Things have been a bit moribund on the site but I recently had an idea to liven things up this winter. I am inviting over to therecordgame.com lab collectors of vinyl to make a mix of their choosing. It can be a good ole fashioned DJ mix or it can be some out there platters that they’re currently grooving on (the choice is yours!). The collector lays down the mix and I upload to it here for all to enjoy.
First up is movie sound track, hardcore, and house music collector Ryan Johnson. An all around good dude with damn good taste in music. He brought a heavy crate of House over to the house and mixed it up. Unfortunately, somewhere, somehow, the mix got cut 2/3 of the way through; but luckily that first 2/3 is all killer and no filler. He will have to come back to drop some more chunes (maybe I can entice a soundtrack mix out of him).
While packing for a trip I was throwing on records to nice up the vibes and to have a mix to listen to while traveling. It is mostly newish R&B, Funky House type stuff. I recall jotting down the tracks, to really up the multi-tasking game, I guess. But paper is nowhere to be found, so there may or may not be an update. There is always Shazaam.
A friend asked me a to make a mix to play at a fall party / cookout. Being during the day and an older skewing crowd, I stacked up jazzy, mellow ,funky, type records. But as always, it is some free form funkified filth. And, as always, all vinyl.
It is more of a free association type mix, pulling records out just before playing, and few rough spots happen along the way (especially when I was making coffee). All fun though.
Gover Washington – Mister Magic / Grant Green – Sookie Sookie / Yusef Lateef – The Hump / Tribe Called Quest – Excursions / J. Rawls – A Tribute To TROY / Yesterdays New Quintet / Arroyo / Nas – The World is Yours (Tip Mix) / Bobbi Humphrey – Jasper County Men / Cal Tjader – Soul Sauce / Sabu Martinez – Wounded Knee / Black Sugar – Fuego / Joe Bataan – Regresso / Willie Colon and Ruden Blades – Buscando Guayaba / Eddie Palmieri – Harlem River Drive / Power House – Late Start / Allan Moorehouse – Soul Skimmer / Ersen – Gonese Don Cicegim / Erkin Koray – Esterebim / Husni Ozkartal Orkestrasi – Su Deremin Sulari / Metin Alatli -Meulana Boyle dede / Erkin Koray – Turku
Oliveire E Seus – My Boy Lollipop / Brian Bennet – Solstice / David Axelrod – Mucho Chupar / Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Everybody Loves The Sunshine / Dorothy Ashby – Come Live With Me / Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson – Must Be Something / Donny Hathaway – Everything is Everything / Earth, Wind, and Fire – Everything is Everything / Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up / Isaac Hayes – Hung Up On My Baby / Geto Boys – Minds Playing Tricks on Me / Alliance – Cupids Holding / El Michaels Affair – Creation / El Michaels Affair – Shimmy Shimmy Ya / Camp Lo – Luchini / DJ Premier – Unreleased White Label / The Winchester Seven – The Next Message / Betty Wright – Clean Up Woman / Linda Lyndell – What a Man / Lynn Taitt – Stepping Up / Chakachas – Jungle Fever / Mighty Tom Cats – Soul Makossa / Afrique – House of The Rising Funk / Trinidad & Tobago Steel Drum Allstars – Do Your Thing / Public Enemy – Shut ‘Em Down (Pete Rock Mix) / Nice & Smooth – Sometimes I Rhyme Slow / Fugees – Ready or Not / De La Soul – Itzsowezee (De La Mix) / Jimmy Ross – First True Love / Rufus Feat. Chaka Khan – Ooh I Like Your Lovin / Donna Summer – Spring Reprise / Diana Ross – Upside Down / Billy Frazier & Friends – Billy Who? / Jimmy Bo Horne – Spank (re-edit) / Le Stache – African Ole (rmx) / Common Sense – Voices Inside My Head / Bobby Pickett – Monster Mash
As I read Marlon James’ Man Booker winning novel A Brief History of Seven Killings I was “listening” to different chunes in my head throughout the book. If you haven’t read the book, it is divided into two parts, with the first half detailing the turmoil roiling Jamaica in the days leading up to the attempted assassination of Bob Marley.
While little actual music is detailed in the story, with vivid scenes and characters that ring authentic, having a bit of knowledge of reggae made it easy to imagine what might have been playing on radios tucked in the background. I decided to split the mix aligning with the book; with part one being some 70′s rasta upliftment, and the other some rough’n tough 80′s ragga. I didn’t absolutely adhere to time and place, but I did absolutely adhere to an all vinyl mix.
Culture- Two Sevens Clash / The Abyssians- Satta Massagana / Hortense Ellis- Woman of the Ghetto / Wareika Hill Sounds- Sweet Incense / Marcia Griffiths- Stepping Out of Babylon / Johnny Clarke- Declaration of Rights / The Revolutionaries- Jah Rastafari / Niney The Observer- Thief / The Mighty Diamonds- Dredlocks Time / The Upsetters- Groove Dubbers / Bob Marley- Belly Full / Culture- Iron Sharpening Iron / Peter Tosh- Stepping Razor / Freddie McGregor- Jah Help The People / Althea & Donnna- If You Don’t Love Jah / Black Uhuru- Stalk of Sensimilla / Barrington Levy- Jah Life / Jah Stitch- From The East to The West / Clint Eastwood- Faith Move Mountain / Ranking Spence- Go De Natty / The Congos- Fisherman / Gregory Isaacs- Created By The Father / Junior Reid- Black Man’s Seed / Dennis Brown- Whip Them Jah Jah / Sugar Minott- Africa is The Black Man’s Home / Barry Brown- Jah Jah Guide Them / Junior Murvin- Police & Thieves
It seems rather unnecessary to wax about the cassette tape. Not because as an object the tape doesn’t contain poetry — rather because if you were there you know how damn great cassettes were. Not only did you get new music on them for cheap but you could tape other tapes, tape CDs, tape records, tape radio shows, tape tv on the radio, tape over recordings over and over again creating audio palimpsests, and tape odd bits of aural ephemera. All on simple equipment that by the age of 8 you had all you needed. And that is all before the all might mix tape and pause tape. I spent countless hours on that shit. Other people have already written about that.
Instead I’m just going to get to it: I haven’t had a functional tape deck for at least 8 years. I recently borrowed one and brought back a shoe box worth of tapes from my parents’ basement. Out of a larger mess, I grabbed some demos, some mix tape made for me, some random blank mysteries, and some gems. I’m going through them, recording them, and uploading them here. Check in periodically to see what batch comes up.
This thing crushed back in the day.
First up is the dorm room classic “Me. You. Youth Crew!” Made a bit by me, a bit by my roommate Ethan (the Ten Yard Friend), this is 90 minutes of hardcore 7″s that we were jamming to in 1998-1999. I’m amused by the inclusion of Connecticut’s Death Threat, but overall it is a solid mosh down memory lane. I did have to do a little surgery, putting cello tape at the start of side two.
Side 1: Youth of Today, Inside Out, Indecision, Death Threat, Ten Yard Fight, Trial, Up Front, Fastbreak, Time Flies, Better Than Thousand, Ensign, Insted, Judge, Trial, Follow Through, 97a
Side 2: Slapshot, Reach They Sky, In My Eyes, Ten Yard Fight, Side By Side, Good Clean Fun, Youth of Today, Cornerstone, Atari, 97a
The Rails and The Waves
Whiskey is the devil.
In the heyday of tapes, in the time of mp3s being for nerdarios and ipods being science fiction, you just used to drop mix tapes on friends. Ethan made this one.
Side 1: Johnny Horton, Rumbleseat, Murder City Devils, Templars, The Pogues, Traditional Songs, Johnny Horton, The Pogues, Murder City Devils, Pinhead Gunpowder, Ancient Mariners
Side 2: MC5, Dead Boys, CCR, The Reducers, The White Stripes, Richard Hell, The Mooney Suzuki, The Standells, The Rolling Stones, The Stooges, MC5
Stoned Wellesley Funk Dat spelling do
Birdman invited Ethan and I to do his weekly radio show and I recorded it on a boom box in the studio. Funky shit. No track list. No coherent spelling on the tape label.
Only in the past year did I own a car that had a cd player. I used to make tape after tape of songs I was feeling to either jam out to on a walkman or in the car. I suspect that this unidentified mix of emo/hardcore is one of those. It is stands as a pretty solid take of 1996-2000 era emo/hardcore. I was able to remember (accurately, I hope) all the bands just listening to it once.
Side 1: Avail,Inquisition, Boy Sets Fire, 400 Years, Sleepy Time Trio, Rye Coalition, The Monorchid, Action Patrol, Current, The Promise Ring, Texas is The Reason, Jimmy Eat World, Sleater-Kinney, The Never Never, Team Dresch, Charles Bronson
Ten Yard Fight, Fastbreak, Ann Baretta, Hot Water Music, Discount, Kind of Like Spitting, Sunny Day Real Estate, Jazz June, The Regrets, Knapsack, Rainer Maria, Piebald, Spazz, Alan Ginsberg
There is a surprising dearth of information about the Boston Goes Def! compilation online, and given how small the Boston scene was (and is), it is also surprising that none of these groups seem to have the faintest existence outside of this album, although Edo.G might be on there with FTI Crew, but the date of his joining the group and when the recording was made might not match up. The Old School Hip-Hop forum does shed some possible light on the situation:
I grew up in Boston (actually Newton Centre which is right outside of Boston) and I can remember when this album was being put together. I used to listen to a show called Lekkos Lemma (sp?) They would promote this album on the air and accepted demo tapes from local acts. The guys name was Magnus. He would play demo tapes from up and coming acts. They all sounded low budget compared to the stuff that was coming out of New York at the time.
That pretty much sums the good and the bad about this album. It isn’t as good as other rap cuts from the time, in fact, some songs just sound like lesser versions of other songs. So it doesn’t seem that critical of a record to have stashed in the collection outside of regional identity based interest. But then again, when I listen past the Whodini and Run-D.M.C. aping it does have some nice moments. And after knowing the hyper-local and humble origins, it starts to be endearing.
Also, I am a bit fascinated by what is implied by this compilation – namely that given Boston’s demographics, some, if not many, of the artists are likely to be white. And while in 2014 this is nearly a non-issue, I can only think that in 1986 Boston it would only be one. The rappers here would have been young children during the Boston busing crisis. I think its a bit heartening that other issues aside, just nine years after the start of racist violence an integrated rap compilation could come out of those very neighborhoods.
The group that wears its name most obviously, the White Boy Crew, has some interesting connections to hip-hop history: John Dorff, a.k.a. The M.C. Popeye, with rhyming roots in Mission Hill (Boston) and Four Corners (Dorchester, MA), founded The White Boy Crew when he teamed up with Seth Trafford, a.k.a. The Beat Box Spinach. For most of the 2 year career of the group it was just John and Seth, who earned considerable local respect by performing live, competing in talent shows, and getting airplay on 88.1′s Saturday afternoon underground hip hop show hosted by the Magnus Johnstone, the now legendary radio deejay credited with being instrumental in breaking the underground hip hop scene in Boston. Soon they were scouted to appear on the Boston Goes Def Boston Goes Def! compilation. The White Boy Crew did have a deejay as part of the act at two different points – first was Mike Dee, of the original Boston based Gangstarr (Keith Elam ‘The Guru’ later took Gangstarr to NYC but left Mike behind), and later Sean Gillis a.k.a. DJ Steady a.k.a. DJ Shamrock.
So despite the flaws there is a little more to this record than the first drop of the needle suggests.
UPDATE: After publishing this post I came across an article in Wax Poetics about the Lecco’s Lemma radio show and the origins of Beautiful Sounds record label. It is an interesting look at the Boston rap scene and the handful of artists, like Edo-G and Guru, who developed out of it. Wax Poetics is such a great resource and I should have known better and went there first.