Friday, October 31, 2008
One word Stevie review - DAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMNNNN!!!!!!
a few more words on Stevie......
8.45 pm, the lights suddenly go off in Vector Arena, and Stevie comes out to his 11 piece band grooving on a laid-back funky version of a Miles Davis tune (All Blues), and he's playing harmonica as lead and it's wicked. Then it was off into Master Blaster, Stevie flips a verse and sings about Obama, and kills it. And he's only two songs in. Damn, this is gonna be good. Gotta say, the sound was really good - bit muddly in the bottom end, but you could hear everything.
After a few more songs, the pattern of the evening is set - funky song, slow song, funky song, slow song. Was talking after with a friend, and we both noticed that his slow ballads seem to get big cheers of recognition from the crowd right from the opening bars, but we didn't even know the songs in question. Maybe I gotta study up on Stevie ballads? Pass.
You want songs? Okay, we had Higher Ground, Superstition, Sir Duke, I Wish, Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing, Signed Sealed Delivered, Living For The City.... plus some cheese -I just called to say I love you, My Cherie Amour... those two, everyone in the place sang every word. Who knew that Stevie's 80s cheese was his most popular stuff? Probably every karaoke bar in the country. Heard from a friend in London that at a show he did there earlier this year after a 10 year absence he felt compelled to close that show with a 10 min medley of ALL his cheesy hits. Glad he skipped that one tonight.
Question - why do people feel compelled to text during a concert? I was seated up near the back, and was looking down at the main floor seating, here, approximately 40-50 cellphones were glowing in the dark at any one time (yeah, I counted em - nerd). Maybe we need to ban cellphones from concerts so that people pay attention?
At one point in the evening, I was grooving out to Stevie dropping the 2nd chorus of Higher Ground, and looked over at the young guy sitting two seats over from me - he was head down, intently texting. Why would you choose to do that, when one of the greatest musicians alive today is onstage RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU dropping a stone-cold classic? That's is just deeply wrong.
My better half suggested that it's this mass neurosis, that people think there's something better happening somewhere else, and you have to find out where that is. Put that phone away, and be in the moment. It took Stevie 21 years to return to our shores, and he might not come back again. Rant over.
During one slow number, Stevie did his talking to the crowd about needing love in our hearts, and peace and unity and other hippie sentiments, but then he got onto talking about how things have got to change, and that's why he's voting yes for Obama (cue crowd cheers). Stevie said "you know, a lotta people say 'oh, but you're just voting for him just cos he's black', and well, to me, McCain and Obama look exactly the same. But that's just, some people get stuck on stupid. So, when you're watching TV or reading the papers, and people are going on about stuff, just say to yourself, Dont Get Stuck On Stupid. Can you say that for me?"And we all said it for Stevie. Cos that's damn good advice in an election year.
He introduced his daughter Aisha (one of the four backup singers), sang Happy Birthday (his Martin Luther King Jr tribute) for one of his other singers cos it was her birthday (she got cake onstage too); some local contest winner came out and sang with him. Stevie also threw in a medley of some of his fave tunes, like Heard it on the grapevine, Papa was a rolling stone, More bounce to the ounce (Zapp!!!!) and Billie Jean, all done thru a talkbox. That was cool and all, but he's got a deep catalogue to trawl thru. Play your own stuff! And don't make us sing it for you! Hate that.
Early in the show, Stevie took a moment to pay tribute to Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops, who passed away last week. Stevie told us that Stubbs taught him a lot about singing, helped him out, sang on Uptight, and so Stevie sang a Four Tops song for him - I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch). His band delivered it with style - they were a stellar lineup of unknown musicians (although Stevie did have the incredible talents of Mr Nathan Watts on bass, who goes back to Stevie's classic 70's albums. When he jammed out on the last part of I Wish, it was jaw-droppingly good).
Stevie closed with As, one of my fave tunes of his, and then he was gone, after over two and a half hours onstage. The house lights came on, we filed out, and I ended up bumping into a bunch of fellow BaseFM DJs outside, all still buzzing. Daaaammmnnnn!!!!
He said he's going to come back soon. Don't miss it.
ADDED Official reviews from NZ Herald's Scott Kara, and Waikato Times' Jeff Neems, both very positive. Both got the Miles Davis song wrong - the album is called Kind of Blue, the song is All Blues. [But I got the second song title wrong - it wasnt Hotter than July, it was Master blaster, which features the lyric hotter than July]
Bonus - Stevie Wonder on Sesame St (1970s), dropping Superstition - wait for the end where he starts singing about Sesame Street. Love this clip. Link
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Worth a read, in, light of recent events here with Real Groovy. Heard that the Wellington shop has been sold, deal close for Chch. Any word on AK store?
"If somebody said to me, 'I'm opening a record store in 2009,' I would look at them like they were out of their damn mind! After 15 years of successful business I'm at square one," Smith says. "Starting over now doesn't make sense."
But Levin repeatedly stresses the importance of fostering a local community when milling over the loss of Earwax and the ominous threat of encroaching chain stores.
"You have to buy local," he says. "If you want your potholes fixed and the police to come when you're in danger, you have to put your money where your house is." Link. Hat tip to Coolfer.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Immediate highlights - Seun Kuti, and Dengue Fever. Check Graham Reid's Elsewhere blog for detailed notes on performers, plus soundbites.
One of my favourite vinyl purchases this year has been a 12 by re-edit master Shoes, who chopped and diced up some Miles Davis into several musical flavours, including a dub version of So What (audio snippets here). Dub-Miles is some sweet tasting ish, I'm telling ya. Horrifies the jazz purists too, which is always a good thing - screw the purists. On the same tip...
"Apple Juice Kid is foremost a drummer from Chapel Hill NC however he’s shining as a producer and versatility is the best way to describe him from crunk, R&B, reggae dancehall and he even drops some downtempo, electronic jazz in there, he’s one of those producers we should pay attention to."
Get Miles Remixed by the Apple Juice Kid over here.
Shout to Charizma on BaseFM for dropping it.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Mr Scruff - Get a move on
Gwen Guthrie - Ticket to ride
Mighty diamonds - Identity
Jackie Mittoo -Mother funk
Bill Withers - Harlem
Didiers sound spectrum - Sound spectrum
Jimi Tenor and Kasbu kabu - Black january
Julien Dyne -Mad dingos
Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley
Katzenjammers - Cars
Bluevibe studio - Holdin on (Magowl remix)
Joy Denalane - Change
Parliament - Chocolate city
Stevie Wonder - Living for the city
Pat Rhoden - Living for the city
Churchill stage band - Superstition
Ray Barretto - Pastime paradise
Stevie Wonder - Signed, sealed, delivered / I Wish
Love Unlimited - Theme from King Kong (Danny Krivit edit)
Ian Dury - Spasticus autisticus (version)
Cutty Ranks - The stopper (Richard Dorfmeister mix)
Yami Bolo - Freedom and liberation
Dub Asylum - Ba ba boom!
Ernie K Doe - Here come the girls (Andy Smith edit)
Ice T - Colors
Romanowski - Party in my pants
Roy Ayers - Running away
Herbie Mann - Muscle shoals nitty gritty
Kenny Dope - Supa
Why is the Boulder Chamber Orchestra filled with scientists? (Boulder Weekly)
Re-emerging soul - taking stock of the new Stax (Memphis Flyer)
Waaaazzzuuuppp!!! tv ad reinvented 8 years on... link
"The disadvantage of being an "actual college student" while covering CMJ is that you have to, you know, go to college."Read more here.
For the year ended March 31, 2008, EMI lost £757 million (US $1.204 billion at today's rate) for private equity firm Terra Firma ... Most telling was EMI Music's loss of global market share - to 9% from 12% a year earlier. More at Coolfer.
and finally, a quote - "I was gonna pull my dick out but because I know for a fact mine is a lot larger than Jim Morrison's, but I thought, 'I'll let history stand.'" —Nick Cave reflects on his recent performance at the Hollywood Bowl [Spinner]
Chess Records hits the big screen
Cadillac Records is a movie based on the story of famous Chicago label Chess Records, and has a promising cast -Beyonce as Etta James, Mos Def as Chuck Berry, and the wonderful Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters. Out in the US Dec 5, soundtrack looks good too. Read more over here. Will try and hunt down the trailer.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Click here to listen to an excellent interview that aired recently on National Radio with Rodriguez, where he talks about being rediscovered 38 years after his first album. He even knows we say 'mate' down here! What a dude.
From Light in the Attic records, who have reissued his music..
"Sixto Diaz Rodriguez was born in 1942 to Mexican immigrant parents in Detroit, Michigan. He recorded Cold Fact - his debut album - in 1969, and released it in March 1970. It's crushingly good stuff, filled with tales of bad drugs, lost love, and itchy-footed songs about life in late '60s inner-city America. "Gun sales are soaring/Housewives find life boring/Divorce the only answer/Smoking causes cancer," says the Dylan-esque Establishment Blues.
But the album sank without trace, thanks, in part, to some of Rodriguez's more idiosyncratic behaviour, like performing at an industry showcase with his back to the audience throughout. Cold Fact producer Mike Theodore remembers how he would only play at "hooker bars, inner city dives, and biker bars." When the follow-up, 1972's Coming From Reality, also tanked, Rodriguez called an end to his recording career. He'd never even played a proper gig. And he got on with life. Over the years, he turned his hand to local politics, philosophy, a job in a petrol station and, eventually, hard labour." Link.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Here's a snip of what Kiwi's Coco Solid and Will Ricketts (Phoenix Foundation) are experiencing as participants in the Red Bull Music Academy in Barcelona.
"So I’m peering through the glass into a studio decked out with priceless ex-BBC vintage mics, where Jamaican reggae legends Sly & Robbie, along with their aging but still ludicrously capable band, are jamming out a dub rhythm, occasionally accompanied by the excitable vocals of upcoming Croydon MC GoldieLocks. Nodding appreciatively next to me is Mala from Brixton dubstep posse Digital Mystikz, while plugging in the cables is one of the men behind the greatest drum’n’bass tune of all time, Ganja Kru’s DJ Zinc. This is the bizarre scenario conjured up by the Red Bull Music Academy–a kind of fantasy band camp for technoheads that’s been taking place in Barcelona for the last month. " Link. Video here.
Another band playing at the CMJ Fest is the Phenomenal Handclap Band - I posted a link to their tune 'Testimony' a while back (grab it here) - played that song on my radio show on BaseFM last weekend and someone phoned up the studio asking about it, and said it sounded like Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie. There's also a video clip of the band live over on that link too.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
"Thirty years ago this month, the death of Nancy (of Sid &) effectively ended New York’s early punk scene. It’s been easy to hate her since—maybe too easy.
Legs McNeil never slept with Nancy Spungen, but he knew her. Everyone on the punk scene did. “There were only, like, 200 people,” he says. “So you met everyone pretty quickly. It wasn’t a scene that anyone wanted to be a part of. There was no velvet rope at CBGB.”
Read the full story The Day Punk Died from New York magazine.
Last month Fader magazine had a party to celebrate it's 56th issue. Part of the night's festivities was Rodriquez, playing only his second show EVER in New York. Spotted the video at Light In The Attic Records, who reissued his two albums recently. Freakin' awesome!
Speaking of Fader magazine, NZ band Naked and Famous are in NY playing today at the Fader party for the CMJ Music Festival this week. Nice one.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Make the Road by Walking
Hat tip to Brooklyn Vegan... "The Menahan Street Band is a collaboration of musicians from Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, El Michels Affair, Antibalas and the Budos Band, brought together by musician/producer Tommy Brenneck (Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Budos Band, Amy Winehouse) to record hits in the bedroom of his Menahan St. apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
The Menahan Street Band album ("Make the Road by Walking") is out now. Download the title track over here. You might recognize it from the sample used in Jay-Z's hit song "Roc Boys (and the Winner is...)".
Speaking of which... A few months after the release of the Jay-Z track, Brenneck was contacted by the principal of Public School 20, an elementary school in nearby Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, who had tracked down the original [song] after being blown away by the sample in the radio hit.
The school band invited the Menahan Street Band to their recital to watch them perform their own rendition of "Make the Road by Walking" and to join them in their music class the following Friday. The experience proved mutually inspiring for both the children and the band, and completed the songs poetic journey from the local community center through the national hip-hop airwaves, and back to the children of Brooklyn.
watch the video of the school band here or click below. Album should be out in NZ stores soon. Or grab it yourself online.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
"You may be aware that Real Groovy is in receivership. We thought that we should let you know what this may mean to you.
The Real Groovy website www.realgroovy.co.nz is still operating - the only difference is that we cannot issue or redeem online vouchers at the moment. As always, if you place an order on the website, your credit card IS NOT CHARGED until the goods are sent, so there is no risk to you.
REAL GROOVY STORES
All Real Groovy stores are still open. However, we are not purchasing or trading your unwanted items at the moment and we are not issuing vouchers or credit notes. We are still taking special orders and our bins are full of bargains - we encourage you to keep providing your valuable support.
REAL GROOVY CLUB
The Real Groovy Club is still operating - you will continue to receive points and bonuses, when they are due.
If you have an insurance claim to be fulfilled by Real Groovy, it has been temporarily put on hold. We ask you to be patient, and we will advise you by email once we have resolved the situation.
We are committed to keeping Real Groovy going and are working hard to ensure that this happens. We hope to be able to start accepting Real Groovy vouchers and credit notes again and, while we cannot make any promises, we recommend that you keep them safe until you hear from us.
We have been overwhelmed by the support that we have received from a lot of our customers, and our staff are really grateful for the patience, understanding and courtesy that has been shown to them in this difficult time. We're all hoping for a really positive outcome and for Real Groovy to continue well into the future.
The Real Groovy Team
Latest unofficial word is that RG Wellington and Christchurch have been sold, and a possible sale for RG Auckland is in the air. Here's hoping that happens!
ADDED Just saw that the NZ Herald has posted an NZPA story on Real Groovy, essentially it's a news report which rewrites the above email to customers, and was posted online at 6.48pm.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
"A music promoter is around $9000 out of pocket after iconic music chain Real Groovy Records was placed in receivership. Matthew Crawley brought Canadian band The New Pornographers to play in New Zealand two nights ago and sold tickets through Real Groovy.
He told 3 News that when he went to collect the money yesterday for the tickets he was greeted by a businessman he didn’t know. “I said – ‘are you going to tell me that you’re not going to give me the money that I just made on these tickets?,’ and he said – ‘not immediately, but we will give it to you.’” (link, plus video)
As Real Groovy was a major ticket seller for music events, this could have serious repercussions right thru the music industry, from promoters to venues, PA companies, etc.
Also... I just watched TV3 Campbell Live and TV One News clips on Real Groovy's closure - TV One made it all about iTunes and the economy, then covered Briscoes and the retail downturn and blamed the global economic difficulties reaching our shores, and TV3 blamed Itunes and $1 downloads, and ended up discussing the cd vs vinyl debate. None of which has anything to do with Real Groovy going into recievership due a foreign exchange deal going bad (as stated by the owners).
Real Groovy was a hot topic round my workplace today, with some people saying they thought it was due to JBs Hifi, and also the internet affecting Groovy's retail sales (someone will blame illegal downloading too, before long). But as the NZ Herald noted, Groovy's owners have said that new releases only accounted for 28% of their business (source).
Certainly, retail is slowing up for CDs, and has been for some time. Take this week's number one album in the US, by T.I. According to Billboard, "despite a 69% drop-off in sales, T.I. starts a second week at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 with "Paper Trail." The Grand Hustle/Atlantic set sold 177,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, after debuting last week with 568,000. Metallica's Warner Bros. album "Death Magnetic" climbs back up 5-2 despite a 24% sales slide to 66,000"(link).
Back in January this year, Real Groovy co-owner Chris Hart said "2007 was not the best year. In an interview two years ago he expected Real Groovy to be turning over $20 million annually by March 2006. He says it probably accomplished that, but things have flattened off. "We're not experiencing the growth we had done, and that's the same for retail in general." (link, "Real Groovy - a company adapting to change")
But really, it's about what we lose if/when Real Groovy disappears from the Auckland musical landscape. It's somewhere to go and dig around in the bins and always be surprised by what you might find (don't get that one at JBs, do you? Just stickers that scream Buy Me, I'm Cheap); a place for bands to play live-instore; a ticket seller for concerts - 70% of ticket sales for dance events are thru Real Groovy in Ak; it's a treasure trove of musical delights. It's been around for 28 years, and I can barely remember a time that it wasn't there. Now I have to face the prospect that it might soon be gone for good.
