Category: self titled album

On this day in music history: August 13, 1991 …

On this day in music history: August 13, 1991 – “Cypress Hill”, the debut album by Cypress Hill is released. Produced by DJ Muggs, it is recorded at Image Recording Studio in Los Angeles, CA and Studio 4 Recording in Philadelphia, PA from Late 1990 – Early 1991. Formed in 1989, Los Angeles, CA based rap group are signed Columbia’s Ruffhouse Records imprint on the strength of an early demo recording the group makes. Their first album breakdown and change the sound of Hip Hop with DJ Muggs’ (Lawrence Muggerud) unique production style, a mixture of murky sounding Funk, R&B, and Jazz based samples, lyrics about their upbringings in South Gate district of Los Angeles, and the starkly contrasting vocals of rappers B-Real (Louis Freese) and Sen Dog (Senen Reyes), strikes a nerve in the Hip Hop community. With solid support from underground college radio, the groundbreaking album spins off seven singles, and winning the group a large and loyal fan base. The original vinyl LP is deleted shortly after its original release, but is reissued several times in more recent years. In 1999, UK label Music On Vinyl reissues the album as two LP set pressed on 180 gram vinyl for improved sound quality. In 2011 to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of its release, Get On Down Records reissues “Cypress Hill” in its original single vinyl LP format, pressed on limited edition red vinyl. Two editions of this release are issued, with one featuring the regular LP jacket artwork, and a special edition with an outer slip case featuring the groups skull logo printed on a silver/gray background. Get On Down releases another vinyl pressing in January of 2016 to mark the landmark albums twenty-fifth anniversary. This edition is pressed on clear vinyl and limited to only 700 copies. “Cypress Hill” peaks at number four on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirty one on the Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: August 12, 1991 …

On this day in music history: August 12, 1991 – “Metallica”, the fifth album by Metallica is released. Produced by Bob Rock, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, it is recorded at One On One Recording Studios in North Hollywood, CA and Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, B.C., Canada from October 6, 1990 – June 16, 1991. Impressed with his work on label mate Mötley Crüe’s “Dr. Feelgood” album, the veteran metal band hire producer Bob Rock to produce the follow up to their successful fourth album “…And Justice For All”. Musically, it differs from previous Metallica albums, with many of the songs having slower tempos than the band’s trademark high velocity “thrash metal” style. The recording sessions with Rock are often tense as he pushes the band members outside their normal comfort zone within the studio. The intense atmosphere spills over into their personal lives as well, with Hetfield, Ulrich and bassist Jason Newsted all winding up divorced from their spouses by the time recording is completed. In spite of all of the turmoil, the album is a huge critical and commercial success, launching Metallica into the mainstream on a worldwide basis. Nicknamed “The Black Album” by fans (for its stark black cover featuring the bands logo and a coiled snake in dark grey print), it spins off six singles including “Enter Sandman” (#16 Pop, #10 Mainstream Rock), “Sad But True” (#98 Pop, #15 Mainstream Rock), “The Unforgiven” (#35 Pop, #10 Mainstream Rock) and “Nothing Else Matters” (#34 Pop, #11 Mainstream Rock). The album wins a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1992. Available on vinyl only sporadically since its original limited run in the format in 1991, the album is issued equally limited pressings as a four LP set mastered at 45 RPM in 2008, and a two LP set by Simply Vinyl in 2000. It is remastered an reissued again as a double vinyl 180 gram LP set in 2015. “Metallica” spends four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 16x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Ceritification.

