Results for funk

interviews

Bootsy Collins

Time to get funky. Jim and Greg are joined by Bootsy Collins to go through the history of Funk. The heart of the genre is the rhythm. When James Brown wanted to“give the drummer some,”he meant it. In addition, as funk grew so did the development of the black band. Previously, as with doo wop groups, the emphasis was on the singer. Bootsy's own career as a singer, songwriter and bassist mirrors the development of funk. After performing in the Pacemakers with his brother Catfish, both Collins men joined James Brown's backing band The JB's. Bootsy credits James Brown with teaching him the concept of "The One," and they collaborated on funk classics like "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine" and "Super Bad." His next move was to Detroit to work with George Clinton on Parliament and Funkadelic, and he later formed his own group, Rubber Band. His latest album is aptly named The Funk Capital of the World.

To cap off the segment, Jim and Greg talk about two significant funk tracks. Greg plays "It's Your Thing," by The Isley Brothers, featuring virtuosic bass playing by a 16-year old Ernie Isley. Jim goes to Bootsy's home state and plays The Ohio Players' song "Funky Worm."

Go to episode 303

Powerhouse Sound

This week Jim and Greg welcomed Powerhouse Sound, a veritable who's who of avant garde jazz and rock musicians. Ken Vandermark, world-renowned reeds player and MacArthur Genius grant winner, assembled this bi-coastal motley crew to experiment with fusing jazz, rock, funk, blues and reggae. With him on the U.S. side of this project is bass player Nate McBride, as well as drummer John Herndon and guitarist Jeff Parker of the group Tortoise. The group has a new album out comprised of recordings done both here and in Norway entitled Oslo/Chicago Breaks.

Ken explains to Jim and Greg that the idea for Powerhouse Sound was inspired by Miles Davis' experiments with blending jazz and popular music. In the 1970s, Davis began working with a diverse group of musicians to create an improvisational sound that is as much funk as it is jazz. Greg notes that this was a heavily controversial period for Davis; jazz purists saw it as a commercial sell out. But, like Davis, the members of Powerhouse Sound are not interested in boundaries and musical dogma. The sound is the key. You can hear this freedom in their performance of "Shocklee/Broken Numbers." Check out the piece in its entirety here.

Go to episode 114

Cynthia Robinson and Jerry Martini of Sly & the Family Stone

In the 1960's, Sly & the Family Stone, with its multi-racial, co-ed lineup, broke down barriers of how a band should look and sound. It also bridged rock, funk, R&B, soul and jazz, thanks in large part to its virtuoso musicians: guitarist Freddie Stone, bass player Larry Graham, drummer Greg Errico, keys player Rose Stone, trumpeter Cynthia Robinson and sax player Jerry Martini. Then, of course, you have Sly Stone, one of the most charismatic frontmen in music history. But, once the charming star who stole the show at Woodstock and on Dick Cavett, Sly Stone dropped out of public life in 1975. We've had occasional glimpses since then, but for the most part his legend only lives on in recordings. Luckily fans have a new box set called Higher! Upon its release, Jim and Greg spoke with Cynthia Robinson and Jerry Martini.

Go to episode 431

Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding exploded onto the jazz scene as a bass prodigy, recording her debut album in 2006 and winning the Grammy for Best New Artist in 2011. But she's never been satisfied being just one thing. Her many talents include being a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, bandleader, producer, librettist, and more. Her music ignores genre boundaries, freely incorporating funk, R&B, classical music, and progressive rock. She's even introduced a theatrical element with her latest album, Emily's D+Evolution.

Jim and Greg sit down this week with Esperanza Spalding for a spirited chat about the new record. She also discusses her collaborations with legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter, the challenges of being taken seriously as a female musician, and the moment she discovered the bass was for her.

