Monday, September 30, 2013

one nation under a groove

Funkadelic got down just for the funk of it with the genre bending boogie of this positive political panoply and reached the pinnacle of their popularity.  The Parliment-Funkadelic musical collective had been releasing albums concurrently throughout the decade with an ever expanding interchangeable lineup that often splintered into other side projects producing a veritable mountain of mythological mothership merchandise.  

'One Nation Under A Groove' was recorded at United Sound in Detroit, Michigan with live material added from the Monroe Civic Center in Monroe, Louisiana.  The Funkadelic Main Invasion Force included Throbasonic Funkgeetarists Mike 'Kidd Funkadelic' Hampton and Gary Shider; Banjo'd Muthaplucker Bobby Lewis; Avatarian Mike Hampton; Keybo' Dans & Synthezoidees Bernie 'DaVinci' Worrell and Walter 'Junie' Morrison; Rotofunkie Drum & Percussionatin' Thumpdans Jerome Brailey, W. Bootsy Collins, Larry Fratangelo, and Tyrone Lampkin; Bass Thumpasaurians William 'Bootsy' Collins, Rodney "Skeet" Curtis, and Cordell 'Boogie' Mosson; and Funkadelic Blamgusta Vocaloids (Voices For Da Nation!) George Clinton, Raymond (Stingray) Davis, Ron Ford, Mallia Franklin, Lynn Mabry, W. 'Junie' Morrison, Cordell Mosson, Dawn Silva, Gary "Dowop" Shider, Greg Thomas, Jeanette Washington, and Debbie Wright.  

Master of ceremonies George Clinton would expound:  "We make it satirical or funny, not point blank aggressive like maybe the punks. You know why? 'Cause we are the direct descendants of the 'You're fucking up'; the end result of the 'You're fucking up' society. This is us. But that's a dangerous one to play with because the fact still remains that you will get popular. And if you get popular you might believe it. And if you believe it then you'll live and you'll die being a pawn for real. So I have to play with it because when I come off stage I wanna tuck it away somewhere. It's too intense otherwise.  Look at that cat Sid Vicious. That's serious programming right there. They directed him so once he got into it he could not stop himself from where he was going. It's happening throughout society but it's specially strong if you're in the theatre. Once you believe your part, once you can't step back from being what they want you to be, it's all over...That's the new way of looking at it – because the other way is a trap. The wrong way is to go out and riot and make yourself mad when you ain't really doing nothing but diverting your energy with a little blowing up. The new way of looking at it is 'Screw it, we won't pay it no attention one way or the other.' It's always alright 'cause we ain't gonna deal with 'it's all wrong'. We won't even look at that no more. Yes, there's still the ghettos but we're looking at it different now and we're feeling more positive about what's happening. That way we can do more about it.  As for the 'Get up and party' stuff, that's just black America's way of expressing that we got a raise and that we're being more like what white success looks like. you know, violins, big productions, disco, the Teddy Pendergrasses, it all sounds like white pop music of the 50s. A lot of it is cool, but it's still just a rehash of what white America did. Give 'em time, it'll gradually change.  James Brown, Jimi, Sly and ourselves took the whole other thing so far anyway that most of 'em ain't nowhere near catching up yet. I mean, Jimi – we'll be chasing him for years. And Sly and ourselves, I think we were doing about the same time. He got the breaks though, whereas we went too far too soon.  It took me a while to realise that I wasn't getting played on no white stations because I was black and I didn't get played on black stations' cause to them it sounded like I was white. So then I had to go back and meet 'em halfway with the Parliament situation, the horns and things, and then hand-walk 'em up to where Funkadelic is at. Even from there we had to take Bootsy to get 'em real young to walk 'em to Parliament to walk 'em to Funkadelic. Now they're gonna pledge groovallegiance to the united funk of Funkadelica...Funkadelic is a combination of everything. Funkadelic is anything that will subsequently be thrown in. Funkadelic is an attitude to whatever it takes. You can get away with so much when you haven't got to think about structures or constructions and can leave yourself to your instincts and know that it's cool and all the musicians know it that way. Then the possibilities are unlimited.  Even now the music scares us sometimes, like 'Wow! Did you hear that?' So think what we might eventually achieve. At the same time we know it just ain't us; it's something coming through us. No deep thing. What I mean is we've learned how to relax and play and be inspired by one another, and by being crazy all along we don't have to go by no rules...You got to stay on the pocket now. And that's sometimes hard to explain to members of the group. Some of 'em might say, 'Why don't we have the Cadillacs of Lamborghinis?' but you see that sort of trip will fake you out. You get all of that then you spend your first chance. 'Cause you rarely get but one good shot; you're lucky if you get two. By the time your third comes around you're gonna be so fucked up by the record companies you're gonna be mad enough to wanna sue – and if you ain't saved no money you're in trouble. And if you was dumb enough to buy all them cars, you was dumb enough not to take care of business.  Nobody encourages you to learn nothing about this business. Record companies would rather you stay dumb, not even think of it as a business, so they can either rip you off or get you out the way in five years to make way for the new groups.  Where I figure that I might have done at least one thing that had a little intelligence in it was the fact that we tied all the groups together. One could support the other when necessary; it made us less vulnerable. Also I knew how the system likes to play one artist off against another, so we were able to get round that.  Like when Bootsy came along it was obvious that they would eventually shoot for him as the star ... that trip is laid down automatically, from family, friends, record company, everybody runs that one down every time. And sure enough, as he got more popular, people started telling me, 'You're the one that made him and now he's using you', while at the same time they were telling him exactly the same thing about me.  But before he'd even started doing his first album we spent a month on a boat in Miami, just fishing and tripping and talking about what was bound to happen and what we could do to plan our way around the system. So when it came time for them to pit him against me I said. 'I ain't gonna rap now' cause anything I say is incriminating now we're both big. Just remember what we talked about two years ago.' And he went away, it took him a month, and he came back and said, 'yeah, just like we planned it.' And that in itself kept us past the point where were supposed to bust up."

