Category Archives: I’m so ’70s

It’s Funky Nerdy Enough: 5 Beautiful LA-Centric Record Finds from Beat Swap Meets Past

The next Beat Swap Meet will be far enough in the future that I’ll have forgotten about the failures of the 2011-12 Los Angeles Lakers. Until then, to cheer up my sad sad heart, I’m revisiting some of my luckiest finds from the last few BSMs I’ve attended.

1. The D.O.C., No One Can Do It Better (Ruthless, 1989). $8.

The Lakers got swept by the Pistons during the ’89 NBA Finals. The city’s self-respect took a beating, but I bet you No One Can Do It Better dropping a few weeks later made LA feel better about itself. There should be no shame for LA’s fans during the ’88-’89 season anyway, since at least the team made it to the final round that year. (This is a situation with which I am unfamiliar when it comes to the 2011-12 squad. SIGH. VAMOOSE, GASOL.)

The D.O.C. was from Texas, but he established his brand here and created an album that was absolutely made for thumping out of an Escort’s subwoofers in stop-and-go traffic, so his LA credentials are strong. No One Can Do It Better is production heaven—not to take anything away from The D.O.C.’s nice rasp or solid flow that I just realized is very KRS-ish, but I have a weak voice and a terrible flow and even I would sound great over a late-80s Dre beat. The album is rarer than its $8 price tag would lead you to believe; the true test of a good find is in how many “OHHHHs” you get from the other attendees when you walk around the swap meet with it under your arm, and I must’ve gotten 10 or 12 the day I got it. It contains the phrases “on the hype tip” and “I don’t fess,” plus an Air Jordan flight jacket on the cover, all of which places it squarely at the tail end of the Reagan era, but it bangs, STILL, now, forever, always. It also contains the words “Ruthless representation: Jerry Heller,” to which I respond Uhhh yeah, no kidding, and then something about Ice Cube and vaseline. These days, The D.O.C.’s songs mostly turn up in skate videos and Radio Los Santos when you’re toggling through your weapons in San Andreas. But this at least means you and your 14-year-old cousin have new common ground. And that Kings hat on the cover is pretty prescient since they’re about to maybe win the Stanley Cup.

“The Almighty Father, my family, MC Ren” (??). Ice Cube, Yella, Eazy, and the production guy are fourth, fifth, sixth, and (ouch, Dre!) seventh, respectively.

2. Willie Hutch, The Mark of the Beast (Motown, 1974). $3.

Willie was also from Texas and made his name in LA. His voice wasn’t scratchy like The D.O.C.’s, though—Willie had this powerful, achy sweetness to his instrument. Ask Juicy J or me to describe its beauty sometime, even though you might regret it once we get started. Geeked up off Willie, that’s me and J. 

The Mack soundtrack is a guaranteed find at any BSM, though probably in the form of the dreaded reissue. Nobody respects that. The Mark of the Beast, though, was never reissued and is therefore a rare one. And I got it, because that’s just how things work out for me. Ha ha. The sleeve was wrinkly on the open end, like bong resin had spilled all over it and someone panicked and tried to flatten it out to dry. But the vinyl itself is incredibly free of scratches, allowing the album’s walking-down-the-street bangers to really shine. “Get Ready for the Get Down” will make you feel like a ‘70s god—Michael Corleone in a nice wool suit—or, ladies where you at, a ‘70s goddess like Cleopatra Jones or Raquel Welch. Or maybe Farrah if that’s more your thing. In any case, you have your choice of self-esteem-raising jams here. “Don’t You Let Nobody Tell You How to Do Your Thing,” Willie says, to which I respond You got it, daddy and Don’t worry, I would never let anybody do that to me. Plus he’s so closely aligned with Three 6 at this point, the whole first side of The Mark of the Beast sounds like Project Pat’s about to come in with the hook.

3. Cannonball Adderley, The Black Messiah (Capitol, 1972). $9.

Stronnnnngly Los Angeles, this one. It came with a Chevron card and a QP. I adore it. Recorded live at the Troubadour in 1970, produced by David Axelrod from Los Angeles, California, with Mike Deasy (from LA) on guitar (he also played on the The Age of Aquarius and Pet Sounds). I don’t cyber-dig, but I do cyber-lurk, and few things in life are as satisfying as going to online record stores, typing the name of something I already own into the search box, and seeing “Sorry, this selection is currently unavailable” show up. The Black Messiah is one such jewel in my collection. It’s got Tribe’s “Infamous Date Rape” break on it, it’s pleasurable as both background/washing-the-dishes/folding-laundry-in-the-living-room and headphone music, and, because it’s live, you get all the between-song banter that Adderly’s band engaged in, talking to the audience. “We’re gonna not…discuss it,” Adderly says, regarding the band’s tightness, “We’re just gonna look at each other and say ‘Yeah’.” Or, as you and I know it, “Ain’t nuttin to it but to do it,” which can be attributed to either MC Eiht or Snoop, depending on who you ask and which neighborhood that person’s from. The fact that nobody’s used the piano/drum break that opens “The Chocolate Nuisance” is terribly disheartening. But the fact that there is a song called “The Chocolate Nuisance” immediately cheers me up.

4. Bill Withers, Just As I Am (Sussex, 1971). $2.

Humans! Now THIS is how a man comes out the gate! Debut album, side A, track 1: “Harlem,” a stomping thoroughbred of a song that for some reason has not shown up as a break on a mixtape from a Dipset capo nor A$AP Rocky. Despite the song tribute, Just As I Am is not a Harlem album. It’s universal in its appeal. Bill was from West Virginia and probably wanted the record to remain free from geographic allegiance so that everybody could enjoy it equally. But LA can claim Just As I Am because of its sunshiny feel and the fact that it was recorded at Sunset Sound, which is still in use today—nestled on a block that contains the very, very LA trifecta of a Pizza Hut, a Catholic school, and the Psychiatry: An Industry of Death museum, run by the Scientology Center.

“It’s OK to head out for Wonderful, but on your way to Wonderful, you’re gonna have to pass through All Right,” Withers says in the bio-doc Still Bill, “And when you get to All Right, take a good look around and get used to it, ‘cause that may be as far as you’re gonna go.” Description of your daily life is what you put on a Bill Withers record for—getting up, going to work, people messing with your heart, people making your heart leap out of your chest, errands, daydreams, and (cover your eyes, Mom) the moaning and groaning of daily pleasures. He provides the score in the land of All Right With Touches of Wonderful, home to 99% of us. And my dad had a lunchbox just like the one on the cover. Listen, I love hearing “No Church in the Wild” in the car on the way to Trader Joe’s, but when I get to Trader Joe’s, I love knowing that Bill Withers is the kind of guy who I might see in line there. (Kanye ain’t going to Trader Joe’s – he sends his assistant. And besides, he’s definitely a Whole Foods guy).

5. The Miracles, Do It Baby (Tamla, 1974). 99¢.

Recorded at Motown’s LA studio, this was snatched up based on the strength of the back cover, which includes the names Hal Davis, Leon Ware, and most appealing of all, Christine Yarian – lady songwriter in the male-dominated world of songwriting, she gets the utmost respect from this writer (lady record-obsessor in a world dominated by male record-obsessors). Ask me about her sometime, then stand back. Gone off that Yarian, that’s me.

“Give Me Just Another Day” is the best song on here, sampled by Phonix Beats in “Phenomenon” by Schoolboy Q, who is currently enjoying his hold on bloggers’ hearts and making your little cousin claim Hoover. The song was also used by Boi-1da and Don Cannon, and its horns-guitar-strings intro has played in my head during numerous walks down the street on hot days. Motown’s LA output generally gets very little respect, but Do It Baby is solid and underrated. Smokey Robinson warned Berry Gordy about earthquakes in an attempt to keep him from moving Motown here in ‘72. “Nice try, Smokey,” I’m pretty sure Berry said, “but have you seen the women in LA?”

The next Beat Swap Meet will be June 10, 2012. Buy me a drink.

.

There he she go.

SPARKLING JEWELS! In effect like alternate side of the street parking rules!

STILL BEEFING WITH: Kev Durant’s shooting accuracy and Westbrook’s incredible clutchness, people who don’t use turn signals, the state of Florida, the radio station at the laundromat that plays the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” every goddamn time I’m there, MMG now and forever, and Daniel Dumile for keeping his tour in foreign places, far away from my home. NEW BEEF: the state of Arizona, that awful new Animal Collective song (honestly, WTF), people who clicked “dislike” under the Danny Brown doc (HONESTLY. what in the fuck), and Nelly for not following Pharrell’s lead in making a respectful mention of the death of Chuck Brown, even though this anger is of my own making. (My expectations are probably too high of someone who puts “CEO of Nelly, Inc” as his first bio credit on Twitter.) 

BRAND-NEW BEEF!: my recent lack of self-control at the record store. I am about my paper, obviously, and I like to shout about it; “Look at me, just look how I’m always adding to my collection while still being able to eat and pay rent.” (This is my version of Got a condo on my wrist.) Last week in Pasadena, however, this system took a hit. I overspent, boss. I’m terrible. You say you need a hundred bucks? I’d spot you, but man I’m fresh OUT, or as my man E-40 said during the old school lunch hour on the radio today when I was driving, “perhaps today my scrilla ain’t feeling me.” Being CEO of Logan, Inc. doesn’t pay as well as you’d think.

Big big shout and hello, before we begin, to whoever tagged this blog NSFW on Reddit. Anonymous Internet soldier, you got me about a hundred thousand hits, but my mother would like to have a word with you. “This site is very SFW,” she’ll say, and “And yes, Logan did get her hips from me; who do you think taught her how to use them to get out of speeding tickets?” To those of you who were expecting sexy, sexy filth based on the NSFW tag, I’m sorry for the lack of nudity. We can engage in penetration but only of the cerebral kind. Which reminds me:

WHO WANNA HEAR ABOUT SOME RECORDS I BOUGHT.

NOPE, not my tribute to the Denver Broncos. Hush now. 
These here are just the outtakes from my shoot for The State vs. Logan Melissa mixtape.
“You will spend $120 for 17 albums at Poo-Bah Records in Pasadena,” said my palm reader a couple weekends ago. “You really should tone it down with the spending,” she added. “Take it easy, baby doll.”
Oh hi, Kobe. Relax, god. Glad to see you shopping here during your off time, and boy I bet your upper body is tired since you’ve been carrying an entire goddamn team on your shoulders for 6 months.

05/12/12. Poo-Bah’s leftside wall that I saw upon entering,
except, in BrownVision™,
HERE’S HOW I SAW IT. 

Poobah is the name of a buffoonish, self-important character in a Gilbert & Sullivan opera, and the word has been taken to mean “pompous individual; person who mistakenly believes he or she exerts great influence” ever since. It also means “Slightly chubby MC in Historically Black University hoodie.” Grand Puba’s “360° (What Goes Around)” is all catchy, braggy self-promo with the divine Miss Gladys Knight on the hook and I love that. Puba’s known for getting money, hitting skins (teehee, ’cause it was ’92), wearing Girbauds (’92). Count on it. He’s predictable, like taxes, the sun rising, the circle of life record spinning around and around, “Sweet Dreams” coming on at the goddamn laundromat, Curren$y doing a song per week about cars and penthouses and the whores who love them. Your Starbucks order is so predictable, as is mine of course.

Puba probably wasn’t hitting a ton of skins, in ’92 or at any point, but he was telling the truth about the cyclical nature of human existence. We’re all predictable. I’m predictable. Alamo, is you with me? Cuz there’s just one thing I wanna say, and that is If what goes around comes back around again, tomorrow morning I’m getting my iced coffee with vanilla syrup at Starbucks, just like I did this morning and the morning before that. I’ll do laundry on Saturday; I’ll buy records on Sunday. My buffoonish sense of self-importance leads me to think I can spend and spend and somehow keep apartment 680′s rent paid. I’m coming back to Poo-Bah with my debit card and an intense stare. (When I get evicted, let’s be roommates! I’m a good cook and I’m fun to be around. Just don’t touch my stuff.)

Librarian in a sweater 2 sizes too small, and Sounwave doing his “Black Milk Signs to Interscope in 2005.” Our styles are so different but we both love this Monk Higgins record.







1. Monk Higgins, Dance To The Disco Sax Of Monk Higgins (Buddah, 1974). $4.99.

I learned from Schoolboy’s “There He Go” that some dudes smoke Garcia Vegas (verse 2). I also discovered that I do a mean lean-point-&-lipsynch move (during the hook), and Sounwave and I have at least one record in common in our collections (the break, which comes from Dance to the Disco Sax). What I learned from the video is that Kendrick continues to be the square one of the crew, surrounded by cool guys who manage to be interesting just by sitting there. He’s the Ernie Johnson of Black Hippy, and he’s got Barkley to his far left (Ab) and Shaq to his right (SBQ). Poor Kendrick-Ernie. Anyway, the erotic-thriller sounding piano at the beginning of “There He Go” absolutely makes the song; it’s so dreamy and perfect. But like I’ve said about so many songs throughout history, it would be nothing without those drums.

You need this album. Jesus, what a find! “One Man Band (Plays All Alone)” is the “There He Go” drum break that Sounwave used, and the hook turns up in Meyhem Lauren and Action Bronson’s “Typhoon Rap.” Bronson and Lauren have that big-boned body type in common, and they’ve both done NFL player name songs (“Larry Csonka,” “Ray Lewis”) – a trend that is becoming tiresome even for someone like me (football fan; Fantasy Football team owner; person who tweets at the fucking NFL on Fox robot doofus out of boredom and rage). Bronson and SBQ have this break in common, they both look extremely huggable, and I’m pretty sure they satisfy that requirement I have of all straight men in that they do not know anything about ladies’ purses. None of you guys should know the difference between an LV Speedy and a Trouville. It’s one of my heart’s rules. All I need is simply to be the more feminine one in a relationship, whether that relationship is headphone-based (I don’t know you but I like your music) or flesh-based (I know you, and we are sleeping together, sharing childhood stories, watching Sportscenter, and other couple-y things). Jot it down.

Least surprising name-instrument matchups: Sidney Sharp on strings (alliteration), Freddy Robinson on guitar (“Freddy Robinson” just sounds like a man in the ’70s who played guitar). Most surprising: Jim Horn on flute.

Most Perplexing: Nobody’s chopped n’ looped the first 10 seconds of “Space Race.” The Beatnuts in ’97, get on that. Best Album Title, with its instruction to Dance to the Particular Instrument that Mr. Higgins Plays. Everybody go on and dance if you want to, I’m humming to myself as I write this. The muuuuuusic makes your body move. WELL, ALL RIGHT. I’m still thinking about Ohio after having found Zapp for $2 and marveling at how much Delonte West looks like Bizzy Bone. Jazz dazz, disco jazz, said the Dazz Band (from Cleveland). Jazz dazz, disco jah-yazzz. Monk Higgins was from Arkansas but I feel like he’d agree with the Dazz Band that “disco jazz” is a real thing.

Jeopardy! fact: Jim Horn was often used by Spector in the Wall of Sound, and plays sax on Ike and Tina’s “River Deep, Mountain High.” Tina took her shirt off when recording the vocal, a fact that everyone in the studio remembers with pervy accuracy according to the 3 Spector bios I’ve read. Jim Horn also played sax and flute on Pet Sounds (hi Dad!) and Ladies of the Canyon (hi Mom!), in case the topless Tina story is too sexy for Jeopardy!


Personal goal: “5’7″, 280, murder bloods for rep” – Bronson, “Typhoon Rap.” Start a 5’7″ club with Bronson! Kate Moss can join too.

2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, live at the Forum, April 1969 (bootleg – but Zipper was the first label trying to profit from it, 1988). $7.99.

The topic on LA sports talk radio again today was the Bynum Problem. What do we do about Bynum, everyone wants to know. Our giant baby with the glass knee: will he mature? Or is his inner knucklehead a permanent part of his personality? Call now, lines are wide open, blah blah, opinion, analysis, disagreement, sarcasm, yelling. Andrew will mature, absolutely, unless he doesn’t. We should keep him, or maybe we shouldn’t. I don’t know! It is a debate I have no personal stake in but that nonetheless entertains me, like Backwoods v. Swishers v. Optimos (v. Garcia Vegas!). At the end of the hour, the consensus was that the Laker organization should hire Charles “Terrifying Human Being” Oakley to be an enforcer and knock Andrew’s crybaby block off. Kobe’s serial-killer icegrill has proven to be ineffective in making Andrew act right; Andrew, we all agree, will only respond to physical intimidation. Furthermore, I maintain that if the team played at a creaky, old, soulful venue like the Forum, Andrew’s behavior would not be tolerated. Staples is lovely and comfy, but it’s so completely soulless, from David Beckham’s stupid floppy hat to all the Speedy bags underneath the seats of plastic-breasted ladies sitting courtside. Becks ain’t coming to Inglewood. Listen, the point is what can I possibly say to describe a Hendrix bootleg album that I got for less than ten bucks other than YOU NEED THIS ALBUM and the beautiful gentleman sitting on the hood of the car up there wins the award for Best Impression of Andre Benjamin.

Jeopardy! fact:In ’96, Dr. Octagon, Roger Troutman, and Cobain did a show at the Forum, which you will obviously know as the FABULOUS Forum if you’re from anywhere within a 50-mile radius of my apartment.

Personal goal: If Oak is available post-Bynum, get him to punch the face of 106 & Park’s Terrence J, whose face was positively built for punching. Normally I don’t have these violent tendencies, but.

3. Smokey Robinson, Big Time soundtrack (Tamla, 1977). $3.99.

“MCs couldn’t hang if they was lynched by the Grand Dragon.” You need this album. It’s got the “8 Steps to Perfection” break.

Prettiest Lady: my forever/always girlfriend Jayne Kennedy, star of Big Time and men’s daydreams, and the epitome of “bad.” Those credentials are good enough, GO JANE, but the bigger feat here is that she’s “bad” while simultaneously looking “sweet” and “has a college degree”-ish, such a tricky combination to pull off. I got “college-degree looking” on lock; “bad,” however, is still something I need to attain. I feel like my hips get me halfway there, but then my gait and prim demeanor set me back in Schoolteacherville. SIGH. Teach me, Jane!

Most Transparent: the marketing folks at Motown Films in 1977. “Small-time con man Big Time Eddie Jones hustles his way to the big payoff,” goes Big Time‘s media kit description, “while trying to stay one step ahead of insurance investigators*, the FBI and the Mob. Think Uptown Saturday Night, with a harder edge.” Ha. Yeah, I bet you’d like me to think Uptown Saturday Night, Motown Films, and you’d also like me to ignore the fact that Big Time has no Poitier, no Silky Slim, and no Geechie Dan. Smokey probably turned up in Jet in ’77, being interviewed for a promo fluff piece and talking about how if you squint hard enough during Big Time, you might see a guy who looks kind of like Richard Pryor. Willie Hutch should’ve just ended the whole charade and put out a song called “Gullible Moviegoers.”

