Basehead was a glorious thing back in the day – the most indescribable band in era of genre mashing. Basehead was an outfit somewhere between hip-hop and country-western, and believe it or not that blend has aged well due to the good writing and consistent performances throughout.
Leader Michael Ivey sing-raps in a slow drawl about the blues in life – women, friends, drinking beer – as the band glides through the changes on mostly acoustic instruments. Many songs build to a slow-boil, balancing tension and melancholy in his pleadings, fully aware that they are breaking new stylistic ground.
They did 2 great albums in the 90’s – Play With Toys and Not In Kansas Anymore, then dropped out for a while. Ivey did manage another hard to find album after renaming the outfit DC Basehead but to my ears some of the initial magic was gone.
Here’s one of the many great tracks from their debut:
There’s a lot going on in this clip. It’s pretty good.
Ray Charles + Stevie Wonder, doing one of Stevie’s funk songs, with neither of their bands, for an awards show. It looks like the late 80’s with plastic keyboards and big hair but the talent is so great it works out just fine.
Also since Ray’s R&B big band really doesn’t do the early 70’s funk groove that this song was originally cut in, for this era they turned into a disco-tempo gospel style romp. It’s reframes the song nicely.
Imagine if these two ever did a full record together….
Rest In Peace, for you are one of the greatest of all time, BB King.
This man owned the blues, owned that tone, owned that vibe for decades. He was truly one of a kind and his catalog offers plenty of exploration opportunity.
Dude put his first record out in 1957. Very few people still around put records out in the 50’s (the Isley’s are the only one I can think of). He was a titan of the music industry.
A legend among legends, no one messes with BB.
Here’s one of my favorites from him, when he played the Cook County Jail in 1971 and offered up some hilarious banter to the “guests” about their warden and his beautiful wife, in-between hitting them with a blues you know they could truly appreciate: