Sunday, May 27, 2007

Seaching for Summer

The weather is heating up, Memorial Day is upon us and the summer vibe is in the air. As a result I give you Summer Madness and some music that it inspired. Kool & the Gang's Summer Madness has haunted me for years. It's the tune that Rocky Balboa puts on the first time we see his apartment in 1976, but it does not receive a listing in the credits. I'd been trying to figure out what this song was for years with no luck. It was my friend Andy aka DrewLove (and I believe his brother) who finally tracked it down for me some 10 years later. Since then I give this track a spin about once a week and can't believe I went so long without knowing it. I have since discovered a number of tracks that borrow elements from this soul classic. Dig it.

Kool & the Gang: Summer Madness

Here's the 1974 original found on the LP Light of Worlds. A late night groove that's as funky as it can be. That piercing synthesiser gets me every time.

Bill Conti: Reflections

My search initially led me to this track that is featured on the Rocky soundtrack. While it borrows many elements from the Kool track, it was not what I was searching for. Still, a great groove.

Dimitri from Paris: Encore Un Terlude

A short interlude from Dimitri's 1996 album Sacrebleu. We hear that familiar synth. I wish this track was about three minutes longer.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: Summertime (Extended Club Mix)

Everyone knows this 1991 summer classic. Here it is in its extended form from the Summertime singles collection. All the clues were here for me even a mention of Summer Madness. Hindsight is 20/20!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Quick Treats

Time to get back to posting some soul, but I don't have too much time today so here's a couple nice ones in no particular order. Enjoy!

Bettye LaVette: Your Turn To Cry

This track is possibly Betty LaVette's greatest side recorded at Muscle Shoals in 1973.

Marlena Shaw: California Soul

Found on her classic 1969 LP Spice of Life, Marlena shines on one of my favorite tunes written by Ashford & Simpson.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Thank You Sabres

It was a hell of a run, but it had to end. It's been one of the more exciting years in Western New York thanks to our Buffalo Sabres, but unfortunately they were eliminated by the evil Ottawa Senators yesterday. Let's hope next season comes quickly and who knows maybe the Bills will surprise us!

From all of the fans...Thank you Sabres!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Wonder of Stevie

This post is coming to you a little late, but you all know how busy things can get. Sunday was Stevie Wonder's 57th birthday and I definitely wanted to pay a little tribute to one of the masters. A true American icon, Stevie helped change not just R&B but all music in general by exemplifying the notion that songwriting can be a force to bring about social change in our world. Always exploring new avenues, Stevie's music, particularly throughout the Seventies, shaped the ideas of what modern day songwriting can accomplish all the while remaining true to his roots and creating some of the funkiest and most fun tracks ever recorded. He is a legend who's songs are sure live on forever.

Jose Feliciano: Golden Lady

A great version of Stevie's Innervisions song. Fellow blind musician Jose Feliciano adds his signature style and energy making this song his own. You can find this track on 1974's And the Feeling's Good.

Lionel Hampton: Where Were You When I Needed You

Here's a real smooth cover by the great jazz vibraphonist Lionel Hampton. Released on 1974's Stop! I Don't Need No Sympathy Hamp's often overlooked collection of soul arrangements.

Hugo Montenegro: You Got It Bad Girl

More well known for his movie and TV scores Mr. Montenegro does some mad Moog explorations on this track. Taken from his Stevie Wonder cover album from 1974 Hugo in Wonder-Land we're sent off into space...well, at least 1974's vision of space!


Stevie making Sesame Street the funkiest place on earth in 1972!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Nobody Loves Me But My Mother...

...And she could be jivin' too. Mother's Day is here again and I'm obliged to create a post for all those mama's out there, specifically MY mother and grandmother. Another fine job this year ladies. You're approval rating has gained another 12 points and nagging is on the decline. Here's a few fer me ma.

B.B. King: Nobody Loves Me But My Mother

One of my mother's personal favorites. B.B. shows the humor so prevalent in the blues. This is a demo version with a rare appearance of Bee on piano. You can find this track on his stellar 1992 box set King of the Blues. (Mine is autographed!)

Prince: Make Your Mama Happy

Here is Prince's outright impersonation of Sly & The Family Stone. Great stuff from 1998's collection of previously unreleased material Crystal Ball.

Sizzla: Thank You Mama

A self explanatory tune from Sizzla's 2006 release The Overstanding.

Monday, May 7, 2007

It's Gil Scott's World

More poet than singer, Gil Scott-Heron found success with his political and social observations and quickly became one of the strongest and most eloquent American voices in the 70's. As a forefather to rap, Gil Scott was angry, passionate and always brutally honest with his lyrics. Along with songwriting partner and keyboardist Brian Jackson, Gil Scott-Heron released some of the most powerful recordings of the decade. Here's just a couple.

Gil Scott-Heron: Winter In America

The title track from his 1973 album summarizes the events which ultimately lead to the dangerous situations in 1973 Watergate America. Powerful lyrics and soulful music with a killer flute makes this a Gil Scott classic

Gil Scott-Heron: It's Your World

This is definitely one of his funkier tunes from his 1976 double album It's Your World. There is an undeniable Santana-like energy from the start with an uplifting message. You are truly free.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Let The Brother Rap!

Soul Brother Number One, the Godfather of Soul, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Mr. Dynamite...There's nothing I can say about James Brown that hasn't been said a thousand times before. Any regular visitor of this blog is well aware of his importance to popular music. So in celebration of his 74th birthday I give you James Brown at his funky peak in 1971. Recorded at the Olympia in Paris, France, this is the only live recording with the original JB's. You can hear it all on the 1992 release Love Power Peace. 'Ain't it funky now'.

James Brown: Intro/Brother Rapp/Ain't It Funky Now

Mr. Brown tears up one of my favorites, Sunny