Melting Pot

ScottSource

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.

Cheeres,

Michael

Lewis

Lewis – Romance For Two

Being swamped by all the work associated with a new semester, with a new schedule and a new class meant that there was quite a bit of music that I was a bit late on. This is one that virtually everyone was late on to begin with. Lewis porduced this private press album in the 1980s. Very few copies were pressed, very few people paid any attention. As is often the case, crate-diggers came to rescue of this album, championing it informally until it finally ended up into the hands of some of the peeps at Light In The Attic. I haven’t checked to see if they’ve fully solved the mystery behind Lewis, but there ain’t no mystery about how good this music is. I’ve taken to describing it as what would have happened if John Martyn had recorded with Mark Hollis, very very very late at night. When it’s good, it’s REALLY f**king good, as is the case with “Romance For Two.”

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Spent most of my Sunday over at the Beat Swap Meet in Chinatown, where I got a chance to spin a jazz only set just before making my way to KPFK for the show. We begin with a couple of the records I picked up, including a few that will make their way up here shortly. Fair amount of new tunes, from Electric Wire Hustle, Astronauts, ETC., Jungle Fire, KING, and Spain as well as some new older music from Lewis, Hoyt Axton, Philip Cohran and the amazing sound of Rome Sithammarat out of Thailand. In the second hour we did a short tribute to one of my fave LA DJs, Gaslamp Killer, who had a show dedicated to him at the Mayan in September. Enjoy!

Melting Pot on KPFK #177: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #177: Second Hour

Playlist: 09-14-2014
{opening theme} Booker T & The MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Jimmy Scott – Our Day Will Come – The Source (Atlantic)
Cecil McBee – A Feeling – Mutima (Strata East)
Cymande – Promised Heights – Promised Heights (Janus)
The Albert – Pity The Child – The Albert (Perception)

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Electric Wire Hustle – Blackwater – Love Can Prevail (Okay Player)
Rome Sithammarat – Sao New Look – The Sound Of Siam Vol. 2 (Soundway)
Philip Cohran & the Artistic Heritage Ensemble – The Minstrel – Philip Cohran & the Artistic Heritage Ensemble (Zulu)

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Meshell Ndegeocello – Tom – Comet, Come To Me (Naïve)
KING – Mister Chameleon – Single (Self-Released)
Tim Maia – Reu Confesso – Tim Maia (1974) (Polydor)

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Gaslamp Killer feat. Adrian Younge and MRR – Dead Vets – Breakthrough (Brainfeeder)
Gaslamp Killer – Helio X GLK (Excerpt) – Helio X GLK (Now-Again)
Flying Lotus feat. Gaslamp Killer – GNG BNG – Los Angeles (Warp)
Gonajsufi feat. Gaslamp Killer – Kobwebz – A Sufi & A Killer (Warp)
Asha Bohsle & Suresh Wadkar – Yeh Hawa Yey Fiza – Sadma: Original Soundtrack (CBS)
Gaslamp Killer – Nissim – Breakthrough (Brainfeeder)

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Jungle Fire – Tropicoso – Tropicoso (Nacional)
Hoyt Axton – California Girls – Country Funk Vol. 2 (Light In The Attic)
The Savage Resurrection – Talking To You – The Savage Resurrection (Mercury)
Adrian Younge – There Is Only Now – There Is Only Now (Instrumentals) (Linear Labs)

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Lewis – Like To See You Again – L’amour (Light In The Attic)
Spain – The Fighter – Sargent Place (Dine Alone)
Astronauts, ETC. – Gravity – Sadie EP (Hit City USA)
Caroline Peyton – Brister – Intuition (BBQ)

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

Weston

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.

Cheers,

Michael

Siam2

Rome Sithammarat – Sao New Look

Sound of Siam Vol. 1 was a complete revelation when Soundway released it a few years ago. I didn’t really expect a follow-up, nor did I expect that the follow-up would be even better than the original…but it is. If “Sao New Look” doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what would, this one is highly necessary.

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Originally planned to have Mike Watt return to the station for another interview and a guest DJ set (kind of a “the Watt from Pedro” at KPFK sorta thing), but he wasn’t able to make it to the station in time after picking up the other members of his Il Sogno Marinaio project. So, I packed a big bag of records, burned a couple of little CDs with new tunes and kept it loose. Quite a few long tracks, including a birthday tribute to Sonny Rollins with the all-world “The Eternal Triangle.” High anxiety getting it together, but mostly mellow moods on the air.

Melting Pot on KPFK #176: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #176: Second Hour

ByronTight

Byron Lee – Psychedelic Train
Byron Lee – Chin to Chin
Byron Lee – Singer Man

Despite not being on the blog for basically the last month, I was a busy boy over the last couple of months to close out my summer of record therapy. This record is one of a number classic exploitative covers, one owhich I’d only rcognized as belonging to the Trojan records collection of the same title. Had a chance to pick up a relatively cheap copy and jumped at it. The vinyl itself has a lot of “personality,” but not so much as to take away from some classic early reggae sounds from Byron and the gang.

Cheers,

Michael

Hacheros

Los Hacheros – Toma Tu Pilon

{I know it must have seemed like I just retired after that Minutemen tribute, but I’ve just been insanely busy with the start of this new semester teaching at Long Beach. Things have calmed down, so her comes the flood of posts to catch us back up}

Quite a number of retro-styled bands around these days that if you didn’t do your due diligence, you’d mistake them for the “real” thing. Los Hacheros are a latin combo out of New York with a fantastic sound that draws upon some old-school styles ala Arsenio Rodriguez. It’s that guitar sound that really makes you pay attention but once you get into everything Los Hacheros have to offer, you can easily see why Daptone swooped them up.

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It was a dream come true and a complete honor to interview Mike Watt at KPFK this Summer. For several months I’d been thinking about doing a tribute to the Minuteman’s album Double Nickels On The Dime, and the thought crossed my mind to interview the remaining members, Mike Watt and George Hurley, about this classic record. In a perfect world, it would have been great to have brought in George Hurley too, but I had no way of contacting him. Thankfully, I was able to get in touch with Mike Watt and after a couple of attempts, I was able to get him to come into the studios at KPFK. From the moment I shook hands with him to the moment he said goodbye, we talked about this band and about this record. There was probably about 30 or 40 minutes of conversation before I even had the bright idea to turn on the microphones and record. What followed was a far ranging roughly 75 minute interview discussing the band and the recording of this landmark album. On the tribute that aired live on KPFK, I had to edit large sections of the interview in order to be able to make enough time to play the entirety of Double Nickels. It really pained my heart to have to cut out so many of the stories, so here is the full interview, unedited and uncensored. Some of these stories Watt has shared before, but there were a few that a hardcore fan like myself had never heard. Absolutely one of my favorite interviews I’ve done in my career and I’m really thankful that I was able to do it and that I get to share it here.

Mike Watt Interview on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 7-31-2014

DoubleNickels

Earlier this Summer, Double Nickels On The Dime, the classic album from the Minutemen, celebrated it’s 30th anniversary. Double Nickels is one of my favorite albums, something I’ve listened to hundreds of times over the years. It’s an album that has deep personal meaning for me, along with a handful of others, because it’s something that really changed the way I hear music and informed my personal and political sensibilities. When the idea for a tribute show came to mind, I knew I wanted to play the entire record, from start to finish. I wanted to include some information about the Minutemen and the recording of this album and considered using clips from the documentary We Jam Econo. Thankfully I was able to get a hold of Mike Watt and he was extremely gracious with his time, driving up from Pedro on a traffic filled hot summer weekday and spending almost two hours with me about the band and this album. Given the constraints of time, I had to edit down that conversation for the on-air program, but you can find our full conversation right here. All together this was truly a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience. One of the shows that I’m most proud of in my 20+ year radio career. Enjoy this one to the fullest.

Melting Pot on KPFK #175: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #175: Second Hour

Playlist: 08-31-2014

{opening theme} Booker T & The MGs – Melting Pot – 7″ (Stax)

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Mike Watt – Interview – Recorded Live At KPFK: 07-31-2014

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The Minutemen – Side D. – Double Nickels On The Dime (SST)

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The Minutemen – Side Mike (Part 1) – Double Nickels On The Dime (SST)

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The Minutemen – Side Mike (Part 2) – Double Nickels On The Dime (SST)

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The Minutemen – Side George – Double Nickels On The Dime (SST)

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The Minutemen – Side Chaff – Double Nickels On The Dime (SST)

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

Gonzaga

Luiz Gonzaga Jr. – Rabiscos N’Areia
Luiz Gonzaga Jr. – Galope
Luiz Gonzaga Jr. – Uma Familia Qualquer

Picked this up around the same time as the Richard Menexes 45 I’ve mentioned earlier. During the tail end of that same auction, the seller put up this record for a scant $5. It seemed that there really wasn’t anything wrong, except that the cover was missing. All I needed was a quick listen to “Galope” to swoop this one up, especially at that price. When it arrived, I was surprised that the album actually did have a cover with it and so the price seemed all the more perplexing, that is until literally this morning.

As I was preparing to record songs and then post this album to the blog, I finally realized that the cover was actually for his 1973 album, but this was his 1974 album. Brazilians, for whatever reason, often only gave their albums the title of the artist. Thus, it becomes important to know which year or which songs are on an album, because if you only went by the artist’s name, you might be dealing with 4 or 5 or 6 different releases.

Hadn’t heard of Gonzaguinha, as he’s also known, before this one. He definitely has a different style than many of his contemporaries, much darker and not as overtly funky, but it’s mighty tasty nonetheless.

Cheers,

Michael

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Kasai All-Stars – The Ploughman (Le Laboureur)

The Congotronics series put out by Crammed Discs has been one of the most ear-opening experiences of the last few years, highlighting contemporary music out of the Congo. Kasai All-Stars have finally released their latest entry into the series, following up from one of the best releases of 2008 with Beware The Fetish. The band hasn’t lost any of it’s verve, or it’s penchant for unusually long titles (the best one this time around is “As They Walked Into the Forest on a Sunday, They Encountered Apes Dressed As Humans”). Great representation of the incredible sounds coming out of Africa today.

They’ve even made a video for the song, “The Chief’s Enthronement” and it’s every bit as fantastic as you’d expect:

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First “real” show in a real long time, and this one is a doosey. When we have fundraisers and special programming, the music really piles up, plus I’ve been buying a ton of vinyl of late so there were all kinds of sounds that I’ve been waiting to share with you. Also, last week I went to New Orleans for a small-time getaway just before my birthday and the start of the new semester here at Long Beach, so there’s a few of my finds in the mix too. The show begins with a recently released protest song from Lauryn Hill, connected to the ongoing injustice in Ferguson, MO here in the states. The show also features a lot of anniversary music, a couple albums celebrating 20th anniversaries, Brother Sister from the Brand New Heavies and Grace from Jeff Buckley. I also play a Minutemen track that a different version is featured on their landmark album Double Nickels On The Dime, which I’ll be paying tribute to next Sunday for it’s 30th anniversary. Speaking of anniversaries, there’s also a couple songs dedicated to Chicano Batman’s Bardo Martinez and his new wife Laura in the second hour.

Finally, I also play some new music from Joanna Gruesome in the last set. The band played a couple of shows here in LA over the weekend and only deepened the heavy music crush I had on them, especially lead singer Alanna McArdle. I ran out of time, so I wasn’t able to read the amazing statement she posted after recently having to cancel a concert to take care of her mental health. It’s so incredibly rare to have a statement like this, here’s the link to it, please read it when you have a chance. If Alanna and Meredith of Perfect Pussy ever join forces in the same group, I’m not sure my heart could bear it, we’re lucky to have these fierce rock’n’rollers with us right now. Enjoy the show, next week it’s allllll Minutemen folks!

Melting Pot on KPFK #174: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #174: Second Hour

Playlist: 08-24-2014
{opening theme} Booker T & the Mgs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

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Lauryn Hill – Black Rage (Sketch) – Single (Self-released)
Eugene McDaniels – Headless Heroes – Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse (Atlantic)
Jungle Fire – Comencemos – 7” (Colemine)
Dr. John – Where Ya At Mule – Sun, Moon & Herbs (Atco)
Sidney Bechet – Blue Horizon – Jazz Classics Vol. 1 (Blue Note)
Antibalas – Tattletale Pt. 1 – 7” (Daptone)

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KING – Mr. Chameleon – Single (Self-Released)
Brand New Heavies – Back To Love – Brother Sister (Delicious Vinyl)
Ed Motta – Dried Flowers – AOR (Dwitza)
Erasmo Carlos – Mane Joao – Sonhos E Memorias (Polydor)
Louiz Banks – Song For My Lady – Spritiual Jazz Vol. 5 (Jazzman)

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Oy – Marketplace – No Problem Saloon (Crammed Discs)
Los Hacheros – Toma Tu Pilon – Pilon (Daptone)
Jeff Buckley – Dream Brother – Grace (Columbia)
Ismael Lo – Tajabone – All About My Mother: Original Soundtrack (Universal)
Lost Midas – Archetype Forgotten – Off The Course (Tru Thoughts)

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Electric Wire Hustle – Look In The Sky – By & Bye (Okay Player)
Betty & Angel – Everlasting Love – 7” (Every Day)
Chris Connor – Try A Little Tenderness – Sings Lullabys Of Birdland (Bethlehem)
Dirty Three – Ashen Snow – Toward The Low Sun (Drag City/Anchor & Hope)
Chicano Batman – La Tigresa – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)

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Souls of Mischief & Adrian Younge – Panic Struck – There Is Only Now (Linear Labs)
Angkanang Kunchai – Lam Plearn Mee Mia Leaw Pai – The Sound Of Siam Vol. 2 (Soundway)
Allah-Las – 501-415 – Worship The Sun (Innovative Leisure)
Gales of Joy – Oh Yes – 7” (King)
Bo Rhambo – Two For The Blues – Enchanted Evening (imperial)

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Joanna Gruesome – Psykick Espionage – 7” (Slumberland/Captured Tracks)
The Minutemen – Little Man With A Gun In His Hand – Buzz Or Howl Under The Influence Of Heat (SST)
Louis Prima – Oh Marie – The Wildest! (Capitol)
Kasai All-Stars – The Chief Enthronement / Oyaye – Beware The Fetish (Crammed Discs)
Chico Hamilton Quintet – Siete Cuatro – Chico Hamilton Quintet (Pacific Jazz)

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Dungen – C. Visar Vagen – Tio Bitar (Kemado)

Rhambo1

Bo Rhambo – Two For The Blues
Bo Rhambo – Blues For Two
Bo Rhambo – Dream Awhile
Bo Rhambo – My Mother’s Eyes

Yesterday was my 39th birthday, and I celebrated earlier in the week by taking a trip down to New Orleans. I haven’t to “the Big Easy” since I was a kid, which seems strange given how much I love the music and culture of the city. With only a few days there, predictably, I spent most of my time in record stores. I’ll likely be posting many of the things I picked up there on this blog in the coming months, but this record was the one I wanted to share first.

