Friday, September 28, 2007

Everything Is Possible...In Brazil

Here's a few fairly popular laid back grooves from Brazil to get everyone set for the weekend.

Wilson Simonal: Nem Vem que Não Tem

Though a seminal force in the development of Brazilian popular music, singer Wilson Simonal remains largely unknown outside of South America — the architect of the sound that dominated Brazilian charts during the late '60s, he was the nation's first black pop superstar, but his career never recovered from accusations that he was a police informant. Here's one of the highlights of his career from his 1967 LP Alegria, Alegria!!! but you'll have an easier time finding Gilles Peterson In Brazil from 2004.

Os Mutantes: Baby (1971)

Os Mutantes were one of the most dynamic, talented, radical bands of the psychedelic era — quite an accomplishment during a period when most every rock band spent quality time exploring the outer limits of pop music. Os Mutantes recorded Baby twice, once with some serious psychedelic fuzz guitar and organ in 1968 and this more mellow acoustic version from 1971 featuring Rita Lee on vocals. Find it originally on the LP Jardim Eletrico or more likely on the Luaka Bop release Everything Is Possible: The Best of Os Mutantes.

Raul Seixas: Metamorfose Ambulante

Raul Seixas was a fundamental rocker in Brazil. I have to admit I don't know too much about this recording but you can find it on many Brazilian compilations. I strongly recommend the City of God soundtrack from 2003. By the way the movie is great as well!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Brother Ray

It was never my intention just to celebrate birthdays on this blog, but they've been coming fast and furious these past few weeks and I cannot ignore the fact that the great Ray Charles was born on this day in 1930. I don't think I need to go into the importance of Brother Ray. Anyone who frequents this blog knows why he's great through his nearly 50 years of recording and we've all seen the movie. His demand for perfection in the studio resulted in some of the greatest recordings of the last century. On a personal note I don't think there is another male voice in all of music that can stir emotion in me quite like Ray. I also tend to agree with his philosophy on labeling music just two ways : good and bad. Hell, I even named my dog Ray Charles! So enough of my yakkin', here's a few funkier selections from Ray that you may or may not have heard. Here's to The Genius.

Ray Charles: Living For The City

This groove is arguably deeper than Stevie's original. Released as a single in 1975, you can find this track on The 1997 Ray Charles box set Genius & Soul: The 50th Anniversary Collection.

Ray Charles: The Jealous Kind

You may be familiar with Joe Cocker's rendition of this Robert Guidry tune, but I think Ray really nails it. Released on his out of print 1977 LP True to Life. The album that includes an array covers from Johnny Nash to Lennon/McCartney to Gershwin.

Aretha Franklin & Ray Charles: Spirit In The Dark (reprise)

This one's a real treat also found on Genius & Soul. An outtake from Aretha Franklin's legendary show at the Fillmore in 1971. Even though he's not too concerned with the lyrics at the start their chemistry is undeniable as Ray takes over offering the hippie crowd a lesson in soul their sure not to forget. "I CAN FEEL IT!!!"

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Soul of a Man

While known the world over as the undisputed King of the Blues, B.B. King at his best bears his soul with his underrated vocals and deep lyrics. At the same time his guitar Lucille can rip out your heart with a single note. Always a gentleman with an incredible life story (I strongly recommend Blues All around Me: The Autobiography of B. B. King ), B.B. is a national treasure not to be overlooked. Born on this day in 1925, I give you a few soulful classics from the ever humble King.

B.B. King: Hummingbird

Here's Bee's soulful rendition of a Leon Russell staple. Heartfelt vocals and searing fret work lead up to a triumphant gospel choir. Find this track on one of B.B.'s best, 1970's Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

B.B. King: Ghetto Woman

Eager to repeat the success of his crossover hit The Thrill Is Gone, B.B. seemed to try the same formula for several years to no avail. One result was this moving, though string heavy track co written with Dave Clark from the 1971 In London LP.

B.B. King: I Like To Live The Love

One of my favorite B.B. soul tunes from 1973's To Know You Is To Love You. Backed by the same Philly rhythm section that powered The O'Jays, The Stylistics, & The Spinners B.B. lays a smooth infectious groove.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007