A Dig In The Key Of Life

I was really happy with the funk records I found at Shuga records on my Quest Called Dig. I’m not only referring to the high quality wax at Shuga- I mean I really fell in love with some of these and listened to them over and over and over and… Let’s not waste anytime:

Stevie Wonder- Songs In The Key Of Life

This is probably the most classic album I’ve bought on my Quest Called Dig  so far. It’s two records and a 7″ of timeless Wonder (note the pun). The accolades for this album speak for themselves. This is Stevie Wonder’s best selling album. Rolling Stone ranked it 57th in it’s list of the 500 best albums EVER (in 2003). The Library of Congress has deemed the album “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The album debuted at number 1 and spent 24 weeks there in 1975 and 1976.

It’s truly timeless. It’s a great record to put on for any mood. It’s got some of Stevie’s top hits: “Isn’t She Lovely,” “Sir Duke,” “I Wish,” “Knocks Me Off My Feet,” “Another Star,” and more. Where would the world be without this album? Way further down the shitter than it already is- that’s for damn sure in so many ways. And yes, I am very good at answering my own rhetorical questions.

 

 

Tribe samples the “Sir Duke” intro horns in “Footprints.” It’s very recognizable. The song was sampled several other times, and the album was obviously sampled a ton. The most notable sample is probably Coolio’s use of “Past Time Paradise.” I’ll let you guess what song that was used in.

Rotary Connection- The Rotary Connection

Minnie Riperton is in Rotary Connection. MINNIE RIPERTON IS IN ROTARY CONNECTION AND YOU DIDN’T TELL ME!!!!! Breath… You are forgiven. I love Minnie!!!!

This is psychedelic soul from Chicago! Very cool. Very eclectic and quite the listening experience. You’ve got songs like Lady Jane which makes me feel like I’m in church, a catholic church- one of the big ones with stained glass windows and candles, and at the same time I’m at a rock concert, a heavenly devilish rock church. I like the covers too: “Soul Man,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Ruby Tuesday.” In summary, pretty cool to say the least!

The group has some interesting history. Rotary Connection was first conceptualized by the son of Leonard Chess (founder of Chess records), Marshall. According to the biography on Sidney Barnes’ Rotary Connection web site, Marshall handpicked the members of this group. It’s an interesting story.

 

Tribe sampled “Memory Band” in “Bonita Applebum.” This is really the only song sampled on the album. As I’m writing this I’m noticing Tribe again sampled the song on We Got It from here. A lil of the old coming back on the new! I like it!

Sly And The Family Stone- There’s a Riot Going On

I LOVE this album. It took me a while to write this blog because I kept on listening to this record (and some of the others).. Over and over and over again. My favorite tracks are “Just Like A Baby,” “Family Affair,” “(You Caught Me) Smilin’,” and “Running Away.” I also like the yodelling action on “Space Cowboy.” It is all stuck in my head and it will not leave.

Also, I have to say, I love the album art. Look at that patriotism… now where’s the riot?

Tribe sampled the “aha aha” in “Runnin’ Away” for “Description Of A Fool.” Eight of the eleven songs on this album were sampled by an eclectic group of artists like De La Soul, Joey Bada$$, Massive Attack, and John Legend.

 

The Young Rascals- Groovin’

I dunno. Groovin’ by The Young Rascals is a pleasant listening experience, but it wasn’t like The Cyrkle where it really grew on me. Again, I can’t like everything right? There are some highlights- “You Better Run” packs some bite. I can dig it! In addition, the title track is pretty groovin’. I was not aware that they wrote this song, I thought it was a cover. One interesting aside is that they do cover Stevie Wonder’s “Place In the Sun” and I bought a Stevie Wonder album on this trip (see above)… I mean what are the chances?

 

Sueno” is sampled in the classic “Left My Wallet In E lSegundo.” That little guitar intro before the song kicks in is The Young Rascals. There is some other sampling from this album, but not much to really report on.

 Ohio Players- Fire

This record is hot!! Seriously, I enjoyed it. There is a pattern. The first song (the title track) is a funky dance party. The next song is a slower ballady type of party. Repeat. Third song is a funky dance party followed by ballady type and so on.

The dance party songs get you moving. It’s Some righteous funk. There is no sexual innuendo on the album cover either. I repeat: the sexy naked lady wrapped in the fire hose and holding the nozzle with a look of ecstasy is NOT sexual innuendo. If you are interested in that type of thing please see all of their other album covers.

Unfortunately, there was some sad, recent news out of the Ohio Players. Thank you for the music Junie Morrison! You will be missed!

Tribe sampled “Fire” in “Money Maker.” There aren’t a ton of other samples from this album, but notably Snoop Dogg, Hi Tek, and Naughty By Nature have all used something from this album.

 

The Gap Band; The Gap Band III

This album came out in 1980 and it you can kind of tell. It’s still 70s funky but the overtones are definitely sounding 80sish. I’m going to give them credit though. A lot of groups- and I’m not naming any names- that started in the 70s or even the 60s that made it to the 80s ended up changing their sound to a really cheesy crap 80s style. The 80s sound of this record is NOT cheesy crap 80s.

“Yearnin’ For Your Love” and “Humpin” are two of my favorites. Humpin’ because it’s so playful…hehehehe.

Yearnin’ For Your Love” is used in “Pad And Pen.” “Yearnin For Your Love” is the only heavily sampled song on the album It’s most notably been used in “Life’s a Bitch” by Nas. It’s also been used by Will Smith, Heavy D, The Pharcyde, MURS, and more (47 songs total). It is very recognizable. My other favorite “Humpin” was used by one of my SF undergraound favs Mac Dre in his classic “Thizzle Dance” and is worth a shout out.

3 Comments, RSS

  1. Dan March 13, 2017 @ 11:21 pm

  2. PATRICK March 21, 2017 @ 1:12 am

    Hey, just discovered your blog – fellow Chicago crate digger here!

    I just wrote about Rotary Connection and other bands produced by Charles Stepney – and the “Stepney sound.” I’ve found most of the Rotary Connection LP’s and they’re amazing.

    https://musicsensememory.com/2017/03/14/the-stepney-connection/

    • David March 23, 2017 @ 12:16 pm

      Great blog! Thanks for the link.

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