Michael Barnes is the host of KPFK‘s groovealicious Sunday afternoon show, The Melting Pot (and maintains the blog of the same name where you can find past archives of his 2-hour show). Michael and I have crossed paths often through the years – we first met at Berkeley where both of us were working at KALX FM. (Michael is also a scholar of sociology and popular culture and teaches in my department at CSU-Long Beach.)

Radio remains a core passion of his; in moving down to Los Angeles a few years ago, he linked up with KCRW prior to moving over to KPFK. That’s where we began our conversation, before moving onto another shared love: records. In Michael’s case though, his love for records transmuted into “records for love,” when he sold off the bulk of his collection to pay for his wedding. Last, but certainly not least, we close on the topic of summer songs, including a rumination on the greatness that is Jamaican music.

The Sidebar #8: Michael Barnes of the Melting Pot
Music used in the podcast:

  • The Boris Gardiner Happening: Melting Pot (from Is What’s Happening, Dynamic 1973)
  • The 5th Dimension: Wedding Bell Blues (from The Age of Aquarius, Soul City 1969)
  • Love: The Good Humor Man Sees Everything Like This (from Forever Changes, Elektra 1967)
  • Althea and Donna: Uptown Top Ranking (from Uptown Top Ranking, Front Line 1978)
  • Alton Ellis: I’m Still In Love With You (from Sings Rock and Soul, Coxsone 1967)
  • Donald Byrd: Dominoes (from Places and Spaces, Blue Note 1975)

In editing the podcast down from our original interview, I ended up with nearly 20 minutes of outtakes from various topics. I was on the fence with these since, on the one hand, I think what we had to talk about was quite interesting, including the differences between internet and terrestrial radio, the state of selling records and my embarrassing ignorance of Booker T’s catalog. Ultimately though, I thought the main podcast was better served in its economy so I created a bonus podcast with the extra material.

Bonus-cast: Outtakes from Sidebar #8