I Have Seen the Future of Transportation (Keep on Sequewayin’)

Last Sunday, down at Pike Place, I saw the most pimped out sequeway ever.  While enjoying the sunshine, nice view, and people watching, the distinct sound of Curtis Mayfield’s voice was detected.  However, I was unable to determine the source of the music.  As bewilderment was reaching exasperation, Carley spotted the sonic invader.  It was a plush, cherry red sequeway, the finest two wheeled-sidewalk machine invented by man.  At this point, the man riding it had taken a break nearby and had some Dr. Dre cuts off The Chronic playing.  Accessorized out, the dude had added spinner rims (look at that shine), the speaker system and Ipod plug-in, and a video camera.

Inspired by the tunes playing that gloriously sunny Sunday, here are a some cuts from Curtis, a cut from Dre, and a few cuts about about shinin’ and sunshine.

This demo of “The Underground” is straight-up funky, particularly around the 1:30 mark, and much grimier sounding than the original.  The album version off 1971’s Roots lacks the fried crunchiness of the demo.  Fuzzed-out guitar, heavy bass, and Curtis’ voice create an ominous mood.


Curtis played at the Benefit for the Congressional Black Caucus, “Give Me Your Love” made the live album.  Stripped down compared to the lush sound of the soundtrack version, it .  Organ dominates the mix much more with the strings and other orchestral flourishes absent.  Overall, the whole cut sounds very different than early 1970s Curtis.


“New World Order,” released in 1996, was Curtis’ last album.  Paralyzed from the neck down in 1990 after stage lighting equipment fell on him, Curtis was unable to play guitar on the album.  However, he wrote, sang and directed the recording of the album.  Due to the paralysis, Curtis had to sing laying on his back while his vocals were recorded line by line.  This is the only track off the album I am familiar with.  Ever hopeful, the way Curtis handled life after the tragic accident is

While I rarely listen to Dr. Dre, or any gangsta rap, these days, I was quite fond of it back in the day and still appreciate some of it.  The G-Funk sound flows on “Deeez Nuuuts.”  Let’s give it up for Bernie here, since Dre wouldn’t be Dre without Bernie’s experimentation and innovation.  Snoop Dogg and Nate “I Can’t Be Faded” Dogg sound so young and inspired.  Snoop is only playing a minor role, but as usual he delivers some hilarity at the 2:10 mark.  People can hate on Dre for lyrical content and spitting skills, but the man’s songs are so well-mixed and, thus, bump so hard all is forgiven.  Bow before the bass.


“Diamonds” may have been lacking on the sequeway, but the sparkling shine of spinners is enough of a ghettofashion statement.  I myself do not believe in diamonds as jewelry, but that is for another day.  Instantly recognizable as a Jay Dee production, it also features an NBA reference.  That is a winning combination, like the enjoying a tall, cool cold Budweiser while enjoying the Pistons game.  I miss the Blaha.


Eddy Grant’s “Walking on Sunshine” is a wicked disco-groove cut, so I was not surprised to learn it was a big hit for Eddy in 1979.  Ten years later, a remix of it was quite popular in the U.K. Dense grooves and a funky bottom   The “Do it” chant at the beginning is hilarious.


The first time I heard Ramp was on vinyl.  Purchasing the album for the cover art and a cover of Roy Ayers’ “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,” I quickly returned home, placed the needle down, and soaked up the warmth.


It is time to welcome the rainy season. Demeter mourns, somebody stole the sunshine.



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