8 December 2016, No. 221, Juice, ‘Catch a Groove’

I’m a sucker for samples from Beastie Boys records, but No. 221, “Catch a Groove” by Juice, is so slowed down in “Posse in Effect” that I think that association of mine must be somewhat subliminal. More familiar to me is the horn lick at the regular tempo from The B-Boys doing “Two, Three, Break” (not to be confused with DJ Born Supreme Allah’s “Two Three Break (Part II – The Sequel),” which doesn’t contain the sample but which does make extensive use of “Dance to the Drummer’s Beat” by Herman Kelly and Life; in this list “Dance to the Drummer’s Beat” shows up about five songs before the Teddy Pendergrass tune I’ll mention a couple paragraphs infra.) Or maybe I recognize “Catch a Groove” from “Bust That Groove” by Stetsasonic, wherein it’s deployed a little more clearly and closer to its original tempo than in the Beastie Boys joint. Thanks, Rick Rubin. Thanks, Prince Paul. Both records are 1986. I wonder who bit whom.

Apropos of nothing, “Posse in Effect” contains one of my favorite lyrics, a line that taught me about appropriate condimentation: “cheaper than a hot dog with no mustard.”

The horn lick that serves as a pickup to the break in “Catch a Groove” is distinctive for comprising sixteenth-note triplets. It squeezes seven notes into a small space, “beedle-y buddle-a bump,” with a nice sustain on the “bump.” All in a beat and a half. On the mixtape I used it to emulate some beat juggling, and it’s maybe my favorite part of that mix. Songs that sample the drums from this tune and leave out the horn are disappointing if you know what languishes on the cutting room floor.

“Catch a Groove” was written by Jake Riley, trombonist in the group LTD. LTD’s song “(Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again” (a) gets stuck in my head unbidden sometimes, (b) enters this list 50 songs hence, (c) lends parts of its title to the titles of WGRS mixtapes 9 and 10, and (d) I often mistake for a Teddy Pendergrass tune because I’m thinking of “Only You.” I can’t explain that one to you; there are few similarities between the two songs. Not the parentheses in the LTD title, not the record labels, and not the tempos—“Only You” comes at us 500 songs from now in the 121-bpm range. The song’s keys are closely related but not the same, and whereas Pendergrass is pretty much shouting throughout, Jeffrey Osborne’s vocals on the LTD effort are only sparsely passionate, mostly in the choruses.

I used to own two copies of Osborne’s Stay With Me Tonight LP, but it’s not great and it’s worth less than $2, so they both went out the door after I ripped the nicer one for the archive. Luckier insofar as objects have fortunes, the spreadsheets tell me a 12-inch version of Osborne’s “The Borderlines” survived this year’s culling and move to Georgia. It’s not worth more money than the LP, so I suppose the only reason I kept it is my bias toward 12-inch singles. When I first started buying records with dance floors in mind, I wanted only LPs—more cuts for your money—but I came around to appreciating the advantages of the 12-inch single. I like quick mixes, but the advantages inherent in putting on an 11-minute extended remix and heading to the bathroom are undeniable. Now it appears I’m more likely to keep a 12 inch than a full length, at least in the case of Jeffrey Osborne’s output from the early ’80s.

You may have noticed I don’t have a ton to say about “Catch a Groove” itself. It’s a solid tune with fun vocals, cool wah-wah guitar, and sax work that includes the lead-in to that unmistakable break. Not much more complicated than that. Everybody catch a groove.