Mardi Gras Without the Bells Visualized

When I wrote about the Diabolical last month and his collecting, I touched briefly upon the Bob James classic “Take Me To The Mardi Gras” record and the fact that the Biz claims he owns one without the bells in the beginning. This debate has been going on forever. From Phill Most Chill’s blog to Soul Strut and to digging circles everywhere, this holy grail has been every one’s white whale. Evidently, at some point in the early 70’s, CTI put out a facemelter promo, the CTI briefcase. There are cats like Supreme La Rock and Biz who have this must have item for beat heads. In this briefcase, were supposedly 5 Bob James records, one being the Mardi Gras 12″. There were only about 15 of those produced according to one of the heads of marketing at CTI at the time. This future rarity was never commercially available to the public and sent only to the country’s top DJs. This guy even weighed in on the topic (of the bells) and said he wasn’t sure if there was ever a mix like that released, but maybe the pressings were lower in audio quality. In today’s music climate, where everything can be manipulated, drums can be added, sounds overdubbed, and mixes panned to eliminate sounds, such as bells, it’s hard to tell what the deal is. The Biz has played this out and over the phone for people, but no one has seen it in person (if you have, let me know). Like I said, the bell-less version is a combination of a Chupacabra, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and a Zombie (although, lay off the Bath Salts because you may think there are real Zombies).

“ Bob James is pictured dreaming of Biz Markie taking a bite from a ‘poison’ apple featured on the cover of James’ seminal album ‘Two’. To complete the collage of references, the catalogue number shown is that of Kool G Rap’s Prism 12″ ‘Poison’ ”

What does all of this have to do with the photo above? Artist/Designer/DJ Mr. Krum has put together this design to honor this long time DJ/Digger argument. A 320mm x 320mm, fine art Giclee print on 310gsm 100% cotton rag paper, this piece would look really good hanging above my turntables in my record room. So obscure, but yet not so obscure, I’m glad I stumbled upon it. In fact, the lot of these were on display earlier this year at the show entitled Classic Material : Exhibition (The City Arts & Music Project in London. Here’s the official description of the print:

“The images used in this piece make reference to hip hop folklore surrounding the holy grail of all breakbeats, an alternate version of Bob James’ classic ‘Mardi Gras’ in which the distinctive bells from the version on general release do not appear. Biz Markie claims to own a copy of the record but few claim to have ever seen or heard it.

Bob James is pictured dreaming of Biz Markie taking a bite from a ‘poison’ apple featured on the cover of James’ seminal album ‘Two’. To complete the collage of references, the catalogue number shown is that of Kool G Rap’s Prism 12″ ‘Poison’. ”

Look for More Mr. Krum stuff,he’s a dope designer with a vinyl collector/ DJs perspective.


Biz Markie Live Playing Bob James. Real record or not?

This version is from Serato, so it could have been processed (with bells panned out to one side). Not confirmed.

Check out this mix from Mr. Krum, it’s pretty damn good.

Mr. Krum & His Wonderful World of Graphic Design.

Buy Some Cold Rock Prints here.

Keep Diggin’!

3 responses to “Mardi Gras Without the Bells Visualized

  1. Hmmm definitely sounds like a version with no bells since you can still hear the high hat pretty clearly. However, in an interview on Nerdtorius.com, Bob James makes it quite clear that he does not believe such a version exists, and that if it did it would have to have been made without his knowledge/consent and before the mastering process. Who knows… in the mean time I’ll keep searchin for my own copy!

  2. hmmm… definitely sounds like the real thing since I can hear the high hat pretty clearly, but who knows. In an interview on Nerdtorious.com Bob James made it pretty clear that he doesn’t think such a version really exists. He said that if it did it would have been without his permission & that it would have to have been done before the track was actually mastered. Who knows… I’ll keep digging for it one way or another!

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