Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Zalatnay Sarolta: Egyszer
From Hadd Mondjam El (Pepita, 1973)

Zalatnay Sarolta: Come Alone (Gyere egyedül)
From A Kenguru (The Kangaroo) OST (Pepita, 1976)

Skorpio Group: The King With Shred Legs (Rongylábkrilály)
From Sweet Sunday (Unnepnap) (Pepita, 1976)

A long while back, I mentioned that I had been getting in rock and jazz albums coming out of Eastern Europe. It took me a while to get off my duff but I finally pieced together a few postings that highlight music from Poland and Hungary. Keep in mind - I do not profess to be any kind of expert on the region or its music but I do have a growing interest in the records that came out of there in the 1970s.

This time around, I'm highlighting a trio of songs from Hungarian singer Zalatnay Sarolta who recorded a slew of albums for the Pepita imprint in the 1970s. (She also did a Playboy spread in 1991...I only know this because in searching for images of her online, it came up. Let's just say that it wasn't just her voice that was big). She had a great rough n' tumble voice that worked with the hard rock tunes I've heard her kick down. Not quite as bourbon-laced as Janis Joplin but definitely on the screeching tip. The swinging "Egyszer," with its chicken scratch guitar and chattering breaks, comes off of Hadd Mondjam El, a hot-in-demand album given that it has a ridiculous amount of great drum breaks. I actually posted up one of the more mild ones off the album, just to put it in perspective.

Sarolta also appears on the soundtrack for the film A Kenguru (The Kangaroo), a film I've never seen but now I'm mightily curious about. Love the warmth of the electric piano on this song and compared to the scream job that Sarolta pulls off elsewhere, this seems downright dulcet.

Of course, if you're really going to get up on Sarolta, you have to give at least half the credit to her backing band: Skorpio. They had their own string of albums, sans-Sarolta, and from what I can tell, were one of the big hard rock groups to come out of Hungary in the 1970s. They recorded at least half a dozen albums on Pepita including Unnepnap (Sweet Sunday) (they actually have a term for "sweet Sunday" in Hungarian? Awesome). Then again, they also apparently have a term for "King with shred legs" and I have no idea what the hell that means in any language. Kick ass tune though.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


The B.U.M.S.: Lyfe N Tyme
From Lyfe N Tyme (Priority, 1995)

Lord Digga: Feel It
From Southpaw Sampler EP (Southpaw, 1995?)

Common: Invocation
From One Day It Will All Make Sense (Relativity, 1997)

I was working on a writing piece that started to get me all nostalgic for hip-hop in the '90s. Given that I'm 32, the early to mid '90s were more or less my golden era and unconsciously, I always find myself thinking about the songs that came out during that time. I slapped together a few of my favorites.

I first heard the B.U.M.S. "Lyfe N Tyme" on KMEL's The Wake-Up Show and it floored me instantly. That vibes loop seemed to run on forever and I loved how the B.U.M.S. and Mystic (first time I had heard her) were creating this gorgeous, melancholy anthem for Oakland and its hard-luck residents. It also didn't hurt that the track was produced by Joe Quixxx, one of my all-time Bay Area producers (how come he doesn't make beats anymore?). This appears on the B.U.M.S. first (and only) album.

Lord Digga's "Feel It" is probably the best thing he ever put out (this being the Lord Digga who was down with Masta Ace Inc.) but it appears on this strange EP from Southpaw which also feat. an early Ill Bill track, a song from T-Love's first group, "Love N Props" and a few other assorted joints. I'm assuming Masta Ace produced this since it sounds up Ace's alley but I've never been sure. I love that all these gruff braggadocio rappers from the mid-'90s were rhyming hard over jazz loops. I guess now it seems a little incongruous but then again, Jay-Z was busting crazy flows over slow soul tunes so maybe it's not all that strange.

Speaking of jazz loops, I've always wanted to know where No I.D. got that sublime guitar melody that he hooked up for Common's "Invocation", the short but sweet song that starts off Com's third album. The song reminds me a lot of "Commonism" from Resurrection and I'm certain that's no coincidence since both bring back the instrumental beat after an eight bar lull at the end. I never thought this album was as good as I wanted it to be, especially post-Resurrection but when it started like this, I thought it was going to be the greatest thing in the world.

By the way, I'm out of town (again - three weeks in a row, crazy) for the Thanksgiving holiday so we'll be offline for a few days. Happy holidays to everyone.