* Least-sexy villains in any film.

BEST OPENING. BEST BEST OPENING. The first 25 seconds of the movie’s theme song bang so freaking hard, courtesy of freaking hard-as-HALE guitar-banger god Wah-Wah Watson. That opening makes you think the song’s gonna be some spacey oddball adventure with sexy alien ladies and maybe a fake-Moroder bassline, but then, sigh, it turns into vanilla ’77 discotheque white-noise. As a listener, I feel bamboozled; “Ha Ha (Gotcha, Bitch)” would’ve been a more appropriate song title. Smokey could only divert from the norm so much, though. Even in the late ’70s he was on that tight Motown leash.


Best Uncredited Appearance:

eXquire!

Jeopardy! fact: Marvin’s I Want You; Blondie, Bohannon, George Duke, Quincy Jones, the Beach Boys: Wah Wah Watson never appeared on a corny album.  

Personal goal: Get that El-P + Killer Mike “G-Money” vinyl package. Am I my brother’s keeper? Shut up, who cares, GIMME. I must own it! The instrumental album is blood red!

4. Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway (Atlantic, 1972). 99¢.

Chicago’s got some bad juju — Donny’s suicidal brain chemicals, Kanye’s women issues, Derrick Rose’s ACL, poor Chief Keef can’t afford a tshirt. Good Chicago juju, thankfully, includes the unstoppable gray-haired, marriage-equality-pushing most-powerful-man-in-the-world calm-temperament swagger of one B. Obama, and the achy powerful beauty of Donny’s voice (top 10 voices in apt. 680′s collection, easily). I hereby announce that YOU NEED THIS ALBUM. This news fits right in with the rest of the world, as this week was full of facts that did not need to be announced – like Mitch Kupchak’s official statement that the Lakers “will be considering trades” (thanks, Scott Van Pelt) or that  _____ and _____ were beefing last week and now, what’s this? They’re collabing? Imagine I’m doing a “Public Service Announcement” freestyle when I tell you this, and it’ll come out less like an order and more like a helpful suggestion: You need this album. It’s Flack and Hathaway. I cannot WAIT for the Weezy x Pusha mixtape, by the way.

This one wins Best Hangover Album—it’s melodic, floaty, and gentle, which makes sense since Arif Mardin was in charge of strings and a gentleman named Joe Gentle played flute on it. (Best and Most Appropriate Flute Player’s Name: Joe Gentle). And it’s got Purdie drums, which are never too brain-rattling. You’ll appreciate this when it’s the morning after you yelled BOTTLES ON ME 14 separate times in one night, and you did that stupid “WOOOOO” that ladies do, and the memories of acting like a retard are flooding your brain and making you cringe and also the terrible terrible nausea.

Roberta and Donny do their take on “You’ve Got a Friend” – appropriate, since they were best buddies. They do “I Who Have Nothing” and “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling,” a song that I have never liked but it’s got a great Spector-being-creepy story behind it. The critics went nuts for this album. It is a collection of music that is the opposite of ironic. Roberta and Donny will slay the grouchy dragon that lives in your heart with pure, uncut love of humanity. They excel at earnestness. The two of them are the best in the whole world at it, other than maybe Neil Young. The fact that Donny’s brain chemicals were starting to betray him at this point in his life lends a beautiful gravity to the album, and also a sense of really making me mad and hopeless. Stop it, songs, my brain says. It’s like the songs are telling the future, the horrible bleak future of Donny, but that’s not true – I’m just reading too much into the songs like always. It’s best to listen to this album in a vacuum. Put it on and pretend it’s ’72.

Best Piano Break, provided by Donny, above, later used in “On My Block,” the instrumental of which you’ll recognize as the backing track for every “successful MC returns to his old neighborhood” story on MTV. “Where is the Love,” already a huge bummer of a song, provides the break in Nate Dogg’s “Never Leave Me Alone,” last heard in the lunchtime old school hour on the radio every day in Los Angeles for the last 5 years. Ugh. Nate is on my radio these days on the hook of a song called “Party We Will Throw Now,” a song that is too awful for me to link to and which should be called “Make Money off Nate Dogg’s Name and Likeness We Will Do Now.” Biggest Bummer. 

Jeopardy! fact: Before she signed to Atlantic, Carole King had imagined that Tin Pan Alley was an actual, physical alley next to the Brill Building. What a dummy! This is why girls shouldn’t be in the music industry. 

Personal goal: Jerry Wexler, bosslike always, referred to himself as “a despot who delegated poorly” at Atlantic Records, which reminds me that I should go to the Despot/Killer Mike/El-P/eXquire show at the Echo on 6/28, a block away from my apartment. I need to hear a hundred F words and I need you to buy me a drink and NOT tell me I look skinnier in person like everyone always does.
“industrio-rap.” LOL, music sites trying to out-clever each other in describing Death Grips.

5. Death Grips, The Money Store (Epic, 2012). $14.99.

FIRST of All, Most Unbelievable in 2012: Epic Records still exists. Second of all, this really is some dude rap and not really appropriate for a proper lady such as myself.

“get get get get got got got got, blood rush to my head lit hot lock/poppin off the fuckin block knot, clockin wrist slit watch bent through bot/tail pipe draggin, volume blastin, bailin out my brain red light flash, dem stop i smash/abraxas*, hydroplane, massive, catch this flight flow, rainin madness/mastered mine and laced, the ave wit black cat fish tailin waves of stratus.”

I’m not going to pretend I can enjoy these lyrics half as much as someone with a penis, because the laws of the universe state that this is impossible. Thisssome DUDE RAP, no doubt about it. But in a world of this type of babyish male communication

,

I am in pure, old-fashioned, Sacramento industrio-love with Death Grips.
Hahaaaaaaaaa. (9 a’s).

In my more compassionate moments, I’ll see a post on Rap Radar about the latest MMG wind-up rapper and think Aw, this is awful music, but what do I care. Let ‘em have their fun. Get paid, darlings. I drove to Poo-Bah with the radio on, enjoying that “Burn” song in was the most guilty, dirty pleasure of my week. Then I get the fucking Death Grips album and I’m filled with heat and energy (which I guess is just another way of saying heat) and I think Yes, this is exactly how it should be. Only the people who I say can rap should be able to rap. Meek Mill still has the best cheekbones since Metta World Peace, but the fact remains the pleasure’s been stripped from future listenings of “Burn”; I bet “Cashin’ Out” will be next (sorry for this link, everyone with good taste). And now it is time for an “I’ve Seen Footage” interlude to cleanse my palate. 

(I’ll listen to your “Stay Schemin” freestyle if you can get me the “Audemars” instrumental, though. Deal? My fondness for Meek Mill’s vocal playfulness and light rasp is well documented. Unfortunately, I reached my saturation point for Audemar raps back in August ’11, so: instrumental, please.)

“Hustle Bones,” “I’ve Seen Footage,” and “Get Got” are the Best Song Titles in this record haul (next to “Sugar Lump” on that Leon Haywood record). This baby was destined to come home with me the second my eyes met it from across the room; the only misgiving I had about buying it was when I realized that Bieber probably has it on his iPod. But I fought it off, and now The Money Store is home with me, wedged in between some Nu Shooz and Jerry Butler on my living room floor.

Jeopardy! fact: *“Abraxas” doesn’t really mean anything other than “Santana album from 1970.” In Greek, abrasáx is “of obscure origin” but the combined numerical value of the Greek letters is 365, “an important figure in numerology” OOOOOILLUMINATI, YALL.  

Personal goal: Get Epic to re-release The Money Store with special bonus track “Phil Rizzuto.” 

6. Freddie Hubbard, Windjammer (Columbia, 1976). $1.99.
“Drums: Andy Newmark.” Bass: Gary King.” “Keys, producer, arranged by, conductor: Bob James.” Oh hello Windjammer, I said when I came across it in the bin, You must come home with me based entirely on these 3 credits. (Best Use of Andy Newmark; Best Use of Gary King; Best Use of Bob James). A Google image search of Gary King (I was just curious) has led me to the wonderful world of the TalkBass.com forum (Best Link). But JESUS, Most Disturbing Album Cover. Looks like something out of a Cronenberg movie.
Windjammer features the legendary Bernie Glow on trumpet. If his nickname was not Bernie Blow the music industry and the music-nickname industries have both failed me.

The title track, above, provides the Best Walking-Down-the-Street Snippet (00:22 – 01:01), which turns into the Best Transitional Moment in My Personal Narrative, Such as When I Turn a Corner and See An Ex-Lover and Must Decide Whether to Stay for Some Uncomfortable Conversation or Run Away (01:02 – 01:25, the panic of the horns illustrating this perfectly). Then, starting at 02:48, my ex and I are making out in a sexy, dirty alleyway. (Sorry, Mom! It’s just a makeout; we’re not getting back together). And finally, at 3:20, I come to my senses and continue down the street. Probably Jamba Juice, because I’ll feel a little sick and feverish after I acted that way, making out with my ex – so out of character for me! – and I’ll want something healthy.

“Neo Terra (New Land)” has a spacey, super Bob-James-sounding open that Masta Ace used, though I must deduct points for Low End-era Tribe not using it. It would’ve been perfect. I also must deduct points for Freddie, or more likely Freddie’s A&R, deciding that “Neo Terra” had to include “(New Land)” in its title, since otherwise how could a buyer of this record with some basic understanding of Latin root words possibly know what the words neo terra mean.

Jeopardy! fact: Fellow flugelhorn player Chuck Mangione shares a song title with Afro-Rican (“Give It All You Got”)! This is a Jeopardy! fact but mostly it’s an “excuse to post this song because it’s been a long week and I feel like we can use it, also it’s good for the ass” fact.

Personal goal: Tear myself away from the TalkBass.com forum. It’s the new prince.org in apartment 680.

7. The Bee Gees, Main Course (RSO, 1975). 99¢.

Real Gs move in silence, fierce little Dwayne told me in early ’11. Real Gees, however, make slinky bass and falsetto sounds when they move. Also their hair is feathered and that goes whooooosh when they start walking briskly. Released in August ’75, Main Course entered a world in which the number one jam was the Isleys’ “Fight the Power,” a song about Mookie breaking windows at Sal’s Pizzeria. People obviously needed some levity, and the Gibbs came along to give some.

Side A, track 1: “Nights on Broadway,” yes, perfect, love it, a yummy piece of chord-progression cake with synth frosting. Side A, track 2: “Jive Talkin’,” a headphone banger to such a degree that I get upset when it comes on at CVS in those tinny speakers that don’t do it justice.

These guys were capable musicians, not spectacular, and basically just got white-guy points for being white guys in the non-white-guy dominated world of the dance floor, but they had feathery hair they spent too much time on and they loved soul music, which is also a fitting description of myself. So I love em. The Gibbs came out so strong with those first 2 tracks; Main Course was produced by Arif Mardin which is why there’s that straight ear candy melodic goodness. But the brothers get fatigued out the gate, and the rest of the album is throwaway. Too many ballads. It starts bangingly and ends with a sad whimper, like the legacy of Pau Gasol as a professional athlete in Los Angeles. Still, those first two tracks! You need this album!

Further down in the post I share that I have big problems with Khalifa’s team design-jacking a David Ruffin album cover. But Akinyele jacked the Bee Gees’ cover and I have no negative comments. I’m complicated. And I actually prefer dancing to the version of a song done by feathery-haired Australians over the version done by Rufus, which is so weird for me to type, but it’s true. I’m complicated.

“NICE PANTS. HA, you guys look RIDICULOUS” – Kev Durant.
ASSORTED EPIC MOMENTS: Me, looking at the back cover and seeing “Conductor” as a credit (Gene Orloff); the first 10 seconds of “Jive Talkin,” which sounds like it could be the first 10 seconds of almost any Parliament song during the years 1974-9 (those amazing Gibbs! Sweet lord.); the weird echo effect on the “Edge of the Universe” vocals; the perfect BPM of “Nights on Broadway” (the piano break from which turned up in the speakers of every Maxima in ’98, courtesy of Dame Grease’s beat for DMX’s “The Convo.”Put that one on at your next BBQ if you’d like to see all the dudes over age 28 crying into their potato salad.)

Jeopardy! fact: The Gibbs were appointed to the Order of the British Empire. This puts them in the same category as George Martin and the flute player from Jethro Tull.

Personal goal: Book that concert I’ve been lining up in my head – the Bee Gees, the JB’s, O.C., L.T.D., and Thee Oh Sees. Live at PJ’s, of course.
8. David Ruffin, My Whole World Ended (Motown, 1969). $2.99.
My whole world ended when Khalifa’s people jacked the hell out of a Ruffin cover for Kush & OJ. It was upsetting and I regret having seen it. I also discovered a minute ago that “The Double Cross” from My Whole World Ended turns up as the break in, sigh, a J. Cole song. I regret having found this out. Cole’s producer is someone named Canei Finch, who does not appear to be as fresh as his name suggests (“Canei Finch”! So fresh!). His recent Twitter updates include the words “Sherman Oaks is popping,” which is absolutely a lie so I must leave Canei Finch behind. Moving on.

My Whole World Ended is like all other Ruffin albums in that it falls into the category of Records That Both Juicy J and I Would Tell You to Buy if You Ever See Them In Your Local Store’s Bin, along with anything by Womack or Willie Hutch. This alone is reason enough to buy it. Also, it’s Ruffin. You need this album. Support beautiful, doomed, coke-ravaged vocal masters by collecting their records, even though Berry Gordy is obviously Illuminati.

Jeopardy! facts: Humans see sexy ladies as sexy objects and sexy men as sexy people. Humans trust people with our money based on their faces rather than on their ability to handle money. We are a mess as a species, just hopeless. Science websites give me daily discoveries in the new and sad ways humans are tragic and primal, and these discoveries remind me that we’re too hard on the David Ruffins of the world.

Personal goal: Have someone look at me longingly while the title track plays.
Jack and his lady with the tight-as-all-hell outfit-coordination Tampa Bay Bucs colorway.
9. Brother Jack McDuff, Tobacco Road (Atlantic, 1967). $5.99. 
Best Hammond. Best Hammond. Tobacco Road was produced by Lew Futterman, a last name that ‘70s/’80s/’90s babies will probably (hopefully) always associate with “Futterman’s Rule” from Ill Communication. The album was purchased on the strength of Brother Jack’s esteemed status as a man whose songs were frequently tapped for ’90s breaks, but that cover design helped convince me, and the fact that “The Shadow of Your Smile” turns up in an Action Bronson song really just solidified the deal.
Statik Selektah looped that flute in “Shiraz,” which features the Logan-pleasing combination of words “I’m straight stoned – Sly, thank you.” I’m so easy. And here’s to my second Action Bronson mention in one post! King me! Oh, wait—what I meant was QUEENS me, due to my compulsive need to be clever. You need this album because it’ll remind you of that funny wordplay I just employed.
Brother Jack was from Illinois, so an album called Tobacco Road is silly. Then I found out the song was written by John Loudermilk, from North Carolina, and this soothed me because it made absolute sense. Loudermilk also wrote “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye,” a song of numerous versions that we will all now (hopefully) associate with this, below, the very best version, Johnny Nash’s version, which leads to my Turn-and-Look-Over-Your-Shoulder-Please-Don’t-Go/Heartbreaking-Vocal-Beauty-of-Johnny-Nash Interlude Yall, concurrent with my Strongest Plea with Kanye to NOT Use This as a Break, Ever, NO KANYE DON’T DO IT PLEASE You’ll Ruin It:

 

Jeopardy! fact: Bull Durham Tobacco had its logo painted behind the Yankees’ dugout, thereby sparking the phrase “bullpen.”

Personal goal: Get a hug from cuddly tough guy Bronson. He’s probably top ten in the world right now when it comes to huggers. 



She takes my flight/she holds my weight.


10. Jack White, Blunderbuss (Third Man, 2012). $19.99. (OUCH)
Jack reached his high point in my heart with that live video of the Raconteurs doing “Level,” oh my god, a walking-down-the-street banger from which my hips may never recover. Blunderbuss is helping to keep him in my heart, because of his freaky upper-register vocal tricks and because I like it when I have the same taste in music as someone whose record I’ve just purchased (the guitar riff that starts “Sixteen Saltines” proves that Jack and I both really love the intro of Def Leppard’s “Photograph”).

I’ve loved songs about homemade narcotics ever since daddy played George Jones’ “White Lightnin’” in the living room on Saturday mornings when I was little. This is why, as a grown-up, I’ll beat you, anytime, just name the place, if you’d like to engage in a Nickatina-lyrics-off with me. Or perhaps E-40′s more your speed? Let me know! Bro we can do this anytime. We can do this. My brain’s got a special area where the verses are embedded, deep within the gray folds, and it’s only gotten more developed with age. I am also guaranteed to love anything with a pedal-steel guitar in it because of all my dad’s other Saturday-morning turntable DJ classics. The lovely pedal-steel on Blunderbuss‘ title track, which I love of course, comes courtesy of Fats Kaplin. He played with Pure Prairie League, the ones behind baby-Logan-family-vacation-car-tape-deck-everybody-sing-along-banger “Amie,” even though Kaplin wasn’t in the band when they recorded “Amie.” Nonetheless: “AMIE” INTERLUDE YALL.


Best Bars in This Record Haul, and Jack’s Not Even an MC: “Spike heels make a hole in a lifeboat/Drifting away when I’m talking and laughing as we float/I hear her whistle, that’s how I know she’s home/Lipstick, eyelash, broke mirror, broken home/Force fed, force meds ’till I drop dead/You can’t defeat her, when you meet her you’ll get what I said/The Lord knows there’s a method to her madness/But the Lord’s joke is a boat in a sea of sadness.”
You need this album. Like most great things in the universe, RZA is partly responsible for it. “Freedom at 21″ was co-produced by LTJ Bukem, according to my imagination when I heard the opening drums. The title track is about fantasy love and contains the line An ancient grand hotel of Persian thread and ivory/And when your man would turn his head I’d see you look at me, which I swear is from an R. Kelly song. Plus the vinyl just feels really good to hold. It’s nice and hefty. I like a record that weighs 2 or 3 pounds, like a premature baby.

Jeopardy! fact: A blunderbuss is a musket-type gun. It’s also something you call a “clumsy, unsubtle” person. That’s why Cory Gunz can also be called Cory Blunderbuss without his name losing any meaning. 


Personal goal: Go to Detroit. Make it a real place in my heart and head. The problem, guys, is that Detroit’s too fraught with history, tragic romance, and musical pixie dust. It’s not real. It’s Henry Ford, Derrick May, Barry Sanders, Proof. The motor city’s burning. We almost lost Detroit. Kick out the fucking jams. Bass bass bassbassbass, metal-pipe sound from the GM assembly line, backspin, bass. I know from the hit film 8 Mile that Detroit gentlemen like to have sex in factories. I know from books that what was once Aretha’s dad’s church (New Bethel Baptist) is on the corner of Linwood and Philadelphia. But I don’t know where the westside begins or how to get to Ford Field. “I would never let my children roam the Dexter-Linwood area or 7 Mile and Chalmers,” says a concerned parent on a Detroit message board, “but how many responsible parents would?” Concerned parent, how should I know? I’ve never been to Detroit. I need to go to Detroit. I’ve already practiced what I’ll look like at People’s Records.

CATCH ME SHOPPIN AT PEOPLE’S, LOOKIN REAL NSFW IN SOME LEGGINGS.
11. Lalo Schifrin, Voyage of the Damned score (ATV/Entr’acte, 1977). $3.99.


There’s no gentle way to say that this is the score of a film about a boatful of doomed Jewish refugees in 1939. Voyage of the Damned is a super bummer of a record, but even bummer Lalo, unstimulating Lalo, is Lalo worth having. The music does what it’s supposed to – just kind of lulls around in your brain after you’ve listened. It’s not a good sex record; it’s a folding laundry with frequent moments of staring off into space record. I could try to sell it by convincing you that owning this Lalo record will provide you with a wonderful object to spark historical conversation with your children about major life themes (persecution, war, humanity). I’ll just leave it at It’s Lalo Schifrin; you need this album.

At least 100 Bibles have been to the moon, I read once in Harper’s index. It made sense. People like to feel secure when they go on trips in which they might die; Lalo’s soothing background music for the boat trip was composed with this credo in mind. And for some levity, let me point out that one of the film’s protagonists is named Professor Egon Kreisler, played by THE GOD Max Von Sydow, whose characters always sound like they need to be mentioned in Doom songs (“Lankester Merrin,” “Colonel Kosnov,” “Antonius Block”). I’d tell this to Doom in person if only he’d bring his tour to my country, the United States.

Jeopardy! fact: Lalo was nominated for an Oscar for this score. But he was up against Jerry Goldsmith for The Omen and Bernard Herrmann for Taxi Driver, so, unshockingly, Lalo went winless. Shockingly, however, Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky did NOT win Best Song in ’77 (Conti lost to Oscar juggernaut Barbra Streisand). This is a 35-year-old fact that I find so irritating it might as well have happened yesterday.


Personal goal: “Antonius Block” – DOOM feat. Kool Keith, Danny Brown, Mac Dre, Brian Eno, Scarface, The D.O.C., Reggie Watts, and Nas when he was 19, with some mid-90s UGK skull-rattle bass, someone on a Rhodes from ’74, and 3 or 4 Dilla sirens sprinkled throughout.

 

12. Wait Isn’t This the Dude Who’s Related to Alice Coltrane, The Golden Age of Apocalypse (Brainfeeder, 2011). $9.99.
Thundercat’s real name is Steve Bruner, a name so uncool it sounds like a cop’s name, and therefore comes with automatic ironic-cool cachet that almost makes up for the stupid photo above. YES, we see your Louis belt, Officer Steve Bruner of the LAPD’s Rampart division. You are dressed like a child and I’m mad you don’t use your real name. How could you NOT use the name Steve Bruner professionally? I do not approve of not using the name Steve Bruner. I also do not approve of cutesy-spellings for song titles (track 1: “HooooooO”), or strategically-placed Louis belts. Other than that, Nice Personnel on Your Record, Thundercat (Badu, the Sa-Ra guys, Daddy Kev). Nice Musical Genes; sadly, the musical-genes card is not as meaningful as it once was. For every Droop-E and Scoop Deville, there are the LMFAO professional musicians who have the blood of Berry Gordy running through them. And other than that, the best way to appreciate The Golden Age of Apocalypse is to indulge in some lo-fi sexytimes. Listen to some Julian Wass beats. Then listen to 4 Carl Craig tracks, The K + D Sessions, then Dots & Loops, Stanley Clarke’s first 3 records, then finish up with that Joy Orbison coke song, because I’m pretty sure those are the exact steps Thundercat took before sitting down to make this album. I’ll give it a few more listens, though, when I’m more focused. He’s a bass player so I will probably grow to love this record. But I’m too annoyed right now about the fact that there are 2 dudes nicknamed “Daddy” on this record’s credits (Daddy Kev mastered; Daddy Dave on drums), plus I’m still getting over the radness of the name Antonius Block. Gimme some time.



Jeopardy! fact: The Thundercats are apparently already a thing, all rights reserved, and cannot be copied or rebroadcast without the expressed written consent of blah blah. I believe the expression I always hear on Law & Order is “Lawyer up, Thundercat.”


Personal goal: Make fewer impulse buys at the record store. I should also probably listen to more Homeboy Sandman and Ty Segall, but whatever. I’m a busy lady.



Most “Are You My Boyfriend?” YouTube Comment: “1:05 looks like Paris the black fu from detroit grand pubahs” – darkmagik347, who should have my phone number.

Cutest YouTube Comment: “he’s got picachu pants on. DOPE.” This tells you everything you need to know about Thundercat and about the fans of Thundercat.

13. Leon Haywood, Keep it in the Family (20th Century, 1974). $1.99.
He’s got some sort of poly-blend pants on. DOPE! Most ’70s Outfit.

Most ’70s Cover Design (nature scene + lapels + singer/songwriter wistful gaze, which is usually seen on James Taylor album covers.) Most ’70s Name: “Leon Haywood.” Sounds like he should be playing bass in Sister Sledge or training Larry Holmes for his next match.

Sam Cooke hired Leon to play keys in his band, and this is yet another reason as to why Sam Cooke is not nearly as square as his reputation (and cherubic face) leads you to think. I heard Bieber and Curtis Jackson were at the Cotto-Mayweather fight a couple weeks ago. Aw, cute, but hey, I got some grown-man game for you, ESPN: Malcolm X sat courtside at the Ali-Liston fight in ’64, a seat away from Sam Cooke – a fact that further proves that Sam Cooke is not nearly as square as his rep and cherubic face leads you to think. The casual way in which I yield such a fact is proof that I’m like the Nardwuar of midcentury soul music if I were around in the midcentury and had a camera crew and were not afraid of looking foolish on camera. Listen, you need this record. Leon’s best known for “I Want’a Do Something Freaky to You,” which seems a little forward for a dude who doesn’t even know me, but what can I do, I got that allure. He will never do anything as incredible as that song ever again, and he doesn’t have to. Mannie’s never making anything half as good as 400 Degreez but his legacy is established. I’ll still be inconsolable when he dies. If he dies. Goonies Whoadies never say die.
Jeopardy! fact: X-Cooke-Ali-Liston.

Personal goal: “Blah blah Big Meech, Larry Hoover/’B.M.F. Beautiful’ is a song by Leon Haywood – hallelujah.” Include this line in my upcoming mixtape Teflon Fawn. (doe eyes)







“Internet, amphetamines and seclusion inspired my new album” 
- Danny Brown Grimes


14. Grimes, Visions (4AD, 2012). $12.99.
How could I not love a cutesy woodland creature who shows up in a filthy Gainesville strip club in 1989 to sing over some Magic Mike breaks and also Kraftwerk is her backing band? HOW COULD I NOT LOVE HER. Grimes is rad. Elle est ma, howdoyousay, petit French-Canadian synth-bass chipmunk. But the thing that’s troubling about Grimes is that the people who love her music today are the same people who tortured her in high school. I had to buy this, though. You should buy this. Support thick-eyebrowed girls who weren’t popular in high school.

Big Sean makes way more commercially successful Welcome-to-Gamma-Phi-Beta Whitegirl Party Jams, as every female customer at H&M demonstrates when he comes on the playlist loop and they all walk around mouthing his verses to their friends and I want to die. But Grimes makes the Best Whitegirl Jams in This Particular Record Haul. She elicits true, uncut, premium-grade white girlishness inside of my skinny frame and big heart, just like when “There is a Light and it Never Goes Out” comes on the car radio and I lose control of my tear ducts and I must sing along. The Smiths turn me into a character in a future-apocalypse sci-fi movie in which I’ve been given a directive. I must sing along in order to save my own life and the lives of my family members. I feel it pretty deeply, you guys. Anyway, I’m a sarcastic, insecure white woman in a major metro area so of course as I write this I’m wearing my standard-issue Toms, eating a mayo sandwich, watching Girls, listening to Grimes. Bet you didn’t know she did the hooks on “Oh Boy”and “Through the Wire,” neither.

Jeopardy! fact: It rained lizards in Montreal once. “Lizards in Montreal,” by the way, is the Grimes remix of “N—-s in Paris.”

Personal goal: Get someone in the universe to create a grime Grimes mixtape – maybe Semtex could host it? – with Rae doing verses and Grimes doing the hooks, called Son I Had Crazy Visions. I’d also like to put on a sundress and walk through a grassy meadow while “Be a Body” plays at a hundred decibels.

