Classic Melting Pot

{We’ll be taking a hiatus for the next week as we prepare our “Best of 2012” show and posts, see you in 2013!!!}

As has been our tradition the past couple of years, the last Melting Pot of the year is not only given over to vinyl, as we do at the end of each month, but at looking back at all the vinyl I dug over the year. As I’ve detailed before, back in 2004 I sold off virtually my entire collection, since then it’s been slowly slowly slowly building back up. Looking back I’m actually surprised that I got this much vinyl this year. 2012 was a big year for us, we bought a house and rescued a dog and clearly I bought a bunch of vinyl too. Show starts off with a “serato exception” in order to pay tribute to two soulful women who recently left us, Marva Whitney and Fontella Bass. From there it’s all over the place, mostly on the mellow side of things…next week we’ll be taking a look at the best “new” releases of 2012 along with a week full of posts looking back at the best vinyl digs, reissues, new releases and songs of the year. Happy New Year to you and I’ll see you in 2013!

Melting Pot on KPFK #110: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #110: Second Hour

Playlist: 12-30-2012
{Opening Theme} Boris Gardiner – Melting Pot – Is What’s Happening (Dynamic)

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Marva Whitney – It’s My Thing – It’s My Thing (King)
Marva Whitney – Unwind Yourself – 7” (King)
Marva Whitney – What Do I Have To Do – It’s My Thing (King)
Marva Whitney – Things Have Got To Get Better – 7” (King)
Art Ensemble Of Chicago feat. Fontella Bass – Theme De Yoyo – Les Stances A Sophie (Soul Jazz)
Cinematic Orchestra feat. Fontella Bass – Breathe – Ma Fleur (Ninja Tune)

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Ramsey Lewis – Les Fleur – Maiden Voyage (Cadet)
Rare Bird – What You Want To Know – As Your Mind Flies By (ABC)
The Heads – Digging Your Head – Heads Up (Liberty)
Erkin Koray – Yagmur – 7” (Istanbul)
Duke Pearson – The Phantom – The Phantom (Blue Note)

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Harlem River Drive – If We Had Peace Today – Harlem River Drive (Roulette)
SCLC Operation Breadbasket Orchestra & Choir – Precious Memories – On The Case (Chess)
Dr. John – Glowin’ – Babylon (ATCO)
Jeremy Steig – Waves – Portrait (UA)

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Dionne Warwicke – You’re Gonna Need Me – Just Being Myself (WB)
Gal Costa – De Um Role – Gal A Todo Vapor (Philips)
Hank Ballard – I’m A Junkie For My Baby’s Love – 7” (Chess)
David Axelrod & the Electric Prunes – General Confessional – Release Of An Oath (Reprise)

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Mind Garage – Recessional – Again! (RCA)
Ame Son – Eclosion – Catalyse (BYG-Actuel)
David Lewis – Coming Super President Of The World – I Know Where I’m Going (Mission)
Nancy Priddy – You’ve Come This Way Before – You’ve Come This way Before (DOT)
Johnny Thunder – I’m Alive – 7” (Calla)
Mount Rushmore – Toe Jam – ’69 (DOT)

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Jacques Dutronc – J’ai Tout Lu, Tout Vu, Tout Bu – 7” (Disques Vogue)
The Latin Blues Band – I’ll Be a Happy Man – Take A Trip Pussycat (Speed)
Juice – Catch A Groove – 12” (Greedy)
Wilson Simonal – Vesti Azul – Wilson Simonal (Odeon)
Jun Mayuzumi – Answer To Me – Angel Love (Capitol)

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{Closing Theme} La Clave – Soul Sauce – La Clave (Verve)

Mind Garage – Island Of Ely
Mind Garage – Emotions
Mind Garage – Recessional

So, I thought last week’s Dig Deep was going to be my last record for 2012, turns out the Christmas season was very kind to me and I was able to get a few more records to add to my haul for 2012 (on Melting Pot this Sunday I’ll be playing some of the best records I dug up over the year, in addition to short tributes to Marva Whitney and Fontella Bass). With that extra cash, THIS is what ended up being the final record I got this year. Mind Garage was a relatively short lived outfit out of West Virginia. They are notable for being one of the first bands to perform/record “Christian Rock” with their “Electric Liturgy.” That piece is featured on this album, their second (why it didn’t end up on their debut, when the band apparently had started performing it as early as 1968 and it led directly to their record deal is a mystery to me), and it stands up nicely against the other candidate for early Christian based rock music, David Axelrod’s Mass In F Minor, nominally credited to the Electric Prunes.

On Again!, the band features mostly hard psych’n’roll on the first side, unfortunately (at least for my tastes) with too many covers instead of original tracks. The originals that are there, including “Emotion” and “Isle of Ely” are pretty fantastic. As a major fan of Axelrod, it’s perhaps not surprising that I’m not nearly as fond of Mind Garage’s “Electric Liturgy,” but I do think it ends on a super high breaktastic note with the “Recessional.” Nice to also end 2012 on a high note too.

Cheers,

Michael

Françoiz Breut – Marie-Lise

It’s no secret that I’m very fond of Françoiz Breut, she was one of my first guests at KPFK, and many of her records are amongst my favorites, particularly 2008’s A l’aveuglette which contains one of my absolute favorites of this first decade of the 21st century, “Les Jeunes Pousses” (clearly she’s such a favorite I can’t stop using the word favorite in order to describe her!). Four years was a long time to wait for new music, but a couple of months ago, she released La Chirurgie Des Sentiments in France. As she’s done on many of her prior records, there’s a slight shift in her sound. Whereas A l’aveuglette felt like an intimate record, produced effortlessly in a midnight session at a friend’s apartment, La Chirurgie Des Sentiment has the sound of an album recorded in a funky and smoky Parisian bar around 4am. Much of this is related to the use of keyboards, often layered around and on top of each other and sampled/found sounds throughout the record. “Marie-Lise” showcases this latest change in sound from Breut, for those having trouble getting a hold of this album in the States, there is a digital link to the album on Françoiz Breut’s bandcamp page. Hopefully we’ll get a US release for the album in 2013. As was the case with her last record, don’t be surprised if this ends up in my “Best Of” lists for this year and next!

Here’s another track, “Bruxelles (BXL) Bleuette,” that also gives a strong sense of the different style Françoiz is using on this album:

Been a while since we’ve done a show on the KPFK Airwaves, and after a long semester my voice seems to just about have had enough. I’d already intended to do something special for our next to last show of 2012, so we had a couple of choice shows to give away tickets to, with Boogaloo Assassins performing on NYE and Erykah Badu just a few days earlier here in LA, an extended look at the Numero Group’s amazing 45 45 Eccentric Soul set and in the second hour a replay of DJ Spinna’s amazing guest DJ set from back in November! Next week I’ll be on all vinyl running down the best pieces of wax that I dug up in 2012 and in a couple weeks we’ll run down the best releases of 2012 during our first show of 2013!

Melting Pot on KPFK #109: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #109: Second Hour

Playlist: 12-23-2012
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Black Sabbath – Snowblind – Vol. 4 (WB)
Urban Gorilla – Ten Days Gone – Man Chest Hair (Finders Keepers)
Wganda Kenya – El Caterete – Diablos Del Ritmo (Analog Africa)
Ghetto Brothers – Got This Happy Feeling – Power / Fuerza (Truth & Soul)
Menahan Street Band – Three Faces – The Crossing (Dunham / Daptone)

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Boogaloo Assassins – Do You Wanna Dance – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
Francoiz Breut – La Momme – La Chirurgie Des Sentiments (Pias)
Alpha – Covers Been Blown – Eleventh Trip (Don’t Touch)
Erykah Badu – Telephone – New Amerykah Part 1: 4th World War (Universal Motown)
Duracha – Ghetto Funk – Eccentric Soul: Omnibus (Numero Group)

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Pat Stallworth – Questions – Eccentric Soul: Omnibus (Numero Group)
Elements of Peace – Together Pt. 1 – Eccentric Soul: Omnibus (Numero Group)
Volumes – I’m Gonna Miss You – Eccentric Soul: Omnibus (Numero Group)
Union – Strike – Eccentric Soul: Omnibus (Numero Group)
Two Plus Two – I’m Sure – Eccentric Soul: Omnibus (Numero Group)

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Flack & Company – Disco – TNT – Eccentric Soul: Omnibus (Numero Group)

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DJ Spinna – Guest DJ Set – Recorded At KPFK 11-10-12 (KPFK Archives)

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

Nick Gravenites – It Takes Time
Taj Mahal – One More Mile To Go
Nick Gravenites – Blues On A Westside

As a lover of invented tradition, seems I’ve started another one, posting up the final reocrd that I dug up in 2012. I first ran into this album when I was very young and working at Album 88 in Atlanta. I’d started working on the blues show there “Crossroads,” and was always looking for music that I hadn’t heard before. At the time, and still, one of my favorite bands was the Butterfield Blues Band, which featured one of the first American guitar gods of the 1960s, Michael Bloomfield. Bloomfield was kind of a tragic figure. Immense talent, showcased on albums with Butterfield and sessions work with Al Kooper and Bob Dylan (it’s Bloomfield’s guitar that gives Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited so much of it’s legendary sound, especially on “Like A Rolling Stone”), but because of problems with insomnia and heroine addiction, it’s likely we were robbed of some of his best work.

This album was recorded in the midst of a pretty robust period of recording for Bloomfield and was more or less a loosely organized jam session with a whole bunch of folk, including Mark Naftlin, Bob Jones, John Kahn, Snooky Flowers plus vocalists Nick Gravenites and Taj Mahal. At Album 88 I’d found the album tucked away forgotten in stacks of vinyl that were haphazardly stored around the station. As a show that ran from 10-12midnight, the longer and slower tracks, “One More Mile To Go” and “Blues On A Westside” were particular favorites of mine and listeners. I remember once playing “Westside” and realizing about 3/4’s in that I was digging on the song so much I hadn’t taken the prior record off the turntable and cued up something next to play. I was so zoned out that I actually picked up the needle on “Westside” mid-solo, only to drop it back down, more or less in the same spot almost instantaneously. I might have been able to forget that lapse, but I seem to remember getting a couple of good-natured calls from listeners and friends chastizing me for wrecking the groove. The song remains one of my favorites from this period and one my favorite solos from Bloomfield.

For some reason I hadn’t really run into a copy of this record in years. Perhaps because it doesn’t actually list an artist. Though the more recent reissue is rightfully under Bloomfield’s name, the original release has not artist listed. It should be filed in the blues section, but this copy was in the various Rock section at Atomic in Burbank. Where you can find it is less important that making sure you do find it, which I’m very glad I did. In truth, all that really matters is the music and getting lost in that sound from Bloomfield and his friends.

Cheers,

Michael

Volumes – I’m Gonna Miss You

Sure to be on every DJ’s holiday list, whether they have been naughty or nice, is the 45th release from Chicago’s Numero Group. 2012 has been a somewhat quiet year for Numero, espcially after the stellar past two, but clearly they’ve been hard at work compiling this monster. For their 45th release they’ve put together 45 7″s, all incredibly rare and hard to find soul and funk, the vast majority of which have never been reissued until now. Scariest part of this set is that it’s labeled as “Vol. #1”!?!?!?!??!!!

And yes there’s even a lovingly put together video for the set that’s just going to make you want it even more:

Wow, it’s been a full 21 days since I’ve been back on the blog! It hasn’t been because I’ve been tucked away in a Doomsday bunker waiting for the end times of 12-21-12, I’ve just been dealing with what felt like a pretty apocalyptic amount of grading because of my work, combined with a fundraiser going on a KPFK. Usually around this time of year I take a hiatus, but generally I do get the last show up before the hiatus, so apologies on that front. This show broadcast on Dec. 2nd, and was the last Melting Pot, before this week’s return. We began with a short tribute for an all too short life, highlighting just a fraction of the talent of pianist Austin Peralta. From there it was another smograsborg of tickets for shows that have now all be performed. At least the music remains. We’re back the air with our last “regular” show of the year, featuring some new music and some of my almost favorite records of 2012. On 12/30 I’ll be playing some of my favorite vinyl that I tracked down in 2012 and our first show of 2013 on January 6th will be our rundown of the best music of 2013!

Melting Pot on KPFK #108: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #108: Second Hour

Playlist: 12-2-2012
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Austin Peralta – Bedtime Stories – Single (Self-Released)
Cinematic Orchestra feat. Austin Peralta – Lapis – In Motion (Ninja Tune)
Teebs feat. Austin Peralta – LSP – Collections 01 (Brainfeeder)
Flying Lotus feat. Thundercat & Austin Peralta – DMT Song – Until The Quiet Comes (Warp)
Austin Peralta – Ode To Love – Endless Planets (Brainfeeder)

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Shuggie Otis – Island Letter – Inspiration Information (Epic)
Naytronix – Good Thing – Dirty Glow (Plug Research)
Alpha – Down – Eleventh Trip (Don’t Touch)
Menahan Street Band – The Crossing – The Crossing (Dunham/Daptone)

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J-Rocc – 1990s Hip-Hop Mix – Flavors (Self-Released via Mixcrates.com)
Julian y Su Combo – Enyere Kumbara – Diablos Del Ritmo (Analog Africa)
Karriem Riggins – Alto Flute – Alone Together (Stones Throw)
People Under The Stairs – Gamin’ On Ya – Fun DMC (Gold Dust Media)
Andrezej Korzynski – Orchestral Pop Theme – Secret Enigma 1969-1981 (B-Music)

