Music To My Ears…

An innocent quest through Apple Music led me to a surprising discovery. As I’ve stated before, I love music! Oldies, classic rock, R&B, hip hop and so on. Big shout out to my homies Karmen and Marcus. They told me to get on Apple Music a few months ago but I was living that iPhone 4s life and wasn’t really thinking about that. But now that I have this young 6s, I’m exploring all of the luxuries that come with it. One of the luxuries is Apple Music. I’m not here to tell you that it’s better than any other music streaming platform or anything like that. I like it and that’s all that matters to me…you rock with what you like.

Earlier today I was sitting at work and suddenly got the urge to hear the song “Rock The Boat” by Hues Corporation. I typed in the name of the song on Apple Music and the first song that popped up wasn’t the version I wanted (they sent me to the Midnight Star version of the song which I wasn’t feeling). So I had to search Google to find the name of the group, Hues Corporation. After the name search, I punched in the name of the song and jammed to the music for 3 minutes and some change. After it ended, I continued to listen to other songs on Jukebox Hits, Vol. 1. I skimmed through a few songs and made a surprising discovery. Song 22 on this volume of the hits is titled “Sukiyaki” by Kyu Sakamoto. The name of the song in Japanese is “Ue o Muite Aruko” – which means “I Look Up As I Walk” – reached the number 1 spot on the Billboard 100 in 1963. Sakamoto was the first Asian recording artist to top the charts.

As the song played it immediately stuck out in my mind but I couldn’t figure out what it was. Then as I listened on, it hit me. The whistling of the chorus on “Sukiyaki” reminded me of a few lines from the song “La Di Da Di” by Doug E Fresh and MC Ricky D (bka Slick Rick).

“It’s all because of you, I’m feeling sad and blue.
You went away, and now my life is filled with rainy days.
I love you so, how much you’ll never know,
Cause you took your love away from me”  1.

So my next step was to find the song that “La Di Da Di” sampled. My search led me to the band – A Taste of Honey – most famously known for their 1978 number 1 hit “Boogie Oogie Oogie.” In 1981 the band decided to cover “Sukiyaki” in English. “Sukiyaki” has also been covered and/or sampled by various artists including the likes of Mexican-American sensation Selena (A Taste of Honey version), the R&B group 4 P.M. (Sakamoto version), singer Jewel Akens (Sakamoto version), and rap legend Snoop Dogg (he used the “Sukiyaki” theme from the A Taste of Honey version for his song “Lodi Dodi”; which is also a sample of Doug E Fresh and Slick Rick’s version of “La Di Da Di”).

After all of the searching was completed I found out that Doug E Fresh and Slick Rick’s use of the lyrics from A Touch of Honey’s version of “Sukiyaki” can only be found on an original version of their song “La Di Da Di” due to lack of sample clearances. How funny is that? “La Di Da Di” is a highly quoted/sampled song in its own right. A number of artists from different genres have covered or sampled portions of the hit song. Doug E Fresh who is known as the “Human Beat Box” released the song in 1985 with his more popular hit song “The Show.” All Jackson State fans should be very familiar with that tune. “La Di Da Di” is still a fan favorite to this day as it is requested when Doug E Fresh takes the stage to perform.

The start and ending of my musical conquest is amazing for a few reasons. The first reason is because of the number of languages the song “Sukiyaki” has been recorded in. I don’t know what is being said in the original version recorded by Sakamoto but I can feel the depth that makes it a great song. From the sound of Sakamoto’s voice to the melody of the music. The second reason is the popularity and success of the songs related to “Sukiyaki.” This adds to how great the original version is. It also shows that talented artists with “good ears” have been able to piggyback the original versions of these songs and make great versions themselves. That’s not always the case when it comes to samples and remakes. Lastly it shows how regardless of language or genre, music can span the world. A song from Japan was able to influence a R&B group in America almost 20 years later to do a remake.  That remake not only influenced many other artists to put their own spin on the song but added lyrics to one of the best rap songs in history. “Cause we like to party“…sound familiar?

 

References

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Di_Da_Di

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukiyaki_(song)

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Music To My Ears…

NBA Update

We’re almost a month into the NBA season and the excitement is already building. We have the Golden State Warriors out here making sure no one makes excuses that anybody is injured. Today the Houston Rockets fired Kevin McHale – after starting the season 4-7 – and handed the team over to 36 year old interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. At the top of the Eastern Conference you’ll find the teams we all expected to see (Cleveland, Chicago, and Atlanta). Surprisingly the East has been quite competitive. It’s still very early so we could see things change up.

