Get your head right, now

You know, I thought that the (Neo) Soul movement was dead. Ok, maybe not dead, just in cryogenic sleep until it’s needed. Kind of like the period between one flood of African American inspired/themed/starred/targeted movies (including the Blackploitation ones of the ’70’s) to the next. This is usually every 8 to 10 years seems like. But that’s for another time, right now, it’s about the music. Like I said, I figured the Soul movement was sleep until needed. Really, it’s always needed. R&B sucks and does NOT deserve the name. It’s either Rap and Bullshit or Booty and Pop with Booty thrown in some more. It’s RE-diculous (yes, I meant to spell it like that). Radio is mostly crap, and it wasn’t always like that. Because of which, I don’t really listen to it anymore. It’s good because I am spared the same song every 15 minutes, but presumably miss out on a gem that gets squeezed in at the midnight hour. Who am I kidding, that last part doesn’t happen any more, either. And before I go off on ANOTHER tangent, let me get to the heart of the subject.

So (Neo)Soul, apparently, is always needed to balance out the BS. And also, apparently, it hasn’t gone anywhere but perhaps under the radar, which is where I shamefully barely look anymore. but that has changed, dear friends. I’ve been holding on to this site for a while now, but I need to share it with you. I’ve already given you Honeysoul.com and it’s still a great place to go, but I have an equally impressive site for you to peruse. It’s called:

Neo Soul Cafe – the music that gets your head right

Truer words were never spoken. This is a great site for (Neo)Soul music lovers. It’s nicely laid out, too. The main focus, however, is the music as it should be. The site is the baby for the seemingly lovely Dallas, Texas based DJ Frances Jaye. Upon entering the site, you are greeted with all of your options for checking out said site. You will need Flash to check out stuff, but i’m pretty sure you already have it. At the top of the page, are links to other pages of interest on the site like Art, Photos, Events, Links to other site worth checking out (mainly Music Labels), and Music (links to Artist pages/sites). There’s also a Guestbook and an About page where I gleamed some info off of. Please check them all out, but the glue for the site is in the Lounge, which is the first button at the top. This brings up a pop up and where most of the action takes place. The lounge is where there is a 24 hour music player running, called the Cafe (hence the name). All you have to do is choose your stream (Windows Media, Itunes, or Quicktime, winamp, and connection type of whichever you choose) and let the musical goodness wash over you. The music is GREAT. You could hear anything from Amel Larrieux to Wayna (not Boyz II men one) and everything in between. All work safe….provided your work will let you stream music at all. Oh, and for you Hip Hoppers out there, there is a Hop Hop Lounge that you can listen to also. It is the same as the Cafe, but playing more hip Hop like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Digable Planets, and many others you may or may not know. Cool thing about both players is that it is a good quality stream so it sounds great. Even more, the artist, track and album name is there and you can click the album art to buy it from Amazon or Itunes.

And if that isn’t enough, every Sunday night from 7 – 9 Central Time(8 -10 Eastern), the one Frances Jaye jumps on the boards for a two hour set called,”Neo Soul Cafe Live”. At least I think she still does as I haven’t had a chance to catch the stream live. And she seems to like Roy Ayers. I ain’t mad at her. So how do I know this? Well, i’m glad you asked. Guess what, the “live” sets are downloadable from the lounge under “Podcasts”(click audio) and you can subscribe to it just as easily. Think is, I hadn’t seen a new one the Hip Hop mixtape back in May. Don’t let that discourage you, though. Here’s what got to me a bit more. On the first show I downloaded and listened to, it took a little over 30 minutes before I heard something I remotely knew (a Floetry song, if you’re interested), but I was groovin’ the whole way. I was excited about the fact that there was all of this music from people that I hadn’t heard about, but at the same time, I was put off because I can’t believe I didn’t know about these people. I heard names like Candy West, Geno Young, Eric Roberson, and W. Ellington Felton, who also has a group with Raheem Devaughn called CrossRhodes. Now I also heard songs from Van Hunt, Frank Mccomb, Hill St. Soul, and Ne-yo. And i’m so sick of hearing his song, but I feel the need to check out his album anyway. That and the aforementioned Raheem Devaughn for some reason. Just to rattle off a couple more names, there was stuff by Carmen Rogers, Geno Young, Goapele, and YahZarah.

Now, in case you didn’t know about who those l just mentioned, there is also a video component that is apparently is on television in certain markets called, what else, the Neo Soul Cafe. From what I read, it’s been on TV for a couple of years now? And it’s also viewable(under shows), downloadable and can be subscribed to from the Lounge (under podcasts. click video). There, you can find music videos and interviews with artists such as the last ones mentioned. It’s a good show. Check it out. As a matter of fact, stop reading this and just go there now. You should have done that well before now…unless you have. If you haven’t…go! I’ve had it as a link on the left for a while now, so maybe i’m preaching to the choir.

Oh, just go! Yes, it’s on Myspace.
Frances Jaye has one on there under her name also.

P.S.
I know I was a little light on the artist links I would normally put in, but i’m sleepy and may put them in later. By the way, did anyone know that “Over There” star, former Power Ranger, “Half and Half” and”ER” guester, Keith Robinson could sing?

WOOT!!

I’m starting to love this site. It’s called:

Woot : One Day, One Deal

That is exactly what it is. Every day at midnight, a new deal goes up on whatever. And there are some good deals, too! Always something different. Today as I write this, you can get 2 Logitech wireless Playstation 2 controllers for 20 bucks for yourself or the PS2 owner you know. I have one, they cost about $40… for ONE! These controllers do NOT work with Xbox or Xbox 360, let’s make that clear. I think the deal goes on until it sells out. I thought it was until the day is up but i’ve seen stuff that may still be buyable. I could be wrong, though. The catch, you have to have an account with the site and, unfortunately, I don’t know what that entails. I have heard of this site a while back, but wasn’t sure of what is going on with it. Now that i’ve been watching the site the past two weeks, i’m starting to get it.

Anyway, you can check the site each day, bookmark it definitely or subscribe to the RSS feed (if using Firefox, click on the little orange icon in the address bar and save it in your bookmarks). I don’t know which is better, the deal itself, the write up on it, or the podcast (at the top right) that is associated with it. The latter two being quite funny. Check it out for yourself. You might find a good deal in the process. What are you waiting for?

(EDIT) I just checked the FAQ (should have done that from the start). One item goes up at 12 midnight Central time(that’s 1 AM for us Eastern cats) and the go off sale at 11:59 Central time or when item sells out. And since everthing else has an entry, here is their wikipedia page.

FJD: Update #1

Believe it or not, the first day is done. As luck would have, the court docket this week is kind of light. as BAD luck would have it, I have to go back on Wednesday. Here’s what happened:

     I was supposed to be there at 9:30. I got there at 9:20 something and had to park at the very top of the parking garage (about 5 levels) next to the Courthouse. Walk all the way back down, across the street, through the walkway between Family Court and the Main Courthouse around to the front where I am supposed to go in. I was not alone in this endeavor, apparently. As soon as I get around to the door, i see a small line at the metal detector. Luckily, it moved fairly fast. In line, though, I noticed a pegboard with pictures of confiscated weapons on it. Somehow, I found this mildly amusing. What was notable was the cane sword, and what looked to be an old wild west type revolver. I don’t know guns, so I could be wrong. Anyway, As the line moved, I started emptying my pockets. All I had on me were my keys, the letter I was sent, my wallet, my MP3 player and a set of headphones. History has shown me to go light to places like this.  It was only the first day,  I saw people with  ‘War and Peace’ sized books with them.  So, I get through the detector no problem and power walk up a flight of stairs to the second floor and into the court room I was supposed to be in. I would’ve taken the elevator except for the fact that it was only one floor up and I wasn’t sure what time it was exactly because I didn’t bring a watch…..And the elevators were crowded.

     So, I go in and get ushered to my seat which was in the gallery three rows back from where the lawyers would normally sit, luckily near the end of the row. Unfortunately, it was crowded and I don’t like crowds. There was only one person between me and the end of the row, but more on that in a minute. It was kind of hot in there and I had on a long sleeve shirt on thinking it was going to be cold. Last time I had jury duty it was cold in there and I wore short sleeve. Dumb. It was also like 80+ degrees outside, so I had to balance it out, you know? Right, 9:30 came and went and people were still coming in. That died down a minute or two later, though.  Now, i’m going to start glossing over stuff because this will get real boring real fast (if it hasn’t already).

    First, let me tell you about who I was sitting by. Now, i’m not really cordial with people that I don’t foresee myself ever being around again. However, if i’m spoken to, okay, i’ll answer. I also don’t care for what I perceive as just blatant ignorance, not to say that I encountered any. Maybe. Ok, to my left, you have an older brother, nicely dressed, glasses, cell phone on his hip, cool. On my right, you have a sista (note the spelling people) dressed decently, short hair cut, short dress (right above the knee. So much that she had to keep pulling it down) that was probably warn the past weekend at the club. I could be wrong, though. Not judging.  I had on jeans and a long sleeve shirt, so I was probably odd man out, but I was comfortable and that’s what mattered. There were people in front, but they seemed alright. Here’s what got me. As we were sitting there, the first thing out of the sista’s mouth is, “I’m not gonna be all week. I’m going on vacation Thursday. I already paid for my tickets. I just won’t be here.” Ok, this to me was ignorant. NObody ask her anything. NObody even looked at her until she said that. It did illicit a couple of chuckles from the row in front of us and the brother beside me. And she didn’t say it real loud either, but why say it at all?

    Anyway, the Court Clerk starts talking and she introduces herself. Second thing she says is,”Please turn off all cellphones and beepers while in the court room.” To which, once again, the sista next to me says (just loud enough for the brother next to me to hear),” I’m not turning off my phone. I’ll put it on vibrate. I got Churin (that’s children for the uninformed)”. The brother next to me says something like, “yea, me too” or something. Now, to her credit, I respect the fact that people have children and need to be in contact with them in case something happens. I can’t fault her for that, I guess. Keep reading for what I did fault her on. So the Clerk keeps going with the preliminary BS about what is expected and all that. Part of which was a bit of housekeeping. I should mention that the last time I had jury duty, this stage of the game was lovingly called the “cattle call” by the judge. I kid you not. I wasn’t mad about it because that’s what it felt like. This was not said this time by anyone. I was expecting it, though. Part of the housekeeping consisted of weeding out people who hadn’t mailed in their letters as they were supposed to when they got them. I had gotten mine over two weeks ago and held on to it until last Monday. Oh, I forgot to mention that during the majority of the time, the sista to my right keeps looking at her cellphone.

     After all that was over, the judge was sent for (“Here comes the judge, Here comes the judge”). After a couple of minutes, the judge walked in, told everone to rise and then promptly sit back down. he then introduced himself and reintroduced the Clerk along with a few well placed jokes at her expense. Now we come to the meat of the call, qualifying of jurors. This where everyone has to stand up after being called to state their occupation, marital status, and spouse’s occupation, if applicable.
It felt like one of those support groups you see on TV, only bigger. Up until her name was called and more afterwards, the sista to my right kept looking at her cellphone. i shouldn’t care. It’s none of my business, but i’m sorry, you can’t be that important to where you HAVE to keep looking at your cellphone when you are supposed to be listening to instructions. I was hoping that the baliff or the judge would see her and check it out because the constant clicking and closing of her phone was getting on my nerves. This is what bothers me about people, particularly my people. You have a phone, big deal. know when, where, and how to use it. there is such a thing as etiquette. But you know what, I will spare you my cell phone rant for another day. As a matter of fact, I ending this now because it is way long and it appears there is a storm brewing. I could use a nap, anyway.

Funny moment of the day:

Is from the night before when my wife (who tosses and turns most of the night) says not to wake her up when I come to bed.  My wife who had no where to go during the day, I should add. My wife who after tossing and turning for 30 minutes, asks me if i’m sleep, then goes into the other room to go back to sleep while I start tossing and turning for the rest of the night, losing sleep. NICE!

Fuckin’ Jury Duty!

Yea, i said it. and starting tomorrow, that’s where i’ll be, dammnit! I’m all for civic duty and all that, but sitting around (cases or not) for $10 a day for eight hours a day is not my idea of fair. I’m going to try to take my either my MP3 player, PSP, or my Nintendo DS, but it’ll be my luck that I get a case right off the bat like I did last time I had it. The difference this time is that I am taking off of work. Last time, I thought I was Iron Man and went to work afterwards. You all, do you that I work at night for 12 hours each for 3 (on average) – 7 days, right? Yea, that was silly of me, but I won’t make that mistake this time. But I have to use time to do it (I think). I may post updates when possible. At least i’ll be somewhat close to my favorite Deli. North Main Deli, great sour cream potato salad and spinach turkey wraps. Yummee!!

Sample Moment #2

Yep, it’s been a while,
but you’ll forgive me. I have lot’s of material, but i’m lazy. Which I
guess that’s why i’m going to make this one easy on everyone (read:
me). But all is not lost, I am generous. This time, i’m going to give
you 2 moments in one and they are both easy so let’s get into it…

You’ve been waitin’ and debatin’
For oh so long,
Just starvin like Marvin for a
“SAMPLE MOMENT

If you’re like me with this, you know your favorite Rap/Hip Hop song is probably comprised of a sample or two. Also, you would love to know what they are because, in a lot of cases, the source material is as good or better than the song using it. This is what Sample Moment is about. Diggin’ into the song to find what made it the hotness you know it as. As time goes by, I may get alittle more in depth with it, but for now, let’s just find these gems, shall we?

Now, the first moment had Ashanti allFoolish‘ and Musiq thinking ‘Ifiwouldknew‘ (I liked the original, ‘Girl Next Door‘ that this was the remix for), but where it is really notable is in the words:

“I, Poppa, Freaks all the the Honies…”

Need I go on? Didn’t think so. Yep, the groundwork to one version of Biggie’s(R.I.P) ‘One More Chance‘ comes from none other than ‘Stay with Me‘ from the group Debarge‘s 1983 album, ‘In a Special Way‘. If the title sounds familiar it should because it was also a hit back in the day (along with a few others on that album), but we’ll save that for later. I guess I should note that rapper Big L (R.I.P) used it once, and Funkmaster Flex used it twice among others. I’m kind going for the more popular uses. Yea, it easy and cheap, but that hasn’t stopped them from using it now, has it?

Alright, next on the list is a more recent than you think. I shouldn’t tell you the name of the “offending song” because it would totally give it away (YEEAAAHHH!), but there is no way around it. So let me run it like this. The year, 2002. The artist, Michael Sterling. He came out with an album called ‘Right Now’ and on this album there was a song that became a MEGA hit two years later in the hands of someone who already had a handful at the time he “crafted” (very loosely said) the song in question. Hell, it was said on the beginning of the song,”We had to do it again. Had to do it.” and I don’t think they were talking about the people featured on the song, but who knows. Alright, if you don’t know what i’m talking about, then apparently you’ve been under a rock for the past couple of years. Either that or my clues are terrible. Most of you are already replaying the song in your heads, so without further ado we have: Ursher(hey, that how he said it)… Lil Jon… Ludacris!!
in 2004’s SMAASH hit, ‘Lover’s and Friends‘from Lil Jon’s ‘Crunk Juice‘ album. Originally done, as I said, by Michael Sterling. Lil Jon took almost everything off of the original song except for the vocals and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wrote the ones that were used! Believe it.

Now I wish I could do this spot as a podcast because I would love to play some of the original stuff I come across as a comparison to the sample version. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of money for licensing, but there may be a way to do this in a way that I won’t get sued for. Stay tuned for that. Hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as I have. Questions, comments, suggestions, holla at me or put them out here on the comments. Incidently, you can hear a snippet of Micheal Sterling’s version from the link on his name or here.

(not so) New Music Lookout #4

Ok, this one is a little different because while this artist is new for where I found him, but not new to the scene. His name is Ola Onabule. A London, England (do you sense a theme here?) born Nigerian with a smoking voice. I put him somewhere between Marvin Gaye and Micheal Macdonald.  He has a four octave range (which means he can hit a good range of notes) and apparently, has five albums under his belt starting from 1999 to 2004. He appears to have opened for a number of people like Patti Labelle and Natalie Cole and has written Arias for the Royal Opera House.

     Ok, so why am I talking about him when he doesn’t seem to have had an album since 2004? Well, recently, I’ve been listening to a podcast that hd played one of his songs that he recently had put on the Podsafe music network (we’ll talk about that some other time). The song was called ‘Soul Town’ and it looks like it was on his last album, ‘in Emergency Brake Silence’ from 2004. you should take a listen to it and the other song that is there. Go here to do so:

Ola Onabule page on PMN

or go directly to his website and check out that and his other stuff: Olamusic.com

I think you’ll like his stuff.

Oh, and i think he’s on Myspace….addicts.

Incidently…

If there was ever a question about why I am kind of hot and heavy with the posting within the last day or two it’s because I have a lot that I hadn’t put out yet, so i’m catching up. Plus, I’m lazy so I have to do it when I get the steam. Either that or i’m trying to catch up to The L…. Naaah, it’s the first one but the thought is tempting. Oh and before I go on. I let this month slip by without mentioning that it’s National Black Music Month. So celebrate with your favorite genre of music because most, if not all, major genres of music have African or African American influences. That last part is fact that no one can dispute. Hence, my music themed posts, I guess. There are a couple more to go too. Anyway, carry on.

Peace

New Music Lookout #3

I was looking in Sunday Best Buy circular the other day when I noticed a new album coming from an artist named Corrinne Bailey Rae. Since I hadn’t heard of her before and couldn’t tell what kind of stuff she did, I just figured her for some new jack and filed it away to check into later. Well, later came Thursday morning while I was talking to a Daywalker on the shift coming in to work. My co-worker said that she supposedly has a singing style like Norah Jones. He was asking me about her, which pulled her file up to be investigated. When I got home, I snooped around like Dre and didn’t find much. Ok, that’s not entirely true because what I found is enough to last me until I check out the album. I came across her Website and it has, like many other artist sites, music playing. And I must say the girl is kinda nice. At first it threw me off because I thought, judging by her voice, she was like 16 or 17. Turns out she is a 26 year old British singer whose been kinda hot over the pond for a little bit. Also, while I can see what my co-worker was talking about, she sounds more like Macy Gray without the raspiness. Incidently, this might be her second album? I’m not sure but I saw something like that in my investigation.

So here is your homework, check her out for yourself. I think you might like her if you hadn’t already heard of her.

Go for it:

The Official Site

Blogger’s Friend, Wikipedia

MSN Music

AOL Music (there is a link to a concert she did and her videos to the right)

Videos at Videocure (Check out ‘Like a Star’, it’s nice)

and just when I thought she and/or someone in her camp had sense, Myspace, for the junkies.

AllofMP3 are belong to…

     Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or just don’t follow tech news, there has been a site that’s been talked about frequently lately. It’s called AllofMP3.com. It’s a Russian based MP3 music selling site similiar to Itunes but more like sites like Emusic.com in that it sells songs in standard, presumably non DRM ridden, MP3’s instead of AAC like Itunes. And that you don’t need an Ipod to listen to them. It’s a well done site if you check it out. The reason that it is in the news, is not because it sells songs and whole albums in MP3 form, it is because it sells them for cheap. I’m talking WAY too cheap to be legal cheap. This is NOT why i’m telling you about this, but if you choose to check it out, that’s on you. Be warned, that it’s not the fact that the site is selling music, it’s the legality of which it does it that is in question.

     You can bet that the Recording Industry Association of America(RIAA) is trying to shut them down, but as I said, it’s in Russia. That won’t stop them from trying though. Also, more recently, it’s been said that supposedly artists aren’t getting anything from the site as far as payment. As you know, when music gets bought in stores or wherever, part of the money SUPPOSED to go to the artist (as royalties). Well, it goes to the Label and they give a tiny bit to the artist. So if the Labels aren’t getting their money, the artists they aren’t happy. But’s that’s also not why i’m telling you about the site. The whole recording arists get fucked thing is old news.

     The reason i’m telling you of this is that Allofmp3.com apparently puts out ‘best album’ (awards) and other charts based on criteria like year, Grammy wins, or whatever. They have fairly recently put out a listing of the Greatest 500 Albums. It’s done by genre and is quite a comprehensive list, too. Some of the stuff you can’t easily find in stores, too. If you go here for no other reason, this is it. Should you choose to buy anything, you are on your own. Just listen out for the knock at the door.

Oh, you might want to read up some of the shenanigans going on with the site and the site itself. Do so.

Peace.

New Album lookout #2/ Where are they now?#2 mashup

This was supposed to be a ‘where are they now‘ but plans changed thanks to a little net surfing. Actually, I came across this checking out a site I will talk about soon. Right now, let’s talk heavies… as in Brand New Heavies. Never heard of them? Shame on you, but i’ll let you walk with me anyway.

The Brand New Heavies (the Heavies for short), starting as a trio, was formed in London, England back in the mid eighties as an instrumental group. The sound was a mix of Retro Funk groove (think James Brown and the like) and Acid Jazz. Shortly thereafter, the Heavies, gained a horn section and a bigger following in the club. Eventually, they got a record deal and a vocalist along with some major buzz. An self titled album was done, and things popped off. Because of this, the group came to the attention of Delicious Vinyl Records here in the States. Somewhere in there, the then vocalist Jay Ella Ruth, ended up not in the group. So, Delicous Vinyl grabbed a young, VERY nice vocalist named N’Dea Davenport. In 1992,The Heavies re-recorded their album with N’dea’s vocal and pushed it out. Again, there was magic, just now on american soil. You may be familiar with the songs ‘Stay This Way‘ or the more poular ‘Never Stop‘ from this album. That same year, the group dabbled in Hip Hop with the album ‘Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1‘, which mixed the Heavies sound with the time’s hot rappers like Grand Puba, The Pharcyde, and Gangstarr (whose lyricist, Guru, hollered at N’dea to do a song on his ‘Jazzmatazz vol. 1’ album). Two years later (after the group’s platinum selling album, ‘Brother Sister‘), N’dea left the group and went solo which, personally, was a bad call but what can you do. She was replaced with the very talented Siedah Garrett.

Now, I have to say that this was not a bad deal for Siedah or the group, as she has either written, sang or collaborated on many songs you probably know. She started as a back up singer for Quincy Jones and Micheal Jackson and even went on to pen a few little known numbers like, ‘The Secret Garden(Sweet Seduction Suite)‘ and ‘Man in the Mirror‘ for them respectively. She also ended up having 2 solo albums before and during her Heavies gig. Notable song, ‘Refuse to be Loose‘ from the first one. Personally, she will forever be known to me for singing one of my favorite (and life soundtrack candidate) songs, ‘Ever Changing Times‘. I just found out she did another favorite of mine called ‘Sexy‘ for Maysa‘s 1995 self titled album and a few others. The girl is bad, but unfortunately, it didn’t translate into sales for the Heavies 1997 album, ‘Shelter‘. The album was good and had two personal hits with the songs ‘Feels Like Right‘ and the single ‘Sometimes‘. My guess is, people were missing N’dea and I can see it if that were the case. While Siedah is a powerhouse in her own right, N’dea voice is perfect with the group’s sound. N’dea, by the way, did come out with a self titled solo album in 1998. It did alright, I guess. It was R&B with flashes of the sound she had with the Heavies and yielded a hit with the song, ‘Bring it On‘.

So, here we are asking, “now what”? The Heavies hadn’t had an album since ’97 unless you count the import album, ‘We Won’t Stop’, which is possibly vocal less, or ‘All About the Funk’ earlier this year. I don’t know about either of those. But what I know is that there is a brand new Heavies album(could be June 27th) coming out soon called ‘Get Used To It’ that is featuring N’dea on vocals….as it should be. And that, my friends, is where it’s at. I’ve heard a song off of the album and it sounds good. If you want to hear it, go here. Doth endeth the lesson.

Incidently, there was Brand New Heavies Greatest hits album back in 2000 that had a new song featuring N’dea on vocals. Coincidentely, it was called, ‘Finish What You Started’

(EDIT) See, not doing my job properly. I forgot to mention their websites:

N’Dea Davenport.Net, Siedah Garrett

Wikipedia: Brand New Heavies, N’Dea Davenport, Siedah Garrett

and, of course, for you Myspace junkies, The BrandNewHeavies.Net and N’Dea Davenport
and Delicious Vinyl Records.

Check out their videos on Singingfool.com and YouTube