Classic Melting Pot

Willie West & the High Society Bros. – Lessons Of Love

Finally should start getting back into the swing of posting on the regular. Of late, in addition to a lot of old school music out of Mexico, I’ve been digging on a lot of retro/modern deep soul tracks (expect a review of the amazing new Charles Bradley/Menahan Street Band album soon), and this latest 7″ from Finland soul label Timmion has been getting quite a bit of play on my turntable. West has been around for quite some time, but it’s only been recently that his NOLA soul vocals have been paired with the retro stylings of Finland’s High Society Bros. Well worth tracking down for this vocal version and also the instrumental on the flip.

This past week’s show was very difficult. More than getting back into the swing of things after an unusually difficult move to a new apartment (thanks again to Oliver Wang of Soul-Sides for filling in), my mind, body and soul has been with my wife’s family after the passing of her mother, Pascuala Gutierrez. I start and finish the show with two tributes to her memory which will live on in all the people who lives she has touched. The show begins with a short set of some of her favorite songs and artists and I close playing a whole side of music from Duke Ellington, featuring Mahalia Jackson in some of her most uplifting work. Posts will remain intermittent this week…

Melting Pot on KPFK #22: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #22: Second Hour

Playlist: 11-21-2010

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

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Tribute to Pascuala Gutierrez 1933-2010

Pedro Infante – La Calandria
Marco Antonio Solis – La Venia Bendita
Las Jilguerillas – Por Ellas
Mariacha Vargas con Miguel Aceves Mejia – Prieta Linda

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Charles Bradley – I Believe In Your Love – No Time For Dreaming (Dunham)
Willie West – Lessons of Love – 7″ (Timmion)
Belleruche – Cat In A Dog Suit – 270 Stories (Tru Thoughts)
Blonde Redhead – Spain – Penny Sparkle (4AD)
Ikonika – Yoshimitsu – 12” (Hyperdub)
The Afro Soultet – Torrid Zone – Afrodesia (Luv n’ Haight)

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Chico Mann – Harmonia – Analog Drift (Wax Poetics)
Laetitia Sadier – Un Soir, Un Chien – The Trip (Drag City)
Anika – No Ones There – Anika (Stones Throw/Invada)
Gonjasufi – Holidays (MRR Remix) – The Caliph’s Tea Party (Warp)

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Aloe Blacc – Take Me Back – Good Things (Stones Throw)
Witch – See Your Mama – Introduction (Now-Again)
Warpaint – Set Your Arms Down – The Fool (Rough Trade)

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Jodesha & Star Ride – The Answer – Groove Merchant 20 (Ubiquity/Luv n’ Haight)
Las Ilusionistas – Colegiala – Roots of Chi Cha 2 (Barbes)
Batida feat. Bras Firmino – Nufeko Disole – Secousse: African Dance Music Anthems (Crammed Discs)
El Guincho – Novias – Pop Negro (Young Turks/XL)
Corin Tucker Band – It’s Always Summer – 1,000 Years (Kill Rock Stars)
Bill Frisell – Nobody’s Fault – Beautiful Dreamers (Savoy Jazz)

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Tribute To Pascuala Gutierrez 1933-2010

Duke Ellington & Mahalia Jackson – Come Sunday/23rd Psalm – Black, Brown & Biege (CBS)

Eddie Harris – It’s All Right Now
Eddie Harris – Why Do You Hurt Me
Eddie Harris – That Is Why You’re Overweight

This record from Eddie Harris isn’t particularly difficult to find. Like a lot of records from this same period of time, the work is generally lightly regarded, especially up against those classic records Harris put out in the mid-1960s. “Overweight” does have some really nice cuts though and showcases Harris’ playful side that was on display quite a bit during the mid 1970s.

I first ran into this at Groove Merchant shortly after having moved to the Bay Area back in 1999. The LP carried one of Cool Chris’ notes mentioning that “It’s All Right” was a sure shot party starter. Chris is rarely wrong and he was dead on about this one. With that sly funky mid tempo groove, simple vocals, mostly just being “It’s All Right Now” mixed in with some chatter, and even a little soul clap, this one has been a stable of my sets when I spin out for 10 years now.

The title track has a slower, more bluesy vibe to it, with some wicked amplified sax sounds and truly silly lyrics about all the food that Eddie Harris has been eating lately, while the chorus of singers let him know that “That Is Why You’re Overweight”. Though it was written in the mid 1970s, this could be a perfect, albeit ironic, theme song for America in 2010. I also dig the cool vibes of the Sly Stone inspired “Who Do You Hurt Me,” though I can’t really recommend much of the rest of the LP, thankfully this one is fairly easy to track down and for reasonable prices. It’s definitely worth the search for “It’s All Right” alone.

Cheers,

Michael

Pataphysics – Nick Danger

For 20 years Groove Merchant in San Francisco has supplied countless DJs, Producers and Vinyl addicts with some of the best sounds ever put on vinyl. It’s a testament to its reputation and its current owner “Cool” Chris Veltri, that at a time when vinyl independent record stores are becoming a rarity, it continues to thrive. I’ve already mentioned here several times how Groove Merchant is my pick for the best record store in the world. More than just a place to dig up rare pieces of wax, it’s a great place just to come, chill, learn and most importantly listen to great music of every possible genre. This collection celebrates 20 years of Groove Merchant with some choice cuts from Cool Chris, music that only scratches the surface of all the goodness that this store, the birthplace of Ubiquity records, has dug up and brought out into the light. Looking forward to my next trip and to the next 20.

Another giveaway, for another show on Friday November 12th, also slightly retro styled sounds from NY’s the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. They perform at the Echoplex on friday and if you’d like to see one of the best (and fuzziest musically speaking) indie-pop/rock bands around today, hit me up at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com before Thursday at 6pm!!!

Here’s a video from the group for their song “Young Adult Friction” shot on Super 8!

Retro soulster Mayer Hawthorne is coming back to LA this week to perform at the Music Box at Fonda, this Friday November 12th. If you’d like to go courtesy of Melting Pot, just drop me a line via michael[at]meltingpotblog.com before Thursday at 6pm!!!

Here’s the video for what remains my favorite track from mr. Hawthorne, his version of the New Holidays “Maybe So, Maybe No”:

Robin and Coco of Quadron perform at KPFK

Had the distinct pleasure of spending a fair amount of time with Robin Hannibal and Coco of Denmark’s Quadron just before Halloween. I actually picked up Robin & Coco and drove them to KPFK for the interview, so we spent a long time discussing a number of topics, only some of which makes it into this interview. At slightly over one hour all together, I decided to split up the interview over two weeks on Melting Pot, but it’s here as the full session.

Quadron sign copies of their CD for KPFK listeners

We cover a number of topics, from the origins of the band, a bit of their influences, the state of soul music in Denmark and here in the States and a really interesting discussion of issues of race, which finally solved the puzzle behind the band’s name. The songs here are different versions of tracks that can mostly be found elsewhere, stripped down versions performed in the KPFK studios, via keyboards and laptop and that exceptional voice from Coco.  Included are VERY different versions of “Simili Life” and “Pressure” from the album and a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Baby Be Mine.” 

I’m really happy that the group has found a number of kindred spirits here in the Los Angeles area, it will be very interesting to see how being in LA will affect the group’s sound on the next record. This one is definitely a group to watch here in coming years and this is one of the most special sessions I’ve been a part of since I got started in radio. Big big thanks to Andrew Lojero for setting things up and Stan Misraje for doing the sound and most importantly to Robin & Coco for sharing their music with us on Melting Pot.

Quadron on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 10-29-2010

Yesterday’s show felt a bit schizophrenic. Perhaps it’s just because my mind has been in so many different places lately, tons of grading from work, getting ready to move to new digs, simultaneous surprise and ambivalence about the recent election and absolute shock over the sentence of Johannes Merle, who killed Oscar Grant, and the apparently small price of a human life. With all that as the backdrop, the show swings in two directions, mostly soulful or garagey rockin’, not sure why, but that’s the way it went. There were a ton of giveaways during the show (a big reason to listen live if you are in the LA area, though a few of these do make their way here), but really it was about the music, with new tunes from Dum Dum Girls, Zion I, Depedro, Frankie & the Outs, Chico Mann and Mansfield TYA. At the start of the second hour there is the second half of the Quadron interview (you can hear the whole interview right here), for which there was a tremendous response, which I’ll definitely let Robin & Coco know. Matter of fact, there were just a bunch of calls about this week’s show, and I really do appreciate how things are going as we continue to build on KPFK. Next week I’ll be moving, so you’ll be left in the very capable hands of Soul-sides.com’s Oliver Wang.

Melting Pot on KPFK #21: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #21: Second Hour

Playlist: 11-7-2010

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

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TL Barrett – Nobody Knows – Like A Ship (Light In The Attic)
Zion I – The Sun Came Out – Atomic Clock (Gold Dust)
Myron & E with the Soul Investigators – Pot Club – 7” (Timmion)
Ronn Forella – Crystals – Groove Merchant 20 (Ubiquity/Luv ‘n Haight)

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Mayer Hawthorne – No Strings (Jazzy Jeff’s Roller Boogie Remix) – 12” (Stones Throw)
Chico Mann – Mentirosos – Analog Drift (Wax Poetics)
Belleruche – You Me Us Them – 270 Stories (Tru Thoughts)
Bill Frisell – Dec. 25th – Beautiful Dreamers (Savoy Jazz)

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Warpaint – Shadows – The Fool (Rough Trade)
Frankie Rose & the Outs – Little Brown Haired Girls – Frankie Rose & the Outs (Slumberland)
Corin Tucker Band – Riley – 1,000 Years (Kill Rock Stars)
Best Coast – The End – Crazy For You (Mexican Summer)
Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Come Saturday – Pains OF Being Pure At Heart (Slumberland)
Real Estate – Let’s Rock The Beach – Real Estate (Woodist)

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Quadron – Simili Life – Quadron (Plug Research)
Quadron Performance and Interview at KPFK Part 2

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Quadron – Average Fruit – Quadron (Plug Research)
Depedro – Eternamente – Nubes De Papel (Nat Geo)
Ikonika – Yoshimitzu – 12” (Hyperdub)

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Sleater Kinney – The Remainder – One Beat (Kill Rock Stars)
Dum Dum Girls – Last Caress – 7” (Slumberland)
Mansfield TYA – Refair Tout Comme Hier – 7” (Vicious Circle)

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

Last Call at a bar like Footsies requires a proper soundtrack...

With all the attention on 45s this past week, seemed like the right time to do another all 45 post. The prior two have been around a theme, so I thought I’d keep that with this one too and play some slower tracks that seem oh so  appropriate as the night is winding down just after the bartender lets you know it is “Last Call.” I haven’t always put it into practice when I’ve spun out, but I feel like a good night of music should wind itself down to the end, with some deep soul. So, I’ve picked out a couple of favorites of tunes I have on 45 that would work nicely as the night ends.

Franciene Thomas - Too Beautiful To Be Good - Tragar

Franciene Thomas – Too Beautiful To Be Good

The pace on this one might be a little too quick, but I love the sentiment and the interplay of the horns and the strings which give it this epic quality that definitely does fit the mood of an end of the night. Thomas’ vocals are beyond raw, even on a slower song like this, she just knocks you out with the strength in her voice, as she runs down one hell of a dilemma regarding her doubtful man. This one is the flipside to one of my all-time favorite dancefloor burners, “I’ll Be There,” a truly dynamite bit of wax on the Tragar label out of my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. It is a tragedy that Franciene Thomas did not record any more sides than these two, but lord am I thankful that she did these.

Linda Jones - Hypnotized - Hot Groove

Linda Jones – Hypnotized

This one has been in my mind quite a bit lately, since Mayer Hawthorne sampled it in one of his more recent singles. I’d never heard it before running into a copy of this split 45 at Bagatelle a couple of years ago. I’m still blown away by all the elements, the made for Hip-Hop production sound with those drums and the bells, the background singers and above all else the performance from Jones. She just kills it throughout, but especially when she sings “I’ll Go Wherever You Want Me To Go…” and those “La Da Da, Ha Ha”‘s she does a couple of times…slays me everytime.

Rudy Ray Moore - Easy Easy Baby - Generation

Rudy Ray Moore – Easy Easy Baby

Rudy Ray Moore is best known as Dolemite, but he’d cut a number of LPs and 45s before becoming immortalized by his run of blaxploitation films. Like several other tracks in this post, I’d picked this one up for the flip side, a nice and playful mid-tempo track “Put Your Weight On It,” but over time this track on the flip side has become a personal favorite, maybe because “slow and easy is my style” or maybe it’s just the drunken slightly debauched vibe of the whole piece, it just sounds like “Last Call.” Whatever the case, “Easy Baby” definitely shows that Moore could have been a pretty decent soul singer if he’d wanted to be.

Betty Harris - Can't Last Much Longer - Sansu

Betty Harris – Can’t Last Much Longer

No post on slow deep soul tracks would be complete without some New Orleans soul. I’d had this one in my collection for probably a good ten years before I finally checked out this super slow soulful number produced by Allen Toussaint (who I imagine is responsible for the lovely descending/ascending lines on the piano). Betty Harris lays down such soulful vocals that you’d swear you can hear the tears fall in the background, especially when Harris and the background singers mention that this man won’t even call. You almost don’t even notice that this is another in a long line of cheatin’ songs where the singer is waiting for some other woman’s man…

Toussaint McCall - Nothing Takes The Place Of You - Ronn

Toussaint McCall – Nothing Takes The Place of You

The final track for this particular post also has a NOLA connection to it, from Toussaint McCall. It’s interesting to me that most of us DJs who dig on raw funk and the like, would only pick this up because of the flipside, the upbeat organ-grinder “Shimmy,” but “Nothing” was actually a really big hit for McCall back in 1967 (which explains why “Shimmy” is almost always to be found for a reasonable price, despite it’s speaker burning potential). With lyrics full of deep longing for the one you love, it’s the perfect song to close out a night of fine music, and it also will close out this particular 45 edition of Dig Deep.

Cheers,

Michael

I’ve been a fan of the Heavy ever since I first heard a few of their songs on an advance single ahead of their first release “Great Vengeance and Furious Fire” in 2007. Kelvin Swaby, lead singer, was already on my radar because of some work previously done with one of my favorite trip-hop acts, Alpha. The Heavy on record are largely a rock group, often aided by samples. Live they are nothing but a high octane rock’n’roll act, with Swaby bouncing all over the stage. In a relatively short period of time they’ve moved from playing smaller venues like the Echo, to being a supporting act for the likes of Sharon Jones to headlining the El Rey all by themselves.

A measure of their success is based on the ace placement of one of their songs in a KIA commercial, but the boys (and girl, perhaps, if Little Hannah Collins is still in the group) have the chops to stay in the game a bit longer than some of their commercial assisted peers. If you want tickets to the see UK’s The Heavy perform at the El Rey in Los Angeles, make sure to e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com before Noon on Friday 11/5!

For your musical enjoyment and general bemusement, here’s the KIA commercial that made the boys stars…one of the better stories to come out of the use of music in commercials.

Just as an additional track, here’s one of my favorites from their superior debut record:

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