Gilles Peterson: Still Digging America

Lorez Alexandria: I’m Wishin’
From Didn’t We (Pzazz, 1968)

R.A.M.P.: The Old One, Two
From 12″ (previously unreleased) (Ubiquity, 2007)

Both from: Gilles Peterson Digs America 2 (Luv N’ Haight, 2007)

Bonus: Lorez Alexandria: Talk About Cozy
From Didn’t We (Pzazz, 1968)

The inaugural volume of the Digs America series was one of our favorite comps of 2005 and now Gilles is back again with another romp through the rarities of musical Americana. To call his tastes “eclectic” is quite the understatement…Peterson has some obvious likes – vocal jazz dominates this volume, even more than last time – but he’ll throw all kinds of curves, from the teeny, wispy voice of R&B singer Carrie Cleveland on the Bay Area ballad, “Make Love to Me” to the brassy jazz noodlings of Gap Mangione on “Boys With Toys” to rip-roaring femme funk of Detroit’s Dee Edwards and her “Why Can’t There Be Love” (btw, I really need that single). It’s all good, good stuff.

I’ll say this much too: he always knows how to pick his first songs to lead the comp. The last volume kicked off with Darondo’s “Didn’t I” (mmmmmmmmmm) and this one leads with Lorez Alexandria’s sultry “I’m Wishin’.” Why can’t whole albums sound like this and not just one, errant track (see below though)? So smoky I’m catching lung cancer off the vibes.

With the R.A.M.P. (Roy Ayers Music Project) track, this is a previously unreleased song from the vaults that Ubiquity recently put out on 12″ (and it’s sold out already!) I’ll be honest…I initially wasn’t really feeling this, mostly because I was expecting “Daylight” vs. a more disco-fied track but when I got Gilles’ comp in and was listening to it, I found myself drawn into the mezmerizing loop of the tune and realized: hey, this is actually much better than I initially gave it credit for. Try it, you might like it too.

For a bonus, I threw on an extra cut from the Alexandria LP (which has, by the one, one of the coolest covers I’ve seen for a vocal jazz album). It’s not at the level of marvel that “I’m Wishin'” inspires but Lorez still sounds great on this; makes me yearn for the days of hanging out in jazz lounges that never happened. Cozy indeed.


Ubiquity Records has three copies of the Gilles Peterson CD to give away to Soul Sides readers. You know the deal…I ask a question, you send the correct answer to me. I pick winners out of the correct answers.

1) Please make your subject line: “Gilles Peterson giveaway”
2) Please answer the following question: On Volume 1 of Digs America, two of the songs featured were from local Bay Area labels. Name the artists, songs and labels that they originally appeared on.

Good luck! Folks have until week’s end to get their answers in.