Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Living legends-Prince

My "Living Legends" series continues this week with Prince. Where do you start with an artist such as Prince!? He is a one man musical machine who is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, singer, musician, collaborator and artist in his own right. He is a sexually ambiguous eccentric and incredible performer who has always been innovative with everything from his name to his attitude to the internet and the music industry. He is quite simply a music phenomenon and one of the most important music artists of all time.
For many his best days are long gone, but even his later era music has often impressed me and his jazzy "Rainbow Children" album from 2001 remains for me one of his most amazing and exciting works. Even back when he was writing hits such as "Manic Monday" for the Bangles, Prince was often using other names and he is rumoured to have literally thousands of unreleased songs in his vaults, aside from the many hundreds of bootlegs that are out there already.

Prince was also one of the first of a new wave of black artists who gained substantial playing time on a fledging MTV back in the 1980's, an era where the music television channel actually played music. The success of Prince and Michael Jackson opened the floodgates for the later-day commercial domination of hip-hop and r&b in many respects, and they gained the exposure that Rick James, Parliament/Funkadelic and the like never enjoyed. Like many of these artists, Prince was never one to be tightly pigeon-holed musically and it is ironic that even to this day Prince and one of his great heroes Jimmy Hendrix, are seen as black men operating in a white mans domain. The music of r&b and the blues and Little Richard and Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters had been streamlined into something more homogenized by the media, but make no mistake about it, this was always black music as much if not more than anything else.

Prince was never gonna leave racial divisions or anything else get in the way of his own music career. Like another of heroes Sly Stone, he assembled a multi-gendered and multi-racial band together on many occasions, and through all of his many name changes and ups and downs, there remains a rare sense of optimism in most of his music. He was always willing to tackle dark subject matter too, but even at a low ebb he produced stunning pop music. "The most beautiful girl in the world" was remarkable in that it was his first UK number one as a performer, even though two of his classics had been at the top of the pile already as covered by Sinead O'Connor and Chaka Khan. Prince was still the middle of a long running dispute with Warner Brothers at the time, but the music transcended everything and even the dogs in the street were singing it back in 1994.
Long running disputes with powerhouses such as E-Bay and Youtube have meant that Prince is sometimes in the news more for other things than his music these days (he is also being sued by Irish music promoter MCD for cancelling shows) but through every different crisis Prince has remained an enigmatic star who has done it his way. Albums such as "Sign of the times" are quite simply some of the greatest music ever recorded. Back even before then on the strangely prophetic "Controversy" Prince sung "People call me rude / I wish we all were nude / I wish there was no black and white / I wish there were no rules." He has done a brilliant job of ripping up those rules all through his music career, and he is a living legend who continues to fascinate us in 2010.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rise and shine soul! Gil Scott Heron part 5

(okay i've been up since 8 give me a break!)

Gil Scott Heron part 5

Kanye did a terrific job on this with Common and "The People" which i posted last week

Friday, February 19, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010


Longevity is something that many artists wish to achieve but in a world that is moving faster than ever it is easy to see why many sometimes take the short term option over the longer term one. Unfortunately, this can lead to poor quality control and dated music. There are plenty of artists out there who are patient enough to see beyond music trends and fashions, and at the moment quite a few of them have decided to come back with music releases!

Sade is a singer who could never be accused of rushing things. It's nearly 10 years since her last album and "Solider of Love" arrives at a time when a million and one pretenders have come and gone, but when anticipation for her music is as strong as ever. This is laid-back modern day gimmick free soul music that rewards repeated listening. None of the singles here will threaten the Lady Ga Ga or Black Eyed Peas of the world chart-wise, but this album will stand up in ten years and sell millions too.

Massive Attack are another UK group who always seem to perfectly judge the time when a new album will be anticipated and despite being quite busy touring wise and in the studio quite a bit, they only sporadically release albums. Heligoland is their 5th proper album over a 20 year period that has seen them enjoy huge critical and indeed commercial success. As always there are loads of guests, including regulars such as Horace Andy and also DAmon Albarn, Hope Sadoval Tune Adebimpe, Guy Garvey, Martina Topley-Bird and Portisheads Adrian Utley. Massive Attack are a great band and this one takes a bit of work, but I have to admit I'm a fan.

The Gorillaz are a virtual group involving Damon Albarn who can certainly not be accused of tardiness when it comes to putting music out there. The new single "Stylo" is typical Gorillaz. Soul legend Bobby Womack joins Brooklyn rapper Mos Def on vocals over an electronic downtempo workout. Also set to appear on the forthcoming album are a host of guests once more. Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, Mark E Smith, Paul Simonon, Kano, De la Soul and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are all on board on what should be a mouth watering prospect. The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are back here in April and celebrate with the a fine release on Dublin's Choice Cuts label, paying homage to classics by the Art of Noise, Outkast and Fela Kuti amongst others.

Soul and jazz legend Gil Scott Heron has a new album out too. "I'm new here" is only about 27 minutes long and produced by XL boss Richard Russell. There's some great stuff on this album and it's terrific to have one of musics most influential figures back. Meanwhile, another soul legend beset with personal problems, could be making an even more unlikely return. Sly Stone has been AWOL bar only the odd public appearance for many years, but he is working with the likes of George Clinton on new material and though both his finances and health have taken some big batterings over the year, we live in hope that he can make a comeback.

Another new albums worth checking include the latest from the young US Jazz singer Jose James, which is called "Blackmagic" The spirit of legends such as John Coltrane is alive here on this stunning album, while I'm sure Gil Scott Heron himself would approve. Jose James is like the wonderful Robert Glasper, a new school jazz artist who is very much in the classic mode while remaining at the cutting edge of music in 2010. All in all, it's not been a bad start to the year for new music!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"I guess i'll see you next lifetime"


"On and On" already huge in Henrys, I bagged the vinyl of "Baduizm" in Manchester when we were djing over there-Think myself and Aoife Ni Canna got a copy each of the rare import and Angi, who i was spinning with at the time, was mad for a copy too as we tore apart Fat City for tunes-it was a great weekend and United ...won the match and another title soon after! The long 12 minute live version on the 12" was my first record on my Sunday soul show on Friendly that following summer, i used get up to the studio wrecked tired at midday after late night sessions and put it on, head down to the shop for
coffee and a sandwich, and be back in time for the next tune! She has continued to make great music since and her last album was my favourite of them all bar this.

I dedicate this tune to the memory
of Anna, who I shared some terrific times with that summer (although she
got kicked out of every club I DJ'd in it was always fun!)

"I Guess I'll see you next lifetime"

Stevie G presents the best of 97! Free download here

It's alright!

Just saw on the news that there are huge celebrations are being held in South Africa to mark the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

I thought i told ya that we don't stop!

Hip-housin part 2 tonight on Corks RedFM 104-106 on my Black on Red show-Stevie G

One or two more bits of UK Flavour, a couple of crossover hits, more
female MC's and one or two related tracks that are not hip-house per se,
but have that vibe; like this classic below!

part 1 here

Friday, February 05, 2010

Bringing that Hip-house back!

It is interesting to look at the pop charts in the last couple of years and see how house and electro music has become so popular among the mainstream. Never ones to miss a beat, many of the higher profile hip-hop and r&b artists have jumped on the bandwagon too and the tempos of many of the biggest hits are quite high these days. This makes sense, particularly as dance-floors are easier to fill with more uptempo music, and with some of the best producers in pop music being from an r&b and hip-hop background, there is no shortage of armour in these chart assaults.

Will I Am, Timbaland, the Neptunes and many more have always been at the forefront of taste-making in the charts these last few years, and all continue to enjoy huge success. We have been there before though, and about twenty years ago both the charts and the nightclubs were awash with hip-house music that briefly became the next big trend. Commercial acts such as Technotronic, the Beatmasters, the excellent C&C Music Factory and lots of other acts enjoyed huge hits while underground obscure producers such as Fast Eddie, Tyree Cooper, Kool Rock Steady and Doug Lazy were very popular in the clubs. Many of these names soon disappeared from view and it's interesting to see what happened since. Even the commercially successful ones fell by the wayside in many ways, and it's no suprise seeing as there was a certain novelty element to the music in the first place.

It is a shame in some ways though that a few of these guys are not recognised, especially in light of the fact that they some of the music stands up favourably against the more popular modern day releases. The new Black Eyed Peas single, "Rock your body", uses a sample from Rob Base and EZ Rocks "It Takes Two" as it's backbone, but is still an inferior tune. The original, itself based one the James Brown produced Lyn Collins classic "Think", remains a big club track even in 2010 but at least the Black Eyed Peas are helping people to hear one or two of these old tracks.

