This Method To The Madness post is going to be a bit different from me. Since the majority of this DJ mix is based around covers, it seems only fair to have count as a COVER2COVER entry as well! Two for the price of one! But be prepared: this is going to be a massive post, as I will try to post links to the originals to hopefully give you better context for some of the songs you may not be familiar with.
So, if you’ve read my first two COVER2COVER posts, you’ll know two things about me. One, I love me some covers! Two, that I did a mix of covers last year (listen to it here). I was so happy with the way that mix came out, despite it’s imperfections, that I really wanted to do another mix in that style. This mix represents six months of pain-staking selecting and trial and error (I’ve scrapped this mix and started over more times than I can count). But all the artistic struggle seems to have paid off as I can whole-heartedly say this one of my favorite mixes to date. Like the previous mix, the mix focuses primarily on funk, with some diversions into other genres along the way. And also like the other mix, some of the songs on here are not covers, and I put them on here because they either flowed well or I was just really feeling them at the time.
Hopefully you’ll find this Method to the Madness both enlightening and entertaining. Take you time in soaking it all in and thanks again for reading. If you catch a mistake or something I missed, please let me know via the comments or email. Also, a lot of these songs have other covers as well, so if you have a different version that you like, please share away. Otherwise, let’s get into the track by track break down.
1) Freddie Hubbard – The Godfather (Originally by Nino Rota)
Coincidentally, the previous mix started off with a movie theme cover as well. So it seems only fitting that this mix start off with one as well. A brooding take on a classic
2) El Michels Affair – Duel of the Iron Mic (Originally by GZA)
Last month, I talked about how modern-funk band, El Michels Affair did an instrumental album of all Wu-Tang songs. This is one of the highlights of that album. The band does an amazing job of keeping RZA’s trademark staggered drums and also adding just enough to make it it’s own composition and not just a note for note remake of a classic beat.
3) Breakbot – Planet Rock (Jazz) (Originally by Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force)
I only got to know this one recently. Breakbot made a funky, uptempo cover of this classic hip-hop electro tune, but this time, he gives us more meditated version, complete with a wonderful flute lead to drive the song. Plus, I am a sucker for those drum n’ bass-style drums.
4) D’Angelo – Feel Like Making Love (Originally by Roberta Flack)
I’ll be honest with this one. I was little disappointed in myself that I didn’t know that Roberta Flack performed the original (I’m sadly not as versed in Roberta Flack as I should be). I am even more disappointed in myself that I hadn’t heard this D’Angelo cover until recently. Such is life, I guess. Not only is it a fantastic cover, but a great show of D’Angelo’s musical chops as well.
5) Aloe Blacc – Blind World [Instrumental] (Originally by L.A. Carnival under the title Blind Man)
Now we are entering obscure territory. The L.A. Carnival original is a slice of heavy funk bliss. Aloe Blacc flips it and keeps it in moody territory!
6) Billy Gardner – I Got Some Pt. 1
And now we come to the first non-cover song on the mix. The main reason for it’s inclusion though is it’s importance in hip-hop history (B.Y.S.). Well that, and it’s an absolute beast of a song!
7) The Gene Dudley Group – I’ve Changed ft. Myron & E
This one caught me off guard because I originally bought this 7 inch because of the cover contained on its flip (it’s in the mix later on). Just a great piece of modern sweet soul, much like…
8) Ruby Andrews – You Made A Believer (Out of Me)
Short and simple: great, obscure Chicago soul! Taking from the excellent Strange Breaks & Mr. Thing II
9) Chakackas – Jungle Fever
Ok, I totally got this one backwards. Years ago, I bought this album called Sheba Plays Jungle Fever… and for some reason believed that that version was the original. Never claimed to be perfect… Taken from the Soul Jazz compilation pictured here.
10) Breakdown Brass – Monmouth
Another non-cover. If you’re a fan of blaring brass and funky drums, I highly recommend checking their album out!
11) Bobby Shad and The Bad Men – Whole Lotta Love (I don’t think I need to say anything about this one)
On the first mix, I included Dennis Coffey’s cover of Whole Lotta Love. This is a completely different interpretation of that Led Zep classic, going full bore with wailing guitars and horns, freakout piano solo and a fully orchestrated sound. Also trying to figure where to mix out of this song was a real pain.
11) Breakdown Brass – The Next Episode (Originally by Dr. Dre)
Everyone should be a least somewhat familiar with the original. Just replace Dre, Snoop, Kurupt, and Nate Dogg with a horn section and you should have a pretty good idea what to expect.
12) Christine Lewin – Juicy Fruit (Originally by Mtume)
Good thing I double-checked this one. Apparently, after a brief search on YouTube, I discovered that despite the fact that the label credits Susan Cadogin as the singer, it is in fact, Christine Lewin singing on this track. There’s also some controversy surrounding this release as Cadogin is asking for her credit to be removed from this track. All that aside, it’s a great reinterpretation of a classic song (and another hip-hop sample that almost everyone should know).
13) Lord Echo – Thinking Of You
See my recent COVER2COVER for more info. This song deserved its own post.
14) Prince Fatty – Got Your Money (Dub) (Originally by Ol’ Dirty Bastard)
I’m not usually the biggest fan of Dancehall reggae, but given that I am a huge fan of ODB’s original and discovering that there was a dub version of the cover, it was just too good to pass up.
15) Derrick Harriot – Let It Whip (Originally by Dazz Band)
Slowed down reggae cover of a funky classic! Don’t really know much about this one other than it’s on the flip side of that Cadogin/Lewin record.
Mr. Chop is a UK-based producer/multi-instrumentalist who specialises in making dubbed out covers of well-known classics. Back in 2009, he did a fully instrumental album of Pete Rock covers! Surprisingly, these are completely redone versions of what’s on that album, most likely to better suit C.L. Smooth on the vocals (which to his dismay, I used the instrumentals).
18) The Emotions – Blind Alley
Breakbeat classics 101 right here!
19) Kashmere Stage Band – Kashmere
The first of many Kashmere Stage Band songs on this mix. Frequently sited as the best high school funk band of all time, this amazing group of young musicians have produced some of the best deep funk ever.
20) Nico Gomez and His Afro Percussion Inc. – Baila Chibiquiban (Originally by Perez Prado)
Funky latin music going on here! That hi-hat break is something to behold. This is apparently a cover but sadly after digging through YouTube, I came up empty handed. Given that Perez Prado’s recording/performing history goes all the way back to the 1930s, it’s not really that surprising. Remember that name though, it’ll come up again soon.
21) Esther Williams – Last Night Changed It All
More ultimate breaks & beats goodness here! Getting it finally on 7 inch, thanks to Jazzman Records, pretty much is the sole reason for it’s inclusion on here. This song is an absolute bitch to mix too, as it speeds up considerably from it’s opening tempo.
22) Sly 5th Ave & The Clubcasa Chamber Orchestra (Originally by Marc Ronson)
This little 45 is probably the whole reason I decided to go through and finish this covers mix. Earlier this year at a DJ event, I was requested to play the original during a DJ gig. I obliged, figuring that it would make pretty much everyone happy (plus the person wasn’t too pushy. Keep this in mind people the next time you make a request to your local DJ). But after that event, I kept wondering if there was another version of this track. Within a few days of that event, I found a copy digging around online! A fantastic latin, funk, disco cover with horns replacing the vocals (noticing a pattern here?).
I’ve had this for ages but never could figure out where to put in a mix. I got this record shortly after watching the 40 Year Old Virgin, which if you’ll remember, uses the original 5th Dimension version at the end of the movie. Dancing, melodic piano over funky drums make this cover oh so sweet.
24) Samba Soul – Mambo No. 5 (Originally by Perez Prado)
Yet another Ultimate Breaks and Beats inclusion. This one takes the mambo classic and gives a super funky edge.
25) Yellow Sunshine – Yellow Sunshine
Bad edit aside (sorry), Yellow Sunshine is just a fantastic uptempo rocky, funk track. This track marks the beginning of the mix moving into fast funk territory. Apparently a pretty rare record, so I took it from the superb Danny Krivit Grass Roots collection.
26) Kashmere Stage Band – Super Strut Pt. 1 (Kay Dee Remix) (Originally by Deodato)
Kashmere Stage Band strike again, this time taking on Deodato’s classic and giving a much harder edge!
27) The Gene Dudly Group – Inspector Norse (Originally by Todd Terje)
Todd Terje, back in 2012, created a modern dance classic with this one. The Gene Dudly Group took the melody and ran with it, making a fantastic, fast funk cover of it!
28) Kashmere Stage Band – I Wish Pt. 1 (Todd Terry Mix) (Originally by Stevie Wonder)
This one stays pretty close to the original, just speeding up the tempo and replacing Stevie with a beautiful horn arrangement and some out of control drums!
29) Billy Ball & The Upsetters – Popcorn ’69
More fast funk goodness here. Just sounds like everyone is barely hanging in there to stay on tempo with each other! Love that raggedy funk guitar too!
30) Val Merrall’s Orchestra – The Horse (Originally By Cliff Nobles & Co.)
This one took quite a bit of digging to find the original, as it’s been covered so many times (even hip-hop producer Madlib took a stab at it). When I was still in the planning stages of recording the mix, I was originally gonna have multiple covers in a row of this song but decided against it, as each version was only slightly different from the other. And I think this is the best of the bunch, anyways (also cribbed from the SB&MT collection).
31) Roosevelt Matthews – Tighten Up
This song holds a lot of meaning to me. Not only is it another example of great, uptempo, deep funk, but at a DJ event years ago, I managed to convince a friend to play it in the middle of his set because I thought it would fit perfectly. It did.
32) The Soul Impossibles – Interpretation: Soul Power #1
Getting into the final stretch here. Just some more top notch uptempo funk! Love the way the organ just blasts through the entire mix and almost negates all the other instruments.
33) Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers – Friendship Train
One thing really notable about this record is session drummer legend, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, plays on the album. Also it’s just a great funky, latin number.
34) The Pops – Som Imaginario De Jimmi Hendrix
Almost done. Awhile ago, I posted a snippet of this on my Instagram (follow me at RawSelectMusicSean!) and a friend of mine noted how similar the melody sounded to Footloose. I didn’t notice it at first but after repeated listens, I began to notice it too. Having gone back to listen to Footloose again recently, they are definitely not the same song (but I’d still like to believe that Kenny Logins ripped the melody off from this ridiculously rare, Brazilian 7inch, taken from the excellent Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas compilation).
35) Tinga Stewart – The Message (Originally by Cymande)
And finally, we come to a close with this simple, laid-back reggae cover of the Cymande classic! And the last song abused from this compilation…