Thursday, July 19, 2007

Edu Lobo Camaleao

Wow, I'm surprised no one commented on the Sly Stone concert review. Oh well, what can you do? I guess I'll just post some Brazilian music I found the other day. It's not often that I come upon records made in Brazil while I'm out "digging". Man, I feel like a dork when I say "digging". Well, I came across this Edu Lobo record a while back and I've been wanting to post it for a while, but just haven't had the chance. It's from 1978 so it's a little smoothed out in that CTI type of way. Regardless, this is a very sweet record. I don't know too much about Edu, besides the fact that he only has one record that was made in the U.S. and was produced by none other than Sergio Mendes. Dusty Groove seems to associate the term "Baroque Bossa Nova" with him. I don't know if this is "baroque". I do wish my record had come with some liner notes because I'm interested in who was playing in his band at the time. Otherwise check out the three tracks I'm sharing with you today. "Memories" opens up with a great little break. Camaleao is a flute led jazz instrumental with some great bongo work. Finally, I included a track called "Sanha Na Mandinga" which is about moving to San Francisco and I believe sounds the most "Brazilian" out of the three. I hope you enjoy them.

Memorias by Edu Lobo from Camaleao
Camaleao by Edu Lobo from Camaleao
Sanha Na Mandinga by Edu Lobo from Camaleao

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sly Stone live in San Jose

I saw Sly Stone perform the other night with the Family Stone. Sly hasn't really performed in quite a long time besides his crazy appearance at the Grammys where his mohawk seemed to upstage everything. His interview in Vanity Fair sure seemed positive. Sly sounded like he was ready for a comeback. His sister had booked dates in Europe in addition to the one in San Jose. He mentioned that he had plenty of material. The author even said Sly looked healthy and strong.

So, after a few hours of music by three of the original members of El Chicano, Jorge Santana, the Salas brothers, and the Average White Band I was ready for some Sly Stone. I was ready for the dude pictured standing on top of a motorcycle in the Vanity Fair magazine. My partner, Sandy, wasn't even convinced he would show up. I, on the other hand, had faith. "He's got all sorts of dates in Europe booked already," I told her. "He's got to show or he'll get dropped from those dates," I reasoned.

The band came on. No Sly. They launched into a sort of jazz jam. The ex-hippie in front of me explained to her daughter, "This is Jazz. This isn't what Sly and the Family Stone sounded like!" The band launched into "Hot Fun in the Summertime" and the hippies were happy, but I wanted to see Sly. Apparently, I wasn't the only one thinking this because one of the main singers, Sly's sister, said, "Don't worry, he's coming!" They went on to three more songs. Then, in the middle of "Sing a Simple Song" this hunched over beast stumbled on to the stage. Was this person in a gigantic white hoody with his face covered, Sly? It could have been E.T. The crowd seemed to be in shock and seemed to go silent for a few seconds. He sat down at the keyboard center stage and seemed to mumble in the mic. No words were recognizable. He seemed to pound the keyboard a little bit. No recognizable harmony. The band seemed to quiet down and let the man do his work, but worried glances seemed to cross between band members. He seemed to be moving, but I couldn't hear what he was doing. The song was over. Sly stood up, clutched a microphone with both of his hands and started to walk around the stage like Frankenstein. I noticed he had a rhinestone neck brace on. He began to sing "If You Want Me To Stay". That was his voice! Then, feedback. He couldn't get through the song without his mic feeding back. Then, "I Wanna Take You Higher". More of the same. Strained voice, feedback, and confusion. He actually raised his hands for a bit and then walked off the stage. That was it for Sly. Maybe 15 minutes. People started walking away as the band continued to perform.

Sly does not seem to be in shape for a comeback. The man has been through a lot and I'm afraid he's done some damage to himself. I used to think that he didn't want to perform anymore. Now I'm worried he can't perform any more. Check out For the Record: A Oral History of Sly and the Family Stone for some serious stories about Sly during his heyday. Lots of drugs, guns and even dogs. Maybe I'm expecting too much from the man,but how can you not be surprised when someone who has written so many outstanding songs all of sudden not be able to perform a 15 minute show? One thing is for sure, no matter what Sly's condition is, he has made some bad ass music. Today, I've tried to include a few lesser known tracks by Sly including some later work which I believe is still top notch. First is "Rock Dirge" from the album "Sly Stone Recorded in San Francisco: 1964-67" on the Sculpture label. I'm not exactly sure what the story is with this album, but I believe it's a collection of his early singles. What I love about "Rock Dirge" is that it's just organ and drums. Nothing else. Second is a track from one of Sly's last albums called "Back on the Right Track" recorded in 1979. You may recognize the track "Remember Who You Are" from a Tribe Called Quest sample. And finally our last track is a collaboration between Sly Stone and George Clinton from the album "The Electric Spanking of War Babies" from 1980. The track "Funk Gets Stronger (Killer Millimeter Longer Version)" credits Sly with production, rhythm guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, and drums. Cynthia Robinson and Pat Rizzo who both performed in San Jose and are members of the original Family Stone are also credited. So there you go. Listen to some Sly Stone.

Rock Dirge by Sylvester Stewart from Sly Stone Recorded in San Francisco: 1964-67
Remember Who You Are by Sly and the Family Stone from Back on the Right Track
Funk Gets Stronger (Killer Millimeter Longer Version) by Funkadelic from The Electric Spanking of War Babies

Monday, July 02, 2007

Abracadabra "Oye Maje"

I've been listening to this song almost every day since I found it. Maybe I'm unconsciously trying to recreate the high I got when I first dropped the needle on this rock song after skipping through eight string filled latin ballads. "That's what I'm looking for," I thought. Yet, I'm not sure why I'm looking for it in the first place. It's definitely not to share with you. Don't get me wrong. I love you all out there, but I'm not buying records for you. It's for me. This song is for me. And now it's for you. Maybe I'm feeling some sort of ownership. I've gotten this same feeling about songs that are completely new to me, but very well known by others. So, it's not the idea that I discovered a song and now own it. Maybe it's because I like bad ass songs sung in Spanish with a vocalist that's not afraid to scream. Maybe it's because this song kind of reminds me of Os Mutantes. Maybe it's because this song sounds like some sort of lost Beatles track from "Let it Be". Well, I hope your jaw drops just a little bit like mine did when I first heard this song.

Oye Maje by Abracadabra