15. The Dramatics, A Dramatic Experience (Volt, 1973). $2.99.

Most Sendakesque Cover. 

My dad had an OG copy of this, and misplaced it during the family move from First House to Second House when I was in high school. I got mad at him and went off to pout. I made mischief of one kind, then another kind, and then I sailed back over a year, in and out of weeks, and through a day, and into Poo-Bah Records in Pasadena, and found A Dramatic Experience, then brought A Dramatic Experience home, into the night of my very own room, where I put it on the turntable, AND IT WAS STLL HOT. You need this album.

A Dramatic Experience was recorded in Detroit during the fall of ’72. Amazing human Robert Harris was mayor of Ann Arbor at the time and worked with the city council to reduce weed-possession fines. “I’ll Be Around” was a big hit. The Tigers won their division. You were probably feeling yourself pretty hard if you were from the Detroit major metro area in the early ’70s. If it were me, I would’ve made up a story about how I grew up 2 streets over from Tony Hester, production god, arrangement god, writing god, who roared his terrible production roar and showed his terrible arrangement claws, warning us on A Dramatic Experience that “The Devil is Dope,” a song about the joys of hare-on that tries to pass itself off as an anti-drug song. (It’s impossible to make an anti-heroin song; email me your counter-arguments if you like, but I will just write “NOPE” in my reply to you.) This album’s necessary because it’s the Dramatics, simple as that, but they used up the really good stuff a year earlier on Whatcha See is Whatcha Get. If there is a better way to announce yourself to the world than by screaming and firmly suggesting everyone get the fuck up, I don’t want to know about it because I will have a hundred orgasms and then drop dead and I ain’t done living yet. They incorporate my favorite ’70s R&B thing of calling a woman mama (“Get up, now look at mama/Look at mama”). Then they fucking start side B with “In the Rain,” murdering it, just chewing up and spitting out my heart and guts. Tony Hester was Pac Man, treating my heart and guts like pac-dots. Game, as Lil Flip would say, over.

Lloyd Banks’ “Just Another Day” samples “Beware of the Man with the Candy in His Hand,” yet another attempt by ’70s musicians to convince me not to try pills and powder; meanwhile, most of the ’70s albums in my collection were made by dudes on pills and powder. Sigh. Stop trying to make drugs not cool, musicians. You sound like my middle school principal. Tone Capone does a nice job with the sample; here’s the instrumental version, free of Banks’ voice, because that’s how it should be. Capone also produced “I Got 5 On It” (!!) but had to resort to working with Banks a few years later because the mortgage payment was due. No judgment here. Get it, daddy. Even Donald “Duck” Dunn, bass god, may he rest in eternal sexy throbbing-bass peace, played on a freaking Rod Stewart album.

Most Diverse Side Hustles: Ellis Chapell. An in-house artist for Stax and Volt, he did the cover painting for A Dramatic Experience, designed book covers for John Grisham, Kurt Vonnegut, and Elmore Leonard, was the commissioned portraitist of the Neville Brothers for NARAS, and, most impressively, did the University of Tennessee Dental College portrait of Dr. Jim Slagle!

Most Stubborn:me. I’m in the minority in LA with this one, but seeing the Dramatics backing up Snoop in “Doggy Dogg World” is an experience I have always found to be legacy-killing and sad. Same for Roger Troutman in facepaint and spikes in the “California Love” video. Nobody knows how to shame some R&B gods like those shysters at Death Row. I’m digging in my heels and informing you all that The Dramatics shall always remain in the ’70s, where they belong, when it comes to my memory.




Jeopardy! fact: Oh, I don’t know – some random fact about Al Bell or Isaac Hayes. I got a million of ‘em. 


Personal goal: Make a BDP x Dramatics mixtape. Call it A Lot of MCs Like to Use the Word Dramatics-al.

16. Roberta Flack, First Take (Atlantic, 1969). $3.99.

Joel Dorn, producer, is reason enough for me to insist that you need this album. And look – there’s Ron “Pretty Flaco” Carter on bass! But mostly you need First Take for the smoke-and-look-out-the-window-at-nothing heartbreak standard “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which sounds like something A$AP “Pretty Flaco” Rocky says he hears from girls all the time. (I don’t find him to be that pretty, but he keeps insisting that I do). The song is Roberta’s take on the ODB classic with words that I am too ladylike to repeat here and which is this record haul’s Best 13-Year-Old-Boy Memory-Provoker. Remember when you heard Return to the 36 Chambers for the first time at your friend’s house? You were 13 and in love with dirty words and sex talk. You still are, even though you’re grown; you just hide it better these days.


Jeopardy! fact: Joel Dorn once said, “A bell goes off in your stomach when you see or hear something that grabs you.” He was describing his ear for good production and, years later, my body’s response to 808.

Personal goal: Get Roberta to write her autobiography. (Roberta Flack has no autobiography! That’s wrong!) I’m guessing she’s got a few stories to tell.

 

Dimension III is fine but it’s no Dimension V

17. The Jimmy Castor Bunch, Dimension III (RCA, 1973). $9.99.

PROMOTIONAL ALBUM–NOT FOR SALE, which is good, because you, sadly, do not need this record. I won’t ask you to watch me now or feel the groove when I put this on. You don’t need it. Get that YMO record for $9.99 instead.

It’s got a lack of Lenny Fridie on congas and that’s not Jimmy’s fault. He is to blame, however, for the stupid decision to cover “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” What in the world. The original song is unable to be improved upon, because the original has that Hammond. Jimmy’s sax can’t save the day elsewhere on Dimension III, either. In 1973, nobody could out-horn-section Willie Hutch.

Jeopardy! fact: You’d describe the third dimension as “Thickness in an object or space,” which I wish Alex Trebek would say because it would sound like he’s talking about ass.

Personal goal: Instigate some kind of silly beef in the comments section. That would be funny and make me feel powerful.

Comments Section Suggested Beef Topic: Jimmy’s “L.T.D. (Love, Tenderness, Devotion)” are better initials than L.T.D.’s L.T.D. (Love, Togetherness, Devotion). Go.
$120 for 17 records. Quit fussin, I say to my checking account, There’s so much to love in this new group, a bright and lovely bunch, and I wouldn’t return any of them – not even Castor. My game needs tightening, though. Spending like this jeopardizes my apartment, plus it’s just sad that I can’t control myself. My Beat Swap Meet #18 haul just kicked some dirt in my face, then laughed and ran off to tweet about it.




Poo-Bah Records
2636 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91107

Pros: XXX on display just for me, I swear; huge selection of used stuff  – especially jazz and soul; store DJ plays upstairs from a perch (the Honey Cone! Lee Hazlewood! Pharoah Sanders!); good, cheap prices like the record store gods intended. It’s also just down the street from Coffey Optical, which makes me feel like Dennis secretly lives in Pasadena and loves fitting people for frames.

Cons: My checking account is sad.

“They don’t know what that Star ’bout”

This post was almost called “She in the Doubletree Suites with her hands on her hips” but I stayed at an Omni! Oh dear. Still hit the Waffle House and finished with some Alizé, though.

Movin roughly, straight to the desert, San Antonio. That’s what happened in June, when I took my uppity liberal feminist California self down to Texas. It was a work trip, but I capitalized on having my hotel room and plane ticket paid for by using every minute fucking cars  hoping freaks will get inside of my Lacville ’79  trying to breathe in promethazine fumes  Rap(ping)-A-Lot  disproving stereotypes put in my head by a thousand Texas rap songs   going record shoppin! I also insisted on pronouncing it “San Antone” during my entire stay just like Ike did in What’s Love Got to Do with It, because I’m adorable/insufferable.

Don’t ever go to Texas, it’s an awful place (outside my comfy comfy hotel room bed, above) – unless Devin is your tourguide and he takes you to meet Bun B’s second-grade teacher who remembers him as a bright, quiet boy, or Dev arranges a tour of Cowboys Stadium that ends with you punching Jerry Jones square in the mouth. San Antonio Antone is deep in the heart of Texas (which would make a great line in a song), and prior to going there I knew little about it apart from the fact that the Spurs have a player named Tiago Splitter and the guy in ZZ Top without the beard has the last name “Beard.” Now, however, I am aware of a lovely store called Hogwild at which I purchased some records (below).

I have also verified that the Alamo really doesn’t have a basement. : (

The Persuaders, self-titled (ATCO, 1973). 

Best Cover in this particular record haul, which is to say: Best Use of Hands Outside of Muhammad Ali, James Yancey, and Curren$y Doing the Alpha Sign. Would you look at that cover, please.

Just look. Go on. I’ll wait here.

I like manhood that isn’t afraid to match outfits, or touch hands to shoulders out of respect/admiration.

“Trying Girls Out.” Most Obvious Way for Kanye to Weasel His Way Into This Post Somewhere, annnnd Most Seductive Use of Harmony (making me forget this song is about lady-hopping.)


George Duke, Don’t Let Go (Epic, 1978).

Best Ant Banks Connection (the break in Spice 1′s “Clip and the Trigga,” a song that opens with I’m 22 with a motherfuckin beer belly so I’m guessing the boyfriend prospects for me in Hayward are pretty slim. I’m still prowling the Bay; nothing can stop me. Richmond, lock up your sons and husbands.)


Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson, 1980 (Arista…uh, 1980).

