Uncle Jesse's Cuts #1: Psychedelic Soul!
Allright, this week may I introduce to you a new series here on Minimum Selects: Uncle Jesse's Cuts, brought to you by my main main Monkeygrip AKA Manitas AKA Big Red AKA Jesse Williams Massa, my soul brother numero uno and basso profundo in Outernational. Jesse knows just about everything about everything in pop culture past and present, but this dude loves some UK rock and soul and early garage psychedelia.... check it out!
Nick Lowe is most famously known for producing the first 10 Elvis Costello records, and he's actually an awesome singer/songwriter. Here's So It Goes, guaranteed to be stuck in your head all day.
Next up is The Yardbirds, the 60's rock band who birthed three of the biggest British guitar heros: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. 1966's Shapes of Things was inspired by sci-fi novelist H.G. Wells' The Shape Of Things To Come, and features Mr. Beck with a very early and explosive example of fuzztone feedbacking electric guitar. Far out man!
Esther Phillips was a lesser known Texas soul singer, signed by the great Johnny Otis in 1949. She had a 4 decade career, even putting out some country albums before the deadly combination of heroin and alcoholism took her life in 1984. Home Is Where The Hatred Is is a haunting junkie's lament, penned by poet Gil Scott-Heron in 1972.
Next up is Jimi Hendrix, the most tragic of the ill-fated dead maestros, dying from pills and alcohol in 1970, in the middle of creating his fourth album, the double LP First Rays of the New Rising Sun. This is Pali Gap, released posthumously in the Rainbow Bridge soundtrack (and dozens of other releases since then), a rare instrumental jam that every guitarist needs to listen to. It's not how fast you play, it's what you sayin', bro.
Uncle Jesse loves Santogold as much as me! I asked him why, he said its the "punky reggae". I think its the love of New Wave and punk, the Diplo collaborations, the Clash covers, the Bad Brains vocal influence (check out her cover of Right Brigade), the "F@$# you" to genre borders and the rebel attitude. She's good, people.
Raphael Saadiq is mostly know for his 80's/90's R+B albums and his founding role in Oakland's Tony! Toni! Toné! Big Easy is from his 2008 comeback and 60's soul/Motown throwback album, The Way I See It. It's a tragic tale of searching for a lost daughter in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
The Mars Volta are today's bearers of the trippy torch, with a slight emo twist. This is Agadez from their fouth LP and psycho-psychedelic funky masterpiece Bedlam in Goliath. This was their first album with new drummer Thomas Pridgen from Oakland, CA, the king of the gospel choppers.
Chicago underground rockers Jai Alai Savant play some weird trippy post-punk, they've toured with Ted Leo and they are awesome. This is a strange song called Scarlett Johannson Why Don't You Love Me?
The Small Faces were a british mod/garage/psychedelic group that never really made it to the States and are pretty unknown round these parts. "Faces" was slang for Mods and they were all pretty short guys, thus the Small Faces. Later on, Ronnie Wood (from the Rolling Stones) and Rod Stewart joined. Being both over 6' tall, the name was changed to simply The Faces. Now you know.
Not much is known about The Smoke from York, UK, except this was their biggest hit, 1967's My Friend Jack. I'm not sure what they mean about eating sugarlumps, but I'm sure it must be illegal. And man, even the Temptations sound like they've been taking acid in this 1970 Motown jam Psychedic Shack.
We close things out with Dusty Springfield, most famous for Son of a Preacher Man, here with the lesser-know You Don't Own Me from 1964. A white British soul singer, Dusty worked hard to popularize Black American soul singers in the UK, inviting the Temptations, the Supremes, the Miracles, Martha Reeves, Stevie Wonder and all the Funk Brothers to her UK television show in 1965. Check it out below:
So It Goes - Nick Lowe
Shapes Of Things - The Yardbirds
Home Is Where The Hatred Is - Esther Phillips
Pali Gap - Jimi Hendrix
Find A Way - Santogold
Big Easy - Raphael Saadiq
Westbound Train - Dennis Brown
Agadez - The Mars Volta
Scarlett Johannson Why Don't You Love Me - Jai Alai Savant
Itchycoo Park - Small Faces
My Friend Jack - The Smoke
Psychedelic Shack - The Tempations
You Don't Own Me - Dusty Springfield