The Back Woods Meet DJ Culture

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Monday's Pick

  • Song: "How Glad I Am"
  • Artist: The Greyboy Allstars
  • CD: What Happened to Television?
  • Genre: Funk
The Greyboy Allstars

A boisterous, California-based acid-jazz collective, The Greyboy Allstars delves deep into vintage soul. C. Taylor Crothers hide caption

itoggle caption C. Taylor Crothers

Technically, it doesn't constitute a mash-up, but this cover of Nancy Wilson's "How Glad I Am" plays to the concept wonderfully. In a sparkling case study in contrasting and complementary beauty, gritty funk bolsters the bottom end while dreamy, vaguely Appalachian three-part vocals enliven the top. The music conjures images of the back woods, but the song's witty concept resides firmly in DJ culture.

That shouldn't come as much of a surprise, given that "How Glad I Am" is by The Greyboy Allstars, a boisterous, California-based acid-jazz collective which delves deep into vintage soul. The song avoids the "from bebop to hip-hop" cliches of yesteryear, opting instead for a snazzy groove, distinguished by chicken-scratch guitar riffs, fatback horns and good-footing drumming, all of which brings to mind the loose funk of Charles Wright's 103rd Street Rhythm Band.

Then the Living Sisters enter, sounding as if they were suddenly teleported from the Grand Ole Opry into the heart of South Central Los Angeles. At first, their swooning harmonies sound jarring against the steamy funk — as do the heavenly lyrics, which touch on unconditional love that approaches the sacred. But surely enough, the daffy gives way to the deft in this relentlessly catchy stylistic mash-up.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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What Happened to Television?

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What Happened to Television?
The Greyboy Allstars

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