Classic Melting Pot

Lafayette Afro Rock Band – Hihache
Lafayette Afro Rock Band – Azeta
Lafayette Afro Rock Band – Nicky

Picked this up a little while ago on a trip to San Diego. I’d never seen a copyof this one before and so even though the condition was pretty bad, I figured that it was worth the relative cost, especially since it has one of my all time favorite drum breaks, “Hihache.” Everybody seems to think the Lafayette Afro Rock Band were originally from France, but they actually had their roots in NY.

Lafayette played some pretty heavy funk, laced with with some African influences (which probably explains how they made it onto Editions Makossa) but it wasn’t until they made the move to Paris that they found a bit of popularity. Stardom really escaped them until Hip-Hop DJs started playing and later on sampling their work.

“Hihache” from this EP has been sampled by a few and easy to see why, you don’t get many drum breaks that are this funky, this long and this clean from this period. I also love that cowbell that comes in just as the other instruments start to lay down the full rhythm. I’ve also posted a couple of other tracks from this EP, basically the ones that don’t actually skip. I’m sure some day I’ll run into a better copy, but since these are the tracks I actually dig from it, I might just hold on to this one…there is a special charm to crackling vinyl.

Cheers,

Michael

Brave Irene – River To The Sea

It’s always nice when dreams come true and here we have Rose Melberg, formely of the much beloved Tiger Trap and the Softies, back at it in a full-fledged “twee as fuck!” indie-pop outfit. The band takes their name from a children’s book of the same title released in 1986 by William Stieg, who also incidentially wrote the original picture book Shrek! (yes THAT Shrek!) and his the father of jazz flute player Jeremy Steig! They’ve just released a sparklingly lovely EP on the always solid Slumberland records and here’s to hoping they come to Los Angeles and spend some quality time with us on Melting Pot.

I’d been really looking forward to this our usual end of the month all vinyl affair on Melting Pot because I’ve been a busy beaver diggin’ in the crates (and on Ebay too) over the past couple of months and with the fundraiser we weren’t able to do our usual thing in February. But this past weekend my Dad was in town from Atlanta and that inspired me to go in a different direction. Instead I decided to dig through my collection and figure out which records I inherited from the Barnes Family collection, most of which were bought by my Mom, Dad or Brother before I got here in 1975. So here you have a really personal show, featuring some extra scratchy vinyl (though I don’t think anything skipped, you get a lot of cracklin catfish and a few poppety pops too) from my family. As a sociologist I’m very interested in what Bourdieu called “Habitus” and how we become the people we are. This gives you a bit of a peek behind my musical sensibilities by virtue of some of the music that was in my mind as a little kid. Listening to it now with post-Hip-Hop ears, I amazed at both the quality of the tracks (though some of that is selective since these are the ones that I held on to, I can’t even remember if there were more, though I know my Dad still has some vinyl that he kept) and also how many of the tracks have been sampled or feature sample worthy material. I highly suggest, if you haven’t already, that you make sure take a look at your own home collection, reminisce about the good times and most importantly the good music from your own past. I don’t have enough records to do a second show, but it was a great experience putting this one together.

Melting Pot on KPFK #37: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #37: Second Hour

Playlist: 3-27-2011

{opening theme} Boris Gardiner – Melting Pot – Is What’s Happening (Dynamic)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Sly & the Family Stone – You Can Make It If You Try – Stand! (Epic)
Bill Withers – I Don’t Know – Still Bill (Sussex)
Bob Dorough – Lucky Number Seven – Multiplication Rock (Capitol)
Earth Wind & Fire – Drum Song – 7” (Columbia)
Eddie Kendricks – Son of Sagitarrius – 7” (Tamla)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Mandrill – Two Sisters of Mystery – Just Outside Of Town (Polydor)
Isaac Hayes – Joy – Joy (Enterprise)
Aretha Franklin – You’re A Sweet Sweet Man – Aretha Now (Atlantic)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Dickie Goodman – Superfly Meets Shaft – Mr. Jaws (Cash)
The Barkays – Sang & Dance – 7” (Volt)
C.W. McCall – Convoy – 7” (MGM)
Rhythm Heritage – Theme From Swat – 7” (ABC)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Jimi Hendrix Experience – Rock Me Baby/Can You See Me – Historic Performances Recorded At The Monterey International Pop Festival (Reprise)
Funkadelic – Who Says A Funk Band Can’t Play Rock?! – One Nation Under A Groove (WB)
Michael Jackson – You Can’t Win – The Wiz (MCA)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Latimore – Let’s Straighten It Out – More More More Latimore (Glades)
Jerry Butler – Ain’t Understanding Mellow – The Sagitarrius Movement (Mercury)
David Porter – I Can’t See You When I Want To – The Living Word: Wattstax 2 (Stax)
Otis Redding – Open The Door – The Dock Of The Bay (Atco)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

