Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Kurtis Blow - America - 1985

Yet another Kurtis Blow album with an awesome cover. This was eyed while checking out at Joe's Record Paradise last night as  it was sitting behind the counter. Our cashier said this "concept album" was for sale and upon flipping to the back cover, we were all immediately in awe of Kurtis Blow's "sweet mullet" as quoted by the Joe's cashier. Add this to the collection of Kurtis Blow ridiculous back album covers (see our post for his first album).

So buying this record was a toss up, since it a) was not $1 or less for an album that we knew absolutely nothing about, b) is from 1985 c) gives special thanks to Slick Vick (who is this? Slick Rick's inferior brother), and d) has a track called "Super Sperm". However, it does contain a track "If I Ruled the World" - music and lyrics by Kurtis Blow. Could this be the original of the song that I know by Nas and Lauryn Hill? I had to find out.

Of course it is the archetype of the song that I know from the 90's by Nas; I should know by now that very few 90's rap and hip hop songs are originals. The hook is the similar, but the verses of Blow's song sound more like Will Smith's Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme. "As I arrived, the crowd started to cheer - And then someone yelled out, 'The King is here!'" Many lyrics on this one will likely remind you of early Will Smith, one song "Summertime Groove" in particular seems a straight steal by Mr. Smith... perhaps an homage.

The rest of the songs sound a lot like beat boxing, but with a beat machine on a keyboard. This makes sense since this same year he produced the Fat Boys album which pioneered the human beat box along with Doug E. Fresh. I sorta wish I had a boom box to rock this album.

Overall, I think I would be ok just buying a single of If I Ruled the World, nothing REALLY stands out on the rest of the album, but its fun to listen to. The first track has a few moments of inspiration, but it is kind of watered down.

PS - try really hard to not listen to the last track on Side B - "Don't Cha Feel Like Makin Love" - its as bad as your would think for a Kurtis Blow Side B track. What is it with this guy and his incredibly bad album ending tracks? It's like he's trying to prove a point that he can indeed embarass himself at least once per album. This track sounds like the worst Poison song ever recorded. BAD!!!


Fall is upon us and I can't wait to get out to Shenandoah Valley for some long solo hikes and back country camping. The drive west always finds me listening to the same play-list, a mix of classic bluegrass and folk, alt-country, and The Fleet Foxes.

I can't think of any other band who's sound instantly takes me to visions of the Blue Ridge Mountains as I speed my way down route 60. The fact that the Fleet Foxes are originally from Seattle is absolutely mind numbing. The incredible vocal harmonies mixed with technical guitar work, simple percussion, as well as the twang of a mandolin hearken back to the music of of pre- 1950 Appalachia. This band started out simply buy posting music on Myspace and gathering a word of mouth following. In 2008 Sub-Pop released the Fleet Foxes first and thus far only album. The self titled album is now being sold as a 2xlp, A&B being the full length album and C&D being their EP "Sun Giant". There isn't a song on these records I could do without, though I do have a favorite "Blue Ridge Mountains"... for obvious reasons.

Get outside, enjoy the cooling temperatures, but make sure you pick up the Fleet Foxes Lp before you do. Personally I have listened to this album so many times that I can recite the entire album as I make my way down the AT. I suggest you do the same.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Fat Boys - 1984
Say hello to the human beatbox. At a mere 15 cents this album was a freaking steal from the newly opened CD/Game Exchange in Takoma Park. It features strong production from the one and only Kurtis Blow and some ahead of its time hip hop from the boys of fat. The songs feature some deft rapping that borders on the ludicrous at times, but never deep ends into clowning. It's a solid effort that can get a living room dance party going in short order. The sleeve mysteriously had a single for "Sex Machine" from a later album crammed in with it. The single (featuring a straight rip of James Brown's "Sex Machine")is "meh". Our copy came in a sleeve that looked like it had been chewed on by a pack of starving hyaenas, but after some close inspection of the dense shmootz at the shop, the grooves were unharmed.

So the guys are fat and they rap. Haha, I get it. That's it, right? WRONG. This stuff is tight, the guys are on their game, and it's a good time! Tracks like "Jail House Rap", "Fat Boys", and "Human Beat Box" are just awesome! The beat boxing, while groundbreaking at the time, still holds strong and is a zillion times better than any auto-tune bs that the new school guys are putting out there. GET A COPY RIGHT NOW.

Not sure why this album got lost to the sands of time, perhaps the Boys let the quality slip a few notches after this first LP, as evidenced by the "Sex Machine" single I mentioned earlier. Maybe they were having so much fun that they became a self-parody. The important thing to remember here is that future platters don't matter much when the one that's spinning is so damn tight.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Introducing the In-Car Record Player!

After a long day of digging through crates of vinyl and finding some gems (or what you think could be gems), ever think to yourself while driving home in the car, "Man, I wish someone invented a record player for the car!" Well, folks, your day has come . . . Introducing the first In-Dash No-Skip Turntable! You no longer have to wait the long trip home battling traffic to check out your records, now you can enjoy your vinyl finds en route.

Wondering how the In-Dash No-Skip Turntable plays your vinyl without skipping when you hit a pothole in the road? Well, our product uses cutting edge technology developed by NASA engineers for the currently under wraps Mars mission. This sleek sound system is hydraulically suspended, the turntable and needle hover in a diamond chamber padded with liquid nitrogen. The record enters the chamber much like a CD in a car, press the button, and the needle lovingly hits all the grooves. Our patent pending design is vertically mounted, which enables less of a chance of skipping and superior sound quality for you!

Upgrade your model to include the specially featured smoke machine! Pulling from our liquid nitrogen already used in the suspension of the turntable, create your very own smokey ambiance in your car while you groove to your tunes.

So hurry and order your In-Dash No-Skip Turntable for your car, truck, bus, van, train, airplane, or Winnebago today! While supplies last!

Coming soon the Egg-Crate No-Skip Turntable for bicycles!

Friday, September 3, 2010


"Aqualung, my friend..." [must be sung with a squished up face and lower jaw jutted out]

Well, this purchase was indeed all inspired by the silliest of silly movies, "Anchorman, The Legend of Ron Burgundy" (for Ron's inspiration in the movie listen to Side B "My God" which features a disturbingly powerful flute solo with mad trillos).  Expectations for this one were pretty low and yet, there was a glimmer of jazz flute that induced hope.  Found in an egg crate bin at Gerosa Records in a VV's hometown of Brookfield, CT, this album got dusted off to travel back to DC with us.  

Jethro Tull's masterpiece is a rocking, epic, profane mess of bluster, theatre, and hooky jams.  More guitar and rhythm section than flute (though the flute is certainly well featured), this record gets the head bobbing in an appreciative "satan is the master" sway.  It is truly a rocking album mostly about a hobo.