Saturday, 2 May 2009

From the father of HBFS (Boba's Blast From The Past)

Edwin Birdsong, some very interesting stuff this guy does. Not only did he create the wonderful loop in the background of Harder Better Faster Stronger, Cola Bottle Baby, he also put out many other releases which truly didn't get enough attention. The poor guy was overshadowed by The Brothers Johnson and Zapp and Roger, and left in the indie funk scene.

Edwin Birdsong was born in 1950 in the city of LA, son of a minister. Birdsong fought in Vietnam, where upon returning, he left for Germany to play in clubs. He later moved to New York to pursue a more serious music career where he fronted a blues trio and attended Julliard as a composition major. He put out five records, the first in 1971, the last in 1981. Although his personal recording career ended there, he did not stop his profession, and went on to produce for other artists and even played sessions for Stevie Wonder.

Over the last several months, I've been gathering funk and disco compilation bootlegs from across the web, and in doing so, I've found a rather nice collection of Birdsong's work.

Edwin Birdsong - Cola Bottle Baby
[Right Click To Download]

Edwin Birdsong - Goldmine
[Right Click To Download]

Edwin Birdsong - Rapper Dapper Snapper (Part 1)
[Right Click To Download]

Edwin Birdsong - Phiss-Phizz
[Right Click To Download]

Now... now I must vent. Thursday night was my school's formal. Before the dance started, I noticed the DJ setting up and went over to talk to him. In fact i talked to him so long that I entirely missed the dinner. But the guy was really nice, and he'd been DJing since the 1980's, when he had "red hair and long, black fingernails". Since I was there, he gave me permission to flood the request form with songs I wanted. Normally they limit the number of submissions at these things, but I think this guy was genuinely pleased to find a kid who's definition of 'dance music' isn't Katy Perry, Kanye West, or Lady Gaga.

Fifteen minutes into the dance, the first of my requests comes on! Digital Love! Right now, it happens to be my favorite song. I get up from the table, and walk over to the dance floor, some of my friends getting up and coming too... and what I found mortified me. No one was dancing. They were all silent, and either staring at the DJ in disapproval, or at me, because I was singing along, which was the only sound in the room.

"..and it looked like everyone... was... not having fun. *sigh*" I looked at the DJ and he shrugged back and fiddled with his laptop, walked over to his mixer and faded in What Is Love, and the party promptly started again.

This tells me something... I will not be able to DJ one of these dances. The music that I love to dance to is not the music they like to dance to, and I swear to God there will be NO LADY GAGA ON MY FRICKING PLAYLIST.

Annoyed-ly yours,

P.S. How about a hostile takeover of the event planning committee and put forth a Disco Ball next year? Heh? PUN!


prez jordan said...

I never knew Cola Bottle Baby was the sample in Para One's "Midnight Swim"

Joe said...

I saw some retard on YouTube who thought Kanye sampled Ed. What a noob.

Anonymous said...

no point in being a dj snob there mate, you have to play what people want (to a certain extent) otherwise youd be a shit dj!
and lady gagas alrite...

DJ Muziek said...

What's with Edwin and soda pop? "Cola Bottle Baby" and "Phiss-Phizz"...dude's probably sitting in his house, addicted to Mountain Dew with a kidney stone the size of a baseball.

Just kidding, all. He's a great musician, even better songwriter. Loving his stuff!

Boba Fettuccini said...

The vietnam war probably fracked up his mind. but if so, I'm glad it did. His songs are so great. He should collab with DP and make an epic funky version of HBFS... with Stevie WOnder!

Soobs said...

same at my formal.

the dj played some crookers for me.

even tho he had a 'top of the charts' list he had to stick too.


made my night.

Boba Fettuccini said...

I did learn something out of this: go early and befriend the DJ and make sure he knows how awesome you think he is. Requests will then be accepted gladly.

Mr. Brown said...

You're glad he DID play the crookers, I' d go wild if at the end of the evening the Crookers weren't played, sigh...

Joe said...

You should definitely DJ at one of those parties Boba. Play some Daft Punk, hell, drop a bit of Depeche Mode in there if you want, and if you get roars of disapproval just tell them they can fuck right off, because you're a DJ, not a fucking jukebox.

Champiness said...

I've always had this hope that I'd DJ at one of my school dances one day and everyone would love my music.
Thanks for throwing that hope straight down the chute. Aargh, those idiotic pop fanatics.

John Roman said...

Man, I did one of those dances earlier in the year cuz the cash was good and i was home for christmas break, and it is just depressing...

i prepared some dirty tricks and sequences, but nothing got a response like "I Kissed a Girl"... not like I didn't expect it, it just sucks

Boba Fettuccini said...

Well One More Time and HBFS went over really well, and I bet Da Funk would've been acceptable. Depeche Mode might have worked... I never really thought about it other than jokingly suggesting Personal Jesus (Christian school. Wouldn't have gone over well) but some of those new remixes would definitely work, and People Are People would've worked, but some people would definitely have left the floor.

And on further research, I'd actually not have any problem playing pop so long as it's in a mashup or a remix. For instance, My Dear Disco does a terrific remix of Love Lockdown that takes the whole shiboodle and makes it sound like electro discohouse without any sample usage. And I have this really awesome Dead or Alive vs. Daft Punk vs. Britney Spears vs. Justice mashup that would probably be a crowd pleaser... I dunno. I've got at least a year to build a good catalog, and I put an ad in the yearbook. All I have to do I guess would be volunteer to the events people. I'm sure they'd appreciate it, since it'd save them a bit of money.

Alex said...

You know what?

If i ever play in some high school crowd, i'd just play my freaking tracks. I dont care if im the only one wobbling a around but goddamn, if i like, i play.

Its not gonna be a bunch of idiots (my pet name for teenagers) telling me what to do or play.

Boba Fettuccini said...

well that's the thing though. if that was your senior prom, and you hated it because you didn't have anything you wanted to dance to, and you had that memory for the rest of your life, how would YOU feel?

Mstr MJ said...

mmm.... I personally think that, you could probably play the songs you like but you just have to know WHEN IS THE TIME TO PLAY IT... I think that's what a DJ Set means, Is when the DJ goes with the flow in the party and chooes what is making the people dance.

So, My theory is that if you start with some pop music and you gradually trun the pop into funk (and i believe you could do it) then you will end up putting songs of Edwin Birdsong, even more if the song sounds just like Harder Better Faster Stronger, for example. So a good DJ Set is when you have a wide variety of music that you make all people happy for at least 10 minutes... i bet you, you'll have them dance for the rest of the party even though you're playing... Fly Robin Fly (great song, BTW)

Mstr MJ said...

P.S. IT also has to be with the kind of people that goes to the party and the kind of friends that you have... if you and your friends like the same music, i bet ya that you will play all the music you like all night long... guarantee :)