James Brown – Public Enemy #1 – 7” (Polydor)
Curtis Mayfield – The Other Side Of Town – Curtis (Curtom)
The Edwin Hawkins Singers – Oh Happy Day – 7” (Pavilion)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

{closing theme} William DeVaughn – Be Thankful For What You Got Pt. 2 – 7” (Roxbury)

Rastus – Sailin’ Easy
Rastus – Black Cat (live)
Rastus – Multi-Colored Taxicab

As I’ve mentioned here before, one of the things I look for when I’m digging for new sounds in the rock aisle are bands with horn sections. When I saw this record that boasted a 5 piece horn section, I was pretty much sold, but held back just to see if I could find any info about the band and their sound. A single youtube clip for “Sailin’ Easy” was all I needed to swing back around and pick up this double LP, the debut for the band Rastus.

Rastus were a 9 piece band out of the Cleveland area that had a very Tower of Power meets Chicago kind of vibe. They appear to have released a second LP after this, but I can only vouch for this one. “Sailin’ Easy” was one of my favorite discoveries diggin’ in the crates last year, with it’s punchy horns and cymbal crashes during the marching band meets b-boy styled opening and breakdowns.  In addition to the sound I just love the sentiment as the lead singer and the band rap about “Livin’ Life Without a Care.”  “Rap” is a pretty appropriate term here, because a lot of the delivery and the braggadocio of the lyrics has more than just a bit of proto-Hip-Hop in it.  I have no idea if it would go over well, but I’d love to drop the needle on this song at Funky Sole or some place where B-boys & B-girls really get down.

Of the group’s two versions of Brian Auger’s “Black Cat” I’ve chosen to post the live one, since this one includes a pretty tasty and clean live drum break (though it does go a bit too long, but hey drummers…what can you do?) the final selection is a strange number called “Multi-Colored Taxicab” that seems like it’s a metaphor for something else, but at the same time could be just a straight up (and rather rare) ode to taxicabs. Though it hasn’t been updated in a couple of years it appears there’s a website that fills in the blanks on Rastus and is worth a check out if you dig the sounds.

Cheers,

Michael

Algodón Egipcio – El Día Previo

I’ve had this fantastic record, the debut release and solo project for Cheky of Jóvenes y Sexys, for well over a month, but as is customary for me on this blog, I’ve waiting until it’s had its proper release to say anything about the record (though listeners to Melting Pot on KPFK have already heard several tracks from La Lucha Constante including “El Día Previo”). Algodón Egipcio allows Cheky to showcase more of his own songwriting and sonic landscapes. In contrast to Jóvenes y Sexys’ generally lo-fi acoustic indie-pop with shades of electronic sound, Algodón Egipcio’s sound is a bit more expansive and denser, with layers of guitars, synth styled beats and Cheky’s languid vocals. At times the sound is a bit on the shoegazey side of things, but its generally too upbeat to just sit there staring at your shoes. I’m not sure if this qualifies as chillwave or if there’s too many guitars here for that, but truth be told, I’m fairly tired of trying to fit music into neat labels. I’ve always agreed with Duke Ellington’s assesment of labels, there’s really only two types of music, good music and the other kind…this is very good music and you should listen to it.

After several months where things hadn’t worked out and we finally have the return of “Side Dishes” the monthly guest set put together by Oliver Wang of Soul-Sides.com! (Here’s the March edition just by itself: Oliver Wang of Soul-Sides.Com’s Side Dishes March 2011)Look for Oliver’s guest spot to return on the 3rd Sunday of each month, at least until I’m able to convince him (and KPFK mgmt) into taking a weekly show at the station. As far the rest of the show, seeing as how Sunday was the official start of spring, just had to play “Spring Again” from the Biz, as well as “Primavera” (portuguese and spanish for “Spring”) from the Godfather of Brazilian soul, Tim Maia. There’s a bunch of brand new music as I still wade through newer releases from 2011. There’s a couple new projects of note, most notably, Brave Irene features Rose Melberg, of Tiger Trap and Softies fame,in an all-female rockingly twee outfit. 9th Wonder is teamed up with Jean Grae and Phonte of Little Brother for a track that I would imagine is from either a new mixtape or proper release from rapper Lil B. Also there’s a track from The Electric which is a decidedly poppy Hip-Hop/Soul project from DJ Vadim. Also new music from Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, Algodon Egipcio, Sims (tackling Herbert Marcuse’s “One Dimensional Man” as source material on a song about how those people who think they are the solution are often part of the problem, as Phil Ochs told us so many years ago with “Love Me I’m A Liberal”), Echocentrics and more. Things finish up with an impromptu tribute set to Detroit Rock City, courtest of Chain & the Gang and the Dirtbombs with a couple of Detroit area classics from Funkadelic and Iggy & the Stooges.

Melting Pot on KPFK #36: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #36: Second Hour

Playlist: 3-20-2011

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

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Biz Markie – Spring Again – 12” (Cold Chillin’)
Tim Maia – Primavera – Tim Maia (Polydor)
The Electric – So Now You Know – Life Is Moving (OGS)
WildCookie – Flashy Flashy – Cookie Dough (Tru Thoughts)
La Solucion – Mini Minoso – Salsa Boricua De Chicago (Numero)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Sims – One Dimensional Man – Bad Time Zoo (Doomtree)
Marcus Shelby Orchestra – Memphis – Soul Of The Movement (Porto Franco)
Willie Wright – Jackie’s Song – Telling The Truth (Numero)
Chicano Batman – A Hundred Dead And Loving Souls – Recorded Live At KPFK

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo – Lion Is Burning – Cotonou Club (Strut)
Brave Irene – Good Ideas – Brave Irene (Slumberland)
Algodon Egipcio – Los Temas Turbios – La Lucha Constante (Lefse)
Jane Weaver – Outro – Cherlokalate (Finders Keepers)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Sides Dishes for March 2011 featuring Oliver Wang of Soul-Sides.Com

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Quadron – Average Fruit (Heartbeak Lazy Sunday Remix) – Average Fruit Remixes (Plug Research)
The Echocentrics – Down Under – Sunshadows (Ubiquity)
Lil B feat. 9th Wonder, Jean Grae & Phonte – Base For Your Face – Single (Self-released)
Little Milton – Somebody’s Tears – Walking The Back Streets And Crying (Stax)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Chain & the Gang – Detroit Music – Music’s Not For Everyone (K Records)
The Dirtbombs – Sharevari – Party Store (In The Red)
The Stooges – No Fun (Original John Cale Mix) – The Stooges (Deluxe Edition)
Funkadelic – Everybody’s Got A Thing – Funkadelic (Westbound)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

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

Pretty Things – Cries From The Midnight Circus
Pretty Things – She’s A Lover
Pretty Things – Sickle Clowns

Swamped by grading this week, so just a few quick words about this one, which I think was the 5th record for UK rockers Pretty Things. By this time they didn’t sound at all like they did when they emerged in the mid-1960s playing raw and gritty rock’n’roll. On Parachute they are downright psychedelic with a number of the songs having a concept album feel even though this doesn’t appear to actually be a concept album, I guess the vibe was left over from SF Sorrow. “Cries From The Midnight Circus” stands out with its fat bass and fatter drums, “Sickle Clowns” goes down a similar rhythmic road with a nice tribal percussion breakdown whereas “She’s A Lover” shows a bit of the softer side for a band that always sounded better ruff and tuff…

Cheers,

Michael

Frente Cumbiero – Pitchito

Sofrito is a sound system out of the UK run by DJs Hugo Mendez and Frankie Francis, that mixes up African, Latin and various other Tropical sounds. They’ve just now compiled this collection for Strut records that presents the best of their trademark style and believe me, this is exactly the kind of party you want to be at. One listen of “Pitchito” by Frente Cumbiero should be more than enough to convince you of that.

Been a bit of time since I was able to do a regular show on KPFK and I feel like I’ve finally got the right balance to everything. This Sunday’s Melting Pot was one of my favorites since starting the show, a little bit of everything for everybody. It begins with a song for the people of Japan after this past week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, Billy Harper’s “Cry of Hunger,” from there we have new music from Adrian Quesada’s latest project, the Echocentrics (which I pronounce “Eco-centrics” for some odd reason) feat. Tita Lima, Nostalgia 77, Dum Dum Girls, Quadron remixed, Zion I + the Grouch, La Sera, WildCookie, Shawn Lee feat. Chhom Nimol of Dengue Fever, KING and the first recordings in 20 years from the Orchestre Poly-Ryhtmo de Cotonou! Enjoy the show, next week we’ll have the return of Oliver Wang of Soul-Sides.com’s Side Dishes guest set in addition to even more goodies!