And is JBs really that successful here? An article in the Australian last month, titled "Grunge look is key to JB Hi-Fi's success" (seriously - what the hell?) noted that "JB posted a net profit of $65.1 million after tax for the 2007-08 financial year, up 57 per cent, on sales growth of 42 per cent... The result is even more impressive when you consider the $4.9 million pre-tax loss JB made in New Zealand, where sales were down 10.9 per cent.
[Chief executive Richard] Uechtritz says he regrets the company's purchase of New Zealand whitegoods chain Hill & Stewart in 2007.
"I wish we hadn't bought it, in hindsight. A few months after we did, the New Zealand economy tanked. We bought it for the support office and the relationship with suppliers but it wasn't really our type of business. At the time we thought it would give us a running start in New Zealand for our JB stores," he says. Instead, JB should have gone it alone, opening its own stores. "We would have lost money but we probably would have lost less"
Hat tip to Trevor for the Billboard and Australian articles.
"Neal Hefti, the composer who wrote the groovy theme for '60s television show Batman, died Saturday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 85... his son said the surf-style Batman theme was Neal Hefti's "most difficult piece, taking him at least one month to compose the driving bass and explosive trumpet bursts," according to the Associated Press.
"He threw away more music paper on this thing than any other song," Paul Hefti said. "It got down to the blues with a funny guitar hook, the lowest common denominator and a fun groove." Link.
"Hard times have hit a legendary music shop.Real Groovy has been placed into receivership, after being put up for sale four months ago following a bad foreign exchange deal.Analysts say the company was probably also harmed by the introduction into the market of mega Australian music shop JB Hi-Fi, which is engaged in a price war with The Warehouse.Real Groovy's four stores around the country are still open, but vouchers and credit notes are no longer being accepted and the company is not buying any more second hand albums or CDs." from Newstalk ZB - 16/10/2008 7:32:03
Damn. What am I gonna do without that vast repository of vinyl?
ADDED, from NZPA -"Managing director Chris Hart was in his Dunedin store last night [Wed] carrying out a stocktake, which was also under way at the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch shops.
Staff referred media queries to the Auckland receivers, John Cregten, and Andrew Mckay, of Corporate Finance Ltd, who were appointed late yesterday by Westpac NZ Ltd.
Their first report on the business is due by Christmas Day, with a further report on the receivership by June 23 next year.
A new company, Real Groovy Christchurch Ltd, owned by Alison Gaye Knight and Paul Patrick Huggins, of Lyttleton, was registered with the Companies Office last week. (link)
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I've been thinking about writing something on this for the past few days after reading Colin Jackson's account of his torturous meeting with Judith Tizard and David Cunliffe over this insane bit of legislation. Russell Brown has summed it up nicely for you over here.
snip... "The section requires ISPs to have a plan to cut off the internet access of customers who repeatedly infringe copyright: in practice that means cutting off a customer who has been the subject of three allegations of using their internet connection to infringe copyright.
Yes, that's right: infringement need not be proven. And ISPs, who have no competence and don't want the job, are placed in the position of adjudicating over the merits of copyright claims. They'll cave and move on."
Yesterday Helen Clark defended this piece of legislation when interviewed by Sunrise's Oliver Driver, saying "What Judith Tizard's working on in getting a new business model for artists in New Zealand". Anyone buy that?ADDED Mark Harris transcribed this interview - cheers Mark,. he also transcribed music lawyer Chris Hocquard's Sunrise appearance from this morning, part one and two.
More commentary here also.
ADDED Labour have created some great initiatives for the music industry, but this is not one of them. Also, "National’s Maurice Williamson agreed it was a bad thing and said he didn’t know why he had voted for it." From Colin Jackson blog.
NZ Herald music critic Russell Baillie explains why Flight of the Conchords cleaned up at last week's music awards.
"... There are some simple reasons why they won. They are popular because they were on TV. They have got lots of coverage on their US breakthrough from the likes of us here at TimeOut, despite being ignored by major networks.
So it's no wonder from the large pool of judges - I am one and I rudely ignored them despite loving the show to bits - that the awards' organisers, the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand gets to decide these things.
So when you are presented with a list of virtually all the New Zealand albums released in the past year ... it sure is easy to tick the familiar and keep ticking it. You didn't even have to have heard a copy of Flight of the Conchords to know the songs. "Link
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Godfather of rocksteady passes in London, aged 70. Link.
