tuned for his career moves (in another one of our interviews dude said he was “writing a new wave album”). Stay tuned!

New Musica Del Alma Mix!

Our buddies at Latinfunk.org recently dropped this incredible mix courtesy of Japan’s Soul Bonanza site. In tune with past heat, my dude Adam aka DJ Slim Jenkins filled this mix with mas South of the border gems–fast, funky and con alma (with soul!). Stream or download after tracklist below!

01. ricardo flores – pachanga ricardo (corona, california)
02. lucho y su conjunto – prende la vela (latin, colombia)
03. orquesta casino – el mosquito (dicesa, el salvador)
04. alfredo gutierrez – salsa mona (costeno, colombia)
05. mario allison – salvaje (sono radio, peru)
06. el caballo – me gusta como bailas (corona, california)
07. pedro miguel y sus maracaibos – descarga maracaibo (iempsa, peru)
08. rafael labasta – labasta llego (cbs, panama)
09. wuelfo – bueno y pico (inca, nyc)
10. joe quijano y conjunto cachana – mani tostao (fuentes 7” press)
11. edmundo arias – cumbia morena (sonolux, colombia)
12. hermanos cortez – apolo nueve (arcoiris, nicaragua)
13. los rumberos – sun sun babae (polydor, germany)
14. mulatu astatke – ebo la la (philips, ethiopia)
15. fajardo y sus estrellas – pa’ coco solo (panart, cuba)

Hear DJ Slim Jenkins’ Me Gusta Como Bailas HERE.

Shouts From The Atlantic!

Nerdtorious was mentioned in the recent Atlantic! A few weeks back, Raj Dayal (writer for American Songwriter) contacted me for a piece he was researching, an upcoming article on one of the best labels of the last decade, Daptone Records. The story ran last week; “In a Big Year for New Soul, a Small But Influential Label Turns 10“, a great piece that speaks on Daptone’s rise but, more so, its influence on the modern music and its industry as a whole. Happy birthday Daptone! And many thanks to Raj and The Atlantic for the shout out!

Take a look at the self produced video below on Daptone’s first 10 years:

Lonely Progeny


“Hey There Lonely Boy” is an American classic written by Earl Shuman and Leon Carr, recorded in 1963 by Ruby & The Romantics. It eventually charted at #2 in 1970 by Eddie Holman who famously covered the tune as “Hey There Lonely Girl”. It also was done again in 1980 by Robert John. And while John’s take is perhaps the least memorable, it’s 1980 version shows that “lonley” had legs that carried it almost 2 decades after it’s release.

The Decoders, Itai Shapira and studio musician Todd Simon (trumpeter/arranger for Mayer Hawthorne, TV On The Radio, The Lions, Dap Kings, Antibalas and Quantic) put out a new project and the lead single is another addition to the “Lonely” progeny. Overseen by Richard Rudolph (songwriter/producer and husband to Minnie Riperton) the project features Leon Ware, Coco Owino (Quadron) and a notable cast full of musicians both legendary and contemporary. Keep an eye out for future tunes from the LA-based duo and peep their classy take on a classic below.

“Hey There Lonely Boy” by The Decoders ft. Coco Owino

Brown Bless The Mic Like Gesundheit

I first heard of Danny on this joint off The Hybrid 4 release and dude continues to shine, even earning mainstream regard in Rolling Stone and Spin who listed his mixtape, XXX, as this year’s top rap album.

I briefly spoke to Danny for Ego Trip. As a definite bright spot this year for hip-hop, he talked about the time he first met Alchemist (an established producer by the time) before all the recognition rolled in. Unknown then, chances are we can expect a Danny Brown/Alchemist joint soon.

Keepin’ Up With The Joneses

I recently came across this record and was really struck by the sound; very Philly soul, lush arrangements with strings and Barry White-esque moments. Then I was struck by its cover; who’s the blurred dude with the big gut and hockey stick and why are they all staring at him? The Joneses were out of Baltimore and had a long string of hits before releasing their debut, Keepin’ Up With The Joneses in 1974 on Mercury. Though its a famous record, its history is new to me.

There were minor lineup changes but The Joneses remained mostly a vocal group through the late ’60s and early ’70s. Some earlier songs had more falsetto but their later releases (perhaps due to the Philly soul explosion) leaned towards deep vocals and an unrelenting backbeat that switched between disco and funk– or a hybrid of the two. But they had good slow jams too, notably “Please Let Me Stay” where he talks about how his “ego trippin’ days are through…” A sweet song and a standout on the LP, especially the changing deliveries during the verse, bridge, and hook. The song is a proclamation of change and is a sleeper joint on an album full of charting singles.

“Please Let Me Stay” off Keepin’ Up With The Joneses LP [Mercury, 1974]

While researching a bit on the group it seems that through all their hits, the one that gets top mention is “Sugar Pie Guy”, part 1 and part 2– both appear on the LP. It’s an uptempo number and shows the band’s easy blending of disco, funk, touches doo-wop and sweet soul. Their records also apparently showcased some of Baltimore’s leading studio musicians of the time.

To my surprise, the 45 version is even better than the LP versions! Same song with extended drums at the start, lower vocals and overall much harder bass and drums. It’s still sugary but there’s no beating this hard, 45 version of what is perhaps their most remembered recording. “Sugar pie guy don’t tell no lie…”

‘Sugar Pie Guy’ (7″ version) [Mercury 1974]

THE RETURN OF SOUL BOULDERS

Soul Boulders 2 has arrived, and it more than lives up to my ridiculously high expectations. As defined on the original mix’s packaging, Soul Boulders are slow, funky soul burners. Volume 2 hews closely to that theme, and incorporates some slightly left-of center ‘real-people’ moments that keep the listening experience lively. Revered Bay Area DJs and collectors DJ B.Cause and Matthew Africa have perfected the soul mix formula: Forgoing unnecessary intros and drops, assuring the songs are obscure without being rare for rarity’s sake, keeping the mixing minimal and letting the songs speak for themselves. Some tastefully chosen covers and forays into gospel broaden the sonic palette without distracting from the mix’s purpose. SB2 gets the Nerdtorious seal of approval! – Nate LeBlanc

Purchase the mix HERE or if you’re in the Bay Area wait until the physical copies arrive at Groove Merchant. Below are snippets off Soul Boulders 2 put together by B.Cause. “Part 2 in a series of carefully selected and mixed soul jams – for serious connoisseurs and casual listeners alike.”

Matthew Africa has been by Nerdtorious, read his post HERE. B.Cause will be dropping by with a guest spot soon, stay tuned!

Action Packed Rhymes.

“Amuse bouche”, “duck prosciutto” and “Tunisian olives” are a few things Action Bronson raps about. The Albanian chef / Flushing, Queens rapper has been on a rampage with his Dr. Lector album and more recently (and more impressively) his Bon Appetit…Bitch mixtape.

The first thing that strikes you is the voice– he sounds like Ghostface, a lot like Ghostface. Dude can’t help but be born with the same voice as one of the best to ever do it but the comparisons are indeed merited. In fact, he could distance himself a bit more (Wallabee references aren’t helping). Having said that, his approach is different too; he’s a bit less sporadic, less funnier than Ghost altogether while his culinary nods do add a different (pardon the pun) flavor to his rhymes. Plus, the gritty NY production hits hard, an aesthetic that fits Bronson’s agressive blunt smoking, women chasing narratives.

His career is on the upswing and we dig what we’ve heard. Check his newest work, Well Done (produced by Statik Selektah), out next week. Stay tuned for an exclusive food related Q&A with Bronson coming soon!

For now, peep “Not Enough Words” off Well Done in stores next week.

Dawn’s Arrival

Adrian Younge’s awaited second project, Venice Dawn, Something About April comes out this week via Wax Poetics Records. We’re fans of Adrian ever since he came correct on the Black Dynamite OST, producing, playing, composing and arranging the score and original music. Adrian (and his band) have been touring the US, bringing live show madness to audiences ever since. Peep our in-depth, exclusive interview with Adrian HERE and take a listen to “Thunderstrike”, a track off the new album which features Shawn Lee, the legendary Dennis Coffey and others.

“Thunderstrike” off the upcoming Adrian Younge presents Venice Dawn Something About April

* FREE download of Adrian’s Venice Dawn teaser EP (all original compositions) HERE

BODDIE ROCK: Dante Carfagna on Numero’s Latest Stunner

“Why (It’s A Shame)” by Corinthian Singers

“Crystal Illusion” by Creations Unlimited

Numero’s new project is a stunning one– even by their high standard of excellence. Boddie Recording Company: Cleveland Ohio tells the story of Thomas Boddie, a young man whom upon returning from WW2 used his army money to buy recording equipment. Thomas was always curious with electronics, building his first studio in the early ’50s in his own basement. In 1958 he founded Boddie Recordings–one of America’s first black-owned recording companies–jointly ran with his wife Louise Boddie.

There the couple did everything in-house, recording anyone who wanted limited pressings of themselves, quick and cheaply. Thomas even fashioned equipment for a portable set-up allowing him to capture all kinds of events and live performances. Between 1958-1993 Boddie recorded over 10,000 hours of tape and put out 300 LPs and 45s. They pressed their own records and even started small labels just to keep their output ongoing.

They were Cleveland’s first black-owned recording company and ended up being Cleveland’s longest running studio, dubbed “Little Nashville” by traveling gospel groups who’d pass through over time. There is so much more to this incredible story; of course the music is stellar but the photgraphs of Mr. Boddie’s contraptions are astounding. Mr. Boddie sadly passed away on his 84th birthday in 2006.

The cats at Numero aren’t known for ignoring details and Boddie was a massive undertaking in a myriad of ways. Once inside, the sheer amount of material to sift through was itself staggering. In all, the process took close to 5 years to complete according to Numero.

Part of the team who put this together is Dante Carfagna, archivist, DJ, occasional producer, and writer who’s currently at work with DJ Shadow on a book about 45s–specifically, an annotated discography of every (possible) funk (or funk/jazz/soul related) 45 released between ’66-’77. He was a huge factor in assembling one of Numero’s finest releases, Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label and was also pivotal behind Boddie. Here, Dante debriefs a bit about Boddie and describes some of his own background in the business.

Quickly introduce yourselves for our readers.
My name is Dante Carfagna, content provider for the stars. Virgo. Wearer of Filson jackets and Bemidji shirt-jacs. Still sport Dickies with a cuff and a crease.

What was your main role with the Boddie project? Are there any particular songs that grabbed you the most?
I had been collecting and keeping track of the objects manufactured by Thomas and Louise Boddie for some time. There came a critical point… Continue reading “BODDIE ROCK: Dante Carfagna on Numero’s Latest Stunner”

Gong Show: Chinoiseries Pt. 2

We’re glad to hear Onra’s back, especially since it’s a followup to his breakthrough release, Chinoiseries. The forthcoming Chinioseries Pt. 2 is also widely sample based, all taken from records Onra grabbed on his travels through Southeast Asia. The album’s lead single “A New Dynasty” is another gong-filled production, neatly clocking in at under 2-minutes; followed by “No Matter What”, the album’s second single. Peep Chinoiseries Pt. 2 out in a few weeks (and it’s promo video seen HERE to get a sense of Onra’s style and approach).

From the upcoming Chinoiseries Pt. 2 :

‘A New Dynasty’

‘No Matter What’

J Rocc Quantic Mix

Our friends at Tru Thoughts sent over this mix of Quantic’s career highlights, all strewn carefully together by J-Rocc of the Beat Junkies. Highly recommended if you’re a fan of both or either artists. Quantic’s new release, a ‘best of’ 32-song double CD celebrates 10 years of music and is now available. Listen to the new mix below.

Ed. Note: Since we’re on the subject of Quantic, head over to Soul-Sides where Will Holland (aka Quantic) recently joined O-Dub for the always informative ‘Sidebar’ series, discussing his prolific and diverse career up to this point.

Dilated Junkie: DJ BABU RETROSPECTIVES

I spoke recently with Babu for 2 different publications; the first ran for CLOUT Magazine, a graffiti culture mag out of San Jose, California. Even more rare, it’s one of few publications that actually still operates in print, especially given its subject matter. That piece can be read HERE. The other–and newer of the two–is up now on Waxpoetics’ website, part of their renowned ‘Record Rundown’ series. He mentions great material so head over and check it HERE.

Peep Babu’s famed routine of the Emotions’ ‘Blind Alley’ to see why he’s considered one of the best in his field. If you’re familiar with the original, it’s almost surgical how he rearranges (and basically re-sequences) the song into his own. A routine like this can ONLY BE flawless and dude delivers. Thanks again Babu!

* Image above by Dion Bello of Illuskrate..

