Friday, May 25, 2007

De La Soul - "All Good?"

De La Soul may hold the dubious distinction of having the most albums either marketed or received as "comebacks". The anti-hippie backlash against their brilliant debut precipitated one of the most elaborate identity crises in pop history, resulting in the utterly unhinged follow-up. So their third album was their first comeback. But that one didn't do so hot, so Stakes Is High was a comeback too. The first AOI album was the comback from that and The Grind Date was the comeback from the second. And they're still goin'.

This one's from the first AOI. It's credited as "featuring Chaka Khan", and clearly her vocals forge the song's most immediate impression, but where's the love for Pino? Buried in the album's credits is the name Pino Paladino, and that's probably just where he wants it.

Paladino's resumé is jaw-dropping. He's one of those session guys who plays on a lot of slick, overproduced lite-FM stuff: Sting, Don Henley, etc. He recently played on the new Who album, arguably his highest profile gig to date. And still most music fans have never heard of him.

His bass work here is just what you'd expect from a player of his stature: tasteful, note-perfect and above all deferrent to the track's lead elements, in this case the vocals. Listen closely to the way he keeps subtly mixing it up throughout the track; it's definitely not looped.

Bought this one, again new when it came out at Beat Street. Just fell for the hype, I suppose. You know, brilliant return to form, etc. I remember this album being exceptionally well marketed. Truth is, 3 Feet might be my personal favourite hiphop album of all time and every De La album I've purchased since has just been in futile pursuit of that first thrill. I suppose I'm hardly alone in that respect.

Buy it... on vinyl

From my deck to you: De La Soul ft. Chaka Khan - "All Good?"

I didn't mean for this week to be a requiem for Beat Street, but I can't help it. That's where I bought most of my hiphop vinyl for the past ten years or so. I could keep going with more hiphop tracks next week. Do I... do I need to do Kool Keith week? I mean, do I need to do Kool Keith week? I think I do.

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