FEEL ALRIGHT

patrice rushen – you remind me
slum village – tainted
pete rock & cl smooth – straighten it out
soul ii soul – jazzie’s groove (piano version)
arşivplak – seker oglan
little sister – you’re the one
the horny horns – a blow for me is a toot to you (relfex edit)
fela kuti – jeun ko ku
bill withers – harlem
brass construction – movin’
james brown – i feel alright
coachouse rhythm section – nobody’s got time
luis radio – drums like this
love committee – just as long as i got you
disco incorporated – say mamma (morodergroover mix)
prince – sexy mother fucker
james gang – funk #49
johnny guitar watson – superman lover
tribe called quest – check the rhyme
eric b & rakim – i ain’t no joke
common – i am music
di marco feat nathan haines – take off (nicola conte remix)
willie colon – retorno del mambo
saliva commandos – b’zonti
antranig – big ass drums
seph – motion
lil louis – blackout (138 edit)
jeanette thomas – shake your body (house shaker version)
doctor’s cat – feel the drive
queen – killer queen
the police – so lonely

 


MIX NOTES

I thought about calling this mix “Songs That You Already Like Pt 2”, since OG fans of my mixes may find few surprises within. I put it together right before the winter holidays, as a soundtrack to my milestone birthday celebration on Whistler Mountain BC. It’s a bit loose with genres, and mostly filled with joints that I thought would be nice to hear out of the blue on New Year’s Eve while I was letting loose with some good friends. I’m happy to report: it did the damn thing.

Remind Me – One of my all time faves from Patrice Rushen, from her 7th and arguably most solid LP, Straight From The heart (1982) – which also included NY dance floor staples like “Forget Me Nots” and “Number One”. Like most of her hits, it has her flawless keyboard work and the signature bass thump of Ready Freddy Washington. Patrice started working as a session player in high school, and was signed to Prestige by the age of 18. Throughout the 70s, she drifted from straight Jazz to Funk and finally hit her stride in the early 80s as the queen of schmoove R&B. This song was in regular rotation in my 90s club sets, and also heavily sampled and riffed on in that era by Faith Evans and Mary J and a ton of Hip Hop producers.

Tainted – While we’re keeping it groovy, Slum Village will fit right in there perfectly. This came out in 2002, and its simple Rhodes loop and laid back flow was a welcome counter balance to the over-produced crossover tracks coming from the likes of Usher / Nelly / Ashanti / Diddy at the time. Slum Village was formed by Baatin, T3, and Dilla in Detroit’s Pershing High School cafeteria in the early-90s. While Dilla began blowing up producing tracks for Pharcyde, Tribe Called Quest and others, their first album “Fant-Tas_Tic” was trapped in label limbo for almost a decade. This is from their third LP, “Trinity”, recorded after Dilla left and Elzhi came on board. Though it lacked the Dilla sound, it’s still a really good record from that period right before Hip Hop drive itself off a cliff.

Straighten It Out – Just one of the 16 bangers on Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s flawless 1992 debut LP “Mecca & The Soul Brother”. OK, maybe 15 bangers, if we exclude the one weak link, “lot’s of Lovin’” Still, it’s a fantastic record, and exhibit A of anyone wanting to argue for the superiority of the so-called Golden Age of Hip Hop. This Ernie Hines sample delivered the riff.

Jazzie’s Groove (piano version) – My favorite instrumental track from Soul II Soul’s landmark debut LP “Club Classics Vol. One” – a title which has proven most prophetic, no? I have really fond memories of driving around Brooklyn in 1989 in my GF’s piece of shit car rocking Triple 5 Soul hoodies and listening to this record on cassette. Though the Bob James sample was pretty obvious, the Gary Byrd track that the horns come from, where he shouts out the Soul stars of 1973, was new to me, and is well worth a listen

Seker Oglan – Dope Turkish Psychedelic Funk from Arşivplak – a word when separated that means “archival records”. So I can’t tell if this is just the name of the record label putting out retro gems, or if there is a play on words here, and that is the name of the guy making it. Also I’ve found a bunch of other Turkish folk and Funk songs called Seker Oglan, which means “Candy Boy”. Who the hell knows? All I know is: I want this playing during my Istanbul car chase scene.

