Friday, 17 August 2012

Film: Searching For Sugar Man

London underground tube poster
One of life's worries can often be the questions 'will people remember me when i'm gone?', will people know i'm here when i'm here. Will there be a lasting legacy from my life?

From a Christian perspective, watching recently released film Searching For Sugarman threw up some interesting answers, amongst lots of questions.

So last weekend I went down to Cineworld Fulham for the first time ever and parted with £11 to see this film.
Before you read further, please note this article contains some spoilers >>

Mottled with beautiful shots of the city, amazing music, poignant interviews and archive scenes, this music expose documents the life of Detroit born singer Sixto Rodriguez.

Sounding a bit like Bob Dylan, Rodriguez' lyrics are steeped in love, politics and telling it how it is.

His debut album Cold Fact was produced by Motown's Dennis Coffey and released in 1971. The album was a commercial flop in his native US, but a single copy of record made it into South Africa, where it went on to shift 'half a million copies' either via bootleg or sold. The word of mouth was incredible and sold the record, even with todays media machine this is one of the ultimate examples of a recommendation from a friend being worth more than any advert.

By the mid nineties Rodriguez was still none the wiser to this, in the 20 years since he'd released an excellent follow up which also didn't move in any great volume in the US and had consequently continued to raise his family and work on building sites as a tradesman.

He simply had no idea how famous he was in South Africa. Luckily he had some super fans who tracked him down to let him know that he was a star out there. And in 1998 sold out shows ensued as he played in front of 20,000+ people. All those record sales, which he was never paid for, started to earn him some money which he promptly shared amongst friends. It was great to see him get the recognition so many people thought his album deserved, a real good moment in the film.

There is so much more to this story, but it's well worth watching. And Rodriguez's music? Timeless.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Pure Ghetto Funk from Washington DC

Crate digger supremo Joey Negro, aka Dave Lee, has often sought to bring rareified gems back into the public consciousness, and so here we have 'Go Go Get Down- Pure Ghetto Funk from Washington DC'. Two discs of music with what seems like 3 hours of magic on each CD.

Whether or not Lee has an actual magic wand, he still has a good ear for a tune with this impressive collection of lesser heard jazz funk rap. Most of the tunes on offer here owe a debt to Sugarhill Gang's Rappers Delight, but there's enough of a story here to be told involving tales behind DC's 'Go Go' funk scene from '79 onwards into the late 80's. The sleeve notes are extensive as those involved in the local scene recall what happened at the time, plus there's a write up for each of the acts featured and how Joey Negro discovered each on his journey, acting as a good supporting compendium.

Whilst it's possible the cream of the crop could perhaps have been squeezed onto one disc instead of two, here we have a better view of the complete story of DC's Go Go scene. As goes the lyric 'There's a party over here, a party over there…', this is well worth checking out.

If You like this try: V/A- Disco Juice 2 // Kool & The Gang- The Funk Collection // Sugarhill Gang- Still The Joint (Sugarhill Remixed)

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Menahan Street Band Announce New Album

Leading with a deliciously snowy arctic tundra as their cover art, Daptone's Menahan Street Band took to Facebook today to announce new album 'The Crossing' will be released October 30th. This is the follow up to their acclaimed 2010 debut Make The Road By Walking, an album i'm a huge huge fan of and which has gained the band an authentic fanboy following since. More recently the group provided the backbone to Charles Bradleys excellent 'No Time For Dreaming' as well as touring with Bradley to various festivals in the US and Europe.

"Recorded over a period of nearly two years, The Crossing is an 11-track sonic testament to the fruitful creative relationship that exists between the band, which consists of Brenneck, drummer and band co-founder Homer Steinweiss, bassist Nick Movshon, trumpeter Dave Guy and tenor saxophonist Leon Michels. " -

The title track is available for preview on Rolling Stone's website and, if this is anything to go by, the signs are very very good already. Expect more undulating, beautiful, spine tingling instrumental funk from this talented Brooklyn based troupe

Mp3 here: