Wednesday, July 30, 2008

posted by murphyslaw


Johnny Johnson: Love Is Blue
Taken from the album Soul Survivor on Bell (1970)

Third Guitar: Lovin' Lies
Taken from the 7" on Rojac

The Parliaments: Your Goodies Are Gone
Taken from the 7" on Revilot

Eddie Holman: Four Walls
Taken from the album I Love You on ABC (1969)

O, wracked wail of heartache. O, plaintive moan of sorrow. How the heart strains!

The selections today are born of the kind anguish that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. The kind where the knees buckle and the heart cramps. The kind that can reduce a grown man to pathetic teary desperation. The kind of abject grief that can drive a guy to the loony bin... or, if fortune prevails, to the recording booth.

Here, we get lucky with the latter.

Leading off with the Johnny Johnson track: um, I mean, WOW. How about this joint. Forget about the folk guitar that gives way to the meanest orchestral onslaught since Beethoven's Fifth. Forget about the Ghostface sample. Forget that this track has been recorded by a bunch of heads. THIS IS THE VERSION. Listen to ol' boy holding that note in the last bar of the song. That, my friends, is suffering.

Third Guitar are best known for making a highly noteworthy appearance on Shadow & Chemist's Brainfreeze, but listen to these cats digging deep on "Lovin' Lies". When was the last time heard such ballistic hand drums, breaks and heavy emoting crammed into a track that clocks in at under two minutes?

Then there's George Clinton in his pre-Funkadelic days cranking out a hard-hitting soul number with the Parliaments (drop the "s", add acid, and you've got one loked out 70 year old with technicolor dreadlocks). A recent flea market find that I can't seem to get enough of.

And lastly, a repeat of one of the first posts put up on this blog. A song that I have ADORED since the moment it entered my life and will likely continue to adore until the day I die. What a shame that Eddie Holman will only ever be remembered for "Hey, There Lonely Girl" because, as far as I'm concerned this is as good as it gets. Wail on, brother man. Wail on.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

posted by O.W.

The Notations: It Only Hurts For a Little While
From S/T (Gemigo, 1975)

The Temprees: Explain It To Her Mama
From Lovemen (We Produce, 1972). Also on Best Of.

The Persuaders: Trying Girls Out
From S/T (ATCO, 1973)

The Modulations: Those Were the Best Days of My Life
From It's Rough Out Here (Buddah, 1975)

The Moments: Love on a 2-Way Street
From Not On the Outside, But on the Inside, Strong! (Stang, 197?)

The Montclairs: Dreaming Out of Season
From Dreaming Out of Season (Paula, 1972). Also on Make Up For Lost Time.

Bonus: The Flamingos: Why Can't Susie Go to School With Lucy
From Today (Ronze, 197?)

I'm working backwards here since this was my original, introductory post to the Pick Six series. Note: I'm fond of starting new series that promptly go nowhere so just be warned. The idea behind the series was based around the relative little time I have these days to get more posts up and throwing up six at a time seemed like one way to clear the slate faster. However, it also gave me an opportunity to think of my own music library more thematically, hence each Pick Six post will have some kind of thread that ties all them together. Last time, it was Louie Ramirez and for this post, I was going through a stack of soul records and realized that, of late, I've been acquiring a grip of LPs by R&B groups built around harmonized singing, ala the Chi-Lites or Stylistics.

Most of these groups were influenced by multi-member gospel singing and not surprisingly, many in these groups could trace their musical histories back to gospel singing prior to their R&B excursions. Especially in a city like Chicago, it's not hard to guess that a group like the Notations probably took their inspiration from both gospel as well as The Impressions, whose three-part harmonies were incredibly influential. The Notations were first signed with Twinight but by the 1970s, had shifted over to Curtom (via the Gemigo subsidiary), Curtis Mayfield's label. "It Only Hurts" is one of those sweet soul classics, especially because of that memorable string melody that opens the song. i like the dramatic flourishes throughout the song and the interplay in the quartet's voices (Clifford Curry, LaSalle Matthews, Bobby Thomas, Jimmy Stoud) work well against one another.

