Monday, June 29, 2015

Back the Geto Boys!

Holy fuck, just stumbled upon this while finishing up research for my last post. The Geto Boys are fucking back and need you to help fund their reunion album Habeas Corpus. While I wish Ready Red would be part of the gang I will take it. Check out their Kickstarter site - 15 days left as I write this...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

F#@* 'Em

With the 25th anniversary of the Geto Boys' eponymous Def American debut looming, I decided to take a cue from a fellow blogger and add another entry into the "Songs Someone Taught Us" series. The year was 1990 and Def American released quite possibly the finest rap record in history. The Geto Boys. Sure, "Ghetto" Boy purists consider it more of a remix album then a legit new LP (although other than possibly "Size Ain't Shit" all of the Grip It! On That Other Level tracks were revamped and re-edited into vastly superior versions) - it still stands as the group's best work and a standard for pretty much any other hip-hop album to aspire. I was surprised to learn how much material was sampled to create The Geto Boys, while mostly funk tracks featuring James Brown as vocalist (or in some other major role) there are some real surprises once you deconstruct the songs. Billy Squier? "My Girl"? After listening to the album over and over while culling the below tracks I now can't hear a sample without thinking of its origin. So while this is not quite a collection of originals that a band covered (à la my previous Metallica and GG Allin posts) it's a window into what D.J. Ready Red's record collection must have looked like and got that Houston studio bumping way back in 1989.

Here's the song-by-song breakdown:

A1. Fuck 'Em
        • "Breakthrough” by Isaac Hayes
        • "Rocket In The Pocket (Live)" by Cerrone
        • "Kool Is Back" by Funk, Inc.
A2. Size Ain't Shit
        • "Blow Your Head" by Fred Wesley And The J.B.'s
        • "Mt. Airy Groove" by Pieces Of A Dream
A3. Mind Of A Lunatic
        • "Givin' Up Food For Funk" by The J.B.
        • "Funky Drummer" by James Brown
        • "Batman: Stacked Cards" by Joey Lapidos
A4. Gangster Of Love
        • "The Joker" by Steve Miller Band
        • "I Walk On Gilded Splinters" by Johnny Jenkins
A5. Trigga Happy Nigga
        • "Memphis Soul Stew" by King Curtis
        • "Love The Life You Live" by Kool And The Gang
A6. Life In The Fast Lane
        • "The Big Bang Theory" by Parliament
        • "Girl In The Hot Pants" by The Soul Brothers Inc.
        • "The Big Beat" by Billy Squier
A7. Assassins
        • "Apache" by Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band
B1. Do It Like A G.O.
        • "Superfly" by Curtis Mayfield
        • "Apache" by Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band
        • "Scorpio" by Dennis Coffey And The Detroit Guitar Band
        • "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved" by James Brown
B2. Read These Nikes
        • "It Takes Two" by Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock
        • "You Can Have Watergate Just Gimme Some Bucks And I'll Be Straight" by Fred Wesley And The J.B.'s
        • "Funky Drummer" by James Brown
        • "Funky President (People It's Bad)" by James Brown
        • "My Girl" by The Temptations
        • "Batman: Stacked Cards" by Joey Lapidos
B3. Talkin' Loud Ain't Saying Nothin'
        • "Talkin' Loud & Sayin' Nothing" by James Brown
        • "Skin Tight" by Ohio Players
        • "Theme From The Planets" by Dexter Wansel
        • "South Bronx" by Boogie Down Productions
B4. Scarface
        • "Blues & Pants" by James Brown
        • "Ashley's Roachclip" by The Soul Searchers
        • "Gimmie What You Got" by Le Pamplemousse
        • "Different Strokes" by Syl Johnson
B5. Let a Ho Be A Ho
        • "Money" by Pink Floyd
        • "Impeach The President" by The Honey Drippers
B6. City Under Siege
        • "The Message From The Soul Sisters" by Myra Barnes
        • "Think (About It)" by Lyn Collins
        • "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)" by The Hillside Singers

For those with sharp eyes, yep there's a children's Batman 7" record on the list. Packaged with a comic book, it was a 70's vinyl version of the "Read-And-Listen" shit kids have loaded on their iPads today. It supplies all of the "he's a paranoic who's a menace to our society" samples  - which up to this day I assumed were from some obscure B-movie. Who in the Geto Boys owned that record? I debated including it since it runs a little long but was so surprised at the discovery I felt I had to. And upon listening to this catalog you'll find that it could have sufficed as sample material for a whole multitude of famous rap songs from back in the day (Public Enemy being one of the more consistent repeat clients). While some of the tunes are far from something I'd listen to on a daily basis, all have their moments, and most of the funk stuff is truly amazing. Interestingly, I just read a somewhat recent interview with Scarface in which he pledges a Geto Boys reunion LP if Rick Rubin would produce. Rick, are you reading?

7/11/15 update: Since my latest post was actually for Mr. Scarface Is Back I went ahead and updated the "album" cover for this one. Looks a ton better in my opinion. Enjoy.

