Shot Of Rhythm

[ Thursday, June 15, 2006 ]


Cats take cracks at tracks from Fats

In honor of a heavily New Orleans music week around my way - between the Costello/Toussaint concert and Springsteen last night, plus a heavy rotation of Lee Dorsey, Irma Thomas, Lil Wayne and others - I figured I'd spotlight three versions of songs most famously done by Fats Domino, here expertly performed by three of N'awlins' other R&B luminaries (in versions that both pre- and post-date Fats' cut). I'm particularly fond of Bobby Mitchell and the Toppers' near-rockabilly take on "I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday."

Oh, and speaking of Springsteen...simply monumental. The 21st-century Sun Sessions. On this tour, he tells the story of American music the way it should've been told in the first place, vibrant cross-currents in intense call-and-response. Mash-ups across genres and eras, fluidly interactive instrumentalists, angel-choir harmonies, and the deepest rhythms he's ever come near. (Plus a simply astouding, Irish/gospel re-work of "Further On Up The Road" that deserves its own place in the hall of fame...can't wait for the mp3s for that one.)

Tomorrow morning, if all goes to plan, I'm heading to Mississippi for a couple days, so this'll be the last post until next week. Y'all behave yourselves.

Roy Brown - "Let The Four Winds Blow"

Smiley Lewis - "Blue Monday"

Bobby Mitchell and the Toppers - "I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday"

On the box right now: Lee Dorsey, YES WE CAN CAN. I know we can, I know we can, great gosh almighty, if we wanna, yes we can can...


Dove With Claws [9:11 PM]

[ Wednesday, June 14, 2006 ]


New release round-up

-First this week is a track from the new Alison Moorer, produced by Moorer's new hubby Steve Earle. You can hear Earle's brand of gloriously messy Stones-twang all over the new effort, and no more so than on the kick-ass lead-off track, "Work To Do," one of those great break-up songs that never seem to go out of style. Luckily, despite Earle's obvious involvement, Moorer's core talents as a singer and songwriter haven't been dulled at all.

Alison Moorer - "Work To Do," from GETTING SOMEWHERE

-Next is a track from the new gospel album from The Del McCoury Band, my choice for the best bluegrass group in the world, and right up there with the best ensembles from any genre. One nice thing about THE PROMISED LAND, which - amazingly - is the spiritually-minded DMB's first all-gospel effort, is that they've chosen to stay away from any old gospel warhorses, instead focusing on lesser-known material, half of which was written by famed songwriter Albert Brumley. This track, though, was written by Billy Walker, and is a fine demonstration of the high-lonesome beauty at the core of all McCoury projects.

Del McCoury Band - "We Know Where He Is," from THE PROMISED LAND

-Finally, another track from Busta Rhymes' new one. Last week, I posted his duet with Rick James, and it seems fitting to complete the Bussa-Buss twofer with his collaboration with Stevie Wonder. THE BIG BANG is a fine effort, and its highlights are rich. This is a perfect example.

Busta Rhymes (feat. Stevie Wonder) - "Been Through The Storm," from THE BIG BANG

On the box right now: Various Artists, SOUL GOSPEL 2. Soul Jazz Records is one of the best archival labels currently running, and this latest collection of intersections between gospel and soul artists (covering both religious and secular music) is another big winner. I might post a couple from this in a few days.


Dove With Claws [10:45 AM]

[ Sunday, June 11, 2006 ]


Hard-drivin' man

Here are four recent favorites that I've kept spinning on the lap-top lately.

First is the Lil Wayne cut that I spoke of yesterday, and it is quite a winner.

Lil Wayne (w/DJ Drama) - "Georgia Bush"

Second is a fiery little bit of rockabilly from Brenda Lee, proving that Little Miss Dynamite could stand toe-to-heeled-toe with any of the get-gone cats and kittens.

Brenda Lee - "Let's Jump The Broomstick"

Next is one of the biggest country hits of all time, "The Three Bells" by The Browns, which is also one of the most musically unusual smash hits of all time. The verses aren't that unique, in fact they're even somewhat hackneyed, but the introductory sections - built around close harmony that mirrors the shape-note singing from which much country harmonizing springs - still sound like they're from outer space. No wonder that the always-cagey music supervisors on THE SOPRANOS used this song in the past season on a few occasions, marking one of the rare instances when a song appears repeatedly, as a kind of overture. Couldn't have happened to a better song.

The Browns - "The Three Bells"

Finally, The Mavericks - whose leader, Raul Malo, has one of the great voices in modern music - doing a raucous live take on "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." There's no better fit for this song than Malo and the Mavs, and they find the emphatic spirit that, from the African roots through the American rip-offs, never abandoned this melody. I saw Malo play a solo show last week, and he's in as fine voice as ever. His new album, a covers set due next month, looks to be a monster.

The Mavericks - "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"(live)

I've also added a new link on the left, to my friend and top-notch artist/designer Michael Cepress' blog, A Seamster's Summer.

By the way, although I'm sure y'all are sick of hearing it, I really do plan on responding to Carl Wilson's remarks on the Merritt post from a while back. Cheap promises, but sincere...

On the box right now: Elvis Costello/Allen Toussaint, THE RIVER IN REVERSE. I saw the US tour opener last night, and I think I can securely say that this is a tour very much worth seeing. Toussaint is wonderful, Costello seems as happy as he has in a long time, and the Crescent City Horns are nothing less than MVPs. The new songs sound much better live, and both songwriters' originals (Costello and Toussaint get nearly equal due in the set) benefit from the others' involvement: Toussaint's takes on "A Certain Girl," "Fortune Teller" and others demonstrate Costello's love of both the originals and the Brit cover versions, and Costello's songs all benefit from Toussaint's horn arrangements. (He absolutely transforms "Tears Before Bedtime," "Bedlam" and "Pump It Up," among others.) Celebratory, funky, beautiful, angry, spiritual...full of pure second-line bliss. See this tour; perfect complement to the Springsteen shows.


Dove With Claws [11:55 AM]