21 de janeiro de 2008

Kurtis Blow Presents The History of Rap [Vol I, II & III]

Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap, Vol. 1: The Genesis

The first volume of the three-part Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap is subtitled The Genesis, which means that it covers a period of time when rap was strictly a live art form and rarely made it to record. That means, of course, that the disc is filled with funk records -- specifically ones with extended rhythm breaks and grooves that provided ideal instrumental backdrops for rappers. The Genesis leans toward the obscure, where even the most familiar names (James Brown, the Isley Brothers, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, the Jackson 5) are represented with unfamiliar songs, and the remainder of the compilation is filled with cult artists (Baby Huey, Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band, Black Heat, Rhythm Heritage). While many of these songs may be unfamiliar, there are beats and samples that have been popularized through sampling, which makes listening to the disc fascinating. Unfortunately, it never becomes truly intoxicating, since it's a historical recording that's designed for education, not entertainment, but anyone interested in the birth of hip-hop will find it necessary listening.

1- James Brown - Give It Up Or Turn It a Loose (in the jungle groove remix)
2- The Isley Brothers - Get Into Something
3- Booker T & The M.G.'s - Melting Pot
4- Baby Huey - Listen To Me
5- Dennis Coffey & The Detroit Guitar Band - Scorpio
6- The Jimmy Castor Bunch - It's Just Begun
7- Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band - Apache
8- The Jackson 5 - Hum Along And Dance
9- Black Heat - Love The Life You Live
10- Rhythm Heritage - Theme From S.W.A.T. (extended 7' version)
11- Herman Kelly & Life - Dance To The Drummer's Beat
12- Fatback - King Tim III (personality jock)

Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap, Vol. 2: The Birth of the Rap Record

As the second installment of Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap, The Birth of the Rap Record chronicles the moment that hip-hop entered the popular consciousness. The record that broke the doors down was "Rapper's Delight," which is represented here, like the ten other tracks on the compilation, in an extended version that allows both the beats and the rhymes to flourish. Where most early rap compilations focus on records that made an impact on the R&B charts, The Birth of the Rap Records is devoted to the underground. There are a number of familiar songs here -- "The Breaks," "The Message" -- but the majority of the disc is devoted to underappreciated artists like the Sequence, Spoonie Gee, "Love Bug" Starski, Davy DMX and Funky Four Plus One More, or unfamiliar songs by artsits like Afrika Bambaataa and the Treacherous Three. Unlike its predecessor, The Genesis, Vol. 2: The Birth of the Rap Record plays smoothly, making it a rare historical release that is as entertaining as it is educational.

1- Sugarhill Gang - Rapper's Delight
2- Sequence - Funk You Up
3- Funky 4 + One More - Rappin And Rocking The House
4- Kurtis Blow - Christmas Rappin
5- Kurtis Blow - The Breaks
6- Spoonie Gee Meets The Sequence - Monster Jam
7- Afrika Bambaata & Jazzy 5 - Jazzy Sensation (short version)
8- The Treacherous Three - Feel The Beat
9- Grandmaster Flash And The Furious 5 - The Message (long version)
10- "Love Bug" Starski - Starski Live At The Disco Fever
11- Davy Dmx - One For The Treble

Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap, Vol. 3: The Golden Age

Where Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap, Vol. 2: The Birth of the Rap Record chronicled rap's first forays into the mainstream, Vol. 3: The Golden Age documents the point when hip-hop culture became an undeniable part of popular culture. There are more hits on The Golden Age than on any other disc in The History of Rap, featuring classics by such artists as Run-D.M.C. ("Rock Box"), Whodini ("Friends"), the Fat Boys ("Jail House Rap"), UTFO ("Roxanne, Roxanne"), Public Enemy ("Rebel Without a Pause"), Boogie Down Productions ("Criminal Minded"), Big Daddy Kane ("Raw"), Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock ("It Takes Two"), and Biz Markie ("Vapors," "Just a Friend"). At that time, rap was becoming more diverse, boasting different rhyming and production styles -- where early rap was similiar stylistically, there was a world of difference between the dizzying hardcore of Public Enemy and the comedy shenanigans on Biz Markie. The musical depth of rap is evident on The Golden Age -- it certainly does not all sound the same -- and while it does overlook some artists, it nevertheless is an invaluable sampler, capturing the essence of the era.

