Sunday, March 31, 2013

#647: Play that funky music, White boy

This just in: WalMart's $5 CD bin is emptying my bank account! But it gave me a chance 2 stock up on some '60's & '70s Soul/R&B that's been sorely lacking in The Collection. Also great soundtrack music 4 Spring-into-Summer. Here's the latest List:

Parliament -- P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up), Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker), Flash Light, Dr. Funkenstein, Up for the Down Stroke, Chocolate City, Bop Gun (Endangered Species), Testify ('74 version), Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop), Mothership Connection (Star Child), Agony of DeFeet.
KC and the Sunshine Band -- Please Don't Go, That's the Way I Like It.
Van Morrison -- Sweet Thing, Wonderful Remark, Cleaning Windows, Domino, Wild Night, Gloria, Baby Please Don't Go, Here Comes the Night.
Love Unlimited Orchestra -- Love's Theme, Satin Soul.
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles -- Tears of a Clown, I Second that Emotion, You Really Got a Hold on Me, Mickey's Monkey.
Temptations -- My Girl, The Way You Do the Things You Do, Get Ready, I Know I'm Losing You, I Can't Get Next to You, I Wish it Would Rain.
Stevie Wonder -- I Was Made to Love Her.
Blondie -- Dreaming, Call Me, Atomic, Rapture, X Offender, Hanging on the Telephone, Union City Blue, Denis, I'm Always Touched by Your Presence Dear, Heart of Glass, Sunday Girl, Maria.
Hollies -- Bus Stop, On a Carousel, Stop! Stop! Stop!, Long Dark Road, Look Through Any Window.
Doobie Bothers -- Neal's Fandango.
Bob Dylan -- Tangled Up in Blue.
Chicago -- Questions 67 & 68, Feelin' Stronger Every Day, I've Been Searching So Long, Wishing You Were Here.

This also Just In: Parliament kicks ass! I grabbed their cheapo best-of mainly 4 comedy purposes & 2 Xpand my horizons a bit ... but they're REALLY GOOD. I admit I don't get all the jokes, but I love the silly vocals & the horny horns & all the squiggly keyboards & the occasional Hendrixy guitar -- & the always-upbeat optimistic outlook. "P-Funk" is a pound-the-steering-wheel classic with added jokes. "Dr. Funkenstein," "Chocolate City," "Aqua Boogie" & a coupla others R also really great -- there's always something going on in these songs, & if the music or lyrics don't grab me then the occasional 1-liners (like "Kiss me on my ego!") will do the job.
Besides, the very idea of this White boy from Idaho cruising in his white car thru dangerous inner-city Bremerton & Port Orchard, Wash., with these big beats pouring outta the car windows is enuf of a joke 4 me 4 right now. Also works really well 4 motivational purposes on the job! Now I gotta track down some Funkadelic! My baseball cap's off to George Clinton, Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins, Eddie Hazel, Gary Shider, & the rest of this Funk Army. The freshest, funniest sounds I've heard in awhile....
Tried 2 keep the funk rolling with KC -- & tho they still sound great, I must insert a Consumer Warning here that their cheapo Rhino 10-song FLASHBACK best-of features just the edited singles trax & so seems just a little bit too short. Nevertheless, the "woo-woo-woo" women's vocals on "That's the Way I Like It" R still a rush, & the sparkly keybs on "Please Don't Go" still Do The Job.
The Xploration continued: Still getting used 2 Van The Man's single-disc best-of. If "Into the Mystic" & "Caravan" were on here it'd B essential. As is, I still think "Cleaning Windows" is a nice, relaxing, wistful departure, & I wish I knew who "Wonderful Remark" was written about.
...& then there's "Sweet Thing." On this, Van sounds transported, almost delirious -- it's magic, 2 B so in love with someone, & 2 B able 2 Xpress it in this gentle rush. This song does in 3 minutes what the rest of ASTRAL WEEKS should have done, & 4 1nce that album kinda makes sense 2 me. Wonder how I missed it when I bought that album last Spring -- if I'd really been listening, this should have jumped right out at me....
Played some more of my Van faves, but hadta stop with his & Them's "Here Comes the Night," 2 weedy & British-invasion-ish, & Van doesn't even do mosta the singing....
"Love's Theme" still sounds great, pure 1974, but "Satin Soul" turned out 2 B not as good as I remembered, Soul-flavored string-muzak.
Smokey & the Miracles -- well, "Tears of a Clown" is still my choice 4 Most Perfect Single Ever, hardta believe Motown sat on it 4 3 years.... "I Second that Emotion" still has that poetically-perfect opening verse. "Really Got a Hold on Me"'s still a killer, tho I prefer the Beatles' version -- & "Mickey's Monkey" is a really cute dance track that I hadn't heard in years.
The Tempts sound better 2 me the more I hear -- my favorite moment is the great soaring backing vocals on the choruses of "Get Ready," but I'm not sure now why I took 4 granted stuff like "My Girl" 4 all these years -- more great choruses there, too. "I Know I'm Losing You," "I Can't Get Next to You" & "The Way You Do the Things You Do" R all classics. Only took me 53 years 2 figure this out.
...I listened 2 some Other Stuff, 2: Blondie's GREATEST HITS has lots of filler & some stuff I find musically offensive ("One Way or Another," "The Hardest Part"), & I wish the band & producer Mike Chapman had met each other earlier -- he really punched-up their impact & got Debbie Harry 2 sing more warmly. "Union City Blue" still sounds grand, majestic -- possibly their greatest moment. Their remake of Randy and the Rainbows' '60s hit "Denise" is really charming (but when was the last time you heard the original? 4 me it was early 1998 in Salt Lake City....). Debbie also has a great vocal on the choruses of "Maria," a song that was totally new 2 me. "Hanging on the Telephone" is a good mix of the band's earlier blank/New Wave approach & Chapman's punchiness.
But: Tracey Ullman does a MUCH better version of "I'm Always Touched by Your Presence, Dear" -- their lazy, unemotional approach does the song no good. "X-Offender"'s also a little off-putting because of their blank, unemotional attack. & there R 1/2adozen other songs on GREATEST HITS that I just can't get thru. Drop them & add "Victor," "Just Go Away," "Angels on the Balcony," "11:59," "Will Anything Happen?," & then you have a great best-of....
Assume all the rest of the above is Recommended if I haven't noted otherwise. More soon!

Coming fairly soon: Reviews of THE MOODY BLUES COMPANION, John McPhee's UNCOMMON CARRIERS, Kirsty MacColl's GALORE best-of, THE VERY BEST OF MARVIN GAYE, Aaron Copland, &  much more....

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