Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, October 11
Special mention to the txter who thanked Basefm for bringing back radio with pictures (the webcam) and said that I looked as good as Karen Hay. Um, cheers. And hello to Neal in Portland, Oregon. Go, the international listeners!

Herbie Mann - Push push
Derick Morgan - Fat man
Roland Alphonso and the Skatalites - Guns of Navarone
Frankie Paul - Let's start over
Dubwize and Mikey General - Mighty Jah Jah
Dark Angel and Roots garden - Version minded
Budamunky - Wednesday
Marc Mac - Fantasy (Beat drop version)
Graham central station - Tell me what it is
Invisible Spike - No means no
Kraftwerk -The model
Benga - 26 basslines
Freddie Cruger - Running from love
Mungos Hifi and Brother Culture - Ing (MJ mix) and Ing dub version
Barrington Levy - Dances are changing

Financial meltdown mix
Gwen Guthrie -Aint nothin going on bu the rent
Prince Charles and City Beat Band -Cash (cash money)
Eric B and Rakim - Paid in full
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - What if we all stopped paying taxes
Donovan Carliss -Be thankful for what you've got

Prof Oz - Waves and sun (Grant Phabao remix)
Jazmine Sullivan - Need you bad (Moody Boyz remix)
Wild Bill Ricketts/Round the bays - Mangi mangi
Gay flamingos steel band - Catapilla
O'Donel Levy -Living for the city (19 sleeps til Stevie!!!!)
Salah Ragab - Egypt strut
Pleaasure - What is slick

Friday, October 10, 2008

The top 15 songs about being broke
See LA Times blog. Know any more? Add them in the comments.

Blind Alfred Reed, "How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live?": Covered and topically updated by Ry Cooder and Bruce Springsteen, Reed's laments about food prices and shoddy healthcare are as contemporary as your latest premium hike.

Geto Boys, "Ain't With Being Broke": You wouldn't know it from the radio today, but rap used to be about not having money for food, let alone a Learjet. Never has not getting a toy train for Christmas sounded like such a cry for class warfare.

The Clash, "Career Opportunities": Sure, being broke is lame, but what's even worse is a minimum-wage gig where you "make tea for the BBC" or "open letter bombs" for paunchy apparatchiks. A sneering Brits' answer to "Take This Job and Shove It."

Crystal Waters, “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)”: You don’t usually look to house music for heartfelt lyrical content with a pro-social message. But what few words there are on this 1991 hit put a human face on being down and out. “She’s just like you and me,” New Jersey dance chanteuse Waters sings, “but she’s homeless. She just stands there singin’ for money, ‘La da dee, la da da. La da dee, la da da.’”

The Beatles, "Can't Buy Me Love": There are some single guys recently laid-off from Lehman Bros. who are trolling New York bars and really, really hoping this song is true.

Bruce Springsteen, "Atlantic City": The Boss' preferred stimulus package involves heading to the Jersey shore and hooking up with the Mob. And we know all about "debts no honest man can pay" around these parts.

Dolly Parton, "Coat of Many Colors": Parton was a fashion maven even back when her mom could only stitch rags together. Now she has her own completely awesome theme park. Sometimes, things work out.

Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Fortunate Son": As if being poor wasn't injustice enough, John Fogerty reminds us that when the Army comes a-drafting for another foreign adventure, guess who most often has to take that call?

Loretta Lynn, "Coal Miner's Daughter": Back before "clean coal technology" was a spurious buzzword, Lynn's extended brood was up to their necks in the dirty stuff. We're glad to report that she has bought plenty of pairs of better shoes since then without having to sell a hog.

Sham 69, “Hey Little Rich Boy”: Populist British Oi! outfit Sham 69 threw down the class-baiting gauntlet with this 1978 song. It attempts to glamorize the trappings of poverty as only football chanting punk yobs can: “I don’t need a flash car to take me around/ I can catch the bus to the other side of town!”

Bob Marley “Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)”: Soul-stirring songs like this are the reason St. Bob is revered as a kind of Third World messiah. In “Belly,” he ponders the harsh realities he faced growing up in Jamaica’s notorious Trench Town slum: food shortages, pervasive dirt, the untenably high cost of living and poor people’s cri de coeur -- that “a hungry mob is an angry mob.”

