Le Beat Bespoke 3

As mentioned a while back, upon my last visit to NYC, I made my customary stop at Rockit Scientist.

One of the items that I picked up was Le Beat Bespoke 3. I have seen the prior installments over the years, but this is the first volume that I have heard, (and purchased.)

The 20 song set starts out with "Abba" by The Paragons, which is a garage nugget that I have been familiar with for years. It is an awesome track, but seemed a tad out of place here. Seems most of the tracks are British or Continental in origin...

The good stuff that kicks it into action is track 3 "Love Me When I'm Down" by Soul Inc. The vibe continues with the very next song by the Neon Express with "Flashback." The guitar is fuzzy enough that friends of the Dick Taylor trashy sound will not be disappointed. The horns and stuff kind of kill it, but there you go.

The Ro-d-ys from Nederlands kick it with the track Looking for Something Better." Nederbiet with soaring harmonies. Not the Outsiders, but this is an airy track that has a break down that has smashing Moonesque drums accompanied by skronkity sax and smashing and gnashing of the the relatively clean guitar.

"Flipping" the disc over to the back side, Douuglas busts some craziness in the Francophonic "Si Je Buvais Moins." The guitar is nearly silenced by the level of distortion foisted upon it. the call and respinse of the organ and the guitar are excellente. Freak beat from Belgium? Oui.

Overall the juxtaposition on some of these tracks that contain both horns and symphonic elements matched with fuzz guitar is a bit shocking, but with repeated listens, I find it to be less jarring.

Some of the sonic quality is a bit specious here. "Is It Off Is It On" is an example of a very crunchy disc trying to make the transition to the digital realm. Seriously for US$30, I would expect perfectly sounding discs. Not suggesting for a moment to engage in "digital mastering" fuckery...

Still, I recommend that you find this one and crank it up on your hifi with a glass of Louis Jadot 2006 Beaujolais Nouveau. I know I did.

Here is a recent Morgan sighting in Northern IL, a rad British car to go with some rad moderne sounds.


NYC a week or so back

Greetings from fog encased IL...

As my blogging comrade, Vincent at FuFuStew, likes to say sometimes real life gets in the way, and that is definitely the case in my situation.

Hope you had a chance to listen to DJ Colonel and his set at the dub controls that I recently posted.

I went to NYC over a week ago and had some interesting adventures, some of which I will share here. First of all off the plane, I hopped into a standard issue NYC cab. I directed the driver to take me to 110 Fifth Ave (between 16th and 17th.) I spoke very clearly and the hack said that he understood. I then got deeply invloved in both email and phone calls.

A few minutes later I realized that I was not in the MidTown Tunnel and I looked out the window to see that I was on 116th Street! Quite a distance from the desired destination of the environs of Union Square!

Of course the hack said that he thought I meant 5th Ave between 115th and 116th! I corrected him, told him to turn off the meter and get on the FDR. Luckily, I sort of know my way around, otherwise this could have been a serious cluster... Welcome to NYC.

While in Gotham on unrelated matters, I was able to get over to my fave place in the East Village Rockit Scientist. As usual, John was in a talkative mood and we chatted about business, NYC and of course music. I spent some serious coin on 2 CDs, but they were worth it. I picked up the s/t Air reissue as well as Le Beat Bespoke 3. I will spill some digital ink on more in depth reviews of both soon as I am able to bust some of my work back load.

The very next night I headed out to Botanica (the former Knitting Factory) on the south side of Houston. I was able to catch Mr. Finewine's first set and that of a laptop wrangling soul slinger as well. I was able to speak with Mr. Finewine as well and I am proud to say he has visited this humble blog.
Did I mention that Botanica has reasonably priced Duvel as well?

Sorry about the pics, they were taken on my phone.


DJ Colonel in the Cratedigger Dubzone

DJ Colonel has been honing his skills way out in Bend OR. He sent me a batch of his shows, and of the ones that I have had a chance to review, his Dub Special was my fave.

Here is the tracklist:

01 Banana Walk Dub Specialist
02 Don't follow Babylon(Blood and Fire Meets Wai Wan Remix Dub Shop Stylee) Twilight Sound System and Ranking Joe
03 Rasta Dub Horace Andy
04 Dub Out Oku Onuora
05 Drive By Dub Dub trio
06 Since I Dub Aggrovators
07 Fist Of Fury Prince Jammy
08 Buck Rogers in The Black Hole Roots Radics
09 Red Shift Scientist
10 African Jumper Tommy McCook
11 Reggae Train Cornell Campbell
12 King Tubby The Dub Ruler King Tubby
13 One Armed Boxer Lee Perry
14 DJ's Choice Dennis Alcapone
15 Dub Organiser Dillinger
16 Reggae-mylitis Peter Tosh

I hope that you dig Colonel at The Controls.

Download DJ Colonel Dub Radio Spectacle HERE


The Twenty is done for now

So here is the Raleigh Twenty that I rescued a while back. I removed much of the house paint but there is still a fair amount of it left on the bike-call it patina.
I removed the rack on the back and rattle canned it a black glossy coat of Krylon, it looks much better than the half assed house paint that wa on it before. I also had a trunk bag that I got from Nashbar a while back, it seems to fit nicely.
I replaced the tubes, rim tape and tires (with Schwalbes). I also replaced the seat post with an alloy one with an integrated clamp. I repurposed an old mountain bike saddle that I had in the parts bin.
I took the bike on its' first trip this past weekend to Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. I used it to venture around the paddock, and see all of the vintage race cars.
The bike did well although the clearance between the the front tire and the mudguard stay is pretty tight. I also need to replace the grips as the originals look like they could split at any point and they really don't help reduce road shock.
Pretty psyched how it turned out so far.


The Digging And The Damage Done Take 4

I took a road trip to Wisconsin today as we are having record rains, 7 inches yesterday(!) There was a record show at my favorite haunt and I was able to scare up some great 45s.

Here is what I came up with after an hour or so of digging:

Moulty The Barbarians /Laurie This is the track where Moulty tells the story of losing his hand, this guy had prosthetic hands!!!

Inside and Out Dave Clark 5 /Epic DC5 must have been pschedelicized, because this mint disc is awesome- bordering on freak beat. Totally not what I would expect.

Hold Your Horses Jimmy Soul Clark /Moira I am sucker for anything on Moira, this one is growing on me.

Don't Tread On Me Kit and The Outlaws /Philips A recommendation from a dealer. This has two guitar breaks. Kit et al just beat a basic riff into submission.

Better Man Than I Terry Knight & The Pack /Lucky 11 I have read about Terry Knight and his escapades but have never seen a 45 for a reasonable price. I think this was was $3. A great version of this song, it also features a great break.

I'm Leaving Here The K-otics /Bang Another garage treasure, described as Kinks worshippers to me, I am not so sure.

Wade In the Water Willie Mitchell / Hi My first Willie Mitchell find. I have only listened to this side and it is an awesome instro.

Tell It Like It Is Aaron Neville /Par Lo This one was kind of weak, at least on one side, I need to bend my ears a bit more. Cool label from NOLA that I have not seen before up close.

