MagnuSoul 45s Vol. 1 – Hot Pants Monkey Dance (Mama Don’t Allow No)

MagnuSoul45s_Vol1

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MagnuSoul45s Vol.1

This is the first of what I hope will be a series of Magnus mixes. I’ll be saying more about all this as soon as I can get my head around it and talk more about the plans for his record (and other) collections. The short version is that on Memorial Day weekend 2013, Brian Coleman and I went on an epic mission to get the remainder of our dear friend’s record collection. That Sunday evening, a group of his friends (many of whom remain active in local college radio!) gathered to begin sorting, organizing, and marveling at his legendary taste.

MagnuSoul45s Vol1 Close

This whole process reaffirmed my core idea that (certain? all?) record collections represent important cultural documents that are worthy of preservation as collections, and reminded me how quickly all these high falutin’ ideas turn into matters of boxes, brute force, and storage space. It also reminded me how records, and record collections, bring people together in a way that digital media just don’t (no, not talking about dance floors here, you know what I mean). As we all sat in the piles and sorted our friend’s records together, we shared (mostly musical) stories about him, marveled at the choices he seemed to have made, and in the process, discovered new connections and paths through places and times we shared with him. As we discussed how (and where) to preserve and continue to share his amazing spirit and musical collection, we agreed that a series of Magnus mixes would be the best way to get started. So that’s just what I have done.

MagnuSoul45s Vol.1 All

One of the greatest things about getting to know his record collection has been realizing how much he loved funk, soul and R&B (especially female fronted northern soul groups). Although this is not that surprising given everything else he liked, we literally never discussed this side of his tastes, spending most of our time on classic rap, world, reggae, jungle, trip hop, electronica, etc. It has been great to get to know this side of him and to continue learning amazing new tunes from him. It’s almost like he were here with me, and in a way, he is. A record collection like this is a great teacher even without a proper tour guide.

As I sorted 45s over the last few weeks, I seemed to keep digging up dance tracks about monkeys, hot pants, funky worms, and family. So I threw em all together in a summer soul 45 mix I call Hot Pants Monkey Dance (Mama Don’t Allow No). Like all my mixes, it’s a crazy quilt with many threads cross cutting it in various directions. But mostly, its just a funky ass soul/funk 45 mix fresh for Summer 2013 c/o our friend Magnus. I hope it heats up your barbecues, beach trips and rec rooms this summer.

MagnuSoul45s Vol1 Funky Worm

TRACKLIST

Ohio Players – Funky Worm
Reparata and the Delrons – Mama Don’t Allow
Shirley Ellis – The Clapping Song (clap Pat Clap Slap)
Miriam Makeba – Pata Pata
Les Tres Femmes – Listen to Your Mama

MagnuSoul45s Vol1Listen to Your Mama

Norma and the Heartaches – Hot Pants
Ohio Players – Skin Tight
Calhoon – (Do You Wanna) Dance Dance Dance
Bettye Scott and the Del-Vetts – Down, Down, Down
Cameo – Just Be Yourself
Michael LeGrair – Hustle on Down (Pt. 2)

MagnuSoul45s Vol1 Hustle on Down

Otis Redding – Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag
The T.S.U. Toronadoes – Getting the Corners
The Barkays – Son of Shaft
The Beginning of the End – Monkey Tamarind
Les Cooper andd the Soul Rockers – Let’s do the Boston Monkey

MagnuSoul45s Vol1 Let's Do The Boston Monkey

MagnuSoul45s Monkey Tamarind

Mastermix radio show on WERS in 1983

Boston_80s_College_Radio_Tapes

The title of this blog becomes increasingly ironic the bigger the piles of cassettes become around here. But then, they are mostly tapes of records, or at least radio shows of records and music made with other records. So that’s something. They are also revealing long lost tales of Boston’s largely overlooked urban and dance music scene in the 1980s. This new little collection also provides some important pre-history for the Leccos’s Lemma show, Boston’s first rap radio show that started in 1985. Allow me to offer a little context while you listen. I hope you like scratching.

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Mastermix Show with Hosh Gureli on WERS 88.9 FM 5-21-83

Readers of this blog will be familiar with the Lecco’s Lemma story, but those who are just getting here may consider starting with this piece from the Boston Phoenix. There have been big new developments on that front and Chris Faraone did an amazing job telling the tale of the tapes and the couple of crazy caucasians who kept them all these years. Just this past Sunday we finally got the whole collection together for the first time.

The proximate cause of this reunion was a visit up to see Willie “Loco” Alexander to collect the last two boxes of his Lecco’s Lemma show tapes. While conducting an interview (more of a paean to our pal Magnus really), Willie pulled out a small pile of other local college show tapes that he had set aside. Luckily, I was running video at the time. Watching it now, it’s cringe worthy how giddy and excited I become as he rattles of titles of shows I have never heard of with dates descending back into the electro infused daze of early 1908s. But then, these are the moments I live for. One of the most incredible and earliest in the pile was this tape of the Mastermix show on Emmerson’s WERS 88.9 FM from 5-21-83.

Although there is not much on the internets about this show, one of the first mentions I found brought me back literally full circle. It was in a comment left by Matt Reyes on my old blogspot site in a post called “Magnus Carta: Boston Hip Hop History” about the Lecco’s Lemma show. Wat?! Here’s what he said back in ’05. I had completely forgotten the reference to the Mastermix show.

Magnus Johnstone was always a bit ahead of his time where music was concerned. He’d discover, devour, disseminate, then depart once the next new thing came along. He was into reggae, Chicago house, Kraftwerkian electro, all before they became widely popular. And then in the early 80’s he got in on the ground floor with hip-hop. In 1985, he got a radio show on MIT’s radio station WMBR 88.1 FM, on Saturday afternoons, and would play the newest rap records from Spin City, Skippy White’s, Nubian Notions, and Nancy’s Record & Book Store downtown. Although some rap had been heard previously on WERS 88.9’s “Special Edition” (Cosmic Crew, pre- Def Jam Beasties, UTFO’s “Roxanne Roxanne” in Hosh Gureli’s 1984 Mastermix), that show featured mainly current urban dance like Jonzun Crew, Shannon and Freeez. Kiss 108 had played “Planet Rock”, “Jam On It” and “Rapper’s Delight”, but that was really just for novelty’s sake. And Boston’s preeminent black music station, WILD 1090 AM, utterly refused to play rap at the time. So hip-hop fans from all over Boston tuned in as best they could to Lecco’s Lemma, this tiny signal down at the bottom of the dial. The origin of the show’s title was that the whole thing was being run at the behest of a master computer named Lecco, and these songs were the “lemmas”, or things he desired.

Here is an even more detailed recollection from DJ Spinelli (Ed Note: Check out his amazing list of DJs including lots of local ones!)

Hosh Gureli (88.9 WERS) – One of the best DJs in the early 80s here in Boston. Known as the “Mastermix” on 88.9 WERS, he was far ahead of his time with mixing/remixing/editing and everything else in between.

His style of mixing wasn’t just “mixing one song into another” like most would do. Instead, he would have 3 or 4 songs going at once, throw some edits in and then go into another 3 or 4 songs (keep in mind, this is back in 82/83). Fortunately, I have many tapes of his mix shows that I recorded back then.

Interestingly enough (during the late 80s), I was in a “Battle Of The DJs” contest with Hosh at Faces nightclub in Cambridge and couldn’t believe I was going up against him (which he won, of course).

There are countless people in the Boston area that can thank Hosh for being an such an inspiration to them – myself included!

In case you missed it, let me repeat the most important line for you: “Fortunately, I have many tapes of his mix shows that I recorded back then.”

Mind = blown.

Dear DJ Spinelli, let me take this moment to publicly thank you for keeping your tapes of this amazing show and preserving Boston’s musical history. I think I can speak for all past, present and future Beantown beat heads and club kids when I say “we would sure love to hear some of your tapes”.

DJPace

Screw Sensitivity (Dub)

ScrewSensitivity

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This one doesn’t need much explanation. Some time back I slowed down this classic from the Beantown boyband diaspora and did a little live delay work and scratching with a similarly syrupy track from a slightly earlier Boston band (bonus PhDj points to anyone who guesses what I am cutting up). Anyway, this one goes out to all the screwed hearts out there on this Valentine’s Day 2012.

Here’s your formula for success tonight: <3=CTRL+ALT+DEL

Screw Eyed and Wylin’ Out – DJ Pace Screw Up

Last week after Beat Research, I was so inspired by Trizlam and his “piquito sound system” that I came home and was rockin’ decks into the wee hours (as I do after the best of these nights). Earlier that day I had been to Stereo Jack’s where I scooped up some wax I had not yet digested and I was glad to have them waiting for me when I got home.

Among the new arrivals was a 12″ of Crosseyed and Painless (a personal favorite). When I dropped it on at 33 it was naturally screwed (it’s a 45)! Glad to have stumbled on this little gem (I love naturally screwed records and to find one of an old classic was a special treat), I was blissfully nodding along when my neck noticed it was flexing with a familiar cadence – 95 BPM or thereabouts. Mmmm, nice. Hip-Hop tempo. Perfect for the late hour and mixological ramifications.

Feeling inspired, I snatched up the first instrumental I could find, which turned out to be Mos Def & Diverse – Wylin’ Out. Perfect. The result worked both harmonically and rhythmically (and perhaps in other ways as yet undefined). To me, the combo had special significance because I hear these tracks as two Beat Research classics (or at least Flack classics). Anyway, thanks again for the inspirado Beat Research. I hope you enjoy my Screw Up* of these two tracks.

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Screw Eyed and Wylin’ Out

*I call this a Screw Up because its kind of a mashup where one track is screwed. Not chopped, just screwed. And in this case, nearly naturally (though It did wind up in Live for a little finishing and I slightly reorganized the Mos Def track to make the choruses fit a bit better.)

Electro_Ragga_DefCon_Mix

A tasty mix of rastahouse, dubby breaks and screwed ragga tracks with a sugary pop coating. Live from decks to tape through my kaoss pad ca. 2006. Deal with it.

How Fi Dance Ska

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Electro_Ragga_Defcon Mix

Boston Scratch Classix Vol.1

BostonScratchClassix

Happy holidays all. Here’s a new mix of Boston scratch classix to help you ring in the New Year. While I don’t normally include so many other people scratching on my mixes, that’s kind of the point with this one. You can probably hear the ones I added because they tend to stick out rhythmically (OR at least, that’s how I hear them). The thing begins with a Ronnie Ruff track “It Comes From Boston” which I only found a few months back.

Ronnie Ruff

Its already a future scratch classic for sure! I can throw up a set list, but maybe its more fun to guess and dig?

Here’s to more peace, love, unity and havin’ fun with the Beantown massive in 2010!

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Boston Scratch Classix Vol. 1