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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shadow - Born To Hustle (1981)

Yesterday, I got the first taste of the party flyer for an upcoming event in O-Town hosted by our West Coast funk correspondent Hot Damn. And it's a beautiful, revolutionary work of art almost ready for mass distribution on the telephone poles of Chapel Thrill. Gay Sock Hop in the hizzouse, all the funk you can handle spinning at 45 RPM!

To give Hot Damn a sample of the funkiest stuff I'd heard in the past twenny-four, I hit YouTube to search for a track I'd re-discovered the nite before, the title cut from Shadow's 1979 debut LP Love Lite. Which is a masterpiece, but it's not on YT. Very few tracks by this group are. Shadow were an Ohio Players-spinoff who never got the love their impeccably tight music demanded.

But in the process of digitally digging, I found another cut by Shadow that I'd never heard before, off their third LP, Shadow In The Streets.

And that cut is today's Joint of the Birthday, since apparently a member of the SOUL crew is having a birthday today! Shadow themselves were shrouded in mystery, so we won't reveal exactly which DJ is celebrating. Or where the party's gonna be.

There's no f-ing doubt this is the birthday jam right here. A mind-blowingly funky, solid as a rock choice, and even better that it dropped in 1981, exactly thirty years ago. When this particular birthday DJ was 10 years old, and wishes he had been hanging out in Kim Patton's basement at some of her infamous rollerskating jams. So without further ado, presenting...Born To Hustle!

- Dyn-O-Mite

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Musique - Summer Love (1978)

The whole reason I went by All Day Records in the first place yesterday when I ended up with a dollar bin score (besides the fact that I was hanging out with my pal Barbara, formerly known to some as DJ Berrytone, now shopping for a new name, and considering DJ Taco Trouble) was naturally, to pick up another record from out the dolla bin that I had on hold! Which I figured was a karmically silly situation, since back in the day at the Lost City, it drove me right up the f-ing wall when heads would hand me a fat stack of expensive rekkids and ask me to put them on hold. Then not show back up for months at a time. I would regularly paw through the hold crate just to see all the great records we weren't selling.

But just to set the record straight, it wasn't becuz I didn't have a dollar in my pocket that I had to put the joint on hold, altho there's no shame in being a broke-ass DJ with a vinyl habit. I spotted this LP during a previous visit as Ethan was desperately trying to evict us from the store at closing time, and just wanted to make sure it wasn't totally scratched up before taking it home.

It was the full-length LP of Keep On Jumpin' (1978) by Musique, produced by Patrick Adams. Missing the sexy picture sleeve, which is the only reason this record got slept on, since it was sitting right at the front of the dolla bins, staring kids in the face as they walked in the store. Besides the title cut (which went #1 on the Hot Dance Club Play charts), this one included In The Bush (also hit #1 Dance, and was a late nite Lost City fave), plus today's Joint Of the Day – Summer Love. The fourth track on this LP (they all clock in at around 8 minutes) is an instrumental, soundtracky version of the same cut (Summer Love Theme). But the vocal version is the bomb. Too bad it's not the summertime yet. Listen to this, and it'll get you in the mood early.

- Dyn-O-Mite

Side Effect - I'm A Winner (1978)

Earlier today, Old-Time Granny busted me as I was digging through the free crate outside All Day Records. But I was supporting the store, too – by helping them clear out their dollar bins! It was difficult to focus, tho, becuz Ethan kept spinning a never-ending stream of really great records from all genres on the store's sound system. WADR should be its own radio station, and I encourage vinyl shoppers to spend as much time in that store as possible. Mad props to Ethan and Charlie for helping local record junkies feed our addictions! They do international mail-order too, off their website, so check 'em out.

Anyway, I dug up a few choice goodies, including jazz cuts from Stanley Clarke, Tom Browne, and my man the fusion flutist - Tim Weisberg! Plus the killer find of them all (at least the best of the free crate), "A Logger's Reward," by Buzz Martin. Straight outta Oregon. With hits like "Too High On The Stump" and "Since They Repossessed My Used Log Truck." Buzz Martin was the Johnny Cash of the Northwest, and while the song titles sound like novelty songs, these tracks are actually very heartfelt tales about his existence as a struggling logger.

And I found this 12" right here, by Side Effect. In the dolla bins, not the free crate. A sure sign of quality from the get-go. Who already represented in a JOTD a few weeks back, but here they are again. I'm A Winner is just too good to pass by. The scat singing during this track's break is especially funky.

- Dyn-O-Mite

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rick James - Bustin' Out (1979)

Since for the past few days I've been huffing the memory fumes of Hot Damn our West Coast funk correspondent's last visit to the Triangle, it's only fitting to give a shout-out to the Livin' Large and In Charge Tour '09 with at least one more flashback Joint Of The Day.

