Friday, November 30, 2007

posted by O.W.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings were on Fresh Air the other day. About time!

The show at the El Rey is sold out so I hope L.A. folks got their tickets. I'll be spinning from 8 to 10pm that evening, all soul (maybe a little Latin too). Should be fun.

In honor, here's one cut from Sharon Jones' "distant" past. It was originally released on the Desco label, back in the late '90s (when Desco disbanded, Daptones rose to fill its place, featuring many of the same, key personnel). It's a testament to the quality of these retro-soul singles that, these day, they sell as much as vintage 45s!

Sharon Jones: Hook and Sling Meets the Funky Superfly (Part 1)
From 7" (Desco, 199?). Also available on Spike's Choice.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

posted by O.W.

Trying to free up some time but for now, enjoy this from the late Hector Lavoe:

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

posted by O.W.

Congrats to the five winners of the Aretha Unreleased giveaway:
D. Taruc
G. Perelson
D. Reichel
H. Nguyen
P. Scanniello


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

posted by O.W.

You heard it here first: yours truly, the DJ O-Dub, will be opening for Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings when they play the El Rey on Tuesday, Dec. 4th.

This isn't quite unprecedented. I actually was their opening DJ when the group played the Elbo Room in San Francisco, back around 2002, when they were touring their first album. Suffice to say, a lot has happened with Jones and the Kings since then (let's just say the Elbo Room does quite hold the same amount of people as the El Rey). I am quite stoked to be accorded the honor of opening for them again.

For some crazy reasons - tickets are still available (hey, they sold out the Apollo. The Apollo. The best L.A. can do is sell out the El Rey, I mean...c'mon now. Tickets are only $16, which is quite the bargain compared to what other shows go for these days ($250 Prince tickets, I'm looking at you).

For the occasion, I'm going to try to put together something a lil special for any Soul Siders who pop up at the show. No promises but I'll do my best to bring through a lil somethin'.

In the meantime, here's a little treat off the new Daptone Records Remixed, put out promotionally by Scion. You can peep out the entire 8-track CD here at, but courtesy me, enjoy my favorite remix off this EP, the Ticklah remix of "How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?" (the original was one of my favorite songs off of Naturally).

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings: How Long Do I Have To Wait For You? (Ticklah Remix)
From Daptone Records Remixed (Scion, 2007)

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Monday, November 19, 2007

posted by O.W.

1) Look for this new book coming out in the next few weeks. (Psss...I'm a contributor, plus my boy Dave T. wrote the intro).

2) This video is so good, I actually almost makes me feel bad I quasi-panned the album. Had I seen this before listening to American Gangster, I would have assumed the CD was godly (instead of being merely "good").

Jay-Z: Roc Boys

3) D-Nice's True Hip-Hop Stories = essential for oldnew school cats like me. I mean no disrespect by this following comment, but I appreciate D-Nice better in his "post-rapper" career than I did when he was rapping. That said, this song is still one of the illest '90s tracks ever.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Taking On Nautilus: Who Flipped It Best?
posted by O.W.

Bob James: Nautilus
From One (CTI, 1974)

Lord Shafiyq: My Mic Is On Fire
From 12" (NUWR, 1987)

Main Source: Live At the BBQ
From Breaking Atoms (Wild Pitch, 1991)

Ghostface Killah: Daytona 500
From Ironman (Epic, 1996)

I had the idea for this post for quite a bit, ever since I remembered reading an interview with Bob James where he was asked what he thought about different samplings of his music. RZA's flip on "Nautlius" for "Daytona 500" drew high praise, especially because RZA transposed the sample into a different key, giving it a more sinister edge. However, RZA was the latest in line of hip-hop producers to play off "Nautilus," arguably the most popular of James' CTI-era compositions, though not the most recognizable.

I realize the three songs I picked were merely a handful out of dozens of possibilities but "Live at the BBQ" seemed like a good contrast, especially because the way Large Professor worked with "Nautilus" isn't as obvious as other uses. On the other hand, I went with Lord Shafiyq's random rap classic, "My Mic Is On Fire," because it was one of the early rap tunes to use "Nautilus" so prominently, and using one of the more striking passages at that.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Jay-Z: Gray Hova Rides Again
posted by O.W.

Jay-Z: Roc Boys + Success
From American Gangster (Def Jam, 2007)

Menahan Street Band: Make the Road by Walking (snippet)
From 7" (Dunham, 2007)

Larry Ellis and the Black Hammer: Funky Thing Pt. 1
From 7" (Al King, 1968). Also on Quantic Presents: World's Rarest Funk 45s

I can't say I love the new Jay-Z album but whatever my reservations of American Gangster, I still think Jay's one of the greatest rappers out there (yeah, he'd make my "fave 5"). At the very least, AG is an improvement over Kingdom Come but that's not really saying much. I suspect that many of the songs on AG will age well but foresight's never been my strong point (my hindsight is exceptional however).