I Can't Seem To Make You Mine The Seeds /GNP Sky Saxon, no more needs to be said.

Double o Soul Sonny Stitt /Wingate This sounds to me like the basic instro tracks used for the Edwin Starr track subsitituting Stitt's horn for Starr's vocal. The back singers also sound familiar. Songs runs on both sides.

You're Gonna Miss Me 13th Floor Elevators / International Artists The 'Vators are pictured above. I am embarrassed to say that I could not find this 45 in my record cave. At least I have a copy that I can find now- essential for anyone with ears. I read somewher that the guy behind IA is/was Leland Rogers, brother to Kenny "No when to fold 'em" Rogers. Odd that.

Come On Back The Wild Ones /Sears these dudes were on the Sears Roebuck label and have that distinctive Chi town cheesy garage sound. I had never seen this one before. It was $2.50.

He's Bad Bad Bad Betty Wright /Alston Come one a Betty Wright single in mint, I had to get it.

The Damage $50.

Since I picked up more garage records this time, I had to pay the piper. I think that I still made out OK. Some great tracks here.


A New Mix-- Cratedigger in The Garage

Any one who knows me, knows that garage is one of my fave record genres. The records are hard to find in the wild, so getting original, at least in this neck of the woods is much more of a challenge.

All of the records in this set are original 45s that I have found in garage sales, dusty junk shops, the occasional record show, or in one particular case via a mail order trade.

The sub genres are pretty well represented as well, as punk, folk, moody, bubblegum and even some borderline mod are in the mix.

Hope you dig it.

Cratedigger in The Garage Tracklist

01 I Lie Awake New Colony Six Centaur 1202
02 Try It The Ohio Express Cameo Parkway 2001
03 Believe Me The Guess Who Scepter 12131
04 Sunny Day The Stillroven Roulette 4748
05 I Told Those Little White Lies The Painted Ship Mercury 72662
06 Leavin' Here The Rationals Cameo Parkway 481 DJ Copy
07 I Cannot Stop You The Cherry Slush USA 2032
08 A Question of Temperature The Balloon Farm Laurie 3405
09 She Left Me All Alone Tidal Waves HBR 482
10 No Correspondence The Beckett Quintet Gemcor 5003

Download here.

Some notes:

New Colony Six are one of the biggest, most well known 66 Chitown punks, but in my opinion overstayed their welcome as they continued to issue 45s they sounded weaker and weaker. This is one of my favorite NC6 sides, the flip is also a winner- At the River's Edge. I can picture people grooving to this 45 at Gulliver's Pizza or something back in the day.

Moving over to the harder, more fuzzy side of garage, studio phantoms, Ohio Express do a version of Try It that is actually quite good. This has to one of the toughest sounds from Kastenetz and Katz' Super K Productions. How could you not like that fuzztone? Bubblegum was more often their sound-- Yummy Yummy and Chewy Chewy, are the more likely 45s that a digger will find in the wild. Look for this one, though. I think I paid buck for it.

66 Garage from our northern neighbor, Winipeg Manitoba, Canada, makes an appearance with Believe Me by The Guess Who. The Randy Bachman guitar work on this side will keep you coming back for more. Dig the break followed by excessive organ abuse. Yes, it is the same band that later issued the classic rock staple, American Woman. This one cost me a but at a record show.

A little more folky sound is exemplified by The Stilroven's Sunny Day, the flip to their take on Hey Joe. There is a bit of a lilt to the sound and there is a modicum of jangle, so I will say that it is sort of folky. All the way from Minneapolis. This shouldn't be too hard to find, at least here in the mighty Midwest.

Next up, is one of my all time favorite garage tracks, I told Those Little White Lies. It also has to be on any garageiste's top put down snotty punk sinlges as well. I had to pay a bit for this one, maybe $30, but it was worth every penny. It looks like these gents might have been from Vancouver, BC. You may have heard the flip, Frustration on Pebbles 7...

What can be said about the Rationals? Underrated, underappreciated??? Certainly. When I hear their take on Leavin' Here, I hear a backing vocal style that other Michiganders would co-opt into their sound, especially the Motor City 5... Great vocal harmonies and arrangement by Jeep Holland on this Holland-Dozier-Holland number. I heard that there is a proper Rats' reissue coming out, I would recommend that all reading this missive go check out.

I Cannot Stop You by The Cherry Slush is an odd duck. A killer track that has sort of a downer feel due to the lyrics and some of the sounds and effects utilized on it. I would say that in total it is less garage, but more in a mod type zone soundwise. It has a wavy guitar break. Maybe that is why it is such a DJ hit in Norway and Sweden. A Norske DJ told me that it was "wary waluable" in his homeland when he was spinning it a few years back in prep for a mod chicago set. They were from Saginaw MI, and released this on the Chicago USA label. I got my copy from Mop Top Mike a few years back. Might cost a bit more now.

Back into the fuzz with A Question of Temperature by The Balloon Farm. This track made it into the Billboard Top 40 in 68. Apparently my 45 is the original pressing since there is a typo "Tempature" is how the track is spelled on the label. Nice sound effect usage here. Don't really know much about it other than the song rips and I got it for $.25.

She Left Me All Alone is an excellent example of a moody garage song. This one is on the Hanna Barbara label. I wrote about these guys a while back, and made some wrong assumptions, which were duly corrected by others in the blogosphere.
The Beckett Quintet round it all out with a pretty common 45. I think I spent a few bucks on this one, but it is in mint.

Hope you all enjoy these tunes as much as I do. It is great to find these gems out there, hope I expanded some ears out there.


got the new parts...

The pic above, even though it gives me a headache to look at, sorry about camera phone pics in advance, shows that my shipment finally came.

I received 2 Schwalbe tires in 1.75x2, two new tubes, and an aluminium seat post with an integral seat clamp. The post should help the little bike shed a couple of pounds as the current steel post is kind of heavy as is the clamp. This post is also a little longer.



Ugly Things #27

I have been a huge fan of the Ugly Things fanzine for 15+ years. Mike Stax puts out a great publication that still feels zine like- though it is over 200 pages and the writing keeps getting better and better.

This issue is no slouch, as it includes a feature on the 68 tour of The Who and the Small Faces Down Under.

California garage band, the Spats get the complete UT treatment with a complete history, that includes many old photos and record label scans.

One of my favorite parts of UT is working through the huge selection of reissue reviews.

In fact, due to the proliferation of blogs, I would have to say that UT is the only zine that I continue to read with regularity. Order this now!


Big Apples Do Not Fit

After an easy time mounting the tires and tubes onto the R20 rims, I threw the front wheel and alas, the mudguard stays will not clear the tires.

No big deal, right?

Except, my favorite tire source Bike Tires Direct had a massive fire and is out of commission for a while.

Apparently, the 20 x 1.75 size is a bit more difficult to find, so after much searching, I think I found some Schwalbe Marathons at Universal Cycle. Should be ordering up today.

Projects are always more involved than you think...


