Melting Pot

Archive for the ‘Dig Deep’ category


Harvey Mandel – The Snake
Harvey Mandel – Bite The Electric Eel
Harvey Mandel – Peruvian Flake

I wasn’t really planning on posting this record anytime soon, but when Harvey Mandel turned 70 years old on March 11th, there was a beautiful and touching appreciation for the man posted to Aquarium Drunkard that detailed the terrible times that Mandel’s been going through over the last several years. Just calamity after calamity, in recent years Mandel has been diagnosed with Nasal Cancer, lost both his mother and his son, and even his dog has come down with cancer. Josh Rosenthal’s post mentions that if you appreciate Mandel and have the ability to help him during these trying times, you can donate directly to his paypal account via harveysnake[at] or via the Help Harvey Mandel website.

Snake1Mandel is one of my favorite guitarists, though he’s been fairly overlooked, his sound is so iconic and so repeatedly fantastic. From his debut along with Charlie Musselwhite, to his many varied and adventurous solo LPs, to stints with Barry Goldberg, Canned Heat and John Mayall, he’s laid down some of the most beautiful guitar lines and gorgeous sustains of any guitarist since the 1960s. This particular album that I’m sharing is the one that carries his nickname, “The Snake.” In contrast to the more psychedelic sound of 1968’s Cristo Redentor (which was one of the first records I shared on this blog back in 2009) The Snake features a more muscular and funky sound, in a slinky groove on the title cut to more upbeat tracks like “Peruvian Flake” and “Bite The Electric Eel.” It’s a sound that’s well known by Hip-Hop and beat heads and one that I can’t imagine never have hearing. Felt the need to post something and maybe direct people, not only to the music, but also to help out this extraordinary musician in his time of need.




Muddy Waters – I Am The Blues
Muddy Waters – Bottom Of The Sea
Muddy Waters – Blues And Trouble

Had originally planned on posting this just after we’d had a spell of multiple days of rainy weather in water starved Los Angeles. But a quickie storm rolling through today gave me a chance to have this record be timed perfectly (after all, who knows when it will rain again out here). After The Rain was the follow-up to the much more well-known and more controversial Electric Mud. In some ways the fact that they crafted a follow-up, with essentially the same group (featuring the other-worldly guitar of Pete Cosey) should have dispelled some of the controversy surrounding Water’s feelings on this sound. It’s clear that after the sonic freakout of Electric Mud, Waters exerted perhaps a bit more control over these proceedings, as the record has a more conventional sound (though “Bottom Of The Sea” sounds like it could have been an out-take from the first session). But dialing it back from the previous effort still gives this album a sound all it’s own. While not as overtly psychedelic, with more slow groovin’ songs, After The Rain has a bit more ooomph to it.

I’d been looking for a copy of this for years and years, and finally ran into one at Gimme Gimme Records new location at 5810 N Figueroa St, essentially down the corner from my other favorite record store (at least in the Record Store heavy Highland Park) Avalon Vintage. If you haven’t been, he’s got more space and more records, and that is a mighty good thing, just like this album.




Leon Thomas – Malcolm’s Gone
Leon Thomas – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Leon Thomas – One

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X. Malcolm is an important figure in my life, as he is for many others. For me Malcolm’s influence is two-fold, there is the model he provides of Gramsci called an “Organic Intellectual,” the individuals who are the vanguard of social change, who through their lived experience and talents are able to bring together disparate communities to fight against inequality and push towards liberation. Perhaps more than any other figure from the 1960s, though his time in the public was relatively short, Malcolm presented a critical and uncompromising understanding of the nature of racism, oppression and the promise of uplift through self-determination. This is especially true of Malcolm after he split from the Nation of Islam, and broadened his vision of equality.

Malcolm is also deeply important to me because there are few people who so vividly modeled the nature of redemption. From street criminal to prisoner to firebrand to finally, in his final year, visionary. Part of the lesson in the life of Malcolm X is that we always have the possibility of changing our lives, living our lives for the better and effecting change once we start on the righteous path.

So on the 50th anniversary of the moment he was ripped from us, I wanted to commemorate that by sharing one of the many tributes dedicated to Malcolm. This album by Leon Thomas is fairly well known. It marked his debut as a leader, after gaining attention earlier in 1969 as the vocalist on Pharoah Sanders’ legendary Karma album. The album features Sanders on tenor, though strangely he’s listed as “Little Rock,” a reference to his birthplace and I suppose connected to contractual obligations (you would have thought Bob Thiele’s connections to Impulse would have smoothed things over, but guess not). Aside from that, the album is notable for having a much shorter version of “The Creator Has A Master Plan,” a vocal version of Horace Silver’s “Song For My Father” and the anti-war anthem “Damn Nam” and most importantly, “Malcolm’s Gone,” dedicated to the fallen leader.

I know he’s gone,
But he’s not forgotten,
I know he died,
Just to set me free.

Yes Malcolm’s Gone,
But he’s not forgotten,
He died to save me,
Gave me my dignity.

It’s a beautiful sentiment, one that pays tribute to this beautiful man and one that I felt compelled to share on this day…Additionally, here is Malcolm, in the last few months of his life, debating the issue of “extremism” at Oxford in December 1964. On display are so many of the things that many of us loved so much about Malcolm, his exceptional intelligence, his disarming smile and sense of humor and his ability to critically dismantle his opponent’s argument, often using the very same logic his opponent attempted to use against him. Missed dearly, but especially during the last year of his life, a beautiful model of the redemptive power of love and the strength of speaking truth to power:

Breakdown: Top 5 Finds of 2014

January 6th, 2015


With a whole year just by myself to engage in record therapy, you could bet that I was going to I was going to stumble into some great records. As with previous years, quite a few of the records I got this year were online buys (particularly the many records I got that used to belong to dear friend Matthew Africa), but this year I also got back to digging in earnest and even went to New Orleans essentially just to buy records.

***Honorable Mentions: The Albert – S/T [Record Jungle at The Beat Swap Meet, Chinatown], The Pyramids – King Of Kings AND Birth Speed Merging [Recycled Records, San Francisco], Sidney Bechet – Jazz Classics Vol. 1 [Euclid Records, New Orleans], Sun Ra – Nuclear War [Groove Merchant, San Francisco], Lenny White – City Lights [Amoeba Records, Hollywood], Little Ann – Going Down A One-Way Street The Wrong Way / I’d Like To Know You Better [Jim Russell’s Record Cellar, New Orleans]

5. Jimmy Scott – The Source – Atlantic [Record Jungle at The Beat Swap Meet, Chinatown]


Jimmy Scott – (Sometimes I Feel Like A) Motherless Child

Probably more than any other style this year, I picked up a lot of jazz records, many of them from cool vocalists like Chris Connor, June Christy and the incomprable Little Jimmy Scott. Of the three Jimmy Scott records I picked up, this was the first. As I mentioned earlier in the year, I got this one from Andy of Record Jungle fame, while at the Beat Swap Meet. I really can’t improve on what I said earlier, so I’ll just say it again:

“There are quite a lot of albums like this from singers who’s best days were already past them by the time the 1960s were closing. The unique beauty of Jimmy Scott’s voice allows him to rise above and soar through these tunes. Few artists can stop me dead in my tracks with a single note. Hearing Scott’s voice on this album certainly has that power.”

4. Light Rain – Dream Dancer – Magi [Atomic Records, Burbank]


Light Rain – Beautiful Friend

I swore that I had posted this one earlier, but now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I was waiting to get another record from this same group before posting this one. I’d seen this album a couple of times at Atomic and each time I’d thought that maybe i should pick it up. I’m not sure why I pulled the trigger on the third time seeing it still there, but I’m glad that I did. Light Rain was a ensemble put together by Doug Adams, and as far as I understand it they were the first American group to perform this style of music, often described as belly dance music. While that is clearly a major part of this album, what struck me about the album in its totality, and “Beautiful Friend” in particular, was just how beautiful and idyllic the music was. More than any record in 2014, this was the one that I listened to again and again and again and again.

3. Bo Rhambo – Enchanted Evening – Imperial [Jim Russell’s Record Cellar, New Orleans]


Bo Rhambo – Two For The Blues

I think this record finds itself on this list as a representative for my trip down to the Crescent City. I’ve already said a bit about the story behind finding this one at Jim Russell’s, but damn if every time I drop the needle I’m transplanted back to that dusty space, looking at the smokiest record my eyes have ever seen and swaying to the smoky sounds coming out of the speakers. I hope that feeling never leaves me.

2. Jean Kassapian – The Snake / Aman Amn – Kassap [Private Collection]


Jean Kassapian – The Snake

Back in the spring I wrote about this one and also the 45 that ended up as my top find of the past year. I’ve never actually gone through a private collection like that, the thought had never even occurred to me to ask a dealer if they had more that I could look through. Clearly I’m glad that I finally did. Aside from the beauty of copping a rare 45 that runs for $100-200 for only $5, I got this one just before doing a guest set at Funky Sole. Hearing that crowd let out a little cheer when the song came on, as if it was #1 hit or something, instead of a obscure bit of Armenian belly dance music…writing that, I just realized that this list includes not one, but two belly dance records. Maybe I need to pay more attention to that style.

1. The Peppos and Jones Straigtjacket Band – Humanity / High School Years – Straitjacket [Private Collection]


The Peppos and Jones Straightjacket Band – Humanity

When I wrote about this one back in the spring, I didn’t really think of it as the best thing I found for the entire year. It really wasn’t until I was playing it on-air during my year end show that I really fully appreciated how special, strange and unique this record is. The louder you can play it, whether on house speakers or head phones, the better it gets. “Humanity” is so good, it just makes how ordinary “High School Years,” sounds even more frustrating…I mean, if this group could produce something as amazing as “Humanity,” just think what they could have created if they’d realized just how amazing those sounds would sound to our ears in 2014…oh well. I’m just thankful I found this one.


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.

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)


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.




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.




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.




Les Baxter – Necronomicon
Les Baxter – Cult Party
Les Baxter – Devil’s Witchcraft

At some point, years ago, I was listening to the soundtrack Les Baxter put together for Hell’s Belles and musing to myself how great it would be if there was additional music from that heavy and psychedelic session. More recently, while searching for a trailer to a scary HP Lovecraft related film, I happened upon a track from this soundtrack and realized this was just about as close as I was likely to get to Hell’s Belles Part 2.

Most of the songs of this soundtrack are built around a single recurring theme, dark and foreboding, which is to be expected given that the film is about a town with some dark secrets. When hearing the drums on this record, it’s hard not to believe that Earl Palmer might have been involved here. There’s a stylistic connection to the work he had done with Axelrod, and maybe that’s why my ears think it’s Palmer, but the man lent his signature sound to so many records it’s hard to know for sure, especially without any credits or notes to speak of…however, a boy can dream can’t he?




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.




Rusty Bryant – Fire Eater

Today would have been Matthew Africa’s 43rd birthday. As has been the case since his passing in 2012, on this day I pay tribute to my friend by posting about a record that I connect with him or that connected him to me. This record in particular is special for a couple of reasons. First, it actually came from Matthew’s collection, much of which has been auctioned off on Ebay, with proceeds going to his family (including a number of records that are up right now).

MattAfrica6The second and major reason this record is special is because of the place it holds in my history as a DJ and record collector. Rusty Bryant’s “Fire Eater,” maybe more so than any other piece of rare soul-jazz, ignited the passion I have for vinyl. If you’ve ever heard the “Fire Eater” you can understand how it might have that effect. It’s without a doubt the best song and the main reason to get this album. Now, that’s not to say that the other three tracks on the album aren’t great, they are. “Free At Last” and “The Hooker” solid slower tempo songs, and “Mister S.” is a capable up tempo soul-jazz groover…but they’re not in the same league with “Fire Eater.” Nothing I’ve heard before or since is in the same league as “Fire Eater.”

I first heard this song on a collection put out by Luv’n’Haight back in 1993 (I think I got a copy of it in 1994 or 1995) called Jazz Dance Classics, Vol. 1. This collection and this series was instrumental in getting me to move beyond CDs and cassettes and to search and dig for sounds that were no longer in print, that formed the backbone of Hip-Hop or that few people had heard before. Essentially my whole career as a DJ, at least what has distinguished me from many other DJs over the years, began with that collection. It wasn’t until a decade later, and 4 or 5 years after I already knew Matthew that I even realized that this classic collection had been compiled by Matthew Africa. One of the things that I am most thankful for is that I was able to let him know what a profound effect he’d had on me simply by doing what he did best, sharing the music that he enjoyed.

Listening to “Fire Eater” is easy to see why Matthew chose this one as the centerpiece of that collection. It’s an absolute fucking monster. There’s nothing I can say about it that improves on what Matthew said back in 1993, so I’ll just leave it to him:

“A few months ago I played a certain Rusty Bryant track on Beni B’s radio show here in Berkeley and the response was astounding –within moments the station was flooded with callers begging to know what they were listening to. One caller who couldn’t get through came all the way down to the station! Why? If you have to ask, you’ve never heard Fire Eater. What is it? A raw and rampaging slice of pure jazz funk. Rusty more than holds his own, but the track is dominated by Bill Mason’s hammering organ and Idris Muhammad’s brutal drums. Well worth the price of admission.”

MattAfricaSignIn the years since I came into contact with that collection, later on tracking down the original record, I’ve played this record now on four different radio stations in three different states. Without fail someone will call up in a slightly crazed, dazed or shocked manner, asking what song this is, (generally about halfway through Bill Mason’s fiery solo on Hammond B-3). When I think back about all those times, I think about Matthew playing it at KALX for the first time and wondering what kind of effect that had on him. I’m not sure, maybe Beni knows, but I wonder if the response the “Fire Eater” got, along with other gems Matthew used to throw on, was the thing that finally convinced him to host his own show. Maybe I’ll never know, that is part of the tragedy of losing people you care for, you’re never able to answer the questions you never asked when they were here. But we do have our stories, and those of us who knew Matthew have many stories and so much music to remind us of him, for that I am eternally grateful.

Peace be with you,



Chris Connor – Where Are You
Chris Connor – Ev’rytime
Chris Connor – Get Out Of Town

As I’ve mentioned here and on the radio show, I’ve been on a major jazz record kick here in 2014. Quite a lot of that started earlier in the year when I ran across a couple records from vocalist Chris Connor while at Groove Merchant in San Francisco. While I was familiar with the name, I couldn’t recall here voice, but from the moment I dropped the needle to this album while at the store, I was in love.

Chris Connor was associated with the “cool” school of vocalists coming out of the 1940s and early 1950s, including Anita O’Day and June Christy. She actually got her big break when Christy recommended her as a replacement with Stan Kenton’s band. While I love a lot of the vocalists associated with this period of jazz, what I feel like sets Connor apart is not only how cool and effortless her singing sounds, but also the hint of vulnerability in her phrasing.

This album was her debut on Atlantic, after recorded some splendid sides on the Bethlehem record label. It’s actually a historic record, as this album was the first from a white jazz vocalist to have been released on the label, which by the mid-1950s was especially associated with Rhythm & Blues. This album, and several of the ones that followed for the label, have a mix of jazz and pop stylings. Most of the pop stuff with the strings and background vocals I can do without, it seems a waste of Connor’s talents, but when she’s with a smaller group (that on this album features John Lewis, Connie Kay, Oscar Pettiford and Barry Galbraith), as she is on “Where Are You” and “Ev’rytime,” the results are simply stunning.

On a more sociological note, I find artists like Connor fascinating, singing heterosexual love songs and never publicly being able to acknowledge the woman you love, at least not while your career is in full swing. I wish she were still alive or there were more interviews with her or her partner to detail what that life was like. Thankfully we have the music and in that music there are many layers of wonder to consider.




The Albert – Pity The Child
The Albert – Misery
The Albert – Been So Good (For So Long)

As best I can gather, the Albert were a rock & soul group out of New York. They released a couple of records for the Perception label, which both appear to have come out in 1970. The debut record is even rarer than this one, their second album, even though many of the same songs are on both records (though apparently in different arrangements). To my ears they remind me of a smoother, less psychedelic version of Demon Fuzz. This was another record that I got at the September 2014 Beat Swap Meet, also from Andy of the Record Jungle. When I arrived there were already at least 10 people going through the records in Andy’s spot. Directly in front of me, a guy was browsing through the records and picked out this one to take a look. A buddy of his shared the news that it was a good record and that it had breaks on it, but for whatever reason, the guy didn’t decide to hold on to the record…as soon as he left that box, I swooped in and grabbed it quickly. I’d been aware of this record for years, but had never actually run into a copy of it. With the more than affordable price of $10, there was no way I could let it slip by.

When I got a chance to listen to the break-laden early parts of “Pity The Child” and “Been So Good,” I was very pleased with my decision to pick this one up. A full listen to “Pity” caused me to realize that I’d heard the song sampled before, as it reminded me immediately of Gonjasufi and Gaslamp Killer’s song “Made.” Interestingly enough the sample for the song is listed online as belonging to Wanda Robertson, who also recorded for Perception. Many many moons ago I used to own a copy of that record, but couldn’t remember any of the sounds on it. Turns out the Robinson track is essentially an instrumental version of “Pity The Child” just with Robinson’s spoken word layered on top of it. I think the bad loses a bit of their verve the more upbeat they get, but when they keep it slow and low, it’s a special mix of sounds.




Jimmy Scott – Exodus
Jimmy Scott – (Sometimes I Feel Like A) Motherless Child
Jimmy Scott – Our Day Will Come
Jimmy Scott – This Love Of Mine

When Jimmy Scott passed earlier in the year, I know only felt a great deal of sadness, but also deep regret. I had a chance to see him perform in both the Bay Area and in LA and didn’t take advantage of it. As I’ve started to pick up more of his music on vinyl, I’m struck by how listening to his vocals makes you feel like he is right there, singing near you. I’d been trying to pick up a solid copy of this album for a very long time, never running into it in the field. At the most recent Beat Swap Meet, I managed to score this copy (in addition to some other choice LPs) from Andy at the Record Jungle. The Source finds Scott’s voice matched with a number of pop hits and a few standards. There are quite a lot of albums like this from singers who’s best days were already past them by the time the 1960s were closing. The unique beauty of Jimmy Scott’s voice allows him to rise above and soar through these tunes. Few artists can stop me dead in my tracks with a single note. Hearing Scott’s voice on this album certainly has that power.




Randy Weston – Little Niles
Randy Weston – Nice Ice
Randy Weston – Let’s Climb A Hill

Been on a major jazz kick this year, might have doubled my whole collection in the past nine months. It’s strange spending most of my DJ career been associated with jazz, playing it exclusively on “The Blue Note” in Atlanta and “Stompin’ Grounds” in Madison, but since moving to LA, it hasn’t been a major part of my show at KCRW or KPFK. I’ll be working to change that in the future. Ran into this lovely album at Atomic in Burbank during a pre-birthday jaunt. Weston’s Uhuru Afrika from 1960 is one of my all-time favorites and so when I noticed a lot of the same personnel, particularly Melba Liston, one of the truly unsung geniuses of modern jazz, I had a feeling it would not disappoint. As an added bonus there are some gorgeous words on the back from legendary poet Langston Hughes…gorgeous words to match the gorgeous music.



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