In honor of earth day…

A little clip of Earth, Wind and Fire. Feel the uplift ooze between your toes.

Now I’m gonna crap out and snore on.

Have you got Troubles?

Here’s a little taste of the DC Sound Attack. Go Go, born in the nation’s capital, never left home, and most of y’all never heard of it before. Chuck Brown birthed this new style, a sort of stretched out funk with a different percussive language utilizing an entirely different vocabulary of drums. Lyrics reduced to call-and-response chants, songs reduced to loping beats. It’s all about hypnotism, “a non-stop musical declaration of war littered with social commentary… Go Go is the creative force born to absorb anger.”

This clip is a pretty interesting example of Trouble Funk’s Go Go. First off, the focus on Big Tony is a little contrary to what I expect from Go Go (never really thought of it as a soloing genre). But song choice is important too. The central rhythmic motif of Go Go is copped from the Grover Washington, Jr., version of Mr Magic. Also, the Go Go cover is a tradition, too. As Chuck Brown told Wax Poetics, “Every hit song that came on the radio, we had to do it.”

Art Tatum

Okay, today’s post is all about being disheartened. See, I like playing some piano, but I don’t think I have any illusions about my abilities. Sure, every once in a while, I’ll see a band with a keyboard player who’s pure window dressing, just some four-on-the-floor chord crunching machine, and smirk to myself “yeah, I could eat that guy up.” But those flirtations with arrogance don’t last. For two reasons. One, any reasonably intelligent person knows that they probably just have to walk three blocks to get schooled by some lady or dude they’ve never met before; it’s deluded to think otherwise. Two, Art Tatum. Continue reading

I feel dirty…

Okay, a quick one while I’m on my lunch break. I was smart enough to purchase and play the new Wii port of Okami last night instead of watching the ABC debate debacle. Apparently the questions were preposterously stupid even by the standards of our modern American media. You know, I hate to make this just a baldly political post, without the window dressing of stupid crap that my faithful reader (do you exist?) has surely come to expect, but this debate sounds like such a travesty that I just had to say something. Read what these folks had to say:

Daily Kos: Truly, we have become a nation led by the most lazy and ignorant. It seems impossible to mock or satirize just how shallowly the media considers the actual world ramifications of each election, how glancingly they explore the actual truth behind political assertion or rhetoric, or how gleefully they molest our discourse while praising themselves for those selfsame acts. And that, in turn, is precisely how we elected our current Idiot Boy King, a man who has the eloquent demeanor of a month-old Christmas tree Continue reading

Bearicus Factorum Anum

Teddy bears don’t dream no more, uh uhn… I remember teddy bears came to my house one day, I signed their petition… equal stuffing for all plushies. That was 1982 or ’83 I suspect. But that don’t mean anything today, ’cause teddy bears don’t dream no more. I signed it ’cause it sure makes sense to me. What do little stuff kitties and little stuff doggies got that no teddies got?

Ain’t Jesus preached a different way? Did he not say, “Let all the little teddies come unto me?” And wasn’t Jesus nothing but a little teddy bear when the spirit came into him and he preached to the elders in the temple, and when Mary found him they all knowed he was God’s teddy bear? But that ain’t no thing today, ’cause teddy bears don’t dream no more.

That’s what they said, down in the square, that the teddy bears came and went. I never saw them all leave town, but some folks did. They saw them pack up their cute little things they had into tidy ol’ boxes and stick ’em in their adorable little cars. I didn’t see it, no, but that’s what the people said down round town in bars and when they got their hair cut at Jim’s. Continue reading

ReiBred Idol of the Day… The Return

After a long hiatus, we’re bringing it back to the streets! So, give a warm round of applause to Joseph Gordon Levitt, ReiBred’s latest (and greatest?) Idol of the Day. (Eh, probably not “greatest,” considering Tim Schafer was Idol of the Day just last month. And don’t forget Tuxedo Dog!)

I bet you’re wondering to yourself, “Obadiahstarbuck, why are you heaping praise on that squinty-eyed kid from that lame John Lithgow-as-an-alien sitcom? Don’t you realize that John Lithgow is just America’s bootleg version of John Cleese?” Continue reading

Another Stevie Wonder clip

After my buddies and I got back from seeing Shine A Light on an IMAX screen—with Keith Richards’ and Mick Jagger’s faces all gargantuan and craggy, like a classic rock Mount Rushmore—we watched a bootleg of Cocksucker Blues, the intermittently debauched and unsavory but generally dull Robert Frank documentary about the Stones’ 1972 American Tour in support of Exile on Main Street.

Stevie Wonder and his newly formed backup band, Wonderlove, supported the Stones on that ’72 tour, and by all accounts, Stevie didn’t really quite have it all together. Of course, when I say “by all accounts,” I’m talking mostly about what I read in Continue reading

Brought to you by the letter “F” and the number “1”

In the service of balance, I consider it my obligation (to you, my dedicated readership that you be) to off-set the Stevie Wonder represented in the Japanese “We are the world” and Vanilla Mood “Ebony and Ivory” with a clip that epitomizes Wonder at his peak. In the early seventies, the man had a run of albums that rivals the output of any musician in the history of recorded music. Depending on how unconditional your Stevie Wonderlove is, that verdant period can run as far back as 1971’s Where I’m Coming From right up to 1980’s Hotter Than July, although sane people tend to cite these five records: Music of My Mind (1972), Talking Book (1972), Innervisions (1973), Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974) and Songs In The Key of Life (1976) as his masterpieces.

Here’s the man, playing a song you may recognize, on a children’s show you probably watched back when “hot” was “fresh” (if you were a child of the ’80s, I suppose):

Gotta love the kid in the red shirt who is losing her mind. Also, getting two fake endings on “Superstition” is like getting both Metroplex and Omega Supreme in one Christmas. By the way, I heard the song really shook up Big Bird. MF always got paranoid when he was high.

James Brown in Boston

James Brown played the Boston Garden on April 5th, 1968, and you can hear the whole show right here…

In our past, a lot of racists ran around with boogie-men in their shadows, imagined fifth-columns of communist-controlled African-American revolutionaries that would slowly infiltrate the cities and then the suburbs, that would kindly rise-up, riot and slaughter white society in its sleep. These level-headed racists, decent Americans that they were, even got to romp about in our highest playgrounds of power: places like the FBI. Any skeptic will tell you that a true-believer scorns any contradiction and builds his ramshackle arguments out of the scraps of a thousand worthless petty truths and trashed lies. Can you really expect that these racists, who made the rules of the world, wouldn’t use the full force of their power to try and bring their paranoid delusions into existence by pure force of will? After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr, on April 4th, cities across the United States got their riots. The assassination, a violent retaliation against a just movement and its messenger who spoke for fairness, liberty and peace, caused an upheaval of the spirit.

Continue reading

April 4, 1968

1:
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2:
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This happened, in the United States of America, just forty years ago.

Take a look at this excellent comic book, a piece of historical fiction, called Incognegro, by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece. It’s about a lot of things, including our country’s forgotten history of lynching. The story takes place in the 1930s, not the antebellum South. “[Lynching] postcards became popular enough to be an embarrassment to the government, and the postmaster officially banned them in 1908. However, [they] continued to exist through the 1930’s.”

Everyone knows the William Faulkner quote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”