Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our Role Model :: Our Purpose

There is, perhaps, a better excuse...

In this tradition, our work is social, political, not merely aesthetic. We are drudges, though busy ones, with more to do than we will ever master. We offer this copybook in that same sprit as his was offered: "A people may be come great through many means, but there is only one measure by which its greatness is recognized and acknowledged."

Devlin' Flowers

We only began digging thru Scott Joplin's crates recently. Beauty abounds, even in the unexpectedly beautiful language of the song titles. There's something here, we're sure, and we imagine there will something to say about them in Edward Berlin's biography of Joplin and history of the era. We are especially attracted to the rags named after exotic flowers. We are also already enamored of the word "swipsey" whatever/whoever it refers to.

But take 'em all in. They're another take on the creolization at work.

Please Say You Will, A Picture of Her Face (1895), Great Crush Collision, Combination March, Harmony Club Waltz (1896), Original Rags, Maple Leaf Rag (1899), Swipsey Cake Walk, Sunflower Slow Drag, Peacherine Rag, Augustan Club Waltz, The Easy Winners (1900), Cleopha, I Am Thinking of My Pickaninny Days, A Breeze From Alabama, Elite Syncopations, The Entertainer, March Majestic, The Strenuous Life, The Ragtime Dance (Song) (1901), Something Doing, Weeping Willow, Palm Leaf Rag, Little Black Baby (1902), Maple Leaf Rag Song, The Favorite, The Sycamore, The Cascades, The Chrysanthemum (1903), Bethena, Rosebud March, Leola, Binks' Waltz, Eugenia, Sarah Dear (1905), Antoinette, The Ragtime Dance (Rag), Good Bye Old Gal, Good Bye (1907), Lily Queen, Heliotrope Bouquet, Searchlight Rag, Gladiolus Rag, Rose Leaf Rag, Nonpariel, Snoring Sampson, When Your Hair is Like the Snow (1907), Fig Leaf Rag, Sugar Cane, Pine Apple Rag (1908), Wall Street Rag, Solace, Pleasant Moments, Country Club, Euphonic Sounds, Paragon Rag (1909) Stoptime Rag, Pine Apple Rag Song (1910) Felicity Rag (1911) Scott Joplin's New Rag (1912), Kismet Rag, Lovin' Babe (1913), Magnetic Rag, Treemonisha (which includes Frolic of the Bears and A Real Slow Drag (1914), Reflection Rag, Silver Swan Rag (Posthumus).

Make Sure You Drop By...

...T.R.O.Y.'s house and pick up these rocks. We call those boys role models for a reason.

African Mean Streets

Keeping the international threads in the fabric this AM.

We were following this lead, worth reading in its own right. We are in no position but to let bullets like these speak for themselves.

Pancaribbean Streetlevel

Here's more to come back to. The fabric crosses the seas and oceans, and that other peoples' borders really aren't ours. Here's a clip of bullets for your interest. We'll keep adding them into a directory of sources.

There's plenty more out there, and that's the point. More as we go forward.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


We not ever gonna hate on something like this show( and see above). It's wrong to discourage growth of any kind. But we are going to ask them to put more effort into the next show, K? There is so much things to say that saying not much leaves valuable thought off the list. KRS One is right. We must do better for ourselves.

What We're Hearing

Where hip hop has gotten all of the attention it deserves (and maybe moreso*), the obvious place of great disco in the tradition is less talked about. Where are, after all, the university disco-studies divisions, who will draw the connections between Tiny Grimes novelty hit "Romance Without Finance" and Guthrie's fempopulist bellringer "Ain't Nothing Going on but the Rent." These songs go back, forth, and side to side as well as any others in the tradition.