Guest Post: Cool Chris

(Ed. note: I did a recent piece on ‘Cool’ Chris Veltri for Wax Poetics Issue #47, touching on the shop and having Chris list rare, top shelf records from his collection. It was in part to celebrate Groove Merchant's 20 years in business but also meant to hype its coinciding release, Groove Merchant Turns 20. Besides operating the shop and keeping it afloat through rigid times, Chris is one of the most tempered–and knowledgable–dudes around. Here’s a few more goodies from his stacks– including a strange (and admittedly “guilty pleasure”) acapella version of the Go Gos’ “Our Lips Are Sealed”. Haha. Thanks Chris!)

1) Maceo Smith Concert Jazz Band 1983-84 “A Very Good Year” (Century Private)

Hands down one of the best high school records that has ever passed through my hands. This is a Texas high school lab record with a Bay Area connection; The band leader is none other than Willie Hoskins, the man behind the coveted Boola Boola record label and producer of heaps of classic Bay soul and funk. The music is bananas, with covers of “Thriller”, Dennis Edwards “Don’t look any further”, an off the chart version of “Another One Bites The Dust” called “Let’s Do It” and loads more. I wonder if these kids ever went head to head with the Kashmere Stage band? Thanks to Will from Rehash for this one.

“Let’s Do It (Another One Bite’s The Dust cover)”

“AMS”

“Don’t Look Any Further”

2) Perilhettes 1982 “Our Lips Are Sealed” (Mark)

Guilty pleasures. We all got ’em. Without hesitation, the Go Go’s definitely rate in my cannon of fave ’80s pop. The Go Gos’ classic “Our Lips Are Sealed” was co-written by Terry Hall of The Specials and Jane Wiedlin, and went on to hit the top 20 on the American pop charts. This version was done acapella style by a group of Connecticut boarding school sisters called the Perilhettes. Released on the Mark label custom press 1982. Super Fresh.

3) Hi-Way Que C’s “The Lord is Sweet” (Peacock)

Beautiful record by the legendary 5 piece vocal group on the equally legendary Peacock gospel imprint. This records sounds like the church you could only wish you would discover on an early morning Sunday stroll. Deeply spiritual and highly soulful, this is a really good introduction to gospel for the soul fan.

Drone Sweet Drone

El-P is one of those cats whose style gets more refined (and thrashy) with each release. If Funcrusher was his Bottle Rocket then I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead is his Royal Tennenbaums. His most recent release–Weareallgoingtoburninhell Megamixxx 3–was really slept on I thought. And the few recent glimpses of his newer work seem equally as booming, equally head rattling and layered. And while his rapping has never been aesthetically ear-catching to me, his writing has. Here’s a brand new one we just got; the uncensored version of “Drones Over BKLYN” done for Adult Swim. Classic El-P!

Let The Funk Flo

(Collector Allen Johnson aka Overflo is a Chicago native who produced for Rhymesayers, EV Productions, and Chocolate Industries and he’ll be bringing us funky contributions of rare, random tracks from his crates. Though he leans towards old funk, hip-hop and electro, he also mingles with Jazz, garage, soul, Latin and boogaloo. He also founded and manages Birthwrite Records; get at him and his storefront at overflojenkins@aol.com. Below are some 45s from his stacks. – DM)

Frank Armstrong & the Stingers “I Feel Like I Want to Holler” on Modern. I dug this out of a garage in San Jose this past year, and I don’t know much about it. I skipped by it at first, but when I listened I knew I had to have it. It starts with a swanky guitar riff joined by some drums and a fast-paced bassline. It’s got some swing but stays funky. The rhythm section is arranged perfectly, and Armstrongs’ scruffy vocals make the entire song an enjoyable seemless tablespoon of how it’s done! As a bonus, the flipside “Humpin’” is a pretty groovy instrumental track.

Bill Coday “I Got A Thing” on Galaxy, year unknown. This is by no means Coday’s biggest hit, for me it’s an obvious pick! Coday worked with producer, Willie Mitchell (Hi Records) for years recording for Denise LaSalle’s Crajon label. LaSalle also wrote the song, which could just as easily have been composed by Fred Wesley & Maceo Parker. Many were funky but came off as imitators. Codays’ screams are the real thing.

The Leaves “Get Out My Life Woman” on Mira 1966. The Leaves were a southern Cali based garage rock outfit who successfully interpreted this Toussaint classic! I remember being introduced to this break years back (the Lee Dorsey version) and instantly I was drawn to the drums; always the drums. To top it off the whole song is killer. The vocals bring a psychedelic vibe with nice harmonies. The song develops well with a slammin’ horn arrangement at the end. Ah, the ’60s rarely did they disappoint.

Z.Z. Hill “What More” Kent. Okay, of course when I think of Z.Z. Hill immediately the blues comes to mind. He didn’t have much success until the ’70s & ’80s recording the blues. However, he started recording in the ’50s and this hard to come by ’60s ballad on the legendary Kent label is smooth and downright soulful! The back-up singers lay some nice harmonies on the chorus as well! If you see this floating around somewhere grab it.

Amy Winehouse (1983-2011)

(“Only in America could you find a way to earn a healthy buck / And still keep your attitude on self-destruct”- MF Doom)

Judgements aside, it’s no doubt that Amy was enormously talented. During her short span she made one of the best albums of 2006, Back To Black, a slick, modern ’60s throwback done with the help of the Dap Kings. And while people, for the most part, have fixated on her antics, it’s apparent she bolstered the modern soul revival, bringing it mainstream regard, opening doors for similar projects both commercial and independent. And she did so in large fashion simply by killing every track (with such ease, as seen HERE).

“It’s always the good ones that have to die.” RIP.

In addition to “Valerie” and “He Can Only Hold Her”, Amy’s cover of The Specials’ “Hey Little Rich Girl”, off The Ska ep, is one of her best.

Rap’s Clown Prince: Interview With Prince Paul

Paul is a character who equally adds as much character to his projects. He’s hip-hop royalty and has made some of the dopest, most endearing albums ever– most of which have aged so well, especially in the face of rap records that worsen with time. I was stoked to speak with Paul recently for EGOTRIP’s sample flip series (DJ Spinna and Jake One have been recent subjects).

Read/listen to it HERE and check out the Underdog flip at the end! Below is the rest of our rather lengthy talk, touching briefly on his career points and some current items. Thanks Paul!

Of all the revered MCs you’ve worked with, who struck you the hardest?
I know a lot of rappers and they can all rap in their own way. All those dudes I’ve worked with are just so talented. Look, there’s a laymen’s MC and there are MCs of different calibers. Out of all them, Slick Rick impressed me the most; he had a way about him, he just rhymed with no effort. I remember meeting him early in the morning at the studio and he was just sitting down laying down tracks with perfectly delivered lines with a coffee cup in one hand [laughs]. So casual and natural and delivering perfectly. That’s an image I won’t forget of Rick.

