Thank You, Bobby Womack.
I made a list of only twelve of the many gifts for which I have the late, great Bobby Womack to thank.
1. Every note of your re-arrangement of “Fly Me To The Moon.” But especially the first note. And the way you pronounce “song” at 1:09. And the screams at 1:29 and 1:53. And the way you sing “Jupiter” each time. And your guitar sound at 1:38, definitely.
2. The left-hand turn made three minutes and fourteen seconds into “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha.”
This is no fantasy. It’s real! CCR and Booker T. went into San Fran’s Fantasy Studios in January 1970 and recorded a set of chooglin’ jams. I believe that the MG’s contribute too, but it’s unclear. Sounds like Steve Cropper is in the mix, anyway. It’s a loose, friendly affair, meandering at times, but there are magical moments aplenty.
No big deal, just a collab between the two greatest American bands of the 1960s (Non-James Brown Division). And from the first track alone it sounds almost exactly like I’d expect it to.
Pharoahe Monch: I was cutting the grass in my front yard when I got served legal papers. I thought, “Holy shit!” But I finished cutting the grass—I’m cool like that. There was nothing I could do right now so I might as well make the grass look nice.
Phillip Mlynar, “The Oral History of Rawkus Records” (MySpace, April 17, 2014)
NEW YORKERS! If you haven’t watched the amazing FUN CITY series of videos, do so now.
In the vein of LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF, it’s a time-capsule tour of a lost city. Here’s an interview with the filmmaker, with links to watch every video in the series.
And a picture of Burt Reynolds on a Brooklyn rooftop with the Kentile Sign behind him.
To be watched at my earliest convenience.
If that’s making you happy that’s brilliant. You know? People shouldn’t be so snobby. To say that “Beethoven is great but 2 Unlimited is crap” I think is rubbish because it’s just not that simple. It’s like saying “filet mignon is brilliant food but bananas are stupid to eat!” It’s not! You need all the different things.
you need this video in your life
social media argument metaphor #4,156
So someone said to me that you can never meet a good person off the Internet. I want to prove them wrong. Reblog if you’ve met someone from the Internet and they’ve turned out to be one of the best people to ever exist.
like 75% of the best people I know, pretty much
The bottom line is R&B has always been pretty big and popular, especially among black folks. So what has to have changed is that white people either let go of something or embraced something.
And so the question for me is more like “What happened in business or the corporate world with white people?” I’m trying to figure out, what are the big things that made a difference? The fact that R&B is having this moment, that just means that there are a lot more white people at R&B shows now; a lot more people buying tickets and looking for that music to give them something.
And if we’re talking about what is it about R&B, I think that it is pretty visceral. It’s music that is situated in the club but is rooted in gospel. Gospel plus club music? That’s like a death stare. You can’t really fuck with that. If you hear a gospel run, something is wrong with you if you don’t have a reaction to that. If you don’t go “ooh” on some level. So I think that’s what some people have gotten real about. It’s like “OK, this is actually really, really amazing. I’m letting go.”
Before I think R&B was seen as basic or not advanced, not deep, you know? As someone who’s been singing this music since I was a kid in my bedroom, it was never about a trend for me. So I know who was embracing it at different times. And I can see what’s changed now. If you go to a Solange show, it’s one of the most diverse audiences. If you go to a Little Dragon show, it’s like this is actually really cool, wide-ranging audience. I’m trying not to think too much about it. I’ve been thinking about this just because I’m a nerd and an academic, but I don’t encourage other people to think too much about it because it doesn’t necessarily make sense [laughs]. I’m just like “Oh, now it’s here! OK, great! Awesome.”
Some pretty powerful commentary from Ethiopian-American singer Kelela answering a question posed by Billboard magazine correspondent Matt Fry on why she believes that the past few years has seen a rise in R&B musicians experimenting with electronic sounds - especially on the internet.
Her commentary on the racial aspect to music - both from a historical and cultural perspective, as well as behind-the-scenes and on the commercial side of the industry, is incredibly important in understanding the intricate dynamics of popular music and how racial politics often plays a pivotal role in the transformation, appropriation and commercialization of cultural commodities.
(Side note: did you know Kelela went to American University in D.C. where she majored in international studies with a focus on development in Africa?)