HARD LUCK SOUL (JAZZ)

Prison rock, blues and soul songs/albums are a genre unto themselves but prison jazz albums aren’t nearly as common. This early ’70s album is one of the rare exceptions. Recorded by inmates at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus, OH, Hard Luck Soul, despite its name, is a modal/spiritual jazz album, comprising of just four songs, all between ~5-10 minutes in length.

The background behind this album was chronicled when it was reissued by UK’s Jazzman Records […]

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THE QUEEN IN MAKING

This past Monday, I participated in the awesome “Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace: From Watts to Detroit” symposium at UCLA and I gave a short presentation about Aretha’s under-regarded Columbia years. I took that talk and turned it into this slideshow video above. Hope you all enjoy!

DAMAGE NOTED

My daughter, now 14, recently has gotten interested in the “wild style” era of graffiti writing and I borrowed a copy of Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant’s groundbreaking Subway Art (1984) via an inter-library loan. My copy came from Cal State Humboldt and inside, as you’ll see, students over the years have marked up the interior cover pages. The earliest of these go back at least to 1996 and the most recent have been since 2016. I suspect many other library copies […]

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WE ALL HAVE STORIES

I’ve recently put Bill Withers’s “Stories” back in heavy rotation (Heat Rocks related) and have been chasing covers of it. Joey Dosik does one on his album from last year (and I love that he sings it acapella to open his gigs) but I also came across this random cover on Youtube by Emily Watkins who I think does a great job with the tune.

BALTIMORE JAZZ SCENE 1975-76

I picked up this up from a local vintage store: the annual publication by Baltimore’s Left Bank Jazz Society, covering the years 1975-76. The Society was formed in the mid-1960s to promote jazz culture and events in the city and best as I can tell, they published a yearbook through most of their first 15 years.

What I’ve included for you all to check out is a PDF of some of the pages within: photos, articles and my personal favorite: […]

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BREAKING DOWN: “A NAME I CALL MYSELF”

I really should do more posts for the Soul Sides Sliced sub-site because…these are fun to do! Enjoy the latest: Breaking Down: The Souls of Mischief’s “A Name I Call Myself” (1993)

MY FAVORITE THINGS, 2018

I used to do a year-end round-up that was strictly music focused but as […]

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THE ARETHA REDUX MIX (2011)

Eric Luecking reminded me that I never put this mix up on Mixcloud. For obvious reasons, Aretha is on my mind this week and I corrected my previous oversight.

UPDATE: Looks like Mixcloud blocked the mix in the U.S. (booo) so here’s a DL version for you all.

WOLFMOON: IF HE WALKED TODAY (1973)

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Wolfmoon: If He Walked Today (Fungus, 1973)

David Ma of Nerdtorious put me up on this; Wolfmoon = Tyrone Thomas and he was taken under the wing by Swamp Dogg. Their collaboration only produced this one album, which has a small but enthusiastic following. “If He Walked Today,” which came out as a single as well, isn’t so much a classic gospel song as it is a social issues tune that uses the idea of a Second Coming to castigate the state of the world. {By the way, […]

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CLOUD: BLAME IT ON THE SUN (1976)

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Cloud: Blame It On the Sun (Chapman, 1976)

I heard this one in a tiny story in Orange County when a friend and I were cruising through and I loved it from jump: it clearly has some “Sunny” vibes but that massive brass section brings into full into the ’70s. Plus, I dig the low-key (high-key?) corny lyrics such as: “Like a song without an ending, like a sea without a tide…” Kansas City, MO, represent.