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Back to the Jungle

I don't know about y'all, but after spending a year being perpetually drenched in Puff Daddy's flashy, hip-pop showboating, Master P's bowel-movement-as-lyrical-trademark techniques, and the roughneck ramblings from the 200 or so members of the Wu-Tang Clan, I think it's time for another revival of the Native Tongues.

Now, don't act like you don't remember the East Coast boho-rap clique -- three trios of earthy, innovative mike men who brought eclectic spirit to late-'80s hip-hop. Hell, if you look back in your CD collection, you probably have De La Soul's legendary 3 Feet High and Rising or A Tribe Called Quest's daringly eccentric People's Instinctive Travels and The Paths of Rhythm. If you were a true enthusiast, you might even have Done by the Forces of Nature, the underrated 1989 classic by the Jungle Brothers.

You could say that the Jungle Brothers -- Sammy B, Afrika Baby Bam and Mike G -- are the Native Tongues who suffer from middle-child syndrome. Although they were the first to release an album (1988's Straight Out the Jungle), they haven't received the attention and reverence De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest enjoyed with each album they dropped. And that's a shame, because most of the Jungle Brothers' albums, including Done and their follow-up, Crazy Wisdom Matters, are definitive Native Tongue treasures.

The Jungle boys reappeared this year, along with De La Soul, on Decksanddrumsandrockandroll, that big-beat work of art from Propellerheads. But I surely hope the Jungle Brothers, and the rest of the Native Tongues crew, get back in the studio and drop something soon. The world needs them.

-- Craig D. Lindsey

The Jungle Brothers perform with Aphrodite, DJ Fusion, DJ Stryke, Space Girl and others on Saturday, July 4, at the Trauma Lounge, 806 Sampson. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18. For info, call 867-9028 or 807-8983.

Eric Taylor -- In part because of his old self-destructive tendencies, Taylor is one of Houston's most underrated folk/roots performers. Now he's prepping for the release of a new record, the aptly titled Resurrect (already available in Europe, it's slated for stateside release in September). The contemporary of Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and Lyle Lovett, Taylor takes a simple approach on the new material, avoiding what he calls a "guitar lick" sound on tracks (some of which he wrote over a decade ago) such as "Walkin' Back Home," "Comanche" and the title song. Expect an evening of music spanning his entire career (he landed in Houston in 1970), but heavy on songs from Resurrect. "I'll play all the old stuff too," Taylor promises. "And with both hands!" At 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7, at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk. Tickets $8. 528-5888. (Bob Ruggiero)

Maze featuring Frankie Beverly -- You probably won't hear an adult-contemporary R&B band that's smoother, mellower or less likely to stir up a fight at a concert than Maze. The mellifluous melodies of the gimme-capped Beverly and the heavy grooves of his 21-year-old band are so soulfully laid-back, prisons should play their music over the loudspeakers. With Patti LaBelle, LSG and K-Ci & JoJo at 7 p.m., Sunday, July 5. At the Compaq Center, 10 Greenway Plaza. Tickets $41.75 and $46.75. 629-3700. (

 
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