Officially, my website was in “maintenance mode”. To make a long story short, after eight years, I decided to find a new place to host the website, which coincided with the renewal of the domain. Finding a new place to host was the easy part, transferring the files was another story. Moving the files was easy but in the background, there needed to be a bit of “reconfiguring”. Nonethelesss, you are reading this, and that means the website is up and running. In the words of Chip Monck from Woodstock, “after a short intermission, we’ll continue.”
ill Clinton of Florida (not to be confused with Ill Clinton of Philadelphia) has collaborated with Georgia Anne Muldrow and Moses West in a new song called “A Brother Like Ezell”, which rocks well. While the song is available as a free download, any money used to purchase the song will go towards the Dream Defenders charity, click the Bandcamp page for the song for more information.
With a new album called Juice that just went to #1 on Billboard’s Jazz Album Chart and a tour set up in December, you’d think John Medeski, Billy Martin, Chris Wood, and John Scofield would just ease up and relax. Then again, if you know how MMW work and how Scofield energizes the trio even more, relaxation is not an option. They’ve made a video for one of the songs on the album, and maybe there will be more in the future. For now, watch “Juicy Lucy” and see how juiced up she gets. Or they get, you don’t know what kind of video it could be.
In Response: Dee-Fi is a compilation put together by Rediculus that scratches the service of what he’s about. If you’ve seen his name before or you heard one or two of his cuts, you will be able to hear a 15-song collection that will let you know what he is about. At least in part. A video has been made for the song “Mad As Hell” and even if he is, he’s having fun at the same time.
In late 2013, Audio Fidelity announced they would be doing an audiophile remaster of the Scorpions’ 1982 hit album, Blackout, to be released in early 2014. Soon after, they stated it would be delayed and it turned into “sometime in 2014″. Unless there are further delays and/or changes, the Kevin Gray-remaster now has an official release date: November 4th.
Just announced from Audio Fidelity is a remaster of a best selling Eric Clapton “greatest hits” album of sorts, Timepieces. The 1980 compilation combined various eras of Clapton’s music post-Cream and post-Blind Faith, representing the period between 1970-1980. That covers a lot of ground, including the material he did with Derek And The Dominoes and his solo material, which includes such hits as “I Shot The Sheriff”, “Lay Down Sally”, “After Midnight”, and “Cocaine”. While Audio Fidelity has covered Clapton’s 80’s and 90’s material for Warner Bros., for some this is considered some of Clapton’s best music in his career. This one will also be released on the 4th of November.
Both discs are hybrid SACD’s, which means they’re playable on SACD players along with regular standard compact disc players.
British band Devilment will be releasing a new album in November called The Great & Secret Show (Nuclear Blast) and from it is a piece of the puzzle to come, a track called “Even Your Blood Group Rejects Me”. It’s a bit like a cross between the best elements of Marilyn Manson and Korn, but it goes beyond that. The video was directed by Sam Scott-Hunter for your convenience.
The press release calls her a “global pop icon” but I wonder if she is truly global in every single country. Nonetheless, you know who Fergie is, and she is back with a new song called “L.A. Love (La La)”, and she hopes that you will la-la-la along to it too. The song was produced by DJ Mustard, so if that turns you on, you’ll want to listen.
(First off, apologies for not having an installment of Book’s Jook last week. Sometimes I’m doing a lot of writing for the site that at times I will space off, but that’s rare. Last week, I was doing a website transfer and that was a hassle I had to deal with, so I can at least use that as an excuse. Nonetheless, the column returns.)
Technically, this is a record that isn’t necessary to place in my dream jukebox, which may lead some to ask “so why are you putting it in there?” I guess for me, “Beat Box” is such an essential part of my life that it really isn’t a must, but then again, it is that essential to me. A perfect (im)balance) for a perfect song? In fact, the song was originally co-published by Perfect Songs Ltd., so I know what I’m talking about, right? Anyway…
I had already been a fan of “Beat Box” for almost a year before I got this 45. I had the Into Battle cassette in Honolulu, which I had to have after hearing the song for the video on MTV. I watched and was mesmerized. No, I was pretty much numb in “uh bubba duh?” mode, not sure what I was listening to but knowing this was a revolution that was to come. In my mind, this was a sound (or a type of sound) I wanted to hear in music, and a good amount of pop and synth pop were close to what I heard in “Beat Box”. I had been a huge fan of Kraftwerk’s Computer World album but this seemed higher than that. It went beyond the groove of what those Germans were doing, and yet I could not understand what I was really listening to. The music of Jonathan Jeczalik, Anne Dudley, and Gary Langan, the production of Trevor Horn, and the verbal texts of Paul Morley would soon become an important part of not only my musical listening, but an influence to the music I wanted to produce, even though in 1983-1984 I didn’t have the means to get into a recording studio nor have the tools to make anything similar. Importantly, it was Morley’s liner notes on Art Of Noise’s and other Zang Tuum Tumb (ZTT) records that made a huge impression on me towards what to write and the rules that were meant to be broken.
Nonetheless, the “Beat Box” 45. I had received this from a neighborhood kid, in the neighborhood I had just moved in after my family and I departed from Honolulu. He was the kid who loved rap music and was a breakdancer and popper. Back then, it was a chance to know what music we listened to, and I had found out from another neighbor that the breakdancing kid had “Beat Box”. Even as a new resident of the neighborhood, my new friends had known I was a fan of Art Of Noise, so I wanted to see this record. White label with a partial black circle on the left side, fair and simple. The 45 had an edit that was used in the video, so you don’t hear the car ignition in the second half of the song, but what is heard is still awesome genius.
What was a trip for me was flipping the record over and hearing “Moment In Love”, where Horn simply went to the multi-track, created an all new mix of the song, made adjustments to the arrangement and it allowed fans to hear the sampled strings and vocals in an all new way. The drums were slightly different too. I hadn’t heard “Moment In Love” on my cassette as Island Records removed it from the tape pressings, but existed on the record. It was on both the vinyl and cassette pressings in UK, so that was a nice joy.
Having “Beat Box” on a 45 where the song quality is slightly grittier is nice, for having it played out of a booming jukebox would be quite cool. I would end up playing the 45 until the record turned to dust.
George Benson was one of my first introductions to jazz music through my dad, who was a huge fan of his. My dad also loved Wes Montgomery, so enjoying Benson’s music made perfect sense. After singing, performing, recording, and releasing music for 60+ years, Benson has released an autobiography that is the story of his life and career starting as a kid inspired by his environment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Because of how many hits Benson has had in his career, it is possible that you may only know him for what you hear all the time on the radio, be it “Give Me The Night”, “This Masquerade”, “The Greatest Love Of All”, “On Broadway”, or “Breezin'”. These are great songs but they aren’t everything Benson is made of. You may be a jazz fan and know how he recorded albums for the CTI, Verve, and Columbia Records, and did sessions for countless musicians and singers throughout his career. You may dispute yourself over whether he’s a better singer or guitarist, or that he’s better off doing one than the other. The truth is, he’s good at both and even if you’re not a fan of one side of his music, Benson has had many sides of his career and he gets into it throughout this book. We get to know about how he lived on what was essentially an alley way, but how he didn’t make it an issue because growing up, it wasn’t an issue. He speaks of some of the people in his neighborhood, including those who may have given him a bad influence but it seems he didn’t take to it. He touches on how his talents became a factor in getting different jobs and tasks, all of which lead him from one place to another while staying in Pittsburgh. In time, people with New York connections wanted to work with him, which isn’t bad for someone who went into a recording studio for the first time at the age of 10. Not bad for someone who simply used his voice and playing a homemade ‘ukulele.
The book gets into how he started playing blues and jazz clubs, which introduced him to well known jazz musicians in Pittsburgh, which also helped open him to the world that awaited him. The bulk of the book focuses on his youth before he started to work for Prestige, Verve, and CTI Records, so if you ever wanted to know what lead him to reach the level he is now known for, you’ll read it here. The Warner Bros. period of the book is nice too, as you’re wanting to know where his head was at during a period in his life that seemed to help him escalate in status. Fortunately he stays humble throughout, but the information revealed will make you listen to these songs and albums in a different perspective.
One thing the book is not is a tell-all story of fame and fortune. While it does offer a few woes of the music industry, they are mentioned in passing, almost as very brief sidebars. While he is known for being a Jehovah Witness, his religious beliefs are nowhere to be discussed so he has chosen to keep his spirituality out of the public eye, at least in this book. He also doesn’t talk about romantic relationships or being married to the same woman since 1965. In fact, if you’re wanting this book to find out about Benson’s personal life and him getting down to the nitty and the gritty, you will get neither nitty nor gritty. In fact, his tone is quite clean and he keeps himself speaking without vulgarities, which may be one of many reasons why his career has lasted as long as it has.
If there’s one issue with this book, it’s that he seems to refer to himself, by name, almost every five pages. Benson believes in himself and talents, but part of the time it seems he is involved in personal branding. A part of me wanted to say “I know what book I’m reading and who it’s about, I don’t need for George Benson to refer to George Benson so frequently.” I’m not sure if that has to do with how Alan Goldsher co-wrote Benson’s story, there were moments when I felt Goldsher was working more like a publicist and less than the storyteller or historian. Yet a part of me also wondered if I should complain, for Benson’s story could not have been told if they did not collaborate in this project.
Other than that, the book will definitely make you change the way you think about Benson’s music and career, and offers a glimpse into the young kid whose goals only grew as his experiences increased with age and time.
Baltimore is kicking it continuously when Ralph V. steps up to the mic, and now he stands in front of cameras as he talks about how survival can get hazardous, but it doesn’t have to be. Find out what he’s talking about in “In The Water”, which is on his new EP Sweaters, available for free below via Bandcamp.
Hardcore Lives (Nuclear Blast) is the new album from Madball, who still want to throw shit in your face when it is necessary. That time is now with the song “Doc Marten Stomp”