Saturday, March 06, 2010

posted by O.W.

When I originally created a "how-to guide to audioblogging," it was largely reflective of my own experiences of tinkering with different audio options. Over the years though, I've upgraded that system and it made sense to talk a little about that, both to share with all ya'll as well as get a sense of what's working for you.

My man Brendan wrote a very detailed guide of his own that I'm in the process (B, really, I'm getting there!) of combining with my own experiences but here's the skinny version before that's done.

If you're just getting started, keep in mind that digitizing requires an electrical chain that begins with the stylus and ends with a sound file. How complicated or sophisticated you want to make that chain is really up to you. The basics of a standard chain are:

Analog/Digital Converter (ADC)

However, in some, these things are combined. For example...

When I originally began Soul Sides in 2004, my chain was this.

  • Stylus + Cartridge + Turntable + Preamp: Vestax Handy Trax Portable Turntable
  • ADC: A basic y-adapter (newer versions of the Handy Trax have built-in USB outputs but my generation was too early to come equipped like that)...and that ran straight into the line input of my Apple Powerbook G4 (PPC) where I used (and still use) Sound Studio to convert into MP3s.

    Cheap, simple. Total retail cost (not including the computer): $130? Of course, the sound quality that a portable turntable is going to generate is not likely to be the best you can ask for. Anyways, in 2006, when I moved from S.F. to L.A., I had a desk wide-enough to accommodate both a turntable and mixer and so I upgraded:

  • Stylus/Cartridge: Shure White Label cartridge
  • Turntable: Technics 1200
  • Preamp: Rane TTM56 DJ mixer
  • ADC: a basic y-adapter running into my Apple PowerBook G4 (Intel).

    Retail cost of this set-up...not cheap. If you went by the prices you see on Amazon, we're talking about $1500! But of course, that's sort of misleading because the turntable and mixer were part of my DJ set-up and therefore, equipment I would have owned regardless if I were digitizing or not. I would never, ever recommend someone just walk out and snap up a 1200 and Rane mixer if they just want to digitize. But the point here is that I altered the chain by adding a preamp (i.e. the DJ mixer). I also improved the cartridge/needle by buying the White Label.

    I basically added another component in the chain and hopefully, improved the sound signal as a result. However, I was still running all this through a cheap y-adapter into a stock Apple soundcard. I'd say for many people, this will produce acceptable results. Many folks probably already have a digitizing chain that runs through a stock soundcard and they're happy with that.

    For me though, I just wasn't loving what I was hearing. And that could totally be subjective/psychological. But whatever the case, I got restless with this and decided to upgrade again and that brings us to present. This wasn't all cobbled together at the same time, but happened over the course of the last half year and it's what will likely be the lasting chain for some time to come.

  • Stylus/cartridge: Ortofon Nightclub-E or Pickering XV-15
  • Turntable: Pioneer PL-530
  • Preamp: Radial J33 phono preamp
  • ADC: Apogee Duet, running into the Firewire port of my Powerbook G4.

    A few crucial differences here from previous set-ups. First of all, I bought a dedicated, stand-alone phono preamp. That way, I could return my Rane back to my DJ set-up where it belonged and I had a smaller preamp that I could fit into my home office. The Radial got the highest marks from my peers. More importantly, I finally decided to upgrade from using that y-adapter and bought a Duet, which is a stand-alone audio converter. Essentially, it replaces my laptop's soundcard with one of the most well-respected analog/digital converters out there. The turntable switch-up wasn't an upgrade so much as an aesthetic change of tastes. I still have my two 1200s but I wanted something different for the house, just for the hell of it and I liked the look of the 530. I don't know if the sound quality, overall, is better on this or the 1200 but I doubt it's a massive difference. I did upgrade to an Ortofon Nightclub-E, which is regarded by DJs as the best "bang for the buck" in terms of sound quality for a DJ needle but most non-DJs would probably prefer the Pickering that came with the PL-530 I bought on Craigslist. It's a good quality hifi cartridge and personally, I like the built-in brush.

    In this case, calculating the retail cost means I would have to include the turntable since I bought it specifically for digitizing. Assuming standard, "market rate" on all the components, we're talking about $1000 (by buying used and using credit I had, my total cost was more around $650 so you can find good savings if you're patient). Regardless, that's pretty hefty and I can imagine people thinking, "do I really need to drop a grand for a digitizing system?"

    Of course not. It really depends on how far you want to take it. I'll wait to finish up that digitizing guide that Brendan and I are working on to really get into the nitty-gritty of each part of the chain but just wanted to share how "the magic happens" at Soul Sides Central these days.


    posted by O.W.

    Hey folks - thanks for the advice sent through. It actually was easier than I thought to transfer my domain and get wordpress set up. But here's the next question (and feel free to use the comments section to leave an answer):

    How the %#)(! can I export my existing comments (via echo) so that WP can reimport them?

    The simplest solution would be to:
    1) Export from echo to blogspot so that all the comments that used to be built in echo are now in blogspot's built-in commenting system,
    2) Use the WP plugin to import the entire site - posts + comments - from blogspot.

    I'm looking through various forums to see if this is possible and so far, have come up with nada.

    Kind of makes me sorry I ever used haloscan to begin with back in the day.


    Sunday, February 21, 2010

    posted by O.W.

    This is like the answer back to all those folksy singer/songwriters trying to be cute by covering Dre and Snoop songs.

    A few updates.

    One reason I've been slow to post here is because I had knock these out...

  • Sade review.
  • Africa Boogaloo review.
  • Song of the Day about "Cumbia Moderna De Soledad" from Black Man's Cry.


  • Another Song of the Day for that Little Ann song.
  • A review of Freeway's Stimulus Package
  • Guest post for Super Sonido's 45 series.

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  • Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    posted by O.W.

    I'm doing research on the diffusion of digital DJ tools (CDJs, Serato, etc.) into the world of DJing. I prepared a survey (short, less than 20 questions) for working DJs to fill out.

    By "working" I mean you make part of your living doing this vs. strictly bedroom spinners. You do NOT have to be a DJ that uses digital tools.

    If you're down to participate, please go here.



    Friday, February 05, 2010

    posted by O.W.

    Very nice - Mingering Mike created the cover art for the upcoming, debut album for Kings Go Forth, the Milwaukee-based soul band who've gotten an incredible response for their 7"s and are finally dropping a full-length on April 20th.

    (Thanks to Shore Fire Media)

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    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    posted by O.W.

    I was meeting with Rhino's Mason Williams today and he was gracious enough to donate a copy of the brand spanking new Wilson Pickett, 6 CD boxset, Funky Midnight Mover, The Studio Records, the most comprehensive anthology of Pickett's Atlantic recordings to date. This doesn't even come out for another week or so. Here's what it comes with:
    • 1st comprehensive compilation of Pickett's Atlantic material
      Includes all originally issued recordings for the label, early pre-Atlantic sides, his 1978 album for the Atlantic-distributed Big Tree imprint plus a CD of rare and previously unreleased recordings
    • Elaborate 92-page, linen-wrapped book with rare and unseen photos
    • 154 tracks
    I'm holding it in my hand and it is gorgeous (as is all Rhino Handmade material).

    I'm going to auction this as part of the Heatrocks for Haiti campaign that I've been trying to get people to be aware of.

    How it works is: you bid on this boxset in the comments. Highest price at the end of the bidding (Sunday night) wins. You donate to a charity of my choosing (most likely either UNICEF or Doctors Without Borders) and put down my email for confirmation (that way, I know you actually donated) and after confirmation, I mail you the boxset. Voila!

    Also, as a reminder, I have three other items up for auction:

    1) The Dereliks: A Turn of the Wheel Is Worth More Than a Record Deal EP
    2) Blackalicious: Melodica 2xEP
    3) The Wire Season 4 promo poster.

    While the auctions are being hosted on Soulstrut, if you don't feel like signing up to be a member, you can send your bids to me or post them in the comments.

    Bidding on the Pickett boxset begins at $100 (which is what Rhino Handmade is charging for it) and moves up from there. Remember: I'm hoping most of you would have planned to donate anyway. This way, you donate AND get a killer boxset in return.
    (Note: If none of my readers bid on this, I will be very very very disappointed in you).


    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    posted by O.W.

    A week ago today, a friend came over, armed with power tools, to help me assemble the record shelves at my new spot. By "help me" I mean "did most of the power work while I stood around and glued vertical supports". That's not out of laziness on my part; it's more that I've never had particularly good hand skills when it comes to home improvement tasks and given that our nail gun could fire holes through solid pine without using a nail, I figured it'd be best to have the master handle the tools that might otherwise lead to one of us with a missing finger or nail in the forehead. To make a long story short, I am very grateful to Thes for this time, expertise and general generosity. He really wanted to help me with these; dude likes these construction projects so I was the beneficiary of his enthusiasm and largesse.

    In the end, we built two intersecting shelves, one 8x8, the other 8x12. Put it all together and it should be enough, give or take, to house somewhere in the ballpark of 9000 records, more than enough to handle my Latin, jazz, soul and rock collection.

    Alas, the sad (and astounding) thing is that even with at least 60% of these cubits still vacant, I've run the math and it's still not going to be enough to absorb my hip-hop collection.

    You have to understand: when Jeff posted this the other month, I felt it like braille make from cactus spines dipped in bhut jolokia extract. I have boxes upon boxes of "essential useless" records weighing me (and my subfloor) down (45 under the loft, another 15-20 above). Back when we moved from SF to LA in 2006, I had to keep almost all of my hip-hop records boxed, in the garage because our new spot simply didn't have the room to shelve all of them. The fact that the vast majority of those boxes remained completely sealed for the last 3.5 years tells me that, well, perhaps not everything in there is very essential. And much of it is quite possibly useless (not for the world, just for me).

    Now, I know many of you are no doubt thinking, "this is a good problem to have" and I don't mean to sound disingenuous in complaining about this but anyone who collects anything knows that, at a certain point, the line between "passion" and "burden" can be razor thin. My rap records, amassed mostly between 1993 - 2006, are a challenge to literally fit into one's life. Back in S.F., our two BD apartment turned into a BD because I used one of the rooms to house my records; that's a fairly significant sacrifice. Luckily, at our new place, we had an extra room big enough to accommodate all the records but currently, only because they're boxed and stacked. The reality is that I need to purge like mad, turning "essential useless" records into non-essential ones so I can let 'em go. It is, however, a daunting task and one that I've put off from doing for years now.

    What much of this makes me think about is this notion of an audiobiography, a term I first heard used by friend and mentor Josh Kun. As the neologism suggests, an audiobiography is a way to think about one's autobiography via music and that can, of course, take on many different forms. For me, I think of it in terms of how different records or genres have ebbed and flowed in import during the course of my life. For a long time, my rap library was a source of pride so it is strange to think that I know view it as a burden. It's not that I've ceased to love or appreciate hip-hop but the material objects - the white label Abstract Rude 12"s I own or countless Rawkus promos for example - have ceased to be as meaningful as possessions. Like Mao's promo-only copy of the Jazzmatazz Vol. 2 instrumentals that he'll grip until the end of days, there are some records that I may never ever listen to but I'll keep out of some inexplicable sentimentality. But I sense that for many other records, I'll look at them and wonder why they've hung around with me for the better part of a decade.

    This isn't a bad thing. It may not necessarily be a sad thing even. But for someone with a pack rat mentality, it is a jarring gear shift.

    But enough of this handwringing over "owning too many records." I got an email from someone who runs a very well respected reissue label who was feeling my pain but only because he had 500 boxes of records to move. That put my dilemma in some perspective.

    Now...someone asked for the basic design of the shelves and I'd be happy to share what we did since it's really quite simple.

    STEP ONE: The way this design works depends, first and foremost, on having each shelf be a single board of wood. This isn't so much a structural thing as it is aesthetic. A single board eliminates any horizontal seams and more important, it eliminates any doubling of the vertical supports where side-by-side boards meet (imagine two boxes next to one another - the center verts where they meet are doubled up compared to each end. We wanted to avoid that).

    Thes recommended unfinished, #2 pine boards and while they don't have to be pine, it's a good wood for a few reasons. First, pine boards usually come 3/4" thick (which is sufficient for load-bearing purposes) and 11 1/4" deep, which a bit short of the 12.5" you'd need to completely fit a standard LP but if you don't mind some overhang or don't mind having an open back on your bookcase (i.e. not flush with the back wall), it's not a big deal. Second, pine boards come in a variety of standard lengths from 6' up to 16' if you're looking for the single, unbroken board method, then you need to have that flexibility. For example, my shelves were 8' and 12' wide, respectively, which was perfect for the dimensions of the space (which was 9 x 12.5) and it was easy enough to find both 8' and 12' pine boards at Home Depot and other places.

    Second, pine is relatively affordable as far as wood goes. Home Depot is convenient but not always as affordable as going to be dedicated lumber yard. For example, a 12' board at Home Depot runs about $1.66/foot. At the lumber yard, it was more like $1/foot and that extra 66% markup at HD is huge when you're buying 300+ feet of lumber. On the other hand, Home Depot had a sale on 8' long, #3 pine at more like .60/foot which was a great bargain. However, #3 pine is priced down because it tends to have bigger knots or cracks or rotted wood so you have to look through a lot of them to find wood that may be aesthetically marred but isn't structurally compromised.

    Third, pine is easy to finish or stain and because it's naturally light in color, there's flexibility in what color it ultimately ends up being. I was in a hurry so I just did a clear, gloss wood finish using water-based acrylic but I could have done some poly stain/varnish if I wanted to get fancy.

    It doesn't *need* to be pine. You could go with other wood choices, including plywood but the problem with plywood is that it's cut as a sheet, not as a board and therefore, you'd need to cut it at least twice and with each cut, you raise the risk of unevenness which is a problem since these cases are dependent on having identical pieces of wood to make everything line up right.

    STEP TWO: Calculate how much wood you'll need. I admit, I totally messed up on the math so we had to make several repeat trips to HD. But just remember that you need to cut your vertical supports from the same boards. So calculate how many horizontal boards you'll need and set that number aside. The math comes in when you start to figure out, 1) how tall you want each shelf, 2) how wide you want to space your verts, 3) how many verts you can get out of a board based on those dimensions.

    My verts and horizontal spacing were identical: 13". Because of that, it meant that all I needed was one extra board per shelf and that should be able to be cut into as many verts as I would need for the shelf. In other words, if I had six shelves, I'd need six extra boards for all the verts (plus one more extra board to put on top), for a total of 13 boards total.

    This should have been easy math but I messed up because I was overbuying the less expensive 8' boards and using them to create verts for both walls but I lost track of how much I actually needed. It was a dumb mistake and most people likely wouldn't repeat it. The most important math is figuring out how much vertical space you actually have and then dividing that by how many shelves you want. Remember to include the stickness of the board itself (3/4").

    The algebra would be like this: Shelf height (including board height itself) x # of shelves + 3/4" (for the crowning shelf) = Total record case height.

    In our case, with an 8' high wall, we had just barely enough space to sneak in 7 shelves, five of which were at 13" high, the last two at 12.5". This next part is very important: don't build a shelf for records that's any less than 12 3/4"s high. Ideally, just do 'em at 13" if you can but if you need to shave off a bit, don't go under 12 3/4"s. The reason is that while a rap record with a relatively thin cover and no plastic cover sleeve will just fit in 12.5, any kind of thicker cover LP, especially a gatefold, that's also poly-bagged, will fit into 12.5 without risking dishing your vinyl.

    So again, the magic minimum here is 12 3/4".

    Back on wood choices: you could find something else to use as verts like a different wood, something premanufactured in the dimensions you require. Hell, you could use cinder blocks (we've all been there). We went with the same pine for aesthetic reasons but structurally, it's not required. This could become really pertinent if you don't have access to a good saw (see below) and therefore, using pre-manufactured vertical supports of whatever material might be more advisable. Just remember that you want to cut down on any kind of horizontal shearing (i.e. the verts moving laterally) and that means finding a way to secure the verst to each shelf, ideally with nail or screws.

    Spacing is the other issue. Pine boards are more flexible than other woods but my old shelves - Ikea Ivars, also made from pine - were 33" across, could take the weight of 200 LPs (appx. 100lbs) and never sagged in the middle. I don't know if we could have replicated the same thing here (i.e. had verts spaced 26" apart instead of 13") but Thes had structural and aesthetic issues with anything less than a cube-design and I agreed. I'd consult a carpenter about it if you want to move off a cube design.

    STEP THREE: Assemble the tools.

    The three most important are 1) a saw to cut the boards into verts. We used the best possible saw for the task - a 12" sliding miter. The blade was big enough to cut the wood in a single pull and the sliding mechanism allowed for a more even and consistent cut which is crucial since you need your verts to all be identical. A non-sliding miter can also work but if the blade comes up too short, you may have to flip it to complete the cut which not only takes more time, but also increases the chance of an uneven cut. A table saw could also do the same thing but it too lacks the consistency of sliding miter. You could also hack saw it if you want to go real old school but...

    2) Nail gun. This is for the sake of expediency since we wanted to attach the verts to the shelf in a way that was quick but secure. You could do the same thing with a hammer and nails but that'd take much longer and if you're going to go that route, I'd suggest, instead, that you use wood screws and not nails. That way, if you ever needed to, you could break down the bookcase and rebuild it elsewhere. Since I'm not planning to move in the long term, having everything nailed together was fine by me.

    3) Cordless screwdriver/bit driver. This is more for the finishing stage, when you want to secure the case to the wall via l-brackets.

    And that's really it. We also used wood glue on the verts to help prevent shearing and a pair of pliers is useful for the nails that miss and you need to yank out. Also useful - a stud finder.

    STEP THREE.5: Mark your studs. Before you start filling up the wall space, use a stud finder to find where your studs are so you can easily find them later when it comes time to secure the case to the wall.

    STEP FOUR: Cut your verts. Just remember, each vert has to come out the same so you want to rig your saw to produce identical cuts each time.

    STEP FIVE: Begin assembling your case, shelf by shelf. What you'll need on the front end is a piece of board cut into the exact width you want your verts spaced by. This becomes your "template" which you'll lay down between each vert, ensuring consistent spacing.

    Thes' approach, which sounds like the sensible one, was to build the bottom shelf first in its entirety (meaning you had two boards connected by verts, forming a box). You could do this on its side so it's easier to nail the verts to the board and then stand it up right and move it into position. I already had a subfloor of plywood and 2/4s underneath so we just screwed the bottom board into the floor but depending on what's there, you might need an extra board to put underneath.

    Once that bottom shelf is in place and secured, you build each subsequent shelf by first laying down the verts (via that template) and then nailing them in from below. This is why the staggered/honeycomb design doesn't just look good, it also makes assembly so much easier. Think about it - you can't nail in a vert from below if the vert is lined up with the vert on the shelf below. The only way to do that would either by 1) using l-brackets to secure the bottom of the vert to the board or 2) drilling out spaces for wooden dowels (Ikea-style!) but BOTH would be very time consuming. A staggered design is no less stable (so long as you're consistent from shelf to shelf) but it makes assembly with a nail gun so much easier.

    Once the verts are in place, you lay a new board on top and then just nail gun that into place (which goes super fast since you're gunning down).

    The crowning shelf can be tricky. If you have enough ceiling clearance to still nail down, then it's not a big deal. But if you're going all the way to the top, what you need to do is construct the last shelf like you did the first one - in a box shape - then lift the box on top, then secure it from below.

    STEP SIX: Secure the shelves to existing studs. This is where you'd bust out your l-brackets, long stud screws, and cordless bit driver. Ideally, would have support at the base, in the middle and at top. Extra bonus if you have a corner where you can also secure them to the side or on top, to a roof beam. Keep in mind that the main load-bearing is straight down. You don't want there to be excessive lateral pull put on your wall studs; you're securing them simply for the sake of stability but not to be load-bearing.

    And that's about it!

    I know I wrote a lot but the actual prep and assembly is ultimately very straightforward. So long as you have the optimal tools, the whole thing can move efficiently along and while it took us about 14 hours to get everything up from start to finish, that included 1) the run to the lumber yard, 2) three trips to Home Depot for things we forgot, 3) meals, etc. The lumber is something you can get ahead of time and store. If you went with pre-manufactured verts of some kind, that could also be bought ahead of time.

    EXTRA STUFF: We were able to create a clean corner between the two shelves because the dimensions of the space were ideal. The two shelves practically met at that corner, with just a few inches of overlap so Thes made sure to line up the verts to create a flush, 90 degree angle from bottom to top. This isn't only aesthetically good; it also meant we could secure the two cases together, thus providing extra stability.

    Thes' finest problem-solving moment came with figuring out how to compensate for a rafter on the roof that prevented us from putting in that crowning shelf. At first he thought he'd saw off part of the rafter to make room but then realized it'd be easier to cut a notch out of the crowning shelf that the rafter then could slide into. Brilliant.


    Monday, January 18, 2010

    posted by O.W.

    The original "heatrocks for charity" campaign came about after Katrina. The folks at, a record collecting/hip-hop/whateverelse message board I spend way too much time on got together and auctioned off all kinds of rare records, the proceeds of which went to charities doing work around the disaster.

    With the Haitian earthquake, Strut has gotten together once again to help out, auctioning off what will likely be dozens of very cool, very rare pieces, all in the name of benefiting those in Haiti.

    This list of LPs will surely grow over the next few days so keep it bookmarked and please bid, bid, bid.

    Update: I have two records up for auction (so far), both rare Bay Area hip-hop pieces from the 1990s.

    1) The Dereliks: A Turn of the Wheel Is Worth More Than a Record Deal EP
    2) Blackalicious: Melodica 2xEP

    While the auctions are being hosted on Soulstrut, if you don't feel like signing up to be a member, you can send your bids to me instead and I'll record them in the forum threads. Upon winning, you'll be directed to donate the money to charity (most likely either UNICEF or Doctors WIthout Borders) and once I receive confirmation, I'll ship you the record.


    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    posted by O.W.

    Again, I'm really bummed I'm not fully moved in yet because between Teddy and Willie, there's so much to say about how important these soul men are. I'm sure Mark Anthony Neal will be drop something brilliant very soon.

    Meanwhile, I'm THIS close to unboxing my records. Here are my new shelves with the guy who helped me build them.

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    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    For the music-minded out there, a few suggestions for possible gifts for the season, regardless of what you're celebrating.

    For the charitable...

    Rhythm and Blues Foundation

    All material objects aside, helping support musicians is a gift that gives back. Also see this.

    For the musical adventurer...

    Mulatu Astatke: New York Addis London -- The Story Of Ethio Jazz 1965 to 1975

    There's been other Mulatu comps in the past but this is as definitive as I've seen and a wonderful primer to the master of Ethio-jazz. Once you take a taste of this, you're not going to easily let it go. (Also see this).

    For the mixologists...

    Edan: Echo Party

    Bugged and brilliant; pretty much what we've come to expect from Edan but as his first major project in four years, Echo Party is a dizzying, 30 minute sonic slip n' slide. Once you start, you can't jump off until the end but you'll be glad you took the ride.

    For the MJ fan...

    Michael Jackson: Hello World (Motown Solo Collection)

    There's a gazillion MJ-related gifts one could cop but this boxset - eerily timed to come out this summer, before his death - is a definitive look at Jackson's solo catalog on Motown. You couldn't call it obscure but it's part of his career that easily goes overlooked in favor of his massive Epic releases or the hit Jackson 5 years. Don't sleep on these songs/albums though; no appreciation of MJ is possible without soaking in some of the sublimeness he put out in this teen years.

    For the South Sider in all of us...

    V/A: Light On the South Side

    Even for Numero Group, they've outdone themselves this time with their 33rd release, combining an incredible 12 x 12 photo book of shots taken around South Side Chicago in the mid 1970s plus 2xLPs filled with some of the best funky blues to ever have emerged from the Midwest.

    For those in need of a soul primer...

    Peter Guralnick: Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom

    There's many histories of soul and you should never limit yourself to just one but if you need a starting point, I don't think you can do better than Guralnick's history of Southern soul in all its musical and social splendor.

    For record nerds needing new threads...

    T-shirts from

    Your favorite record label logos + t-shirts = 88 Strong. Where else can you rock your love for De-Lite or Lizard (Paul Humphrey fans, holla)? Or, for that matter, this t-shirt, whose cartoon I may have start linking to every time someone post a superfluous "hey, this has been sampled!" comment.

    For the amateur audiophile...

    Grado SR-80i Headphones

    For $100, this is one of the best bang-for-the-buck headphones you can buy. Yes, it's more expensive than those cheap-ass white ear buds you currently own. And no, you probably don't want to DJ with them (I recommend these instead). But for at-home listening, you're going to put these on and wonder what you've missed hearing all this time before.

    For the budding producer...

    Stylophone synthesizer.

    A pocket-sized synthesizer that performs pretty damn good for what looks like a kid's toy. Don't front, just flow. They make a beatbox version too.

    For the 7" addict...

    Aluminum 45 adapters from 45central

    Because you can't keep using these and because few things look cooler than spinning 45s with a dome adapter (though I find that the cone design is actually more practical). They're about $30 a pair to ship to the U.S. but c'mon, how often do you need to replace them?

    For kids (and adults who act like kids) who like to bang on drums...

    Mix Stix.

    So genius you wonder why no one thought of this before (or maybe they did, I don't know): Wooden spoons that end in drum sticks.


    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    So, I'm in the middle of planning to move and I've worked out some numbers that I thought might be useful to share.

    Apologies to folks on the metric system.

    1" = 6.67 LPs
    1' = 80 LPs
    Standard 18 x 12 x 12 book box = 115 (looser) - 120 LPs (snug)

    2 LP = 1lb
    1' of records = 40lbs
    Book box of records = 60lbs

    My Vinyl Weighs a Ton = 4000 LPs or roughly 34 boxes.


    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    First of all, thanks to everyone for supporting the site by buying copies of my recent mixes. I have exactly four sets left. If you're interested, email me soon; I don't plan on repressing these unless demand suddenly skyrockets.

    (All gone, thanks again!)

    For everyone else - I mailed out your CDs today so you should get them before week's end (except for those overseas). Hope you enjoy 'em!

    As for the of the podcasts I admire is Coverville. I don't always share their taste in music but I like the concept and more importantly, I like that they sometimes build their show around listener requests.

    It's almost been a year since my last "request lines" post but that was for a physical post and I want to try putting together a podcast instead, built around 8-10 songs.

    So yes, I'm asking for people to throw their ideas in the comments below and I'll try to pluck one out that meets my fancy and spend the next week or so assembling it. Remember, this should be an idea that easily lends itself to a 8-10 song playlist. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to working on this!

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    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    Oh heck, since I'm already on this roll, here's a few more for you.


    posted by O.W.

    The Boat That Rocked (UK) aka Pirate Radio (US) comes out in the States in a few weeks and while I can't say the overall movie quite worked, it has 1) a killer soundtrack (natch) and 2) some great, quick scenes of people listening to the radio in all the idealized, romantic ways you can imagine.