The Temprees were a trio out of Memphis, TN, first signed to We Produce, a Stax subsidiary (same label Ernie HInes's "Our Generation" came out on). The three, composed of Jasper Phillips, Harold Scott and Deljuan Calvin, were young - high schoolers - when they first met and there's a charming swagger to them naming their first album Love Men when they probably weren't that many years out of their peachfuzz yet. "Explain It To Her Mama" kicks off with a pounding little breakbeat and then shifts into a rich, mid-tempo ballad that showcases Phillip's falsetto.

The Persuaders' "Trying Girls Out" may be familiar to some of you as the source for the "Girls, Girls, Girls" remix off Jay-Z's The Blueprint and it makes you appreciate how keen an ear Kayne had back in 2001. The original has a sly humor to it - this is no sentimental love song for certain - but even if it is a players' anthem, the Persuaders sure do make it sound sweet. This is from their self-titled album, the follow-up to their hit Thin Line Between Love and Hate, featuring Douglas Scott, brothers Willie and James Holland and Charles Stoghill.

Like the Persuaders, the Modulations were another four-member group, formed in Philadelphia and you can hear that classic "Philly sound" draped onto this nostalgia-suffused track. I'm guessing it's Larry Duncan on falsetto here but surprisingly, it's pretty damn hard to figure out who else was in the group (besides Glenn Lewis). For real: the album credits the musicians by name but not the singers...whoops.

The Moments are arguably the most famous '70s vocal group out of New Jersey though they probably went through enough personnel changes to staff two or three groups. By the time they recorded "Love on a 2-Way Street" their membership could either have been the best known combo, with William Brown, Al Goodman and John Morgan, but it could also have been Mark Greene, Richie Horsley and Morgan). Regardless, the Moments were impressively consistent no matter what the line up and this was one of their classics from the last '60s.

The Montclairs were a short-lived, four man group out of East St. Louis who never really broke it big despite having some serious vocal talent. Signed to Paula for their one and only album, the group was comprised of Phil Perry, Kevin Sanlin, David Frye, and Clifford Williams. "Dreaming Out of Season" was their biggest hit and it's so good, it's a shame the couldn't find the footing to put out even more than they did.

The bonus cut comes from The Flamingos - you remember, of "I Only Have Eyes For You" fame - but this comes from an early '70s album (hence the "Today" part of the title) where the doo-wop group is trying to stay current with, y'know, the kids. The song is obviously funk-influenced (and not sweet soul) but I thought it'd make a fun bonus cut to hear a classic soul harmony group trying on a different genre. Personally, I think the song does ok though for a social consciousness tune (the title is a clear reference to integration), it's overly vague despite sounding pretty obvious.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

posted by O.W.

I'm proud to announce the official CD launch of Deep Covers 2: Mas Profundo. It's already been available as a digital download from the good folks at East Bay Digital* but is now finally available on CD.


Orders taken now!

Description: Deep Covers 2: Mas Profundo follows up on two previous covers-related projects: Deep Covers and Soul Sides Vol. 2: The Covers. This time though, I take it international, with 20 songs, all recorded overseas. I tried to balance things by region (otherwise, hell, I could have done an entire CD of reggae covers) but still kept the vibe oriented around soul and funk covers. It's really astounding what one can find out there - this merely scratches the surface! Overall, I was pleased with how this mix turned out, both in terms of song selection as well as sequencing. There will definitely be a DC3 somewhere down the road but for now, enjoy this in all its global glory.

Tracklisting: (by song title, original artist and country of cover)

1. How Deep? Intro/The Message (Cymande, El Salvador)

2. Rainmaker (Sweden, Nilsson)

3. Use Me (Poland, Bill Withers)

4. Breakthrough (Nigeria, Atomic Rooster)

5. Slipping Into Darkness (Sweden, WAR)

6. Tanga Goo Bonk (Philippines, Niteliters)
7. I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More (Jamaica, Barry White)

8. Be My Baby (Jamaica, The Ronettes)

9. Pick Up The Pieces (Brazil, Average White Band)

10. Wicky Wacky (Colombia, The Fatback Band)

11. Different Strokes (Argentina, Syl Johnson)

12. Buzzsaw/In Gadda Da Vida (Malaysia, The Turtles/Iron Butterfly)

13. Found a Child (Peru, Ballinjack)

14. Cardova (Trinidad, The Meters)

15. Never Can Say Goodbye (France, Jackson 5)

16. Groovy Situation (Jamaica, Gene Chandler)

17. Cold Sweat (Brazil, James Brown)

18. Angel of the Morning (Mexico, Evie Sands)

19. I Who Have Nothing (Panama, Ben E. King)

20. Sweet Caroline (Guyana, Neil Diamond)


21. Signed, Sealed, Delivered

22. Hit Or Miss

23. September Song

Order now!

