It is once again time for me to reach back in the refrigerator for some "choice cuts". Each time, I will be featuring sizzling and succulent morsels that are grabbing my ear right now that range from funk to country, from afro-beat to garage rock, etc. Sometimes there will be a theme to these songs that ties them all together in a nice bow, but other times the songs featured will just be a musical hodgepodge of eclectic delights. Without further ado, lets see what "choice cuts" the vinyl butcher has prepared for us today.
Roy Porter Sound Machine- Funky Twitch
From: Jessica [1974, Chelan Records]
How could you take one look at the cover of this record, and at least not have your curiosity peaked? Clearly this is a private press record that never got its due back in the day, but thanks to technology, Ebay and the advent of music blogs it has experienced a resurgence in popularity 35 years after it's release date. With copies of this turning up on Popsike for over $2000, suffice it to say that most of us will have to be content with listening to a digital copy of the record.
When I first came across this record on Orgy in Rhythm back in the beginning of 2011, my ears were blessed with one of the funkiest jazz albums since the heyday of Eddie Harris. The song I'm featuring today was featured on my Summer 2012 mix, but I figured that the song deserved to be featured on Choice Cuts. While this track would have been the obvious choice for opening the record, Porter opted to start it off with the more straight-ahead jazz track "Jessica". From Porter's shuffling drum roll that introduces the track to the guitar and bass interplay that gets things heated up, it is clear from the beginning that your ears are in for an aural treat. Once the horns kick in at the twenty second mark, combining with the spiraling guitar, chunky bass and electric piano, you have to brace yourself for Leslie Hargrove's relentless, effects-heavy guitar solo that comes in at about the 2:20 mark. After Hargrove finishes his solo, the horn melody from the beginning of the track is reintroduced for a few bars before the track subtly fades to black.
From: One A.M. [Chocolate Industries, 2003]
I am constantly being told by friends and family that hip-hop isn't real music, and that's when I think about playing them this stunning track from Diverse to once and for all put this myth to rest. Diverse is an underground hip-hop artist from Chicago who released this one masterpiece, and then, aside from a few appearances on other records, mysteriously disappeared from the recording industry for almost a decade. I can't explain why someone with this much talent hit the proverbial wall, and has yet to produce a follow-up to their debut record., but I can say that One A.M. is worth picking up for "Certified" alone.
What "Certified" does is solidify hip-hop's place in the world to be one that doesn't revolve around killing people, bragging about how much money one has or mistreating women. To set the stage, "Certified" starts off with a spoken word sample taken from the Wattstax soundtrack (specifically from the beginning of the Bar Kays song "Son of Shaft/Feel It") proclaiming "I don't think you're ready for this. Are you ready for this"? Undoubtedly, not all of you will be ready for the rapid-fire flow and verbal dexterity on this track, but adventurous listeners will find plenty of rhymes to examine and discuss further.
While the lines themselves aren't necessarily earth-shattering, the way that Diverse delivers the lines is nothing short of astounding. Take for example the following four lines from the second verse:
I verbalize surface ties and merchandise theoryWhen these lines are read out loud, they might not seem that groundbreaking, but with Diverse's cadence and flow the words are transformed into pure magic. Diverse is clearly someone who puts his heart and soul into creating thought-provoking rhymes, and we can only hope that a follow-up will surface in the near future. So the next time someone tells you that hip-hop is not "real" music, you can smile at them and politely say "You must have never heard the good stuff".
Clearly open their threshold to expose my exposé
Obey your thirst, a simple page of verse, refreshingly dope
Indelibly soaked up on rush confusio
I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Choice Cuts, and would love to hear what you guys think about these tracks.Please drop me a line in the comments, even if it's just to say that you appreciate the blog. I would love to hear what any of you have been listening to lately, so please let me know that as well.