Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thank You For Talkin To Me Africa

Runnin' Away

Spaced Cowboy


Songs of The Day

Time:  I really love this groove.  It's by far the most mellow and laid back of the album, yet it keeps the funky standard that has been present throughout.  The first line is so fantastic, "time needs another minute, at least" - so good.  I love how subtle everything is, and Sly's voice only enhances that.  His voice covers every range in this one, and it's really great.  Love his lower register - so sultry.  There's such a sexiness to it all, but it's not in the forefront, which I find really awesome.  So, so solid.  Lovin it.  Wish it were longer.

Spaced Cowboy:  Man, this is a weird groove.  Totally funky, but there are so many different styles mixed up in it!  Bossa drums (which my brother told me was the first drum machine recorded on an album), blended with funky guitar, and then country bass...and yodeling?  "There once was a bore that was a social whore" - that is one strange lyric.  Holy moly, what drugs were these guys on?  Great harmonica solo.  I like it, but I think it's gonna need a couple more listens before I'm not longer confused as to what's going on.  The blunt cut off it weird too.  Confuzzled.

Runnin' Away:  This song is silly, maybe I just think that because "hahahaha" and "hehehehe" are repeated lyrics.  Or maybe it's the opening line "runnin away to get away, hahahaha, you're wearin out your shoes."  Silly Sly & The Family Stoners.  I dig the staccato rhythm to the melody, it's funky.  Also love how the groove lays back for the lyrics, and then they jam out during the break.  This groove has a much happier feel than the rest - I wish it were grittier.  I'm needing more funk with this one.  These last two are probably my least favorite on the album.

Thank You For Talkin To Me Africa:  So when this song started, I was confused as to why I had heard this before even though my iTunes was telling me I hadn't listened to it yet, but aha! I figured it out!  This is essentially a slowed down version of their hit "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" and man is it funky.  It was already funky sped up, but this slower groove gives the bass a really nice weight to it that I can really get down with.  Just an overall solid funk groove.  It sounds like this was just a jam-type situation, and it works oh so well.  Love that the vocals are so subdued.  Great way to end the album.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Family Affair

Africa Talks to You "The Asphalt Jungle"

Brave & Strong

(You Caught Me) Smilin'

Songs of The Day

Family Affair:  I would hope that everyone at least knows this Sly song, seeing as it's their most popular hit.  And rightfully so, it's a great tune.  I love the smokiness of Sly's voice on this one, it adds a great texture to the smooth feel of the groove.  Everything about this groove is very subtle, which I think makes it really great.  Great keys part, I wonder if it's Sly or Billy Preston playing.  There's a lot of great play with rhythm going on here.  Subtle funk, I love it.  Such a solid tune.

Africa Talks to You "The Asphalt Jungle":  Man, these cats were on some shit when they wrote this album.  This song lyrically makes no cot damn sense, but who cares, it's funky and I dig it.  Love all the different guitar grooves on here.  Ike Turner gets guitar credit on this album, I wonder if his abusin ass played on this tune.  I love the group vocals on this one, especially for "timber" - there's a great quality to their blend.  Dig the organ part.  Great vocal "wawa"s, love when vocals are used to emulate different instruments.  My only issue with this track is how long it is.  It's 9 minutes, which is pretty damn long, and even though there's a great build up when the vocals are present, there isn't much of one when it's just the band jamming.  I think a better build up or a groove switch would have benefited this track.  Still mad funky though.

Brave & Strong:  I love that Sly starts so many of the songs with screams - really grabs your attention to the tune.  I can't understand a single thing homie is singin, but it sounds funky, so that's good.  Looked up the lyrics, and again, don't make any sense.  Sounds like he's on drugs, which would not be too far fetched of an assumption.  But hey, those were the times, I'm not hatin.  Love that there are horns in this one, nice lil addition.  Larry Graham is gettin nice n funky on the bass on this, and I dig it.  Nice build to this one.  Solid.

(You Caught Me) Smilin':  This is one of my favorite Sly songs.  It's so sweet and simple, and really makes you smile just based on the groove alone.  I love the phrasing of "you caught me smilin...again" that space really does wonders to the melody.  Great dynamics with the horns - they provide a really nice feel to the tune.  Great overall build on this one, just to be brought down for the melody - so sweet.  Lovin Sly's screams on this one, they contrast the sweetness of the groove.  Such a good tune.

Shameless Self-Promotion

a new original i wrote.  check it if you like :)  full band (Cosmodrome) version coming soon!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Luv N' Haight

Just Like A Baby

so sexy.


Songs of The Day

Luv N' Haight:  Shout out to my old hood Haight Street in San Francisco for this one (makes complete sense seeing that this is an sf band).  This is a great opening groove, it definitely gives you a good set up for Sly's sound.  Love funk done right, and this sure is done right.  I love the happy feel the B section provides - it's a nice mood change.  There's a nice consistency to the groove that I really like, everything is cohesive.  Harmonies are great.  They just all sound like they're having a fantastic time, and that's makes listening to it fun.  Love the ending build.  Great start.

Just Like A Baby:  Boy oh boy is this some sexy funk.  Great mellow feel to this that makes you just want to sit back and relax with a glass of wine and a doob.  I love the distance Sly's voice has on this song in particular (that effect occurs on a lot of their tracks) - it adds an extra sultriness that is nice.  Great blues feel to it.  I have a feeling many a baby have been made to this track.  Oh hey major, what a nice lil happy surprise you are!  The small minor to major feel is the perfect lil somethin.  Love the faint organ that starts to creep in at the end.  Solid, solid tune.

Poet:  This is another mellow funk feel, but much different than that preceding it.  More umph to this one.  The rhythm section is playing with their rhythms, which I really dig.  There's not much to this groove, but that's what I like about it - it's nice and simple, and still so, so funky.  I also dig that there is much more focus on the groove than the lyrics with these tunes.  Nice build at the end.  A good car ride tune.  Dig it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Album Factoids

There's A Riot Goin' On

Released: November 20, 1971
Genre: Funk
Label: Epic
Producer: Sly Stone

Week 47: Sly & The Family Stone

My brother, Taylor has been on my ass about reviewing this album, and since he's home, I thought I'd grant his wish (what are little sisters for anyway?)  So, Sly & The Family Stone, I really hope that everyone following this blog has heard their music, but if not, I'm glad to be the person introducing you.  I'm pretty familiar with the classics from Sly, but I've never listened to a full album, so I'm excited to take a listen to these funk icons.  Sure to be a fun week.

This Weeks Album...

yea, it's time to get funky.

FInal Grade: C/C+

Man, talk about underwhelming!  With forces such as these behind this project, I was expecting a lot more.  Granted, when I first heard "Otis" I thought it was overrated, so I guess I'm not entirely surprised, just disappointed.  I do really appreciate Jay and Kanye's attempt to blend different styles into their beats and not sticking to what many would assume is "hip hop," but even so, a lot of the grooves fell short.  There were many instances where I felt that with some editing, the beat could have been on point, but there were too many unnecessary additions leaving many sounding cluttered.  I think that Kanye outdid Jay on this one.  I mean, how many times do we have to hear Jay say "all black everything" - I think we get the point.  "Otis," "Gotta Have It," and "New Day" are my favorite tracks.  Everything else... pretty blah.  Definitely leans more towards the C than the C+ of the grading spectrum.