Peter vs. Willie
It's one thing for Willie Nelson (at the ACC May 2) to try cashing in on Brokeback Mountain's notoriety by recording a novelty tune about gay cowboys pitched to him some 25 years ago, and quite another to be an openly homosexual country singer like Peter Grudzien . No, Nelson's Cowboy's Are Secretly, Frequently (Fond Of Each Other) is not the first-ever recording of a gay-themed country song, as has been reported. Grudzien was performing his own provocative and perplexing compositions back in Greenwhich Village during the café folk boom of the early 60s.
You can hear some of them on Radioactive 's reissue of his screwy masterwork The Unicorn: Album No. 1 (In Two Sides), which vinyl junkie Jello Biafra aptly describes as "madhouse hillbilly music from the Twilight Zone." That only hints at the bent brilliance of stuff like Kentucky Candy, Private Battle, Queen Of All The Blue-Eyed, Satan's Horn and the classic White Trash Hillbilly Trick. This is the real shit.
It's hard to imagine a more fitting way for Ubiquity Records - born out of the Groove Merchant record shop on Haight Street in San Francisco - to celebrate the 50th release on their Luv N' Haight imprint than with the Bay Area Funk 2 collection of super-rare golden-era soul and funk from the neighbourhood. Unlike previous Ubiquity releases, here the label's taken more care to ensure that none of these killer tracks have been previously comped, so there's no threat of finding Project Soul 's pre- ConFunkShun jam Ebony, Sugar Pie DeSanto 's searing Straighten It Out With Yo' Man or Primevil 's ace Stop Look Listen! on some cheesy Fatboy Slim disc your sister bought you for Christmas 10 years ago. There's even liner notes!
Sadly, all the hard work put into this snazzy package may be overshadowed by the May 9 release of Ubiquity's Rewind! 5 covers collection loaded tight with dope revisions like Osunlade 's reconstruction of Prince 's Crazy You, NuSpirit Helsinki 's jazzy overhaul of Led Zep 's No Quarter, ?uestlove 's ambitious attempt at salvaging Sting 's lame Be Still My Beating Heart and Bembe Segue 's sweet take on Ben E. King 's rare groove delight Spoiled. And that's not even the half of it. www.ubiquityrecords.com.
Over the years, abstract rhyme-ripper supreme Kool Keith has been asked to jump on numerous tracks, only to upstage whoever extended the invitation. The Nocturne label offers a reminder of some of Kool Keith's more memorable throwdowns on the mix-tape-style Collabs Tape, an entertaining double disc collection assembled by scratch DJ Junkaz Lou . Along with joints featuring ODB , Guru , Sadat X , Prodigy , Jacky Jasper (aka Toronto's HDV), Tim Dog , High & Mighty , Esham , Heather Hunter and Princess Superstar , there are also a couple of interesting freestyles with Chino XL and Ice-T and a some bonus exclusives thrown in for good measure. Seems like the perfect set-up for the Mr. Nogatco disc and Sound Ink 's new Dr. Octagon album due this summer.