Saturday, June 06, 2009

A couple essential albums from 1990

Wherein from a work in progress


People's Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm, A Tribe Called Quest.
Dense overlay of interesting samples, skillful scratching, and raps that are playful and fun to listen to. Who would deny the story-telling of I Left My Wallet in El Segundo?

This, and a few others at the time, I thought heralded a shift, or at least a significant splinter, in rap towards a more lyrical and jazz influenced genre. I was pretty much dead wrong. I've told this before, but I dragged a friend to see them claiming they were going to be huge. We were at a Prince owned club in Minneapolis and the crowd was us and 10 Japanese tourists. I am not a weathervane for the cultural zeitgeist -- unless you're reading in reverse. Oh yeah, a lousy concert. Showed up late and played less than 30 minutes.

Un-Led-Ed, Dread Zeppelin.
This album is such a perfect concoction of unlikely elements I've stayed away from their other releases for fear of being disappointed. For those unfamiliar, Un-Led-Ed is Led Zeppelin songs as sung by an Elvis impersonator as played by a heavy metal reggae band. And it works brilliantly. I didn't come across this album until 1993; by that time the band had broken up a half dozen times (see the band's wiki page. There's isn't a weak track here, though I'm partial to the psychedelic *Moby Dick*.

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