Monday, March 31, 2008

posted by O.W.

Pete Rodriguez: Micaela
From I Like It Like That (Alegre, 1967)

Pedrito Ramirez y su Combo: Micaela
From 7" (Popo, 196?)

Los Cinco De Oro: Micaela
From 7" (Philips, 196?)

Tone Done's Hollywood Quintent: Micaela
From 7" (Vance, 196?)

As promised, here's the first in hopefully many boogaloo-themed posts in honor of the new Soul Sides Boxset #2.

In general, I've found that Latin soul/boogaloo songs are not always given to covers very well. I'm still not sure why this is - whether it's a failing on the groups covering or something inherent to the genre but, for example, covers of Joe Cuba's "Bang Bang" never sound as good as the original (in contrast, "El Pito" seems to go over better). However, it dawned on me recently that there's another boogaloo classic that might disprove my casual theory: Pete Rodriguez's "Micaela." Not only is the song well-covered - possibly the most of his several hits - but many of the other versions are done competently, often on par with the original. I think that says something important about said original: that it's one of those magical songs that lends itself to multiple permutations, all of which excel simply be referencing back to the original (for another example, see variations on Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va" - a song that can be covered any which way and still sound great).

I genuinely love this song and how it sounds and have made it a pet project to track down other versions of "Micaela" in hopes of finding yet another charmer. I have to admit though, until very recently, I barely understood it since my Spanish lexicon is limited to, um, counting 1-10 and ordering from taco trucks. That great if I ever need to order "dos tacos, carne asada," not so good for deciphering even basic songwriting en español.


Luckily, I had some friends help me out and what they came up with is a translation that suggests that Rodriguez was singing about how Micaela blew him away on the dancefloor, which seems apropos for a boogaloo song. If someone has a more elaborate translation, feel free to share in the comments.

In any case, I start with Rodriguez's original, featured on his best-selling I Like It Like That LP for Alegre. The "ooh aah" intro is just a touch too forced but it's all about that piano montuno. Hands-down, one of the best riffs of its kind in Latin. (I'm curious if it has an antecedent...songwriters borrowed from each other all the time in this era). And then there's the hook, "ay ay ay, Micaela se boto" - so catchy.

The Pedrito Ramirez y su Combo version is out of the Bay Area of all places, making it one of the rare West Coast Latin boogaloo cuts I know of (see below). I really like this version - it's livelier and brighter, especially with the addition of the piccolo and greater use of coro-pregón (call-and-response). You can also hear the obvious Joe Cuba influence with the "ah ha, beep beep" chorus that opens. A great party cut and one that I play out at Boogaloo[L.A.] with much pleasure. If you like it, the one dealer I know who has copies is selling one now.

The Los Cinco De Oro version comes from PeruColombia and is notable for at least two reasons: one, it feels much faster than the original. Had I not known better, I would have thought it was a 33 record that I accidentally put in 45 but nope, it's supposed to be that fast. Second, it's a very stripped down version: all piano and hand-claps and that's practically it (save for a lil flute)! I made the mistake of playing this out at the club only to remember: oh yeah, there's no low end to this at all. Can't say this is my favorite but even sped-up, stripped down, with no bass...the song is still catchy.

Lastly, we come to what may be my favorite version and - damn - wouldn't you know, it's also the rarest of the batch? Let's give credit where it's due: I first read/heard this at Office Naps, which included it as part of their West Coast boogaloo series. It's an L.A. record in fact, but one that is uber-obscure and thus, this sound file is likely the closest I'm going to come to it.

What I like about it is how it's also stripped down but not as sparsely as the Los Cinco version - instead, Done's Quintet keeps it to piano and some percussion and really, the song doesn't need any more than that essence. The Ramirez is more lively but Done's just nails what I think is the essence of the song.

By the way, congrats to Asid and Dan who won the Truth and Soul/Fallin' Off the Reel Vol. 2 contest.

The correct answer to the mini-mix selection was: Tom Scott ("Today"), Sylvia Striplin ("You Can't Turn Me Away"), Wild Sugar ("Bring It Here") and the one that caught most folks: S.O.U.L. ("Peace of Mind"). Get familiar!

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

posted by O.W.

True stories: after the Boogala[LA] gig ended last Thursday, I hit up Burrito King (Sunset/Alvarado) down the block and got to witness the meeting of two Chads - who had never met until one of them loaned the other a quarter - and how they ended up comparing their evenings.

Some highlights:

Chad 2: "Where'd you come from? The Short Stop? I had a three-way kiss there once."
Chad 1: "No way. Were they hot?"
Chad 2: "One was banging. The other was "part of the package.'"

Chad 2: "I'm here with this girl I picked up last week. But there's one problem."
Chad 1: "What?"
Chad 2: "Guess."
Chad 1: "She's a...lesbian?"
Chad 2: "That wouldn't be a problem." (both laugh). Naw man, she's...Christian."

Chad 2: "Go ahead, check her out."
Chad 1 steps away from the counter, takes a look at Chad 2's girl in the car. Returns.
Chad 1: "Yeah man, she's pretty hot. You can check out my girl - she's sitting in the car too, next to yours, but she's not as hot."

Amazingly, I don't ever recall hearing the term "bro" used this entire time. Probably some "dudes" in there though.


Friday, March 28, 2008

posted by O.W.

It took a while but the second Soul Sides boxset is finally available. The first one was an in-depth look at Aretha Franklin and this latest tackles one of my favorite genres: Latin boogaloo.

Included are a full, downloaable playlist of songs, a selection of compilations, a small set of videos and recommended other reading. All annotated in an edutainment tradition by yours truly. Now that this boxset is finally launched, I'll use it as an excuse to get back to a few boogaloo themed posts here on Soul Sides.

What I need from ya'll is to help support the Boxset series by posting comments there (not here!). The more interactivity I can generate, the more I can justify my future work for Uber on the Boxset series.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

posted by O.W.

last week - our grand launch - was a rousing success. We had a great, packed house and really enjoy meeting folks.

This week, it's O-Dub and Murphy's Law, back together again.

Next week, it'll be me, joined by my man Beto, aka Roberto Gyemant, the brilliant Latin music expert behind the Panama and Colombia comps. You know the Latin heat will be mui en fuego that night.

Also, I'm doing a special one-off gig this Saturday at Footsie's, in Cypress Park.

2640 N. Figueroa St., in Los Angeles.

This will be different from the Boogaloo[L.A.] vibe - I'm going to be playing less music to move to and move music to move you, if that makes any sense...basically, a lot of soul, maybe some jazz, a lil Latin, but it's about the listening experience (hopefully!). I may or may not have a guest that night - could just be me, holding it down the entire time.

If this works out, it might turn into a monthly "Soul Sides Saturday" event so please do come out and hang for a bit if you can.

Checkmates Ltd.: Got To See "U" Soon + I Must Be Dreaming
From F/S/O (Rustic, 1974)

Lead by Sonny Charles, the Checkmates were a Chicago-baesd soul group who recorded with a few labels, including Capitol and A&M before landing in the '70s on Rustic (at least for this release). It's a bit of a sleeper LP in my opinion - not expensive or that rare but folks pass on it simply because they're not knowing. I posted the two best songs above. "Got To See "U" Soon" has been a favorite of Murphy's Law and I'm glad he's been spinning it because I forgot how much I liked that song myself: has a slightly Latin sabor and the doo-wop touches are nice as well. It's not going to tear the roof off but it's a fun, catchy song, especially for the beginning of the evening.

"I Must Be Dreaming" is a beaut of a sweet soul track - downright dreeeaaaammy. Far as I can tell, this album's never been reissued on CD - pity.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

posted by O.W.

Al Green feat. Anthony Hamilton: You Got The Love I Need Babe
From Lay It Down (forthcoming 2008)

Take the venerable Al Green, put him in the studio with The Roots' ?uestlove as an exec producer, and sprinkle in some Anthony Hamilton on the chorus and the Daptone Horns for added flavor.
This album could be really, really good.

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posted by Captain Planet

mikis.JPG sumsum.JPG

yaki.JPG bluecaps.JPG
Mikis Theodorakis : Cafe Rock
taken from the soundtrack album "Z" on Columbia (1969)

Sum Sum : Mountain Beauty
taken from the album "Midnight Guitar" on Regal/EMI (196?)

Los Yaki : Las Estatuas De Marfil
taken from the album "Vol. II" on Pickwick/33 (196?)

Los Blue Caps : Tu Mujer, Yo Yaron & Solo Vivo Por Tu Amor
taken from the album "Cuando Te Miro" on Parnaso (1970)

Imagine the immense awe that must have splintered into the core of the first fuzz guitarist when, upon strumming his coiled strings, he heard not the sweet melodious ring of a clean plucked note, but instead was met with the scream of electrical feedback that will forever voice the raw agitation of youthful rebellion. Did this forgotten string-strummer catch any glimpse at the vast impact of his forever raging bastard child? Was it done on purpose? Did he finally achieve the sound of his burning inner torment after exhaustive hours of experimentation, or was it an accidental buzz that stabbed him in the back when he innocently left the volume knob turned up too high? Whatever the case may be, today I'd like to celebrate a few obscure shrapnel nuggets that were flung in different directions across our planet in the aftermath of this explosive auditory revelation.

Mikis Theodorakis is perhaps one of the all-time greatest and most widely recognized Greek composers. I addition to scoring virtually all the major Greek theater productions of the 60's, he achieved international renown for his film score to "Zorba The Greek" and then, "Z" (looks like he also did Serpico, which is such a badass film). Mikis has always had a serious lean to the left, and for this he was imprisoned and then exiled (before making Z). Included on the soundtrack (I still haven't seen the film, but it looks like a winner) are several bootleg-sounding recordings of just Mikis singing and playing piano "in secret circumstances" (according to the liner notes). A true rebel indeed, and this short little fuzz bomb stands as proof.
Sum Sum is a mystery to me, but I really dig this record she made. Found it in a bargain bin recently and have put it on whenever I felt the need for a bit of Austin Power groovy-kitch.

Los Yaki are also pretty far off my radar, but they appear to be from Mexico. This album features them covering "Yellow Submarine", "Good Love", "secret Agent Man", & "Sunny" (which they turned into "Sonia") among others. The whole album isn't the best listen, but I'll ride for "Estatuas" any day. Hand claps, screechy vocals, B3 organ, and yes... gritty guitar full of fuzz.
Los Blue Caps (not to be confused with Renato E Seus Blue Caps) are another Mexican garage group that I know nil about. But this record is chock-full of pounding drums (yes breaks) and fuzz, fuzz, fuzzzzz. The vocals are a bit hit or miss (lil more on the miss side) but this is the birth of punk we're talking about, so just roll with it.

*Last note: it happens to be my birthday today, so if anyone feels like sending a record my way (hint hint), hit me up with an e-mail. hehe.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

posted by O.W.

I don't know if marketing/promotions fell short but last night's gig to celebrate the release of Fania Live 03 at the Crash Mansion L.A. was thinner than I expected. That hardly dimmed the enthusiasm of those of us who came out to see DJs Sake-1 and Bobbito spin alongside an incredible set of performances by Francisco Aguabella and his Latin Jazz Ensemble, with special guest pianist, Chuchito Valdes.

Great, great, great show. And humbling insofar as I was reminded that despite my intense interest in Latin over the last decade or so, I'm just a babe in the woods when it comes to the depth and breadth of the music.

Some pix from last night:

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

CACHAO: 1918 - 2008
posted by O.W.

Cachao Y Su Ritmo Caliente: Descarga Cubana
From Cuban Jam Sessions in Miniature - Descargas (Panart, 1950s). Also available on The Havana Sessions.

Cachao y su Orquesta: Juan Pescao
From 7" (Maype, 1958).

Tito Rodriguez: Descarga Cachao
From Tito Tito Tito (UA Latino, 1964)

Gerardo Frisina: Descarga
From 12" (Schema, 2001). Also on Ad Lib.

Israel López, better known as Cuban master bassist, Cachao, died early today. I don't profess to know Cachao's career intimately but even a beginner Latin fan knows he was a giant in the scene. My acquaintance and colleague Ned Sublette has gone as far to name Cachao, "the most important bassist in twentieth-century popular music."

His catalog is immense though it's easy enough to know where to begin: Cuban Jam Sessions In Miniature - Descargas, a groundbreaking moment in Afro-Cuban music and one of those essential albums for anyone interested in the genre. I included "Descarga Cubana" off that album as a way to highlight Cachao's skills as a bassist - that bassline is so simple, so deep.

The Cachao y su Orquesta songs are from a 7" I picked up at the Groove Merchant back in the fall and both sides have been in constant rotation since ("Manicero" is on the flip and, with any luck, will be featured on an upcoming Latin dance mix-CD I've been working on). You can hear on "Juan Pescao" the meeting point of some classic Cuban musical traditions - more stately and formal - with the upcoming revolution in rhythm that Cachao and his compatriots were assembling in after hours Havana.

The two bonus songs show how influential Cachao was with other musicians. Mostly obviously, it's Tito Rodriguez's "Descarga Cachao" which flips on the original "Descarga Cubana". Likewise, Gerardo Frisina's great 2001 club 12", "Descarga" is another remake of sorts (he subtly changes the bassline riff, but you can still hear the obvious reference back to Cachao).

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

posted by O.W.

DJ Akalepse: Fallin' Off the Reel Sampler Mix

Tracks from Fallin' Off the Reel Vol. 2 (Truth and Soul, 2007)

On the one hand, I think it's great that labels like Truth & Soul and Daptone are making it a point to put new soul vinyl out in circulation. As a DJ and collector, that obviously appeals to my sensibilities but I also realize that a lot of fans don't necessarily have turntables at home so when something like, say, that great Timothy McNealy version of "I'm So Glad You're Mine" comes along, I'm glad to give it some shine but I also realize that many may not end up purchasing it because it's in a format they can't access.

That's why I'm glad that Truth & Soul has been very smart in making sure to compile most of their releases into semi-yearly albums available on both CD and vinyl as a way to making sure that if you were forced to miss the boat the first time, you'd still have a chance to catch up later.

Fallin' Off the Reel Vol. 2 is, in my opinion, even stronger that its preceding volume, thanks how prolific the label has been in the last two years or so since the series inaugural release. Here's the complete tracklist and I've bolded the songs that, by themselves, could have been justification enough to get this:


05. BLACK VELVET- Is I Me You Really Love
06. BLACK VELVET - An Earthquakes Coming
07. QUINCY BRIGHT- Phil My Don
09. EL MICHELS AFFAIR - A Little Sloppy (Bonus Beat)
10. EL MICHELS AFFAIR - This One's For My Baby
11. QUINCY BRIGHT- Big Black Hole
13. LEE FIELDS & THE EXPRESSIONS - Love Comes and Goes
16. TIMOTHY MCNEALY- What's Going On
17. TIMOTHY MCNEALY- I'm So Glad You're Mine

18. THE FABULOUS THREE- Odyssey Revisted* previously unreleased

It's not that I don't like the other stuff but, for example, I'm a massive fan of the Bronx River Parkway stuff - it's always good to hear new Latin soul/funk being worked with and BRP, like Brownout and others, are doing a great job of playing with such a venerable and excellent tradition.

Likewise, Lee Fields is one of the great success stories in the retrosoul movement's ability to support artists from a different generation who may not have gotten the propers they deserved then but are getting that second chance now (see also: Sharon Jones). And the Timothy McNealy reissues are blissfully good.

That plus a slick little El Michaels Affair instrumental that sounds as good as anything on their Sounding Out the City album.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

posted by Captain Planet

disco.jpg nassau.jpg obsession.jpg

nigeria.jpg bachata.jpg

Delta 5 : Mind Your Own Business
taken from the compilation
Disco Not Disco on Strut (2008)

Set The Tone : Dance SUcker (Francois K Mix)
taken from the compilation
Funky Nassau on Strut (2008)

Sonora Casino : Astronautas A Mercurio
taken from the compilation
Obsession on Bully (2008)

The Funkees : Akula Owu Onyeara
taken from the compilation
Nigeria Special on Soundway (2007)

Juan Bautista : Estoy Aqui Pero No Soy Yo
taken from the compilation
Bachata Roja on iASO (2007)

Is it just me, or are there a higher percentage of compilations to new releases nowadays? It feels like the market for re-issued recordings is catching up with the market for brand new material- could just be my twisted, old-timer perspective though. Whatever the case may be statistics-wise, I'm certainly happy that there are so many other people devoting themselves to putting together great collections like these.

STRUT RECORDS IS BACK! And I'm gonna shout about it. These guys put out some really enlightening comps when I was first getting into DJ-ing, and then in '03 they closed up shop. This latest enstallment of the Disco Not Disco series brings us more hard to find indie 12" cuts from an era when lenghty dubbed-out, electro dance music could be considered punk. On Funky Nassau, Strut pulled together a wide range of work from Chris Blackwell's Compass Point Studios in The Bahamas to shed some light on a scene that I have always had a soft spot for. From big names like The Talking Heads and Grace Jones to lesser-knowns like Guy Cuevas, this record captures some of the best fusions of dub and new wave that came out in the early 80's. It's the sound of of NYC's greatest party acts chilling out on the beach in a cloud of weed smoke with some of reggae's MVP's (Blackwell & Sly Dunbar).

Obsession comp was tastefully pulled together by Mike at Academy Records, which has long been one of my favorite places to get schooled on cool records- and often take them home at reasonable rates. Wild psych monsters from the far reaching corners of obscurity is the bill here, and there's really nothing short of behemoth in the line-up. Track by track liner notes with cool pics help too. This track from Sonora Casino is one that I'd heard about as a mythological anomaly for quite some time now, and finally can listen to on repeat!

Soundway really don't need much introduction or explanation on this site. Everytime they put something out you can guarantee that you'll be getting more than your money's worth. These dudes are some of the heaviest collectors out there. While the set this time is less focussed on funk and dancefloor material, the overall vibe and richness of sounds is top quality.

And finally, something that is long overdue: a collection of old school acoustic bachata! Some readers might remember my discovery of
Luis Segura a few years back on a trip to the Dominican Republic. And while I do not intend in anyway to detract from that man's genius, I also have always had the nagging suspicion that his sound was part of a bigger scene that I needed to dive into. The soulful, pleading falsetto. The bouncing bongo taps and staccato guitar plucks. THIS IS THAT SCENE! The music that was banned under Trujillo, that survived in the campos and made it to the city and finally onto records in the 60's. And to my knowledge, this is the first time that any of these songs have been available outside the DR. Thank you iASO.


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

DJ SAKE-1 IN L.A., 3/22
posted by O.W.

Speaking of some cool gigs coming up, on March 22 (Sat), DJ Sake-1 from San Francisco is coming down to Los Angeles to celebrate the release of the Fania Live 03: From the Fresh Coast mix-CD.

You might remember I gave love to the first volume and Sake-1 does the series proud with some killer salsa selections including Eddie Palmier's "Justica," Ray Barretto's "Indestructable" and one of my personal, all-time favorites: "La Murga" by Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe.

His release party in L.A. will be at the Crash Mansion and will feature not only himself and Bobbito but in live performance, Francisco Aguabella and Chuchito Valdez. Altogether, this looks to be an absolutely stellar show.

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Synthetic Fonk Across The Ages
posted by murphyslaw

edwin starr - get up whirlpool 1980.JPG Ripple.jpg

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Edwin Starr: Get Up Whirlpool
Taken from the 12" on 20th Century (1980)

Ripple: I Don't Know What It Is (But It Sure Is Funky)
Taken from the self-titled LP on GRC (1973)

Sun: Fall Out On the Dancefloor
Taken from the album Eclipse on Air City Records (1984)

Jim: I'm a Baller + How Do You Like It
Taken from the album Long Time Comin' (2007)

Today we indulge in some guilty pleasures of synthesizer-imbued fonkery. A few notes on the selections:

The Edwinn Starr joint I recently came upon and fell in love with instantly. Though the song never really blossoms beyond the riff and the tranced-out vocal, I can make certain allowances. You can't get too mad at the guy who wrote "War".

Doesn't really fall into the "synthetic" realm per se, but the Ripple jam is an absolute classic. You should own this record. Oh-la oh-la-ay, suckas.

"Fallout" is taken off the last record that Sun recorded before sadly biting the dust. After repeated attempts with various labels and even despite having enlisted the support of the Ohio Players, who are credited on the back of this LP, the Daytonians called it quits in the year of my birth... but not before leaving us with this gem. This LP also boasts one of my current favorite record covers. Take a look at that magic.

Lastly, and certainly not leastly, Jim. A random find and a truly guilty pleasure (listen to the lyrics on "How Do U Want It" and you'll see what I mean). But I get gushy like an girlscout at the first intimation of voice-box-ery and these songs go no-holds-barred in that department. (Don't know the difference between a Voice Box, a Vocoder and Pitch Correction? Ask the Captain. He explained it all to me.) . Plus, I love the idea of the guy (JIM! What a name!) sitting in his basement, not in 1982 but last year, finally getting around to paying homage to Roger Troutman. Been a long time comin', indeed.

And don't forget: TONIGHT IS BOOGALOO! Holla!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

posted by O.W.

Editor's Note: Ben Newman, aka Benge, has been a Soul Sides reader for years and constantly heps me to good music not to mention plays SS downloads on his WRUV show, Sex Fly. He recently did a tribute show to Atlantic Records producer Joel Dorn, the under-sung mastermind behind dozens of astounding albums for over four decades. I certainly learned something in the process and invited Benge to write-up a tribute post for us. Enjoy! --O.W.


Written by Benjamin Newman:

    I decided to do a tribute show to Joel Dorn this past week on Sex Fly (the radio show I've been for the past 18 years on WRUV-FM in Burlington, VT) only to open up Rolling Stone a few days later and find that this was the week when "Killing Me Softly with His Song," which Dorn produced, was number one in Billboard in 1974. I had to smile, because it was a serendipitous moment which felt like part of the magic that seems to have surrounded this man.

    For those who don't know the story, which sadly is way too many, Joel Dorn began his career at 19 as a jazz DJ on WHAT-FM in Philly and doggedly pursued Neshui Ertegun at Atlantic Records until Ertegun was convinced to allow Dorn to produce Hubert Laws's debut in '64. Dorn quickly rose to v.p. of the label and went on to produce an absurd number of great records at Atlantic for the likes of Max Roach, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Joe Zawinul, Roberta Flack, Mongo Santamaria, and Yusef Lateef to name a few.

    I urge you to Google him, because there's a whole lot more delightful info about the man, including him starting up a number of independent labels (check Hyena, which is still putting out marvelous stuff); unearthing and re-releasing rare recording of greats he loved; writing wickedly entertaining liner notes; giving extremely funny and insightful interviews; and going on to produce folks as diverse as the Neville Brothers, Bette Midler, Black Heat, and Leon Redbone.

    This past December 17th he died at the much-too-young age of 65.

    I don't know if Dorn had more soul than any other white man who ever lived, but his jazz, r&b, funk, and pop work of the late-'60s and early-'70s brought such a sweet grooviness and joy to the music of those he collaborated with, he fits right at the top of the list.

    There's no way to do his career justice with just a few tunes; he continued to produce great stuff through last year (I especially like Leon Parker's The Simple Life (Label M, 2001)). Here are five that make me swoon:

    Roberta Flack: Reverend Lee
    From Chapter Two (Atlantic, 1970)

    I'm not sure what does it for me on this one. Maybe it's the keyboards. Maybe it's the bass playing. Maybe it's the horns. Maybe it's the tale of facing down the devil. Maybe it's simply the way Roberta pauses after she says the word "black" at the beginning.

    Eugene McDaniels: Headless Heroes
    From Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse (Atlantic 1971/Label M 2001)

    From a record that reportedly prompted Spiro Agnew to call up Atlantic Records and yell, "What the hell is going on here"; a subversive political tune that featured Alphonse Mouzon on drums and provided the Beastie Boys with sample fodder.

    Sonny Stitt: Blues Up and Down
    From Sonny Stitt & His Electric Saxophone: Just the Way it Was, "Live" at the Left Bank (Label M 2000)

    A jazz burner with Don Patterson on organ. Recorded by Dorn in 1971 and never released until he put it out on one of his own labels. Dorn's music not only provided samples for diggers, he was something of one himself, starting record labels solely for the purpose of putting out old recordings he discovered of music he loved.

    Les McCann: Harlem Buck Dance Strut
    From Layers (Atlantic 1973/32 Groove 1999)

    Dorn had a gift to create truly great soul-jazz, a genre that more often that not combines the weakest aspects of both and that in the '70s had good musicians creating crap in the pursuit of a payday. McCann used the newly-created ARP synthesizer on this, the first-ever 32-track recording (Dorn and engineer Bob Liftin tied two 16-track machines together). It was re-released on Dorn's label under the direction of his son, Adam (who makes some pretty groovy records himself as Mocean Worker).

    The Allman Brothers Band: Midnight Rider
    From Idlewild South (Atco 1970)

    A guilty pleasure of mine which I've never quite understood why I like so much, not being a big Allman fan. Then, just a few hours before I did the show on Dorn, I discovered that he had produced it and I realized why the groove and the vocals sound so sweet.

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posted by O.W.

Two bits of personal trivia. 1) I have never, in the 15 years I've been a DJ, DJed a wedding. The reasons are partly logistical (I don't own speakers, lights or an amp), mostly personal (I've heard enough groom/bride-zilla stories to want to steer clear). In fact, at my own wedding, we didn't even have music, something that surprised many of my friends but seriously, it never occurred to me (note: our wedding was a potluck in a friend's backyard so "low-key" would be an understatement).

This all changed last Saturday night when I agreed to DJ a friend-of-a-friend's wedding in Los Angeles. It was a very, very nice affair, held at the Skirball Center, not too far up the 405 from where I live. In some ways, it was a little conventional: the requested playlist included such wedding favorites as "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night and Young MC's "Bust a Move" and I even had some ABBA ready to go (though never did around to playing it). I also got to drop in a few songs of my own choosing though I tried not to wild out too far - this wasn't a Boogaloo gig after all.

It did get me to thinking about wedding songs and brought me back to this older post. People should definitely check out the comments for dozens of great wedding song suggestions.


Pamoja: Ooh Baby
From 7" (Keiper, 1970)

Bettye Swann: Make Me Yours
From 7" (Money, 1967). Also on S/T.

For me, I was reminded by how great "Ooh Baby" by Pamoja is (so I re-upped it) and I also thought about this special, wedding 7" that my friend and former DJ partner Vinnie Esparza created for his wedding a couple years back: "Make Me Yours" by Bettye Swann, one of the absolute gems from this Louisana soulstress (and a #1 R&B hit back in '67). I love the idea of a custom 45...makes me wish I had thought of that for my own wedding but oh well, maybe for the 10th anniversary.

John Coltrane: Body and Soul
From Body and Soul (Atlantic, 1960). Also on Coltrane's Sound.

From Saturday's wedding, I'm including one of the songs I played during dinner (yes, O-Dub does dinner jazz), "Body and Soul" by John Coltrane, featuring the majestic McCoy Tyner on piano, dropping an opening riff for the ages. I didn't realize this, but when "Body and Soul" originally appeared as a song in the musical Three's a Crowd in 1930, it was treated as too suggestive and banned from radio for a year. This is a beautiful rendition, like most of Coltrane's ballads from his Atlantic and Impulse years. The song just moves you.

Alton Ellis: I'm Still In Love With You
From Sings Rock and Soul (Coxsone, 1967). Also on I'm Still In Love With You.

Lastly, one song I didn't play but would love to at someone's wedding (apparently, I'm now for hire; holler): "I'm Still In Love With You," by Alton Ellis. This is NOT a cover of the Al Green song but rather, an original (I believe) by the prolific Jamaican innovator of rocksteady. Beautiful, beautiful tune and a classic riddim once Althea and Donna got their hands on it.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

posted by O.W.

All I can say

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posted by Captain Planet

mel.JPG paul.JPG

Mel Williams : With A Little Help From My Friends
taken from the album
"Stranger In Paradise" on Wampus (197?)

Eugene Paul : Chain Gang
taken from the 12" on Third World (198?)

I don't know a nickel's worth about either of these artists, so I won't front like I do. But both of them offered me a much appreciated respite in a time of need. I love how
Mel has completely changed the tempo and swing of the whole song. Despite the poor recording quality, he really strikes a nerve when (right around 1:35) he lays behind on the beat and then jumps right back on top of it. The Eugene Paul cut, produced by Winston Curtis, has some serious gall to even dare take on a classic of such epic proportions. And while the production quality here might also distract some listeners, by the arrival of the first verse, I was entirely sold. When else has Sam Cooke received the raggae version? I'm running a blank. The 12" also contains a nice rendition of "Wonderful World" and a not so nice B-side called "Rock Me".


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

posted by O.W.

I came upon this magazine today: a 1976 issue of Hep, an African American tabloid from the 1970s, published out of Ft. Worth, TX. This particular issue, apart from noting that "Blacks Are More Psychic Than White" and that alarming, banner story about a wild boy raised by monkeys, also had a cover story about Betty Davis, plus stories on Donna Summer's "new" single ("Love To Love You Baby") and Miami's Little Beaver. I scanned in the relevant pages to share with you all (wig ads not included).

Bonus: More scans. These include a feature on the death of original Supremes member Florence Ballard, a random assortment of advertising and yes, wig ads by popular request, PLUS a racial explanation of psychic powers.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

posted by O.W.

Snoop Dogg: One Chance (Make It Good)
Upcoming from Ego Trippin'

Producer Frequency - who impressed a lot of heads with his beat for Snoop's "Think About It" is back working with the Doggfather again. He hit us off with this new collaboration, a song from Snoop's upcoming Ego Trippin' album. More soulful goodness - enjoy.

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