Amoeblog

"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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DJ Earworm's 2014 Mix, Another Accurate Representation of The Past Year In Pop Music

Posted by Billyjam, December 29, 2014 08:48am | Post a Comment
    

Once again as the year comes to a close DJ Earworm has unveiled his annual year-end/best-of megamix, better known as the renowned San Francisco based mashup DJ/producer's annual United State of Pop that he's been diligently producing (audio and video) for the past six years which he uploads at the beginning of each December - hence his one year period generally begins the twelfth or eleventh month of the previous calendar year. This year's mix includes such 2013 released songs as "Am I Wrong" by Nico & Vinz, "Timber" by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha,"Happy" by Pharrell, "Story of My Life" by One Direction, and "Let her Go" by Passenger. Titled United State of Pop 2014 (Do What You Wanna Do) Earworm's latest annual mega-mix mashup is another pitch perfect production that incorporates "25 of the biggest hits during 2014 in the US" and hence are as good/bad as one thought the year's pop music to be. Included are such ubiquitous songs of the year as Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass," Ariana Grande's "Problem" featuring Iggy Azalea (one of three song's the Australian born artist has in this 2014 mix), and Sam Smith's hauntingly beautiful "Stay With Me" off the soulful UK singer's album In The Lonely Hour. Other artists featured in the mix include Hozier ("Take Me to Church"), John Legend ("All Of Me"), Lorde ("Team"), Maroon 5 ("Animals"), and Taylor Swift ("Shake It Off").

Jesse Luscious' 13th Annual Joe Strummer KALX Radio Special

Posted by Billyjam, December 23, 2014 07:13pm | Post a Comment

For the past dozen years longtime KALX DJ Jesse Luscious has been programming his annual Joe Strummer Show radio special and tomorrow morning (Christmas Eve, Wednesday 12/24 from 6AM to noon Pacific time) the DJ/musician/politician, who was profiled here on the Amoeblog six years ago, will roll out The 13th Annual Joe Strummer Show for which he promises to play well-known and rare Joe Strummer tracks from his recordings  with The Clash, The 101ers, and the Mescaleros and others. Additionally this year's special will include a recently unearthed thirty year old Joe Strummer interview  on KALX. Aired live in 1984 on the UC Berkeley radio station it was conducted by DJ Bikini Babs, aka Mindela Ruby, who herself recently published a novel about punk entitled Mosh It Up.

Tomorrow's six hour Strummer special will be broadcast live on KALX and can be heard at 90.7 FM in the Bay Area and at this online link everywhere via live streaming. However there will be no archive so tune in live. It will be well worth it. I've caught previous specials and really enjoyed them. Today I caught up with the KALX DJ to ask him about the KALX special and about the great late Joe Strummer who unexpectedly died almost exactly twelve years ago on December 22nd, 2002 from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect at age 50.

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