Archive for June, 2013

Smokey Robinson – Dr. Steve’s Selections, Vol. 1 – Mixtape

Posted in Gold with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2013 by xxx
As always the download link is located at the bottom of the post.

“You see you’re just like me, I hope you’re satisfied.”

My dad (Steve) loves music as much as anyone I know. His tastes aren’t that diverse, but he knows what he likes and that works for him. His favorite songwriters are Smokey Robinson and Bob Dylan. He loves to say that Bob Dylan once called Smokey “America’s greatest living poet”. It’s true, a quote like that is pretty heavy, coming from someone widely regarded as one of the greatest wordsmiths in American history, love it or hate it. At first glance, it might seem strange that his two favorite musicians were operating in very different genres. My dad likes to point out how many of their songs share similar lyrics, themes, titles…etc. I think that point only really applies to Dylan’s love songs, because every love song ends up sharing a bit with every other love song. But what I think isn’t  important. My dad created this connection between two artists of his admiration and if it’s true to him, it’s true. That’s his interpretation and maybe he’s right… after all, Dylan was a fan of ol’ Smoke.

Smoke

My memories of childhood, and all the years since, are colored heavily with the sounds of Motown. We had this big jukebox filled with my dad’s 45s that used to run almost all the time. Later on it was turned on only during parties and pool games and things like that, but the library never changed. The thing is a fixture of my childhood. I used to watch the bubbles float up in front of the color changing pinwheel decorative things. My first psychedelic experiences were probably at a very young age sitting at the foot of the jukebox. I’d sit there taking in these songs usually misunderstanding the lyrics in the way that a 4-year old might. A classic lyrical mix-up for me was with the song “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest” off of Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding album. I always thought the song was about a conflicted “Jewish Priest”. Smokey’s songs were less cryptic and probably more soothing to a young boy.

I’ve got to thank my dad for having such passion for music and for sharing it with me. I never experienced any sort of repulsion towards my parent’s music. Their music was always “super rad”. My dad has always been pleasantly surprised to be reassured that I think that his music is cool. It is. Smokey Robinson is an unbelievable songwriter and an equally talented vocalist/musician. I think his work is timeless and I can’t imagine anyone finding most of his work tacky or unenjoyable. If you have felt emotion, you will like Smokey. It’s emotional music through and through, but not in the hitting you over the head way. It’s pleasant. It’s sweet. It’s hypnotic. Only one person can make music like this. Smokey Robinson.

A couple months ago my dad gave me a couple old cassette tapes and asked me if I could digitize them for him. I’ve been lazy about getting around to it, but I’ve finally done it and god damn am I impressed. This cassette is a curated greatest hits album of my dad’s favorite Smokey cuts. Sure, you could download most of these songs in a high quality CD form (well not all; there’s some alternate versions on here). But you’d be missing the point. There’s charm to these transfers. Almost everyone starts with a cassette tape sound of tape speeding up, each song has a little warble to it. This is a 15-20 year old cassette that was listened to heavily.  There are some surprises hidden in the mix. Track 6 is my personal favorite, it starts with the opening line of “Whose Gonna Take the Blame” and then cuts into some other jingle for a bar and then cuts again into “Different Strokes for Different Folks”. To some it is just the result of bad tape cueing; sloppy mix-tape making. To others, and I hope that’s all of us here, it’s a beautiful accident, the sort that not even the best DJ could emulate. This mix-tape is just begging to be sampled.

So on this Father’s Day, I’m not only going to share his digitized tape with him, but with all of you too. I hope you all enjoy it this summer. It’s perfect for playing during a nice evening with your closest friend(s) by candlelight.

Steve and Nona

I want to thank my dad for instilling such good taste in music in me from a young age. I know that he secretly wishes he had become a musician. He gave up guitar lessons as a boy. Well Dad… don’t worry, I’ve got that locked down for the both of us. Just sit back and enjoy this music. I’ll take care of the rest.

Download Here

Tracklist

1. I Want to Be Your Love

2.We’ve Saved the Best for Last

3. If You Can Want

4. Here I Go Again

5. Baby, Baby Don’t Cry

6. Who’s Gonna Take the Blame/Satisfaction (medley)

7. We’ve Come too Far to End it Now/I’ll Try Something New

8. I’ll Try Something New (Alternate Version)

9. You Cannot Laugh Alone (Deep in My Soul)

10. Jasmin

11. Easy 

12. Just to See Her

13. Keep Me

14. One Heartbeat

Carnaval 87 – Sambas De Enredo – RCA

Posted in Gold with tags , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2013 by xxx
As always the download link is located at the bottom of the post.

Travel to Rio for Sex, Sand, Sun and Sambas!

