What We Are About Here at Music on the One

"What is Soul? Soul is the ring around your bathtub..." — Funkadelic, "What is Soul" (1970) Welcome to the funkiest c...

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Message for White People

Real MLK, left

Honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but don't get it twisted. King was not alone, thousands marched & preached & went to jail with him. Many of those heroes are still here today, fighting the same fight, & resisting the same injustice.

It's important to remember several things:

1) The Civil Rights movement did not end institutional racism. You are not off the hook as long as you benefit in some way from the system. That's my burden, and it's yours too. You can choose to grow up & face it, or stay a child & never be truly free.

2) Nonviolent resistance is easily quashed without the specter of revolt in the background. That is the lesson of the Occupy movement. No threat = unbridled oppression by the state.

3) King knew this, and played on those fears. This is called strategy. And it worked not because nonviolence is the only answer, but because even a corrupt, unjust system preferred to play by the movement's rules.

4) DO NOT use King's example as a way to bash contemporary social justice movements. The world is not the same as King's, and the racism we resist today is different in many ways. Mock relentlessly any corrupt politician or Fox News correspondent who profanes King's name by suggesting this or that has betrayed him in some way.**

5) King respected Marxist philosophy. He saw that economic injustice props up racial inequality. He protested the Vietnam War. He was in discussion with Malcom X and the Black Panthers. He recognized the force that oppresses the powerless — it's called Capitalism.

6) Listen & respect those who articulate their experience of institutional racism (or sexism or homophobia or whatever). It's not about you -- don't make it about you. If you listen to a painful story and hear only accusation, that's because you feel guilty about something. Work on that on your own. Don't derail the conversation to stage a self-intervention. Black people are not here to save you.

6a) "But not all white peop--" Shut up, right now.

6b) "I'm just color-bl---" I'm warning you. Just stop it.

7) If you hear some expression of Black (or gay or Latinx or trans or whatever) pride and hear a challenge to or a demeaning of yourself, you need to ask yourself why. Quick.

[Funk-related note: this song was James Brown's last charting pop hit until that Rocky IV horseshit. TV talking heads bloviated just as much about how it showed that Brown hated white people. Not true then, not true now. Move on, folks.]

8) Racism is by definition a tool of the powerful. It means using state and cultural power to act on ethnocentric discrimination. Someone calling you a honky is not racism. Distrusting you because you are white and you benefit everyday from a white supremacist system is not racism. If you don't like the effects, don't produce the causes.

9) White privilege doesn't mean things were easy for you. It means that you did not face certain challenges based on your identity. Develop empathy for those who have faced those challenges, and find common cause with the struggles to survive in a capitalist system. It's not perfect, but as long as you stay isolated & frightened you will be manipulated by white supremacist society.

10) Don't tell us what you would have done then. That's nostalgia. Do it now. It matters now. Now is action.

We've done heard it a million times before, but some of us are not receiving the message. So we keep broadcasting.

Stay tuned next Saturday for a new installment of "Music on the One" -- there's a reason they call it a revolutionary party.

** Lest you wonder, this is what William F Buckley, conservative darling of the time was doing when MLK was assassinated:

Does sound like victim blaming to me...
And today, Fox News ran an editorial asking us not to politicize MLK Day. I see... "Sure we perpetuated the injustice that Dr. King fought, and then fought tooth & nail against the celebration of this day, and bolster the causes of white supremacists of every stripe — but let's just celebrate the togetherness we wage such relentless war against..."

Saturday, January 13, 2018

No Show January 13th

So sorry about the no-show today: did not know that the building that the radio station is located in would be closed today during the Winter Break at school! Was so looking forward to getting my stank on too.

Music on the One will be back next Saturday, 1/20 for sure. Eager to share my latest LP with you all -- just heard it tonight & was blown away.

Here's something down & dirty to tide you over until then.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Good funky shit for you

Check out this video of Sly & The Family Stone playing an amazing version of "Thank You (Faletinme Be Mice Elf Agin) on Soul Train. The intro section, where the players come in one at a time is awesome. There are not too many of the original Family Stone players on this: Rose Stone on clavinet, Freddie Stone on guitar, Cynthia Robinson on trumpet, and Jerry Martini on saxophone (wait, that's 4 of 6 -- scratch that. Larry Graham on bass and Greg Errico on drums had moved on around 1970*). The youngest Stone sister is playing electric piano. Sly is as dazed-looking as ever, but verray cool anyways.

Still image from the video clip
This must have been one of the very rare actual live performances on Soul Train, which normally used canned tracks.

* Much like Prince would later, Sly often recorded himself playing many of the instruments in the studio, especially on Riot, overdubbing the tracks & bringing in the others for vocals.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Back very soon!

Soul Train dance line, your once-weekly installment
of cool moves for both boys and girls

Here's another good image from Soul Train*
Only a bit more than a week and I'll be back in NJ, ready for new installments of "Music on the One." Yes that's right, kids — Deep Bottom will be returning to its much-appreciated** Saturday afternoon slot on WCCR streaming radio, perfect for contemplating a night out, or just plain getting yo' soul right.

Good music greases the wheels of life, and "Music on the One" is greasier than most.

Back cover to 1970's "East Bay Grease" by Oakland's own Tower of Power
I'm fixin' to tickle your Funk bone in 2018, so don't miss out! Check yo'self and get fly with DJ EZ Reader. All the way live. Guaranteed.

(To listen, follow the link located to the right under "Funky Explorations" You won't be sorry for long...)

* I have to confess I am totally enthralled by images of good dancers moving their bodies, all too aware of my own limits. Check this shit out (esp. 1:13-1:19 or so. Legs don't do that...)
** That is, appreciated by me -- who else was I going to please?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Diggin' Ain't EZ, chapter 3

Chapter Three: Idris Muhammad, Turn This Mutha Out (Kudu, 1977) —

LP Cover, someone signed & dated mine
I've been looking for stuff by this guy for awhile, ever since reading a feature about him in Wax Poetics many years ago. IM was a much-desired session drummer appearing on hundreds of jazz-funk recordings in the seventies, working with cats like Galt McDermot and even appearing on Bob James' much-sampled "Nautilus." He also recorded ten or so solo albums as well. Here's a partial discography

This is not 1974's Power of Soul with its sample champion "Loran's Dance", but a very refreshing record nonetheless — a bit heavy on the disco side of things, i.e. swirling strings & keyboards, typical backing vocals styles. Obviously they were trying for the dance-floor market (especially on sprawling "Could Heaven Ever Be Like This," a real disco burner). But you cannot over-produce the raw quality of the playing. It's complex, dense, evolving rather than repeating. And the drumming, Lawd have mercy — the drumming. Lots of the tracks feature IM pounding on a tom-tom over the sound of his own drum kit — which after hearing Ernie Isley doing this on the second side of 3 + 3 (1973) I think is one of my favorite sounds.

The album is produced by David Matthews, who had been the arranger for James Brown's band in the early 1970s, and it seems he had a hand in composing every track on this album. Don't know if that is a difference for Idris (since I don't have any of his other LPs), but it seems that Matthews had his finger pretty confidently on the pulsebeat of disco here.

Track Listing

A) Could Heaven Ever Be Like This
Camby Bolongo **
Turn This Mutha Out

B) Tasty Cakes
Crab Apple **
Moon Hymn **
Say What

** Not to be missed

That's all for now. I picked up three other records on my latest jaunt, but none as interesting as this one, at least so far. (That's all for new stuff this month -- it goes quick. There's one more intriguing recently released LP waiting for me at home. When I return from vacation, we'll focus on some of the cool stuff I already have in the stacks...)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

What makes you a Nazi

Was amused to come across this Dinesh D'Souza malarky about how there was once a gay Nazi so all gay people are Nazis (or was it that tolerating gay people makes you a Nazi?) I won't link to it -- here's alicublog though on the subject. Apparently bohemianism and sexual permissiveness are hallmarks of Nazism in Dinesh's felonious purview (Hitler was once a painter, AND had a mistresss! Oh my!), so all us liberals are the real fascist scum.

Well shut my mouth... Here I had been thinking that believing Nazi things made you a Nazi! Here it was tolerance all along...

And apparently the Proud Boys can't jack off — how precious! We all that know that sexual repression has never resulted in anything angry or dangerous before. If you can't be the patriarch of your own mattress how can you rule the earth? Gotta practice that shit, Fred.

Funk glories in sexuality, always the bugbear of uptight white culture. Just to acknowledge there are complications, like transgender folks exist and women menstruate can be rebellious observations that extend the range of funky existence. Life is stank and difference and pleasure and nonconformity. Guess I just didn't realize that I hated humanity because of that pragmatism.

Image from Key and Peele
God made the stank and God Made Me Funky. So I always funk in a dirty way.

Update: State's rights—only valid for racism & discrimination & voter suppression. Lesson learned.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Diggin' Ain't EZ, chapter 2

[Part two of our ongoing series. I'm on vacation now, so I'll just be highlighting anything interesting i pick up while I'm gone, but when I get back, we'll head into my collection as assembled so far, and as it grows.]

Chapter Two: I'm Just Like You: Sly's Stone Flower, 1969-70 (Light in the Attic Records, 2014) —

A compilation of tracks from several protégé acts on Sly Stone's short-lived Stone Flower label (some are by Sly himself), which was running from 1969-70. Several of these tracks I have heard before, on the 2006 mega-compilation by Rhino called What It Is!: Funky Soul and Rare Grooves (4 x CD, a great bargain, especially when you find it at the public library and can rip the discs).

This is a lovely double LP set and includes a booklet with liner notes & photos, as well as a great inner gatefold photograph of a "funk box," the Maestro Rhythm King, an early drum machine popularized by Sly Stone (1971's "Family Affair" was the first #1 pop single to use a drum machine), and featured in both 6ix's "I'm Just Like You" and Little Sister's "Stanga".

Inner Gatefold image of the LP, featuring the Maestro Rhythm King
As I dig around some more with the liner notes and give the album a listen, I'll provide more information. Really eager to hear this though. Merry fucking Xmas!

Update: After giving it a listen, I'm really impressed. I love the murky, gurgling, seething sound of There's a Riot Goin' On (1971), and this is more of the same. The drum machine writhes & insinuates, the singing alludes, the accompaniment keeps its counsel. You are thrust into the deeply conflicted mind of Sly, and it's an awkward place to be. Though there's a bit of repetition on this, with all the alternate tracks, the experience of listening is very much not to be missed.

Track Listing:

A) Little Sister - You're the One (pt. 1 & 2) **
Sly - Just Like a Baby
Joe Hicks - Home Sweet Home (pt 2)
6ix - I'm Just Like You
Little Sister - Somebody's Watching You (full band) (same song that appears on 1969's Stand!)

B) Joe Hicks - Life & Death in G & A (pt 1 & 2) **
6ix - Trying to Make You Feel Good
Little Sister - Stanga
6ix - Dynamite (cover of a song originially on Sly's Life (1968))
Little Sister - You're the One (early version)

C) Joe Hicks - I'm Goin' Home (pt 1)
Sly - Africa ** [seething instrumental]
Little Sister - Somebody's Watching You (see above)
6ix - You Can, We Can

D) 6ix - I'm Just Like You (full band) ** [hot, better than original]
Sly - Spirit
6ix - Dynamite (alternate)
Sly - Scared

** Highlight tracks, essential listening