'One Nation Under A Groove' brought the United Funk of Funkadelica to number fifty-six in the UK, sixteen in the US, and spent six weeks at number one on the US R&B album chart.  It became the first Funkadelic album to be certified platinum.  That year Parliament hit number one on the R&B charts with 'Flashlight' and 'Aqua Boogie'.

"One Nation Under a Groove"   George Clinton, Walter Morrison, Garry Shider 7:29
went to number twenty-eight on the US pop chart and became a number one R&B hit.  

"Who Says a Funk Band Can't Play Rock?!"   Clinton, Morrison, Michael Hampton 6:18

"Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad (The Doo Doo Chasers)"   Clinton, Shider, Linda Brown 10:45

"Cholly (Funk Getting Ready To Roll!)"   Clinton, Morrison, Collins 4:27

"Lunchmeataphobia (Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet!)"   Clinton, Worrell 4:12

"Maggot Brain Chant (Think It Ain't Illegal Yet!)" (Live) Clinton, Edward Hazel 8:28

'One Nation Under A Groove:  A P-Funk documentary'

'One Nation Under A Groove' 
full album:

1.- One Nation Under a Groove 0:00 
2.- Groovallegiance 11:41 
3.- Who Says a Funk Band Can't Play Rock! 22:32 
4.- Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad (The Doo Doo Chasers) 32:53 
5.- Into You 48:46 
6.- Cholly (Funk Getting Ready To Roll!) 56:39 
7.- Lunchmeataphobia (Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet!) 1:03:32 
8.- P.E. Squad/Doo Doo Chasers 1:10:21 

9.- Maggot Brain 1:16:54

Original LP

Side One
1. "One Nation Under a Groove"   George Clinton, Walter Morrison, Garry Shider 7:29
2. "Groovallegiance"   Clinton, Morrison, Bernard Worrell 7:00
3. "Who Says a Funk Band Can't Play Rock?!"   Clinton, Morrison, Michael Hampton 6:18
Side Two
1. "Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad (The Doo Doo Chasers)"   Clinton, Shider, Linda Brown 10:45
2. "Into You"   Clinton, Morrison, William Collins 5:41
3. "Cholly (Funk Getting Ready To Roll!)"   Clinton, Morrison, Collins 4:27

Bonus EP side one
1. "Maggot Brain/Chant (Think It Ain't Illegal Yet!)" (Live) Clinton, Edward Hazel 8:28
Bonus EP side two
1. "Lunchmeataphobia (Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet!)"   Clinton, Worrell 4:12
2. "P.E. Squad/Doo Doo Chasers"   Clinton, Shider, Brown 4:18


Sunday, September 29, 2013

dónde están los ladrones?

