Amoeblog

Longtime Grand Ole Opry Member "Little" Jimmy Dickens Has Died

Posted by Billyjam, January 3, 2015 03:45pm | Post a Comment

According to several published reports today, country singing legend and longtime regular at the Grand Ole Opry "Little" Jimmy Dickens has died. With the cause listed as cardiac arrest (following being hospitalized from suffering a stroke a week ago), Dickens died yesterday in a Nashville-area hospital at age 94. According to a press release issued by the Grand Ole Opry, he was the last living member of the Grand Ole Opry who was actually older than the radio show itself. In his long lifetime, "Little" Jimmy Dickens became famous for his novelty hit records beginning with 1949's "Take An Old Cold Tater (And Wait)," "I'm Little but I'm Loud," "Sleeping At The Foot of the Bed," and "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose" - the latter of which (a 1965 number one hit single) was reportedly inspired by Johnny Carson's Tonight Show sketch "Carnac the Magnificent." See the video interview below in which he talks about the mixed blessing of becoming known primarily for his novelty songs, as well as other topics such as what he wanted to be remembered for in life.

"Little" Jimmy Dickens, who earned his name for his diminutive stature (he stood 4' 11"), was a man with a self-deprecating sense of humor and would routinely get laughs by drawing attention to his own height with such witty catchphrases as calling himself "Willie Nelson after taxes."  Dickens first joined the Opry cast in 1948 and would stay with them right up the end making his final appearance on the Opry stage just two weeks ago on December 20th, 2014 - the day after his 94th birthday. Dickens, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983, leaves behind a back catalog of music spanning several decades as many record labels and including a few dozen singles and twelve albums in addition to a string of various artist compilations he appeared on. Look for Dickens' material at Amoeba online as well as in the Amoeba stores.

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Top 25 Hip-Hop & RnB Song for Week ending January 2nd, 2015 with #1 = Big Sean feat. E-40

Posted by Billyjam, January 2, 2015 01:45pm | Post a Comment
  


If you lack the time or patience to tune in and listen to hours of commercial pop/urban radio to know what's the most popular music in hip-hop and RnB these days - as in this week - the above 8 minute, 20 second video is a nice concise summary of the top 25 contemporary pop rap/RnB tracks - based on Billboard, select Top 40, and other current pop chart lists. Included are Nicki Minaj ("Feeling Myself (feat. Beyonce)"), Dej Loaf ("Try Me"), Rich Gang ("Life Style (feat Young Thug & Rich Homie Quan)"), Ne-Yo ("She Knows (feat Juicy J)," Flo Rida ("G.D.F.R. (feat Sage the Gemini & Lookas)"), and Big Sean's "I Don't Fuck With You (feat. E-40)" which is this week's number one song and appears in full below.



Big Sean - I Don't Fuck With You (Explicit) ft. E-40

"Mother Earth But Rock 'N Roll," Barb Retires From Amoeba To Begin New Year and New Chapter In Her Life

Posted by Billyjam, January 1, 2015 11:55pm | Post a Comment

Barb (left) with Joan Baez, Roxanne, and Karen at Leopold's in Berkeley, pre-Amoeba.

"Mother Earth but rock 'n roll…and we're all gonna miss her a lot," said Amoeba's Karen about Barb, who is set to retire this week. Following decades of being a recognizable friendly face behind the counter of Bay Area record stores (including the better part of the past two decades at Amoeba Music in Berkeley), passionate music fan and much beloved maternal figure Barbara (or Barb as most know her) is readying to begin a new chapter in her life in the new year.

When Barb began working at Amoeba Music in Berkeley in 1997, she was already an integral part of the Bay Area's rich record store scene following decades of being at Leopold's in Berkeley. She also worked at the Leopold's Oakland store on Telegraph, as well as at her husband Eddy's record store in San Francisco's Mission District. But it was at Leopold's on Durant in Berkeley where most folks at Amoeba first go to know Barb either as record store shoppers or as fellow employees.

