Shot Of Rhythm

[ Tuesday, July 03, 2007 ]


Movin' on up

Friends and neighbors,

As of this week, Shot Of Rhythm is moving its business over to our good friend David Cantwell's wonderful website Living In Stereo. There, I'll be joining a small cadre of talented folk, whose company I'll do my best not to embarrass with my ramblings and ravings. Given the new digs, I'll be able to post music clips again, and I'll also be able to craft extended, more detailed pieces. These are both very good things, and I'm proud to be a part of the site.

For those of y'all who have been regular Shot Of Rhythm visitors since the beginning, fear not. The party's not closing's just moving to somebody else's house. And, from what I hear, their house is nice.

I'll leave this site up, of course, so you can dig through the archives. See y'all over at Living In Stereo, where the beats keep knockin' all night long.

On the box right now: George Jones, THE SPIRIT OF COUNTRY, Disc 2.


Dove With Claws [10:40 AM]

[ Monday, June 25, 2007 ]


Learn the ropes

James Brown teaches you how to dance

Stevie Wonder teaches you numbers, the alphabet, and how to get to Sesame Street

Big news coming soon...

On the box right now: DJ Khaled, WE THE BEST. Khaled piles in verses from an unbelievable roster of hip-hop stars (mostly, though by no means exclusively, Southern), and manages to produce a few tracks - mainly the hit "We Takin' Over" and the surprisingly moving "I'm From The Ghetto" - which actually transcend the Night-Of-A-Thousand-Stars feel of the record, which makes it feel more like a stunt than a record.


Dove With Claws [9:12 PM]

[ Thursday, June 21, 2007 ]


Have you visited...

...our good friends David Cantwell over at Living In Stereo, Danny Alexander over at Take 'Em As They Come, Lauren Alexander over at Get Down Girl, Jeff Chang at Can't Stop Won't Stop, or the whole buncha cool cats at Holler if Ya Hear Me?

...the wondrous collection of soul, funk and hip-hop at Oliver Wang's Soul Sides?

...Shot of Rhythm's favorite hip-hop blog, Nah Right?

...the wonderful source of downloadable rare country/blues/rock 'n' roll LPs at Twilight Zone?

...the pop and R&B treasures buried at Muzik Bone?

...Shot Of Rhythm's current favorite music video, Avril Lavigne and Lil Mama - "Girlfriend" (remix)?

If not, why don't you spend a few worthwhile minutes giving those fine folks and finds a shout.

I'll be back in a bit...stay tuned for big news in the near future...

On the box right now: Johnny "Guitar" Watson, FUNK ANTHOLOGY, Disc 1. This has become one of my very favorite records right now. Too much fun...and funk...


Dove With Claws [6:58 PM]

[ Tuesday, June 19, 2007 ]


Ladies and gentlemen, the star of our show

As longtime readers are aware, we at Shot Of Rhythm are huge fans of Jerry Williams, Jr., aka Swamp Dogg, the soul-funk-country-psychedelic-radical-nationalist-pop-rock trickster whose long, distinguished career ranges from cowriting Johnny Paycheck's "She's All I Got" to putting together the original Muscle Shoals Horns. Swamp's own recordings are totally great, up to and including his newest platter, Resurrection, a gloriously epic collection of songs that range from brutally-explicit political sermons (like the brilliant 12-minute title track, which is pretty much Black Nationalism 101, or the mournful "They Crowned An Idiot King," which is equally critical of President You-Know-Who and the society who elected him) to oughta-be-hits like the bluesy "Raw Spitt," which is just asking for a Toby Keith cover. Witty, wild and wonderful like the Dogg's classic material, RESURRECTION deserves your undivided attention...

As does this incredible treasure: a full-length live performance from Swamp Dogg, recorded in April in Amsterdam, and now available in crisp streaming video and audio over this Internet thang. Swamp Dogg visits all sectors of his legendary catalog, including his anthem, the blazing "Total Destruction To Your Mind," his fantastic cover of Joe South's "Don't It Make You Want To Go Home?," and a buncha tunes from RESURRECTION. He's in fine voice (a crystal-clear tenor that has never gotten its due credit), his band is smoking, and it's impossible to imagine a better glimpse of what makes Swamp Dogg your new favorite artist. (Trust me...he will be...)

On top of everything, you should check this out because it was recommended to me by Mr. Williams himself, who I spoke to last week and hipped me to the performance. So, for all those reasons and more, check it out:

Swamp Dogg, Live in Amsterdam, 4/24/2007

Country-soul in the house...

On the box right now: White Stripes, ICKY THUMP.


