If I had to choose between going deaf tomorrow and going blind tomorrow, I'd pick blind. Pretty quickly. My moms is a singer, my dad was a jazz drummer, and my childhood was pretty full of music (plus a 13" black and white TV for much of my childhood, and no cable EVER), so it makes sense to me that I gravitate towards the aural. Plus I stopped playing video games that aren't solitaire like 6 years ago (everything after Gamecube is smarter than me). I've been legally blind since the fifth grade, and without glasses or contacts I am a danger to myself and others. Computers can read to you now. The thought of never being able to hear a new song scares me far more than darkness. Never hearing Stevie again? Eff that. No more Bill Withers? Nope. Blind me, please. Without my ears I couldn't hear amazing funk and soul like the selection below. Enjoy, and try to imagine a world where you could never hear this again. Sucks, huh?
mantisounds - cherry soul
1. the mary jane girls - all night long
this is the song "Around the Way Girl" sampled. Ah, rooftop romance...
2. the barkays - holy ghost
the killer break is at the end, but the whole song is sloppy, sweat soaked jumpsuit funk
3. george mcrae - i get lifted
4. ernie k. doe - here come the girls
this song is so pimp. "I was born to be free. Freedom of choice. Ring that bell. Give all the girls to me." HE'S the one with freedom of choice, to choose from all the girls! King of pimps!
5. garnet simms - stop and check yourself
I like to imagine he's singing to a crazy ass ex...
6. the explosions - garden of four trees
I think there's a sex metaphor in there somewhere, but have never been able to figure out the significance of the "garden of four trees." If anyone knows, please tell me...
7. bobby rush - mary jane
story of my life...
8. bill withers - who is he and what is he to you
Bill Withers is one of my all time favorites. His whole vibe was simultaneously vulnerable and cool, sensitive and badass. That's a tough tightrope to walk, if you think about it, but he killed it. He could tell a story, and most of them did not have happy endings (anyone who has listened to "Better Off Dead" knows what I'm saying). I am totally on Team Withers.
9. candi staton - best thing you ever had
Candi Staton is a badass broad. She's got one of those voices, like Sarah Vaughan or - I'll say it - Amy Winehouse, that's bigger than the singer herself, like she can barely control it, barely harness it to do what she wants it to do. Don't hate on Amy Winehouse just because she's a crackhead with a predilection for cutting. Hate on her because she's SQUANDERING REAL TALENT!
10. bobby womack - nobody wants you when you're down and out
Nina Simone did a version of this song that is totally different, I almost didn't realize they were the same songs when I first heard this. I was talking to someone recently about how timely all these old 70s musical themes, the "life's a bitch, there's no jobs, crime is on the rise, America is insecure" types of songs, are relevant again. Thanks a bunch, W.
11. lee dorsey - yes we can (mantisounds edit)
11. lee dorsey - yes we can (mantisounds edit)
Si se puede. This song will always be the "Obama song" to me, even though it was recorded 38 years before President Obama was elected. Lee Dorsey was ahead of his time!
12. the meters - handclapping song
Tribe sampled this song for "Clap Your Hands" off Midnight Marauders. Whenever the "what year" game gets played, I always go with 1993. No question. Buhloon Mindstate. Midnight Marauders. Souls of Mischief and that whole Heiro crew. 36 Chambers! Illmatic (came out in early 94, but RECORDED in 93 according to wikipedia, which is NEVER WRONG). The motherf*cking CHRONIC. I worked at Hampton Beach that year slingin' syrian subs and spending my paychecks at the little skate shop in the dining room (it was more like a closet/display case that the owner would wisely keep locked). Skateboarding all night, popping No Doze and pounding Dew for the lunch crowd, then splitting warm pita bread for an hour before getting a fistfull of cash, a new deck, and a tuna wrap with tomatoes, pickes, onions, and hot pepper relish to go. Life was simpler then.....
13. tyrone chestnut - bumping
14. allen toussaint - get out my life woman
this guy knew his way around a f*cking piano!
15. allen toussaint - either either
So nice, I played him twice...
16. lee dorsey - give it up
So funky. The Beastie Boys were right!
17. dianne & carole with the latin watchmacalits - the Fuzz
I definitely got caught up hard in that boogaloo craze that went around a few years ago. I dropped a lot of money on Soul Jazz compilation disks at Kim's on St. Marks back in the olden days. I love the style so much, it's so evocative of a specific time and place in America. I gave a disk of boogaloo music to a guy who grew up in Queens in the 70s, and he told me it took him right back. Plus this song's about getting busted by the cops, which is funny....
18. lemuria - hunk of heaven
Obscure Hawaiian funk. You can almost smell the pineapple roasted pig...mmmm, pork....
19. jimmy castor bunch - maggie
The saxaphone can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Jimmy Castor is the right hands.
20. stevie wonder - all day sucker
Stevie Wonder is ACTUALLY the Best. Ever. It's been proven. Songs in the Key of Life is the standard by which truly great albums are measured, and he also did Innervisions. Case closed. (oh, and I forgive him for the Woman in Red soundtrack)
21. ground hog - bumpin'
22. bohannon - run it on down dj
I think this was on the Brainfreeze mix that Shadow and Cut Chemist put out almost a decade ago (that just made me feel f*cking old!).
23. bill withers - kissing my love
To learn more about my unhealthy mancrush on Bill Withers, see #8 above