Classic Melting Pot

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{Sorry folks to have gone MIA yet again, this time it’s mostly due to the end of the semester, I’ll be back full force later this week!}

Everything was a bit more whirlwind-y than it has been lately, with Donald Sterling’s racist comments providing the backdrop to a fantastic victory from my favorite NBA team, the Oakland Warriors, and FC Barcelona coming back in thrilling fashion the day after learning of the death of their former coach, the brilliant Tito Vilanova. Both of these set the tone for this all-vinyl show, beginning with a tribute to Tito, “Els Segadors” is the national anthem of Catalunya and it seemed an appropriate tribute to him. The last set closes with “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which I appropriate into a protest song and re-title “Ain’t No Sunshine [Until Donald Sterling is Gone]. An opportunity I missed was a chance to talk about the amazing response to racist taunting during the Barcelona game from Dani Alves, especially since I closed the show on “The Monkey Thing” from Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Sonny Boy Williamson (a collaboration that still completely blows my mind). With these shows I never plan anything except the first song, so it’s always incredible the kind of connections that do come out. Got a lot of calls on this show, seems quite a few dug the mix. Hopefully that’s a good sign for our fundraising that will begin next week. If you dig the show, and can support us, please do, if not not, thanks for the support with your ears, your hearts and your minds…enjoy the sounds!

Melting Pot on KPFK #162: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #162: Second Hour

Playlist: 04-27-2014
{opening theme} Boris Gardiner – Melting Pot – Is What’s Happening (Dynamic)

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Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra – Els Sagadors – Ballad Of The Fallen (ECM)
Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayorquino – Cuba Linda – Concepts In Unity (Salsoul)
Cymande – Getting It Back – Cymande (Janus)

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Lenny White – Sweet Dreamer – Big City (Nemporer)
Weldon Irvine – Music Is The Key – Sinbad (RCA)
Tim Maia – Musica No Ar – Tim Maia (1973) (Polydor)
Rotary Connection – I Must Be There – Aladdin (Cadet Concept)

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The 4th Coming – The Dead Don’t Die Alive – 7” (Alpha)
David Axelrod – The Fly – Songs Of Experience (Capitol)
Dr. John – Black John The Conqueror – The Sun, Moon & The Herbs (ATCO)

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Max Parker – Si Me Quieres Escribir – Al Tocar Diana (Folkways)
King Crimson – Trio – Starless and Bible Black (Atlantic)
Nelson Angelo e Joyce – Hotel Universal – Nelson Angelo e Joyce (EMI)
Johnny Hodges – I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good – Memories Of Ellignton (Norgran)
Freddie Hubbard – Coral Keys – The Black Angel (Atlantic)

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Lyn Collins – Mama Feelgood – Black Caesar: OST (Polydor)
Miles Davis – Black Satin – On The Corner (Columbia)
Pacho Alonso – El Upa Upa Del Chambelon – Pacho Alonso (Arieto)
Rufus Harley – Malika – Evolution (Luv’n’Haight)

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Harlem Underground Band – Ain’t No Sunshine [Til Donald Sterling Is Gone] – Harlem Underground (Paul WInley)
Barry Goldberg – I Think I’m Gonna Cry – Reunion (Buddah)
Rahsaan Roland Kirk feat. Sonny Boy Williamson – The Monkey Thing – Kirk In Copenhagen (Mercury)

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

LennyWhite

Lenny White – Sweet Dreamer
Lenny White – Enchanted Pool (Excerpt)
Lenny White – Big City

There are many things that I appreciate about being a child of the 1970s, coming of age during the Golden Era of Hip-Hop. It’s given me a perspective on life, music and politics that I appreciate more and more. But, I have to admit, one of the things that is nice about this digital age is that when you obsess about a certain sample, nine times out of ten, you can figure it out in seconds just by doing a search on the internets. Yes, for someone who became a DJ and a collector prior to the internet even publicly existing, there is a part of me that feels a little “lazy” doing this. In the past, this kind of cultural capital was something you discovered through your talents as a collector, or learned by virtue of your connections to other DJs who had that knowledge.

But when I hear a track like Madlib & Freddie Gibbs’ “Robes,” that just completely bowls me over with it’s stunning beauty, I don’t much care about principles, I just need to find out what that sample is so that I can sleep at night. Marveling at the instrumental version of “Robes” last week on my show, led to one of those searches and fairly quickly to this album from Lenny White featuring the song “Sweer Dreamer.” A short trip to Amoeba and just like that, the album was mine.

Virtually the entirety of “Robes” is built off of “Dremaer,” but it’s a fascinating display of what makes Madlib one of the most talented and idiosyncratic producers of all-time. Instead of a simple, conventional loop, which surely would have been nice enough, Madlib reimagines the song, cuts pieces from a variety of places moves things up, moves things back, allows some parts to play longer, and the use of the vocal samples retains some of the original’s feeling, while altering it enough to give the song a different emphasis.

Because of my own prejudices around music produced after 1975, I likely never would have picked this one up. There’s just so little “fusion” music that I find interesting or even listenable. This entire album isn’t necessarily an exception, but the strong moments here are REALLY strong moments. A look at the notes on the back makes clear why, because the players on this record are outrageous. “Sweet Dreamer” features lyrics by Weldon Irvine (Linda Tillery provides the silky smooth vocals of Irvine’s lyrics), piano from Herbie Hancock, Paul Jackson from the Headhunters on bass. “Big City” features the Tower Of Power horn section AND Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express. Elsewhere Neal Schon of Santana, Jan Hammer, Miroslave Vitous, Bennie Maupin, and Verdine White of Earth Wind and Fire (playing was is credited as “Very funky bass”) also make appearances.

“Sweet Dreamer” has been part of a running theme in changes to how I listen to and evaluate music. Without Madlib sampling this would have never been on my radar. You’d think at this age and with all the genres I listen to I wouldn’t still be so stubborn with some of my tastes. But as I’ve been told a fair amount, I am a very stubborn man. I doubt that’s really ever going to change, but “Sweet Dreamer” gives me a great reason to take even more chances than I generally do with sounds I don’t generally mess around with.

Cheers,

Michael

Conka

Karol Conka – Gandaia

I like to think of myself as a guy who is on top of things musically, but again and again these days I’m proven soooooo wrong. The latest thing that I could have been listening to years ago but only recently discovered is the incredible sounds of Karol Conka. Conka has been recording music since at least 2011 and all this time I could have been grooving out to it and playing for y’all. Of all the rap artists I’ve heard out of Brazil, Conka has the best combination of skill, style and swagger. The music, primarily produced by friend Nave Beatz, expertly mixes Brazilian samples and rhythms with big time bass that could (and likely will as soon as more American rappers and producers hear this record) easily find it’s way onto dance floors of Hip-Hop clubs throughout this country. Batuk Freak took about four years for Conka to complete and it’s been well worth the wait. This is BY FAR the best thing I’ve heard all year and a sure shot selection for my year end list of the best of 2014.

Added bonus, here’s the video for “Boa Noite” the song that started it all:

Bart Davenport Performs at KPFK!

Bart Davenport Performs at KPFK!

Mr. Bart Davenport was our guest this past Friday at KPFK and it really was one of my favorite interviews I’ve had at the station. Though this is the first time we’ve actually met, Bart and I have crossed paths a number of times over the past 20 years. I first became a fan of him, without knowing it was him, when I heard “Wishy Washy Woman” from one of his earlier groups The Loved Ones. When I moved to the Bay Area in 1999, I became friends with several DJs and musicians because of my time at KALX, including a couple who were close friends of Bart, Kitty English and Sean Sullivan. Somehow though, through all those years, Bart and I were never formally introduced until this past week. Over that time, Davenport has released music with several groups, The Loved Ones, The Kinetics, Honeycut and Incarnations, as well as releasing a half dozen solo releases, with Physical World being his most recent one. Davenport performs four songs acoustically, three from his most recent record, “Dust In The Circuits,” “Wearing The Changes” and “Every Little Step,” as well as a cover of Prefab Sprout’s “Lions In My Own Garden.” During the interview we talk about a variety of things including Davenport’s songwriting sensibilities, how moving from the Bay Area to LA has affected his music, and some of the themes and stories behind the new album Physical World, particularly my favorite song on there and an early candidate for “song of the year,” his anthemic “Fuck Fame.” Davenport and his cohorts are currently touring Europe, but will be stateside in the summer and you shouldn’t be surprised if he makes a return visit back to the station with the full group or to play some records in the near future.