    I couldn't help but love those bits:

    The irony is that this wasn't how I grew up with radio. My folks got me a small portable in the mid-1980s but it was largely a personal device; I don't really recall when me and my friends who gather around it and listen to anything. So while I love what these scenes represent, it's not like they tap into some part of my childhood that I actually experienced. More like an "imagined nostalgia" (which is probably a redundant term).


    posted by O.W.

    Eli Lake, a frequent contributor to, had me on to talk about hip-hop, record collecting in a digital age and other topics I enjoy blathering on about.


    Friday, October 23, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    I'm always wary of giving in too much to the forces of nostalgia. There's a dangerous comfort in thinking on or fantasizing about the past; it's all too easy to filter out all the negative history and just focus on what you idealize from it. But it's impossible for me not to look through this new set of Magnum photos dedicated to records and record shops and not be pulled in by the romance of it all.

    Mostly, I like looking at people listening; there's something so intimate about it even at mass events like a concert. That's one of the beautiful things about music - it's always simultaneously public and private and some of these images, of people standing by or dancing to a record player capture that duality.

    And hey, just because we're in a digital age doesn't mean listening stops.


    Monday, October 19, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    Some of you may have caught me blathering on NPR's Talk of the Nation today, talking about NPR's 50 Great Voices campaign. For those not familiar, starting in January, NPR is going to profile, week to week, "great voices" from around the world and that list will be determined by them on the basis of 1) listener nominations and 2) a panel of folks who, to put this diplomatically, are being convened to offer an "alternative" set of opinions to balance out L.C.D. populism.

    I'm honored to be on that panel but it's been challenging since, when I think of "great voices," the names that immediately pop to mind are hardly that left-of-field. I mean, I named my daughter after Ella so you know she'd be on my list, as would Aretha, Al, Otis, et. al.

    However, the point of this project isn't to affirm what we already know and more importantly, it is not "50 great-est voices," merely 50 great ones. Despite appearances of canon-making/validating, that's really not the point (even though I know most people will assume it is). Part of that has meant really trying to get away from obvious choices and in this case, "obvious" means, for the most part, American or British artists.

    For example, Elis Regina keeps coming up in conversations I've had with friends and colleagues and I know there's a lot of sentiment running in her favor on the submissions' site too (her Brazilian contemporary Caetano Veloso is also under consideration).

    Personally, I put Fela Kuti on my list; I think his is such a distinctive, rumbling voice with seemingly no bottom - the perfect kind of voice to go with the deep, hypnotic swirls of his music. Another one of my recommendations is Alton Ellis - one of the greatest vocalists to come out of Jamaica whose blend of soul phrasings with his patois pretty much defined the sound of rocksteady and proto-reggae in my opinion.

    My most left-field choice is actually American: Chuck D. I could be wrong but I'm willing to wager he's the most sampled rapper-by-other-rappers and it's obvious why: I dare anyone to find a more powerful, commanding, authoritative and memorable baritone than his in hip-hop. Besides, I'd love to see NPR include a rapper in their final 50 as a way to tweak all these annoying anti-rap crusaders who pollute the site with their small-mindedness.

    So far, I've sent in 6 and am mulling over 4 more. Under consideration:
    Kongar-Al Ondar
    Freddie Mercury
    Donny Hathaway

    If you have other suggestions, especially for non-US/UK artists, drop your nom to NPR's website and feel free to advocate in my comments too.


    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    I'm trying to make SS as accessible as possible so I'm trying to consolidate the ways you can subscribe to our content besides the simple "visit our page" way.

    Keep in mind, there's two distinct streams of content: 1) the main page (what you're reading now) and 2) our Facebook/Twitter stream. The latter always has links back to main page content BUT it also has its own exclusive content - mostly videos, links to other blogs, media stories.

    The most efficient - but not heavily descriptive - way to subscribe is:
    1) The Soul Sides Twitter feed (works in any RSS reader). This single feed will eventually include links to: all main page posts AND Facebook posts. You do not need to be a Twitter user to make use of this RSS feed. That's the beauty of this feed.

    The only problem is that for those who like to read full posts, this won't be to your liking since it only offers up the first 140 characters. Therefore, there's still the old:
    2) Main page feed. This should allow you to subscribe to all the main page posts. If you prefer email, there's our 3) Main page email feed. Many mail programs allow for RSS reading anyway so you may not need this until you're using an older form of email software.

    Just remember, anyone subscribing to main page feeds should also subscribe to the Twitter feed to make sure you have all your bases covered.

    By the way, for those who haven't tried it, I'm really liking Google Reader as my rss reader.

    Questions? Leave 'em in the comments.


    Friday, August 28, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    Soul Sides (soulsidescom) on Twitter

    This is mostly to mirror our Facebook page updates BUT if you're not down with FB but are down with Twitter, it's a way to get the same content I direct down that stream.

    Do like Red Astaire and just follow me.


    Monday, August 10, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    The new Wax Poetics #36 is out and it's focused on Brazil's rich musical legacy.

    I have a piece in here about the Ozzie Dasilva LP - Zig Zag With Love - a rather incredible L.A.-recorded Brazilian lounge album (yeah, that's a mouthful but it is what it is) that has one of the sickest examples of Brazilian-funk-meets-proto-rap I can think of. Ok, actually, it might be the ONLY example I can think of. But it's still pretty great.

    Here's a snippet. One of these days, I may get around to posting the whole thing up* but in the meanwhile, do cop the issue and read about the full story behind Ozzie's zig-zagging.

    And very special thanks to Rodney (aka Young Einstein) who was the first to put me up on this album.

    *(Actually, I'll send out the entire song to a few folks (randomly selected) who can tell me who Ozzie Dasilva's announcer was - it's in the piece, so anyone with the issue has that info. Email me).

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    Friday, August 07, 2009

    DIGGIN' 2.0
    posted by O.W.

    You ever "out in the field" and want to do a price check on what could either be another dollar bin throwaway or a private press, 100-pressing, 7" worth $2000?

    Voila: ceeFrenzy v.10 for the iPhone

    For real, it's by the same folks who put together one of my favorite price check sites, Same functionality, now portable!


    Saturday, August 01, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    As I've been stressing, there's a reason I encourage people to get on-board with the Soul Sides Facebook feed. You don't have to love the site but they do make linking items quick and simple (and heck, you don't even have to join to look at it).

    As a courtesy though, here's some highlights of stuff I've been throwing up there of late:

  • Phil Da Soulman sharing a rare mix of LL Cool J's "No Airplay."

  • Philaflava's Latee compilation + Meters Samples Vol 1.

  • Passion of the Weiss' presents Murs and the L.A. Leakers' "Damn, It Feels Good to be a Gangsta" mixtape

  • Soundbombing's impressive journey through Africa series.

  • Elliot Wilson's Daily Breaks

  • An incredible story of a Sacramento man who discovers his mother's old records at a flea market.

  • Jared Boxx's Exclusive Secret Rendezvous Mixtape

  • King Most's rare ATCQ rips.

  • Breath of LIfe's essential Round Midnight Mix

  • Earfuzz's dissection of "Just Hangin' Out"

    And two videos you need to enjoy:

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  • Wednesday, July 08, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    This is real minor but I just wanted to update folks on some improvements I've been trying to make to the site.

    Basically, I'm making full use of our Facebook group. More and more, I'll be using it to post smaller content (i.e. things that I think would be interesting to you all but perhaps not major enough to warrant its own post) such as videos, mixes from other sites, etc. For that reason, I deaded the old Soul Sights site - I never updated it frequently at all but now, via Facebook, I can easily add content quickly and throughout the day.

    So join us today (if you haven't already).


    posted by O.W.

    We need some more estrogen up in here, stat.


    Monday, July 06, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    (Editor's note: This was long overdue - Eric Luecking has been contributing heavily to our site for months now but I realized: he's never really introduced himself to readers here. Don't miss his Summer Songs post either! --O.W.)

    My stepdad used to always say to me when I was a kid, “You can't live life on the entertainment circuit,” to basically drive home the point and you can't be all play and no work. But who says you can't enjoy what you do? It's a revelation I'm trying to come to terms with and put into practice of how to better extract joy from what I do in life.
Some people enjoy a fine wine; I enjoy a well-written song and a thought provoking movie. Recently I've been catching up on Pixar movies I haven't seen. After getting past animation being their chosen media form and really sinking my teeth into the subject matter that dwells underneath, there are really excellent underlying themes and life lessons.
My brother has been a mobile DJ for nearly 20 years, and I've helped him rock out a few weddings here in the Midwest, although with me tying the knot a few years ago and now being a proud papa of a beautiful baby girl, my time spinning tunes for the entertainment of others has been quite limited. And honestly, I'm okay with that.
Making mix CDs and turning others on to music that turns me on is still something I love to do – hence, the writing here at Soul-Sides.

    I've always enjoyed writing. As I took on summarizing in poem-form the short stories that were assigned reading during my sophomore year in high school English, it was a task that was not an assignment by my teacher but one which I enjoyed challenging myself to see if I could do. My teacher would read them aloud to the class so I knew I was doing something right. Hey, I may have been a nerd, but I had a passion.
Fast forward to a few years ago when I went to a soul/funk exhibit in Indianapolis at the State Historical Society. I wrote a piece on it and sent it to Egon at Stones Throw Records. He enjoyed it, which encouraged me further. I hounded him to no end on an Indiana Funk project he had been working on for sister label Now Again. Finally, I begged my way onboard to the project, helping him conduct interviews and writing pieces that will hopefully be incorporated into the liner notes of the as yet unreleased project.

    Then, last year, I e-mailed back and forth with OW about Soul-Sides and asked to contribute an article on Sam Cooke. Well the ink has yet to run dry in my pen as I'm still writing about the best music in the world – soul music.

    Current Top 3 Playlist:

    1. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – Wake Up Everybody: a call to action with hopes of making a better world to live in

    2. Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror: another call to action song dealing with how to make the world a better place. I've recently revisited it since MJ's untimely death after not hearing it for many years. After gaining some life experience and a greater appreciation for a well-written tune, it's such a beautiful song for trying to improve yourself and the world around you.

    3. Steve Martin featuring Vince Gill and Dolly Parton – Pretty Flowers: I know, it's not a soul tune. Country music, and especially bluegrass, has never been one of my favorite genres. However, when I first heard this song being performed on the American Idol finale this season (subsequently, the only episode I watched this season), I was taken away by its inviting melody and simple, but heartfelt storyline. Ray Charles always has maintained how great the storytelling is in country music (one of the few, true American musical styles), and this song tells a wonderful story about a couple falling in love. And yes, the banjo is being played by THAT Steve Martin, the legendary comedian. The whole album is truthfully wonderful, and I will not be one bit surprised if it wins a Grammy next year. Rounder Records has a knack for garnering nominations year in and year out.

    Contact: You can tell me how much you love or hate my writing – or just generally say hi – through soulsideseric AT


    Monday, June 15, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    Don't know why I put this off so long but Soul Sides is now on Facebook.

    Please be our fan! I'm trying to move people's attention away from our myspace page to our FB one and will use that as another space to update folks on our content, mixes and gigs.



    Wednesday, May 06, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    Westbound Records: The Sounds Of Detroit : NPR Music


    Monday, May 04, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    Flickr: advantagelogan's Photostream

    (Thanks: Todd Inoue)


    Monday, April 20, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    As a music scholar/writer, I attend a fair amount of conferences, many of which include interesting and provocative talks and papers on all things musical/cultural but hands-down, my favorite annual event is the Pop Conference at the Experience Music Project in Seattle. I just got back this weekend from it and even after eight years, it's still a constant inspiration and source of much intellectual fodder.

    It's also a really, really good place to learn about music I haven't heard before and in past years, I have the Pop Conference to thank for introducing me to songs like the Soul Majestics' majestically soulful "I Done Told You Baby" which I heard during a Joshua Alston paper in 2007 and last year, it was Jeffrey Govan's paper on the Skatalites that put me up on Tommy McCook's "Sauvitt" (a 7" I still need even a year after the fact).

    This year's conference "playlist" is even longer. Here's the highlights:

    1) Laura Nyro feat. LaBelle: Gonna Take a Miracle
    From Gonna Take a Miracle (Warner Bros, 1971)

    Nona Hendryx was the opening night keynote, interviewed by two dear friends of mine, Daphne Brooks and Sonnet Retman. Hendryx has had an incredible career in pop music, spanning back to the 1960s when she was a member of Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles, to their 1970s incarnation as Labelle and then onto a solo career since the late '70s that has included collaborations with the Talking Heads, Dusty Springfield and Peter Gabriel. It was tough trying to pick one song from her massive discography to highlight but I really loved her story about working Laura Nyro on the Gonna Take a Miracle album for two reasons. First of all, I have been playing the hell out of this song lately (more specifically, Alton Ellis' version) and second, Nona made a poignant comment about how, back then, a collaboration between Labelle and Nyro - unlikely as it may have seemed to folks -could be as easy as saying to one another, "hey, I like your music, you want to do something with me?" No managers, agents or attorneys to fuss about - artists could simply agree to work together (at least, this is the halcyon world that Hendryx painted).

    Read Mark Anthony Neal's excellent 2002 breakdown of this album.

