DEEP/UNDER/COVER WITH MICHAEL BARNES ON DUBLAB

Michael Barnes and I recently got to guest host a show on Dublab. For many years, Dublab’s been one of the premier internet stations but on the day we hosted (6/30), it was their very second day as a terrestrial radio station as well, micro-broadcasting on 99.1 FM in parts of Los Angeles. Michael and I both got our start, many years ago, at KALX 90.7 FM in Berkeley so it was very exciting to get back on the air.

For the occasion, we went with cover songs (you know me!) and it was a great excuse to pull out a slew of recent acquisitions, and my past favorites, to share with everyone.

Here’s the show notes, including a full track listing and here’s the actual show.

LOOSE CHANGE: FANIA ALL STARS

Fania All Stars (Joe Bataan and La La): If This World Were Mine
From
 Live at the Red Garter Vol. 2 (Fania, 1972)

There’s something quite enjoyable about finding surprises within your own collection. True, maybe you should have caught them the first time but in the end, you end up with a great new song that you didn’t even need to go track down.

Case in point: I’ve had this Fania All Stars LP for ages but I never realized that Side B had Joe Bataan and La La dueting on the Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell classic, “If This World Were Mine.” The cover here isn’t better than the original but it’s still fun as hell to hear Joe singing Marvin.

TRU THOUGHTS HAVE YOU COVERED, TOO

Tru Thoughts has exhibited ace taste in their covers compilations. Their newest, Covers 2 came out earlier in the month and the line-up is killer. I’m especially into Quantic and Alice Russell’s take on Leonard Castor’s mid-70s Motown classic:

And the same volume includes this Nirvana cover that my dude Phatrick worked on:

MYRIAM’S QUINTETTE: MERCY/MERCI

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Myriam’s Quintette: Solo Quintette (Syliphone, 1971, Discotheque ’71)

I just got back from my first ever trip to Paris (which was a blast) and while out there, I stopped by two stores: Superfly and Betino’s (both of which are highly recommended). Over the next few posts, I’ll be talking about records brought back from both but I had to start with this song in particular.

I first wrote about this here, back in 2004. It’s from a compilation produced out of Guinea though not all the artists are themselves from Guinea. Case in point, Myriam Mekeba, who is South African by birth but lived in Guinea during the era this was recorded, along with her then-husband Stokely Carmichael. While the cover of the LP credits the group as “Myryam’s Quintette,” that was almost certainly a typo. “Solo Quintette,” best as I can figure, is an instrumental track by Makeba’s band (there’s no singing on it).

As I wrote in 2004, “I appreciate how funky “Solo Quintette” is but not in a really obvious or force manner – that string melody doubles as a rhythm track too and the lo-fi drums give the song a sharp kick.” However, what’s also haunted me about this song, ever since I first heard it back in 1999 when the compilation was first reissued onto CD, is that it bears a striking resemblance to at least two American pop songs.

First, and perhaps most obviously, is The Doors’ “Soul Kitchen” (based on the intros to both).1 However, Makeba released another version of this song as “Myriam’s Quintette Song,” and that song clearly is a riff on Cannonball Adderley’s “Mercy Mercy Mercy” and you can hear the same interpolation of one of its melodic passages in both “Solo Quintette” and “Myriam’s Quintette Song.”

No matter what though, “Solo Quintette” stands on its own for just sounding cool as hell.

(Shout out to Superfly for digging in their basement to find a copy of the Discotheque 71 LP for me).



P.S. I’m sure it’s already quite evident but I pulled the plug on 365 Days of Soul: I just didn’t have the energy to pull it off the way I wanted but the upside is that I’ll be doing longer, more informative (I hope!) posts instead of the quick strikes that dominated the first half of the year.

  1. What’s funny about “Soul Kitchen” is that it got sampled by Motion Man but was also covered by Buddy Rich for a version that was sampled by Showbiz and AG.

DOUGLAS AND LONERO: LOUNGIN’

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Douglas and Lonero: Right Place, Wrong Time (Haji, 197?, Live at Charley Brown’s)

This album has been described to me as “the best lounge soul album ever.” High praise but not insane; it is an exceptionally good lounge album, filled with all kinds of covers + good stage banter + solid instrumental interludes. It was hard to pull just one track off here but this was one of the first songs in the set and I dig how thunderously funky they go on this Dr. John classic.

365 Days of Soul, #160