THE SIDEBAR #22: SYL JOHNSON

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It’s been a minute since the last Sidebar podcast but I figured I could make things up to y’all by busting out an interview with Syl Johnson, the legendary R&B/funk musician/singer out of Chicago. Syl’s going to be playing in Los Angeles, with Breakestra no less, on February 11th and I am hella excited to see how they’ll team up.

Syl’s been riding a wave of re-discovery every since his Complete Mythology anthology dropped on Numero Group back in 2010.1 We talked about how busy he’s been, especially in working with a new [...]

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ETTA JAMES: AN APPRECIATION

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Etta James was a singer who I always enjoyed on the periphery…in other words, I never made a concerted effort to really get that deep into her catalog but I understand, on a very basic level, that this was a Very Important Artist and not just because she sang one of the very best ballads ever sung in the history of people singing ballads. 1

So for this appreciation, I’m not going to try to pull off some “Etta James’s most important songs” post because I simply can’t claim to know this. I [...]

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DON’T GIVE US NO BAMMER WEED

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Gabor Szabo and the California Dreamers: San Franciscan Nights
From WInd, SKy and Diamonds (Impulse, 1967)

“The above song is dedicated to the city and people of San Francisco” (decked out in red and gold…and not just for the Year of the Dragon).

Just a random observation/thought but music and sports are, of course, intensely personal but they’re also appreciated even better when others around you are just as passionate about it. So this past few weeks have been fun as hell, with almost everyone I know in the [...]

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ETTA JAMES: A GOLDEN VOICE GOES SILENT

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It seems apropos (morbid too, perhaps) but days after the man who discovered her passed away – that’d be Johnny Otis – Etta James died today. NPR has a remembrance.

Again, sorry that the site looks like a death roll right now but as I’ve said before, this is going to happen more and more amongst our soul heros.

Rest in peace, Etta.

THE JOHNNY OTIS SHOW ENDS ITS RUN

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One of the most important figures in L.A. music has passed; Johnny Otis, dead at 90.

If you ever wanted to understand just what made him so remarkable, here’s as good a place to start.

Once I come up for air from all this work, I’ll try to say more.

(In better news, just recorded Sidebar #21 w/ Syl Johnson. At least some of our legends are still with us).