Essential Saturday night listening: The Clash. When “The Man” has squeezed it all out of you by Friday, you are left with Saturday as the last refuge of unencumbered, guilt-free recreational pursuit. Twenty-five years ago, that might have been an evening of house parties or concerts. Now it’s often domestic bliss with a heavy chance of “hermit-ing.” The Clash were willing to take risks, defying any external expectations. Their dedication to pleasing themselves, from rebellious rawk, to reggae, to gawdawful pop was pure punk in essence. I’ve mostly been streaming their multi-disc box set Sound System.
Essential Sunday morning listening: Aretha Franklin. For the past few years I’ve been starting off each day with Franklin’s 30 Greatest Hits from 1985. It has been my anchor, my buoy in rough seas, and my Woobie blanket. On top of that, being able to immerse in those bass lines, oh man. Cogbill, Jemmott, Carter, Hood, McClure and Rainey! They didn’t plug into Ampegs or the like... they jacked straight into one’s soul.
First record I bought with my own money: Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I bought it at the former Kmart near Airport and Circle.
“Wish I’d written that” song: “Cosmic Slop” from Funkadelic, or “I’ll Take You There” by the Staple Singers. Both are deep funk and R&B grooves that I could spend all night playing along to. I recommend the version of “Cosmic Slop” that is found on the Hardcore Jollies album.
“Wish I could unhear that” song: “Universally Speaking” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. If I were a drug kingpin and the psy-ops officers were blasting music at my compound... there you go... that’s the one to unfortress my ass.
My latest online discovery: The video “Nobody Speak” by DJ Shadow and Run the Jewels. DJ Shadow seems to have pulled from Tarantino’s LP collection, while El-P and Killer Mike completely entertain with flows that are unique to my ears. I also love the spirit of protest music. I’m sure if Woodie Guthrie were here today, he too might flame Drumpf in unspeakable ways as El-P does here.
Artist more people should know about: Waddie Mitchell, Buckaroo Poet. Waddie has both books and spoken-word CDs. Sometimes he’ll do poetry over musical beds. He has a great way of speaking directly to the humanity in us all.
Guilty pleasure: Frank Mills’ “The Music Box Dancer.” This and perhaps an ABBA song or two most closely fit that bill.