Play on.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What We're Hearing

Let's just call him the king of the creole (for a moment -- 'cause there are many kingz and queenz of this mighty river under the ocean), then pour a little liquor on the ground. We are moved by his prayerful approach.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

B&S: Sources

We're working on this whole "Body and Soul" thread, and we're finding our, not at all to our surprise, that there were plenty of smart people who got here first: let's load a couple of bullets into a literary clip:

We're going to do our best in the aftermath of these larger minds. But isn't this the point. It' all in the gumbo.

It's this Big

Worth coming back to every now and then as a reminder of how wide the world really is:

"Curated by the editors and contributors of Chimurenga Magazine, the Chimurenga Library is an online archiving project that profiles independent pan African paper periodicals from around the world. It focuses on cultural and literary magazines, both living and extinct, which have been influential platforms for dissent and which have broadened the scope for print publishing on art, new writing and ideas in and about Africa."

Like most everything on these leaves, those above are not our words, but they are our story.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

By the Way

We found this quote by much esteemed musicologist Jacqueline Codgell Djedje jusst tricky enough to be emblematic of our stuff here:

"The history of African American music is fascinating because on the one hand very little disappears, and on the other nothing remains the same."

This sounds dangerously like something so high you can't get over it, something that goes on and on and on.

What We're Hearing

Like too many things we're just now coming to studying Scott Joplin, which if the beauty is any indication, is way too late. The world is a big and beautiful place, and we're always coming in later than we want.

We'll be putting him on a shelf near Edmonia Lewis, Claude McKay and Henry Ossawa Tanner, others we should have already been studying.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Where We've Been

This was handed off to us earlier this AM. There's more, but they are apparently being treated as private property by Prince's people.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What We're Hearing

This morning's three bass hit.

We are collecting these leaves with a theory: The business we think of as tradition is pieced together, a syncretic faith made of found objects some found and some invented. It's old, for sure. Most of all, its a constant creolization of the old world into the new.

One is tempted to make a faith out of "Flashlight." After all, it promises that "Everyone's got a little light under the sun."

La da da dee la da da da da da da.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What's a Savoyager?

Whenever we're back there, like we were last night, we trip all over the language, especially its novely. We'll be the first ones to admit that we don't know where this stuff comes from if not a constant creolization of the old world into the new.

Yes, yes.

This Stuff Goes Back

Way back. Then even further.

When you read the materials, you see 200 years of the same: "Details on Juba's early life are scarce. As a teenager, he began his career in the rough saloons and dance halls of Manhattan's Five Points neighborhood." Might as well be talking about Chris Wallace.

In the mean time:"Many of the songs were adapted to popular melodies in well known operas..." Sounds like the brothers were sampling, to us.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Anybody Notice?

How the second half of the verse in "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin" sounds an awful lot like "Eat that Chicken"? Just sayin.'

What We're Hearing

We're all over the versionology of Porgy and Bess this moaning.

It is the right heaven and hell mix for us as we think on the Blue Light post on OB4CL.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Where We've Been

We're behind, way behind. That's the way we do. So we've been traveling the spaceways this AM picking up stones the otherfolks left behind.

You might want to spend some time looking for yourself.

We fidna retire for the afternoon.

Unasked for Pedagogical Advice

Please note what haters really look like. And 'though this image is not my property, I hope it is widely shared in upcoming days.

Please note happy little quarternotes on the word hip hop.

What We're Hearing

We're chasin' the trane this moaning.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

We hate to admit it, but she's new to us. Where have we been?

While we're at it, she is, too. We just gotta get around some more, that's all.

Found Object

Extra bonus: S to the G's boots, ca. 1987.

Found Object

Sam Gilliam, Deep Pool, Deep Blue Reflection. 1987.

He's a worker in the Diamond. Just keeping you posted on the artist's whereabouts.


The Diamond Today.

≠ Jes Grew

We are not sure we'd be getting our fresh on should we attend, and we don't know how close we will be to the street, but those two concepts are full of devils anyway. We are sure of two things, though: we would be talking about the unnaground for the reals, and we would be all about the RZAreckting of some very important ghosts.

