Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - The Message (1982)


Ten months into the existence of Dad's Records and we can finally celebrate a momentous post: THE FIRST HIP HOP ALBUM. Now, I can usually tell how much my dad likes each record by how worn it is. Most Neil Young albums - folded sleeves, a looseness in the cardboard. The first and last track sure to have a few crackles and pops. But, The Message? Pristine. Felt (and sounded!) like it was pressed last week. 

So it's probably safe to conjecture that when I was a kid, Dad wasn't throwing me in the back of our green VW Rabbit, rolling down the windows, and blasting Grandmaster Flash while cruising down Northampton Street in Easton, PA. But that's what I love about my dad's collection; if it's important, if it's good - it's in there. It's half a collection of meaningful music, a compendium of the soundtrack of his life. And the other half, curated museum.

In doing a little reading about Joseph Saddler (Grandmaster Flash's real name), I found out that he also had a father who collected records. This large collection, combined with his interest in electronics, spurred him to experiment with what we now call, "DJing." He popularized scratching, punch phrasing, and backspinning, which have all become standard musical ingredients across almost all genres. Needless to say, I did not use my father's record collection in the same way. (he would have killed me)

Obviously, the biggest hit on this record is the title track, The Message. If you haven't heard, then you've probably never listened to music before, so I suggest you begin with some light reading. The track is positively perfect (and readily available in all music formats, so there's really no excuse to not have that track in your collection.) 

But the rest of the album has plenty to offer as well. I just heard She's Fresh in the dentist's office this past weekend. And, not belying its title, it held up. 

[ mp3 ]: Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - She's Fresh

Scorpio is also surprisingly modern sounding for 1982. A computerized voice may sound tired today (special thanks to the recent glut of auto-tune), but it's the kicking orchestration around it that really builds this song from the ground up.

[ mp3 ]: Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - Scorpio

It's been twenty eight years since this record came out. My dad's old VW Rabbit is dead and gone. All I'm saying is, keep your eyes open this summer for a Passat, cruising down Northampton Street blasting Grandmaster Flash. And when you see it, you can say to that is some real brand loyalty. 



I, Splotchy's Food & Drink Mix...

If you're not familiar with hilarious blog of "I, splotchy," then I suggest you blog roll it STAT. One of my favorite features of splotchy's blog is the Green Monkey Music Project, in which themes are announced, players are named, and a mix is made. It's good fun.

Anyways, dadsrecords contributed to the last mix. The theme was "Food & Drink." Here are my picks. You can find my portion, and the rest of the mix HERE.

And now...on with the picks...

ADAM GREEN salty candy

This guy is like a wonderful whimsical idiot genius. His songs don’t often make sense (or do they???), but they’re always funny. I hope that’s his intention. Otherwise, things just got


BLITZEN TRAPPER  gold for bread
Great track on an all around great album. If you haven’t heard the album’s title track, Furr, do yourself a favor. It’s “Best of” worthy. (best of 2009, best of Blitzen Trapper, best of most music)

THE CURE mint car
This song is happy Cure, if that’s a thing. It’s also full of Robert Smith’s patented non-verbal exclamations, which I have a real soft spot for.

GEORGE THOROGOOD one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer
A hardcore drinking song. And bourbon/beer combo is my third favorite combo (2 is The Dark Knight Returns w/ the Melvins’ Houdini. 1 is pizzeria/pretzel.)

MINUTEMEN jesus and tequila
Like a bizarre punk Captain Beefheart song, this tune is funky, fresh, and makes me want to drink some Jesus. I mean…

CAKE nugget
So this song might be the best song ever written about chicken mcnuggets. You don’t think so? Well, you know what? Shut the F#&* up.

DANGERDOOM mincemeat
I wanted to write that this is an often overlooked album, but I’m not sure that it is. But it’s an album based on Adult Swim characters, produced by DangerMouse (of Grey Album fame) and MF Doom on the mic. I’d say it’s pretty essential for anyone living in the now/know.

Hey college version of me! This song isn’t that good! What’s that? You don’t care because you just started drinking beer and think that it makes you cool? Oh, okay. Well, you’ll get over it.