Classic Melting Pot

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Had the pleasure of chopping things up with two of my favorite people in LA, Superstar DJ Anthony Valadez of KCRW and just plain super  Novena Carmel of Baby Stone & Wallpaper.  At Anthony’s invitation we got together late last night to talk about all things 2014, including  the “Hands Up/I Can’t Breathe” movements after the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, the NYPD response to Mayor DeBlasio, the earlier case of Ebolamania that the US caught, Impressions of Obama in his final years, a case of Kardashian-Itis, Iggy Azalea and Appropriation, the triumphant return, all Black Messiah like, of D’Angelo, the shock of Robin Williams losing his battle with depression and a whole lot of other things.  We also spent time talking about our favorite music in 2014 and things we’re looking forward to in 2015. Vala put the whole conversation up on his blog and on Soundcloud for the world to hear, but mainly for you to hear…give a listen and I can almost 100% guarantee there will be more of these in the future!

Records2014

It had been a solid month since I was last on the air at KPFK, but aside from some janky needles that I can’t replace, my skills seemed no worse for the wear…here at the end of the month and the end of the year, I generally do not only an all vinyl show, but a look back at the best pieces of wax that I picked up over the year. As you can see, based on the pictures above and below, I bought a LOT of records in 2014. With all the changes that were going on in my personal life, I was overdue to engage in some record therapy and that’s clearly what I did. The show features things that I picked up in stores and online, but a couple of moments were major parts of the year and the show. The trip I had in New Orleans, netted some choice records, a few I’ve already shared and more than a few that should have already been up on here. There was also week long dig through a collector’s material back in the Spring that as you’ll see next week gave me some of my top finds of the whole year. Finally, throughout much of the year there have been auctions of records from the collection of dearly departed DJ and Collector Matthew Africa, of which I’ve been really lucky to win most of the auctions I took part in and now have a number of records that were connected to specific memories I had of Matthew.
45Records2014

When you get these many records though, it’s hard to showcase them in just two hours. It’s impossible really, unless you go all “mega-mix” and only play 45 seconds of each record. That ain’t me. So, I tried to play some of the ones that I was most jazzed about finding this year with a whole set highlighting some of the sweet soul that I got through Matthew Africa. Next week we’ll be doing our “Best of 2014” show and all next week we’ll be taking a look back at my favorites from the past year. Until next year, enjoy the sounds.

Melting Pot on KPFK #185: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #185: Second Hour

Playlist 12-28-2014:
{opening theme} Boris Gardiner – Melting Pot – Is What’s Happening (Dynamic)

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The Advancement – Painful Struggle – The Advancement (Philips)
Eduardo Conde – De Onde Vens – Eduardo Conde (1969) (Philips)
Eugene McDaniels – Lovin’ Man – Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse (Atlantic)
Jon Lucien – Would You Believe In Me – Rashida (RCA)

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David Crosby – Laughing – If I Could Only Remember My Name (Atlantic)
Richard Menexes – Nova Jersey – 7” (Fono Press)
The Albert – Pity The Child – The Albert (Perception)
Bo Rhambo – Dream Awhile – Enchanted Evening (Imperial)

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Light Rain – Beautiful Friend – Dream Dancer (Magi)
Tim Buckley – Driftin’ – Lorca (Elektra)
Dennis Olivieri – I Cry In The Morning – Welcome To The Party (VMC)
Buddy Collette – Fun City – Now And Then (Legend)

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The Lumpen – No More – 7” (Seize The Time)
Big John Hamilton – Take This Hurt Off Me – 7” (Minaret)
Betty & Angel – Everlasting Love – 7” (Every Day)
The Ponderosa Twins Plus One – Bound – 2+2+1 = The Ponderosa Twins Plus One (Horoscope)
Pi-R Square – Fantasy Pt. 2 – 7” (Wee)

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Chris Connor – What Is There To Say? – Sings Lullabys Of Birdland (Bethlehem)
Johnny Hartman – There’s A Lull In My Life – And I Thought About You (Royal Roost)
June Christy – Day Dream – The Misty Miss Christy (Capitol)
Little Jimmy Scott – Recess In Heaven – If You Only Knew (Savoy)
Sidney Bechet – Days Beyond Recall – Jazz Classics Vol. 1 (Blue Note)

