Friday, May 27, 2011

Another Day To Run

I Don't Want You On My Mind

Take It All In And Check It All Out

youtube doesnt have it.  lame.

Songs of The Day

Another Day To Run:  This is a pretty solid groove, not my favorite of the album thus far, but still good.  I like how Bill is able to add nice funk elements (like wawa) into his soul style, it's a nice balance.  This groove switches up a lot more than the previous, and I dig it.  It's got a cool pick up to it.  Towards the end it just sounds like they're groovin, and I'm groovin right there with them.  Nice vocal doubling, gives a nice boost.  Solid.

I Don't Want You On My Mind:  What an odd sounding minor guitar groove on this track... I'm intrigued.  It works for the title of the tune, because it's almost so dissonant that I don't want it on my mind, but it works.  I'm so confused!  Love it.  Cool blues feel - it's gritty, it's grimy, and it really sends a message based on groove alone.  Bill is angry, and I like it.  Mad cool.

Take It All In And Check It All Out:  This kind of sounds like a blend of the previous two grooves, which isn't a bad thing, but it almost sounds as though I've heard it before (which I have, but you get what I'm sayin).  Granted, that's something to expect with artists - they tend to use similar grooves, keys, meters, etc, because it's what they're comfortable with.  Bill knows what he's doin, so I'm not gonna hate.  This is a rather short song for an ending piece though (the two tracks proceeding this are live takes of "Lonely Town, Lonely Street" and "Let Me In Your Life"), which throws me off a bit.  Kind of a low note to end on after some really great tunes, but it's still good.

Lean On Me

Kissing My Love

live.  mmm.

I Don't Know

Songs of The Day

Lean On Me:  Ok, who hasn't played this on the piano?  I know we all have, 'cause it's so easy.  I would guess that this is probably his most popular tune.  Such a sweet song, and such a sweet message.  Classic.

Kissing My Love:  Mmmm... wawa :)  I love me some funky guitar - warms my soul right up.  I like how the instruments layer in the intro, it's got a cool effect.  Dig the strings, don't know if I need em, but I dig em.  Aw, he loves kissin his woman - how nice.  Solid groove, not much to it.  Sweet whistling at the end.

I Don't Know:  I love that this has a ballad feel, but a more uptempo back beat - makes for a very cool mix.  I like that it has a slight build to it, but it was such a tease!  I was expecting a "Try A Little Tenderness" effect, and it didn't happen.  Regardless, it's still solid.  I love how all the instruments blend together (this mix on this track is really great).  Very sweet.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lonely Town, Lonely Street

my kinda way to start off an album
live @ carnegie hall 1973

Let Me In Your Life

live @ carnegie hall in 1973

Use Me

so. so. funky.

ahh shit, live acoustic version!

Songs of The Day

Lonely Town, Lonely Street:  This is a solid way to start off an album.  It's got a simple, catchy groove, but you can tell that Bill isn't letting everything out on the table just yet - you feel the need to listen to the rest of the album.  Good call on the strings, they add to the anger of the tune, which you wouldn't typically expect from strings.  I love Bill's voice, and I always have.  He is one artist where you can feel his emotions seeping from every pore.  He really makes you feel what he's saying, which is not something you can say about many people.  I do wish that the groove as a whole switched up at least once, but since the band does slight variations every verse, it allows for enough change up.  I dig it.

Let Me In Your Life:  This is an example of a ballad done right.  Actually teared up a little bit.  First of all, it's lyrical content is very relatable - I'm sorry you've been hurt in your past, but I'm not them, so let me in your life to show you how I'm different.  Is Bill reading my mind or something?  Anyway, great writing.  The groove is also very sweet, and it's nice to hear that Bill knows how to use strings appropriately (most cases, they would probably sound pretty corny in this context).  Great ballad.

Use Me:  Ok, if you don't know this song, you've been living under a rock.  I can actually remember first getting a glimpse at this track when they used it in a Pringles commercial in like 1999, or 2000 or some shit (yall remember that?) and I've been obsessed ever since (thanks commercials!)  The drum beat on this is hands down one of my all time favorites.  It's all about the three open hi hat hits - too, too tasty.  Not only that, but the keys line (is that keys?  guitar?  I just can't tell) is so phat.  Everything is phat.  This song will never get old.  Ever.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Album Factoids

Still Bill

Released: May 1972
Genre: Soul
Label: Sussex
Producers: Benorce Blackman, Bill Withers, James Gadson, Melvin Dunlap, Ray Jackson

just look at that smile :)

Week 34: Bill Withers

Ah yes, Bill Withers - it's time.  I definitely have some Withers knowledge under my belt, but I've never sat down and listened to one of his albums.  I believe now is the time to do so.  I lost my book with my suggestions, so I just went into my "God In A Box" hardrive, and Still Bill was one of the first albums that I came across.  Luckily, I remember that my friend Linden had actually suggested this album a while back, so it all works out.  I'm ready to soak up some soul.