 

Surprises

The Detroit Pistons have been a nice surprise so far this season. The Pistons have gotten outstanding play from Andre Drummond (averaging 19.1 points/game and 18.9 reb/game) who has already posted three 20-20 games. He fell two rebounds short (25 points and 18 rebounds) last night after Detroit battled back to defeat Cleveland. Other key contributors include Reggie Jackson (leads team in scoring), Marcus Morris, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. In order to make a bigger they’ll need Ersan Illyasova and rookie Stanley Johnson to pick up their games with shooting guard Jodie Meeks out. Meeks is expected to be out 3 more months after having foot surgery. They’re also waiting for Brandon Jennings to return from his Achilles injury that occurred last season.

Three teams from the Western Conference have been a nice surprise – Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, and Minnesota Timberwolves – to most NBA fans.   Each team is in the top 10 of the “too early to be reading” conference standings. According to Hollinger’s NBA Team Stats, each team is in the top 15 for PACE (number of possessions a team uses per game). This comes as no surprise due to the talented young players that each team has. Danilo Gallinari leads the Nuggets but is helped out by a number of players. Will Barton who came over from Portland is 2nd on the team in scoring. Rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay has shown flashes that he can run the show but he’ll need to cut down on his 4.5 turnovers/game if Denver wants to remain relevant in the West.

Phoenix is led by guards Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight who both are averaging 20 plus points and 5 assists through the team’s first 10 games. Markieff Morris seems to have gotten over his twin brother no longer being Phoenix and Tyson Chandler is providing a solid force on the defensive end.

Finally the Minnesota Timberwolves round out the surprising teams. 2nd year wing player Andrew Wiggins leads the team in scoring at 20.9 points/game. Four other Timberwolves are averaging double figures so far this season. One of those four is rookie big man Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns is averaging a double-double in points and rebounds. The youngster has been under the guidance of veteran power forward Kevin Garnett.

 

Disappointments

Three playoff teams from last season – New Orleans Pelicans, Houston Rockets, and Milwaukee Bucks – pop up in this category so far in the early season. The common theme amongst the 3 teams is no effort or urgency, which has led to the trio being terrible defensively. All 3 teams are in the bottom of the league for Rebound Rate and Defensive Efficiency. The Pelicans have been hit by injuries but that’s still no excuse for the poor performances they’ve put out this season. The Pelicans are 1-10 at the moment and could end up 1-19 after the first 20 games!!

Houston’s trade for Ty Lawson isn’t going as planned. The Rockets haven’t seen the point guard look comfortable yet. His 5.8 assist/game average is well below his career numbers. James Harden’s need to have the basketball in his hands could be one of the problems but a change may be needed seeing how he’s averaging 4.8 turnovers/game. Dwight Howard has played in only 7 of the 11 games so far since he’s resting because of injuries. Remember Trevor Ariza’s 3-point shooting ability? The small forward is only shooting 31.5% from long range and a dismal 33.6% overall. For what is worth, James Harden is only shooting 37.2% overall and an ugly 26.2% on 9.4 attempts/game from 3-point range (luckily he seems to shoot 35 free throws every night). Terrible defense and poor shooting numbers as a team (42.3% FG and 29.0% 3-point FG) are a couple reasons why Kevin McHale is already “Gone Fishing”.

Milwaukee’s defensive struggles are most surprising because they were 2nd in Defensive Efficiency last season only behind the Golden State Warriors. They’re also last in PACE. Those factors along with what appears to be a stronger Eastern Conference and trying to mix in new players and guys returning from injury could continue to cause problems. But I expect the Bucks to turn things around as they’ve only played 11 games.

 

Quick Hits

How long before the triangle runs through Kristaps Porzingis and not Melo? Porzingis matched up very well against Anthony Davis on Sunday. AD dropped 36 but KP was able to bother him at times & moved well on both ends of the court. He’s constantly making an impact by blocking or altering shots. Once he finds his game offensively that will give Melo more room to operate.

On Twitter, the homie QB asked “Sixers win or GS lose…Which one happens first?” I went with GS loses first. Clippers will beat them Thursday. As for the Sixers, they play the Pacers tonight and then have a 6 game road trip. They’ll beat the Lakers on December 1st to get their first win.

I mentioned the New Orleans Pelicans injuries earlier and sadly, one of the players is Anthony Davis. So far in his young career AD has yet to play a full 82 game season. Last season he was able to play 72 total games – 68 in the regular season and 4 in the postseason – for the Pelicans.

STEPH CURRY…I think that’s all that is needed.

All stats via:

http://stats.nba.com/

http://espn.go.com/nba/statistics

http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/teamstats

NBA Update