On this day in music history: August 11, 1982 …

On this day in music history: August 11, 1982 – “Vanity 6”, the debut album by Vanity 6 is released. Produced by Prince (aka “The Starr Company”), it is recorded at Kiowa Trail Home Studio in Chanhassen, MN and Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA from July – August 1981, March – April 1982. Having toured with and having had a sometimes contentious rivalry with musician Rick James, Prince decides to put together a girl group, after seeing James’ female background vocalists The Mary Jane Girls. Originally dubbed “The Hookers”, Prince pairs his then girlfriend Denise Matthews (aka “Vanity”) together with his former girlfriend Susan Moonsie and wardrobe mistress Brenda Bennett, forming the group. Prince’s personal assistant Jamie Shoop is initially intended to be the third member, but is dropped from the group after he meets and begins a relationship with Matthews. Ironically she had dated Rick James before Prince. The female vocal trio is created as another outlet for Prince’s prolific songwriting output, though the songs are credited to the individual group members. Initially, three songs are cut for the project in the Summer and Fall of 1981 before stopping to embark on the Controversy Tour. The remaining five songs are recorded during March and April of 1982. Playing most of the instruments himself, Prince also enlists assistance from band mate Dez Dickerson and Time members Jesse Johnson and Terry Lewis who also co-write songs. The albums initial single, “He’s So Dull” (later featured in “National Lampoon’s Vacation”) fails to make an impact, and is quickly followed up with “Nasty Girl” in September of 1982. The sexually provocative and funky track becomes an immediate smash on club dance floors, and on R&B radio. The song is later featured in the Spike Lee directed film “Girl 6” in 1996. Original vinyl and cassette copies of the album feature labels that read “Side 1 and Side 6” instead of 1 and 2. It spins off four singles including “Nasty Girl” (#7 R&B, #1 Club Play, #101 Pop), “Bite The Beat” and “Drive Me Wild”. “Wild”, initially released as the B-side of “Nasty Girl”, receives significant play on radio and in clubs, prompting Prince to remix and extend (while concurrently remixing his own “Little Red Corvette”) the originally two and a half minute track to over an seven minute work out. Adding a funky rhythm guitar and stinging solo lead, it is released as a 12" and edited 7" in March of 1983. Part of the initial press run of the US LP come with a 18 x 22" poster of the group (taken by photographer Allen Beaulieu), that becomes a rare and coveted collector’s item. Originally released on CD in 1988, the album has been out of print since the mid 90’s, commanding a premium price on the collector’s market due to its enduring popularity, also being heavily bootlegged as a result. “Vanity 6” peaks at number six on the Billboard R&B album chart, number forty five on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: August 5, 1977 -…

On this day in music history: August 5, 1977 – “Brick”, the second album by Brick is released. Produced by Phil Benton, Ed Seay and Brick, it is recorded at Web IV Studios in Atlanta, GA from May – June 1977. With a Gold selling album (“Good High”) and a Platinum selling single (“Dazz”) under their belts, the Atlanta, GA based R&B quintet Brick begin writing and recording their sophomore release. Moving away from the jazzier aspects of their first album, the band still maintain their funky driving edge, balanced with catchy and accessible hooks. The sessions produce another set of smoking grooves, led by the first single “Dusic” (#2 R&B, 18 Pop) released in tandem with the album in the late Summer of 1977. Much like its predecessor “Dazz”, “Dusic” recalls that hit, featuring all five band members singing together in unison. It becomes another top five R&B smash for Brick, and is their second and final top 20 single on the pop chart. However, it is the follow up that enjoys the longest lasting legacy from the album. “Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody” (#7 R&B, #92 Pop) primarily featuring Jimmy Brown on lead vocals, also becomes another instant R&B classic. The song is sampled by Philadelphia based rap group Three Times Dope on the track “Joe Familiar”, by Miami Bass artist Chilla Frauste on “The Mind in 1989. Though the best known use of "Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody” is by Kid ‘N’ Play in 1991, with the duo flipping the R&B/Funk classic into a new jack swing flavored rap/sung hybrid. “Dusic” is sampled a number of times also, by the likes of MC Hammer, Rodney O. & Joe Cooley, Schoolly D., Master P, Hi-C and Insane Clown Posse. Other tracks from Brick’s self-titled second album including the equally funky “Living From The Mind” (sampled by Yaggfu Front on “Lookin’ For A Contract” in 1993) and “We Don’t Wanna’ Sit Down (We Wanna’ Git Down)” (sampled by Luke Feat. 2 Live Crew on “Do The Bart”, Original Concept on “Gottanotha Funky Break 4 U Hit It!” and Toddy Tee on “Do You Wanna Go To The Liquor Store”) also become fan favorites and are also sampled. “Brick” becomes the band’s highest charting album overall, selling nearly a million copies in the US. The album goes out of print for many years following Bang Records shifting from independent distribution, to being distributed by, and eventually purchased and absorbed by CBS Records (now Sony Music Entertainment) in the early 80’s. It is reissued briefly on CD in 1997 by RSI Records. It is reissued again 2011 by Wounded Bird Records, with the single edits of both “Dusic” and “Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody” as additional bonus tracks. It is also reissued as part of a two-fer CD set with “Good High” on Cherry Red Records subsidiary Robinsongs Records in 2016. “Brick” spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, and peaking at number fifteen on the Top 200.