Sambas De Enredo (Pronounced EN-HEH-DO) is a series of live recordings from Carnival 1987. There are plenty of resources out there to learn about Samba Enredo (start here and here). Basically it is a particular type of Samba that is performed during annually Carnival in Rio de Jainero, Brazil. These Sambas are performed by large masses of performes grouped into “schools”. The schools sing play their songs as a sort of performance as part of the Carnival festivities. Samba-enredo is one of the main forms of Samba associated with Carnival.

enredoimage

The recordings presented here are massive. Choruses of vocalists create a harmonized group-voice that creates beautiful vocal melodies over the pounding multi-rhythmic percussion that is the backbone of Samba. The rhythm has so many different layers to it that it can sound like caucaphony to the unaccustomed ear. I assure you that this is anything but sloppy. This is a very meticulous and calculated song form. These schools apparently Here’s a good video showing the many layers that construct a typical Samba-enredo beat:

I procrastinated releasing this album on G&G for months while I waited for the right person to translate the lyrics for me. After several months my drive to post to the blog completely disappeared. I am ashamed to admit it but in the end it was simply out of laziness and lack of drive. I am back now and plan on posting at least one post a day for the next week or two. In embracing this new sense of drive, I’ve decided that knowing the lyrics aren’t important. I’ve written a short poem about the album instead. I hope that you enjoy the songs.

The masses exclaim in melody

Like the song of the waves crashing

On different shorelines

In different countries, for different ears

Who understand vastly different tongues

Yet the song is the same 

And understood by all.

This record comes from Phil Elverum’s personal collection. I bought it from an online sale he had of some of his records. Also, if anyone wants to try and translate these songs or song titles for the rest of us that would be great. Just message me.

enredoback

Download Here

Jimmie Skinner – #1 Bluegrass – Gusto Records

Posted in Gold with tags , , , , , , on June 10, 2013 by xxx
As always the download link is located at the bottom of the post.

“Everybody’s askin’ what’s happened to Country…”

Jimmie Skinner confesses on his 1977 album, “#1 Bluegrass”. There’s weight behind those words. Skinner has experienced the lament of concerned Country music fans first hand as a touring Bluegrass musician. In the late 70s Country music  was experiencing a number of revivals. The “Outlaw” Country musicians were having their moment in the spotlight… guys like Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck, of course Johnny Cash had also embraced that ethos. Country was being influenced by rock music, the line between the two was becoming more blurred with each year that passed. On the other hand you had the more pop country tunes coming out from the likes of Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell and John Denver. Depending on your perspective you might call it progression, degression or evolution of a form. Country music was fighting to stay relevant. It was adapting to the changing times. Traditionalists were pushed to the fringes of the genre. Small neotraditionalists and revival movements popped up in different regions of the country. The acoustic/string band movement is experiencing a similar revival today. Just take a trip to any big city in the country and you’ll find that to be true. Everyone listener and critic had their opinion on the state of country music. But what did the old-timers think? What was it like being a long-time recording artist trying to stay afloat in a sinking form of musical expression? Jimmy Skinner put his thoughts on record for us to hear.

Skinner

“It’s blowing away.”

Jimmie Skinner was born in 1909 and died in 1979, two years after the release of this, his final album. With 50+ years of songwriting under his belt, Skinner felt no need to change his tried and true formula. These are straight-up, roots Bluegrass songs; the record is a sort of living anachronism. Despite what the opening paragraph might lead you to believe, there’s nothing doleful about these songs. Almost every song is uplifting and positive. There are songs about being an independent recording artist, as Skinner often was.  On the album’s third song, “This Old Road”, Skinner goes into a bit of spoken word about his place in the music industry. He talks about pressing his own records, booking his own tours and generally adhering to a DIY ethic. He expresses his struggles in keeping up with the likes of country music legends like George Jones. This song is a sort of proto-punk/indie anthem. In fact, a very interesting aspect to Skinner’s career is that he self-released a lot of his records. The guy was way ahead of his time. The record was way past it’s time. While other artists were conforming to whatever trend was hot at the time, Skinner stuck to his guns and delivers some real fine American “roots” music.

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“Big brown eyes and curly hair, lips sweet as sugar cane, ‘fore that evening sun goes down, I’m gonna change her name. That old moon’s a’ shinin’ down in lover’s lane.”

Some of the other highlights of the album are, “Whoopie Liza” a new version of Skinner’s classic single, “My Little Liza Jane”, “Don’t Do it and it Won’t Be on Your Mind”, a little morality number about the pitfalls of cheating and how to avoid it. In that song there’s a little tip of the hat to the classic Ernest Tubb number, “Warm Red Wine”. “Fallen Leaves” is a cheery up-tempo number for fans of faster Bluegrass music.

They say you should respect your elders, there’s a lot you can learn from someone who has been around the block. Jimmie Skinner is more deserving of that respect than any recording artist I know of. These songs have a special sting to them when sung through his matured throat. It’s a great album to enjoy sit back and enjoy the summer breeze with. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have. God Bless America and Long Live Country Music.

Download Here

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