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Stratus: Girl (Wyldwood, 1976)

Straight outta Rhinelander, WI. This one reminds me of something that Larry T and the Family might have cooked up. Lovely vibe that throws together a lil folk, soul and funk in the blender.

Aaron Neville: Over You (Minit, 1960)

I’m not 100% positive about this but doesn’t it seem like Biggie got his lines on “Warning” from “Over You”? And then, of course, that influenced Erykah to crib off Big.

It’s also interesting to hear Neville early in his career, before his voice turned into that crackling falsetto he became so known for.

Nathan Davis: Sticky Buddy, from If (Tomorrow Int’l, 1976)

Sad news: Nathan Davis just passed away this week. Like a lot of folks in the ’90s, I discovered Davis’ magnificent album, If via Luv N Haight comps and one story I always tell is that when I was a DJ at KALX, I realized they had an original copy of If and at the time, it was an LP that could have easily sold for $200+. I never stole, ever, a record from the KALX library but I always joked that if I was going to, I would have went to If first.

“Stick Buddy” still puts a smile on my face every time I hear those opening bars and then Davis’ sax just sexily step into the mix.

RIP to Davis.

This is a narrated slide show of a paper I presented at this year’s Asian American Studies conference in San Francisco. It’s a condensed version of an essay I’m writing for an anthology on Chinese restaurants in North America. I’ve had a lot of fun researching and prepping it; hope you enjoy!

This past Friday, I was a guest DJ for Jeffery Plankser’s Jazz Advance show on Dublab. Jeffery came up with “Blue Coolaid” to name this particular show as we spun soul-jazz tunes for two hours. It was an excuse for me to pull out some of my soul-jazz faves, both new and old. Listen here.

Byron Daughtery: Golden Lady (Gatsby, 1972)

Shout out to Lake Elsinore’s finest aka “the back door man.” I scooped this off the recent Craig Moerer pop-up at Rapp Cats and it was impossible for me to resist.

    Stevie Wonder cover? Check.
    Heavy electric piano? Check.
    Countrified soul vocals? Check.

Damn cool cover and “Gatsby” is a pretty good label name to boot.

Nina Simone: To Love Somebody (RCA Victor, 1968)

This song absolutely slays. It’s a radical remake of The Bee-Gee’s original, taking a pleasant ballad and having Nina utterly flip into a high energy, uptempo jam. Every time I hear this, I just think “this is a monster.” Every. Time.

Dennis & Los Yorks: Porque (Dicesa, 196?)

Don’t know much about this one except that it’s likely a garage pop single out of El Salvador. Los Beats were quite prolific but who Dennis is – besides, presumably, the lead singer on here – is unclear. “Porque” is a cover of the Dave Clark Band’s minor 1964 hit, “Because.”

Back when Big Crown went by…another name, I recorded a covers mix for their radio/podcast way back when (whoa, nearly 10 years ago!) As they invited me back to contribute again, I figured…why not go with another covers mix? Hope you all enjoy. (If you prefer to listen as a podcast, link is here).

Real talk: I’m too lazy to write out the tracklisting but I do back announce every song on there!

Last time around, I had Latin records to unload. Now I’m whittling down soul 45s from my collection to make room for new arrivals! Lot of great titles, almost all in great condition.


As always, let me know if you’re a Soul Sides reader and I’ll hook up a discount, especially for multiple items.

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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.”

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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.