Classic Melting Pot

{In addition to an almost month-long hiatus from the radio show, I’m going to take most of the next week off from the blog. I’ll be back here next week, until then enjoy the music, especially THIS one!!!}

Ruben Molina of the Southern Soul Spinners was our guest this past Sunday.  Molina has been a collector since the days of his youth in 1960s Los Angeles, and much like KPFK’s Bill Gardner is truly a living encyclopedia when it comes to soul music.  Ruben Molina KPFKIn addition to having written two books, The Old Barrio Guide To Lowrider Music 1950-1975 and Chicano Soul: Recordings and History of an American Culture, Molina is recognized as a true historian when it comes to these sweet soul sounds.  This style of music, whether we call it “Lowrider Music,” “East Side Soul,” “Souldies,” “Firme Rolas,” “Sweet Soul/Funk” or “Deep Soul,” always seems to hit the spot.  The idea for asking Molina to come in was related to conversations with Soul-Sides Oliver Wang and with my Wife over the last several months.  Molina was more than happy to come in to talk about the music and spin some tunes. I’m not sure there have been so many records that I knew nothing about but once I heard them I instantly, obsessively wanted to have in my collection, than you’ll hear in this set.  I have a feeling you’ll be feeling that way too as soon as you start listening to it.  There are some slight tech issues, twice the power cut out on us, which causes the sound to drop out and then start back up at 33 rpms, but that’s just to prove to you that the set was all on original vinyl! Don’t worry, I’m sure Ruben will be back in the near future to play even more music, but for now…Enjoy!

Guest DJ Set from Ruben Molina for KPFK’s Melting Pot: 07-28-2013

Passionettes – My Life Depends On You – Soul Burst
Desciples of Soul – Peek-A-Boo – GV
Masqueraders – One More Chance – La Beat
Enchanting Enchanters – No One In This World – Ben-Mo-Keith
Dimas III – I Won’t Love You Again – Clown
Mandells – Think Back – Trans World Sound
Doc & Sal – Cry and Wonder Why – Dynamic
Dream Team – There He Is – Gregory
Wasters – Accept My Love – UNI
Reggie Soul & the Swingmasters – World Of Ecstasy – Capri
Voice Masters – Two Lovers – Frisco
Kickin’ Mustangs – Take A Miracles – Plato
Little Janice – Since You’ve Been Gone – Pzazz
Three Stranges – I’ll Be Alright – ABC-Paramount
Magic Tones – Nothing Better Than Love – Mah’s
Cheryl Williams – I’m Your Fool – Bengee
Coronadas – You Can Do Me Some Good – Bright Star
Deceptions – Of All The Hearts – Brooks
Royal Chessmen – Beggin’ You – Custom Fidelity
Wendy Rene – After The Laughter – Stax

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{I’m going to be taking a bit of a hiatus from the radio show for most of August as I attend to other matters, I’ll be leaving you in the capable hands of Steve Martin on August 4th and Morgan Rhodes on August 11th. August 18th there will be a fundraising special and I’ll be back with more vinyl on August 25th!!!}

Technology gremlins were in full force this Sunday, which is truly a shame because this was a dynamite show with dynamite soul. Oliver Wang and Ruben Molina were in the studio with me as we all played some “Eastside Soul” music. Oliver and I traded off on sets of 5 tunes each to start the show (though one of mine was chosen by my wife who like all true Angelenos is a true fan of this kind of music), and then we spent far too little time chatting with Ruben Molina. Molina is in many ways THE historian of this music, having published two books and being a founding member of the Southern Soul Spinners collective of DJs. I’ll highlight his mix (along with the list of tunes he played!) in a separate post but trust me, even with the turntables acting up, inputs on the board not doing what they’re supposed to do and not one but two power strip outages, this show is one for the ages and definitely one of my favorites ones since starting the show on KPFK. Enjoy this to the fullest!

Melting Pot on KPFK #136: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #136: Second Hour

Playlist: 7-28-2013
{opening theme} Boris Gardiner – Melting Pot – Is What’s Happening (Dynamic)

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Billy Stewart – I DO Love You – Billy Stewart Remembered (Chess)
Darondo – Didn’t I – 7” (Music City)
Black Ivory – Don’t Turn Around – Don’t Turn Around (Today)
Linda Jones – Hypnotized – 7” (Hot Groove)
The Webs – It’s So Hard To Break A Habit – 7” (Popside)

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The Diabolics – I Bet You Never Knew That I Followed You – 7” (Togetherness)
Soul Sensations – When I Had You Baby – 7” (Music City)
Ice Water Slim – Dream On, Dream On – 7” (Hawk Sound)
The Larks – I Want You Back – 7” (Nasco)
Sly, Slick & Wicked – Love Gonna Pack Up – 7” (Bad Boys)

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Ruben Molina – Interview and Guest DJ Set – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

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{closing theme} Mike & the Censations – Victim Of Circumstance Part 2 – Don’t Sell Your Soul (Luv’n’Haight)

foto © Chelsea Lauren

You got a taste when KING performed on Melting Pot, here’s your chance to see them at the Bootleg Theater this Friday, August 2nd! The band performed a very successful residency here in June, and they’ve returned once again, hopefully with even more new songs! Great chance to see one of the brightest rising stars in music courtesy of Melting Pot, make sure to send an e-mail to michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by Thursday at 5pm if you want a chance to win!!!

In the meantime, as we wait for their performance and their upcoming full-length, here is their latest song, “In The Meantime”:

And the song/video that kicked off one of our longest running musical crushes (for lots of people, for a band without a full-length release, KING’s fans are VERY devoted to the band, with music this good it’s easy to see why):

DeepestDigs4

4 Years in I hope you know the score, even if this is a few weeks late (better late than never, right?). Twenty of my favorite tracks from the past year on Melting Pot…Dig On It!

Melting Pot’s Deepest Digs Volume 4

1. Lee Hazlewood – For One Moment – The Very Special World Of Lee Hazlewood (MGM)
2. Perez Prado – Black Magnolia – El Fabuloso (Dimsa)
3. Wilson Simonal – Meia Volta – Wilson Simonal (Odeon)
4. Lebron Brothers – Dance, Dance, Dance – Brother (Cotique)
5. Latin Blues Band – I’ll Be A Happy Man – Take A Trip Pussycat (Speed)
6. La Clave – Latin Slide – La Clave (Verve)
7. Lyn Collins – We Want To Parrty, Parrty, Parrty – 7” (People)
8. Research 1-6-12 – Can You Baby – In Research (Flick City)
9. Danny Schloss – In A Dream – Dreams And Illusons (Verve Forecast)
10. Demon Fuzz – Another Country – Afreaka! (Janus)
11. Mount Rushmore – Toe Jam – ’69 (Dot)
12. Edip Akbayaram & Dolstar – Daglar Dagladi Beni – 7” (Sayan)
13. Dionne Warwick – You’re Gonna Need Me – Just Being Myself (WB)
14. The Heads – Digging Your Head – Heads Up (Liberty)
15. Erkin Korsay – Yagmur – 7” (Istanbul)
16. Gas Mask – If You Just Think Of Me – Their First Album (Tonsil)
17. Mind Garage – Recessional – Again! (RCA)
18. Becky and Sandy – I Wish We’d All Been Ready – I Know Where I’m Going (Mission)
19. Siren – Wake Up My Children – Siren (Elektra)
20. JJ Barnes – You Owe It To Yourself Parts 1 & 2 – Born Again (Perception)

Emotions

The Emotions – Blind Alley
The Emotions – Boss Love Maker
The Emotions – Take Me Back

A little while ago I was obsessively trying to get a solid copy of The Emotions “Blind Alley” on 45. Ever since I first found out this was the sample behind Big Daddy Kane’s “Ain’t No Half Steppin'” I’ve been in love with this track. I always promise myself to pick it up and never do. Well, as I was mentioning, earlier in the year I was tired of not having this in my collection. But I ran into unusually bad luck securing a copy. I’d run into it when I didn’t have any money, and it would be gone from stores when I did have the dough. I’d scope the “perfect” copy on Ebay and sniped or taken away just before the auction closed or I’d forget my phone. It was comical how many times I missed this 45.