*LAME encoded at 320.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

posted by O.W.

Thanks: HHH

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

posted by O.W.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are playing the Hollywood Bowl this Sunday (along with Feist) and I wrote a feature in this week's LA Weekly about the Dap-Kings specifically (no disrespect to Sharon but I had written about her before, everyone writes about her, surprisingly few people write about the Dap-Kings, ergo...). Tickets are still available, beginning at $10. Sure, those are nosebleeders but if you've never been to the HB before, it's a great summer venue.

For those who are really cheap, on Saturday, the Budos Band (which shares members with the Dap-Kings) is performing at the Getty Center for free (well, you still have to pay for parking) as part of their Summer Sessions series.

In honor of the two shows:

Charles Bradley and the Bullets: This Love Ain't Big Enough For the Two of Us
Lee Fields: Could Have Been
Both from Daptone 7" Singles Collection Vol. 2 (Daptone, 2008)

Earlier in the summer, Daptone Records released the second volume of their 7" releases - most of these songs had never been on any format besides 7" vinyl - and that includes Charles Bradley being backed by the Budos Band back when they were called the Bullets. Fierce and funky!

Lee Fields, who's mostly worked with Truth and Soul in recent years, cut a few sides with Daptone in the early 00s, including the included ballad here. Slow and patient, you have to love how this song builds and rests on the strength of Fields' impassioned voice.

Hope to see all you Angelinos this Sat or Sun.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

posted by O.W.

This is too good for a mere Soul Sights inclusion:

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou Dahomey: Gbeti Madjro
Edited together by Mario Stahn

First seen at Analog Africa.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

posted by O.W.

Louie Ramirez: The New Breed
From In the Heart of Spanish Harlem (Mercury, 1967)

The Latin Blues Band: Oye Mi Guaguanco
From Take a Trip Pussycat (Speed, 1968)

Dianne & Carole: The Fuzz
From Feeling the Pain (Speed, 1968)

Kako and His Orchestra: Shingaling Shingaling
From Live It Up (Musicor, 1968)

Jose "Cheo" Feliciano: Esto Es El Guaguanco
From Cheo (Vaya, 1971)

La Crema: Cisco Kid
From El Party Con La Crema (WS Latino, 1973)

Bonus: Beatfanatic: Cookin'
From Adventures in the World of No-Fi Beats (Raw Fusion, 2006)

My most recent Side Dishes was on Latin arranger/composer/musician Louie Ramirez and the recommended Louie's Grooves anthology. I've been wanting to write something on Ramirez for a while and though the Side Dishes post allowed me to riff on some of his work, as the comp's liner notes acknowledge, it just brushes the surface of how deep his catalog can run. I'd suggest folks read that post first and then come back here.

My pick six for Ramirez focuses mostly on albums not already covered by Louie's Grooves, beginning with arguably the easiest of his solo albums to acquire: In the Heart of Spanish Harlem. This was recorded for Mercury; I find that interesting since Mercury didn't have a ton of Latin recordings (that I know of) on the label but I suspect it may have had something to do with producer Richard Marin who was doing some A&R work for labels like Mercury and Verve at the time. Marin's brother Bobby - another Latin soul giant and fellow composer - is on this album as well; he was a frequent collaborator with Ramirez and it's not at all unusual to see them on the same projects together. In fact, for this album, Bobby appears on the cover photo alongside Richard and Louie

I was always struck at how Ramirez was able to work on so many different labels at the same time; not long after that Mercury album, he must have been working with Fania on the Ali Baba LP (several of the songs from that rare title are on Louie's Grooves and then he was also working for Morty Craft's Speed imprint. I wrote about The Latin Blues Band for the Happy Soul Suite piece and I enjoy revisiting it - any Latin album that has Bernard Purdie as your studio drummer is bound to be rather interesting though instead of the funkier fare I could have nodded to, I went with "Oye Mi Guaguanco," a solid piece of classic Cuban style by Ramirez, feat. (I think) Luis Aviles on vocals.

