Cold Duck: Cold Duck (On Ice)
Folk: A Helping Hand
L&M Jazz Quartet: Serenade to a Chicken Wing
The Profits: Fantasy of Love
All from Like People: The Sounds of Young Los Angeles (SOYLA, 197?)
I had been after this LP for a few years now, ever since first seeing at the Groove Merchant, back in the day. It was the cover art; there was something so enticing about how everyone was standing at the top of that canyon, combined with a flip on the old Motown slogan, “The Sound of Young America,” now adapted for L.A.
It’s hard to find much on this LP at all. SOYLA was, apparently, a youth-oriented non-profit and this was a compilation album of different teen musicians who were part of the organization. That already makes it a rather cool project, especially given the range of different styles you can hear on here: folk, rock, funk, jazz, soul…hence the “sounds” of young Los Angeles, rather than some singular “sound.”
I turned to Andy Zax since he actually has one of the photo proofs of the cover image (jealous!). Here’s what he had to say about the LP:
most of what I know is conjecture based on a few facts…The album was made with the help of a bunch of music-biz people who donated time and costs. (Capitol did the artwork in-house, and they probably pressed it at well; judging by the scarcity, it must have been a _really_ small run. I’d guess maybe 500 copies; certainly not more than a thousand.) The really alluring thing about it is that cover photograph, which evokes the vibe of LA in 1971 like almost nothing else. I was in kindergarten or first grade at the time, and those kids look exactly like all the other impossibly-older-looking post-hippie kids I used to see wandering around in Westwood Village or on the UCLA campus.
I included what I thought was a representative sample off the LP. “Cold Duck (On Ice)” by Cold Duck was a fairly straight forward jazz/rock/funk fusion track; horns are a bit reminiscent of Jimmy Castor or Kool and the Gang from the late ’60s/early ’70s.
Folk initially sounds a bit twee; very “canyon” in feel until the drummer decides to start crushing the session. Pity this is mixed rather low and muddy. It’d be cool to remaster this with the drums more in the foreground, with a cleaner sound. Apart from having one of the better jazz titles I’ve ever seen, “Serenade to a Chicken Wing” slides on a nice, laid back groove. Very 3am in vibe.
My favorite song is (of course) the slow jam: “Fantasy of Love” by The Profits. Unfortunately, the LP included no info on the groups themselves but by their sound, I’d have to assume these were some Eastsiders, trying to mint their own firme fola on this one. The fact that these are likely a bunch of teenagers just increases its lo-fi charms.