Break for Barack
Barack Obama’s advisers could’ve done much worse than Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) as a presidential campaign song. But at this point in the race, it may make the senator from Illinois seem a little more cocky than befits someone trying to play the underdog. Considering that “Yes we can!” has become the hallmark slogan of his run for the White House, a better choice would’ve been the Allen Toussaint tune Yes We Can Can recorded by the Pointer Sisters, which hits a note of funky optimism consistent with his message of hope.
To get that difficult breakspotters’ vote, Obama might consider choosing the much rarer version by the Discoettes and, lucky for him, he won’t even have to dirty his fingers digging for it. The track appears alongside similarly hard-to-score jazz, soul, rock and sound library headnodders on the astonishingly ace Strange Breaks & Mr Thing (BBE) two-disc compilation assembled by Brit-hop producer Mr Thing (Yungun, Doc Brown) with one disc mixed and the other unmixed for political rally revving.
Toronto rapper D-Sisive has been keeping a low profile for such a long time that a bit of controversy wouldn’t be a bad thing. Only I’m not sure if rhyming himself ragged over unlicensed Iggy Pop recordings intercut with dialogue samples swiped from the Martin Scorsese cult classic The King Of Comedy is the best way to go about it. In any case, The Idiot: Hijacked (aboyinaroom), available for free download on his MySpace page, reveals a darker side to D-Sisive, as he adopts a more narrative style and relies less on clever punchlines. Not particularly groundbreaking, but it could work well as set-up for his forthcoming Urbnet release – as long as Iggy doesn’t find out.
Skweee for all
The minimalist style of instrumental synth-funk known as skweee was developed by Swedish and Finnish studio geeks who were bored with the same old electro-bloopery and felt like hitting a groove might help. Until recently, skweee was thought to be an exclusively Scandanvian phenomenon – check out the Museum Of Future Sound (Flogsta Danshall) compilation – but Gregg Eberhard, aka Slow Hand Motëm, has been quietly releasing his own ESG-inspired synthetic sweetness out of Dundas without much recognition.
But that’s about to change now that skweee kingpins like Mesak and Liminious are remixing Motëm tracks and Eberhard, after numerous CD-R releases, has finally made the move to vinyl with the dangerously dope Nature’s Beast 12-inch EP boasting sick sleeve typography by Errol F Richardson. There’s only 300 copies, so it might be wise to stop by Slow Hand Motëm’s vinyl release party at the Boat (158 Augusta) tonight (Thursday, February 21).
It was 50 years ago that Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins burst onto the Canadian music scene with an explosive run at the Golden Rail in Hamilton, followed soon after by his debut recording session in Toronto for Quality Records. To mark the golden anniversary of Hawkins’s arrival, Bear Family has issued the fantastic 32-track Ronnie Rocks disc collecting those first four recordings from 58. Among them are Hey Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry’s Thirty Days, which he later re-recorded as Forty Days, along with his high-energy Roulette sides cut between 59 and 63 that stands as his best-loved material. Because the songs on Ronnie Rocks are sequenced chronologically, you can hear the evolution of the Hawks, which peaks with an unhinged version of Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love highlighted by a scorching Robbie Robertson guitar break that’ll leave you slack-jawed.