Monday, August 24, 2009

You may have guessed...

School started, y'all. Your homie is staying funky, but I gotsta get ready for these chilruns. In honor of the season:

Get it? They're bears.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rick James & The Mynah Birds

Did you know that Rick James and Neil Young were in a band together back in 1965, long before the days of Super Freak? Strange, but true. The Mynah Birds featured James as frontman and Neil Young and Bruce Palmer on guitar. Apparently Rick was in love with Mick Jagger's sound, which is ironic because Mick was in love with Muddy Waters' sound. If you're keeping score at home, that's a Black man imitating a White man, imitating another Black man. Funk's got some serious layers (word to Margo Crawford.)

The Mynah Birds recorded a bunch of songs and were signed to Motown (don't forget that Rick's uncle was the Tempts' Melvin Franklin). But the album was never released because Rick had actually gone AWOL from the Navy and was on the run in Toronto when he started the band. Rick did a year in the brig, Motown shelved the album, and the Mynah Birds got their wings clipped. But listening to the songs, "It's My Time," and "I've Got You in My Soul," you can't help but wonder what might have been.

You can read about the whole sordid affair in this article on Spinner.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Rock Sex rocks!

It's Friday, so you should do yourself a favor and check out Rock Sex, a blog I stumbled on that charts the connections between blues, funk, rock, soul, and whatnot. Basically, it tracks how songs get adapted by different artists across different genres and features a lot of cool music so you can hear the similarities yourself. Instead of grumbling about how an artist has "stolen" a song from someone else (although the Beach Boys robbed Chuck Berry!), the site takes an enlightened approach. According to author Tym Stevens:
"Rock'n'Soul music is a baton relayed by everyone. ROCK SEX is about all of the creative connections that link our shared culture together."
A good place to start is Al Green's Take Me to the Water, which is a personal favorite of mine. Stevens shows how Bryan Ferry and the Talking Heads both made derivations of that excellent soul cut.

But you also got to check out how he tracks the development of "Tainted Love." I'm used to the Soft Cell Version, but I did not know that Gloria Jones recorded the Soul version first. Cool stuff.