Part I                                        Part II                                        Part III

Monday, June 22, 2015

Raw Dog Style

Completely overlooked West Coast supergroup debut featuring the indomitable Keith Korg (Kool Keith), Ice Oscillator (Ice-T who raps light years better on this record than anything else in his solo catalog), Marc Moog (Mark Live - a producer most known for his work with Ice-T), Silver Synth (Kool Keith protegé Black Silver) and Rex Roland JX-3P (Pimp Rex). While the latter three of the quintet may be mere plankton in the vast hip-hop ocean, Kool Keith kills (as usual) on this record and I simply cannot get over fucking Ice-T. Where the fuck was this guy on all of his records?!?! He raps with a smart fluency and keeps with the fast-ass rhythms like a pro. Man, it is so refreshing not to hear Ice simply brag about himself for 60 minutes! Of course the music sounds exactly like the evil synthesizer shit Kool Keith was dropping at the time (Spankmaster anyone? You'd be hard-pressed to convince me that this album was anything but Keith's idea...) but it flows great and the rappers give more than enough time to each other's skills. The one thing that I can't get over is my obsessive opinion that someone in the posse is the deep-voiced dude from Jurassic 5...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Smackin' a brick across your crown...

Regardless of how you feel about the short-lived genre that was nü metal or the whole seedy music business selection process in general (and this was years before fucking American Idol), I still have a soft spot in my heart for Fairfax, VA rockers Sev. A local band crushing cities up and down the Eastern corridor, they were the first group signed by Farmclub - a web/TV show/record label hybrid (which back in 2000 was huge). Farmclub was backed by the heads of Interscope and Geffen respectively - Sev got the record deal, a $300K budget and their future was brighter than a thousand IEDs. Amazingly, the WWF of all things destroyed their future. "Monday Night RAW" (originally airing the hour before Farmclub TV) switched networks and the forgotten music show tanked without its drunken redneck regular viewers. Sev got pushed to Geffen which had no interest in the group and put their mainstream debut on hold until 2002 with little to no support whatsoever. Amazingly, an epic lifeline came along in the color of a blue soda - Pepsi was gearing to launch the then-revolutionary Pepsi Blue and picked Sev's "Same Old Song" out of every other song on the fucking planet to helm the worldwide advertising campaign. But lightning does strike twice. Pepsi Blue tanked. Badly. Along with the advertising campaign and any last shred of Sev's musical future. The band changed/lost a few members and tried to record a follow up to Geffen's All These Dreams but it all finally fell apart in 2007. A repectable website is still maintained by the band which offers a whole bunch of unreleased material left over from the post-Geffen days as well as Farmclub-era demo stuff. While a tad dated style-wise, the early 2000 stuff fucking kills, solid nü metal before the genre got agonizingly boring. The late-2007 material struggles - a band trying to come to terms with their extraordinary bad luck. Unbelieveable. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


While I'm sure this was ripped straight from bootleg and has little to offer slavish fanboys of Slipknot's eponymous 1999 Roadrunner debut, MFKR is a refreshingly bold experimental record from a band that simply hadn't yet found its niche (or the all-encompassing influence of Ross Robinson). There is the funky "Confessions" more suited for a Mr. Bungle record, "Only One" dabbles in the nü metal genre they'd eventually be associated with (a smirk-inducing white boy rapping opus that would make even Fred Durst groan) and "Do Nothing" - an epic jazz/death metal amalgam with Ministry-esque vocals to totally fry your mind. As a whole, the glue of the record is still metal - actually very Metallica-sounding metal that seems a tad dated, even in 1996. My biggest problem with the album (and the reason its recording budget ballooned to almost $40K) is the piecemealing together of the drums and overdubs. It simply doesn't sound quite in time. An excuse could be made in the fact that there is a lot going on in the songs but that problem has plagued Slipknot for years (I almost found Iowa unlistenable at times simply because there was so much shit going on on once). Fans of Slipknot will either love or hate proto-versions of "(sic)" (they way-too-long opener simply titled "Slipknot") and "Tattered & Torn", but unbiased prog metal fans could be pleasantly surprised if they can get around the somewhat unrefined production (revisionist band history now considers this a demo record). I chuckled upon finding out that none of the members still own a legit pressing of this record. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Who's The Next Maggot?

