Thursday, March 04, 2004


Nothing pisses me off more than having to listen to some revisionist moron preach about how the Sugarhill Gang or Dolemite or Muhammad Ali or whoever "created" rap. Can we all please agree that NOBODY "created rap"? People have been freestyling and slinging rhymes over beats as long as there've been beats to hit and rhymes to spit. Ever heard of a madrigal, son? Shit, BEOWULF was originally some cat freestylin'.

Yeah, I know; it's a semantic issue and one that gets us nowhere. Still, it's surprising that hiphopheads are unlikely to look for their roots in even more recent pastures; yesterday's Oscar Brown Jr trax certainly seemed a helluvalot like rap, no?

Oscar was lifting from the then-recent tradition of VOCALESE: the art of spinning lyrics over a live jazz band, effectively replacing an instrumental soloist with a vocalist. Vocalese is an offshoot of scat singing and a product of the first steps of rnb/jazz fusion. The style first attracted critical attention with the release of Tennessee native King Pleasure's hit "Moody's Mood for Love", in which Pleasure raps over James Moody's improvisational take on "In the Mood for Love".

King Pleasure put out quite a few sides throughout the fifties for the Prestige label, but stopped recording in the early sixties. By the time of his death in 1982, just short of sixty years old, Pleasure's music has fallen into extreme obscurity.

Which is where we come in.

Let's give a warm hand to one of the masters of vocalese: King Pleasure.


King Pleasure - "Moody's Mood For Love"

Cocoabutter smooth. Pleasure dances over the melody like Fred Astaire.

Pleasure recorded this song many times with several different female vocalists; I THINK the accompanist on this '52 cut is Blossom Dearie... corrections on this point would be welcome.

So who exactly is this James Moody fellow?
Purchase "Moody's Mood for Love" from Amazon
Effectively a greatest hits album and not a bad introduction.


King Pleasure - "Red Top" (with Betty Carter)

Like John Coltrane's "Spiral", this track can get you dizzy just listening to it.

Warm and friendly. I love it when the band shouts out "RED TOP"!

Find out more about Betty Carter, the female vocalist on this track.
She's probably best known for her wonderful duet with Ray Charles,
"Baby It's Cold Outside".
A Vocalese homepage


King Pleasure - "What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry"

This is an OLD standard (1926) redone with a gorgeous piano solo tossed in for giggles.

Great to cue up for the boy or girl of choice over a makeup dinner.

"I was all wrong, but rightorwrong I don't blame you."

Essential vocalese recordings for purchase
No relation.


King Pleasure - "I'm Gone"

And if that makeup dinner didn't go the way you wanted it to, this is a great followup.

I like the echochamber effect as Pleasure steps away from the scene.

Pleasure's vocal flow here is sparklin'.

"I wanna go babadoobop, shbop, stop and pull the ceiling down."

The three previous cuts are all from "King Pleasure Sings": Purchase the album from Amazon. Plenty more classics on board, notably "Sometimes I'm Happy" and "Don't Get Scared".

Although King Pleasure was known in his time as the "Father of Vocalese" (a reputation that, by all accounts, he greatly encouraged), the REAL father of vocalese and writer of the lyrics to Pleasure's first big hit was jazzman Eddie Jefferson.

We'll hear some choice cuts from this funky fella t'morra.

Keep it locked in.


"John, there is no cheaper way to stack up on the music you love."

I beg to differ.

I'll begin my music clicky breakdown tomorrow or over the weekend, but here's a few choice clicky cuts to hold you over.

Take a strip club. Several dudes go to a strip club. Other dudes are there drinking and laughing and looking at the naked ladies. Chicks circling around like vultures, trying to find a loser to talk up and separate him from his hard earned money. Why the fuck would I want to go somewhere where the chicks don't love me? In fact, every aspect of who they are is false, including the name. They laugh at my lame ass jokes. They force themselves to find me interesting. All so that I might give them my money. Shit. That's what a girlfriend's for. And I get to sleep with her every once in a while.
Super Villain Style looks into the ol' circlejerk.
Gabba recently posted a Just Blaze beat that I last heard while I was playing on NBA Street Vol. 2, that sounds even better now.
Go get it and thank me later.
"There will be some girls in there that are nicely, stylishly dressed or in skintight clothing,” Rich says glowingly. “You get ass shots and cleavage shots, and there are girls all around. At the end, the teacher will come over and give you a little massage during shivasana. For $20, it’s way better than a lap dance.”
Like Chris Rock says about OJ, "I'm not saying I condone it... but I understand."
Farmsluts is hysterical and SFW, I promise.
Be warned though, it's LONG.
George Bush 2 kills his dog.
Now my first reaction to this was hey, go easy on the guy. It's never easy to have to put down a pet.
Then I remembered that this guy is sending MEN AND WOMEN OFF TO DIE ON A DAILY BASIS so I figure, you know, fuck him.