By DJ Sebastien, who has spun vinyl in England, New Zealand, and his hometown of Paris, France. Catch him at The Funky Force parties in Sapporo.

Summer Music Trivia Test (April, 2001)

A Millennium of Music (Part II) (Feb., 2001)

A Millennium of Music (Part I) (Dec., 2000)

DJ QUIK, Big-L and SWEET CHARLES (Aug., 2000)

Joe, Jennifer Lopez, Jose Feliciano and where to hang out in Sapporo (June, 2000)

D'Angelo & John Lucien (April, 2000)

Curtis Mayfield and Grover Washington Jr. (Feb. 1, 1999)

Century's Best (Dec. 1999)

Buy it now! (Oct. 1999)

Best Soul and Funk Live Albums (Aug. 1999)

Recently Discovered (June 1999)

The first records baring the1999 (April 1999)

Best of '98! (Feb. 1999)

Best of '70s (Dec. 1998)

What's Boomin' (Oct. 1998)

Most Remarkable New and Not So New Releases (Aug. 1998)

Summer Music Trivia Test (Feb., 2001)
By Bill Andrechek

Winter's over and the sweet smell of CopperTone blowing in the wind can't be far off, so it must be time for a highly challenging, slightly stimulating, Summer Music Trivia Test! Mix up a jug of gin and lemonade (for stimulation) and try this thing out and you'll swear it's a very close second to the warm summer breezes that wash over you while lying on a beach in Maui. Well, a close third?...

Question 1. (An easy one to get you going!)
Which ex-Eagle had a solo hit with the song, "The Boys of Summer"?
a. Glenn Frey
b. Don Henley
c. Joe Walsh
d. Sammy Sosa

Question 2.
Which band, in their "black period", "...see(s) the girls go by dressed in their summer clothes" ?
a. Black Sabbath
b. AC/DC
c. The Rolling Stones
d. Spinal Tap

Question 3.
In the tragic song "American Pie," tragically covered by Madonna, Don McLean refers to a ... "Helter Skelter in a summer ________"?
a. shelter
b. sweater
c. swelter
d. levee...but the levee was dry!

Question 4.
Which of the following is NOT a real song lyric?
a. ...summer's here and the time is right for dancin' in the street
b. ...summer's here and the time is right for fighting in the street
c. ...summer's here and the time is right for ralphin' in the street
d. ...and after all you're my wonderwall
(Question 4.5. Name the artists and songs that the REAL song lyrics were taken from.)

Question 5.
Which hit did the all-girl group Bananarama ram the airwaves with throughout a large portion of the 80's?
a. Cool Summer
b. Cruel Summer
c. Summer of '69
d. Summer Bigger than Others

Question 6.
Seals & Crofts, prior to their religious awakenings, left us the sleepy hit, "Summer Breeze." Which herb does the "Summer Breeze" blow through their minds?
a. Ragweed
b. Acapulco Gold
c. Hyacinth
d. Jasmine

Question 7.
Who wrote the classic song "In The Summertime"?
a. Jerry Garcia
b. Mungo Jerry
c. Mango Mary
d. Ben & Jerry

Question 8.
Which Beatles wannabe band's song contains the lyric, "...step outside the summertime's in bloom?"
a. Oasis
b. Los Beatles
c. The Spiders
d. The Rutles
(Question 8.5. Name the song from which the lyric was taken.)

Question 9.
John Travolta and Olivia Newton John sang this hit from the movie, Grease.
a. Summer Lovin'
b. Summer Nights
c. Some are Knights
d. Look Who's Talking Now

Question 10.
Which was a hit for Paul Weller and The Style Council?
a. Long Hot Summer
b. Wrong Cot, Bummer
c. Long Hot Member
d. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Question 11.
Which of the following is NOT a reason that Eddie Cochran gives for having the "Summertime Blues"?
a. His congressman said he's too young to vote
b. His boss said he's gotta work late
c. He can't use the car cause he didn't work late
d. He's real fine looking, man...he's something else

Well, I hope you're now in the mood for a stroll along the beach, a barbecue party and air-conditioned goodness, but in any case, mix up another jug of gin and lemonade and stay stimulated! See ya 'round.


1. b 2. c 3. c 4. c
4.5 a. Martha and the Vandellas - Dancing in the Street
4.5 b. The Rolling Stones - Street Fighting Man
4.5 c. Oasis - Wonderwall
5. b 6. d 7. b 8. a
8.5 - Don't Look Back in Anger
9. b 10. a 11. d


A Millennium of Music (Part II) (Feb., 2001)

Where was I? Ah, yeah, the blues. And then what happened? Rock and roll of course!! Did you know that the term "rock and roll" is a blues euphemism for sexual intercourse? Rock changed our parents' generation and the society they lived in. When Elvis first appeared on American TV, a cultural revolution was about to start. That was in 1956. White people couldn't believe that one of their own could shake his hips like that. (It was considered very offensive at the time.)
Elvis took the blues and mixed it with country and gospel. Basically, he was the first to blur the color line in his music, and that's probably why he became a legend. To tell you the truth, I am not a big fan of rock and roll, and I don't have any of Elvis's records (I prefer Ray Charles, Fats Domino or Little Richard.), but you got to give the man credit. And those pants, that belly and the mega sideburns, they were tooo much, man!
Then what? The Beatles, of course. They started what the Americans call the "British Invasion" in 1963. The Beatles are the only rock band that I can listen to a lot now. Their greatest assets were their melodies, thanks to John and Paul, and their sound, thanks to producer George Martin. The Beatles really helped to make rock a well-accepted and respected musical art form. I mean, when you want to talk about quality in music in the 20th century, you've got to consider the Beatles, no matter what kind of music you are into. That's what makes them special.
After the Beatles, music became so diverse that it's tough for me to continue writing this thing. The way I look at it, the 70s was a time of great exploration of what human beings were capable of creating in a wide range of fields, including of course music. Jimmie Hendrix, George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Gloria Gaynor, Abba, Iggy Pop, the Doobie Brothers, the Sugarhill Mob, Kraftwerk, Fela, and Kiss - among others - are all from that era and they are all so different from each other. That's the reason why we're still fascinated by those times: it's the freedom, the feeling that so much was still there to be created. Disco, rap, P-funk, heavy metal, punk and electronic music were all invented then. Sometimes I wish I had been born in 1950 instead of 1970. Being 20 years old in 1970 must have been pretty cool.
After that the '80s brought along two massive musical phenomena: Michael Jackson and Prince. When the Billie Jean video was first played on MTV in 1983, it sent shock waves across the planet. Michael was The Man back then. Nobody could mess with him. The '80s were more about making good videos and creating "a look" than anything else. MTV brought stars into our living room and changed our relationships with them. The '90s, meanwhile, was all about hip-hop, R&B, techno and that grunge shit.
So what's coming in the future? Probably a mix of the best music we've ever heard and the worst kind of garbage crap some bad dude will come out with. Whatever it is, I'll see you around.

A Millennium of Music (Part I) (Dec., 2000)

Good to be back! Xene called me a while ago and asked me to do the best of the millenium in music in two parts. Damn! Who do they think I am? The music master or something? I said "Sure, no problem." Sometimes I should think before I open my mouth. Anyway here I am in front of my computer thinking about what the "fonk" I'm gonna write. Maybe the real question is "Did the 20th century see the greatest evolution and creativityハ in music ever?" And to that question there is no doubt in my mind that it is so.
Saying that, it means I should talk only about our century. But what about the pioneers like all the dudes whoハwrote the great classical music of the past in Europe, or the Africans who put together the "universal rhythm" on which all rhythmic music is based? When I was a kid the only music I listened to was classical. I still do listen to a lot of it now. I love Mozart (1756-1791) for the pain and joyハyou feel in his music. I loveハBeethoven (1770-1827) for his mad writing skills. I love the Romantics like Faure (1845-1924). His requiem is the finest ever. And the great Italians like Verdi (1813-1901), Vivaldi, Puccini, Rossini, Bellini and so on. Classical music is the foundation of all melodic modern music and therefore should not be forgotten. So what to buy if you're a novice? I would strongly recommend a best of the greatest soprano of all time (soprano assoluto, as the Italians say), Maria CallasハonハEMI. After that get all of the Mozart concerti. By then if you get the feeling, go on and buy all the great composers. If you don't,ハwell that's to bad for you man!
Ok, here I am already in the 20th century. So what happened? Jazz man, jazz! The greatest American cultural contribution to the world ever. Born in New Orleans at the beginning of the century, it took the world by storm with greats like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Thelonius Monk. If you don't listen to jazz, then you don't know shit about music. Sorry to be so crude, but that's the deal man so you better do some shopping fast.
Then what? The blues man, the blues! Blues is slave music; that's why it's so sad and lyrically painful. It's from the guts and it's the real deal! Actuallyハrock and roll and hip-hop are both directly connected to blues, rock for the use of the guitar and hip-hop for the bass and slow tempo. If you want some, don't forget Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and B.B. King. Listening to blues is a deepハthing to do. Go back to the roots and work itハout. OK, I'll stop here for Part I of my humble music review and hope you'll follow Part II. I'll see you around.

DJ QUIK, Big-L and SWEET CHARLES (Aug., 2000)

Finaly summer has arrived. Barbecues are happening again! Ladies have taken out their hot pants. Life is colorful! The beer is super cold! I just love that summer feeling. But to make it prefect you need the right groove and here it is...

DJ QUIK "Balance and Options"
Here is a hell of a funky G-funk-type of West Coast rap album. If you like it when your car stereo is about to blow up with the bass then you need this one. This album is just boomin'. DJ Quick has become the son of George Clinton. With guests like Digital Underground and Eric Sermon from EPMD, the album has lots of funky flavors to it. I especially like the tribute to my man Roger Troutman from the Zapp band. He passed away last year and I can't get over it. You have more than 20 tracks to listen to and if your stereo manages to pass the playing test then you have a damn good one, bro! Buy it!

AS WELL: Big-L "R.I.P"
Big-L was shot dead two years ago by some shit-for-brains guy over some dope crap. Man, what a waste it was to kill this brother for nothing. His album is the best thing coming out of N.Y since Notorious B.I.G. His trademark was his high-pitched voice, which I personally disliked until I heard this bomb. His lyrics are of course full of vanity and self-satisfaction. Man, what do you expect, the guy was from NY The beats are tight and kicking, but the best is his skillful use of some unknown samples. Great East Coast hip hop.

