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The newest episode of Single Servings delves into the story behind one of my all-time favorite remixes and summer songs: the Siik remix of Amerie’s “1 Thing.”
As a reminder, this is the Apple Podcasts feed that you can subscribe to. If you prefer to listen to the episode direct, you can peep it right here:

Subscribe to this and future podcasts.

The album: Common: Like Water For Chocolate (MCA, 2000)

This week, we are joined by Los Angeles rapper, Ill Camille. She picked Common’s Like Water For Chocolate from 2000, a moment that marked the Chicago’s turn towards becoming a hip-hop elder statesman, backed by the production might of the Soulquarians crew. Camille’s love for the album runs deep and during the course of our taping, she’d bust out Common’s rhymes, line for line.

More on Common and Like Water For Chocolate:

More on Ill Camille:

Show Tracklisting:

If you’re not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

The album: Change: Miracles (Atlantic, 1981)

This week, we are joined by Dam-Funk, Stones Throw recording artist, resident DJ for the legendary Funkmosphere parties and all-around apostle of the boogie. He was one of the very first artists we invited to tape Heat Rocks, back in its pilot stage, and we’re very pleased to finally shared the episode in which he took us on a deep trip into Change’s Miracles.

Along the way, we talked about the post-disco, Chic-era of funk and R&B, how Italian and New York musical communities collided on this album, and how a young kid, growing up in Pasadena, would drive up to Mt. Wilson, bumping this on cassette.

More on Change and Miracles:

  • Love Come...

(In case you’re curious what “Part 1” is, I wrote that in 2009.)

Stax was the first music label I ever took an active interest in. This was probably back in 1992, when I decided to splurge with some credit I had at Amoeba and I picked up the the Complete Stax/Volt Singles, 1959-68, 9 CD box set. I can’t even recall why I was motivated to cop it except that 1) the cover looked cool and 2) I must have known a bare minimum about Stax/Volt to think “hey, maybe I’d learn something from this.”

That set stayed in heavy rotation for months and clearly, I wasn’t alone in that. One thing that I feel like isn’t acknowledged enough is that its release set off a spate of rap artists sampling from the Stax/Volt catalog. The examples are legion and maybe it’s a coincidence in a few cases but really, is it just convenient timing that this box set drops in ’91 and by ’93, the RZA is minting classics that loop up Wendy Rene and The Charmels (both of whose songs appear on that first volume)? I think not.

Those box sets – there are three of them in total, spanning 1959 through 1975 – were just the beginning. Over the years, the folks who own the Stax back catalog have done a steady job of mining it for different anthologies and just over the past few weeks, two new Stax-related box sets have hit...

I’m 110% invested in making Heat Rocks a success as a podcast but I also want to stay creating other audio stories on the side. As such, I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while: a series devoted to talking about single songs (preferably but not exclusively actual singles). I bring you: Single Servings.

This is a strictly personal passion project, much like The Record Wheel and the Sidebar before it. Episodes probably won’t be updated with any regularity; it’s “do it when I can” but regardless, nothing makes me happier than to talk about a song I love so you can expect a stream of these, even if it won’t always be steady.

In any case, for the first episode, I’m super-psyched to not just (re)introduce you all to one of my favorite Northern Soul singles – “Someone To Treat Me,” the 1969 7″ by the New York girl ground, The De Vons – but I was able to interview lead singer Jimmie Boone Amos whose voice you’ll hear in the episode.

As a reminder, this is the Apple Podcasts feed that you can subscribe to. If you prefer to listen to the episode direct, you can peep it right here:

Subscribe to this and future podcasts.

The first episode of my new Heat Rocks podcast is now live. You can find show notes + some bonus beats material on the official Heat Rocks website.


I couldn’t be more excited to announce, finally, the public launch of my new podcast: Heat Rocks.

Alongside my co-host, music supervisor extraordinaire Morgan Rhodes, and co-producer/editor Nick Liao, we’ve been plugging away at this all summer long and we now have almost three months of shows in the bank and ready to go.

Morgan and I cooked up the idea for Heat Rocks like this: every episode, we invite a guest to join us to talk about one of their favorite albums. It’s a deep dive approach focused on both music appreciation and discovery and I have to say: it’s been absolutely delightful to hear musicians, writers, scholars, etc. talk about what makes certain albums important to them.

The show officially launches next Tuesday, Oct. 3. You can subscribe to it via Apple Podcasts. We have a trailer episode ready, with a sneak peak at a few of our upcoming shows.

The first month’s slate should include the following:

    Joi on Betty Davis’ They Say I’m Different
    Phonte on Intro’s Intro
    Ann Powers on Madonna’s Like a Prayer
    Dam-Funk on Change’s Miracles

Future episodes will include everyone from L.A. rapper Ill Camille to king of the video essay, Jay Smooth, to’s Shea Serrano to beat maker Suzi Analogue.

I’ll post up info on each new show here, on Soul Sides, but if you’re so inclined, you can follow Heat Rocks at any of these accounts: Facebook |

I got to review the new Mr. Brown Eyed Soul that came out last week, focusing on the ’60s-’70s slow jams of San Antonio’s Sunny and the Sunliners.

Charles Bradley has died at age 68.

Folks here know how much I liked and respected the man and his music. I got to review his album in 2013 and then write about “Things We Do For Love” a few years later. And Tommy Brenneck broke down how he and Bradley came to work together on episode #7 of The Sidebar.