    2) Richard Berry and the Pharaohs: Louie Louie
    From 7" (Flip, 1957). Also on Have Louie Will Travel

    Rutgers' Christopher Doll gave a fascinating paper that uses musicology to argue that there's such a thing as a "sexual chord progression." If I'm not mistaken (and I didn't take very good notes here), I think he's talking about the E-A-D progression that you can hear in everything from Neil Diamond's "Cherry Cherry" to "I Can't Get No (Satisfaction)" by the Rolling Stones to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. Given that I'm not musicologically trained I could be totally misrepresenting all of this so just take it with a grain of salt. In any case, his argument is not that the progression itself has some inherent sexual quality; rather it's that it's come to be associated with the idea of sexual frustration as evinced by its use in many different songs that have similar topical themes, perhaps most famously the Stones.

    Doll (if I recall correctly) traces the crossover moment of this chord progression from blues to pop/rock in the form of "Louie Louie," that ubiquitous party song most often associated with the Kingsmen but originating with songwriter Richard Berry and recorded by him with the Pharaohs. I had never heard Berry's original and I totally dig it, especially in how one of the Pharaohs uses his baritone voice to mimic the bassline.[1]

    3) Onra: I Wanna Go Back
    From Chinoiseries (Favorite, 2008)

    Van Truong gave an intriguing paper about the role of "migrant sad songs" in linking diasporic subjects with concepts of home, history and memory. She was primarily speaking about her own father and how his love for Vietnamese folk songs of the 1960s is one of the few ways through which he'll speak of the past. As an end example, Truong offered up a few songs from Onra, a Vietnamese French producer (with a notably Dilla-esque sound) who traveled to Vietnam and returned home with both Vietnamese and Chinese records and use that as raw material for last year's Chinoiseries CD. It's not as aggressively stylized as, say, Flying Lotus, but Onra has a nice sense for mood and texture, especially on the soulful "I Wanna Go Back" (plus, peep that industrial vinyl grime creating static!)

    4) Lonnie Mack: Why
    From The Wham of that Memphis Man (Ace, 2006)

    Greil Marcus plumbed the depths of Nan Goldin's "Ballad of Sexual Dependency" by focusing on the imagined songs left out of that exhibit[2] and his #1 choice was Lonnie Mack's "Why," a surprisingly underrated deep soul ballad from the veteran Memphis blues man. The conventional wisdom around why Mack's vocal contributions have gone less appreciated is that his Whiteness made him a difficult person to market to the R&B audience of the 1960s and "Why" actually languished for over five years after being initially recorded until the Fraternity label finally decided to put it out.

    Not having seen Goldin's exhibit, I can't say if this song does or does not belong within it but I can certainly understand the appeal of a song whose desperation resonates in crack in Mack's voice when he screams "whhhyyyyyyy" on the three choruses, especially the final one where, if I recall properly, Marcus suggests Mack "lets the flood gates open" and you can hear the raw emotion pour fourth with terrifying power.

    5) Rhythm Controll/Chuck Roberts: My House
    From 12" (Catch-a-Beat, 1987)

    Some of you might remember Seattle's Michaelangelo Matos from the "Apache" post he graciously reposted for Soul Sides in 2005. That was originally an EMP paper and this year, Matos tackled the returning use of the "dance music's national anthem", i.e. the "My House" acapella (by Chuck Roberts and Rhythm Controll) from a then, small house 12" released in 1987. Apart from his history of the acapella and its continued use throughout dance music, Matos also argues that it is damn near impossible to "train wreck" this in a mix, in other words - you can throw this acapella over practically ANY instrumental and it will still sound good. He even played a few examples to prove his point.

    This perked my curiosity enough to try it at home and you know what? He is completely correct. This acapella can "work" with many beats you might try to throw under it. Seriously, try it (play the acapella in a web browser and then load up another song on your computer's mp3 program (iTunes for example) and see how they synch up). Quite impressive!

    Update: Matos has made his talk available, complete with video examples.

    6) Janis Joplin: Maybe
    From I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! (Columbia, 1969)

    I have to confess, being a relatively rock-ignorant kind of guy, I've never gotten very deep into Joplin's catalog except to know that she certainly had a thing for covering R&B songs. Maybe it's for facile political reasons, but I suppose I've always leaned more towards listening to her source material than Joplin herself but Lauren Onkey's paper on Joplin made me reconsider my prejudices and I was especially struck at her example of Joplin performing "Maybe," a song originally recorded by R&B girl group, The Chantels. Onkey (whose paper on Black British musicians in Liverpool preceding the British invasion was one of my favorites of 2008's conference) isn't trying to rescue/recuperate Joplin; rather, she's coming from the other direction, arguing that most analyses of Joplin have tended to elide how heavily her performance and musical tastes were taken from Black R&B artists, such as Otis Redding, and especially female artists such as the Chantels, Erma Franklin, and many in Jerry Ragavoy's R&B stable. Joplin's performance of "Maybe" is good vocally - she definitely reforms the song in her style and image - but you should also see how she did it live:

    There's just something a little forced and awkward about her movements here, with her violent jerks when she wants to emphasize the rhythm peaks in the song.

    7) Asha Puthli: I Dig Love
    From Asha Puthli (CBS UK, 1973)

    To me, the hands-down highlight of the conference was watching Asha Puthli bring down the house (repeatedly) during a lunchtime talk she gave to Jason King. I wrote about Puthli before, way back when, and I've been derelict in not following up sooner given how interesting and eclectic a career she's had. (I'm working on catching back up, very soon).

    I decided to pull one of her cuts out of the archives, "I Dig Love," a cover of the George Harrison song but probably flipped in ways that Harrison likely wouldn't have imagined. During the lunch talk, Puthli explained that the bubbling noise was her gurgling champagne. Awesomely flossy.

    Surprisingly, Asha's LPs have never had a US release before (they're now available digitally however, which is good). Hopefully, that will be a situation that rectifies itself soon.

    8) Before Carl Wilson was introduced for his paper this year, a joke was made about how he's so big, even James Franco is showing him love. The truth is though, Wilson's book on taste and criticism (ostensibly based around writing about Celine Dion) is quite extraordinary. I just started it recently and it's exceptional, heady thinking about how we form our opinions, especially via music. Perhaps it's apropos from an author on a book about Celine Dion to do a paper on Auto-Tune and in the course of describing the history of Auto-tune as a form of technology-assisted voice manipulation, Wilson played this incredible (though also quite creepy) 1939 performance by Alvino Rey performing "St. Louis Blues."

    For a less disturbing variation using a similar talk box technology as Rey, there's also Pete Drake's "Forever" from the early '60s which is a haunting composition all its own (even without a steel guitar puppet).

    [1] Without trying to confuse the hell out of people here - the intro to "Louie Louie" uses a very common and familiar chord progression of its own, especially within Latin music: a I, IV, V. However, this is NOT the progression that Doll is associating in his argument; he's referring to the more subtle chord progression on the bassline AFTER the intro that you hear on the Kingsmen version of the song. At least, I think that's what he was referring to.

    [2] Marcus was specifically talking about the slideshow + soundtrack version of "The Ballad," and not the photo book, which he considered less powerful in the absence of the music that accompanied the slideshow.