Bart Davenport on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 04-18-2014

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I know many of you thought I must have given up posting on this blog for Lent, but naw…I’ve just been exceptionally busy with personal matters that I think have more or less stabilized and (hopefully) should allow me to get back into my usual rhythm and you can get used to music being available here on a regular weekly basis. Spending most of the day getting things back on track and so there’s gonna be a mountain of new posts up tonight! Yesterday’s show was a special affair, with a double holiday, one very conventional and traditional, the other the opposite of both of those, with Easter and 4/20. I am a catholic, but as to the other “holiday,” I don’t partake, but appreciate the fact that clearly many of my listeners do, so we start with a couple of songs that bridge the two holidays together. From there we have a little bit of new music in the first hour, from Karol Conka, Debruit & Alsarah, instrumental Madlib, Peppered throughout are a few songs that feature Bart Davenport, who is our guest during the whole second hour (separate post up momentarily), performing a few songs and talking about his career and his most recent record Physical World. We haven’t had a lot of interviews this year, but I’m hoping that this one will change our lucky and the second half of 2014 will have more than a few guests. Thanks for hanging in there with me, enjoy the tunes, next week we’re all on vinyl.

Melting Pot on KPFK #161: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #161: Second Hour

Playlist: 04-20-2014

{opening theme} Booker T & The Mgs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

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US Apple Corps – Get High On Jesus – Let The Music Take Your Mind (Plantation/SSS)
Ada Richards – I’m Drunk & I’m Real High – Good God!: Born Again Funk (Numero)
Tower Of Power – Social Lubrication – East Bay Grease (San Francisco)
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Karol Conka – Caxambu – Batukfreak (Mr. Bongo)
BadBadNotGood – CS60 – III (Innovative Leisure)
Madlib – Robes (Instrumental) – Pinata (Instrumentals) (Madlib Invazion)
Incarnations feat. Bart Davenport – I Didn’t Know – With All Due Respect (Lovemonk)
Bobby Wade – Can’t You Hear Me Calling – Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label (Numero)

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Debruit & Alsarah – Alrahal – Aljawal (Soundway)
Greyboy Allstars feat. Bart Davenport – To Know You Is To Love You (Ubiquity)
Asha Bholse & Chorus – Koi Lutera – Bollywood Disco (Cultures Of Soul)
Fania All-Stars feat. Cheo Feliciano – Anacaona – Our Latin Thing/Nuestra Cosa: 40th anniversary edition (Fania)

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Bart Davenport – A Young One – Palaces (Antenna Farm)
Bart Davenport – Interview & Performance – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
Bart Davenport – Fuck Fame – Physical World (Lovemonk/Burger)

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

Silvinha – Banho De Sorvete
Silvinha – Professor Particular
Silvinha – A Mais Linda Flor

To be perfectly honest, I’ve thought about selling this Silvinha record half a dozen times.
Every time I listen to “Banho De Sorvete” though I immediately decide against it. On paper, this album should be amazing. Silvinha has a kind of natural “bad girl” vibe to her singing that often gives it lots of spunk and with rock backing and the fuzzy guitars of Lanny Gordin (best known for his work with Gal Costa) you’d think it was a can’t miss proposition. Unfortunately most of the record is pretty run of the mill 1960s international rock sounds. “Banho De Sorvete” is a monster track though, extra fuzzy Brazilian Ye-Ye. I still hope that the song ends up on a 45, though I haven’t seen it and doubt that the same people who chose the majority of these songs would recognize just how amazing “Banho” actually is. Oh well, maybe I shouldn’t be so greedy.

Cheers,

Michael

StantonD

Stanton Davis and the Ghetto Mysticism Band – Delta Six/Brighter Days

This was one of the releases that Deano Soundz, owner of Cultures Of Soul Records, previewed for us during his guest stint on my show last November. Back then it was still a rough master,but not it’s been completely remastered and it sounds absolutely amazing. Isis Voyage represents unreleased tracks that build on the legacy of one of the best named outfits in history, Stanton Davis & the Ghetto Mysticism Band. Well worth tracking down for the serious universal rhythms and spiritual vibes, of which “Delta 6/Brighter Days” is only the beginning.

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Been doing these shows a bit more loosey goosey of late, as is evidenced from the pace of posts on the blog, I’ve been preoccupied with many many other things. Not having everything planned out means I play a bit more vinyl than I usually do during the “usual” shows, and so this show begins with essentially a whole side of Rahsaan, as if I needed an excuse. From there, you’ll hear some new tunes, including current faves Karol Conka, Pains Of Being True At Heart, BadBadNotGood, Bart Davenport, Takuya Kuroda and more. Speaking of Bart Davenport, next week’s show will feature an interview and performance from him, but until then, enjoy this one.

Melting Pot on KPFK #160: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #160: Second Hour

Playlist: 04-13-2014
{opening theme} Booker T & The Mgs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Rahsaan Roland Kirk – The Black Mystery Has Been Revealed/Expansions – Left & Right (Atlantic)

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Anthony Valadez – Good Lookin’ – In Search Of… (Plug Research)
Takuya Kuroda feat. Jose James – Everybody Loves The Sunshine – Rising Son (Blue Note)
Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Keep On Walking – Everybody Loves The Sunshine (Polydor)

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William Onyeabor – Do You Want A Man (Vaccines Remix) – What?! (Luaka Bop)
William Onyeabor – Fantastic Man – Who Is William Onyeabor (Luaka Bop)
Ana Tijoux – Vengo – Vengo (Nacional)
107th Street Stickball Team – Barbara With The Kooky Eyes – Let’s Boogaloo Vol. 6 (Record Kicks)

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Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Simple and Sure – Single (Yebo)
Bart Davenport – Dust In The Circuits – Physical World (Lovemonk/Burger)
Hokis Pokis – Can’t Wait For Love – The Magic Of Hokis Pokis (Luv’n’Haight)
Donald Byrd – Places and Spaces – Places and Spaces (Blue Note)

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BadBadNotGood – Confessions – III (Innovative Leisure)
Nedelle Torrisi – Psychic Returns – Nedelle Torrisi (Self-Released)
D. Tiberio feat. Natasha Agrama – Gone – 304 (Timetable)
Wye Oak – Logic Of Color – Shriek (Merge)

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Karol Conka – Boa Noite – Batukfreak (Mr. Bongo)
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Lakers – Pinata (Madlib Invazion)
Tim Maia – Casinha De Sape – Nuvens (Seroma)
The Rising Sun – Getting’ Is Kinda Cool Now – 7” (Kingston)

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

Harlem Underground Band – Smokin’ Cheeba Cheeba
Harlem Underground Band – Fed Up
Harlem Underground Band – Ain’t No Sunshine

I’ve now owned this record three times. I know that the first copy was a bootleg. I think the second copy was a legit original. Ran into this copy at Amoeba for something like $4 and the sleeve made me think it was a reissue. The thing about reissue vinyl is that it has a certain look, perhaps because newer records are pressed differently than OGs, and the tell-tale signs are normally on the label. When I took a look at the label of this record, it didn’t look like a reissue, it looked like the real deal. For whatever reason it seems like this record got bootlegged more than just about any record I know. It’s a strange record in some ways. The record is a real anomaly in the career of George Benson, “Baby” Cortez and Willis Jackson, (though I’ve never been sure if Benson is the singer on “Cheeba Cheeba,”) because this is a real down and dirty album, not just in terms of it being “funky,” this is literally a pretty dirty record. In some ways it’s a funk concept record, or something that could have easily have been a blaxploitation soundtrack. From the “highs” of Smokin’ Cheeba Cheeba, things get low down as Ann Winley sings “Fed Up” and tells her man in no uncertain terms that she ain’t putting up with his s**t any more. How are we to view the lascivious nature of “Finger In It?” Is this the no-good man of the prior song, up to his old ways, or has the woman decided to go and get hers? I lean towards the latter since the next song is “Ain’t No Sunshine” and even as an instrumental with a reggae feel and big ole drum break, we all know how that goes. “Fed Up” shows up again as an instrumental to close the album and close the interesting little story that is going here. You very rarely heard so many profanities in songs from this period unless the album was explicitly a comedy record, so that makes it notable all on its own, regardless who was playing on it.

Cheers,

Michael

Pinata

Freddie Gibbs and Madlib feat. Earl Sweatshirt and Domo Genesis – Robes

They’ve been teasing us for the better part of three years, releasing a single here and there, but finally Madlib & Freddie Gibbs have released their long-awaited collab, and it’s just as mesmerizing as you thought it would be. Madlib is Sonny Sharrock to Dilla’s Hendrix and as such, the madcap production requires a really versatile MC. Freddie Gibbs more than holds his own, never seems out of place and these beats feel like they were made to have his voice flow over them. Some of the tracks we’d already know are the standouts, especially “Shame,” but the newer material is also strong, especially “Robes” the track above featuring Earl Sweatshirt and Domo Genesis along with Gibbs on the mic. Madlib provides the sounds and it’s a virtuoso flip of a Lenny White song that sent me looking for the original and marveling at how Madlib builds the entire beat from the one track but deconstructs it in such a way that it gives it an entirely different character. The album holds up nicely just as an instrumental record, but the two compliment each other so well that you’re best served hearing them together as intended.

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