"The Jamaican-born singer, who moved to Britain in the 1970s, achieved fame with a number of hits, including I'm Still in Love and I'm Just a Guy. He was a leading pioneer of the more laid-back "rocksteady" sound, which came out of Jamaica in the 1960s. Ellis was still performing until August this year, when he collapsed after a concert in central London. The Jamaican authorities are considering giving Ellis a state funeral, Ms De Rosa added."
Saturday, October 11, 2008
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
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.
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.)
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
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
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
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.
"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' 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! www.musicallymad.com
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Marlena Shaw - California soul (Diplo remix)
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Stranded in your love (Cool calm Pete remix)
Menahan st band - track 9
Bamboos - Tighten up
Gay Flamingos steel band - Black man's cry
Thievery corp - Radio retaliation
Bunny General - Pon mi border
Tommy McCook and the supersonics -Big, bad and bold
Sabres of paradise - Wilmot
Mr Scruff - Fix that speaker
Ray Barretto - Acid
Joe Bataan -Subway Joe
Joe Quijano - Fun city shingaling
Roots manuva - Again and again (Moody boyz remix)
Moody boyz - Jammin
The snugs - Trying
Dub Asylum - Ba ba boom!
Definition of sound - Wear your love like heaven
Freddie Cruger - Something good
Jimmy Bo Horne - Let me be your lover
Jimmy McGriff - Red sails in the sunset
Tony Alvon and the Belairs - Sexy coffee pot
Cyril Neville - Gossip
Maxwell implosion - Grasshopper
Lady Saw - Jealous (Benny Hill riddim)
Dj Mujava - Township funk (Ashley Beedle re-edit)
Quantic - Make dub, not war
Al Brown - Aint no love
Friday, October 03, 2008
"Historically, the youth involved in backyard party planning and djing did not have the extra cash to drive to Hollywood and pay $20 bucks to enter a club.
That is why they created a party of their own, with their own rules, participants, promoters, economies and music. This sub-culture which was and continues to be emulated by club promoters in the west side and the world was built and devised by the young men and women, ages 15 to 21, who live and sometimes die in east and south L.A.
In this issue of webstories, we will explore the rise of backyard parties as we take a look at the evolution of DJ culture from the 1970’s to the present. In each decade we will explore one famous party, tracing the evolution and development of fashion, music and culture in L.A." Link.
"Saam Farahmand is one of the hottest directors around, and he’s also an avid dance music fan. So it’s not surprising that Farahmand linked up with Soulwax and created the excellent tour documentary Part of the Weekend Never Dies. The film captures key moments during Radio Soulwax’s grueling global jaunt, which included 120 live shows and DJ gigs (where the band’s Dewaele brothers, David and Stephen, spin as 2ManyDJs)."
Link to Big Shot Magazine, includes clip from the movie. Also from Big Shot... Free mp3: Tittsworth feat. Kid Sister and Pase Rock / “WTF”
Debbie Harry: There’ve always been two schools of thought when it comes to female artists. There’s the serious guitar players who have stuff to say, and they’re called “women.” And then there’s the producer-driven, girl-group, hair-toss, flaunt-your-tits-and-ass kind of act.
Santogold: The producers phenomenon is one of the reasons music has gone downhill. When I was a teenager, every hip-hop artist had their own D.J., who was their producer. From Public Enemy to A Tribe Called Quest, everyone had a different sound. Now? Now it’s only hip-hop, pop, and rock. You’ve got three producers who do everything. And as far as the women go, I think there are very few big-time women right now who are running their own show, like Björk, M.I.A., and Karen O. It’s all American Idol.
DH: The best part about American Idol is when they have the auditions.
S: I agree.
DH: That’s all they should do.
Read it here.
Santogold playing in NZ at new years. Listen to Shove It by Santogold over here.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
"Black, Round, & Groovy explores the love affair many music aficionados have with their records. Black, Round, & Groovy will introduce viewers to a variety of characters—the pack-rat whose 60,000 records forced him to rent warehouse space, the dj who attempts to free himself by selling off his collection, the punk who started collecting soul 45s—disparate people with black plastic discs in common.
"I spose it's better than being a heroin addict, cos at least i've got something to show for spending my money!" Watch the film trailer here (first one)