Monday, December 25, 2023


(Santa Claus takes the D train to Brooklyn this year to help Stetsasonic give the gift of music. Happy holidays, everybody! Youtube version is here.)

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Finally! Children Of the Corn

(Okay, forces were definitely conspiring against me getting this particular video to you guys, but it's here now - the Children Of the Corn's Welcome To the Danger Zone 2LP from Dust & Dope!  Also a run-down of some other releases and interviews I've worked on, including an upcoming indie Philly restoration.  Oh, and yes, I know it's almost Christmas and I am still planning to get a holiday video up in time for that, too.  🙂  Youtube version is here.)

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Whodini's Greatest Beginning

I've written before about how some artists have had exclusive, original songs on their greatest hits albums, like UTFO's Hits and Kool Moe Dee's Greatest Hits.  It's a good way to get the fans who already own all their albums to have to buy the hits compilation, too.  Well, Whodini also did it.  There's a song on their 1990 Greatest Hits album that isn't available on any of their other albums, 12" singles, etc.

This is kind of an interesting greatest hits album, because usually they come at the end of an artist's run on a label, like a summary at the end of a story (and it can also be a slick way for a label to finish out a contract if they don't want to continue budgeting albums for them).  But this one came out in 1990, before their final album with Jive, let alone their comeback album and other great recordings that would merit inclusion on a true greatest hits collection (I mean, come on, if you're being objective, you'd have to include "It All Comes Down To Money").  And indeed, Jive wound up releasing two more, largely redundant Whodini greatest hits albums years later, neither of which include this exclusive song.

It's also interesting that this album lists "Magic's Wand" and "Freaks Come Out At Night" as Bonus Tracks, just because it's crazy to imagine Whodini's greatest hits without those two classics.  Something like "I'm a Ho," "Tricky Trick" or "Anyway I Gotta Swing It" are cool, too; but those I could see saying, well, these are just some more good songs we're sticking on as extras.  But "Freaks Come Out At Night" is an absolute Whodini essential!

Anyway, enough beating around the bush.  The exclusive song is called "In the Beginning" and yes, it's a full proper song... not a skit or half-assed freestyle.  And thankfully, it's produced by Larry Smith, so it's totally in keeping with the rest of Whodini's oeuvre, especially in that period.  Deep beats, electric bass notes and drawn out, spacey keys with just some very delicate use of sparse electric guitar in the back half.  It's essentially an Ecstasy solo song, although Jalil has the writing credit and I'm guessing the trio sings the hook (the credits don't specify), where he looks back at their rise to fame.  Again, it feels like a farewell, but Bag-A-Trix was about to come out on the same label with all the same personnel just one year later.

The one down-side is that it's very slowed down, giving it a properly sombre, retrospective feel.  But also stripping away Whodini's usually reliable upbeat, dance energy.  The gang makes sure it sounds like a true Whodini song, but not one that would be released as a single.  Still, Ecstasy brings his personality to the lyrics as he documents his journey, "we've come a long way, baby, we've suffered through thick and thin.  And if I had to do it over again, it would be with you, my friend."  And yeah, he still can't resist throwing in the odd cheese-ball line: "a good education did for me what Lipton did for tea."

Like all these songs recorded specifically to be added to the Greatest Hits albums, it isn't quite a greatest hit itself.  But it doesn't deserve to be forgotten either.  "In the Beginning" is really well done, and definitely designed to appeal to serious Whodini fans.  So if that's you, and you missed this the first time around (because after all, having to buy a whole other album just for one song really was a con), be sure to track it down.