Finally, Polydor USA has re-released one of the greatest soul albums of all time. It's this one that has the ultimate track, "Yes It's You." Produced by the minister of super-heavy funk himself, James Brown, this piece is the cherry on the cake of your record collection. Recorded in 1972 in some backdoor studio somewhere in the US, this album has all the samples you've been looking for, including some great voices of women obviously having an orgasm just by looking at Sweet Charles. Damn, he must have been a busy guy back in the days. Anyway, check this one out real fast and chill out 1972-style. Hope you'll find all that great stuff and buy it soon. If not, I'll be playing them you know where...
If you need some more information, you can now e-mail me at I just got a computer. My bro Marhoun lent it to me. I knew I had to get into that computer shit one day. See you on the dance floor.

Joe, Jennifer Lopez, Jose Feliciano and where to hang out in Sapporo
(June, 2000)

The music scene has been pretty quiet since the beginning of the year, but it's interesting to see that an artist like Santana is now on top of the world R&B charts with his remix of "Maria, Maria," a track you've surely heard (at least if you come to Locotonte on Saturdays!). That proves that black R&B/hip-hop is definitely the most innovative form of music these days.

Best R&B
Joe - My Name is Joe
Joe's been around for about six years now, but his big breakthrough came with his now-classic platinum "All That I Am." Now he's back with another great album. The greatest quality that comes out of this bro is his amazing songwriting abilities. He writes all the tracks, then plays and produces the rest. His melodies are not the old expected, tired bubblegum crap that other people write. The beats are of course kickin' and he's got a real cool voice. The lyrics can be very sexually explicit sometimes, but hey, who's gonna complain?

As well: Jennifer Lopez - Feelin' Good
Produced by her new man Puffy, this one is for the dance floor. Good beats, nice vocals from Jennifer. By the way, did you hear that she has insured her body for a billion bucks? When Puffy's doin' the thing to her, he must be extra careful; none of that hardcore shit for her. She might sue him or something!

Soul re-issues
Jose Feliciano - And the Feeling Is Good
Jose is one of the greatest guitarists of this century. Blind from birth and originally from Puerto Rico, he was the second of 12 children. He grew up in Spanish Harlem. He had a big hit in 1968 with his soulful remake of "Light My Fire," which peaked at number three on the charts. BNG Japan has reissued some of his stuff, and this album contains a cover of Stevie's "Golden Lady." The track is the bomb! I just love it too much! Jose hasn't been around lately. His music's now kind of classified as underground, but if you saw the movie "Fargo," he was in it playing a part. To describe his music is kind of difficult. A mix of soul, Latin and Funk with English and Spanish lyrics. Try his stuff, you might really dig it!

Where to hang out!
From this issue I'll review good night spots for you crazy party people! Today I've chosen what's probably my favorite bar in the world, "Soul Cop." Located in the "bubble bath" section of Susukino, this bar-club is one of the few places in the world where you can listen to really top, super-rare, quality music! Owned by the legendary "Doctor Masa," the bar's got close to 15,000 records on the shelves and they're played every day from 9PM to 6AM. If you've been looking for that damn record that you'll never find, don't stress out anymore: Masa's got it! This bar's a humbling experience for music lovers. It makes you realize that if you thought you knew a lot about black music, well you were pretty fuckin' far away from reality man! Every time I go, I discover so much new stuff. Discovery, that's what the place is all about. But be wary. It ain't cheap. Just look at it as a kind of investment in music culture or something like that.

・ Soul Cop Lilac Street S5 W4

Voila. If you need some funky mixes (now available on CD for ¥1000 apiece), give us a call on 070-5065-4641 or join us at Locotonte on Saturdays!

D'Angelo & John Lucien (April, 2000)

Been shopping around for a couple of weeks now for some good hip-hop and there is nothing in sight. What's up with that!? Well, actually I found a wicked 12-inch by The Lox called "Ryde or Die Bitch" (boomin' beats with Spanish guitars!). I hear Snoop, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre are in a studio somewhere in Cali reforming NWA for a new album due later this year. Let's hope it's not a bunch of bullshit. Maybe you heard about the death of Puerto Rican superstar rapper Big Punisher last month. Heart attack! That's what happens when you eat too much. (The guy was well over 200 kilos!) He'll be missed.

D'Angelo - Voodoo
We've been waiting for this one for four years. Since his first platinum-selling album Brown Sugar. The man was just chilling, smokin' weed and making babies. I've heard and read a lot of shit regarding his new album and most of it wasn't very elogius. I don't know what these dudes had in their ears but I think this album is the shit! Very mellow, kind of smoky with a funky groove and "deep down there" bass. Sometimes he sounds just like Prince back in the old days (before he got all fucked up). I love his remake of "Feel Like Making Love" which I believe is one of the best tracks ever written for "gettin' down with yer hoochie-coochie"!

As well, Angie Stone - Black Diamond
Now I am pretty sure that she is D'Angelo's lady and maybe even the mother of his two kids. This is her first effort and it's really good. A little bit more commercial than her man's album, she takes us on a pretty smooth ride throughout all the tracks. But the real treat is her superb voice. Buy it!

Soul Re-issues
I am a happy man: John Lucien's "Rashida" album has finally been re-issued nearly 30 years after its original release. This is one of the best soul albums of all time. The special thing about this one is that John is from the isle of Tortola, the British Virgin Islands, a little paradise on Earth and you can feel that with the vibe and melodies of this masterpiece. John has the kind of voice the ladies love, deep and sensual with the right words to go with it. The album starts with the sounds of waves caressing the sand of a beach and then the beats and melodies come in and that's the beginning of a real soulful experience. Run now and get it before it vanishes for another 30 years.

Voila! I have just finished making another four mix tapes with some soul, funk, hip-hop and r&b home-baked mixes. If you want some, give us a call at 070-5065-4641 any time or drop by Locotonte on Saturdays for a boogie session. See you there.
"If I counted all the stars above, would you believe in me?" -- John Lucien, 1973

Curtis Mayfield and Grover Washington Jr. (Feb. 1, 1999)

First of all, happy new year to all of you. Hope you had a good party lined up for New Year's Eve. Marco and I got really wasted that night and, to tell you the truth, I can't remember too well what happened. Oh, yeah: I remember now. I couldn't decide which record to play for the first track of 2000 and, looking at the crazy dudes in the crowd, I thought to myself that I had to play something really fucking wild, like Jimmy Hendrix's "Blue Suede Shoes." So I did. Jimmy for 2000!
Unfortunately, last year brought very sad news for the music world. Legendary soul artist Curtis Mayfield and jazz saxaphone wizard Grover Washington Jr., both in their mid-fifties, died just shy of the new year.

Curtis Mayfield
Mayfield had been paralyzed since being struck by stage rigging at a New York concert. His intellectual approach to music made him a unique soul songwriter whose works contain messages of love, unity, and mutual respect for race, religion and culture. He also encouraged people not to give up on the major issues facing African-Americans. His versatile music ranged from super-deep, mellow tunes like "We People Who Are Darker Than Blue" to the disco classic "Move on Up" to the soundtrack for Superfly to the underground master track "You Are You Are." So which album should you buy? Curtis was the man! Buy them all.

Grover Washington Jr.
Washington died of a heart attack after a concert appearance. He can be considered the most prolific saxophonist in jazz/fusion. In the early '70s, he helped create the fusion style, with his favorite producer, Bob James. The sound mixed melodic jazz with a funky beat. But his biggest hit came with the help of Bill Withers, in the classic, "Just the Two of Us." He's also regarded in the hip-hop world as a great source of samples. His "Mister Magic" and "Knucklehead" have been sampled many times. From the late '80s he returned to a more classic style of jazz, relying on his verstatile technique: the guy could play soprano, alto and baritone sax, as well as clarinet, bass and piano. If you like funky beats with good sax, all his '70s releases are boomin'. For something mellower, buy his '80s stuff.
Now let's look to the future. I haven't heard anything new recently, except maybe the new Warren G album, which kicks ass! I'll try my best to keep you funky people informed throughout the new year, and I hope you'll appreciate my humble contribution to this "getting better and better" magazine.

Century's Best (Dec. 1999)

I was born in 1970, and I remember very well being a 10-year-old thinking about the year 2000 and how far away it seemed. And now, here we are on the eve of the millennium. Damn!
I've been thinking about the end of this millennium, and how I gotta give you some special stuff. Here it is: my ultimate best of the best in music of the 20th century. In each musical genre, I selected what I believe are the best five albums of the century. Take it however you want -- but if you agree, invite me to your next party. I'll be there!

Best Soul
What about Aretha, Otis, Barry and the countless others? I know, but hey, it's tough competition out there.

Marvin Gaye, "I Want You" (Motown, 1976)
Stevie Wonder, "Songs in the Key of Life" (Motown, 1976)
Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack, "Untitled" (Atlantic, 1972)
Millie Jackson, "Caught Up" (Polydor, 1972)
Jon Lucien "Rashida" (BMG, 1973)

Best Funk
This funk selection was heartbreaking. I have close to 4000 records, and half of them are pretty funky. You can imagine the dilemma.

T. Connection, "Totally Connected" (Dash, 1979)
Parliament, "Mothership Connection" (Warner Brothers, 1977)
Bootsy's Rubber Band, "This Booty is Made for Fonkin'" (Warner Brothers, 1979)
James Brown and the JB's, "Food for Funk" (Polydor, 1974)
Tyronne Thomas and the Whole Darn Family, "Has Arrived" (Soul)

Best Jazz/Funk/Fusion
Man, there's so much jazz and all of its subdivisions out there, but I only selected the albums you can boogie to. Not for the purist.

Ramsey Lewis, "Funky Serenity" (CBS, 1973)
Leon Spencer, "Louisiana Slim" (Fantasy)
Idris Muhammad, "Power of Soul" (Kudu, 1974)
Johnny Hammond, "Higher Ground" (Kudu, 1973)
John Coltrane, "A Love Supreme" (Impulse, 1964)

Best Hip-Hop
Now, it's true I left out the pioneers like Matronix, Grandmaster Flash, and Kurtis Blow. These guys deserve the highest respect, but the '90s is when hip-hop really took off.

A Tribe Called Quest, "People, Instinctive Travels and the Path of Rhythm" (Jive, 1990)
Jungle Brother, "Done by the Force of Nature" (Warner Brothers, 1989)
Peter Rock and CL Smooth, "The Main Ingredient" (Electra, 1994)
Dr. Dre, "The Chronic" (Priority, 1992)
2 Pac, "Me Against the World" (Interscope, 1995)

Best of R&B
The ladies are my overwhelming choice for R&B, and this genre has really been huge in the last five years, with mega-pop artists like Mariah Carey copying and popularizing this style.

Lauryn Hill, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" (Ruffhouse, 1998)
Eryka Badu, "Baduizm" (Kedar, 1997)
Adrianna Evans, "Adrianna Evans"(BMG, 1997)
Omar, "For Pleasure" (BMG, 1994)
Groove Theory, "Untitled" (Sony, 1995)

Voila! This was my ultimate best of the best. I'm exhausted. Better get prepared for the mega-parties coming up for Christmas and the new year. Hope to see you on the dance floor you know where.
P.S.: my choice for quote of the millennium, "Free your mind and your ass will follow."

Buy it now! (Oct. 1999)

Just came back from a month holiday back home. Man, it was just too good! I heard some great sounds in Paris, a lot of funky hip-hop and house. And the clubs! They are going off! Anyway, now I'm back in Japan and we got to make it happen here too, so let's get down to business.

Chantay Savage: "This time"
I've always been a big fan of Chantay. (Remember her cover of "I will survive" in '95? That was the bomb!) I love her voice. Her new album is just superb in every way -- very well produced, the beats and melodies are super tight. It's mellow but with that groovy feelin' to it. Buy it now!

Mary J Bride: "Mary"
You can't avoid this one! Mary has been the queen of R&B-hip-hop since her debut in 1992 and every album she releases is an event. This new one is different from the others. It's more acoustic, live and in a way more personal. With plenty of tracks, it should satisfy even the most difficult of you guys.

Mershell Ndegeocello: "Bitter"
Definitely a bitter feelin' to this one, but -- man! -- what a deep album. Between soul, folk and even classical. This one is for the super-mellow ones who have something to feel sad about (but don't we all?!)

Mandrill: "mandrilland"
All of Mandrill's releases have been reissued by Polydor. And about time, too! This band typifies the Afro-Rock of the '70s, which actually is closer to Afro Funk Rock. These guys were nut cases. Their style is unique in every way. Sometimes super slow, sometimes fast with 20-minute tunes. You should check it out and make up your mind about this band.

Jungle Brother: "V.I.P."
Not out yet, but will be soon. Just great! Really innovative in style. Mixing rock, funk, soul and world music, the tempo stays pretty fast all the way. The JB's are back big time, people. Better watch out for these guys.

Funk Inc: "Super Funk"
I just love this band too much: They're so funky! As well as being superb musicians, these guys can write some good music. This one is their first albums and it's a great one that you should own.

Naughty by Nature: "Jamboree"
Boomin' in the clubs right now, this track has it all. A wicked sample "Benny Golson," a nasty beat, and Zhane on chorus. Right on!

Funk and soul Re-issues
B.T Express: "1980"
A classic disco-funk album, it was very hard to find until now. (My original copy would cost you close to 20,000 yen in Japan.) Finally re-issued by Columbia, it can be yours for around 2,000 yen!)
Voila, that's all folks! Don't forget your weekly sound shopping to stay fit. Till next time. Ciao!

Best Soul and Funk Live Albums (Aug. 1999)

Well, this month I was listening to a lot of that old groovy stuff that we miss so much now. And in particular I listened to a lot of live concert recordings and that's how it came to me. Yeah! Halleluja! I am gonna make a list of what I consider being the best soul and funk live albums of ALL TIME! Tough job but somebody had to do it. Check it out!

No.1: Donny Hathaway "live"
Man, this is the one! Recorded in two locations (Hollywood and N.Y.) in 1972, this album is a masterpiece! Mixing soul, funk, blues and jazz , Donny takes us to ecstasy. Every track (8 of them) is just superb in its composition and instrumentation. Buy it right now!

No.2: Earth Wind and Fire "Gratitude"
This one is a double album recorded in 1975 during E.W.F's American tour and guess what, it super funky to the max! There are 14 tracks including the bomb "Sun goddess" (originally by my man Ramsey Lewis) which has the best saxophone solo you have ever heard! If you like your funk with your jazz then you need this one!

No.3: Marvin Gaye "live"
Recorded in 1974 in the states, Marvin (turning 60 this year somewhere up there!) just let it loose all the way and keep the beat going and going until you just drop dead from a booggy overdose! The man at his best!

No. 4: Maze "Live in New Orleans"
A classic live album from a real cool band from the southern part of USA. The album is really pumpin' right from the start and keeps on going for a couple of hours! You might know the track "Joy and Pain" but have you heard the live mix? It's gonna blow your fuses away big time!

No.5: James Brown "Revolution of the mind"
From the cover of this album (James behind bars!) you get straight away that this album's gonna be about that super super heavy funk stuff of his! Well, you're damm right! All the great classics are there (sex machine, make it funky and so on) Going off!