At some point I realized that the song was also on a LP, and since I’m much more of an LP guy it made more since to go there. The copy I did secure actually cost less than most of the 45s, but it did come with a price, “Blind Alley” had probably the most surface noise of any track on the LP. So, I’ll likely “Mint-Up” on this one at some point, but it’s still nice to have. I wasn’t aware that Dale Warren (who produced one of my favorite projects of all-time 24-Carat Black) was involved on this particular production, but you hear his influence (as well as Isaac Hayes) on “Take It Back” and a few other tracks. Overall great sound from Muscle Shoals and eveyone else involved, Untouched is definitely worth a look.

Cheers,

Michael

Mantles

The Mantles – Bad Design

There are a handful of labels that I always trust because the music that they produce is always top-notch. When it comes to indie-rock and pop, Oakland’s Slumberland records might just be my current favorite. One of their most recent releases is from The Mantles, a garage pop group out of the Bay Area. There sound is an interesting one, because it’s not simply a revivalist take, but has a few elements of the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s. “Bad Design” is a good representative, of this sound, imminently poppy, with a little jangly guitar, subtle washes of organ and percussion mixed with a gritty style admist the sunshiney melodies. All in all, sure to get more than a few spins here in the Summer.

MatthewSweet

During the interview with Matthew Sweet we discussed what I believe to be the best song that he’s ever written, “Someone To Pull The Trigger.” Though he’s most associated with “Girlfriend,” which is a truly perfect pop song, “Trigger” still holds the top spot because of it’s utter uniqueness. Like so many of the songs Sweet has written, “Trigger” is a love song, but it’s a VERY unconventional one. If taken literally, this is a love song about a person who wants someone else to shoot them, to help them end it all, because they can’t do it on their own. As I remember quite a lot of critics took this song literally which gives it a much darker edge than perhaps the song deserves (despite Sweet’s admission in the interview that the song came from a “very dark place”).

It could just be the crazy, depressive, dark side of me speaking, but I find this to be a thoroughly romantic song. Love as assisted suicide is not generally the way we think of “romance,” but I think it remains apt for this song. This is clearly not a song about sweet, unproblematic, idealized love. No, this is a song about the realities of love for many of us, that love while it may lift us and gladden our hearts, does not always end well. When the person you love leaves you, it crushes us, destroys us and often leaves us for dead. But this song is not about the despair of heartbreak throughout your life. In fact it’s about the opposite. That’s why it seems like such a romantic song to me. This is a song about a person who has lost at love again and again and again and again, but they still haven’t given up. Consider how the song begins:

Well I’m loaded, ready, call me holdin’ steady,
Looking for a sign to show me when,
Now I’m waiting, willing, the clarity is chilling,
And I’m not turning back and neither can you

Here we have a person who is desperate to be loved and believe that they may have found “the right one,” but they cannot find it in themselves to take the first step. They need that other person to “pull the trigger” and take the lead.  When you consider the song like this it clarifies the chorus in particular ways:

I need someone to pull the trigger,
Is this hole in my heart getting bigger,
Everything I’ll ever be I’ve been,
And I need someone to pull the trigger,
So if you’re what I think you’ll be,
If you’re who I think I see,
Shoot

This person needs someone else to pull the trigger, they can’t do it themselves. They’ve been hurt by love so many times that they just can’t put themselves out there like that again. But they also realize that a life alone is no life at all. If they’re going to survive in this world, they need another person to give them a reason to live and a reason to make something of themselves. That “everything I’ll ever be I’ve been” line in particular seems to ground that point home. We often think we are capable of great things when we strike out on our own path. Some people do succeed, but many of us fail. Failure is tough when you’re in love, it’s absolutely devastating when you are alone. Once you’ve begun to fail, if you’re going to get better, be better, do better you need someone else to give you that push to be more than you’ve been. This is especially the case when you try and try and yet fail repeatedly. There’s nothing worse than the slow realization that you simply never had “it.” With a new love however, we can emerge stronger than before.  There remains that chance.

Which brings us to perhaps the best lines of the entire song:

So hold me and love me,
Tie me up and drug me,
‘Cause I’m not gonna beg you for my life

Again, this is a VERY desperate person. This is not a wide-eyed teenager full of idealized notions of romantic love. This is a person who has lived in the world and lost. They are at their wit’s end and are ready to give up. But they also want a love that is complete, total and even perhaps dominating over all aspects of their life. Here is a person completely and totally committed to the idea of giving over yourself to the person you love no matter the costs. No matter what you want to do with me, no matter what you do to me, just love me.

Now, I’m not saying the plea for co-dependence or the notion of love as suicide is a particularly healthy way of going about it, but it remains for me deeply romantic. What do you think…

Matthew Sweet – “Someone To Pull The Trigger” from Altered Beast (1993)

Well I’m loaded, ready, call me holdin’ steady,
Looking for a sign to show me when,
Now I’m waiting, willing, the clarity is chilling,
And I’m not turning back and neither can you

I need someone to pull the trigger,
Is this hole in my heart getting bigger,
Everything I’ll ever be I’ve been,
And I need someone to pull the trigger,
So if you’re what I think you’ll be,
If you’re who I think I see,
Shoot

So hold me and love me,
Tie me up and drug me,
‘Cause I’m not gonna beg you for my life

I need someone to pull the trigger,
Is this hole in my heart getting bigger,
Everything I’ll ever be I’ve been,
And I need someone to pull the trigger,
If you’re what I think you’ll be,
If you’re who I think I see,
Shoot (4X)

Matthew Sweet (6)

This year has really been good to me. Here’s another interview from an artist who had a major impact on my youth and influenced how how I hear music and pushed me to discover a variety of artists that I wouldn’t have sought out if not for the work they did with him. Matthew Sweet ‘s Girlfriend came out when I was 16 and a Junior in High School, Altered Beast was released just as I graduated and was about to enroll at GSU. I’ve worn out CDs and cassette copies of both of these records over the past 20 years, they’ve been required listening on road trips all over the country and been the soundtracks for new love and heartbreaks alike. These records also led me to other cherished groups that included the featured gutarists Robert Quine, Richard Lloyd and Ivan Julian, such as Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Television and John Zorn, as well as cementing my great love of harmony and in the process opened up my musical tastes in ways I’m not sure I even fully grasp.

I’d tried valiantly to bring Matthew Sweet into our studios in 2011 when his breakthrough album Girlfriend was celebrating it’s 20th anniversary. With another anniversary for the equally fantastic album Altered Beast slated for 2013, I reached out to his people and this time the stars aligned and we were able to set things up. Matthew performed four songs acoustically, two each from these classic albums (“I’ve Been Waiting” and “Winona” from Girlfriend plus “Ugly Truth” and “Time Capsule” from Altered Beast), along with his friend Paul Chastain on harmony vocals. From almost two hours chatting together about his career we have these two hour-long interviews, filled with music and stories from both albums with part one primarily focused on Girlfriend and part two focused on Altered Beast (this is the uncensored version that includes a few words I had to clean up for broadcast because of those sensitive ears over at the FCC). I hope you enjoy hearing this as much as I enjoyed putting it together, this was truly one of the highlights of my entire radio career. Big thanks to Joe Stahl and Rebecca Cayce for setting things up, Stan Misraje for his sound engineering and most of all to Matthew Sweet for his candor and generosity in sharing his time and all of his music with us.

