Average White Band!

“It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions” – Robert Bly.

Name: Average White Band, Put It Where You Want It (RCA, 1975). AWB’s debut album, it was originally was called Show Your Hand in a jacket bearing different artwork. I approve of the re-release because the newer album cover is something I can easily copy and try to get all cute with. Alas, skinny white girl torso on album cover will never be as terrific as foxy Nubian queen on album cover, as best exemplified by the catalogue of the mighty Ohio Players.

Is this title acceptable? Yes. That title, it speaks to me, because motherfucking putting it where I want it is what I do every day (Keith taught me how). I live according to album titles. There’s always one that sums it up. Yesterday I was cranky so it was Ain’t That a Bitch that spoke to me.

And the band name, yeah. It speaks to me. They have members named Alan Gorrie and Malcolm Duncan, and a Hamish, so, yes, of course they were Scottish. An Alastair or a Ewan would’ve been a bit much. When I was doing a little Internet research on these men I got fooled into thinking you can look up something called “Scottish funk,” but that was a Wikipedia smokescreen. What you can do is click on the word Scottish and the word funk, but you cannot click on the phrase Scottish funk because this genre of music does not exist. Like the members of this group, I am descended from people who excel in the sheepherding and bagpipe arts rather than the art of funk, and yet look at me and AWB! Overcoming our very DNA.

Produced by: AWB and Robin Turner (who only produced AWB).

Entered my life: June 2009. I know the date because I wrote about it in my record journal, a real thing that exists in apt. 15 under my mattress next to my copy of Foxy Indie Rappers who Find Thin, Sarcastic Girls Unbearably Hot. There’s a big 4 on the cover sticker but I don’t remember it being that cheap, especially since I got it at Rockaway and that place tends to overcharge in my very humble opinion. I think of Joey Crack every time I walk in the door, though. Do the Rock-a-way. That’s the only time I think of Joey Crack, thankfully, because he’s awful and I hate him. Boys in my life always try to convince me to give him a chance, like they do with Joe Budden (who has been strangely quiet lately, what gives), but this is an ineffective technique and nobody can move me when it comes to my opinions about individuals who are handed microphones and record contracts and then fail to create wonderful results with such opportunities. I’m mad at bad rappers like I was Kool Keith in ’99.

Difficulty of finding, vinyl-wise (1-10 scale): 6.8. All the record-digging boys in my part of the world love the ’90s production work of DJ Pooh and they love early-’90s Ice Cube* so there’s a lot of competition out there for breaks used during that era. It’s hard, you guys, leading this life for which I was chosen. I found the dang record, though, and didn’t have to resort to any gaffling to get it neither. Do you remember Kundera, how he wrote about the fleeting nature of our experiences given that we each have but one life, and that which occurs in life probably does so only once and never again. This perfectly describes my trips to the record store and my resulting internal debates about whether to purchase that record or to defer until later, risk it and just hope I see it again in the bins. Such is the unbearable lightness of digging.

Breaks contained:

a) Prince Paul – “Steady Slobbin‘,” BDP’s “House N—as,” annnnnd *“Steady Mobbin”! Not the “Have you ever seen such a sight in your liiiiiiiiiiife” on the hook – that’s from Parliament. AWB gave the song its bones, its whole frame upon which The Boogiemen hung a bunch of Doughboy one-liners. And if you didn’t know Ice Cube got drama hoes! is the line that’s fun to shout out, but that part where he describes how girls will always defer to the best sound system when it comes to a suitor is truly the highlight (Ice Cube had more amps; get in, bitch). The Boogiemen included DJ Pooh and Bobcat, 2 men with silly names who produced LL’s Bigger and Deffer as part of the LA Posse. I’m here to remind the kids of this as the annoying person always bringing up past glories of Los Angeles luminaries. Anyway, I love Cube’s old sing-song-y flow, him having fun, riding the beat. I also love that he and I have shared the same opinion of law enforcement officers for many years now. This blog is meant to be playtime, entertainmentville, dorkout fun, but once in a while real life has to be mentioned –

LAPD’s main concern on Tuesday seemed to be driving by and “checking” on a too-skinny pale-skinned social worker to make sure she was “ok” talking to her client, a tall black man who clearly wanted to rob or rape her on the sidewalk in front of his apartment at 1 PM. “Just making sure everything was all right here.” These are the perils of dressing like a librarian at work and having highlights in your hair, I guess. Uniformed annoying types think they need to roll up and show out.

“It’s fine just please fucking go away John Wayne. YOU DISGUST ME.” Then I threw “I got people who buy Tecs and weed from you” over my shoulder as I walked away.

(Didn’t really say any of that. Wanted to. Story of my life.)

(Do a search for “Steady Mobbin” and that Weezy/Gucci song is the first 20 results. That’s an OK song, despite Kane’s usual tinny video-game-sounding production work, because of the rappers who make up for the beat (“Toni Braxton sniper rifle make you never breathe again” – Gucci; “I am the hip-hop Socialist” – Wayne) but I’m still disappointed. Why are my expectations are so high? I should know better, because remember what hating ass Google had to say when I did an innocent search for “curren$y audio dope lyrics”?

“Yea. Yea yea yea/Yea yea yea/Uhh/Yea yea yea/Yea yea yea
Yea yea yea
Yea yea yea

b) Boogie Down Productions – “Ya Know the Rules” (AWB was obviously being listened to during the production of Edutainment); The LOX – “The Heist (pt. 1).”

Reason for this post on today of all days: Who knows. Perhaps I saw Friday on TBS. Or I thought about funk-proficient persons of Scottish descent such as my mother.

Sartorial accompaniment: Bodysuit, tank, thigh-high socks, all from the color palette of a wheat field underneath a dreary sky on a cold day or that piece I saw by noted Neo-expressionist Joe Boudreau. My aesthetic is “Flashdance extra applies for Ohio Players record cover modeling job.” Messy hair to finish off the look, as a way of signifying to the world that I am so busy with nerdery I don’t have time for basic grooming.

This outfit was hastily put together and is not my cutest, but I was not interested in looking cute today; I was interested in being soft to the touch and physically unconfined during my commitment to cold-day apt. 15 lounging today. I also wanted to remind myself that I don’t care about clothes and that I just throw stuff on despite my recent foolish purchase of expensive stripper/librarian heels. I don’t know what got into me for a minute there but I’m BACK, baby. Plus I think it’s fair that you only hold me to the same fashion standard as Sean P, nothing higher (“Dress sloppy, but my rap is dapper/Watch Rosewood, go outside and slap a cracker”).

I will probably not ever stand just straight up and down. Something’s always sticking out on the side or in the front or the back. Oh and nobody can fuck with me and my Hilary Rhoda eyebrows.

Suitable activities while listening: Normally in this section I would describe some lovely activity involving a bookstore or record store. But I will not be wearing this outside!, IS YOU CRAZY. I do not have post titles called Today in Street Harassment and I’d like to keep it that way, although I certainly have lots to contribute here, a place that gives me hope despite the unfortunate fact that such a site must exist. So it’s just clean the apartment today, make lunch, roll some new nerdery* around in my brain and enjoy how good it feels, then put in my daily contribution toward my Gladwellian 10,000 hours of underlining beautiful passages in McSweeneys (check back in with me in 2020 and I’ll have mastered this and maybe even be able to perform it professionally!).

*Today’s nerdery, important thoughts, topics for likely further discussion: Human beings are fearless without the amygdala. “Shoot in the direction of your heart” is true about injecting junk into your body as well as injecting music into your body. If you are going to put out your album in LA in 1992, have DJ Pooh be involved somehow, someway. He’s the king. And if you are good at presenting yourself in a way that plays up the differences between your own woman’s body and the bodies of men, go ‘head and run with it. Play the hand you were dealt. In Texas the saying goes Dance with the one that brung ya, an old expression of loyalty usually applied to football and which is one of the few things Texas-related that I love (others: UGK, Rap-a-Lot everything, Screw, Joe Tex, the lyrical content of “Midnight Moonlight”).

Life lessons, important messages contained:

Nothing too coy or complicated here – just song titles tellin me to put it where I want it and to reach out for affection, and to let the funk guide me in all of these activities. Important messages, definitely, but nothing that I didn’t already learn from Eddie Hazel on that first Funkadelic record. “Back in ’67” stands out though, since that was a good year for driving around listening to pop music on your car radio, one of the great pleasures in life (“Daydream Believer,” “Tell It Like It Is,” “Cold Sweat,” and 2 Detroit-raised-minister’s-daughter beauties in “Baby I Love You” and “I Never Loved a Man the Way that I Love You,” OH ARETHA GIRL I KNOW OF WHAT YOU SPEAK and those song titles are the simplest and most accurate statements in musicdom since the Skull Snaps’ “My Hang-Up is You”).

My whole body relaxes when this starts. I adore the past. I adore Big Boi too (“Who gives a damn about the past?/I live for today, plan for the future, pack a lunch and haul ass”). So I convince myself Not now with the nostalgia, young lady; remember to stay busy with the future! Then I go back and listen to “Devil’s Pie” and I think to myself Aw damn, I love the past. That echo effect at “watch your back,” (02:23) oh lorrrrd.

Best YouTube comment:

There’s nothing entertaining underneath the AWB video, so I looked at the comments for “Steady Mobbin” – a series of people posting LOLs re: outdated rap song references (PacTel vs. SkyPager, white Ewings, “U Can’t Touch This”).

Other notable things about today:

– Owning a Buick Regal will not get you laid on a first date, according to highly delusional individuals who don’t realize it’s their non-car-related shortcomings that are preventing them from getting laid on a first date. Yes dear, it’s your car. That’s why she won’t. I can poke holes in this theory with the simple mention of a rap song by ass connoisseurs Three 6 (Act like you know me, cause I’m super serious with this evil/Act like you know me, in my Regal, chrome desert eagle), Andre (I got the Peter Bong and plus that Mary Jane/I’m rolling reefer out of a Regal, how could I refrain), my side piece WAKA (Let me hop back on the set with this brand new single/Million dollar n—as still ridin in a Regal), and Curren$y, who happens to be a Grand National Regal speeder. (As a woman and therefore someone in the position of being able to either give or withhold ass, I can tell you that Curren$y gets a lot of ass. He looks like a little guy in his videos which you’d think would cut down on the quantity he is offered but he gets an adequate supply. He’s comfortable.)