On this day in music history: August 5, 1969 -…

On this day in music history: August 5, 1969 – “The Stooges”, the debut album by The Stooges is released. Produced by John Cale, it is recorded at Russ Gibb’s Grande Ballroom in Detroit, MI on October 30 – 31, 1968. Recorded in just two days with Velvet Underground multi-instrumentalist John Cale, Cale’s original mix of the album is rejected by Elektra (four of the rejected mixes are released on a reissue of the album in 2005), with the actual released version being remixed by Iggy Pop and label founder Jac Holzman. Featuring such proto-punk classics as “No Fun” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, it becomes highly influential, providing the inspiration for the Punk Rock music genre in the 70’s. The bands frontman Iggy Pop is widely acknowledged as the godfather of the punk movement. The vinyl LP is reissued by Sundazed Music in 2002, with the CD version being remastered and reissued in 2005, featuring several of John Cale’s original mixes, alternate vocal performances, outtakes and full unedited versions. An expanded two CD collector’s edition is released by Rhino Records in 2010, featuring more rare and previously unreleased tracks and a bonus 7" of the track “Asthma Attack”. The initial press run are incorrectly labeled with discs one and two reversed, with those CD’s using the gold Elektra label. They are quickly corrected with the second pressings featuring the red Elektra label used on the original 1969 LP pressings. Rhino also reissues the album as a 180 gram vinyl LP the same year. “The Stooges” peaks at number one hundred six on the Billboard Top 200.

On this day in music history: August 4, 1978 -…

On this day in music history: August 4, 1978 – “Switch”, the debut album by Switch is released. Produced by Jermaine Jackson, Bobby DeBarge, Gregory Williams, Jody Sims, Greg Wright, The Bewley Brothers and Michael B. Sutton, it is recorded at Motown Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA from Early – Mid 1978. Originally formed in 1975 in Grand Rapids, MI as White Heat, they receive their initial break when they’re signed to R&B superstar Barry White’s production company, recording and releasing their debut album on RCA Records. Unfortunately, the record flops and White closes down his production company, leaving the band at loose ends. In 1976, they work with German producer Bernd Lichters, who had previously assisted them with recording a demo tape, then signing a deal with Polydor Records under the name Hot Ice. The album titled “Pall Mall Groove” is initially released in Germany only, and it too fails to sell, with the band at a dead end once again. By 1977, the band’s line up now consists of members Greg Williams (trumpet, keyboards, vocals), Jody Sims (drums, vocals), Eddie Fluellen (trombone, keyboards, vocals), Phillip Ingram (vocals, keyboards, percussion) and brothers Bobby DeBarge (lead vocals, keyboards, drums) and Tommy DeBarge (bass, vocals). Williams and Sims go to Los Angeles in search of a record contract. While visiting the offices of Motown Records in Hollywood, the pair run into Jermaine Jackson and his then wife Hazel Gordy Jackson. They let Jackson hear their demo tape and he is immediately impressed, then telling his father-in-law, label founder Berry Gordy, Jr. about the talented young musicians. The band are quickly signed to Motown and relocate to L.A. to rehearse and record their first album. They are re-dubbed Switch, for the band members ability to play multiple instruments, switching from one to another as well as all being able to sing in the course of performing. They make a major impression right out of the gate with their debut single “There’ll Never Be” (#6 R&B, #36 Pop) released in mid June of 1978. An instant classic buoyed by Bobby DeBarge’s soaring falsetto lead vocals, it puts the band on the map, racing up the R&B charts and landing in the pop Top 40. It is followed by lush and tender ballad “I Wanna Be Closer” (#22 R&B) written by Jermaine Jackson. Featuring co-lead vocals by Bobby and Phillip Ingram (younger brother of James Ingram), it too becomes a hit and a Quiet Storm classic. The album propels the band into stardom, selling over a million copies in the US. Long out of print in any form, the album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2011 by Dutch reissue label PTG Records. It is reissued again by Big Break Records in 2014, with two additional bonus tracks. “Switch” peaks at number six on the Billboard R&B album chart, and number thirty seven on the Top 200.