No. 6: Curtis "live"
Curtis Mayfield recorded this one in some small jazz club somewhere I don't know, but you get that real cozy feeling. The band is brilliant, especially the guy on percussion! Curtis plays his guitar like never before! Some deep messages in that one. For the mellow dudes!

No. 7: Parliament "live"
My man George going through his P. Funk earth tour! What a crazy dude! This one is a lot of fun to listen to. Great tracks too, but unfortunately the sound quality is not up to the standard. Shame for such a great album!

No.8: Herbie Hancock "V.S.O.P"
Check out the players 'Ron Carter, Freddie Hubbard, Bennie Maupin, Wah Wah Watson, Eddie Henderson, Tony Williams, Buster Williams, Ray Parker Junior" and the man himself on key board! This is nasty stuff! Jazz with that funky fusion style to it. Just the way I like it. Real and fat!
Voila, hope you'll agree with me about this little sample of some great live recordings. There are many more of course. But if you have these ones already then you should be quite satisfied!

Recently Discovered (June 1999)

To tell you guys the truth, not much of what has come out in the last few weeks has really excited me too much! So I decided to review some stuff that I recently discovered. Check it out!

Hip-Hop: Kid Capri
Now, this one is the bomb! Kid Capri has been one of the top deejays in N.Y. for many years now and he has made a name for himself in the Hip-Hop world with his slick techniques. Having many major rappers as friends, it was just a matter of time for him to drop an album. The result is just superb East Coast Hip-Hop! Check out the guests Nas, Snoop Dogg, day-Z ...Alright!

Also: Snoop Dogg "Top Dogg"
Snoop finally got his shit back together! First he's back in Cali. so that the beats are real fat again. For the G-Funk fans!-EPMD "Out of business". The two Hip-Hop pioneers are again declaring this album as their last one! Yeah, right! Anyway, another great bangin' fonkin' Hip-Hop album!

R&B: Kelly Price
Remember her name, she's gonna be huge! This big mama has got a hell of a voice, deep and soulful at the same time. The album is produced by one of the Isley Brothers who happens to be her godfather! Man, they've got it worked out in the family! The tempo stays real slow and super mellow, but the bass is turned to the max. One of the best tracks is "friend of mine" which is being re-mixed by R. Kelly himself. Absolutely essential R&B stuff!

Also: Eric Benet "Georgy Porgy"
This one is the 12inch of the month. Simply boomin' beats with Eric's "I am sooo emotional" voice. Yeah!
Faith Eran's "All night long" This one is produced by Puff Daddy and you know what, I don't like his pop/rap approach too much. But sometimes you got to give some credit to the man! A great dance floor classic!

Funk and Soul
Well, I have to say that I feel like I am in a funeral mood! One of my all time favorite "Fonky Man" has passed away in another all too American tragic, violent incident. Roger Troutman of the Zapp band is not with us anymore. He was shot twice in the head in his recording studio by what appears to be a family member! Well, Fuck that, that's all I got to say! Roger was the man! He perfected the talk box technique to an art. For the ones who don't know what the technique was, check this out. You take a kind of electronic tube that you stick in your throat and then connect it to a guitar or piano and that makes a real cool sound. Well, Roger was the king of the talk box as well as a great guitarist. He mixed his blues roots with his P. Funk heart beat. He was, of course, part of George Clinton's "P. Funk Family" He came to Sapporo a few years ago and I was told by my friend, Neil that it was an incredible concert. (I wasn't in Sapporo yet at that time, Damn!) Roger Troutman was a true musical genius and great funky brother. Reste en Paix, mon fr屍e.
Voila, on this sour note I close this Funky Files.

The first records baring the1999 (April 1999)

Man, what a weekend! Deejaying is getting dangerous these days. Nearly got stabbed in the belly at the last "Yabai" Party. It became "Maji-de-Yabai" Party. But hey, the party was going off! Next time, I'll bring my nunchakus! Anyway, Bonjour 1999! Hope you guys have been fonkin' down already in the new year. The first records baring the 1999 mark are just starting to be available now. Here's my selection:

Hip Hop: Nas - "I'm, the autobiography"
This one is going to be huge! His first album in '94 was a milestone in hip hop and is regarded as one of the best ever. The thing about this brother is his very skillful writing of the lyrics. He doesn't talk shit, he just tells you about life the way it is. The album is produced by the top guys in the business now (DJ Premiere, Trackmasters, Timbaland, etc.). No need to say that the beats are boomin'! The first single of the album, "Nas is Like," is already a club anthem. Essential stuff.

As well: Method Man "Break ups 2 make ups" Featuring D. Angelo. Great 12inch. My favorite right now! D. Angelo does the damage as the back chorus. A killer!
Pete Rock - "Take Your Time" Featuring Carl Mcintosh from Loose Ends. Smooth, smooth as you can get! I love this one too much. You gotta get it now!

