SOUL KALEIDOSCOPE: THE SOUNDS AND STYLES OF DON JULIAN

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This post has been years in the making, dating back to when I first picked up Don Julian’s soundtrack for Savage!. Apart from having a dope cover (which I jacked for a mix-CD), it’s also one of the best blaxploitation OSTs out there, which is to say: it doesn’t sound like every wanna-be Shaft ripoff out there. It still has its share of chicka-chicka-wow-wow moments, but the album is far more sophisticated than you might otherwise suspect.

That owes much to Don Julian, an important figure in Los Angeles’ R&B history (though still woefully under-documented). Julian began his career in the 1950s as a member of the doo-wop group, The Meadowlarks and after the band disbanded, he created The Larks in their wake and the group (fair or not) acquired the reputation as a one-hit wonder for the #1 single from 1964, “The Jerk.”

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