Tyree Cooper tells a very interesting tale about the politics of hip-house. The Chicago producer and rapper now lives in Berlin, where he is still active in music. At one stage, after becoming disillusioned like many hip-hop and house artists of his era with a music industry that never rewarded him properly for record sales, Tyree had retired and ended up delivering pizzas rather than hot 12 inches of hip-house wax to the general public. In a story that in many ways echoes the fall of disco, Tyree tells of how many of the hip-hop fraternity in the late 80's initially distanced themselves from himself and the other producers and rappers who embraced house.

It was dismissed as "gay dance music" by a macho hip-hop scene who ironically ended up jumping on it's bandwagon in some ways when it became successful. The origins of house music in gay clubs was a bridge to far for a few rappers, and just like with the backlash against disco ten years previously, when hip-house went out of fashion there was a degree of homophobia involved. Tyree reminds us that Chicago was just as tough as many of the other cities that spawned hip-hop; "You don't know that shit was born and bred in Chicago on the South and Westside. Just as hard as y'all think y'all are, MFs in Chicago is just as hard." But in a macho hip-hop world the association with house, which ironically gave some of this music it's edge, was seen as a bad thing. Tyree and Fast Eddie and the others may be forgotten, but the music still sounds good to my ears regardless of petty narrow-minded politics and as a DJ i'll be doing my best to resurrect some interest in these pioneering sounds!

Free download of part one of my mix here

I'll House You Jungle Brothers
Let's Go-Fast Eddie
Nation Of Hip House Tyree
Hip-House-Fast Eddie Fast Eddie
hip house is a style of music today Tyree
Yo Yo Get Funky Fast Eddie
Turn Up the Bass Tyree feat. Kool Rock Steady
Get Into It-Tony Scott Tony Scott
4 Those Who Like To Groove (Club Groove Remix) twin hype
C'mon N Shake Yer Butts (Mike Dunn's Warehouse Mixx) 2 Young Brothers (Dynamite M.C. & D.J. Devastation)
Come Into My House (Zanzibar Mix) Queen Latifah
Do What You Want 2 In A Room
Let It Roll (Club Mix) Doug Lazy
In the mix-Mixmasters (Fast Eddie mix) Mixmasters
In the mix-Mixmasters (Vocal) Mixmasters
Work On Me Frankie Hollywood Rodriguez
Do It Robert Bond
It's About Time (Boogie Man Mix) Mix Masters & MC Action
I'll Make You Dance Kool Rock Steady
Hardcore Hip House Tyree
Let the Music Take Control Tyree
Get Busy Mr. Lee
I Git Minze Too Nice
Let d Ryhthm Pump-Doug Lazy Doug Lazy
Portrait of a Master Piece The D.O.C.
Portrait of a Masterpiece Remix-Doc The D.O.C.
Is there anybody out there?- The Bassheads with Afrika Bambattaa

Part 2 this Saturday

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

So let it be house!

More hip-house on Saturday on Black on Red--this is not hip-house per se, but Mike Dunn is another Chicago legend who deserves recognition (and it's a bangin tune)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Git on up!

More hip-house next Saturday the revolution will not be televised (it will be on the radio however!) Free download of part of the mix here

Yo this is my blog that's updated pretty much every day before 1pm Irish time

Hope you enjoy!

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    About Me

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    I'm a DJ from Cork in Ireland. I work with RedFM, presenting Red Drive, The Hitlist and my specialist show, Black on Red. I'm probably best known for being one of the main hip-hop/soul DJ's in Cork and Ireland. I've been DJing in Cork since the early 90's in legendary clubnights such as Sweat in Sir Henrys, Mor Disco, Free La Funk, Yo Latino and also Jam and Jam Junior at the Savoy and the Pavilion. I've also held down long term residencies at clubs around Ireland such as Brown Sugar at the Kitchen in Dublin, U-Turn at Ri Ra in Dublin, Jazz Juice at the GPO in Galway, Thompson Garage in Belfast, the Soul Clinic, Dee-Bop, Meltdown and Mo Bounce in Limerick and i've played abroad in the United States and the U.K. on numerous occasions. I also write a music column for the Evening Echo and i'm a regular contributor to the U.K.'s Blues and Soul, the longest running black music magazine in the world. These days i run the Pavilion, a music venue in Cork, which hosts my Jam night every few Fridays also you can catch me at