Monday, July 19, 2010
Bobby "Blue" Bland - "Call On Me" b/w "That's the Way Love Is" is what I guess would've been a double A-side 45 on the Duke label from about 1963. It's my favorite 45 by my favorite blues singer, period. This is a 45 I stumbled on for cheap in a record store that moved to Bordentown, NJ a few years ago, where it still resides. I had read that Bobby "Blue" Bland was the most soulful and fantastic blues singer, regarded as the best by many folks. Having been more into the grittier Howlin' Wolf-style blues stuff, when I dropped the needle on this record about 5 years ago, I was floored. It's SMOOTH, deep, soulful, even SWINGIN' blues! It's not gut-bucket, stompin', yellin' jukejoint stuff. This is high class, high quality stuff with great instrumentation, and vocals and melodies that tug on your heart strings in a totally different way than Howlin' Wolf or Muddy Waters.
This 45 is full of fairly lush horn arrangements that augment the vocal melodies SO well. "Call On Me" is a really nice song, but "That's The Way Love Is" is a song that I vividly remember playing over and over in my room when I first got this record. Just picked up the needle, put it back at the beginning, and dropped it again and again. It's a beautiful itemized list of the ups and downs Mr. Bland has known in his (seemingly vast) experience with love. The day-to-day fluctuations you should expect, and that he advises you to take or leave, because "that's the way it's always been, that's the way love is." His voice goes from so sweet and gentle to passionately pleading. It's a really simple masterpiece of a song with a truly timeless message to be taken to heart.
Friday, May 7, 2010
The Peels - Juanita Banana b/w Fun is a pretty neat little piece of 60's novelty pop that I was lucky to find for practically nothing, and purchased more for the cool label logo (KARATE) than anything. I found it in a 49 cent bin at a record store and the kitsch-appeal of the corny fake Asian font spelling out "Karate" with a hand-drawn martial artist made me pick it up. It was obviously a novelty record from the 60's, and I figured for 49 cents I would love to find out if it was a gem that might sound cool and have a decent b-side, or if it was going to be a wall decoration.
I put it on, and the obvious stereotypical Americans-trying-to-be-kinda-ethnic-but-also-poking-fun-at-a-culture vibe of a 60's novelty tune was evident on "Juanita Banana" (as well as on the Karate label logo). Lots of info about the actual song can be found at this other blog, but for my taste it was a catchy novelty pop tune you could kinda dance to, and I could imagine it making it into a DJ set sometime in the future. The b-side, "Fun" cemented it as a winner in my book, as it's basically just a good 60's garage/soul/pop instrumental with no real lyrics except the word "Fun" kinda repeated every so often. The style reminded me somewhat of the Human Beinz' and other 60's garage/"frat rock" that was just fun dance music for the times, and still is as far as I'm concerned. I dig it a lot, and it will get some spins. This was a really nice little find, and I highly recommend digging in your local record store's cheap-o 7" bins for stuff like this! Download both scratchy sides that I ripped for you:
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Buju Banton - People Kill People is a devastating dancehall tune by one of my favorite dancehall DJ's, the infamous Buju Banton. Yes, his biggest hit in his younger days was the ultimate example of Jamaicans expressing their hatred for homosexuals, and he caught a LOT of flack for it. Yes, he is also in jail for trying to deal a whole lot of cocaine. But when he is on top of his game chatting lyrics, the dude is unbeatable.
This is just one track, as the b-side was something random that barely played on my 1200, so I didn't bother recording it. This 45 isn't in the best shape, and is basically a bootleg I got in a record store in Philly I used to buy dancehall from. The song is basically a badman tune about not being afraid of some dude that talked shit about Buju. The vocal from this tune has been re-mixed and put on various riddims, which you'll find on youtube if you search this song title. I saw nothing about this vocal on the Sleng Teng riddim, and that's what you have here! Buju's ferocious vocals on a sped-up Sleng Teng riddim. I will admit that everytime I spin for a crowd with Jamaicans in it, as soon as I drop this tune they tear the place DOWN, and generally make me pull up and re-start the track a number of times. It's my go-to dancehall ace-in-the-hole track that I only bring to gigs I know will have a Jamaican contingent. If we were in 1960's Jamaica and I had a tune this hot, I'd need to hire gunment to protect it so no one could steal it from me. In 2010 America/Internet, I'll let you all have it without the use of machetes and guns!
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Daaron Lee - Who's Making Love b/w Long Black Train is one of the coolest, most random 45's I've ever happened upon. It's on the Hip label, which I'd never seen or heard of before. I'd also never heard of "Daaron Lee" before. I bought it because by the printing on the label and feel of the vinyl it appeared to be somehow related to Atlantic/Stax of the late 60's, and of course I could see that it contained a cover of Johnny Taylor's huge Stax hit "Who's Makin' Love", and a Lee Hazelwood song on the other side. I figured it'd be a dollar well-spent at my favorite Princeton record store.
I put it on my turntable, and low and behold, it's a country version of the Homer Banks-penned Stax hit, and the expected sorta funky soul Hazelwood-penned tune to boot. SCORE. It's that late 60's "Cosmic American Music" sound Gram Parsons was aiming for with International Submarine Band (produced by Lee Hazelwood) and Flying Burrito Brothers, which I have a MAJOR thing for. I couldn't find ANY information on anyone named Daaron Lee or a Hip record label, but then seeing it was produced by Billy Lee Riley, I looked further and found out Daaron Lee was a name Billy Lee Riley recorded under for about 5 minutes in 1968. Riley was one of the absolute heros of Sun Records, who really kinda got screwed out of blowing up like Jerry Lee Lewis or Elvis Presley by a shrewd Sam Phillips who wanted to use Riley's skills and backing band in the studio to blow up other artists' careers.
So anyway, this is a funky country-soul crossbreed from the late 60's. NO-BRAINER, awesome music, and apparently rare. I know I haven't posted on here in a while, so I figured I'd come with some extra-good stuff for you. Download and enjoy!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Bob Brady and the Con Chords - "More, More, More of Your Love" b/w "It's a Better World" on the Chariot label is a great Northern Soul-style 45 from 1967 or so. Upon first listen, you'll think to yourself, "Is this Smokey Robinson under a fake name, or something?" And you won't be entirely wrong. It's a Smokey Robinson song that the Miracles did record, but wasn't a hit single. I actually feel Bob Brady and his Con Chords (a locally-popular white band from Baltimore), did a heck of a job with this throwaway tune. The band is tight, the chops are right on, and Brady's falsetto is right on the money! Great soulful rendition of a solid tune. "It's a Better World" is a surprisingly quality b-side, more mid-tempo or even on the slower side, but still has a good dancable beat and melody, if more or less forgettable lyrics. I love spinning this tune to a crowd of folks in the middle of a few uptempo Northern numbers. It's a mover.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Moss Icon - Mahpiua Luta 7" was an awesome find at a very popular record store in Princeton, NJ. Track list is 2 songs, "Ghost Dance" and "Last Ditch". I don't know how someone could have gotten rid of this, but the copy of this 7" I got (for cheap) has a hand-written and signed note from Tonie Joy (guitar, later of Born Against) to the person who bought it, thanking them and asking them to keep an eye out for shows being put on and asking to have Moss Icon on them. Like, this was how punk bands connected with fans and played shows and toured before our beloved internet. It's a beautiful thing, and make owning this record even cooler than the music on it, to me.
Moss Icon were sort of late-comers to the DC area's "Revolution Summer" time period of "emotive hardcore", or early "emo", "emocore" or whatever you wanna label it. They were along the lines of Embrace, Rites of Spring, and those bands affiliated with that label in the mid-late 80's. They came from Annapolis, MD, and were very into the socially conscious vibe, especially Native American issues, as the cover of this 7" shows. This 7" is basically the sound they were known for, sort of meandering vocals and melodies and varying intensity and volume of the music, even within one song. It's good stuff, worth a listen and trying to find a copy for yourself! Download below: