Shades of Soul EP 2.13: Summer Jams feat. Miles Tackett by Soul-Sides.Com/O. Wang on Mixcloud
For my latest Shades of Soul (summer) episode, I invited Miles Tackett (FB/Twitter) to join. Folks know him best as the founder of Breakestra and for the very long-running weekly Funky Sole party. He’s got a new album out: Fool Who Wonders and I invited him in to talk about the album, his career and a few of his favorite summer jams.
A random post that’s (mostly) not music related but I was thinking about the things that I rely on most at any given time of the day and I narrowed it down to four items I literally don’t leave home without.
•iPhone 5S. ‘Nuff said. I don’t rotate the music enough but I keep a playlist that’s strictly “new arrivals + favorites” that ends up being very handy when I come up with my “year end” posts.
•Quirky Wrapster. Because those %)!!)( iPhone earbuds always get tangled in my pocket otherwise).
•Big Skinny card holder wallet. I’m strictly a “front pocket wallet” kind of guy and these are fantastic for that purpose.
•Prescription sunglasses (I get mine from Eyebuydirect.com). It’s terribly cliche for someone in L.A. I suppose but I spend so much time either in the car or on my bike, shades are essential.
“Pistolgrip Pump” is one of my favorite L.A. hip-hop songs and now Eric Ducker has written a thorough history of how the song came to be (and truly, the many ways in which it could have NOT come to be). Great music journalism at work here.
(Also a sobering reminder of how the song ended up defining Volume 10′s style as something that was actually quite different from what it actually was. Listen to practically anything else on the album and his Good Life bonafides are instantly obvious).
One main “summer project” has been to finish purging my collection. I recently got to the box that held most of my soul/funk/jazz/Latin compilations and I was surprised at how few of them I felt the urge to keep.
Back when I had a weekly radio show on KALX FM (1994-2004), these kinds of comps served multiple purposes. First and foremost, they helped fill those 3 hours of airtime every week; you figure your average album may only have 2-3 cuts you’d want to play but almost by nature, a well-curated comp is meant to be chock-full of awesome tracks.
But even more importantly, comps helped serve an important role in the era before YouTube/Wikipedia/et. al. for someone to learn about styles/artists/labels, etc. The best curated of them came with liner notes that provided history and context. It’s easy to take for granted how we’re able to access that same information instantaneously now but in the ’90s, comps were a crucial “analog” source for that kind of knowledge dissemination. I genuinely liked buying comps for all those reasons; they were like little gift packs of interesting music that I also got utility out of as a DJ.
However, in 2014 though, I realize that I don’t really need them anymore…not because they’ve become outdated as a concept. It’s because these comps – the ones I’ve already owned – have fulfilled their purpose to help educate me. This isn’t to brag (much) but over the years, I used the knowledge from them to track down the original recordings I wanted most, thus partially negating their utilitarian purpose. Besides: the goal this summer is to winnow, winnow, winnow. All of which is to say, I’ve been steadily listing them for sale in case anyone else out there feels like they can benefit from them in the same ways I once did. They’re all in great condition – I’ve never been one to ever abuse my vinyl so most of these are barely played. If anyone’s interested in making a bulk order, just contact me directly and I’m happy to work out a deal.
Little Joe and the Latinaires: Just Because I Really Love You + Soul Pride + Take Five
From Follow the Leader (Buena Suerta, 1970)
I’ve been up on the San Antonio’s Little Joe for years but somehow, never snatched up one of their records until now. It’d be an understatement to call José María De León Hernández (aka Little Joe) “prolific,” especially if you’re a fan of his tejano recordings. However, while he and his bands likely have far more followers in the world of regional Mexican music, in the ’70s, he and the Latinaires had no shortage of American pop-influenced LPs too, especially Follow The Leader which includes a dozen covers of chart-topping hits of the era. What I adore about the LP is how broad the group’s tastes were. They cover everyone from Syl Johnson to Jerry Butler to The Impressions to Dave Brubeck to Stevie Wonder to James Brown to Classics IV. If Little Joe and the Latainires were a Top 40 station, I would have locked in the signal and then snapped the knob off.