Best Appearance by Malcolm Cecil, a man with a fresh name who co-produced this record and all of Stevie’s best. Mr. Cecil also provides the Loveliest Musical Commonality throughout This Blogger’s Humble Existence, as he handled synth duties on that Little Feat record (childhood road trips with my dad) and that Randy Newman record (Sunday morning newspaper reading at the kitchen table; later, the NPR outro music after every Katrina story), and co-produced that Isley Brothers record (teenage headphone makeout longing sessions in my bedroom; maybe a makout sesh or two in later years).

Ain’t no such thing as a superman, Gil said once, speaking the truth. Ain’t no such thing as a space-cadet cowboy duo in the future, doing some programming of keys in the belly of Herbie Hancock’s church/laboratory, I said once. Then I saw this album cover, which made me say Finally!, a photographic rendering of What 1996 Logan Imagined Future Del and Future Madlib (Rap Ziggy Stardusts) Looking Like in the year 2387, Hanging Out Together, Bringing Messages from the Other Side.

Billy Preston, Everybody Likes Some Kind of Music (A&M, 1973).

Most Obvious (and kind of insulting to our intelligence, really) Album Title. Sorry, Billy.

Best Personnel Credit: “Banjo – Dennis Coates.” THERE’S A BANJO CREDIT. FUCKING DOPE. Billy, born in Houston, is also the Texan with the Best Hair in this particular record haul. I’m trying to remain calm in spite of the big biiiig Texas news I just heard about (UPCOMING SCREW EXHIBIT AT THE U of HOUSTON).

Best Use of 9th Wonder! Billy’s cover of “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding” was flipped n bounced by 9th on “Let It Be Known,” a song by World’s Third-Best Grouchy MC (Next to El-P and Pimp C), Sean “punch n—s through school buses” Price (with Phonte). This is a Dylan song with the line “He not busy being born is busy dying,” which my 16-year-old self found to be terribly heavy and meaningful; I mean, it really put 10th grade into perspective for me. These days I hear it and think Gosh that sounds like something Drake would say in his awful Canadian monotone.


Quincy Jones, Mode (ABC, 1974).

This one’s unremarkable, a compilation of some ’60s jazz pieces that neither the Pharcyde nor Doc Oct flipped/bounced, ho-hum, but it’s Quincy nonetheless and that makes it the Best Excuse for Me to Post Some Quincy. “Kitty with the Bent Frame” is obviously a song about the sexual arching of a female’s back, yes? We’re all grown-ups here; let’s just get right down to it. And knowing Quincy, I’m guessing Kitty is a lady with pale skin and blondish hair, yes? Just a guess. Knowing Quincy. “Kitty” is a track from Q’s soundtrack to Dollar$, a heist film that is just begging – BEGGING – for a Curren$y tie-in. Monsta, get on that, please.  

Weather Report, Black Market (Columbia, 1976).  

Best…Use of Zawinul? I don’t know; don’t tell my dad or Madlib, the two men I’m always trying to impress the most with my musical knowledge, but I’m really not that into these guys. It feels right to have some in my collection, though – like the broccoli in my fridge’s crisper that I’ll never eat.


Redd Foxx, Sly Sex (Dooto, 1960).

“Sly sex” is that thing that happens on a hot day or a hot night when you appeal to my basest animal needs by putting Fresh on the hi-fi. (Then you watch what happens next, which is always me doing my impression of a King of Diamonds professional. HI MOM).

Best Useless and Comical Assist Attempt by the Internet: the Discogs search box inquiring Did you mean Freddie Foxxx? when I typed in Redd’s name, thereby making my whole day better.

No, I did not mean Freddie, Discogs – but I can understand why you’d make that assumption. 
(Discogs understands me in a way few ever will)

The Crusaders, Street Life (MCA, 1979).  

The Crusaders get Most Convincing and Un-ironic Display of Enthusiasm Before a Night on the Town with that album photo. Aw, so excited! They look so happy because there’s nothing else to do in Texas but get dressed up to go ride mechanical bulls and play beer pong. 


They also get the win for Best Band Name (but sometimes I wonder if this was a mistake, the wrong choice; is The Persuaders actually the better name?). Anyway, street life: it’s no jet life fool, but it seemed to work for a lot of dudes in 1979. That title song is a true great, a joyous driving-and-singing classic, even though street life isn’t so much the only life I know. Prod sang it awkwardly in a hook once, sort of convincingly I guess – but it’s nothing compared to his secret song off his secret 2011 album (“Reading Logan the Phone Book Out Loud Life”). And that Randy Crawford, boy I tell you -  she had this soft-hard thing happening with her voice, making me jealous as hell but no so jealous that I can’t write a little post of admiration in her honor on my humble blog.


1824 N Main Ave
San Antonio, TX 78212
(210) 733-5354
Neighborhoods: Nowheresville; Republican Hell; Tobin Hill; San Antonio College adj.

Pros: Good records; cheap records; no competition from the locals; staff was nice to me; cab driver waited for me outside while I shopped and didn’t leave the meter running. Aw.
Cons: TEXAS.

The phrases “I love your sundress,” “sugar bunny,” and “church girl on Sundays; freaky on Mondays and Fridays” are enough to get me through the dreary workday. Also “word life,” which needs to make a triumphant return.  

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Random Tribute: Riding (but mostly just a tribute to Duane Allman photos)







The only people you should trust to teach you about the general history of the world are Chomsky and Zinn. (Everybody else is either on the payroll at Fox or is trying to get website hits by making up dumb outrageous facts.) And the only person you should trust to inform you of important events in the Allman Brothers story is the girl whose middle name is Melissa.

On March 12 and 13 in 1971, the Alllman Brothers Band’s At Fillmore East shows were recorded–40 long years, but put it on the platter and I swear it throbs like it was made yesterday. (For the record, “Live at the Fillmoe, East” is a Rappin 4-Tay/San Quinn collab song that has yet to be made, but it exists in my heart and in my fantasies.) Anyway, before Duane Allman’s crying guitar played over the montage of everybody from the Lufthansa heist getting theirs, the wreckage of past sins finally coming to light, his crying guitar played in the living room on the platter while I lay on my stomach and colored. I’m a grownup now but I have a thousand pictures of him on my laptop because I still love him. Sometimes I swear I see him at Trader Joe’s (nope; it’s just all the boys in the neighborhood go 7 months between haircuts and wear nothing bigger than an M in t-shirts). He was quiet in real life, they say, and he was usually high, plus he died when he was 24; these are qualities that usually make me fond of a musical individual. And before I wanted to ride with the kid, and before all I wanted to pretend my name was Sally so I could ride around with abandon (ride, Sally. Ride.), before I was down to ride and definitely before I was prepared to ride or die, before I fully committed to the hoo ride lifestyle, before I begged the sweet chariot to swing down, stop, and let me ride, before I loved breathless ladies’ man Toney Knight Rider, way before I wanted to ride the plain bow in flare gully yellow rain coat, before I Ruff Rode and really believed in the Stop, drop, shutemdown-openupshop mantra (which is what I will forever think of any time I hear “Free Earl”), before I obeyed when a Gulf Way Blvd g told me to pop the trunk, get it crunk, it’s time to ride, show them boys I got that front back and side to side, baby, basically before I ever wanted to take that ride, and way before I asked myself how should I ride?, I knew running away and riding was the way to go ’cause Duane and the last 12 frets on his guitar were like honey, let’s ride.

“Midnight Rider.”

mp3.
It’s OK if you think of that Devil’s Rejects opening when you hear it. I don’t mind. The shit was pretty incredible. (Good job, Rob.)

King Curtis – “Games People Play.” Duane’s guitar on this isn’t really a standout performance, but still. So lovely (01:20). And the original is kind of like “Ether” but directed at half of humanity, and with harmony and a la-la-la chorus.

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The kids around the way used to think that Erykah and I were buggin; this is because they don’t understand how we feel about the funk.

Erykah, killing it since the Clinton administration.
http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2010/11/erykah_badu_slideshow.html#

erykah washes away the dust of everyday life with her irony-free sweetness.

No Ohio Players or Meters or Curtis, and no “I Get Lifted,” but to each her own. If she had included “I get lifted” it would’ve been better.

-Jay Elec, Jay Z commenter:
Cant listen to this,where the fuck is the drums?? Weak ass beat

The kids around the way used to think that I was buggin
But they don’t understand how I feel about the funk
I walk with the funk, I talk with the funk
I eat with the funk, I sleep with the funk
I live for the funk, I’ll die for the funk
So now what do they say, when I’m walkin up the block?

and not just because she lives my fantasy of having intercourse with cosmic rappers.

Chaka Khan, “Sweet Thing”
“Oh Chaka Khan, she is our queen. Anyone who sings soul and funk goes through the school of Chaka Khan. She has so many gorgeous songs but ‘Sweet Thang’ is the one — she sung that song from the vagina, from the bottom of her stomach, you can hear it all in her throat, she felt it. The places that she went with her voice, man, it was so scintillating in every way; it made me happy, it made me loving, it made me weak, it made me sad.”

Prince

The Isley Brothers, “Groove With You”
“When I first learned that I could be in love, that that was an actual thing that I could feel, I remember the Isley Brothers.”

Stevie Wonder, “As”
“It’s a beautiful song. Before I knew what the words said I was in love with the melody. His voice rocks you to sleep, it’s constant in me — his voice is a part of my DNA. It was hard to choose just one, but I’d have to pick this one; because not only is it a good groove song, but it gets you in the zone. It’s a beautiful love song.”

