Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Man Behind Run DMC!!!


Remember when you were doing dances like "The Prep", "The Roger Rabbit" and "The Running Man". You ever wonder what people were behind all of those sampled rap classics? Well, I really did. The funny thing is that I really didn't read liner notes until De La Soul and Biz Markie were both sued over illegal sample use. Anyways, I wanted to talk about a guy who could be considered as "Blue-Eyed Soul". The person I am speaking of is Bob James.

Bob James' recordings have practically defined pop/jazz and crossover during the past few decades. Very influenced by pop and movie music, James has often featured R&B-ish soloists (most notably Grover Washington, Jr.) who add a jazz touch to what is essentially an instrumental pop set. He actually started out in music going with a much different direction. In 1962, James recorded a bop-ish trio set for Mercury, and three years later his album for ESP was quite avant-garde, with electronic tapes used for effects. After a period with Sarah Vaughan (1965-1968), he became a studio musician, and by 1973 was arranging and working as a producer for CTI. In 1974, James recorded his first purely commercial effort as a leader; he later made big-selling albums for his own Tappan Zee label, Columbia, and Warner Bros., including collaborations with Earl Klugh and David Sanborn. James remains relatively busy in the studio and since 2000 has released several albums including Dancing on the Water in 2001, That Steamin' Feelin' in 2002, Hi-Fi in 2003, and Urban Flamingo in 2006, among others.

For all of those Hip-Hop heads out there, think back to 1986-1987 when the famous rap group, Run DMC crossed over into mainstream and became a weekly favorite on MTV. The album was called "Raising Hell" and everybody had that album. The hit single, "Walk This Way" propelled the group to platinum status, but it was a cut, "Peter Piper" that set the clubs on fire. Released as a 12inch single, "Peter Piper" instantly became a classic party rocker. Oddly enough, I didn't realize that the song was a sample until I was in college.....go figure. Anyways, the man behind the classic song was none other than, Bob James.

Run DMC cleverly took advantage and used the beat before anyone else did. The name of the song is called "Take Me To The Mardi Gras" which can be found on Bob James album, "Tw0".
"Take Me To The Mardi Gras" has everything that you need to start your Mardi Gras off just right. Interestingly, the song was used as a backdrop to many New Orleans, Bounce Music tracks. Put on "Peter Piper", and you would definitely get a warm reaction from not just the guys, but THE GIRLS. (EVER HEARD OF P-POPPIN). Last factoid about "Take Me To The Mardi Gras" is that Paul Simon wrote the song.
Below find both classics for your listening pleasures!!!

Take Me To The Mardi Gras - Bob James

Peter Piper - Run DMC

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