Here’s a heart-wrenching tune from Toussaint McCall.
I first heard this as a 15 or 16 year old on a Chicago radio station that played old blues and R&B on Sunday nights. I pressed Record on my tape deck, and listened to it over the years. It wasn’t until the magic of the internet that I was able to track down the artist. Yep, Toussaint McCall. This song helped me through many episodes of teen angst and heartbreak. Well, I’m not sure helped is the word, but it certainly helped my wallow in my sorrows over the years. Now that I’m happily married, I’ll never truly be able to play the role of the singer as he laments “I moved your pictures from my wall, and I replaced them, both large and small…” Damn, this is good stuff. One of my favorites of all time.
A classic from the winter of 1967 and possibly the most popular pure deep soul single of all time. Written by McCall, the slow love homage checked in at number five R&B and a solid number 22 pop. The production adheres to the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) and is not much more than McCall’s passionate vocal riding on top of a sheet of minor organ chords.
Lower the lights, make it rain, and listen to this:
Our next quality tune comes to you from Chris Whitley’s debut album, “Living with the Law”, released back in 1991 (where the $^#& does the time go?! crap, i’m getting old). This tune is one of the shining moments on the album. This album was produced by Malcolm Burn in Daniel Lanois’ New Orleans mansion. Mr. Burn has put his stamp on several projects through the years: the Neville Brothers’ “Yellow Moon” album, Midnight Oil, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris’ “Red Dirt Girl”, John Mellencamp’s “Human Wheels”, not to mention a photography credit on Bruce Cockburn’s “Charity of Night” album. So for some swampy, dirty, rootsy blues-rock, here’s a killer tune from Mr. Whitley:
Chris Whitley – I Forget You Everyday
in the meadow we can build a snowman
and pretend that he is Alan Parsons
he’ll say have you listened to my new band
we’ll say no but we really like that one song
it goes ‘time keeps flowing like a river’
Another I-guess-you-would-call-it old school gem from 1990 from the boys in X-Clan, found on their album “To the East…Blackwards”, this isn’t your run of the mill late 80’s, early 90’s gangsta or Hammer or Ice Ice baby-type fare. This is Afrocentric, 5 percenter, listen to the knowledge I’m droppin’-type stuff, with great samples backing the tracks. On Funkin’ Lesson, they use 2 Funkadelic classics: “Not Just (Knee Deep)”, and “One Nation Under a Groove”.
Turn this one up, play it loud, play it proud… X Clan – Funkin’ Lesson
Teachin’ those actors and actresses,
Who write a couple of lines on what black is, really?
Then they label me a sin,
Cause a brother just speaks from within,
I guess I’m darker than the shadow of the darkest alley, that they always
scared to go in,
I wear boots and beads, bags and braids, stick and scrolls, rings and shades,
Walk in the light of the moon, but I’ve never been a Batman,
African call it Blackman,.
Here’s a 2 minute pop masterpiece by a band out of south Philadelphia who call themselves Marah. They caught my attention a few years ago when they released Kids in Philly, an album chock full of powerful lyrics and imagery, and bare bones rock n roll. They sort of went off the deep end with their next release (Float Away with the Friday Night Gods), but holy $#%@#, they are back this year with 20,000 Streets Under the Sky, one of my favorite albums of 2004 (Yeah, I’m 34 years old, and I will call them albums for the rest of my life!).
Want to put a little charge in your day? Listen to Grandaddy‘s version of Best of All Possible Worlds. It was written by Kris Kristofferson and released on his debut album back in 1970.
If you haven’t heard of Grandaddy, I’ll be posting some more of their stuff soon. “Solar powered space pop” is how their All Music bio starts. This song is a pretty straight ahead country rocker that’ll put a smile and sneer on your face. Enjoy. Oh and of course, see Grandaddy’s site here.
Reminiscing about back in the mid 80’s when I was a naive little white boy coming of age. I’d listen to the nightly “hot mix” on WLUM (Milwaukee), where I was introduced to some very cool music. Like this hot little number from the Freeze Force Crew Man Parrish. Granted, I was a spoiled little white boy living comfortably in suburbia, but this is the music I grew up with…. livin’ hard on the mean streets of Racine baby!
Cool Johnski from the Freeze Force Crew
I came here to say a def rhyme for you
About the Boogie Down Bronx, it’s a one of a kind
It’s the place to be; it’s a state of mind
But the guys out here, they really are crookin’
They snatch gold chains when the cops ain’t lookin’
But what can I say? It’s the place to be
It’s where I stay in reality
So listen close and you all will hear
About the devestatin’ body rocker of the year
Well, let’s have a go at it, shall we? As I immerse myself more and more into the endless world of internet blogs (music blogs in particular), I find myself itching to join the game. This is going to be trial and error, but I think it’s worth a shot. I am creating IckMusic out of my pure and unadulterated, compulsive and passionate love of music. I love traveling from blog to blog and discovering tunes, and reading other’s interpretations of songs, and, though I am by no means as eloquent as those I’ve seen, I figure it’s time for me to try. So, from my little corner of the world outside of Phoenix, Arizona, here you go…
Let me cut to the chase and put something out there. I just saw Calexico open for Wilco a few weeks ago, and was very impressed. Trumpets, a stand-up bass player, pedal steel, guitars… I’ve heard them referred to as Spaghetti Southwestern. Very cool stuff. From Tucson, Arizona, I give you… Calexico.