Thursday, November 1, 2007

Reviews:: Baby Elephant - Turn My Teeth Up

As a rule, I usually check out anything the legendary Prince Paul is involved with. My reasons for this are twofold, the first being that more often than not, a Prince Paul project turns out to be quite good. Secondly, Paul's projects are kind of nutty, and who doesn't enjoy the nuttiness? All that waffle leads us to Paul's latest project, Baby Elephant's Turn My Teeth Up.

We all love Prince Paul, but what does he love? Collaborations. Baby Elephant is a collaboration between Paul, Don Newkirk (yes, that Don Newkirk, from Gas Face), and Parliment-Funkadelic keyboard legend Bernie Worrell. Now looking at that lineup you might be expecting an album full of over-the-top funked out craziness. That's not the case here. Paul and Newkirk keep their production somewhat subdued in order to keep Worrell front and centre, and they also attempt to bring out all aspects of Worrell's wizardry, not just the funk styles his so known for.

The album opener, Baby Elephants N Thangs, is an example of that diversity, as the Woo Warrior rocks some straight ahead, almost classical piano over a simple drum break & flute beat. George Clinton also stops by to add his usual nuttiness on the vocals. It probably makes sense that Shock G. makes an appearance on the dour Painfield, because although a zillion producers were inspired by the p-funk, Shock probably stayed truer to the funk than most. Have to say though, it's a little disapointing to see him credited as Shock G. and rappin' as Humpty. It's like he's not even trying anymore. It's like the Ultimate Warrior coming down to the ring in his makeup and arm tassels and being introduced as "Brian Hellwig". Kind of sad really.

Cool Runnins features the Brother Ali of Jamaican dancehall, Yellowman! I don't really have anything else to say about that. If you ever wanted to hear Bernie Worrell play some funky ragtime piano, then the title track Turn My Teeth Up is for you. It even has some excellent harmonica riffs and saloon sound effects, gunfire riccochets and all! Can't beat that. How Does The Brain Wave feels like Paul & Newkirk's modern take on the classic p-funk sound. Perhaps an interesting choice to have Worrell's old collaborator David Byrne on the vocals for this kind of track, but I think it works.

Fred Berry might've played Rerun on What's Happening!, which in and of itself is a big enough accomplishment for one lifetime, but now he's also the namesake for a Baby Elephant song full of crazy horns and the syrupy moog baselines that Warren G and that other producer from Long Beach (or Compton, not sure which) loved.

The wacky skits on this album let you know that Prince Paul is indeed in the house, but Bernie Worrell is certainly the centerpiece of this album. And why not? After all the work he's put in over the years, the Woo Warrior deserves it. It's not perfect, but I have to say, I was a little surprised at how enjoyable a number of the songs on Turn My Teeth Up are. If you're looking for a little dose of funk, this might fit the bill.

MP3:: Baby Elephant - Painfield f. Shock G

MP3:: Baby Elephant - How Does the Brain Wave- f. David Byrne

Posted at 9:52 AM by naedoo :: 0 comments

add to facebook add to Digg this Googlize this post add to Yahoo

Post a Comment