If you know anything about me, it’s that I’m a huge fan of Betty Davis and it’s good to see that someone’s finally making a film about her (with her participation). Help to fund the project here.


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Les Baxter: Yellow Sun (GNP Crescendo, 1969, African Blue)

The term “exotica” always conjures up some swank ’60s bachelor pad, the kind with a well-designed hifi system, some mid-century modern furniture and a crystal decanter of liquor. I wasn’t alive when the genre was more popular but it’s hard to imagine that exotica wasn’t much more than a slightly sexed up variation of easy listening: something more often heard in banal suburban living rooms than a downtown corner condo. It was also one of the more prominent examples of audio tourism, promising to transport the listener away to some foreign, um, exotic land but often quite vague in actual destination.

Case in point, the only formal exotica LP I’ve ever owned has been Les Baxter’s quite decent African Blue but not only is it unclear what’s “African” about any of the songs on here but this album is basically the commercial version of a KPM library record by Baxter entitled…Bugaloo in Brazil which manages to invoke both Afro-Cuban grooves and Brazilian music even though those are completely different musical traditions. So…yeah.

But hey, the tunes are sweet, especially the vocal-laced bossa ballad “Yellow Sun” (entitled “Tropical Canvas” on the KPM LP). Now excuse me while I go sip a martini.



Wynne Unit Band: It’s Over (Texas Prison Rodeo, 1980, Behind the Walls)

Part of the appeal of prison soul albums lies in how a narrative of redemption is built into their very existence. They exist, whether intentionally or not, as rehabilitation projects, where inmates use music as a way of reconnecting with “legitimate” society. Whether that’s all a facade or not, it’s how most prison LPs are set up, this exemplary one out of Texas being no exception. The Guardian published a write-up about Wynne Unit and its musicians back in 2013 but this LP had long been on people’s radar for a minute because amidst its country tunes are two unexpectedly great modern soul jams (besides “It’s Over”, there’s also “Come Home,” which is very similar in feel/style).

The same project also released another album a few years earlier, featuring a band out of Eastham prison but from recollection, that one isn’t as good (at least not on the soul front).


Droop-E: I’m Loaded (2010, Blvck Diamond Life)

Late pass. Didn’t realize Droop-E did a mixtape of all Sade samples back in 2010. Lurvin’ this. Feel like he’s been MIA for a minute…what’s Droop been up to?!


Tru Thoughts has exhibited ace taste in their covers compilations. Their newest, Covers 2 came out earlier in the month and the line-up is killer. I’m especially into Quantic and Alice Russell’s take on Leonard Castor’s mid-70s Motown classic:

And the same volume includes this Nirvana cover that my dude Phatrick worked on: