Classic Melting Pot


It was truly an honor to interview Shuggie Otis this past Saturday at KPFK. In the early 1970s, Otis recorded three very different, but all equally fantastic, solo records before seemingly disappearing until a reissue of Inspiration Information by David Byrne’s Luaka Bop records brought him back into the public eye. Though I had known about Shuggie’s music prior to hearing that reissue, like a whole lot of people hearing that set was a revelation. Inspiration Information is the rare legendary record that actually deserves every single piece of acclaim it has gotten and then some. Recently Sony Legacy has reissued “Inspiration” along with close to 20 previously unreleased tracks that Shuggie recorded from the 1970s up until 2000. Shuggie has stepped back out into the public eye again and this time around it seems he’s here to stay. In our interview we talk a little about the influence of growing up as the son of Johnny Otis, some of his favorite guitar players, the stories behind some of his classic songs, including “Strawberry Letter 23,” “Inspiration Information” and “Island Letter.” We also discuss how Shuggie’s apparent absence from music was never really an absence (something KPFK and KPFA listeners already knew) and how he’s excited for the next chapter of his career to begin. Big thanks to Andrew Cahn & Eric Molk for helping to set up the interview and of course to Shuggie Otis himself for blessing us with all of this beautiful music. Enjoy!

Shuggie Otis Interview On KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 04-27-2013

Here’s an short documentary on the Inspiration Information/Wings Of Love project that features Shuggie talking about multiple tracks from the album, getting into even more depth than we were able to in our interview. Hopefully this is just the first step towards the full-length documentary that Shuggie so richly deserves:


Quite a show this past Sunday. During our first hour we paid tribute to a couple of fallen giants, George Jones and Richie Havens. Though they were very different people and in very different genres, there are some interesting similarities between the two men. Both had instantly recognizable and very distinctive vocals and both helped to popularize and champion more traditional styles bringing a wider audience to their cherished traditions. The second hour of our program belongs to Shuggie Otis (separate post above). Just the day before I sat in with Shuggie Otis just ahead of his show at the El Rey in Los Angeles. We spent time talking about his career and many of his classic recordings, especially “Strawberry Letter 23” and “Inspiration Information.” Hope you enjoyed this show as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Next week we’re back with new music plus an interview and performance from King!

Melting Pot on KPFK #124: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #124: Second Hour

Playlist: 4-28-2013
{opening theme} Boris Gardiner – Melting Pot – Is What’s Happening (Dynamic)

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George Jones – Things Have Gone To Pieces – The Great Lost Hits (Time Life)
George Jones & Melba Montgomery – We Must Have Been Out Of Our Minds – What’s In Our Hearts (United Artists)
George Jones – A Good Year For The Roses – George Jones With Love (Musicor)
George Jones – Your Angel Steps Out Of Heaven – If My Heart Had Windows (Musicor)
George Jones & Tammy Wynette – Never Grow Cold – George Jones With Love (Musicor)
Kenny Baker – Lonesome Moonlight Waltz – Plays Bill Monroe (County)

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Richie Havens – Handsome Johnny/Freedom – Woodstock: Music From The Original Soundtrack and More (Atlantic)
Richie Havens – I’m On My Way – Richie Havens’ Record (Douglas)
Richie Havens – No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed – Richard P. Havens, 1983 (Verve Forecast)
Richie Havens – There’s A Hole In The Future – Stonehenge (Verve Forecast)
Richie Havens – The Parable Of Ramon – Richard P. Havens, 1983 (Verve Forecast)

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Richie Havens – Indian Rope Man – Richard P. Havens, 1983 (Verve Forecast)
Richie Havens – Younger Men Grow Older – Alarm Clock (Stormy Forest)
Richie Havens – For Heavens Sake – Richard P. Havens, 1983 (Verve Forecast)
Richie Havens – Will The Circle Be Unbroken – Soundtrack For A Revolution (Entertainment One)
Kenny Baker – Brown County Breakdown – Plays Bill Monroe (County)

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Shuggie Otis – Interview – Recorded at KPFK (KPFK Archives)

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Shuggie Otis – Wings Of Love – Inspiration Information/Wings Of Love (Legacy)


Mount Rushmore – Toe Jam
Mount Rushmore – 10:09 Blues
Mount Rushmore – King Of Earrings

Meant to actually fully post this one ages ago.  I’d mentioned it in a guest post I did for David Ma’s fantastic Nerdtorious blog, in addition to a couple of other choice cuts (all of which I need to hurry up and add here).  Here’s what I said about it there:

“Recently ran into this at the Pasadena Flea Market/Record Swap. Having heard the Handsome Boy Modeling School’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll (Could Never Hip-Hop Like This)” I knew that “Toe Jam,” from the band’s second LP, had served as the primary sample. Mount Rushmore were more of a blues-oriented Frisco band and fans of that sound would dig most of the other cuts on the album. For me it all comes back to those drums and the fuzzy guitar and bass. It’s a super heavy sound, almost Black Sabbath heavy once the unsampled melody kicks in. The first three minutes are so good I don’t even hold it against them for speeding things up and losing the funk for the last half of the song.”

Don’t really have much else to add, except I got this one at the PCC meet close to closing time, when deals are to be made.  I’d been on the lookout for it for a while and was hoping to run into it there but never saw it…until I was about to leave and was returning to a dealers spot and noticed this record in addition to a couple of others on another dealers crates.  I asked what was up with it and he mentioned that some guy had put them on hold but he never came back.  The price was more than fair ($10 or $12) and just like that I’d gotten exactly what I was looking for.  I knew “Toe Jam” was “the Jam,” but I was more than pleased with the mix of bluesy San Francisco rock sounds from the band.  I know the band released another record but I haven’t heard it.  I doubt there’s anything as hard as “Toe Jam” on there, but then again, what is as hard as that?  Perhaps I’ll run into that one at clsoing time at the swap, but surely lightning couldn’t strike twice, could it?




Jungle Fire – Firewalker

As great as this April has been on the special guest front (and still more to come with Shuggie Otis this week and LA’s King next week!) there have been a few attempts at bringing in bands that simply didn’t work out. One of them was with Jungle Fire, a recently formed Afro-Latin funk outfit from here in Los Angeles. So far the band has released a couple of 45s on Colemine Records, including this one, released on Record Store Day 2013. At first I thought the band was covering Rusty Bryant’s “Fire-eater” but quickly realized that this is an original track (and a totally different fire-related activity), more of a Afro-Disco tip, that showcases some of the interesting directions the band may move towards in the future. Hopefully we’ll be able to bring them into KPFK a little later this year for what I’m sure will be a smoking live set.

Lady (4)

Such a pleasure to sit in with Nicole Wray and Terri Walker, who together form Lady. Though the two women have had solo careers for a fair amount of time, the music they make together is undeniably fantastic.

Interviewing Nicole Wray and Terri Walker of Lady with Oliver Wang of

Interviewing Nicole Wray and Terri Walker of Lady with Oliver Wang of

Their new self-titled album on Truth & Soul records is a perfect mix of soul, old and new, and is one of my favorites of 2013, as well as a fave of Oliver Wang of who sits in with me for a tag-team style interview of the group.

Nicole & Terri, along with Vincent John on Guitar, perform three songs, “Hold On,” “Money” and “Get Ready” while also talking to us about how they formed this dynamic duo, the recording and writing process for the album, some insight into a couple of our favorite tracks from the album and their plans for the future. Looking forward to even better things from these talented ladies in the future, but for now, enjoy this session! Big thanks to Julie Underwood for setting things up, Stan Misraje for doing the sound, Clifton James Weaver III for lending us his guitar amp and to Oliver Wang for being my tag-team partner on the interview.

Lady on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 04-17-2013


Special show this past Sunday. We start off paying tribute to Charles Mingus, whose 91st birthday would have been today, by playing one of his masterpieces, 1963’s Black Saint & the Sinner Lady, in it’s entirety. The second hour begins with an interview and performance from Lady featuring Nicole Wray and Terri Walker (separate post to follow). Played a little bit of music in between those, with new tracks from Jaimeo Brown, Orgone, Toddla T Sound, King and a classic from Shuggie Otis. If all goes well this week, we’ll have an interview from Shuggie Otis on this coming Sunday’s show!!!

Melting Pot on KPFK #123: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #123: Second Hour

Playlist: 04-21-2013
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Charles Mingus – The Black Saint & the Sinner Lady – The Black Saint & the Sinner Lady (Impulse!)
Charles Mingus – II B.S. – Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (Impulse!)

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Jaimeo Brown – This World Ain’t My Home – Transcendence (Motema)
Toddla T Sound – Worst Enemy – Single (Ninja Tune)
Ilaiyaraaja feat. Malaysia Vasudeva – Aththi Marakkili – Ilectro (Finders Keepers)
Orgone – Serge Went There – Fuzzed Up (Self-Released)

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Lady – Interview and Performance – Recorded Live at KPFK (KPFK Archives)

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Lady – Tell The Truth – Lady (Truth & Soul)
Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge feat. William Hart – Enemies – 12 Reasons to Die (Soul Temple)
Kenny Dope – Guest DJ Set – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

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Shuggie Otis – Island Letter – Inspiration Information / Wings Of Love (Legacy)
King – In The Meantime – Single (Self-released)
Quadron – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

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


Danny Schloss – In A Dream
Danny Schloss – Pot Of Gold
Danny Schloss – It’s A Funny Situation
Danny Schloss – Walk Softly

It’s record store day, and while personally I try to celebrate Record Store Day at least three or four times a month, it’s still good to highlight all of the amazing vinyl record stores that supply my addiction, here in LA with Atomic Records, Record Jungle, Bagatelle Records, Mount Analog, Strictly Grooves, the Artform Studio, Amoeba Records and of course the jewel of the Bay Area, Frisco’s Groove Merchant.

For our weekly Dig Deep this is a finding from my first visit to the newest kid on the block in Highland Park, Gimme Gimme Records. Transplanted from NYC, the record features quite a few records that you rarely see on the west coast (particularly in the Jazz section) and is a more than solid addition to any crate diggers journeys through the paths of rhythm here in LA. Aside from a bunch of quality records that I already have or used to own but feel a burning need to return to just yet, I ran across a gorgeous gold label version of Ray Barretto’s classic Acid and also this interesting psych-pop record from Danny Schloss.

DannySchloss3Haven’t been able to turn up too much about the clearly very groovy Mr. Schloss. Even though this could very easily count as “sunshine pop” which I almost always connect to California, there’s something very NYC about the instrumentation and the sound of the players (which don’t include too many names I recall, except for Johnny Pacheco who is brought in for some “latin percussion”). Schloss’ vocals fit the times and as much as I’d love to have an instrumental copy of this album, it wouldn’t have the same impact without all the quintessentially late 1960s flower power vibes that come through both the lyrics and the way Schloss sings. There’s a slight tinge of darkness and danger in quite a lot of the music that makes it stand apart from the usual “sunshine pop” fare. I posted an extra song just cause I could make up my mind and I though that the tracks resequenced in this way sounded like they were a suite of music instead of tracks that are in very different places on the original LP.

If you got the time, and you’ve got the money. Go out to local record stores today, let them know how much you love them and how you wouldn’t be able to live without them. Ultimately that’s what record store day is all about…but if you can, as I said earlier, make Record Store Day everyday you can and keep the vinyl alive.




Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge – The Sure Shot Parts 1 & 2

{If you’re gonna pick this up on Record Store Day and you’re in LA, make sure to drop Adrian Younge’s store the Artform Studio. TONS of DJs will be doing there thing, in addition to the legendary RZA of the Wu Tang!!!}

We’ve gotten little bits of this album for the past month or two but this collaboration is finally out and it’s a marvel. Ghostface Killah and Adrian Younge combine for the most cinematic release of 2013. Conceived as a sort of origin story for Ghostface that finds him rising up through the ranks of an Italian crime family until he splits to build his own reputation. The family strikes back after Ghostface starts a romance with the Don’s daughter and they murder him (perhaps the first case of this) by boiling him alive in vinyl acetate. They then press his remains into records as a souvenir but lo and behold his spirit comes back when the needle drops on the records and his revenge begins. Just unbelievably awesome. I’m not sure I could have dreamed up this project any better than it came out in reality. Guaranteed to be in the top 10 of my faves for the year, might even end up at the top of the list.

From the performances in LA at the Mayan, it was clear they were making this an experience and the theatrics of those performances have found their way into the first full video from this album. I don’t know if they’ll film the entire album from start to finish, but boy do I wish they would, especially after the release of the video for “Rise Of The Ghostface Killah,” vintage Giallo + Ghostface + Several LA people as “extras” = Win!  I have a feeling every Wu-Tang member will want their own origin story after this.

Kenny Dope KPFK 2013 (1)

It was truly an honor to have the legendary Kenny Dope stop into KPFK for a quick chat and a long guest DJ session. Kenny Dope is truly a DJ’s DJ, a master at blending and mixing together disparate and diverse styles and sounds and seamlessly shifting from genre to genre and mood to mood. Over the years he’s done production work under his own name as well as collaborating with a host of talented people, perhaps most notably with Louie Vega in Masters At Work and Nuyorican Soul. For my money, Kenny Dope is the best remixer in the game (my two of my top 5 all-time remixes belong to him, the Jackson 5 “It’s Great To Be Here” you hear at the end of the interview below and his reworking of Sharon Jones “Keep On Looking”) and definitely one of the best Djs around. We didn’t get a chance to talk about too much, since he had a plane to catch and we wanted to reserve the majority of time for his Guest DJ set. The loss of a fuller conversation is definitely outweighed by the gain of an amazing 59+ minute mix, complete with a tracklist provided below! With luck we’ll be able to spend more time with Kenny Dope in the future on Melting Pot, but until then…enjoy this to the fullest and the spread the word far and wide!