Pulp, "Common People": Jarvis Cocker delivers the single best uppercut to rich kids fetishizing poverty in all of pop. This song should be on every art school syllabus in the world.

Erik B. and Rakim, "Paid In Full": The song finds Rakim reaching into his pockets in search of “dead presidents” but only “coming up with lint.” The song’s narrative arc is his contemplation of ways to generate income: a 9-to-5 job or robbery being chief among them. In the end, though, Rakim reaches a crucial realization: Rhyme pays.

Desmond Dekker, “The Israelites”: One of the first smash reggae hits, Dekker’s soulful classic likens the plight of a poverty-stricken working man to that of an ancient Hebrew slave: “Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir/ So that every mouth can be fed/ Poor me, the Israelite.”

Ruben Blades, "Adan Garcia": A sleeper pick that gets the nod because of the sheer wanton melodrama of its ending. A man gets laid off, robs a bank to support his family and dies in the getaway. The next day, the papers lead with "Robber Holds Up Bank with Son’s Water Pistol."

--August Brown and Chris Lee

(UPDATE: The commentariat was right, there's no excuse for not including Woody Guthrie on the original list. The entirety of "Dust Bowl Ballads" should be here. We sentence ourselves to one hour of fighting with a mangy dog for a crust of bread in penance.)

Records for sale
Okay, so the NZ$ took a nasty tumble in recent days, so buying records via the internet is off the books for a while for me. But if you live in London or close by, ex-pat Kiwi muso Mark de Clive Lowe is selling off some of his record collection, as he's relocating. 200 records, top tunes in there. He's selling them as a bulk lot, pick up only. Full details here.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

NZ Music Awards random thoughts

Damn, Vector Arena is in a crappy looking part of town. Sure, flash new buildings all around it, but they lack any defining qualities that suggest character. They look like new urban ghettos. Thanks, ACC urban planning!

Seated inside by 7.30, and at 7.29, the pre-show music starts sounding strangely familiar. I turn to my table mates and say, "hey, that's my song!"And it is too - Smash Thru, off my new EP. And damn, it sounds good loud thru a PA (As the person next to me commented). So, yay me. (Thanks, Josh!)

During Campbell Smith's speech, he paid tribute to the recently departed Mahiarangi Tocker and Rob Guest. Meanwhile at the next table , a young woman was deeply engrossed playing with the g-string undies from her goody bag. Nice one.

Helen Clark presented the international achievement award, to Savage and Flight of the Conchords. Savage was there in person (dude has sold half a million singles in the US this year - read that again, and then ponder why the hell he's not on the front of the paper every goddamn day), and opened his speech by saying "Go Labour". FOTC did a wacky prerecord from New York. When they won best album, Brett did the speech, with Jemaine sitting there going "I'm not accepting this".

Oscar Kightley was one of the presenters, he observed that the event had pretty flash production values. "I feel like I'm at Destiny Church".

Kora and Opensouls backing Scribe were great, Tiki was spectacular, Cut Off Your Hands were spirited, Anika Moa was lovely, and Shihad were Shihad (shout out to my man Chip Matthews, hardest working musician at NZ Music Awards - he played in two different bands, had to go to two sound checks, but got double the rider - I'm sure).

The closer with Julia Deans and band doing Straitjacket Fits was a note-perfect carbon copy. SJF's Lifetime Achievement was presented by John Campbell. According to the speech notes he left lying on his table (which mysteriously fell into my hands), he was instructed to "Please introduce yourself, and talk from the heart about what the Straitjacket Fits mean to you for up to three minutes". If you want em, they'll be on Trade Me soonish. Campbell never even said 'marvellous', so there went that drinking game.

After-party kicked in, with expat Kiwi (Now LA-based) Dan Mancini creating havoc. I ran to the front of the venue and jumped around like a maniac when he played Psycho by the Sonics - classic 60s garage punk. He even played Forever Tuesday Morning by the Mockers, which managed to get our table up and dancing, including Mr Brett Adams (formerly of The Mockers) on air guitar. Beautiful moment. Time to go home.

Official results here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Soul Power
Hat tip to DJBrainchild at OSN, writing about a new documentary called “Soul Power.”

"What this film is, is essentially a companion piece to “When We Were Kings” which was about the Ali/Foreman fight in Zaire in 1974. To accompany the fight, a 3 day festival was put together, spearheaded by Hugh Masekela. A lot of African musicians played along with Sister Sledge, The Pointer Sisters, Bill Withers, BB King, Fania All Stars with Celia Cruz, The Spinners, and headlined by James Brown.