Go to episode 580

Ernie Isley

Few groups can claim the sustained success of The Isley Brothers, in no small part due to the contributions of our guest Ernie Isley. The Isley Brothers formed in the 1950s as a doo-wop vocal group in Cincinatti, scoring huge hits with the wedding staples "Shout" and "Twist and Shout." They managed to survive the British Invasion, assisted by the incredible playing of their young guitarist Jimi Hendrix. With the addition of two more brothers, Ernie and Marvin, the band started to branch out into funk, soul, psychedelia, rock, and disco. It's this willingness to defy categorization that's led to the Isleys' longevity – the band scored the rare feat of charting in six consecutive decades.

Ernie Isley picked up where Hendrix left off on guitar, creating an unmistakeable tone featured on hits like "That Lady" and "Summer Breeze." But his contributions as a songwriter were just as vital, including a pair of sociallly conscious anthems in 1975: "Harvest for the World" and "Fight the Power," which Ernie penned in the shower before a trip to Disneyland. The Isleys' influence continues to be heard today in the hip-hop realm. Artists from Ice Cube to Notorious B.I.G. to Kendrick Lamar have crafted iconic songs from Isley Brothers samples. The band is now being honored with a massive boxset called The RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983), and even that just scratches the surface of the Isleys' long career.

Go to episode 509

Saul Williams

This week's guest has an incredible portfolio: poet, screenwriter, actor, activist, and, of course, musician. But, while we have many words to describe Saul Williams, it's hard to describe his music. Saul blends rock, funk, hip hop and electronica with political lyrics. This combo was most recently heard on an album Saul made with Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor. Last year they released The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust exclusively on the web. Now Saul is again getting attention through his involvement in a Nike ad campaign. The singer, and admitted activist, explains to Jim and Greg why he agreed to let the corporation use his song "List of Demands," in a recent commercial. He believes that the ad calls more attention to his song than it does the product, and therefore spreads the message of his music. You can hear that song performed live on the show, as well the Niggy Tardust tracks, "Banged and Blown Through" and "Convict Colony."

Go to episode 129

Mike Watt

doublenicklesonthedime By the early 1980's, punk had become less about sticking it to the man, and more about conforming to a set of rules. Then came The Minutemen with Double Nickels on the Dime, the 1984 album that threw out the punk rulebook. This week Jim and Greg are joined by Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, who founded the San Pedro hardcore group alongside drummer George Hurley and larger-than-life lead singer and guitarist D. Boon. The Minutemen weren't afraid to experiment with their sound, incorporating jazz and funk, as well as "Econo"—a lo-fi, DIY attitude that would later inspire indie rock. Ever the motor-mouth philosopher, Watt waxes poetic about jamming econo, the true meaning of“Double Nickels on the Dime,”and his idea of a "Hot Topic."

Go to episode 287

Jac Holzman

Jac Holzman

Before there was a Merge or a Matador there was Elektra Records. The great American label recently celebrated its sixtieth anniversary, and its founder Jac Holzman is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later this month. Jim and Greg talk to Jac about launching Elektra as an independent folk label out of his dorm room in 1950. Eventually the roster grew to include every genre of music – blues, rock, funk, world and pop. It became the home to The Stooges, the MC5, Love and Queen, and, Jim adds, some notoriously difficult personalities. But Jac insists no artist was too hard to handle. He did use caution when out drinking with Jim Morrison, however.

Go to episode 275

Mike Watt

By the early 1980's, punk had become less about sticking it to the man, and more about conforming to a set of rules. Then came the Minutemen with Double Nickels on the Dime, the 1984 album that threw out the punk rulebook. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Double Nickels, Jim and Greg revisit their 2011 conversation with Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, who founded the San Pedro hardcore group alongside drummer George Hurley and larger-than-life lead singer and guitarist D. Boon. The Minutemen weren't afraid to experiment with their sound, incorporating jazz and funk, as well as "Econo"—a lo-fi, DIY attitude that would later inspire indie rock. Ever the motor-mouth philosopher, Watt waxes poetic about jamming econo, the true meaning of "Double Nickels on the Dime," and his idea of a "Hot Topic."

Go to episode 433
specials

Remembering Prince

Prince Remembered

"Life is just a party, and parties weren't meant to last." Yet the party ended much too soon for music legend Prince, who died on April 21 at the age of 57 at his Paisley Park home and recording studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Volumes have been said about the late Prince Rogers Nelson in the past week, but Jim and Greg draw attention to aspects of his music and career that aren't acknowledged enough. Growing out of the Minneapolis funk scene, Prince refused to be boxed into a single genre, fearlessly blending funk, pop, rock, soul, new wave, and R&B to create a sound all his own. He was known as a guitar god, but could really play any instrument he touched and often was the only musician on his recordings. Prince carried on the Marvin Gaye and Al Green tradition in R&B of mixing the sacred and the profane, sex and salvation. On records like The Black Album, he created some of the most lascivious music ever, but at the same time, Jim and Greg argue he showed a deep respect for women. Not only did he mentor and collaborate with up-and-coming female stars, but he also was eager to help out his idols like Chaka Khan and Mavis Staples.

Prince was unafraid to explore psychedelia, especially in the crucial three album run of Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day, and Parade in the mid-80s. He spent the rest of his life toiling away at Paisley Park, churning out recording after recording – not without quality control issues. But in the past couple decades, Prince was defined by his unpredictable and often transcendent live performances. Prince was ahead of his time in recognizing the internet as a way to sell music directly to his fans without a label. But his greatest legacy will of course be his music, and his influence on generations of artists is immeasurable.

Go to episode 544
classic album dissections

James Brown Live at the Apollo

Before he was America's Godfather of Soul, James Brown was the king of the South's segregated "Chitlin' Circuit". It took Live at the Apollo - an album recorded over fifty years ago on Brown's own dime - to catapult him onto the national stage. With the success of the Mick Jagger-produced biopic Get On Up, we decided to revisit our Classic Album Dissection of Brown's Live at the Apollo with help from music writer RJ Smith. He's the author of The One: The Life and Music of James Brown. As RJ explains, James Brown was all about the live experience. He knew if radio listeners could just hear his live show, he could be "Gary Cooper big." He was right. High-energy numbers like“Night Train”and“Think”propelled Brown onto the pop charts and super-charged his career. But, as Greg notes, Live at the Apollo wasn't just a turning point for Brown personally, it was a turning point for music. Suddenly doo-wop and soul was starting to sound…funky.

Go to episode 459
reviews
Planet EarthPlanet Earth available on iTunes

Prince Planet Earth

Lastly, Jim and Greg address Planet Earth, Prince's 24th studio album in nearly 30 years. On July 10th, Prince gave away the album as a free cover mount through the national UK paper The Mail on Sunday, stirring considerable controversy in the record industry. Jim and Greg discuss Prince's long disdain for major labels and his history of alternative marketing. Jim notes the sort of "funk-messianism" that precedes each Prince release. However, Planet Earth doesn't seem to offer much promise. Greg finds a decent jazzy ballad here, a good slow jam there, and complete re-write in "The One U Wanna C," but nothing sounds new in Prince's sound. Jim appreciates the old fashioned funk on tracks like "Chelsea Rodgers," but couldn't get past doozies like "Mr. Goodnight," which comes off as Prince imitating Ronald Isley imitating R. Kelly. The album is too inconsistent, so both hosts give Planet Earth a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 86
The ArchAndroidThe ArchAndroid available on iTunes

Janelle Monáe The ArchAndroid

On the other end of the rock spectrum is Janelle Monáe. The alternative R&B singer's debut album is called The ArchAndroid. It's a dense science fiction concept record that incorporates hip hop, soul, funk, rock and big bandsounds. Jim hears the most ambition from an R&B singer in a long time. He loves Monáe's universe and gives The ArchAndroid a Buy It. Greg goes even further, calling this record the best he's heard this year. Spend time with it and you will love it. The ArchAndroid gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 234
Pick a Bigger WeaponPick a Bigger Weapon available on iTunes

The Coup Pick a Bigger Weapon

Switching gears, Jim and Greg next discuss Pick a Bigger Weapon, the fifth album from hip-hop group The Coup. They play a bit of "Laugh, Love, F@#*k" which sets the tone of the record according to Jim. The Coup is known for their lefist politics and electro-synth grooves, but this record was mostly recorded live. Rapper Boots Riley and DJ Pam the Funkstress are joined by Tom Morello, Dwayne Wiggins and members of Maze and The Gap Band for a funkier, psychedelic sound. Greg hears great grooves and enjoys how, like Desmond Dekker, The Coup combine politics with party music, but he can't really recommend most of Pick a Bigger Weapon. Jim believes he is being too kind. He explains that lyrically, many of the songs pander to the lowest common denominator, and he wishes that the grooves were tighter and more hypnotic. Therefore, this record gets a Burn It from Mr. Kot and a Trash It from Mr. DeRogatis.

JimGreg
Go to episode 27
The Fun Rises, the Fun Sets.The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets available on iTunes

Van Hunt The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets

Atlanta multi-instrumentalist Van Hunt has flirted with mainstream R&B success, but his genre-hopping tendencies have kept him from a wider audience. Jim thinks that's a shame, as his latest album The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets confirms that Van Hunt is one of the most innovative voices in neo-soul music along with Kendrick Lamar and D'Angelo. Jim sees both depth and joy in the record. The lascivious, erotically charged moments are naughty, yet never offensive. Van Hunt's musical prowess is on fine display, as he plays every instrument himself. Greg hears The Fun Rises as more narrowly focused than the previous album What Were You Hoping For? in a good way, showcasing a more uniform trippy funk style. For Greg, it's a record that works equally well for headphone listening as for dancing. Both critics give Van Hunt a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 496
PLECTRUMELECTRUMPlectrumelectrum available on iTunes

3rdeyegirl & Prince Plectrumelectrum

The second Prince album, out the same day as Art Official Age, is Plectrumelectrum, a collaboration between Prince and female funk band 3rdeyegirl. Of Prince's two albums, Jim prefers this one, which features a hard-hitting sound from the band and some fine psychedelic guitar playing from Prince. Although he admits no one's doing any real heavy lifting in terms of innovation, the record is still fun and worth a Try It. Greg concurs. Unlike Art Official Age, Greg feels like Prince is coasting a bit on this record by having picked a backing band that doesn‘t challenge him in any real way. Mediocre songwriting means the songs range from simply OK to good, but nothing’s so bad as not to recommend you Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 462
Yell Fire!Yell Fire! available on iTunes

Michael Franti and Spearhead Yell Fire!

Politicially charged group Michael Franti and Spearhead has a new album out this week. Michael Franti's songwriting has ranged from R&B to funk to hip hop, and he's been a part of numerous groups including The Beatnigs and The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. On this effort he expands his sound with the help of reggae greats Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. Much of Yell Fire! was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica with the seminal Jamaican producers. While the album's sound is slightly different, the message is no less socially conscious. Franti recorded it after a trip to the Middle East in 2004, and has also released a documentary film based on his travels. Jim respects Franti's message, and strongly recommends people see the movie — but he thinks that the lyrics are weak and wishes Franti didn't sound like he was trying so hard with the reggae sound. His rating is on the cusp between Burn It and Trash It. Greg disagrees, and thinks the production and the dancehall beats were done well, but he has to agree with his co-host about many of the cheesier, U2-style ballads. It's a Burn It for Greg.

