“Sing A Simple Song” by Sly & The Family Stone

Today is National Simplicity Day. This track fits perfectly. Released in 1968, it was actually a b-side for the number one hit single “Everyday People”. The b-side surely helped the a-side to top the charts. It’s considered a hit in it’s own right by fans.

Since it’s release has been covered by a number of acts, including Dusty Springfield, Diana Ross & the Supremes, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, The Commodores, Miles Davis, The Meters, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Prince, and many others.

It has also been sampled by numerous artists, including 2Pac, Jodeci, Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy, De La Soul, Digital Underground, Cypress Hill, Gorillaz, Arrested Development, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, and Alanis Morissette.

courtesy of discogs

“Do The Swim” by Bobby Freeman

Hear the brilliant production of Sly Stone in this number one hit for Bobby Freeman. By late 1964, this track beat out The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Ventures, Jan & Dean and Dusty Springfield. You can already hear Sly Stone’s sound in the arrangement, instrumentation, and production.

The Swim was also a dance. Here is a video of Bobby miming the song while doing the dance. This appeared on a television show that year.

Today is National Learn To Swim Day. Needless to say, everyone should learn to swim. A swim instructor first teaches folks how to breath and float. These two things alone can save your life.

We’re using today as an occasion to turn on the summer music! This classic track is included! So tune in to the live stream to hear our summer tracks in the mix.

-Wacky Alex

“The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum” by The Fun Boy Three

It’s hard to write about this one because the lyrics say it all. Let’s face it. Well meaning people around the world are currently being manipulated by lunatics.

The phrase is thought to originate in a 1919 remark by Richard A. Rowland about the founding of United Artists. It may have been an allusion to Edgar Allan Poe’s The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether, published in 1845.

I found the music video for the 1981 version by Fun Boy Three. The video is passable but the audio sounds low-fi and mono. It appears that it was recovered from a vhs tape of a live broadcast. This is all the record label seems to have at the moment. Perhaps the original film has been lost.

We play the 1981 version, but the song has been recorded many times. The 2019 version by The Specials is much more true to the rock-steady ska style and has flashy modern production. I almost want to reverse engineer the EQ curve and apply it to the original track.

Take a moment to do The Ska today, Rudy. It feels good.

-Wacky Alex

“Children’s Story” by Slick Rick

This is a classic hip-hop track that I listened to as a kid back in the day. The idea that this is a story for children is a bit tongue in check. This is not Mother Goose. Kids living in tough neighborhoods, like I did, would need to hear this kind story. Other kids? I don’t know.

Listen closely near the end. You’ll hear a slowed down scream followed by a “yeah”. They become part of the rhythm and mimic a call and response vocal. These are samples from a classic James Brown record. Indeed they are the same samples used on “It Takes Two” by MC Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock.

Today is National Tell A Story Day. I can’t think of another track that is more appropriate. The official music video here does not track with the lyrics but it’s fun watch.

Is there a story you need to tell somebody today? Get to it.

-Wacky Alex