Was this album underrated? I know they got some MTV play (and controversy) with "Freedom Got An A.K." but I have yet to meet anyone over the last 23 years who actually owned, much less liked this record. And what a shame. Two of the trio (J-Dee and T-Bone) backed up Ice Cube on his AmeriKKKa's solo debut, bringing on Shorty to round out the threesome in 1992. While sounding a whole lot like what Ice Cube was releasing at the time (thanks both to Sir Jinx's stellar production and constant uncredited appearances by O'Shea himself), Guerillas easily stands on its own with both solid beats and some arguably harsher lyrics than what other L.A. rappers were spitting out on major label LPs (I tell ya, it's still feels somewhat weird to this day being a white guy enjoying this record but what can ya do). Regrettably, J-Dee was sent up the river on a murder charge and the group was forced to find a replacement in Maulkie (of Yomo & Maulkie fame) the next year. Their 1994 follow up is pretty solid but doesn't touch this amazing debut. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Chocolate Town

Undeniably Ween's finest hour. 2003 was both the best and worst year in my life (besides signalizing my turning 30 that is). Best: the girl I absolutely loved at first sight from the day I ever layed eyes on her actually took me up on my standing 2-year offer to grab a drink. Our whirlwind relationship (which is a whole other demented blog post) started at that point and never let up for one second over the next two years. Worst: My crazy ass dog - a giant Shepherd/Collie mix who was the most loyal friend I ever had needed to be put down after struggling with hip dysplasia for so long I can barely remember him being normal. I also watched my career collapse right in front of my eyes and had two good friends kill themselves within weeks of each other. For the latter half of this crazy year I had Ween's Quebec as my constant audio ally. Alternatively depressing, uplifting, happy, sad - the seemingly innocent songs on this album morph into whatever you want them to be. Starting with the barnstorming "It's Gonna Be A Long Night" (Deaner's cock-rock bar band ode long before it got tiring) and including such New Hope classics as the goose-bump inducing "Happy Colored Marbles" (possibly their best song ever?), "I Don't Want It" and the ultimate closer "If You Could Save Yourself (You'd Save Us All)" - Quebec is less of an album than a good friend. I have listened to a million LPs in my life and this one is truly at the top of the list. Even the outtakes and B-sides are show-stoppers - I included the epic "Mountains and Buffalo" as well as "Ooh Va La" for completists out there. The brownest Ween album since the Chocolate And Cheese days - and the musical pinnacle from a band I had figured had already done it all. In 2011 Deaner released Caesar online - a 2CD collection of outtakes and demos from the Quebec recording sessions - what a treat to hear. Who knows why some of the tracks didn't make the cut - "Hello Johnny" being a personal fave - but such is the enigma of the Boognish. Ween slowly unraveled after Quebec both personally and musically - 2007's odd The Friends EP left a lot to be desired. But seriously though - how can you top perfection? God, I wished I'd married her...

Studio                                                              Demo

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Get off my case motherfucker!

As I've droned on about in other pages of this blog I'm a huge fan of Italian cannibal/zombie horror and have been ecstatic seeing some of the more notable "classics" get the deluxe re-release treatment on Blu-Ray. Movies that were only seen as a scratched, beaten negative in the smelliest dives on 42nd Street or via cloudy nth-generation VHS dubs are now being scanned into high-def with a host of fun bonus shit for sleazeophiles like me. Umberto Lenzi was the auteur behind 1981's Cannibal Ferox (astute trash cinema historians will know it by its VHS title Make Them Die Slowly), a poor man's cash-in on Ruggero Deodato's epic Cannibal Holocaust. While much has been written about the two directors' individual style, Lenzi was clearly the knock-off king of the two, riding an established genre wave to its inevitable completion. Cannibal Ferox effectively ended the minor Italian cannibal cinema renaissance - it's a mean-spirited canker sore of a film that features absolutely no likeable characters spitting spiteful dialogue from one to another with contempt and a sneer. It's a riot. And that's not even counting the inescapable violence that supposedly got this gem banned in 31 countries. Gluing the whole thing together is a solid synth-funk soundtrack by one "Budy Maglione," also known as composer Roberto Donati. Donati was a Lenzi regular in the early 80's, scoring his other cannibal/Guyana mishmash Eaten Alive! and oddball comedy Daughter of the Jungle. While nowhere near as coherent a soundtrack as provided by Riz Ortolani for Deodato's jungle films, Donati effort is much more poppy and terribly catchy. Some of the NYC jingles almost sound like they were recorded for some 1980's L'eggs commercials - they are that kitzchy (to be honest I think Donati was trying to sound like Ortolani's "Do It To Me" from La Casa Sperduta Nel Parco but that's just me). Anyways, the actual soundtrack is only 20 minutes or so long but there are a host of alternate takes to keep you interested - enjoy a trip down tit-piercing, dick-cutting, brain-eating memory lane.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Doorway To Freedom

Scored this 7" as a bonus from the very nice folks at Not Very Nice Records, a wicked old-school throwback to the crossover days of the late 80's. The record opens like a fucking Spinal Tap song - imagine "Stonehenge" or something equally as epic. After a few minutes though the songs devolve into some absolutely killer moshage of which I haven't heard since the last M.O.D. show at L'Amour in '88. Of course this a ton more palatable since it only lasts a total of 13 minutes but I love hearing old school proto-Metallica/C.O.C.-esque speed metal that reminds me of the good times slumming local NJ clubs listening to one nameless thrash band after another. I cannot imagine you will be disappointed with that state of mind. Enjoy.