After HD himself e-mailed me yesterday to discuss an important upcoming funky Oakland throwdown, this LP magically leaped into my hand. Seriously, I ducked into a closet and stuck my hand into the then-dimly lit stacks of my 70s dance vinyl archives, reaching for who knows what as I waited for the compact fluorescent glow to magnify, and the next thing I knew, I was holding Bustin' Out of L Seven. Rick James, circa 1979. Notable b/c the title cut was another of the main theme songs of the LLIC Tour, track #8 on the mixed CD full of choice jams he brought for me all the way from O-Town. Notable b/c it's an ANTHEM for all the funky misfits and refugees from square society out there, especially the ones that don't give a damn, if you don't like our funk, you can take your stuff and scram.

Rick James was a funk giant who today doesn't get nearly the respect he deserves for the influence his music had on the world, unfortunately largely thanks to Dave Chappelle. BTW, I just stumbled onto a great site, the Funkalicious Blog, and a post that contains an hour-long interview done with James in 2002. Check it out!

And as luck would have it, there's one final memorable episode from the LLIC Tour that happened two years ago today. It was in the aftermath of the Durham house party where our knucklehead posse last hit the dancefloor with Hot Damn, involved Queen Steve K., and went down around 3 am. But we really can't go into many details, 'cuz it's definitely not family-friendly. Earlier that night, he was quoted as claiming "the ------- love me, they want to take me home and ---- me with -------." Which even in its edited state should be evidence enough that with QSK in the house, anything in your wildest dreams could have happened.

So. In honor of the two-year anniversary of when Hot Damn perpetrated his final party mop-up operation at the Aretha Factory (not that the memories aren't burned forever into his mind), let's fire up this funk!

- Dyn-O-Mite

D-Train - You're The One For Me (1981)

Hard to believe it's been TWO WHOLE YEARS since our West Coast funk correspondent M. "Hot Damn" Stewart last swung through Chapel Hill on his infamous Livin' Large and In Charge Tour, Spring '09 edition. That visit and the exploits it unleashed have already been chronicled on various other underground blogs, but since it was exactly two years ago TONITE that yours truly and a posse of other miscreants hit the dancefloor with Hot Damn at a bangin' Durham house party, a little flashback Joint Of The Day action is called for. Here's the heavily edited, (somewhat) family-friendly version of what went down at that bash:

"Saturday, 3/21/09 - at the party, Hot Damn burned up the dancefloor as Queen Steve K. did his best to seduce any straight boys in sight. All eyes were on Hot Damn. "BITCH, I am a mufukkin POPSTAR and a TRUE DIVA!!!," said HD. "Act like ya knew." The entire crew was jamming during "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," an old Pink House party standard. Dyn-O-Mite copped as much attention for his 100% polyester wardrobe as his smooth disco moves. D.C. Lumsden got his jiggy on before holding things down from the easy chair, enjoying the scene.

Hot Damn's got a posse

But although the track selection started strong, the quality of the tunes rapidly deteriorated. Of course, Dyn-O-Mite had brought along key pieces of vinyl that had been providing the soundtrack for his and Hot Damn's adventures all week, hoping to get DJ Wonder Bread to drop some into his set. But the cat was a rude motherfucker who couldn't even be bothered to play ONE REQUEST for an out-of-town guest, "You're The One For Me" by D-Train, a Hot Damn fave. Dude had TWO TURNTABLES at his disposal, but wasn't even spinning on real vinyl, just MP3's."

This track reached #1 on the Hot Dance Club Play charts when it dropped in late ’81. The dub version (Special Dub Vocal Edit) is probably the best all around dancefloor filler, as remixed by Francois Kevorkian, but this YouTube mix is notable because it's synched up with some killer Shaw Bros. kung fu footage. Which is totally reminiscent of the original stop on the LLIC Tour at the Pleasure Palace where HD cued this track up on his iPod, as we were all watching Spock and Kirk throw down in a gladiator death match during a classic Star Trek episode. Hot Damn, mad love, and we miss you!

- Dyn-O-Mite

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The B-52's - There's a Moon in the Sky (Called The Moon) (1979)

The night before the vernal (spring) equinox, and turns out there was a supermoon in the sky, shining bright like a giant plate (I stole that last part from a poet friend of mine). It was the closest the moon had been to Earth since 1993, and the event was hard to miss if you were awake after dark and steppin' outside for any reason. That thing was freakin' gigantic!

