Classic Melting Pot

Felt right to hold on to this one for just an extra day, so that I could post it up on Jimi Hendrix’s 70th birthday. As an end of the month show, we’re all on vinyl, and very much a “freeform” show, with only one planned song, in tribute to boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho, Eddie Palmieri’s anthem “Puerto Rico.” In the second hour I pay tribute to Hendrix, playing a variety of tracks from the legendary guitarist from the vinyl I have. One thing that is becoming increasingly clear to me is that I’m going to need to get a lot more Hendrix vinyl if I’m not going to repeat myself…enjoy the show!

Melting Pot on KPFK #107: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #107: Second Hour

Jimi Hendrix – Happy Birthday
Jimi Hendrix – Hornet's Nest
Jimi Hendrix – Fool For You Baby

Today would have been Jimi Hendrix’s 70th birthday. Having been too busy to post anything up prior to today, it makes perfect sense to post another Hendrix record this year from my collection. Flashing is a fairly rare LP, released in 1968 after Jimi found great success with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In some ways it’s a very opportunistic record. Jimi played with Curtis Knight & the Squires before forming his own band (Jimmy James & the Blue Flames) and finding success initially in the UK, then the US and worldwide with the Experience. He’d recorded a few sides with Knight and his group around 1966, including what I believe might be recognized as his first penned track, the very “buzzy” surf inspired instrumental “Hornet’s Nest.”

In 1967, perhaps out of contractual obligations, perhaps out of loyalty to old friends, Jimi returned to the studio to jam with some of Knight’s crew. Some of those tracks ended up on a couple of Curtis Knight records on the Capitol record label (the Band of Gypsies album more or less completed his contractual obligations with Capitol). Flashing represents the best collection of these, with a mix of the tracks from 1966 and 1967. It’s an interesting document, hearing Jimi Hendrix before he was really Jimi Hendrix and also hearing Jimi after he WAS Jimi Hendrix all at the same time, without it techinically being a Jimi Hendrix album (if that makes any sense).

I can’t for the life of me remember where I got this record, I’m pretty sure it was in Atlanta, perhaps at Red, Beans & Rice, probably at the Atlanta Record Show. I’m just about 100% sure that when I bought it I had NO idea that “Happy Birthday” was sampled by the Beastie Boys of “Jimmy James” (in addition to a few other Jimi tracks):

“Happy Birthday” features some of Hendrix’s earliest use of the Wah-Wah pedal and is funky as all get out for 1967. The same basic beat turns up on this album as “Love, Love” and as far as I understand it, the basic track was laid down out of a jam session and Knight’s vocals were added much later along with a bit of snappy editing to make it seem like it was a specific track. On some other Hendrix release the instrumental version is featured that is probably worth tracking down. “Fool For You Baby” is a pretty straight ahead R&B number, with a really nice sound, along with the music he recorded with the Isley brothers it’s sort of a reminder of what kind of soul music Jimi might have made if he had not become the visionary, transcendent rock’n’roll guitar player he did become (though I always file Jimi’s music in the soul section, personally).

It took the Hendrix family a really long time in order to get all of Jimi’s contractual situations worked out, particularly getting the proper royalities from these recordings from Ed Chalpin, the producer who “signed” Jimi to this particular contract. Hopefully someday in the future, we’ll get a full account of the music that Jimi recorded during this period of time pre/post-Experience, but still so very early in his career.



Foto © LiquidJesusMusic

Happy Thanksgiving y’all! One of the biggest things I’m thankful for is that I’ve been blessed enough to be in a position to offer fantastic tickets to amazing shows during the holiday season. Charles Bradley & the Menahan Street Band are coming to LA, stopping by at UCLA’s Royce Hall on November 29th. You might remember that the last time Charles and the boys were in town was last summer as Sunset Junction went down in “flames” they played a last minute show at the Echo. This time they’re able to return in grand style and at a venue worthy of their special brand of retro-soul. Whether you win tickets or not, you don’t want to miss this show! For a chance to see them courtesy of Melting Pot, make sure to e-mail me at michael[at] by Monday, November 26th by 5pm!