– There’s a story here and I wish someone would tell it:

“Rome, Italy: A Somalian refugee trims his moustache on a terrace at the former Somali embassy. About 200 refugees live crammed eight, nine or 10 to a room in the building, which is still the property of the Somali government but which was abandoned as an embassy in the 1990s.” (Tony Gentile/Reuters)

Also ready to be delved into and expressed in beautiful narrative fashion: the whole calling card industry for people in LA with family far away – affordable rates for Guatemala, the Philippines, the signs out in front of liquor stores say. I know there’s some joy and heartache inside every time I drive past those places. And people who’ve actually met in real life after one of them placed a Missed Connections ad – somebody get on that.

“There’s records that I hate (but) when I see a woman dancing I think, ‘It’s not that bad.’” That NPR story about songs being tested in Atlanta strip clubs combines like 37 of my favorite things in one beautiful thing. Plus they mention my future employer Magic City!

– My heart, as usual, is bursting with love for Ronald.

– In the current world of testosterone-fueled things, there’s Blake Griffin dunks and Lex Luger’s beats. All straight dudes have opinions about these things. Griffin goes hard in the paint, they say, which is that thing that Waka did with Luger’s assistance. Griffin’s boss Donald Sterling goes hard in the areas of housing discrimination and being an awful human, which isn’t as entertaining as going hard in shit-talking from courtside, but it’s still something I feel the need to bring up from time to time because the world seems to forget even though everyone in LA knows what kind of person he is. Anyway, would someone care to listen to this Juicy J/Luger mixtape for me and let me know how it is. J’s been on the radar recently and I like it. There’s that song my beloved alluring noted Neo-expressionist or perhaps Impressionist Waka is on, and then there was that time I heard 50’s “Mean Mug” and I got kind of indignant and reminded everybody that Three 6 already had a song by that name because I’m an annoying know-it-all, and now there’s this mixtape. Tennessee rap is always a go-to, my brain’s pleasure center really responds to its whole feeling and message. Tennessee music in general has pretty much been a go-to my whole life, and it all started with my dad playing a bunch of Nitty Gritty on road trips. Wish that I was on olllld Rocky Top, down in the Ten-A-Key hillllls.

– One Kanye West has a very thin, pale stylist named Cassius Clay (HIS NAME IS CASSIUS CLAY) who until recently worked at Opening Ceremony, a store known to you all as that place that sold me my beloved Alexander Wang bag during my brief Label Princess phase (winter 2010). People having the same name as certain other people who have reached iconic status makes me uncomfortable, like when parents yell at their kids in front of you at the store, when Marty tries to get all Chuck Berry steezy on stage at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, and when rappers who should stick to Alexander Wang and Lagerfeld raps try to brag about having sex with girls in their verses. CRINGE.

– Amnesty International’s art installations (Making the Invisible Visible) highlight the cases of the wrongfully imprisoned. That’s the face of Troy Davis below, a 42-year-old man who has been on death row for 19 years in Georgia. There are doubts about his conviction and no physical evidence links him to the crime (murder of a police officer), and most witnesses in the case have “changed or retracted their testimony, some citing police coercion.” Shocking.

“The posters are displayed on fence railings. Front on, you see nothing but bars. Troy’s haunting face only becomes visible from an angle.” Is it bad that I bypass the seriousness of this display and go straight to Ohshit is that Large Pro?



5 thoughts on “Average White Band!

  1. danps

    I think one of Kundera's books involves a resistance movement, with the word “unretrievable” used as a refrain. I was sure it was Life Is Elsewhere but a few weeks ago I went crazy trying to track it down, there or elsewhere. Perhaps you can help?

    The reason I was looking was for another passage that went along these lines. The resistance leader is talking to the young idealist:

    L: Do you love men for who they are, or who they can be?

    I: I love them for who they can be.

    L: And I love them for who they are, with all their flaws and their greedy, grasping hands.

    Something along those lines. It's brilliant, and my weak approximation of it doesn't do it justice. Once again: super brainy blogger points if you can track it down, because I tried mightily and failed.

    Unlike the Browns, who, while they failed, did not try mightily. I froze my ass off in Cleveland Browns Stadium yesterday and watched in horror as they once again meekly laid down in their biggest rivalry game. No one in the organization gets it, and it absolutely kills me to see my favorite team hit the canvas without a fight. Assholes.

  2. Anonymous

    “He looks like a little guy in his videos which you'd think would cut down on the quantity he is offered but he gets an adequate supply. He's comfortable.”

    “He's comfortable.” – hahahaha, comedy


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