This may make a mature post over @ the Blue Light. The more we conjure up our ghosts, the more we step away from the false choice between Topsy & Tom, a choice that we didn't ask for in the first place.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You Can't Beat That

All Lil B's digitaldripped in one place.* Make sure you say thank after you loot the joint.

* Brovah's from his own planet. nyone who want's to shed some light, please shed it in our direction. In the mean time, we're on it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Footnote 2, Part 1: Only Built 4 Cuban Links

We're working on what each cut looks like. We'll keep posting.

In the mean time, go here for the tunes.

Footnote 1: Only Built 4 Cuban Links

Trying to put the pieces all out in front of us to see.

Next Step

I live once though, the mind stays infinite
Travel in the church, nine planets, in my midst
While I carry, to earn a decent salary
Soon get married, raise a family, but the plan'll be
real great, to sit up in the loft, count stacks and max

Starting Place

Ya got guns, got guns too, what up son, do
you wanna battle for cash and see who Sun too?
I probably wax, tax, smack rap niggaz who fax
niggaz lyrics is wack nigga
Can't stand unofficial, wet tissue, blank bustin Scud missles
You rollin like Trump, you get your meat lumped
For real, it's just slang rap democracy

What We're Hearing

Moving on to Coleman Hawkins "Picasso." We will feature this on the Blue Light when we get back into the Diamond later this week.

Where We Are Going

Where We Been (Obviously)


You chocked up, you was the n*gga that supposed to be locked up, makin them think Hip Hop is dead, exhume the body if you ain't scared.

Anyone know what "chocked up" means?

And in Case You Didn't Think They Were Blues Playas

Please make my life appear like ain't no such thing as bad luck.

What We're Hearing

Let's talk about time travelin,' rhyme javelin, somethin' mind unravelin.'

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reincarnation of a Lovebird

Who's got a castle on the Nile?

It can't stop and it won't stop.


What We're Hearing

And why isn't he the hardest working man in bidness...?

We Are Glad He's Around

There's no rumor that this guy is bringing himself forward again, and for that we are grateful. We'll press his new thread into your hands as soon as we get our hands on it over @ the blue light. 'Cause it's the unna in the unnaground, and the S T R E E T in the street. Dude makes Radric look like a short timer.


Friday, February 5, 2010


Miles Davis on Wayne Shorter

Wayne is a real composer. He writes scores, write the parts for everybody just as he wants them to sound. He also brought in a kind of curiosity about working with musical rules. If they didn't work, then he broke them, but with musical sense; he understood that freedom in music was the ability to know the rules in order to bend them to your own satisfaction and taste.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In Our Mailbox Yesterday

We will begin work on Bert Williams in the near future. The first to proclaim himself on the record an invisible man, the first to have a castle on the Nile, he is someone we can imagine to be a precursor, and someone we can hear after the fact if we put our ears to it.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010


My house of cards has no foundation./Although it has tumbled, I am
still hers/Body and soul.

--> We gotta start moving the project to put the lyrics/singers of B&S up on the blue light.

Found Object

We are slowly studying the brilliant Book of American Negro Poetry. It pays forward by making a tradition that we know in hindsight exists, but that at the time needed to be called out, conjured. Rising in our hindsight this morning is Georgia Douglas Johnson, whose apparitoin has less writing on it than we wish.

In the mean time:

"I Want to Die While You Love Me" is the blues.

I want to die while you love me,
While you hold me fair,
While laughter lies upon my lips
And lights are in my hair.

I want to die while you love me,
And bear to that still bed,
Your kisses turbulent, unspent
To warm me when I'm dead.

I want to die while you love me
Oh, who would care to live
Till love has nothing more to ask
And nothing more to give!

I want to die while you love me
And never, never see
The glory of this perfect day
Grow dim and cease to be.

Monday, February 1, 2010


F/ "My Baby Sure Knows How to Love"

He plays my ukelele/Likes to strum it daily.