This Weeks Album...

time to get some soul in my life, yes?

Final Grade: A-

This is a really fantastic album.  Erykah's soul is so apparent, and you there's no way to ignore it.  My friend Joanna mentioned that I didn't talk much about the lyrics on this album (which is something I need to work on in general), but no doubt, her lyricism is on point.  Some things she says are just so simple and to the point, you're amazed that no one thought of it before.  The band on this album is groovin so hard, and you can't help but get down with them.  I only had issues with some track placement and length, but that's about as far as my serious criticism goes.  If you haven't already submerged yourself in this album - you should.

Monday, May 23, 2011

In Love With You


Bag Lady

mmm, funky

Time's A Wastin

so, so solid.

Songs of The Day

In Love With You:  This song features none other than Stephen Marley, son of the legend, and I really like what he brings to the table.  He sounds so much like his father, it's ridiculous!  Him and Erykah's voices go together really well, and his raspy tone adds a nice color to the tune.  I dig how simple the guitar part is, and it's contrasted by a pretty funky bass line (but what else would you expect from Pino?)  Love the ending scat jam, you can really hear them letting it all out.  Beautiful.

Bag Lady:  This is the most popular/successful single off of this album, and understandably so.  I actually like "Didn't Cha Know" better as a single, but this is still an awesome song.  Most would recognize the guitar sample from Dr. Dre's "Xxplosive" (1991), but it's actually a sped up/higher sample of "Bumpy's Lament" by Soul Mann & The Brothers (1971).  It works - it's just too funky.  Really like the keys part, I wish it were more present (it's almost nonexistent without headphones).  Dig the pick up (nice to hear one).  Solid harmonies.  Love em!  Cool tune.

Time's A Wastin:  I haven't quite decided, but I think that this might be my favorite track on the album.  If not the, it's definitely in the top 3.  I really dig the mellow groove going on, it's nice and relaxed while still remaining funky.  There is some weird sound in the background that I can't decipher, but I really dig it whatever it is.  It adds just a hint odd, and I like it.  I'm not 100% sold on the string part though.  I like how melodic it is and how it contrasts the other instruments, but it almost seems like too much when Erykah starts singing.  I do like when they play pizicatto though, I feel like it works better with the overall groove.  I do dig them in the B section though, they definitely work.  But then again, the B section in general is fire.  Love that the only words in it are "oh baby, we need to smile" - such true words.  The B is the perfect pairing to the A section, I don't find anything wrong with it.  So solid.

Green Eyes:  I like how this song starts out with solo Erykah, sounding like an old blues recording - very cool.  I'm sure plenty of people can relate to this tune, and I think that's partially what makes it so good.  The jazz groove it gets into is very sweet, and a smart way to end the album.  Love the kind of call and response lines, they're very cool melodically.  So much flute on this album!  Dig.  Erykah just sounds very sweet, and you can hear sorrow in her voice.  Love how the groove switches at the end - great horn addition!  Really, really sweet tune.

Green Eyes

very sweet way to end the album.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Kiss Me On My Neck (hesi)

A.D. 2000

Orange Moon

Songs of The Day

Booty:  This is a solid groove.  I really dig the hits going on, especially with the horns - it gives the tune a funk element that the others don't have.  I also really like how simple the melody is, it really lets the groove shine.  The only thing I would add is a bigger build-up, it's all a tad too consistent, but aside from that this is a super solid track.

Kiss Me On My Neck (hesi): ...which blends seamlessly into this track - very cool.  Another simple groove that's got a good feel to it.  Dig the return of the flute.  Something's a little different about Erykah's tone on this track, and I dig it - it's got a cool gritty feel to it.  Also, the context of this tune is on point - PREACH.  Cool African-like percussion towards the end, followed by the cool jam.  Like "Booty," I think the song is a little too long for the groove to not really switch up at all.  Cool track, regardless.

A.D. 2000:  Oooh yay, a ballad!  I dig it!  Such a sweet acoustic guitar/vocal opening - it really set the tone for the track.  I love when everything else comes in though, it's the right touch.  I really dig the keys sound, it gives the track a cool feel.  Nice pick up in the second verse and in the bridge.  I dig the sensuality to this song, it's sexy without being too much.  Very cool.  Like that it returns to the original guitar/vocal opening in the end, it was a good way to bring the song full circle.

Orange Moon:  Another ballad, I think this track is very pretty, but I don't know how I feel about it being directly after "A.D. 2000."  In the original track listing, these two tracks were pretty much on opposite ends of the album, this track originally proceeded "Penitentiary Philosophy" and I think it should have stayed that way.  Especially considering the length of this track, it just seems a bit much to put these two ballads back to back.  That being said, I do really like this track.  It's got a very simple groove, and Erykah really sells the feeling of this one.  I also dig the jazz vibe that's going on here - very sweet.  Good track, but I probably would have liked it better had it been giving me release from something uptempo.