Saturday, May 31, 2008

Smooth Criminal, Indeed...

Hat Tip to WithLeather for this Fred Astaire/Michael Jackson mashup.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

?uestlove, Tell Us How You Really Feel...

A few days ago, I posted a write-up referencing the new Stevie Wonder snippets that were recently unearthed. ?uestlove (of The Roots) has some pretty strong feelings about it. You can read the entire post on his blog; here's a snippet (and my favorite quote of the post).

"this [stuff] is under a minute (whoever has that track got the whole [thing] and need to share that [stuff] not just some “let them eat cake” and give portions.)"

The Main Ingredient's "Rolling Down A Mountainside"

I came across this song earlier today on Sirius Classic Soul (I get it free with my Dish Network package). I'm surprised that I hadn't heard it before. I'm not really a big fan of The Main Ingredient, but this track might make me investigate their music more closely.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New/Old Al Green

Al Green’s new album came out today. While that is special in itself, what makes the album more anticipated (at least by me), is that Lay It Down was produced by ?uestlove (of The Roots). ?uestlove’s idea was to create a retro- Al Green album (he’s on record as saying that the new record could be considered an extension of 1977’s The Belle Album).

In preparation for that album (which can be purchased or downloaded from Amazon), I decided to repost a few of my favorite best-music-you’ve-never-heard cuts from the good reverend.

“I’m Glad You’ve Mine” captures the essence of the Al Green sound. Tight drum sequence. Organs. Funky guitars. And Al wailing about a woman. This is off the I’m Still In Love With You album.

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” is Al’s take on country... and it sounds great (in a “sit in a dark room and drink myself to sleep” way). I’ve blogged about the Call Me album before, but I’ll say it again: if you don’t have this album, GET IT. Every track is top notch. One of the best soul records ever made.

"Strong as Death, Sweet as Love" is an interesting song. It was recorded in 1974 (around the time when he rededicated of his life to Christ), but wasn’t released until the late 80s. I’m not sure if the song is about a woman, God, or both… but regardless, it’s a great, haunting number.

Al Green - “I’m Glad You’re Mine” [Download]

Al Green - “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” [ Download ]

Al Green - “Strong as Death, Sweet As Love” [Download]

The Best Music You've Never Heard: Stevie's Visions and First Finale

I’d be the first to admit that my blogging has been sporadic at best. I guess other things - like work, family, golf, the NBA playoffs (where amazing happens), Top Chef - have been a higher priority.

Still, every once in a while, I get the urge to blog. Usually, I ignore said urge, but this time, I decided to scratch the itch – partially because of the
blogosphere’s hubbub on new Stevie music. The songs, supposedly recorded 1974 (between the Innervisions and Fulfillingness’ First Finale albums), sound like vintage Stevie – soulful, complex, and innovative. In short, not the crapola that passes for music on today’s radio stations.

Anyway, the snippets reminded me that I was supposed to be writing a series of posts about Stevie’s music. In just so happens that the next posts were supposed to be on the Innervisions and FFF albums, so the unearthing of new music makes this post even more meaningful.

But enough of my excuses.... on to the music!!!

Innervisions covers a many different issues – drug use (“Too High”), racism and social inequity (“Visions”, “Living For The City”), politics (“He’s Misstra Know-It-All”), spirituality (“Jesus Children of America”) and love. Of the nine wonderful tracks, I’ve decided to include two – the before mentioned “Too High” and one of my personal favorites, “Golden Lady”.

(Note: There’s a rumor that “Golden Lady” was written about another Life & Times favorite – Minnie Riperton, and originally planed for recording by the Temptations. No offense to Temps fans, but I’m glad this is one that Stevie decided to keep!)

The Innervisions album is my personal favorite, and while not as grand as Songs In the Key of Life, could be considered Stevie Wonder’s magnum opus. This album netted Stevie three Grammys (including Album of the Year).

Fulfillingness’ First Finale was recorded after Steve’s tragic car accident (where he was in a coma for 4 days). My personal opinion is that the tone of this album (more sparse and somber) may be due to that life and death episode. Once again, Stevie touches on familiar themes of love, politics, and spirituality – though this time with some twists. “Too Shy To Say” almost sounds like a country recording; "Bird if Beauty" has a Brazilian theme; and "Boogie On Reggae Woman" has it’s own indescribable mix of sounds. Still, it works for Stevie, as his consecutive Grammy for Album of the Year award would indicate.

I’ve included the mid-tempo ballad “Creepin’” (for famously recorded by Luther Vandross) and the great break-up song “It Ain’t No Use.”


Stevie Wonder - "Too High" [Download]

Stevie Wonder - "Golden Lady" [Download]

Stevie Wonder - "Creepin'" [Download]

Stevie Wonder - "It Ain't No Use" [Download]

Friday, May 23, 2008

Before Norton was Bruce Banner...

Ed Norton is taking over the role of Bruce Banner in the new Hulk movie. What most folks don't know is that Norton based one of his earlier roles off another Marvel character. In The Illusionist, Norton's based his character (Eisenheim) looks on Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme.

And for kicks, here's a scene from The Illusionist.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Not Your Comic Book Fan's Jean Grae...

Another hat tip to Soulbounce for this joint from Jean Grae...