Mixtape Monday - not Monday edition
I had meant to start this Mixtape Monday piece a few weeks ago but things have been a little crazy. So here we go, just a little late (or early, depending on how you look at it)
In this segment, we'll dig through the Bieber musical archives to pull some classic mixtapes out of the vault and see how mad my skillz really were when it came to making the "ultimate" mix of music to take with you. Note that the mixtapes used herein are actual TAPES that I have stored somewhere in my collection, unless otherwise noted. I will also do my best to link to listenable versions of the tunes included so you can get a taste for the feel and the flow of the mix. The flow is very important, though some of my more complex mixes may be challenging to find all the tracks and skits and stuff. But we'll see how it goes
Also, note that my cassette of choice is and always will be Maxell XLII, 90-minute tapes. Anything longer than 90 minutes and you ran the risk of the tape itself becoming stretched, worn and flimsy and usually meant a shorter tape life.
We'll start off with a wonderful little collection titled "housewarming mix" from November 1999. This was intended to be a tape played over and over and over again when we had our housewarming party on Ritchie Street in Manayunk, Philadelphia, PA. Myself, Zietz, Mallitz, and Kelman were moving into our own place! Ritchie street ended up being pretty much a sweet party house for the 2 years I lived there before moving into my own 1-bedroom after that. But this tape totally reminds me of all the great times that were had there. Good times. Goooooood times.
Side A (the "house" side):
Chemical Brothers: Block Rockin' Beats
It is IMPERATIVE that you start off a good mix, and a good party for that matter, with something that gets people excited. And if you have heard this rockin' tune before, you know that's exactly what it does. The Chemical brothers are masters at finding a way to get someone pumped up and interested in their techno-heavy beats. I can't believe I'm gonna say this, but I bet the dudes from 'Jersey Shore' would get a real kick out of doing some fist-pumping to this one! This tune opens the 1997 album Dig Your Own Hole. It's was my first Chemical Brothers purchase (I admit I was interested after hearing the tune on a TV commercial), but it was certainly not my last. Highly recommended.
Liquid Soul: Threadin' The Needle
This is an interesting one. Liquid Soul is a Chicago-based band that I was introduced to by a coworker at the time. He loaned me one of his CD's and I was immediately hooked. If you hear them, you know why. People who know me know that I love the FUNK (especially Funky Fridays on WXPN 88.5 radio 5PM on Friday evenings), and these guys can bring it! The link I found is actually a different band covering the song, but they do quite a decent job. I figured to get the feel for the mix, the song was more important than the artist. Either way, these guys are worth a listen if you like some horns mixed in with your grooves. Good stuff!
Jerry Garcia Band: High-heeled Sneakers
If you're a fan of JGB, you probably already know about the 'Keystone' releases that are from the Keystone club that JGB played a number of, which included the likes of Merl Saunders on keyboars and some other notable guests. This particular track is taken off of the 'Keystone Encores; Volume 1' album, which is pretty much all covers, including an excellet version of 'I Second that Emotion' as well as the tune that I piced. I couldn't find a good audio version of the tune with Jerry singing it, but here is a version of the early Rolling Stones cover. The stones used to cover some of these older, more traditional bluesy tunes when they were first getting their name out there. While the JGB version has some definite differences in the instrumental solos (the JGB version is over 8 minutes long), this one still gives a good feel for the tune. Enjoy!
G. Love: Rodeo Clowns
Philly, baby! What could would a mixtape for a house in the 'yunk be without representing the Philly love! The history of this story is kinda funny. Even though it's Jack Johnson's tune, it first appears on G. Love's 'Philadelphonic' from 1999. Honestly, Philadelphonic is one of those albums that you should not be able to buy single tracks from on iTunes. It's that friggin' good, people should be REQUIRED to listen/purchase the entire album. If you don't have it, run and get it right now. Or call me and I'll give you my copy. It's mandatory G. Love, mandatory Philly, and just generally mandatory listening. If you mention this song by title, most people these days will only know Jack Johnson, but those of us who know, remember where it came from. But the main thing is the tune, so here's a version with G and Jack together.