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Adrian Younge & William Hart of the Delfonics – Love’s Melody – Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics (Wax Poetics)
Syl Johnson – Is It Because I’m Black – Is It Because I’m Black (Twinight)
The Trinikas – Black Is Beautiful – Eccentric Soul: Omnibus (Numero)
Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators – Tell Me When (We Can Start Our Love Thing Again) – 7” (Timmion)

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The Coup – Violet – Sorry To Bother You (Anti)
Francoiz Breut – L’Astronome – La Chirurgie Des Sentiments (Pias)
Jupiter Lion – Black Mouth – Jupiter Lion (Bcore)

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Seu Jorge & Almaz – Everybody Loves The Sunshine – Seu Jorge & Almaz (Stones Throw)
Al Green – Your Love Is Like The Morning Sun – Call Me (Hi Records)
Steve Spacek – Dollar – Spaceshift (Sound In Color)
Sly & the Family Stone – Remember Who You Are – Back On The Right Track (Warner Bros.)
Alice Russell & Quantic – Look Around The Corner – Look Around The Corner (Tru Thoughts)

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Dungen – C. Visar Vagen – Tio Batar (Kemado)

Latin Blues Band – (I’ll Be A) Happy Man
Latin Blues Band – Take A Trip
Latin Blues Band – Rumbo Con Guaguanco

Been a while since I put up some records for sale via Rose Records, but there are currently 5 records up on Ebay right now, including releases from Ketty Lester (featuring master drummer Earl Palmer) and Harry Ray, plus a few that I’ve actually featured here before including Jun Mayuzumi’s “Black Room,” Horace Tapscott & the Pan-Afrikan People’s Arkestra and one of my deepest digs of all time, Yuzo Kayama. Another record that is currently up on Ebay (at least until this Wednesday, just enough time before my wife’s birthday to hopefully get her something extra nice! take a look and spread the word if you know people looking for some quality vinyl), is the Moon People’s album Land Of Love. As is the case with the Mayuzumi, Harry Ray and Yuzo Kayama, the only reason I’m able to sell these records is that I’ve essentially replaced them in my collection with a version that I appreciate more.

In the case of the Moon Men, I picked up this album from the Latin Blues Band around my birthday that features “I’ll Be A Happy Man” the vocal version of “Happy Soul” which was revisited as “Happy Soul With A Hook” and as “Hippy Dippy Moon Strut,” all apparently by the exact same backing band. Of those four versions, I enjoy this one featuring full on vocals most of all. I’d always felt that the instrumental “Happy Soul” just was missing something and gets to repetitive after a while, no matter how great of a break beat that instrumental is. As soon as I began listening to this album, I realized that several of the other tracks on the Moon Men album were instrumentals of tracks from this album, including ‘Take A Trip,” “Lay An Oz On Me” and “Pussycat.” In just about all of those cases I prefer the vocal versions and these would be the ones I’d be most apt to play if I spun out some place so it made good sense to hold on to this one and let the Moon People find their way into someone else’s collection. Additionally, the second side of this album is full of some really nice and really tight pre-Salsa latin tracks that simply hit the spot.

Cheers,

Michael

Alpha feat. Hannah Collins – Covers Been Blown

Eleventh Trip is the seventh proper full-length release from Alpha (not including remixes or collaborative efforts), and is a proper return to form for the group after the slightly disappointing Sky Is Mine (though perhaps that’s partially because of the strong standard set by ComeFromHeaven, The Impossible Thrill and Stargazing, which are three of my favorite trip-hop records, let along my favorite releases from this band). Founding member Corin Dingley once again is the primary beat maker and the tracks are often just as luscious as you’d expect from an Alpha production. What seemed missing from the prior release is very much in evidence here, with the added vocals of Hannah Collins and Duncan Atwood along with longtime member Wendy Stubbs. Atwood’s vocals are the most revelatory for me, as a major fan of former vocalist Martin Bernard. Atwood’s phrasing and style is more than a bit reminiscient of Bernard’s which means every track he’s featured on is a swooner for sure, with “Down” as the stand out. Though I’m most drawn to Atwood’s voice, Collins’ tracks appear to be the strongest on the album, particularly “Covers Been Blown” with its steady drums and her slightly haltering and plaintive vocals. Like being reunited with a dear old friend after many years, it’s truly a pleasure to spend time again in the lush and lovely world of Alpha. 15 years since they emerged on the scene, few bands are capable of such lush and lovely sounds, let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 5 years for even more music.

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