Classic Melting Pot


One of the best months we’ve ever had on KPFK ended with one of our best Guest DJ sets, courtesy of Mr. Nick Waterhouse. Nick spent a little time talking to us in the first hour of Sunday’s program about his early days as a DJ and Musician. We also talked a bit about his approach to creating his signature sound. Freedom45Nick is known as a big time fan of raw, gritty rhythm & blues, and his guest DJ set certainly did not disappoint. For the most part he kept things mid-tempo and extra smokey, with some particularly choice cuts from Junior Wells, Ronnie Hawkins, Sonny Til, Lonnie Sattin and brand spankin’ new music from the Boogaloo Assassins, recorded by Nick himself. One 45 in particular I flipped out for was the Civil Rights inspired “Ride Freedom Riders from Harold Jackson & the Jackson Brothers. This might just be the best non-jazz Civil Rights song that I’ve ever heard, even though I’d never heard it until Nick played it on the show. Turns out this is a LA record, and Nick actually learned a bit more about it from Allen “Charmin'” Larman of Folkscene, who actually had met Harold Jackson. Deeply soulful set from Mr. Waterhouse, well worth many many listens for fans of this kind of music. Big thanks to Nick for coming on down with his big box of 45s and to Tenni Gharakhanian for setting everything up. Enjoy!

Nick Waterhouse Guest DJ Set on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 06-30-2014

Ronnie Hawkins – Southern Love – Roulette
Miles Grayson Trio – You Were Wrong – Hill
Ray Agee – Leave Me Alone – Kratton
Jackie Shane – My Tenament – Sue
Boogaloo Assassins – One and Only – Pres Records
Sonny Til – Hey Little Woman – C/P Parker Records
Dee Dee Sharp – Comin’ Home Baby – Cameo
Barbara Dane – I’m On My Way – Trey
B.B. King – Think It Over – Bluesway
The Clovers – One More Time – Porwin
Junior Wells – (I Got A) Stomach Ache – Vanguard
Jimmy McCracklin – What’s That Part 2 – Mercury
Harold Jackson & the Jackson Brothers – The Freedom Riders – Edsel
Jackie Ross – Hard Times – SAR
Young Jesse – Brown Eyes – Vanessa
Lonnie Sattin – Sweetheart – Sunbeam


Closed out June in fine style with our usual all-vinyl affair, but with a not so usual guest DJ, Mr. Nick Waterhouse (separate post upcoming). In the first hour I got a chance to spin a little bit of vinyl, in tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and also short tributes to a couple of dearly departed soul men, Teenie Hodges & Bobby Womack. Also got a chance to play some newer vinyl, reissued sounds from Danny Holloway’s Ximeno Records from Underground Vegtables (another version of Melting Pot!) and Grace Jackson plus new sounds from the Beta Club. The rest of the time we spend with Nick Waterhouse, talking about his music and style in the first hour and then a 40+ minute Guest DJ set all on 45 vinyl in the second hour. The show ends with a very short song dedicated to WRAS Atlanta, Album 88 and the continued struggle to return the station, now that it has switched over to its new “format,” to being 100% student run and operated. “Come Sunday” is one of my favorite all-time songs, a song that focuses on the struggle of life and the optimism that things will be better as long as we keep holding on and keep pushing on. Next week it’s our “Best So Far” of 2014, and as good as June was, we’re hoping July will be even better! Thanks for tuning in!

Melting Pot on KPFK #169: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #169: Second Hour

Playlist: 06-30-2014

{opening theme} Underground Vegetables – Melting Pot – 7″ (Ximeno)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

SNCC Freedom Singers – Woke up This Morning With My Mind On Freedom – Voices Of The Civil Rights Movement (Smithsonian)
Al Green feat. Teenie Hodges – Old Time Lovin’ – Let’s Stay Together (Hi)
Bobby Womack – Looking For A Love – 7″ (Collectables)
The Ronettes – Walking In The Rain – 7″ (Philles)
Booker Little – Victory & Sorrow – Victory & Sorrow (Bethlehem)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Grace Jackson – Gonna Get U – 7″ (Ximeno)
Los Tainos – Amor Mio – Los Tainos (Arieto)
The Beta Club – Freak Beat – 7″ (Cartel)
Keno Duke – Too Late, Fall Back Baby – Sense OF Values (Strata East)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Nick Waterhouse – Interview – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Nick Waterhouse – Sleeping Pills – Holly (Innovative Leisure)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Nick Waterhouse – Guest DJ Set – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Duke Ellington feat. Ray Nance – Come Sunday – Black, Brown & Biege (CBS)


Though they were obscured for over 20+ years, the proto-punk Death, thanks to reissues from Drag City and an ace documentary called “A Band Called Death” have rightly taken their place amongst the iconic bands of Detroit Rock City, including the Stooges and the MC5. The Hackney brothers have been performing together for the last several years and their sound has lost none of its potency from the 1970s, as you’ll find out when they perform here in LA at the Roxy on July 3rd. If you’d like to see Death, courtesy of Melting Pot, make sure to e-mail me at michael[at] by Wednesday, July 2nd at 12noon!!!

If you haven’t seen the documentary yet…what are you waiting for!

Here’s one of my faves from the groups original EP from 1974:

And here’s a taste of what you’ll get when you see them live here in 2014, this one recorded at the 2013 Afropunk Festival:


Versus – Lose That Dress/Yeah You
Versus – Jealous
Versus – A Heart Is A Diamond

Baring any further postponements, sometime this week GPB will take over daytime programming at Album 88. Over the past month there have been many tributes, like mine and the one just recently orchestrated by college and community stations all over the country, pleas from indie artists and even a counter proposal that actually includes more tangible internships and media access to GSU students than GPB has promised. We’ll see how this ultimately plays out, but what is clear is how important Album 88 is to the thousands of people who have listened to it over the past 43 years and to the hundreds of us who had the privilege to work there.

My time at Album 88 was during the mid-1990s, a period of rapid change in the popular culture landscape. I arrived in 1993, at a period of time where “Alternative” was the new buzz word for the kind of music Album 88 had championed for 20 years, “college/indie rock.” At that time we had commercial stations essentially take our playlist, streamline it (the 88 playlist in those days had over 70+ different artists and 200+ songs, changed on a weekly basis, with additional input from the live DJs. Commercial stations, as they still do, chopped that down to 25-40 different songs, repeated again and again and again) and then sell it to the masses. This was the period of time when regulations changed and suddenly it seemed like Clear Channel owned every other station and you’d hear the same song, sometimes at the exact same time, on multiple stations in the same market. By the end of my time at Album 88, Hip-Hop had also branched out into commercial mainstream radio. Despite, or perhaps because of these changes, Album 88 emerged out of this period focused more than ever before on truly independent artists and local talent.

I worked as a music director from 1996-1997and the experience taught me more about music and the music industry, good and bad, than I’d probably bargained for. For me, it was really all about the music and that remains the case, which is the easiest explanation why I’ve spent 20 years in non-commercial college/community radio. When I look back at those years, there are many great records that remind me of my time there, some tied to specific memories or specific people. But if I have to be completely honest, there isn’t a record from that period of time that I love more than this one from Versus. I firmly believe that if Secret Swingers had come out at anytime over the last couple of decades it would have been hailed as the exceptional record that it was. Far too few took notice of the album in 1996, though the people of Atlanta got a healthy dose of it, we must have played virtually every song from this album at one point on Album 88, I certainly know that I did on my regular rotation shows during that time. Though I bought a copy at that time, it was one of the many casualities in 2004. This copy is one that I happily ran into several months back at Gimme Gimme records, which is really something else since only 2,000 of these were even pressed.

I’ve always thought that this record had the feel of a soundtrack, without ever being associated with a film or designed as such. It’s not because there’s a particular theme that runs through the record, it’s because the images the lyrics and music evoke are so vivid that when I listen to virtually every song on this record, it’s easy to visualize them as images and as if there’s a film going on. The album begins with “Lose That Dress,” a song that you’d think might have be a sexual reference, but it seems more like a plea from the singer to a friend that just simply needs to grow up, act her age, and stop dressing like she used to as a teenager so she can figure out who she really is for herself.

She’s that girl that doesn’t want to act her age,
We’ve been friends for years and that’s why it’s ok,
I don’t know who she thinks she needs to impress,
Girl I know you’re special but you gotta…
Lose that dress, Lose that dress

On the album “Lose That Dress” goes right into “Yeah You,” as Fontaine Toups attempts to hold out the final note as long as she can, fails mightily, but picks it back up as Richard Baluyut screams “Yes!” and claps his hands. “Yeah You” is even more direct in its critique of bad behavior by a friend, in this case someone who is addicted to Heroin, which has put a major strain on the relationship. From there we move to “Glitter Of Love” which has a reference to Jennifer Jason Leigh that should feel dated, but instead feels timeless just because of the kind of actress she has been throughout her career.

You look real to me,
You’re Jennifer Jason Leigh,
but you’re taller than me,
and you carry a gun,
you look like so much fun,
I’m really stuck on you,
and that’s more than the truth,
Give me the chance to prove my star-crossed love

That “I’m really stuck on you, and that’s more than the truth” kills me every single time…Now, I could go on and on and on about every single track on this record, they’re all written so vividly, but given how long this post already is (and what’s waiting below) I thought I spent the rest of my time talking about the two tracks that have most kept this record in my mind for almost the entire 18 years since I heard it first.

“Jealous” remains my favorite song, it’s a song that I played during my final show at WRAS in May 1998, at the literal half-way point of the show. The song seems to detail a tumultuous relationship, it seems like one party is likely cheating on the other, or at least is suspected of it and the song deals with the effect jealousy has on the relationship with lyrics that seem to play out through a confrontation, a split and an attempt at reconciliation. Like a number of the songs on this album, there’s this great point/counter-point between the two vocalists that perfectly illustrates the conflicting emotions and feelings that come with an intense love affair that simply can’t last, As Baluyut sings “I’m not really asking you to stay, in fact I’m really wishing you were far away,” Fontaine coolly follows with, “I didn’t mean any harm, Don’t want to let you get far away.”

“Jealous” is also such a quintessentially end of the 20th century kind of a song. I feel proud to have grown up in an era where we could disconnect the phone whenever we wanted no one to find us or bother us. “Jealous” marks that time in its chorus, which is just about the coolest thing that’s ever been written:

Jealous like a good American,
Yeah we know,
Better to deny and never know,
How scare you are,
Baby please come home,
Come on baby, disconnect the phone,
Don’t keep pushing me away,
Come on baby, promise that you’ll stay

Though “Jealous” is my favorite song, it’s not the best song on the record (I don’t know if that makes any sense, but I think you know what I mean), the best song is “A Heart Is A Diamond.” This is the closing credits song, the song that plays after everything has been put in its place, all the loose ends have been wrapped up and the whole story has been told. I think it’s the best thing that the band ever recorded and lyrically it’s sheer gold, so even though this post is already longer than almost everything else on this blog, I just had to print them all here, with one caveat, I’ve never been able to figure out what they say in that line in the chorus, “we can make it work, with a little ____.” So, I’ve included the two words that seem to fit best from all my years singing along to this song in the car:

Every time you try to run away,
Someone’s there convincing you to stay,
You’re just gonna bury your heart in the ground ike a diamond,

Everyone is looking for answers to,
Questions they forgot to ask you,
You’re your just gonna bury your heart in the ground like a diamond,

Dig it up and then come back to me
We can make it work, with a little amnesty,
don’t forget, don’t regret the secret you told me,
A heart is a diamond til you set it free

Everyone is looking at you for a sign,
It’s hard enough to walk in a straight line,
And you’re just gonna bury your heart in the ground like a diamond

Do you ever feel like you’re too old,
To replace the memories that you sold,
Tell me all the stories that you never told, told anyone

Dig it up and then come back to me,
We can make it work, with a little empathy,
Don’t forget, don’t regret the secret you told me,
A heart is a diamond til you set it free

This memory could last a lifetime,
You can just sit there by yourself, silently,
A heart is a diamond until you set it free.

Play that song over and over again,
Don’t pretend you didn’t like it back then,
You’re just gonna bury your heart in the ground like a diamond

When you know your heart is breaking up,
Will you just let it come to a stop,
Or are you gonna bury your heart in the ground,
until it’s found

There’s no way at 21 I could have appreciated that verse, “Do you ever feel like you’re too old, to replace the memories that you sold, tell me all the stories that you never told, told anyone.” I certainly felt old, less than a year removed from my mother’s unexpected passing, but there’s a difference between feeling old and feeling that you are too old to live the kind of life that you wanted for yourself when you were younger. I’m happy that at (almost) 39 those lyrics aren’t directed to me, but they still feel like they’re for me, that they’re the kind of thing I need to say, and often do, to the people I love when it’s clear that they’re lost there way.

After listening to this record off and on and on and off again over the past 18 years I still marvel at how clearly personal these songs feel, written for specific people, specific relationships and how they still fit into some of the movies of my own life. One day, maybe I’ll write a story, or a novel, or a screenplay about those Heroic years at Album 88. If I do, this will certainly be the soundtrack.