Some of my favorite Bradley songs:

A post shared by Oliver W./Soul Sides (@soulsides) on Sep 23, 2017 at 9:30am PDT

The purge never really ends but I have updated my Discogs page with a few dozen new 45s, most of them in the $10 range. One of the most recent bigger ticket items is this original Nigerian pressing of Fela’s Everything Scatter. As with all my record sales, email me direct first with what you want and I can almost always cut you some kind of discount.

I also have a bunch of unplayed CD comps for sale. Just cycle through to see which ones. Email me if you’re interested.

There’s a brand new biography of Al Green out there: Soul Survivor, written by Jimmy McDonough.

I’m excited for this one, least of all because Green is one of my favorite soul artists and unquestionably one of the most influential R&B artists of all time.

The book’s publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for our readers. To enter, answer the questions in this form.

A winner will be selected after 9/17 from those will all three correct answers.

Back around 1994, I got a Tascam 4-track recorder and started to make mixtapes. At a later point, I upgraded to a digital multitrack (Roland SP-808) but the sensibility was the same on all the tapes I made from 1994 through 2001: pick a selection of indie and major label singles and try to creatively mix them together.

It finally took until today but I now have all of them online via my Mixcloud account. Here’s a mini-history:

These were all the first ones, when I was both learning how to master the Tascam plus playing with format ideas. Without trying to pat myself on my back…I actually was surprised how well some of these held up. They’re not best-of-class or anything but I still enjoy listening to them and while I might quibble with some song selections now, I liked the ideas I was working with back then, especially in finding subtle ways to make use of the multitrack dimension. Of the batch, Vol. 1 and 2 are my sentimental favorites, just because I was so new to the whole thing.

These marked a transition towards more professionally manufactured mixtapes rather than dubbing them at home, by hand (which is how I used to do them). My...

Back to hip-hop but this time with a Cali focus.

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  • Sanuhtayshun Duhpartment Muzik: Never Changing (SDM, 1999)
  • RhythmX feat. Grump and Simba: Subliminal Criminals (Sick Kid It, 1993)
  • The Poetess: Making Some Change (Buddha Baker Boyz Mix) (Interscope, 1992)
  • MC Red: I Smoke Mics For a Livin’ (Vibe Time, 1992)
  • Ahmad, Ras Kass and Saafir: Come Widdit (Joe Quixx Remix) (Priority, 1995)
  • Da Lench Mob: Ain’t Got No Class (T-Bone Remix) (Eastwest, 1992)
  • Droop-E feat. Kendrick Lamar: Rossi Wine (Sick Kid It, 2013)
  • Droop Capone: Something About Mary (Black Love, 2000)
  • Exile feat. Blu: So Amazing (Soul Provider Remix) (Sound In Color, 2005)
  • 7A3: Party Time! (City Life Mix) (Geffen, 1988)

What’s extraordinary about this is how, not that long ago, a deep dive history such as this would have amounted to a blog post, at best. But these days, you can go out, shoot and edit a mini-doc about a lost record without having to break the bank.

You can find out more at Living Funk.

I was recently invited to share some thoughts on this “Oral History of Darondo Fandom” piece that the folks at Nerdtorious put together. Bay Area legend.

Michael Barnes and I recently got to guest host a show on Dublab. For many years, Dublab’s been one of the premier internet stations but on the day we hosted (6/30), it was their very second day as a terrestrial radio station as well, micro-broadcasting on 99.1 FM in parts of Los Angeles. Michael and I both got our start, many years ago, at KALX 90.7 FM in Berkeley so it was very exciting to get back on the air.

For the occasion, we went with cover songs (you know me!) and it was a great excuse to pull out a slew of recent acquisitions, and my past favorites, to share with everyone.

Here’s the show notes, including a full track listing and here’s the actual show.


Honestly, I could devote an entire podcast series to only slow jams and firme rolas (hmmmm….) but for now, we’ll start with a single episode.

(Subscribe to this and future podcasts)


  • The Exceptionals: What About Me? (GRT, 1971)
  • Nancy: I Promise I’ll Wait (Mercede, 1971)
  • Natural Four: The Same Thing In Mind (ABC, 1969)
  • Little Joe and the Latinaires: Just Because I Really Love You (Buena Suerte, 1966)
  • Smoke Sugar Company: Save a Little Love For a Rainy Day (Teri De, 1973)
  • Black Heart: So In Love (Guinness, 1977)
  • The Emotions: As Long As I’ve Got You (Stax, 1970s)
  • The Cruisers: I Need You So (Gamble, 1967)
  • Freedom Suite: We Belong Together (Mares, 1971)
  • The Sha-La-Das: Those Years Are Over (Dunham, 2016)

The Joe Cuba Sextet: Mañana Te Llevo Niña
From El Alma Del Barrio (Tico, 1964)

Joe Cuba is an interesting figure to me insofar as his career precedes the boogaloo era by over a decade but songs like “El Pito” and “Bang Bang” are what put him and his Sextet on the map in a way that his earlier mambo-era LPs had not. I don’t own any of his pre-Sextet LPs but I did go completionist with everything he released with that configuration.1 I hadn’t listened to El Alma Del Barrio for quite a while and by no means would I consider it the best of their pre-“El Pito” output (I think Comin’ At You would fit that bill). I was on the verge of tossing this into the Latin purge pile but then I came back to “Mañana Te Llevo Niña” which is a lovely little cha-cha-cha with vibraphone and that, alone, makes it worth holding onto.

  1. In the 1950s, it was Cuba and His Orchestra and in the ’60s and ’70s, he released a handful of albums just as “Joe Cuba.”