Tag: Stevie Wonder
Continuing the challenge to make a mix a month, I just pushed play and recorded myself playing around. This “quick-one-before-I-go” mix, is called “In the Spirit (finally!)”. And the spirit in question is the Christmas Spirit.
Listening to Benji B and J Rocc goof around and enjoy the cheesiest of x-mas music on Deviation really started this joyous season for me (as well as getting out of the office for the rest of the year!).
I was also inspired by the magic of DJ Questlove at his newly annual Holiday party at S.O.B.’s. The man was sampling, pitch-shifting, and recreating classics on the fly for the people. Amazing show!
Now back to this mix. We start with a little DIY Dwele magic. An ode to a cheap microphone and the support of friends moves into the first Dwele track I ever heard, “Jimmy stay down” an obvious ode to Stevie Wonder who also closes this mix. There are some Christmas songs mixed in. That chipmunk funk is a pseudo auto-tuned Lou Rawls, who has made some of the funkiest holiday sounds ever in this “Christmas Will Really Be Christmas”. Followed close behind by a rare Christmas cover of “Little Baby” called “Purple Snowflakes” (for some reason) by the always-amazing Marvin Gaye. Other highlights include “Do 4 U” by super-group Hawthorne Headhunters featuring PPP favorite Coultrain. Admittedly, I should’ve let this song go longer. Also included is some J Dilla and James Brown business followed by a project that I am REALLY looking forward to from Mochilla: Miguel Atwood-Ferguson’s orchestral concert for the Dilla-gentleman, “Suite for Ma Dukes”. Mos Def makes a couple appearances in this mix mainly because my song of the moment is his “24-Hour Karate School”! Which I imagine he came up with while walking in SOHO flipping through the Village Voice, seeing an ad and imagining a whole story behind it. Add an erratic beat created by Ski Beatz and the Apple Juice Kid (according to okayplayer) and this song is a bit of mad genius. There’s a Roots song before this that I pray will be on the next album, and a remix of Biggie’s first single by two white boys from Brooklyn that don’t get the credit they deserve for the infectious music they make. And finally we close with a master, not too far from where we began. I hope you enjoy. Happy Holidaze.
I’m adding this one to my “Stevie had his eye on the mothership” (or is it the “George had his eye on Stevie”?) file. This one is ’73 – great version. Maybe it’s just me, but wailing co-ed choruses + minor sevenths = UFO soon come down from the rafters. Anyway, here you are.
Lately, I find myself longing for more collaborative effort.
No, I’m not lonely.
I don’t mean it in some sort of creepy euphemistic way.
I’ve been listening to this recording of a Stevie Wonder concert from 1973 or 1974. Likely the latter; a show in London, though I have a ton of conflicting information. Anyway, Steve and the band are largely restrained during their run through a handful of at-the-time new songs – for a group as solid as Wonderlove, it’s strange that they can find no better way to end most of the songs than to have Stevie do a schmaltzy little piano coda. Nonetheless, these are all songs that are now classics (the bulk are from Innervisions), and it’s a beautiful thing to hear documentation of Stevie as band leader. During some of the longer takes, he alternately guides the bass player, chastises the drummer for failing to catch and mimic his beatbox break, and edges the whole group into an operatic version of “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.”
However, the moments I really dig are those which probably fall somewhere between the rehearsed and spirit of the collective groove, so to speak. When the audience (and the backup singers) finally get the reprise chant right during “Living For the City.” The double-time bridge in “Superwoman” – to die for. And the bulk of “To Know You Is To Love You” is sublime. A little more straightforward and poppy in its original incarnation (Syreeta album track, 1972), Steve and the band stretch out here – he starts off by walking Reggie McBride through a straight up Willie Weeks bass line, and lets Michael Sembello (before he was a Maniac he was a Wonderlover) do his thing. But when the backup vocalists kick in – loveliness. When they start riffing halfway through, it’s as if Stevie had secretly foreseen the whole mid to late 70′s Parliament/Brides of Funkenstein connection (in fact listen to George and co.’s 1976 “Getting To Know You” for a very similar vibe).
So, it’s all got me in the mood for good collaborative effort. I’m not trying to sing backup for somebody or anything (in fact I’ve been spending the last couple of days politely trying to turn down another invitation to be the lead singer of somebody’s punk band), but I’m down with DJing in pairs, building beats via email, and people helping me with Photoshop. Et (tu, Peter) Cetera.
Anyway, an excuse to pass this on: