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Friday, Nov 12 2004 | 16:50

The Rebirth’s exclusive heavyweight cover of The Mighty Ryeder’s “Evil Vibrations” (sampled famously by De La Soul) has already seized the airwaves coast-to-coast and abroad, from Los Angeles’s KCRW to the BBC Radio 1. The fourth volume of Ubiquity’s groundbreaking, innovative Rewind! series also features exclusive covers by SA-RA Creative Partners (Sly Stone), Waajeed from Slum Village’s Platinum Pied Pipers (Burt Bacharach), and Wall of Sound’s Shawn Lee (Nick Drake).

The Rewind! concept is simple – a selection of artists, producers, and bands record new versions of classic, underground, or favorite tunes that inspired them. It’s not just a blast from the past, it is also a look at the tracks that turn musicians, producers and DJs on, and an opportunity to give old tunes a new twist. Volume 4 includes covers of songs by everyone from The White Stripes to Burt Bacharach, Cameo to Nick Drake. Nearly half of the tracks on “Rewind! 4” were recorded exclusively for this release, and five of the songs are appearing for the first time here on CD. As with Volume 3 these tracks are all made from scratch “ there are no remixes or re-edits.

Sharon Jones and the Daptone crew firmly believe that America is their land, and this lil’ funk nugget is one side of the protest 7″ they released right before the presidential election of 2004. Has Woodie Guthrie ever sounded this funky? We don’t think so, but the song has certainly stood the test of time and couldn’t have been dropped at a more appropriate moment.

The Rebirth is a Los Angeles based septet with a sound built on an organic blend of new and traditional Soul, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Funk. Think Earth Wind & Fire, Ramp, Pleasure, Rotary Connection, Side Effect and Roy Ayers but don’t think that The Rebirth are simply a retro act. Pushing the limits of how a band can sound on wax The Rebirth regularly cross the line from live act to makers of funky electronic club music. Their cover of The Mighty Ryeders “Evil Vibrations” sounds equally at home in the walkman or the dance floor. The original track was sampled by De La Soul for the “Saturday (the Roller Skating song).”

We love the story that UK-based Willis sold copies of her own “Paper and Stone” EP from behind the counter at Soul Jazz records without letting on it was her. 1000 copies shifted quickly and the buzz around its unique folk-meets-soul-meets-country style landed her a deal at 679 where she released the “Come Get Some” album. Her cover of Cameo’s “Word Up” is from the follow-up “Take You High” EP and has become a highlight of her live show. On her website she mentions everyone from Barbara Streisand to N*E*R*D as influences, Cameos theatrical pop funk lies perhaps somewhere in between. One of her other favorite bands is The White Stripes, who coincidentally are covered here by Tru Thoughts artist Nostalgia 77. Taken from his first 12″ since the release of the debut album “Songs For My Funeral”, this cover version of “Seven Nation Army” features labelmate Alice Russell and was originally recorded as a ‘CDR special’ to play at the Tru Thoughts club night called phonic:hoop which takes place weekly in Brighton, England. Massive track, check those horns!

LA funkateers Orgone nailed their version of The Beginning of the End’s “Funky Nassau” which came out on a super-limited edition 7″ on Nuff Rope records. Taking on a very well-known song can be difficult but this easily hold it’s own with a new Afro-beat twist and a female vocal. SA-RA Creative Partners also hail from Los Angeles (and partially NYC) but took a slightly different approach by picking an obscure album cut to cover. “Just Like A Baby” is originally from “There’s A Riot Goin’ On”, an album which, despite packing the hit “Family Affair”, saw Sly and The Family Stone in a darker mood dealing with drug issues and the tumultuous state of the USA in 1971. We mentioned the Rewind! comp at our first meeting with Taz, Shafiq and Om’mas aka SA-RA Creative Partners, and they immediately suggested submitting this track.

Platinum Pied Pipers give an unlikely futuristic hip hop twist to the Burt Bacharach classic “The Look of Love.” The two-man dynamic musical duo from Detroit boasts a fresh-faced blend of modern hip hop and soul. Waajeed and Saadiq (PPP) look to tempt the masses and quench the thirst of an underground scene looking for something original and twisted with their forthcoming Ubiquity LP. They have two singles set for release this Fall, with their album looking likely to drop March 2005.

