Friday, August 31, 2012

Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby (1990)

Besides the rare grooves in this latest thrift sto' stash, I also snagged a copy of Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice. The first ever hip-hop track to top the Billboard charts (continuing the time-honored tradition of white American artists profiting from black music), and a massively over-played video that still draws attention today with many, many millions of views on YouTube, this track is the very antithesis of a rare groove.

I never owned the track before (and apparently the 12" is rarer than you would think, since it was pulled from stores after the song hit #1, becuz the record company wanted folks to buy the whole album). But had to get it. I remember watching Ice (aka Rob Van Winkle) on the best reality show of all time, The Surreal Life, on its second (and best ever) season, which aired over the winter of 2004, also featuring Ron Jeremy, Erik Estrada, Tammy Faye Messner (Bakker), and a memorable cameo by Gary Coleman.

Before this show, the last time Ice had made headlines was in 1999, during the taping of an MTV special called 25 Lame. He was invited on camera to destroy the master tape of the video for Ice Ice Baby, and instead took a baseball bat to the show's set. The Surreal Life revealed a very vulnerable Vanilla Ice. (Note from 9/10/13 - and also relaunched his career, leading directly to his current stint as a star of reality TV home improvement shows, the latest being Vanilla Ice Goes Amish, which premieres on October 12, 2013.) It was because Ice told Ron J. how much he admired Rick James that Ron called the guy up and got him to stop by the set one night, and it was very sweet, Ice was totally awestruck. Erik Estrada chimed in and told the camera, "I knew Rick from the Studio 54 days...I used to like to trip to New York City, Friday night, I'd head right to Studio 54, until Sunday morning, just jamming all night and getting crazy." When Ice asked Rick, "How did you two guys meet?", meaning him and Ron J., Rick said to Ron, "You'd come to my house, man, every night, and there'd be like, 30 girls." Classic.

By August of that year, Rick James was dead.

- Dyn-O-Mite

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tina B - Honey To A Bee (1984)

This morning, for the second day in a row, I was back at the same thrift sto', picking up a few more tracks from the dolla bin, all part of the same stash of vintage 80s electro/freestyle/house rekkids I discovered the day before. But I didn't add this one to my pile b/c it was pretty scratched up. Think I already own a copy, anyway. Definitely a stellar Arthur Baker electro production. I don't know if he was married to Tina B at the time this track dropped or if they tied the knot at a later date.

Even tho' I left it for the next lucky digger, it was still joint-worthy, because previewing it on YouTube reminded me how fresh it sounds. Plus turned me on to a dope fan-made video compilation of classic breakdancing footage, including scenes from Graffiti Rock, a series that was intended to be a hip hop Soul Train, but instead only aired as a pilot episode on June 29, 1984 on WPIX in New York City. Unfortunately, that particular video has since disappeared from sight.

- Dyn-O-Mite

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cybotron - Clear (1983)

Today I unearthed a nice stack of choice records at a thrift store spot I seldom swing through, and clearly, it was a good thing I stopped there. The first joint I spotted, the one that made me realize there were goodies lurking, was Clear, by Cybotron.

A legendary electro release, and one of the records that heralded the dawn of techno. Cybotron (Juan Atkins, Richard "3070" Davis, and John "Jon 5" Housley) got signed to Fantasy Records after their two earliest tracks, self-released out of Detroit as 7" slices of wax in 1981 and '82, sold a combined 15,000 copies. Clear was the most successful single off their 1983 debut LP, Enter, and shipped 50,000 nationwide.

There's debate over whether this can be considered the first-ever pure "techno" track, an argument that's a little silly in light of the fact that Cybotron was building on the foundation already laid down by Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra. And a lot of people consider Clear too electro to be techno, pointing to Cybotron's 3rd single, Techno City, as the real techno holy grail, or No UFO's, the first track that Atkins released (as Model 500) on Metroplex, the record label he founded after leaving Cybotron over creative differences with Davis. But however you want to classify it, Clear is still a classic track.

- Dyn-O-Mite

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Banana Splits - Doin' The Banana Split (1968)

If you've got little kids or know any, take some words of Soul'ed Out wisdom to heart and DO NOT let them watch this video right before bedtime.

They'll be jumpin' around the crib for hours thinking they've joined the Sour Grapes Bunch.

I remember totally digging this show back in the day, mostly for the live action segments, especially Danger Island, and animated shorts like Arabian Knights. But re-watching it now, I can more fully appreciate how groovy it was to have an anthropomorphic, psychedelic rock group entertaining the youth of America on Saturday mornings at the height of the hippie era.

This slice of funky banana was written by Mr. Love Unlimited himself, Barry White, and originally aired September 14, 1968 in the show's second episode.

- Dyn-O-Mite

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