The Beat Club – Brassa Nova

Brand new music from a fairly new collective of musicians with roots in the UK, Paris and the USA. The Beta Club most notably features Shawn Lee, doing what he does, but also features at least 9 or 10 other musicians and DJs, including Steve Haney of LA’s Jungle Fire. Headed up by UK DJ Sten La’ Ren and repped by the Paris DJs crew, the Beta Club produces a sound that might be best described as “Sinister Library Afro-Latin Psych Funk.” That might seem like a mouthful, but as soon as you hear “Brassa Nova,” and especially the flipside “Freak Beat,” from their recently released debut 45, you’ll see how it perfectly encapsulates the group. Not sure if this group will ever perform live or tour or even record any more music, but this one’s a keeper and well worth tracking down.


Our 5th year at KPFK has gotten off to a rather stunning start and it continued this past week when we welcomed UK vocalist Zara McFarlane into our studios. Earlier in the year McFarlane released her second album, If You Knew Her, on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood record label, and she’s garnered just about every accolade you gain get since then. The album is a collection of songs inspired by the women in McFarlane’s life, as well as a call to dig deeper and move beyond the stereotypes for Black women in particular. At KPFK she performed three songs from this album, accompanied by pianist Lincoln Cleary, “Open Heart,” “Her Eyes” and “You’ll Get Me In Trouble.” With just the piano backing her, there’s a much stronger emphasis on McFarlane’s voice and her songwriting, both of which are simply fantastic. In the interview we talked about her background, how she found her way into Gilles Peterson’s ears and on his label, a bit about the differences between her debut and this follow-up as well as some discussion about several of the standouts from the record, “Open Heart” and two covers of Jamaican songs, “Angie La La” and “Police and Thieves.” Big thanks to Stan Misraje for his production work on the sound and to Jessica Weber and Yolanda Martinez for helping set things up. Most of all, thanks to Zara McFarlane for spending this time with us.

Zara McFarlane on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 06-16-2014


On a absolutely perfect summer’s day in LA, the most recent edition of the Beat Swap Meet was held in Downtown LA’s Chinatown. As we talked about during our interview with DJ 671, one of the organizers of the event, Beat Swap Meet is unlike any other record show I’ve ever been to, it’s more like a community block party. Yes there are tons of dealers with tons of records, but there are also 6 or 7 different spots with DJs and producers sharing music, a space for B-boys and B-girls to get down and many other vendors of every kind of variety all around. BSM2Virtually every time I’ve been there I’ve run into great records. This time was no different, picking up several records that I used to own and haven’t seen since, including Andrew White’s Fonk Update, Larry Young’s Heaven On Earth and a Keno Duke record on Strata East. This time around I also got a chance to spin some records. With so many DJs on the bill, we all only had 30 minutes to work with, which is a really short amount of time for someone like me who doesn’t really have a lot of skill and enjoys playing long songs. All week long I was debating how I’d make good use of that time, should I have a theme, focus on a particular genre, the possibilities were endless. Ultimately I just decided to focus on some personal favorites, most of which I’ve featured here in one form or another, hope you enjoy it! Beat Swap Meet won’t be back in LA until the Fall, but be sure to check their website for dates in other cities throughout the Summer.

DJ Set at Beat Swap Meet: 06-22-2014

Beat Swap Meet: 06-22-2014
BSM3Rotary Connection – Life Could – Aladdin (Cadet Concept)
Leigh Stephens – Another Dose Of Life – Red Weather (Philips)
Toni Tornado – Me Libertei – BR3 (Odeon)
Harlem River Drive – If We Had Peace Today – Harlem River Drive (Roulette)
Lenny White – Sweet Dreamer – Bug City (Nemporer)
Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Ain’t No Sunshine – Blacknuss (Atlantic)
24-Carat Black – I’ll Never Let You Go – Gone: The Promises Of Yesterday (Numero)
The Emotions – Boss Love Maker – Untouched (Volt)
The Ohio Players – Ecstasy (Matthew Africa Edit) – 7″ (Dubplate)
Tim Maia – Hadock Lobo Esquina Com Matoso – Nuvens (Seroma)


So much going on in so many different places, but this show really helped me bringing everything together and it turned out into one of my single favorite shows I’ve done at KPFK. First there’s the music, which includes a bevy of tributes, to recently passed away Gerry Goffin and Horace Silver, to the season of Summer and the end of Spring with Love and Dungen, giveaways and new music from Lee Fields, Foreign Exchange, Miles Tackett, The Beta Club and others…highlight of the show is certainly the interview and performance from Zara McFarlane (separate post coming). Back to back weeks of some of the best interviews in our short time on the air and we’re just getting started here in Year 5 on KPFK. Next week it’s the end of the month, so we’re all on vinyl and should have a guest DJ set from Nick Waterhouse!

