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Showing posts from May, 2015

Butterfly - Rocky Dawuni

from the album Branches Of The Same Tree (2015)

I regularly find myself thinking about the great songwriters who sang for social change but died too young.  I think about the songs they might have written and wonder how they would frame this crazy, messed up world.  John Lennon.  Joe Strummer.  Bob Marley.  You know them.

But these songwriters are all multi-sided.  They have each written some of the greatest songs of love and unity I have heard.  Truth is, great songwriters are in touch with all things human.  Protest, love, you name it.

Anyhow, I became overjoyed when Ghanan super-star, Rocky Dawuni, covered a nearly unknown Bob Marley tune.  The song Butterfly was a demo that was later released as a rarity.  It is a love song like only Bob Marley can write.

Rocky Dawuni does this song justice.  I dig the backing vocals, the relaxed strumming, and the not-to-over-the-top orchestration.

It is crazy to think of all the great music that might have been...

Click Here to listen to Rocky Da…

See That My Grave Is Kept Clean - Mavis Staples

from the EP Your Good Fortune (2015)

See That My Grave Is Kept Clean is one of the most lasting blues songs.  Originally recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1927, it has subsequently been recorded by music greats including Bob Dylan (he recorded it twice), B.B. King (my personal favorite rendition), Lou Reed, The Grateful Dead, Son House, and Widespread Panic.  In fact, it has even been sung by Andy Griffith on his TV show (he sang it to Otis in the drunk tank).

Mavis Staples is the latest to tackle this number on her latest, exquisite EP, Your Good Fortune.  To be honest, the only thing that kept me from writing about this EP is not knowing which song I dug most.

Then came last weekend, chillin' with my funky friends, and cranking the four songs.  See That My Grave Is Kept Clean won the listening session.  A great song in the hands of a great singer.  The magic formula.

Mavis Staples continues to release great recordings at age 75.  Her voice is part of the fabric of American mus…

Cool Collie - Hopeton Lewis

from the forthcoming album Take It Easy With The Rock Steady Beat (2015)

On September 4, 2014 Hopeton Lewis died of kidney failure in Brooklyn, New York at the age of 66.

Lost on too many music lovers is his contribution to the world of reggae music.  Hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, Hopeton Lewis recorded some of the greatest rocksteady tunes of the late 1960's and early 1970's.  These songs are some of the finest this genre ever produced.

In a few weeks, a compilation of these dongs - Take It Easy With The Rock Steady Beat - will be released.  This is an essential album for your record collection.

The collection includes Cool Collie, a 1967 song noted as being the first Jamaican song to endorse smoking marijuana.  For those unfamiliar, the Urban Dictionary defines Collie as "some dank ass marijuana" and offer its use in the sentence: "Raymond smoked collie weed on his wedding night.  It got him high as shit."

Subject matter aside, this song is mesmerizing …

Brass Plant - Vibration Lab

from the EP The Brass Plant (2015)

It is a beautiful Friday morning.  The sun is rising and there is dew on all the pretty flowers.

Today is a day for chillin' and groovin'.

The first tune of the morning is Brass Plant from the UK dub/reggae outfit Vibration Lab.  Total groove. Perfectly restrained.  Dig the horns.  Minimal vocals lend great hooks.  Stellar production.  I dig it.

Click Here to listen to Brass Plant by Vibration Lab.

100Mc4 - Trickfinger

from the album Trickfinger (2015)

If necessity is the mother of invention, who are the parents of reinvention?

Why did Julia Child not write her first cookbook until age 50?  Why did Grandma Moses become a painter at age 78?  What inspired Peter Roget to begin compiling his thesaurus at age 70?  There are people in this world who are driven towards reinvention.  Towards embracing new tools.  Towards trying something new.

These thoughts are bouncing around my brain when I listen to the new album by Trickfinger.  This is an electronica album of the acid variety.  It is also a testament to the personal reinvention of John Frusciante, former lead guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  What compels a guitar hero to leave it behind for synths and sequencers?

Picasso referred to it as the "sun in my belly."

So, check out the tune 100Mc4.  I believe it is named after a data delay device, but I am only guessing.  I dig this track.  It's in the synth riff, the tones, and knowin…