Wednesday, January 30, 2008

posted by O.W.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings: How Long Do I Have To Wait For You? (Ticklah Remix)
From Daptone Records Remixed (Scion, 2007)

I'm still trying to move out all my mix-CDs and copies of Soul Sides Vol. 2.

I'm down to: 9 copies of SSV2
9 copies of Incognitos
(For descriptions, visit here.)

Here's the deal: until supplies last, I'll include, with any purchase, a copy of the Daptone Records Remixed CD, put out promotionally by Scion. (Not for sale anywhere). They sent me a batch as giveaways-with-purchase and hence, here I am. This offer does not apply to any digital purchases, sorry.

To order: click here. Please help me move these out of my house for good!

By the way, I'm reissuing at least two more mix-CDs in digital format AND I will also consider doing a small run of them on physical CDs but not until I clear out all the dead stock. Thanks!Oh yeah, before I forget: I have exactly ONE copy of Soul Sides Vol. 2 left on vinyl. If you want it,email me.

We're out of Deep Covers now (thanks to those who bought, sorry to those trying to buy. I'll update the site later and refund people who tried to purchase it).


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

posted by O.W.

Thursday, January 31
The Short Stop
1455 Sunset Blvd (Echo Park)
10pm - 2am: FREE

DJs O-Dub (Soul Sides) and Murphy's Law (Captain's Crates)
Spinning: Soul, Latin, Funk and more

Murphy's Law from Captain's Crates and O-Dub (Soul-Sides) are once again joining forces at the Short Stop in Echo Park. We just rocked the spot three weeks back and promise to knock it out the park again this Thursday.

Given our mutual interests, expect a lot of Latin this evening, but also a nice dose of soul, funk, disco, etc.

As with our last gig, anyone who shows up and signs our mailing list gets an edited copy of our sets for download later.

See you all there!

Speaking of gigs...just found out that one of my favorite DJs will be at Funky Sole on Saturday: Chairman Mao of Ego Trip (not to mention Bumpshop NYC) fame. Act like you know and roll through.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Welcome to the World of Krontjong
posted by Captain Planet

kron1.JPG kron2.JPG
Keronchong Salina : Bubuj Bulan & Modjang Priangan
taken from the album
"Vol. 2" on Philips (197?)

Maroeti and his Krontjong Boys : Onde-Onde ("Sweet Cake")
taken from the album
"Ballads In Batik Vol. 2" on RCA (1974)

Kontjong, Kronchong, Kroncong, Keronchong... as mysterious in spelling as it is in melody. Moody, brooding, beautiful. I have several cassette tapes of similar music that I picked up in Indonesia back in 2000, but digitizing those would require pulling out (and dusting off) a tape player, which seems a little daunting right now. What limited info I have about this style of sound comes from the back of these LP's (and can we just take a nice moment of appreciation for the killer COVER ART here?). Apparently, these melodies:

"Originate from the early Portugese settlers in Indonesia and when the Portugese left and the Dutch settlers came, it was inherited by the Portugese/Dutch Eurasians from grand-grand fathers to grand-grand sons and so on."

Here's another informative link that I dug up about this Indonesian musical evolution.

Other than that, just let the tunes speak for themselves.
"Bubuj Bulan" sounds like a ready-made RZA beat. Some serious Mulatu vibes around 1:40. I want more...

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posted by O.W.

Erykah Badu: Honey

(thanks to HHH)

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

posted by O.W.

Specks Williams: We Gave the Drummer Some
From 7" (Jax, 196?)

Little Hooks w/ Ray Nato and the Kings: Give the Drummer Some More
From 7" (United Artists, 1972)

Nothing too elaborate here - I picked up this Specks Williams 45 recently and automatically thought of the Little Hooks song; thought the two made sense to pair together. As it turns out, there's an interesting coincidence b/t the two, insofar as Baltimore's Little Hooks w/ Ray Nato and the Kings were first signed, back in the 1950s, to the Jax imprint, same label as Newark's Specks Williams put his single out on. The Little Hooks song, however, came out on the Hollywood label, Enjay before getting picked up for wider distro by United Artists.

Of the two, I'm actually more partial to the Williams single, 1) it has the better drum break and 2) I like how it opens loud but then slides into a slick little guitar jazz number; not what you'd quite expect from it. "Give the Drummer Some More" wins for the better intro though, no question.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

posted by O.W.

Charles Bradley: The World (Is Going Up In Flames)
From 7" (Dunham, 2007)

Anthony Hamilton: Do You Feel Me
From American Gangster Soundtrack (Def Jam, 2007)

Jay-Z: 99 Problems (Royal Edit)
From Armed Snobbery (2007)

Look...I know that it already seems like I'm on Daptone's payroll or something but frankly they're just in an amazingly productive period right now and alas, most of it is great so the more good sh-- they put out, the more likely I will be to write about it. And look at it this way: this post is Crackhouse free!

The Charles Bradley is one of the new 45s on the Dunham subsidiary (you'll recall that excellent Menahan Street Band single was another one) and this copy of the 45 was given to me at the Sharon Jones show in L.A. by the guy who wrote it. Maybe that biases my opinion but *whistle* this single is easily one the best things I've heard from the Daptone's camp yet. Just a beautiful, powerful song and personally, I like Bradley better on his ballads than doing the uptempo funk swang.

A Soul Sides reader put me up on the Anthony Hamilton - the Dap-Kings are backing him here on this cut off the American Gangster soundtrack (the Jay-Z free version, dig me?). Definitely a Memphis vibe on this one, especially infusing the song with a Hi Records flavor. I like that slow thump and Sunday organ sermonizing. (It's also a better tune than the more JB-esque Hamilton song off the soundtrack).

Ok - Jay-Z IS back on this last cut; it's a remix by the "Prince of Ballard" who runs the Armed Snobbery blog. After hearing the 50 Cent meets Sharon Jones mash-up, he sent me a few tracks in a similar fashion. You can peep the whole spread of his "Royal Edits" here. Out of the batch, I dug this and the Eazy E the best but his "99 Problems" edit is the better produced between the two: he fits Jay's verses with the Dap-Kings instrumental track impressively well. Peep how those horns drop in when Jay-Z asks for the "hit".

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

posted by O.W.

DJ Icewater feat. Chioke and Sizwe: Throwback Vol. 1 (snippet)
From Throwback Vol. 1 (2007)

Uh, ok...late pass. Apparently, this came out last April but I only got familiar recently and alas, it's not even avail through Icewater's mixtape site anymore :(

Just some quick history: I've known Icewater since the '90s, when he was interning for Solesides/Quannum in Berkeley. He's always been one of my favorite DJs and frankly, dude is just a funny, good-natured guy. He's also handled my mixtapes for several years now, both CD and digital form so I got nothing but love for all his support and help.

This Throwback mix is for the geeks and fanboys (I mean this in a good way) since it's wall-to-wall covers of rap songs. Note: hip-hop is arguably the only major American music genre in which cover songs don't exist in any meaningful way (remixes, I suggest, are a different beast and therefore, don't count) and it's not that hard to explain why (hint: authenticity claims). There are a few examples, such as that recent Beyond a Reasonable Doubt mixtape that was out there and of course, Snoop's "Lodi Dodi." Well, Throwback Vol. 1 is like that...only with a lot more songs to enjoy, spanning the classic '90s era but trying to give love to the different coasts, plus a balance between major label and smaller imprints. Chioke (The Dime) and Sizwe (Lunar Heights) may not outdo the original artists (and that's not the ambition anyway) but it is a rollicking good time hearing them flip on these classics. The four song snippet I put together includes my favorite span on the tape, beginning with Group Home's "Supastar" (note: Malachi's verses were vastly improved upon), then into Ed O.G.'s "I Gotta Have It," and back to Cali with Erule's "Listen Up" and ending with a most welcome surprise: a cover of the Nonce's "Who Falls Apart?" I'm getting all misty for '98 now...

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

posted by O.W.

Brownout: Laredo 77 + Barretta
From Homenaje (Freestyle, 2008)

I've recently been enjoying the sounds of Brownout, a Latin funk outfit out of Austin, Texas. They've been around for a minute in the form of Grupo Fantasma except here, they're strictly instrumental. What I like about these guys is not only that they have their chops down but rather than following a strict revivalist route, their sound has a clear Latin influence but isn't holden to simply trying to sound like it's East Harlem 1968 again.

There's an impressive diversity of styles on the album and the two cuts I pulled out above can't do it proper justice. "Laredo 77" reminds me a lot of the Calbido's Three (who I really should get around to blogging about one of these days...note to self). Super laidback and smooth Latin-flavored soul-jazz.

"Barretta" goes in the other direction: dark, funky. with a slick kick and thump. I may very well have to play this out at my next gig (heck, I'm tempted to spin out half the album, just to see how it sounds loud).

Here's the extra treat for Los Angelinos: Brownout is playing two shows, starting tomorrow night:
  • Thursday at The Root Down
  • Friday at Soul Sessions

    These guys ain't local so use the opportunity to catch them at least once while they're out here!

    More info:
    Brownout on MySpace

    Oh yeah, one last thing: I'm forever indebted to Brownout for putting this video on their myspace page. Now I can see how the boogaloo is danced, by JB himself!

    Speaking of gigs, Murphy's Law and myself will be back at the Short Stop next Thursday, Jan 31. Hopefully, this will turn into something regular there. More info on this later.

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  • Tuesday, January 22, 2008

    Holy Grails Of Bizzarro
    posted by murphyslaw


    Yamasuki: Yama Yama, Kono Samurai, Yamasuki, Yokomo and Aieda
    Taken from the album Le Monde Fabuleux des Yamasuki on Biram (1970)

    This post stands as a warning to the fledgeling record head, a couple hundred LP's into the game and feeling pretty good about himself and his collection of sample-heavy CTI dollar-bin'ers and lesser known funk-rock gems on Westbound and Cotillion... You don't know how far the rabbit hole goes.

    Hear me loud and clear on this one, friends: THE DEEPER YOU GET, THE DEEPER THE MUSIC GETS. There is more ill music out there than you and I can wrap our sorry little heads around and we're suckers to think otherwise.

    I'll put it another way... the more stones you turn, the rockier the underbelly. Take for example


    I have very little doubt that 90-some percent of the non-Japanese, non-LSD-loving populace that might lay ears on this record would be entirely perplexed by it. Even hate it. "What," they might ask, "Could have possessed somebody to combine twangy Morricone-esque guitars with Axelrod beats and Far Eastern choral arrangements?" And they would be right to ask the question.

    But the answer, simply, for now and for always, is Yamasuki. Yamasuki. Yamasuki.

    I will further endorse this record by saying that the five tracks posted here could have been arbitrarily selected. The whole album is start to finish sonic mayhem that gets better with each go-round. Not for the weak of heart, to be sure, but a record of such originality and--dare I say--grace, that if the first hundred listens don't make sense, you'd better hope that the hundred-and-first does because Yamasuki is like that patronizing dog from Duck Hunt: they always get the last laugh.

    You're either with 'em or against 'em, friends... You know where I stand.

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    Thursday, January 17, 2008

    posted by O.W.

    I have my first piece for The Nation available on newsstands now: "Boogaloo Nights," looking at - you guessed it - Latin boogaloo in all its splendor. This essay serves as a primer on not just boogaloo's history but its import in understanding the intertwined complexity of American cultural exchange.

    A few "additions" - mostly things that were cut from the article for space. First of all, I tried, in the original drafts of the piece, to acknowledge the immense contribution to the public knowledge about boogaloo thanks to Juan Flores and the late Max Salazar. Much of my historical retelling of boogaloo depended on their research and I didn't realize the final copy had excised my attempt to credit them as such.

    Second, the article tends to focus on Fania as a "bad guy" figure in the death of boogaloo and that's probably largely earned but what's missing is how ironic it is that Fania (or really, Emusica) is taking such a leading role in reviving the genre. I think that's a fascinating story in and of itself but I wasn't able to get that deep into it here. Moreover, I also want to note that Fania is far, far, far from the only label in town in regards to the boogaloo. It was arguably the biggest player but one of many.

    Third, a note on the piece, I refer to the Latin boogaloo as bugalú as a form of shorthand so I don't confuse people between the R&B boogaloo and the Latin boogaloo. This said, on most Latin records, boogaloo is spelled "boogaloo," not bugalú.

    Fourth, and this actually very important and something raised by someone in the comments: the piece is based around the idea of boogaloo being a cross-cultural bridge, between Latin America and African America but I couch it, at times, in the language of "Brown and Black" and I realize this is a faulty shorthand. After all, the notion of race within Latino communities is much more complex than a label like "Brown." The primary personnel behind the boogaloo revolution - Puerto Ricans - can be Black, Brown or White if we're talking about skin tone and so it's not that useful to deploy "Brown" as a catch-all category.

    I also wrote a sidebar on five boogaloo compilations worth picking up for the neophyte.

    Fear not, much more on boogaloo to come. I've been asked - and gratefully accepted - the opportunity to write liner notes for an upcoming anthology of Joe Bataan's Fania output that will be coming out around April.

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    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    3 QUEENS
    posted by O.W.

    Candi Staton: Too Hurt To Cry
    From Stand By Your Man (Fame, 1971). Also on Candi Staton: The Fame Years.

    Holly Golightly: My Love Is
    From Slowly But Surely (Damaged Goods/Revolver, 2004)

    Amy Winehouse: Love Is A Losing Game (Truth and Soul Remix)
    From 12" (Universal, 2007)

    *This is my first post that will be cross-posted over at Captain's Crate as part of our Soul Crates experiment in content sharing.

    I talked about Candi Staton's Fame output the other month and that got me back into listening more of her songs and came upon this great one from her Stand By Your Man album. Love the tinkle of piano that begins this and really, Rick Hall produces this beautiful, with such a rich, soulful quality that Staton plays against wonderfully.

    With the Holly Golightly...I was trying to find the original version of "My Love Is," done by Little Willie John, after watching Lonestar again for the upteenth time but alas, it's a hard song to track down digitally speaking. But lo and behold, I found this cover by Golightly and despite my initial reservations, she's actually rather perfect for the song. Her light, almost ethereal voice goes with the song's dreamy, haunting qualities; this is what you'd want to hear playing on the cheap jukebox in some coffee and pie diner off a decaying highway.

    Speaking of decaying - snap! - Amy Winehouse might be the biggest pop train wreck not named Britney of the last year or so but we're still enamored with her musically. Plus, when the folks at Truth and Soul get the nod to remix "Love is a Losing Game" (one of our favorite songs off the last album), then we perk up and listen. And smile. Great remix, really strips this ballad down and remakes it with a minimalist but mesmerizing melody (I didn't plan that alliteration, seriously). We likee.

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    Sunday, January 13, 2008

    Greetings Soul-Sides!
    posted by Captain Planet


    HPIM0072.jpg fatback.jpg

    coke.jpg HPIM0065.jpg

    Ernesto Djedje : Zadie Bobo & Zibote
    taken from the album
    "Le Roi Du Ziglibithy" on Badmos (1977)

    The Fatback Band : Wicki Wacky
    taken from the album
    "Keep On Steppin'" on Event (1974)

    Coke: Na Na & Te Amos Mas
    taken from their self-titled album on Sound Triangle (1972)

    Usha Uthup : Chhupke Kaun Aya
    taken from the album
    "24 Carats" on Inreco (1981)

    Captain Planet here, from Captain's Crate. As O-Dub mentioned, we're trying out some cross-posting techniques to help increase the music flow for your listening pleasure. Today I'm initiating the cossover with a somewhat random assortment of funky music from around the globe. For those that have never seen my own blog, take a peek to get an idea of what we're all about. The "we" i refer to is myself + my younger and scruffier brother, Murphy's Law. Funky and soulful music, past and present, from wherever in the world it may have been born. Must there always be cohesion? Order? Reason? I think not. Especially when you're dealing with something as intangible as music. There's free mixes to download in the "Loose Tape" section as well (although I really should update that with some fresh ones).

    Starting off with a record that I've loved for years now-
    ERNESTO! Why I hadn't taken the time to digitize this earlier is a damn good question. I've been sneaking "Zadie Bobo" into DJ sets since '02 when I first discovered this gem, always to a positive crowd response. In the Ivory Coast, where Djedje made his name, "Zibote" was the bigger hit, and can still be found popping up on compilations of today's Ivoirian music. "The King of Ziglibithy", need I say more?

    *One note of warning for fans of Ernesto: DON'T BUY
    THIS CD VERSION OF HIS ALBUM. I made this mistake, only to realize that the CD is a bootleg recorded off a record being played at the WRONG SPEED! So, unless you want Ernesto chopped and screwed, steer clear.

    The Fatback Band need little introduction for fans of funk, but I've been needing to put this classic bump on repeat for a while now and it's so much easier to do that in MP3 format. This is one of those instances where a simple bass groove is enough for me.

    Recently got my hands on this semi-rarity from Florida's
    Coke (later re-named "Opus"). Don't know anything about the group, but I'm feeling the record a lot. The album has a nice cover version of the early boogaloo hit "Bang Bang" (Joe Cuba? or was it Pete Rodriguez?) as well as some ballads and several more dirty, dirty drumbreaks. The LP I have from them as "Opus" is nice too, but "Na Na" is hard to top. Looks like you can cop it on CD too.

    Finally, a real monster for you, the legendary HINDI version of
    "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough". Of course the production quality isn't going to be quite as tight, but considering the sound quality of your average bollywood record, I'd say the uncredited studio musicians (Bappi Lahiri?) on this one are doing a pretty good job. Usha was one of the biggest Indian soundtrack singers in the 70's and 80's - Shalimar, Shaan, & Disco Dancer, to name a few, all feature her silky vocal stylings. I always get a kick out of playing this one and then watching the initial look of bewilderment spread. "Chhupke" ranks right up there alongside Arzu's "Amor" in the world's most-precisely-covered-in-another-language category. Well done Usha.

    Hope you all enjoy the latest gumbo funk offering. And cheers to any new readers just finding out about the crate now through
    Soul-Sides! Stay tuned for more, as always.

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    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    posted by O.W.

    You asked for it. Now we're delivering.

    Thanks to my old friend DJ Icewater, I can now sell many of my past mix-CDs in a digital download format. Sad as I am that physical media (for some) is going the way of the dodo, at least I can stop dealing with stuff going out of stock.

    Soul Sides Digi Style

    Currently, there are four CDs available there: Incognitos Redux and Deep Covers most of you should already know about. But I'm finally able to bring two other CDs back into rotation. More on this in a sec.

    First of all though, I want to get all the remaining CDs I have out the house so I can start clean for the new year. I've discounted everything and am especially trying to move my six remaining vinyl copies of SSV2 out the door. Check it out.

    As an incentive, I have a lot of extra CDs (Nicole Willis, Gilles Peterson, La Clave, El Michels Affair, etc.) that I'll randomly distribute for among the outgoing packages for people buying up remaining stock.

    In the future, I haven't decided if I plan to keep that many physical CDs in stock or go strictly digital; a lot of that depends on reader interest so I'm game to go whichever way.

    In any case, here are the two CDs that are now available digital-only:

  • Adventures In Rhythm: This is a party mix of funk and hip-hop songs; probably one of the favorite mixes I've ever labored over and something that really doesn't go out of style (read: no "Crank Dat") just because the songs are older. HIghly recommended for those who need 60+ minute workout and are tired of spinning or Thai kickboxing. (order!)

  • Classic Material: This was a hip-hop mix I put together in conjunction with Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide. The mix includes songs from many of the albums reviewed in the guide and the additional conceit is that I tried to use album-only cuts (instead of songs released as singles) so there's likely to be a few songs on here you had forgotten about or didn't catch the first time around. Highly recommended for rap heads looking to cover 25 years of hip-hop history in 30 songs. (order!)

    The digital site includes sound snippets for everything so you can sample the wares first.

    P.S. Thanks to everyone who ordered the LP. I managed to get all those sold already!


  • 2007 IN MUSIC
    posted by O.W.

    Part 1: New Albums

    Part 2: Reissues and Singles

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    Tuesday, January 08, 2008

    posted by O.W.

    This is rather overdue but I'm finally getting around to some housecleaning here and realized I never created a way for people to easily subscribe to Soul Sides via email notices. Given how un-regular postings tend to be around here (though this might change with the upcoming Soul Crates collabo), it might be an easier way for people to keep track of our content.

    You can sign up below, or in the future, there's a new sidebar link.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    Tuesday, January 01, 2008

    posted by O.W.

    First, thanks to everyone who came out to the Redwood Bar gig last Saturday. Me and Hua had a blast, the bar was very happy with things, and it was great to meet everyone who rolled through (except for the drunk Beckies[1] who accused me of ruining their birthday party because I wouldn't play "something ghetto...y'know, booty-shaking that we can get grimy to."[1])

    Here's two tracks from that evening - both of which I had been meaning to write about but never got around to:

    Diana Ross and the Supremes: He's My Sunny Boy
    From Love Child (Motown, 1968)

    Don (Soul Train) Campbell: Campbell Lock
    From 7" (Stanson, 1971)

    The Ross is something Hua put me up on years his words, "the best b-side of a $2 45, ever." He was referring to it being on the flipside of "Someday, We'll Be Together," the last Supremes single that Ross appeared on before going solo. That was a huge hit for the group and thus, "He's My Sunny Boy" ended up circulating on the strength of it...there's probably a good post to be done about killer b-sides on hit 45s (see Eric and the Vikings' "Get Off the Street" for another prime example). In any case: "He's My Sunny Boy" is awesome - one of the best things off of Motown I've ever heard.

    "Campbell Lock" is something I picked up at the old Funky Riddims store (RIP) in Berkeley a while back - a really great, L.A. 45 by the father of the locking (that's right: it wasn't Rerun), Don Campbell. Our good friends at Funky 16 Corners raises a point I had noticed in passing: this song sounds a lot like the Vibrettes' "Humpty Dump" and given that both are L.A. records, they were wondering if the same sessioners might have played on both records or if there was a little, "creative borrowing" going on. Either way, a great funk single. In hindsight, I should have paired this with Ronnie Hudson's "West Coast Pop Lock." Ah, oh well.

    Thanks to all my readers who've followed Soul Sides through yet another year - looking forward to 2008. I got a massive, year-end post though, um, it won't happen before the new year rolls through. Enjoy the rest of the holidays though (while they still last!)

    [1] An (almost) verbatim quote.

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