Shot Of Rhythm

[ 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]

[ Sunday, May 13, 2007 ]


Them that ain't busy bein' born...

For some reason, a rumor got started a couple weeks ago that Joe South, the legendary country-soul singer, songwriter and guitar player, had died. Now, I can't be sure that Mr. South - who's been living a life of relative exile in Hawaii for decades - is still walking among us, but absolutely no official confirmation of this dastardly rumor has been forthcoming, making me believe that it's just another urban legend. I sure hope it's just a legend, at any rate.

I thought I'd karmically counter-act these rumors by presenting a few selections from the very beginning of South's legendary career, when he was still a hungry young singer and session player for Bill Lowery's National Recording Corporation. Lowery's label is a fascinating, and far too obscure, corner of American musical history, and its small community of talented musical eccentrics included South, Ray Stevens, Jerry Reed, The Tams and Wayne Cochran, among others. A wonderful recent compilation, Kent Records' THE ROCKIN' SOUTH, captures National at the height of its powers, a transitional moment between 1950s rock-n-roll and 1960s rock-and-soul that demonstrates just how real, and yet how nebulous, the musical and personnel connections between the two eras really were.

Joe South is all over this disc, both as a performer (who, from the very beginning, struts his stuff as a fine interpreter of various genres) and session player. South's first single, "The Purple People Eater Meets The Witch Doctor," is just as wonderfully cornball as its title implies, but the other two South tracks here - "Chills" and "I'm Snowed" - demonstrate the nuanced, effective way that he crafted both his vocals and his songcraft. (He didn't write "Purple People Eater..."; that classic of late-1950s cultural paranoia was penned by Big Bopper J.P. Richardson.)

On two other cuts, South demonstrates his talents as a session guitarist, the skill that gained him his first fame, before countless artists (and South himself) lit up the airwaves with his wondrous song catalog. Ric Cartey's "Scratchin' On My Screen" is a wonderful period piece, intense country-blues shot through the frenetic prism of post-Sun Records rockabilly and live gigs on the Southern "frat circuit." South and Jerry Reed provide "Scratchin' On My Screen" with its thundering acoustic boogie. Paul Peek's "The Rock A Round" is more pure joy from rock-n-roll's moment of awakening, and the musicians on the track capture National's eclectic alchemy at its most definitive: Joe South, Jerry Reed, Ray Stevens and the legendary Esquerita all add to the chaos.

Fine, prophetic stuff from the multitalented Mr. Joe South, who (I hope) remains alive and well at the country-soul crossroads.

Joe South - "The Purple People Eater Meets The Witch Doctor"

Joe South - "Chills"

Joe South - "I'm Snowed"

Ric Cartey - "Scratchin' On My Screen"

Paul Peek - "The Rock-A-Round"

On the box right now: Amerie, BECAUSE I LOVE IT. It's gonna be hard for any single to be better than "Gotta Work"...


Dove With Claws [8:30 PM]