There's a new Red Hot AIDS benefit compilation in stores. It's a double CD of original tracks and covers by the best of today's indie bands called DARK WAS THE NIGHT. Use the little flash player (above) to listen to three of my personal faves...
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - Inspiration Information (a cover of the Shuggie Otis classic)
Antony and Byrce Dessner - I Was Young When I Left Home (a traditional, made famous by Bob Dylan)
My Brightest Diamond - Feeling Good (a ballsy Nina Simone song)
Facebook is a funny thing. I have connected with so many people that I never thought I'd have contact with again. I like nothing better than that little friend request signal. Sometimes it's someone you forgot about, and sometimes it's someone you wish had forgotten you!
Anyway, tonight I decided to search for an old friend who I hadn't seen in a few years. But the search results brought back something unusual. I found him, but through another person's account. And what I discovered shocked and saddened me. My friend had recently died.
Rich Ehrman was one of the biggest influences on my life. When I left home for Berklee College of Music at 18, I had to get a job to support myself in Boston. Luckily the college had a student employee program, and lucky for me, I found myself assigned to the Concert Office where I worked for Rich.
While there, Rich opened my mind in many ways. He taught me about music I'd never been exposed to, music that would change my life. He introduced me to sounds of James Brown, Fela Kuti, Sun Ra, John Zorn and so many others. Rich also taught me about all kinds of culture including films, books, spirituality, politics, art and drugs. I worked for him until I graduated, and over the years, he did more for me than any of my professors.
After graduation, I left college and got a job. But the early 90's were tough times, and I got laid off. Rich was looking for someone to take over a position that was opening at the Concert Office and hired me as a full time employee. I worked there another five years until I left for New York in 1996. He helped me build my professional skills and encouraged me to go beyond the boundaries of my job description. He trusted me and treated me like an adult, even though I was still a kid.
Rich Ehrman was my friend and, I would say, a mentor. My life would not have been the same without him. I'll never forget him.
I recently discovered this song by Ms Camille Dalmais from Paris, France. It is eccentric pop as only the French can do it, influenced by house and no wave. And on top of that, it's Mariah baiting. WHAT?
Apparently she also sang a song in Ratatouille! Check out Camille's site.
An nearly ten minute jam featuring Rick's legendary Motown labelmates. He does something really interesting with their performance. He takes a total back seat and lets them own it, even though it's his record. Good move, because they really give it to you - the old way. Another cool thing Rick does on this track is reference hits by other artists, like Parlaiment and the Temptations themselves.
This starts off like hard core gay hi NRG. You half expect Sylvester to start singing. But then, in one swoop downward, the track takes a decidedly dark and funky path into a more typical Rick James sound. Great conga break down at the 2:45 mark. I also enjoy his lyrical metaphor of equating his lover with something delicious to eat.
In 1984, RCA Records released the mini-album Touch Dance by Eurythmics, apparently without the band's involvement. It featured remixes of four tracks from their album Touch by New York DJs Francois K and Jellybean. Oddly, it features the strangest songs from Touch - deep album tracks instead of the big hit singles.
Eurythmics - Paint A Rumour (Jellybean Benitez Remix) A distinctly different vibe from Jellybean's usual remixes - probably due to the source material. It reminds me of the way Talking Heads incorporated elements of African and Latin American music into their music around the same time.
Some of my favorite Annie Lennox lyrics of all time. And the delivery is stunning. Precise and cutting. Francois K takes it in a dubbier direction than the original album version, pulling and stretching it into new shapes.