Name that Old School Tune

Okay, attention all old school connoisseurs (even I had to look that one up). I need your help!! I’ve been digging through my old tapes, and need help identifying the artist that performs this song… the old trick of putting the lyrics into Google is not working!

This old school joint comes from a mix on a Milwaukee radio station that used to have a nightly hot mix (WLUM). I taped a bunch of them between 1984-1986. One of the mixes has this song thrown in… I would be indebted to anyone who could help me figure out who recorded it. I figure someone out there will know…

Mystery Old School Jam: “Don’t You Wanna Dance” ?? (mp3)

New X Clan in 06

x clan

In the early 90’s, X Clan exploded on the hip hop scene with two kick-ass Parliament / Funkadelic-laden, afrocentric, hard hitting albums: ‘To the East, Blackwards’, and ‘Xodus’. Now, after a long hiatus, in which member Brother J formed a new group, Dark Sun Riders, and another, Sugar Shaft, died of AIDS-related complications in 1995, X Clan is back.

The Brooklyn-based group is making a comeback, with a 2006 release – ‘Return from Mecca’ – in the works. They have an unreleased track up on their web site called “Weapon X”. It’s classic X Clan with the intense rolling beats and Brother J’s booming baritone controlling the flow.

They offer a few mp3’s on their web site, including the essential “Funkin’ Lesson”and “Grand Verbalizer What Time is It?” from their debut album. Here I have their unreleased track, along with the title track from ‘Xodus’.

X Clan: Weapon X (mp3) unreleased | Xodus (mp3) from Xodus

Terminator X Goes Off

terminator x

So I’ve been going through my boxes of old cassettes, and am starting the arduous task of converting them to mp3. The first to get the treatment was ‘Terminator X & the Valley of the Jeep Beats’. As the DJ for Public Enemy, T.X certainly made his mark as one of the most original and vibrant DJ’s in hip hop. In 1991, he released this debut solo album, bringing in a wide variety of mostly obscure guests: Bonnie & Clyde, Juvenile Delinquintz, Spacey B Experience, etc.

But he did pull in Chuck D. and Sista Soulja for “Buck Whylin”. He also goes reggae with the track “DJ is the Selector”, sung by Dubmaster. From the old school, here’s a little taste of Terminator X.

Terminator X: Vendetta…The Big Payback > Buck Whylin’ (mp3) | DJ is the Selector (mp3)

Good Night Ned

My college partner in crime, Jason, noticing my recent trend of reaching way back into my past (80’s Prince), emerged recently with an email containing the Beastie Boys version of ‘Bennie and the Jets’, as sung by Biz Markie. He “originally had it as a floppy pull-out 45 from that Beastie Boys zine, Grand Royal. Like a perfume insert from one of those (you’re-not-a) beauty magazines, except it reeked of beastibizfunk.” Amen brother.

Beastie Boys w/ Biz Markie: Benny & the Jets (mp3) – found on The Sounds of Science (1999)

Ah hell, here’s one more old school classic I was reminded of recently on Sirius BackSpin:

EPMD: You’re a Customer (mp3) – from Strictly Business (1988)

Like me, Jason recognizes The Three Amigos as a timeless classic (he noticed my singing bush reference recently), and threw in My Little Buttercup (mp3) for good measure.

“It’s a sweater!!”

Time for Twilight 22

Tonight’s post harkens back to my WLUM Milwaukee Hot Mix listening days in the mid 80’s. Featured tonight is Twilight 22:

The ’80s electro outfit Twilight 22 was led by computer/synth-wiz Gordon Bahary, but also featured contributions from lead singer and co-songwriter Joseph Saulter. Bahary got his start when he was invited to assist the great Stevie Wonder during the recording of his 1976 classic Songs in the Key of Life (Bahary was only 16 years old at the time). Wonder invited Bahary to help out on his next recording, 1979’s Journey Through the Secret of Plants, for which the teenager produced and programmed synthesizers. It was around this time that Bahary met Saulter through a mutual acquaintance (Herbie Hancock), while Bahary was working on Hancock‘s Feets Don’t Fail Me Now. Although Saulter was originally a drummer (playing in an Los Angeles-based outfit called Rhythm Ignition), it was his vocal skills that drew the most attention, leading to the formation of Twilight 22 in the early ’80s. Their lone single, “Electric Kingdom,” was one of the seminal moments for electro, but their 1984 self-titled full-length for Vanguard was their last label before splitting up shortly thereafter. Both Bahary and Saulter went on to play on other artist’s records, as well as production. (from All Music)

Twilight 22: Electric Kingdom (mp3)
Twilight 22: Siberian Nights (mp3)

If you have $100 burning a hole in your pocket, you can pick their 1984 album used on Amazon.

Zapp

It’s been a while since I brought out a blast from my past – the funky years. From 1984 thru, oh, 1986, I immersed myself completely in R&B, funk, soul, and rap of the day. It got so intense that I remember smashing the Scorpions ‘Blackout’ album with a drumstick. Of course I regretted it a couple years later when I re-opened my mind to all music and I wanted to crank “The Zoo” on my turntable. Ah well, live and learn.

So Zapp was one of my favorites of this era. Comprised of Roger Troutman and several of his brothers, they rose from the Dayton, Ohio music scene in the late 70’s. Zapp’s defining sound is Roger’s mastery of the vocoder talk box, a tube he would plug into his synthesizer to alter / synthesize his voice. You also heard Roger years later on Tupac’s “California Love”. Tragically, Roger was shot to death by his brother Larry in a 1999 murder-suicide. But his music lives on.

The first tune, “Computer Love”, was probably Zapp’s biggest commercial hit. From their 1985 album, ‘More Zapp IV U’, it features the Gap Band’s Charlie Wilson and Shirley Murdock on vocals.

“Itchin’ for Your Twitchin” is a direct nod to Prince: from the synth riffs to the guitar solo, to the “Irresistible Itch” chant (referring to Prince’s “Irresistible Bitch”).

Zapp: Computer Love (mp3)
Zapp: Itchin’ for Your Twitchin’ (mp3)

Funky Friday

Thanks to great mp3 sites like Home of the Groove, and in this case, Can I Bring My Gat, I’ve been introduced to some great tunes out of the New Orleans area. Thankfully after all these years, I’m finally discovering the Meters.

Considered by many to be the founding fathers of funk, The Meters created a unique sound that lasted through the sixties and seventies and was reborn in the late eighties. Their trademark sound blends funk, blues, and dance grooves with a New Orleans vibe.The history of this native New Orleans band dates back to 1967, when keyboardist Art Neville recruited George Porter, Jr., Joseph (Zigaboo) Modeliste and Leo Nocentelli to form The Meters. When Neville formed the band, he had already been a prominent member of the New Orleans music community for 15 years.

So the Meters song I have available tonight sounded very familiar to me. The opening riff was the opening for an old school hip hop song I liked way back when, I just couldn’t place it. Well, it hit me tonight – it’s none other than Droppin Em from LL Cool J’s third release, 1989’s Walking With a Panther. Of course!! You can’t begin to tell me that beat ain’t funky.

Compare, contrast, enjoy, have a funky good weekend. In the words of a young Robert Goulet, holla back.

The Meters: (The World Is a Bit Under the Weather) Doodle-Oop (mp3)

  • appears on Trick Bag (1976), the tasty album cover above

LL Cool J: Droppin Em (mp3)

Sunday Grab Bag

A trio of tunes that sum up my mood this Sunday in the 115 degree Arizona desert.

Morning: A Tribe Called Quest – Mr. Muhammad A cup of coffee, the Sunday paper, and “Mr. Muhammad” piping through the household. Heads a bobbin’ courtesy of the Tribe, from their awesome debut album – deep breath – People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm.

Afternoon:Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict a Riot – This is hands down one of the best take-no-prisoners rock n roll song I’ve heard all year. If you’re not jumping up and down when the choruses kick in on this one, you have no soul. You should check out the video of the K. Chiefs performing this tune to open up Philly’s Live 8 concerts a couple weeks ago. I never thought I’d say this, but thank you AOL for showing VH-1 and MTV how it’s done. From Employment.

Evening: Tom Waits – Kentucky Avenue – Well it’s evening time in Arizona… only 101 degrees, and it’s time to wind down with Tom Waits, smoothly croaking out this great ballad from 1978’s Blue Valentine.

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

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)