Something Else Radio!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Soul Food Stew... (Something Else! for 3/12/09)

While this show isn't soul in its purest form, there's definitely a bit more than some other weeks...

I managed to sneak in two from the late Donny Hathaway's Extensions of a Man. I really think more people need to know the work of this amazing artist. I grew up hearing his music around the house, but a quick glance through his entry in Wikipedia proved pretty enlightening--I knew about his daughter Lalah Hathaway but I didn't know about his daughter Kenya, a background singer on TV's American Idol or his huge impact on that show (e.g., many singers audition with or perform songs he either wrote or made popular.)

After the intro song, comes "Girl Talk" Neil Hefti's grammy-nominated song about Jean Harlow interpreted by Greg Phillinganes, best known as keyboardist for Stevie Wonder and Eric Clapton. Greg gives the song an 80s soul re-fit as you might expect from someone who's played on Michael Jackson's Thriller album. "Rien Ne Va Plus" follows by by Funk Factory (a Michael Urbaniak project) and the first of the two Donny Hathaway tracks "I Love the Lord He Heard My Cry (Pts. 1 & 2,)" a lush instrumental version of a traditional negro spiritual. Freddie Hubbard's jazz standard "Little Sunflower" continues the "lushness" with beautiful strings accompanying his lovely trumpet playing and also features the grammy-winning (7 times!) vocals of Al Jarreau. Al is usually known for his vocal improvisations but this time he plays it straight unlike the next vocalist, Grace Jones, who seems quite playful on "Ladies and Gentlemen Miss Grace Jones" even introducing herself near the end in grand fashion. "Salsa Step" is a new track by an artist named Dusty from the album Keep it Raw mixed into one by The Don of 2-Step/UK Garage, Artful Dodger. "Ruff Neck Sound" is a heavily Jamaican influenced track, with reggae vocals and a ragga-flavored backing track featuring Richie Dan & Sevi G. A broken-beat ragga track from Sunship, "Almighty Father (Solid Groove Remix,)" transitions into Tom Noble's "Kind in the Night (Misa Negra Mix)" a remix from Bugz In The Attic's Afronaught. Down-shifting a bit, Branford Marsalis' Buckshot LeFonque project brings us "Some Sh*t @ 78 Bpm (The Scratch Opera)" featuring the turntable mastery of DJ Premier. Another new track "The Steamin' Blues" by The Hot 8 Brass Band leads us into the closer "Come Little Children" by Donny Hathaway, a soulful rendition of a few nursery rhymes.

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