“My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.” – Errol Flynn
Name: The Main Ingredient, Euphrates River (RCA Victor, 1974).
Is this title acceptable? Yes, because of that Pixies song and because euphrates is fun to say. Etymologically speaking, Euphrates probably means “good to cross over,” stemming from Greek or Persian roots. But then, it might not mean anything at all, yet I’m not upset about that. You know what I’m upset about? That they use “Smokestack Lightning” to sell Viagra. I look fine on the outside but inside I’m screaming.
Produced by: The Main Ingredient.
Global events at the time of its release: I covered this material already during my last post about a ’74 record (Cobham). But I would like to mention that, this week in 1974 on the R&B chart, Kool & the Gang’s “Higher Plane” was #1. It will depress you if I tell you that “Deuces” is #1 this week on the 2010 R&B chart, so I’ll shut my mouth. Let’s keep it moving.
Entered my life: October 1, 2010. Amoeba. $14.99; a steal. Almost daily on Los Angeles radio, I have to listen to Dorrough berate me by saying You ain’t got enough money. That’s true, but small victories like finding breaks-laden records for less than $20 make it easier to cope.
At the store, Andrew rang me up. He seemed excited and he chatted with me the whole time, commenting on my purchases (“OOOH, The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter”). I can’t criticize this because if I worked there I’d do the same thing while ringing people up.
Difficulty of finding, vinyl-wise (1-10 scale):Oh I don’t know–5.8? 6? It was never issued domestically and I’ve never seen it during my record store adventures so, honestly, I’m surprised it was so easy to find. I am truly blessed, and as usual, I must acknowledge the deity responsible for my good fortune.
– “Looks like Rain” was used in Tragedy’s “True Confessions,” a song notable for its awful singing chorus with a stupid reworking of that Luther Vandross song, all the boys I know freaking out over Imam’s verse, and for its adeptness in painting the simple and accurate picture of someone “shaking like a pregnant cokehead” in verse.
– “California My Way,” my future hit-the-dance-floor-at-my-wedding-reception-and-cut-a-fucking-rug jam, was used in Da Lench Mob’s “Guerillas in the Mist.” Despite attempts to be all cute and subversive by flipping and bouncing the LAPD’s racist words and using them in the chorus, the lyrics of the song lack the astute political and social criticism you’d think it would. Thus, I’ve deemed that the best part is I’m laying in a cut, I’m laying in a cut/I’m laying in a cut, bout to shoot me a mutt/With the boooooom, ping-ping/Listen to the ill shit that I bring-bring. I mean, come on, that’s just fun wordplay.
[1:02 until just past the 2-minute mark is the alpha and omega, the thing that gets me through the dreary workday. The drums at 1:39, and the part where all the cities on the itinerary are named–Here I come, Los Angeles! San Diego, San Francisco, here I come! A-Hollywood, Hollywood, Hollywood, Hollywoooooood, yeah. All I can muster is an UUNNLLLLHHHH (pleasurable gibberish, almost like a moan) when asked to describe those 58 seconds.]
“California My Way” and the not-as-great “Summer Breeze” were both used in Biggie’s “Things Done Changed.” (By the way: no fucking kidding, Chris. They done, in fact, changed. If you were here we’d have a bitch session about the fact that a Chris Brown song is #1 on the charts.) When I first heard Biggie’s song I did not know what this thing called “skelly” was. I looked it up; it’s a New York activity. No wonder. Out here, we don’t play skelly. We also don’t say “jerkoff” and we don’t wait “on line.” It’s in line, dummies. (Jerkoffs.) Oh New York, your rappers are way better than ours but your colloquialisms are usually dumber. Plus I am almost positive The Main Ingredient never wrote a song called “New York My Way.”
Reason for this post on today of all days: It’s probably just because I found the record earlier this month at the store, and I liked how the colorful cover contrasted with my cream/white ensemble* when I brought it home and was thumbing through my collection. It’s that simple. I bet you it also has something to do with the fact that American Gangster was on basic cable again yesterday, which means I of course got upset all over again about the horrendous idea to cast Cuba as Nicky Barnes. Cuba’s dad was in The Main Ingredient, and there you have it.
Facts of nerdy interest that excite me and might show up on Jeopardy! someday:
– Willie Hutch wrote “California My Way.” He was born in LA but raised in Texas. The song was therefore inevitable, because he missed the weather, women, and greenery.
– If you type “main ingredient” into the search box on Amazon, the “customers who bought ____ also bought _____” box comes up and says that people who buy albums by The Main Ingredient also buy albums called The Main Ingredient by a duo called Pete Rock & CL Smooth. Um, yes, Amazon. Thanks. And I’m almost positive that 1 of those customers is named Logan. (but not “customer” in a bad way, like in a Jay-Z way or EPMD way).
– Cuba Gooding’s family history is one of sexy Caribbean adventures, murder, and Pan-Africanism. 2 generations later, Snow Dogs happened and Marcus Garvey wept. “DAMN. Shit done changed” – Chris Wallace.
Life lessons, important messages contained:
– The album is strictly cover songs and the very very good title track was originally by Seals & Crofts, with a “Many Rivers to Cross” kind of feel. Every day brings us closer/Every night, my soul sees/A worried mankind suffering blindly/Guess I’ll walk the Euphrates River. Rivers make a man think about life and his place in it, I guess.
Suitable activities while listening:
– Read about genius leftist attempted-poverty-ender Upton Sinclair and think about how amusing it would be for some rapper from Harlem to call himself Uptown Sinclair. (Did Jim Jones already do this? I don’t listen to the music of him or his crew so it’s unfair to expect me to know. If he did do it in song, I’m retracting the part where I said it would be amusing.)
