Classic Melting Pot

{Update: Okay, I’m going to take you guys behind the curtain on this one…So, I’ve been planning this debut for this past week and thought I had everything ready to go. Since I draw my music from a bunch of sources, vinyl, CDs, mp3s, I tend to burn the music I’m going to use to a couple CDs and just take that, bringing my laptops to record the audio of the show. As I was on my way to KPFK, about 25 minutes before the show, I found out one of my CD-R’s(with ½ of my show) did not record properly!!!!!!!

After 5 minutes of some truly classic freaking out on the 134 freeway, I remembered that virtually all of the music was on my two laptops, both of which I had thankfully taken with me, with most of the tracks on one and some tracks I’d recorded over from vinyl on the other. I didn’t have time to edit the raw vinyl tracks, just burn another CD.

Mind you, this is all going on literally as the show begins…that’s the reason the “Melting Pot” theme goes on for about 3 minutes at the start and why I mention “if the technology will work for me…” at the start of the show…all that craziness is also why the audio (now added below) is a little “hot” on the Mic. Quite an auspicious beginning for Melting Pot, but the fact that everything worked out says a lot and is one of the many reasons I love radio. Enjoy the show, this one was a debut for the ages on my end…Michael}

Well here we go with the first official show for Melting Pot on KPFK. If there’s a difference between this show and ones I’ve done at other places it’s definitely the level of focus. With only two hours, the shortest amount of time I’ve ever had for a regular show in my 16+ years of radio, I really have to make sure that everything I put on is top shelf material. But I try to come up with an eclectic mix that tends towards the funky, but goes a few other places as well. I hope you enjoy the debut and all the shows to come. In today’s show we have a lot of new music, including from Seu Jorge, Chali 2na,Pains of Being Pure At Heart, the Atl’s Mass Influence, Now Again’s new California Funk collection and music from the Iranian pop underground from Take It Easy Hospital. One of the tracks I’m most excited to play comes from some high schoolers out of Minnesota called Total Babe. You’ll definitely be hearing more from them in coming weeks. Also classic material from Roberto Carlos, Les Baxter (Hell’s Belles!), Willie Hutch and some Electric Prunes in honor and tribute to Dennis Hopper who passed away just yesterday.

Also on a more serious note, a LA DJ by the name of Kutmah is fighting deportation and there’s a benefit show for his legal fund coming up on June 3rd at the Echoplex here in Los Angeles with Dam-Funk, Daedulus, Gaslamp Killer and others. You kind more info here:

Melting Pot on KPFK #1: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #1: Second Hour

Playlist: 5-30-2010

{opening theme} Booker T. & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Willie Hutch – I Choose You – The Mack: Original Soundtrack (Motown)
Murs & 9th – I Used To Love H.E.R. Again – Fornever (SMC)
Twilight – Still Loving You – Still Loving You (Luv’n’Haight)
Seu Jorge – Everybody Loves the Sunshine – Single (White Label)
Kutmah – Blazt Off (excerpt) – Master Blazter: Blazt Off (HVW8)

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Shoes – Saving Mr. Billy’s Soul – Eccentric Breaks & Beats (Numero)
Mass Influence – Morning Breath Chasers – 12” (self-released)
Mr. Chop – Straighten It Out – For Pete’s Sake (Now-Again)
Roberto Carlos – Nao Vou Ficar – Roberto Carlos (CBS)
Polar Bear – Bap Bap Bap – Peepers (Leaf)

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Bastien Lallemant – La Plage – Le Pop 5 (Le Pop Musik)
The National – Sorrow – High Violet (4ad)
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Sad Waters – Your Funeral My Trial (Mute)
Petula Clark – Heart – I Know A Place (Warner Bros.)
The Electric Prunes – Kyrie Eleison (instrumental) – David Axelrod: The Warner/Reprise Sessions (Warner UK)

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L.A. Bare Faxx – Super Cool Brother – California Funk (Now-Again/Jazzman)
The Black Keys – Next Girl – Brothers (Nonesuch)
Les Baxter – Chain Fight – Hell’s Belles: Original Soundtrack (Sidewalk)
Los Roberts – El Saltamontes – Sensacional Soul, vol. 2 (Vampi Soul)
Chali 2na feat. J-Live – Across The Map – Fish Market Part 2 (Decon)
Sun Ra – Angels & Demons At Play – Angels & Demons At Play (Impulse)

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Take It Easy Hospital – Me & You – No One Knows About Persian Cats: Original Soundtrack (Milan)
Flying Lotus – Drips/Auntie’s Harp – Cosmogramma (Warp)
Broken Social Scene – Sentimental X’s – Forgiveness Rock Record (Arts & Crafts)
Neu! – Hallo Gallo – Neu! (Polygram)

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Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Lost Saint – 7” (Slumberland)
Love – And More – Love (Elektra)
Total Babe – Bearbones – Total Babe (So Tm)
Jovenes y Sexys feat. Joie Joie Joie – Gold Day – Bruno EP (Poni Republic)

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{closing theme} The Dirty Three – Ever Since – Cinder (Touch & Go)

It’s official! My new show on KPFK debuts this Sunday. “Melting Pot” will be on the air, every Sunday from 4-6pm, left coast time on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles, 98.7 FM in Santa Barbara and worldwide at I’ll be putting up the audio for shows on the blog here and keep them up for a month at a time, in case you miss a show. The music will be similar to what I did over at KCRW and KALX, diverse sounds from all over, from different eras and different genres with an emphasis on all things funky.

I’ve also set up a new facebook page for the show and this blog. Check it out and become a fan!

Melting Pot Facebook Page:

One of the Funkiest and Fuzziest soundtracks of all time!

Les Baxter – Hot Wind
Les Baxter – Dan Again
Les Baxter – Hogin’ Machine

Still not finished with grading so I thought I’d post something that I don’t really need to say anything at all about (though I will still say a little something about it), the soundtrack to Hell’s Belles. An original copy of this has been a “white whale” of mine every since I first ran into it in the KALX library back in 2000. There’s a reissue that you can cop for $10 or less, but I can tell you the sound is vastly superior on the original and it’s worth the price. I’m not sure there’s a record that has harder drums and fuzzier guitars out there, even if virtually every song is just a slightly different take on the same basic theme. If only there was a soul clap on all these tracks instead of the occasional tambourine it would be the greatest record of all time.



Broken Social Scene – Sentimental X’s

I’m fairly sure this is entirely based off of the good feelings I still have after watching a truly satisfying series finale for the TV Series LOST, but I’ve had this song “Sentimental X’s” stuck in my mind and in my ears all day long, and it’s now become my theme song of the day as I continue to grade finals from the semester. I love how lyrically it’s based on fairly simple phrases, but sometimes they are reversed or changed slightly which changes the overall meaning too (for example “Off and On is what we Want,” “What We Want Is Off and On,”). Something about the way it ends with the phrase “All Of You” becoming “I Love You” at times, admist that huge wash of sound, seems to capture the big message out of the LOST finale last night. Though these feelings might wash off in a day or two, this one is still likely to be a contender for song of the year come December.

Yesterday I returned to the KPFK airwaves for my second tryout to potentially host the shift that used to be occupied by Derek Rath’s Cosmic Barrio (Sundays from 4-6pm). Lots of brand new music, including something new from The Black Keys, Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Quantic, Grupo Fantasma, Little Brother and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble plus classic tracks from Sly & the Family Stone, Dr. John and some obscured but amazing music from the Ivory Coast and 1960s “revolutionary” France.

Speaking of amazing and obscured, I featured almost a whole side of a brilliant new mix that uses the Numero groups Eccentric Soul Series (and other releases from the Numero catalog) for samples called “Eccentric Breaks & Beats” look for post on this soon here on Melting Pot.

Audio of the show is below, split into two hours. I’m really hopeful that I’ll find out whether or not I’m going to get the show this week and I’ll definitely let you know if I do.

Playlist: KPFK 5-23-2010

{Opening Theme} Boris Gardiner – Melting Pot – Is What’s Happening  (Dynamic)

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Sly & the Family Stone – Remember Who You Are –  Back On The Right Track (Warner Bros.)

Quadron – Jeans – Quadron (Plug Research)

Ana Tijoux – Problema De 2 – 1977 (Nacional)

Quantic – Dub Y Guaguanco – Dog With A Rope (Tru Thoughts)

Irakere – Sea Mall – Cuba Libre (Far Out)

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Grupo Fantasma – La Conozco – El Existential  (National Geographic)

Polar Bear – Want To Believe Everything – Peepers  (Leaf)

Flying Lotus – Zodiac Shit – Cosmogramma  (Warp)

Murs & 9th Wonder – Fornever – Fornever   (SMC)

Orgone – The Big Escape – Time Tonight 12”  (Ubiquity)

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The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Say No To Love – 7”  (Slumberland)

Dum Dum Girls – Lines Her Eyes – I Will Be (Sub Pop)

New York Dolls – Puss’n’Boots – Too Much Too Soon  (Mercury)

Francois Lougah – Pecoussa –  Cote D’Ivoire: West African Crossroads  (Syllart)

Myron & E with the Soul Investigators – It’s A Shame – 7” (Timmion)

Deep City Band – Masterpiece – Eccentric Soul: The Outskirts of Deep City  (Numero)

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Shoes – Eccentric Breaks & Beats Side 1 – Eccentric Breaks & Beats  (Numero)

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The Black Keys – To Go Getter – Brothers (Nonesuch)

Dr. John – I Walk On Gilded Splinters – Gris Gris (Atco)

Splinters – Motorcycle – Kick (Double Negative)

Ame Son – Eclosion – The BYG Deal (Finders Keepers)

Little Brother feat. Torae – 24 – Left Back (Hall Of Justus/Traffic Ent.)

Miles Davis – Jabali – Complete On The Corner (Sony Legacy)

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Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – Spottie – Heritage EP (Choice Cuts)

Fela Kuti – Colonial Mentality – Opposite Peoplee / Sorrow Tears & Blood  (MCA)

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{closing theme}  Dungen – C. Visar Vagen – Tio Batar  (Kemado)

Rotary Connection – Life Could
Rotary Connection – V.I.P.
Rotary Connection – Paper Castle

Still locked in grading mode at the end of the semester, but definitely wanted to share this one. There are so many reasons to dig on Rotary Connection. They featured some truly unique psychedelic sounds along with massive arrangements and production from the genius of Charles Stepney and finally the otherworldly vocals of Minnie Ripperton. I’d always felt like Rotary Connection put out better songs than full length records until I tracked down this concept record, their second release, from 1968. Though the album has a couple of tracks that seem to fit the title, it works better as a critique of mainstream culture in the 1960s.

Doesn't the dude on the far right sorta look like Ol' Dirty Bastard?

The best example and best song is “Life Could,” a track I could listen to on repeat all day long.  In a nutshell it represents everything that was amazing (or overblown depending on your perspective) about this group, gigantic punchy horns, hard charging drums (and a classic and clean break 3/4 through), bright fuzzy guitars and well matched duet vocals. When the song really gets started it threatens to knock you over with all the elements. Lyrically, the sentiment right now is something that fits me to a T, almost like an anthem (though I’m still not sure I’m hearing the final line of the chorus clearly).

Wake up in the morning
Work 5 days a week
Never had much money or fame
The way it’s gonna be

Just a common person
Do you know my name?
Never be important in life
Always be the same (the same 2x)

But I don’t need your pity (pity)
And I don’t want your money (money)
Because I’m oh so happy (yeah)
I’ll never have much money or fame
Guess i’ll always be the same
Life’s too short to let it slip by
Never stayin’ low, always flyin’ high

That sentiment continues throughout on “V.I.P.” which considers the dreams “little” people have and on “Let Them Talk” which champions staying true to yourself regardless how others see you and closes with “Paper Castle” which is certainly a critique of 60s America, but works surprisingly well for the 21st century too. Musically what’s especially interesting to me about that last track is how the tempo appears to build and build, when it actually doesn’t, it’s because of the changes in the guitarists playing, from longer sustains to very short and increasingly manic notes as the song moves towards resolution, that produce a tension that makes it seem like the song is going faster than it actually is.

I know most feel like “Hey Love” is the best Rotary Connection record (though really that one is basically Minnie Ripperton’s second solo record) or that the debut had the most impact (especially for Hip-Hop with “Memory Band”) but to my ears this one is the best realized and most consistently original of all their records and the one I continue to enjoy the most.



Irakere – Sea Mall

Far Out has just now issued this very hard to find record from Cuba’s legendary Irakere. This set was originally recorded and released in 1980 out in Japan. Featuring the original line-up including acknowledged masters Chucho Valdes and Arturo Sandoval, and a really nice sound. I don’t normally pick up on jazz/funk records from this period of time, but this is a really solid set. I especially love this track, “Sea Mall” with the real subtle and funky changes in rhythm about mid way through.

Machito – Hold On I’m Comin’
Machito – Green Onions
Machito – Soul American

Been focused on grading at the end of the semester and haven’t had much time to devote to the blog, but thought I’d knock a quick post out at the end of the week. I’ve never been big on “covers” records that focus more on renditions of “the hits” instead of original material, but when I ran into this record at Groove Merchant I couldn’t resist. Machito is one of the founding fathers of Latin jazz and mambo music. This record finds him updating his sound in mostly predictable ways, but in a few cases the results are latin soul perfection, especially the (mostly) spanish version of Sam & Dave’s “Hold On I’m Comin’.”



This one is connected to a post for KCRW I’ll be putting the finishing touches on next week..Each of these records represent the pinnacle of early 1970s Rock’n’Roll and all of them have gotten the reissue treatment recently. Most record critics regard Exile On Main St. (1972) as the Rolling Stones greatest album, many critics regard Raw Power (1973) as the best pre-cursor of punk and underground classic Teenage Head (1971) is a record so good that Mick Jagger himself supposedly admitted that it was better than the Stones’ own Sticky Fingers, also released in 1971.

But is it better than Exile On Main St.? What about Raw Power? Tough decision if you ask me, Teenage Head is the most consistently enjoyable listen, Exile On Main St. finds the Stones at the height of their considerable powers and Raw Power is truly a raw and powerful elemental force of a record with perhaps the best song in “Search & Destory.” So, the question is, of these three exceptional records, pound for pound, which one is the best? Let me know what you think…

Just in case you need some remindin’…

The Flamin’ Groovies – Teenage Head

Rolling Stones – Rocks Off

Iggy & the Stooges – Search & Destroy

Francois Lougah – Pecoussa

Nothing beats hearing music from a part of the world you’d never heard it before and from a collection you haven’t heard yet. French label Syllart has been putting out this series, African Pearls, since 2006, and I’ve been doing some heavy duty sleeping on it. This particular volume features two CDs worth of work from the Ivory Coast, which, aside from Alpha Blondy, I hadn’t ever really paid much attention to. From this it sounds like the 60s and 70s were most definitely swingin’ in Abidjan and else where in this west African nation. This track from Francois Lougah is literally just a taste (though maybe the best of the bunch) from a top-flite collection. Highly necessary!

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