Sad news: David Axelrod has passed.

I’ve written about him many times on this site and it’d be hard for me to do him any better justice than when I tried back in 2002.


Jim Russell Records, RIP

I’m headed back to NOLA this week and decided to dedicate a shorter episode to some of my favorite Crescent City songs.

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  • Robert Parker: Caught You In a Lie (NOLA, 1967)
  • Willie Harper: I Don’t Need You Anymore (Tou-Sea, 1968)
  • Allen Toussaint: Louie (Scepter, 1970)
  • Eddie Bo and Inez Cheathem (Seven 7, 1968)
  • Inell Young: What Do You See In Her? (Libra, 1972)
  • Floyd Anckle and the Majestic Brass Band (C&E, 197?)Intro/Outro: King Herbert and the Knights: Cissy Strut


We Like It Like That – Official Trailer from Mathew Ramirez Warren on Vimeo.

I promised (threatened?) that I’d drop some Latin on you all for a future podcast and what better than to bring in We Like It Like That filmmaker Mathew Ramirez Warren to come in and talk boogaloo with me. We chatted about the inspiration behind the film, tracking down Latin music old-timers, and the importance of public-funded arts (save the NEA!) Then Mathew joined me in running down a playlist of some of our favorite boogaloo jams.


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Included songs:

  • Ray Barretto: New York Soul (Fania, 1968)
  • Willie Rosario: Watusi Boogaloo (ATCO, 1968)
  • Louie Ramirez: New Breed (Mercury, 1967)
  • Joe Bataan: Subway Joe (Fania, 1968)
  • Ray Barretto: Together (Fania, 1969)
  • Tony Pabon/La Protesta: Free (Rico, 1970)
  • Jimmy Sabater: Times Are Changing (Tico, 1969)
  • Willie Colon: Skinny Papa (Fania, 1968)
  • Pedrito Ramirez: Micaela (Popo, 196?)
  • El Gran Combo: Kiss My Nose (Gema, 1967)
  • Kanté Manfla: Mosso Gnouma (Djima, 1969)
  • Bobby Matos: El Casa De Alfredo (Philips, 1967)Outro: Sunlightsquare Combo: I Believe In Miracles (Sunlightsquare, 2010)

Subway joe


In honor of the Groove Merchant’s recent pop-up at RappCats in L.A., this week’s playlist is built around songs from that sale and a couple of other GM gems collected over the years.


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  • Spanish Fly: Soy 18 With a Bullet (Familia, 1992)
  • The Luscious Three: Say What You Mean (T’Suga Rays, 197?)
  • Nora Aunur: I’ve Found Someone On My Own (Alpha, 1972)
  • Mac Five: A Song For My Father (Century, 1975)
  • The Royals: Summertime (Vagabond, 196?)
  • Steve Parks: All In A Day (Reynolds, 197?)
  • Dawn & Sunset: Include Me (DT&V, 1972)
  • Rovi: Proposal (Omicron, 1975)
  • Magico: Vino Rojo (Fuerza, 1985)
  • Johnny Dankworth: Return From Ashes (RCA, 1972)
  • Intro/Outro Music: Sonny Stitt: Turn It On (Prestige, 1971)


Just uploaded my latest episode of the Record Wheel; thanks for the positive feedback! I’m serious: I don’t do this stuff to hear myself talk so as long as folks out there enjoy it, I’m happy to do it.

I put up a poll on the Facebook group and folks wanted hip-hop, so that’s what I served up.


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  • Nikki D: Your Man Is My Man (1990)
  • Blackalicious: Changes (1994)
  • O.G. Style: Catch ‘Em Slippin’ (1990)
  • Jewel T: County Blues-Rikers Island Mix (1992)
  • Fam-Bam Clicc: Fam-Bam Thang (1995)
  • Jupitersciples: Reach Out (2004)
  • J-Zone: Just a Friendly Game of Basketball (2004)
  • Marco Polo feat. Large Professor: Radar-Remix (2007)
  • People Under the Stairs: The Dig (2002)
  • Diamond D: Best Kept Secret – 45 King Remix (1993)Intro Music: Pierre-Alain Dahan: Phasing Drums No. 3 (1972)
    Outro Music: Joe Quijano: El Loco (Cesta, 1964)


Wheel of fortune slots wheel by wheelgenius

For those of you who subscribe to my (old) Sidebar podcast, you may (or shortly will) discover a new episode awaiting you, the first in nearly two years. One of my ambitions for this year is to produce more audio content and while I’m working on a more ambitious podcast idea, I decided, in the short run, to create something that was simple to throw together at home: an annotated playlist.

Record Wheel #1

The conceit is simple: pick one of my iTunes thematic playlists, hit “random,” pluck out the first 10 songs and talk about them. I started with my “Favorites and Recent” playlist, which I use on my phone for either 1) recent digitizations or 2) favorite songs. As such, this particular spin of the wheel yielded some obvious hits but in the future, I’ll likely pick other playlists that are filled with songs off the beaten path.

This is an experiment. I’m basically taking what could have been a 10-song Soul Sides post and turned it into a podcast instead. Maybe people will prefer just reading the same content vs. listening to me yammer on about them. Send me some feedback and let me know your preference. If enough folks like it, I’d be happy to do more down the road.


  • Ohio Players: Ecstasy (Matthew Africa Edit) (Westbound, 1973/2012)
  • Jack McDuff: Shadow Of Your Smile (Atlantic, 1967)
  • Leo Sayer: Magdelena (Warner Bros, 1976)
  • Chi-Lites: Oh Girl (Brunswick, 1972)
  • Joni Mitchell: All I Want (Reprise, 1971)
  • The Ethics: I Want My Baby Back (Vent, 1969)
  • Francois Rauber: Improvisation (Unidisc, 197?)
  • The Relatives: More Time To Explain (Archway, 196?)
  • The Pharycde: She Said (Jay Dee Remix) (Delicious Vinyl, 1976)
  • The Hassles: 4 O’Clock in the Morning (United Artists, 1968)

Intro: Tonio Rubio: Slowrama (Tele-Music, 1973)


For my latest BeatTips piece, I delved into “Looking At the Front Door” and why Large Professor’s production was so next level in regards to song structure. When I get the time, I might take the song and give it the Sliced treatment.


Secret Santa: Christmas Medley
This is a reup of one of my favorite “wait, what?” holiday sonsgs: a medley of Christmas carols from a mid-70s LP out of Europe. I like how the announcer tries to explain, in very formal language, how the arranger here makes things funky.

Happy holidays everyone!


Tonio Rubio: Bass In Action No. 1 + Latin Leitmotif
From Rhythms (Tele Music, 1973)

I didn’t include this in my year-end wrap-up because, technically, it wasn’t a discover; I’ve known about it for years, it just took until now to finally track down a copy. As I’ve written in the past, I’m not a heavy library collector by any means but there are a few titles that I’ve chased throughout the years, none more so than this Tele Music title from Tonio Rubio. In terms of sheer bang-for-buck, I’d rank this as high as any library LP out there though for me personally, this is primary a 2.5 tracker.1

“Bass In Action No. 1” is on the short list of “songs that sounded like a hip-hop beat 15-20 years ahead of time.” I mean…c’mon: the slow, lumbering bass line, the drifting electric piano, the way the breakbeat patiently waits to pop in around the one minute mark. It’s straight up proto-trip-hop.

Edit: James Burgos made a great observation: “That track reminds me of [Cannonball Adderley’s] “Hummin‘.” The Rhodes seems like it even quotes some of the horn phrasing.” I think he’s 100% correct; this sounds like a riff on “Hummin.'”

“Latin Leitmotif” is equally delicious, least of all for its phasing effects and that killer montuno that’s played on…actually, I’m not sure what the hell it’s played on. Piano and bass in tandem? (My wife describes it as “a dirty piano” and that works for me). This track is so fun and funky, it makes you wonder what the hell Rubio and the Tele Music crew were thinking (or smoking) when they sat down to tape it.

Like I said, took me years to track down a copy but all good things to those who…

  1. The half track is for “Bass In Action No. 2” which is very similar to “No. 1” except for the added scat singing.


According to Slate’s Dan Kois, Stevie Wonder’s “We Can Work It Out” is the best Beatles cover out there:

Stevie Wonder and his cover of “We Can Work It Out,” not only the best Beatles cover of all time but the only one that is definitively better than the Beatles’ original.

Now…my first response to this claim can be summed up as “OH, WORD?”

To my mind, as good as Stevie’s cover is, it’s in competition with at least two other covers from the same era: Al Green’s “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and Aretha Franklin’s “Eleanor Rigby.” Showdown!

Who wins? You decide.