27 October 2016, Lotus, ‘Basin to Benin (ft. Soul Rebels)’ b/w ‘Tarot’

I finally got around to ordering a copy of Eat the Light, the double LP from Lotus, and Jesse Miller was nice enough to include a copy of the Lotus 45 “Basin to Benin (ft. Soul Rebels)” b/w “Tarot.” Of course, now I’m torn. The B side, “Tarot,” is literally more my speed at 105 bpm or so, compared with the uptempo “Basin to Benin” clocking in around 170. Those horns, though…

Soul Rebels Brass Band, featured on that fast-paced A side, are from New Orleans, and it looks like they recorded their horn parts there. Much credit to the Miller boys’ production skills, because it sounds like they could have been packed into the room in Fishtown featured on the Miner Street Recordings homepage, in which studio the B side “Tarot” was recorded. (Other acts that have worked with Miner Street include Cornerstone Jesus weirdos Danielson, Haus 409 friends Dr. Dog, and fellow Goshen High School alumnus Tim Showalter of Strand of Oaks.) “Tarot” has big organs and bigger guitars, and a funky little portamento synth sound that’s thin and ringing in a good way—just makes the organ stabs seem that much fatter.

26 October 2016, No. 208, Convertion, ‘Let’s Do It’

I played No. 208, Convertion’s “Let’s Do It,” at the spot the other week and was worried for a second that old school Big Bank Hank-style rapping was going to take over the track—but then it didn’t. I like that style of rapping (and rocking the house) well enough, but unless it’s actually “Rapper’s Delight” (or “The Breaks” or another well-known example), people react to disco rap as though it’s a little too far beneath the level of sophistication they require in their rap lyrics these days. I hope that trend changes, but for now it makes me mix out of some joints a little more quickly than I’d like. I’m thinking specifically of the go-go juggler “Pump Me Up” by Trouble Funk, which I love to play, but I don’t leave it on long.

In addition to singing lead vocals here, Leroy Burgess worked with Black Ivory, Inner Life, and Aleem, among others. Antonio Ocasio, in the documentary Maestro, tells a good story about Larry Levan mixing Aleem’s “Release Yourself” with Prince’s “When Doves Cry” at the Paradise Garage, but that’s getting a little too far off topic. “Let’s Do It” has a catchy hook, cool synth pads and leads, and those super fake-sounding synth toms, pew pew pew. There’s nothing to it.

25 October 2016, JJC Mixtape Archive 14 – Warm Glow Record Show 3: It’s a Dance, Dance, Dance

Pete Burns from Dead or Alive died yesterday, so I spent the morning reading Wikipedia articles about goth culture and bands and such. Rather than going off book to post “You Spin Me Round” or “Brand New Lover” (to the latter of which I’m partial probably because I found the 12 inch in the dollar bins and I’ve never owned a “You Spin Me Round” disc), I’m forging ahead and posting another mixtape just like I did last Tuesday (and will again Tuesday next, I imagine). I’ve also begun making books out of the entries that correspond to the tracks that compose each mixtape, and I hope to launch some or at least one of those soon, so be on the lookout for that/those.

What to say about the third mixtape? As promised, it’s red. It’s close to 100, and it introduces itself pretty well. And it’s a dance, dance, dance.

I’m deep into making tape six now, so all I can think is “Help Is on the Way” and whatnaut. Mixed with turtles. Sound weird? Wait and hear harmonicas into holy ghost breaks. But that’s six and this is three. Give a listen. Whee!

Warm Glow Record Show 3: It’s a Dance, Dance, Dance



What is this streaming crap? Give me my own copy.

24 October 2016, No. 207, Claudja Barry, ‘Dance, Dance, Dance (Todd Terje Tangoterje Edit)’

Another tune so nice we’re rocking it twice. Claudja Barry is back at No. 207 (this time at bpm 107) with “Dance, Dance, Dance (Todd Terje Tangoterje Edit).” The tempo boost of eight beats per minute over the original isn’t what does it here, which is not to say anything bad about 107 bpm. I love 107 bpm. But the section Terje excises from this tune is a section I’ve always kind of hated. Or resented, maybe, is more accurate. The little bridge that starts “Dance away the clouds / The sun will shine again…” makes it so you can play only 2:20 of this song without having to mix out or use a second copy and/or cue points to edit on the fly. That bridge gets distinctly un-funky, and I appreciate the edit more than do bar and nightclub crowds, who by virtue of Terje’s patchwork remain largely unaware of what they’re missing.

I was going to announce this as the last Claudja Barry tune on the list, but then what about “Boogie Woogie Dancin’ Shoes?” In a rare instance, I’ve corrected an oversight and added to the list, and now the last Claudja Barry song sits at No. 937. Assuming there are no further corrections (haha), that’s where it’ll be when we get there. One day.

23 October 2016, No. 206, Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, ‘Back It On Up (Luke Edit)’

Yet another funky jawn from Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, this time cut up and pasted back together by Luke the Knife from Lotus. At No. 206 it’s “Back It On Up (Luke Edit).”

Note: Edit starts at about 11:15 in Luke’s Mix 8 – Heavy Handed Funk.

19 October 2016, No. 205, Adriano Celentano, ‘Prisencolinensinainciusol’

I like songs with vocals that aren’t language. Non-lexical vocables seems to be the term, but that mostly refers to scatting and “ooh wee ooh, la la la” type noises, and that’s not quite what I mean. I’m talking about more guttural nonsense like e.g. the caveman bits on the Tubular Bells LP or “Seel Hole” from Download’s beautifully jarring Furnace LP. I’ve been told I ought to listen to Sigur Rós, but I’ve never gotten around to it.

Far from being some kind of made-up emotive thing, though, today’s tune features a lingua phony that’s meant to sound like English. It doesn’t, really, except for that one line that ends with the word girls, and there are other actual English words interspersed. All right is a refrain, and he says baby once or twice. Plus which “Prisencolinensinainciusol” from Adriano Celentano occupies the No. 205 spot in edited form, and the GW Ruff Edit includes some added English extras courtesy of Instant Funk, ending with the chant from “I Got My Mind Made Up.” Say what?

18 October 2016, No. 204, The Undisputed Truth, ‘Method to the Madness’

Undisputed truth is something you pretty much can’t find anywhere anymore in our age of global connectedness. There’s always a naysayer nattering somewhere, no matter the topic. Usually it’s me. But this time I’m tryna tell ya, there’s a method to the madness. It’s the truth, it’s the truth (undisputed).

No. 204, “Method to the Madness,” The Undisputed Truth.

17 October 2016, JJC Mixtape Archive 13 – Warm Glow Record Show 2: Synthetic New Day

Just because I opted not to drop these all at once doesn’t mean you have to wait too long for the next one, especially so long as I’m ahead of the game productionwise and have these things waiting in the wings. Any day now I’ll start working on the sixth installment, and if I keep up the pace at which I’ve been working, I suspect that Warm Glow Record Show 7 or 8 will catch up to the writing. I also thought the color scheme was appropriate for fall and for “warm glow”; the next one’s red.

Warm Glow Record Show 2, Synthetic New Day



What is this streaming crap? Give me my own copy.

15 October 2016, No. 203, Trouble Funk, ‘Drop the Bomb (Part I)’

Trouble Funk is great, and two of their tunes are on this list because the songs are funky and fun to play out: “E Flat Boogie” may have made the list because I’m always on the lookout for slower joints that aren’t actually slow jams, and “Pump Me Up” is another beat juggling practice jam introduced to me by Ken Raw. Unlike those two cuts, “Drop the Bomb (Part I)” at No. 203 is here mostly because it contains one of my favorite samples, and one of the Beastie Boys’ too, apparently. I was thinking of “The New Style” (from Licensed to Ill) when in my notes I wrote down “cf. Paul’s Boutique,” and it turns out I wasn’t wrong, exactly, since a transformed version of that big synth slide is a main feature in the beat from “Car Thief” on the Beastie Boys’ sophomore effort.

Note that the featured video is for the LP version. I can’t find the “(Part I)” variation from the 12 inch on YouTube, but the LP version has all the good stuff too, so it should be fine.

13 October 2016, No. 202, Syl Johnson, ‘Different Strokes’

As far as I can tell, the Ultimate Breaks and Beats version of No. 202, Syl Johnson’s “Different Strokes,” is identical to the seven-inch version, which is not the case with many Ultimate Breaks and Beats songs, but I guess this song didn’t need any extra looping to point people toward the sampleable bits.

And sample bits they did, but everyone latched onto the break and the grunts at the front. Until RZA. Thanks to Mr. Diggs’ looping, I can’t hear anything but Wu-Tang’s “Shame on a Nigga” when those five horn stabs hit, and that’s okay because this is one case in which I think the interpolation is as good as or better than the source material. What the interpolation is not, however, is “safe for work,” so don’t blast Ol’ Dirty Bastard rhyming diarrhea with gonorrhea if anyone who takes decorum seriously happens to be wandering by.