You’re The One – This is essentially a Sly & The Family Stone Song, performed by Little Sister, the backup singers for the group that Sly formed with Vaetta Stewart (his sister), Mary McCreary, and Elva Mouton. They had their own gospel group in high school, The Heavenly Tones, but big brother’s clear musical genius probably made straying from the lord quite easy. They only released three singles on Sly’s short-lived imprint, Stone Flower. This is the one that has endured with DJs.

A Blow For Me Is A Toot To You (Reflex EDIT) - When I was heavily into my sophomore college year P-Funk phase, the coolest cat in the dorm, David Pilgrim, lent me his copy of Fred Wesley and the Horny Horns’ 1977 debut (back when the only way to hear out of print vinyl was to seek out and borrow a physical copy). Produced by George Clinton & Bootsy, it’s a pretty straight forward extension of what they were doing at the time, and is thus a bit hit or miss, like most of their records. My dawg The Reflex pitched up the original, tightening things up considerably, and turning what was kinda slow and lazy into something you can really nod your head to.

Jeun Ko Ku (Chop’N Quench) – This is the instrumental version of Fela’s first real hit, selling 200,000 copies on 45 in Nigeria in 1971, when they were still called Fela Kuti and His Nigeria 70. The instrumental is a re-recordings he did at Abbey Road that same year. I looked for Afrobeat records when I was in Nairobi recently, but that place has been completely cleaned out by diggers.

Harlem – One of Bill Withers’ finest, from his wonderful “Just As I Am” LP, also released in 1971. An airplane mechanic in his 30s with no formal musical training, Bill still understood the power of a great melody and a few simple lyrics. You hear this song three times and you can already sing along. Recorded in LA and produced by the great Booker T Jones. The strings really make this track too. There’s been a few remixes over the years, including a long one bob Tom Moulton, but nothing beats the album version.

Movin’ – Got myself toge-tha YEAH! A classic NYC dance floor filler from Brooklyn’s own Brass Construction, from the same self-titled LP that included songs like Peekin’, Changin’, and Talkin’. I did a quick edit to bring back the vocals, because once is never enough.

I Feel Alright – The Godfather James Brown and his Famous Flames in their 1967 prime, holding court at The Apollo Theater. This is from the 2nd Live At The Apollo album, and it’s really an excerpt of a much longer medley that starts with “Let Yourself Go” then into “There Was a Time”, with the “Feel Alright” call and response living over a long extension of the vamp from the previous song. The band often performed it this way, and used to call the whole medley “There Was A Time”. Though JB was famous for fining his musicians $5 or $10 for each missed cue, if you listen close, at one point he himself messes up the timing a little. But the band readjusts within just a few bars. Interestingly enough, it was never released as a single in the US, but did get a 7” release in Nigeria.

Nobody’s Got Time – While were running some classics, it gets no more classic than Eddy Grant & The Coachouse Rhythm Section. Though absolutely nobody else agrees with me, I consider this to be, essentially, the first deep house song. Or at least, porto-house. When you break it down, it has many of the same electro / proto-house qualities of Donna Summer’s “I feel Love” – which came out the same year (77) and is often cited as the real beginning. It’s an endless debate, but there’s just something about this – maybe it’s more stripped down – I don’t know why, exactly, but I’m going with Eddy. You still hear this record at NYC parties on the regular, as its never really left the rotation.

Drums Like This / Just As Long As I Got You – Some stripped-down house drums from Luis Radio to run some Philly disco track over, Love Committee’s “As Long As I Got You”. I skipped past the first 3 minutes of the song, bringing it in just when he starts testifying. Always better that way.

Say Mamma (morodergroover mix) – This MJ remix is borderline cheesy, but I was making this mix for New Year’s Eve, so why not sprinkle it with just a little cheese? Sadly, after watching the “Leaving Neverland” documentary, this may be the last MJ song I ever put on a mix.

