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Written By: frenchy on December 30, 2007 One Comment

It’s been an interesting year, musically.. A number of new acts for me and some traditional favorites with new albums and also some disappointments. But let’s take a look at my listening behavior. (Table layout isn’t great, but I’m just not in the mood for layout styling, sorry.. ;) )

Tracks Most Played In 2007:

Theme From Belle Et Fou (The Opening) Jazzanova Belle Et Fou
This Is The Place (Overture) Jazzanova Belle Et Fou
Rendezvous Jazzanova Feat. Capitol A Belle Et Fou
Sink Or Swim (No Choice For Me) (feat. Lady Alma) 4hero Play With The Changes
Give In (feat. Darien Brockington & Phonte of Little Brother) 4hero Play With The Changes
Maybe Now Clara Hill Belle Et Fou
Behold These Days (Berlin ‘74) Jazzanova Belle Et Fou
Take My Time (feat. Jack Davey) 4hero Play With The Changes
Get Down Groove Armada Soundboy Rock
The Awakening (feat. Ursula Rucker) 4hero Play With The Changes

I can honestly say that I was really surprised by the Belle Et Fou entries; it didn’t register in my brain that I played that album that much, especially since I didn’t give it high marks in my review. Funny. Groove Armada’s track Get Down puts a smile on my face.

Artists Most Played (Last.fm)

  1. Me’Shell Ndegéocello
  2. The Chess Cadet Allstars
  3. Jazzanova
  4. Groove Armada
  5. Beck
  6. Benny Sings
  7. 4hero
  8. Amy Winehouse
  9. A Tribe Called Quest
  10. OutKast

Well, this top 10 doesn’t have any real surprises. I do expect to see Outkast to disappear from the list next year. I wonder if drink-drug-binge-anorexia WineHose will still be on this list, possibly as a posthumous entry.

2007 Discoveries

Human To Human – Ferdinand Jozef George The Best Thing I’ve heard in Dutch music; people should listen to this album a lot frigging more!
Giles Peterson podcasts Excellent craftsmanship and a gateway to new music
Vahé mixtapes My dance influence of the year 2007, thanks!
Mystery Repeats – Pete Philly & Perquisite Should grow to be an internationally successful act in 2008
Camiel Albums from a coupla years back, still as fresh as ever.
The Reminder – Feist Strange, I keep playing this album for longer than I’d imagine..

That’s it, now on to a new year of listening to great and exciting music!

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Written By: frenchy on December 28, 2007 No Comment

Didn’t make as many shots as I wanted this year, but we’ll see how next year ‘ll go.. My favorite pix of 2007, enjoy!

Big thanks to the people at:
FlickrHelp and
Blogger Templates

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Written By: frenchy on November 27, 2007 2 Comments

General Info
Artist: Me’shell Ndegeocello last fm logo || The  Me'shell Ndegeocello  Profile At MySpace || Discogs Icon
Location: Paradiso, Amsterdam
When: 26 November 2007

Concert Meshell Ndegeocello 2007

Who?
Ah, Meshell.. Just wrote a review of her latest album, The World Has Made Me The Man Of My Dreams, have a read here. Meshell is a very interesting and exciting artist and from experience I’ve learned not to expect her to go back to her earlier stuff, when her music was pure funk and jazziness. From that last album I knew to expect loud guitars and well, she didn’t disappoint me on that point.
Check out some of her performances at Youtube Logo.

The Show
A.. Bloody.. Mess..
Meshell apologized for feeling a bit under the weather and that affected her voice, okay, fine, glad she still decided to get on stage. And most of the vocals were okay anyway.
Where things really were a bit too weird for my taste is where my girl Meshell’s constantly walking up and down the stage, switching guitars every other song, sometimes halfway, like she just decided to things differently. She was almost obsessed with the sound quality of her material and kept checking it through the monitor speakers. Really messy, I was wishing she just took a big chill pill and paid attention to her public.

Songs that Stood Out
Hmmmm.. tough one.. Most of her tracks were from the latest album, but she played Fool Of Me and Faithful from her album Bitter, which was a great and pleasant surprise. Fool Of Me is one of my alltime heartbreak songs. It was great to hear The Sloganeer: Paradise, that track is just incredible! She almost had me fooled with Evolution, they started playing it just straight with only the guitars, but happily she picked up her bass to do the second part, the tasty bass part, and me was a happy puppy!
Closing song was an excellent surprise: a cover of a Prince classic – All The Critics Love U In NY, fantastic!!

Conclusion
It felt like amateur hour, I’ve seen this lady perform before and never was the performance so chaotic and in need of some musical direction. She’s never the chatty type, but this was almost as communicative as a Middle East summit. If it wasn’t for Meshell, I’d probably left halfway the already very short performance.
Do.. not.. get.. me.. wrong..
Meshell and her band are incredible musicians but that didn’t compensate for the fact that the band was mucking about way too much.
Am I gonna go see her the next time she’s in Holland? Nothing, not even the bloody hordes from Hell (or Groningen) will be able to stop me from attending another Meshell gig, she’s too bloody brilliant to ignore. But please let there be some musical direction..
Still love me some Meshell Ndegeocello, that’s not gonna change, ever.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (1 point because it’s Meshell, half a point for playing All The Critics Love U In NY)

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Written By: frenchy on November 25, 2007 One Comment

General Info
Artist: Jill Scott last fm logo || Profile At MySpace || Discogs Icon
Location: Paradiso, Amsterdam
When: 23 November 2007

Concert Jill Scott 2007

Who?
Ah, Jill Scott.. One of my favorite artists and always a pleasure to see her performing live. This lady’s been working very hard for quite some time now and her reputation as one of the top black musicians of her generation is well deserved. I’ve listened to all her stuff since the Who Is Jill Scott? album and although not all her albums are top notch, you have to experience her live show..
Check out some of her performances at Youtube Logo.

The Show
Ah, well.. We had quite some problems with the sound system and miss Scott kept checking with the audience if we could hear well enough. Another more annoying thing was the stupidity of some people in the crowd, yapping and yapping through the show instead of shutting up and paying attention to what Jilly was singing and telling us. With Jill Scott, it’s not only the music, it’s also the performance, chatting with the crowd, some poetry and some nasty and wicked fun. So if people in the audience really feel the need to talk, it’d be nice if they’d just leave the concert hall and go jump off a cliff or something..

Songs that Stood Out
She opened with Let It Be/The Real Thing, both tracks that didn’t really work for me on the album, but the Lady makes it all come together on the stage. I liked the fact that she skipped Getting in the Way without me even noticing it during the gig. She doesn’t (or ever did) need that track to entertain her crowd.
She really caught me off guard with Crown Royal, because for me the track was just a great party between the sheets track. But with It’s just a metaphore she took the track to a whole different direction. The change didn’t ruin the song, it just gave it another dimension.
When she started the first words of He Loves Me the crowd went totally mental and kept on cheering and applauding for a very beautiful minute or so (I get goose bumps thinking about that moment). And when she went all opera, it was literally awesome..
Her performance of My Love was another incredible show of strength, this woman will take your heart and soul to another level of feeling and loving. Loving yourself and feeling better about yourself regardless of the hurting and despair. You see a Strong Woman and she inspires.
Her incredible And I Heard at the end of the show was another great moment in Storytelling: she shares her poetry with her audience like a parent telling a bedtime story to a bunch of kids. We ate it all up like sweet candy.. And, this track puts the big G back in Gospel, my brothers and sisters!

Conclusion
The performers and the audience didn’t always click that well in the beginning, due to technical problems and a part of the audience who didn’t understand the importance of listening and paying attention.
But Jilly just kept on going with the show and together with those in the crowd who really came to see and hear this girl do her stuff, we all created a beautiful evening with words and sounds. Everybody needs to experience this lady perform her stuff live..
Thank you, Jill Scott.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Written By: frenchy on November 18, 2007 4 Comments

General Description
Artist/Band: Donny Hathaway last fm logo || Profile At MySpace || Discogs Icon
Album Title: These Songs For You, Live!
Year: 2004

Donny Hathaway - These Songs For You, Live!
This is why I love music..

How I Got Into This Music
Annoying little man, Hieronymus Fox.. The guy’s right 99% of the time and it would be a serious pain in the ass if it wasn’t for the fact that I always benefit from it.
The man brought along this CD for me to listen to from a singer called Donny Hathaway. The name rang a bell, and after some mental excercise I remembered this track from a Back To Mine compilation by Everything But The Girl called Someday We’ll Be Free. I liked but I thought it was a bit too sweet and soft.
Most of us old-timers know him from his duet with Roberta Flack last fm logo. That bone-chillingly beautiful Where Is The Love?, remember that?
These Songs For You, Live! is a compilation of live tracks performed during the 70s, the man himself died 1979.

Google Search for reviews of this album || Album details at Artistdirect.com || Answers.com ||last fm logo || Discogs Icon || Youtube Logo

Tracks that got my attention:
Flying Easy
Love this recording, the sound system isn’t working right, so the first minute or so the vocals are a bit too soft. No slickness here, boys and girls! And it doesn’t matter cause the man’s vocals bring a spring sunshine to anybody’s dark winter day..

Valdez in the Country
One of his own tracks, love the crispy keyboards on this instrumental track.

Someday We’ll All Be Free
Ohmygod.. The track I thought to be a bit too soft and sweet: this live version just breaks my heart in a gazillion pieces. Fuckmethisisbeautifulnuffsaid..
Listen to this man’s voice.

You Got A Friend
Now we get a coupla covers of Classic tracks. First one, Carole King’s masterpiece. It’s an easy sing-along track, and the crowd eats it all up. But listen to Hathaway’s subtle vocal changes, brilliant!

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
This is the slowest version of this track ever and it’s friggin’ incredible!! His mix of whispery soft and booming gospel vocals, it’s.. Can’t find the words, just go have a listen..

What’s Going On
You gotta have some very large balls to cover a Marvin Gaye classic; and perform it in a way that makes you accept the fact that someone else is singing it. Shit, this is a very close to a perfect alternative version!

Yesterday
I swear when the Beatles heard this version, they must’ve realised that not only did they make one of the greatest songs of all time, but that there’s someone else who can perform the track better than themselves. Think the Beatles went like: Right, we’re done here, nothing left to do, guys. Off to the pub, cause this bastard’s put us to shame.. Who the hell is this guy?!?

Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)
See previous track. I’ve posted it before: this version of Superwoman is one of the most breath-taking things I’ve ever heard.

A Song For You
When the man’s vocals go all gospel on you, it just makes you stop whatever you were doing and pay attention. However the crowd isn’t behaving at its best, mucking about during such a delicate song, but hey, it comes with the territory.

Sack Full Of Dreams
Wow, such slow sweetness. I can not be grumpy when I hear this one.

Little Ghetto Boy
First heard this as a sample on Dr.Dre’s Chronic and he knew what to use from his Elders. Beautiful vocals singing harsh lyrics with an upbeat ending.

I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know
Damn, the opening vocals on this track! Soul & Blues mixed up in one heart-wrenching song.

The Ghetto
The keyboard buildup is nice and mellow, followed by a lovely up-tempo groove. Great crowd participation and again, when Hathaway puts out that voice out there, I get goose bumps.

Interview
An interesting addition to the album: bits and piece from an interview with Hathaway. You get to see what he was doing, thinking and planning. His life plans, what he wants to do musically, it goes in all directions.

Conclusion
I haven’t heard a contemporary performer put so much heart and talent into the music like Donny Hathaway. It’s possible that I wouldn’t like the studio albums as much as this live compilation, who cares?
It’s very regrettable that we don’t have Donny Hathaway in our midst any more, it is a sad thing that we don’t have a performer of his stature in our midst at the moment.
Enough with the praise, I love this album!

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