Tom Brock: There's Nothing In This World That Can Stop Me From Loving You & If We Don't Make It, Nobody Can
From I Love You More and More (20th Century, 1974)

It ain't over. A while back, someone asked for some Barry White and frankly, Barry's not really in need of that much highlighting. I mean, it's Barry friggin' White - practically his entire catalog is available on CD and he's no big secret. That said, I love the big guy (RIP!) and wanted to get in something by him that was a lil off the beaten tracks.

Besides his own albums, White produced quite a few groups himself, including Jay Dee (not that Jay Dee), another vocal group that I'm still trying to track down some albums from and Tom Brock, who worked with White on his 1974 album for 20th Century. The song, "There's Nothing In This World That Can Stop Me From Loving You" (that's a mouthful right thurr) is the best vocal track off that LP - stirringly soulful, especially how it begins with Brock's falsetto cries. It's been rumored that Kanye West Just Blaze is a big fan of the song. Hmmm...

Anyways, "If We Don't Make It, Nobody Can" ends the album and if you've ever heard White's soundtrack tunes, this instrumental number would fit right in: dramatic, funky, but with that swelling production that I always associate with his songs. The big man wasn't one for quiet, sparse production: he liked to drop a mountain of sound on you. Ain't no half stepping.

This album wasn't in that high of demand until everyone figured out that Blaze sampled it and costs on the OG are still fairly high (think over $50) but it's been reissued both here in the US and from abroad so it's a lot easier to find now than it has been.

Monday, November 22, 2004

posted by O.W.

    The Hassles: 4 O' Clock In the Morning
    From Hour of the Wolf (UA, 1969).
    Also included on You've Got Me Humming

    West Coast Revival: Feelin' Alright
    From California Soul (Luv N' Haight, 2002)

    Ahmad Jamal: Pastures
    From Jamal Plays Jamal (20th Century, 1974)
I dipped back to a trio of personal favorites that I put on my old mixtape. The first comes from The Hassles, a 1960s (I erroneously described them as a 1970s group in my podcast) that's best known for being one of the first groups Billy Joel recorded with before he blew up as...Billy Joel. "Four O' Clock" in the morning is such a sizzling, funky track, especially with that guitar lick that forms the main rhythm. Joel's jangling piano doesn't hurt either.

The mega-obscure L.A. soul group, West Coast Revival, drops a cover of "Feelin' Alright." I've rarely heard a version of this song I wasn't into and the Revival are no exception. Again, the guitar lick just kills it on this one. The group's sole album is damn near impossible to find but the kind folks at Luv N' Haight were good enough to reissue this track on their excellent California Soul compilation from two years back. The comp kicks serious ass. Seriously.

Last but not least are the melancholy strains of pianist Ahmad Jamal with "Pastures" off his Jamal Plays Jamal album (one of my favorites by the proflic artist). The opening is so deeply felt with that dark, thick bassline and when the strings come in, it's like the best dirge you've ever heard. Ok, that sounds weird but it's true. Alas, Jamal's piano actually cheeses the song up a bit but hey, I can live with that.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

posted by O.W.

I'm stepping out of town for a few days (and the laptop is in the repair shop - again - so I'm leaving folks with a lil extra. I was so enamored with MF Doom's latest, MM...Food. I decided to edit up three clips and do it as a podcast. I'm still working out the technical kinks in getting this up to broadcast speed but in the meantime, it's not a big file to download to your MP3 player or computer.

My transcript for the podcast is based off a review I just wrote on the album for Amazon.com:
    Doom, aka Zev Love X, aka Viktor Vaughn, aka King Geedorah, has so many alter egos, it's a task to keep track of his prolific catalog but the one shared thread to all his albums is Doom's bugged out lyricism and eclectically inspired production motifs. Whether cartoon soundtracks or '80s soul singles or moody jazz melodies, Doom embraces any and all sounds with equal affection.

    Despite the presence of guests like Count Bass D ("Potholderz"), Madlib ("One Beer") and the Molemen's PNS ("Kon Queso"), this is all Doom's mastermind. His latest, culinary inspired outing, is a loopy food-crazed journey through 15 tracks best described by the last song: "Kookies" but while it's tempting to call him an acquired taste, Doom's not for for deep underground heads who treat his rhymes like cipher puzzles to unpack. His approach to music-making, seemingly random (but anything but), packs so much dazzling style and unpredictable flair that the fiftieth listen can be an enthralling as the first.

As you'll note, there are no downloadable soundclips this time around since I only would have done snippets anyways. Besides, my point is (as with everything that I post): go buy this. Unlike the more obscure things that get Soul Sided, this album is available everywhere, so get thee to a record store.


We All Together: Children
From We All Together (MaG, 1972)

We All Together: Follow If You Can
From We All Together 2 (MaG, 1974)

The latest find in the search for the sublime comes to use from Peru (again). We All Together (quirky grammar, great music) was (from what I can tell) one of the biggest Peruvian rock bands in the early 1970s and as you will readily see, they were incredibly influenced by the sound and aesthetic of the Beatles. Heck, on some songs, they out-Beatle the Beatles, having captured the group's plaintive vocal style and simple but catchy musicianship. Here's a decent bio of the group.

"Children" floors me. Reminds me a lot of John Lennon's "Imagine" and one listen and you can see why: the song is as clean and innocent as its subject matter. The composition/arrangement is beautiful as well - I like how quietly it begins and then builds by adding more and more elements. This comes off the group's first album. "Follow If You Can" is from We All Together's second eponymous LP, released a few years later. I went with a harder cut rather than another ballad. For me, my favorite part comes about halfway through, during a bridge that brings back the main rhythm motif and it slams down hard with a wicked grunginess balanced out by the group's more angelic vocals.

As you can imagine, the original Peruvian copies of these albums are not exactly easy to come by in the States but lucky for all ya'll - both have been reissued onto CD.

Monday, November 15, 2004

posted by O.W.

Lynn Williams: Don't Be Surprise
From 7" (Suncut, 197?). Also on Sweet Brown Sugar.

Brenda Russell: A Little Bit of Love
From Brenda Russell (Horizon, 1979)

That's not a typo with the Lynn Williams' song. For some reason, the label for the 45 says "Don't Be Surprise" not "Don't Be Surprised". Go figure. Whatever the mistake, the song isn't: it's a fantastically moody and sulty soul cut out of Miami. Reminds me a little of Isaac Hayes' "Walk On By" - not nearly as well-produced, but just the feel of it: dark and dramatic. (And yes, before anyone says it, Jurassic 5 sampled it. Ok?)

Brenda Russell's "A Little Bit of Love" (Big Pun alert!) is a fantastic slice of what some call "modern soul" and what I prefer just to name as "early '80s soul" since that's when this aesthetic really takes off (even though, technically, the song is from '79). It's shinier, more studio-driven and not nearly as gritty or dirty as the soul from previous generations but I think there's more than enough room for people to embrace a more pop/soul style even if Russell's vocals aren't as rich as, say, Williams' approach. It's still a very, very fun song, off of Russell's excellent self-titled debut.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


Eddie Kendricks: Girl, You Need a Change of Mind
From People, Hold On (Motown, 1972)

I have to make this brief since I'm about to go incognito for a few days. I'll craft a more detailed Eddie Kendricks post later on this year, but here's the short version: Kendricks isn't quite unsung but I don't think he gets the same due as other soul singers from the 1970s. Kendricks' material ranks as high as anything else I know, including Gaye and Mayfield.

People, Hold On is unquestionably, in my mind, one of the best soul albums of the 1970s. Hands-down. Practically the whole LP is worth showcasing but I'll just hit you with one right now: "Girl, You Need a Change of Mind".

Enjoy the weekend everyone.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Nilsson: Me and My Arrow/Poli High
From The Point (RCA Victor, 1971)

Chicago: Street Player
From Chicago 13 (Chicago, 1979)

Shall we continue with some more rock tunes? We shall.

One of these days, I need to rent a copy of the movie, The Point which, apparently, tells the story of a round-headed boy in a land of pointy-heads. Much discrimination ensues in this powerful animated treatise on tolerance and hate. Or maybe not, who knows.

All I know is that "Me and My Arrow" comes off the movie's soundtrack, all entirely done by the late Harry Nilsson. I originally thought "Arrow" was his car but as it turns out, it's round-headed dude's dog. I can't say I've heard a lot of canine homage songs but this would rank at the top for me just for the charming, piano-driven track and Nilsson's vocal touches. The thing about the album is that it's one continuous narrative, with interludes between the songs that explain the wackiness that is The Point. I let "Me and My Arrow" play into the interlude, "The Game," which then goes into the next song, "Poli High," another folksy, funky bit of rock eclecticism.

Next up is the song "Street Player," from this small, obscure band called Chicago. I doubt many of you have ever heard of them but apparently they had a bit of a cult following - that's they named the album 13, it's probably some kind of witchy, superstitious thing. Maybe Chicago used to bite the heads off of bats or something.