Soul II Soul, “Keep on Movin’”
“I remember when I knew that I could do things on my own, I was going away to college, and this group called Soul II Soul came out. Caron Wheeler is the front woman, Jazzie B is the front man, and the song was “Keep On Movin’,” don’t stop. And I felt like, damn, you’re right, I can do things on my own. I can do things on my own and isn’t that just beautiful.”

Bloodstone, “Natural High.”

Rickie Lee Jones, “Chuck E’s in Love”
“Rickie Lee Jones was the first white chick I saw with a cigarette in her mouth on her album cover and back then that meant a lot. Back then we didn’t have Internet or TV, so everything you knew about the person you knew from the album cover, that’s all you had, you turned that thing upside down and around studying your favorite singer — their face, their clothes, the art, the shape of the words, the look of their fingers. And there she was with her cigarette, she reminded me of a hippie chick and she had this raspy voice and it was just so funky, like she didn’t give a shit, she didn’t give a damn. And that’s part of who I am — Rickie Lee Jones is a big part of who I am — and I imagine her being someone who showed up as she was, I’m just here. And I wanted to be that. And when you really admire a singer or a song you either want to be them or have sex with them, and with Ricky Lee Jones I just wanted to be her, to feel what she said and sound like she did and have the whole experience just like that coming out of my mouth.”

Parliament, “Aqua Boogie”
“P Funk Funkadelic made me love purple and black, it looks cosmic and sloppy; throw a little neon green splash of something oozing and that’s what funk is to me. ‘Aqua Boogie’ is everything I love about a funk song is, I’m talking about changing voices, thirteen people, 76 instruments and 900 people on stage … damn, this song was just a cosmic funk party.”

The Doobie Brothers, “Minute by Minute”
“It was the eighties and I understood music to a certain extent because I had begun to understand what a groove was. The Doobie Brothers, they stay true to the groove, and that’s what I appreciate about this. [Michael McDonald]’s riding this beat and this music so very well, he makes you want to be there, be a part of the moment, of the song.”

The Brothers Johnson, “Strawberry Letter 23″
“On the album cover is these two dudes with Afros and goatees and mustaches and just chilling with the guitars, really making love to them, their shirts open to the navels, and just, damn, these are so grown men! And they sang together and it was just so groovy. And I wanted to get high. I didn’t even know what high was, but it was groovy. I like the groovy shit a lot, I’m a child of the funk. I live by the funk, I die by the funk. When people ask in school what I wanted to be when I grow up – teacher, doctor, whatever — I said I was gonna be funky. If God could make me funky, I’ll handle the rest.”

Erykah Badu, Baduizm
“And then I remember when I knew that I had a true platform, in 1997, Baduizm came out, and it was my music, it was real, it was true. On the radio, I remember how it felt, whenever I heard those songs, the millions and billions of atoms mixed up inside of you, oh, Lord, it was beautiful.”

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No Fucking Way (Zen Master edition) | Anita P. | Bad rap music | Guilty & me, on that midnight train


Phil Jackson is a bad person and a pretty substantial asshole? Nofuckingway.

Why you people never saw this before is beyond me.
(not to sound like a jerk. Sorry.)

Rappers have ghostwriters, my blonde highlights aren’t from the sun, and rich men like to hold onto their money. Phil Jackson’s salary is rumored to be around $12 million. Wake up from dreamworld at some point, babycakes.

Phil is, I’m guessing with so much certainty that it’s not even a guess anymore, a GOP supporter. There are some nefarious goings-on at play in the boardrooms of successful business organizations, including such businesses as national sports franchises, and shiny championship rings are so blinding that they prevent us from seeing it.

It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness, Tolstoy said. It’s also amazing that a tall, deep-voiced white man with a calming presence can throw around snippets of the teachings of Siddhartha and completely delude everyone into thinking he’s some kind of hippie. Phil’s got Buddhist mystique but he’s clearly hollow inside, driving his Boxster to Iyengar class, popping Viagra, going to sushi with Russ Simmons probably a couple times a year. Dude is just a jerk. A cold, hard, hollow man who is rich and who favors awful and unconstitutional immigration laws.

That said, LAKERS IN 2.

Steely Dan – “Bodhisattva.”

mp3.

El-P, on the other hand, is the good kind of asshole! The very best kind, in fact. “Whores: the Movie,” via the Village Voice.

mp3.


There’s all this talk of Exile on Main Street, everywhere, just all over, because it’s being reissued. The only redeeming thing about this is that it makes everyone fall in love again with Billy Preston’s piano wizard hands, and it provides me an opportunity to revisit my love of Anita Pallenberg and briefly summarize my feelings about the soft-skinned muses who put male frontmen in heat.

There is simply not enough love for music’s inspirational ladies, who often get the disrespectful “groupie” label by unknowing dolts who don’t understand the magic of lady power when it comes to good recorded sound. What’s that? What could I mean by this? OH NOTHING, just Prince’s ENTIRE CAREER. Tina so inspired Ike that he made her the focus, the one to belt out stuff that he had written. Quincy Jones was so inspired by Peggy Lipton’s undergarments that the song “PYT” just burst out of him. Then there was Ice-T and Darlene, of course. And Tawny Kitaen, obviously. And now Jay Elec is just murdering the game, slicing and dicing everything in his path, and it’s probably because of the sweet love he makes to Erykah.
(Amber Rose, we shall see what kind of production your influence has wrought when your “boyfriend”(?)’s next album hits the streets/Internet. I have my doubts but I’ll reserve judgment until I hear the finished product).

In sum: people of Earth, the root of the word music is muse. Give your girlfriend a smooch. Bloody hell, beauty is goodness! Fuck off, Tolstoy.

“Tumbling Dice.” If your parents did it right they raised you on Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf instead of this drivel. That said, it’s hard to get mad at enthusiastic white kids wanting to be cool by copying the greats. I love this song in spite of myself; right around the 2:30 point I just give in to it. All of us women are low-down gamblers, and we’re lovable as hell. CLACKETY CLACK.

mp3.

“Hip-hop is the most important art form in my life, because it is the art of democracy.”

Ta-Nehesi at The Atlantic, back at it again with so much truth it kind of knocks you over: “Forever Young,” it must be said, is awful – especially in comparison with really great flipped/bounced loops in rap songs over the years.

People who agree with me about bad songs are the coolest and will obviously get linked to on this blog. Nice one, Mr. Coates.

It is clear to me that Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” is about me (small town girl, lonely world) and Guilty Simpson (city boy, south Detroit). I still haven’t gotten How to Wreck a Nice Beach but this whole “Journey/bearded Michigan MC” motif that came to me today provided a nice soul-soothing distraction during my workday.

“Drums.” Obviously I need the instrumental of this within the next 48 hours or I’ll throw a tantrum; however, I do love his vocal on here. He sounds sleepy but still like he could do a whole shift at the factory. Then the chorus comes in with various ways of praising the almighty DRUM! If you say you don’t want a part of this you’re lying. (Thank you kindly, Stones Throw)

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Oh Word: “Bill Withers makes the case for sincerity in subtlety” edition

I’m sick and tired of somebody saying ‘I love you’ with both arms up in the air.

“As Is: Bill Withers makes no apologies,” The New Yorker (Sasha Frere-Jones. Of course. Swoon.):


“Withers’s gift lies in the immediacy of his scenarios and in how few words he needed to turn around a thought: his common explanation for how he reached conclusions as a writer is ‘I was feeling what I said.’ His willingness to express his most awkward emotions was matched by an intolerance for unsubstantiated shows of emotion.”

The build-to-crescendo progression here makes me feel happy, joyous, and free. Thanks, Bill!

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One glance was all it took.

Ed Sullivan, 1969.

I think we’re going to have to forget about the radio
and just go back to word of mouth.

- Joe Strummer, as disappointed as I am that it’s not 1970.

“I Want You Back.” 40 years ago this week, we woulda heard this courtesy of radio waves bounding down from towers on top of mountains and into our car stereos at the speed of light, 186,282 miles per second. I’m actually a 17-year-old girl from 1970 suburban Detroit, visiting you all in the future, and let me tell you now, I feel sorry for you and your current radio sounds. Except for that one time I turned it to FM and I heard Call me sub-woofer, cause I pump ‘base’ like that, Jack. That was pretty all right.

mp3.

What more is there to say that can possibly describe it. I mean. C’mon. Let me just say, though, that in apt. 302 it goes like this: Bassline bassline, piano, candy butterflies, glissando, my yellow cotton sundress, the pain of longing, the pleasure of longing, children singing ‘cause they got it in their heart and they wanna share it with the world and not, NOT ‘cause their father’s a tyrant, ahletmetellyounowww.

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Willie Mitchell, record collection superhero (even without the Wu link)


“The synergy between Al Green’s magnificent vocals and Willie’s crisp & sophisticated production and arrangements became the soundtrack to the endless summer of the early seventies.” Willie Mitchell was born in Mississippi in 1928. He died today. Even so: that endless early ’70s summer soundtrack goes on and on in apt. 302! Love you, Willie.

Memphis’ Hi Records held Al Green, Syl Johnson, Ann Peebles, and O.V. Wright in its warm, enveloping bosom while Willie did the production. He had Al Green use the same dirty old RCA microphone during the recording of all his ’70s songs; the 2 of them became so attached to it that they named the damn thing: “Number Nine.” I find this so charming, words fail me. Love you, Willie.

I done told you 59 times: everything was better in the ’70s. Just everything. Um, you ever heard an Al Green record? NOTHING FURTHER, YOUR HONOR.

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