Sexy Mother Fucker – Track two on Prince’s 1992 album that didn’t actually have a name – just the symbol. This was around the time he saw his sales slipping to the likes of Kriss Kross and House of Pain, so he decided he needed to prove to the world that “Hey, I can rap too!” Which was false, of course. He was a terrible rapper. But he was Prince, and this James Brown throwback jam was so funky, we forgave him. I think the other rapper is Purple Rain dancing extra and eventual NPG frontman, Tony M, who was OK, I guess.

Funk #49 – Taking it back to 1970 with this James Gang classic. Light years above any and all Eagles songs by a fucking mile. And they were only a three piece! Just listen to how much power they get from 3 guys. The only overdubs are on the percussion breakdown. The rest is pure Walsh/Peters/Fox.

Superman Lover – I played this Johnny Guitar Watson song in clubs so many times. If the crowd didn’t know the original, they at least new the Redman version, so it was a sure shot.

Check The Rhyme – Like I said, songs you already like.

I Ain’t No Joke – And another one.

I Am Music – Nobody plays this song anymore, which is a mystery to me. Easily in Common’s top ten, if not top five. He channeled Dr Buzzard’s Savannah Band shamelessly, and pulled it off flawlessly. What’s not to like? Also, his it just me, or is this the Outkast song that never was? Hmmm.

Take Off (Nicola Conte remix) – I went through a 3-month phase of Nicola Conte obsession somewhere around 2002, where all I wanted to listen to was retro Italian nu-bossanova. Then one day, I kind of realized it was all sounding the same – and that was that. But every now and then, I do miss the musicianship that he always delivers. So, here we are.

Retorno del Mambo – Spanish Harlem native Johnny Colon in his 1971 prime, showing NYC what real mambo sounds like. He started the world famous East Harlem Music School, that was operating from 1962-1999, teaching thousands of kids how to play instruments. Johnny was also a crucial part of the evolution of boogaloo, with his standout track, “Boogaloo Blues”  - that, despite sounding very much like a standard boogaloo number, has a subtle Boricua take on David Peel’s psychedelic rock classic “LSD Has a Hold On Me”.

B’zonti – Moving onwards and upwards from OG mambo, this is a 2018 Saliva Commandos record with a familiar PE Live In London sample we all know and love. I think I came across this in a Fatboy Slim set last year, and I figured it would do nicely for a New year’s Eve Party some day. As luck would have it, I was right.

Big Ass Drums – More drums, big ass ones, from Antranig, who is down with Eric Morillo and that whole Subliminal Records mainstream tribal house thing. Rarely my thing, mind you. But occasionally it works in small doses.

Motion – If we’re going to big room club music, I’ll take techno over tribal any day of the week. Seph is Sebastian Galante, a DJ and producer from Buenos Aires that has been putting in work for the last 10 years or so. This came out in 2017 on the Berlin label Echocord Colour.

Blackout (138 EDIT) – You rarely here this old Lil’ Louis song in clubs, because “French Kiss” is essentially the same song, and most of the 12” version has Louis’ voice pitched way down, reading awkwardly from the Bible and warning about the apocalypse like a cartoon villain. So I took all the instrumental breaks and strung them together into something I could listen to and mix with. Yes, “French Kiss” is still superior, but this is fun too.

Shake Your Body (House Shaker Version) – While I’m in OG house mode, it doesn’t get any more OG than Jeanette Thomas. A4/4 beat, some rudiementray synths, and a few sampled words stuttering over and over, as house was meant to be. This Chicago classic was in regular rotation in 1987 when I first started clubbing in NYC. Still wrecks a dancefloor to this day.

Feel The Drive – Just a few years earlier – 1984 to be exact – Chicago and everybody else in the underground clubs on planet earth was digging this obscure Italo Disco record by Doctor’s Cat. I find it amusing that there’s so many people in 2019 trying to replicate this exact sound, with very little success.

Killer Queen – Not sure how this ended up on this mix, but here it is. One of Queen’s best.

So Lonely – Best Police song ever? Um, yes.

 


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