1- Run Dmc - Rock Box
2 -Whodini - Friends
3- Whodini - Five Minutes Of Funk
4- Fat Boys - Jail House Rap
5- UTFO - Roxanne, Roxanne
6- MC Shan - The Bridge
7- Public Enemy - Rebel Without A Pause
8- Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded (album version)
9- Big Daddy Kane - Raw
10- Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock - It Takes Two
11- Biz Markie - Vapors
12- Biz Markie - Just A Friend

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17 de janeiro de 2008

AFRICA 100 (afrobeat)

Afrobeat is a sound and a movement, music and a state of mind. It's the joyous awakening of a continent from a colonial nightmare and the crushing realization that the nightmare isn't over yet, anguish and happiness whipped together with traditional drums, cheap guitars, and even cheaper amps.

Afrobeat is a term with no solid definition, like punk, rock, or soul, although it may be all three of those things. No one knows who first used the word, but as far as history is concerned, it belongs to Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the late Nigerian giant through whom any understanding of the sound of 1970s Africa must pass. In the most limited sense, you could say that Afrobeat is the cinematic, polyrhythmic, symphonic funk sound that Fela developed with superhuman drummer Tony Allen, but it's much more than that.

For what has been recovered, distribution can be spotty, and the shop that has two things you're looking for is usually missing four other things you want to check out. Compilers of these sounds must track down the musicians, hunt out masters in forgotten, crumbling pressing plants, and sift through bins of scratched, dusty vinyl in the markets of Accra, Conakry, and Lagos looking for the lost slab of brilliant funk or the 45 with the highlife A-side and the totally unexpected fuzz-rock B-side. The rewards of those efforts have been huge, though, and I'm pleased this music is increasingly getting the spotlight it deserves.

Compiled by music writer Joe Tangari to accompany "The Indestructible Beat", his five-part April 2005 Pitchfork feature on the origins and history of Afrobeat and related genres, this home-assembled box set compiles 99 songs (a "vinyl-only" bonus track is unavailable here), and spans from the late 1950s to the present day, with a special focus on the genre's most active and fertile decade, the 1970s. Containing almost nine hours of music, it is now the most definitive collection of Afrobeat known to exist, and possibly the most thorough introduction to the music available.

For the uninitiated, Afrobeat, in its purest form, it is intensely beat-heavy, drawing as much inspiration from American funk, soul and jazz as from aboriginal chants and rhythms. Allmusic.com states that its musicians tended to favor large ensembles, extended grooves and improvised jam sessions, but that at its core it was dance music. Over the course of the the 1970s, however, many varieties and mutations would spring up, each drawing from more distant forms. On this collection, influences range from James Brown's good-foot funk, to Detroit's Motown R&B and soul, to Lee "Scratch" Perry and King Tubby's dub reggae, to even Serge Gainsbourg's sultry French whispers.

>> Disc 01
101. Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Africa '70: "Zombie" (Nigeria, 1977)
102. Girma Beyene: "Set Alamenem" (Ethiopia, 1969)
103. Marijata: "Mother Africa" (Ghana, 1976)
104. Segun Bucknor & His Revolution: "La La La" (Nigeria, year unknown)
105. Oscar Sulley & the Uhuru Dance Band: "Bukom Mashie" (Ghana, 1973)
106. Geraldo Pino: "Heavy Heavy Heavy" (Sierra Leone, year unknown)
107. Super Eagles: "Love's a Real Thing" (Gambia, 1972)
108. Orlando Julius & His Modern Aces: "Ijo Soul" (Nigeria, 1966)
109. Matata: "Talkin' Talkin'" (Kenya, 1973)
110. Ayalew Mesfin: "Hasabe" (Ethiopia, 1973)
111. Super Mambo 69: "Sweeper Soul" (country unknown, 1972)
112. Babatunde Olatunji: "Jin-Go-Lo-Ba" (Nigeria, 1960)
113. Dick Khoza: "African Jive" (South Africa, 1976)
114. Orchestra Baobab: "Mouhamadou Bamba" (Senegal, 1980)
115. Os Bongos: "Kazukuta" (Angola, 1974)
116. Getatchew Mekurya: "Yegenet Muziqa" (Ethiopia, 1972)

>> Disc 02
201. Brigth Engelberts & the B.E. Movement: "Get Together" (country, year unknown)
202. Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra: "Big Man" (United States, 2004)
203. Oscar Sulley & the Uhuru Dance Band: "Olufeme" (Ghana, 1973)
204. Thony Shorby Nyenwi: "No Wrong Show" (Nigeria, 1978)
205. Ogyatanaa Show Band: "Disco Africa" (Ghana, 1976)
206. Wallias Band: "Muziqawi Silt" (Ethiopia, 1977)
207. Lemma Demissew: "Astawesalehu" (Ethiopia, 1968 or 69)
208. Apagya Show Band: "Kwaku Ananse" (Ghana, 1974)
209. Fela Ransome Kuti & Africa '70: "Roforofo Fight" (Nigeria, 1972)
210. Monomono: "Tire Loma Da Nigbehin" (Nigeria, 1974)
211. Ofo the Black Company: "Allah Wakbarr" (Nigeria, 1972)
212. Joe Mensah: "Africa Is Home" (Ghana, 1975)
213. Lijadu Sisters: "Orere Eljigbo" (Nigeria, 1979)
214. Bembeya Jazz National: "Petit Sekou" (Guinea, 1976)

>> Disc 03
301. Gyedu Blay-Ambolley & the Steneboofs: "Simigwado" (Ghana, 1973)
302. Jingo: "Fever" (country unknown, 1974)
303. Joni Haastrup: "Greetings" (Nigeria, 1977)
304. Honny & the Bees Band: "Psychedelic Woman" (Ghana, 1973)
305. Yahoos: "Mabala" (country, year unknown)
306. Blo: "Blo" (Nigeria, 1972)
307. Tlahoun Gessesse: "Alegntaye" (Ethiopia, 1973)
308. K. Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas: "Hwehwe Mu Na Yi Wo Mpena" (Ghana, 1977)
309. Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Africa '70: "Gentleman" (Nigeria, 1973)
310. Manu Dibango: "African Battle" (Cameroon, 1973 or 74)
311. Alemayehu Eshete: "Addis Ababa Bete" (Ethiopia, 1989)
312. Shina Williams & His African Percussionists: "Agboju Logun" (12-inch mix) (Nigeria, 1984)

>> Disc 04
401. Bob Pinado & His Sound Casters: "Me, You, One (Means I Love You)" (Ghana, 1976)
402. Koola Lobitos: "Highlife Time" (Nigeria, 1965)
403. 3rd Generation Band: "Because of Money" (Ghana, 1973)
404. Mercury Dance Band: "Envy No Good" (country, year unknown)
405. Mahmoud Ahmed: "Mar Teb Yelal Kafesh" (Ethiopia, 1975)
406. E.T. Mensah & His Tempos Band: "205" (Ghana, late 1950s)
407. Bembeya Jazz National: "N'Garokomo" (Guinea, 1973)
408. Tamrat Ferendji & Sensation Band: "Antchin Yagegnulet" (Ethiopia, 1977)
409. Matata: "Wanna Do My Thing" (Kenya, early 70s)
410. Lekan Animashaun: "Serere" (Nigeria, recorded 1979, overdubs 1986, released 1995)
411. Dick Khoza: "Chapita" (South Africa, 1976)
412. Tesfa Maryam Kidane: "Yetesfa Tezeta" (Ethiopia, 1969)
413. Mulatu Astatque: "Kasalefkut Hulu" (Ethiopia, 1972)
414. Kokolo: "Mister Sinister" (United States, 2004)
415. Tlahoun Gessesse: "Aykedashem Lebe" (Ethiopia, 1974)

