Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lost & Found playlist for 9/27/07

Intro: "Spreadin' Honey" - The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

Background music for the show: Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers - The Big Beat

Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators - "Feelin' Fine"
Darondo - "Let My People Go"
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - "Make It Good to Me"
James Brown - "Baby, You're Right"
The Isley Brothers - "My Little Girl"
East of Underground - "Getting Over"
Buddy Miles - "Them Changes"
O.V. Wright - "I Feel Love Growin'"
Sly & the Family Stone - "If It's Not Adding Up..."
Marvin Gaye - "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)"
The Four Mints - "Too Far Gone"
King Floyd - "Groove Me"
The Vibrations - "Wind Up Toy"
The Nephews - "This Is the Night"
Stevie Wonder - "For Once in My Life"
Gladys Knight & the Pips - "Yesterday"
Etta James - "At last"
Joe Tex - "I'll Never Do You Wrong"
East of Underground - "Walk On By"
Bobby Moore & the Rhythm Aces - "When I Get This Feeling"
Deon Jackson - "The Reason Why"
Leroy Rudolph - "Good to the Last Drop"
Swamp Dogg - "Knowing I'm Pleasing Me & You"
The Equations - "You Make Me Feel Good"
The Four Mints - "Keep On Lovin' You"
24-Carat Black - "Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth"
Tito Chicoma y su Orquesta - "Fat Mama"
The Dynamics - "I Don't Want Nobody to Lead Me On"
Bette Renee - "Darling Bless You"
Jackie Wilson - "You Got Me Walking"
Joe Simon - "In My Baby's Arms"
Gloria Edwards - "I Don't Need Nobody (To Help Me Keep Up With My Man)"

Outro: "Yegelle Tetzeta" - Mulatu Astake

Saturday, September 22, 2007

2 CDs reviewed.

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights

Well, its about time! In early 2002, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings lit the soul furnace in all of us with Dap-Dippin' with... and then stoked the fire in 2005 with their follow up Naturally. Since then they have toured all over this huge globe of ours, cut some cool 45s, split up to work on side projects (Sharon on a jazz record for, you know, the kids and the Dap-Kings went to back up Amy Winehouse), reunited, and toured some more. Finally, after nearly two and a half years, they went back into the studio and put out 100 Days, 100 Nights. Since no one reads reviews for fun, I might as well let you know the verdict right up front. The verdict? Wait for's good.

The cd, which hits the wax dealers on September 25th, has 10 tracks and no ballads. Let me write that again: no ballads. That is a very good thing. I am not really a slow song guy. (However, I should add that this album is mostly mid-tempo soul.) Gone is the goofy, "Mel and Tim" influenced song "Stranded in Your Love" with Lee Fields that, sorry to say, dragged down the otherwise stellar Naturally. Gone too, though, are the scorchers like "Natural Born Lover," "Your Thing Is A Drag," or "My Man Is A Mean Man." For some reason, SJ & the DK's have decided to forgo the "goddamn uptempo numbers" and work in the space between slow dancing and bumping and grinding. The tracks on 100 Days are smooth. The instrumentation is sharp and funky with a level of precision usually reserved for jazz musicians (at least to these ears). Binky Griptite, Sharon's right hand man, sounds better on guitar-more assured and more fluid-than on either of the first two albums. He seems ready to spread his wings and make his own music. As for Ms. Jones, her vocals are starting to enter the rarified air of singers who can impart meaning with the sound of her voice instead of the words coming out of it. On the first album Dap-Dippin' with... I thought she did too much shouting and she is not a great shouter. On Naturally her vocals became more focused and she added just the right amount of gospel influence to sound authentically 6Ts. Now, on 100 Days, 100 Nights she has become a real soul singer. Gone is any hint of her disco past, gone are the unnecessary screams that were all too prevalent on Dap -Dippin' with... and in their place is the most self-assured female singer in modern music today. Not the best, mind you, just an artist with the complete conviction of her art and her ability.

All that written, it does have some flaws. First, as with any retro act, there is a bit of danger of falling into the trap of just being a copy of the true object. While I enjoyed this record from start to finish I wouldn't say that it broke any new ground for Sharon or the Dap-Kings. I have heard most of the arrangements before and, for such a "likeable" record, there are very few hooks. They don't seem to be progressing as a band as much as I would've expected for such a talented group of musicians. That could be because of the time they spent away from each other in the last two years or it could be that there is a reason soul music slowly morphed in to funk and then disco and then whatever the fuck happened to it during the 8Ts and 9Ts before fading away. The music-which I love-may just not be suited to the modern sensibility...that somehow time has past soul music by. I don't know what the exact issue is here but when you listen to the disc for a few times you will hear what I mean. There is just something about it that sounds...well "retro" for it's own sake.

Additionally, and here this observation is thanks to my best friend Noah, would it kill Sharon, Binky, or the rest of the Dap-Kings to, um, maybe get a song writer? The lyrics are not too good. "Don't let me forget who I am," Sharon sings in one song. "Tell me you love me, tell me you care," chime in the background singers on another tune. Excuse me? Are we still in high school? I mean, I know that soul music lyrics are hardly the stuff of Shakespeare but nor do they need to be schoolgirl love note material either, right? "When I think of you baby, it brings back the memory of the hottest June," sang Bobby Moore on "When I Get This Feeling" so I know it's not rocket science. Perhaps, again a nod to Noah, the band could contact someone like Smokey Robinson? He can't be that busy these days and nobody writes a better soul song than he does. Am I Wrong?

Alas, however these are minor trifles with the record. It is a damn good, throwback record to a time when soul music could set your heart, head, and loins afire! What more could you possibly ask for in a $10 piece of plastic? Go get it.

Bettye LaVette - Scene of the Crime

From the people who brought you new material from such classic artists as Porter Wagoner, Solomon Burke, Merle Haggard, Galactic, and Mavis Staples comes the second ANTI- album from soul music legend Bettye LaVette. The Scene of the Crime is, according to co-producer Patterson Hood, "an album that transcends any genre." And how! I think Patterson Hood, son of Muscle Shoals legend David Hood, meant this as a compliment but unfortunately he is just too close to the project to think or speak about it objectively. I truly believe that 35 years after Ms. LaVette recorded her unreleased debut album for Atlantic, it could've been a great homecoming and a project that pushed her into the kind of notoriety she has deserved for years. Alas, however, it is not to be with this record.

Oh, the record sounds fine. The instrumentation, while decidedly not soulful, provides a good counterpoint to Ms. LaVette's still extraordinarily powerful voice. The confounding thing for me is why she chose to let Patterson Hood talk her into having the Drive-By Truckers be the band for her on this record? It just doesn't work. (And, for those of you who think I am nuts, it can work! Just go back and listen to how seamlessly Delaney & Bonnie and the Memphis sound mesh on their masterpiece record Home. I mean Isaac Hayes is on their record for goodness sake!) For all of the exposure to the greatest soul music purveyors this country has ever seen thanks to his father's former ownership of the Muscle Shoals recording studio, young Hood seemingly hasn't absorbed any of it. Nothing the DBT ever recorded could be considered soul (even in the broadest sense of the term) and as sure as I am sitting here typing this, the DBT were not able to pull it off here either (even with the addition of music legend Spooner Oldham to the group). This is a fine line here. The songs are good. Everyone sounds like a professional on the record. There are some good "greasy" rock and roll songs as well as some soulful singing but they never come together as one. It could be that Ms. LaVette is just victim of the system again. Her new record is one of those albums that have become so popular in recent years. You take a famous musician who-through no fault of their own-has drifted outside the spotlight for whatever reason, pair that artist with a bunch of younger, hip musicians and voila! you have Jerry Lee Lewis's Last Man Standing. Now Scene of the Crime isn't quite the same as Lewis's record, but the impetus is the same. It is almost as if the folks at ANTI- don't know what they have in Bettye LaVette. I just kept wanting to yell at the cd player: "this is Bettye LaVette! She has her own hell to raise so why aren't you letting her?" So color me lukewarm on this new Bettye LaVette album. There really isn't anything to complain about on it but there isn't anything to love either. I hear the emotion in the songs, and the competence in the playing but it doesn't add up to a record I dislike enough to dislike or enjoy enough to play again.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lost & Found playlist for 9/20/07

Intro: "Spreadin' Honey" - The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

Background music for the show: Dorothy Ashby - Afro-Harping

Brenda George - "What You See Is What You Get"
Jimmy Williams - "Why Don't You Let My Love Go"
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles - "Way Over There"
Billy Butler - "(You Make Me Think) You Ain't Ready"
Ricky Allen - "Messed Around and Fell In Love"
Isaac Hayes - "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic"
Tower of Power - "Both Sorry Over Nothin'"
The Dynamites - "Dig Deeper"
Bettye LaVette - Take Another Piece of My Heart"
Ike & Tina Turner - "I'm Jealous"
The Monitors - "Just to Keep You Satisfied"
Bobby 'Blue' Bland - "Ain't Nothing You Can Do"
The Other Brothers - "I Got Love"
Lou Johnson - "She Thinks I Still Care"
Arthur Alexander - "Black Night"
Don Covay - "We Can't Make It No More"
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - "Nobody's Baby"
McKinley Sandifer - "Sweet Little Woman"
Bobby Moore & the Rhythm Aces - "How Can You Do It Baby"
Delaney & Bonnie - "It's Been a Long Time Coming"
Ike & Tina Turner - "Tell Her I'm Not Home"
Aaron Neville - "How Many Times"
Binky Griptite & the Mellowmatics - "Mellowmatic Mood"
Tommy Ridgley - "In the Same Old Way"
Ruth Davis - "I Need Money"
Otis Redding - "Pain in My Heart"
The Sims Twins - "I've Got Win Your Love (For Me)"
Curley Moore, Gerri Hall, & Benny Spellman - "I Tried"
Nancy Wilson - "Peace of Mind"
Lee Moses - "How Much Longer (Must I Wait)"
The Unemployed - "They Won't Let Me"
Eugene Blacknell - "Gettin' Down"
Sam Cooke - "Somebody Have Mercy"

Outro: "Yegelle Tetzeta" - Mulatu Astake

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lost & Found playlist for 9/13/07

(With generous pledger and guest host Arthur Hardigg)

: "Spreadin' Honey" - The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

Jimi Hendrix - "Burning of the Midnight Lamp"
Jimi Hendrix - "Bold as Love"
Richard Thompson - "New St. George"
Albion Country Band - "Battle of the Somme"
Pink Floyd - "Fat Old Sun"
T.Rex - "Cosmic Dancer"
T.Rex - "Girl"
Procol Harum - "She Wandered Through The Garden Fence"
The Who - "Pictures of Lily"
David Bowie - "See Emily Play"
David Bowie"Wild Eyed Boy From Free - cloud"
Syd Barrett - "Feel"
Richard Thompson - "The Old Changing Way"
George Harrison - "Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp"
David Bowie - "The Prettiest Star"
Mick Ronson - "Growing Up and I'm Fine"
T. Rex - "Ballrooms of Mars"
Jimi Hendrix - "Roomful of Mirrors"
Procol Harum - "Shine on Brightly"
Deep Purple - "Soldier of Fortune"
Fairport Convention - "Fotheringay"
Sandy Denny - "It Suits Me Well"
Fairport Convention - "Tam Lin"
Syd Barrett - "Love Song"
Sandy Denny - "I'm A Dreamer"
Pink Floyd - "Scarecrow"
Jimi Hendrix - "Castles Made of Sand"
David Bowie - "Drive-In Saturday"
T. Rex - "Highway Knees"
George Harrison - "Run of the Mill"

Outro: "Yegelle Tetzeta" - Mulatu Astake

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lost & Found playlist for 9/6/07

Intro: "Spreadin' Honey" - The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

Background music for the show: Coleman Hawkins - Soul

Sam Cooke - "Nobody Know the Trouble I've Seen"
The Watts 103rd Rhythm Street Band - "Love Land"
The Exotics - "Don't Lead Me On"
The Dynamics - "I Don't Want Nobody to Lead Me On"
Bettye LaVette - "I Still Want to Be Your Baby (Take Me Like I Am)"
Chuck Jackson - "Millionaire"
Sugar Pie Desanto - "Soulful Dress"
Bobby Bland - "Shoes"
The Detroit Emeralds - "Just Now and Then"
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - "100 Days, 100 Nights"
James Brown & the Famous Flames - "Tell Me What You're Gonna Do"
Nathaniel Mayer & the Fortune Braves - "(I Want) Love & Affection (Not the House of Correction)"
Mickey Murray - "I Can't Tell You"
Tower of Power - "Clever Girl"
Parliment - "Funky Woman"
Joe Simon - "Hangin' On"
Bettye Swann - "I Think I'm Falling In Love"
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - "Something's Changed"
Betty Everett - "Too Hot to Hold"
The 4 Avalons - "I Don't Want To Be a Playboy"
Nilo Espinosa y Orquesta - "Baby Boogaloo"
Mongo Santamaria - "We Got Latin Soul"
The Joe Cuba Sextet - Push, Push, Push"
Chollo Rivera & the Latin Soul Drives - "Latin Soul Drive is Here"
Nico Estrada y su Sonora - "Ven Pa' Mi Casa"
Betty Davis - "Anti Love Song"
Jeanne & the Darlings - "How Can You Mistreat the One You Love?"
The Dynamics - "She's for Real (Bless You)"
Jimmy Braswell - "This Time It's Got to Be for Real"
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - "Humble Me"
The Venturas - "Calling You Baby"
Charles Bradley - "Heartaches & Pain"
The Swinging Seven - "Football"

Outro: "Spreadin' Honey" - The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band