12: “The Healer” by Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu should strip naked someplace sexier than an assassination route.Erykah Badu recently got some press for stripping naked on the street in Dallas while retracing the route of JFK’s last living moments.  It was a shoot for a video for her latest album.  They didn’t get permits.  They just filmed her in one take, in front of lookers-on, who were quite surprised.  I’m not expressing any opinions about her art.  I’m just presenting some interesting info.

This song is just as crazy, but has the additional merit of being enjoyable.

So, enjoy.

Song: The Healer
Artist: Erykah Badu
Album: New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)
Label: Motown
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: YouTube

11: “Blue Blood Blues” by The Dead Weather

The Dead Weather, Good In A Knife FightJack White is a musical freakshow (and thank God for that).  After showing the world what he could do with sparse drums and mutant guitar skills with The White Stripes, he’s been cranking out badass music with an array of musicians, oddly including Loretta Lynn.

Nothing about Jack White is normal.  With the band The Dead Weather, Jack showcases some virtuoso-ism by playing drums in addition to his usual guitar and vocals.  The man knows how to rock, but always writes songs with a trademark oddity.  “Blue Blood Blues” shows off his tight guitar chops as well as his unusual songwriting style.

I’ll keep an eye on Jack for more goodies, fersherr.

Enjoy.

Song: Blue Blood Blues
Artist: The Dead Weather
Album: Sea of Cowards
Label: Third Man/Warner Bros.
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: YouTube

10: “Papa Dukie And The Mud People” by The Subdudes

A gentleman is a man who can play the accordion but doesn't.The Subdudes have no drummer.  And they have an accordion player.  Don’t let either of these facts discourage you from checking them out if you don’t already love them.

Here’s a great tune called “Papa Dukie And The Mud People” that should activate just about everybody’s instinct to sing along.

Love is a beautiful thing.
I can’t wait to see
what the new day brings.

Enjoy.

Song: Papa Dukie And The Mud People
Artist: The Subdudes
Album: Behind The Levee
Label: Back Porch
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Watch: YouTube (live version)

9: “Switch Blade” by Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach

Should these 3 guys have been in the same place at the same time? Seems risky.Three of the greatest ever, making music together.  At each moment of these sessions, the future was rife with possibilities… each twist of the wrist and finger held an infinite number of possibilities.  Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach recorded Money Jungle in 1962 and released it in 1963.

In this track, an alternate take of “Switch Blade” from the 2002 re-master of Money Jungle (and the better take in my opinion), you can hear that each note is played with clear intention.  Duke leaves open spaces throughout, and you can hear each member listening as much as they’re playing.  It’s a great recording for jazz lovers, and will never grow old.

Enjoy.

Song: Switch Blade (Alternate Take)
Artist: Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach
Album: Money Jungle
Label: United Artists Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: YouTube (original take)

8: “U Can’t Sing R Song” by Spearhead

The Chocolate Supa Highway Is Paved With Republicans.Oh damn, y’all.  Here I go.  I’m gonna throw down some music to make love to your old lady (man) by.  Foreal.

Here’s one from Spearhead, from back before Michael Franti broke out as a star on his own right (he was always the star, he just started taking top billing later).  The entire album, Chocolate Supa Highway (1997) is epically good.  It’s a perfect album to make a rap-hater think twice.  Franti is a morally-driven man, and the lyrics on this album are often as deep and thoughtful as they are “well-spat” (I have derived at this term in an attempt to capture the vernacular of the street for “skillfully rapped”).  I’ve included a couple more YouTube listens from this album at the bottom to show you the full Franti range.

So put on ur purple bedspread, light some candles, download this song, and enjoy.

Song: U Can’t Sing R Song
Artist: Spearhead
Album: Chocolate Supa Highway
Label: Capitol Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: YouTube

7: “Tone Twilight Zone” by Cornelius

Cornelius, damn dirty ape.Cornelius is a Japanese artist whose music ranges from earsplitting punk to Disneyland psychedelia.  In his 2001 release Point, he tried to reduce his music down to its essence, hence Point.  A beautiful example of a successful attempt is the song “Tone Twilight Zone.”

