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by Ming Dang
24 March, 2003@12:00 am
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No rating was attributed to this album because it is over 10 years old, and it would not be fair to judge it against today’s standards.

Joining the ever-growing wave of lost album releases is likely the least anticipated of the lot, Dooley O’s Watch My Moves 1990. While collectors salivate at the mere mention of Clear Blue Skies or The Best Part, the best response the Connecticut native’s lost product might get are a raised eyebrow or a phony “Yeah, I think I’ve heard of him.” Hoping to change that, Solid isn’t banking on what is essentially a thirteen-year-old demo to win heads over; it’s the history behind it that’s the real selling point.

Though it will intrigue diggers and historians most, Dooley-O’s story should still be of interest to casual fans once they realize classics like “Passin’ Me By” and “Funky Child” (and countless others) can be traced back through Stezo’s “It’s My Turn” to the years-absent-but-now-available “Watch My Moves.” The tale, like the songs mentioned, revolves around the “It’s A New Day” drum sample, originally discovered by Dooley and Chris Lowe in a neighbor’s basement. Their plans to use the break were thwarted by Dooley’s cousin Stezo, who literally stole the record for his own use (“It’s My Turn”) without giving proper credit. After falling out with both Lowe and Stezo (they reconciled later) and signing a bad deal with Tav Dash Records, it seemed Dooley would be eternally condemned to the status of “local legend;” thirteen years later, the beginnings of what might have been a classic finally sees the light of day.

History aside, how does Watch My Moves 1990 actually sound? While the vocals are unpolished and subject matter varies (“Slaughter Session” and “Neighborhood Tramp” stand out for sheer tastelessness), the entire package comes off more raw than second-rate. Filled with recognizable breaks, it’s obvious that Dooley had a great ear; where that might have placed his album among the likes of Fear of a Black Planet, People’s Instinctive Travels, and the rest of ’90′s finest will forever be up for debate (although it’s not hard to imagine that a finished version would have compared favorably). In truth, the release of Watch My Moves 1990 is mainly meant to satisfy the curiosity of the few heads who have even heard of it; that it remains listenable to this day is a bonus and testament to the New Haven B-Boy’s skills. Poised for a comeback in 2003, there may be chance yet to watch Dooley-O make moves – this time, we won’t miss.

 

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