God Street Wine: Princess Henrietta
I have to admit I was a little surprised when looking back over this tape to see that this was the GSW tune that I picked to be on here. But hey, what can I say it's still a good tune. GSW was a jam-band from New York City (which they always said when introducing themselves) that was around for a good part of the 90's and into the 2000's before calling it quits and going their separate ways. GREAT band, lots of fun. I'm glad I had a chance to see them a bunch of times. I'll never forget September 4, 2001, when I drove up to Wetlands Preserve in NYC with Mallitz and Newdeck to see the band for the last time before that historic place closed. I remember driving out of the city on the way home, looking out the back window of the car at the WTC towers still looming large over the town. Little did I know what would happen in the coming week. Still kinda creeps me out. But I digress..... So this track is the kickoff track to the band's first major label album $1.99 Romances. I learned about these guys in college and follow them to this day, frequently listening to their live shows off the archive (livemusic.org), or still trying to trade shows with Schwartzberg. The people who dug these guys are still really into them, even if they aren't around anymore. Though they did recently get back together for a little basement rocking...
Phish: Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley
This song was orininally performed by Robert Palmer on his 1974 album of the same name, which was way head of it's time. And it friggin' ROCKS! this is another one that just has great song after great song. So it was even awesomer (that's right, it was so awesome it deserves a made-up word) that Phish has been covering the tune since their early days. They have been known to do some sick versions, and I have been fortunate to be able to witness some of them. Unfortunately I did not notate on my mixtape what date/version this was, so here's just a sampling of a great Phish version, though the original is a hell of a listen as well. You can't help but groove when you hear this. I strongly recommend this one to listen to as you are waling the aisles at the local supermarket doing your food shopping (if you're one of those people who rocks the iPod while shopping, of course, which i am).
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Mellowship Slinky in B Major
OK so this is a totally unscientific observation, but I bet 9 out of 10 RHCP fans would rate Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) their favorite Chili Peppers album. Like Philadelphonic earlier in this mix, this is an album that deserves to have every song listened to. Actually, I'm listening to it right now! Call me a band geek/dork/etc, but I still remember the good times listening to this album on the good ol' boombox on the bus on the way to competitions and football games. May of you who do know this album may be more familiar with the hits from this album like 'Under the Bridge' or 'Give it Away', so I decided to go a little off the mainstream with the Mellowship Slinky. I mean the song just screams classy with the way they include the key in the song title, right?! Besides classical tunes, what other songs do that? (actually now that I think of it, I believe Vanilla Fudge did that on their debut album. I'll research and get back to ya). But seriously, the tune is a lot of fun. It's got some heavy riffs as well as a nice groovy feel that makes it a fun song to listen to. At least I think so. And if you don't, I don't...
Lenny Kravitz: Always on the Run
1990-1995, I friggin' LOVED Lenny Kravitz. His first Album, Let Love Rule, is still my favorite of his. I feel like the emotion that he showed on that album, from the songwriting, to the playing of many of the instrumental tracks himself and then mixing them all together, really showed his true interest and passion for the music that he was making. And it was beautiful, in a hippie-ish kinda way. And then BOOM! out of nowhere comes his second album, Mama Said, and you were like "Wow! He's still the same great musician and songwriter but he's been able to expand his range to something that rocks real hard and even has Slash from Guns 'n Roses on a killer solo!" OK so maybe you weren't like that, but I was. I loved, loved this album. What I loved most is that he was able to really represent a bunch of different musical styles and messages in a single album. He's got the rock covered with the song I put on the mix (and how cool is the female drummer??!!), and he jumps to a groovy disco feel on 'what goes around comes around' and 'It ain't over till it's over', and then moves into the political commentary attept at an anthem with 'what the f-ck are we saying'. Just from front to back a great album. But my favorite Lenny is still the bootleg CD I bought at Positively Records that was a recording of the Lenny MTV Unplugged session. Simply fantastic. Though I do still think that Bomze's version of 'Rosemary' is the best I've heard. Ever. Confirmed.
Greatful Dead: Hard to Handle
It's no surprise that the first side ends with a Dead tune, right? I know, it's so predictable. But this is the essential Dead right here. the stuff you don't hear on the radio (if/when they do play a Dead tune on regular radio). This particular tune is from the Bear's Choice CD, which was one of my first Grateful Dead greatest hits purchases. I really love this one because it focuses on the blues-heavy tunes that the boys from the bay area got their start performing. Pigpen is at his best, and you can just hear the emotion in his voice while he sings it. It's a simple tune, but played well, it can rock with the best of them. Classic!
Wow. that was almost 2000 words and it's only side A! I think at this point we're going to call it a wrap and we'll be back with Side B, the "warming" side, with the next installment. I'd like to have you all continue reading, not fall asleep at your keyboards with my musical rambling.
But in the meantime, if you have any mixtape thoughts in general, or comments on my first half of the mix, please share in the comments section below! Thanks, and have a happy holiday!