R & B Special, Japan:
Yes, there are some real good R&B records from Japanese artists available. Here's a few.
Cheyenne - "Feel my Love" DJ premiere Remix. First of all, she can sing and that's rare for the locals! Secondly, she's well produced and finally, it's available on vinyl, - Right on sister!
Michiko - "Our Love is Gone"
Produced and mixed by Kura from Giant Swing productions, this one is a real underground record that is unfortunately already very hard to get now, but give it a try anyway.
Monday Michiru - "Self Titled"
She is regarded as the biggest talent in the Japanese R&B world today and she deserves it. She has collaborated with the mondo grosso team and her new album is a very colorful and original one. This is fortunately widely available so don't hesitate to get it. And by the way guys, she looks like a million bucks!

Funk Reissues:
Parliament - "Mothership Connection"
Now, if you know anything about the funk, you would already have this one. For the others (poor folks!) you can buy yourself a brand new copy. Originally released in 1975 on Casablanca Records, this is the best Parliament album ever and their best-selling one too. Of course, produced by George Clinton himself. The album takes you on a voyage full of fonkatized galaxies and all sorts of weird stuff that George has the secret of imagining! The musicians are all legends now (Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, just to name a few!) The album has 7 tracks. 7 bombs! Absolute Primo Fonk!
Johnny guitar Watson "Ain't that a Bitch"
Poor Johnny. He dropped dead on stage on tour in Japan four years ago and the world has never been the same since! Did you know that this guy inspires Frank Zappa! This album from 1976 is one of his best. The track "Superman Lover" is a classic and has been sampled many times by Rap and R&B artists. Johnny is a guitarist and he plays in a very particular style. It's something between blues and jazz. The rest is just plain funk. Man those beats! Johnny was a real funny guy, always making jokes and some of his lyrics are just hilarious. I heard the whole J. G. W. catalogue has been reissued so don't hesitate to pick up any of them. They're all great!

Voila. This was my selection for this month. If you want to party to this sound, join me every last Thursday of the month at Ghetto! What? You've never been to Ghetto? It's the best and coolest bar/club in Sapporo. Come and check it out! Ghetto S3 E1 Meson Rd. B1

Best of '98! (Feb. 1999)

These are my best of '98. I must say that if '97 wasn't the best musical year on record, there was enough real good stuff to listen to and keep for a long long time.

Best R & B Album: Stephen Simmonds - "Alone"
Without a doubt, this was the best album of the year. Originally from Sweden, Stephen is a bassist, arranger, composer, writer and remixer. He took the R&B world by surprise with his first release. With a very funky, mellow style, he puts you in a real chill-out mood. All the tracks are great and brilliantly performed. The lyrics are well written and sometimes deep, but the real killer is the thumping bass that'll blow your speakers away!

As Well: Maxwell - "Embryo" (Called a piece of crap, but only in comparison to his '94 masterpiece); Erika Badu - "Live" (The new diva of R&B does not disappoint on her first live album, mixing soul, funk and new R&B and hip hop.); Joe - "All That Lam" (Ladies, this guy is so, so horny! Just put his record on, call your hootchy-cootchy and tell him to get his ass over to your place.)

Best Hip Hop Album: Lauryn Hill - "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill"
Yeah, I know. It's not very original, but what can I do about it? It's the kind of album you tend to enjoy the more you listen to it. The album that took hip hop to another level of originality. Lauryn is the bomb for '98 and for a long time.

As Well: Will Smith - "Big Willie Style" (Sold very well because of its pop/rap approach, but still has enough good kicking tracks to make anyone boogie like a nut case); Queen Latifah - "Order in the Court" (The Queen came back last year. But, wait a minute: she never left. A great album with a great production team.)
This new year is already advanced and there's already some great new stuff out, including Japanese R&B. I'll keep you informed in '99. Until then, don't forget what Prince said: "We're gonna party like it's 1999!"

Best of '70s (Dec. 1998)

This month I thought I might skip all that new stuff comin' out and focus on the good old sound of the '70s. For my "Best of 1998," catch the February issue of Xene.
To start, who else but the super heavy funk master James Brown?! His album "Hell" (Polydor, 1974) is again available. This one has to be one of the best: super funky beats and great vocals by the man himself. After James, cool off a little with the Isley Brothers' "Harvest for the World" (T Neck Records, 1976). Another masterpiece from the soul funky brothers. For super chill-out times, check out the second track on the B side: "Let Me Down Easy."
How about a little freaky jazz again, from the almighty Miles Davis? His "On the Corner" album (CBS, 1972) is a foundation of modern jazz and includes some wicked beats for hip-hop fans. Roy Ayers' "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" (Polydor, 1976) is again out. Beautifully orchestrated and with great lyrics. One of the most sampled records of all time.
When the O'Jays' album "Ship Ahoy" came out (CBS, 1973) it was regarded as one of the greatest soul achievements of all time. With a strong message relating to the slave past of Black Americans, it was a powerful statement for the masses. Most outstanding are "Now That We Found Love" and the monster tune "For the Love of Money." Yes, a white boy in this section! Jos Felicano, the guitar virtuoso of the '70s has been remembered by BMG Japan: they're re-issuing his albums. My pick is the 1975 "And the Feeling Is Good," with a mix of soul, funk, latin rhythms and Jos's unique voice.
"Cornbread, Earl and Me" was the movie that started the career of Lawrence Fishburn when he was still a child. The soundtrack (Fantasy Records, 1975) was composed by the great trumpeter Donald Byrd, and he's joined in this effort by his favorite musicians, the Blackbyrds. To finish, I chose Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers' "Tough" (1966). Pucho is a percussionist and has been a reference in the jazz industry for years. This release is one of his best and has a unique sound and style, a special mix of latin, sweet jazz and rock.
Voila! The selection was tough, but hopefully you'll like my choices. If not, go back to your MTV!

What's Boomin' (Oct. 1998)

Welcome back to the Funky File. This month's selection was tough, with so much stuff out there! Anyway, I've cooked up a sample of what's boomin' at the moment.

Funk Master Flex / "60 Minutes of Funk - Vol. 3"
He's done it again! This time he must've called all his buddies, 'cuz the guest appearances are just overwhelming in number (44!). They start with Busy Bee doin' it freestyle over Chic's "Good Time." Just like in the old days. Ice Cube and Erika Badu get a piece of the funk, too. Each track is kind of short (about two minutes), but it works just fine. I reckon they must have had a hell of a party making this record. Definitely the best album so far by the greatest deejay alive today.

AS WELL: Queen Latifah / "Order in the Court"
Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince / "Summertime - '98 Remix"

Mica Paris / "Black Angel"
Mica has been the queen of underground English soul since around 1987, but unfortunately she's still widely unknown. Well, I think this is gonna change with the release of her latest effort. With 14 tracks ranging from dance-floor-friendly tunes to sweet soul ballads, it's got it all! Produced mainly by Mica herself ― with help from my almighty favorite man, Stephen Simmons - this album should go onto your record shelf right away.

AS WELL: Lauryn Hill / "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill"
N'dea Davenport / "Bring It On (12-inch Guru Remix)"
Naked Music / "If I Fall (Down-tempo Remix)"

You want some funk? Some real funk? Then get this one by Leroy Hutson:"Feel the Spirit." The beats, the bass, the guitar - it's just too much! Leroy started his career by writing music for all sorts of people (including Donny Hathaway). Then he moved on to a brilliant solo career culminating with this masterpiece. It's once again available on P-Vine Records. Get it or be out! This month I thought I'd bring a bit of funky jazz feeling, so I chose my man Reuben Wilson and his "Blue Mode" album. Originally released in 1970 on Blue Note records, it features Melvin Sparks on drums. The melodies and harmonies are just too good to resist! Finally, Prestige Records has reissued some of the Miles Davis Quintet recordings (the "Steaming Sessions"). When you're with your sweet thing sipping wine and starting to get hot, don't you always wish you had the right record to make everything perfect? Well this Miles is the one you've always needed, mellow and soft with that special Miles touch. I almost forgot ― it features John Coltrane on tenor sax. Well what're you waiting for?
That's it for now. As always, don't forget to wake those neighbors with your special funk steps. Like James said, "Get on the good foot!"

Most Remarkable New and Not So New Releases (Aug. 1998)

In this regular series, I'll be letting you know what's grooving in Sapporo. So what have been the most remarkable new and not so new releases?

Gang Starr / "Moment of Truth"
A booming piece of vinyl. Gang Starr have been around since 1987 and their rapper guru basically invented the "jazz rap" form with the two now-classic "Jazzmatazz" albums. DJ Premier is the finest scratcher/producer in the rap industry. (Remember his scratch on "The Girl is So Good"? It was the sh--t back in '91!) Their new release is a double CD (triple vinyl) with enough to get funked on for half a year. Check out the tracks "You Know My Steez," "Work," "Royalty," "Above the Clouds" and the hearbreaking "Betrayal."

AS WELL: Rakim / "The 18th Letter"
IAM / "L'残ole du mirco d'argent"
Tribe Called Quest / "Love Symbol"

Brandy / "Never Say Never"
Inevitably, this hugely anticipated release got big attention. I have to say that I was a little disappointed (watch for the 12-inches and remixes to come). The album is produced and written mainly by Rodney Jerkins, and the melodies work just fine. It's just the beats that could've been a little more powerful. The tracks to watch for are "The Boy is Mine," "With Monica," "Learn the Hard Way" and "Almost Doesn't Count." For the dance floor, "Top of the World" with the rapper Maze is a must.

AS WELL: Erika Badu / "Live"
H Town / "They Like it Slow" (12-inch)
Abstract Truth / "(We Had) A Thing" (12-inch remix)

T-Neck Records has re-issued The Isley Brothers' "3+3." If you like your funk with a little soul and some wicked guitars, this one's for you. Released originally in 1973, it contains the classics "Summer Breeze" and "That Lady." You need it! On the more soulful side, Donny Hathaway's first album "Everything is Everything" is again available on Alto Records. It's a monumental soul album that everybody should own and keep in a safe! Every track is a classic and Donny's voice reminds us of how much we've missed him since his death in 1981. The album includes "The Ghetto" and "To Be Young, Gifted and Black." Buy it or go to hell! To close, who else but the super-funky Sly and the Family Stone band would do a better job? "There's a Riot Goin' On" is again out there with the great tunes "Family Affair" and "Thank You for Talkin' to Me Africa," which has the funkiest beat you can imagine.
Voila! There's your dose for now. Don't forget to pump it up and, like George said, "You have to pee before you funk." Quite a man, old George.