Classic Melting Pot

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Despite being born in the Summer, I’m a big fan of Autumn, especially in California. A major part of it is simply that it stops being so damn hot my records melt to being cool and comfortable. Sunday was the first day of Autumn and here in LA it was just about a perfect day. As has become our tradition, I began the show off with Lee Hazlewood’s “My Autumn’s Done Come,” a personal favorite and something that perfectly encapsulates the season and the feeling of being in the Autumn of your life (I’m not quite there yet, but as I get ready to celebrate 20 years since I started in radio and as a DJ, I FEEL like I am!). Alpha’s sample of Hazlewood, “Somewhere Not Here” follows that track and things take off from there with new tunes from the Julie Ruin, Valerie June, Fat Night, Jessy Lanza, King Khan, Superhuman Happiness featuring Sahr Ngaujah and classics from Sly & the Family Stone, Erasmo Carlos, Tammy Wynette and more. The second hour features a whole set featuring artists from the upcoming Way Over Yonder Fest (expect a giveaway here for it next week) and the show features a few tickets that I likely would be giving away in coming weeks, but there’s some special programming planned for the next two shows, in a couple of weeks (fingers crossed) we’ll have an interview and Guest DJ session with Robin Hannibal and next week I’ll be celebrating 20 years in radio and as a DJ, though to be quite honest I still haven’t figured out how I’ll be doing that. Tune in next Sunday and we’ll find out together. Until then, enjoy the show.

Melting Pot on KPFK #140: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #140: Second Hour

Playlist: 09-22-2013
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

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Lee Hazlewood – My Autumn’s Done Come – The Very Special World Of Lee Hazlewood (MGM)
Alpha – Somewhere Not Here – Come From Heaven (Melankolic)
Erasmo Carlos – Minha Gente – Sonhos E Memorias 1942-1972 (Polydor)

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Mazzy Star – I’ve Gotta Stop – Seasons Of Your Day (Rhymes Of An Hour)
Kenny Baker – Lonesome Moonlight Waltz – Plays Bill Monroe (County)
Cass McCombs – Name Written In Water – Big Wheel (Domino)
King Khan & the Shrines – Darkness – Idle No More (Merge)

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The Julie Ruin – Ha Ha Ha – Run Fast (Dischord)
The Crystal Stilts – Star Crawl – Nature Noir (Sacred Bones)
Haitus Kaiyote – Mobius Streak – Tawk Tomahawk (Flying Buddha)
Jessy Lanza – Kathy Lee – Pull My Hair Back (Hyperdub)

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Superhuman Happiness feat. Sahr Ngaujah, Abena Koomson + Rubblebucket – International Thief Thief (ITT) – Red, Hot & Fela (Knitting Factory)
National Wake – Mercenaries – Walk In Africa 1979-1981 (Light In The Attic)
Tammy Wynette – Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad – Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad (Epic)
Fat Night – Tight Knot – Fat Night (Self-Released)
Master Plan Inc. – Try It, You’ll Like It – Master Plan Inc. (Jazzman)

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Neko Case – City Swans – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You (Anti)
Calexico – Two Silver Trees – Carried To Dust (Quarterstick)
Thao & the Get Down Stay Down – Geography – We Brave Bee Stings And All (Kill Rock Stars)
Conor Oberst – Get-Well-Cards – Conor Oberst (Merge)
Justin Townes Earle – Look The Other Way – Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now (Bloodshot)

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Valerie June – Working Woman Blues – Pushin’ Against A Stone (Concord)
Nina Simone – See Line Woman – Best Of Nina Simone (Philips)
The Poets Of Rhythm – The Donkey – Anthology 1992-2003 (Daptone)
Sly & the Family Stone – Thank You For Talking To Me Africa – There’s A Riot Going On (Gold Reissue) (Get On Down)

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

LatTeens

The Lat-Teens – Smoke Shop
The Lat-Teens – Buena Gente
The Lat-Teens – Soulful Thing

I’ll admit that I haven’t found too much on the Lat-Teens. I know they had a “hit” with their first single “Mary-Wanna,” which must have endeared them to the Hippies. I wonder if group member Carlos Papon is at all related to Jorge “Popmaster” Fabel Papon of the legendary Rock Steady Crew, I know Popmaster grew up in Spanish Harlem which was the epicenter of all things boogaloo in the 1960s. “Smoke Shop” is clearly a follow-up to “Mary-Wanna,” “Buena Gente,” a track I imagine was inspired by their parents after they found out that their first hit was a song about Marijuana, starts off real upbeat and then settles into a nice boogaloo beat. “Soulful Thing” could have been titled “Fly Girl” which kind of trips me out, because I didn’t realize that referring to someone as “Fly” went all the way back to the 1960s, I thought that was a 1980s Hip-Hop thing, but clearly not. Again and again what I really dig about this album is the added element of the electric guitar. Even when it is included in latin groups, it’s often pushed into the back of the mix. Here it’s pushed more upfront and has a little bit of grit and fuzz to it, that makes everything all extra groovy.

Cheers,

Michael

ValJune2

I couldn’t prouder of the fact that KPFK and Amoeba Records are presenting Valerie June’s performance at the Bootleg Theater this Friday, September 20th. Along for the ride will be actor/musician John C. Reilly with his friends Becky Stark and Tom Brousseau and yours truly will be providing the soundtrack for the evening at the start and in between sets. Over the last year, June has been causing quite a fuss and seems poised for potential stardom. The show at the Bootleg sold out when it was initially scheduled for the “Bar,” and then sold out when it got moved over to the larger “Theater” but you still have a chance to get to see her here in LA, just make sure to e-mail me before 3pm Thursday, September 19th if you want a chance to win the tickets!

Here’s a taste of potentially what to expect, from a recent concert for World Cafe featuring June performing by herself with a whole bunch of guitars:

ValJune

Valerie June – Shotgun

2013 has really been a pretty fantastic year for music, especially for those of us who tend towards the soulful. Hailing from right around where my people come from in West Tennessee, Valerie June has made a welcome addition to an already packed year of great music. Her album (essentially her third or fourth release under her own name, but her first for a proper label, thus the reason everyone seems to think this is her debut, not to mention her time in the group Bella Sun), Pushin’ Against A Stone separates itself from a field of other “retro” styled artists in it’s complexity and diversity. Stone could just focus on the blues, or just focus on soul, or just focus on folksy roots music, but instead she’s put it all together in a fairly stunning manner, with a little help from Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. “Working Woman Blues,” and “Can’t Be Told” are strong singles, but to me the most exceptional song on the album is “Shotgun.” It’s remarkable simply because it’s so rare to hear a murder ballad where the woman is not only the narrator but also not the victim. It’s sung in a way that you could almost be forgiven for not recognizing that she kills this man with a saw-off shotgun at the end, but that’s a testament to her talents as a singer and songwriter. Recently she did an interview with NPR and said this about how the song came to her:

“I was seeing this field, this prairie in the middle of America, I guess. The wheat was over-my-head high, almost, and it was blowing back and forth. And there was this old house with white vinyl siding — almost falling off, like a haunted house — and a screen door, and it was flapping in the wind. There’s a song [the blues standard ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’] that goes, ‘Baby, please don’t go / Don’t go down to New Orleans.’ Well, this woman, she was like, ‘No, don’t go! Don’t leave me! Don’t go down to New Orleans!’ And the man had other ideas for what he wanted to do. So she decided that she was upset about it, and she wanted to get her sawed-off shotgun and do something with the relationship that was gonna make him hers forever.”

Hopefully we’ll get much more to come from Ms. June, and you should count yourself very lucky indeed if you get to see her perform in person (which there are a few chances to do so here in LA this week, including a free show at Amoeba on Thursday and her sold-out performance (which KPFK is presenting) at the Bootleg Theater on Friday, with yours truly spinning tunes between the sets.

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Still working off some of the rust from being off the air for a month, mostly in the preparation and behind the scenes stuff for the show. Generally, because of the lack of a library at KPFK, I like to have my shows completely planned out and ready to go well before I arrive at the station. Much of this Sunday’s show came together at almost the absolute last possible moment, about 20 minutes INTO the show. I’m still not entirely sure how it even all came together, so the fact that there were a few bugs is perhaps not surprising. I knew where I would start the show, with one of the most iconic and beautiful memorials committed to song I’ve ever heard, John Coltrane’s “Alabama,” played in honor of 4 little girls killed 50 years ago in a church bombing that served as one of our country’s lowest moments and likely led to some of our country’s greatest moments. While MLK’s “Dream” speech is revered, this event might have had a more significant impact in changing public opinion. From there we move to happier considerations, particularly the multitude of incredible shows that are going on in LA all this week. If you didn’t win tickets on-air, make sure to keep checking here, since I’ll have a few more to giveaway. Until then, and until next week, enjoy the show.