“Soul Power” basically chronicles the days leading up to the show and the show itself. I gotta say this sh#t felt like the first time i watched Woodstock and Wattstax.

In fact, it felt like the director kinda used the two as a template for this film. All of the onsite construction set up felt similar to similar scenes in Woodstock. And the heavy use of casual monologues from Muhammad Ali throughout the film was very similar to Richard Pryor in Wattstax.

It’s a very moving film. I’ve never seen such casual footage of James Brown ever before. There’s a scene where he’s in a hotel room with Don King talking about how money is essential to black people being liberated. At the end James Brown said a line that sent the audience in the screening howling and clapping. I won’t ruin it for you.

Other amazing scenes include, what the Director called a very random and unplanned performance by a local African r&b band on a street corner in Kinshasha, a VERY young Kathy Sledge teaching members of an African dance troupe how to do the bump, the Fania All Stars JAMMING THE F#CK OUT on the airplane on the way to Zaire, BB King eying the women as he’s walking off of the plane, Phillipe Wynn sparring with Muhammad Ali. Bill Withers’ performance of “Hope She’ll Be Happier” damn near moved everyone to tears.

After the screening there was a short Q&A with the director and he said he wants to release the full show on a series of DVDs (14 hours of performances) after the movie has its run."

Full text over here. When We Were Kings is one of the best music docos ever, so if it's half as good as that, it will blow your freakin' mind. You've seen When We Were Kings, right? No? Shame on you! Sort it out!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Soul Train
From the Chicago Reader, on the hometown phenomenon.

"...In 1967, Don Cornelius was already over 30. Born in Chicago in 1936 and raised in Bronzeville, he attended DuSable High School, whose rich arts programs also produced Nat “King” Cole, Von Freeman, and Redd Foxx, among others. An aspiring cartoonist, he joined the marines after high school and spent his 20s trying his hand at numerous jobs, including insurance salesman and cop. With encouragement from customers—and ... WVON news director Roy Wood, who remarked on Cornelius’s rich baritone when Cornelius pulled him over for a traffic violation—he took a broad­casting course and had soon become an auxiliary member of the legendary Good Guys, the influential black deejays who made Leonard Chess’s WVON (the Voice of the Negro) so popular in the 60s. He read the news, pinch-hit for sick deejays, and began reporting on sports for WCIU’s A Black’s View of the News.

In 1969, with only three years of broad­casting under his belt, Cornelius decided he was ready to launch his own TV show, based on a series of high school record hops he had hosted. Because he’d brought a “caravan” of stars from school to school, he had called this traveling event the Soul Train. He lined up Sears as a sponsor and used his WVON connections to book local R & B stars, including Jerry Butler, the Chi-Lites, and the Emotions, for the premiere episode. When Soul Train became a local hit, Cornelius took it to Los Angeles, where in 1971 he launched the syndicated national version, fully owned by his production company.

More here.

"Digital downloads grew 38 per cent from 2006 to 2007 to become a $1.26 billion business, making up 23 per cent of the market for recorded music, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Sales of physical music media such as CDs, cassettes and DVDs declined 19.1 per cent to $7.5 billion in the same one-year period." (Source) Hat tip to Nat Torkington

Monday, October 06, 2008

Musically Mad
'Musically Mad' is a film that dedicates itself to shining light on UK sound-system culture by taking the audience into the heads and hearts of the singers and sound-men, the backbone of the UK roots reggae scene. It follows a culture that was brought to the UK by Caribbean immigrants and which continues the tradition of providing upliftment to the people in the face of hardship and fostering community and cultural unification and pride. The film includes interviews and footage of some of the key players of the scene, including Iration Steppas, I Natural, Aba Shanti, Jah Shaka, Dougie Conscious Sounds, DJ Stryda, King Shiloh, Afrikan Simba, Channel One, Fatman Sound, Young Warrior, Joe Ariwa, Mad Professor, Levi Roots and many more!"

When: Wednesday 15 October @ Galatos (Galatos Street), 6.45pm start

Featuring: Guest speakers Ingrid Leary (British Council director) and DJ Danny Lemon (Roots Foundation). Plus selectors Paradox & Yardboy

Free Entry - limited seats available!