Anyways, "Street Player," should be promptly filed under the category of "disco songs that don't suck." Not everyone agrees with me but f'get that - this song is great. How can you front on the rousing horn riffs at the beginning or the chattering disco break in the middle? C'mon ya'll, show Chicago some love on this one.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Traffic Sound: Meshkalina b/w Simple
From 7" (MaG, 1967)

A recent listener posted in the comments section, "More Hip Hop, more soul and funk, more jazz and while we're at it, I'm really curious to know what O has hidden inside his rock closet!" Well, here's one...just got this in from Peru in fact; a nice 7" from legendary Peruvian psych rockers Traffic Sound.

I've been on a Peruvian kick lately actually, having found a few dealers down there who've been feeding my habit. However, right now, all I know about the Peruvian music scene is that it was 1) huge, especially relative to other South American countries 2) had a sprawling psychedelic rock sub-scene, 3) produced an excellent bounty of Latin dance records, 4) will set you back a pretty penny if you're not careful.

What I'd love to know - if anyone out there can contribute this knowledge - is why Peru and not...say...Chile? Or Venezula? Or Columbia? Not like these countries had no music scene; I am certain they did but from my amateur perspective, it doesn't seem as large or influential. Someone care to break this down?

In any case, this 45 comes from one of the biggest names in Peru's psych rock registry: Traffic Sound. Here's an excellent bio of the group from which I gleamed the following: Traffic Sound began as the group Los Hang Ten's - a bunch of high schoolers putting together a garage band basically. They became Traffic Sound around 1968 which is when they were signed to the Peruvian imprint MaG, on which they'd put out 4 albums, all big pieces in the psych collecting circles.

"Meshkalina" (you can figure out the reference, right?) comes off of their 2nd album, Virgin, at a time where the group is starting to move away from just doing covers of American and British hits and are developing their own sound. I like how gritty and lo-fi this is, but damn funky too. The flipside shows off some of the group's more American/British pop sensibilities with a sweet ballad, "Simple." Loving this stuff - definitely fits my "sublime-only" policies.

Sunday, November 07, 2004


(image from The Stax Site)

Linda Lyndell: What A Man
From 7" (Volt, 1968). Also available on The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles, Vol. 2: 1968-1971

I was originally going to pair this fantabulous Lyndell song with a Betty Davis cut until I realized that Davis post (sometime in the future, promise). Lyndell never recorded much: just two singles on Volt but if you're going to be a one-hit wonder, you could do worse than "What A Man." This is hands-down one of the finest examples of funky female soul I can think of. It opens so beautifully: the guitar melody, the drums, the unexpected electric piano...and just when it couldn't get better, Lyndell swoops in backed up by a trio of other singers and an organ comes in from nowhere. Then the chorus kicks in with a full brass section. Good god almighty! Makes me wish Lyndell had recorded more. Like 1,000 times more.


Harold Ousley: Forget It, I've Got It
From The Kid (Cobblestone, 1972)

Saxophonist Harold Ousley insists: "Forget It, I've Got It." This comes from one of his rare solo albums, The Kid: Ousley's better known for backing up others - from Billie Holiday to Gene Ammons to Jack McDuff - but on this album, his band includes another Cobblestone regular, pianist Neal Creque, drummer Jim Young and bassist Jay Leonhart. "Forget It," opens with an unexpected nod to Brazilian batucada with that distinct "honking" rhythm and Young stays in step with a slick little break until Creque and Ousley jump into the mix. This one moves with a mid-tempo groove that's not quite a dancefloor burner yet it's hard not to nod along to the hard bop of the song.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Biggie: Party and Bullshit (Finesse Mix)
From promo 12" (Uptown, 1993)

Nas: Represent (Original Mix)
Unreleased (1994)

A new day, a new icon: Soul Sides Rap Rarities (what? You thought Cocaine Blunts gets to have all the fun?).

I just picked up the promo copy of Biggie's first single, "Party and Bullshit," the other month. I knew the song from way back but didn't realize Lord Finesse had flipped a remix for it. I like it better than the original with its flaring horns, filtered basslines and those kind of crisp drums that Finesse was known for. This still isn't as hot as "Unbelievable" but then again, nothing is (except for maybe "The What?")

The Nas joint comes off a bootleg 12" I snapped up at the Sound Library a year or so ago. The fidelity is wack but this was probably mastered off some dude's cassette tape so I'm willing to bend a little. I can't tell if this is still a DJ Premier beat - it sounds like one of his rougher ones but that bassline and drum break seems closer to Extra P. Either way, it's puts the song in a different light, not quite as hyperactive as the official album version. This is more laid back, as if Nas was destroying the cipher from the comfort of a recliner.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

posted by O.W.

