Classic Melting Pot

Crowd getting down at LA's Funky Sole

Crowd getting down at LA’s Funky Sole

This past Saturday I returned to Funky Sole, my second appearance of the year and third time overall. Every time has been special for me. As I’ve mentioned previously, Funky Sole is the best soul and funk night I’ve ever gone to. Pretty much around the time I moved to LA they landed at their present location of the Echo and it’s the perfect venue for the perfect night.DJ Clifton aka Soft Touch at Funky Sole For so many of us who have had the pleasure of doing a guest DJ set, one of the things that makes it such a special night is the crowd that comes out. LA crowds don’t have the best reputation, sometimes they’re very fickle, sometimes they’re clearly there just to be seen and not really that interested in dancing. That is not the case at Funky Sole. People come out to dance and it’s always amazing just how far as a DJ you can take things and still have the dance floor packed.

On this particular Saturday night, Maestro Music Man Miles was out on tour, so it was just Clifton and me on the decks. We did get a surprise guest, Myron Glasper of Myron & E came down and essentially served as MC for the evening, leading the crowd in some chants, judging a mini-dance contest and even singing along to the Winston’s “Amen, Brother.” For my set, as usual, I tried to bring a mix of classics and deeper cuts, with a few from Cuba (Juan Pablo Torres’ “Pastel En Descarga” and Los Tainos’ “Amor Mio”), Brasil (two of my favorite Brazilian tracks, Gal Costa’s “Vou Recomecar” and Jorge Ben’s “Umbabarauma”) and all over the US, from NOLA with quite possibly my single favorite soul instrumental, Smokey Johnson’s “I Can’t Help It,” Miami’s All The People with “Cramp Your Style” and my hometown of Atlanta with the ever-present (at least when I spin soul nights) Franciene Thomas and her dynamite dance floor burner “I’ll Be There.”

After my set, me and Clifton traded songs, 2 for 2, which gave me a chance to push the boundaries (though again, the crowd ALWAYS kept the dance floor packed) with some more rocking sounds from Hell’s Belles soundtrack, Sarolta Zlatnay and Carl Sherlock Holmes. The best moment of the night for me was pretty close to the end, when I played Willie Hutch’s “I Choose You” (sampled best by UGK and Outkast for the “International Players Anthem”) and most of the couples who had stuck it out to the very end started slow dancing…If you missed it, you REALLY missed it. But at least you can hear the sounds. Below is the Guest DJ set from Saturday. Big thanks as always to Miles, Clifton and Nancy for the invite, it’s always an absolute pleasure.

Guest DJ Set At Funky Sole: 11-08-2014

Funky Sole Guest DJ Set: 11-08-2014
The Bar-Kays – Sang and Dance – 7” (Volt)
Gal Costa – Vou Recomecar – Gal Costa (1969) (Philips)
Juan Pablo Torres y Algo Nuevo – Pastel En Descarga – Super Son (Areito)
Jodi Gales – You Gotta Push – 7” (Savern)
Smokey Johnson – I Can’t Help It – 7” (NOLA)
FunkySole 112014 3Serge Gainsbourg – Requiem Pour Un Con – 7” (Phonodor)
Marcia Griffiths – Here I Am (Come And Take Me) – Sweet Bitter Love (Trojan)
Jorge Ben – Ponta De Lanca Africano (Umbabarauma) – Africa Brasil (Philips)
Los Tainos – Amor Mio – Los Tainos (Areito)
Dennis Coffey & the Detroit Guitar Band – Scorpio – Evolution (Sussex)
The Steve Karmen Big Band feat. Jimmy Radcliffe – Breakaway Pt. 1 – 7” (United Artists)
The Winstons – Amen, Brother – 7” (Metromedia)
Franciene Thomas – I’ll Be There – 7” (Tragar)
All The People – Cramp Your Style – 7” (Blue Candle)
Billy Garner – Brand New Girl – 7” (BGP)
The Rail Band – Mouodilo – 7” (HMV)
Lyn Collins – Mama Feelgood – Black Caesar: Original Soundtrack (Polydor)
Bill Withers – Kissing My Love – Still Bill (Sussex)
Toots & The Maytals – Time Tough – Funky Kingston (Mango)
Dave Barker – Do Your Thing – Africa’s Blood (Trojan)


Back at it again this past Sunday with another new show. Started things off with just a taste of the Guest DJ set that I spun over at Funky Sole the night before (full post and set upcoming) and from there we got some new music from Shintaro Sakamoto, Budos Band, Run The Jewels, Khun Narin Electric Phin Band, Allo Darlin, Big K.R.I.T. and Goapele plus classic material from David Axelrod, the Chico Hamilton Quintet, Unwound, James Black and a short tribute to legendary Flamenco guitarist Manitas De Plata who passed away last week. The last set of the show begins with Ana Tijoux’s “Shock” which seemed like the best possible song to play in solidarity with the ongoing protests in Mexico connected to the disappearance of 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa. There hasn’t been nearly enough press on what’s going on in Mexico (though not surprisingly KPFK and Pacifica have done what few mainstream news outlets in this country have done covering this story) and after the bodies were discovered earlier in the week, I felt compelled to play something and add my voice to the chorus saying “Ya Me Canse/I’ve Had Enough.”

Melting Pot on KPFK #181: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #181: Second Hour

Playlist: 11-09-2014
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Marcia Griffiths – Here I Am – Bitter Sweet Love (Trojan)
Jorge Ben – Ponta De Lanca Africano – Africa Brasil (Philips)
Los Tainos – Amor Mio – Los Tainos (Areito)
Dennis Coffer – Scorpio – Evolution (Sussex)
Steve Karmen Big Band feat. Jimmy Radcliffe – Breakaway – 7” (UA)
The Winstons – Amen Brother – 7” (Metromedia)

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Shintaro Sakamoto – Like An Obligation – Let’s Dance Raw (Other Music)
Something Unique – This Feeling Between Us – Catch Action: The Sophisticated Boogie Funk Of Sheridan House Records (Ubiquity)
James Black – (I Need) Altitude – (I Need) Altitude (Night Train)
Jungle Fire – Snake Pit – Tropicoso (Nacional)

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The Budos Band – The Sticks – Burnt Offering (Daptone)
David Axelrod – A Divine Image – Songs Of Experience (Capitol)
Unwound – Corpse Pose – No Energy (Numero)
Khun Narin Electric Phin Band – Lai Sing – Khun Narin Electric Phin Band (Innovative Leisure)

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Manitas De Plata – Jota – Flamenco Guitar (Connoisseur Society)
Sun Kil Moon – Alesund – Admiral Fell Promises (Caldo Verde)
Chico Hamilton Quintet – Lucky So And So – Ellington Suite (World Pacific)
Allo Darlin’ – Heartbeat – We Come From The Same Place (Slumberland)

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Run The Jewels – Oh My Darling Don’t Cry – Run The Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal)
Flying Lotus – Turkey Dog Coma – You’re Dead (Warp)
Goapele – Perfect – Strong As Glass (Jordan House)
Les Sins – Do Right – Michael (Car Park)
Alpha – A Perfect End – Stargazing (Nettwerk)

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Ana Tijoux – Shock – La Bala (Nacional)
Big K.R.I.T. – Saturdays = Celebration – Cadillatica (Def Jam)
Rev. TL Barrett & the Youth For Christ Choir – Like A Ship (Without A Sail) – Like A Ship (Without A Sail) (Light In The Attic)

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


Los Tainos – Amor Mio
Los Tainos – Conjura
Los Tainos Te Digo Que Se Acabo

It’s gonna be my honor to return to Funky Sole at the Echo this Saturday, November 8th, for a guest set spinning soul, funk and whatever else I can get away with ’round Midnight. I’m currently pulling records, thinking about what kind of sounds I want to bring out for the people and realized I hadn’t posted this album from the Cuban outfit Los Tainos. Because of the long standing embargo this country has with Cuba, you don’t run across many Cuban records out and about here in the States. I got this one in addition to several others from a dealer out of Japan. I’d first heard “Amor Mio” on the amazing Si Se Puede collection put out by Waxing Deep back in 2007. That collection was a revelation uncovering the sounds of 1960s/1970s Cuba and the wealth of amazing funky sounds coming out of the island at that time.

I don’t have a lot of info on Los Tainos, other than the Cuban musical maestro Daniel Guzman. “Amor Mio” has an almost understated style in comparison to some of the big band inspired tracks that dominate the album, but it sure is funky. When the band finally slows it down again towards the end of the record, with back to back boleros, or as their described here “Bolero Beat,” that similar subtle funk comes back. The album’s closer “Te Digo Que Se Acabo” almost feels like two different songs, starting off as nothing special, but then making an aburpt left turn in hardcore percussion driven latin-funk. Just when they get in the groove, it seems like the song is gone, but they’ve certainly left quite an impression. As far as I can tell this is the only release from the group, which really is a shame. Then again, especially for us in the States, perhaps we should be thankful to even be able to hear these funky sounds out of Cuba.




foto © Martin Dam Kristensen

Earlier in the year Josh Haden and his group Spain released their fifth studio album, Sargent Place, overseas and this week the album received a stateside release via Dine Alone records. Though 2012’s The Soul of Spain marked the bands return after a decade long absence, in some ways Sargent Place should be considered the proper return of the band. I say this primarily because the vast majority of the songs on this album were written by the group in the run up to recording and changed form in the process of recording the album.

Spain will be playing a free show tomorrow at Amoeba Hollywood at 6pm and in connection with that we’ve been given a few copies of the new album, signed by Josh Haden, to give to readers of the blog. E-mail me at michael[at] if you want a chacne to enter into the giveaway. I’ll be choosing winners on Friday, November 7th!

Of the many noteworthy songs on Sargent Place (including “You and I” which features the final recording of Charlie Haden, the legendary father of bass player/vocalist Josh Haden), one of the most beautiful is surely “The Fighter,” featuring strings and harmony vocals from Haden’s sister Petra.

The band has even released a rare video for this album, for the lead track, “Love At First Sight”:


Budos Band – Burnt Offering

The Budos Band has built a reputation over the years as purveyors of dark and heavy Afro-funk. Nothing in their previous three albums could have prepared fans for the heavy waves of darkness on their fourth album Burnt Offering. As the cover art indicates, the Budos boys are making clear allusions to the early 1970s “Wizard Rock” heavy psych / proto metal sounds of Black Sabbath or Dust and it certainly shows up in the sound. It’s a heavy, grittier, tougher sound, one that still has echoes of previous records, but charts a new and exciting course for the band. “Burnt Offering” sounds like a mythic example of the instrumental backing tracks of the Sabbath album we all wish David Axelrod had produced. Though the band had a signature sound and a safe place in the neo-funk upper echelons, this change in tone, theme and sound is a most welcome change indeed.


It’s been a long time…but finally we were back on the air this Sunday. Felt a little rusty, and a bit of that shows, but overall it’s a pretty solid edition and features a number of brand new recordings that I haven’t gotten a chance to feature before, including new music Flying Lotus, Run The Jewels, Submotion Orchestra, Khun Narin Electric Band, The Bug, Allo Darlin’, Les Sins and the Budos Band. A few classics mixed in, particularly for All Souls Day/Dia De Los Muertos from Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and the 4th Coming, as well as Can, The Afrosound, Holly Golightly and more. One month seemed like three or four, it’s truly great to be back where I belong bringing you music on KPFK.

Melting Pot on KPFK #180: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #180: Second Hour

Playlist: 11-2-2014
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Los Fabulosos Cadillacs – Calaveras y Diablitos – Fabulosos Calavera (Sony)
Holly Golightly – Painted On – Painted On (Damaged Goods)
Larry Williams & Johnny Watson with Kaleidoscope – Nobody – Country Funk Vol. 2 (Light In The Attic)
The 4th Coming – The Dead Don’t Die Alive – 7” (Alpha)

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Flying Lotus – Coronus, The Terminator – You’re Dead (Warp)
Submotion Orchestra – Trust/Lust – Alium (Counter)
Les Sins – Toy – Michael (Car Park)
Onuma Singsri – Lam Plearn Toe Lhong Tong – Sound Of Siam Vol. 2 (Soundway)
Afro Latin Vintage Orchestra – Code Panthera – Pulsion (Ubiquity)

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KING – Hey – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
The Bug feat. Liz Harris – Void – Exit (Ninja Tune)
Clarke – Beacon – Clarke (Warp)
Can – Spray – Future Days (UA)

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Khun Narin Electric Phin Band – Lam Phu Thai – Khun Narin Electric Phin Band (Innovative Leisure)
Run The Jewels feat. Boots – Early – Run The Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal)
Mark Lindsay – Lone Wolf’s Theme – Shogun Assassin (Baby Cart Productions)

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Spain – Let Your Angel – Sargent Place (Dine Alone)
Fern Jones – When A Sinner Prays – The Glory Road (Numero)
Tinariwen – Tamatant Tilay – Aman Iman (Independiente)
Batida – La Vai Maria – Dois (Soundway)
Allo Darlin’ – Romance and Adventure – We Come From The Same Place (Slumberland)

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Jungle Fire – Village Hustle – Tropicoso (Nacional)
Afrosound – Banana De Queso – The Afrosound Of Columbia Vol. 2 (Vampi Soul)
Stone Wall – Living Today – Local Customs: Cavern Sound (Numero)
Budos Band – Burnt Offering – Burnt Offering (Daptone)

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

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