Melting Pot on KPFK #168: First Hour
Melting Pot On KPFK #168: Second Hour

Playlist: 06-22-2014
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

The Monkees – Somewhere In The Morning – More Of The Monkees (Rhino)
Love – The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This – Forever Changes (Elektra)
Dungen – Soda – Skit I Allt (Kemado)
Eric Dolphy – Tenderly – Far Cry (Prestige)
Rodrigo Amarante – The Ribbon – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Lee Fields & the Expressions – Still Gets Me Down – Emma Jean (Truth & Soul)
Nick Waterhouse – Let It Come Down – Holly (Innovative Leisure)
King Khan & the Shrines – Tell Me – The Supreme Genius Of King Khan & the Shrines (Vice)
Captain Beefheart – Tropical Hot Dog Night – Shiny Beast (Virgin)
The Beta Club – Brassa Nova – 7” (Cartel Records)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Foreign Exchange – Right After Midnight – Love In Flying Colors (Foreign Exchange Music)
King – In The Meantime – Recordedd Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
Ned Doheny – Get It Up For Love – Separate Oceans (Numero)
Blu – The Return – Good To Be Home (Nature Sounds)
Quantic feat. Anibal Velasquez – La Callejera – Magnetica (Tru Thoughts)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Zara McFarlane – Interview & Performance – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Zara McFarlane feat. Leron Thomas – Angie La La – If You Knew Her (Brownswood)
BadBadNotGood – Triangle – III (Innovative Leisure)
Miles Tackett & the 3 Times – Everything – The Fool Who Wonders (Self-Released)
Horace Silver – Senor Blues – Senor Blues (Blue Note)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

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


Will Holland aka Quantic is a true artist, a master DJ and master musician. His explorations through his many recordings (with the Quantic Soul Orchestra, Flowering Infero and Ondatropica, to name just a few) and as a compiler (The Panama collections on Soundway are required material) have almost single-handedly shifted many DJs, collectors and listeners to dig deeper into the sounds of Latin America. He’ll be here in Los Angeles bringing his unique blend of funk, cumbia, reggae and so much more to the Roxy on June 25th! If you want a chance to go courtesy of Melting Pot, e-mail at michael[at] by 5pm on Tuesday June 24th!


Here’s Quantic performing with a relatively small combo earlier in the year:

And here’s some older footage of Quantic with a larger group perforiming “Descarga”:

Here’s also the video for one of the newer songs, “Duvido” from Holland’s latest release, Magnetica on long time label Tru Thoughts:


All kinds of good things are going to be going down at the Beat Swap Meet Los Angeles Summer Solstice Gathering this Sunday, June 22nd from 12-6pm in Downtown LA’s Chinatown. First and foremost there will be records…many many many records. Every time I go to the BSM I come away with something special, from the first time getting this Byron Lee record, to the most recent one where I found this Gabor Szabo record.

In addition to all of the record vendors, there are a number of other local vendors plying their trade, turntable doctors ready to fix any broken turntables and this year they’re will be some B-Boy/B-Girl crews on hand because of the B-Boy Summit as well as a performance from San Diego’s Sure Fire Soul Ensemble! Beat Swap Meet is free with a canned good, donated to local homeless, and has a community spirit unlike any other record fair in the country. By not being fixed in a single location, but being spread out all over the plaza in Chinatown to the interior of the Grand Star, it gives the event a really community feeling and spirit. Just to give a sense of what the event is like, check this video from September 2013:

I’ll actually be spinning this Sunday around 2ish (but I won’t be sticking around after the set, since I got to get to KPFK to do my show!) in the outside front parking lot, one of the many spots where you can hear DJs share the sounds and skills. I don’t have much in the way of skills, but I do have big ears, and if you listened to the radio show or checked these posts long enough, you have a sense of what I might play. Haven’t picked out the records I’m bringing just yet, but they’ll probably lean on the heavy and psychedelic side of things.  I’ll likely add the set on Monday, as long as my records don’t melt from the heat.

If you caught the interview and guest DJ set we did with DJ 671, who organizes the Beat Swap Meet, he mentioned how he became a fan of little B-girl by the name of Goldi-Rocks from seeing her at the Beat Swap Meet. Here’s a video of her in action at the BSM, something that you’ll likely get to witness in person this Sunday!

Proudly powered by WordPress. Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Copyright © Classic Melting Pot. All rights reserved.
[powerpress url=""]