More Raleigh 20 info, original instruction sheet

Here is the original R2o instruction sheet.

http://www.bikexprt.com/bicycle/twntyinst/index.htm#pictopEach of the sections of the booklet enlarge if you click on them.)

Raleigh 20 Update

As yet another project continues to wend its' way though my life, here is the latest little bit of progress on the Raleigh 20 that I picked up a little while back.

I have been working on removing the ugly green brush paint from the frame, but it is tedious and the turpentine fumes do get to be a bit much after a while.

As such, my first sidetrack was to remove the front wheel. I took off the original 1.75X20 dry rotted tire and tube and tossed them into the trash. After some inspection, it appears that the front tire had never been removed. I ditched the factory rim strip which also looked quite virginal. I got ahold of my preferred rim tape, the cloth Velox style and stuck it on the rim, the tape looked to be made for 700c rim, so I used my trusty Swiss Army knife to make the cut.

Now here is the rub, I have some nearly new Schwalbe Big Apple Tires and tubes that I had in the cupboard from a Dahon that I upgraded. These tires are 20X2". Will they fit? I am pretty sure that they will fit the rims but as the mudguards are connected directly to the axle and not to an eyelet on the fork, I am worried that there won't be clearance between the fatter Big Apples and the mudguard stays. I will mount them up and see how it goes.


Andy Votel's Brazilika comp

The last time that I was in Gotham, I stopped at Rockit Scientist as is my habit and came up with the following, Andy Votel's Brazilika compilation.

The sourcing for the records on this comp come from the Som Livre and LGE labels. The liners say that the genre of post Tropicalia. It is hard to tap your foot to tracks such as these. There are psych interludes (like 2.40 into track 3) that in an earlier part of my life would have been more "heavy" but now are just weird. I don't mean that in a bad way. This set is oddly engaging, but I cannot imagine throwing it on as background.

Since it is from Brazil, there is the language barrier but I doubt that should scare anyone off.

A head swirler it is. Layers of fuzz populate the sound scape (3 min into track 5 for perhaps the most killer fuzztone. Nearly garage in primitive tone-- I am sold!) Abrupt changes in tempo and interludes provided a collage effect. Since all of this music is new to me, I am not sure how it sounded before it got the treatment from DJ Andy Votel. I think that I need to spend some more time with this set.

I feel that the best listening experience for this record s either through an old amp and speaker set up or via the headphones. I listened to the record in my econobox and it was not the same.

Here is a link to Far Out Recordings, who released this one.


A Weird Sighting

I was walking down Wabash around 1 PM today and I saw the vehicle above and below and just had to take a snap with the camera phone. It was a three wheeled vehicle about the size of a Smart Car, but was much lower. It had a fairly large trailer attached to it that was lined with solar panels. Very odd. It was starting to draw a small crowd.
Doing a search, it looks like, the company, q-cells.com is doing a world tour starting in Lucerne Switzerland. The name of the car is Smart Taxi. They have a cool photo gallery of Chicago.

Photovoltaics are definitely their specialty. Take that Prius drivers!


A New Addition to the Stable

As you can see, I succumbed to the temptation to purchase yet another old bike. This time around it is a 1972 Raleigh 20 folder. An acquaintance mentioned that he still had it available when I stepped into the LBS (local bike shop) where he works. He first mentioned it maybe 2 + years ago. I initially balked at picking it up as some tool at some point in the past had brush painted the frame. Over the ensuing couple of years I realized how hard it is to find an original complete 20.

When I went to check out the bike over the past weekend, I noticed that the paint looked like a latex paint that one may use to paint an old outdoor chair or something. I figured that I could get the paint off somehow, with some elbow grease and at the same time keep the original finish.

The bike rode and shifted well, so the deal was done and the bike came home in the Honda Fit. It is amazing how much stiffer this little bike is in comparison to the Dahons that I own. It is even more stiff than a Bike Friday that I once rode.

I have a couple of tubes and Schwalbe Big Apple tires that I plan to install at some point. At the same time, I need to replace the hardened brake pads, and I will replace the rim tape with the cloth type. I already replaced the heavy vinyl dual rail saddle with a single rail seat clamp and a lighter mountain bike saddle that I had in the stable.

After experimenting over the past couple of evenings, I think that I found the solution for removing the old paint. I tried Goo Gone, engine cleaner, but when I tried turpentine, the paint just fell off. (I am using one of those old kitchen sponges that has the green abrasive side to apply the turpentine and then using an old t shirt to remove the residual paint scrapings as well as the extra turpentine.)

See the detail pic below. You can see the chain guard and the seat stay where I have started to remove the paint.
Sometimes these things take time. Stoked to get this one back on the road!


RIP Isaac Hayes 1942-2008

You left us WAY too soon! You will be missed.


The Digging and The Damage Done Take 3

I went out to some garage sales locally and came up with the following after some HARD haggling, with a pretty mean Eastern European woman, with whom I have had some run ins in the past. I almost had to break out my broken Russian skills.

She had a nice box of records, which of course were not marked, so you know what that means.

"How much for the LPs?"


"No way, they go for $.25 to $1.00 at the sales around here."

So I came up with these:

The Digging

Beastie Boys "Fight For the Right..." Def Jam 45
Curtis Mayfield "Superfly" Curtom 45 Pic sleeve
Electric Prunes "Mass in F Minor LP
Jerry Garcia "S/T" Warners

The 45s were sort of beat, but I think that I can clean them up. The LPs were mint, though they are missing the paper sleeves.

The Damage


Like I said, this lady was brutal, but I have never seen the Garcia record in the wild, pretty sure it went out of print immediately. But in the end a few bucks from me was better than nothing.


New Mix--The Waite

This mix was a ton of fun to mix live powered by Iced Tea as the humidity lays its sloppiness over the area.

The title is a reference to a family name, but it could also refer to the weight of the hunidity here as well. The cover model is my faithful pet, known as Chooch.

I tried to keep it pretty funky in general, even when the soul is in the house, I still leaned to the funky side. Many of the 45s in this baker's dozen set are DJ items with both stereo and mono mixes, in which case the mono mix was consistently selected over the stereo. Many of the discs have been on the mental want list for quite some time, so it was most excellent to finally score some of these and get to spin them for y'all.

As per usual all of these original 45s were mixed live in cratedigger labs on the 1200s.

Please leave a comment, and let me know your thoughts!

Some random notes:

  • Rasputin's Stash is a great Chi band, glad to finally get a copy of one of their 45s.

  • I am a sucker for Andre Williams, and the '69 track shows him in fine Chitown funky finery.

  • The Charles Wright was found in a dirty pile of records recently and I was able to clean it up so that it sounds pretty good. Freaking love that quiet intro!

  • Funky Meters- really swinging track there.

  • Try it Again is Byrd in the funkiest. The mono mix is LOUD here. Love the horn charts over the guitar. RIP Bobby!

  • Spill The Wine was a request from Heavy Soul Brutha Dave. It is a rather surreal version of said track. Lalo was the man. Killer use of Moog noodling in there.