Kenny Dope Interview on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 4-14-2013
Guest DJ Set from Kenny Dope on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 4-14-2013

Kenny Dope KPFK 2013 (2)Tracklist:
Blackrock – Yeah Yeah
Rasheed Chappell – 123 feat. Dj scratch
Destruments – Freedom
Page One – Thank Goodness Gotta Good Woman
Dionne Warwick – You’re Gonna Need Me
The Dells – I Can Sing
Mr. Chop – Deep Gully
The Soul Lifters – Hot Funky & Sweaty (Kenny Dope Edit)
Dibiase – Fly Me To The Moon
The Magictones – I’ve Changed
The Jimi Entley Sound – Charlie’s Theme
Marvin Gaye – Time (Kenny Dope Mix)
Johnny Guitar Watson – Superman Lover (Lord Finesse Revised)
Das Efx – Real Hip Hop (DJ Premier Remix)
Kenny Dope – Get On Down
The U.B.’s – Synthetic Substitition
Chopp Master Flopp – Peetie Swei Revised
The Menahan Street Band – Make The Road By Walking (Kenny Dope Edit)
Brand Nubian – All For One (Accapella)
James Brown – Funky President
Chopp Master Flopp – Daisy Crazy
Emotions – Blind Alley (Stripped)
Leela James –Let Me Tell You (Bass Dub)
Lil Louis – Fable (Director’s Cut Classic Signature Mix)
Barbara Tucker – I Get Lifted (Duck Beats)
Elements of Life feat. Lisa Fischer & Cindy Mizelle – Into My Life
Kenny Dope feat. Josh Milan – Be Your Freak (Kenny Dope O’gutta Mix)
Earth people – Dance (Dub)
Intrallazzi – Pik Nik (Cube Guys Mix)
IKE – Docs Edit
Mike Dunn presents The MD X-spress – God Made Me Funky
Elements of Life – One Dream


Relatively short show in terms of what I had to prepare, but I’m so very thankful for that because it meant that we all got the treat of Kenny Dope (Masters At Work, Nuyorican Soul, Kay Dee Records and on and on) taking us on a musical journey. At the start of the show I paid tribute to the recently departed Don Blackman with one of my favorite 1970s tracks “I Love You” recorded with Weldon Irvine for one of his records, but featuring Blackman’s lyrics, music and vocals. During the first couple of sets you’ll also hear some newer tunes from Lady (should be our guests on the next Melting Pot), Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge, local cats the Sure Fire Soul Ensemble and even long awaited music from the Pastels. But the show belongs to Kenny Dope, who was in town DJ-ing at three separate events over the weekend and was very generous with his time before flying back out to NYC. We don’t spend too long talking (hopefully we’ll get a second chance in the near future since I barely asked him any questions at all!) but that was only because we were hoping we’d be able to get a long guest DJ set from the man and he did not disappoint (separate post to follow with the full set in all it’s glory). As I mention at the end of the show, next week will also be special, with an interview/performance from Lady and a tribute to Charles Mingus featuring the complete Black Saint & the Sinner Lady!

Melting Pot on KPFK #122: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #122: Second Hour

Playlist: 04-14-2013
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

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Weldon Irvine feat. Don Blackman – I Love You – Sinbad (RCA)
Lady – Sweet Lady – Lady (Truth & Soul)
Lee Fields & the Expressions – Love Comes And Goes – My World (Truth & Soul)
The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble – Layin’ Low – 7” (Self-released)
Orgone – Catch A Meyer – Fuzzed Up (Self-Released)

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The Pastels – Check Your Heart – Slow Summits (Domino)
Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge – The Sure Shot Pt. 1 & 2 – 12 Reasons To Die (Soul Temple)
Ilaiyaraaja – Kadal Mele – Ilectro (Finders Keepers)
Shuggie Otis – Aht Uh Mi Hed – Inspiration Information / Wings Of Love (Legacy)

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Kenny Dope – Interview – Recorded Live At KPFK
Jackson 5 – It’s Great To Be Here (Kenny Dope Remix) – Soul Source (Universal Japan)

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Kenny Dope – Guest DJ Set – Recorded Live At KPFK

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