Matthew Sweet on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 07-10-2013 Part 1
Matthew Sweet on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 07-10-2013 Part 2

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Despite the fact that it’s been almost 18 years since she left this world, just about the entire time I’ve spent in radio, there have been very few times where I’ve hosted a show on my mother’s birthday, which was this Sunday. As such, I paid tribute to her playing a song from Otis Redding, a favored artist of her’s and mine (all because of her). “That’s How Strong My Love Is” is meant to be a romantic soul ballad, but it’s striking how much the lyrics of the song fit with a mother’s love. We go in a variety of places from there in the first hour, including tunes from Soundsci (sampling Mike James Kirkland), KING, Adam Franklin, Rhye, The Heavy, Bosq, Adrian Younge and Alpha. In the second hour we continue our interview with Matthew Sweet, this week focusing more on his follow-up to 1991’s Girlfriend, 1993’s Altered Beast (separate post to follow featuring both parts of the interview). Next week we’ll have another guest, perhaps two, for our end of the month all vinyl show, Ruben Molina of the Southern Soul Spinners and as you might guess, we’ll be all focused on that East Side sound.

Melting Pot on KPFK #135: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #135: Second Hour

Playlist: 7-21-2013
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Otis Redding – That’s How Strong My Love Is – The Definitive Otis Redding (Rhino)
The Soul Superiors – Faith – Good God: Apocryphal Hymns (Numero)
T. Hardy Morris – HardStuff – Audition Tapes (Dangerbird)
Adam Franklin & Bolts Of Melody – When I Love You (I Love You All The While) – Black Horses (Goodnight Records)
Gaslamp Killer – Nissim – Breakthrough (Branfeeder)

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King – The Story – The Story EP (Self-Released)
Alpha – Firefly – Come From Heaven (Melankolic)
Los Girls – Somewhere – Los Girls EP (Plug Research)
Rhye – Verse – Woman (Innovative Leisure)
Adrian Younge and Venice Dawn – Reverie – Something About April (Wax Poetics)

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The Heavy – Blood, Dirt, Love, Stop – The Glorious Dead (Counter)
Soundsci – Understand The Message – Soundsational (Ubiquity)
Danny Schloss – In A Dream – Dreams And Illusions (Verve Forecast)
The Latinaires – Camel Walk – Camel Walk (Fania)
Boogaloo Assassins – No No No – Old Love Dies Hard (Sicario)
Bosq – Get Involved – Bosq y Orquesta De La Madera (Ubiquity)

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Matthew Sweet – Interview and Performance Part 2 – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

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

Latinaires

The Latinaires – Camel Walk
The Latinaires – Guajira
The Latinaires – Creation

Had a lot going on over here, which is why I’ve been so delinquent with the anniversary mix (promise it’ll be up next week). But in the meantime, time marches on and so here’s a truly top shelf Latin record for your listening pleasure. Being on the west coast since the last century has meant that it’s really rare that I run into choice Latin albums when I’m out and about. Most of the Latin sounds I love, especially the late 60s Boogaloo and Latin Soul were based out of NYC and most of those records are more easily found out there. For whatever reason though 2013 has been good to me. After never running into a single gold label Fania record, I ran into two in the span of a couple of months, Ray Barretto’s Acid over at Gimme Gimme Records in Highland Park and this gem at the PCC Swap Meet. Gold label Fania records are a bit rare, sometimes they can run between $100-$200 a piece, I was lucky to get them both for less than that. I’d originally even thought about about flipping them since they are so rare, but all it took was one drop of the needle to know this record wasn’t going anywhere.

The Latinaires were a group out of the Bronx (that I’d originally confused with Little Joe & the Latinaires, who are a totally different group from Tejas), with a real distinctive sound. Unlike a host of other Latin bands of the time and later on, their horn section consisted of nothing but reeds, no trumpets and no trombones, soon to be staples of the Salsa sound. On “Camel Walk” there’s also the addition of some almost psychedelic organ playing that doesn’t sound like anything else from this period. With all of the talent on display here (and I’m sure also on their second record release a couple years later on Cotique) it’s a shame this group didn’t record much mroe than they did. But that’s a shame shared by many out of this period of time. We should just be thankful that they made music at a period of time where labels like Fania were interested in being the voice of a community documenting what we now recognize as a monumental change. I’m just thankful I ran into this one and that I can share it with you.

Cheers,

Michael

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