Classic Melting Pot

Ernie K. Doe – Fly Away With Me
Ernie K. Doe – Back Street Lover
Ernie K. Doe – Lawdy Mama

I’m a busy busy little beaver right now, so here’s a quick no-brainer. This is one I don’t come across too often. Ernie K. Doe (real last name = Kador), had a #1 pop hit with his 1961 classic “Mother-In-Law,” but was never able to capture those heights again. This LP didn’t deliver in 1970, though it’s lead track/single “Here Come The Girls” has become one of the most recognizable NOLA Soul songs in recent years.

As big a song as “Here Come The Girls” seems to be today (it’s use in a commercial in 2007 actually took it to the top of the UK charts), it didn’t seem to make that much of a dent in the national charts back in 1970. That’s quite a shame because this is a pretty solid LP of NOLA soul & funk. Produced by Allen Toussaint and featuring what seems to me to be about 3/5’s of the Mighty Meters (Seems like George Porter’s bass and Zig Modeliste’s drums throughout, sometimes the guitar sounds a lot like Leo Nocentelli, but the Neville’s don’t seem to be involved, Toussaint seems to be on the keys here) the album features Ernie K. Doe and the gang in fine funky form on tracks like “Lawdy Mama,” and “Back Street Lover,” and seriously layin’ in the cut on my personal fave, “Fly Away With Me.” Though those are the funkiest, the whole album has a great sound and is the kind of thing most everybody should dig on.

Cheers,

Michael

…and only because it’s one of my all-time favorite NOLA Soul songs, here’s “Here Come The Girls” too!

Amor De Días – Late Mornings

I’m not sure exactly how I missed this one when it came out in May, I can only blame a particularly stressful finals grading season, but thankfully it found its way into my hands very recently. Amor de Días is a new project featuring Alasdair MacLean of the Clientele and Lupe Núñez-Hernández of Pipas. Those two bands share a love of 60s style but they’ve kicked things up a notch with this project, which is at it’s best when the musicians focus their talent on producing the kind of lush soundscapes that would befit a group named “Love of Days.” The experience of listening to the record evokes a Sunday summer afternoon perfectly, hazy, lazy and dreamy in all the best possible ways. Though all of the song titles are in English, Núñez-Hernández unexpectedly sings several songs in Castellano spanish, and the particular phrasing of that language adds an even breezier quality to this music, particularly on the opener “Foxes” and on my favorite track, the more uptempo but no less lovely, “Late Mornings.”

Bittersweet show this past Sunday. Just the day before we’d gotten the sad, sad news that Amy Winehouse had passed away. I’d already planned on doing an hour long tribute to “Fonce” Mizell who passed on July 11th, but decided the start the show with what I think will ultimately be the song we remember Amy Winehouse for, “Love Is A Losing Game.” During the show, in addition to the tributes, there are quite a few new releases, brand new music from Real Estate, Dum Dum Girls, Headnodic, The Aggrolites and more. The whole second hour is filled with some of my favorite Mizell Bros. produced tracks. These songs never fail to put a smile on my face. They fill me with such great and beautiful feelings that I wish I’d put together this set under different circumstances. I’d hoped one day to interview Larry and Fonce Mizell, I still hope I’ll be able to interview Larry & Rodney Mizell in the near future. Until then we have the music.

…Speaking of Mizell Bros. tributes, for a significantly more comprehensive mix of the Mizell Bros. music check this link from Matthew Africa…

Melting Pot on KPFK #51: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #51: Second Hour

Playlist: 7-24-2011

{opening theme} Donald Byrd – Flight Time – Black Byrd (Blue Note)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Amy Winehouse – Love Is A Losing Game – Back To Black (Island)
Damon & Naomi – Shadow Boxing – False Beats & True Hearts (20/20/20)
Dum Dum Girls – Coming Down – Only In Dreams (Sub Pop)
The Stepkids – Legend In My Own Mind – 12” (Stones Throw)
Donald Byrd – Black Byrd – Black Byrd (Blue Note)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Real Estate – It’s Real – Single (Domino)
Brilliant Colors – Hey Dan – Again And Again (Slumberland)
Pollyn – Sometimes You Just Know – Recorded Live At KPFK
Headnodic feat. Mission – Red Line Radio – Red Line Radio (Brick)
Breakestra – Need A Little Love – Dusk Till Dawn (Strut)
Johnny Hammond – Shifting Gears – Gears (OJC)

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AM & Shawn Lee – Spin It Around – 12” (ESL)
The Aggrolites – The Aggro Band Plays On – Rugged Road (Young Cub)
The Menahan Street Band – Eyes On The Prize – No Time For Dreaming: Instrumentals (Dunham / Daptone)
The Hawk feat. Little Hannah Collins – Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover – 7” (Record Kicks)
Camp Lo – Luchini aka This Is It – Uptown Saturday Night (Arista)
Bobbi Humphrey – Jasper County Man – Blacks & Blues (Blue Note)

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Donald Byrd – Lansana’s Priestess – Street Lady (Blue Note)
Gary Bartz – Music Is My Sanctuary – Music Is My Sanctuary (Capitol)
Bobbi Humphrey – Blacks & Blues – Blacks & Blues (Blue Note)
Bobbi Humphrey – San Francisco Lights – Satin Doll (Blue Note)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Donald Byrd – Think Twice – Stepping Into Tomorrow (Blue Note)
The Blackbyrds – Rock Creek Park – City Life (Fantasy)
Johnny Hammond – Gambler’s Life – Gambler’s Life (Salvation)
Donald Byrd – Miss Kane – Street Lady (Blue Note)

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Bobbie Humphrey – Harlem River Drive – Blacks & Blues (Blue Note)
Donald Byrd – (Fallin’ Like) Dominoes – Places and Spaces (Blue Note)

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{closing theme} Donald Byrd – Sky High – Black Byrd (Blue Note)

James Brown – You Mother You
James Brown – Can Mind
James Brown – Sho Is Funky Down Here

How have I not featured this record before??? It’s only my favorite mysterious funky record of all-time. I first heard about it through a mix-tape from the Bay Area’s Funky Riddms where he linked up classic tracks from Hip-Hop’s golden era with the samples. He’d mixed this massive acid rock break with the closing of Main Source’s epic anti-police brutality song “Just A Friendly Game of Baseball” and I just had to know what the original was. Luckily I’d been in the Bay Area long enough to have met Riddm a few times and I was able to track him down and figure out the original. To my shock and dismay he said it was a James Brown break from this LP.

What remains sorta shocking is just how hard this album rocks. It sho is funky, but it’s almost a straight acid rock/blues LP. Not the kind of thing you’d expect in the James Brown catalog. The reason for that is mysterious enough. A number of people who dig this record are convinced that James isn’t really involved with the session at all (aside from a few minor vocals and bit more of a rap on “Sho Is Funky”) and that this is the second “secret” album from the Grodeck Whipperjenny, a psychedelic group out of Cincy that was headed up by David Matthews (and not that OTHER Dave Matthews, no relation at all). I can vaguely remember Matthew Africa intimating as much during a conversation at KALX, that the album was really all David Matthews. While it’s clear from comparing the Grodeck’s only LP to this that it’s the same backing group, I still think there’s a chance that some of the keyboard playing on the LP is from James Brown, sometimes matched up with David Matthews. Some of the lines have that sorta stunted punchy phrasing that James had on the keys, but until someone finally spills the beans about this session we’ll likely never know.

Ultimately I don’t even care, all I care is that the album smokes because of Kenny Poole’s fuzz guitar and the massive drums from Jimmy Madison. The best representation of the sonic fury on this LP is “You Mother You,” I’ve talked about this song before here, and I still haven’t heard many tracks that are heavier than this one, especially when it comes to the break that got flipped by Main Source and even on the first example of sampling JB’s music, by James Brown himself for the rock version of “Talkin’ Loud And Sayin’ Nothing.” Massive Massive Massive! With only 6 tracks, it’s just a shame there weren’t more sides from this session, but who knows, somewhere there might be a few instrumental tracks related to this LP and this band.

One other thing that really surprises me about this album, is how Grand Pupa pulled the sample for “One For All” from “Can Mind” off this record.

Even after I knew “Can Mind” was the break I couldn’t seemingly never find it in the song. Eventually I realized that he pulled it by taking the final note from the organ and the few seconds of clean drums that follow to make that loop. It’s almost like a secret break, which is fitting given the “secret” nature of the LP. Fantastic anyway you cut it.

Cheers,

Michael

Word hit today that Amy Winehouse passed away at the age of 27. It should come as a shock when someone this young and talented passes away, but with a young woman as troubled and self-destructive as Winehouse, it seems like we’ve been waiting for this news for several years. Even with the self-parody she had become post “Rehab,” it’s very hard to deny that on her two proper LPs Winehouse had considerable talent, as a singer and even more so as a songwriter. It is a shame that such talent has gone to waste, but we do still have her music. Here are five of my faves…may you finally find some peace Amy Winehouse.

Amy Winehouse – Valerie

In truth I still prefer the Zutons original version, but like many great singers, Amy took this one over brought out new elements and made it all her own.

Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good

“Rehab” was the hit, but this was the one that sealed the deal for me, a tale of a bad girl gone badder, pitch perfect phrasing and out of sight writing. She told us she was trouble, we should have known from the start how this whole affair would end…

Amy Winehouse – Me and Mr. Jones

Along with “Fuck Me Pumps” I think this is one of my favorite “raw” Amy songs, pure brilliance on the “What kind of fuckery is this,” line, just pure brilliance.

Amy Winehouse – Stronger Than Me

Right now at her passing, I wish that someone close to her could have been stronger for her…such a shame. We only had a hint of the talent when her debut Frank was released, now we’ll never know what should could have achieved.

Amy Winehouse – Love Is A Losing Game

When my wife told me the news, this was the first song that came into my mind. More than any other it seems to fit both the reality and the myth of Amy Winehouse. It’s also one of her best vocal performances and the song that will remain most in my mind when I think of Amy Winehouse.

Brilliant Colors – Hey Dan

Rather lovely second LP from the Bay Area’s Brilliant Colors. Sweet vocals, jingly jangly guitars, subtle bass and head nodding drums. If sound could have a “soft-focus” lens, it’d likely sound just like this. All that’s missing are the hand claps for pure pop perfection…

Here is the audio from the 75th anniversary special on the music of the Spanish Civil War.

The Music of the Spanish Civil War: 1st Hour
The Music of the Spanish Civil War: 2nd Hour

{opening theme} Copla De Barcelona – Himno De Riego – Songs of the Spanish Civil War

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Ramon Calduch – La Santa Espina – El Burro Catala, Batecs Del Cor I De La Terra
Oscar Chavez – Los Quatro Generales – Canciones De La Guerra Civil y Resistencia Espanol
Hector Alterio – Francisco Franco En Los Infiernos – Pablo Neruda: Espana En El Corazon
Cobla De Barcelona – El Tren Blindado – Songs of the Spanish Civil War
Las Ramonas – A Las Mujeres

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Ernst Busch – Song of The International Brigades – Songs of the Spanish Civil War Vol. 1
Woody Guthrie – Jarama Valley – Songs of the Spanish Civil War Vol. 2
Paul Robeson – Peat Bog Soldiers – Songs of Free Men
Pete Seeger & Group – Cookhouse / Young Man From Alcala – Songs of the Spanish Civil War Vol. 1
Rolando Alarcon – Viva La Quinta Brigada – Canciones De La Guerra Civil Espanola

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Liberation Music Orchestra – Introduction/Song of the United Front/El Quinto Regimiento/Los Cuatro Generals/Viva La Quince Brigada/Ending – Liberation Music Orchestra

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Max Parker – Selections from Al Tocar Diana: Songs From A Franco Prison

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Phil Ochs – Spanish Civil War Song – Broadside Tapes Vol. 1
Christy Moore – Viva La Quinta Brigada – Ride On
The Clash – Spanish Bombs – London Calling
Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next – This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade / Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra – La Pasionaria – Spanish Civil War: It Seems So Long Ago / Ballad Of The Fallen

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Josh White – Beloved Comrade – Best Of
Liberation Music Orchestra – Els Segradors – Ballad Of The Fallen

Excerpt from Max Parker’s Al Tocar Diana: Songs From A Franco Prison

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War. On the radio show I’m currently doing a two special on the music of the spanish civil war, chief amongst the many things that I was able to track down was this album. Max Parker fought in Spain as a member of the Abraham Lincoln brigade, the US contingent of the International Brigades, some 40,000 men and women from over 50 countries who left their own countries to fight in Spain against the rising tide of Fascism. Parker’s LP is one of the most hearfelt things I’ve ever heard, a first person account of a truly “Good” fight. Many thanks to Henry Slucki to letting me borrow his copy of this album in order to play it during my special and consequently to be able to share it with you here on Melting Pot.

{Update 8-22-2011: I’d originally planned on having these be temporary, but I’ve changed my mind…I’ll leave these up as long as the blog keeps truckin’ along}

As promised, here are our anniversary mixes, with my Top 20 tracks from each of the first two years of Melting Pot…Dig on it!!!

Melting Pot’s Deepest Digs Volume 1

Tracklisting:

1. Boris Gardiner – Melting Pot – Is What’s Happening (Dynamic)
2. Sugar Billy – Too Much Too Soon – Super Duper Love (Fast Track)
3. Ken Boothe – Time Passage – Everything I Own (Trojan)
4. Yuzo Kayama – Violet Sky – All About Yuzo Kayama (Toshiba)
5. The Corporation – India (excerpt) – The Corporation (Capitol)
6. Rotary Connection – Life Could – Aladdin (Cadet Concept)
7. Toni Tornado – Me Libertei – Toni Tornado (Odeon)
8. The Inner Drive – Party Man – 7″ (Zodiac)
9. The Soul Runners – Green Thump – 7″ (Patches)
10. The Purpose – Dustcracks, Bugs & Roaches – The Purpose Is… (ABC)
11. Roberto Carlos – Nao Vou Ficar – Roberto Carlos (CBS)
12. The U.S. Apple Corps – Don’t Do Me Nothing – Let The Music Take Your Mind (Plantation)
13. Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation – Memory Of Pain – Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation (Blue Thumb)
14. Gal Costa – Hotel Das Estrellas – Le Gal (Phillips)
15. Barry Goldberg – Sittin’ In Circles – Reunion (Buddah)
16. Eva Pilarová – Vážky – Eva (Supraphon)
17. U.S. 69 – I’m On My Way (Patch Of Blue) – Yesterday’s Folks (Buddah)
18. Philip Cohran & the Artistic Heritage Ensemble – Unity – Philip Cohran & the Artistic Heritage Ensemble (Zulu)
19. Leigh Stephens – Another Dose Of Life – Red Weather (Phillips)
20. Cactus – You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover – Cactus (Atco)

Melting Pot’s Deepest Digs Volume 2

Tracklisting:

1. Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson – Offering – First Minute Of A New Day (Arista)
2. Antonio Carlos e Jocafi – Hipnose – Voce Abusou (RCA)
3. The Battered Ornaments – Crosswords and the Safety Pins – Mantle-Piece (Harvest)
4. The Pretty Things – Cries From The Midnight Circus – Parachute (Rare Earth)
5. Jeffrey Simmons – Naked Angels Theme – Naked Angels: Original Soundtrack (Straight)
6. Marilia Pera – Shirley Sexy – O Cafona: Original Soundtrack (Som Livre)
7. Juan Pablo Torres y Algo Nuevo – Pastel En Descarga – Super Son (Arieto)
8. Sound Foundation – Soul Foundation – Sound Foundation (Smobro)
9. Jun Mayuzumi – Black Room – 7″ (Capitol)
10. Clarence Reid – Masterpiece – 7″ (Alston)
11. Freddie Robinson – Off The Cuff – Off The Cuff (Enterprise)
12. Franciene Thomas – Too Beautiful To Be Good – 7″ (Tragar)
13. Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra – Returning To The Stars – Chariots Of The Gods: Original Soundtrack (Polydor)
14. Andrew Hill – Illusion – One For One (Blue Note)
15. Elis Regina – Andança – Elis, Como E Porque (Phillips)
16. Asha Bhonsle & Suresh Wadkar – Yeh Hewa Yey Fiza – Sadma: Original Soundtrack (CBS)
17. Ray Camacho Group – Si Se Puede – Salsa Chicana (Californio/Luna)
18. Rastus – Sailin’ Easy – Rastus (GRT)
19. Arnold Bean – I Can See Through You – Cosmic Bean (SSS International)
20. Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Bright Moments – Bright Moments (Atlantic)