>> Disc 05
501. Manu Dibango: "Soul Makossa" (Cameroon, 1972)
502. Ebo Taylor: "Heaven" (Ghana, 1977)
503. Hugh Masakela & the Union of South Africa: "Dyambo" (South Africa, year unknown)
504. Sweet Talks: "Kye Kye Pe Aware" (Ghana, 1976)
505. Rob: "Make it Fast, Make it Slow" (Ghana, 1977)
506. William Onyeabor: "Better Change Your Mind" (Nigeria, 1978)
507. Bahta Gebre Heywet: "Tessassategn Eko" (Ethiopia, 1973)
508. Ayalew Mesfin & Black Lion Band: "Gud Aderegetchegn" (Ethiopia, 1977)
509. Sahara All-Stars Band Jos: "Enjoy Yourself" (Nigeria, year unknown)
510. Christy Azuma & Uppers International: "Naam" (Ghana, 1976)
511. Mahmoud Ahmed: "Kulun Mankwalesh" (Ethiopia, 1973)
512. Alemayehu Eshete: "Eskegizew Bertchi" (Ethiopia, 1974)
513. Salif Keita: "Mandjou" (Mali, 1978)
514. Assagai: "Cocoa" (country unknown, 1971)

>> Disc 06
601. Lourdes Van Dunem: "Ngongo ya Biluka" (Angola, 1972)
602. Guerilla: "La Popo" (country, year unknown)
603. Peter King: "Mystery Tour" (Nigeria, 1976)
604. Samuel Belay: "Aynotchesh Yerefu" (Ethiopia, 1973)
605. Ebo Taylor: "Atwer Abroba" (Ghana, 1977)
606. Tony Allen & His Afro Messengers: "No Discrimination" (Nigeria, 1979)
607. Johnson Mkhalali: "Joyce No. 2" (South Africa, 1985)
608. King Sunny Ade & His African Beats: "Ja Funmi" (Nigeria, 1982)
609. Amaswazi Emvelo: "Indoda Yejazi Elimnyama" (South Africa, 1985)
610. Pacific Express: "the Way it Used to Be" (South Africa, 1978)
611. Miriam Makeba: "Maria Fulo" (South Africa, 1967)
612. Youssou N'Dour & Etoile de Dakar: "Wadiour" (Senegal, 1982)
613. Tunde Williams & Africa '70: "Mr. Big Mouth" (Nigeria, 1975)
614. The Funkees: "Dancing Time" (Nigeria, early 70s)
615. Ladysmith Black Mambazo: "Lomhlaba Kawunoni (The Earth Never Gets Fat)" (South Africa, 1987)

>> Disc 07
701. Girma Beyene: "Ene Negn Bay Manesh" (Ethiopia, 1969)
702. TP Orchestra Poly-Rhythmo de Cotonou Dahomey: "Minsato Le, Mi Dayihome" (Benin, early 70s)
703. Sweet Talks: "Eyi Su Ngaangaa" (Ghana, 1976)
704. African Brothers Band: "Sakatumbe" (Ghana, 1970)
705. Dan Boadi & His African Internationals: "Play that Funky Music" (Nigeria, 1978)
706. Manu Dibango: "Mwasa Makossa" (Cameroon, 1973)
707. George Danquah: "Just a Moment" (country, year unknown)
708. Mulatu Astatque: "Netsanet" (Ethiopia, 1974)
709. Gaspar Lawal: "Kita Kita" (Nigeria, 1980)
710. Moussa Doumbia: "Keleya" (Mali, 1975)
711. Fred Fisher: "Asa-sa" (Nigeria, 1979)
712. Konono No. 1: "Paradiso" (Democratic Republic of Congo, 2005)
713. Fela Ransome Kuti & Africa '70: "Water No Get Enemy" (Nigeria, 1975)

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15 de janeiro de 2008

Beastie Breaks

A collection of songs sampled by the Beastie Boys.

1. Idris Mohammed - Lorens Dance ("For All The Girls")
2. Gene Harris - Put On Train ("What Comes Around")
3. Cedar Walton - Jacob's Ladder ("The Scoop")
4. Eugene McDaniels - Headless Heros ("Get It Together")
5. Funkadelic - I'll Bet You ("Car Thief")
6. Ballin Jack - Never Let Em Say ("Shadrach")
7. Jimmy Smith - Root Down ("Root Down")
8. Sly Stone - Loose Booty ("Shadrach")
9. Jeremy Steig - Howling For Judy ("Sureshot")
10. Funk Factory - Rien Ne Va Plus ("Car Thief")
11. Jimi Hendrix - Gotta Have It ("Jimmy James")
12. The Blues Project - Flute Thing ("Flute Loop")

