Friday, July 1, 2011

The Organized Konfusion With the Bonus Tracks

Back in the NY indie heyday of the late 90's/early 2000's, when great vinyl was getting pressed up and sold by the boatload over the internet, I remember Sandbox selling a double LP version of Organized Konfusion's self-titled debut with a whole bunch of bonus tracks on it.  I never bought it at the time, and it's always been sort of sitting in the back of my mind as a minor regret, until just recently when I picked it up from discogs.

Now, even outside of this release (which, by the way, I'm pretty sure is a bootleg, not a legit release... it certainly looks dodgy - that's not a bad scan, the labels are actually much harder to read in real life), there are already several versions of Organized Konfusion.  The original album on Hollywood BASIC was 14 songs spread over a single LP, so already it's a nice upgrade to get this album spread out onto a double LP.  If you got the CD version, it was 15 songs, because it included the original version of "Who Stole My Last Piece of Chicken?" from the single as a bonus track.  Interestingly, while this double LP has a whopping 23 songs on it, it does not include that other version of "Who Stole..."  And furthermore, it makes the curious decision to drop the skit "Jiminez Criqueta."  No big deal, because it's just a skit, but still.

So that means this version has 10 unique songs to it, not found on the other legit or illegitimate pressings.  They are as follows:

1) Freestyle Reality - This is actually not a freestyle, but a discussion on the art of freestyling, by OK and none other than the great Grandmaster Caz.  It's cool, though ultimately really just a skit.

2) Pharoahe Monch Freestyle - Just like the title says... a little short, but long enough for Monch to kill it acapella.

3) Prince Poetry (Written Freestyle) - Also acapella and also nice.

4) Organized Freestyle - A tight radio freestyle session.

5) O.K. Moodswing - This was an exclusive B-side to the "Who Stole My Last Piece of Chicken?" 12".

6) Stray Bullet - This is an odd inclusion, since it's a song off their second album. And this version isn't any different than the one on there. It just makes you wonder what it's doing here... but hey, it's a great song, so why not I guess?

7) Walk Into The Sun (Remix) - This is the remix from the "Walk Into the Sun" 12".

8) Drumstick (Bonus Beats) - The bonus beats from the "Who Stole My Last Piece of Chicken?" 12".  Odd they included this and not the original version.

9) Tender Verses - This is the Organized Konfusion Remix of "Tender" by Attica Blues that was released as a single in 1997 on Mo' Wax.  Good shit, and saves you the trouble of buying an otherwise crappy and expensive import release.

10) Intro Part II aka The Outro - a short instrumental sequel to "The Intro."  This is not the same beat as the "Intro," and I'm not sure where this one came from (maybe a genuine little treat from their unreleased vaults?) or why it wasn't included on past versions.  Still, it is just a short instrumental, so don't get too excited.

Ultimately, this is like a great Traffic reissue long before there were Traffic reissues.  Spreading the album over a proper double LP alone makes it a worthy upgrade over the original vinyl, and the bonus tracks just make it awesome.  Granted, there's no whole new, unheard songs... just freestyles and other rare tracks, but it's still pretty neat.  It is a shame, though, that they decided to leave off the skit and the other "Who Stole," since it kind of prevents this from being 100% definitive.  But really, neither are any great loss, and I imagine they used every inch of space they could get to squeeze all the exclusive bonus tracks, which are preferable.  I mean, if I was in charge of the project, I would've left off "Stray Bullet" to make room for those two songs, since it's readily and naturally available on their second album.  And I would've left off the Bonus Beats to to make room for the remix of "Fudge Pudge."  But, regardless of how I might've made this project even better, this is still the best version of Organized Konfusion, an already great album.

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