On this day in music history: July 29, 1981 – …

On this day in music history: July 29, 1981 – “The Time”, the debut album by The Time is released. Produced by Prince (aka “Jamie Starr”) and Morris Day, it is recorded at Alpha Studios in Burbank, CA and Kiowa Trail Home Studio in Chanhassen, MN in April 1979 and April 1981. As part of his contract with Warner Bros Records, Prince is allowed to develop and produce other artists. The contractual clause gives the artist another outlet for his prolific musical output. Taking inspiration from the 1980 film “The Idolmaker”, Prince comes up with the idea of putting together a band around his old high school friend and former Grand Central band mate, singer and drummer Morris Day. The other members of what become The Time, are assembled from rival Minneapolis band Flyte Tyme, including keyboardists Jimmy Jam (i.e. James Harris III), and Monte Moir, bassist Terry Lewis, guitarist Jesse Johnson and drummer Garry “Jellybean” Johnson. However, when the album is recorded, it features Prince playing nearly all of the instruments himself and is heard on background vocals throughout (synth solo by Dr. Fink on “Get It Up”) with Morris Day on lead vocals (drums on “Oh Baby”, “Girl”, “Cool”, and “The Stick”). The song “Oh Baby” is the first track recorded for the project, originally cut during sessions for Prince’s self-titled second album in the Spring of 1979, but are substituted with Day’s lead vocals. The other five tracks are recorded in April of 1981 in the artists home studio (“The Purple House”) outside of Minneapolis. The album is a critical and commercial success upon its release, quickly establishing The Time along side their mentor. It spins off three singles including “Get It Up” (#6 R&B), “Cool” (#7 R&B, #90 Pop), and “Girl” (#49 R&B). The album’s final track, the provocative and double entendre laden “The Stick” (issued in edited form as the B-side of “Girl”) also receives some R&B radio play, and also becomes a fan favorite. Originally released on CD in 1990, the album is remastered and issued by Warner Music Japan as part of their Warner 80’s Soul Classics Best Collection 1000 Series in 2015. “The Time” peaks at number seven on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fifty on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: July 28, 1980 – …

On this day in music history: July 28, 1980 – “Zapp”, the debut album by Zapp is released. Produced by Roger Troutman and William “Bootsy” Collins, it is recorded at United Sound Studios in Detroit, MI from December 1979 – Early 1980. The debut album by the Dayton, OH R&B/Funk band is the result of Roger Troutman’s childhood friend Bootsy Collins introducing him to Parliament/Funkadelic leader George Clinton. The pair help the band secure a record deal with Warner Bros (then the home of both Funkadelic and Bootsy’s Rubber Band). While Roger and Bootsy are working together on another song titled “Funky Bounce”, George Clinton (who happens to visit the studio that evening) overhears the track in progress, hearing a particularly scintillating section of the groove, and suggest to the pair that they create another song around that hook, also using the talkbox. It spins off two singles including “More Bounce To The Ounce” (#2 R&B, #86 Pop) and “Be Alright” (#9 R&B). The epic “More Bounce” goes on to become one of the most widely sampled and influential records in history. “Be Alright” is later sampled as basis of 2Pac’s hit single “Keep Your Head Up” in 1993. The album is reissued on CD by reissue label Get On Down Records in 2011 packaged in a digipak cover. It is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Music On Vinyl in 2014. Warner Music Group Japan also remasters and reissues the album on CD as part of its Warner 80’s Soul Classics Best Collection 1000 Series in 2015. “Zapp” spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number nineteen on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: July 27, 1983 – …