Like the Latin Blues Band, the Dianne and Carole album was also on Speed. Speed packed, in my opinion, the biggest bang for the buck - their catalog wasn't more than a dozen titles or so but what was there was almost all exceptional. This Dianne and Carole album is especially notably since it had one of the few examples of female singers heading a Latin soul album (La Lupe excepted of course). There's very little known about the two singers - their surnames aren't even credited on the album! In any case, "The Fuzz" leads side 2, where 4/5 of the songs are arranged by Ramirez and I suspect that most of the same players from the Latin Blues Band played on here as well.

Not long thereafter, Ramirez was also helping compose, play on (and possible arrange?) for the great Puerto Rican bandleader Kako and his Live It Up album on Musicor. Personally, I've never figured out what separates a shingaling from a boogaloo and "Shingaling Shingaling" certainly displays many of the stylistic characteristics of both. I'm feeling this - and the whole LP is exceptional.

Ramirez was multi-talented as a musician - known to rock both the timbales and vibes - and I wanted to include an example of the latter by including one of his salsa era performances, playing vibes on Cheo Feliciano's classic "Esto Es El Guaguanco." He's a big reason the opening is so memorable and Ramirez comes back to solo towards the second half of the song.

Last in the pick six is this cool lil cover of "Cisco Kid" that Ramirez arranged for the La Crema album, a one-off project that involved him, Bobby Marin and some other familiar folks but in the Latin funk era of the 1970s.

Bonus: As for "Cookin'", that might have been the first time I "heard" any Louie Ramirez song since it liberally borrows from "The New Breed." Slammin' Latin club cut - trust me on this one.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

posted by Captain Planet

steph.jpg chico.jpg

kingkhan.jpg flying.jpg

Stephanie McKay : Jackson Avenue & Oh Yeah
taken from the upcoming album that needs to be OUT!
but if you like this, DEFINITELY check her
first release and her myspace with more tunes, videos & tour dates.

Chico Mann : Dilo Como Yo & Zumba Mama
taken from the upcoming album
"Analogue Drift" that also needs to be out already!
But check the
myspace for more tunes and get that first album

King Khan & The Shrines : Burnin Inside & I Wanna Be A Girl
taken from the new album
The Supreme Genius Of... on Vice (2008)

Flying Lotus : Roberta Flack (Ft. Dolly) & Melt!
taken from the new album
Los Angeles on Warp (2008)

In the face of too much mediocre blandosia and
overhyped saltine steezoni (sorry, I'm not hating for hate's sake, but come on...), here's a hearty helping of freshy-fresh audible produce for your summer mixes. Some of these tunes aren't officially out yet, but as long as a few of you readers catch on and support these artists by picking up their other releases (Stephanie's first album is NECESSARY), then I figure they won't get mad at me for sharing this little taste.

I've been feeling the Estelle album a lot, and a couple of the Aunt Jackie tracks, but honestly,
Steph blows these chicks out the water. She smashes the reggae tunes ("Take Me Over"), destroys the retro soul ("Say What You Feel"), and comes with some otherly space-funk for the ears of tomorrow ("Money"). I've had the pleasure of doing a bunch of live shows with her and can testify to her ability to K.O. the crowd too. Like way too many other top-notch underrated artists, she's been bucked around by labels with the usual drama, and thus this masterpiece of an album (which has been DONE for more than a minute) is still not out. It's a total crime how the industry works sometimes, but at least we can support her by copping the first release and can keep spreading the good word until this one is officially released- check for the live shows too!

Chico Mann is no stranger to the Crate. When I posted the Antibalas remix of "Dilo Como Yo" a couple weeks back it reminded me that Chico's (somewhat more danceable) version of the same song should be shared as well. He's got more music to download on his myspace page and an album from a year or so back that's definitely worth checking- but holy greatness, his new album is really gonna knock some heads around! Stay tuned.

King Khan was purchased on the strength of the cover art alone, and it delivered twofold what was hinted at on the packaging. I don't know where they recorded this album of catchy psychedelic garage-rock-soul, but it sounds convincingly like they discovered a wormhole to the year 1968. A thoroughly enjoyable and lively record from the opening chords of "Torture" to the last fuzzy notes in "No Regrets". Highly RECOMMENDED!

Finally I leave you with the beautiful noise poetry of
Flying Lotus. This record is abstract and earthy at once. Layered with cosmic dust and static, the album takes shape like a primordial organism from deep space that crash landed alongside the 405 and now shimmers in a blanket of neon steam emitting radioactive waves. Need I say more?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

posted by Eric Luecking

Karl Hector and the Malcouns: Rush Hour
From Sahara Swing (Now Again, 2008)

Stones Throw subsidiary Now Again is out to prove that it's not just a reissue label trying to dig up yesteryear's lost gems; it's also out to prove there are still some dope sounds being constructed today. After last year's Heliocentrics release featuring living legend Malcolm Catto bringing together a group to record a trippy freeform jazz/funk odyssey for a sound appropriately entitled “Out There,” the label follows it up with an album of jams rooted in afrobeat rhythms with funk undertones.

Former Poets Of Rhythm guitarist and producer J. Whitefield funks out with Malcouns founders Thomas Myland and Zdenko Curlija along with Karl Hector and a host of others. The results may not have you doing the worm at the discothèque, but don't underestimate this music's headnod factor.

Clocking in at just over 45 minutes, the mostly instrumental disc grooves through world rhythms and nu-funk simmered with a dash of tasty rhythmic seasoning. Throughout the set, intermissions lead us from one course to the next. “Rush Hour,” which leans less on afrobeat and more toward traditional funk, hits you with a swirling organ, steady bass, and tight snares. One section even sounds like killer bees swarming!

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Whitefield about the project which hits record racks on July 8. Following the Stones Throw/Now Again tradition, when purchased from select retailers the album comes with a limited edition Stones Throw 45 featuring non-album tracks.

EL: How did you hook up with the Malcouns?

JW: I met Thomas, their keyboard player, in a teahouse in Izmir, Turkey, while travelling with a theatre group. We were discovering similar musical interests, and a year later he was invited for the first Discern/Define recording sessions back in ‘97 and is playing with the Poets live band and on many of our recording projects since then.

EL: I like the cover artwork. It looks like some kind of African tribal necklace. What was its inspiration?

JW: It is a tribal necklace, but to get specifics as to where exactly it’s from and stuff, you´d have to ask Matt Boyd who did the design… probably the album title gave the overall inspiration as well as the overall musical content plus a love for homemade style cover artwork.

EL: We got a taste of the marriage of funk and afrobeat in "Weiya" from the "In The Raw" LP on Soul Fire. Talk about how that came about and why you wanted to work with afrobeat rhythms more. Did Bo Baral (Poets of Rhythm singer and frequent collaborator) growing up in Africa lead you down that path?

JW: The departure from straight American funk happened already in the mid 90s some years before the Whitefield Brothers sessions with our Pan-Atlantics project. Basically it grew out of interest for more syncopation and polyrhythms. The strong 2 and 4 that dominates contemporary western music doesn’t give enough freedom for rhythmic experiments, and the mothership for all the side projects we are doing is still the Poets of RHYTHM which always demands a strong focus on rhythmic developments.

EL: Is the group doing any promotional spots or shows for the Sahara Swing album?

JW: The live band is ready to hit the stage. We played a couple of shows already with great response, and basically we´re waiting for the album to be released and tour it later this year

EL: Can you talk about some of the influences for the album? There's definitely a Fela Kuti feel on several songs.

JW: Fela definitely has a strong presence in African music, but for us, if at all, his early 70´s work, like Shenshema for example, is more relevant to our stuff as the classic later period where he really developed his formula of afrobeat which is rather epic in form. For this album we mostly tried to transport Mr. Hector’s influences, which are more based in Morocco, Ghana, Mali, and Ethiopia and span from western crossover to the more traditional folkloristic stuff as well.

EL: Over the past few years, Chief Xcel from Blackalicious did a mixtape of Fela songs; other hip hop and R&B acts contributed to a Fela Kuti tribute CD in the Red Hot series; Youssou N'Dour got some attention from the hip hop crowd when he did some work with Wyclef Jean and Canibus toward the end of the 90s. Even today, artists like the Daktaris and Antibalas are getting press. Do you see African music building some steam?

JW: I guess that started with Fela´s death in ´97. All the reissues and tributes got labels and record nerds interested in African music and explore the other west African countries for hidden musical treasures. They turned up loads of amazing stuff and otherwise we maybe would have never heard of people like Poly Rythmo, Ebo Taylor, El Rego and the many more obscure artists that never made a name outside of Africa.

EL: Much of today's current music is made using preprogrammed sounds, synthesizers, and artists collaborating while never being in studio at the same time. Can you talk about how using real instruments and being able to vibe off one another in the studio helps to create a mood for you and your band mates when creating music?

JW: If you regard music and creating music as a form of communication you have to recognise there are very few people who are able to communicate with machines and put soul into them. That’s why we prefer being with musicians in a room and get inspired by each other; that way you can come to results where you sometimes play above what you know, which can happen with machines only if there are errors because they are too predictable - if that makes any sense. I never managed to tell a drum machine to play free.

EL: Have you been working on other projects since we last heard from the Poets of Rhythm and the Whitefield Brothers in 2002?

JW: Most of the studio time was spent on Karl Hector and Whitefield Brothers sessions. Also we’ve been on tour quite a lot and just did some 45s like New Process and Polyversal Souls or the stuff with Bajka and some compilation contributions.

EL: With this project being released on Now Again and the upcoming reissue of the "In The Raw" LP with them as well, do you have any other future projects in the works through them?

JW: After the “In The Raw” reissue, there will be a new Whitefield Brothers album which is even more based around Ethiopian themes and going from there in some Oriental and Asian territories as well. It will also have some vocal guest appearances.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

posted by O.W.

Ananda Shankar: Streets of Calcutta + Dancing Drums
From Ananda Shankar and His Music (EMI India, 1975)

Manteca: Afro-Funky + Gozando Tropical
From Ritmo + Sabor (GRC/Sound Triangle, 197?)

The thing about funk's entry in pop music in the late 1960s and forward was how artists would find ways to work in its rhythmic signature when you least expected it. (See this for a great example). Hearing the Ananda Shankar for the first time just blew my mind, probably because I assume Ananda's sound would be more like his uncle Ravi's but clearly, Ananda was on some experimental, world fusion tip by blending his training in classical Indian music with some Moog and a killer trap set drummer. Both of these cuts above are well-comped at this point but they still don't fail to impress. Sitar funk for real.

Manteca is the nickname for master bongosero Lazaro Pla, a Cuban legend who used to play with Ernesto Lecuona and the Cuban Boys. His Ritmo + Sabor is one of the holy grail Latin funk LPs given its ridiculously funky percussion. It's an interesting album for Manteca since he didn't record out of Cuba much as a solo artist yet this album has been pressed up three times: GRC (Miami), Sound Triangle (Colombia) and Desca(?). And despite that, you'll still end up forking over a few Franklins, unless you're my man Adam M. who managed to cop one for $3 from Amoeba in Berkeley (that story still kills me). "Afro-Funky" is the outstanding cut here: the interplay between the basslines (which some opine might have been Cachao) and the percussion section is ridiculously funky not to mention pure rhythm - notice, there's no melodic composition in the song at all. "Gozando Tropical" is more in a conventional Cuban dance style with its piano montuno riff but even here, the hard timbales (alas, uncredited) still put percussion first...sometimes I feel like the song is mis-engineered and should have cooled down the timbales a bit but then I shrug and figure if the drummer wants to get some, who am I to deny? This has been out of print on CD for a while but luckily, they're about to bring it back later this month.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

posted by O.W.

I've started a new weekly column with called Side Dishes. It's basically a "Song of the Week"-style column meshed with Soul Sides-style content. Even though the first post crosses over with some of stuff I wrote about the other week, in general, I'll try to keep the two distinct. Sides Dishes will also be more focused on music that's still in print (either as reissues, anthologies, etc.). Cruise on over and add Side Dishes to your subscription list; I think Soul Sides fans will enjoy it. summer songs post from Roberto Gyemant. Four great selections by one of Latin music's sharpest new chroniclers and taste-makers.

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