KMA1338 Ani DiFranco, Platinum Blonde, The Roots
Platinum Blonde – No Regrets b/w Hey Hey You (7”)
Last September, my lovely wife and I got away for a couple of days for our wedding anniversary. Sharp-memoried KMA readers will recall we went to Mike’s town and saw Big Rude Jake play a fantastic set in a pub. While in town, we went to Orange Monkey Records, and the man there played me a these Platinum Blonde tracks, as we’d been talking about them (their CDs are on my Grail list – see top of page for everyone’s lists!). I love d the tracks straight away. The 7” is hard to find, he said.
Time passed, it’s now January. I recalled hearing those songs, wanted them again. Found them on the Youtubes, they’re still fantastic! I sent it to a few friends, and so far responses are positive! Of course, the search is still on for the 7”. I found one online, $10, not bad. But it’s a UK seller and shipping is same as buying the thing. $20 for one 7”… I dunno, it is rare, though… Anyway, point being if you’re reading this and haven’t yet heard these tracks, hie thee to the Tubes Of You (if not buy the 7″!) and check them out. They’re great fun!
Roots – The Tipping Point*
A needle hits vinyl and we’re in. A delicious record from one of rap’s premier acts. It isn’t in a hurry, but it flows like nobody’s business. It’s smooth, funky, a record where a real 70s feel can flow into spy theme music and then into a sweet soul jam with ease, and an old school speed rap like Boom! makes sense in the picture too. I read complaints about it being bland, commercial, too short, lacking an overall vision… fools. This is The Roots. They do what they do, and never once have they disappointed.
Roots – How I Got Over*
The Roots roll back with another sweet soul excursion, each track proving they are inventive and superlative players. I really felt this one, the songs going deep into all the threads that make up life, love, and everything. Lots of guest stars here, including Monsters of Folk, Joanna Newsom, John Legend and so on. This was so good, I played the thing twice in a row!
Ani DiFranco – Swing Set EP*
EP for the track from To The Teeth (1999). Love the funky jazzy sax of Swing (Radio Set). It’s there on the album version too. Next is To The Teeth (Shoot Out Remix), gunshot noises leading into a version with drums and funky effects on the guitar. Woody Guthrie’s Do Re Mi (live) is next and it’s brilliant (as you can imagine it would be). When I’m Gone is a gorgeous late-night contemplative track with great guitar. And finally it’s Ani’s cover of the classic Bob Dylan song about Hurricane Carter. I think I paid $0.99. Shame, it’s worth a ton more.
Ani DiFranco – Like I Said: Songs 1990-91*
Collecting tracks from her first two records, this is a mindblowing compilation of brilliance. More remarkable, since we basically expect excellence from her now, is that this early period was when her future wasn’t so ensured. Of course, going back knowing what we know we can say ‘of course it was,’ but when she boldly struck out, it was hard work, fearless intelligence, talent and her own wits and determination against the world. I can’t recommend this disc enough.
* Bought during last year’s trip to Toronto with Mike.