I was in Chinatown the other day, scouring the art galleries and meeting up with the owners of a certain boutique called Choose Chinatown (check it out, folks!) Somewhere in the back alleys of Chung King Plaza, I stumbled upon a tremendous number of dead/dying bees. I think someone had smashed a hive, but regardless of the cause of death, the sight was pretty jarring in a transient sort of way. The bee apocalypse!

So bees were on my mind, which got me freely associating with everything bee-related, from honey (PB and honey sandwich!) to Bumblebee Unlimited, one of the great New York disco acts of the 1970s. "Why not write about them, considering the circumstances?" I thought to myself.

So here we are at "D16" with a special presentation of Bumblebee Unlimited.

The key players involved in B.U., in my opinion, were Patrick Adams and Leroy Burgess, both of whom achieved massive success throughout their respective careers. (Adams won a total of 32 gold and platinum records, worked extensively with Salsoul Records, and produced a tremendous amount of stuff, including some early, innovative hip-hop by the likes of Coolio and Eric B. & Rakim; Burgess, on the other hand, began his career as the frontman of the successful Harlem R&B outfit Black Ivory and continued to produce material for a number of groups after the band dissolved.)

Anyway, I don't have a whole lot to say on the band. They're a lot of fun ... really loose and funky with plenty of Harlem R&B and soul slink packed in to leave you dripping with heavy-on-the-butter disco like you've never heard before. One of the weirdest things about the group is the vocals. Just listen and you'll know what I mean.

Bumblebee Unlimited - I Love You

Bumblebee Unlimited - Lady Bug (Larry Levan Disco Remix)

Bumblebee Unlimited - Space Shuttle Ride

Buy it at Insound!

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Paris with Cazals

If you've been reading the Anthem Magazine website you probably picked up on the fact that I was in Paris on a bit of a business trip from Friday evening through Monday around noon. (I was working on a photo diary sort of piece with Cazals for the Spring issue.)

In an effort to make sure you guys really are reading the website that I'm pouring so much blood and sweat (and love!) into, I'm dropping the links in this post. Check it out!

When In France: Cazals Diary, Day 1
When In France: Cazals Diary, Day 2
When In France: Cazals Diary, Day 3
When In France: Cazals Diary, Day 4

It was a truly wonderful trip. I would like to thank the entirety of Cazals, The:Hours (their U.S./French label), all the other folks I worked with, and Marissa for being some of the most accommodating, amicable, and intelligent people around. I know I've found lifelong friends in them all.

Buy it at Insound!

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Well, it looks like the last "D" series post was published on November 24. Damn. My apologies for being so late, but give a brother a break, right?

I'm leaving for Paris in a matter of hours, so lets keep this brief and scattered.

How about we begin with a Grace-Jones-before-she-was-really-Grace-Jones jam: "Send In the Clowns." Yes, this one isn't original -- the lyrics (and arrangements, I suppose) were done by Sondheim way back in 1973 for the musical A Little Night Music. Makes sense for Jones, anyway.

Now on to the heavy one: "Bust That Nut (Downtown Mix)" by Poopee & the NY Squirrels. Poopee and her (his?) gang literally busted only one nut (aka 12") while in existence, but it yielded a euphoria unlike any other. Don't let me bust it alone, alright?

And ... last, but not least, a "message song": Cristina's "Blame It On Disco." The tune is an ode to the woes of living, loving, or even just liking someone who enjoys boogieing every once in a while. The song isn't really all that disco-y ... but that's the point! It has a repressed disco vibe. So, yeah, Cristina might be telling her B.F. to stop with the late nights out, but she's also telling him that she can't resist that beat, either.

Wish me luck! See you soon!

Grace Jones - Bring Out the Clowns

Poopee & the NY Squirrels - Bust That Nut (Downtown Mix)

Cristina - Blame It On Disco

Buy it at Insound!

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