Classic Melting Pot

{I’ll be taking a bit of a break until the start of next week when I’ll be kicking off the new year with a series of posts on the best music from 2011…until then enjoy the rest of your holidays and Happy New Year!!!}

Sorry this took a little while to get up here, I had some problems with my audio and then some problems getting a dub of the second hour. As soon as I have a higher quality copy I’ll post it here. Spent our last Sunday of 2011 running down some of the things I dug (in stores or digitally) up over the year. With all the fundraisers and special shows it’d been a while since I’d done one of these vinyl freeforms and I’d forgotten both how thrilling it can be and how crazy it can get when you have absolutely nothing planned out. In some cases I’d change my mind with only seconds left and in at least one instance didn’t get the record cued in time, but that’s the way it goes…next show will be the year in review, Best of 2011 show, like last year I’ll very likely include a web only mix of some of the honorable mentions that didn’t make it into the live show. See you in the new year!

Melting Pot on KPFK #68: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #68: Second Hour

Playlist: 12-25-2011
{Opening Theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Albert Ayler – Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe – Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe (Impulse!)
The Amboy Dukes – Inside the Outside – Journeys and Migrations (Mainstream)
The Counts – Rhythm Changes – What’s Up Front That Counts (Westbound)
Cymande – Rickshaw – Cymande (Janus)

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Lionel Robinson – Stepping Out – 7” (Knight)
Emilio Santiago – Bananeira – Emilio Santiago (CID)
Roy Ayers – The Third Eye – Everybody Loves The Sunshine (Polydor)
Ice Water Slim & the Fourth Floor – Dream On, Dream On – 7” (Hawk Sound)
Leon Thomas – Echoes – Spirits Known and Unknown (Flying Dutchman)
Frank Strozier feat. Booker Little – Waltz of the Demons – Fantastic Frank Strozier (VeeJay)

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Irma Thomas – Wish Someone Would Care – Irma Thomas Sings (Change)
Tom Waits – Please Call Me Baby – Heart of Saturday Night (Asylum)
Butterfield Blues Band – Keep On Moving – Keep On Moving (Elektra)
Johnny Ace – The Clock – Johnny Ace Memorial Album (Duke)

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Asha Bhonsle & Suresh Wadkar – Yeh Hawa Yeh Fiza – Sadma: Original Soundtrack (CBS)
David Axelrod – The Sick Rose – Songs of Experience (Capitol)
Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Come & Buy – The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (Atlantic)
The Louvin Bros. Keep Your Eyes On Jesus – The Great Gospel Singing Of The Louvin Bros. (Capitol)

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The Main Attraction – Everyday – And Now, The Main Attraction (Tower)
Betinho – Lucia Esparadrapo – O Cafona: Original Soundtrack (Som Livre)
Harvey Averne – Shake Your Money Maker – Viva Soul (Atlantic)
Gloria Taylor – Born A Woman – 7” (King Soul)
Sound Foundation – Bruised – Sound Foundation (Smobro)
The Politicians – Close Your Big Mouth – The Politicians (Hot Wax)

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Yaphet Kotto – Have You Dug His Scene? – 7” (Chisa)
Elis Regina – Giro – Como Y Porque (Philips)
Nina Simone – Funkier Than A Mosquita’s Tweeter – It Is Finished (RCA)
John Klemmer – Free Soul – Blowin’ Gold (Cadet Concept)

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{Closing Theme} Gary Bartz NTU Troop – Dr. Follow’s Dance – Follow, The Medicine Man (Prestige)

foto © Jim Kopeny

Our last giveaway of 2011 and it’s for what should be a nice way to close out the year as Matthew Sweet celebrates the 20th anniversary of his stellar breakout album Girlfriend by performing the album from start to finish at the Echoplex on December 30th! Girlfriend remains one of my favorite albums of all-time from this period and was my gateway to classic NY bands like Television and Richard Hell & the Voidoids because of the out of this world guitar playing of Richard Lloyd and the late and exceedingly great Robert Quine (whose birthday was December 30th, making this a fitting tribute). If you want to see the show, just let me know via e-mail at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by Wednesday, December 28th and Happy Christmas!

“Girlfriend” for me is one of the few perfect pop songs from this generation of musicians. Robert Quine’s guitarwork is like a rock’n’roll version of Eric Dolphy in the way the notes swoon and careen. One of the rare “modern rock” tracks that I never ever get tired of hearing:

…in tracking down other videos for this post I ran across this live performance of “Girlfriend” which features the one and only Robert Quine…how could so much sonic fury come from such a pedestrian and stoic looking dude! Simply one of the most under-rated guitar greats America has ever produced.

“I’ve Been Waiting” showcases a little of that darker side of Sweet’s songwriting. Is it just a straight and sincere love song, a May-December romance or is there something a bit more sinister in those lyrics…

Creations Unlimited – Corruption Is The Thing
A.C. Jones & the Atomic Aces – Oh Baby
King James Version – He’s Forever

If you’re looking for a last minute gift for that soul-inclined someone special, once again Numero group has a collection for you. Over the past several years the Numero gang have featured tracks associated with Cleveland’s Boddie Recording Co., but nothing compares to this 3 CD / 5 LP box set that compiles some of the best tracks from the over 10,000 hours of tape and 300 records that Boddie helped to bring into this world.

With this much music it’s easy to get lost, there are many many great songs, and a wide diversity of styles on this collection, from gospel funk to doo-wop soul and all manner of funky delights in between. In highlighting a couple of the standout tracks, I’ve tried just to be representative of the various sounds, but it’s lost cause with this much choice material. If you’re a enthusiastic fan of underground soul, you need to track down this collection for yourself (and be an early adopter, there’s a bonus CD or bonus LP with even MORE music for a limited number of these collections).

DJ Shadow fans will of course delight in being to hear “Corruption Is The Thing” from Creations Unlimited, who also have their scintillating instrumental (their 45 on Soul Kitchen is a two sided monster if ever there was one!) “Chrystal Illusion” also featured on this collection. “Corruption” leads off with a bit from Shadow’s “Numbers Song” but aside from that bit of sample lore, the whole song is extra tight in a heavy psych-a-funk vein ala early Funkadelic.

A.C. Jones & the Atomic Aces’, “Oh Baby,” is a #1 soul stunner with a little bit of “I’m Your Puppet” vibe at the start before the guitar and Jones’ voice come in. There’s a really amazing turn of emotion in Jones’ voice from the first line, “Sometimes I get the feeling, I want to walk right out on you,” to the next line “Then I think about your love, I just don’t know what to do,” from clear anger to a bit of confusion then with the soaring “Oh Baby” there’s acknowledgement that this woman has a hold on him that he can’t let go, that is made clear in his sigh that follows and the doubled “I Love You (You Know I Love You Baby),” line. Just extraordinary soul on display here. For lovers of sweet sweet soul numbers, “If You Don’t Think I Love You” from Frankie Pighee & the Soulettes is another track you should adore.

By far the most unique, thrilling and bizarre track comes from King James Version. “Over the top” doesn’t seem to quite describe their song “He’s Forever.” Sometimes you hear a song and it’s just difficult to believe that it is real. If someone had told me that Eddie Murphy had recorded a song for a Coming To America sequel that featured Sexual Chocolate as a gospel group I think I would believe that more than the reality of King James Version (there’s even a moment in the song where I swear someone says “That boy is good” in the background just like in the movie). King James Version was more than a band, they were performance art, with the main singers dressing up in biblical attire, hair dyed platinum blond and calling themselves Moses and Solomon. You can’t make this up…The fact that you have a religious song built off of the melody from the theme to Midnight Cowboy, a movie about a hustlin’ male prostitute, only solidifies the utter insanity. And the song is utterly insane, it sounds like no other gospel song you’ll ever hear, particularly when “Moses” sounds as if he’s going into orgasmic fits on stage while discussing the love of Jesus. Un-be-lieve-able!

Also of note, and almost as unbelievable is “Don’t Make Me Kill You,” a song that if it were performed by a man by himself would seem pretty deplorable, but sung as a duet by Angela Alexander & J.D. Saddler, the overtly murderous vibe seems a bit more humorous than it might have been otherwise. In fact when I hear the song, it almost sounds like the theme music for a Married With Children style sitcom set in the 1970s. There are so many wonderful soul nuggets on this volume it’s understandable why Numero went so big on this collection and here’s to hoping that the trend will continue as their vinyl archeology moves into a new year.

Arnie Barrera – Mercy
Arnie Barrera – Libro Abierto
Arnie Barrera – Grande De Cadera

I don’t know anything about Arnie Barrera y Sus Galaxies, couldn’t turn much up via google either, but I’m fairly pleased that I picked up this LP, the final LP I bought in 2011 as a matter of fact. Amoeba Hollywood has a bunch of latin records, from time to time I take a bit of time to thumb through them and see if I run into anything worth picking up. Generally it’s full of 1970s latin pop, ranchera or mariachi music, but occassionally there’s a record that looks intriguing. Just based off of the cover this one seemed worth checking out. Taking a look at the back, the track lists included a description of the song styles, which included a bunch of boleros and rancheras, but also included a “Rock Ranchera” and a “Rock Instrumental,” called “Mercy.” A quick look at the LP itself confirmed that this was going to be a cover of “Mercy Mercy Mercy.”

