This Sunday we close out our 5th year of Sunday Mixtapes and invite one of Scotland's seminal producers, one half of Sound Signals.... Mr. Saleem Andrew McGroarty, with a selection of musical inspirations and influences - the building blocks of his musical DNA.
"This is a selection of my Musical Inspirations and Influences, the building blocks of my Musical DNA.This selection is not just my favourite songs that I will listen regularly or will listen to lift or change my mood, but also the music that has had a deep impact on me, changed the way that I hear music, the way that I approach creating music and that changed me spiritually, for what is music if it is not an expression of the Soul?
Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secrets of life, bringing peace, abolishing strife." – Khalil Gibran.
I hope that you enjoy my selection".... [[ SALEEM ]]
You can find Saleem HERE:
Okay, so this playlist quickly became a huge amount of tracks to have to choose from. In order to stick to the remit of it representing my musical DNA, my musical roots I ended up having to choose more from the songs that had the greatest influence on me in my formative years. As you will hear there is a common theme, that of wisdom, understanding, seeking and exploring, love and positivity. I hope you enjoy it!
1) Alive - Skindo Le Le
This song is to me everything a song should be. Positive lyrics, happy music, great arrangement and a great up tempo rhythm that ends in a crescendo. Great dance music! This is a song I put on when i want to lift my spirits
2) Kurtis Blow - If I Ruled The World
This is where the journey started! This is the first single, I ever bought. I remember going off from my parents upstairs to the Music dept in John Menzies on princess Street with a little bit of pocket money and buying this single. And I still have it somewhere, great tune!
3) The Last Poets - E Pluribus Unum
The Last Poets have been an incredible influence on me, especially being into Hip Hop, anybody who knows them will understand why. There are many songs i could have chosen, but this song in particular always reminds me of a good friend who passed away a few years ago Mr. Paul Reekie. This is a tune that we shared. He would often come up to me club and start rapping the lyrics to this song in my ear! He was a poet and a musician as well as a writer, he is sorely missed.
4) Rammelzee vs. K-Rob - Beat Bop
I remember first hearing this song, in the movie Style Wars. And ever since then, I've absolutely played it to death, it's one of those tunes you never get bored of. Produced by Jean Michel Basquiat, it features Rammelzee, one of the most eccentric graffiti writers, who was also a great rapper as. If you listen close you will hear where B-Real from Cypress Hill got his rapping style from. Amazing track and yeah one of the most down tempo and musical Hip Hop tunes ever!
5) Bobby Womack - How Could You Break My Heart
So, in my teens, I attended a club in Edinburgh called The Hooch. It was one of the greatest musical educations I ever received. The club scene in the late 80s was that Golden time where there was no genre division. You would find house music played next to hip hop played along next to jazz next to Latin and soul. But the last half hour was always the modern soul set. Modern soul has had one of the deepest and lasting impacts on my life. Aged 16 I used to go to the Blackpool soul weekenders and regularly go to soul all nighters and all-dayers, I don’t know why my parents let me do that! But, yeah, it's just wonderful music, always such a positive vibe and always good for a wee boogie!
6) Starvue - Body Fusion
So, in the same modern soul vain, this is a mid tempo number which just has amazing production, strings, vocals, everything about it is just perfect. Lush and sweet soul music.
7) LJ Reynolds - Key To The World
More modern soul. One of my favorite songs. Just a great vocal performance and wonderful production. Absolute classic!
8) Eric Morris & The Baba Brooks Band - Solomon A Gundy
To me, Ska is the greatest dance music, ever! This track in particular one of my own personal favorites. Mainly because of the lyrics! If you can't dance to Ska music, then I think maybe something seriously wrong with you lol!
9) The Temptations - Ball Of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today)
My parents had a Temptations Greatest Hits album. It used to get played all the time when we were kids. So when I grew up I inherited this album from my mum’s albums. When i listened to it I was amazed not only by the music that people like Public Enemy had sampled from it. But I was amazed by the lyrical content as well. Ball of confusion is a song that is just as relevant now as it was when it was first recorded. Conscious Soul Music.
10) The Electric Prunes - Holy Are You
This is a slightly later DNA track but i feit it should be included it in this playlist. Over 20 years i converted to Islam and musically this track really conveys my own spiritual sentiments. Produced by David Axelrod it has banging drums, amazing production, a Hip Hop prototype with a spiritual message.
11) John Coltrane - Acknowledgement
A Love Supreme. One of the greatest Jazz songs of all time. This is arguably John Coltrane's greatest recording and is his ode to the Divine. I discovered this album when I was fairly young, and it changed everything for me. Such an emotionally rich song, it is one of my Desert Island Discs. I never get bored of it and it always has a spiritual effect within me when i listen to it.