On this day in music history: July 27, 1983 – “Madonna”, the debut album by Madonna is released. Produced by Reggie Lucas, John “Jellybean” Benitez and Mark Kamins, it is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in New York City from May 1982 – April 1983. Proceeded by the singles “Everybody” and “Burning Up”, Madonna works with former Mtume guitarist Reggie Lucas on the album until the two have musical differences during the sessions. Lucas abruptly leaves the project midway through the recording. Madonna calls upon her then boyfriend, club DJ, producer, and remixer “Jellybean” Benitez to help finish mixing and recording the album. It sells slowly for the first few months of release until “Holiday” (#16 Pop, #25 R&B, #1 Club Play) is issued as a single in September of 1983. The song is a last minute addition to the album, when the track “Ain’t No Big Deal” is dropped from the running order. That song later surfaces on a B-sides compilation titled “Revenge Of The Killer B’s” in 1985, and on the B-side of the single “True Blue” in late 1986. Within a year, “Madonna” spins off the top 10 hits “Borderline” (#10 Pop) and “Lucky Star” (#4 Pop). Its belated success delays the release of the follow up album “Like A Virgin” (recorded in the Spring of 1984) by several months, it ascends the charts during the Spring, Summer and Fall of 1984. Original vinyl LP, cassette and CD pressings of “Madonna” include a shorter version of the tracks “Everybody” running 4:57 and “Burning Up”, running 3:41. The remastered CD released in 2001 substitutes original version of “Everybody” for the 12" version clocking in at 6:02. Later LP pressings also include a longer version of “Burning Up” running 4:48, also used on the European release of the album, and remastered CD. The album is remastered and reissued in 2001 with the track line up from the second LP pressing, and includes the original 12" dance mixes of “Burning Up” and “Lucky Star” as bonus tracks. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Rhino Records in 2016. To commemorate the thirty fifth anniversary of its release, the album is reissued on vinyl again for Record Store Day on April 21, 2018. The limited edition picture disc, is a faithful replica of the Japanese only release issued in 1987. Re-titled “The First Album” in many foreign territories, the picture disc also replicates the inner sleeve insert with the lyric sheet (printed in English) and a brief biography of Madonna (printed in Japanese). “Madonna” peaks at number eight on the Billboard Top 200, number twenty on the R&B album chart, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: July 26, 1974 – …

On this day in music history: July 26, 1974 – “Phoebe Snow”, the debut album by Phoebe Snow is released. Produced by Dino Airali and Phil Ramone, it is recorded at Producer’s Workshop in Hollywood, CA and A&R Studios in New York City from Mid – Late 1973, February – March 1974. Born in New York City and raised in Teaneck, NJ, Phoebe Laub grows up surrounded by music. Encouraged by her parents, Phoebe begins playing guitar in her teens. In the early 70’s, she begins performing at amateur nights in Greenwich Village. During this time, Laub adopts her stage name, calling herself Phoebe Snow after a character advertising the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, a rail line running from Buffalo, NY to Hoboken, NJ. Snow is seen by Denny Cordell, co-owner of Shelter Records, while performing at The Bitter End in 1972. Impressed by her unique contralto voice and guitar playing ability, he offers to sign her to a recording contract. Shortly after, Snow begins work on her debut album with Cordell and Dino Airali producing. Inexperienced in the studio and lacking discipline, Snow makes only minor progress after several months. With Shelter faltering financially, something has to be done to get the project back on track. Airali approaches record producer and engineer Phil Ramone to assist. Having a great sensitivity toward artist temperament, as well has possessing prodigious musical gifts and technical expertise himself, Phil Ramone proves to be just what the doctor ordered. Ramone takes Snow’s spare acoustic guitar based songs and surrounds them with subtle and understated instrumentation, providing the perfect back drop to showcase her voice. A number of seasoned musicians are brought in for the sessions, including Zoot Sims (saxophone), Ron Carter, Chuck Delmonico (bass), Steve Gadd (drums), Teddy Wilson, Bob James (keyboards), Dave Mason, David Bromberg (guitars), Hugh McDonald (bass, guitar), Margaret Ross (harp) and Ralph MacDonald (percussion). With little time or money to spare, the album is completed in just a couple of weeks. “Phoebe Snow” is released to little fanfare, and initially looks to be a flop, when her cover of Sam Cooke’s “Good Times” featuring The Persuasions on background vocals begins receiving airplay on R&B stations. Because of her soulful voice and coarse mane of dark hair, many initially believe that Snow is black. From there, DJ’s discover the track “Poetry Man” (#5 Pop, #1 AC), a song that Phoebe writes about an affair she has with a married man. With little promotion from Shelter, the song takes off, taking Phoebe Snow from relative obscurity to the pop music spotlight by the early Spring of 1975. The album spins off one more single with “Harpo’s Blues” (#20 AC), also earning Snow a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. “Phoebe Snow” peaks at number four on the Billboard Top 200, number twenty on the R&B album chart, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.