12 October 2016, No. 201, Sweat Band, ‘Hyper Space’

I imagine Fred Wesley saying to Bernie Worrell, “Hey, make that synthesizer sound more like a horn section,” and so we get the un-Horny Hornsified first cut on the Sweat Band self-titled LP, “Hyper Space,” which also occupies spot no. 201 on our list. That slowly opening filter envelope that makes a “fwah” synth sound reminds me of the vamp that opens No. 149, “Le Spank” de Le Pamplemousse, but on closer listening, the sounds aren’t so similar after all—aside from the fwah.

I don’t like the part of this song that starts near 0:40 and recurs periodically. Maybe when it comes time to put this on a mixtape I’ll edit around those sections. Probably not, though, since this tune doesn’t have a lot of diversity in terms of what’s going on. Plus the Clavinet and the synth have an interesting call and response lead happening over that chord progression, and I wouldn’t like to leave that on the cutting room floor.

11 October 2016, JJC Mixtape Archive 12 – Warm Glow Record Show 1: Your Self-Conscious Substitution

I was very excited to hurry up and write about No. 200 on the list so I could then release a triumvirate of these mixes, but I’ve decided against putting out a block of them all at once. Who has a whole hour to listen to a mixtape these days, let alone three hours—or even four hours? Because I’ll tell you, I’ve got four of these things packaged and ready to go.

One thing I noticed putting them together over the last few weeks is that making mixtapes in this way, with no consideration for the order of the tunes except for the order in which they appear on the list, starts to feel quite mechanical and repetitive. Insert song, match beats, set fades, apply EQ and effects, edit to two minutes, rinse, repeat.

On the other hand, I’ve been listening to these mixes a lot, and the finished product is immensely enjoyable, so I’ll keep doing it. The mixtapes may eventually catch up to the current entry in the Record Show, and I don’t know what I’ll do then. Just have to write more, I guess, and actually follow through when I say I’ll do it every day. Ha!

Anyway, here’s the first mixtape in the Warm Glow Record Show series. It makes excellent diegetic background music in the movie of your life, and it stands up pretty well to active listening too.

Warm Glow Record Show 1 – Your Self-Conscious Substitution


What is this streaming crap? Give me my own copy.

10 October 2016, No. 200, Stevie Wonder, ‘All Day Sucker’

With today’s tune I don’t have yesterday’s problem. That is, I see the title “All Day Sucker” at No. 200 and I know exactly which Stevie Wonder tune it is. Probably because the hook follows a rhythm guitar line pretty precisely, though it could be the Clavinet playing that line; I’ve learned recently that the Clavinet plays wound strings in the same manner a guitarist performs a hammer-on, but I’m pretty sure the line I’m talking about bears the plucked character of a string picked with a plectrum. (In the same manner that I may be confusing a guitar for a Clavinet, I often confuse the words plectrum and plenum.) Obviously there was plenty of multitracking on this tune, but I’ll also point out that there are three guitarists credited, one lead and two rhythm, but only Stevie himself was handling keys, making it seem even more likely to me to be a guitar part. And there’s a little pitch bend on the last note, but apparently there’s also a Clavinet modification that adds a whammy bar. I hope it’s Michael Sembello (later of “Maniac” fame) laying down the plinky little guitar groove to which the refrain conforms. (Interestingly enough, Sembello has one of those Castlebar Clavinets in the “Maniac” video I was watching. Huh. Wonder if it’s the same one George Duke is shredding in another video I found.)

I always thought the vocal refrain was “all day sucker [now] for your love” or that now was girl, maybe, or some other single-syllable filler word, or even a rest in the vocal line. In looking up the lyrics, however, most sources have it as “all day sucker cup for your love.” Sucker cup? Like a suction cup? In my mind the metaphor’s vehicle is an enormous pinwheel lollipop. Not that the lollipop version of the metaphor makes much sense, but y’know, poetic license or somesuch.

Turns out the etymology of sucker as someone with an overabundance of credulity is far from clear. My favorite explanation is that it stems from the “pig in a poke” con, in which the mark thinks he is purchasing a suckling pig but in fact buys a cat in a sack. This con may also be the origin of the idiom “let the cat out of the bag.” We’ll have to settle for letting the sucker cup out of the bag. The lucky thing is it sticks around all day.

9 October 2016, No. 199, Stevie Wonder, ‘I Wish’

Sometimes Stevie Wonder’s tunes’ names bring to my mind neither the groove nor the melody. Regarding No. 199 (the first of a Stevie double header due to the same Serato quirk that lumped the last three P-Funk tunes together), the title “I Wish” doesn’t quite do it for me. I have to look at my notes that say “sneakin’ out the back door” and “those things,” and then I’ve got it. I blame the prominence of the lyrics “those things” and the unaccented “I wish” for my imperfect recall. The same features make me associate the song with Lauryn Hill’s “Doo-Wop (That Thing),” Faze’s “The Things You Do,” and a third song that I suspect doesn’t exist and may just be an as-yet unrealized mashup of the Hill and Faze tunes.