– Watch the mighty Oakland Raiders actually get to .500! Bishop and me are both like Fuck yes.
– Fashion editorials for inspiration, always. Today’s collection of fantasy lighting/outfits/photos that I wish to someday emulate is that of Caroline Winberg in tiny underthings but also in cozy things like gloves and socks and sweaters…you know, in case the clouds roll in. Hmm. I should try that sometime. It would look far less classy and much more stripper if I did it, though, since the vulgarity of my hips makes me look like a stripper no matter what I wear. Magic City, stage #2, 11:40.
Other notable things about today:
– Falling in love is coke-y feeling and only takes a fifth of a second to happen. I already knew this, because that’s just how it went the first time I heard Del’s voice.
– I just discovered Green Eggs and Ham read in patois, and, on a related note, the Baddis riddim mix some kind soul put on YouTube that goes nicely with my hips (even though it’s actually called the Retro Baddis riddim). These things are fun–just harmless, delicious fun, like being witness to the glorious 2010 implosion of the Dallas Cowboys, or hearing the greatest Morrissey song Morrissey never did during your drive on the crowded 101 last Sunday. FUN!
– Jakey n’ Freeway’s “Beautiful Music.” Still listening to it; still in love. This is also true of that “Up & Down” song, my new fave, which has a video filled with jiggling, well-placed female body fat and ShakeWeights and makes me wanna take the #2 stage at Magic City. Sorry, Gloria Steinem, Mom, Angela Davis, and all those ladies before me who worked tirelessly to get me the right to vote. Your influence on me is simply not as powerful as that of a terrible Chicago MC who warms up for his verse by actually using the phrase “more cockier.”
– The 12-year-old tomboy in me loves Epicly Later’d, but the grown woman in me recognizes the signs of a chemically-based life about to be wrecked and has concerns. “Henny and Heelflips: the Ballad of Antwuan Dixon” is the thing that we will all look back on and shake our sad heads at when Antwuan inevitably goes into alcohol-induced respiratory failure or gets 48 months at Corcoran. He’s a sad clown so of course I kinda feel like I could save him. It’s that soft spot of mine that always throbs for the self-destructive. But our story would end in heartache after I spend too many nights sick with worry, and I would once again bemoan my bad choices and then walk away from the whole affair.
– I hate sulk-rap so I’ve never been a Rhymesayers kind of lady. But the Eyedea tributes on the RS site, oh. They are touching. The one that really gets me is P.O.S’s–the heart-wringer “I will read every book you told me to.”
– Deerhoof’s “The Merry Barracks” is my new walking-down-the-street-in-a-sundress song. Hurry hurry, listen to it and like it before Lupe or Cudi raps over it and ruins it.
– Art-school clove-smoking Kanye bores me, but I must acknowledge the part of his latest thingie that speaks to me–the scene in which the scantily-clad chaise-lounging angelically-winged birdlike girl creature is enthralled and physically excited by a beatmaking male human. Let’s just say I can relate.
– CyHi da Prynce is from Decatur, murders my Spellcheck, and is intensely annoying but makes up for it with talent. It’s OK, Cy; people only like me ’cause of my sick flow too. The best parts in that “Sideways” video are his collection of various ice grills (from the left, from the right, looking down, then up, and, um, sideways, of course), and his collection of fitteds–the Reds, the Pirates, the Braves. Obviously there was a sale on National League hats at Champs. He makes a Stevie Williams reference in a verse (I just told you I have a 12-year-old tomboy lurking inside of me) but that cannot make me forgive his overly manicured facial hair. And since every day there’s a new reason to prove to me I’m outgrowing post-2007 rap and its industry that condones stupid behavior, of course he has a Twitter and makes all kinds of Twitter goofball moves replete with inappropriate use of exclamation points–“When I was in hawaii with @kanyewest I stayed at the kahala!!!” He enjoys laughing out loud frequently and gives himself heaps of shine (“A painting of me!!!” “I love Louie bags!!!”, !!!!!, LOL, etc). This young man is clearly pleased with leading a newly luxurious lifestyle courtesy of rap, inc. and that’s sort of cute. I can appreciate someone appreciating. But like the great Vincent T. Lombardi said, Act like you’ve been there before. He gets points for his historically accurate name-drops of Ralph Abernathy and Rosa Parks, and then promptly loses those points by using a distasteful word that starts with N in the very next line. Ugh. Show some respect, Decatur.
– Heard “You Gots to Chill” on the car radio the other day, it was rainy all afternoon and I like that, and when I got home, fucking Goonies was on TV. Perfection. Thank you, LA radio and Time Warner Cable, Inc., for your combined efforts to make me happy.
– Is it just me or is Intelligent Hoodlum a way better name than Tragedy Khadafi.
– How perfect of a couplet is In the beginnin’ I like to let my rhymes flow/And at twelve I press cruise control. I’m serious about this. Let’s discuss.
– Giving up on completing a phrase halfway through it is a nice thing to add to your lyrical repertoire. “Your arms too short to box,” Curren$y says during yet another musical meetup between a microphone and his brain’s hundred thousand cannibanoid receptors, the most consistently beautiful working relationship in rap music right now. Hey, remember GZA’s “Rhymes too short to box with God” remark? I enjoyed that. Anway, there are 8 measly comments about this lovely song on RapRadar, which is just additional fuel for my adorable bitterness regarding the current state of rap affairs.
– “France on strike” as told by The Big Picture. There aren’t any good French rappers but I’d still like to live in a country that produces such stylish and politically active teenagers. That girl atop shoulders (which might be those of Phil Lynott’s?), especially–the hair, the scarf, the fist. It’s like they always say when you’re protesting new retirement laws and a president who’s let you down–cherchez la femme.