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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Records From Four Rappers Named "Kid"

Posted by Billyjam, June 16, 2015 08:00am | Post a Comment

Lately I have been digging in my long neglected hip-hop crates and it has been a lot of fun rediscovering a bygone era. Comprised of mostly 12" singles, but some LPs too, that era is made of mostly late-'80's to early-'90's releases. That time is known as the golden era for good reason since so much of this music is truly golden. Under the letter K I stumbled upon a string of rappers named "Kid" including Kid Named Panic, Kid Rock (back when he was rap), and Kid Sensation  as well as (pictured above) Kid Frost, Kid Capri, Kid Flash, and Kid 'N Play. Had I  been including more recent era hip-hoppers named Kid, included would have been Kid Cudi, Kid Ink, and Kid Sister or perhaps turntablist Kid Koala.

But back to those four golden era "Kid" records that I dug out to pop onto the turntable recently. These included three 12" singles and one album: Kid Flash's forgotten 1988 LP He's In Effect, which was released on Tabu via distribution from CBS and featured some great tracks like "Go Jackson" and "I Hate The Bus," as well as the main single and video off the album "Hot Like." (Note that this LP shows up in the used bins at Amoeba from time to time and usually at a nice price.) Kid Flash's career began and ended with this record (he's rumored to have gone on to become a doctor), which was because, I'm guessing, that while he was very good, his sound was nothing new or original. All the He's In Effect album tracks have a distinct mid-'80's hip-hop sound. Hence, from a hip-hop historic perspective, Kid Flash's whole style and sound contributed little to the overall development and growth of the genre.  Compare say Kid Flash to another hip-hop act also releasing an album in 1988 such as Eric B. & Rakim's Follow The Leader and you have two totally different schools of hip-hop artist. While Eric B. & Rakim's sound signalled the beginning of a new era and decade in hip-hop, Kid Flash had the end of the '80's hip-hop sound. Down with the prestigious Cold Chillin' label, Kid Capri was part of what that new hip-hop sound would be like with his 1991 12" "Apollo" release that came in both "Album" and the then popular "Dub" versions, in addition to the "Shout Outs" track.

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In Support of "Wild Nights," UK Female Quartet PINS To Play Free Show At Amoeba SF On June 16

Posted by Billyjam, June 15, 2015 08:21pm | Post a Comment

Following just two dates into their US tour (LA and NY), UK female rock group PINS play a free show and album signing at Amoeba Music San Francisco on Tuesday (June 16) at 6pm in support of their critically acclaimed second album Wild Nights, which arrived at Amoeba last week care of Bella Union.

Comprised of founding member Faith Holgate (vocals and guitar), Lois McDonald (guitar), Anna Donigan (bass), and Sophie Galpin (who replaced original member Lara Williams on drums), PINS hail from the musically rich Northern England city of Manchester. Rooted in garage rock, musically the PINS' guitar-driven, decidedly retro sound is reminiscent at times of many UK indie-pop acts as well as US indie bands Dum Dum Girls and Vivian Girls. When asked who their influences are, they typically cite (American) female artists such as Bikini Kill and Patti Smith, and others  they view as "really strong women."  Furthermore, they recorded their new eleven track album in the US at California's Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree.

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The Doobie Brothers Four Decades Later

