Monday, December 19, 2011

Respect Your Elders Part I

That time before the ending of the something before the new something starts. Which means people who have too much time of their hands' get to make lists of things that don't really matter. I'm not immune to this disease.

Seeing how we will have some of the best tracks of 2011 coming up later this week we are going to start off with something different. We are going to pay our respects to our elders and recognize some of our favorite songs that were new to us this year but were released before 2000.

Basically, this is just an excuse to talk about all the amazing music we found that won't fit into the other year end lists. Part I today, Part II tomorrow. Enjoy.

LeVar Burton as the funk police and red cod pieces. That is really all you need to know about this tune. And also that it has one of the most unforgettable voices in the world. It sounds like he has replaced his vocal cords with live electrical wires and every time he sings they cross and sparks shoot out.

I know we have covered this before but it is clear that the the 1980's were the product of a place and time we will never see again. I don't know whether it was the drugs or the technology but people felt like they could get away with anything it seems. Good or bad they gave it a shot and sometimes you ended up with products like this video to "Word Up". A glorious cultural artifact that deserves it own place in a museum somewhere.

The dude's name is Farley Jackmaster Funk. How awesome is that. Seriously though, this is one of the missing links between disco and new-jack swing. It's amazing. He might have a ridiculous name but he knows what he is doing with a tune like this. Some funky ass shit.

Also, we need to just talk real quickly about the costume changes here. I don't think a man wearing bold, single color sequin shirts has ever played as large of a role in a video since this one.

One of the best or worst dancers of all time?

- Hey guys I got this awesome 4 minute long disco track. It's got a sweet groove, some nice string work, and a catchy hook.

-How about we do a bunch of drugs, take your 4 minute disco track and make it 12 mins long, add some more percussion and whispery vocal parts, and turn it into a monster of a disco track that will be played for the next thirty years by DJs all over the world.

-Done and done.

I don't think anyone can listen to this version of "My Sweet Lord" without wanting to sing along. It's just an amazing example of gosple mixed with some pop sensibilities and you end up with a god damn catchy tune. I mean the original was nothing to sneeze at but this one is a totally different animal. It's just got some bigger balls on it that's all. And they are swinging. Swinging hard.

Darkness isn't usually discussed when talking about reggae or dub but on "Flesh of my skin" by Keith Hudson it is hard to miss. Its a tense tune full of emotion that is trying to find it's way and when it does it is contained in the squeals of Hudson's garbled singing. Forgotten dub/reggae that sounds like it was made in someones basement with only one light bulb on. Pretty fantastic.

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