First of all…sorry for being gone for so long. Here’s a smattering of “sh– I’ve been up to” (thus keeping me away from the site):

  • Visiting Boston, speaking at the Hip Hop Archive, visiting the HQs for Get On Down, gawking at vintage drum machines, meeting the guy who produced this album, and listening to MC Keithy E’s early demo.
  • Interviewing Strangeloop.
  • Writing NPR reviews for Chico Mann as well as Charles Bradley + the James Hunter Six.
  • Previewing this year’s Coachella.
  • Talking about the legacy of KDAY in Los Angeles.
  • Profiling Radio Sombra/Espacio 1839
  • Helping interview Lady for this Sunday’s Melting Pot
  • Writing about this new exhibit of vintage kung fu film posters.
  • Helping plan and coordinate a conference on pop music that is this weekend.

    #nohumblebrag. Just saying; I been busy.

    One thing I totally forgot to share with ya’ll on account of that was this…
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    Jesse Thorn, a friend of SS, invited me to take part in his “Cannonball” series for Bullseye, which asks different folks to talk about their classic albums and for me, the LP that instantly came to mind is Al Green’s I’m Still In Love With You. It’s always been one of the “Top 5” and will never leave that spot. I wanted to quickly elaborate on the anecdote Jesse alludes to in the beginning. I’ve probably told this story sometime here before but it never gets old for me:

    Sometime around 1993, I was at the Ashby Flea Market in Berkeley and there’s a guy (still there apparently) who sold cassette dubs of different soul artists/albums. I knew Al Green from “Let’s Stay Together” (like a billion other people) but that was about it. And the flea market dealer was playing a couple tracks from I’m Still In Love With You and for $10, sure, I’d cop.

    That tape was revelatory. Completely opened me up to a whole new level of soul music appreciation. I started making dubs of my dub to give to friends; I just needed to share it.

    The fun part about prepping this for Cannonball was to force myself to really think why the album had such an impact on me. It’s not that I need that kind of intellectual dissection to appreciate the album more; it just adds a dynamic and new layer that I find meaningful. Because it really is such an incredibly well crafted album and it does all these little things, rhythmically especially, that you don’t expect and that’s precisely what makes it work.

    As I talk about in the segment, the fact that “Love and Happiness” does not have foot stomps after that long guitar intro always surprises me because my mind thinks there should be and so it turns a simple rim tap into something much more pumped. Willie Mitchell and the Hi Rhythm section were frickin’ genius. And Al Green – I mean, what else is there to say about how mind-blowingly good and seductive he was as a singer in the early ’70s? He kinged the game better than anyone – Marvin included.

    Anyway, thanks to Jesse for a truly fun conversation.

    Meanwhile, happy RSD to everyone tomorrow. If you’re anywhere near either LA or SF, hit up either the Record Jungle or Groove Merchant. Trust me.