Chicago Critical Mass 062907

One of the best rides of my life?

Really, I went places in the City of Chicago, on a bike with roughly 800 of my closest friends, that I have never seen , much less traveled in a car or any other vehicle for that matter. But to be on a bike on a summer Friday night when the air temp was in the 60s- it couldn't have been more perfect.

Below is a picture of a mcdonald'$ on Cermak, under the American flag. I think the shot sums it all up- you have a ton of people on bikes, riding by a mcd'$ and a Coke sign above the tunnel. Riding up the Wild West Side, here is a shot that also captures the scenery and mood. Picture scenes such as this, replete with alternately Roger & The Gypsies and Curtis Mayfield blasting on the mobile bike soundsystems-loud. The residents, and the undercover police threw a lot of high signs and raise the roof gestures. They looked as if they were watching a procession of Martians. The shorty shaking it ten feet off the ground-safety be damned- was definitely feeling it.

I really have to give props to the mobile sound system DJ who was playing Chitown Homeboy #1, Mr. Mayfield. The scenery matched up with the anti-drug lyrical content perfectly. RIP Curtis.
This shot is just for looks, as I think it looks awesome. That tunnel on Damen on the South Side is like a block long, then there is a break and then it continues for another block. In a word, "Whoa!!!"


An Unexpected Invitation

I received a nice card in the mail a week or so back from my friends at Bentley! I cannot tell you why they may consider me a good candidate to purchase a $180K motorcar, but let's just say my interest was piqued. Let's face, my only car is a 66 Mustang in driver condition, seems a quite a leap of faith to hop into Continental GT Coupe territory.

Around the Chicago area, it appears that Bentley is raising its head above the typical market segment of private country club members and semi pro polo players.

So, what did I do, I made sure that Iowahawk was available and I called to RSVP. The very polite lady who answered the phone was gracious and said that we were welcome at any time on Friday and that we should come hungry as there would be both breakfast and lunch available. Load up on the canape supplies, dear Bentley dealer, because hungry bloggers are on the way.

Anyhoo, see a pic above of both Iowahawk and me sporting our hotrod costumes. So after getting a new oil pan and a new battery box installed on the 66, I was ready to rumble.

I fired up the Stang, enjoyed the fumes on unspent petrol and headed south the few miles a chez Iowahawk.

We came up with a plan that was predicated on the possibility that the Bentley folks may let us check out a Continental unsupervised, we speculated that this was maybe a 30% chance.
I will say that for $180K, The Continental Coupe GT is quite a looker. And it has the beans to back up the looks. It has 20 inch wheels, a six speed tiptronic style trans and 550 HP v12 and all wheel drive.
Here is a picture of the car that we were allowed to drive. The set up was very nice as they let us drive it for however long we wanted, but alas, there was a Bentley representative riding along. Donuts, neutral drops and attempts at four wheel powerslides were not in the cards for Iowahawk and rb that day.
Scary as this sounds, I think that the Continental GT Coupe may be worth $180K, I came away feeling that this motorcar had an unlimited powerband and that I was driving something in the level of safety of a bank vault.


I won't be able to attend...

Via The Stepfather of Soul blog, I saw this awesome poster for the Soul show this Saturday. $15?!? Get out there Chicago!

Sorry about the post avalanche, just a lot of stuff today.

Funky Shout Outs--Some Mixes to pass the week

Since I have a few minutes this morning, I wanted to give some shouts out to some other blogs that are doing the funky work, to make our weeks roll a bit more smoothly with good tunage:

First up, Vincent at Fufu Stew has a new mix called Fufu Funk Fix #2.

Next, this is tomorrow has a set up called 30 min funk workout mix #2.

Dave at heavy soul brutha has a set called Caplog Meets Soul Brutha Mod Radio UK Show.

All of these sets should put some more glide in your stride, support these blogs!

Two of Ford's Finest

A 66 289 Stang and a 31 Hot Rod Coupe.


I found this site, Clever Cycles in Portland, OR. They are offering Dutch work bikes that are known as Bakfietsen.

The rider sits behind the large bucket (that is perfect for carrying stuff and people) and the steering linkage goes under the bucket and turns the front wheel. There is even a fairing/roof available for the bucket that is perfect for all of the weather in Nederlands (and Portland).

The red gizmo in front of the pedals is called a Stoke Monkey and is a human powered motor that assists in pedalling, also offered from Clever Cycles. It runs off of the batteries on the back of the bike, which are charged by the human powering the bike-- not the Grid.

So in effect the bakfiet above is a human powered hybrid. Take that you Prius drivers!

I am thinking that braking would be a challenge even with disc brakes. Maybe a brake booster could be added like on those old heavy 50s cars with 4 drum brakes.

Here are some clips of them in action-- Crazy stuff.


Coop @ So-Cal Open House photos

No reason for this link other than Coop saw many more cool cars than I did today...
Check out his shots from the So-Cal Speed Shop Open House.


Get well, soon, Mr. Coop.

Rough Guide to Dub

As I posted earlier, I have been gigging to more dub as of late. I got this disc a while back and the cratedigger reference system has been jiggling the mortar loose from the cratedigger crib ever since.

The second track Satia, Keith Hudson meets King Tubby (pictured above with the BKLounge crown) is a prime example of shaking everything I own at this point in time.

The groove in Conquering Dub credited to Yabba U & King Tubby, is tight, basic reverbed horn charts over a tight bass and some sick reverbed organ that never seems to decay. When the lead becomes the chink a chink guitar into the organ into the horn chart, you miss the bass, then it drops. Almost a relief, then the echoed organ comes into play. This is the stuff. Find an MP3 below, kind reader.

