Classic Melting Pot


{Now that I’m all caught up, I’ll be taking off the rest of this week and enjoying Thanksgiving. I WILL be back in December with more music and mixes along the lines of the one below to stand in for radio, at least for the moment. Onwards and upwards peoples!}

As should be clear by now, Dungen is one of my favorite contemporary bands, perhaps my single favorite band of the 21st century. Aside from the great respect I have for each of the individual members talents, it is their collective approach to sound that I admire most. In the month since I had the opportunity to interview the band and watch them perform, none of my admiration for the band has dimmed. If anything it has only deepened. This mix began just as something that I wanted to create for my long commutes, from Glendale to Long Beach, and for future road trips. But I decided to share this mix, which covers 20 of my personal favorites from the bands six full-length studio albums, as a means of spreading the band’s music and frontman Gustav Ejstes’ philosophy connected to it. As he said in our interview and wrote in my copy of Tio Bitar, the music IS yours…Enjoy!

Dungen: The Music Is Yours – Personal Favorites 2002-2015


1. Allas Sak (Allas Sak)
2. Tyst Minut (Ta Det Lugnt)
3. Mina Damer Och Fasaner (4)
4. Solen Stiger Upp Del 1 & Del 2 (Stadsvangringar)
5. Flickor Och Pojkar (Allas Sak)
6. Krona (Stadsvindringar)
7. Festival (Ta Det Lugnt)
8. Högdalstoppen (Skit I Allt)
9. Det Tar Tid (4)
10. Familj (Tio Bitar)
11. Sol Och Regn (Stadsvandringar)
12. Panda (Ta Det Lugnt)
13. Fredag (4)
14. Brallor (Skit I Allt)
15. Det Du Tänker Idag Är Du I Morgon (Ta Det Lugnt)
16. En Gång I År Kom Det En Tår (Tio Bitar)
17. En Gång Om Året (Allas Sak)
18. Satt Att Se (4)
19. Soda (Skit I Allt)
20. C. Visar Vagen (Tio Bitar)


Here is our interview with the Swedish Psychedelic band Dungen. This interview, years in the making, almost didn’t happen. I had been in talks to bring the band in for an interview & performance, but the situation at KPFK made it virtually impossible to do the interview at the station. After a suggestion from a friend, I decided to do something I’ve never done before and I booked a couple of hours at Bedrock LA rehearsal space, paying for the time, space and equipment out of my own pocket. In order to understand why I went through so much to make sure this interview would happen, I have to take you back a few years.

I began my career in radio at WRAS, Album 88, and while I did a number of amazing interviews while there (particularly of my heroes Max Roach and Bobby Seale), when I left the station I was really turned off from interviewing artists after a few bad experiences towards the end of my time in Atlanta. At WORT & KALX, I did exactly two interviews (one at each station) and had no real desire to do any others. But in 2007, as I was driving around Berkeley, I heard Matthew Africa play “C. Visar Vagen” from Dungen and later walked into Amoeba as “C. Visar Vagen” was playing and for the first time in years, I really wanted to not only know more about this band, but to have a conversation with them about their music. That spark is what eventually led me to not only return to radio at KCRW, but to eventually land at KPFK where I could produce my own show and book my own interviews. During my time at KPFK, I had around 60 guests into the station for interviews, guest DJ sets and performances. I’m proud of all of them, but for all the reasons mentioned above, this one holds a special place in my heart. DungenBedrock

During our interview, we talk about the earliest years of the band, how the core quartet, featuring Gustav Ejstes, Reine Fiske, Mattias Gustavsson and Johan Holmegard, came together organically over the course of the band’s history, the latest release Allas Sak, which translates roughly to “Everyone’s Thing” and what that phrase means to the band and we spend quite a lot of time talking about the process of making music for this band, including some fascinating insight into how the band visualizes their music through images (such as “this is more like a gentle stream” or “more like the morning dew”) and the precious influence of Gustav’s mother. The interview also features music from the band, “Flickor Och Pojkar,” “Allas Sak,” and “En Gång Om Året” from the new record, as well as a couple of older songs that are personal favorites (including the much discussed “C. Visar Vagen”). Big thanks to Jessica Weber, Mark O’Donnell and Rachel Barnhart for their help setting this up, Mark Maxwell for helping with the sound, Bedrock LA for the space and most importantly thank you to the band for being so gracious with their time and so exemplary with their music. While it is a shame that the recording of their performance ended up being unusable for airplay, I am so very thankful to have been able to spend that time with the band and very proud of the interview that we were able to record and broadcast and share with you here.