What’s your favorite solo release of yours?
None of ‘em! [laughs] Probably Psychoanalysis because it was so dumb! It was made primarily for my friends and I and I was just gonna do like 1000 copies and kinda put it out to see what happens. I think besides 3 Feet High and Rising, Psychoanalysis brought about the most good things for me and is probably one of the more pivotal records of my career.

What do you remember most from the Stetsasonic years?
I just remember being so young and full of ideas and just being in awe. Imagine a time when making hip-hop records wasn’t something everyone did. Back then, you could name like just a few groups that made rap; it was popular but not commonplace. I remember the experimentation and digging and just meeting cats. These days you can type in ‘hip-hop’ and ‘1979’ and find out everything about it. But back then, you had to go through it.

Continue reading “Rap’s Clown Prince: Interview With Prince Paul”

Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011)

It’s been a couple weeks since the passing of the great Gil Scott-Heron. I refrained from posting on Gil because truth is, I’m not as qualified to speak on him as some recently have. He more than underscores everything that is hip-hop and is beyond the myriad of soundbites he’s credited for. Below are some (and my opinion, the best) examples of recent Gil tributes. All touch on his music and history within different contexts beyond the revolution not being televised.

* Gilles Peterson’s fantastic tribute mix, a great primer of classics and rarities

* Greg Tate’s obit on Gil for the Village Voice

* Jamie Byng’s touching piece for the UK’s Guardian

* The Melting Pot Blog’s very thorough radio show tribute

Some J.Rocc Stuff

I spoke with the Beat Junkies’ founder for a quick piece in this month’s DJ Times Magazine, which can be read HERE. His first solo joint, Some Cold Rock Stuf, came out just last month; original production and turntablism, a mix of Latin, Funk, Jazz, Disco filled with hip-hop variants.

Peep a snippet of ‘Chasing The Sun’ from Some Cold Rock Stuf. [Stones Throw, 2011]

The J. Rocc print (below) is an exclusive done by Dion Bello (dNA), a Bay Area artist and illustrator whose work can be found on the Illuskrate site. Thanks D!

Heart(s) of Gold

Finding Daptone 45s in my mailbox never gets old. This time was Charles Bradley with Menahan Street Band doing an all-time classic, Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’. It’s a great cover though Bradley at times deviates from the original melody too much for me. The Menahan arrangement is worth it alone though.

It also immediately reminded me of Boney M’s version. I’ve always liked their cover songs as cheesy as the German disco coverband sometimes were. This is off their album, Night Flight To Venus, which also has a great rendition of ‘Brown Girl In The Ring’. Lead singer Bobby Farrell passed in 2005 due to heart failure while in Russia, where apparently they’re still very popular. He was 61, RIP.

Pants on Fire

Snippet of ‘Darlin” off Love Craft

Multi-instrumentalist and Stones Throw intern-turned-artist makes random yet varied work– his first project was an electro-rap throwback and his second was a lo-fi post punk record. Both were interesting but never really stuck, at least with me. His latest, Love Craft, shows a lot of know-how underpinned with an uncompromising ethos. It’s also yet another reminder of Stones Throw recent deviation away from hip-hop.

I spoke to James for WaxPoetics issue #40 and he’s made more noise since. Peep ‘Darlin” off the new album. It’s a minimal, post-punk sounding garage track with doo-wop melodies and lyrics. And it works. Interested in seeing what dude does next.

“Midnight Rider” another year of riding dirty…

(Shouts to Aja West for this great post; a look at the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider” and its many incarnations. Joe Cocker’s take especially kills but all versions highlight different traits of the original. Really, they’re all great. Word Aja! -DM)

By Aja West

The Allman Brothers Band: “Midnight Rider” off Idlewild South [1970]

I love these blue-eyed soul men for their harmonizing voices on this escape and chase caper. The simple guitar pattern that grows in strength with the low end throughout this country funk song works well as hell. For all those riding dirty this ones for you!

Stephen Stills: Thoroughfare Gap [1978]

Still’s guitar lick led version rolls “smooth as strawberry ice cream” down the side of a waffle cone. Stephen loads his falsetto crossbow carefully palming his high-pitched “ace in the hole” arrows, guarding the audience against how he’s about to funk them up.

Joe Cocker: Classics Vol. 4 [1987]

Smoking. A slow opening with Cocker testifying then: congas, bass, drums and a mean Bruce Lee cymbal pattern. The Female backline rocks the Kasbah. I have subtle memories of a “Doobie Brothers” style break beat on this track but I was riding dirty at the time so who knows?

The Wood Brothers: Up Above My Head [2009]

The Wood Brothers version carries a unique jazzy arrangement. I especially like the upright bass changing the whole groove significantly and not just the low end. This is the poorest recording of the pile, at times verging on distortion and I simply don’t want these fools to fix it.

Gregg Allman: Laid Back [1973]

The original inspired voice renders a rock version featuring beautiful Rhodes electric piano work that keeps with the deep good old boys root feeling of the original track.

Classics and Obscure versions for the whole family Continue reading ““Midnight Rider” another year of riding dirty…”

Los Cinco Mejores Canciones!

(NERDTORIOUS has in the past worked with Musica del Alma given its solid selection and educational posts. So of course we’ve been following as its “Top 5 Latin Funk Tracks” have been announced in recent weeks. Numero uno was just unveiled and it doesn’t disappoint; a tune underscored with trumpets and trombones, rooted in Fela Kuti’s gorgeous catalogue. Follow the link to hear it (as well as the rest of the funky top 5!). – DM)




——->>>> LISTEN TO MUSICA DEL ALMA’S ALL TIME TOP FUNKY LATIN TRACK !!!

More Eccentricity

Numero just released Eccentric Breaks & Beats Vol.2, a followup to Vol.1 which was made using their outstanding (and astounding) catalog. Best of all, IT’S FREE! Below are some words from Numero’s chief officer, Ken Shipley, with whom we’ve spoken to before– read it here:

After we issued ‘Eccentric Breaks & Beats’ last year our inbox was suddenly flooded with junior producers looking to do something similar. A handful of sorta-okay-but-not-really-that-great entries were submitted, but none could touch the original Shoes boot. When Adam Calman from Parallel Thought dropped their entry into our lap a few days into the new year, we were eyeball-deep in royalties and couldn’t process how good the mix actually was.