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Lenny White – Sweet Dreamer – Big City (Nemperor)
Caroline Peyton – Brister – Intuition (Bar-B-Q)
The Peppos and Jones Straightjacket Band – Humanity – 7” (Straightjacket)
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – In My Own Dream – In My Own Dream (Elektra)

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{closing theme} Chico Hamilton Quintet – Gone Lover – Quintet in Hi-Fi (World Pacific)

TamiLynn

Tami Lynn – Medley: Wings Upon Your Horn/Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone
Tami Lynn – I’m Gonna Run Away From You
Tami Lynn – Mojo Hanna

Sometimes spending half of your life digging for sounds and obsessing over music is thrilling and inspiring and sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating. My greatest source of frustration is the fact that I have a musical memory that constantly reminds me of some song fragment I heard years and years ago and that I always wanted to track down, but have absolutely no information. One of those memories is being with my Dad at a barbershop in Atlanta and while I was getting my haircut there was a little wall radio playing the local Soul music radio station. Though it’s been maybe 25 years, I can still remember sitting in that chair as a song came on, slower tempo and a woman speaking over the music and going into some of the saddest and most desperate soul singing I’ve ever heard. Tyrone, the barber, mentioning something about the woman, how she lost herself to drugs over some man, but nowadays, all these years later, I don’t know if he meant the artist or he was talking about the song. Needless to say, whenever I run into soul records from the 1970s that feature a female singer doing monologues, I snatch them up, hoping that I’ll be able to check off one of the many musical mysteries that are stuck in my mind.

I’m about 90% sure that this record from New Orleans singer Tami Lynn is not what I heard in that barbershop, but despite that, I extremely happy that I picked up this record, the last record I bought in 2014. The entire first side plays like a concept record, as a woman details the beginning and end of a relationship. I’m not sure if this is the case with all of versions of this record, but at least with mine (which is a white label promo) each of the songs on the first side fades out fully and quickly. It’s only with the first two songs, Tami’s version of a more famous Lynn’s (Country singer Loretta Lynn that is) “Wings Upon Your Horn” and the title track, “Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone,” that I was able to edit them together so that they flow one to the other without any gap. Since I just ran into this record a couple days ago and I’ve been hard at work catching up with all of these posts on the blog, I haven’t been able to investigate if there is a full unedited version of the songs that make up the first side. If not, it’s a real shame, because it’s really exceptional and deep soul.

After all of the pathos of the first side, things pick up sonically, if not thematically, on the second side with a relatively minor but right tasty Northern Soul “hit,” “I’m Gonna Run Away Form You” and a NOLA classic “Mojo Hanna,” previously recorded by a number of others, including Betty Harris and Marvin Gaye. Those tracks seem to have a little bit of that Wardell Quezergue magic in them, though from the credits on the back it’s tough to know who recorded which tracks and where…no matter. Tami Lynn’s album is well deserving of addition into my suddenly quite respectably sized collection (as you’ll see in the year-end all vinyl show, I did A LOT of record therapy in 2014) and well deserving of inclusion in your own.

Cheers,

Michael

Sakamoto

Shintaro Sakamoto – Extremely Bad Man

You should have seen how far I flipped out when I found out that Shintaro Sakamoto had a new record in 2014. Just a couple years removed from his amazing debut solo release In A Phantom Mood, Sakamoto has returned with a just as satisfying sophomore release, Let’s Dance Raw. To his pitch perfect melding of 1980/90s rare groove and 1970s glam rock, Sakamoto added a super twangy, almost Hawaiian guitar that gives most of the songs, even the ones that seem to have a heavier lyrical content, such as “Extremely Bad Man,” a breezy nature. By far the most interesting song, and one that stylistically sounds very different than the other tracks on the album, is “You Can Be A Robot, Too.” For a 7″ release, Sakamoto re-recorded the song with vocals from the Kamome Children’s Choir. Having the kids sing Sakamoto’s cautionary and satirical lyrics, “Let’s be new robots, it will free you from anxiety and nihilism,” in a joyous fashion seems to soften the fact that something just seems wrong about people wanting to become robots, especially as a larger and larger percentage of the population hops on board. As with some of his prior songs, Sakamoto animated the music video for “You Can Be A Robot, Too” and it’s a marvel to behold, just like the song and everything else the man touches.

MikeWatt

As I mentioned in the Breakdown for this show, we’d originally planned on doing a show with Watt and his group Il Sogno Del Marinaio, but the band arrived into Long Beach airport too late to make it all the way up to North Hollywood and KPFK. Watt promised he’d come in once he was done touring and this time everything worked out and he was able to swing through. We spend most of the first part of the interview talking about his latest projects, but if you’ve listened to Watt on his own radio show, The Watt From Pedro, you know conversations often start in one place, but cover a wide amount territory before closing up. For me, this felt less like a radio interview or even doing a show and more like just a conversation. As I mention, I almost wish I’d had the forethought to set up some kind of microphone when we weren’t on-air, because those conversations were just as good as what you’ll hear here. Watt also shared a few tunes, somethings that he’s loved over the years, somethings that influenced him as a musician and we close up with another recent project of his, Cuz. It’s been a really special treat getting to sit down with Watt on two occasions this year, these are without a doubt some of the my favorite interviews/shows that I’ve done in the 20+ years I’ve been in radio.

Mike Watt Interview and Guest DJ Set on KPFK’s Melting Pot 11-30-2014

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Earlier in the year, we had hoped to bring Mike Watt back into the KPFK studios after he’d come in to share stories from the Minutemen’s heyday, at the 30th anniversary of Double Nickels On The Dime. The plan was for him to come in with the other members of one of his projects, Il Sogno Del Marinaio. Unfortunately his Italian band-mates got held up in Customs and they weren’t able to make it. A couple tours and a couple months later, Watt was able to finally come in and spend some time talking about that project, as well as a few other recent and upcoming ones, as well as tell more stories about growing up and playing music with D. Boon. The show starts off with a little Jimi Hendrix, as is our tradition around his birthday, but from there, it’s just me and Watt in the studio. In the second hour he plays a bunch of songs and we get to talking about all kinds of things. Hands down, one of the best shows of the year and of my entire career.

Melting Pot on KPFK #184: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #184: Second Hour

Playlist 11-30-2014:
{opening theme} Boris Gardiner – Melting Pot – Is What’s Happening (Dynamic)
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Jimi Hendrix & the Band Of Gypsies – Power To Soul/Message Of Love/We Got To Live Together – Band Of Gypsies (Capitol)

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Mike Watt – Interview and Guest DJ Set – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

YaoLP

Yao Su Yong – My Coffee
Qing Shan – Desert Love
Yao Su Yong – Extremely

Ran into this album, along with a few others from China, at the Beat Swap Meet. The dealer wasn’t one that I was particularly familiar with and the albums weren’t priced particularly high. As more than a few posts on this blog can attest to, I am a big fan of funky music from around the world, and while I could translate anything on these records, the fact that one (perhaps I’ll post it at a later date) featured a young woman with a guitar and the band name, “Yao Su Yong & the Telstars Combo” I knew this had to at least be from the mid-1960s or later. Sure enough when I got home and dropped the need on each record there was definitely some groovy things going on.

From there I did some digital sleuthing to figure out that this was a collection of songs from the same artist of the other record I had gotten, Yao Su Yong, a major star in later 1960s Hong Kong, as well as the male artist Qing Shan. There have been a few copies of the other Yong album, selling for a lot more than I paid for it, but I didn’t see much online about this album, a collection of “hits” from both artists, so I decided to share this one first. With the powers of Google Translate I was able to get the English versions of the titles (or at least what the internets tells me are the English titles) and now we can all dig these sounds together. I dig Yong’s side of music better, but Qing Shan’s “Desert Love” is one of the grooviest things I’ve heard all year.

Cheers,

MIchael

Afrosound2

Afrosound – Banana De Queso

Vampi Soul took their sweet time getting us a second volume of funky, psychedelic, Afro-cumbia sounds out of 1970s Colombia, but four years after Volume 1, we now have Volume 2 and it’s just as good if not better than the original. Afrosound is a title given over to a number of groups on the Disco Fuentes label who created music in response to the more rocking Chicha sounds coming out of Peru. With multiple tracks from heavyweights Wganda Kenya, Fruko y Sus Tesos, Lisandro Mesa and the group Afrosound themselves, there is simply no way you’ll be able to sit still once you drop the needle (or laser or click or however you listen to music these days) on these 24 songs.

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Show features a couple tributes, one for Bob Dorough, to start the show, who was in town for a live performance of the legendary Schoolhouse Rock series and another tribute set for Breakbeat Lou and all of those who were turned on to classic breaks from the Ultimate Breaks & Beats series. The show also features new tracks from the Budos Band, Shintaro Sakamoto, Ariel Pink, Allo Darlin, some classic material and deep cuts from Les Demerle, Eduardo Araujo e Silvinha, Erasmo Carlos and the incomparable Little Jimmy Scott to close things up…Enjoy!

Melting Pot on KPFK #183: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #183: Second Hour

Playlist 11-23-2014:
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Bob Dorough – My Hero, Zero – Multiplication Rock (Capitol)
Les Demerle – A Day In The Life – Spectrum (UA)
Eduardo Araujo E Silvinha – Opinage – Sou Filho Desse Chao (Beverly)
Harvey Mandel – The Snake – The Snake (Janus)

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Jungle Fire – Tropicoso – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nueva Yorquino – I Ya Modupue – Concepts In Unity (Salsoul)

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Budos Band – Aphasia – Burnt Offering (Dapton)
King Crimson – Pictures Of A City – In The Wake Of Poseidon (Atlantic)
Swervedriver – Duel – Mezcal Head (A&M)
Allo Darlin’ – Santa Maria Novella – We Come From The Same Place (Slumberland)

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Melvin Bliss – Synthetic Substitution – Ultimate Breaks & Beats Vol. 5 (Street Beat)
The Winstons – Amen Brother – Ultimate Breaks & Beats Vol. 1 (Street Beat)
Jackie Robinson – Pussy Footer – Ultimate Breaks & Beats Vol. 3 (Street Beat)
Orchestra Internationale Feat. Sam Conti – Chella’lla – Ultimate Breaks & Beats Vol. 2 (Street Beat)

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Ariel Pink – One Summer Night – Pom Pom (4AD)
People Under The Stairs – Gamin’ On Ya – Fun DMC (Gold Dust Media)
Heavee – 8 Bit Shit – Teklife & Hyperdub Present NextLife (Hyperdub)
Flying Lotus – Moment Of Hesitation – You’re Dead (Warp)

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Shintaro Sakamoto – Never Liked You, But Still Nostalgic – Let’s Dance Raw (Other)
Erasmo Carlos – Grilos – Sonhos E Memorias 1942-1972 (Polydor)
Bright Black Morning Light – Gathered Years – Motion To Rejoin (Matador)
Jimmy Scott – Time On My Hands – Very Truly Yours (Savoy)

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

PrimeiroAmor

Osmar Milito e Quarteto Forma – O Primeiro Amor
Osmar Milito e Quarteto Forma – Podes Crer
Betinho – Saque Saque

As I’ve shown already back in 2011, the Brazilian Novela soundtrack game was no joke. It’s exceedingly rare for me to run into any solid Brazilian records here in LA, and even rarer to run across Novela soundtracks, so when I spied this at the Beat Swap Meet, I scooped it up quick fast. As you can hear, there’s a good bit of cracklin’ catfish in the background on this one, but the tunes are so incredible, and as far as I can tell exclusive to the soundtrack, that I’m sure you won’t mind. Though there are a couple of slower songs on here (especially one from Jacks Wu, who also delivered smoothness on O Cafona), the tracks I’ve chosen are more on the funky side of things. I’m sure you don’t mind that either.

Cheers,

Michael

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