Album Reviews

The Soul Searchers “Salt of the Earth” (1974)

The Soul Searchers were a large funk outfit from Washinton DC that were held in high regard in the seventies despite their limited output. This LP is perhaps their best known as it has been plundered heavily by hip hop artists such as Eric B & Rakim, Ice Cube, LL Cool J and Public Enemy. It is this use of the material that makes many of the tracks sound extremely familiar on first listen. The uptempo funkier tracks such as “Blow Your Whistle” and “Ashley’s Roachclip” highlight what a great horn section the band had and are the pick of the cuts. Things slip a little on the ballads which do sound a little dated. The exception is the strangely compelling cover of Bacharach’s “Close to You.” –Jon… Read more›

Hall & Oates “Abandoned Luncheonette”

Some of our favorite albums were discovered in the 99¢ bin and “Abandoned Luncheonette” is one of them! Philly soul meets FM rock perfectly on this early Hall & Oates album. I know some of you are skeptical, but seriously, give this one a listen! –JT

“Daryl Hall and John Oates’ second album remains, even after thirty-plus years, their masterpiece. Here they created a masterpiece of blue-eyed soul which captured a sense of innocence, wistfulness and nostalgia.” -allmusic.com
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Kool G Rap & DJ Polo “Road to the Riches” (1989)

Back when the Juice Crew was on a roll in the late 80s, Big Daddy Kane, MC Shan and Biz Markie had already gotten their start and even had their own Marley Marl produced albums out. By 1989, all three were at album number two and the remaining Juice Crew members that were yet to start were Kool G. Rap, Craig G and Masta Ace. Masta Ace didn’t debut till 1990, but Craig G and Kool G. Rap both came out in 1989 with their debuts. While Craig G’s The Kingpin sucked and killed any potential his career could’ve had, Kool G. Rap delivered with the backup from his DJ, Polo. Kool G. Rap is the hardest rapper from Juice Crew and therefore it makes sense that he’s the most skilled too. While the smooth Big Daddy Kane had crossover appeal, G. Rap was too raw for that and this album – Road to the Riches – is evidence of that. In here, Kool G. Rap most of the time spends the album’s length to simply brag and what a braggart he is! His rhymes are simply too good to be comparable. Just give “Men at Work” a listen to see what I’m saying. Kool G. Rap is ruthless on the mic and even though Road to the Riches is often associated with the creation of mafioso rap, it’s completely false and apart from the title track “Road to the Riches”, absolutely nothing is on that side. DJ Polo does the scratches and he’s excellent but Marley Marl takes care of the production duties and he gives the album a very good late 80s hardcore sound with use of samples mostly from James Brown (an obvious source for New York albums back then). Although the beats haven’t aged all that well, they are still very good and only help Kool G. Rap’s excellent rapping. The only thing to hold back this album from perfection are the crossover tracks which just don’t fit Kool G. Rap’s hardcore, raw style. I’m talking about “Truly Yours”, “Cars” (although I like that new wave sample) and “She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not”. But with those tracks aside, everything else is pure excellence. –Prt CptRead more›