This may be hard to believe for those who are only familiar with Common the rapper-turned-actor who makes conscious hip-hop recordings between film shoots, but back in the day, Common Sense was a bad muthafucka ready and willing to spit emcee-eviscerating battle rhymes on the spot. So DJ Soul’s Time Travelin’ (Okayplayer) mix is a welcome retrospective rip through Common’s hard-hustling days when he would take on Ice Cube (The Bitch In Yoo) without flinching. Back then, he didn’t need to worry about preserving his appearance, and he had stellar support from Pete Rock, DJ Premier, the Roots, De La Soul, Large Professor, Saukrates, Mos Def and Talib Kweli and his Chi-town sidekick Kanye West, who did all right for himself.
It was evident that last year’s retrospective of Sarolta Zalatnay’s funkier moments would not be Finders Keepers’ only Hungarian expedition when compiler Andy Votel started posting requests to collector bulletin boards for clean copies of Qualiton singles by Neoton and Demjen Ferenc. Suddenly, the new Well Hung survey of head-nodding Hungarian prog joints has appeared, bringing together anything Votel could turn up with a slinky bass line, hard drumming and/or a nasty guitar line recorded by better-known pre-80s acts like Metro, Illes, Omega, Skorpio, Neoton, Locomotiv GT, Kati Kovacs and Bergendy. But this is not a collection aimed at Hungarian music fans wanting their fave numbers from the good old days. Well Hung is designed for bored funk collectors searching for exotic new kicks, the more obscure the better, and a few of those soundtrack cuts and non-LP B-sides are here. Knowing how many amazing tracks were missed, I predict there’ll be a second volume. finderskeepersrecords.com.
While I wouldn’t argue that the BBC work of Marc Bolan’s Tyrannosaurus Rex or Sandy Denny is any more exciting than their more commonly known album recordings, the radio sessions have an undeniable first-take charm that’s made both of their lavishly packaged multi-disc BBC offerings a hit with serious collectors who want every single note – good or bad – that their favourite artists put down. Of course, not everyone really needs a comprehensive three- or four-disc set when an astutely compiled best-of CD will do quite nicely. No doubt there will be some who’ll quibble over what was left off Universal’s Sandy Denny and T.Rex single-disc BBC samplers, but given the space constraints, they’ve come up with very enjoyable condensed versions. Now, if some engineer could just figure out how to erase those annoying radio announcer intro bits, we’d be golden.