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    Monday, March 30, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    So this is a personal plug but I also thought it'd be of interest to folks here. I'm the editor for Fania's new newsletter that goes out every two weeks. Each issue includes:

    *A feature story on Fania-related releases
    *A short CD highlight
    *A DJ playlist (Issue #1 has DJ Cucumber Slice, aka Bobbito)
    *A free download out of Fania's catalog

    Given that Fania/Emusica are making a major push to really tap into the label's insanely huge catalog holdings (which also includes Tico, Alegre, etc.) there's going to be a ton of material coming through.

    You can read Issue 1.

    And more importantly, you can sign up for the newsletter via email.

    P.S. I'm finally back from my East Coast trip with a backlog of posts to get up and some new goodies to share. Stay tuned.

    Labels: ,

    Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    My thanks to reader Chris "Zeke" Hand for putting me up on this...

    I learned about the old NY public television show Soul! from my friend and colleague Gayle Wald (she of that great Sister Rosetta Tharpe book). Her new book is focused on the history of Soul! which was broadcast beginning in the late 1960s through the early 1970s, first on NY public TV and it had a brief national run too. It was one of the first African American variety shows of its kind, during, arguably, one of the richest eras for Black culture and politics and amazingly, hosted by Ellis Haizlip, an openly gay television and theatre producer.

    The performances and interviews from Soul! are incredible; their shows are such a profound archive but for many years, they simply languished in the vaults...until now.

    This new site from WNET looks like it's going to start sharing clips and full episodes from the Soul! archive. I can't tell you how incredibly exciting this is (though I did note everything they have up right now is from 1972 and '73...I hope they get permission for stuff from earlier in the show's run. Haizlip has a mind-blowing interview with Louis Farrakhan and asks him, point blank, what the role of gays are in the Black Nationalist movement.

    I'm real happy they put up the November 15, 1972 episode, featuring Tito Puente playing salsa and Felipe Luciano breaking down the evolution of Afro-Cuban music in New York City.

    Labels: , , ,

    posted by O.W.

    If you've been wondering why there hasn't been any new posts since 2/14...well, there have been. Quite a few in fact! However, when I moved Soul Sides over to a new server on 2/14, I forgot to update the RSS information to reflect that new server location.

    All of which is to say - things should be up and running fine now but just in case, make sure you go back through the last 10 days worth of posts to see what you may have missed.

    If you've never subscribed to Soul Sides, there are two ways:
  • For RSS (aka news) readers: click here.
  • To receive updates via email, click here.

    Do not, I repeat, do not try to subscribe via the browser bar. It will work for "Atom" feeds but the "RSS" feed it has listed there does not work and I'm not even clear where it's deriving that address from.


  • Monday, February 23, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    There's been a huge outpouring of support for Daptone Studios after news broke about them getting robbed. Someone started up a cool site where you can help support Daptone with the cost of a drink (and a pretty cheap drink at that!)

    And the other way to support: buy their music!


    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    Just the kind of news to piss one off - some a**holes broke into Daptone Studios over the weekend and wrecked havoc.
      "Friends and associates,

      As you may have heard through the grapevine by now, Daptone was broken into last night. Unfortunately, there was a lot of equipment (mics, pre-amps, monitors, turntables, guitars, amps, computers, etc.) stolen and damaged. It is going to take us a while to go through everything and take full stock of what was stolen, and we are not supposed to touch anything until the cops come back to collect fingerprints so we can only guess what’s missing from some mic drawers and cabinets.
      And, no, we did not have insurance. We had been shopping around with different companies earlier this month but had not signed a check, so nothing was insured. We are working on replacing the gate in front, installing an alarm system, and getting insurance, but it is President’s day so it’s not going as quickly as we would have liked.
      Nydia’s computer was stolen (which wasn’t backed up) and the modems/ phone system was ripped out, so we’ll be relatively out of commission for a few days.

      I would like to ask for everyone’s help first in keeping an eye out for all of our stuff showing up on ebay/craigslist/local music shops, and secondly (and more realistically) keeping an eye out for good deals on headphones, mics, pre-amps, etc. I could really use a heads up on any kind of studio package for sale or studio equipment to be possibly bought or borrowed as soon as possible. We have a session scheduled for Friday to lay down some music for (I know this sounds
      surreal) Rod Stewart, and I’m going to have to get the studio running by then. I know I’m going to need to find headphones, cables, mics, and pre-amps by then. I’m not sure what else yet.

      Upon first glance we are definitely missing:
      Fender Super Guitar Amp in case
      Fender Deluxe Guitar Amp
      A whole bunch of headphones and wires
      Nydia’s HP laptop computer
      One Desktop MacIntosh Computer
      One Purple Audio API style lunchbox with
      four Purple Audio Biz mic pre-amps
      2 Yamaha NS10 monitors
      Vintage Harmony Rocket Guitar
      One steel string acoustic guitar
      Martin Tenor sax in a gig bag
      Technics 1200 turntable
      Ion USB turntable
      Teac Receiver/stereo amp
      Sony dual deck CD burner/player
      All of our modem/phone system stuff was ripped out and taken.
      A whole bunch of condensor and dynamic microphones (I still need to
      figure out exactly what’s missing)
      The power supply for my Trident console was tossed and the board was
      moved (probably not gently) so the status of that is still questionable.
      A baldwin organ was tossed and is probably broken.
      Lacie External hard drive

      Over the next few days, as we sort out the rubble, we are going to
      figure out what else we lost.

      We are putting in a roll down front gate, alarm system, and finally
      getting our insurance happening this week. We are also going to hire
      a security guard to watch the house for tonight as the cops and alarm
      guy seemed pretty confident that they will be back with a truck now
      that they’ve seen what’s in here.

      Thanks for keeping eyes open for us. AND PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE

      Thankfully, we all still have our health, ambition, tape machines, and
      sense of humor in tact. You can slow us down, but you can’t stop
      us. Sleep well knowing we here at Daptone will continue to…

      Keep putting Soul up,

      Gabriel Roth

      P.S. On a lighter note, it seems like the burglars did drop a few
      items in order to lift Alex’s old safe out of here, which was VERY
      heavy, VERY unwieldy, and also VERY EMPTY!"
    If you have any info to help, try contacting Daptone.

    (Thanks Monique and Frank151)


    Thursday, February 05, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    I've never tried out the Ion turntable before so I can't speak from direct experience but I'm assuming it's probably a decent, usable portable player. Obviously, not some high-end, audiophile model but if you've been thinking of getting a basic turntable, here's a good opportunity.

    On Woot but only for today.


    Saturday, January 24, 2009

    posted by O.W.

    Even though it's my normal policy not to take requests, I'm changing that for at least a couple of posts. I'm willing to entertain requests for specific posts on artists, labels, songs, genres, etc.

    The only exception: no requests for reposts of previous songs. Other than that, suggest away!


    Thursday, December 11, 2008

    posted by O.W.

    The full flavor.

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