12) Pharoah Sanders - Astral Travelling
My introduction to spiritual jazz before I knew it was called spiritual jazz was a compilation album called Red Hot and Cool, and even to this day, and is one of the best compilations of in the spiritual jazz vein. This song astral travelling was on rotation for so long! I would listen to again and again. It has such an mystical sound scape that totally consumes you. As a result, i became a massive Pharoah Sanders fan and collector, so many other songs could have been included in this playlist, especially The Creator has a Master Plan, but this song is probably the song that I have listened to most so that is why i chose it.
13) Schoolly D - P.S.K. (What Does It Mean)
When I was at high school, I was given a tape of the first Big Audio Dynamite dynamite album by my friend Diarmid and i immediately loved it. Even though B.A.D. didn't make it into the playlist, their influence was huge. In 1986 at the tender tender age of 14 i went to see went B.A.D. at the Edinburgh Playhouse and supporting them was the beat boxer Sipho from the London Posse and also the rapper Schooly D from America. That gig changed my entire life. I was blown away! Here's this guy, jumping around the stage with a gold chain no top and just baseball jacket with his DJ scratching records with his Fila trainers! I love the sound, and everything about that performance. I went out the very next day and bought the first Schooly D album and became a fully fledged hip-hop addict!
14) MC Mello - A Total Eclipse Of The Art
This song is by one of the UK's finest MCs. His first album, was a classic and listened to it over and over. It represents the best of UK hip hop.
15) Eric B. & Rakim - Move The Crowd
Rakim is my favorite rapper. He's one of the best lyricists and musically he was always ahead of the game. This song in particular was one of the first places that I ever heard the word Allah, and was to become an influence on my own spiritual journey. Great track, arguably the great emcee, classic material!
16) Public Enemy - Rebel Without A Pause
When Public Enemy released Rebel Without a Pause it changed everything! The Sonic imprint left on me remains to this day. That booming 808 and relentless sax loop, the raw powerful energy and Chuck D's attitude, perfect for a teenager!by all that energy. I remember buying this 12 inch and playing it over and over and over and over. Public Enemy and the Bomb Squads production, truly changed hip-hop forever.
17) Stone Roses - Fool's Gold
Running alongside all of this music of black origin is also my love for indie, folk and rock music. The Stone Roses were just one of those bands that came out at the right place and right time, everything about them was just amazing, great songs, great arrangements, great sound and vibe. I listened to that 1st album sooo much!
18) The Smiths - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Before I discovered hip-hop. I would listen to the john peel show all the time, and he had a very eclectic taste in music. The Smiths were a band that i discovered through him and for me they were just the greatest band! Morrissey's lyrics and Johnny Marrs music was just the perfect match and can't be matched, everything they did was simply brilliant!
19) Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit
So, the psychedelic 60s has also been a massive musical influence. I spent much of my teenage years listening to Woodstock Jimi Hendrix, Santana, and all that goos stuff. I'm not sure you could find a better song that represents the sound of the psychedelic movement that came out of America in the late 60s than "White Rabbit" total classic!
20) Nick Drake - River Man
The first time I ever heard Nick Drake i was left speechless, it completely blew me away. Not only was it amazing guitar playing, mystical songwriting and his wonderous voice, but the strings! Wow! What a full, warm, inviting, lucious wall of sound.
21) Fairport Convention - Who Knows Where the Time Goes
This is a song that i would like played at my funeral. Such ancient wisdom and understanding pulses through the veins of this song. Don't let time get the better of you. And Sandy Denny's voice is simply enchanting, absolutely wondrous!
22) Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Qawwal & Party - Allah Hu (Live at Washington University)
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, what an incredible musician, a musical saint. To me Qawalli music is possibly the highest form of music in existence. Because it is devotional it has no ego involved the songs are offered up as prayers to the Divine. I remember first getting a tape of this album by Nusrat live in Washington it came at a time when I was exploring my own spirituality. It was the first time I heard islamic devotional music and the insight that it gave me is that one could be Islamic, and a musician.
I remember just constantly listening to it and getting lost in the vocal performance, the improvisation is on another level, the sophistication of the composition and interaction between the members of the troupe is out of this world.
The version included in this playlist is an edited version of the original 16 minute performance which would have been difficult to include, but I urge the listeners check out the full performance.
23) Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda - Journey To Satchidananda
At about the same i was listening to Nusrat i bought the Red, Hot & Cool compilation previously mentioned. On it was this track by Alice Coltrane. After buying that compilation i became a huge Alice Coltrane fan! Her music is sublime. Being the wife of John Coltrane obviously had an influence on her, but she was an amazing spiritual jazz musician in her own right and was also very spiritual being as well. This song was and is still on regular rotation and is really just so incredibly beautiful
24) Build an Ark - Peace With Every Step
This song is a later entry into the musical DNA. For me the lyrics really conveys a message of how I aspire to be as a human being. Written Carlos Nino, to the music of Stanley Cowell and sung by one of the greatest jazz singers alive, Dwight Trible. This is a song that i listen to when i need to re-centre, and remember where i need to be.
25) Stevie Wonder - Have A Talk With God
It would not be a proper DNA playlist without a bit of Stevie! Another album that was played a lot in our house when we were kids was "Songs in the Key of Life" In fact, the copy that I still play to this day is my mums. There are many songs I could have chosen from this album, but this one just seemed the right one for this playlist.
26) Ken McIntyre - Mercedes
This song, a later DNA entry, features John Mancebo Lewis on trombone, otherwise known as Hajj Haroon. A remarkable man, he was somebody who became a very close personal friend and mentor of mine. Without his guidance and encouragement i would not be the person I am today. I've included this song as a dedication to his life as he sadly passed away last year, may peace and blessings be with him. If you would like to know more about him please visit his website: http://mancebomosaic.com/
27) Lonnie Liston Smith - Expansions
I first heard Expansions, as the Bass line and the Stetsasonic song "Talking all that Jazz". It such a timeless tune, a Jazz-Funk Classic. It used to get regular play a club that I used to DJ at called "Chocolate City" Edinburgh's first funk club run by Jamie Byng, now of canongate press fame. After I discovered this Lonnie album I again became a total fan, buying all of his albums I could. I could have easily have chosen any song from any other album to showcase how great a musician he is, but this sound lyrically represents not only a theme in this playlist but also the theme that has ran throughout my life "Expand your mind, To understand, We all must live,
In peace together." Spiritual Dance Music!
28) Stetsasonic - Talkin' All That Jazz
Hip Hop has been the strongest form of music in my life and this song lyrically represents so much of hip hop culture, just listen to the lyrics and it will give you an understanding hip hop culture. It is conscious hip hop, my most favourite aspect of the genre. This used to get played this all the time in the clubs such a great song to dance to such a great song to rap lyrics along to, it's one of those tunes that brings folk together
29) A Tribe Called Quest - Lyrics To Go
A DNA playlist would not be complete without a song from A Tribe Called Quest Sonically, musically, vibes wise they are my favorite hip hop group.When their first album came out, it was a game changer. Nobody was doing music quite like it. Even though the Jungle Brothers had started the Native Tongues that Tribe were part of (the Jungle Brothers could have easily been on this DNA playlist) when A Tribe Called Quest released their first album the musical landscape, language and idiom of hip hop changed for the better and it has never been the same since. I could have easily have chosen any song from any of the album, but this one for me just now is where i'm at today, it may be something else tomorrow. I love the clever use of the Minnie Ripperton sample, innovative, as the Tribe are!
30) Terry Callier - Ordinary Joe
I first heard Terry Callier at the Hooch club, hey used to play Ordinary Joe all the time. He's been part of that modern soul scene for years. I then discovered all of his early cadet albums. Again here is an artist who took his spiritual and life experience and wove it into his songs in a way where it makes you reflect on your won life and your own place in the Universe and find your place. I went to see him perform live in London, and twice in Scotland. I even had the blessings of me and him twice as well. What a beautiful man, beautiful music.
31) Donny Hathaway - Somebody We'll All Be Free
This is one of those great songs with a great message to the world, it is almost bigger than itself. What an amazing singer Donny was, and such a tragedy he is no longer with us. For me, he has the best voice in soul music by far. Again, once I discovered him I went out and bought all of his albums, they are all so good! But this song says everything that needs to be said. I have played this song to my children as some kind of attempt to help them have wisdom and guidance in the form of a song. I think all Dad's should play this song to their kids!
32) Beloyd - Get Into Your Life
So, the last song on this playlist is just like the first song in the playlist. This modern soul song represents to me everything that I could song should be, positive, optimistic, full of life, love, wisdom and understanding and something you can dance to! It was one of the most popular songs in the soul clubs when I was a teenager it was always a highlight when it came on and it always leaves you feeling positive and ready to take life on. To this day it is still one of the most popular songs on the modern soul scene, it has become a timeless classic, yeah, what a great uplifting message "get into your life"!!!
Ok, so, I hope you have enjoyed my selection, thank you for your time, peace and blessings to you all.