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll stole the hearts of fans around the world with this unique fusion of arabic sounds with rock and latin pop.  She recorded her debut album 'Magia' when she was only fourteen with songs that she began writing at the age of eight, while her second album 'Peligro' comprised mostly songs written by producers.  Her major label debut 'Pies Descalzos' was her commercial breakthrough; but Sony threatened to drop her from their roster if the sales of her next album did not improve.  
Shakira says:  "Imagine the pressure! But I work best that way and basically I did my first really good album...I did my homework. I put one brick on top of the other, under the sun with hard work and sweat."

She co-produced the album with Pablo Florez, Javier Garza, Lester Mendez, Luis Fernando Ochoa, and executive producer Emilio Estefan Jr. who had guided the career of his wife Gloria years earlier.  'Dónde Están los Ladrones?' took nine months to record with Shakira on songwriting, vocals, and harmonica; Javier Garza as engineer, mixer, and programmer; Luis Fernando Ochoa on songwriting, guitar, and bass guitar; Lester Mendez on string arrangements and programming; Pablo Florez as programmer; Sebastian Krys as engineer and mixer; Wendy Pedersen on backing vocals; Adam Zimmon and Marcelo Acevedo on guitar; Randy Barlow on accordion; Teddy Mulet on trumpet; Brendan Buckley and Joseph Quevedo on drums; Edwin Bonilla on percussion; and John Falcone on electric bass guitar.  

 'Dónde Están los Ladrones?' springboarded Shakira to worldwide success, going to number one hundred thirty one on the US Billboard 200; seventy-nine in Germany; seven in the Netherlands and Switzerland; two in Spain and on the US top heatseekers chart; and number one on the US catalogue album chart, the US top latin album chart, and the US top latin pop album chart.  The album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Latin Rock Album and has sold over seven million copies worldwide.  She was named the Latin Female Artist of the Year at the 1998 World Music Awards. She was also designated the official goodwill ambassador by the Colombian government, and granted an audience in the Vatican by the Pope. 

Shakira considers:  "I am a fusion. That's my persona. I'm a fusion between black and white, between pop and rock, between cultures - between my Lebanese father and my mother's Spanish blood, the Colombian folklore and Arab dance I love and American music ... I’ve been very fortunate to have a family around me all these years, people who love me for what I am.  People who know where I come from, where I’m going to, what my goals are.  They have definitely been a very positive influence in my life, to assimilate the subtleties and nuances of fame, and popularity and all that…When I think that I started this career so early, my case is not the case of an artist who becomes popular overnight and then has to deal with thousands of photographers screaming my name.   Or the task of talking to reporters everyday or signing autographs or that kind of stuff.  To me, it was not traumatic at all.  I digested all the complications of popularity in a very easy and smooth way.  Because it was gradual, you know?”

1. "Ciega, Sordomuda" was a number one hit on the US latin chart.

2. "Si Te Vas"

3. "Moscas en la Casa"  went to number twenty-five on the US latin chart.

4. "No Creo" went to number nine on the US latin chart.

5. "Inevitable" hit number three on the US latin chart.

6. "Octavo Día"

7. "Que Vuelvas"  

8. "Tú"   charted at number one on the US latin chart.

9. "Dónde Están Los Ladrones?"   was inspired by a trip to Bogotá during which her luggage was stolen at the airport, including a case with all of the lyrics for her album.

10. "Sombra de Ti"

11. "Ojos Así" became her first international hit, going to number thirty-three in Switzerland, twenty-two on the US latin chart, sixteen in Belgium, and fifteen in France.   The video was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video.

'Dónde Están los Ladrones?'  full album:

1. "Ciega, Sordomuda" Shakira Mebarak R.
Mebarak Estefano Salgado
Mebarak Lester Mendez
2. "Si Te Vas" Mebarak
Mebarak Luis Fernando Ochoa
Mebarak Ochoa
3. "Moscas en la Casa" Mebarak Mebarak
Mebarak Mendez
4. "No Creo" Mebarak
Mebarak Ochoa
Mebarak Ochoa
5. "Inevitable" Mebarak
Mebarak Ochoa
Mebarak Ochoa
6. "Octavo Día" Mebarak
Mebarak Mendez
Mebarak Mendez
7. "Que Vuelvas" Mebarak Mebarak
Mebarak Mendez
8. "Tú" Mebarak
Mebarak Mendez
9. "¿Dónde Están los Ladrones?" Mebarak
Mebarak Ochoa
Mebarak Ochoa
10. "Sombra de Ti" Mebarak
Mebarak Ochoa
Mebarak Ochoa
11. "Ojos Así" Mebarak
Mebarak Pablo Flores Javier Garza
Mebarak Flores Garza


Saturday, September 28, 2013

painted from memory

Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach created a profound expression of love's labors lost with the classic torch songs of this magical collaboration. 'Painted From Memory' came together after the pair worked together on a song for a movie soundtrack.  Costello reveals:  "We were both approached by Alison Anders and Karen Rachman who were respectively, the director and music supervisor for a movie called “Grace of My Heart”, in 1995, and, uh, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Karen’s name, but she’s been the music supervisor on a number of films such as “Pulp Fiction”; the new “Rugrats” movie and “Boogie Nights”, so she has quite a lot of experience of putting together people from different worlds and from different generations even. I had even been approached a little earlier than Burt to write one song for the film and it’s the story of a fictional songwriter and her personal life... She gets to this dramatic point in her life and they needed this big, big, sort of ballad.
So it put us in a situation of having, like, something to shoot for, you know. And if had just been a theoretical thing-shall we try and write a song, well it just have been about pomegranates, or aardvarks or something. You know it could have a very abstract idea to write about, instead of which we had a very definite thing and schedule which was a matter of days in order to turn the song around.  We live on different sides of the world, you know-I live in Dublin, Burt lives in Los Angeles and we ended up writing the song over the telephone and a little while later we were asked to take the song into the studio and do a version for the end titles and after we had that experience I think it was fairly inevitable that we would want to go on and do some more because it just felt right...You know writing a song which might have been something of a tentative thing, actually was a very smooth process. We trusted one another. Burt was doing something unusual and he continued to do that throughout the project, which was giving up the sole responsibility for writing the music. I mean he normally collaborates with lyricists, he doesn’t work with a composer, but obviously I want to have a say in the musical side of things, being as that’s the way I write and he accepted that so that in itself made this collaboration different from any he’d engaged in, and it affected the kind of detail and the objective of his writing-to try and sustain the mood of the first song in some way through the other songs and use the sound which I think is rather timeless which you find in a pop orchestra as opposed to self-consciously looking for something to modernise our music, and use a breakbeat or something."

Bacharach considers:   "It's a pretty good theme for the both of us.  I've always been inclined to write romantic music, hopefully from the heart. There are not a lot of up-tempo songs in my catalog...It's also the work of two craftsmen, who know what we're doing -- two people who are willing to explore and stick with something, whether it's one note or one bar, and not let it go until we know that it's right."

'Painted From Memory' went to number seventy-eight in the US, sixty-nine in Japan, thirty-eight in New Zealand, thirty-three in the Netherlands, thirty-two in the UK, twenty-nine in Norway, twenty-six in Australia, and eighteen in Sweden.  It was the first album from Costello in over two years and the first in twenty-one years for Bacharach.

"I Still Have That Other Girl" won a Grammy for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" for Bacharach and Costello.

"I Still Have That Other Girl" - by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach 


"This House Is Empty Now"

"My Thief"

"What's Her Name Today?"

"God Give Me Strength"

'Because It's a Lonely World'  was a documentary directed by Irish film producer Phillip King that follows the production of the album.

'Painted From Memory' 
full album:

All songs written by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach.

