Mar 30, 2015

Rick James - Come Get It (1978)

From 1978 to 1980, Rick James rode the wave of success.  

I was in Toronto on the eve of the Sam the Record Man store closing and left behind the Come Get It CD on the shelf.  

I already had the vinyl at home and was only quite familiar with the biggest tunes on the record.  

Upon my return to Montreal and further listens of Come Get It, I realize I should have bought the CD that day.  

I most likely will one day.  Mary Jane is one of my top 3 favorite funk breaks of all time.  

The Suite Delight new time slot is Tuesday morning 1-2am EST on & 90.3 FM.

If you haven't already, please make yourself familiar with the link below for more of your favorite show and mine.

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Mar 25, 2015

Rick James - Street Songs

After nearly 5 years of successful records, Rick James had to comeback with Street Songs, his discography's equivalent of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On.  

The iconic Super FreakGive it to Me BabyGhetto Life and Fire & Desire can be found there. 

Mar 23, 2015

Gilles Peterson

I was very fortunate to have caught the Gilles Peterson/Havana Cultura show at La Tulipe a few years ago.

Back in the day, I picked up the INCredible Sound Of Gilles Peterson compilation. His name meant something to me because I had seen, read or heard it called often enough.

The track listing was mostly unfamiliar to me with the exception of J-Live’s guest appearance on Handsome Boy Modeling School's The Truth. I wasn’t a big fan of Rotary Connection but because he chose a track from Minnie Riperton’s former group, I allowed it.

Not too long after being introduced to my home-away-from-home Death of Vinyl, I heard a track played loud in the store and found out it was from the Eclectic Sessions Vol. 2 album. I'm not sure if I bought my copy that same night or during one of their sales afterwards. Next to be added to my music collection was the GP02 - Eclectic compilation. Again, I knew next to none of the artists except Moonstarr but bought it anyway.

His Gilles Peterson Worldwide Show represented what I aspire to achieve where radio is concerned.

Lastly, discovering he was involved with Brownswood Recordings was a pleasant surprise. I would learn about Jose James and Havana Culutra and his connection to those artists.

When I found out he and Havana Cultrura were coming to Montreal, I knew I had to be there. It was going to be a learning experience that I needed to be present for. In my quest to be a better DJ and radio show host, I need to be in the presence of musical masters like Peterson.

Not too long after I stood among the crowd, I caught sight of Gilles Peterson beside me, shook his hand and said "Welcome to Montreal".

His set was my second best DJ experience of my life after Theo Parrish at MUTEK. I knew a whopping 2-3 songs out of everything Peterson played that night but I loved everything that I didn’t know. He was amusing and entertaining to watch on stage. His dancing behind the DJ equipment, grimaces and great tracks made for a great night.

In closing, here’s another Gilles story proving what is already known about him.
One day, a friend and I were relaxing in the car listening to his Grandmaster Caz mixtape with no track listing. The first song/break/sample came on and I didn’t know what it was and wanted to. A mutual friend of ours approached us and we him invited into the car to relax with us. He miraculously pulled out his iPhone and told us the song could be found on Gilles Peterson Digs Africa.

Thank goodness for technology and Gilles Peterson.

Mar 20, 2015

The Boondocks

I hadn’t seen or thought of The Boondocks in years. 

That was roughly the time when it was airing on cable television and I made every effort to catch as many episodes as I could.  I wasn’t even sure of which season the show was at.  All that mattered was watching the episodes and soak up as much of the series as I could before the network airing it decided to stop doing so.

I am an admirer of animation, I loved the art work of The Boondocks but had to somewhat brace myself for the satire that went along with it. 
I was able to watch the entire first season of The Boondocks in August and saw a number of episodes I had seen years ago. 

As biting and humorous as the R. Kelly trial episode is, the episode where Robert Freeman fights the blind man disturbed me slightly when I first saw it and did so again upon my second viewing.  The episode with the convict condemned to death row is well written.

Regina King deserves a lot of credit for the show's success. The choice of Samuel L. Jackson & Charlie Murphy as voices for two particular characters is brilliant. Ed Asner’s voice and likeness are extremely effective in the animated series.

It appears the majority of the episodes I saw on cable television years ago were from the first season.  With all going well, I should complete the second season of The Boondocks before the year’s end.

Mar 19, 2015

Ode to a Boombox

I was having breakfast at a restaurant near my place and Simple MindsDon’t You Forget About Me, played on the radio. My mind went to the Brat Pack, Breakfast Club and the boombox I used to record the song off the radio in 1985.

The picture above is of the first boombox I ever owned, RT-SX1, and the beginnings of my customer loyalty to the Toshiba brand. I forgot for which occasion I received it but the memories associated with it are vivid.

My next memory was of summer 1986. The late Robert Palmer had hit #1 with Addicted to Love but for the life of me, I could NEVER record the song from the radio. It was the only song that really eluded me and the heat from the video (!) made it all the more imperative I have it.

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon and I was outside. I believe it was a passing car with the opening bars of the song blasting from the speakers that caused me to run into the house, to my room and to my trusty Toshiba. In the midst of trying to find the channel it MIGHT have been playing on, I realized that I was not prepared to record the song. When I did cue up the tape, I was at the midway mark of the song. As fate would have it, that was the only time I recorded any of Addicted to Love from radio.

I loved that boombox so much that I drew a large-scale version of it for a school project. While completing the project, I imagined the boombox was larger than the Bristol board in front of me and that the little wind produced by the speakers was gale-force. Similar to X-Men 3 Wolverine slowly and steadily approaching the Dark Phoenix, I was the only one that could bravely step to the boombox to turn the tape over. Naturally, the hurricane wind from the speakers was not blowing away any of my schoolmates. They wouldn’t be able to dance to Shalamar if that were the case.

Only those that owned it or know of the model will follow me on this. I heard and knew of mono. I also heard and knew of stereo. My trusty Toshiba allowed me to play music in both and even Stereo Wide! To me as a pre-teen, it meant my songs would be louder and better sounding. In retrospect, it added more mid to the music.

There were 2 faults I had with my trusty boombox. The black door for the cassette player did not properly notify me of how much tape time I had when recording. I would need a flashlight or take the tape out after recording to estimate whether the next hot song on the radio will be recorded in its entirety. Although my need and ability to dub would emerge years later, the next fault was that it was a single cassette player.

What my Toshiba could do, however, is detach so that the speakers can be placed at two different places. Now that was surround sound if I ever heard it.

My Toshiba boombox gave me a means of exploring, developing and appreciating music at that young age. The ability to tape music from the radio seemed out-of-this world great to me and an inexpensive means of having the top songs of the day at my fingertips. At 10 years old or so, I taped nearly everything I could off the radio because those songs formed my musical knowledge and I had nothing else to compare or judge them against.

I’ve seen music formats graduate from vinyl, 8-tracks, cassettes and CDs to the unseen mp3 in my lifetime. I guess the nostalgia of the 80s, triggered by the Simple Minds song, brought me back to my wonder years. Twenty-something odd years later, I’ve managed to realize the childhood dream of hosting a radio show that incorporates elements from my boombox recording days to modern manipulation of music.

I’m aware there is a boombox culture and I respect those that participate. If I didn’t already have my hands full with trying to make people realize my Suite Delight show is the only solution for radio in Montreal, this blog and dealing with the daily real-to-real, I would have joined the ranks of many seeking Clairtone and Lasonic model music players.

Mar 17, 2015


Rakim returns to Montreal's Le Belmont on March 21 for Hip Hop Week.

When I saw Big Daddy Kane, Ice-T and Rakim perform in Montreal decades after their legendary visits to James Lyng High School, I was trying to turn back the hands of time.  I was attempting to reconcile the void in my life after having not seen them in those prime years.  
I can now boast and literally blog about having not one but two Rakim concert experiences in my fair city.

Expectedly, anticipation for Rakim to reach the Belmont stage was high.  I was conveniently, strategically and fortunately near the door leading him to the stage and relieved that moment for a second time.
It felt good to see Rakim live and direct again.  The crowd enthusiastically shouted the legendary lyrics when prompted.  It was even impressive to hear a young lady behind me recite Mahogany verbatim.

The city will once again get a taste of hip hop history when Rakim takes the stage. 

Jean Grae

I couldn’t believe I was hearing lyrics as intricate and complex as I was from Jean Grae when I first discovered her. 

I’m sure there are lot of concepts and images Jean Grae paints lyrically that I’m only partially aware of.

As opposed to not taking anything from the tracks, there is always something there for me. 

I know that a careful listen and examination of Jean Grae tracks will give me some hidden gems and jewels for me to meditate about afterwards.

As part of the Hip Hop Week series, Jean Grae will be in Montreal on March 20 for a live conversation at Concordia University followed by a concert at Le Belmont with critically-acclaimed hip hop producer Freddie Joachim, Los Angeles-based rapper Bambu & DJ Gayance. Admission is 30$.

Follow the link for a near 45-minute interview with Jean Grae.