The Waite Tracklist

01 Your Love Is Certified Rasputin's Stash (Cotillion) Mono
02 My Part Make It Funky Pt. 4 James Brown (Polydor)
03 It's Gonna Be Fine in '69 Andre Williams (Checker)
04 What Can You Bring Me Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd St Band (Warners)
05 King Kong Pt.1 Jimmy Castor Bunch (Atlantic) Mono
06 Get Ready Rare Earth (Rare Earth)
07 Good Old Funky Music The Meters (Josie) Mono
08 Cold Blooded The Bar-Kays (Volt)
09 Mighty Mighty Children Pt.1 Baby Huey & The Babysitters (Curtom)
10 Here Comes The Judge Pigmeat Markham (Chess)
11 (I Got) So Much Trouble In My Mind Joe Quarterman & Free Soul (GSF)
12 Try It Again Bobby Byrd (Kwanza) Mono
13 Spill The Wine Lalo Schifrin (MGM)

Download here


A new edition to Cratedigger Labs

At long last, Cratedigger Labs, now has a Marantz. A.Toots and I were out at garage sales over the past weekend, and she saw an old stereo cabinet next to some opera records. I was hoping to find some good vinyl in the stacks, but came up empty handed.

A.Toots opened the cabinet and inside was this Marantz 2230 receiver from 72/73. Nice! I turned it on and the 30 watts and strong tuner put out a clean sound. I was able to pick it up cheap (with an old Garrard turntable with all the attachments).

I cleaned up the unit a bit and installed it in the Cratedigger office, as this is not a part of the reference system. I hooked up the 2230 with my Rega 3 turntable and my Paradigm speakers.

It sounds awesome, and it looks great too as all of the lights work, which is a rarity for old Marantz units.


New Eno and Byrne Project

Just came across this site this morning.

Always been a huge fan of the Eno / Talking Heads phase, so this will be worth checking out. They are also touring!
Never thought that this would happen.


Fuel for Cratedigger Labs-Visions of a "Modern Moonshiner"

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I drive north of the border to get beer. I am a fan of Point beer as long as it is in the returnable, refillable bottles. The car was pretty loaded down.
Visions of a "Modern Moonshiner"
I hope to have an update on some new Hifi equipment that I scored over the weekend as well.


Raleigh Grand Prix Update

Well, The Grand Prix project that I started on earlier this year has had some upgrades. I ordered a black Brooks B17 saddle, so that went on the bike. On Friday I put some nice Schwalbe white wall tires (along with new tubes and cloth rim tape) on the bike.

Both of these items had a major positive effect on riding this bike. The position is perfect and the seating is improved as well. The white walls also set off the black and white on the frame.

The pic above was taken (with a Blackjack2 smart phone) at the beach.

All is not perfect, as I noticed a weird feeling in the top of the pedal stroke on the left pedal. I removed the pedal and put a Campy one on for a AB test and the feeling was still there, I know nothing about bottom brackets, but I have a feeling that my issue is due to something down there. Bummer.


The Digging and the Damage Done Take 2

The weather is warm, the sun is high, and the humidity is rising. So it must be time to welcome the great unwashed back to the windy city for Lollapolooza.

My antidote is to go digging.

The Digging

Luther Ingram You Were Made For Me (Koko)
Luther Ingram Aint Good For Nothing (Koko)
Ernie K-Doe Mother In Law (Minit)
Jimmy Soul Don't Release Me (SPQR)
Blackbyrds Soft and Easy (Fantasy)
Blackbyrds All I Ask (Fantasy)

And the Damage:

$2.29+ The Highest Sales Tax in the US.

Not sure of the quality here, but at these prices, it hard to complain.


OK, so everyone has heard the break from the Incredible Bongo Band's version of "Apache." Well, I decided to do a little of the google version of research.

Some local research turned up a used copy of said reissue CD, that I rescued over my lunch hour.

The Mighty (mighty?) NYTimes ran an article a couple of years back when a legit reissue came out of the album, that seemed to be right on the money. (I also borrowed the graphics above from the article.)

I have read that the music was developed for use in the Thing With Two Heads movie, which of course starred Rosie Grier and Ray Milland. I haven't seen the film for many years, but I remember it being quite psychotronic. The 2 tracks that appeared in the film were Bongo Rock and Bongolia

Michael Viner was the man behind the music here and assembled a cast of studio musicians that would make music history and form the basis for many sample based songs in the future.

According to the NY Times article, DJ Kool Herc became aware of the Incredible Bongo Band and their version of Apache in 1972(!)

“I used that record to start what I called the Merry-Go-Round,” he explained in a telephone interview, retelling an oft-told story. “It was the segment where I played all the records I had with beats in them, one by one. I’d use it at the hypest part of the night, between 2:30 and 3 a.m. Everybody loved that part of my format.”

Once Herc collected multiple copies of records, it allowed him to extend the breaks ad infinitum, Apache contained the killer break for this exercise. He started a movement and invented an art form.


The Digging and The Damage Done

Above: The Charles Wright & Watts 103rd St Rythym Band, borrowed from Soul-Sides.

It is an unbelievably nice day here in the Windy City, so I had a earth shattering idea to head out for lunch and I happened upon a relatively new record store. They had the usual hipster nonsense on offer—autographed (by Thurston!) copy of Bad Moon Rising, etc.

I did notice that they had a Cheap Section, which of course drew me in.

After about 20 minutes, I came up with the following:

The Digging…

Bar-Kays Cold Blooded Volt
James Brown Make it Funky Pts 2&3 King
James Brown Super Bad Pts 1,2&3 King
Dennis Coffey Taurus Sussex
Major Lance I’m So Lost Okeh
Lalo Schiffrin Theme From Medical Center/Spill The Wine MGM
Charles Wright Your Love (Means Everything To Me)Warners

And the Damage done…

$2.72 including tax (Chicago tax highest in USA!!!)

Needless to say, maybe there is a copy of Apache in there somewhere, I will be back. I did notice a couple of Buddy Miles LPs, too.


Wrongness involving both Sepultura and The Incredible Bongo Band

Back in the desert days, I used to actually hang out with Sepultura from time to time, or rather they would end up at the house where I used to live.

This video of The Incredible Bongo Band has been "remixed" to Convicted in Life by Sepultura. Spending a few minutes on You Tube brings up all sort of nonsense related to Apache...


Amen Brother

Amen Brother by the Winstons from 1969 is the most sampled 6 seconds in music history according to stuff that I found posted on the internets. A little trolling of the youtube came up with the stuff.

The breakbeat comes in at 1:27 on the file above. It should be familiar to anyone with ears even if you can't place where you last heard it.

A friend from the Bay Area (JZ-the rollercoaster was awesome on Saturday night!) shared this clip with me that tells the story behind Amen Brother.

The presentation above is delivered in a Speak and Spell type mode. So there is entertainment value in that alone.

First the break was used in a straight forward manner like in Straight Out of Compton. Then it was used in the Jungle and Rythm and Bass musical genres used as the complete basis of their sound. They even share a clip of Perry Farrell (yes, him) doing a cover of Whole Lotta Love in a Jungle mode using Amen as the basis of the song.

