(In which you might enjoy a fever.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 9, 2009 03:02pm | Post a Comment

The American shad or Atlantic shad, Alosa sapidissima, is a species of anadromous fish in family Clupeidae of order Clupeiformes.
It is the State Fish of Connecticut, enjoys foreign films and candle-lit dinners for two.

Not that long ago, a customer came into Amoeba Music Hollywood and approached me sheepishly. She uttered that accustomed customer opening line:

“I’m looking for a song… I don’t know the name of it, or who did it…”

If Amoeba Music employees had a dime for every time we heard that sentence, our bosses could dispense with payroll and we’d all live comfortably (hint, hint, Gov. Schwarzenegger).

Oftentimes, we Amoebites will know what the human’s looking for. That’s because we’re mostly socially awkward music geeks who’ve traded in awesome housing and reasonable hair-styles for choice, Italian soundtrack LP’s and an ability to name-that-tune of obscure mouth-harp blues artists.

The song the woman was looking for was “Fever,” which has been covered by many artists, though most famously by the great Peggy Lee

“Fever” was written by Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell and published in 1956. At first the songwriters had little success with the song, until they decided to re-write it using words and music. These proved to be the magic ingredients, and soon people took interest. It first became a hit for the (unfortunately named) Little Willie John...

For a while, it was taken under consideration that “Fever” should replace the notoriously difficult to sing “Star Spangled Banner” as the National Anthem of the United States, but as “they” who were considering it only numbered two and spent most their time sleeping under a bridge, drinking from storm-pipes, and screaming “Go back to toyland, Eisenhower!” at airplanes, the idea gained little merit.

What follows here is a sampling of the many versions of “Fever” that exist. You can almost certainly find one that suits you, regardless of your taste. And then, once we’ve all found a cover of the song we each like, we can finally come together as one people and… well… I dunno… listen to the song, I guess.

Can I get an amen?!


Posted by Billyjam, February 17, 2009 12:51pm | Post a Comment
rickey vincent
Rickey Vincent
literally wrote the book on funk. The college professor, writer, and radio DJ, who resides in Berkeley CA with his wife and two sons, is the author of the acclaimed music history book Funk: The Music, the People, and the Rhythm of The One (St. Martin's Press) which won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. If you don't already have this book, with a forward by George Clinton, I highly recommended it since it is the most comprehensive study on funk.

In addition to being an author & journalist, Vincent has taught at City College of San Francisco and SF State University where he taught a course entitled Protest Music Since 1965: Funk, Rap and the Black Revolution. Rickey is also a longtime Bay Area radio DJ at stations KALX and KPFA, where he still hosts his popular weekly funk show The History of Funk, Fridays at 10PM on 94.1FM.

The widely respected funkateer's musical knowledge (and music collection) is unmatched. I recently caught up with Vincent to talk about the funk/hip-hop connection and the impact of funk and black music in general on both American and global cultures, among other things. The conversation inevitably turned to godfather of soul / funk pioneer James Brown a few times during the interview. 

Vincent is currently finishing up last minute details on his next book Party Music -- a fascinating historical account of the Black Panther Party's own funk band, Oakland's The Lumpen, who took popular funk songs and rhythms but substituted more revolutionary lyrics. (Look for a future interview with him about this upon its publication.) For more information on the author, you can visit Rickey Vincent's website or his MySpace. You can also read his book or check out his show on KPFA.

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Unitarded: 20 Questions with the multi-talented Borts Minorts...

Posted by Kells, December 30, 2008 01:55pm | Post a Comment

A few years back I went to my first Borts Minorts show in San Francisco. I'm still not sure how to describe what I saw, how it happened or why I'll never forget it; It was, plainly speaking, singularly awesome, like nothing I had seen before! I laughed, I danced, I marveled -- I had an amazing time. Since that initial exposure I have come to hold Borts Minorts in high esteem as an artist, musician and uber-performer. He seems fearless, knows no limits and appears physically capable of accomplishing any feat no matter how extraordinary the act. In short: there is no telling what his next move will be, ever. It's not for nothing that he's been nominated twice for SF Weekly's Best Experimental Music award. One thing I know for sure is that anyone who can get their butt out to the Hemlock Tavern this Wednesday night, -- that's right, New Year's Eve -- will be in for a rare (Borts, alas, has relocated to New York) treat, as Borts Minorts will be showing you how he likes to party, performing live on the last and first night(s) of the year(s). I am so pleased he agreed to play 20 Questions with me:

1. How old is Borts Minorts?  It is thought that I am now 38,000 years old.

2. Where does Borts come from? Borts Minorts comes from the past and future simultaniously and only actually exists in this world when on stage.

3. What are your musical/artistic influences? The artistic collaboration of Michael Clark, Leigh Bowery and the Fall would possibly be my biggest influence. The movie Legend of Leigh Bowery changed my life artistically. Leigh Bowery was an incredible artist. Also, when I was a kid I saw Klaus Nomi on SNL and it scared the shit out of me. That always really stuck with me. Then when I saw Nomi Song and saw what he did on stage in the early days it REALLY inspired me to create something new and different.

4. What is your creative process like? The musical creative process has been a lot of late nights sitting in front of my computer cutting and pasting and creating beats and drinking strong Belgian beer and red wine and laughing hysterically to myself. Then there is the dance side to it which is some of the most fun I've ever had creating anything. With the dancers, we always try and combine the most wrong moves possible to create something really hilarious!

5. Why so unitarded? I can't help it. 

6. Do you feel you can relate to "Diamond" David Lee Roth as a brother in dance/vocal performance and as a lycra/spandex enthusiast? Totally! Diamond Dave would be one of my earliest rock frontman influences. What a showman he was back in the day and showmanship has always been really important to me on stage!

7. What do you think of Slim Goodbody? 
I god, where can I get one of those unitards??? I also think he was possibly a long lost relative to Richard Simmons and Leo Sayer. Slim was for sure an early influence.

8. What was the first record you bought with your own money? Kiss Alive ll! I was 7 years old. My parents took me to this department store and had me pick out a record with money I had saved. It was between the record with the guy spitting up blood (Kiss Alive 2) or an album that had a skeleton playing the violin (Grateful Dead Blues for Allah). It was a really tough choice. I ended up with Kiss Alive 2. I think it was the decision of a lifetime!

9. What are your musical inspirations? Iggy Pop, Klaus Nomi, Three Day Stubble, Magma, Cocteau Twins, Zeek Sheck, Tim Buckley's Star Sailor album, Naked City, ShostakovichJames Brown, Nina Hagen, Yoko Ono, Caroliner Rainbow, Ronnie James Dio, Frank Stallone, Ub Zub, Rod McKuen...

10. If you could choose to be any album cover art incarnate which one would you be? 
Herb Albert's Whipped Cream and Other Delights

11. What kind of music do you like better: Rock 'n' Roll or Free Jazz? Today Free Jazz...yesterday was Rock and Roll.

12. Do people often have misconceptions about Borts? if so what are they? That I'm some sort of alien.

13. How many hours a night do you sleep? Six if i'm lucky.

14. What would be your dream collaboration? Oh my...where to about...Kronos Quartet and Borts Minorts would be awesome!!

15. What's your favorite music for dancing? Late sixties early seventies James Brown definitely.

16. High kicks or headstands? High kicks! I like to fly on stage!

17. Trampoline or roller skates? Trampoline on rollerskates!

18. Who will be performing with you this Wednesday at the Hemlock and what will they be doing? The line up will be the West Coast All Stars! We'll have Rhonda and Punope dancing, then we will have our beloved Nordic flute Goddess, Melting Razor, driving up from L.A. to play the flute and sing operatic backing vocals, and we will have multi instrumentalist tennis instructor CHAD playing the Theremin, Xylophone, slide trumpet, bath house brass and other musical oddities. Also singing some backing vocals and pressing the space bar on the laptop between songs in full security professionalism will be Borts stage icon DOCTOR DOCTOR! This all of course is layered on top of the 700mph pre recorded jumbled up messed up beats that I sing on top. After the Hemlock show, we drive to L.A. and play a gig there Saturday night with Fort King at Pehrspace. The line up for that will be Helen Beard and Punope dancing along with Melting Razor on Flute.

19. Will you be playing your ski-bass or anything else exclusive to your repertoire? Yes! Of course I will be playing the 1 string electric stand up ski bass along with my newest musical invention called THE STUMPTAR! The Stumptar is an electric Sitar I made out of a tree stump with a guitar neck on it. I took the frets off the guitar neck so it gives it a Sitar sound. YOU MUST COME AND EXPERIENCE IT! 
20. If you were a hot dog would you eat yourself? No.

That's okay Borts, I know a lot of people who would! Thanks so much for playing 20 Questions, we'll be seeing you tomorrow night at the Hemlock...Happy New Year!

Daz I Kue's "Funky President" Remix Celebrates Obama's Victory

Posted by Mike Battaglia, November 19, 2008 10:54pm | Post a Comment

My good buddy Daz I Kue of London's pioneering Broken Beat crew Bugz In The Attic recently sent me this fantastic remix of James Brown's "Funky President" that he's done under his Bloodfire alias -- one he's applied to cheeky less-than-official reworks of other jams like Syl Johnson's "Is It Because I'm Black" and Syreeta's Stevie-penned "To Know You Is To Love You," both of which are fantastic and worth the tracking down, if you can find either out-of-print 12".

Recently married and residing in Atlanta, Daz channeled his emotions over the recent presidential election into this fantastic bit of dancefloor badness which juxtaposes the untouchable original with "Yes We Can" chants, putting the whole thing into glorious, evocative focus.

Many thanks to Daz for giving us permission to post the track here. No MP3 either, this is a full-spectrum AIFF CD-quality soundfile, suitable for club play. Play it loud!

Bloodfire V Funky President (Yes We Can Rehash) (sendshare link to 71mb AIFF)
and here's a 16MB MP3 in case you're balking at the file size!


Posted by Billyjam, August 18, 2008 06:47pm | Post a Comment

Jameoblog Top Ten: 08:18:08

1) Wale - "The Kramer" (10 Deep/
2) Fatlip - "What Up Fatlip? (Breakbot RMX)" (Delicious Vinyl)
3) NaS "Sly Fox" (Def Jam)
4) KRS-One "Pick It Up" (KOCH)
5) Jean Grae + 9th Wonder - "2-32's"  (Blacksmith)
6) Alltruisms - "Jalopy" (Gravel Records)
7) James Brown - "There Was A Time (Kenny Dope Remix)" (Verve)
8) Paris - "Get Fired Up" (Guerrilla Funk)
9) Girl Talk - "Don't Stop" (Illegal Art)
10) A.G. Cubano feat. The Jacka, San Quinn, & Matt Blaque - "I'm Winnin"  (City RIch/Blackhouse Ent)

On Wale's instantly engaging song "The Kramer," off his recent Nick Catchdubs mixed-Seinfeld themed The Mixtape About Nothing album-length digital download, he jumps head in and addresses the current hip-hop driven cultural use and abuse of the N word and, to a lesser degree, the B word. The Washington DC emcee, whose name is pronounced "Wah-Lay," uses Michael Richards' (aka Kramer on Seinfeld) infamous N word tirade, which he samples at the beginning of the track, as the jumping off point to address society's current use of the N word and its contradicting implications when used by blacks or whites-- specifically the dilemma of white diehard rap fans continually hearing the N word in their favorite music.

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