Melting Pot on KPFK #35: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #35: Second Hour

Playlist: 3-13-2011

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

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Billy Harper – The Cry Of Hunger – Capra Black (Strata East)
Nostalgia 77 – Skin and Bones – Simmer Down Single (Tru Thoughts)
Phil Ochs – The Harder They Fall – Tape From California (A&M)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo – Pardon – Cotonou Club (Strut)
Justicia – Las Frutas Del Pais – Salsa Boricua De Chicago (Numero)
Los Chicharrons – Equal Opportunity – Roots Of Life (Tummy Touch)
Frente Cumbiero – Pitchito – Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque (Strut)
DJ Lengua – Frontera – Cruzando (Club Unicornio)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Shawn Lee feat. Clutchy Hopkins & – Ghost In The Rain – World Of Funk (Ubiquity)
WildCookie – Serious Drug – Cookie Dough (Tru Thoughts)
Quadron – Average Fruit (Rog Gradeschool Crush Remix) – Average Fruit Remxies (Plug Research)
King – The Story – The Story EP (Self-Released)
Willie Wright – I’m So Happy Now – Telling The Truth (Numero)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

La Sera – Hold – La Sera (Hardly Art)
The Creation – If I Stay Too Long – Making Time (Retroactive)
Bo Diddley – Prisoner Of Love (Slow Version) – Road Runner The Chess masters 1959-1960 (Hip-O Select)
Dan Auerbach – Mean Monsoon – Keep It Hid (Nonesuch)
The Strange Boys – Laugh at Sex, Not Her – Be Brave (In The Red)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Algodon Egipcio – Los Parpados Caidos – La Lucha Constante (Lefse)
Zion I & the Grouch – Rockit Man – Rockit Man 12” (Self-released)
Kode 9 & the Spaceape – Otherman – 12” (Hyperdub)
Can – Spoon – Ege Bamyasi (United Artists)
Booker Ervin feat. Billy Higgins – Home In Africa – Back From The Gig (Blue Note)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Crass – You’ve Got Big Hands – Stations Of The Crass (Crass Records)
Dum Dum Girls – He Gets Me High – He Gets Me High EP (Sub Pop)
The Echocentrics feat. Tita Lima – Jardim – Sunshadows (Ubiquity)
Leon Thomas – Gypsy Queen – Blues & the Soulful Truth (Flying Dutchman)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

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

Andrew Hill – Illusion
Andrew Hill – One For One
Andrew Hill – Poinsettia

I first came into contact with this 2-LP set at Groove Merchant in 2001. As is the case with most of my trips there, Cool Chris asked me if I had heard this collection and recommended that I give it a listen. At the time I was not a big fan of Andrew Hill’s work, did not own any of his albums and wouldn’t have been able to distinguish his playing from any number of capable pianists that emerged in the wake of Monk. A quick buzz through of the music was fairly uneventful until I dropped the needle on “Illusion”. The reaction I had then is fairly similar to the reaction I have everytime I drop the needle (or click on a digital dub as is the case here on the blog) on this fascinating and beautiful song. I feel like time slows, perhaps even stops, as soon as the strings come in after that initial crack of the snare from Freddie Waits, and I am completely transported into pure serenity as the rhythm begins led by Hill’s piano and anchored by Waits and Ron Carter on Bass. I can say without a doubt, that in my mind at least, “Illusion” is one of the best and most unique tracks released by Hill or any other artist on the Blue Note label. Subtly funky at its core, but complex in its composition and improvisation and stately with the addition of Kermit Moore’s string quartet.

What’s all the more amazing about this song and the recording session it was recorded in is that they were never released until 1975 on the “Re-issue” series that in this case wasn’t “reissuing” anything since all the material on all four sides was previously unreleased. Perhaps because of my love affair with “Illusion” I’m most drawn to the side of music recorded in August 1969 with Kermit Moore’s string section (“Poinsettia” is another selection from this session), but the session from 1970 that covers the first side of music, and also features Bennie Maupin and Ron Carter in a group that subtracts Waits, but adds Ben Riley on drums, Pat Patrick on reeds and Charles Tolliver on trumpet, is just as fascinating. “One For One” has a deeply soulful and funky rhythm but it is interlaced with complex, yet never dense, layers of notes from Hill, punctuated by horns and flutes.

Despite the cut-out nature of this series, it’s fairly rare to find this set. I suspect a lot of people might have passed on it all together had Madlib not sampled Hill for his Shades Of Blue remix project back in 2003. If you happen upon one I highly suggest you don’t just walk on by. Music like this was meant to be heard and cherished as is the legacy of a player and educator of the caliber of Andrew Hill.

Cheers,

Michael

P.S. here is the instrumental interlude that Madlib created out of “Illusion”. I think you’ll agree it’s far too short and something so gorgeous really deserved to be developed beyond it’s less than one minute running time:

Proudly powered by WordPress. Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Copyright © Classic Melting Pot. All rights reserved.
[powerpress url="http://www.meltingpotblog.com"]