It’s rare I feature hiphop on these pages, not out any personal bias but rather the simple fact that as ‘today’s music’ hiphop naturally lies at the bleeding, distant extremity of one of this blog’s main musical objectives: namely the seeking of common rhythms and tonalities that call & respond back again from Africa to South America and the Caribbean. Hiphop is ‘in there’ somewhere, but its modernity and originality insulates it to some extent from the original rhythms. This is of course neither good nor bad, and there are lots of blogs that do a far better job of analyzing and extolling hiphop than I would.
No, I don’t get a lot of Africa from this track. This is all about America. There’s nothing to emulate in the lyrical content either –a starkly ‘gangsta’ effort– but as with most street poets some lines cut like a knife; are admirable by any standard. The quest for these exposes you to a bumpin’ rhythm and an earbug hook you’ll find yourself singing all day.
After a slow start this 1973 recording for California’s The Hues Corporation from the album ‘Freedom for the Stallion‘ eventually skyrocketed to the top of the Hot 100 in July of 1974. Later the same year renowned Jamaican journeymen Inner Circle, backing the inestimable Jacob Miller, released this cover on their eponymously-named ‘Rock The Boat’ LP on Trojan Records.
Our love is like a ship on the ocean
We’ve been sailing with a cargo full of love and devotion
So I’d like to know where you got the notion
Said I’d like to know where you got the notion
To rock the boat (don’t rock the boat, baby)
Rock the boat (don’t tip the boat over)
Rock the boat (don’t rock the boat baby)
Rock the boat…
Old & In The Way was an early Jerry Garcia supergroup featuring David “Dawg” Grisman, Peter Rowan, the great Vassar Clements, and John Kahn, whose bass underscored much of Garcia’s early non-Grateful Dead work. This Grisman-written number was recorded at The Boarding House in San Francisco, CA the night of October 8, 1973.
Old and in the way, that’s what I heard them say
They used to heed the words he said, but that was yesterday
Gold will turn to gray and youth will fade away
They’ll never care about you, call you old and in the way
From 1995 in my Mutual Broadcasting days. The girls in the office were all over this one. Montell Jordan delivers a lot more soul than the average hip hop number, in the old-school tradition. Fans of music will recognize the sampled groove from Slick Rick’s classic ‘Children’s Story.”
It feels so good in my hood tonight
The summertime skirts and the guys in Kani
All the gang bangers forgot about the drive-by
You gotta get your groove on, before you go get paid
So tip up your cup and throw your hands up
And let me hear the party say
In a goof on the old Johnny Burnette/Yardbirds/Aerosmith classic ‘Train Kept A’Rollin’ ‘ the Bay Area’s The Boneless Ones ended up recording a punk rock classic behind Luke Skeels, later of Verbal Abuse, itself the most high-school-notebook-sketched band logo since the Dead Kennedys. Relentless guitars, big-ass drums, some damnfool beating the bloody snot out of his bass guitar keeping the guts in the guitar… Air-guitarists prepare yourself. Air drummers likewise.
Hey man, our keg’s dust. No, it’s still’ flowin’…
German-born American landscape master Albert Bierstadt is known for capturing the American West in its native dramatic light. His painting ‘Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast‘ hangs in the Seattle Art Museum.