Monday, July 30, 2007


TRUSTING HEART by The Trammps.

The Trammps are known mainly for Disco Inferno, a song I've never really loved. (Or maybe I loved it once, before I'd heard 784,000 times).) I have hard time pinning down exactly why, but the vocals are a little too "soulful" for a campy disco record. Plus the instrumentation is so refined. For disco I'm more of a fan of the Chic approach, with drugged up vocals but insane playing.

Ironically enough, though, I think the Trammps approach works brilliantly for a song that's a little less overtly disco than Inferno. Trusting Heart is more mid-70s Philly Soul, and I think it's brilliant. I'm a sucker for minor chord riffs, and the way the strings (and backing vocals) dip in and out of minors gets me every time. Plus I love the James Brown stylings on the lead. One of my favorite 70s dance tracks.


Photo: Charlton Street hotel, March.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Preseason at the Grove

Thanks to my little Setanta box, I was able to see Arsenal both days of the Ashburton Grove Cup. And I was overwhelmingly pleased with what I saw. It's good we won both games but it's also good what we showed. Moving Hleb and Eboue forward seemed to benefit both of them, plus Clichy and Traore were bonkers on the left. Diaby showed some good form but I'm not convinced he's efficient enough. And the defense was pretty solid overall.

Robin van Persie was quiet Saturday but massive today, including the goal you might have heard about already. Arsenal fans have seen him do this trick before last year against Dynamo Zagreb (in the same match Eduardo scored against us), but this time he finished it with a goal. Lekker.


Friday, July 27, 2007


TOUCH ME, HOLD ME, KISS ME by The Inspirations.

We've actually used this song before on a mix CD we gave out about three years ago. It's a really sweet song, has a great hook, and listening to it again, I feel like it should be used as a first dance kind of song. It's fast, it's not too long, it has the right feeling behind it.

This song is a great testament to the Northern Soul scene. Without those folks digging as hard as they did, a song like this (and a million others besides) that barely got released (much less sold anything) would never be around for us to enjoy today.

Have a great weekend!


Photo: Late afternoon in Union Station.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007


HIT AND RUN LOVER by Tommie Young.

Man it's a pleasure to post these tracks. I started writing this post about ten minutes ago, but instead of typing, I just tapped on the desk for a few runs through the track.

Hit and Run Lover is totally unknown to the public at large, but it's quite a staple among rare groove fans. It's even been reissued on vinyl as a 7" on Jazzman records (and even more to the point, on a Jazzman CD compilation, which is how it comes to me).

But, being relatively unknown, I can't tell you much about Tommie Young, except she's from Dallas. That's the sort of detail I wouldn't know if Ms. Young was from, say, Idaho, but if I find out a singer, author, public figure is from my part of the world, I don't forget it as easily.

Anyway, enough about me, listen to this tune!


Photo: Late afternoon on Islesford.


Monday, July 23, 2007

The Rivals at Cake Shop

Last night The Rivals had a nice crowd turn out for their last-ever show in their present incarnation. The gig got off to an odd start. The soundcheck ran way over (mics weren't on, everything kept feeding back, the usual), so by the time they were wrapping up, much of the crowd had already gathered.

I stopped by their rehearsal yesterday and they spent a lot of the time going through Gene Clark's Elevator Operator, which they were going to play for the first time and were a little nervous. So at the tail end of the sound check, they ran through a fast, shortened version of the song (just to make sure they were ready to use it later in their "real" set). But it went over so well, the crowd gave them a big cheer! Which put the group in the odd position of (a) telling the crowd the "real" gig was starting in 20 minutes, and (b) foreclosing them from playing Elevator Operator again that night. Frankly, the loose version they played without the soloing was as good if not better than any I heard them play in rehearsal, so no worries.

Once the set started it was all good. The sound of the room was pretty warm, so most of the songs were a pleasant melange of trebly guitars and high harmonies. Nothing precise, but the effect was good.
They played one other new song, Santa Fe, but I'm not sure how many people in the audience realized that it was being played 2 and 1/2 times it's "proper" tempo. No harm done, and the gig finished off strong. Fare well, you Rivals. We'll see most of you again in a couple of weeks!




Nothing But a Heartache is a stone-cold favorite dancefloor filler of mine and Stu's. I don't remember if I had heard it before he played it for me, but I've heard it many, many times at his sets at Key Bar and everywhere else. (It's also available on my favorite box set, "One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found").

Those first monster piano chords, that faux-Motown bass part, and those horns, wow! It may be a Northern Soul classic, but as the guy on this youtube introduction to the song says, the production on this record is top, top class.

The best song EVAH.


Photo: Late afternoon in Baltimore.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Lazy Sunday afternoon

It's been a while since I've updated my reading list, in part because I've been busy enough at the other place and in part because I haven't read much since the last time I updated. Three books, I think, the best being "Istanbul: Memories and the City" by Orhan Pamuk. An extremely engaging memoir. An honest memoir is an exhilarating and harrowing experience, that's the main thing I learned.

But today we can report the end of the Harry Potter sage here at HLIT central. Martin had bought Amy a copy for her birthday, but then we quickly realized (and later had confirmed) that Amy would have inevitably bought her own copy in Las Vegas. So, not wanting the gift to go to waste and disappoint the little mutt, I read her a few chapters, and just kept going. We put it down not 20 minutes ago. I won't say how it ended, but the whole country will probably be finishing their copy within hours, if not already, so there's no need anyway!

Beautiful weather today, enjoy it! Tonight we're going to see the last Rivals show (at least the last one with the full band!), at Cake Shop.


Friday, July 20, 2007


GETTING HAPPY by Ralph Robles.

Getting happy is what we all need to do today! This track is from another great boogaloo collection (it's not a very album-driven genre, as far as I can tell), the Rough Guide.

I can't tell you much more than that except it's a gas from the first note. And I love the lyrics, which give voice to a severe case of ennui or ambivalence for a song urging the dancers to get happy.


Photo: Wintery Hudson.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Unexpected day off

The city has frozen us out of our offices today because of the steam explosion yesterday. Truly an unfortunate development.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007


GET OUT OF MY WAY by Joe Torres.

This is off a great compilation I got from Stu several years ago. I love about 8 songs off of it, but Get Out Of My Way is probably my favorite. Just checking around the internet, I saw this wonderfully succinct review of the collection:

Broasted or Fried--Latin Breakbeats, Basslines & Boogaloo
Funky New York Latin Soul. This CD is the one of the best compilations I've ever heard. Each one of these tracks is classic dance floor Boogaloo. It will make you move with Latin percussion mixed in with classic funk and jazz elements like Hammond organ, horns, and guitar. Lyrics are generally in English with the touches of Spanish. Bands range from biggies in Latin jazz (Puente, Mann) to ultra obscure rarities. ALL TRACKS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, play constantly at maximum volume
About Get Out Of My Way, the reviewer says, "4) *Great groover, English and Spanish vocals, jazzy horn interludes." Which is all true. Totally worthy of being played at the wedding reception.


Photo: Ice on the Hudson.


Monday, July 16, 2007


ASI ASI by Pete Rodriguez.

I'm about to start a likely-futile battle to get those in charge of playing music at our wedding reception to play some boogaloo. The arguments against going that direction are pretty obvious (no one knows it, they won't dance, etc.) But this stuff is so great! This Pete Rodriguez (not El Conde) is probably best known for a different track off his second LP, Oh, That's Nice, but Asi Asi is the same formula and just about as catchy. Ay, que bueno!


Photo: Winter out on the pier.


Friday, July 13, 2007


BRING DA RUCKUS by Wu-Tang Clan.

This was just a bizarre one to show up on a wedding reception playlist. Undoubtedly a hip hop classic (the first track from the Wu's first album), but undeniably filthy and undanceable. What was I thinking in flagging it to be played at the reception?? I must have been subconsciously trying to get disowned.

No matter, any hip hop fans that somehow don't know this track should enjoy listening to it today. As always, make the weekend fun!


Photo: Lobster gear in Southwest Harbor.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007


ABBA ZABBA by Captain Beefheart.

Here's another great track that nevertheless should be nowhere near a dancefloor, especially not at a wedding reception, where it's inadvisable to really challenge the dancers.

Still, I can see what flashed in my mind when I flagged it. It's got an immediately recognizable, loose, fast beat, catchy, fun. So far so good. What I completely missed was the 20-30 seconds of bass noodling after only a minute. So any momentum you would conceivably have built up in the first minute (already unlikely) would be completely lost right away. So no Beefheart at the wedding...


Photo: Lobster gear on Islesford (2).


Monday, July 9, 2007


JUMP IN THE FIRE by Metallica.

One of the 30 things I've remembered to put on my to-do list for our wedding next month is get music together for the reception. I've made it a personal vow not to get too tied up into the reception music, but I can't really help myself.

So I made a playlist of about 300 "acceptable" tunes, and boy is it a doozy. It's chock full of classic "one man dancing" songs. That is, the songs would be a huge hit if I was marrying myself, and 100 of me were attending.

Sadly, Jump In The Fire is one of those songs, I think. If you step back and squint at it just right, I think the song would be great dance material. It's fast, it's got a great hook, it's surprisingly glammy, you can even sing along with the chorus. In an alternate, better universe, everyone would beg for this tune instead of, say, Billy Idol.

But let's not kid ourselves. This gets played, and 30 people stop dancing to get another drink, and 69 people check their watch wondering when the next ferry is coming. But I'd be out there hopping around!

By the way, Metallica were in the news this weekend. Great item, on the way to the new Wembley for a gig, James Hetfield got detained at Luton airport for his "Taliban-like beard." Awesome.


Photo: Lobster gear on Islesford (1).


Friday, July 6, 2007


SOUL BROTHER #1 by Pete Rock and CL Smooth.

Correspondents report slight disappointment at the lack of hip hop beats on the blog, and we can't afford to ignore our correspondents here. Soul Brother #1 is from Mecca and the Soul Brother. It's a subgenre that has pretty much disappeared (or at been completely marginalized) from the hip hop scene as far as I can tell. The dorm-friendly "philosophical" hip hop from the early to mid-90s, post-Public Enemy, Tribe-Called-Quest-rap. (ed.: For this read, what happened to the music we used to love, what happened to our youth? :)

The thing that really strikes me listening to this track (and the album) again, is how tight the production is, and I mean to give that description both positive and negative connotations there. The craftsmanship is there for all to see. Pete Rock was a hard-working producer, and you can tell he spent a long long time on each of the breaks and accents. By the same token, I don't hear too many risks in the production. It just seems slightly too respectable.


Photo: View from the dog run (3).


Wednesday, July 4, 2007


NUMBER ONE by Playgroup.

This number is from 2001, and it sounds a little like Chic fronted by Lenny Kravitz. Good times.

I've been telling everyone who would listen for the last year that I didn't care very much about what was played at our wedding reception. The idea is that let someone else worry about that, the all the good songs you hear there you'll associate with the wedding itself, instead of a song you know inside out. Plus it seems like a little much to try to micromanage the music (along with everything else).

So of course I find myself here wasting the last two hours building a 300 song playlist to evaluate for the reception, instead of cleaning the apartment like Amy told me to. Can't help it.

Anyway, enjoy this little electroclash tune, and have a happy July 4th!


Photo: View from the dog run (2) (taken with the new phone camera).


Monday, July 2, 2007

Test Post

Pardon the interruption. We're playing with the settings a bit today.



WHY CHUCK NORRIS IS #1 by The Chuck Norris Appreciation Society.

"When Chuck Norris was born, the nurse said, 'Holy hell, that's Chuck Norris!'
And then she slept with him.
At that point she was the third woman he had slept with."

For reasons that are mostly opaque from here, the boys from the Gaffers fantasy football group in London have gotten a little obsessed with the cult of Chuck Norris in the last week or so.

If that last sentence didn't make any sense to you, don't worry, just enjoy this little ditty we picked up here a couple years ago, courtesy of the great WFMU radio station blog. It's only a matter of time before you're rolling on the floor with tears of laughter. I promise.


Photo: View from the dog run (1).