Wednesday, February 25, 2004

A brief respite from banjo

Squeaky wheel gets the grease and ya'll have been gettin' me glistenin' witcher JUICES. Thanks for the comments; they're always very welcome.

But I still feel squeaky (fromme). So you get more whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine: I'd love to get a dialogue going here twixt just us chickens on these songs: what works, what don't and why.

Music fascinates me; it's so VERY subjective, maybe even more than any other art. Play Ol' Dirty, The Shaggs, Justin Timberlake, Tchaikovski, TATU and Howlin' Wolf back to back to back and you're gonna get one guy that hates everything, one that loves everything and a whole bunch that could pick and choose. A great deal of that can be chalked up to personal distinctions of genre ("I just don't like rap/classical/happy hardcore") but not all. How can an otherwise intelligent beautiful wonderful person say that they don't like the best of the Jackson 5? Johnny Cash? They Might Be Giants? Susana Baca? Prokofiev? Orbital? Public Enemy? Dokakka? I can't figure that out, so I wish you guys would figure it out for me. Talk the selections over; tell me why you love what you love why you hate what you hate and what resonates for days.
Mind you, I don't like people gettin' stupid; so none of that.

Yesterday was a healthy dollop of bluegrass, today is contemporary rnb rarities by four of the great luminaries of the field: one blind, one dead, one MIA, one nuts; but ah my foes and oh my friends, they give such lovely light.


D'Angelo - "Africa" (Live)

Diamond D was gonna be the saviour and in some ways he is. Rnb's prodigal son, arguably the first figurehead for the 90's neo-soul movement, D was young and insanely talented. When the first album dropped, buzz was crazy. There was a month or so where you couldn't go anywhere without hearing Brown Sugar. A friend of mine played a copy of "Shit Damn Motherfucker" and I practically peed myself. Truly second coming stuff.

Then FIVE YEARS PASSED. Lotsa rumours. D is hanging with Prince. D's gettin' married and settling down. Pics of D show him getting some jailhouse muscletone. And then:

Voodoo, still probably the best rnb album of the past fifteen years; runnin' neck and neck with R. Kelly (heh. r+d).
Voodoo was TOO good. There was a throwaway track or two ("Devil's Pie", anyone?) but by and large it was a wakeup call that the king was back on the scene. D notes in the liners that he'll take as long as he damn well sees fit to release albums. Voodoo goes #1 as does the accompanying single, "How Does It Feel". Teen pregnancy rises (well, it seems like it might be related).

Time marches on. D woos Angie Stone who becomes a star in her own right. They have a child together, then she goes from this to this (not hatin', just statin'). The couple separates.

D puts out several collabos with Raphael Saadiq, Tom Jones, Joe and the Wu among others, but no word of a new album. He ends up in court over a "road-rage" assault and alienates ?uestlove for reasons that are unclear.

2004 and still nothing.

Now I'm not doubting; I'm sure he'll drop something that'll put hair on your chest... but when? Two years from now? Won't we be at war with aliens by then?

At least there's this beautiful live solo acapella version of "Africa" to keep us warm till D' stoops to drop pearls on us mere mortals. Seriously, D? Pretty please with sugar on it? Hurry the fuck up.

When something happens, she'll keep us posted.
D's official site: Not much to report, eh?
Go get D'Angelo's first two albums from Amazon: What, do I have to beg you? These are as good as rnb got this decade.


Prince and Stevie Wonder - "Maybe Your Baby" (Live)

These guys aren't exactly slouches either. Prince, my love my one and only and Stevie, the daddy the granddaddy the Son of God. Both of them felled with a degree of hubris that accompanies the wonderful heights they scaled, but Prince MUCH worse so. The guy is a frikkin' Jehovah's Witness these days.

Anybody but me take the time to listen to his last album, News? Stinky Madhouse retread of the worst kind. Prince broke my heart when he finally skipped Warner Bros. and never paid off on the potential that artistic freedom was supposed to give him. I mean, Crystal Ball? WTF?

Stevie just mellowed into easy listening, but never quite so much so as to be unlistenable. Even his last album, Conversation Peace had funky points ("Taboo to Love" "Rain Your Love" and "I'm New" come to mind), but Stevie circa 1970 could've eaten the 90's Stevie for breakfast and had room left over for Andre 3K.

Both of these cats are notorious egotists, so when we find them onstage there's no surprise that we get a load of blather ("the reality is this...") and masturbatory nicey-nice noodling... but then at 5:15, it's on. Stevie's still got it and even after five minutes of rambling, his voice is like an five-alarm fiiiiiire and we don't even give a damn. Prince's guitar is revelatory and grimy; you don't think of "Maybe Your Baby" as fodder for a vicious electric guitar solo, but dude! This is PRINCE we're talking about here.

A fun little rarity and worth a listen. Even if old tunes are most all these guys really have to contribute anymore, those tunes are so goddamn good that I'd still give blood to see either of them perform live.

Stevie Online
Notoriously web savvy Prince's homepage


Marvin Gaye - "Dark Side of the World"

Obscure side from Marvin's sixties, where he was pretty much in limbo until "Heard It Through the Grapevine" hit.

I love this track; it's so earnest and heavily orchestrated without sounding phony. You can see him getting warm for the seventies, when he would drop bombshells that reverberate today.

Remembering Marvin a week after he had gone
Get the album Love Starved Heart from Amazon: This isn't as deep or as real as later releases (hie thee to a copy of What's Going On and I Want You, but it's not as bad as Marvin himself thought. Certainly recommended.


Remember when this was a movie and link blog? I'll try to work my other interests in here soon enough, but I've got so much good music...

All hell broke loose at home and those CD's have yet to be posted, but they're ready to go. Tamarra, tamarra I swear.

Is there anything I really should be listening to right now that you can recommend?