Of course, The B-52's provided the soundtrack. From their 1979 debut LP, the best supermoon theme I know of on this or any other planet. Technically a new wave group? I dare you not to dance to any B-52's number, and this one's no exception. And they got even funkier live, their concerts have always been giant dance parties.

Check out Fred, Kate, and Cindy rockin' their own wild dance moves in this cool concert footage from 1985 in Brazil, playing alongside guests Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth from the Talking Heads. This was one of founding guitarist Ricky Wilson's last live performances before he died that year of AIDS.

- Dyn-O-Mite

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Maze feat. Frankie Beverly - Color Blind (1977)

Maze feat. Frankie Beverly have consistently toured the Triangle pretty much every year or two for the past two decades, which is how long I've been down here, and probably the decade before that, too. So I kind of slept on them b/c of the familiarity factor. Well, I really should have taken the time to listen to them first, and the self-titled Maze feat. Frankie Beverly LP is a great place to start.

It was their 1977 debut on Capitol Records, the one with hits like Happy Feelin's and While I'm Alone. My #1 fave is Color Blind, not least b/c of its super positive message and appeal for racial unity. I also really dig the 9:27 closing cut, Look At California, and found an awesome video clip set to it featuring footage of the breathtaking natural beauty on the drive along the Avenue of the Giants, inside Humboldt Redwoods State Park in Northern Cali.

- Dyn-O-Mite

House of Sight & Sound - Van Nuys, California

My copy of the Maze record that served up today's JOTD still has its original $4.99 price sticker from the House Of Sight & Sound. Which is a store where a lot of the great soul, jazz, funk & fusion vinyl I recently scored at the Elliott Road PTA apparently came from. Now I'm curious to know where that store was. Google seems to indicate it may have been in Van Nuys, CA, described in a 1963 Billboard article as a "prime San Fernando Valley dealer."

A little more digging turned up a photo of the place!

The House of Sight & Sound circa 1960s, located at Van Nuys and Victory in the San Fernando Valley

And Billboard ran a complete article on the spot, dated 7/4/64, confirming it was THE main record store in the area, and also sold a full line of stereo equipment, TV's, even pianos. That's pretty cool. Billboard reported that "S&S customers primarily purchase middle of the road LP's, but jazz purchases are starting to increase as a result of new people into the Valley," according to Jerry Johnson, the store's owner.

- Dyn-O-Mite

Monday, March 14, 2011

Side Effect - Keep On Keepin' On (1977)

Today's joint proves that you can't judge an LP by its cover. I picked this beauty up at the Elliott Road PTA last month, in one of my two huge mid-winter thrift sto' vinyl scores. But I put off listening to it, just looked silly. I figured it would be some commercial-sounding, rip-off disco bullshit, maybe the West Coast, Fantasy Records, all-black version of the Village People.

Turns out I was totally wrong. Goin' Bananas by Side Effect is a soul/funk masterpiece. On yellow vinyl! "Produced by Wayne Henderson for At-Home Productions (All good music starts At-Home!)" will forever after be recognized by me as a sign of quality, as any fan of the Crusaders can testify (except for heads like my Choice Sides co-host Obliveon, who feels like they let down the planet by moving away from their hard bop origins as the Jazz Crusaders).

"Everybody, can't you feel the effective side...that's really real."

Keep On Keepin' On is my fave, but it was hard to choose, 'cuz there's lots of goodies, including Open Up Your Heart, It's All In Your Mind, and Mr. Monday. The last one, in particular, I listened to about 10 times in a row, since it's so smooth and delectable, and after all, today is Monday, dammit! But predictably, not on YouTube.

I'm not gonna wax poetic for too long about KOKO, just let me say that it features scat singing! And zodiac shout-outs! And a super positive message laid down over a mellow, funky groove. Did I mention that the record is yellow, like a banana?

- Dyn-O-Mite

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Esther Phillips - Justified (1973)

This morning, I was bummed, because as things turned out, I was awake at the not-right hour of 8:30 am, and if I'd only tuned into WXDU at 88.7 on the FM dial, I would have heard the exceptionally well-curated Early Riser show by my new favorite DJ, Ali HiFi! Which faithful readers of this blog should already know airs from 8-10 am every other Sunday, at least that's what I thought. Turns out she was also on air this Sunday, out of rotation, for a special Spring Break edition of her show, braving daylight savings time to keep the SUPER early risers company.

When we substitute guest-co-hosted the Mondo Mundo show with our pal DJ Berrytone the week before, I told Ali there was no chance I'd ever be awake to hear her live on the airwaves. And looks like I lied, but still didn't get to check her out. What's up with WXDU not making it possible for listeners to download some shows off the station's website? They do a great job of archiving each DJ's individual setlists, and the shows are automatically recorded on servers. I'm jus' sayin', Duke - how 'bout giving a little somethin' somethin' more back to the community. Free the downloads!

(UPDATE 6/23 - I ran into Ali HiFi the other day, and apparently, she's no longer on air over at WXDU! Oh well...too bad, especially since I never actually got to hear one of her shows. Becuz seriously, for me to be awake at 8 am on a Sunday morning would probably mean I hadn't gone to sleep yet from the Saturday nite before. But she was my new favorite DJ for a hot minute there anyway...)

I'm gonna pretend like I did hear her show, and give her a shout-out with today's Joint Of The Day. This track was introduced to me by Ali HiFi, it's the opening cut off Esther Phillips' classic LP Black-Eyed Blues, an album I was totally unfamiliar with. It was released in 1973 on Kudu, produced by Creed Taylor, engineered by Rudy Van Gelder, written by Bill Withers, with strings arranged by Bob James, and backing vocals by Tasha Thomas, among others.

In 1950, at the age of 14, Esther released her first records (as "Little Esther Phillips") and made a huge impact on the R&B charts. Two of her songs reached #1 (Cupid Boogie and Mistrustin' Blues), and at least five others cracked the top ten. It was quite a debut, but then she switched record labels and producers, the hits stopped coming, and she got hooked on hard drugs. While playing small clubs throughout the South, she was re-discovered in 1962 by Kenny Rogers, of all people. She cleaned up enough to stage a comeback in the mid-60s, hitting #1 R&B again with the beautiful Release Me, but she would continue to struggle with heroin addiction throughout the decade.

After finally kicking the habit, she went on to enjoy a prolific recording career throughout the 70s and early 80s. Esther Phillips died in 1984, her life cut short at age 48 due to illness from her former chronic drug abuse.

- Dyn-O-Mite

Sunday, March 6, 2011

SOUL-flavored Mondo Mundo on WXDU

This afternoon, WXDU got a taste of the SOUL flavor. My friend Barbara, aka DJ Berrytone (formerly of the Barbara Berry Singers), asked me to help her filling in for the station's long-running Saturday afternoon world music show, Mondo Mundo. We were joined in this caper by Ali HiFi, a friend to hard rock lovers and church people throughout the Triangle in her role as host of the Early Riser show on alternating Sunday mornings from 8-10 am. After very little arm-twisting, we convinced her that spinning some global funk would be much more fun than going home to do her taxes. And we had backup research assistance from artist-in-residence Jeff, who was digging through the library's extensive collection of CD's and vinyl treasures, unearthing gems from a diverse musical spectrum including The Makeup, local legends Motocaster, and Man Or Astroman (I think he got locked in the "M" section). Also a CD that I won't get too specific about because he probably wouldn't want his name forever associated with it on the interwebs. But since Ron Jeremy was a featured vocalist, we all agreed it was a quality production.

Back in the day, Barbara was on staff at Barry's Video Dance Club.

The day's theme as chosen by Barbara was "Funk and Disco World Wide," with a focus on tracks circa the 70s & 80s. We got some advance buzz even before going on air. And when I rolled up to the station on Duke's East Campus for the first time in over ten years (the last time I was there it was while attending a moderately wild party in the downstairs lounge with a bunch of miscreant XDU DJ's, for which we were eventually kicked out of the building), the substitute Mondo Mundo team had already pulled many choice selections to add to the vinyl I brought to the table.

Barbara came up with some Peruvian cumbia-funk from Los Destellos, and discovered what the Miami Vice theme would have sounded like if performed with sitars, off an LP by Ashwin Batish. Ali turned our listeners onto funk from all over Africa, including Tirogo from Nigeria, psychedelic Zam-rockers Witch from Zambia, and the African Brothers International Band from Ghana. I hauled in some of the same old shit I've been flapping my gums about on this blog for the past few months, plus new additions to the SOUL rotation from global disco-funk-soul outfits like Azymuth (Brazil), Yellow Magic Orchestra (Japan), Supermax (Germany), and Khaled, the "King of Rai" (Algeria). I've already mentioned that Jeff exposed us to the musical stylings of The Hedgehog, who apparently is very fluent in the international language of love.

It was lotsa fun. Except for guests not being able to talk on the air at XDU. I guess that's a new rule since I last made special appearances on the 88.7 airwaves. Our setlist is online, and hopefully at some point I'll be able to post a link to the full show for downloads.

- Dyn-O-Mite

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From 2000-2008, Ringside in Durham, NC was the South's coolest nightspot, a decadent refuge for queers and straights alike. Ringside may be gone, but memories of the best damn party in town live on!