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Music History Monday: November 18

Posted by Jeff Harris, November 18, 2013 11:35am | Post a Comment

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

On this day in music history: November 18, 1972 - "If You Don't Know Me By Now" by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, also peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 on December 9, 1972. Written and produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, it is the first major hit for the Philadelphia vocal quintet. Lead singer Teddy Pendergrass will initially join The Blue Notes as their drummer, but will move front and center when Harold Melvin discovers that he can sing. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes will be among the first acts signed to Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International Records in 1971. "If You Don't Know Me By Now" is originally written for the Chicago-based R&B group The Dells, but will not recording it when they can't reach a deal with their record label. Instead, it is given to The Blue Notes and is released as their second single, becoming an immediate smash on both pop and R&B radio. "If You Don't Know Me By Now" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 


On this day in music history: November 18, 1974The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, the sixth album by Genesis is released. Produced by Genesis and John Burns, it is recorded at Island Mobile Studios in Wales, UK from August - October 1974. The 23-track double LP is a concept album centering around the character Rael and his surreal odyssey while searching for his brother John. The majority of the songs are written by the band with the exception of Peter Gabriel who is largely absent from the writing and rehearsal sessions due to his wife experiencing major complications while having their first child. When Gabriel returns, he'll insist on writing and in some cases re-writing lyrics to certain songs, which will create friction between band members during the recording sessions. It will become their most successful release to date in the US and is regarded as one of the best progressive rock albums of all time. It will also be the final album to feature original lead vocalist Peter Gabriel, who will leave the band following the subsequent tour in support of the record. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway will peak at #10 on the UK album chart, peaking at #41 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA. Check out the 7" single!
 

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Big Fun In The Big Town

Posted by Billyjam, August 20, 2013 01:13am | Post a Comment

      

"It's a shame what they did to it," says Schoolly D in the above mid 80's hip-hop documentary Big Fun In The Big Town in reference to how rock & roll had become soft and watered down. "I hope that rap don't go that same route,? where they take the rawness away and just then make it too pretty," said the renowned Philly rapper (who is considered the original gangsta rapper) three decades ago, predicting how hip-hop would get co-opted, commodified, and flipped into marketable pop. 

Welcome to the first in the new weekly Hip-Hop History Tuesday Amoeblog series. What better way to start than with the above Dutch TV documentary from 1986, which resurfaced recently after being unavailable for 25 years. Last month, it was released on DVD with lots of bonus material. Broadcast in 1986 for television viewers in Holland with Dutch sub-titles, the Bram Van Splunteren directed Big Fun In The Big Town offers a brief history of hip-hop up until that point in time as well as a general state of the art to those unaware of what hip-hop/rap was all about. Additionally, it acts as a time capsule of New York City at that gritty point, offering some insights into its financially challenged state that was reflected in the music.

At that time, most of hip-hop on the radar was still being made on the East Coast in NYC and nearby urban areas like New Jersey and Philadelphia where the aforementioned Schoolly D and his DJ Code Money, captured on film in the infamous NYC Latin Quarter club, hailed from. Other key players of the genre at this point in time that are profiled include Grandmaster Flash, MC Shan, Roxanne Shanté, Biz Markie, Run DMC, and the young newcomer L.L. Cool J.  Dutch documentary director Van Splunteren was a music journalist who was clearly a big hip-hop fan. With his film crew he spent a week in New York filming artists to try to get a handle on the relatively new genre of music for his viewers back home in Europe. By that stage in its history hip-hop had bypassed the "it's a fad" stage and proven that it was an unstoppable force - but Van Splunteren, nor anyone for that matter, could have projected just how far it would go as a global culture. This film is a documentary in the most literal sense; he documented his subjects in their own environments, allowing them to speak at length without editorializing. A short but comprehensive documentary, that shows hip-hop as seen through the eyes of an outsider, Big Fun In The Big Town, has some great performances and interviews and is a must-watch for any fan of hip-hop's history.

DJ Woody's Excellent New Video Mix Shows His Love of '90's Hip-Hop & Pop Culture

Posted by Billyjam, September 4, 2012 10:03am | Post a Comment
          

           Big Phat 90's Mixtape from DJ Woody on Vimeo.

DJ Woody  is an amazingly gifted DJ who works in both audio and  video formats - and expertly in each. The UK DJ, who came to fame as an accomplished battle DJ (ITF, DMC, Vestax), not only impressively utilizes the the video scratch/mix format in the hip-hop DJ turntable tradition but this this gifted guy manages to take it  to a whole other next level. This skill he instantly demonstrates in his latest mind-blowing audio/video production above, Big Phat 90's Mixtape which is a pleasing flashback to the highlights (hip-hop and pop culture) of that bygone decade's years with many featured tracks from the first part of the decade - aka the latter half of hip-hop's much heralded Golden Era.

The instantly engaging, brand new, intricately assembled 45-minute, audio visual production is made in "video mixtape" format and, as such, is equally enjoyable to just listen to or watch and listen. Big Phat 90's Mixtape is also the 35 year DJ's salute to his favorite decade: the 1990's - hip-hop and beyond.  Fresh back in the UK from some doing some gigs in Russia over the weekend I caught up with the British talent born Lee Woodbine to ask him a few questions on hip-hop in the 90's,  and also what went into making this impressive video music mix.

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Weekly Hip-Hop Rap-Up 08.25.12: Top 5, Summer Park Jam, JJ Doom, LL Cool J, RTB, Nas, Humpty Hump's Head, KnowItAll's Kickstarter Drive

Posted by Billyjam, August 25, 2012 12:00pm | Post a Comment
JJ Doom Guvnor (2012)

Amoeba Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 08:24:12

1) JJ DOOM Key to the Kuffs (Lex Records)

2) 2 Chainz Based on a T.R.U. Story (Deluxe Edition) (Def Jam)

3) 2 Chainz Based on a T.R.U. Story (Def Jam)
 
4) DJ Khaled Kiss The Ring (Cash Money)

5) Nas Life is Good (Def Jam)

Thanks to Edwin in the Hip-Hop department at the Amoeba Hollywood store for this week's top five chart which includes with a bullet in the number one slot care of Lex Records  Key to the Kuffs  which is the highly recommended new album from JJ DOOM (aka the collective talents of Jneiro Jarel and DOOM along with some special guests) which is excellent from start to finish with tracks like "Winter Blues," "Banished" (the first track leaked from the album early this year), and "Guvnor' (single - see video above).  This latest MF Doom project follows in the tradition of such previous killer Doom collaborations as when Doom teamed up with Madlib as Madvillain and with Danger Mouse as DangerDoom. The 15 track new JJ DOOM project was conceived over the past twelve months while Doom was "in exile" over in London, England (something he references on the release including on "Borin' Convo" when he raps "The super villain get kicked out your country"). As well as the two main artists the album features such guests as Damon Albarn, Khujo Goodie and Portishead's Beth Gibbons. The album's distinctive cover art (above) is by Steve Powers (aka ESPO).

Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee Member James Bernard Happy With The Beastie Boys' Induction

Posted by Billyjam, December 12, 2011 12:56pm | Post a Comment

The Beastie Boys "Sabotage"(1994)

Besides the group members themselves one person who was very happy about last Wednesday's announcement that the Beastie Boys were among the new inductees into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame was long time hip-hop ambassador James Bernard. Bernard, a former editor at The Source magazine, is one of the members of the nominating committee for the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and, as such, responsible for nominating the Beastie Boys to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame for the 2012 list. Bernard told the Amoeblog that he was "really pleased" about the Beasties getting in but added that many of the other acts he has nominated have not been as fortunate in the final leg of the process. "We tried to get LL [Cool J] in last year and it didn't really work. We got Eric B & Rakim nominated this time," he said. "And Rakim was so happy but that [nominating] might be as far as we get."

Bernard added that he was also happy that the rap/funk fused rock band The Red Hot Chili Peppers also got into the upcoming Rock And Roll Hall of Fame awards but that he would like to see more hip-hop acts added and will continue to work on that happening in future years. In a prepared press statement last week about their Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction the Beasties collectively wrote that, "While we are very proud of the music we make, we have to acknowledge the inspiration from our families, friends and musicians like The Slits, Bad Brains, X-Ray Spex, The Treacherous Three and too many others to possibly name. And most of all, we give thanks to New York City and the world of musical influence it provided for us."

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