A Quest Called Dig

This guy:


I’m back at Dusty Groove hunting down more Tribe samples on my Quest Called Dig. This time I’m hitting the jazz section and I found some amazing wax, including a Bob James record that has a song sampled in 289 hip hop songs. Check this out:

Bob James- One

Bob James!! Daaaamn!!! Like wow!!! My new favorite! This is some crazy intense jazz shit here.

Put this album on. “Valley Of The Shadows” starts us off and it’s not just the name that sounds deep. You are immediately pulled in- and not just a little. However, as deep as you just got the song reverses and ends by rejuvenating and propelling you to new heights. This feat is followed by the light hearted “In The Garden” and then “Soulero”- a very cool, rather uniqero song.

As much as I love the album so far, side two starts off with Bob James’ version of “Night on Bald Mountain.” It’s an inspirational,  intense, riveting, hold on to your effing ass rendition that is followed by “Feel Like Making Love”- a smooth, soulful melody. The transition between these two songs- the contrast- is an all star musical moment. As an exclamation mark of pure musical genius he finishes off the album with “Nautilus.” The most sampled song I’ve come across yet.

Continue reading What Do 289 Hip Hop Songs Have In Common?

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Up next in my Quest Called Dig is a record store just south of Milwaukee on Ashland, Dusty Groove. I started out in the soul/funk section and took home six records. I listened. I ate dinner. I slept, and when I woke up I realized I was still funked up!

Kool And The Gang- Live At The Sex Machine

Great album!!! I haven’t heard much of the older, earlier Kool and the Gang. I like it waaaaaaaay more than the poppier 80’s version of the band. For those of you who may only be familiar with their later, more popular work, Kool and The Gang has it’s roots in jazz and funk more than r&b. They are rather talented. This album captures their energy  as well as that talent.

Tribe used a sample from “Who’s Gonna Take The Weight Parts 1 and 2” and  used it in “Oh My God.” I’m not sure exactly how the parts are broken down but early in the song we learn that “one day we will be judged for creating all this corruption and debt and pollution and all these difficult situations on earth and he’s gonna want to know who’s gonna take the weight” (cue funky guitar). Later the music kind of fades and bam- they kick in with the tribe sample and your head is nodding and your smiling :).

Continue reading How the Dusty Groove Funked Me Up

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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.

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Back to the Shuga dig. This was still my first trip to Shuga on my Quest Called Dig. These record rounded out what I found in their jazz section.

Lou Donaldson- Mr. Shing-A-Ling

Would you like to Dance? Dance fast, dance slow, dance funky. That’s the first side. You’ll want to dance, dance, dance. The second side you’ll want to sit back and absorb some seriously awesome jazz fusion. Puff… puff… pass… absorb… This record is solid AF period.

I’d also like to stress the “continuity” of the album. The album is a sum greater than the individual songs. From start to finish it is a piece of art all to itself. Lou Donaldson’s sax takes you on a bluesy, soulful trip that should have you coming back for more… unless you hate music and take pleasure torturing kittens. That is the only way you could possibly not like this!

Continue reading Gimmie Some More Shuga, Shuga

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Moving down Milwaukee Ave closer to the Ashland/Division blue line stop you will find a relatively new record store, Shuga. I stepped in and immediately realized they had expanded.  Awesome! More crates is more diggin’ is more records for me!!! This time I started with the jazz section in my Quest Called Dig:

Cannonball Adderley- Love, Sex, And The Zodiac

I absolutely love it when an artist takes up a research question. The question to be answered in Love, Sex, and the Zodiac is “Do you need sex more than love or love more than sex?” Damn! I’m getting hot already. Research is categorized and presented in terms of zodiac signs. Regardless, of your sign, your need for physical gratification, or your need for emotional companionship we all need to get this on vinyl!

Each song overlays an astrological reading concerning sex and love on top of some well crafted cannonball jazz. Most is geared towards the female gender, and all of it is sexy. I enjoyed this a lot. It turns out my sign is ruled by Uranus! In addition, I learned that I prefer casual colonoscopies to a decade of cheesy eighties pop. Oh! and there’s a sexy naked lady on the cover. I’ve never met an album with a sexy naked lady on the cover that I didn’t like- so I knew it was going to be awesome!

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I got back to wrap up my  initial dig at Reckless Records on Milwaukee avenue where I grabbed up six additional records. So all in all that’s ten records I picked up from Reckless, the first site of my first dig!

I’m planning a series where I do some reviews of of the stores I’m visiting. I’ll compare prices and quality of the wax I’m finding so look out for that in the following weeks and months. I’m hoping it becomes a valuable resource for  your Chicago digging needs. Enough about that. Let’s talk vinyl!

Minnie Riperton- Adventures In Paradise

Adventures in Paradise is another classic, heavily sampled album. There is a simple groove to this album that I think really compliments Minnie’s sensational voice (check out “When It Comes Down To It” and “Simple Things”  in addition to the tracks specifically discussed below) and lends itself well to hip hop. “Minnie’s Lament” seems like it was written for the sole purpose of showcasing her incredible vocal talent. I think she has one of the better lesser known soul/R&B voices of the 70s.

Tribe used “For Inside My Love” in “Lyrics To Go” and “Baby, This Love I Have” in “Check The Rhime.” First, an R rated discussion of “Inside My Love.” I feel like there is some sexual innuendo in this song, but I can’t exactly put my finger in it. This song is heavily sampled. Slum Village, 2Pac, Nas, Pharcyde… The question should be: Who didn’t sample this song? Tribe’s sample comes in a little after 3 minutes in during a breakdown/bridge part of the song.

Continue reading Minnie, My New Love

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Welcome to Chi Grooves and my inaugural post of A Quest Called Dig series. I’m starting out at Reckless Records on Milwaukee avenue. I squeezed this trip in between a yoga class and a tarot card reading (I’m making one of those up) so I only grabbed four records to write about on this trip. Without further ado…

Funkadelic- Let’s Take It To The Stage

This record is funky as sh*t from the start and just as apropos to kick off this series as any other album. According to whosampled.com 8 of the 10 songs on this record were sampled in various hip hop songs. Most notably “Get Off Your Ass and Jam” was sampled over 60 times by such greats as NWA, Public Enemy, 2Pac and many others including twice by A Tribe Called Quest in “Pressure” and “Rhythm (Devoted to the Art of Moving Butts).”  Another track sampled heavily is “Atmosphere” (Stetasonic, Three6Mafia).
The sample pulled from “Get Off Your Ass And Jam” in many cases appears to be the “screechy” guitar at the very beginning. In “Rhythm (Devoted to the Art of Moving Butts)” Tribe also uses the baby like sound that immediately follows the “screechy” guitar. “Screechy” guitar, baby sound… not convinced you need to run out and buy this album? Check out the album art! That sh*t is crazy!

Continue reading A Quest Called Dig, Let’s Begin!

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