SHADES OF SOUL, EP 2.10: SUMMER JAMS W/ DJ PHATRICK

Shades of Soul continues its Summer 2014 Series with our old friend, DJ Phatrick of Heartbreak Radio, Devil’s Pie, Libre, etc. He talks about (and we’ll bump) his new summer music mix, Float.

You can listen to the entire episode at our Radio Sombra page (no Mixcloud for this ep).

My playlist of songs at the beginning:

  • The Lost Generation: This Is the Lost Generation
  • The Manhattans: Give Him Up
  • Saun and Starr: Gonna Take Time
  • Quantic feat. Fruko and Michi Sarmiento: Descarga Cuantico
  • The San Francisco TKOs: Ooh Baby Baby

Phatrick’s playlist is available on Soundcloud.

In our next episode, June 20, our Summer Jams guest will be DJ/music supervisor Morgan Rhodes (and possibly one other!)

SHADES OF SOUL, EP 2.9: THE START OF SUMMER

Bad news first: I’m not going to be able to do the conventional Summer Songs series this summer. I was too busy to get it organized in time to invite guests and handle all the logistics for it.

Good news: now that I have a radio show, I’m going to use it to invite people to come thru and do summer song sets instead!

We can start with my own contribution to kick off the start of what feels like summer (at least here in L.A.!)

Shades of Soul: EP 2.9: Start of Summer by Oliver Wang on Mixcloud

SHADES OF SOUL 2.8: THE CUT CHEMIST INTERVIEW

Shades of Soul EP 2.8: The Cut Chemist Interview by Oliver Wang on Mixcloud

This one had been in the works for a minute but with his touring schedule, it was hard to fit in until now. Me and Cut Chemist sat down and chopped it up for nearly 90 minutes, talking about his life and career, plus the formative songs that go with both. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of his work, whether within groups like Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli or his solo productions, remixes and mixes. The occasion for this interview is actually pegged to his latest release, a compilation of mid-1980s experimental French music (yeah, you heard that right) called Funk Off. If you know anything about Cut and his love for cut-and-paste, you’ll understand why he’s releasing a comp of songs by a pair of obscure artists who were scratching on reel-to-reel and assembling pastiche songs with a hip-hop sensibilities far earlier than most.

RADIO DAZE

Radio

Damn, I’m wack. I have a backlog of three months of of Shades of Soul radio shows I haven’t put on the site, how the %()!# did I let things get so bad?

Ok, let’s run this back, oldest to (near) newest.1

Episode 2.3 (March 2014): The Shades of Latin Show

Shades of Soul EP 2.3: Shades of Latin by Oliver Wang on Mixcloud

This was a worthy excuse to dip into my Latin collection for a change; I feel like they’ve been kind of lonely of late since I’ve been so soul focused but let no one get it twisted: still love my Latin jams. I opted to go with a wide spread of selections, spanning cumbia, salsa, Latin soul, Brazilian, etc.

Episode 2.4: The SS@10 Show
Already posted here.

Episode 2.5: Return of the Kitchen Sink

Shades of Soul, EP 2.5: Return of the Kitchen Sink by Oliver Wang on Mixcloud

Super-random (that’s the point!) including all sorts of private press songs, a couple of secret squirrel joints, some breaks, and a Mel Blanc bank 7″. It’s all about that second song, “I’m Ready to Get Down.” Oh my my my. (Shout out to Thes One for that one).

Episode 2.6: 3 Ft. High Friday

Shades of Soul, EP 2.6: 3 Ft. High Friday by Oliver Wang on Mixcloud

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the most important album I ever listened to (3 Ft. High and Rising), this show is dedicated to both rare remixes from the album as well as the original sample sources. Viva De La Soul!

Episode 2.7: Surviving the Rap Purge

Shades of Soul, EP 2.7: Surviving the Rap Purge by Oliver Wang on Mixcloud

A full hip-hop show for a change (taking it back to ’98 y’all!) by playing songs that have survived the purging of my hip-hop collection. This isn’t necessarily the best of what I kept but rather, it’s a selection of the random joints that, for whatever reason, speak to me enough to earn a spot in the library.

