And you Don’t Stop with Afrikaa

Boing Boing had a cool post today about a web site full of late 70’s/ early 80’s hip hop fliers, which prompted me to immediately head for my record collection and pull out a 1985 12″ Afrika Bambataa single, “Funk You”. It’s a few years removed from his earlier Soulsonic Force classic “Planet Rock”, but it’s still classic early rap.

Listen: Afrikaa Bambaataa & Family – Funk You (wma) – – this is a WMA file, and doesn’t download normally from Firefox. I recommend right clickin’ and savin’ target as…
Buy: Afrika Bambaataa’s music on Amazon

The Sadies and Mister Williams break it on down

If you have a spare 6 minutes and 32 seconds, listen to this snippet from NPR’s American Routes. It’s a short interview with the Canadian band the Sadies (with some clips of their tunes).

The Sadies are a mix of bluegrass, country, surf and garage rock, among others…here’s a taste:

Listen: The Sadies – Flash
Buy: The Sadies on Amazon

One thing they talk about in the interview is their collaboration with Andre Williams, an R&B pioneer from Detroit. This man has been around since the 50’s, and it would take me all day to talk about the things he’s done, so read here for his bio. But basically, Andre had some serious drug issues in the 80’s & 90’s and ended up living on the streets. He cleaned himself up though, and has been releasing albums again with the likes of the Sadies, and a couple of guys from the Demolition Doll Rods. Now, Mick Collins and Dan Kroha are the two fellows from the DDR’s, and they wrote everything on Andre’s 1998 release, ‘Silky’ (along with Andre), including this cool rollicking surf shuffle….Ohh, you’re gonna like this.

Listen: Andre Williams – Only Black Man in South Dakota (mp3)
Buy: Silky


Has anyone checked out Kaki King? Kaki is a young guitar vituouso, who counts Michael Hedges and Alex de Grassi among her biggest influences. I saw her video last night (“Playing with Pink Noise”), and was impressed. She plays guitar in an unconventional over the fret style, and taps the fret like a percussive instrument. She has a laid back and cool demeanor that’s just fun to watch. She kicks back while her fingers are flying all up and down her fret. Check out her web site to see the full video for “Playing with Pink Noise”…

Check this tune out. Starts off innocent enough, but she achieves lift-off soon enough. Cool stuff.

Listen: Kaki King – Close Your Eyes and You’ll Burst Into Flames (mp3)
Buy: Legs to Make Us Longer

Gettin’ Magnetic on ya…

Another band I’ve come across recently in my ever-expanding tastes for indie pop/rock is Magnetic Fields. Yes, friends, the picture above is a magnetic field (from the NASA web site). Their All Music bio lays out that Magnetic Fields is essentially comprised of one fellow, “studio wunderkind” Stephen Merritt. This song strikes me as beautiful, simple and odd (sort of like the picture). See if you agree.

Listen: Magnetic Fields – It’s Only Time (mp3)
Buy: I (All songs on this album begin with I)
Official Site: House of Tomorrow

Freaky and Clandestine: It’s Double Oh-Oh

I finally got my turntable and computer talking to eachother again, so I’m finally able to bring you some of my choice LP cuts! I bet you’re really excited.

One of the first albums I pulled out today was George Clinton‘s 2nd solo album, ‘Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends’, which came out in 1985 (during my funk discovery days as a teenager). My favorite on the album is the opener, “Double Oh-Oh”, about a super sexy secret agent. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be jumping around chanting “UH! This is for my country…UH! This is for me!” by the end of the song. I’ll try to get more tracks from this album out. A couple of them are written and produced (and partly performed) by Thomas Dolby. A cool album, lots of drum machines and synths, but hey it was 1985, and being a Prince fanatic, this was right up my alley.

Listen: George Clinton – Double Oh-Oh (mp3)
Buy: Some of My best Jokes are Friends
Official Web Site: (cool Flash site)

We’re Gettin’ Root Down

Since I just took off the Jimmy Smith track from last week, I feel obligated to include another JS gem. As I mentioned before, I didn’t find out about the greatness of Jimmy Smith until last year. Little did I know, I was grooving to Jimmy’s organ when I didn’t even know it, on the Beastie Boys’ “Root Down”. If I had any sense, I would’ve tracked down the originator of that groove when I was listening to it in the mid 90’s. *slap across the face*

Well, it’s no surpise that the original absolutely destroys the Beasties’ take on it (and I do LOVE the Beasties’ version). But man, that beat (and the way it starts, cascading into that sick groove), that rhythm, the sweet low down Hammond… Sheesh.

Listen: Jimmy Smith – Root Down (mp3)
Buy: Root Down


I’m not sure who out there has VH-1 Classic, but on Friday, they played a great semi-recent Curtis Mayfield club show from somewhere in Europe. Hey how’s that for detail?? (Hey, I tried finding info on the VH-1 Classic web site, but no luck…) He and his band played a sweet version of “I’m So Proud”, one of Curtis’ tunes from his days with the Impressions long ago. He had that audience in the palms of his hands, it seemed everyone was on the edge of getting emotional. *sniff*

I wish I could track down that live version, but I can’t, so here’s the original from the early 60’s.

Listen: Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions – I’m So Proud (mp3)

Buy: The Anthology 1961-1977, Geffen 1992

I’ve Stood on the Street Corner

It’s a dreary, rainy holiday weekend here in the Arizona desert, so I’ll kick it off with something on the mellow side. For some reason or another, Bruce Cockburn – who is well known up north in his home country of Canada – has always remained somewhat of a cult figure here in the U.S. (which is fine by me). The man has been going strong for over three decades, for crying out loud.

These selections come from a Columbia Radio Hour broadcast of Christmas with Cockburn that I taped off the radio back in 1994 (eleven years ago – gasp). “One Day I Walk” has always been one of my BC favorites because of its beauty and hope. The mp3 ends with the introduction of the next song, the “Huron Carol”, so I feel obligated to include that as well. The “Huron Carol” was written by a Jesuit missionary to the Huron Indians in the 1600’s, and is sung in the Huron language. Bruce elaborates on it in the intro… I recommend downloading both of these songs, and listening to them in succession. Enjoy…

Bruce Cockburn – One Day I Walk (mp3)
Bruce Cockburn – Huron Carol (mp3)

From the 1994 Columbia Radio Hour broadcast of ‘Christmas with Cockburn’.

See Bruce’s Official Web Site.
Buy Bruce’s Music on Amazon.

Get Lucky

Here’s another artist I discovered courtesy of my wife, who lived in Seychelles all of her life until that fateful day we met while she was visiting Arizona. So she introduced me to Lucky Dube. I said “Lucky Doo-Who?” Well, Lucky is a very popular South African Reggae singer, popular all across the African continent. He would even hop a plane over to Seychelles to perform. My wife saw him once. Anyhow, here’s a sample of Lucky Dube (pronounced Doo-Bay, not Doobie you stoners).

Lucky Dube – Rasta Man’s Prayer – from ‘Trinity’, 1995, Tabu Records

Buy ‘Trinity’ on Amazon.
See the All Music entry on Lucky Dube.