Dungen Interview on Melting Pot: 10-25-2015


In all honesty, I had every intention of making sure this would get posted a few days after it broadcast. But you know what happens to our best laid plans. In some ways it’s fitting that it took me a fair amount of time to get this show up, it’s a microcosm of my entire five years at KPFK, and as a final show on the station, that seems very fitting indeed. The decision to leave KPFK had been brewing over the last several months. I could write a book on my feelings about what is currently happening to KPFK and the wider Pacifica network, but the easiest way of saying why I am leaving is to simply say that I do not have the time to invest in KPFK that I would like and no longer feel that the station is a place where I can do the kind of show that I want to do. This choice does not have anything to do with anyone placing any restrictions on my work as a programmer. During my five years I’ve enjoyed the confidence of the music director Maggie LePique and interim Program Director Alan Minsky and they have been extremely supportive of my vision for Melting Pot. My choice is more connected to the ongoing crisis and the entrenched dysfunction that seems likely to end in the dismantling of the network and the possible loss of multiple stations.

For years there was an acceptable amount of dysfunction and crisis that I could tolerate, after all, within the first month of being on the air, I had 3 weeks of fundraising sandwiched between 2 weeks of “regular” programming. But my show was never given a full chance to build an audience that would have supported it through thick and thin, and as the years have gone by, the pace of fundraising has increased on pace with the problems at the station and the network. As our financial issues have balloned due to mismanagement on many different levels, the ability to produce a quality show, has become more and more difficult. As a programmer at a station without a functional music department and with no music library, you are responsible for 100% of what you play. The constant disruptions to programming, the lack of organization or basic planning has made it impossible to do my show in the way that I feel it should be done. When long-time programmers Derek Rath, Yatrika Shah-Rais and Betto Acros resigned en masse from the Global Village over many of these issues, I was close to just resigning right then and there at the beginning of October. The final straw for me was connected to the Dungen interview that takes up the second hour of this last program. In order to make this interview happen, I had to book and pay out of my own pocket for rehearsal space. The lack of a dedicated performance space and a dedicated engineer, meant that even though I was able to get the band into a studio, our recording wasn’t suitable for broadcast and the inability to do something, that should be taken for granted at a radio station with KPFK’s legacy and space, only confirmed that this was the right time to leave the station.

This was not a choice that I made lightly or without difficulty. I strongly believe in the mission of KPFK and Pacifica. Within a week of moving to California back in 1999, I was on the streets of Berkeley, protesting with other concerned parties what we viewed as overreach by the Pacific board in the firing of KPFA GM Nicole Sawaya. That protest eventually led to the very structure of governance that has become Pacifica’s undoing, a hard lesson in unintended consequences for sure. I’m not sure there is enough collective will to create another movement right now that would right the ship and bring KPFK and the other Pacifica stations into the future. I hope that there is, but I don’t see any of that positive change on the horizon. Were I that 25 year old man of the past, just beginning graduate school with few responsibilities outside of himself, I would likely still be in this fight. But as a 40-year old, recently divorced man, who is primarily responsible to the 400-550 students he teaches each year at CSU-Long Beach, I have to choose my battles more wisely. And so, my time at KPFK (and perhaps terrestrial radio more generally) is done and this chapter is closed. I’m proud of everything I was able to accomplish at KPFK and proud of this final show. While this show below represents the farewell transmission of Melting Pot on KPFK, it is not yet a grand finale for my work as a DJ. I will continue to share music here on the blog, occasionally in local spaces and perhaps, if I’m lucky, on an online radio station. As a final word, I’d like to thank listeners of the program, it was a privilege to have hosted this show for you on your airwaves. Thank you for listening…

Melting Pot on KPFK #211: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #211: Second Hour

Playlist: 11-6-2015
{opening theme) Booker T & the Mgs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

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Songs: Ohia – Farewell Transmission – Magnolia Electric Co. (Secretly Canadian)
Rotary Connection – Life Could – Aladdin (Cadet Concept)
Erasmo Carlos – Minha Gente – Sonhos E Memorias (Polydor)
Alice Coltrane & Charlie Haden – For Turiya – Closeness (Horizon)

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Josh Haden & Spain – I Do – Single (Self-Released)
Janis Joplin – To Love Somebody – I Got Dem Ol Kozmic Blues Again Mama! (Columbia)
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo Cotonou – Min We Tun So – The Skeletal Essence Of Afro-Funk 1969-1980 (Analog Africa)
Rodrigo Amarante – The Ribbon – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

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Gloria Ann Taylor – World That’s Not Real – Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing (Ubiquity/Luv’n’Haight)
Phonte feat. Evidence, Big Krit & 9th Wonder – Life Of Kings – Charity Starts At Home (Foreign Exchange)
Funkadelic – The Promentalshitbackwashpsychosisenema Squad (the Doo Doo Chasers) – One Nation Under A Groove (WB)
Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics – Blue Nile – Inspiration Information (Strut)

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Dungen – Interview – Recorded Live At Bedrock LA (Melting Pot Archives)

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Dungen – En Gang Om Aret – Allas Sak (Mexican Summer)
Dungen – Satt Att Se – 4 (Mexican Summer)
Dungen – Soda – Skit I Allt (Mexican Summer)
Dungen – Akt Dit – Allas Sak (Mexican Summer)
Dungen – C. Visar Vagen – Tio Bitar (Kemado)

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{closing song} Johnny Hartman – We’ll Be Together Again – Songs From The Heart (Bethlehem)


Hansson & Karlsson – Tax Free
Hansson & Karlsson – Triplets
Hansson & Karlsson – Collage

I must have been some crazy providence that the same week I got a copy of that Bruce & Vlady record, I ended up tracking down this LP over at Atomic in Burbank. I knew the name, “Hanson & Karlsson” because Jimi Hendrix name-checked them when he performed a version of their song, “Tax Free,” but had never heard their sound. After having had my mind blown by the organ/drum sound of Bruce & Vlady after a first listen, I had it blown all over again when I dropped the needle on the original version and heard that Hammond blazing and those drums crashing all over the place. My mind quickly became obsessed with another Swedish band and so I haven’t done nearly enough digging into the band, but it’s something I’m looking forward to doing cause I can’t imagine the breaktastic bounty that is waiting for their material recorded in 1968 and 1969.




Bruce & Vlady – Blue Variations

There really was a time, bot to long ago where I thought we’d run out of “rare grooves,” and such. It seems comic now, but it was something I believed. Instead as the years have passed, there’s been more and more funky material dug up and reintroduced through many fine reissue labels, so much that I can’t even keep track of it all. Vampi Soul has long been one of my favorite labels, and a couple months ago they sent me a real doozie of a record. Bruce and Vlady’s “The Reality” is the kind of record you dream of finding while diggin’ in the crates. It’s deep, soooooooooooooooooooo very deep. It’s so incredibly deep that I was pretty shocked in hearing it that I’d never heard anything from this album before. Apparently it was a Swedish only release, which seems odd given that Bruce came from the States and Vlady was a Polish drummer. But Hansson & Karlsson had already made a name for themselves as a organ and drums duo by this period of time, so there might have been a market for this over there. I’m just thankful that someone had the good sense to put some mics in gront of these two dudes and give us a taste of their “reality.” One of my fave reissues, not only of this year, but of the last several years.


Originally, I had no idea this would be my next to last show on KPFK. I began the show with a short set connected to the latest school shooting, this time in Oregon. From there we went a number of different places, unfortunately the recording had some problems and so it picks up in the middle of the second set with Bikini Kill. You may notice that at the close of the show I sound more mysteriously pensive than normal, which now having ended my show, likely might have been a clue that my time at KPFK was nearing an end. Just before signing off, Kristi Lomax told me that Derek, Yatrika and Betto of the Global Village had resigned en masse as a protest to how things had been developing at KPFK. I was crestfallen. As y’all now know I’ve also decided to leave and I’ll have more to say about that when I post my final show. For now, here’s (most of) the penultimate broadcast of Melting Pot on KPFK.

Melting Pot on KPFK #210: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #210: Second Hour

Playlist: 10-2-2015
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Gil Scott-Heron – Must Be Something – First Light Of A New Day (Arista)
The Soul Jazz Orchestra – As The World Turns – Resistance (Strut)
Weldon Irvine – Music Is The Key – Sinbad (RCA)

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Ceu – Falta De Ar – Ao Vivo (Six Degrees)
Bikini Kill – Double Dre Ya – Revolution Girl Style Now (Bikini Kill Records)
The New York Dolls – Puss ‘n’ Boots – Too Much, Too Soon (Mercury)
Creations Unlimited – Corruption Is The Thing – Boddie Recording Company, Cleveland (Numero)
Juan Pablo Torres y Algo Nuevo – Son A Propulsion – Super Son (Areito)

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Alpha – Left Behind – Loving Nobody (Don’t Touch)
King Midas Sound / Fennesz – Loving Or Leaving – Edition 1 (Ninja Tune)
Phil Cohran & the Artistic Heritage Ensemble – The Minstrel – Phil Cohran & the Artistic Heritage Ensemble (Zulu)
Buffalo Brothers – Barabkan Breakfast – Fresh From The Horn (Buffalo Brothers)

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Thundercat – Them Changes – The Beyond / Where The Wild Things Roam EP (Brainfeeder)
Moonchild – The Truth – Single (Tru Thoughts)
Blackalicious feat. Vursatyl and Jum – That Night – Imano Vol. 1 (OMG)
Paul Weller – Remember How We Started – Paul Weller (Go Disc!)
NxWorries – Suede – Single (Stones Throw)
Dungen – Flickor Och Pojkara – Allas Sak (Mexican Summer)

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Dungen – En Gang Om Aret – Allas Sak (Mexican Summer)
Can – Mary, Mary, So Contrary – Monster Movie (UA)
Guilty Simpson feat. Spacek – Smoke –
Eduardo Araujo – Kizumbau – (Cultures Of Soul)

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Kadhja Bonet – Gramma Honey – The Visitor EP (Self-Released)
Bruce & Vlady – Reality / Blue Variations – The Reality (Vampi Soul)

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

Rest In Peace Allen Toussaint…

November 20th, 2015
foto © Michael Wilson

foto © Michael Wilson

A truly epic second line laid rest today to one of New Orleans’ most favored sons, the legendary Allen Toussaint. Toussaint passed away on November 10th, perhaps fittingly after performing earlier in the night in Spain. I don’t know if there is any way possible to fully quantify the effect Allen Toussaint had on the music of New Orleans. In all honesty, it’s quite possible that the only other figure that even comes close to rivaling Toussaint’s influence is Louis Armstrong. If you’re a fan of New Orleans soul and funk, chances are your favorite songs have Toussaint’s fingerprints all over them, whether directly as a musician, songwriter or arranger, or just in the influence he had on virtually all of the musicians, songwriters and arrangers of the 1960s and 1970s when he was truly in the pocket and recording with essentially everyone, Lee Dorsey, Ernie K. Doe, The Meters, The Neville Bros., Betty Harris, Irma Thomas and on and on and on and on. You could have successful soul/northern soul nights just based off of tracks from Toussaint’s catalog and no one would ever tire of hearing them. The ones below are just my personal favorites.

Lee Dorsey – A Lover Was Born

Without a doubt, one of my absolute favorite songs of all-time and absolutely my single favorite thing to dance to. If you ever want to see me completely lost my shit…drop the needle on this record. Lee Dorsey, backed up by the Meters, with Allen Toussaint at the controls…it does not get any better than this right here!

Lee Dorsey & Betty Harris – Take Care Of Our Love

As big fan of Southern deep soul, there had to be one of those slow burning songs on this list. This duet between Dorsey and Betty Harris, where each pledges to remain true to the other while they are physically apart, hits me deep deep down in my heart. As with so much music out of New Orleans, much of the appeal is in the delivery of choice lines like “And don’t let no sweet talking joker, come and confuse what’s going on between you and I.”

Betty Harris – I’m Gonna Get You

One of the things I found myself appreciating at a recent Allen Toussaint tribute put on by Miles and Clifton of Funky Sole, was the great diversity of sounds in the catalog of tracks. Though Toussaint’s hands were all over many tracks in the 60s, there wasn’t a single signature sound or rhythm that is associated with the tracks. They all sound distinctive and have a special sound of their own, even as the elements they’re drawn from are so clearly recognizable as being from New Orleans. “I’m Gonna Get You” starts off as if it might be a version of Toussaint’s “Get Out My Life Woman,” (and when you compare the two, it’s possible that the songs were related, though they don’t quite seem to an answer/response kind of thing), but the use of the horns, the background vocals and Harris’ impassioned phrasing might make you forget that “Woman” even exists. Such is the power of Mr. Toussaint.

The Pointer Sisters – Yes We Can, Can

This was originally recorded with Lee Dorsey, and that version is fine and dandy, but I’ve always favored the Pointer Sisters version of the “Yes We Can, Can.” Something about the mix of all those women’s vocals just gives the song and even greater sense of uplift than the original, and elevates this song above other inspirational soul songs of the period.

Lee Dorsey – Four Corners

As much as I love dancing to “A Lover Was Born” the pure insanity of “Four Corners” comes a close second. As I get older, I have a suspicion that one day someone will play these songs back-to-back and I’ll have a heart attack right there on the dance floor from the excitement. I don’t know who is ultimately responsible for that “Now give me that shaker-maker” line that Dorsey throws out just before the drum break, but I like to think that it came about as this thing was being recorded. I would have loved to have been in the studio when this song was cut, because it sounds like one of the best parties ever committed to vinyl and LORD those drums…thank you Allen Toussaint for bringing this band together and blessing us with one of the most dynamic songs of all time, in addition to all the other gifts you gave us. For this and all of those, we are so very thankful you were in our world and we’ll make sure that future generations know your name and know your songs.


At the last minute Miles asked me to fill-in for him on the Funky Sole stage. As it’s my single favorite soul/funk night, there was no way that I could resist. Additionally, since by the time he asked I knew that I’d be giving up my KPFK show, I liked the idea of having a built in depression-breaker in putting together a set for the Funky Sole faithful. I kept this one a bit more soulful than I have previously, starting with a little tribute to New Orleans drummer Smokey Johnson who passed earlier in the month, though things start to move all over the place closer to the end of the set. As usual the dance floor was packed all night and smiles were a plenty. For me, the highlights were watching the B-Boys and B-girls do their thing to Rufus Thomas and the Jackson Sisters and watching everybody get real sexy with it when I dropped the needle on Sylvia Striplin’s “You Can’t Turn Me Away.” Just one night after I’d given up the opportunity to share music on-air, it was a brilliant experience share music directly for folks, to bring them joy, have them dance and have a good time. One of the things I am most thankful for has been the multiple opportunities to play music for that crowd. It is always my pleasure…

Guest DJ Set at Funky Sole: 11-07-2015

1. Smokey Johnson – It Ain’t My Fault – 7″ (Nola)
2. Sam & Dave – I Thank You – I Thank You (Atlantic)
3. Machito – Hold On, I’m Comin’ – Machito Goes Memphis (RCA)
4. Jeanne & the Darlings – Soul Girl – 7″ (Volt)
5. Betty Harris – Mean Man – 7″ (Sansa)
6. The Harvey Averne Dozen – You’re No Good – Viva Soul (Atlantic)
7. The Precisions – What I Want – 7″ (Drew)
8. Willie West & the Soul Investigators – She’s So Wise – 7″ (Timmion)
9. Sam Dees – Lonely For You Baby – 7″ (SSS)
10. Yuzo Kayama & the Launchers – Violet Sky – All About Yuzo Kayama (Toshiba)
11. Ray Barretto – The Soul Drummers – Acid (Fania)
12. Eddie Palmieri – Ay Que Rico – Champagne (Tico)
13. The Packers – Pure Soul – Hole In The Wall (Pure Soul)
14. Freddie Scott – You Got What I Need – 7″ (Shout)
15. The Meters – Chicken Strut – Struttin’ (Josie)
16. Rufus Thomas – Itch & Scratch Pt. 2 – 7″ (Stax)
17. The Jackson Sisters – I Believe In Miracles – 7″ (Mums)
18. Sly Stone – Crossword Puzzle – 7″ (Epic)
19. King Gerson Combo – Melo Do Hulk – 7″ (Polydor)
20. Jean Knight – Do Me – 7″ (Stax)
21. Sugar Billy – Super Duper Love – Super Duper Love (Fast Track)
22. SYlvia Striplin – You Can’t Turn Me Away – 12″ (Uno Melodic)
23. Antonio Carlos e Jocafi – Kabaluere – Voce Abuous (RCA)


This Saturday it will be my honor to return back to the Funky Sole stage to play some soulful tunes for the people. Been a busy beaver on the record front, and I got more than a few discoveries I’m looking forward to bringing out. Swing through and get sweaty with us on the dancefloor!

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