Forever Sky High...Rest In Peace Fonce Mizell

Word spread out earlier this week that Alphonso “Fonce” Mizell had passed away at the far too young age of 68. Fonce Mizell had a hand in some of the most indelible music of the 1960s and 1970s. First as a member of “The Corporation” at Motown, he helped put together several J5 hits, including “I Want You Back,” “The Love You Save” and “ABC.” There are few songs that I know of that have the universal appeal and just raw beautiful joie-de-vivre of those tracks. There are few perfect smile producing pop songs out there, but Mizell had a hand in more than a few.

Later on Fonce got together with his brother Larry and helped to produce some of the most smile inducing music of the 1970s through partnerships with Donald Byrd, Bobbi Humphrey, Johnny Hammond, Gary Bartz and others. The song is so distinct and yet so consistent regardless of the artist’s name attached to the record that, like David Axelrod from 1968-1971, really ALL of these albums should be listed under the Mizell Bros. It’s music that’s brought great joy to my life and countless others, through the originals or the MANY samples that have come out of Mizell Bros. productions. Definitely expect an hour long tribute on Melting Pot come July 24th, but for now I wanted to run down my Top 5 favorite Mizell Bros. productions.

Music Is My Sanctuary

Though it’s out of step with most of Bartz’s discography, I’m not sure there’s a better anthem than this track. Music is a major part of my life and every line in this song fits my experience with music and why, after almost 18 years and rarely getting paid for it, I continue to spend so much time playing, obsessing, listening, thinking about and loving music. “Music Is My Sanctuary” is indeed optimistical and so much more.

Harlem River Drive

Probably the first Mizell Bros. production that really grabbed onto me, mainly because of the way the lyrics, “Harlem River Drive, Going For A Ride,” are sung. Whether it’s the softness in the sound of the voices, the breeziness of the melody or the way “drive” and “ride” are extended and seem to melt away at each turn, it’s sounds like Heaven to me. Even if you can’t ride down Harlem River Drive, this is a perfect song to drive around on afternoons when the living is easy.

Think Twice

Probably the most sampled track, breaks for days for sure, but all together it’s such a fantastic song, from the female/male vocals to the rhythm and all those fantastic changes. Pure brilliance.

Dominoes

As I mentioned in my Side Bar conversation with Oliver Wang of Soul-Sides, I don’t think there’s a better summer song than this classic…if Doctor’s prescribed this song instead of anti-depressants, the world we be a significantly better place.

Lansana’s Priestess

As much as I love the other songs, the number one track from the Mizell Bros. that finds it’s way into my mind the most remains this lead track from the Street Lady. Like so many of the Mizell Bros. productions, it’s that easy and breezy nature in the groove, with the guitar, drums and synth/horn lines as the song opens and then keeps building and building and building. I can still vividly remember the first time I played this song on the radio, at Album 88 in Atlanta, early on in the monthly midnight show I used to do there “Soul Kitchen.” Several of the guys from the Hip-Hop shows were hanging around getting records and practicing routines for the weekend mix show “The Bomb.” One of them was JayCee who popped his head in and thanked me for playing this track saying how much it reminded him of growing up and having his folks playing this record at his home. To me that’s what this music evokes everytime I hear it, this beautiful and serene memory and I’m so thankful for the Mizell Bros. for producing it…Rest in peace Fonce Mizell.

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