Posted by Billyjam, June 14, 2015 12:53pm | Post a Comment
In honor of The Doobie Brothers' anticipated free show today in San Francisco for the kick-off of the new Summer 2015 Stern Grove series with the Big Picnic, where people have been arriving since early this morning to secure a seat for the free concert by the legendary band who formed in the Bay Area four decades ago, assembled below are a handpicked few of some of their greatest songs done live at shows over the years. Reportedly the band's newly kicked off tour (they played at NorCal's Ironside Winery yesterday) will include lots of Doobie classics (many rearranged) interspersed with some new compositions which is in keeping with the late 2014 release Southbound that took it back to the country rock roots with many of contemporary country music's big name stars joining them. Included were Blake SheltonToby Keith, Tyler Farr, Brad Paisley, Casey James, Charlie Worsham, Chris Young, and the Zac Brown Band - all of whom joined the Doobie Brothers along with Michael McDonald on the new album for updated renditions of favorites such as "Black Water" (with Zac Brown Band), "Listen to the Music" (Blake Shelton and Hunter Hayes on guitar), "Long Train Runnin'" (Toby Keith), "China Grove" (Chris Young), and "Jesus Is Just Alright" (Casey James). Although included on their current album Michael McDonald - the late joining former member instrumental in altering the group's whole sound/direction - is concurrently doing his own US tour. The official current Doobie Brothers tour lineup is Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, and John McFee along with a five-man band - and they sound good. Below are several of the tracks that will likely be included in today's show starting with another Bay Area concert - the Greek Theatre in Berkeley back in 1982 - when they performed "Long Train Runnin'," a live version of "China Grove" from 1973, "Listen To The Music" done live on TV's The Midnight Special, and a recent era Doobies live rendition of  "Jesus Is Just Alright."  Celebrating the beginning of its 78th season today's Stern Grove The Big Picnic show, with the California Honeydrippers opening for The Doobie Brothers, is free but limited in space. For info on upcoming concert dates by the band visit the DoobieBros website. And find the Doobie Brothers music at Amoeba.

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Rhino To Reissue The Sisters Of Mercy's "First And Last And Always" In Bonus-Packed 4 LP Box Set

Posted by Billyjam, June 12, 2015 09:55am | Post a Comment

UK rockers The Sisters of Mercy called it quits in 1993 when they went on strike against their record label, Warner, over accusations of withholding royalties. They vowed never to re-sign and therefore have left a slim discography of only a handful of releases. Fans of The Sisters will be glad to learn that next month Rhino will be releasing a four LP boxed set reissue of 1985's First And Last And Always (available for pre-order on Amoeba.com). The set's special 180 gram vinyl and digital versions will combine their classic album from 30 years ago, First And Last And Always, along with three EPs from that same mid-eighties period: Body And Soul, No Time To Cry, and Walk Away.
 
When The Sisters of Mercy signed with Warner, the band consisted of Andrew Eldritch (vocals), Gary Marx and Wayne Hussey (guitars), Craig Adams (bass), and their drum machine whom they lovingly called Doktor Avalanche. Their first release for the label was the 12" EP Body and Soul, which Eldritch described at the time as "a vision of heaven with everyone on speed." On the new reissue, two of the EP's four-tracks (the 1984 version "Body Electric" and "Afterhours") will be available again after only appearing on the original 12" single.

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R.I.P. Ornette Coleman

Posted by Billyjam, June 11, 2015 11:50am | Post a Comment

Huge loss for jazz and freeform music fans the world over with news breaking this morning of the passing of 85 year old jazz innovator / freeform icon / musical theoretician Ornette Coleman. The groundbreaking jazz  composer/alto-saxophonist, who was instrumental in changing and expanding the concept and path of jazz music, died earlier this morning, June 11th 2015, in New York City reportedly the result of cardiac arrest. In his oft times contentious music career Coleman, who in 1994 was awarded a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, completely unhinged and unsettled the conceptions of what jazz is and in so doing opened the genre up to a whole new style into something more avant-garde and adventurous, adhering less the old rules of musical structure, rhythm, and harmony.

At the start of his career his approach and style fit in with the accepted jazz norms but as time went on he began to explore new avenues and questioned the very foundation of what was considered "jazz" as he began to apply his own ideas and concepts. As noted by his Amoeba biographer Coleman developed “harmolodics,” a word and a concept that combine harmony, melody, and movement just as his music integrates them in a radical assertion of freedom for each player in an ensemble, with Gunther Schuller noting that Coleman’s “musical inspiration operates in a world uncluttered by conventional bar lines, conventional chord changes, and conventional ways of blowing or fingering a saxophone...his playing has a deep inner logic.” Consequently Coleman's influence on several generations of jazz musicians is very great.

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