Friday, January 06, 2006

Throwback Friday #1.

(L to R): Rawls, Axelrod, H.B. Barnum, circa 1966.

Every Friday, I'll post up a classic track that has been sampled in rap. If ya lucky, I'll post up more than one. For the first Throwback Friday, I have some unfortunate news. The artist of this week's pick died today. Lou Rawls, the Grammy Award-winning soul singer, succumbed to cancer earlier this morning. He was 72. Read more here.

Rest in peace, Lou.

Now I'll be honest with you. I'm still learning about music. Constantly a student of the music I love and have yet to hear, I feel no shame in my lack of knowledge of certain things. That's the whole point of being an appreciator of music. That being said, I only know one Lou Rawls song. And for those in the know, O-Dub, from Soul Sides, was the guy who put me on to him last month when he presented a track from David Axelrod's
The Edge, released last year on Blue Note Records. It's the track that got Lou Rawls to go gold, a beautiful track with Axelrod at the musical helm. And I've got the YSI as my only testament for a tribute to a man with such a wonderful voice.

Lou Rawls - You've Made Me So Very Happy (mp3)

I wish I could do more justice. But it just doesn't seem suiting for me to talk about an artist I'm not really that familiar with. However, I will share a little story with you...

Last night I went to Lombardi's on Mott & Spring. Pretty damn great pizza if you ask me, if not a little on the expensive side for one person (12 dollars for a small pie, they don't serve any single slices). But damned if it's not an excellent steal for a group dinner. All in all, there's nothing more therapeutical to the empty stomach than pizza with a beer. Nothing.

So I'm listening to the satellite radio station while eating. Not sure which provider, but the music played was straight 50's and 60's rock. One song that was played near the end of my meal was some unidentifiable cover of the Lou Rawls joint you have right there. So many people have covered it, so I'm not really sure. All I know is, it wasn't nearly as great to me as the original stands. The fact that it didn't have the ill piano loop that Axelrod put in there was just not enough for me to really get into it. Polishing off my Brooklyn Lager I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be amusing if the Lou Rawls actually came up on the shuffle before I got home?"

Sure enough, on the last block before arriving to my apartment, the track actually came on! So I suppose more than usual it had more of a lasting effect on me. It really drew me in initially because of the production--- the piano loop has been used on one of De La Soul's earlier albums,
Buhloone Mindstate, on two songs that really make the album for me incidentally: the lush instrumental "I Be Blowin," featuring the amazing Maceo Parker, and Part 2, "I Am I Be",
showcasing one of Pos's best all-time verses (the first one). I've gone ahead and upped the latter of the tracks for those looking for the perspective. Prince Paul laced this one right as a testament to both Rawls and Axelrod (another artist whose music I really should sink my teeth into this year).

De La Soul - I Am I Be (mp3)

All that being said, another RIP once again to Lou Rawls.
If you or anyone you know have any suggestions for what I should bring to the table for next week's installment of Throwback Friday here on Beta-K, drop me an e-mail at!

The roommate comes back tonight, so time to tidy this place up a bit.



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