Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Watch My Moves... 1999?

So last year, I wrote a pretty extensive post about Dooley-O's classic "Watch My Moves," which debuted on radio in 1990 but didn't make it to wax until Stones Throw rescued it in 2002. With his DJ/co-producer Chris Lowe, he introduced the world to the Skull Snaps break from "It's a New Day," which they later retooled for Stezo's "To the Max." And I also talked about how a duo named CKO and Sta-La-Fro made a knock off of it, with the help of the late Paul C! It's a pretty compelling saga... which seems to have one more important vinyl installment yet to come, but more on that later in the year.

In the meantime, I'd like to talk about another obscure little chapter in the story that I didn't mention. See, before Stones Throw helped kick start Dooley-O's comeback in the 2000s with that "Watch My Moves" 12", Chris Lowe had already started mounting a little comeback of his own. In the late 90s, he started releasing indie 12" singles on Bronx Science Recordings. His second 12" was a collaboration with Large Professor and his third featured Sadat X and Dinco D. But his first was a bit of a quieter release, since it didn't have any big name guest stars on it. It was just a little song called "The Non Stop." Oh, and there was a B-side called "Watch My Moves."

I guess I'll cover "The Non Stop" real quick first, though of course it's the B-side that raised the big red question mark. Well, it's got a big, chunky bass line with a slow vibe over hard boom bap drums. And yes, Chris raps on this. He wrote and produced it; it's a total solo effort. And he's not bad, pretty equivalent to, say, Diamond D in terms of producers who rap. He's got a pretty tough voice and a simple flow. The rhymes are pretty basic braggadocio stuff about how he's going to "produce a track and make a killin'." It's a pretty nice little cut with a cool, throwback hook to the golden era, "we gonna rock... to the non-stop." There's even a line in the first verse where he says, "don't watch me, watch my moves."

Yeah, so that just really makes you flip this over already. And, well, "Watch My Moves" absolutely does not feature the same original instrumental loop, but the actual, underlying drums sound like the same Skull Snaps' ones, just slowed down a bit. It's another hard but slow funk track, on some EPMD type shit, with a neat horn riff on the hook. And it's Chris Lowe rapping again, not Dooley, although he does mention him, saying, "you ain't got nothin' comin' against Dooley-O and Chris Lowe." But the hook, yes, is "don't watch me, watch my moves." In fact... all the lyrics are from "Watch My Moves 1990." It's a total, word-for-word cover. Well, almost total. Instead of starting off verse 2 with, "yes, another KGB production," he says, "yes, another Chris Lowe production." And he's got a slower, less dexterous flow than Dooley, which along with the totally different samples gives this song a totally different feel. I wouldn't be surprised if some heads heard this and never made the connection to the original, if they hadn't heard it in almost a decade. It really does feel like the EPMD remake of "Watch My Moves."It's pretty cool, but not on the same level as the original.

It basically just has me wondering why he made this new version, instead of just spitting some new verses and making it an entirely new, different song. I mean, in 1999 the song hadn't been released by Stones Throw yet, so I'm sure he and Dooley both thought of the original as a totally lost, unreleased song. So maybe the idea was just to recycle a good hook and set of rhymes? Maybe it's meant to be an in-joke for the few CT heads who would recognize it. The label just says it's written and produced by Lowe, although Dooley High Music ASCAP is listed, while it's not on the A-side.

At any rate, it's an interesting, fairly obscure but not at all rare 12". The instrumentals for both songs are also included, and it led to a many more releases by Chris, including two full-length albums. A curious and funky footnote.

1 comment:

  1. Intrigued by your CKO and STA LA FRO comment!
    Is the track to be released on vinyl?
    Tell more!