Busta gets Cured
Even as a student at Brooklyn's George Westinghouse High School, Trevor Smith , aka Busta Rhymes , wouldn't be caught dead singing along to electro-pop ditties by the Cure , at least not around schoolmates Chris "Biggie Smalls" Wallace and Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter. But the recent release of The Bust (PNP) - an inspired mash-up of Busta's Who-Hah! and the Cure's Close To Me - suggests the hiphop heavyweight could've also had a profitable career in new wave. His agitated flow is perfectly suited to bouncy synth grooves. Who knew?
Brown is the new Black
Speaking of Jay-Z , his Black Album has inspired so many illegitimate reconstructions - most notably Danger Mouse 's clever mash-up involving tracks from the Beatles ' White Album, creating The Grey Album - that Universal has decided to officially release the a cappella version of the album so basement producers everywhere can have a crack at it. Perhaps not as adventurous, but nevertheless intriguing, is DJ/producer Kev Brown 's take, The Brown Album, which beefs up Jay-Z's work with some creative sample orchestrations. No doubt Brown will be dropping some of his Brown Album handiwork at the 360 May 7.
Anyone who has tried unsuccessfully to score a copy of Cornell Campbell 's sweetly soulful Bunny Lee -produced take of Ken Boothe 's rocksteady hit You're No Good - which was a late release on the Trojan sub-label Jackpot (JP-809) - will know that records issued at the end of a label's run are often just as hard to find as the first few. So it's nice that Sanctuary has started up the Selecta's Choice series to recirculate overlooked gems like Campbell's aforementioned classic and Augustus Pablo 's spirited East Of The River Nile (on Big Shot ), complete with the snazzy original label designs. Double nice.
Because there's so little available live onstage documentation of country music's historical figures, the Scena label is doing us all a great service with their Louisiana Hayride series, releasing vintage performance broadcasts from shows at Shreveport's Municipal Auditorium between 1948 and 70. The George Jones comp - following excellent June Carter and Johnny Cash discs - chronologically maps the development of the archetypal modern country singer's vocal style from the hillbilly holler of You Gotta Be My Baby in 56 through to the nonchalant melismatic grace with which he croons When The Grass Grows Over Me in 69. Perhaps more personally revealing is the way Jones fights back his laughter on the Leon Payne tearjerker Things Have Gone To Pieces in 68, just weeks before divorcing his wife of 14 years, Shirley Corley Jones . Ouch.