Melting Pot on KPFK #139: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #139: Second Hour

Playlist: 09-15-13
Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)
John Coltrane – Alabama – The Best Of John Coltrane: His Greatest Years (Impulse)
Sly & the Family Stone – I Remember – Higher (Legacy)
Chicano Batman – Amor Verde – Magma EP (Self-Released)
Roky Erickson – Realize You’re Mine – Don’t Slander Me (Light In The Attic)

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The Julie Ruin – Just My Kind – Run Fast (Dischord)
La Sera – Never Come Around – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
Fat Night – Sometimes – Fat Night (Self-Released)
Poets Of Rhythm – Smilin’ Why You’re Cryin’ – Athnology (Daptone)
Blu & Exile – The Only One feat. Jimetta Rose – Give Me Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them (Fat Beats)

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Boogaloo Assassins – Mi Jeva – Old Love Dies Hard (Sicario Records)
Horace Silver feat. Andy Bey – Old Mother Nature Calls – Total Response (Blue Note)
Kwes – 36 – Single (Warp)
Darkside – Golden Arrow – Single (Other People)

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Lee Fields & the Expressions – The Only One Loving You – My World (Truth & Soul)
Aloe Blacc – You Make Me Smile – Good Things (Stones Throw)
Jose James – Come To My Door – No Beginning, No End (Blue Note)

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Laura Mvula – She Robin Hannibal Remix – Sing To The Moon (Self-Released)
King – Hey – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
Lake – Takin’ My Time – The World Is Real (K Records)
Bobby – Taming Of The Shrew – Single (Quieres Chicle)
Ikebe Shakedown – Tujunga (Brennan Green’s Disco Acido Stripped) – Tujunga Remixes (Ubiquity)

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Valerie June – Pushin’ Against A Stone – Pushin’ Against A Stone (Concord)
Becky & John – I’ll Be There If You Ever Want – 7″ (Third Man Records)
The Louvin Bros. – I See A Bridge – Great Gospel Singing Of The Louvin Brothers (Capitol)
Jorge Negrete – Mexico Lindo y Querido – Fiesta Mexicana (Arcana)

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Dungen – C. Visar Vagen – Tio Batar

CliftonChenier

Clifton Chenier – Bon Ton Roulet
Clifton Chenier – Keep On Scratching
Clifton Chenier – Jole Blonde

This coming Friday I’ll have the honor of spinning music at the Valerie June concert here in LA. Currently I’m in the process of figuring out what music to bring, how I want to set the mood and handle transitions from the classic country sounds of John C. Reilly & friends to Valerie June’s mosaic of American roots with soul. For whatever reason Clifton Chenier’s “Bon Ton Roulet” popped into my mind. The song is a cajunized version of “Let The Good Times Roll” and is something that I used to play back in Atlanta on Album 88’s blues show Crossroads. Even though I wasn’t even sure I’d find a way to play the track in my mix, I realized pretty quickly how much I missed it in my collection. I considered buying a copy of off Ebay, but there was always the chance that it wouldn’t arrive on time, so I tucked it back into my mental wish list. Turns out, the album was just waiting for me to pick it up, sittin’ pretty in the Cajun section over at Atomic in Burbank.

I’d forgotten just how enjoyable a sound Chenier had at this point, 1966, already well into his career and a legend on the rise in Louisiana, but a recent discovery for much of the rest of the country. The music certainly holds a lot of traditional elements, mixed up (as you’d expect) with a whole lot of other things, a true gumbo of musicality. In addition to “Bon Ton Roulet,” the album features a version of “Jole Blon” here titled “Jole Blonde” (which if I’m being completely honest is still my second favorite version of this, with my favorite remaining Buckwheat Zydeco’s featured in the closing credits of the film the Big Easy, likely the catalyst for much of my appreciation of music from out of Louisiana) and what is essentially the instrumental of “Keep On Scratching.” “Scratching” misses something without that Grandma Gee Gee rap that Cut Chemist and Shadow immortalized on Brain Freeze, but it’s still mighty groovy, as is the whole album. It might not magically appear in a record store near you, exactly when you need and want it, but it’s definitely worth looking out for.

Cheers,

Michael

KhanIdle

King Khan & the Shrines – Pray For Lil

It’s been far too long since we’ve had new music from King Khan & the Shrines. Though the King has been busy with a multitude of projects, this marks the first proper new release from the group since 2007. Given that long period of time, some changes might be expected. The group’s sound is not quite as wild as it was in the early years, nor are the antics of frontman Khan. Idle No More presents a more refined, more settled and controlled sound from the group. it might not endear itself immediately to long time fans, but repeated listens ought to allow even them to warm up to the new King Khan. “Pray For Lil” gives a taste of that new sound, a track that I believe is dedicated to King Khan’s wife (though I don’t know who sings along with Khan on the track, such is dilemma of being a DJ/Music writer in the digital age, we rarely get full notes anymore).

While the sound is a bit more refined from King Khan and the Shrines, they’re clearly still a right powerful band when they perform, which hopefully one day will be on KPFK:

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Getting back into the swing of things has been difficult of late. My rhythms are all off from being away and then coming back just as the semester starts. Gremlins took advantage of these feelings on a couple of times, particularly on the recording of the show. Part of the first hour sounds like it was recorded in a closet, but about 40 minutes in, eveyrthing clears up (thankfully just in time for Can’s “Hallelulwhah”!). Next week in addition to the music, we have a ton of giveaways, so be sure to tune in!

Melting Pot on KPFK #138: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #138: Second Hour

Playlist: 09-08-2013
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Maceo & All The King’s Men – Don’t Waste The World Away – Doin’ Their Own Thing (House Of The Fox)
The Poets Of Rhythm – Path Of Life – The Anthology: 1992- 2003 (Daptone)
Dungen – Soda – Skit I Allt (Kemado)
Los Diablos Rojos – Olga – Al Rojo Vivo (Ifesa)

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Boogaloo Assassins – Magic Rose – Old Love Dies Hard (Sicario Records)
The Pepper Pots – Dream Guy – Now! (Black Pepper)
Chicano Batman – Magma – Magma EP (Self-released)
Aloe Blacc – Take Me Back – Good Things (Stones Throw)

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King Khan & the Shrines – I Got Made – Idle No More (Merge)
Can – Halleluhwah – Tago Mago (UA)

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Natalia Clavier – El Tren – Lumen (Nacional)
Kraak & Smaak feat. Carmel – Why Do People Fall? – That’s Our Word EP (Jalapeno)
Moonchild – Mmm (The Heaven) – Be Free (Self-Released)
Jose James – Vanguard – No Beginning, No End (Blue Note)
Terence Blanchard – Pet Step Sitter’s Theme Song ( Magnetic)

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Ashley Eriksson – Sunset – Colours
Valerie June – Shotgun -Pushing Against A Stone (Concord)
Magic Sam -My Love Will Never Die – West Side Soul (Delmark)
Hope Sandoval & the Warm Intentions – Clear Day – Bavarian Fruit Bread (Santctuary)

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Fat Night – Things You Do – 7” (Colemine)
Hiatus Kaiyote – The World It Softly Lulls – Tawk Tomahawk (Flying Buddah)
Bosq feat. Mendee Ichikama – Never Feel Cold – Bosq Y Orquesta de Madera (Ubiquity)
Grey boy feat. Bart Davenport – To Know You Is To Love You – Soul Mosaic (Ubiquity)

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

DiablosRojos

Los Diablos Rojos – El Chacarero
Los Diablos Rojos – Romance En La Serrania
Los Diablos Rojos – Olga

After three years on KPFK, one of the most memorable moments remains the guest DJ session from DJ Lengua in 2011. Again and again and again Lengua dropped the needle on absolute Latin perfection for the set (if you haven’t heard it yet, what are you waiting for! Click here). Cumbia is a style that I’ve rarely bought records, though I love the sound. Part of the difficultly is that the best of the “classic” sounds are from Peru, Colombia and Venezuela and the records largely stay over there. Every now and again one of the records that Lengua played does end up on Ebay and the vinyl gods smiled on me when I snatched this one up earlier in the year.

I don’t know much about Los Diablos Rojos, I’m not sure when this record was released, though it appears there might be multiple versions of this one (or multiple “Diablos,” which is also possible). I loved the sound of “El Chacarero” when Lengua started his set off with it, but had no idea how the rest of the LP would sound. Turns out it sounds pretty damn good, with many more instrumentals than vocals, which is always a good thing in my book with Latin LPs from this era. Now that I’ve tracked this one down, on to the next one, at least until Lengua releases new music or new mixes and starts up more obsessions.

Cheers,

Michael

FatNight

Fat Night – Things You Do

Being away from the work you do for a long period of time is always an interesting experience. In my case being away from my radio show meant that I was basically able to just focus on listening to music for purely personal reasons and personal attachments for a solid month. While I bought quite a bit of vinyl, I wasn’t even really thinking about “this would sound great on Melting Pot” or “I need to feature this in a post.” Strangely I feel that this month off from my musical pursuits allowed me to hear things differently, in a literal way. I feel like everything I listen to sounds different, with certain things sounding even better than I remember them. One my newer discoveries, and a track to my ears just sounds absolutely fantastic is this 45 from a Florida based funk outfit by the name of Fat Night. Though this single has been out for the better part of the year, I only heard it on the recommendation of Cool Chris at Groove Merchant. After living in LA for now a full 6 years, I generally only make it up to Frisco once a year, but the pilgrimage is always worth it. This particular time around I actually had a hard time chosen records, things just didn’t sound right to me. After a couple of misses, Chris suggested that I listen to this 45 and the feeling I got from it was almost immediate and very strong. While the music is fantastic, slow, funky and sultry like a hot Florida summer night, it’s the softness in the vocals that keeps me coming back to this song. Deeply soulful without sounding like what you’d expect “soul music” to sound like. Once I finally got the record home I must have listened to it 15 or 20 times in a row, such was the hold it had on me. Now, I pass that obsession onto you…

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