Le Roi Tuby is apparently a big fan of sound effects as well. Thunder and gunshots predominate such as on track 5.

sometimes the cymbals get the treatment and will mess with your noggin opposite the flute in track 8, Satta Dread Dub by Aggravators. "Let us repatriate" "Zion yeaaaaah, repatriate...." into reverb space.

What gets me in these productions is the trebly guitar riffs that reverb off into space... Then other sound elements are dropping in, just like the cut n paste computer culture that followed many of these sounds by a couple of decades in the 90s.

Many of these tracks are pretty short in my mind for dub tracks, methinks that this collection is an excellent way to get one's feet wet for all that is dub. Could they be edits? I am too ignorant of the genre to know, but I dig groovin' to this collection. Dig it!


Downbeat the Ruler

As it has been extremely nice weather wise around these parts, I have found myself hitting the reggae, dub and instro sounds a bit more than I have in more than in a few years.

Along these lines, I found the CD pictured above and available here.

While I shudder to think that anyone could ever use music as background music, (kind of like hanging a painting that an artist labored on over a toilet) this CD is a perfect SDTRK to working or perhaps cooking a gourmet meal of spicy beans and potatoes.

I am sure that everyone knows the deal with Coxsone Dodd, his sound system and Studio One, ground zero for all that is Reggae. I will be brief. Mr. Dodd used to come to America to search (dig) for R&B to spin on his system, with the ensuing wave of Rock and or Roll, Mr. Dodd needed to create some original music for use on his system.

He started a label in 1959, and in 63 set up a recording studio. The rest is history.

Here is a track from the CD, do yourself a favor and get a copy of this one.

Real Rock by Sound Dimension

Cool Blogs- FuFu Stew and The Snack Bar

Vincent has a couple of cool blogs here:

Fufu Stew

The Snack Bar

I came across his stuff via some other blogs, what strikes me about Vincent is that he has a variety of tastes and is not afraid to stretch out a bit and discuss (and mix) different styles and genres of music. He is a prolific poster of mixes, so take a look and LISTEN.

He recently posted a Meters live set excerpt from Bonaroo from a couple of years back.

Check these sites out, you will not be disappointed.


My garage find Advent loudspeakers

As I was perusing a garage sales in my area, I came across a sale in nice neighborhood, where I have made some decent scores in the past.

I overlooked the boxes of plastic coat hangers and the ugly (but clean) cookie jars and travel bags, when I hit upon the sight of these orphaned Advent mini speakers.

They have real hardwood (not veneer) tops and bottoms, so while they are about 12 inches tall, they have some sort of heft to them. They were made in Schiller Park, IL I am guessing in the late 70s or early 80s by American Jensen.

The man of the house said that they both worked...

I inquired as to the price and they were $1. I asked if that was for the pair and the lady said, "No, for each speaker." I handed over the $2 and hopped in the car.

When I got home, I pulled an old receiver out of the basement, along with an old Technics cd player from the early 90s, and hooked up the "system" for backyard chore enjoyment on the deck.

The Coltrane that was played at dinner, sounded surprisingly clean and Mr. Coltrane's sax seemed to penetrate the neighborhood. The Funky 16 Corners and Fleamarket Funk comps sounded cool as well. The rumble from these old soul comps shook the timbers of my deck.

These Advents would make excellent computer speakers, or non powered studio monitors.


Damn This Blog is Cool- Voodoo Funk

I came across this blog and it really makes mine look lame. Frank is a digger of records, but he is not combing through record fairs, garage sales or ePay...

He is in West Africa hunting for funky African discs. Frank has also posted some MP3 mixes, and I am starting to check them out. Above you can see some of the pic sleeves that he has amassed. I need to start reading this one from the beginning.

Spooky Tooth Sunshine Help Me

I came across this track on the Mod Chicago related site, Our Way of Thinking.

I think that this incarnation of Mod Chicago will be the 4th one that I have attended, and every one has been a highlight of my year.

The Leslie cabinet shimmering at the beginning over the tomtom taps is tops, along with the freakbeat searing guitar lead going into the vocal at the beginning. Ace.

"Crazy dreams and mindblowing schemes," I am a sucker for songs that have a build like this. The harpsichord interlude with the choral vocals is not bad either.

Kind of makes my ears think of a Fleur de Lys type sound with a healthy helping of Rupert's People Hammond thrown in for good measure.

Sunshine Help Me was their debut 45 and this track appeared on their 1968 LP, It's All About (Island ILPS 9080). It was also released as Tobacco Road here in the USofA due to the fact that the LP contained this song and it was a live staple for them.

It seems that they drifted off into prog territory with their 2 ensuing LPs, so I am not sure that I am interested in learning more about that era of their career.

Doing some quick research says that ST shared a producer with Steve Winwood's Traffic, Jimmy Miller, so some listeners detect some audio similarity between the bands.

I can't say that I can recall hearing any other Spooky Tooth tracks. They have reunited here is their site.


United Travel Service Gypsy Eyes

I came across this track on the recent compilation that was distroed on GaragePunk Forums called Extra Terrestrial Sojourn #2. Garagebeatnik, made a nice sounding comp. You are in his listening room, feeling the needle drop on each disc.

I know nothing about this except, this catalog number Ridon 860. An online resource dates this 45 to 68. "Gypsy Eyes" looks to be previously uncomped as well.

Please find a button below to hear or d/l a 160kbps file.

The start with the jangle punctuated by the bass drum kick is quite cool. I like story songs from this point in time, like Fortune Teller. "Those eyes... sharp as a knife."

The guitar break is brief, swirling and distorted, but keeps breaking under the vocal.

I think that you will dig it. A moody track for a rainy day in Chicago.