Thursday, April 30, 2009

Azymix Re-upped @ Mojo Knights

Sir Mojo Knight asked me to share my "Azymix" mix over at Mojo Knights and happily obliged. This time we've added a track list, which should be posted shortly. Check it out here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

T.G.I. Mutha Funkin' Friday!

It's about time we leave Brazil and get back to home turf for some smokin' tunes perfect for getting ready for the weekend. I'm still neck-deep in Tim Maiania, but everyone needs a break sometimes. I'm sure he'll be making another appearance here in not too long. Today's post has been in the procrastinating for months, if not years. A while back I chance upon two excellent disco 12"s that had a theme in common - Friday Night! And then I remembered another great Friday song that couldn't be more different in style than disco, but that's why this blog is called "Soul Spectrum", because I don't keep to one genre, but just play what I want, when I want and today its kick-ass Friday tunes!

Black Oak Arkansas - Hot Rod (live)
I got this record back in the glory days of 50 cent records at Everyday Music in Portland, OR. My brother and Mr. Morgan turned me on to this digging "technique" back in the summer of 2001 as I was just beginning to fill out my crates with everything from disco to rock. I found this album and quickly realized that this group was on a whole nother level. If Lynyrd Skynyrd is the poor-man's Allman Brothers' Band, then Black Oak Arkansas is the illiterate, inbred-man's Lynyrd Skynyrd. Fronted by a long-haired hillbilly by the name of "Big" Jim Dandy (who plays electrified washboard), these guys have no shame about their Southern pastimes (Hot Rod) or the Arkansas weather forecast (Hot & Nasty) or their dystopic visions of the future (Mutants of the Monster). I also liked that this live album was recorded in Seattle and Portland, confirming that the pasty-white Pacific Northwest is a not-too-distant cousin of the southern poor-white-trash. This song is all about the opening monologue and is specifically why its starts off today's Friday playlist.

Bell & James - Livin' It Up (Friday Nite)
And now we make the not-so-subtle transition to our disco double-whammy. This one I came across on some "Paradise Garage Classics" mix and managed to score the 12" at a flea market in Brooklyn. Pretty straight-ahead late 70s disco just the way I like it. The instrumental break-down is particularly nice.

The Fantastic Aleems featuring Leroy Burgess - Get Down Friday Nite
I snagged this one for a pretty penny from a friend, DJ Gerald McBoing Boing and though I rarely spend more than a couple bucks on a 12", this one was well worth it. Here we have the identical twins, the Aleem brothers, with some help from boogie-king Leroy Burgess getting us ready for the weekend. I absolutely love the use of the keyboards on this to create a kind of dissonant effect which makes the production stand out all the more.

Freeez - Southern Freeez (LP version)
OK, so this song has nothing explicitly to do with Friday, but I chanced upon it while reorganizing and remembered that I had wanted to blog about it. I have listened to it at least a half dozen times in the past 24 hours and need to share it with the rest of you. Josh Nice bought this for me on eBay and it just arrived unannounced in my mailbox. Many thanks, JC! I was also reminded of this song because I came across this album on the ever-great "My Jazz World" blog. This song is one of those "Greatest Feeling" kinda jams. And I guess that's what makes it a great Friday song. Just get in that ecstatic weekend mind state and rock to this.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If You Think ... Roberto Carlos Is Just a Douche

. . . then you haven't been checking the song-writing credits on your favorite artists' best songs. Roberto is the better-known half of one of Brazil's best known and loved songwriting teams. Along with brother - from - another - mother Erasmo, Roberto wrote some classic pop tunes that were covered by a broad spectrum of MPB artists. Today, we're just gonna take one of his songs more popular songs from the late 60s and show you how a wide variety of Brazilian musicians from across the musical spectrum covered this classic jam.

Roberto Carlos - Se Você Pensa
"Se Você Pensa" was originally recorded for Roberto's 1967 album "O Inimitavel". The groove and hook are clearly in place on the original version and both of these elements are experimented with on the subsequent covers. The song is basically an ultimatum to a selfish lover, but I could have the lyrics wrong. For Roberto it's got the best of both worlds: love and anger, both of which he emotes pretty convincingly.

Gal Costa - Se Você Pensa
One of the next cover versions came from the queen of Tropicalia, Gal Costa. You can hear the fuzz quotient getting increased significantly and the aggressive lyrics getting more snarl and bite from the young and adventurous Gal on her first solo album.

Wilson das Neves - Se Você Pensa
Funky drummer Wilson das Neves takes on this classic on his 1969 album and really speeds up the tempo. This is the first of three instrumental covers of this song and you can hear that even in an instrumental the song has legs and can really run!

Eliana Pittman - Se Você Pensa
I had the great pleasure of catching Ms. Pittman perform at a small restaurant / bar in downtown São Paulo back in the summer of 2004. She's a marvelous vocalist that has excelled in the jazz field as well as the samba scene and even doing funkier material. This album from 1969 has her stretching out on her own following the passing of her father, the famous American horn player Booker Pittman, who she recorded with prior to this album. I'm not sure who's playing behind her, but whoever it is THEY SMOKE! Just check out her immaculate phrasing on her cover of today's tune.

Som Tres - Se Você Pensa
Another instrumental groover from the always excellent Som Tres. From the same year as the Eliana and Wilson versions, but with a unique approach nonetheless.

Luiz Eça - Se Você Pensa
There were two versions of this tune by Luiz Eça to choose from, this one and the one from his super-rare Luiz Eça y La Sagrada Familia, which has vocals and was recorded in Mexico. This version opens with a huge drum break and proceeds to jazz it up a bit.

Moraes Moreira - Se Você Pensa
The final version is from several years later, 1975, and was recorded by one of Novos Baianos' frontmen, Moraes Moreira, for his first solo album. He only recorded one cover song on this album and he choose to take on Roberto's iconic tune with a proto-punk high-speed guitar onslaught. This track was also featured on the Brazilian soap opera soundtrack for the show "Pecado Capital."