Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mr. D.C.

"The children crying for hunger and I man a suffer
so you got to see, it's just collie that feeds me...
fifty cents a stick, and a dollar a quarter,
that's what keeps me alive, me and my two kids and wife..."

A lovely plea to a district constable by some poor guy who´s just trying to make a living by selling his harvest of collie - aka herb aka ganja, I´m sure you know what we´re talking about here - somewhere down in Jamaica back in ´77. Complete with an infectious chorus and wonderful horns, this is golden-throated dancehall pioneer Sugar Minott at his finest. Another winner from Studio 1.

"So give me a chance sir, a make me gwan little faster...
so let me pass through, and Jah will bless you...
Whoa-oa-oa D.C.... don´t you take my ishen,
Whoa-oa-oa D.C.... don't you touch my collie..."

Sugar Minott- Oh Mr. D.C. MP3

Friday, May 22, 2009

More Maggots

Thanks to reader Big Steve, here´s yet another version of the Maggot Brain monster. This steaming live take stems from a bonus ep that came with the original vinyl of One Nation Under A Groove. And that´s Eddie Hazel´s successor Mike Hampton pouring it all out on guitar. "It ain´t illegal yet..."

Funkadelic - Maggot Brain (live) MP3

And if you want even more, check out a great live video of Funkadelic - featuring both Hazel and Hampton! - playing Maggot Brain in Landover, MD in ´83 here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Ring-a-ring-a-ring-a-ringa-ring ring... Anyone remember this neurotic gem? Wazmo (real name Larry Grennan) was a singer from Chicago who wore two ties around his neck for some reason. This didn´t stop the mighty Stiff Records from releasing his debut single Tele-tele-telephone in the UK back in ´78. Would make a great ringtone for your mobile...

Wazmo Nariz - Tele-Tele-Telephone MP3

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Go On Maggot Brain

"Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time
For y'all have knocked her up...
I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe
I was not offended
For I knew I had to rise above it all
Or drown in my own shit...."

An amazing piece of music. Legend has is the band had taken acid before the recording started, but that´s not all. Funkadelic mastermind George Clinton famously asked guitarist Eddie Hazel to play at first as if he had just heard that his mother had died, and then as if he had heard she was in fact still alive. Hazel obliges with gusto, trying to out-Hendrix our Jimi with a cosmic six string symphony of epic proportions. Mother earth dies screaming, while Hazel´s guitar weeps and weeps.

The moment he realises his mom didn´t perish after all is quite hard to determine, but it could be roughly around the 6.50 mark, when after a quieter spell the pace picks up again and the guitar soon starts soaring anew. And that would be the same moment, in Funkadelic myth, where an ordinary maggot has become a maggot brain, meaning it´s able to rise above all the bullshit in the world...

To start off an album with a track like this, risking to alienate an audience looking for da funk, takes guts.

"Come on Maggot Brain...
Go on Maggot Brain..."

Fear not though, funkateers. Apart from the title track, the Maggot Brain monster (´71) means funk with a big P. Just check out the ultra-catchy Can You Get To That for proof.

And last but not least, there´s an alternate take of Maggot Brain doing the rounds, found as a bonus track on the cd reissue. Clinton mixed the band way low in the mix on the final master, but on this version the band is far more audible, which makes for a much mellower listening experience. Nice, but I´ll take the naked truth any time.

Funkadelic - Maggot Brain MP3
Funkadelic - Can You Get To That MP3
Funkadelic - Maggot Brain (alt. mix) MP3

Monday, May 11, 2009

Walking On The Water

"Late last night, I went for a walk,
Down by the river near my home
Couldn´t believe, with my own eyes,
And I swear I´ll never leave my home again..."

With its typical staccato rhythm and dark imagery, the early, lesser-known Creedence track Walking On The Water has always appealed to my imagination. Creepy little song. Makes you wonder who it is he actually sees, walking towards him from across the river, who has him so scared he won´t go out ever again...

"I saw a man walking on the water
Coming right at me from the other side
Calling out my name - do not be afraid
Feet begin to run, pounding in my brain
I don´t want to go... I don´t want to go... Oh no no no..."

Probably not Jesus, who´s known as the prime example of someone braving the briny without the help of a floating object. It is said the disciples in the bible story were admittedly a bit afraid at first, but they soon relaxed when they found out it was their main man performing that impossible feat. The devil then, in a typical trickster act, impersonating his eternal opposite? The grim reaper, or his trusted aide-de-camp the ferryman? This one would explain the other side and the "I don´t want to go" line at the end. Or is it just the protagonist´s alter ego?

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Walking On The Water MP3

If only for completion´s sake, here´s the Fogerty brothers pre-Creedence version of the song. A nice blueprint, with a fun over-the-top guitar solo as icing on the cake.

The Golliwogs - Walking On The Water MP3

The Creedence version may be a treat, but I am even more enamoured of New York proto-punk Richard Hell´s 1977 interpretation of the song. Maybe just because I heard that one first? Or is it Hell´s truly desperate vocal, coupled with Robert Quine´s razorsharp guitar licks? Questions, questions.

Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Walking On The Water MP3

Friday, May 1, 2009

Spic And Span

"And I'm tired of you and your woman and your dog too!" Laura Lee has just plain had enough in another great soul scorcher from the mighty Chess label. Her dirty man forgot just one thing while he was doing her wrong all of these years: that she´s a good housekeeper... So Laura simply takes up her broom and sweeps all of the dirt out on the street. Yes sir!

Laura Lee - Dirty Man MP3