Stevie Wonder: Love's In Need Of Love Today
From Songs in the Key of Life (Tamla, 1976)

The Honey Drippers: Impeach the President
From 7" (Alaga, 1973). Also on 12".

It's a time for healing today, people. We live in a divided America and we need to reach our hands across partisan lines, embrace our brothers and sisters regardless of ideological differences. Like Stevie said, we need some love today. We need to be one and learn to work together...

...work together to impeach the President. We need to rid ourselves of George W. Bush before that fundamentalist, radical, religious extremelist ends up rolling back every important social/civil right established since Reconstruction. C'mon ya'll, we know he's got skulls and bones in his closet somewhere: time to dig it all up.

Spread love, it's the American way.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Philip Upchurch: You Wouldn't, You Couldn't Be True
From Upchurch (Cadet, 1969)

Eddie Fisher: The Third Cup
From The Third Cup (Cadet, 1969)

Joe Pass: A Time For Us
From Guitar Interludes (Discovery, 1977)

Billy Butler: Twang Thang
From This Is Billy Butler (Prestige, 1969). Also available on: Legends of Acid Jazz

Soul Sides strums up a quartet of guitar soul today (why a quartet? We just thought four album covers in a square looked cool). We begin with Phil Upchurch and this album, depending on your perspective, either comes at the end of this Chicago guitarist's early career or at the beginning of his mid-career (either way, he was more commercially successful prior and after) but Upchurch is arguably his best soul-jazz album (which probably explains why no one bought it). Charles Stephany produces it and the overall sound is surprisingly a little dense for a guitar-driven album (this is no Wes Montgomery or Grant Green album to be sure) but there's definitely some solid soul and funk influences. On the former side, you could do worse with the angelic "You Wouldn't, You Couldn't Be True" , a super-mellow, sparse track that's mostly just Upchurch and a choral accompaniment, with a dash of flute and slightest shuffle of a drum brush. Donny Hathaway actually plays piano on the album but clearly, not here. Regardless, I like the ethereal quality of this song - it's like an invocation or prayer to some benevolent God.

By sheer coincidence, another Cadet artist from '69 is on the next track: Eddie Fisher, a guitarist profiled in the latest Wax Poetics issue (#10). Like Upchurch, Fisher recorded twice for Cadet and I'll be honest: The Third Cup is perfectly fine but Fisher's The Next Hundred Years is incredible, one of my favorite albums, period (and yes, I'll bring it to ya'll on a future post). Upchurch actually gets more rocked out in a Hendrix mode but Fisher's style is far closer to a Grant Green or Wes Montgomery and frankly, that's the way I like it. "The Third Cup" isn't as quiet as "You Wouldn't" but it's not a funk fest either: just intensely soulful with a kiss of the blues. Real Sunday afternoon music if you know what I mean.

Next is Joe Pass, easily one of the best known jazz guitarists out there and this comes off a curiously 1977 album that I never knew about until the other week (thanks to Cool Chris and B-Cause). 1/3rd of the album are solo interludes: pleasant but nothing to write home about...but then you get to "A Time For Us," which sounds like one of the best David Axelrod songs he never produced: moody basslines, melancholy organ stabs and the choral touch are all pure Axelrodian but it's Albert Marx in the producer's chair.

We end with Billy Butler, the venerable guitarist whose career spanned well over four decades. At this particular moment when he recorded "Twang Thang," Butler was leading his own group over at Prestige, backed by saxphonist Houston Person, drummer Rudy Collins and Ernie Hayes on keys. "Twang Thang," is a classic soul-jazz groover, pushing forward on a slick bassline rhythm and Collins' drums while Hayes twirls it up on the organ. Butler's guitar lines are sparkling clean and I like how he doesn't try to overpower his band but instead, slides in nicely with the rest of the elements. Butler's got enough sizzler from a different Prestige album - "Blow for the Crossing" - which I'll have to pull in at some point too.

Monday, November 01, 2004


see dick spin at 33 1/3

We're taking a time out today and tomorrow to be a responsible member of American society and encourage all of you to go out and VOTE on Tuesday. I don't care if you live in a red state or blue state or swing state: democracy only works when you do. Leave work early, take a break from school and for god's sake, stop downloading music off the internet and get thee to a polling place. And more importantly, get your friends and family to vote as well. In fact, start cold calling people in Ohio and Florida and get them to vote. Preferably for Kerry.

Soul Sides will be returning to its regularly scheduled programming after American democracy is restored to some sanity. (Ok, even if Bush gets re-elected, we'll be back by Wed. Still GO VOTE. Unless you're not American. In which case, enjoy the circus that is American political elections on Tuesday.)