7 October 2016, No. 198, Sazon Booya, ‘Mujeres’

What do you get when you mix Dutch house and reggaeton? A new genre! I didn’t get deep into moombahton, but I have friends who produced a fair amount of it, so I’ve got moombahton tracks lying around. The super soulful vocal sample here pushes No. 198, Sazon Booya’s “Mujeres,” over the genre line and onto our list.

I don’t know the guys who composed the group Sazon Booya (and even just recently learned that Sazon Booya was [a] a duo/trio, not an individual, and [b] a play on Sazón Goya, which I’ve never tried, but I gather this bouillon is the secret weapon of Latino cuisines). Skinny Friedman knows them, though, so I sent a message to Joshua Vega to see if he’d reveal the sample source in “Mujeres” because I’m stumped. It’s something I should probably know, but how is one to learn if one doesn’t ask? No response yet, though. If he gets back to me, I’ll update here.

Edit: It's "There's Nothing in This World That Can Stop Me from Loving You" by Tom Brock. I'd have known this had I been listening to Jay-Z along with the backpacker hip-hop I liked in 2001. I heard Jay-Z's "Girls, Girls, Girls" the other day and it all came together.

4 October 2016, No. 197, Parliament, ‘Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)’

Maybe I take back all that stuff I said about “Flash Light.” Maybe No. 197, “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk),” is the definitive Parliament song.

I think I first saw/heard Parliament in 1994’s P.C.U., in which I identified most with Jon Favreau’s character, and he was the one who ran into and recruited Parliament to play the pivotal party. In an unrelated note, before I saw the song’s title in print, I always thought they were saying “give us the funk” instead of “give up the funk.” I believe I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I mostly don’t pay attention to lyrics.

I generally double-check the song titles when I’m writing these things so as not to introduce errors, and in checking today’s title I realized that the LP version of this tune has the title and subtitle reversed—“Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)”—and is a couple minutes longer. The version I have on file is the seven-inch version, so that’s what we’re reporting here. It’s a real type of thing.

2 October 2016, No. 196, Parliament, ‘Flash Light’

By total coincidence, our three P-Funk tunes are in reverse order both chronologically and as ranked by peak chart position on the Billboard Hot 100. Yesterday’s “Aqua Boogie” was the most recent of the three singles to be released and topped out at No. 89 on the main Billboard list (though it hit No. 1 on the R&B chart).

Today’s cut, “Flash Light” at No. 196 on our list, is the most recognizable Parliament song, and the charts back that up pretty well. Tomorrow’s tune hit No. 15 on the Hot 100, whereas “Flash Light” achieved only No. 16, but “Flash Light” was No. 1 on the R&B chart while tomorrow’s joint climbed to the five spot and no further. When I think of the Parliament song that everyone knows, I think of this one. I’m odd, though, and probably wrong on this count. The Wikipedia page for tomorrow’s tune has a way longer “in popular media” section than does the entry for “Flash Light.”

Bernie Worrell, not Bootsy Collins, covers bass duties here with a bunch of Minimoogs. Worrell died earlier this year, but having achieved Funkentelechy long ago, he’s now sweeping filters and bending pitches in the stars.

Grab your bop gun and we’ll go fight the spread of unFunkiness under Sir Nose’s Placebo Syndrome. Everybody’s got a little light under the sun. Even the Philae lander on 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko gets shined on once in a while.

1 October 2016, No. 195, Parliament, ‘Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)’

I’ve mentioned that this list is ordered by tempo, and it turns out that this is only mostly true. I’ve noticed a quirk of the Serato software I used to do the ordering: Songs with a given whole-number tempo (112 bpm, for instance), are alphabetized by artist. The actual tempo values in the ID3 tags include two decimal places, but when I sort for the tempo field, Serato disregards those precise values in favor of alpha by artist. So while I’ve said in the past that the list is ordered by tempo, it’s more accurate to say that the songs are grouped by tempo and ordered alphabetically within each group. All of this is to explain why sometimes there are multiple tunes from the same artist back to back. I think the worst example is four tunes in a row somewhere in the 120-bpm range, but we won’t get there until next year at least. Maybe not even next year.

And but so at No. 195 is the first of three consecutive Parliament jawns. “Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)” seems to be about a hydrophobic dude with pitch-shifted vocals. And “psychoalphadiscobetabioaqua” makes sense enough to me, but what’s a “doloop?” Is it like a doo rag? A Froot Loop? Listen and let me know if you figure it out.