It was played on computer screens, background to our Excel nightmare. Between ‘Pressed At Boddie’, the ‘Penny & the Quarters’ debacle, ‘Willie Wright’, ‘Salsa Boricua De Chicago’, ‘Father’s Children’, ‘Nickel & Penny’, and our looming Boddie box set, there seemed to be no room for another record. And rather than let EBB Volume 2 collect dust and play counts on our hard drives, we decided to let it live in the same manner that the original EBB had: unfettered. But perhaps best of all, we’ve decided to make it free.

If you bought Volume 1, you may’ve noticed our bite on the original ‘Ultimate Breaks & Beats’ cover concepts. We enlisted Eliza Childress, second runner-up in our Pressed At Boddie design contest to create another ridiculous/hideous cover, and we think she succeeded. That she turned it around in five days is perhaps more impressive. — Ken Shipley

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>DOWNLOAD ECCENTRIC BREAKS & BEATS VOL. 2

Breaking The Ice

(Here’s another great find by one of the hardest working dudes I know, DJ Platurn . Check some newer work of his available at Turntable Lab. And if you’re in the Austin area, peep his outrageous schedule at this year’s SXSW. Stay tuned for future installments of our ‘Breaking The Ice’ series which, as far as I know, is the only venue for Icelandic gems such as this.– DM)

Wuddup beat nerds, back once again with another from the cold Icelandic crates of Sveimhugi and DJ Platurn. If you read the last installment then you’re somewhat familiar with this series– basically these tracks were songs myself and my cousin unearthed in the motherland years ago; joints off Icelandic LPs and 45s that lie on the groovy side of things. We put them all on an unreleased comp called ‘Breaking The Ice V.1’ that never saw the light of day, until now.

‘Syrpa II’ Leikur Vinsæl Islensk Lög [SG Hljómplötur, 1970]

So ‘Syrpa II’ translates to ‘Medley Two’, a track off of an LP that literally means ‘Plays Popular Icelandic Songs’ by recording artist, producer, arranger and groovy Hammond player Þórir Baldursson. This LP is composed entirely of medleys of relatively well known Icelandic songs, none that would sound familiar to anyone outside of the indigenous population and primarily the generations before the last two or so. Continue reading “Breaking The Ice”

Funky Drummer

I had the pleasure of speaking with Tony Cook recently. Besides serving as James Brown’s main drummer for 30 years, Tony also made dance tracks and early rap records while in London in the early 1980s. His career and musical history is the stuff of legend.

Read my talk with Tony recently done for Wax Poetics HERE and check out ‘On The Floor’, a monster dance cut from the early ’80s now dubbed “The Grandaddy of All House Records”.

‘On The Floor (Rock It)’ by Tony Cook & The Party People

Fleeting Sweet Thing pt.2

I was intrigued with Tammi Terrell after coming across this recording a few years back. I’ve since grabbed most of her 45s and recently picked up Come On And See Me: The Complete Solo Collection , a 2-CD boxset of all her singles as Tammy Montgomery and arguably her best solo album, Irresistable. The second disc has live recordings, different takes, and unreleased songs.

”Baby Don’t Cha Worry’

‘Sinner’s Devotion’

This is probably the best, most complete collection of Tammi’s work. It’s available ONLY on CD and has been out for months now (admittedly, I’m real late on this). But I can’t remember the last time I even bought a CD, let alone one with so much great material. Plus, I wanted a some more Tammi on the blog.

‘I’ve Got Nothing’ To Say But Goodbye’

‘If I Would Marry You’

better with age

Collector and pal Adrian “Age” Mendoza sent me a copy of his newest 45 some months back. A fan of his Soulstrut mixes (and THIS latin/funk/soul/garage mix) I was also stoked to find a burn CD with “Owl Sessions’ cryptically written on it. Turns out it’s a random hip-hop mix, a pleasant surprise of classic rap from all over the map– Charizma, D.I.T.C., The Nonce and other stuff that makes me feel old. The selections all really hold up and the recording itself just sounds great. And it’s a NERDTORIOUS exclusive to boot; mixed on 3 turntables, 1 Vestax 06 Pro, A Stanton SA-3 Mixer & a Delay Pedal. Tracklisting and link below.

1)Typical Cats – “Take A Number”
2)Natural Resource – “Negro League Baseball”
3)D.I.T.C. – “Day One”
4)Nubian Crackers Feat.The Artifacts – “Can You Feel It”
5)Micranots – “141 Million Miles”
6)All City Productions Feat. Mysterme – “Unsolved Mysterme”
7)Eyedl Mode – “End of The Innocence/”Here comes the..” [partial end transition]
8)The Dereliks – “I Am A Record”
9)Tha Alkaholiks – “Turn Tha Party Out(Feat. The Lootpack)”
10)Casual – “Thoughts Of The Thoughtful”
11)Kurious – “Walk Like A Duck”
12)Jigmastas – “Execution”
13)Eric B. & Rakim – “In The Ghetto” (Mort Garrison/Age Plant Moog Remix)
14)Ahmad,Rass Kass & Saafir – “Come Widdit” [3 in 1 Edit]
15)The Nonce – “Mix Tapes”
16)Yaggfu Front – “Where’d Ya Get Ya Bobo’s?”
17)Charisma & P.B. Wolf – “Methods”
18)Outkast – “Elevators” [“Methods” Accapella Blend]
19)L’ronious – “In The C.O.R.N.”
20)Hobo Jubction – “It’s Just Not My Style”
21)Ugly Duckling – “Fresh Mode”

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> DOWNLOAD “THE OWL SESSIONS” by AGE

* Hit up New Medina Music for info on Age and his upcoming work.

Butang Clan

‘Killa Bees LIve’ off Wudos Band [Wu-Tang/Budos Band]

This recent online release celebrates Staten Island’s gritty ethos, combining Wu-Tang with the Budos Band. Put together by Tekst (of The Higher Concept), a producer/engineer who’s worked with G Rap and Wu members in the past, The Wudos Band is considerably interesting if you’re a fan of both groups. It has a mixtape feel and Budos’ dark undertones matches quite naturally with Wu. It also makes you want a Budos/Ghostface project to happen. Give it a listen for free HERE.

WELCOME HOME, BROTHER: THE JAMAA FANAKA INTERVIEW

(Editor’s Note: This was done roughly 2 years ago over the span of many long, extensive phonecalls between Mr. Brummett and Mr. Fanaka. It is one of the deepest pieces I’ve ever read on Fanaka’s films and the motivations behind them–it is also one of the funniest. I am very proud to have this among our list of interviews. Thanks so much Jeff and Jamaa. -DM)

By Jeff Brummett

Jamaa Fanaka is a legendary figure in the world of Soul Cinema. A director, writer and producer of several Soul Cinema classics, including the entire Penitentiary series, Emma Mae and the immortal Welcome Home, Brother Charles.