A few songs did strike me right off the bat however, namely the two above. "Roc Boys" is the closest thing on this album to a bonafide anthem - great hook, great horns - and it's one the least self-serious songs on the album, which I think is a plus. I admit - I'm surprised Diddy has his name on this as the producer (though it might very well be that Sean C or LV had more to do with it). Regardless, props on finding and using the Menahan Street Band's excellent new 7", "Make the Road By Walking" on this one (read: I hope the MSB folks get paid off this), which is one of my favorite Daptones-related songs, well, ever. I know people without turntables are rather s.o.l. but the 7" is otherwise worth copping (the b-side is equally nice). (And really, if readers don't have a turntable yet, get thee one.

Back to Jay: "Success" is a touch more ponderous but I still love the verses I quoted for my LA Times review - super-swaggery but still clever - which is how I like Jay best. I didn't think this was Nas' finest moment but I still get a kick out of hearing those two on the same track. I'm old school like that.

No ID comes back from the milkbox to absolutely kill this track, flipping the opening organ screams from Larry Ellis' ridiculously scarce "Funky Thing." Personally, I don't necessarily like the rest of the song but Ellis' opening is a monster, especially with the reverbed drums.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Twee Funk Revisited
posted by O.W.

Patrizia and Jimmy: Trust Your Child
From 7" (Ala, 1974)

Jack and the Mods: One Is Enough For One
From 7" (?, 197?)

Both from Home Schooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul (Numero Group, 2007)

Bonus: Ponderosa Twins Plus One: Bound
From 7" (Astroscope, 1971)

This is long overdue (what isn't these days?) but I first reported on Matthew Africa's excellent twee funk mix, almost a year ago. Numero Group seemed to be thinking along similar lines since they dropped their Home Schooled comp over the summer (and which I recently reviewed for NPR).

I won't repeat the review at length (though I do encourage people to take a listen when they have a chance) but what I think stands out about kiddie soul is that fine line between youthful innocence and adult knowledge that is, far from being a contradiction, the core appeal of many of these songs. We like hearing kids sound old beyond their long as they still sound like kids, if that makes any sense.

For that reason, I enjoy these two picks above even though they're very different songs. I like the kind of moxy exhibited in the Patrizia and Jimmy - it's the the kind of manifesto that young people always wish they could throw down at adults (but rarely do). In contrast, the Jack and the Mods, feat. nine year old Jake Townsend, isn't about Jake speaking to adults so much as it him exhibiting a preciousness...a romantic wisdom beyond his pre-pubescent years.

The bonus cut by the Ponderosa Twins Plus One is timely; I realize that a rap song I posted not-that-long ago uses it as its sample base, coincidentally enough. I'm loving this song, especially the bridge at the end. Our friend HHH hit us with the digital copy (and then I promptly went out to track down a copy of the 7" for self) and he's got the flipside of this single available at his site, so peep. I didn't know much about the group but apparently, they were considered bigger (relative to most of the groups on Home Schooled) though nowhere close to the fame of, say, the Jackson 5 or Sylvers. I dig their sound and will probably use this 7" as the jump-off point to checking out their larger catalog.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Craig G vs. ATCQ: Who Flipped It Better?
posted by O.W.

Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band: What Can You Bring Me?
From You're So Beautiful (Warner Brothers, 1971)

Craig G: Take the Bait
From Now, That's More Like It (Atlantic, 1991)

A Tribe Called Quest: Rock Rock Ya'll
From The Love Movement (Jive, 1998)

First of all, apologies for being MIA for a minute; it's been a long few weeks, work-wise. I've got some boogaloo-themed pieces in the works (look for the first of those to roll out in a month or so), plus two sets of liner notes involving some very interesting projects focused on one of the artists included above (hint: not a rapper), and some other assorted things that have been keeping me busy. Once I get over the next week or so, I should be back to slightly more frequent posts. Consider this another place holder (albeit, one with actual songs).

In any case, I know I've already done a challenge feat. both artists before but I couldn't pass it up given the Charles Wright/Watts 103rd connection. The original song is off the last Watts 103rd album before the group disbanded and it's also one of the handful of their songs sung by drummer James Gadson instead of Wright himself. Great guitar line and horn reply, right?

The man, Marley Marl, was one of the first to work with that loop for one of Craig G's unsung masterpieces - "Take the Bait" - which, if I may add, very nicely incorporates Gadson's falsetto. I'm actually rather surprised that no one seemed to have picked up on it until ATCQ used the same loop (albeit slightly differently) for the posse cut off of The Love Movement.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Another Soul Sides Space Filler
posted by O.W.

James Brown in Paris, 1971

(Sorry, too busy to post right now but I'm working on some big things I'll share soon).

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