  1. I’m putting my most recent show into its own post for reasons that will become clear once you see it.

SHADES OF SOUL, EP 2.2 COVER ME!

Shades of Soul EP 2.2: Cover Me! Pt. 1 by Oliver Wang on Mixcloud

You knew this episode was coming at some point. I’m forever stacking cover songs and I finally decided to pull together a few choice bits for this show. I don’t normally do an annotated playlist like this but I realized I had something to say about practically every song I played.

1. Music Makers: United (7″ on Gamble)
I’m assuming it’s the house rhythm band at Gamble re-playing (or playing over?) the instrumental track to The Intruders’ “United.” I haven’t done a side-by-side comparison but the main difference right off the bat is some heavy organ action.

2. Disciples of Soul: Together (7″ on Phantom). Also on Loving on the Flipside
Just a coincidence that I went back to back with Intruders’ covers; I just got in this cover after quietly lusting after it for years. It’s not better than the original but…it’s pretty awesome, especially in sounding a touch more raw, especially with that brass section that sounds borrowed by a high school band (I mean that as a compliment).

3. Sonora Tropical: Lluvi. Also on Diablos del Ritmoa (wrote about this a few weeks back)

4. Mel and Tim: Yes We Can (From Mel and Tim on Stax)
I want to say this is a “surprisingly” good cover of the Pointer Sisters/Allen Toussaint song but I don’t know why that’d be surprising coming from Mel and Tim.

5. Vibratos Ltd.: I’ll Be Back (7″ on Project Spector)
Arizona garage band doing a pretty slick lo-fi cover of the Beatles. I’d guess that a more “professional” engineer would have mixed the drums lower but then this song wouldn’t be as slamming in that case, would it?

6. Les Surfs: Baby I Love You (7″ on Disques Festival)
It’d be tempted to call them the French Jackson 5 except that they were recorded years before the Jackson were releasing anything. So maybe the Jackson 5 were the American Les Surfs. (Ok, maybe not). In any case, a bunch of French kids singing The Ronettes is why I look for covers to begin with.

7. .June Mok: Hang on Sloopy (7″ on Great China)
Apparently cut in Singapore, this features Mok singing several U.S. pop hits in Mandarin. More novelty than anything else but I find so few Chinese records of note, this at least was worth keeping.

8. Serra Band: Saturday In the Park (from The One and Only Serra Band, private)
Bay Area high school band album doing a surprisingly good instrumental cover of Chicago’s mid-70s hit.

9. Ruddy Thomas and DJ Welton Irie: Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) (12″ on Joe Gibbs). Also on Reggae Discomix Showcase Vol. 4
It’s no Derrick Laro and Trinity but for a dancehall flip on Michael Jackson, no hating this at all.

10. Lloyd Parks: Kung Fu Fighting (7″ on Mart’s)
Cringe? Groove? Cringe? Groove?

11. Wendy Alleyne and the Dynamics: He’s So Fine (7″ on Dobby’s Music Fair)
Wow, they totally ripped off “My Sweet Lord!” 1

12. Country Comfort: Make It With You (from We Are the Children on Trim)
Hawaiian folk/pop band with a couple of albums on a local Hawaiian label, Trim. I have another modern soul-ish tune by them I may post/play at some future point.

13. Signs of the Time: Hurts So Bad (7″ on Pro. Reissued by Numero Group)

For me, the gold standard cover for this song is still Nancy Holloway…but this at least makes it into the consideration, maybe somewhere next to El Chicano. But seriously, no one is fu—ing with Nancy on this one. Don’t try to test.

14-18: Skipped (sorry!)

