By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Photo by Beth Herzhaft
Act 1 (Luv N’ Haight)
SONS & DAUGHTERS OF LITE
Let the Sun Shine In (Luv N’ Haight)
Warning: These two re-ishes by Ubiquity’s Luv N’ Haight imprint are strictly for ultra-hard-boiled R&B/soul freaks, and the casual reader is advised to move on to another review.
The Turner Singers were an obscure family gospel group in the ‘50s originally from Columbia, South Carolina, who segued into doo-wop at Chess after relocating in the early ‘60s to Indianapolis, where they eventually renamed themselves the Turner Brothers Showband. By the ’70s they’d grown out the ‘fros and traded the sharkskin for flared rhinestone jump suits straight outta Dolemite, in keeping with doing whatever it took to get the gigs on the pre-disco chitlin soul-lounge circuit and opening various tours headlined by Rufus Thomas, Tavares, the Chi-Lites and the Ohio Players.Listen to The Turner Bros.: Real Audio Format Running in the Rain Please the People
From doo-wop it was a natural progression to soul and then on to lascivious instrumental funk, a gamut represented in this previously impossibly rare album originally released on the band’s own Music Book label in 1974, toward the end of R&B’s rawest DIY ghetto-populist funk period. It was a smash in Indianapolis, and nowhere else, it seems. Recommended most-fun tracks: "Running in the Rain" is absolutely the ultimate grand orchestral opening-credit theme to any generic ’70s blaxploitation movie, while "Please the People" is another gas instrumental with dubbed-in applause to give an amped-up live concert feel, and "Sound of the Taurus" is a slow, sleazy dope-organ riff welded to a Ziggy Modeliste/Meters–style syncopated groove. Several wack ballads and a sincerely flattering Womack imitation in "Sweetest Thing in the World" round out this short but sweet joint. The T. Bros may never have pushed the envelope in the originality department, but they had heaps of soul — something that didn’t grow on trees back then any more than it does today. Hardcore R&B fans, sampling vampires and music supervisors looking for cool period source music will rejoice over this one, and you betcha, three great cuts on one budget-price CD is a lot these days.Listen to Sons and Daughters of Lite: Real Audio Format Let the Sun Shine In Darkuman Junktion
Meanwhile, over in Oakland circa 1978, the Sons and Daughters of Lite, led by multireedman and Nairobi College music teacher Basuki Bala, with their Afro-Meta lyrics, epitomized the politicized dashiki-’n’-sandals spiritual jazz-funk of the time. The band’s name crops up in ancient Egyptology, and they were well-known for playing numerous benefits for community causes, including several Panther organizations. They also opened shows for Sun Ra, Fela Kuti, Freddie Hubbard and Stanley Turrentine, and the influences of the former two are most evident. Raw, jammy and jazzy, "Let the Sun Shine In" (neither of the two well-known songs of that same title) features harmony vocals and a Roy Ayers–like vibraphone vibe and builds into an all-out percussion groove, but the keeper party track is "Darkuman Junktion," which seduces sneakily after each listen.
All hail Ubiquity! (www.ubiquityrecords.com)
Supreme Clientele (Epic/Razor Sharp)
After a string of anemic solo releases exemplifying the sophomore slump of its individual members, the Wu-Tang Clan finally get the groove back thanks to Ghostface Killah. Supreme Clientele is not just the best follow-up album from one of the Wu family, it’s the best Wu album in at least four years. For an artist who once lurked in the shadows behind Raekwon, Ghostface comes into this set full throttle, exciting, delighting and restoring the fame to the Wu-Tang name.
Rather than trickle out a stream of consciousness, Ghostface pours out a flood. Packed with a blend of 5-Percenter phraseology and a lexicon of street iconography, Ghostface’s flow is a buckshot spray of verses, dense and daunting. Decipher a line from his "Apollo Kids": "This rap is like ziti/Face and be real TV/Crush at high speed/Strawberry kiwi." His delivery borders on delirious at times, but it’s an exhilarating display of self-confident flair. Ghost running the mike is like Kobe running the break.
Equally important, Supreme Clientele returns to the essence of the Wu-Tang sound: sinfully soulful, its sampling of cries, moans and yells twisting the Holy Ghost from reverence to villainy. On "Child’s Play," RZA engineers a haunting melody of piano snippets and searing strings, inflecting the track with an affecting nostalgia. "Ghost Deini" (produced by the Blaquesmiths) lifts faint guitar licks and minor-key chords from some forgotten soundtrack, while RZA returns to boost Baby Huey’s raucous riffs from "Hard Times" to power the Wu-Tang posse cut "Buck 50."
The past few Wu-Tang albums have been tense with premillennial paranoia, but Supreme Clientele is all about release — an explosive package of nuevo-blaxploitation that buries all thuggish rubbish. Protect ya neck. (Oliver Wang)
Ah, what a fine day for a wine-enhanced Parisian lunch. Or how ’bout a big bowl of hot, steamy coffee, and a freshly rolled phatty to follow it up? Some chocolates, maybe? Throw in dreamy lava-lamp textures and a dash of tranquil funk, and you’ve got the sensual nucleus of Groove Armada’s Vertigo.