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331: Isolated Vocals of David Lee Roth, Michael Jackson

Uncle Funk’s Most Commandments
or
The Worst Vice Is Advice

InvincibleUncle Funk is most real when his eyes are locked with those of another terrestrial carbon unit in an unspoken reverence for the awesomeness of the universe into which all units have been vomited.

Uncle Funk is most alive when he is lost in an activity that engages his full being, when he ceases to exist as a self-aware entity, and escapes to the form of a pure force maneuvering with geometric precision.

Uncle Funk is most certain when he is dancing.

Uncle Funk is most significant when he is helping others, creating a richer world by his presence.

Uncle Funk is most lightly tethered when he ponders what it means to be living inside a mystery, wrapped inside a create-your-own-adventure story.

Uncle Funk is most satisfied when he is eating his mom’s home cooking.

Uncle Funk is most fulfilled after he works at length on a complex problem requiring the disciplined and rigorous application of skills crafted over days or years to accomplish a predetermined goal.

Uncle Funk is most humbled when he considers his species’ climb out of the swamp, past cataclysms and alternate histories, to shiver and cower in the brush, before swinging through the forest, to walk boldly upright, and finally, to march forward as the self he is today, a clump of sentient cells, an infinite sum in a lilliputian package, contemplating its own snapshot journey along the edge of the universe that nursed it.

~

Michael Jackson and David Lee Roth are all over space right now. Their voices are literally being carried, as you read and comprehend these words, on radio waves spanning and spreading across billions and billions of light years, planting the musical seeds of humanity across space and time.

Here are isolated vocals from Van Halen’s “Running With The Devil” and Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.”

Enjoy them the most.

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325: “Ahmad’s Blues” by Ahmad Jamal

Ahmad Jamal contemplates you reading this.Ahmad Jamal is standing in a white shirt and loose brown pants, looking into the distance. He is thinking about what might happen to him when he dies. You see, he’s decided he’s not swallowing just any old jazz someone throws him about what’s going to happen to sweet, sweet Ahmad when he kicks the bucket.

In truest fact, Ahmad is now cresting a jagged hillock, his linen clothing stirring in the tropical breeze, considering whether or not the afterlife might be a lot crazier, even, than the wildest tales of heaven or hell.

Ahmad sits down at a piano resting atop a geometrically unfathomable mountain peak on a violently verdant isle.

Maybe everyone gets their own version of an afterlife, based on their expectations and/or demeanor at point of exit.

Ahmad stretches his hands like they’re cats who just woke up.

Maybe the afterlife is a dream you never wake up from, but instead of a human brain sleeping, it’s the interrelations of the atoms and photons circulating around the earth (and beyond) that were at some point part of you, culminating in a hazy, planet-sized dreamstate.

Ahmad is exploring the keys, coloring his afterlife musings with a delicate, undulating subtext.

Maybe the afterlife is a poetry slam where you have to recite your life’s memories in clever verse. You go on to some other afterlife once you start rhyming about the afterlife poetry slam.

Ahmad Jamal is now shirtless, and his hands never left the piano.

Maybe the afterlife is not worth the consideration, if you’re not properly using the time you’ve got.

Ahmad plays “Ahmad’s Blues” with Israel Crosby on bass and Vernel Fournier on drums, on Ahmad’s Blues, released in September, 1958.

Ahmad is still going strong at 83, with upcoming performances. Here, there, and beyond.

Enjoy.

Song: Ahmad’s Blues
Artist: Ahmad Jamal
Album: Ahmad’s Blues
Label: Verve
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: YouTube

322: “Your Lady, She’s Shady” by JJ Grey & Mofro

it's pointing left.I was 27 years old and poppin and lockin down the frozen desserts aisle of a central Florida grocery store when I first became self-aware. Up until that point I had been living in some type of sleep state. I can still remember my past like a dream, but it hardly seems like my own life.

I’ve retained all the knowledge and skills I acquired in my dream past, and my wife says I have changed very little from the person I was when I was not self-aware… that I was always a weirdo. But I know the difference.

The biggest change is that when I’m poppin, lockin, or whatever, it’s like I’m standing in between two parallel mirrors and the poppin, lockin, or whatever is outlined by a receding infinity that powerfully hints at the recursive iteration machine that keeps moving this self forward in endless destruction and rebirth.

In fact, maybe it wasn’t this me that was in that grocery store in the first place. Maybe it was someone else, until they popped and locked just right, at which point this self, the one who is now aware, was zapped into this body and took over its historical data. And might another self take over later, perhaps whilst I am buttering my chest? Would my wife even notice?

Regardless, I have found solace in a deep awareness of the beauty of music, which seems to enable recursive iteration for the power of good. JJ Grey & Mofro have been with “me” since before my awakening, and their sauce is worthy of standing in front of a mirror to watch yourself lick off a spoon. Their brand new one just dropped, This River (2013), and I’m amazed at these guys’ ability to bring it strong and consistent through the years. Like nothing’s changed but the spoon. They’re on tour now!