"In the Darkest Place" – 4:19
"Toledo" – 4:35
"I Still Have That Other Girl" – 2:46
"This House Is Empty Now" – 5:10
"Tears at the Birthday Party" – 4:38
"Such Unlikely Lovers" – 3:24
"My Thief" – 4:20
"The Long Division" – 4:15
"Painted from Memory" – 4:12
"The Sweetest Punch" – 4:09
"What's Her Name Today?" – 4:08
"God Give Me Strength" – 6:11

Illyana Douglas in “Grace of My Heart”

Friday, September 27, 2013

reachin' (a new refutation of time and space)

Digable Planets delivered a nicklebag of buttshakin' funk and heady hip hop bebop with this slick sampladelic manifesto.  Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler came from Seattle, Mary Ann "Ladybug Mecca" Vieira from Silver Spring, and Craig "Doodlebug" Irving from Philadelphia.  They formed their insect crew in Philadelphia and relocated to New York where they recorded 'Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)' with Butler co-producing with Shane "The Doctor" Faber and Mike "Launching An Attack" Mangini.  The album sampled extensively from classic jazz and funk albums.  

Butler "Butterfly" looks back:  "Back then it was all about resources. Like cats didn't have no money, you know what I'm saying? Where you gonna get your record that you're gonna sample from? You gonna steal from the people that you know that's closest to you, your dad and your mom? My pop had jazz records, my mom had jazz records and soul records. Well, let's go in there and get them. It wasn't like we got to do this jazz thing. It was like all instruments ... I was talking in terms of the politics. A lot of people talk and say the Cherrywine stuff is not being as political as the Digable stuff but what I was saying about the politics...not that it was thin but that it was somewhat more rhetorical than actionary. Where we were sayin stuff and 'bringin the light' to subjects and stuff. But i think what you gotta do in terms of politics is you gotta bring the fire. You gotta bring dedication and life to it rather than just awareness. So alot of times when peoples talk about political issues.. what it serves to do is bolster their own image of being thoughtful revolutionaries rather than helping out the cause they're talking about. So, that's what I was saying was thin with the Digables stuff. but not transparent! it was meaningful but it wasn't all that it could have been. So on the new shit i was like, talk about yourself. If you're gonna have a revolution let it be where it needs to start first and that would be within yourself, be honest with yourself man. And write songs that are real and that way they can relate to people in a way that is a little more substantial. That's all. I was talking about the politics of it. The hip hop shit of it was still the realest shit to me." 

Irving "Doodlebug"(AKA Cee-Knowledge) considers:   "In our songs, as on most jazz records, the rhythm section always plays, keeping that rhythm going so horn players can do solos. We try to relate that to us. We are the three soloists. Our first single parallels the jazz of the be-bop era ... Each individual is their own planet, with the power and ability to control (their) destiny. Of course, each planet has to coexist with rest of planets in (the) solar system ... and each individual planet is digable ... The spirit behind...was rebellion ... My father was really into the (civil rights) movement. He would teach me ... His friends would come over and talk about books and philosophy, and I was interested.  He'd say to me, `You want to know what we're talking about? Read this book.' So I read Kafka, Dostoevsky, Hegel and Camus at an early age."

Viera "Ladybug" (AKA Mecca) reveals:   I remember having to decide either I'm gonna pay this dollar, you know, to get to the studio or I'm gonna, like, have lunch today. But, you know, we were all just excited to be where we were in that place and time and having a record deal and that opportunity to put music out, regardless of all the struggles ... Those roots come from really, really deep within. I guess when your coming of age and your intuition starts speaking to you and telling you that things aren't right in certain situations. Certain things your observing just aren't clicking, not making sense, it's just plain dead wrong. That's where I guess the social awareness is born from. So it started from there, just noticing what was wrong with the world." 

'Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)' was a crossover sensation, going to number fifteen on the Billboard album chart and number five on the hip hop album chart and was certified gold.

'Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)' went to number fifteen on the US pop singles chart, six on the US R&B chart, and number one on the rap chart.  The song won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

'Where I'm From' peaked at number seven on the US rap singles chart.

'Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)' 

full album:

1. It's Good to Be Here
2. Pacifics (Sdtrk "N.Y. Is Red Hot")
3. Where I'm From
4. What Cool Breezes Do
5. Time & Space (A New Refutation Of)
6. Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)
7. Last Of The Spiddyocks
8. Jimmi Diggin' Cats
9. La Femme Fetal
10. Escapism (Gettin' Free)
11. Appointment At The Fat Clinic
12. Nickel Bags
13. Swoon Units
14. Examination Of What