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Butter 08

Butter 08 was a short-lived musical side project whose members consisted of Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto, Russell Simins of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Rick Lee of Skeleton Key and director Mike Mills. The band released just one album, the self-titled "Butter 08" in 1996 on the Beastie Boys' now defunct Grand Royal record label. The album features guest performances by future Cibo Matto members Timo Ellis and Sean Lennon as well as a performance by filmmaker Evan Bernard who directed music videos for several Grand Royal artists as well as for Cibo Matto and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

In addition to their one album, a remix of their song "Degobrah" appears on the soundtrack for "City of Industry", a 1996 film featuring Harvey Keitel.

The band was allegedly formed when the members spent an evening recording the 1995 Cibo Matto single "Know Your Chicken" together. A demo was then sent to Mike D, who immediately signed Butter 08 to Grand Royal Records.

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Born Bad

The Born Bad compilation series collects together the original music that inspired bands like The Cramps. You can't go wrong with this series, although they can be kind of short since I think they were originally intended as vinyl compilations, and sometimes are sourced from vinyl sources.

It's a great compilation series if you are curious to hear the original rockabilly and garage punk artists that inspired Born Bad 2The Cramps, like Hasil Adkins, Wanda Jackson, Andre Williams, Charlie Feathers, and Richard Berry, with some later 60s groups thrown in every once in awhile, like The Sonics, Tommy James, Paul Revere, and the Kasenetz-Katz Super Circus.

Volume 1 features the original versions of Goo Goo Muck by Ronnie Cook & the Gaylads, Uranium Rock by Warren Smith, The Crusher by The Novas, Rockin' Bones by Ronnie Dawson, Strychnine by the Sonics and Funnel Of Love by Wanda Jackson. All songs covered by the Cramps, or in the case of Funnel of Love, members of The Cramps helped Wanda Jackson re-record a version of that song in 2003 on her album Heart Trouble.

Volume 2 has original versions of Love Me by the Phantoms, I Can't Hardly Stand It by Charlie Feathers, She Said by Hasil Adkins, and Lonesome Town by Ricky Nelson. Born Bad 3For a nice change of pace here, things get a bit more 60s garage rock on Hanky Panky by Tommy James and the Shondells, Hungry by Paul Revere & the Raiders and Quick Joey Small by the Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus.

Highlights from Volume 3 include the trio of songs based around the Surfin' Bird phenomenon, including Mama Oom Mow Mow and The Bird's The Word by the Rivingtons and Surfin' Bird by The Trashmen. Andre Williams makes his appearance on two of his classic tunes Bacon Fat and Jail Bait. And the original version of Can Your Hossie Do The Dog by Del Raney's Umbrellas is heard here (the tune that later inspired Born Bad 4The Cramps own tune Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?).

There's a brilliantly hyper version of Heartbreak Hotel by Buddy Love on Volume 4. There's also the original Richard Berry version of Louie, Louie here. The one-two punch of Red Crayola's Hurricane Fighter Plane and The Standells' Baracuda were the definite highlight for me, with a couple of later mid-60s tracks with a pulsing manic sound. Also, stick around for the hilarious Mad Magazine related It's A Gas by Born Bad 5Alfred E. Neuman.

Volume 5 includes a different version of Hanky Panky, this time from the Raindrops (a girl group which featured songwriting partners Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry). You can also find the raw resurrection of the old Jimmie Rodgers' song Mule Skinner Blues by the Fendermen from 1960, a very early version of garage rock music.

Volume 6 includes another crazed and truly un-hinged psychobilly Elvis cover in Jailhouse Rock by Dean Carter recorded 10 years after the original Elvis version, in 1967, out of time and in a different place. This puts the psycho in the definition of psychobilly. Born Bad 5There's also He's Waiting by The Sonics, Dirty Robber by The Wailers, Yum Yum Yamaha by Carol Conners & Cycles, Mini Skirt Blues by the Flower Children, Hipsville 29 B.C. by The Sparkles, and Green Door by Jim Lowe, all music to drive you batty.

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