Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, January 13, 2007 ]


This, that and the other

January's a notoriously slow time for new records, although that's about to pick up in the next couple weeks, with offerings from Norah Jones, The Holmes Brothers and some other folks. Until then, though, there's always miscellaneous treats to be found for those who know how/where to dig for them.

-Over at Beware Of The Blog, a brand-new 365 Days Project of posting strange and unusual music kicked off on New Year's Day. The fine folks over there have already found a tremendous and bizarre selection of stuff, well enough to whet my appetite for the 350-some additions to come. As their second posting, the blog uploaded the entirety of the (in)famous 1977 special, Beatles Forever, in which Tony Randall, Mel Tellis, Dihanne Carroll and others paid tribute to the Fab Four with performances of Beatles classics that, unsurprisingly, have their own distinct flavor. Hardly classics, of course (except for Ray Charles popping in to sing "Yesterday"), but definitely worth a listen. I've posted the show's 11-minute opening medley here, and you can find the rest at the above link. (Thanks to the Practical Archivist for hipping me to this site.)

Tony Randall, Bernadette Peters, Anthony Newley, Mel Tillis, Dihanne Carroll and Paul Williams - "Beatles Forever 1: Introduction and Medley"

The crew over at Notes From A Different Kitchen, one of the better hip-hop music/culture/politics sites just posted a recent track from Stephen and Damian Marley, a strikingly fresh dancehall-based track that reinvents the wheel once again. I was a definite fan of Damian Marley's 2005 debut, and this track's got me looking forward to Stephen's upcoming full-length album. Everything is everything.

Stephen Marley (feat. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley) - "Traffic Jam"

Finally, in our ongoing tribute to Timbaland, here's his latest triumph, "Ice Box," a pulsating hit for R&B singer Omarion, whose work is the very definition of "inconsistent," but who uses his aching vocal gifts perfectly here. Timbo will have to work very hard to have a better 2007 than he had a 2006, but - with more production duties and his solo, Magoo-less debut on its way - methinks that this one-man Congo Square has a shot at retaining his title.

Omarion - "Ice Box"

On the box right now: Norah Jones, NOT TOO LATE.


Dove With Claws [7:25 AM]

[ Monday, January 08, 2007 ]


2006 In Review, Part 5: East Coast MVPs

After much contemplation, I figured that the best way to end this revisiting of the past year in music was to spotlight two of the most consistently interesting and rewarding artistic collectives of 2006: The Roots, and the combined solo membership of the Wu-Tang Clan.

The Roots delivered the best album of the year, GAME THEORY, and continued to prove that they're one of the best live acts in the business with another phenomenal tour. Besides those triumphs, they dropped a few bits-and-pieces around the digital universe that deserve to be collected for those of y'all whose appreciation of the World Famous Roots Crew is deep enough to require exposure to all available manifestations of their ever-fervent creativity. Here is a Japanese-only track, "Bread And Butter," that's easily as good as anything on GAME THEORY, plus a mixtape track, "Pity The Child/Come Together," that mashes the group with The Beatles, and their apocalyptic live reimagination of Bob Dylan's "Masters Of War," which blew away the audience at Radio City Music Hall's Dylan tribute earlier this year.

"Bread And Butter"

"Pity The Child/Come Together"

"Masters Of War" (live)

Wu-Tang Clan's still nothin' to fuck with, even though the proper group's basically disbanded, and trickster prince Ol' Dirty Bastard now laughs with the ancestors. Still, both Method Man and Ghostface Killah dropped career-best albums in 2006 (Ghostface even went ahead and released a second fine record), and ODB had a posthumous career year, with guest shots on Meth's album and this fine, surprising turn-up on Rhymefest's debut.

Ghostface Killah - "Be Easy"

Method Man - "Fall Out"

Rhymefest (feat. Ol' Dirty Bastard) - "Build Me Up"

By the way, be sure to check out Living In Stereo, which pays tribute to Elvis Presley's 72nd birthday with a fine, fine piece on The King by Daniel Wolff, a friend of this blog's and the author of fine books on Sam Cooke and the history of Asbury Park, NJ, as well as providing text for some beautiful books of photography by legendary Memphis artist Ernest Withers. (Some more of Daniel's writing can be found over at Holler If Ya Hear Me.)

Now that we've given 2006 a fitting send-off, I'll be back soon with the first new stuff of the year. Don't go changin'.

On the box right now: Omarion, 21.


Dove With Claws [12:40 PM]