I picked up this album from trumpeter/saxophonist (a rare combination) Bo Rhambo while at Jim Russell’s Records. While most of the DJs who had suggested going to Jim Russell’s (or JR’s as I like to call it) talked about the 45s, I was able to find a number of really high quality jazz LPs while I was there. Sadly, Mr. Russell recently passed away, but his daughter-in-law Denise Russell has been running the place for a long time and it doesn’t seem like the store is going to close anytime soon. At JR’s the vast majority of LPs are $5 (or $10 if it’s a double record) and the 45s are $3 ($5 if it’s a picture disc) which leads to some extraordinary deals. If that wasn’t enough they also have a deal where every two records you buy, you get a third one free…needless to say, this was just my kind of store.

I’ll be sharing a story about my adventure looking for 45s here in the coming weeks, but for now I wanted to focus on my favorite record from the 7 or 8 I ended up getting. Recently I’ve been buying a lot of jazz, more so than usual, especially 1950s jazz. Most of the records I picked up were from “cool” female vocalists, like June Christy, Chris Connor and Anita O’Day. When I first saw the cover for this album, I thought for a moment that the model on the cover was Bo Rhambo, and she might be another vocalist. The cover art screams late 1950s early 1960s so it seemed like it would be in my sweet spot. When I found out the woman pictured wasn’t the musician, I almost put the album down right there, but something told me to give it a listen. I’d never heard of Bo Rhambo and the stylized cover made me curious to find out what the music might sound like. Rhambo2As I took out the record to see what kind of condition it was in, I was absolutely amazed at the level of smoke “damage” the record had. Dust looks very different. Sun damage looks very different. When smoke builds on a record it has a very distinctive look. I don’t know who originally bought this record, where it was played, but that must have been one seriously smokey joint!

Smoke doesn’t necessarily mean that the sound quality will be compromised, especially if you can clean some of the gunk off. So I gave the record a spin on the house turntable and was greeted with even smokier music in the lead track, “Two For The Blues.” At the time it seemed like there was some kind of warp, but since it also seemed to be perfectly on beat, I couldn’t tell if it was actually a warp, or just the percussive sound of the heavy organ on the track. Pretty much from the moment I heard that song I was hooked. Rhambo3I kept on shopping and kept on listening just to see if the condition of the record was going to be good. Sure enough, it played straight through with all kinds of smokey feeling. Earlier today I set about trying to clean up the record. I got about 1/2 of the smoke cleared from Side 1, but noticed that (aside from the phantom warp, which now had disappeared) there really wasn’t much of a difference between the two sides, so I decided to keep side 2 just as smokey as I found it. As the liner notes detail, this is an album that really does sound better in the evening. It was built for late nights and nefarious activity. It really has an old-school Los Angeles feel to, very noir-ish, even though I ran into it in New Orleans, I guess it fits that city too. So very thankful that I took a chance on this one, I really love this sound and hope you do to.

Cheers,

Michael

FindingFela

Fela Kuti – Viva Nigeria

Last week we played you an interview with Adam Kahan, who’s made a brilliant documentary, long in the making, for Rahsaan Roland Kirk. This week we’re highlighting another, by all accounts, exceptional documentary, just released on the life of the legendary Fela Kuti. Fela has enjoyed quite a resurgence in popularity over the last several years. Virtually all of his records are back in print, multiple Afro-beat outfits from Antibalas in NYC to Mexico 68 here in LA, have popped up to pay tribute to his sound and to top it all off, there was even a well regarded Broadway show in his honor. Finding Fela comes to us in the midst of this Fela-surgence. The soundtrack does its best to provide a cross-section of Fela’s career, opting to provide largely vocal edits of songs that in their original versions run from 15-30 minutes in length. “Viva Nigeria” is a very early track, recorded here in LA while Fela was in the States, having his consciousness raised and coming up with blueprint for his signature Afro-Beat style. The soundtrack also features a few tracks recorded by the “Fela! Band” which is essentially an all-star outfit based out of the Broadway show. All in all, it’s a nice introduction to those who are still new to Fela’s music and a great sing/dance-a-long collection for those of us who have been grooving to Fela for years and years.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s the trailer for the film, Finding Fela:

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