Vocalist Nicole Kramer teams up with Domu for a tasty rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me”. Originally found on Mitchell’s 1974 “Cloud and Spark” album, it’s hard to believe that this was her only Top 10 hit. Landing in territory not too far from the likes of Zero 7, Domu shows he’s not just a broken beat bad boy and Nicola’s performance is spot on. Domu explained that Nicole had encouraged him to buy a couple of Joni Mitchell albums. Having recently met a good guitar player (Michael Waterhouse) covering the song Nicole had been singing around the house seemed feasible. If Nicole Kramer’s name sounds familiar that is because she sang on Domu’s first album, and the RIMA album (JCR), on Jazzanova’s recent Patrice Rushen cover and she appears on Chateau Flight’s new album “The Meal.”

The crew that is Yam Who? have churned out some very memorable remixes over the past year or two. The sophisticated beat smiths from London have lent their skilful sprinkle of magic studio dust to everyone from Only Child, Xantone Blacq, Sidewinder and Rainer Truby on one side of the Atlantic to Pharrell, Dwele, Amp Fiddler, N’Dambi, Raphael Saadiq, Alison Crockett and Lizz Fields on the other. Their cover of Heatwave’s 1978 down tempo disco-soul classic (sampled by Tribe Called Quest), however, is their first track made completely from scratch. No remix, no samples, it’s all recorded fresh and new in their London studio. Much like their mixes the track stays simple to be effective.

John Beltran drove John Arnold, Jeremy Ellis and our own A&R chief Andrew Jervis crazy playing the Fania All-Stars version of this track over and over while we cruised the highways of Detroit this summer. We had to let him cover this track, we would never have heard the end of it otherwise, but we’re glad he did. Bringing in Arnold on guitar and Ellis on piano the Detroit trio let fly in Latin Jazz dance floor filling style on their version of “Vente Conmigo”.

Shawn Lee will be known to breaks n’ beats collectors as the man behind “The Ape Breaks”, “Planet of the Breaks” and the first in our “Music And Rhythm” series, as such he’s been sampled by everyone from Guru to The Gorillaz. As a multi-instrumentalist and singer he has played and recorded with a diverse range of artists including Coldcut, Leeann Rhimes, Martina Mcbride, UNKLE, Tony Joe White, Chateau flight, The Dust Brothers, St. Etienne, Jeff Buckley, Bomb the Bass, The Spice Girls, and Natasha Atlas not to mention recording solo records for Talkin Loud and Wall of Sound imprint We Love You. His new album “Soul Visa” is out in Japan. We were delighted when Mr Lee said he was taking on such a huge Nick Drake tune and knocked out by his thoroughly unique re-take.

“I Love You” is Kirk Degiorgio aka As One’s tribute to and cover of a Weldon Irvine song. It begins very faithfully, like a sweet soul tune, but by the end has moved into deep As One territory with spacey keys, cinematic strings and an all out synth-fest. Vocalist Paul Randolph has just released his debut on Kenny Dixon Jr.’s Black Mahogani label and in addition to appearing on the Detroit Experiment album is a full-time member of Amp Fiddler’s live act.

TRACKLISTING:

01. Sharon Jones and Lee Fields – This Land Is Our Land (Woody Guthrie)
02. The Rebirth – Evil Vibrations (Mighty Ryeders)
03. Willis – Word Up! (Cameo)
04. Nostalgia 77 – 7 Nation Army (White Stripes)
05. Orgone – Funky Nassau (Beginning Of The End)
06. Sa-Ra Creative Partners – Just Like A Baby (Sly + The Family Stone)
07. Platinum Pied Pipers – The Look Of Love (Burt Bacharach)
08. Nicole Kramer – Help Me (Joni Mitchell)
09. Yam Who? – The Star Of A Story (Heatwave)
10. John Beltran and the Detroit Latin All-Stars – Vente Conmigo (Fania All Stars)
11. Shawn Lee – River Man (Nick Drake)
12. As One – I Love You (Weldon Irvine)

The compilation “Rewind! 4” (Ubiquity) is set to release in January 2005.

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