19. Dusty Springfield: Crumbs off the Table (from Simply…Dusty on Philips).
More here.

20. Don McClain and the Electrifying Cashmeres: Summertime (7″ on Sound Stage)
All I know about these guys is that they’re out of Akron OH and released at least two singles (including a decent flip of “What Does It Take.” But this 7″ doesn’t just do “Summertime”; it’s has a great cover of “You Send Me” on the other side.

21. The Brothers Of Hope: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me (7″ on Gamble)
Started with a single on Gamble, ended with a single on Gamble. Alpha-omega.

  1. This is a joke. Everyone chill.

SHADES OF SOUL, EP 2.1: OLD ACQUAINTANCES

R 410122 1264444342

For my first Shades of Soul show of 2014 (radiosombra.org), I went into the library and looked at a few shelves of records where I had pulled things out specifically to “use” them at some undetermined future point. Most of these were loose mixtape ideas that I never got around to and while I might yet revisit them for that purpose, it seemed like a good time to blow the dust off and give ’em a spin. There’s a lot “breakbeat-heavy rock” in here plus a few random goodies towards the end, including one recent acquisition (the delicious “Crusing Heavy” by Shelia Crute).

Peep the show above, peep the playlist here.

SHADES OF SOUL EP 1.6: THE FIRST DANCE

Shades of Soul EP 1.6: First Dance by Oliver Wang on Mixcloud

Yup, another wedding theme but I swear, the last for a while. Last weekend, a trip to Houston capped my third wedding gig in a month and as you may imagine, I’ve just had a wedding music on the mind for weeks now. Ergo, I devoted this show to the “first dance” but in this case, I crowd-sourced many of the selections, combining songs I’ve played for people’s weddings as well as songs that friends and acquaintances shared on social media. This raises the obvious question: what was (or would be) your first dance song?

Notes:

The Zombies’ “This Will Be Our Year” (4:20) + Brenton Wood’s “Oogum Boogum Song” (8:53)

Give me a strong piano opening and I melt like so much butter on popcorn. I also have to admit to totally sleeping on most of Brenton Wood’s catalog (besides “Gimme a Little Sign”), partially because, for a long time, I thought he was a prep school in Maine. Oops.

Curtis Mayfield: “So In Love” (42:25)

I completely slept on this Mayfield tune (from There’s No Place Like America Today) and good god…So. Very. Good.

Joni Mitchell: “All I Want” (50:47)

I didn’t have music at my own wedding. Yes, I know this probably sounds crazy but for real, when your wedding is a potluck in a friend’s backyard, when you’re still sleep-deprived from being a parent to a 3-month old, you’re not exactly spending a lot of time going through napkins designs, nor, as it seems, picking out a playlist. (Honestly, I loved our wedding and never, for a moment, missed NOT having music. Go figure.) But, had we had a first dance, totally would have been Joni. No hesitation or second thoughts with my choice (which is odd since I almost always have second thoughts. But not on this one).

SHADES OF SOUL EP 1.5: THE COCKTAIL HOUR

Shades of Soul EP 1.5: The Cocktail Hour by Oliver Wang on Mixcloud

I would have had this up earlier but ironically, for a set based around the cocktail hour at weddings, I was too busy getting ready for two different wedding gigs to knock this out until now.

The cocktail hour is this blurred zone in a typical wedding, it lacks the symbolic import of the ceremony that proceeds it but the music you play isn’t as innocuously background as during dinner. The fact that it tends to fall towards twilight only enhances its liminality. As such, the music I like to program tends to also fall between zones – not necessarily straight up slow jams but you don’t want to rock things out too uptempo either. I always use this time to play midtempo soul and jazz, something that has some pizzaz but is gentle in its ministrations rather than attention: grabbing. Here’s the playlist and be sure to visit Radio Sombra to hear my next show, this Friday at 2pm.

  • Art Farmer: Soulsides
  • Weldon Irvine: I Love You
  • Bobby Caldwell: Open Your Eyes
  • The Starlight’s: Going Out Of My Head
  • Amerie: One Thing (Siik Remix)
  • Menahan Street Band: Every Day A Dream
  • The Peddlers: On A Clear Day
  • Michael Jackson: We’ve Got a Good Thing Going
  • Billy Stewart: I Do Love You (Live)
  • Sly, Slick and Wicked: Confessin’ A Feelin’ (Live)
  • RAMP: Daylight
  • vKarkey and Woodward: Dirty Old Bossa Nova
  • Ray Barretto: Pastime Paradise
  • Bettye Swann: Make Me Yours
  • Julie London: Our Day Will Come
  • Aretha Franklin: You Send Me
  • Sharon Jones & The Dap: Kings: Summer of Sound
  • Bill Withers: Lovely Day

REVISITS

Reflections

In my last Shades of Soul show, I included a few records that I’ve been waiting to share for a while. I thought I’d some additional details on a few choice tracks. Here’s the show again:

Shades of Soul EP 1.4 by Oliver Wang on Mixcloud

3:50 Michigan & Smiley: Tom’s Diner
From Reality Must Rule Again (VP, 1991?)

Cool Chris had this one waiting in the wings the last time I was up in the Bay; he knows my penchant for strange covers and a dual-toasting dancehall group that covers both “Tom’s Diner” and “OPP” has to qualify. I have to guess there are more examples of similar dancehall-fied pop/rap songs out there: school me.

10:50 Port Authority-Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone
From Reflections (US Navy, 1980)

This one came from Andy’s store and holy sh–…a modern soul dance jam inspired by…The Twilight Zone? This is absolutely a WTF moment and it’s really quite awesome.

35:00 3 Peas: The Shadow Of Your Smile
From 3 Pea’s in a Podd (String Bean, 1980s)

Another Record Jungle find; private press jazz album out of Michigan(?). By coincidence, WFMU’s blog has a fairly extensive write-up of this. This is a real amateur effort but I love private press stuff like this, especially the earnest vocals, the slightly-off mixing that puts the cymbals up front, giving this a much bigger, brassy crash that you might expect.

49:00 Ella Fitzgerald: These Boots Are Made For Walking
From 7″ (Salle, 1966)

Another Groove Merchant find. Ella is one of my all-time faves (I did, after all, name my daughter after her!) but I had no idea this existed. And damn, she kills this cover. I don’t normally think of Ella as having cuts I can spin out for parties but this is absolutely fills the bill.

59:00 Sensualities Unlimited: Sweet Blow
From 7″ (Timmion, 2013)

In case you wanted to know where today’s outro music is from: new 7″ from our friends out at Timmion in Finland.


Let’s keep this going, shall we?

Shades of Soul 1.3: The Soul-Jazz Episode by Oliver Wang on Mixcloud

In episode 1.3, I had my soul jazz special, which was really an excuse to pull out songs that have been haunting me since I first got into buying records in the 1990s. Very little on that show was anything my long-time readers – or people older than 30 – haven’t heard at some point but who cares? There’s a reason a few of these songs are unqualifiedly “timeless” in their beauty and charm, from Andy Bey’s mesmerizing vocals on Gary Bartz’s “Celestial Blues” (10:14) to Archie Whitewater’s haunting, melancholy “Cross Country” (7:00) to the majestic journey (46:38) of “Smilin’ Billy” from its original 1973 version through the four-part suite that appeared on Strata-East.

I don’t have a ton to add to that; not to be a jerk but these songs are so classic that if you’re not already up on ’em, spend a few extra minutes following those links above and learn you something. One thing I will extend on (since I’ve never written about this album before):

31:14 Denis King: Mr. Beretta
From Pop/Rock Sounds / Multi-Keyboard Sounds (Standard Music Library, 1971)

As I’ve sometimes heard said, a song like this practically predicted hip-hop’s later sampling aesthetic, just 15 years ahead of the curve (though, as far as I know, this hasn’t been sampled). There’s a few other cuts off this same LP but those are the two best.