Dove With Claws [3:06 PM]


Status report

Okay, here's what's going on. As of a couple weeks ago, the online space where I'd been posting tunes for y'all became no longer available. I tried to figure out an alternate solution (which is why I've had you "holding that thought" for so long), but none presented itself thus far. Until I can find a new way to post tracks, I'm gonna have to put that on hold.

Luckily, though, there's still plenty of other things I can post/write/link here, and I'm happy to announce that Shot of Rhythm will be resuming regular service as of this evening.

So, we're hours away from the relaunch, and I hope your patience will be rewarded.

On the box right now: Traveling Wilburys, COLLECTION, Disc 1.


Dove With Claws [11:33 AM]

[ Thursday, May 31, 2007 ]


Hold that thought...

I'll be back soon...

Dove With Claws [11:58 AM]

[ Sunday, May 20, 2007 ]


Gangsta boogie

I've recently realized that Johnny "Guitar" Watson's "Gangster Of Love" is on the short-list of my favorite songs in the world. Funny, brash, assertive, vulnerable, and funky as hell. I thought I might pay tribute to the tune, and I can think of no better way of doing this than following it down its own path...

He first cut it in 1957, as a single for Keen Records. Like much of the blues, R&B and rock-n-roll from the period, the track sounds alive, awake and ready to roar.

"Gangster Of Love" (1957)

He then revisited it in 1978, in the heart of his grossly underappreciated funk period. This time, as befits a song twenty years down the line, "Gangster Of Love" sounds more like the Texas juke joints where Watson trained and made his name. The joy and jokes are still there, but this time Watson seems more willing to slow down the groove, and ride that pony all the way across the borderline.

"Gangster Of Love" (1978)

Of course, the way I first heard "Gangster Of Love" was through another mighty Texas guitar-slinger, Jesse Taylor, who used to do this number as a solo spotlight when he was gigging with any number of his famous employers. I saw him do it with Joe Ely in Austin in 1996, and - even though the entire show was good enough to remain one of the best I've ever seen - Taylor's version of "Gangster Of Love" was particularly smokin'. It was thus an unbelievably pleasant surprise to find a YouTube video of Jesse doing "Gangster Of Love," albeit at a different gig than the one I saw, and - just as I remembered hit - he captures the combination of love-machine boasting and laughin'-to-keep-from-cryin' humor that makes this song, ever more so, a pick to click in my neck of the woods.

Check it out...

ADDENDUM: I wasn't gonna post the Geto Boys' infamous "Gangsta Of Love," not because I don't love the track, but because it's not the same song as Watson's "Gangster Of Love." Of course, as Mr. C points out in a comment below, that's a pretty dumb reason to leave it off, especially since - like Watson - there are two versions of the Boys' raw blues, the first from their indie-label debut, and the second from their first Def American album. I'm not exactly sure why they switched the sample between versions - the first is based around the Steve Miller Band's "The Joker" (and its namesake lyric), the second quite brilliantly founded on Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" - but the changeover in sound (and in the addition of Bushwick Bill to deliver the tune's second verse) makes the latter my favorite. The collected Geto Boys' "Gangsta Of Love"s are certainly less overtly playful, and more patently offensive, than "Guitar" Watson's, but they share the same trickster-ish sensibility and - most importantly - the blues' vulnerable braggadocio. Gangsta boogie, gangsta boogie!

Geto Boys - "Gangster Of Love"

Geto Boys - "Gangsta Of Love"

On the box right now: Johnny "Guitar" Watson, THE FUNK ANTHOLOGY, Disc 1.


Dove With Claws [2:55 PM]

[ Thursday, May 17, 2007 ]


Summertime soundclash

Here are a few brand-new hip-hop cuts to help get the new season off to a grooving start. The Eve and Yung Joc tracks are both new singles, Eve's "Tambourine" a glorious return to form, and Yung Joc's "Coffee Shop" a surprisingly memorable follow-up to Joc's previous monster hit "It's Goin' Down." The Common and Obie Trice cuts are as-yet-unreleased. I'm not sure where Trice's graceful and beautiful "Detroit Summer" is gonna end up, but Common's "The People" is from his upcoming new album, FINDING FOREVER, which (like the last one) is produced by Kanye West, and which is highly anticipated around these parts.

Open those windows and turn it up...

Common - "The People"

Eve - "Tambourine"

Obie Trice - "Detroit Summer"

Yung Joc (feat. Gorilla Zoe) - "Coffee Shop"

On the box right now: Nick Lowe, AT MY AGE. Life is good...more later...


Dove With Claws [11:52 AM]