The only student in UCLA history to create a full-length feature out of his senior thesis, Jamaa is a true innovator and pioneer of D.I.Y. ethos who made badass, thought provoking pictures. With Penitentiary as the highest grossing independent movie of 1979, you would think success of that nature would open more doors for Fanaka. Instead he found racism and lack of studio support to be prevalent in Hollywood. In fact he filed a lawsuit against the Directors Guild, charging them with not living up to the quota of minority hiring—just one example of his tenacity for what is right.

He has an unreleased documentary entitled Hip-Hop Hope that he has finished and is working on a script for Penitentiary 4 to be filmed shortly. Still living in Compton, CA, he took time away from his scriptwriting to talk.

Describe how you wound up going to UCLA and how it changed your life.

Well, I’d been in the Air Force for four years and was having trouble looking for a job, there were no jobs. My best friend was a guy named Cash Nelson and when we were in high school, he was too shy to talk to girls, I’d have to do the talking for him, and when I get out of the Air Force, he was now a pimp! He’s got about ten girls in his stable, a Cadillac and everything and I was real impressed by it, you know. But I knew I didn’t want to be a pimp, I loved my family too much. Continue reading “WELCOME HOME, BROTHER: THE JAMAA FANAKA INTERVIEW”

New Nu-Mark.

Veteran DJ Nu-Mark’s new release sounds promising, a mix focused on Samba, Calypso, Balkan and other world rhythms. It’s called Take Me With You and is due out late January. Mochilla just posted this 20-minute mix in the meantime, serving as a peak inside the project. This ‘mix of the mix’ does the job and makes you want to hear entire thing. Head over to Mochilla and download it HERE.

Nu-Mark’s official debut album, Broken Sunlight, also comes out early next year.

Ronnie Reese on “Cover Girl”

(Writer/editor of Wax Poetics, AOL Boombox, Rolling Stone.com and Stones Throw copywriter Ronnie Reese hit us with this synthy gem. Dude knows his stuff and we’re glad he’s in a sharing mood; peep his take on this jheri curl jam, “Covergirl” by Network. Ronnie’s fine work can be found in the many publications he contributes to. Thanks Double R. Looking forward to more smooth random joints -DM)

“Cover Girl” by Network [Ram’s Horn, 1984]

One of the homeboys put this on a mix for me, but wouldn’t tell me who the artist was—he can be an ass sometimes—so I had to do some digging.

I love the vocals, especially on the bridge (“Cover giiiirl, a picture-perfect face that a thousand words or more could never explain…”). I’m a sucker for those velvety Steve Arrington/Melvin Riley voices. The kind you hear and think, “This dude probably has a jheri curl,” because they usually do. In fact, producer Jake One once told me that’s exactly how he refers to this sound, as “jheri curl music…that feel-good, uptempo, clap-type shit.”

“Cover Girl” has all the right elements—blocks, swirly synths, stabby synths, stretchy synths. It’s just a delicious track, all around, and the beauty is that there are countless songs like this out there if you know where to look. Ronnie Reese

2 decades of grooves

San Francisco’s Groove Merchant is one of the most celebrated and respected record shops in the world (Pete Rock famously spent weeks there thumbing though music). It’s really a hub of activity for DJs, musicians and music lovers alike, ran by knowledgable dudes who love what they do. This recent comp celebrates the shop’s 20 years in existence with selections from “behind the counter”. It’s filled with heat you (and I) have probably never heard of. O-Dub wrote the intro (and a nice post with music from the release), Props designed a limited t-shirt, and it’s put out by Ubiquity— I am, of course, taking some Bay Area pride in this, but it’s ultimately about the music and the shop that made it all happen. Pick it up HERE. I’m working on a story on the shop’s founder, “Cool” Chris Veltri, so keep an eye out in the months to come. Here’s to another 20 years.

en route with onra

‘I Wanna Go Back’

‘Relax In Mui Ne’

Parisian beatsmith Onra stopped by SF during a recent small tour that took him across major US cities. His visit reminded me of how much I dug his Chinoiseries, an instrumental release from ’07 with touches of Dilla and even early RZA, but with far out timbres and melodies all lifted from 30 or so Southeast Asian records he found in Vietnam. His latest, Long Distance, heavily deviates from Chinoiseries, sounding more like an electro boogie album than dusty boom bap. For a relatively new producer, dude’s already shown much versatility with a penchant for sampling the old and unusual. Glad he’s getting some shine. Peep a couple tracks from the Chinoiseries and purchase his latest album HERE.

RIP Cool Ruler

Funny, kind, and candid, Gregory was an utmost gentleman years back when we spoke for a feature story that just recently hit newsstands. He never really viewed his career in hindsight, feeling that it was “always ongoing” and feverishly recording and touring up until he was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. The interview is one of the lengthier ones I’ve done, as Gregory patiently recapped almost his entire career for longtime fans. Gregory passed today at age 59 and it’s with a heavy heart that we celebrate his songs, life, and well-kept career. Below are my favorite recordings from reggae’s Cool Ruler. Rest easy, Mr. Isaacs.

‘Far Beyond The Valley’ off In Person [Trojan 1975]

‘Too Late’ a-side b/w ‘Each Day’ single [Success 1970]

‘Sun Shines For Me’ off Gregory Isaacs Meets Ronnie Davis [Plant 1979]

‘Each Day’ b-side b/w ‘Too Late’ [Success 1970]

‘My Time’ a-side b/w ‘Rockers Time’ [Gussie76 1978]

i run with a thieving squad and none of us believe in god

Big L was such a vicious rapper— swift, smart and aggressive. This upcoming release, Return of the Devil’s Son is promoted as a “posthumous album” with “unreleased material” but actually features some remixes of old tracks. While the title leaves much to be desired, it’s still worth hearing since any ‘lost tracks’ from L are likely grimey and menacing as hell. Below is the tracklisting for the upcoming release along with ‘Zone of Danger’ produced by J-Love, a remix of ‘Dangerzone’ off L’s 1995 debut, Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous.

‘Zone of Danger’ off Return of the Devil’s Son (out November 23rd)

1) “Return Of The Devils Son” (produced by Showbiz)
2) “Devil’s Son (produced by Showbiz)
3) “Zone Of Danger” (produced by J-Love)
4) “Sandman 118”
5) “School Days”
6) “Principle Of The New School” (produced by Showbiz)
7) “Unexpected Flava” (produced by Lord Finesse)
8) “Tony’s Touch”
9) “Right To The Top” f/Royal Flush & Kool G Rap (produced by Domingo)
10) “Once Again” (produced by J-Love)
11) “Harlem World Universal”
12) “I Won’t”
13) “Hard To Kill”
14) “Power Moves”
15) “If You Not Aware”
16) “I Should Have Used A Rubber”
17) “Doo Wop #5”
18) “Yes You Can”
19) “Audition”
20) “MC’s What’s Going On” (produced by Showbiz)
21) “Slaying The Mic”

*** If you haven’t already, peep DJ SOUL’S TRIBUTE TO BIG L, an awesome (and my opinion, the best) Big L ‘best of’ mix; released a while back hosted by Lord Finesse.

Bruce Haack’s ‘Party Machine’

‘Party Machine’ from Farad: The Electric Voice [Stones Throw]

A new release further explores recent interest in voice manipulation by way of vocoders. Bruce Haack (1931-1988) was an experimental electronic musician who used a self-made vocoder he called ‘Farad’ on his recordings. He founded Dimension 5 Records, releasing strange but ultimately progressive abums, “pre-dating Kraftwerk’s Autobahn by several years” according to Stones Throw. Haack didn’t just use vocoders, he made them the centerpiece of his work, which included a children’s album, pop rock releases, dance tracks and a conceptual electronic psych-rock album called The Electric Lucifer. ‘Party Machine’ is an epic cut off Farad: The Electric Voice, the new 16 song collection which includes unreleased songs recently okayed by Haack’s estate.

* ‘Farad’ is named after Michael Faraday, an English chemist and physicist from the mid 1800s who some historians say is the ‘greatest experimentalist in the history of science’ and who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry.

Riddim & News

Very excited to have written the story above for the new issue of Wax Poetics. It’s been years in the making and seeing it in print finalized an incredibly long process of emails, cold calls, miscommunications, and a lot of waiting around. But it ended well, standing as one of the few long, in-depth pieces ever done on the Cool Ruler himself, Gregory Isaacs.

This is the 43th issue of Wax Poetics and is dedicated solely to Reggae. I also added to the Re:Discovery section, writing about one of my favorite 45s, The Gaylettes’ cover of ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Listen to it HERE

Bear Witness

‘Witness To A Heartbreak’ :: The Dynettes [Constellation, 1965]

This single from The Dynettes is a real beauty, sung as if it were court testimony after ‘witnessing a heartbreak’. Not much is known about the Dynettes though this comes from Chicago, 1965, arranged by Maurice Williams (unlikely this Maurice Williams but who knows). The sluggish, delicate arrangement and interplay between the lead and background vocals make it what it is. ‘Witness To A Heartbreak’ is actually a b-side and is nothing like its upbeat a-side may have suggested. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a clean copy of this for ages and finally, I did. Dig it!

Monk One on Milt Matthews

(Editor’s Intro: DJ Monk One, Wax Poetics’ writer, mixtape specialist, collector, and all around nice dude, hit us with Milt Matthews’ ‘It Ain’t Your Fault’, comparing it to Thai food for its tempered approach. Read more on Monk to see how consistent and tasteful his output is. Thanks Mr. Mason!– DM)

Milt Matthews Inc. – ‘It Ain’t Your Fault’ (Commonwealth United, 1970)

The curious genre of Folk Funk is sort of like Thai food. If the delicate balance of disparate flavors isn’t correct, you’re left with an unpalatable mess. ‘It Ain’t Your Fault’ gets the ingredients just right, combining strummy guitar, honky-tonk piano and organ that could’ve come straight off a Band-era Dylan record with a hard hitting rhythm and a Otis Redding worthy vocal. A little sweet, a little sour, and addictively tasty.

Milt Matthews Inc. was a DC-area band who put out two LPs in 1970 and ’71. Though psych and rock collectors pay big money for their second record, I find the concoction a little heavy on the fuzz guitar and prefer the understated flavor of their first, from which this song is taken. – Andrew Mason

Budos Giveaway!!!

Our homies at Daptone gave us the new Budos LP to give away. They also threw in this 45 (out of print) which was only available with pre-orders, featuring a track not available elsewhere. Purchase the release HERE and check out a song off the new album below.

‘Unbroken, Unshaven’ The Budos Band III [Daptone]

*** Send an email to NERDTORIOUS@gmail.com with ‘Budos Giveaway’ in the subject for your chance at some new Budos vinyl. 2 lucky winners chosen at random. Contest ends in 1 week!

* CONGRATS JAMIE S. and SHAWN H. **YOUR RECORDS ARE IN THE MAIL! ***MORE GIVEAWAYS SOON!

New Cut Chemist Piece

(Ed. Note: Finally got to speak with one of my favorite DJs, Cut Chemist. His new project, Sound of the Police, is out now, as is this dope internet-only mix, The Death of Disco. Check both those out and peep our talk below. -DM )

Originally Published on www.waxpoetics.com

Cut Chemist’s selection has always worked in lockstep with his techniques. On Sound Of The Police, his latest project, he uses a foot pedal and one turntable, looping breaks and portions of rare African records to make the mix. Like past work with DJ Shadow (Brainfreeze, Product Placement, and The Hard Sell) it’s more of a live set than an official follow up to his studio album The Audience’s Listening. The routine in fact debuted last year at a concert with Mulatu Astatke, a towering figure of Ethio-jazz, and the release itself was recorded live; no post production, just records and swaths of detail. The response was “so overwhelming” according to Cut, that he thought he’d make it official and release it.

Sound Of The Police is in line with recent explosions of interest in African records, evidenced by books, reissues, and the Broadway musical “Fela”. Since Wax Poetics first spoke to Cut in issue #16, he’s done cameos in films and still shows interest in different genres. The Death Of Disco (1973-1979), a recent internet only mix, sounds like a drunken dance party—highs, lows, sloppiness and all—and has been incesantly downloaded.

When asked what he’s been into lately, he said, “Can’t go into specifics, but I’ve been digging early industrial cassettes from France circa the early 80’s, really great music with primitive drum machine textures.” Here’s my recent talk with Cut Chemist; still on top after all these years.

Were the records on Sound Of The Police accumulated from your collection over time or were these recent finds?
These were records I’ve accumulated over the years. I’ve been into African and South American music ever since being in Ozomatli. Being in that band made me explore different sounds from around the world, as that was the group’s mission.

What are some of the technical things you did on this that possibly may have been lost on the average listener?
As a listening piece, not a performance, the listener may not realize that the mix is live with one deck. It still holds up as a nice mix of music, but everyone might not appreciate how difficult it actually was to record it. This is why I would like to perform the set live.

