Funk Friday: “The Birthday Party,” Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5

Standard

An original member of Yankette Nation and one of my very best friends is celebrating her birthday today.  I wish more than anything I could celebrate with her and buy her lots of obnoxious, expensive cocktails.  I will settle for sending her Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5.

WALK-UP WEEK! Funk Friday: “Goliath,” Monophonics

Standard

 

Before Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, Kirby Puckett, center-fielder for the Twins and my childhood idol, gathered his teammates around for a quick talk before they took the field.  “You guys should jump on my back tonight. I’m going to carry us.”  Puckett made good on his promise.  The Twins had been behind 3-2 to the Atlanta Braves before Game 6, during which Puckett hit the game-winning home run and made the best outfield catch, against the center-field wall, possibly ever seen in baseball.  (Puckett, who was a very stocky 5’8″, had incredible and surprising athleticism.  What was so jaw-dropping about that catch wasn’t just the air he got, but how powerful his arm was.  Look how far he throws that baseball!  He totally windmills his arm around to get that distance.  Just amazing.)  That game propelled the Twins to a World Series win.

I miss you, Kirby.  Whenever I hear “Goliath,” I think of you.

Number 34 on his jersey, number 1 in your heart.

Number 34 on his jersey, number 1 in your heart.

Funk Friday: “Boomin’,” Slynk

Standard

 

Today, for reasons not yet disclosable, I feel like a total badass.  Also, by a wonderful turn of serendipity, many good friends of mine are also feeling like total badasses – buying houses, getting selected for incredible jobs, sticking it to the man, etc.  We be boomin’.  Have a rad Friday, Tune-Up fans.

Funk Friday: “Left Hand Free,” alt-J

Standard

 

This is the second single off of alt-J’s forthcoming album, being released next month.  According to the band, this is the least alt-J-y song ever.  (For a point of comparison, search for alt-J in the search bar on the left hand side of your screen and play “Taro,” the song I posted a few months ago.  Different, right?)  According to me, it’s absolutely, completely, foot-stomingly awesome.  The tone of the song is a mild break from the classic funk music I tend to play on Fridays, but the sassiness of the guitar lick tipped the scales in its favor.  It just slays me.  This will probably be my remainder-of-summer 2014 song.  Happy Friday, Tune Sharks.

Hey shady baby I’m hot
Like the prodigal son
Pick a battle eenie meenie miney moe
Hey flower you’re the chosen one

Well your left hand’s free
And your right’s in a grip
With another left hand
Watch his right hand slip
Towards his gun, oh no

I tackle weeds just so the moon buggers nibble
A right hand grip on his Colt single-action army

Well your left hand’s free
And your right’s in a grip
With another left hand
Watch his right hand slip
Towards his gun, oh no

N-E-O, O-M-G, gee whiz
Girl you’re the one for me
Though your man’s bigger than I am
All my days he disagrees, oh no

Well my left hand’s free
Well my left hand’s free

Hey shady baby I’m hot
Like the prodigal son
Pick a battle eenie meenie miney moe
Hey flower you’re the chosen one

Well your left hand’s free
Well my left hand’s free [x4]
Oh no

DAD WEEK! Funk Friday: “Que Sera Sera,” Sly and the Family Stone

Standard

So I’m sitting in the den watching Winona Rider and Christian Slater finding innovative new ways to navigate through high school in Heathers. The credits start to roll and a band I thought had surely, well, disbanded, starts to sing an vaguely familiar song. After a long intro it turns into the greatest American cover ever of an American standard.

If you couldn’t join us on Wednesday, here’s the original Doris Day version. Check it out. The rest of us will wait.

This original version is a wonderful song of its type: innocent, upbeat, confident, everything middle America assumed in 1956 the indefinite future held for them. When you hear people say “I want my America back,” this is the America they mean. Hard to blame them.

But take a moment to consider what this version suggests about those Americans who didn’t, or don’t hear Doris Day singing to them. I’ll let you decide the meaning of whatever Sly & co. added to it, including the fact that his version is at least twice as long as the original.