Once a vital component of the music world, the long-gone but still missed Leopold's (profiled in two parts on the Amoeblog here and here) was where many Amoeba employees started out their record store careers before the founding of Amoeba Music. Folks such such as Roxanne and Karen (pictured above with Barb when Joan Baez stopped by Leopold's in Berkeley) as well as others including Gail, Jim Henderson, and Mark Beaver all worked at Leopold's before Amoeba. Mark Beaver along with Amoeba Marc and Karen all address the Leopold's/Amoeba connection in the short video below. 

2014 Rap Up with Mad Skillz and Timothy DeLaGhetto

Posted by Billyjam, December 31, 2014 06:53pm | Post a Comment

Call it a comeback, and a most welcome too. Skilled emcee Mad Skillz is back after hanging up the mic two years ago for his wonderful and anticipated annual Rap Up raps that he had been diligently delivering every year-end since late December 2002.  Perhaps it was due to public pressure from those who missed his always on point "Rap Up" series in which he would neatly summarizes the news events from hip-hop and sports, to politics, and beyond. Or perhaps it was that Skillz was feeling the heat from those who had stepped into his shoes such as DeStorm who did one the past couple of years (but not this year so far) or NorCal's Timothy DeLaGhetto (aka curator of the popular YouTube Channel Traphic Musik) who did a killer one this year (uploaded four days ago) out of reverence to Mad Skillz. Both Skillz and Timothy DeLaGhetto's accurate summaries of the year are below and both are well worth listening to. With many overlapping topics between the two of them they pretty much cover all the main events in current affairs, national and world news, and pop culture with naturally several rap related items touched upon.  Between the two, of which Skillz is the better (in fact his best ever!), they cover everything from Isis to the Ice Bucket Challenge, Bill Cosby to Ebola, the World Cup to Seattle winning the SuperBowl, Pharrell's hat to Dr. Dre's headphones making himi a billion bucks, weed legalization to the rise of the protest movement against police brutality with references to Mike Brown and Eric Garner and "I Can't Breathe," the Suge shooting to Kim and Kanye's antics, and the death of Robin Williams to Solange Knowles elevator outburst. Even the recent North Korea related SONY hacking got included. Check both 2014 Rap Ups out for the ultimate summation of the year we just had. Wishing you a Happy New Year and prosperous 'n healthy 2015! (Thanks to Jorge Fabel Pabon for use of his wonderful 2015 graphic above).
 

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Rare 1990 Chuck D Interview with DJ Chuck Chillout on "WDEF"

Posted by Billyjam, December 30, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment

For this week's installment of the Amoeblog's Hip Hop History Tuesdays I rewind the clock back 24 years  to December 1990 when Def Jam mailed out to journalists, DJs, and other media folk on their press promo list a cool complimentary "Merry Christmas" mixtape by DJ Chuck Chillout that was supposedly the NYC radio station "WDEF" and its show "The Rush Hour." But while both the radio show and the radio station were imaginary the cassette and all the interviews on it, including EPMD, BWP, and Pubic Enemy's Chuck D (featured here), were all very real and conducted as if on the air live by the recording artist/radio DJ who was on KISS FM at the time.

The Rush Hour
name referred to the Russell Simmons overseen artists - most on Def Jam - that were showcased on the mixtape that was a nice balance of artist interviews and music - a lot of two turntable beat juggle routines. Out of all the tape's interviews the interview with Chuck D (on behalf of Public Enemy)  was the best one and hence, when I uncovered this long lost tape in past week, decided to upload it to YouTube to feature here on the Amoeblog Hip-Hop History feature. Note that the actual Chuck Chillout/Chuck D interview would have been recorded at the end of Summer/ start of Fall 1990 - right after PE got off tour in support of their then current album Fear Of A Black Planet (their third studio album that was released on May 10th, 1990).

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