ACTION: THE BLACKBYRDS Tuesday 10 January, 2012

Sample hound’s delight.

Until I was about 16 I tended not to listen to music that wasn’t made by sampling other records. I did my teething on hip hop. I think Newcleus’ ‘Wikki Wikki/Jam On It’ must have blown my tiny mind and then I was hooked. The love of hip hop has not abated although the way in which it manifests has mutated as I’ve aged. One of the things I love to do now is find out what the source of the sample is. That means that I spend a lot of time listening to old and odd songs. It also means that I’m being lead further and further into the jazz/funk wilderness. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever make it back.

I used to love a record called ‘The Days of Old’ by a rapper named PARIS. I didn’t really care for the lyrics but I loved the music. Can you see where I’m going with this? It turns out that the music for that track was sampled from ‘Mysterious Vibes’ by The Blackbyrds. The only way I could get hold of The Blackbyrds song was to get this ‘Action’ album. I didn’t listen to the other songs on the album for a long time. When I did I discovered that there are other songs that have been sampled for other tracks that I like.

What I also discovered is that this album is amazingly good. It might be a little too lounge for some of you but I reckon if you were basking in the sunshine somewhere you could do a lot worse than this album. It’s a tasty slice of jazz funk with a sprinkle of easy listening. It’s mighty short though. In total the album is just over the half hour mark and consists of only 7 songs. The standout tracks are ‘Supernatural Feeling’, ‘Mysterious Vibes’, ‘Something Special’ and ‘Dreaming of You’. That’s none too shabby. Over half of this album is outstanding.

If you have any interest in the origins of hip hop or maybe where Mr J ‘amiroquai’ Kay stole his sound from then this a very good starting point. Take Action…aurally.


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