Classic Melting Pot


Beautiful night at Funky Sole last night…it’s almost always a beautiful night at Funky Sole, mind you, but last night was especially beautiful. Part of it was some new lights that bathed the entire club in Blue (which is my favorite color), but also it was beautiful to be with a crowd of dancers as Clifton paid tribute to Prince to close out the last hour of the night, with the shades of Blue replaced by Purple.

For my part, I put together a solid set, no Prince involved in it, since I knew that’s how we would close (and also, quite frankly, I don’t have a lot of Prince on vinyl, though it was nice to play my copy of “Take Me With U” as the “Last Call” song of the night). FunkySole42316 The set features a mix of deep cuts and classic breaks, with a couple of tracks inspired by “Soul Makossa,” before playing one of my favorite club cuts from the Makossa man himself. Also kicked things up a notch tempo-wise late in the set, with some extra upbeat songs that really tested the dancers. At some point I’m going to clear this dance floor, but as of yet all of my attempts have failed, the Funky Sole faithful are a stalwart bunch. I was especially impressed with those who got down while James Black was letting loose on the Mary Jane Hooper song near the end. That is just one of the many things I love about Funky Sole and why it’s the space I feel most comfortable dancing myself. Great crowd, great space, great sound and great DJs. Big thanks as always to Miles, Clifton, Nancy, Yenny and everyone else. Enjoy the sounds and check our Facebook page for a little bit of video from the Prince tribute.

Guest DJ Set at Funky Sole: 04-23-2016

Funky Sole: 04-23-2016
1. The Nite-Liters – Con-Funk-Shun – The Nite-Liters (RCA)
2. Marília Pêra- Shirley Sexy – O Cafona: Original Soundtrack (Som Livre)
3. Armando Travioli – Sessomatto – How Can Sex Be Funny: Original Soundtrack (West End)
4. Mandingo – The Headhunter – III (EMI)
5. Manu Dibango – New Bell – Soul Makossa (Atlantic)
6. Gary Bartz & the NTU Troop – Dr. Follow’s Dance – Follow, The Medicine Man (Prestige)
7. James Brown – Sayin’ It & Doin’ It – Hell (Polydor)
8. Myra Barnes – Super Good Pt. 1 – 7″ (King)
9. The Unemployed – They Won’t Let Me – 7″ (Cotillion)
10. Lonette McKee – Stop (Don’t Worry About It) – 7″ (M-S)
11. Billy Garner – I Got Some Pt. 1 – 7″ (BGP)
12. The People’s Choice – Big Ladies Man – 7″ (Phil L.A. of Soul)
13. John Ellison – You’ve Got To Have Rhythm – 7″ (Phil L.A. of Soul)
14. Marva Whitney – Unwind Yourself – It’s My Thing (Famous Flame)
15. The Chevelles – The Gallop – 7″ (Flaming Arrow)
16. Franciene Thomas – I’ll Be There – 7″ (Tragar)
17. Mr. Pitiful & the Ghettos – Ghetto Stroll – 7″ (Equator)
18. Mary Jane Hooper – I’ve Got What You Need – James Black: (I Need) Altitude (Night Train International)
19. The Sandpebbles – Forget It – 7″ (Calla)

foto  © Richard E. Aaron

Prince & the Revolution – Raspberry Beret

Yesterday was a fairly normal Thursday. Here at the end of the semester I was busy trying to finish up grading papers in between teaching. As I came back to my office, with about an hour of grading to squeeze into my office hours, I quickly checked Facebook and was thrown into shock at the passing of Prince.

Over 24 hours later, it’s still difficult to process the fact that Prince is no longer in this world. He seemed beyond age. Immortal. Eternally beautiful. That he could be gone so suddenly and without any warning doesn’t seem real. I don’t even know how to fully gauge the influence of Prince in my life. There are loads of memories connected to his songs and performances (though I regret never being able to see him live, something that I was sure I would be able to do soon, with his performances in Oakland and Atlanta seemingly setting the stage for Los Angeles). When Denise Matthews aka Vanity passed away around Valentine’s Day I mused on the fact that Prince’s taste in women, especially Apollonia, Shiela E., Sheena Easton, Sinead O’Connor and Jill Jones, had a major influence on my own (though when I’ve thought of my “dream girl” throughout most my life, she’s been closest to looking like Vanity). When MTV showed Purple Rain late last night I thought about how the very first “home video” my family got and played on our very first brand new VCR was Purple Rain, and I can still remember the big white shell case, taking the plastic off, popping the VCR in and being mesmerized once the movie started on our own TV…So many memories.

But more than anything else, when I think of Prince I think of my mother. There’s no other song that makes me think of my mother in the way “Raspberry Beret” does…back in the days before CDs and a “repeat” button, she actually had me record and re-record the song on both sides of a cassette so that she could endlessly listen to it as she drove around. In the years since her death, whenever the song would come on, the radio, in some store, on tv, wherever, I’d immediately think of her.

Along with “Take Me With U” it’s my favorite song from Prince, it finds him at his most whimsical (and both songs taken together might be his most romantic work). Though the original video had more of a Sgt. Pepper’s feel to it, I’ve always felt that the sound and structure of the song was the one that most showed Jimi’s influence on Prince’s songwriting. After Vanity’s passing, I read that she was supposed to originally have played the lead in Purple Rain, and that when she left the project, aspects of the story changed, including a love scene in a barn, that clearly relates to this song. Given that “Beret” was written in 1982, it’s entirely possible that the song may in part be inspired by Prince and Vanity’s love affair. I’ve long felt that Vanity was the love of Prince’s life, and after losing her, many of the women he found himself with were attempts at replacing her. Though there is so much to still learn about his passing, the romantic in me wonders how her passing, also at 57, may have affected him…Prince was such a private man, it’s possible we’ll never really know. What we do know is what he left behind, the effect that he had on so many of us, simply by being his utterly unique self. May he forever rest in peace…


As always, it will be my pleasure to spin a Guest DJ at LA’s finest soul and deep funk weekly get down, Funky Sole at the Echo, this Saturday night, April 23rd. While I can’t promise that I’ll be spinning much Prince, I can promise a great night of music and dancing. It’s been a long minute since I’ve gotten a chance to spin for folks, so I’m really looking forward to sharing the stage with Clifton and the boys in the Funk Yard, as well as the Funky Sole faithful…and hopefully you too!


Modulos – Realidad
Modulos – Todo Tiene Su Fin
Modulos – Dulces Palabras

As I’ll mention in more detail, eventually (I promise), when I put together a mix of the music I bought during my recent jaunt overseas, I hadn’t originally planned on spending enough time in Granada to be able to go to any stores, let alone three. But misfortune and misdirection led me to change my original plans and cause me to stay an additional day in a city that I now have quite a lot of affection for. Some of that certainly relates to the fact that they have a first class record store there in Discos Bora Bora.

In fact, after visits to Barcelona, Madrid (back in 2008) and now Granada, of the 8 or 9 stores I’ve been to in two trips to the country, Bora Bora is my second favorite store (next to Wah Wah in Barcelona). 03 (0) IMG_9387

Part of it relates to the selection, which is split between the usual genres we expect in US stores combined with an extensive 45 and LP collection of music produced in Spain. Part of it connects to the vibe of the store, which includes an adorable white boxer, requisite shaggy bearded employee, signed drum heads from musicians, vintage guitars and a mellotron in one corner and an upstairs oddball boutique.

In my first trip to Spain, I didn’t actually buy a whole lot of vinyl, and aside from a Canarios record I shared in Melting Pot’s early days, I didn’t buy much music recorded in Spain. I was keen to rectify that this time around and Bora Bora did not disappoint, particularly in terms of being able to check out some Spanish new wave, electro and post-punk from the early 1980s. But the record that I enjoyed most, perhaps my favorite single record from the entire trip was this one from Modulos.

As has often been the case, picking up this record was a matter of good timing. It wasn’t on the floor when I arrived, but was something that the guy behind the counter began to play maybe 45 minutes into my stay. The very first thing I heard was that kick drum, followed by the bass and then the guitar on the lead track, “Realidad,” which reminded me of Love’s version of “My Little Red Book.” While that piqued my curiosity, as that first minute rolled out I wasn’t really giving the song my full attention. But once it really started with the rolling drums, rolling guitar, rolling organ, I was definitely hooked but still cautious. My days of buying “one-tracker” albums are long behind me, and when I have a chance to hear a record I like to know that the album really is worth adding to my collection. Nothing else on the first side grabbed me the way “Realidad” did, so I was thinking I was going to pass. When Side 2 started with “Todo Tiene Su Fin,” I was back on board and finally asked what was playing and got a chance to see the band. Modulos2

At first I miss read the back on the LP, thinking that this had been recorded in 1981, though later I was able to figure out that album was released in 1970, the debut for the group, regarded as one of the better “progressive” groups from Spain. By the time “Dulces Palabras” came shimmering through the speakers, there was no way I was going to be leaving without this record. Again, time was on my side, because I got to process the whole album with very few people in the store. The album must have been a favorite of the employee cause he played it three times while I was there, and as the day progressed other people came up to him to ask about it, or chat about the sounds, but thankfully I had reserved it during that first spin, which allows me to share it now with you.




Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík – Cajovna

So…it seems it’s taken me a bit longer than I originally thought it would to get through all of that vinyl I picked up on my recent trip, but now that I’ve been through all of it, there definitely are a few records and tracks that stand out (most of which will end up in a mix I’ll post in the next couple of days), but probably the single track I’ve come back to the most in the two weeks I’ve been back home has been this one from the Czech band Modrý Efekt (Blue Effect), led by guitarist Radim Hladík. Part of why I was so excited to return to Spain, and especially to Discos Wah Wah in Barcelona, was access to not only Spanish, but other European music that we rarely see here in the States. Yes, most of these records can be found on the web somewhere, but nothing beats being able to browse the physical records, hold them, gaze at the artwork and ponder the sounds. “Cajovna” is perhaps the group’s most famous song, and deservedly so as you’ll hear, with it’s breezy proggish feel. It’s a song that sounds VERY familiar to me, and something that though I can’t confirm it online, must have been sampled previously by someone (a buddy of mine thought perhaps an Oddisee instrumental, something in me leans towards Madlib though), perhaps hearing it will cause one of you to recognize who has used it before, if so, let me know, so I can stop losing sleep over it…


April 8th, 2016


I know 2016 hasn’t exactly been the year of consistency for the blog, but things are on the upswing, I promise…I just got back from an exceptional trip to Spain, with brief stops in Philly and London, where I picked up a crates worth of vinyl. I’ll be spending most of the weekend going through all of these records and you can expect a mix of the different sounds soon, as well as some posts dedicated to the trip and the stores (especially Discos Wah Wah, pictured above)!

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