My Other Favorite Bruce

Every now and then, I find it imperative to spread the good word of Bruce Cockburn. So here’s a soothing, laid back ballad from the Good Man from Canada.

Bruce Cockburn (pronounced Co-burn for the uninitiated): Live On My Mind (mp3)

  • Written in Maui, January 1993
  • Bass: Rob Wasserman, Drums: Gary Craig, Vibes: Gary Burton, Keyboard: Janice Powers, Harmonies: Jonatha Brooke, Resophonic & Electric Guitar: Bruce Cockburn

Imagine This

I just got done watching ‘Imagine: John Lennon’ on HBO. I saw it in the theater back when it came out in 1988, and hadn’t see it since. Really a powerful film since it’s basically entirely narrated by John with audio and video clips taken from his entire career. No need to expound on the genius of John Lennon and the Beatles, but suffice it to say once the film is over, you feel emotionally drained as you’re left with the reality of his tragic death. Blah. Blech.

Here’s a contemporary take on a Beatles classic…

Grandaddy: Revolution (mp3) – from the I Am Sam Soundtrack, which features 17 different Beatles covers.

Full Force Get Busy One Time

You mean to tell me I’ve never posted about 80’s R&B / funk masters Full Force? The genius of Bow Legged Lou, Paul Anthony, B-Fine and the rest of the fellas have never been discussed at length on the self-indulgent and hopefully sometimes entertaining- to-others blog named IckMusic? Well, that’s just plain wrong.

You’ve heard Full Force before. If you’ve heard the beats, backing vocals and instrumentation behind Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam (“I Wonder if I Take You Home”, “All Cried Out”), Samantha Fox (“I Wanna Have Some Fun”, “Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)”), or UTFO’s “Roxanne Roxanne”, you’ve heard Full Force.

Based out of Brooklyn, the boys in Full Force didn’t really get it going until they wrote and produced Lisa Lisa’s debut in 1985. From there, they released their own debut the next year. Check out a snippet from All Music’s scathing review: “This 1986 debut included the mildly entertaining “Alice, I Want You Just For Me!,” but was mostly either uneventful love tunes, haphazard novelty pieces or unfocused and formulaic quasi-raps.”

Well color me stupid, I was a fool for their unfocused and formulaic quasi-raps! They released a few more albums in the 80’s and 90’s (as well as one comeback / tribute / greatest hits album in 2001). But they stayed busy as a production team through the years (I lost track of the boys around, oh, 1988).

I give you two 12″ extended remixes recently pulled from my vinyl collection. One with Full Force in front of the mics, one behind.

Full Force: Alice, I Want You Just For Me (mp3)

U.T.F.O.: Ya Cold Wanna Be With Me (mp3) – written & produced by Full Force

Monday Masters: Doc Watson

Father’s Day was kind to me. My wife treated me to Sirius Satellite Radio. So needless to say, I’ve been pretty much immersed in the 120 + channels over the last few days. My favorites so far: Sirius Disorder, Jam On, Back Spin, and Pure Jazz. But I’m just getting going here.

So anyhow, tonight features another legend that was introduced to me through Steve Earle’s music. Steve’s song “Hometown Blues” starts off with his intro: “this here’s a hometown blues with apologies to Thomas Wolfe and Doc Watson.” So I eventually picked up ‘Tennessee Stud’, Doc Watson’s 2003 release. Granted, I have a long way to go in properly exploring Doc’s catalog, but this is a great introduction, in my humble opinion.

Doc was born back in 1923 in Deep Gap, North Carolina. Blind at an early age, he learned to finger pick at a school for the blind. His bio’s really interesting, I encourage you to check it out here.

Check out Doc’s version of an old jug band standard…

Doc Watson: Mama Don’t Allow No Music (mp3)

In the Valley of the Midnight Oil

I’ve always admired Peter Garrett. Other than his great first name, he’s balanced an innovative and consistently strong music career with Midnight Oil, while staying heavily involved in the political and social issues of his native Australia. He ended up leaving Midnight Oil to focus on politics, and is currently a member of the Australian Parliament, serving the federal electorate of Kingsford Smith. At seven feet tall, Peter is a commanding presence on stage and I’m sure on the floor of Parliament. I had the good fortune to see Midnight Oil in 2001. My brother and I sat just a few rows back from the stage. An amazing experience…

So here’s two selections from Midnight Oil, one of my favorites from 1993’s ‘Earth and Sun and Moon’, and the other a more familiar track from 1987’s ‘Diesel and Dust’.

Midnight Oil: In the Valley (mp3) from Earth and Sun and Moon

Midnight Oil: The Dead Heart (mp3) from Diesel and Dust

’56 Dells

It’s back to basics tonight as we go back before my time, when the doo-wop groups were arriving on the scene. The Dells came together in 1953 in the southern suburbs of Chicago. Two of the members, Johnny Funches and Marvin Junior, sat down and penned this great tune, which shot to the Top 5 R&B charts in 1956. Funches sings lead on this one. This song is one that I have loved since the first time I heard it in my early teens. My first job ever was at a frame shop in Racine, Wisconsin. The radio in the back room was perpetually playing the oldies station, and this was one of the great songs that caught my ear.

This is one of the most popular doo-wop ballads of all time, so this certainly isn’t an obscure tune. But someone out there will hear this for the first time, and be moved. Enjoy.

The Dells: Oh, What a Night (mp3)

Buzz like a Chicken

image grab from the Bees site. hey, I have that Zapp album on the mantle!

Well I hadn’t heard the Bees until today, when Radio Paradise played “Chicken Payback”. Straight out of UK’s Isle of Wight, the Bees lay down some old school rock, some r&b… definitely a late 60’s vibe coming through here. It’s a feel good, entertaining trip.

So then I checked out the video for “Chicken Payback” on their web site, and was even more entertained. The scene is a Japanese video arcade, and one of those interactive dance machine console thingamajigs. Check it out.

The Bees Official Web Site (click the, you guessed it, Video link.)

She’s Still a Thrill

Digging into the vault of hotties from my adolescence brings this funky, sensual tune from Jody Watley (I don’t post enough of the ladies). Jody started off as a Soul Train dancer in the 70’s. She would soon become a member of Shalamar, which was the brainchild of Soul Train’s booking agent Dick Griffey, and British R&B producer Simon Soussan. Jody bid Shalamar adieu in 1984, and exploded back on to the scene in ’87 with her debut solo album, which won her Best New Artist at the 1987 Grammies.

This tune is co-written and produced by Andre Cymone (as is the album). Quick quiz, who is Andre Cymone?………….bzzzzt. Andre was Prince’s bassist in the late 70’s and early 80’s (till 1981). He was a close childhood friend of Prince, and released three solo albums before moving behind the board as producer (Adam Ant, Jermaine Stewart, Pebbles, Tom Jones). Jody’s solo album was Andre’s first production credit, and an impressive one at that (by the way, what in the $#%@ happened to Andre Cymone?).

I was checking out Jody’s web site, and she is still very much active. She updates her site regularly herself, and just recently wrapped up some shows in Japan. She has posted a 2005 remix of her biggest hit, “Lookin for a New Love” too. She’s still lookin’ great too (see above).

Jody Watley: Still a Thrill – extended remix (mp3)

2 Live Crew – Before Luke

As I slowly convert my old LP’s to digital format, I continue to unearth some gems from my younger days. I bought the 12″ single “What I Like” b/w “The Revelation” by the 2 Live Crew back in 1985. This was the year before they released their explicit debut album, ‘2 Live Crew is What We Are.’ “What I Like” features Fresh Kid Ice, AKA Trinidad-born Chris Wong Won. He had just moved to Miami from California to caplitalize on the success of the single “The Revelation” in the Miami area. These tracks were released before Luke Skyywalker (Luther Campbell) joined the group and caused all the controversy with 1989’s ‘As Nasty as they Wanna Be’.

“What I Like” is Fresh Kid Ice on the mic, with the booty shakin’ drum machine beats, and scratching (including a Morris Day cackle in the chorus). Vintage old school. And it’s 2 Live crew without one single profane word! How many times has that happened?

The 2 Live Crew: What I Like (mp3)