Every so often, I update my online portfolio to keep track of my music/cultural criticism and journalism. I finally updated it for 2014 and in doing so, I briefly revisited some of the stories from the year that I’m most proud of. Thought I’d share these in case you missed them the first time around.
Gimme The Beat (Box): The Journey Of The Drum Machine
For NPR’s Morning Edition (January 17, 2014)
The Internet and the R&B Upgrade
(Profile of The Internet)
For KCET’s Artbound (April 7, 2014)
The Secret To This Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pork Is In The (Soy) Sauce
(Found Recipes story)
For NPR’s All Things Considered (September 18, 2014)
Records Don’t Love You Back: In Search of Lost 78s
(Book Review of Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records)
For L.A. Review of Books (October 15, 2014)
Charles Brimmer: Just Another Morning (Chelsea, 1975, Expression of Soul)
Deep soul album.
Brimmer is one of the countless “what could have been” acts of the ’70s, having recorded a slew of singles for various labels before having a moment of opportunity once Chelsea began to distribute him nationally. Expression of Soul was his first LP and if you can grab it for $10 or so, it’s absolutely worth it. He’s a classic deep soul testifier and you get plenty of that on the LP but for this post, I went with my fave: a mid-tempo crossover cooker.
Valerie Simpson: I Just Wanna Be There (Tamla, 1971, Exposed)
Debut soul album from one-half of the Ashford and Simpson team.
Valerie Simpson’s solo debut LP made little impact, especially relative to the immense success her and Nick Ashford had as a songwriting duo in the 1960s for Motown (or their later ’70s duo career). And if we’re being honest here, this first album was rather unmemorable overall but out of it, I did think this was, by far, the catchiest track on there.
This just came in the mail today: Get On Down!’s People 45 box, with 5 bonus reissue 7″s. Just to be clear, what you’re buying is, first and foremost, a really nice carrying case that just happens to also include reissues of five of People’s best known funk hits. But for those thinking you’re getting the entire People catalog on 7″…this isn’t an Omnibus-esque release. Ain’t nothing wrong with a case-first approach though. This one’s already made it to the shelf.
Denis Bryant: Soul Man (Discreet, 1975, 7″)
Rock/soul cover of the Sam & Dave classic.
On the one hand, the singing on here is crazy overwrought and bordering on unlistenable. On the other hand, that guitar and those piano trills. And yeah, [redacted] sample to boot.