In a “blink of an eye” media moment, a CD was able to be produced and self-released by a high school choral group. A few years before, the tech wasn’t quite there. A few years after, this would have been an online/streaming thing, easily removed by the makers if desired.
My mom is a vocal music teacher. To my ears, the Ragged Robins have chops! Performing arrangements of standards by others and one arrangement of their own, Blind Melon’s “No Rain”, the group moves through each song with the graceful and infectious power of youth. They worked hard, figured it out, and pulled it off, creating energetic harmonies along the way. Hey, let’s record this! Hey, let’s put it out! It would not be the first time a group of Ragged Robins did this.
They seem like fun folks, clearly talented, with a sense of humor about them. Okay, so their “Blue Moon” isn’t exactly Doo Wop hall of fame worthy, but I hope this release turning up in thrift stores does not bug them too much. Research shows that the Ragged Robins of ’04-’05 are not mentioned much or at all on the Internet.
Well… until now. The self-released music of the early aughts may not be as heavily documented online as our current era, but their releases crowd the shelves of many a thrift store.
I picked up this double disc set intended as a present from you 17 years ago. As a rule, I stay away from holiday music at thrift stores, but I had a feeling about this one.
I was correct. Wow. “Xmas” indeed!
Drew… I think we need to have a conversation? Instead of holiday “ho hos” and sleigh bells, these two discs were folders of MP3s of the freakiest, nastiest underground dance music the era had to offer. J Scott G seemed to the main architect of these mixes. Every track was wrapped up in the exultation of after-hours bad behavior. It felt wrong to listen to these tracks before 2AM and after 6AM.
Anyway, I hope all is well with you and yours these days. No judgment, but if you need to talk to someone, I’m here for you. The first step is admitting you have a problem.
When I think of the long, protracted conflict that engulfed our nation in years of strife and lead to millions of lost lives, I think about Priority Records, the label home of N.W.A., Ice Cube, and Easy E.
Okay, NGL… I don’t.
This compilation, in terms of music of that era, is fine, varied, and representative, everything from “Incense and Peppermints” to “Keep on Truckin’” (no, not that one… the one by Eddie Kendricks). It is just the conceptual execution of this compilation that is so striking and odd to me, like a gift shop souvenir for a war.
It turns out that Priority Records was a bit of a chameleon before hitting its stride. I had no idea the label’s big break-out act was The California Raisins. The hard edge of their 1991 public service announcement about books, to check ’em out, makes more sense to me now.