It’s astonishing when an artist can take a song nearly everyone knows–and probably likes more or less as it is–and find a way to so thoroughly reinvent it. Any dope can sing Like a Rolling Stone like Dylan or Yesterday like Paul McCartney. A song that fits Doris Day AND Sly Stone (and Hermes House Band: see Worldly Wednesday) is a great song. But the person who caused it to fit is a great artist. And whoever chose it to wrap up Heathers is a genius.

Enjoy.

Funk Friday: “Get Up Offa That Thing,” James Brown

Standard

 

I’m not entirely unconvinced that I haven’t spent this week in some sort of strange sonic pressure cooker.  Actually, I’m not entirely unconvinced that all of us poor humans haven’t spent the week in a strange sonic pressure cooker.  It certainly feels like it.

SO.

Do you know what we do when things get hard?  Like really, really, in-your-bones, buy-a-plane-ticket-to-anywhere, screw-this-and-all-y’all hard?

You know what we do.

We DANCE.

One other thing: THIS IS MY 200TH BLOG POST!  Cue balloon-drop!  Thank you to everyone around the world for making this blog so successful and so much fun to write.  It’s hard to write a post every single day but it’s such a blast to see new pings from all kinds of countries.  I am going to try and create a comment box to make this more interactive but for now – thank you, one and all.

 

Funk Friday: “Everyday People,” Sly and the Family Stone

Standard

 

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

238 years ago today, 56 men signed their names to this document.  Seven years after it was signed, Great Britain formally acknowledged American independence.  And then we were a country.  We just…created one.  We became Americans.

There is so much we have achieved and may yet achieve in the future all because of a lucky stroke of fate that assembled the right people, with the right temperament, the right intellect, and of the same mind, in the same place, where they met and shared ideas and argued with each other and, ultimately, built the forge in which our union has been and will continue to be perpetually perfected.  It is our right – it is our duty – to recognize the immensity of what that means: that our fellow American citizens, all of these “every day people” with different opinions and religions and creeds, are living monuments to that beautiful circumstance.  What an extraordinary thing.  What an extraordinary country.

Happy Independence Day.

Funk Friday: “What’s Golden,” Jurassic 5

Standard

 

It’s a good Friday, Tune-Up fans.  The universe is moving in our direction, and things are looking up.  My air conditioner, which you may remember from Tuesday’s post, is getting removed today (maybe even put into a box!  Crazytown!), friends who are looking for jobs are getting interviews, I scored a major professional victory (to which Señor Boyfriend, when hearing about it, responded with “HUGEATHON!”), and the U.S. soccer team advanced to the knock-out rounds.  I think we all deserve a little celebration today.

Funk Friday: “Don’t Sweat the Technique,” Eric B and Rakim

Standard

 

So, okay, England didn’t win yesterday.  Neither did my softball team last night (but we left it on the field, guys, we left it on the field – especially Kathleen, who bit it on the way to first and crawled the rest of the way to the bag and made it like the boss she is).  It was 97 degrees with 100% humidity and only one of the rooms of my house has air conditioning right now.  I have a chest cold that makes me sound like phlegmy Paul Robeson.  And I’ve got a best bud out west who’s wondering (completely rationally) what life’s deal is.

BUT.  In the plus column we have the following:

  • Today is Friday.
  • The mighty falling early in the World Cup makes room for awesome other countries to advance and we might have a very cool match on our hands with some first-tme winners.
  • We’re playing softball again next week (and against a truly odious team – like, literally the worst team ever) and have a good shot at kicking their ass.
  • The one room in my house with AC is my bedroom, so I’m sleeping very happily.
  • Mr. Yankette finds the sound of a phlegmy Paul Robeson alluring.
  • My best bud is also a cat-like badass.

So I’m take the long view.  Like the man says: “It’s cool when you freak to the beat – but don’t sweat the technique.”