Just in case you forgot, Charles Bradley released one of my favorite records of 2011 and is a truly dynamite live performer. Here he and the band perform “Golden Rule” via KEXP:

The Menahan Street Band just recently released their second LP, “The Crossing,” just as fantastic as their debut:

Naytronix – Baby Don't Walk Away

To be really honest, I’m not sure what to make of the music of Naytronix. I don’t even know what I’d call this…Electro-Roboto-Broke-Beat-Boogie? I don’t know. However, every time I listen to this music the more I like it, and that was before I even knew that this was Nate Brenner of tUnE-yArDs. Definitely one of the most intriguing releases of the year from one of LA’s best indie labels, and a real contender for label of the year, Plug Research.

Back to regular business this week, loads of new and newish music from Francoiz Breut, Lijadu Sisters, Naytronix, Toro y Moi, Adrian Younge and William Hart of the Delfonics and a excerpt of Spinna’s brilliance from the week before for those who missed it (and it’s archived here, so give the full set a listen!). Started off with a minor tribute for a major singer, Major Harris, part of the Philly Soul sound, especially during his stint with the Delfonics in the early 1970s. Next week we’re all on vinyl, likely to play a healthy bit of Hendrix since his 70th birthday is coming up…until then enjoy the sounds.

Melting Pot on KPFK #106: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #106: Second Hour

Tim Weisberg – Tyme Cube
Tim Weisberg – Molly Mundane
Tim Weisberg – Tibetan Silver

Not sure why I hadn’t posted this one before. This album is fairly ubiquitous and doesn’t really look like too much. Tim Weisberg has a seriously hippified look on the front, but I’d probably passed by this record a hundred times before I literally walked in on “Tyme Cube” while at Records LA a couple of years ago. The spacey funk and flighty flute sold me instantly and I was interested to find out more about Mr. Weisberg.

Not a whole lot on the man himself, he kicked around quite a bit in the 70s, doing a fair amount sessions work. I like the succinct Wikipedia entry for Weisberg (probably false, but such a great story) that in high school band, because his name started with a “W,” he got to choose his instruments last and all that was left was a flute and a basoon. He chose the flute cause the flute section was filled with all girls. There’s a certain macktastic sound to Weisberg’s fluty funk, that fits that origin story. “Tibertan Silver” has a 1970s TV Cop Drama feel to it combined with a little bit of Mizell Bros. flavor. “Molly Mundane” is a bit more laid back funk, that could have fit very nicely on a Herbie Man record from 1968, if not for the rather lovely and idyllic guitar parts that set it apart. It should be noted that the funky drummer responsible for giving this music so much of its groove is none other than Jim Gordon, the tragic master session man responsible for the drums on the Incredible Bongo Band record and a host of others. This definitely represented an in-the-pocket moment in time for him and for Weisberg as well. I haven’t dug any of the other things I’ve heard from him nearly as much as this record, but this one is super solid (and super affordable, I see this record all over the place and rarely for more than $5) and nice compliment to any lazy day kind of afternoon that you may have.



The Coup – Land of 7 Billion Dances

First track I heard off of the Coup’s new album Sorry To Bother You, their first in years, was “The Magic Clap,” and I had no idea what band I was listening to. I thought at first it was some new project from Go Team!, King Khan & the Shrines & Ian Svenonious, who else would match revolutionary lyrics with wildly catchy and up tempo soulful rocking sounds? I was pleasantly surprised to know that it was in fact one of my all-time favorite East Bay bands and that the entire new record more or less flowed in the same vein. “Land of 7 Billion Dances” proves that you don’t have to blunt your ideals in order to make saavy and danceable pop music. I’m not sure if Emma Goldman ever actually said, “I want no part of your revolution if I can’t dance to it,” but I’m sure she’d be swinging to this one.

As a bonus, here’s my vote for music video of the year, the very Oaklandish, “Magic Clap”:

{Just got word that Spinna will be back in LA on December 7th, at the Echoplex along with DJ Scratch and J-Rocc for a 1990s party called Flavors!!!}

Can’t express what an honor it was to have the legendary DJ Spinna in our studios this past Saturday (just before making his debut at Funky Sole), for an interview and guest DJ set. During the interview we talk a little about the impact of Hurricane Sandy on his hometown of Brooklyn, NYC, his start as a DJ and discuss at length his ideas about the effect Serato has had on DJ-ing. I literally could have talked to him about any of these subjects and more for much longer, but that might have taken time away from the guest DJ set that he blessed us with. Essentially Spinna just took over the second hour of Melting Pot with a 57 minute set, mixed live in one take, all on original vinyl, about 99% of which were 45s.

Some of the tracks that were featured in this set were Lonnie Smith “Move Your Hand,” Funkadelic “Loose Booty,” Temptations “I Need You,” Bronx River Parkway “La Valla,” Nico Gomez “Baila Chibiquiban,” James Brown “Licking Stick,” Jean Jacques Perrey “ETA,” Beginning of the End “Super Woman,” The Mighty Showstoppers “Shaft In Africa,” Mongo Santamaria “Cold Sweat,” Dandelion Wine “Hot Dog” and Shuggie Otis’ “Inspiration Information.” If you recognize others, let me know in the comments since I’ll be (and probably you too) obsessing over many of these for years to come! Enjoy the set and if DJ Spinna touches down anywhere near you, do yourself a favor and make sure to see the man live…you will not regret it.

DJ Spinna Interview on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 11-10-12
Guest DJ Set from DJ Spinna on KPFK’s Melting Pot

This week’s show represents one of those rare times where the stars aligned and everything just went right. One of my favorite DJs in the world, DJ Spinna, was in town to spin at Funky Sole, and with a little help from Music Man Miles (Thank you Sir!) I was able to contact Spinna and bring him into the KPFK studios for an interview and Guest DJ set (separate post to follow). Since Spinna essentially took over the 2nd hour of the show (I would have had him spin for two hours if it had been up to me, but that would have been just plain greedy, right?), there’s not a whole lot of music from my end, just a set, with a Johnny Cash song for Veteran’s Day as well as tracks from Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators, Adrian Younge & William Hart of the Delfonics, Ana Tijoux (who also is coming to town soon, keep your fingers crossed about her potentially coming to the studio too!) and Kid Koala. This one is a special one, so please spread the word and I sincerely hope you enjoy the show as much as I did being in the studio to witness this go down.

Melting Pot on KPFK #105: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #105: Second Hour

Playlist: 11-11-2012
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Johnny Cash – The Ballad of Ira Hayes – The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 (Legacy)
Kid Koala – 3 Bit Blues – 12 Bit Blues (Ninja Tune)
Ana Tijoux – 1977 – 1977 (Nacional)
Adrian Younge & William Hart of the Delfonics – Stop and Look – Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics (Wax Poetics)
Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators – Tell Me When (We Can Start Our Love Thing Once Again) – 7″ (Timmion)
J.J. Barnes – You Owe It To Yourself (Parts 1 & 2) – Born Again (Perception)

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DJ Spinna Interview and Guest DJ Set – Recorded Live At KPFK – KPFK Archives

J.J. Barnes – You Owe It To Yourself (Parts 1 & 2)
J.J. Barnes – Wishful Thinking
J.J. Barnes – No If's, And's, Or But's

With the last minute but fantastic appearance of DJ Spinna on my show this week I wanted to take a look at a recent addition to my collection that I wouldn’t have if Spinna hadn’t put me onto it. One of the best compilations of 2012 is BBE’s Best of Perception & Today Records, compiled by Spinna. I’d been up on a number of the releases on Perception, especially Dizzy Gillespie’s “Matrix,” Larry Young’s “Larry of Newark” (which unfortunately is not on the collection though it should be) but I was surprised and shocked at how much music I had missed from these two labels. Of all the 30 tracks, nothing stood out to me as much as J.J. Barnes’ “You Owe It To Yourself.” For a period of a couple of months this summer, this song was my theme song, ala I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, just because of the heavy groove. It just sounds like a song to strut down city streets to.

After obsessing over that track for a couple of months, I had to track down the LP and was lucky enough to do so around my birthday back in August. While nothing hits you quite like “Owe It” there’s some real fantastic production work through out from David Jordan and Patrick Adams. “Wishful Thinking” and “No If’s, And’s, Or But’s” give you a taste of the deep heavy soul from Mr. Barnes (who incidentially does not appear to be a relation, but you never know). Big thanks to DJ Spinna for putting together the BBE compilation and for spreading the word about fantastic music like this.



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