I was pretty gassed to drop the needle on “Mercy” and discover that it starts off with a rather tasty drum break! Unfortunately the sound in the right channel is distorted (and only on THIS song!) but at least digitally I was able to make a mono mix of the left channel which is what I’m sharing with you. “Libro Abierto” is the “Rock Ranchera” track, while “Grande De Cadera” is the least cumbia sounding cumbia I’ve heard. Really it all boils down to a very solid cover of “Mercy Mercy Mercy” and a nice way to close off a year of digging.

Cheers,

Michael

Sea Lions – I Loved Her So Much

This one almost slipped through the cracks because of the insane semester I’ve had this Fall. Thankfully I took note of a recent post from KCRW’s Chuck P. about this outfit from Oxnard, and since Oxnard is known much more for it’s boxing tradition than it’s twee pop, I was mighty intrigued. Sea Lions just recently released this LP, their debut full-length, on venerable indie label Slumberland and it’s packed with super sweet garagey-pop goodness with a slight touch of twangy guitar, perhaps no where better represented than on “I Loved Her So Much”.

Gary Bartz – Dr. Follow’s Dance
Gary Bartz – Standing On The Corner
Gary Bartz – Sing A Song Today

Not sure why I haven’t posted anything from Gary Bartz just yet, he’s long been one of my favorite 1970s spiritual jazz players, ever since hearing his classic “Celestial Blues” on Luv’n’Haight’s Jazz Dance Classics Vol. 1 collection from back in the day. At one time I had virtually all of his prime records from 1967’s debut as leader, Libra, to 1973’s Singerella. Aside from the two volumes of Harlem Bush Music and the phenomenal live album I’ve Known Rivers, this record was always a favorite. Recently ran into a choice copy and after not having seen it since I sold my copy in the big sell-off of 2004, I had to snatch it up.

Of his albums from this era, Follow, is probably the funkiest of the bunch. As evidence look no further than “Dr. Follow’s Dance,” which begins with a crisp & clean drum break before the rest of the band joins in the rhythm. When Bartz’s sax joins in the song settles into a upbeat and breezy 1970s jazz dance number with a little bit of Mizell Bros. style (who Bartz would later work with on 1977’s Music Is My Sanctuary). Also included is Bartz’s sunny sounding though lyrically biting critique of complacency, “Standing On The Corner,” a track that I’m surprised hasn’t been chopped up by any Hip-Hop producers, at least not to my knowledge. Same goes for the darker in tone, though no less funky “Sing A Song Today.” I love especially how the song breaks down repeatedly away from the basic medley, often with virtually clean and tight drums from Howard King or amplified horn lines from Bartz that never seem to repeat. Another standout which I’m not bringing to you, “Sifa Zote” features Bey’s vocals and Bartz’s sax in praise of blackness, in fact all the tracks on this album are worth a listen as is every album from this period of Bartz’s career…tough to track down these days but well worth the effort.

Cheers,

Michael

Sorry it’s taken so long to get this posted, I’ve been in the middle of a mega-grading for all my classes at CSU-Long Beach and UCLA Extension. Sunday’s show was mighty nice, with several different tributes. At the top of the 2nd hour I pay tribute to one of my favorite guitarists and a true legend, Hubert Sumlin, who passed away recently at the age of 80. Sumlin is best known as the lead guitarist on most of Howlin’ Wolf’s greatest sides in the late 1950s and early 1960s and I tried to highlight some of his best work as a modest tribute. In the first hour there’s a set in honor of LA independent record label Stones Throw that is turning 15 years old…and most importantly at the start of the show I play a couple of songs for my wife who recently celebrated her birthday. Some thoroughly digable tunes throughout, new music from the Black Keys, M.E.D., Ali Koehler (formerly of Best Coast and the Vivian Girls), and maybe the coolest most over the top gospel song I’ve ever heard from the King James Version near the end of the show. Won’t be on this week, we’ll be back in time for Christmas likely with an all-vinyl show playing some of the best things I dug up this year and maybe with a special guest too.

Melting Pot on KPFK #67: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #67: Second Hour

Playlist: 12-11-2011
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Al Green – Simply Beautiful – I’m Still In Love With You (Hi Records)
Charles Bradley – Lovin’ You, Baby – No Time For Dreaming (Dunham)
Charles Mingus – Celia – Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (Impulse!)

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M.E.D. – Mystical Magical – Classic (Stones Throw)
Koushik – Be With – Out My Window (Stones Throw)
J-Dilla – Don’t Cry – Donuts (Stones Throw)
Peanut Butter Wolf feat. The Lootpack & Quasimoto – Styles, Crew, Flows, Beats – My Vinyl Weighs A Ton (Stones Throw)
Damon – Don’t You Feel Me – Forge Your Own Chains (Now-Again/Stones Throw)
Mad Villian – Money Folder – Madvilliany (Stones Throw)
The Heliocentrics – Sirius A – Out There (Now-Again/Stones Throw)
Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar – Good Things (Stones Throw)

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Mike & the Censations – You’re Living A Lie – Don’t Sell Your Soul (Ubiquity/Luv’n’Haight)
Black Star – You Already Knew – Single (Self-Released)
M. Ashraf feat. Nahid Akhtar – Dear I Love You – Life Is Dance (Finders Keepers)
Ali Koehler – Unwell – Demo (Self-Released)

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Howlin’ Wolf feat. Hubert Sumlin – Killing Floor – Real Folk Blues (Chess)
Howlin’ Wolf feat. Hubert Sumlin – Going Down Slow – Howlin’ Wolf (Chess)
Howlin’ Wolf feat. Hubert Sumlin – Three Hundred Pounds Of Joy – Real Folk Blues (Chess)
Howlin’ Wolf feat. Hubert Sumlin – Hidden Charms – The Chess Box (Chess)
Howlin’ Wolf feat. Hubert Sumlin – I Ain’t Supertitious – Greatest Hits (Chess)
Howlin’ Wolf feat. Hubert Sumlin – Shake For Me – Howlin’ Wolf (Chess)
Howlin’ Wolf feat. Hubert Sumlin – Tail Dragger – Ain’t Gonna Be Your Dog (MCA/Chess)

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The Black Keys – Money Maker – El Camino (Nonesuch)
The Sonics – Strychnine – Here Are The Sonics!!! (Norton)
Wanda Jackson – Let’s Have A Party – Wanda Jackson (Capitol)
Hound Dog Taylor & the Houserockers – 55th Street Boogie – Hound Dog Taylor & the Houserockers (Alligator)

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The Louvin Bros. – The Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea – Satan Is Real (Light In The Attic)
King James Version – He’s Forever – Boddie Recording Co., Cleveland, Ohio (Numero)
The Strange Boys – You Take Everything For Granite When Your Stone – Live Music (Rough Trade)
Shin Joong Hyun – J Blues 72 – Beautiful Rivers and Mountains (Light In The Attic)

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

{Taking a bit of a mini-break this week as I’m swamped with grading…good luck with this giveaway!}

One of the most beloved and celebrated post-Golden Era groups is finally back together and making music again, Black Star featuring Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Inexplicably the duo hasn’t recorded together (aside from a single or two) for over ten years and I can’t think of any better early holiday present than getting to see them perform live in Los Angeles at the Club Nokia! If you want to be entered into the ticket giveaway make sure you e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 12noon on Wednesday December 14th!!!

It’s hard to believe that the first record came out all the way back in 1998 (I still lived in Atlanta back then!) but just in case you needed a reminder of why so many have been hoping and wishing this collabo would get it together once again, let me remind you:

Kweli & Yasiin Bey have finally gotten back together to record as well as perform, recently they debuted the track “Fix Up” on The Colbert Report, along with none other than J-Rocc on the turntables:

And another brand new track, hopefully also on the forthcoming release, “You Already Knew”:

Shin Joong Hyun – “J” Blues 72

I first came into contact with the music of Shin Joong Hyun recently when Stones Throw/Now-Again included his song “Twilight” on their psychedelic compilation Forge Your Own Chains. Light In The Attic has taken the initiative to release a full collection of material from Hyun recorded from 1958-1974.  Hyun’s story is a fascinating one, teaching himself to play guitar and leading bands at an early age, he became such a force in Asia that he has the honor of having Fender actually make a tribute series guitar for him, a honor only shared by other recognized masters such as Clapton, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Most of this compilation focuses on his more psychedelic and rocking 1960s & 1970s output (including “Twilight” that here is translated as “Sunset”, but inexplicably missing his cover of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida“).  The instrumental “J Blues ’72” is the longest track on the compilation but it’s a nice representative of Hyun’s guitar prowess.  Like many of the tracks collected here it has a slow build until about halfway through when things get considerably funkier especially with the earsplitting organ solo before closing out with a nice crashing breaktastic drum solo that gives you the impression this song lasted 25 minutes or more…Heavy.

foto © Will Tee Yang

Quite possibly the best session we’ve had on KPFK’s Melting Pot was the recent appearance from the OC’s Boogaloo Assassins (if you missed it you need to click right here immediately). The band has been playing a number of shows and we have a pair of tickets to see them in LA at one of their original hangouts, The Mint. If you’d like to win a pair of tickets to see the Boogaloo Assassins make sure to e-mail at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com before Friday at 12noon and don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes!!!

Here’s a taste of what to expect, the group’s excellent take on “El Pito” recorded live in NYC for a Joe Cuba tribute:

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