Mix tape renaissance
For a minute there, it seemed like the major labels were dead set on killing the hiphop mix tape trade for good. But with the street success of 50 Cent's under-the-counter creations, home studio savants everywhere are coming out of their bedrooms to cash in. Taking a comic book tip from mix tape magician Green Lantern , the Little Brother -connected DJ Flash of Justus League notoriety steps up with Bullet Proof Issue #1, boasting exclusive 9th Wonder remixes of Method Man tracks and a Pete Rock collabo with Wu-Tang 's GZA and RZA in addition to freestyles from 50 Cent , Lloyd Banks , Beanie Sigel and Little Brother's Phonte and Big Pooh topped up with choice cuts from M.O.P. , Memphis Bleek , Jean Grae and Freeway . You can probably score a copy from Little Brother when they hit Harbourfront Saturday (July 10), and be sure to grab their new Chitlin Circuit mix CD of lost tracks and outtakes.
Southern Culture on the 7s
It must've been over a year ago that Southern Culture on the Skids hillbilly hepcat Rick Miller first tipped me to his grand money-losing scheme of recording some R&B covers for a series of jukebox-style singles on his own Kudzu label. So I was thrilled to see on the merch table at the Horseshoe Saturday night a stylishly designed box set of three hip-shaking 7s boasting sizzling SCOTS-ized salutes to Jessie Hill (Whip It On Me), Smiley Lewis (Lost Weekend) and the Pretty Things (Buzz The Jerk). If you weren't at their sweaty getdown, you can still pick up the box on their Web site (www.scots. com), but don't sleep - it's a numbered edition of 1,000.
Although the late jazz flutist Herbie Mann will be remembered by many for his slick 'n' slinky fusion business of the disco era, he was notorious for putting together kick-ass touring bands throughout the 60s, often featuring the blistering guitar assault of Sonny Sharrock . Mann also ran the adventurous Atlantic-distributed Embryo label, which besides his own classic Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty and Memphis Two-Step albums, released Miroslav Vitous 's Infinite Search, T.O.N.T.O.'s Expanding Head Band 's Zero Time, and the crunching self-titled 1970 debut of the well-named Brute Force , just reissued on Rhino 's Sepia Tone imprint. The history of the group has always been mysterious, and the hilariously brief liner notes - just one sentence - add precious little information, although the hard-pounding majesty of Do It Right Now (with Sharrock) and Monster suggests that Brute Force should be revered as jazz-rock royalty.
Sweet soul shake
Those who like their rhythm & blues on the nasty tip will be thrilled with the sensationally sloppy club cookers on the Pass The Soul: Steppin' Hot Volume 2 comp that comes loaded with jacked-up stompers, salacious shing-a-lings and hard-honking saxophone-led instrumentals from the mid-60s. Best of all, most of this stuff by forgotten hombres like Ruff Francis and the Illusions , Curly Davis and the Uniques , the Four Monitors , Silas & the Counts , Timmy Norman and the O'Jahs hasn't already been comped to death by opportunistic European funk hounds. A dirty delight.