Mama Lion was a rock/blues/soul group out of California that dropped 2 albums in the early 70′s. The album pictured above, “Preserve Wildlife“, is credited to being produced and directed by Artie Ripp who is notoriously famous for signing Billy Joel as a solo artist and then ripping him off for the next 10 years. The lead singer of Mama Lion, Lynn Carey, is an interesting chick. She originally started her career as a model/actress and then formed her band shortly after being featured as Penthouse‘s “Pet of the Month“. With that being said, it makes sense that this album is a gatefold which features a topless picture of her breast-feeding a lion cub!?
Mama Lion does Bill Withers justice by covering his hit “Aint’ No Sunshine” in a rocked out soul version, with blues undertones. Her raspy voice fits perfectly with the deep bassline, rock guitars, and organs backing her. Her version probably has more in commmon with the Lyn Collins cover than Bill Withers, but equally as dope. Check it out.
Here is another dope cover track from the Shirelles self-titled album from 1972. This time, the trio takes on Al Green and his classic cut “Let’s Stay Together“. The sound of this version is totally different from Willie Mitchell‘s trademark Hi Records productions. The track sweet soul all the way through with horns, strings, piano, and a soulful/funky bassline. No one can top the Al Green version, but this one does come pretty close. You decide.
Who said Italians can’t be funky!? Before we were going to the Jersey Shore to fist pump, we were dropping some dope music in the form of soundtracks, disco, and funk. Adriano Celentano is a famous Italian singer/song writer who has sold over 150 million albums since his career started in the 1960′s. I’ll be honest, I never heard of him till I picked up this compilation of “Greatest Italian Hits” from 1976. The odd thing about this album is that it’s a Mexican pressing, with all the titles listed in Spanish, not Italian. The entire album is generic Italian ballad music, except for the last song on side-b “L’unica Chance” or “The Only Oppurtunity”.
“L’unica Chance” starts with a groovy baseline and slowly layers in funky wah-wah guitar and organ. The song keeps building with dope vocals and a guitar solo towards the end. Listen to the entire cut while throwing up a middle finger to the Olive Garden.
I posted up a Shirelles cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine” last week. To my surprise, the track got 300+ plays on YouTube in 1 day. I decided to post a few more of the choice cuts from the album since it seems the people like it. For in-depth info on the Shirelles album and the group, check out the previous post.
In this track, The Shirelles take on the master, Marvin Gaye – medley style. In a pure funky and soulful 6 minute groove, they take on the hits from Gaye’s landmark album “What’s Going On?” including “Mercy Mercy Me“, “Inner City Blues“, and “What’s Going On?“. The sweet harmonies do justice to the Marvin Gaye classics, giving them a much different feel than the originals.
I don’t like The Beatles. I actually think they are the most over-rated band in the history of music. However, I do like 2 of their songs “Eleanor Rigby” and “Come Together“. Given their immense popularity, there are hundreds of Beatles cover songs/albums floating around. Some are good, some are terrible, and some are amazing. Bossa Rio’s version of “Eleanor Rigby” is one of those amazing covers.
Bossa Rio is a Brazilian Jazz/Bossa Nova group on Blue Thumb records. Blue Thumb dabbled in several genres, but many of the releases were Jazz-oriented. The overall sound of Bossa Rio is extremely similiar to Brasil 66 so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the group was produced by the oft-sampled Sergio Mendes and recorded in A&M‘s studio.
Bossa’s version of “Eleanor Rigby” is given a laid-back, lounge feel by changing the whole groove to a bossa nova beat. The female/male vocal harmonies, guitar, organ, and strings make for a super relaxing track, perfect for sitting on a beach sipping a Corona – if you can get past their Porteguese accents. Check it out.
Here’s a joint I produced for The ILLZ in 2010. The track was featured on a 2dopeboyz mix tape “Empire Edition“. It’s a little faster tempo than he’s normally on. The sample is very jazzy and atmospheric, creating a perfect backdrop to The ILLZ deep lyrics. Check it out.
The Shirelles, from Passaic, NJ (holla!), are best known for their string of hits in the early 1960′s. Songs like “Mama Said“, “Dedicated to the one I Love“, “Soldier Boy“, and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” were chart toppers pre-dating the Motown sound. In the later part of the 1960′s, the British invasion was fully rocking and soul took on a harder sound, driven by the Civil Rights movement. Like many other groups at the time, The Shirelles had trouble keeping up.
Many labels gave them a second shot during the late 1960′s and early 1970′s in hopes they would return to their previous glory. Unfortunately, that never really happened. One of their later attempts was a self-titled album released on RCA in 1972. While it didn’t chart, it’s ripe with cover versions of dope Soul cuts (many of which were sampled). Songs include Joe Simon‘s “Drowning in a Sea of Love“, Al Green‘s “Let’s Stay Together“, and Marvin Gaye‘s “Inner City Blues / What’s Going On“.
My personal favorite is a cover of the Bill Wither‘s classic, “Ain’t No Sunshine“. The song starts out with some bongos and leads into a very Alchemist-ish horn loop. Not sure if it’s been sampled or not? Once the song kicks in, it has a slightly reggae feel to it. Check it out.
This is the second sampled cut from the Freda Payne album “Contact“. For some additional info on Freda, check out this earlier post. The b-side to the album starts off with an instrumental “Prelude“, ripe with drums and pizzicato strings.
Pete Rock flipped the cut for “Give it Y’all” featured on PeteStrumentals. Originally an instrumental, it was later re-released on another version of PeteStrumentals featuring vocals from underground main-stay Roc Marciano and Trife. Pete didn’t do much to the sample, but sometimes the most simple things are the dopest.