JimGreg
Go to episode 34
The King of Limbs - Live from the BasementThe King of Limbs available on iTunes

Radiohead The King of Limbs

Whenever Radiohead releases a new album, it always makes news – sometimes more for the business than the music. 2006's The Eraser was a quiet solo effort by Thom Yorke. 2007's In Rainbows had a revolutionary“pick-your-own-price”model. And now we have The King of Limbs, which was released early, quickly and without much hype. Gone is the freebie option, back is tiered pricing. The music, to Greg, is also a bit of a step back. It's less impactful and melodic than In Rainbows. But there are a few moments of greatness, especially when the group channels the abstract funk that Greg heard on Yorke's recent Atoms for Peace tour. He would like to see Radiohead go more in that direction on the next record and gives this one a Burn It. Jim remarks that the tables have turned – he is much more impressed by The King of Limbs. It does take time to grow, but is worth owning, especially if you are a headphone listener. The interaction of Yorke's twisted vocals and the grand piano especially works. Jim says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 274
On the Jungle FloorOn the Jungle Floor available on iTunes

Van Hunt On the Jungle Floor

R&B/soul singer Van Hunt also has a new album out. His 2004 self-titled debut album was very well-received — listeners could hear the funk influences of bands like Sly Stone and Curtis Mayfield, as well as the more romantic, slow jams of singers like Marvin Gaye or D'Angelo. (And with a pimp for a father and a nurturing caregiver as a mother, Greg muses, Van Hunt's own family parallels his musical influences'.) On On the Jungle Floor, Van Hunt stretches himself more. He makes the surprising choice to cover "No Sense of Crime," a punk classic by The Stooges. And, fans will hear the influence of yet another R&B/funk idol: Prince. However, both Jim and Greg assert that with this release, the grasshopper has surpassed the master, and rate On the Jungle Floor higher than Prince's new album 3121. It's a Buy It for both critics.

JimGreg
Go to episode 21
Love YesLove Yes available on iTunes

TEEN Love Yes

Alt-rock group TEEN is made up of sisters Katherine, Lizzie and Kristina (Teeny) Lieberson and Boshra AlSaadi. But in 2010, TEEN was a mere home recording project by Teeny. TEEN's third full-length album, Love Yes, introduces them to their widest audience yet. Greg has loved TEEN since the beginning because of what they set out to do, but their execution always fell short. In Love Yes, the band has improved at crafting their quirks into tight pop songs. Still, Greg takes issue with the lack of editing here. The album is full of great ideas, but having four tracks end with too-long horn solos is not one of them. Despite that, this is the band's best album yet. Love Yes is a Try It for Greg. Jim thinks Greg is being stingy and gives kudos to TEEN's ambition. They combine shoegaze, funk and soul in a way that really works. Plus Love Yes lays out a new perspective on love, steering clear of sappiness typical of love songs, while still ringing hopeful. Jim goes so far as to call this record a masterpiece and undoubtedly a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 536
Come Around Sundown (Extended Version)Come Around Sundown available on iTunes

Kings of Leon Come Around Sundown

A couple of weeks ago Jim and Greg discussed the career trajectory of U2. Kings of Leon seem to be on a similar path. The southern“band of brothers”(and cousin) are opening for the Irish band on their 360 tour, and Jim and Greg hear a lot more stadium bombast with their latest release Come Around Sundown. Lead singer Caleb Followill has turned on the rawk singing, and no funky or soul blues cliche was left unturned, according to Jim. It's way too over the top to him and lacks any experimentation or originality. Jim gives it a Trash It rating, adding that this might be one of the worst records of the year. Greg calls that a ridiculous statement, but agrees that he doesn‘t like the direction the band is headed. They’ve lost much of the rhythm and distinctiveness from their 2003 debut. But still, Greg wouldn't throw it in the bin. Kings of Leon gets a Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 256
Joy (Deluxe Version)Joy available on iTunes

Phish Joy

For two decades the jam band Phish has held a massive fan base. But, as Jim and Greg explain, most of these“Phish Heads”aren‘t all that interested in the band’s studio records; it's all about the live experience. Now, after a five-year hiatus during which lead singer Trey Anastasio battled drug addiction, the band is back with a new record called Joy. As always, the goal is to create songs that are successful on record and stage. With the exception of a couple of tracks, Greg doesn't think the songwriting holds up. He can only give Joy a Try It. Jim wishes the band would abandon its efforts at jazz and funk fusion and go back to its progressive roots. He loves the 13-minute suite "Time Turns Elastic," but gives the rest of the album a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 197
dijs

Greg

“Kalimba Story”Earth, Wind and Fire

The Desert Island Jukebox segment is often an opportunity to give love to an artist who doesn't get enough of it. Prime example? Earth, Wind and Fire. Sure we‘ve all heard the hits at weddings. But brothers Verdine and Maurice White were musical geniuses in Greg’s opinion. And one of their strengths was linking the funk of the 1970's to its roots in Africa. They did this through dress, but also through the use of instruments like the Kalimba. Check out the rhythms in Greg's choice of the week, "Kalimba Story."

Go to episode 312

Jim & Greg

Go to episode 42

Greg

“Hole in the Bucket”Spearhead

After listening to K'Naan discuss the challenge of fitting into the record industry's boxes, Greg is reminded of another hard-to-define act-Michael Franti and Spearhead. They combined hip hop, funk and reggae in their 1994 debut Home. To Greg, Franti is one of the great political singers of all time, and he chooses to add the song "Hole in the Bucket," from Home to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 231

Greg

“If I'm in Luck I Might Get Picked Up”Betty Davis

Miles Davis has been on Greg's mind lately, and his revolutionary string of early '70s albums(including Bitches Brew, Live-Evil, and On the Corner) have been fixtures on Greg's turntable for weeks. Miles' rock and funk explorations can be partially credited to (or blamed on, depending on your point of view) his then wife, Betty Davis. She put out her own series of great records after their divorce. For his Desert Island Jukebox pick this week, Greg turns to the first song on Betty Davis' 1973 self-titled debut, "If I'm in Luck I Might Get Picked Up." Betty put together an incredible band of Santana and Sly Stone sidemen (including Larry Graham on bass!), and wrote parts for them that contained more than enough grit and grime to complement her raspy blues roar and bawdy lyrics. Even Prince personally told Greg that he uses this song as a frequent source of inspiration!

Go to episode 379
news

Music News

"All the squares, go home!" Cynthia Robinson, famed trumpeter for Sly and the Family Stone, has passed away at the age of 71 from cancer. Robinson, a former guest on Sound Opinions, moved from flute to clarinet before ultimately becoming one of the great trumpet players in rock. She was childhood friends with Sly Stone and co-founded Sly and the Stoners with him in the mid-'60s. That band would become Sly and the Family Stone, scoring huge hits like "Dance to the Music," "Everyday People," and "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)". According to Greg, not only was the band groundbreaking musically in its mix of rock, funk, and soul, but he also credits its biracial co-ed makeup for embodying the counterculture better than any other band. As tribute to the great Cynthia Robinson, they play "Underdog," an early horn feature from 1967.

Go to episode 523

Music News

Go to episode 587

Music News

The copyright infringement lawsuit over Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" now has a resolution. As we've previously covered, the trust of Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe sued Zep, alleging that“Stairway”plagiarized the 1968 track "Taurus." A California jury didn't hear enough similarity between the songs and decided in favor of Led Zeppelin. And as we wind on down the road from the decision, intellectual property attorney Jeffrey Brown tells us this probably won't change the legal standard for copyright infringement. Even when the plaintiffs win – like in the "Blurred Lines" trial – the legal fees are too high to be worth it for anyone but the wealthiest of artists. These cases will continue to be primarily worked out in backroom deals.

Go to episode 553

Music News

Jim and Greg discussed the great Kanye West/50 Cent sales battle a couple of weeks ago, and this week the results are in. Kanye took it in a landslide with a #1 spot on the Billboard charts and a whopping 957,000 copies sold. Kanye's album Graduation is the biggest selling album so far this year and is the 15th biggest sales frame since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. 50 Cent's album Curtis only sold 691,000 in the first week, though for a hip hop debut that's nothing to scoff at. As Jim and Greg note, no one should shed a tear for 50 Cent. On Forbes' list of the biggest earning hip hop stars, Fiddy holds the #2 spot behind mogul Jay-Z. So, despite this recent loss, 50 Cent is laughing "Straight to the Bank."