Enjoy the lead track, “Your Lady, She’s Shady,” as the righteous swamp rock excites your inner awareness and your booty muscles all at once. Pop and lock if you must.

Song: Your Lady, She’s Shady
Artist: JJ Grey & Mofro
Album: This River
Label: Alligator Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Rdio | Spotify
Watch: YouTube (Live, Exit/In, Nashville, 4/13/13)

310: “Voice Of The Lobster” by Clothesline Revival

The shirts say California.There is a pond, under a sliver of moon, with croaking frogs in numbers verging on the fantastic lining its edges. The sound is profoundly noisy. But the pond (inwardly) smiles. For the pond sits in delightful anticipation of a disturbance in the night, perhaps a swooping owl or ambling possum, to shut off the cacophony in an instant and send all the frogs jumping into itself. The pond relishes this experience each and every time.

Clothesline Revival (Conrad Praetzel along with Robert Powell and others) splash together in synchrony primarily in and around Santa Rosa, CA. “Voice of the Lobster” is on They Came From Somewhere (2010), and it sounds more like swamp music than Californey music.

The pond is not enthusiastic about cows, by the way. It is all too keenly aware that it is indeed partially composed of the beasts’ fluids. The pond has not lived an unexamined life. It deals with the nuanced psychology of pond life in stoic, gravitational surrender. Rippling when there’s cause, but mostly listening and watching, trying to match and readjust its own inner account of Reality against the stream of experiential data it collects on its existential transit.

Lobsters and stars and frogs and rain. Music.

Enjoy.

Song: Voice of the Lobster
Artist: Clothesline Revival
Album: They Came From Somewhere
Label: Paleo Music
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify
Watch: YouTube

303: “Black Hole” by Shawn Lee

There is a part of the universe... over that way.Consider the simplest of everyday actions. For instance, consider the act of opening the door to your dwelling, and setting down your things.

It is an orchestra of movement. Tendons, muscles, joints, anticipation, reaction, all unconscious and automatic. You don’t even consider it, as you contemplate greater affairs.

Your brain is the most complicated thing in the known universe. A multitude of voices within you, serving up millions of years of evolution in your every movement and reaction.

And somewhere within the chorus, is the still, small voice you call your self, making things we all call choices.

What do you do with it all? And what all is inside that incredible ultra-supercomputer riding atop your shoulders?*

Shawn Lee considers such things. Whilst he drinks tea and converses with wisefolk under magnificent trees more ancient than the ages of all the prophets added together.

They stare into the face of black holes and write funky songs.

Shawn Lee makes music for fun, for money, and because he has to, else his supercomputer brain would explode out of his face with the force of ten thousand sneezes.

Making life make sense, every day, here, for you… Am I.

From Synthesizers in Space (2012)… “Black Hole”…

Enjoy.

*If you enjoy considering such, read Incognito: Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman.

Song: Black Hole
Artist: Shawn Lee
Album: Synthesizers in Space
Label: ESL Music, Inc.
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify
Watch: YouTube

295: “Cold Bear” by The Gaturs

Yes, we dress like The Temptations.The song is 1970’s “Cold Bear” by New Orleans’ The Gaturs (with keyboardist Willie Tee).

And below are some quotes, accumulated over my existential transit, best enjoyed whilst sipping a cold bear…

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-Aristotle, philosopher (384-322 BCE)

Between truth and the search for truth, I opt for the second.
-Bernard Berenson, art historian (1865-1959)

The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.
-Aldous Huxley, novelist (1894-1963)

I don’t hate my enemies. After all, I made ’em.
-Red Skelton, comedian (1913-1997)

Not far from the invention of fire must rank the invention of doubt.
-Thomas Henry Huxley, biologist (1825-1895)

War will never cease until babies begin to come into the world with larger cerebrums and smaller adrenal glands.
-H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

I have ever hated all nations, professions, and communities, and all my love is toward individuals.
-Jonathan Swift, satirist (1667-1745)

A beautiful thing is never perfect.
-Egyptian proverb

Song: Cold Bear
Artist: The Gaturs
Album: Wasted
Label: Funky Delicacies
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG
Watch: YouTube

272: “Ray Charles” by Chiddy Bang

Yo.I’m Ray Charles. I’m also Babe Ruth and Balky from Perfect Strangers.

And my spirit animal is either a tapeworm or something that looks like one.

People do not get to choose their mystic visions.

This track is by the hip-hop duo Chiddy Bang. Straight outta Philly, yo. These catz got mad stylez. They’re Ray Charles, after all.

Have some Breakfast (2012). And enjoy.

Song: Ray Charles (Explicit)
Artist: Chiddy Bang
Album: Breakfast
Label: EMI UK
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify
Watch: YouTube