What was the first African record that got you hooked?
I collect everything. I chose to release this collection of music because I intended it to be just a performance opening up for Mulatu Astatke at the Timeless concert series. The first African record that really moved me was the Mulatu Of Ethiopia LP. The chords were very different from anything I heard in the past. Continue reading “New Cut Chemist Piece”

Roy Gaines’ Black Gal

(Alex LaRotta who runs the audioblog I’m Shakin’ gave us this to share. It’s been in queue for a while but there’s never a bad time for something so timeless. Hats off to Alex for the nice contribution. -DM)

‘Black Gal’ by Roy Gaines

Houston native Roy Gaines and his take on the classic Americana folk dirge, ‘Black Gal’, features a spread of sweet organ soul with a country blues foundation. ‘Black Gal’, also known as ‘In The Pines’ and ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night?’ in various renditions, was made popular in the early ’90s by Seattle’s most well-known crusty grunge trio, Nirvana, on their lauded MTV Unplugged series. Though largely credited in origin to the various recordings by blues folk pioneer Lead Belly, this song dates back to the late 19th century and has since gone through an evolution of genres and interpretations. Continue reading “Roy Gaines’ Black Gal”

Dilla-San

This mix is further proof of Japan’s love affair with Dilla. Recently in Tokyo, I saw his image on magazines and a lot of hip-hop flyers. There were also ‘Ma Dukes’ t-shirts and more than one free mix cd. This is one of those mixes and has a lot of Dilla tracks found on newer releases, like this one with Black Thought or this with Raekwon. I hadn’t heard of DJ Tsubasa but, in a sea of Dilla mixes, this isn’t as obvious as others have been– and is probably the best, most inexpensive thing I got in Japan.

:::::::::::::::::: DOWNLOAD DJ TSUBASA’S DILLA MIX Pt.1

:::::::::::::::::: DOWNLOAD DJ TSUBASA’S DILLA MIX Pt.2

Little Willie Needs Your Love (so bad)

(Dan Ubick, serious musician from Rhythm Roots All Stars, Connie Price and the Keystones and The Lions, has played with Ghostface and Slick Rick among so many others, recording for Blue Note, Ubiquity, Tru Thoughts, and Stones Throw along the way. In his spare time he also writes (I worked with him on this Richard Evans piece) but he’s a music head above all things. A guitarist who transitions between different genres, he’s apparently, at heart, a bluesman. Here’s his thoughts on Little Willie John’s ‘I Need Your Love So Bad’. – DM)

‘I Need Your Love So Bad’ by Little Willie John

“I Need Your Love So Bad” by Little Willie John is to my ears absolutely the most perfect song ever (a huge claim I realize… but true.). This recording contains the most heart wrenching and captivating vocal take I personally have ever heard committed to tape (and I’ve listened to a couple records at this point like most of you reading I’m sure!).

The lyrics, apparently written by Willie John’s brother Mertis John Jr, (their sister was Stax and Motown artist Mable John) are the kind of lyrics that you never forget. Willie John’s well-worn and perfectly loose delivery draw you in like a good friend sharing his troubles with you personally. A voice of wisdom, longing and truth we can all relate to.

“I need someone’s hand to lead me through the night, I need someone’s arms to hold and squeeze me tight. When the night begins and until it ends…I need your love so bad.” Continue reading “Little Willie Needs Your Love (so bad)”

Icelandic Pentameter

This new 45 on BSTRD Boots takes Toots and the Maytals’ ‘Peggy’, blending it with ‘What Have You Done For Me Lately’ by Janet Jackson. It’s the latest release by our bud and Nerdtorious contributor, DJ Platurn. The flip is a pretty nice take on Prince Buster’s ‘Al Capone’ too.

Listen to it here. Buy it here.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Platurn’s Breaking The Ice series for some more rare Icelandic goodies.

DYNAMITE SOUNDS: ADRIAN YOUNGE INTERVIEW

(Editor’s Note: Adrian Younge, producer, collector, composer, and musician currently touring as Adrian Younge and The Black Dynamite Sound Orchestra recenly gave us details on his creative processes. Jeff Brummett, musician and now occasional contributor, interviewed Adrian a few months back. Stay tuned for his extensive, upcoming interview with Soul Cinema icon, Jamaa Fanaka. -DM)

By Jeff Brummett

Adrian Younge is the composer, producer and songwriter for the amazingly righteous Black Dynamite soundtrack. An homage to classic blaxploitation films, the movie and especially the soundtrack are pitch perfect. He went to severe lengths to perfect and duplicate the analog sounds of classic era Soul Cinema creating a very distinct flavor mirroring the original intentions and grooves of those groundbreaking works. The attention to detail and painstaking long hours really bring this project an authenticity that is tremendously impressive. Adrian was also the editor for the film Black Dynamite, so this was very much a passion project for him. We look forward to hearing more from this multi-talented artist.

Were you given the freedom to completely create the tracks or were you and the director working together to come up with the sound?

The producers and the director gave me the freedom to do anything for the score; we collaborated ideas on most of the songs and this was a very joyous experience. The director, Scott Sanders, actually wrote the lyrics to “Cleaning up the Streets.”

How did the tracking aspect go? Was it usually starting a groove with the drummer, then overdubs?

I rarely wrote any of the music with drums first. On the song, “Black they Back,” my drummer, Jack Waterson, composed a drum sequence and I just basically followed his progressions; other than that, songs were either written on organ, bass, or guitar; I would record my instruments into my mpc 2000 for arrangement purposes; after the song was arranged, the band and I would play every instrument onto tape sequentially (do a youtube search for the black dynamite score documentary, it shows the entire process). Continue reading “DYNAMITE SOUNDS: ADRIAN YOUNGE INTERVIEW”

SylMatic

‘Falling In Love’

Besides the awesomeness of having Syl Johnson’s best tracks in one HUGE BOXSET, it also allows fans of his work to fill in gaps between his rare songs and more known recordings. ‘Falling In Love’ is an early, simple Syl tune done for TMP-Ting Records, 1965.

The upcoming release, The Syl Johnson Mythology is being put out by Numero, probably the only label that could curate something like this and nail it. With Syl being sampled so much through the years, and with him hitting the road again, the timing of this is perfect. It’s also an effort to get some funds back to Syl, who is now 74, and who has in the past attempted epic lawsuits to get paid for his work.

This is a massive release, a 6LP + 4CD Boxset. Be ready for some epic listening (81 tracks!) and linernotes (52 pages!) when this comes out late October. I’ll be linking up with Syl soon for an upcoming interview, so keep an eye out in the months to come!