"I am of one color don't put me down" - Breakestra & LA Carnival, Showbiz/Blind Man/Color
Is it a secret that Stones Throw is my favorite record label? A label that puts out blatantly west coast hip hop and rare groove funk re-issues (and then last year put out an electrodiscorock kind of record) is my kinda spot. Madlib competes with Dr. Dre and DJ Premier and Pete Rock in the Celebrity Death Match for Greatest Hip Hop Producer Ever, so yeah, I dig the house that Peanut Butter Wolf built. I'm not obsessive about much of anything though so it's taken me a minute to pick up Stones Throw 101 - the DVD & CD release that chronicles the label's history.
Featuring all 15 videos produced for their artists, it is incredibly cool to be able to see All Caps and Slim's Return on my TV in high resolution instead of through the jaggy frame rate of a quicktime window. The freshest moments in the video package are Rhinestone Cowboy (which I didn't realize there even was a video for) and Red Light, Green Light (which is hands down my favorite Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf joint).
The key moment amongst all this great rarely seen stuff is in the extra credit. Egon and Andrew Gura meet up with Lester Abrams -- an incredible funk pianist who was grammy nominated once for his production work with the Doobie Brothers -- who, during his college days in Omaha, Nebraska, recorded one of the funkiest albums that few have ever heard. Between 1969 and 1971, Lester pulled together a group of young local musicians and, calling themselves L.A. Carnival, they wrote and produced just amazing, amazing stuff -- and then proceeded to press only 50 copies of the album. Watching Lester 30 years later still banging out superfunk on his home upright piano and being privy to the first time in 3 decades that just about anybody in the world had heard the original recording of the L.A. Carnival album is just, I don't know. It was one of those goosebumps moments. I want my dad, the jazz/funk musician to see it. I want my mom, who was in junior high school probably down the street from where this was being recorded at the time, to see it. I want everyone to hear Color and Flying and Blind Man and just be in it.
I am of one color!