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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique, 25 Years Later

Posted by Billyjam, April 1, 2014 09:25am | Post a Comment
beastie boys paul's boutiqueHard to believe that it is already a quarter of a century since the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique was initially released, and five years since the 2009 20th anniversary deluxe reissue of that landmark second Beastie Boys album. Paul's Boutique, while widely considered the group's greatest recording, was initially considered a (commercial) flop by its label, Capitol Records, back in '89 cut to its lackluster sales in comparison to its predecessor. In fact so disappointing to Capitol were sales that, following a huge initial hype / marketing campaign, they completely stopped promoting the album. Many rap fans, drawn to group by the hits on their Rick Rubin produced 1986 Def Jam debut mega-hit album Licensed To Ill, were disappointed too. But true hip-hop fans saw/heard the brilliance of Paul's Boutique that was a distinct departure from Licensed To Ill.

Instead of Rick Rubin handling production on this sophomore release, which demanded repeated listens to fully appreciate its depth and brilliant nuances, was produced in good part by the Dust Brothers and recorded in both Los Angeles and Brooklyn over an extended period of time to ensure it came out just right and to the liking of members Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, and the late Adam "MCA" Yauch.  It did, and sure while it may not have been as commercially successful as Licensed To Ill (still a great album too) Paul's Boutique was a far greater quality recording and one that truly stands the test of time as proven by such tracks as "High Plains Drifter," "Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun," "Car Thief," "Shadrach," and "Get On The Mic." No wonder then that over the years it grew in popularity (and sales),  is regularly included high up on music lists' best albums of all time, and was reissued on its 20th anniversary.
 
Re-released five years ago to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of its initial 1989 release, the 2009 reissue of the LP reissue version was on 180 gram vinyl, in a nice two-sided, four-panel gate-fold sleeve - that revised the very original expensive gatefold pressing of the album. The 2009 reissue also included a digital download card to access bonus audio band commentary on the album that was so close to the Beasties' hearts. For instance the track "59 Chrystie Street" was titled in reference to an early residence of the Beastie Boys, back earlier in the 80's when they were young punk rockers about to morph into full time hip-hoppers.

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Music History Monday: March 31

Posted by Jeff Harris, March 31, 2014 11:04am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

Born on this day: March 31, 1935 - Musician and co-founder of A&M Records, Herb Alpert (born Herbert Alpert in Los Angeles, CA). Happy 79th Birthday, Herb!
 


On this day in music history: March 31, 1949 - RCA Victor Records releases the first commercially available 45 RPM record available for domestic sale. That first single is "Tekarkana Baby" by country music legend Eddy Arnold. Written by Fred Rose, Arnold's version of the song will top the Billboard Best Selling Retail Folk Records chart (existing prior to the Country & Western chart) for one week. The label will press the initial run of the single on clear green vinyl. RCA will develop the new format in response to Columbia Records introducing the 33 1/3 RPM long playing LP the previous year. Pressed on vinyl (or styrene, which is developed by Columbia) rather than the fragile shellac discs that 78's were manufactured from, the 7" discs will grow in popularity, eventually overtaking the 78 in sales by the mid 1950's and becoming the dominant physical single format until the end of the 1980's. Happy 65th Birthday to the 45!
 


On this day in music history: March 31, 1958 - "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry is released. Written by Chuck Berry in 1955, the semi autobiographical song will be partially inspired by his longtime piano player Johnnie Johnson, though pianist Lafayette Leake will play on the single and not Johnson. "Goode's" opening riff will be lifted from R&B pioneer Louis Jordan's 1946 hit "Ain't That Just Like A Woman." The track is recorded at Chess Studios in Chicago on January 6, 1958 and features Berry backed by musicians Willie Dixon (bass), Lafayette Leake (piano), and Fred Below (drums). Chuck Berry's version will peak at #2 on the Billboard R&B Best Sellers chart and #8 on the Pop Best Sellers chart in June of 1958. Regarded as one of the quintessential rock & roll songs, it will be covered numerous times over the years by dozens of artists. Berry's original version is included on the Voyager Golden Record (a gold plated titanium disc with messages and music recorded on it) attached to the Voyager spacecraft in 1977 representing rock & roll music. The song will also be featured in the film Back To The Future in 1985, where in a humorous plot twist Berry's fictional cousin Marvin Berry overhears the song being performed by actor Michael J. Fox (actually sung by Mark Campbell of Jack Mack & The Heart Attack) who calls his cousin to tell him he's just heard the "new sound" he's been looking for. The original single of "Johnny B. Goode" is backed with the Berry-penned "Around And Around," which will also become a rock & roll standard that is also widely covered, most notably by The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, The Animals, and David Bowie. Chuck Berry's original recording of "Johnny B. Goode" is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.
 

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Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance Tour in San Francisco This Week

Posted by Billyjam, March 31, 2014 02:03am | Post a Comment

Known to many as Tom Haverford - the character he's played for the past five years on television's Parks and Recreation - prolific actor/comedian Aziz Ansari has a lot going on in addition to his hilarious role in that popular NBC sitcom, between acting gigs, writing a book, and of course his active stand-up career. He's landed acting roles in numerous other TV shows and movies including the recently released film Date and Switch. Meanwhile his busy stand up shows have yielded releases including last year's Dangerously Delicious CD (see clip above from this 2010/11 tour of the same name) and 2010's Intimate Moments For A Sensual album- both released by Comedy Central. And likely his current stand up tour, entitled Modern Romance: A New Comedy Tour, will be released as an album and DVD too.

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Oh, Crap, Another Earthquake

Posted by Rachael McGovern, March 29, 2014 08:26am | Post a Comment

I feel the earth move under my feet

We had another earthquake last night in Los Angeles, this time a 5.1, and it came less than two weeks after a 4.4 earthquake. I don't mind the little earthquakes, but when we start getting up into 5s, I get a litlte nervous. (Side note: I held the belief that the smaller earthquakes relieve the tension along a fault line and reduce the likelihood of a larger event. The super useful and sometimes perception shattering earthquake.usgs.gov just told me that was untrue.) I actually didn't feel the 5.1 earthquake last night, but I jumped out of bed for the 4.4 and ran to a doorway. Then I thought, "Am I supposed to be standing in a doorway?"

Turns out, no, not so much. Doorways in modern buildings are generally not built super strongly, so unless you know it is a load-bearing doorway (and I would have no clue which doorway that was), standing under one isn't going to offer you much protection. The best thing to do is drop, cover, and hold on wherever you are.

If you can get under a heavy desk or table, make yourself as small as you can under that sturdy piece of furniture. Or you can crouch in an inside corner, covering your face and head with your arms. If you're outside, get into an open area, making sure to stay away from power lines, trees, streetlights, and buildings. If you're in a high-rise building, stay away from windows and elevators. If you're driving, as I was last night, stop as soon as you can without causing an accident, and stay in your car until the shaking stops. Do your best to stop in an area free of power lines, overpasses, trees, etc  - basically, keep clear of anything that might fall on you if it were to collapse in an earthquake.

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Peaches Christ Drag Show 'Return to Grey Gardens' Has L.A. Premiere

Posted by Billy Gil, March 28, 2014 04:02pm | Post a Comment

peaches christSan Francisco drag luminary Peaches Christ and “Rupaul’s Drag Race” winner Jinkx Monsoon will star in the L.A. premiere of original drag show “Return to Grey Gardens” April 5 at Wilshire Ebell Theatre.

The show starts at 8 p.m. Regular tickets are $30 in advance or $35 the day of, while VIP tickets (which grant you a seat in the VIP section, a signed “Great Gardens” program and VIP entrance at the door) are $100 in advance, $105 the day of. Get all tickets here.

TIP: If you sign up for Peaches Christ’s fanclub, you get a code for $2 off tickets. You can sign up here.

The show, which is written and directed by Peaches Christ, parodies the Maysles’ documentary Grey Gardens, about Edith Beale (Little Edie) and her mother (Big Edie), eccentric relatives of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy who bicker and live surreal lives in virtual isolation and let their house fall into disarray. The drag show is set 40 years in the future, documenting the lives of an aging drag mother and her bitter drag daughter who continue to perform for an empty house, delving into their backstories and future.

Guest stars at the show will include actor Thomas Dekker (All About Evil and Gregg Araki’s Kaboom) and L.A. drag star Squeaky Blonde. The show runs 90 minutes, with the Either Edie Costume Contest to follow, hosted by Peaches Christ and judged by Jinkx Monsoon. Audience members are invited to dress up as either Little Edie or Big Edie, so find your best silk scarf and fur coat and join in!

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