If you've been surfing YouTube recently, you may have noticed Trent Reznor's call for more stealing. The man behind Nine Inch Nails is fed up with his record company's decision to hike prices for his album Year Zero and he let his grievances be known at an Australian concert. While he doesn't legally have the authority to give his music away, he does have a point; HMV in Australia is selling Year Zero for AU $32.99, which converts to about $28 in the States. That's definitely more than a music fan should have to pay for an album, especially one that utilized a web-based marketing campaign.

And while one musician embraces the web, another does not. Pop icon Prince plans to sue YouTube and other major web sites for unauthorized use of his music in a bid to“reclaim his art on the Internet.”In a recent statement his representative wrote:“YouTube … are clearly able (to) filter porn and pedophile material but appear to choose not to filter out the unauthorized music and film content which is core to their business success.”Prince obviously doesn‘t need to use the web to build a fan base, but to Sound Opinions H.Q., he’s beginning to sound like a cranky old man.

Also in the news is the death of longtime James Brown collaborator Bobby Byrd at the age of 73. One of the chief architects of Brown's trademark sound, Byrd is often referred to as“The Godfather of Soul's Godfather.”You can hear his contribution in tons of early Brown tracks. In fact, the repeating phrase“Get on up,”on "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine" was sung by Byrd. Byrd also had a successful solo career, and as Greg explains, his music can be heard sampled in countless late early hip hop songs. To pay honor to the soul/funk/R&B legend, Jim and Greg play his song, "I Know You Got Soul."

Jim and Greg speak with John Jurgensen, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. John recently wrote an article about how US visa procedures are squelching a British pop invasion. Artists like Lily Allen, M.I.A. and recent Mercury Prize winners The Klaxons have had to cancel tour dates and postpone recording sessions due to difficulties obtaining visas. John explains that this is partly due to Homeland Security crackdowns, which now mandate that artists themselves have to go to an embassy in person for fingerprinting and a retinal scan. John also says that artists have to prove that that they are legitimate,“internationally recognizable”acts. Jim and Greg wonder just how much more legit you have to be if Mercury Prize winners are getting hassled. The three reporters understand that these procedures are in place not just to protect Americans from danger but also from a loss of jobs, but unlike in the agriculture and technology industries, you can't sub one musician for another. And a loss of jobs and tour dates for one singer means the loss of many for the hundreds and thousands of promoters, roadies, sound engineers and teamsters here in the States.

Go to episode 95

Music News

Guitarist and Ohio Players frontman Leroy“Sugarfoot”Bonner died of undisclosed causes this week at the age of 69. The group's string of '70s albums for Westbound and Mercury Records, driven by Bonner's lead vocals and electrifying double-neck guitar work, stands as one of the most impressive runs in funk history. Their distinct sound found new life in the in the late '80s and '90s as countless hip hop artists sampled the group's work (a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover of "Love Rollercoaster" on the soundtrack for Beavis and Butthead Do America didn't hurt either). Greg highlights "Skin Tight" as a prime example of Bonner's musical legacy.

Go to episode 375

Music News

Every year it's interesting to look at what albums took the top slots on the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll. This is a much more accurate barometer of any given year in music than the Grammy Awards. However, this year Jim and Greg actually gave negative reviews to a lot of the Pazz & Jop winners including Watch the Throne and Let England Shake. But they were happy to see Tune-Yards' Whokill at #1.

Members of the Velvet Underground including John Cale and Lou Reed have filed a lawsuit against the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts over the famous banana featured on their 1967 album cover. Warhol served as producer of the album and gave the band the image, however it was never copyrighted. And now the Velvets want to prevent the banana from going Apple.

Jimmy Castor isn‘t a household name, but chances are you’ve heard his music, or at least samples of it. He had a pop-funk hit with "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" in 1972, but also a string of funk and soul gems that ended up being sampled by hundreds of hip hop acts. Castor died this week at age 71, so to honor the late musician, Jim and Greg play one of the often-sampled tracks, "It's Just Begun."

Go to episode 321