Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Vernon Garrett

I didn't know anything about Vernon Garrett when I picked up this 45 at the swap meet a few months ago. All I saw was the title "We People of the Ghetto" and decided it was worth the dollar to give it a listen. Luckily, that dollar blessed me with a nice pice of gritty funk. This is basically what I'm hoping to pick up everytime I buy an unkown piece of wax. How did they make the drums sound so crisp? And that drum beat would basically be a punk beat if it wasn't on the one (correct me if I'm wrong; I could use the comments). And, then there's that fuzz bass that comes through during the chorus which clearly shows us "..people of the ghetto have got feelin." Unlike so many funk 45s out there this one has got a flip that is just as good, maybe better than the A side. "You Blew My Mind" opens up with those drums again followed by the horns before the whole song lays right into the groove with nice little accents thrown in there on the highhat and snare. I love the way the drummer kind of gets loose during the sax solo. Apparantly, Vernon has an entire LP of this stuff out there, but I'm sure it's pretty hard to find. His 45s can't be too hard to come by because I came across another one of his singles the next week while visiting a friend in Sacramento. So, if y'all are good boys and girls and leave some comments I'll post up some more work from Vernon.

We People in the Ghetto
by Vernon Garrett on Kapp Records

You Blew My Mind
by Vernon Garrett on Kapp Records

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Melvin Van Peebles

Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, James Brown is dead - 'nuff said.

I found this copy of Melvin Van Peebles's "What the **** You Mean I Can't Sing?" during my little trip through downtown Fresno that I mentioned a while ago. I think this album could best be described as the evil stepbrother to Bill Cosby's "Hooray for the Salvation Army". Like Cosby, Melvin really can't sing but attempts to. Unlike Cosby, Melvin throws down some serious commentary on American culture. Much has been said about Melvin and I'm not going to even attempt to give any background on the guy. Although I'd read about his films and seen "New Jack City", which starred is son Mario, I didn't really start getting into Melvin after hearing Quasimoto's album "The Unseen" which sampled heavily from his albums. I'm also including a few songs from Melvin's album "Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death" which you 'll most surely recognize if you're familiar with "The Unseen".

A Birth by Melvin Van Peebles from What the **** You Mean I Can't Sing?
Come On Write Me by Melvin Van Peebles from What the **** You Mean I Can't Sing?
Come On Feet by Melvin Van Peebles from Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death
Put a Curse by Melvin Van Peebles from Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death