MICHEL SARDABY: GAIL (1976)

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Michel Sardaby: Gail (from Gail, Disques Debs: 1976)

Sardaby is a French-Antilles pianist whose 1970s albums are positively lush with both conventional and electric keys. I first heard this album at an old Bump Shop party in New York when Leon Michels (of the El Michels Affair and Big Crown Records) was guesting and he dropped the monster jazz-funk track off of here: “Welcome New Warmth.” That track still knocks but I find myself constantly being drawn back to the album’s title cut and A1 track. I’m a sucker for Rhodes – no surprise there – and this has such a mellow, leisurely feel to it that I was just want to curl up inside of it. It’s really what we should mean by “lounge music” without any of the corny connotations.

ALWAYS SOMETHING THERE (A BURT BACHARACH MIX)

I originally made this mix for DJ Phatrick’s old Devil’s Pie party. It was wildly fun to research and put together and I still listen to it from time to time, just ’cause. Finally decided to upload it to Mixcloud for public enjoyment.

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.

MILLIKIN UNIVERSITY JAZZ LAB BAND: LIGHT UP THE SKY (1973)

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Millikin University Jazz Lab Band: Light Up the Sky (from Klub Studehata Tehnike Vam Predstavla, Celebration Studios Nashville, 1973)

This may be the least “jazz lab album”-sounding song I’ve ever heard. A great folk-rock tune with soul undertones though? Oui.

SUNNY AND THE SUNLINERS: GRAZING IN THE GRASS (1970s)

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Sunny and the Sunliners: Grazing In the Grass (From This Is My Band, Key-Loc, 197?)

“Grazing in the Grass,” the mega-hit by Hugh Masakela, ends up on all manners of other people’s albums. It helps that, as an instrumental (originally), it “translates” easily to other genres. In some ways, I would have actually expected Sunny Ozuna’s S.A. peers, Latin Breed, to have tackled this instead (they’ve done some killer jazz-funk tunes) but regardless, fun to hear Masakela get a slight Tejano makeover.

TRINIDAD TRIPOLI STEELBAND: I WANT YOU BACK (1971)

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Trinidad Tripoli Steelband: Want You Back (Warner Bros, 1971)

I don’t always listen to steel band…but when I do, I listen to steel band covers of Jackson 5 hits.

THE MAJESTIC ARROWS: ANOTHER DAY (1973)

The majestic arrows doing it for us

The Majestic Arrows: Another Day (Bandit, 1973)

On production alone, I would have been into this sweet soul side but I love the combo of the male falsetto + female vocal duet.

STRATUS: GIRL (1976)

Girl stratus

Stratus: Girl (Wyldwood, 1976)

Straight outta Rhinelander, WI. This one reminds me of something that Larry T and the Family might have cooked up. Lovely vibe that throws together a lil folk, soul and funk in the blender.

AARON NEVILLE: OVER YOU (1960)

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Aaron Neville: Over You (Minit, 1960)

I’m not 100% positive about this but doesn’t it seem like Biggie got his lines on “Warning” from “Over You”? And then, of course, that influenced Erykah to crib off Big.

It’s also interesting to hear Neville early in his career, before his voice turned into that crackling falsetto he became so known for.

NATHAN DAVIS: STICK BUDDY (1976)

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Nathan Davis: Sticky Buddy, from If (Tomorrow Int’l, 1976)

Sad news: Nathan Davis just passed away this week. Like a lot of folks in the ’90s, I discovered Davis’ magnificent album, If via Luv N Haight comps and one story I always tell is that when I was a DJ at KALX, I realized they had an original copy of If and at the time, it was an LP that could have easily sold for $200+. I never stole, ever, a record from the KALX library but I always joked that if I was going to, I would have went to If first.

“Stick Buddy” still puts a smile on my face every time I hear those opening bars and then Davis’ sax just sexily step into the mix.

RIP to Davis.