Yes, he named his artistic persona after the character in Planet of the Apes.  Japanese people are whacky.  They sell used panties in vending machines in Japan, I’ve heard.  Forget I said that.

A great song for headphones.

Watch the video, too!

Enjoy.

Song: Tone Twilight Zone
Artist: Cornelius
Album: Point
Label: Post Modern Recording Company
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG
Watch: YouTubeDailyMotion

6: “You’ve Got A Booger Bear Under There” by Ollie Nightingale

Ollie Nightingale, Pimp As Purple ItselfI lived in Memphis for a while, and was introduced to the music of Ollie Nightingale, who was still alive at the time.  He was part of what was still called “The Chitlin’ Circuit” by folks I knew, and which I took to apply to a certain style of performers touring the Southeast US, namely, “off-color” (woefully under-descriptive!) African-American musicians/comedians playing to largely African-American audiences.  I saw Bobby Rush, another musician I’d considered part of that scene, at a great show at the New Daisy Theater.  Some consider the term “Chitlin’ Circuit” applied to modern musicians to be derogatory, but I certainly mean no offense by it.  I enjoyed several “Chitlin’ Circuit” artists very much, and spent money on them, so I care where it counts.

Here’s a quintessential example of the type of song that would be heard on the “Chitlin’ Circuit,” as we called it: “You’ve Got A Booger Bear Under There,” by Ollie Nightingale.  No matter how you might judge the poetic content of the lyrics, it’s a soundly-written song and was often covered by the illustrious Alex Chilton.

Enjoy.

Song: You’ve Got A Booger Bear Under There
Artist: Ollie Nightingale
Album: The Best of Ollie Nightingale
Label: Ecko Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG

Watch Ollie performing “Are You Lonesome” at a place and time unknown…

5: “Better Things” by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Protecting The AlleySharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are reviving a traditional soul sound.  “Better Things” is from their April 2010 release, I Learned The Hard Way on Daptone Records.  Sometimes you just need a little soul music to take you 3 minutes and 40 seconds into the future.

Dap.

Enjoy.

Song: Better Things
Artist: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Album: I Learned The Hard Way
Label: Daptone Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG
WatchYouTube

4: “The Vision Of Rahsaan A) Dedication B) Roll On Kirk” by Eric Burdon & WAR

Eric Burdon and War, Shirtless!Make ’em work.  Make ’em work.  Make ’em work.  Roll on Kirk.  This song is a dedication to jazz legend Rahsaan Roland Kirk.  The song was created by crazy whiteboy Eric Burdon, who worked for every inch of soul he showed, backed up by the band he helped launch, WAR.

Now stop reading these words and download this song.  I will refund your money with coinage surreptitiously placed in the crevices of your home furniture if you are not completely satisfied with your purchase.  I promise.

Enjoy.

Song: The Vision Of Rassan A) Dedication B) Roll On Kirk
Artist: Eric Burdon & WAR
Album: Eric Burdon Declares WAR
Label: Rhino / Avenue
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG
WatchYouTube

3: “Down And To The Left” by Amon Tobin

Amon Tobin Looks Like A Nice Guy.When some people think of electronically generated music, they think of beeps, bloops, and repetitive drum loops.

Amon Tobin is not that kind of musician.  He takes mostly “found” sounds and transforms them into often industrial sounding pieces of music.  The track I present now is a more musical offering from Tobin’s library.  It is not uncommon to find serene beauty or the arching scope of a cinematic score in Tobin’s carefully constructed songs.  He creates thick landscapes of sound and layers tracks like a master craftsman.

“Down and to the Left” is part of a 3-disc compilation by various artists entitled Xen Cuts (2000) from label Ninja Tunes.

Enjoy.

Song: Down and to the Left
Artist: Amon Tobin
Album: Xen Cuts
Label: Ninja Tunes
Buy from: Amazon
Listen: MOG
WatchYouTube