Classic Melting Pot

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Well, this was an interesting night. As is often the case before these end of the month all vinyl shows, I’ll spend some time at either Atomic in Burbank or Amoeba in Hollywood before making my way to the station. I know exactly how long it takes to get from those record stores to the station and I always make sure to leave with plenty of time. This Friday was no different, until it was VERY different. A 10 minute trip ended up taking 35 minutes, and that meant that I was late for my shift…and why? Kanye West. Seriously…Kanye West, who was playing at the Hollywood Bowl. It’s precisely because of times like these that I have an 8 minute long theme song. As I was driving up to the station, I was thinking about how much time I still had to go and ran into the studio thinking I still had a minute to go, but forgot that our signal is on a delay. So the show starts off with two rounds of “Melting Pot” before I get into things (I didn’t set up the recording correctly so, that opening is a bit muffled compared to the rest of the show), but with the time we had left, I tried to make the most of it with the usual mix of diverse sounds you’ve come to expect. Next week will be our last show for several weeks, so do be sure to tune in!

Melting Pot on KPFK #209: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #209:Second Hour

Playlist: 9-25-2015
{opening theme} Booker T & The MGs – Melting Pot (2x) – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Lee Hazlewood – My Autumn’s Done Come – The Very Special World Of Lee Hazlewood (MGM)
David Axelrod – The Fly – Songs Of Experience (Capitol)
King Crimson – Cirkus – Lizard (Atlantic)

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Yao Su Young & the Telstars Combo – Closer People – Yao Su Yong & the Telstars Combo (Haishan)
The Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra – Popular Myth & the Destruction of Sodom / Chizen Itza, Temple Of The Virgins – Chariots Of The Gods (Polydor)
Edip Akbayram & Dolstar – Daglar Dagladi Beni – 7″ (Sayan)
Power Of Zeus – Sorcerer Of Isis – Gospel According To Zeus (Rare Earth)

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Dungen – Familj – Tio Bitar (Kemado)
Haircut & the Impossibles – Sock It My Way – Call It Soul (Somerset)

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Olivia Byington – Procissao – Identidad (Areito)
Shades Of Black Lightning – Any Old Way – The Shades Of Black Lightning (Tower)
Herondy Bueno – Quem E Voce, Quem Sou – 7″ (RCA)
Ray Barretto – Teacher Of Love – Acid (Fania)
The Electric Flag – Soul Searchin’ / Sunny – The Electric Flag (Columbia)

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Paul Weller – 22 Dreams – 22 Dreams (Yep Roc)
The Small Faces – Hey Girl – Early Faces (Pride)
The Nation Of Ulysses – N.O.U.S.P.T.D.A. – The Birth If The Ulysses Aesthetic (Dischord)
Albert Ayler – Drudgery – Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe (Impulse!)

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King Gerson Combo – Mr. John, It’s The Pay Day – 7″ (Polydor)
RD Burman – Dil Lena Khel Hai Dildar Ka – 7″ (Music India)
Vicente Rojas – En La Orbita – A Las 2 A.M. (Areito)

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

VicRojas

Vicente Rojas – Esto No Es Para Bailar
Vicente Rojas – En La Nieve
Vicente Rojas – En La Orbita

September has belonged to records dug up in Havana, and for the last Dig Deep of the month, I thought I’d share this record from bandleader/producer Vicente Rojas. Like most of the music that I grabbed at Seriosha, I hadn’t heard anything about Rojas prior to getting this album. Since there’s no turntable there and I didn’t bring one with me, the music was going to remain a mystery until I got back home. When I went through the stacks, I pulled out way more records than I could afford and thus had to make tough choices about what to keep and what to leave behind.

With so little knowledge of many of these artists, I tried to focus on two things, instrumentation and catalog numbers. Without any recording dates mentioned on records, all I could do was compare this album to albums I already knew their recording dates. Having owned 3 or 4 Juan Pablo Torres albums from the mid-1970s to the 1980s gave me a way to contextualize what the album might sound like. Based on those records I knew this was late 1970s or early 1980s. Looking at the back cover revealed a long list of musicians, including a keyboardist who was listed as playing synthesizer, clavinet AND piano, but no listing for a singer/vocalist. That gave me the impression that this would be an instrumental album. Those two facts were more than enough to keep this record in the pile I eventually bought and brought back.

When I finally did get a chance to put the needle to the record, I was pretty blown away. “Esto No Es Para Bailar” is the first track and it was as if Giorgio Moroder had recorded an album in Havana, as totally spacey organ sounds eventually burst into a disco beat. “En La Orbita” has the feel of a song from a John Carpenter Horror film and “En La Nieve” bridges the gaps between these prior two favorite songs. It might take me a while to find out more about Vicente Rojas, but this was a most welcome introduction.

Cheers,

Michael

vieux

Vieux Farka Toure & Julia Easterlin – Masters Of War

A chance encounter brought together Vieux Farka Toure and Julia Easterlin and a shared curiousity into each other’s traditions has produced the collaboration, “Touristes.” Malian desert blues mixes seamlessly and beautifully with American roots music on many of the tracks, but their cover of Dylan/Odetta’s “Masters Of War,” really stands out. Let’s hope this is just the beginning of a long musical partnership.

ShannonClam

Oakland’s Shannon & the Clams will be making a stop here in LA, with a headlining show at The El Rey on Wednesday, September 23rd. If you’d like to see one of my favorite current vocalists do her thing in our town, make sure to e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 3pm tomorrow, Tuesday Sept. 22nd!!!

Here’s a little mini-documentary on the making of the band’s most recent, perhaps the best, album Gone By The Dawn:

Here’s the video for the first single from Gone By The Dawn, “Corvette,” which begins with an instrumental lick that’s just begging to be sampled by some adventurous Hip-Hop producer:

Here the band performs “Into A Dream” from Total Fest:

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Lots of new tunes, more than a few just released online in the past week. The show begins with one, from LA artist Kadjha Bonet, who has released quite a bit of music just this month, culminating with the Visitor EP. The last set features another, from LA Based Coco O. of Quadron. In between there’s a lot of new tunes from King Midas Sound + Fennesz, Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators, Shannon & the Clams, Dam-Funk, Petite Noir, Farao and more. The second hour begins with a real short set of some of my favorite Boogaloo tunes, in honor of the premiere of “We Like It Like That: the Story Of Latin Boogaloo” here on the west coast. Next week we should be on all-vinyl and might also be raising some funds for KPFK…see you then.

Melting Pot on KPFK #208: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #208: Second Hour

Playlist: 09-18-2015
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Kadhja Bonet – Fair Weather Friend – The Visitor EP (Self-released)
Skylab – Seashell – #1 (Tummy Touch)
King Midas Sound / Fennesz – On My Mind – Edition 1 (Ninja Tune)
Farao – Hunter – Til It’s All Forgotten (Arts & Craft)

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NxWorries – Suede – Single (Stones Throw)
Petite Noir feat. Baloji – La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful – La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful (Domino)
Toro y Moi – Power Of Now – Samantha (Self-released)
Adrian Younge’s Venice Dawn feat. Laetitia Sadier – Memories Of War – Linear Labs Los Angeles (Linear Labs)
Dungen – Franks Kaktus – Allas Sek (Mexican Summer)

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Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators – Thief In The Night – Happiness In Every Style (Timmion)
The Clientele – I Can’t Seem To Make You Mine – Unreal & Alone: The Best Of The Clientele (Merge)
The Chamanas – 1111 – Once Once (Nacional)
Jimmy Nolen – The Way You Do – R&B Hipshakers Vol. 4 (Vampi Soul)
Shannon & the Clams – Gone By The Dawn – Gone By The Dawn (Hardly Art)

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Joey Pastrana – Let’s Ball – Let’s Ball (Cotique)
Pete Rodriguez – Oh, That’s Nice – Ay Que Bueno! (allegre)
Eddie Palmieri – Ay Que Rico – Champagne (Tico)

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Vieux Farka Toure & Julia Easterlin – Bamba No Wili – Touristes (Six Degrees)
Blackalicious feat. Myron & E – On Fire Tonight – Imani Vol. 1 (OMG)
The Soul Jazz Orchestra – Soleil Couchant – Resistance (Strut)
Omar Souleyman – Ya Yumma – Wenu Wenu (Ribbon)
Mexico 68 Afro Beat Orchestra – Quench – Mexico 68 Afro Beat Orchestra (Rampart)

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Coco O. – The Hardest Thing – Single (Self Released)
Dam-Funk – It Didn’t Have 2 End This Way – Invite The Light (Stones Throw)
Magnum Force – Girl, You’re Too Cool – Ultra High Frequencies: The Chicago Party (Numero)
Shintaro Sakamoto – You Just Decided – How To Live With A Phantom (Other Music)

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

XXCUBA

Eduardo Ramos – Vocacion – Revolucion
Noel Nicola – Examenes y Narajanas
Silvio Rodriguez – Cancion Tema

Like Cuban music from the 1970s, Post revolutionary Cuban Film isn’t particularly easy to come across here in the States. when I went digging at Tienda Seriosha I was hoping I might find some soundtracks knowing that film industry was similarly supported by the government. Admittedly, I knew less about Cuban film than I did Cuban music, but just using the same logic I do when digging in the States, I figured that if there was music associated with films of the 1960s and 1970s, it would have to be as good as the records that were being released regularly. While I was only able to track down one full soundtrack (from a film called, Julito El Pescador, you’ll probably hear more from that later), I was able to grab this collection of film music, released in 1979 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.

The 15 tracks on the album are culled from six different films and feature some of the more popular Nueva Trova singers, particularly Silvio Rodriguez and Pablo Milanes (11 of the 15 tracks feature one or the other), with “Vocacion – Revolucion” and “Examenes y Narajanas” coming from the same film, a documentary titled La Nueva Escuela, while the Silvio Rodriguez track I’ve highlighted, “Cancion Tema,” comes from a film called El Hombre De Maisinicú. Both films were released in 1973 and have a sound that fits that period. I’d be curious to know how many films were produced during that 20 year period with full soundtrracks, but that is another mystery to look forward to uncovering on future trips back to Havana.

Cheers,

Michael

ShannonClams

Shannon & The Clams – Gone By The Dawn

I’ve raved about my love for Shannon Shaw’s voice pretty much since the moment I first heard it on “Lover’s Lane” with Hunx & his Punx. Her latest release, “Gone By The Dawn,” recorded with her band, The Clams, finds the group with a significantly refined sound. Much of that is connected to recorded in a proper studio for perhaps the first time, Sonny Smith’s Tiny Telephone studio in San Francisco. There’s still an edge to the band, but at times it’s polished cleanly off and smoothed out. “Gone By The Dawn” finds Shaw crooning in a way that could easily find this music in some more commercial spaces than the band has been used to. I’m not sure how fans of the more grittier days of the past will take to this new record and new sound. Personally, I love it and I’m interested to see how far this sound will take the band.

ibeyixl

One of the real great discoveries of the past year has been the twin sisters of Ibeyi. Having caught them earlier in the year at Hollywood Forever’s Lodge, I can tell you that as good as they sound on record, they sound twice as nice live. You can get a chance to catch them yourself, here in Los Angeles, at the legendary Mayan theater in DTLA, Friday, September 18th. Make sure to e-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 12noon tomorrow, Thursday September 17th!!!

Ibeyi really shines in live performance, at once simple and minimalist and yet so expansive in the amount of sound the two sisters create. Here they are covering Jay Electronica’s “Better In Tune With The Infinite” at a session for KEXP:

And here is the latest video from Ibeyi, for their song “Stranger / Lover”:

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Like so many other Americans, my memories of September 11, 2001 remain vivid. I also remember hosting a show on KALX the day after and only wanting to focus on beauty and love in the face of such horror. 9/11 is also the anniversary of another horrific moment in history, the beginning of the Pinochet Junta in Chile that led to tens of thousands of arrests as well as thousands of people murder and disappeared. One of those people was the singer Victor Jara and so it made good sense to start the show off with music from him. “El Derecho De Vivir En Paz” translates as “The Right To Live In Peace.” Peace was the theme of that first set, which also included some spiritual jazz from Pharoah Sanders and the Ensemble-Al Salaam. From there we focused on quite a lot of new releases, including music from Vieux Farka Toure & Julia Esterlin, Shannon & the Clams, Holly Golightly, Dungen, Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators, Chicano Batman plus a mea culpa on Silva, a record from 2014 that I should have played much more more. The second hour begins with an excerpt of the Sorpresa Musical mix that I posted here last week, and if all goes well, next week’s show will feature part of Vol. 2. Enjoy!

Melting Pot on KPFK #207: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #207: Second Hour

Playlist: 09-11-2015
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Victor Jara – El Derecho De Vivir En Paz – El Derecho De Vivir En Paz (Odeon)
Pharoah Sanders – Prince Of Peace – Izipho Sam (Strata East)
Ensemble Al-Salaam – Peace – The Sorjurner (Strata East)
The Heliocentrics & Mulatu Astatke – Blue Nile – Inspiration Information (Strut)

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Vieux Farka Toure & Julia Esterlin – Masters Of War – Touristes (Six Degrees)
Dungen – Akt Dit – Allas Sak (Mexican Summer)
David Axelrod – Song Of Innocence – Songs Of Innocence (Capitol)

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Shannon & the Clams – Baby Blue – Gone By The Dawn (Hardly Art)
The Butterflys – Good Night Baby – Girl Groups Lost & Found: One Kiss Leads To Another (Rhino)
Chicano Batman – Black Lipstick – Single (El Relleno)
The Soul Surfers feat. Myron & E – You Can Run (But You Can’t Hide) From My Love – Soul Rock! (Ubiquity)

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Various Artists – Excerpt – Sorpresa Musical Vol. 1 (meltingpotblog.com)
Rafael Somavilla – Dominga – Instrumental (Areito)

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Boogaloo Assassins – No, No, No – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
Clarence Paul – Baby Don’t You Leave Poor Me – R&B Hipshakers Vol. 4 (Vampi Soul)
Holly Golightly – As You Go Down – Slowtown Now! (Damaged Goods)
Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators – Together We Climb – Happiness In Every Style (Timmion)

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Ibeyi – Better In Tune With The Infinite – Single (Self-released)
Soul Jazz Orchestra – Life Is What You Make It – Resistance (Strut)
Silva – Mare – Ocean View (Six Degrees)
The Whitest Boy Alive – Intentions – Rules (Bubbles)

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

Somavilla

Rafael Somavilla – La Batea
Rafael Somavilla – Dominga
Rafael Somavilla – Mi Guajira No. 2
Rafael Somavilla – Mirando Traves De Un Mundo De Cristal

You can expect to see nothing but Cuban records in this section during this month, after my time spent at Tienda Seriosha in Havana. This LP might be my favorite of all of the ones that I picked up. Rafael Somavilla was a bandleader of some note in Cuba, primarily it seems with the Orquesta Cubana De Musica Moderna. For this album, songs were selected from Tony Taño, Juan Almeida and Raul Gomez. Knowing those names let me know that this would likely be a great record, as did the fact that there was a cover of Jorge Ben’s “Dominga” which I knew was from a record he put out in 1969. One of the other keys for me was the fact that the rhythms for the album were listed along with the songs and five of the songs were labeled as “Fantasía,” which more or less was used to describe psychedelic music in Cuba. With all of that, more than any other record, I couldn’t wait to clean this one up and drop the needle on it.

Once I did, as you can hear form the tracks above, the album did not disappoint. “La Batea” leads off the album and sets the tone, begining with what sounds like someone handwashing on a washboard and takes off from there into some really wild rhythms. The cover of “Dominga” closes up the album and shares quite a bit from the original, but smooths out the wilder edges of Ben’s original arrangement. In between those two stellar songs are eight other ones (“Mi Guajira” and “Mirando” just my two faves) that constantly flow into unexpected places. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more music from this period of time from Somavilla on my next trip.

Cheers,

Michael

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