The example of commercials using the break are pretty funny, especially as they are potentially sourced via bootleg cds. Eventually the presentation makes the point that more stringent copyrights are a bad thing.

How were the Winstons compensated? It appears that they were never paid. Mainly because they never persued a legal battle.


This is one of the reasons to blog...

I wrote a little bit about a Tidal Waves 45 that I found at a record show about 26 months ago (!), and somebody (Anonymous) just commented to fix my wrong info.

Here is my original post:

The Tidal Waves "She Left Me All Alone" HBR 482Here is a moody downbeat number that I have heard on various comp cdrs. I came across it at The Loyola Record Swap. I believe that they later became The Unrelated Segments.The flip is actually a pretty rockin' take on "Farmer John," not one of my favorite compositions.To counter a recent conversation on garagepunk.com, the Garage Punk Forum CDs did nothing for me other than make me want the original vinyl discs even more than I did before. Reissues generally suck sound wise, esp. if they are on CD. The forum CDs have better sound as they are "mastered" from original discs.But to hear a garage punker in its glory requires the original disc in either good or scratchy shape-- hence more digging for discs!

And the new comment:

Nope! The Tidalwaves actually didnt turn into the Unrelated Segments although they were friends.They were made up of brothers Tom and Jon Wearing,Robert Slap,Mark Karpinski,and Vic Witkowski all went to school together in a Detroit suburb.Most stayed in the business and had reasonable success.

The internet does rule for information exchange. Thanks for the correction, Anonymous!


Grandmaster Flash on Fox via THAT REAL SCHITT

I came across this clip from Fox and Friends (of all places-- WTF?) on the most excellent blog, THAT REAL SCHITT. Phill just celebrated his first anniversary, also.

Seriously though, this clip shows Grandmaster Flash tearing it up using records. No Serrato here. "Let's Dance," "White Lines" et al getting the treatment.

It is cool how he has a dude acting as his vinyl caddy, taking discs from him and giving him fresh ones.

An instruction in great vinyl manipulation.


Street Hoops with the DJ in NYC

After spending the past couple of days in Gotham, I found myself reading the hard copy of the NY Times a bit more, actually I only read the hard copy when I am physically there.

This article is pretty cool. DJ JU works Best Buy during the day and in the evenings he spends hip hop cds at the street basketball games.

“On a dance floor, if you’re losing the crowd, you have time to change things up,” he said. “But with players on a court, I have to make split-second decisions. You can definitely change the outcome of a game depending on what you decide to play, because the players feed off the music and the crowd. If the music’s not hitting, everyone loses interest and the game might as well be over.”



Bullitt Chase Scene with GPS

A friend hipped me to this. Totally cool. The chase scene with a side by side GPS map of where the chase ocurred. Great SF period piece, and of course there is the cars...



New Mix- Hot Summer Weekend

Here is a mix to get you through the weekend, I put this one together specifically with a summer weekend in mind. This was mixed live in Cratedigger Labs with care. Please enjoy.

There is a fair amount of variety here. Starting with the obvious, who doesn't love a quick intro from none other than Redd Foxx? Ending with an upbeat groover from Jimmy McGriff is also a great thing.

I think my favorite track is Singing Funky Music Turns Me On. Let me know your favorite in a comment.

Hot Summer Weekend Tracklist:

01 Intro Redd Foxx (King)
02 Black Berries Pt 1 Isley Brothers (T Neck)
03 Little Ol Man Bill Cosby (Warners)
04 Singing Funky Music Turns Me On Jackie Moore (Kayette)
05 CC Rider Wayne Cochran (King)
06 Ball of Confusion Temptations (Gordy)
07 Skate Now Lou Courtney (Riverside)
08 Gettin A Little Hipper James Brown (King)
09 Rock Steady Aretha Franklin (Atlantic)
10 Here Come Da Judge Buena Vistas (Marquee)
11 Finders Keepers (vocal) Chairman of The Board (Invicta)
12 Jumpin at The Woodside Jimmy McGriff (Sue)

Please download Hot Summer Weekend here


going to this tonite, by hook or crook

Sonotheque proudly presents an evening of funky 45's, sensational soul and inner city struttin' rhythms. Featuring 3 of Chi-town's premier crate diggin', soul searchin' groove purveyors:
Supreme Court (Danny's Tavern)Sean Qualls (Danny's Tavern)Joe Mama aka Joe Bryl (Sonotheque)Featuring rare blaxplotation films and trailers!
9pm - 2am$5 cover$5 drink specials
Funky link:
Get down on your groove thang and shake your money maker on this night of funky 45 madness. That's right, our 3 wax poets will be spinning the freshest and funkiest 45's and albums of the 70's. Yes, no cds, no downloaded files - just the grittiest grooves and down-right danceable dusties for a night of super sweet struttin'. So we're calling all the dapper dudes, mack daddies and marvelous mamas out tonight for this soul-sensational soiree.
- Funk is a many splendored thing. Funk is a nasty vibe, and a sweet sexy feeling. Funk is funkiness, a natural release of the essence within. Funk is a high, but it is also down at the bottom, the low-down earthy essence, the bass elements. Funk is at the extremes of everything. Funk is hot, but funk can be cool. Funk is primitive, yet funk can be sophisticated. Funk is a way out, and a way in. Funk is all over the place. Funk is a means of release that cannot be denied. Village Voice writer Barry Walters explained The Funk as well as anyone could: “Trying to put that thang called funk into words is like trying to write down your orgasm. Both thrive in that gap in time when words fall away, leaving nothing but sensation.What Is Funk – Ricky Vincent
In 1964, Justice Potter Stewart tried to explain "hard-core" pornography, or what is obscene, by saying, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . but I know it when I see it .” An individual is confronted by the same difficulty in explaining what Funk may be whether one is a common layman or a well-versed academic. Funk’s essence, like its musical predecessor Soul, is based on its spiritual/emotional features. It casts its web by tugging on one’s raw primordial feelings, but unlike gossamer its netting is substantial and inherently human. Its musical heat is at times direct and comes on in rush while it can also slowly simmer and build in a measured unhurried pace.
Evolving from both R&B and Soul, Funk’s primary rhythm was driven by an intensive groove using a mixture of a strong interplay between guitar, bass, drums and horns. Its primary accents on the 1 and 3 count (of 4) moved the rhythm to become more prominent and complex with its extensive use of syncopation.
James Brown, the undisputed “Godfather of Funk” began pushing the sound in the late Sixties with his musical innovations that combined frenzied grunts and punctuated movements resembling African polyrhythms. In a 1990 interview, Brown commented on his simple yet altering musical innovation: “ I changed from the upbeat to the downbeat.”
These changes were quickly picked up by other musicians and a style all of its own began to grow. Artists as diverse as Dyke & The Blazers, Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, Black Heat, Funkadelic, The Fatback Band, Kool & The Gang, The Meters , War, The Bar-kays and too many others to list began feeling the heat and developed their own individual take on Funk.
The gospel of Funk was spreading the world and influencing other artists. Its affects became visible with its incorporation with jazz-based musicians and crossed the globe from Africa to Brazil and back. Whether the music came from such luminaries as Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock (with his Headhunters band), Grover Washington Jr. Les McCann and Eddie Harris or was exported to Africa melding itself to finally becoming Afrobeat in the hands of Fela Kuti; Funk moved constantly forward as a powerful voice in popular music. And although the golden era of Funk is long gone, its continual influence is felt in the Washington Go-Go scene and its use of sampling in Rap and Hip-Hop.
Giving tribute to the amazing influence and history of Funk, Sonotheque proudly showcases “Superfunk”. So as George Clinton would shout “Get up on the down-stoke – everybody get up” and “Tear the roof off the mother-fucker” we welcome all super-freaks to shake their booty, leave their inhibitions at the door and get down tonight!
Supreme Court & Qualls - 'The Supreme Court Hearings':
Playing deeply soulful music from around the world
‘Supreme Court Hearings’ features a wide range of soulful/funky tracks, many of which are rare 45’s from the personal collections of the featured djs. Musical styles include soul, funk, r&b, jazz, Latin, African & Brazilian. Previously, ‘SCH’ featured the talents of Phil Cohran & The Hypnotic Ensemble and The Molemen. Currently, with Dante Carfanga they host a monthly residency at Danny's Tavern on the 1st Wednesday of each month.
Joe Mama (aka Joe Bryl):
DJ Joe Bryl was once named by the Chicago Tribune as Chicago's "Most Interesting DJ.” He has been working in the club and entertainment industry for the last 20 years and was an original partner in the creation of HotHouse. A true pioneer continuing to push the international sounds as a DJ, he is also the artistic director for the club Sonotheque where he presents internationally renowned DJs.



Locost Auto

After watching the Prisoner a few years back, I once again became aware of the Lotus marque. In particular, I have always been fond of the Lotus 7's odd looks- cycle type fenders, eyeball looking headlamps, etc.

Apparently there is a movement afoot, to build replicas of these cars on the cheap and then to refer to them as Locost sports cars. Above is a pic that I found online of a Lotus run in Perth.

What is most interesting is the power to weight ratio on on of these, 1200-1500 lbs. Put a little four banger in there and go. Also the handling appears to be tremendous as well.
Here is a vid of some road race action.


Playing the Building David Byrne

This looks really intriguing. Of course it reminds me of Einstruzende Neubauten and their stuff from the 80s in concept.

Been listening to Fear of Music and Remain In Light in the hooptie lately. Maybe I can hit it sometime this summer.

CREATIVE TIME PRESENTSPlaying the Building: An Installation by David ByrneThe Battery Maritime Building10 South Street, New York, NY (Map)31 May – 24 August 2008 Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Noon – 6PM (Free)

Creative Time presents Playing the building, a sound installation in which the infrastructure, the physical plant of the building, is converted into a giant musical instrument. Devices are attached to the building structure — to the metal beams and pillars, the heating pipes, the water pipes — and are used to make these things produce sound. The activations are of three types: wind, vibration, striking. The devices do not produce sound themselves, but they cause the building elements to vibrate, resonate and oscillate so that the building itself becomes a very large musical instrument.

Playing the Building

Battery Maritime BuildingNYC, 2008


Lost and Found-- United Travel Service

United Travel Service: Dale Sweetland, John Reeves, Ben Hoff, Steve Bennet

People that know me, realize that one of my preferred musical genres is 60s Garage. So, you can imagine my surprise when I posted a track from United Travel Service a little over a year ago and I received an email from the drummer a few days ago. He saw my post and reached out.

While United Travel Service is not Back From the Grave rare or anything, I was very honored to have the chance to help tell their story. Dale Sweetland agreed to answer some questions via email and here are the results.

Cratedigger:Could you share a brief rundown of the band roster and your releases with record catalog numbers?

Dale:Primary Core: Ben Hoff, John Reeves, Dale Sweetland
Part-time: Ray Doern, Jim Roberts (only on 1 recording)
Steve Bennet (alternate bass player)
Wind and Stone UK4M-1179 BMI Record No R-5120 Rust Records,NY
Drummer of Your Mind UK4M-1180 BMI Record No R-5120 Rust Records,NY
Gypsy Eyes N/A
Echo of You N/A

Cratedigger:How did you meet the other members?

Dale:I was going to school in Corvallis, OR and met John Reeves, who put an ad in a local paper for "Drummer wanted for band, call ....", so I called. He said, "Well, there's really no band, but if you're not busy why don't we get together", so that was the beginning. John was from the SF area and heavily influenced by SF rock, and that was my introduction to it. Ben had a group
in Portland with a drummer who couldn't keep time, so that was a shoe-in for me, then we just used whatever bass player was available, I don't remember Dave Mathew, sorry Dave, you will have to refresh my memory.

Cratedigger:What got you into music?

Dale:I started tap dancing at age 4, accordion at 7, but didn't like the sound or having to drag it out and play a tune for anyone coming over to visit, once I began playing drums, (13 or so), that ended.

Cratedigger:How supportive were your families of Rock and Roll?

Dale:My dad was a very good musician from another time so he wasn't fond of the type of music I was playing but it kept me out of trouble for the most part.

Cratedigger:What types of shows did UTS play?

Dale:We did a lot of college dances, not too many small venues.

Cratedigger:How long were the sets and what was the ratio between original and cover material?

Dale:There wasn't much planning in this area, that is a little un-clear, but we did about 30-70 ratio original to cover, the trouble for us was most of the people at the dance came to socialize, not necessarily to see us and wanted to hear the current material on the radio.

Cratedigger:What was it like playing in a garage band in Oregon in the 60s?

Dale:We were mostly a basement band, we got together to learn tunes and prepare for the next gig, we were not harassed too much by the neighbors or the police, we weren't late nighters', but it certainly wasn't as much fun as gig'n, that was our main focus.

Cratedigger:Were there other bands that you hung out with and played with?

Dale:I played with "Madrid and the Counts"(national releases on Rust as well), "Sunday Morning" very popular Portland band at the "Stone Balloon", "The Classmen", "Aesop and the Fables", ...

Cratedigger:What was your favorite recorded track?

Dale:I really like "Gypsy Eyes", I would like to do a re-do of that, or at least get to re-mix it.

United Travel Service in the studio: Dale, John, Ben

Cratedigger:I read about the Dentist Recording sessions, do you have any other cool 60s recording sessions stories? If not perhaps you could provide a recap.

Dale:I don't know where Dave got his info, but the 1st studio we recorded in was Ken ?'s basement, he was an engineer of some kind in Portland, and Rick Keefer operated Ridon productions in the basement, as far as I know or Ben for that matter, there was no doctor's basement. It was quite a small space in the middle of a residential neighborhood in a Portland suburb, which occasionally flooded from lack of drainage and too much rain. We would have
to stand on boxes to keep from being shocked. After the basement studio, Rick moved to Vancouver and Ripcord productions where we recorded "Echo of You" and "Gypsy Eyes", and I think "Snow" and "Slightest Possibility", which were never released. I also need to say none us of us made a single penny off these recordings, nothing, I'm not complaining just so you'll know, but don't expect a bundle from your studio work, it won't happen, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Our recording ended when Rick wanted to start charging us to record, that was it, end of band.

Cratedigger:If you could change anything about the band, what would it be?

Dale:I would buy the guys an electric tuner. We started one gig totally out of tune, as the people came pouring in. Being a guitar band, we didn't have a keyboard reference to tune to, so it was sometimes an argument over who to tune to.

Cratedigger:How did Viet Nam or other political factors affect the band?

Dale:Personally, I hated our involvement in Vietnam, it really tore up our generation, you had to peace/love side, and the "fight for our country" side, I will fight and die but for something I believe in, not some stupid political war on the other side of the world, I couldn't serve anyway, I was 4F, couldn't pass a physical because of a heart murmur.

Cratedigger:UTS opened for the Doors. Do you have any stories that you can share about that?

Dale:The most memorable thing about that was what most garage bands will only experience their 1st time out on a really big stage. Your band mates are so far away, the sound is totally different than it is in the basement/garage, everyone is so far from each other, it's like playing by yourself, very weird, and not much fun, I felt like telling them to come back over and crowd around me like in the basement/garage, you can't wait for it to be over, the monitor mix was something you didn't even discuss or think about, I really couldn't hear anyone else except myself, and was just hoping I was at the right part in the song at the right time! We did our portion, and I just remember "The Doors", coming out from the side, no words exchanged,
just looks, like let's get this over, they weren't very friendly and I think kind of tired of the road at that point.

Cratedigger:How did the whole Flower Power thing affect you and the rest of the band?

Dale:We never really talked about it, we were mainly concerned with the next gig or recording. It was a great time to be around, there's nothing like it now or never will be, it was a pretty friendly time. Ray was in the service, so he didn't have many choices, John was from the SF area and HIGHLY influenced by FPower, he was also in the ROTC program at college, Ben has always been a free thinker not really hindered by what other people think he should do,
pretty shy to say the least, but a great guy. The FPower thing for me was my first introduction into total involvement with the music, putting on some tunes, headphones, laying on the floor and totally grooving out, there's nothing like it, let yourself go, thanks to John.

Cratedigger:What is it like to get contacted 40 years after the fact by fans of your music.

Dale:This is the weirdest part of the whole thing, when we recorded there were no computers or internet, no cell phones, and if you didn't have money (none of us did) you could barely make a long distance call. It's a thrill to be contacted after all this time by people you didn't even know you touched with your music, let me repeat, A THRILL!!

Thanks to Dale for reaching out to Cratedigger, now I need to get a copy of this 45. Here is their track Gypsy Eyes:



Chicago Blues Fest Opening Day 25th Anniversary

I was able to sneak out from work for a long lunch on Thursday, which also was the opening day of the 25th running of the Chicago Blues Festival. It was started the year after Muddy Waters passing.

The Blues Fest is the largest free Blues Festival in the world. Based on Thursday' mid day crowd, the world comes to Chicago for this event. I was one of the youngest attendees, but obviously middle aged Germans are big blues fans.

I saw Jimmy Burns lead the Chicago Blues Roundtable on a stage called The Mississippi Juke Joint. There was an assembly of bluesmen whom I did not recognize but when they did their intros, a couple said that they played with Muddy for 10-18 years each. The gentleman that used to play harp for Muddy was resplendent in a mint green suit and Cuban heeled boots, Man could he play.

I was not able to catch any pics but, The Chicago Tribune has a user uploaded photo gallery. If you look at image 13, you will see a picture of Jimmy Burns on the left, and a former guitarist for Muddy Waters on the left.

Chicago Blues Fest photos


RIP Bo Diddley

We will miss you, Bo.
I only saw him once many years ago at a Village Concert in Northbrook IL.
You left us much too young.


New Orleans Funk V, 2

This compilation is a prime example of why dropping some coin on a reissue is warranted. The folks at Soul Jazz records include a nice slipcase, and a thorough booklet with real liner notes that make listening to this release a joy and educational at the same time.

I purchased this item at Rockit Scientist the last time that I was in Manhattan a couple of weeks back. Robert suggested that it was a must have CD.

For me, the back stories really make it. I am sure that many in the audience know these bits of trivia, but they are new to me. An example of this is the date, May 17, 1970. This is the date when Wardell Quezegue, the producer and arranger extraordinaire took King Floyd, Jean Knight and Bonnie and Sheila to the Malaco recording studio in Jackson Miss. to record. These three sessions on the same da brought up the following results; King Floyd hit with "Groove Me"(Chimneyville), and Jean Knight hit with "Mr. Big Stuff "(Stax). Pretty amazing hit rate, even though Bonnie & Sheila failed to hit on King with "You Keep Me Hanging On.

Another nugget, "Fortune Teller" was written by Naomi Neville-- a pen name for Allen Toussaint. Is it laziness, or what, not sure, but I was never aware that was the origin of the much covered song. Benny Spellman was the first artist credited with this song in '62 on Minit Records.

The music seems to really follow the muse of New Orleans, as it features, R&B, funk, and a wide variety of other influences -- jazz blues, African rhythms. A great overview, I will have to keep my eye out for V. 1.

It has been a while since there has been enough reading material included with a CD that I have purchased to keep me occupied for the entire listening experience. This release is a keeper and gets the nod from Cratedigger Labs.


Combustion Mix

Hello again, finally back in the mix with another set straight from the 1200s chez Cratedigger Labs. I have put together some thoughts to go along with the jams. Hope you dig this mix. Happy Spring into Summer!

This set is dedicated to both the pending Summer season as well as to my favorite power plant, the Ford 289, pictured above. Turn up the system and crack a cold one...

Starting everything off is a track from the Master, Richard Groove Holmes. The Hammond is in effect and should put you in the mood for more grooving to come.

Mixing it up, Archie Bell and The Drells bring it home with the track, "There's Gonna Be A Showdown." This version is certainly better than the NY Dolls, although I profess a weakness for that version as well.

"Testify" is one of my fave 45s, when done by Mr. Clinton and the rest of the Parliaments, but Johnnie Taylor's version still is able to make me attempt to sing along with the chorus. A shaker, undoubtedly.

The next track by The Presidents is a bit sappy, but still a strong track. I am sure it will sound familiar to many of you out there.

The Profiles 45 on Duo was a recent record show find. There to pick up the mood a bit.

And to get a bit weird, take the Funkadelic path where Mssrs. Clinton, Worrell, Collins and Hazel are here to bake your brains. I dig that fuzzy guitar buried in the mix.

Back to the land of Hammond and Jimmy McGriff with "The Worm."

More into the Northern Sound with Nella Dodd. This one makes me move, you?

"Soul Sister" is strong groove instrumental.

Betty Wright is a strong vocalist and the vocal on "Let Me Be Your Lovemaker" is not exception. I love the bassline here.

The instro "Cissy Strut" should be familiar to all, however everytime I spin the record, I am amazed at the ability of the Nevilles to pull it all together at all times. Tight.

Combustion Tracklist

01 Groove's Groove Groove Holmes (Prestige)
02 There's Gonna Be A Showdown Archie Bell & The Drells (Atlantic)
03 Testify (I Wonna) Johnnie Taylor (Stax)
04 5-10-15-20 (25-30 Years of Love) The Presidents (Sussex)
05 Got To Be Your Lover The Profiles (Duo)
06 I'll Bet You Funkadelic (Westbound)
07 The Worm Jimmy McGriff (Solid State)
08 Come See About Me Nella Dodds (Wand)
09 Soul Sister Four Gents (HBR)
10 Let Me Be Your Love Maker Betty Wright (Alston)
11 Cissy Strut The Meters (Josie)

Please download Combustion here


Back from Gotham

I just spent the past few days in Gotham, and it was actually pretty good.

I am starting to find my way around record finding places there. Some of the locals are saying that there are parking garage/lot flea markets on the weekends. Granted these are not local cratediggers, but they say that records are there.

Academy Records on 18th, west of 5th Ave, is always good for a couple of jazz CDs, this time I came away with Sonny Stitt with Jack McGriff on Prestige. The prices are good there as well as I think I paid $8 for it.

I made another stop at Rockit Scientist on St. Marks, but on the walk over there from Union Square, I stumbled upon a guy that had some crates out on the street. I came away with a sealed copy of the Baby Huey LP on Curtom and a King Sunny Ade Hot Banana LP. That was pretty cool. Once in Rockit Scientist, Robert recommended the New Orleans Funk V. 2 on Soul Jazz, I have not listened to the whole thing yet, but it looks solid.

Robert recommended that I head over to Botanica on Houston Street to check our Mr Finewine. It sounded like a plan to me.

After that I hiked over to Madras on 2nd Ave between 4th and 5th for some vegetarian Indian cuisine. The samosas went over very well with the Taj Mahal beer. The entree of cauliflower and green peppers was excellent and very fresh tasting. A litte bit of spicy burn was present, but not enough to break a sweat or anything. The service was a bit grumpy but they warmed up after my constant use of "Thank you."

The night got the better of me and I did not make it out to see Finewine. I hear that he has a residency at Botanica on Wednesdays so I will have to take a rain check.


Friday Funk Mix

Here is the latest baker's dozen from Cratedigger Labs, and so sorry for the delay in getting some hip grooves out to you all. Sometimes life gets in the way.

Once again this here mixed was mixed live on the 1200s, this time on a recent Friday night, with a couple of beers in hand. It's all vinyl all the time here at Cratedigger.

I truly hope you dig it.

Friday Funk Track list
01 Jan Jan The Fabulous Counts/ Moira
02 C'Mon And Swim Bobby Freeman/ Autumn
03 The Funky Judge Bull & The Matadors/Toddlin' Town
04 We've Got To Have Love Wilson Pickett/ Atlantic
05 (For God's Sake) Give More Power To The People Chi-Lites/ Brunswick
06 Watermelon Man Herbie Mann/ Atlantic
07 Want' A Do Somethin' Freaky To You Leon Haywood/ 20th Century
08 I Likes To Do It The People's Choice/ Phil-La of Soul
09 How Do Yeaw View You? Funkadelic/ Westbound
10 Anything You Do Is Alright The Radiants/ Chess
11 Clean Up Woman Betty Wright/ Alston
12 Get It (Instrumental) Wilmer & The Dukes/ Aphrodisiac
13 You've Got To Crawl The 8th Day/ Invictus

Download here


Black Merda Video


I received an update from my earlier post.
Vincent from Fufu Stew shared a youtube video that shows Black Merda can still rock the house!


Black Merda CD

After a night of sake, udon noodles, and Asian snack shopping in Gotham, I turned the corner and ventured down St. Marks. I went down the street and visited Robert and Rockit Scientist Records. I had my co worker with me, so I did not spend too mush time in digger mode.
I had to buy something, so I picked up the last CD copy of Black Merda. This is a Russian version of the Chess Records release. Could this have originally been released in 1967? Below are my thoughts based on a listening session in my Union Square hotel room.

Black Merda takes a place in the post Hendrix rock pantheon. The 1st track, "Prophet" with the refrain, "Set Me Free," sets the tone in a fuzzy manner. The next track "Think of Me" is a more lightweight number.

The next track, "Cynthy Ruth" familiar to listeners of the "Black Chains and Exhaust" boot from a few years back. Jimi-styled husky vocs on top of a fuzzy guitar riff and a funky wah-wah rythm guitar.

"Over and Over" takes an instro electrical blooz and makes it psychedelic at the same time. Mucho distortion on the constantly riffing lead guitar. Since this record originally came out on Chess Records, the sound here makes sense as "Electric Mud" and the psychedelic Howlin' Wolf LP were in the near future.

"Ashamed" takes a Northern Soul style sound and dirties it up a bit and makes the vibe quite a bit more angry.

Flip the cd over and side 2 starts with "Reality" which again shows evidence of a grittier Chitown sound. No stretch could compare this with the Chilites-although Black Merda definitely listened to them.
"Windsong" shows evidence of experimentation as the guitar sounds more acoustic and less distorted. Some sound effects are underneath-wind blowing-and there is a bit of organ buried in the mix. Instro and pretty much throw away, or perhaps a break in the set to roll another? Mellow...

"Good Luck" kicks the distortion throb up to "Cynthy Ruth" levels. They just beat the riff into submission, but the lazy tempo makes the listener think that it could fall apart at any point- it doesn't. Odd fade out and end to the track, though.

"That's The Way It Goes" has a good bassline that drives the track. Kind of a fragment of a song.

"I Don't Want To Die" has a lyrical content that may be related to drugs, the Viet Nam War, or perhaps Race Relations, all topics for 1967 lyrical discourse.

"Set Me Free" ends the set as a 43 second fragement acsoustic in nature that actually works well as a coda.

I'm with Dante on this one. "Cynthy Ruth" is the killer track here and the highpoint of the record. Chess had a winner in Black Merda. I am sure that no one noticed at the time. An interesting time capsule. I am glad that I picked it up.


CHIRP Record Fair This Weekend

The Chicago Independent Radio Project is having their record fair this weekend.
This was formerly the Benefit Record Fair for WLUW, the Loyola University Chicago Radio Station. I am not totally sure of the genesis, but the Record Fair now goes by the CHIRP moniker.
I have gone the past couple of years. I will be there tomorrow.
Hope to see you there!


Raleigh Grand Prix Suburban Assault Machine

Well, here it is as it sits.

I removed the rear spoke protector as well as the brittle 70s spoke reflectors.

I added a Velo-Orange croissant bag. I put my broken in Brooks B17 honey saddle to good use. I repurposed the ugly chrome bottle cage. I shined it up with Turtle Wax chrome polish and used a Velo-Orange bar mount to mount it to the bars. I am using the cage to carry the stainless steel tea thermos that I also scored from VO.

I then conferred with The Bike Guy, for alternatives to the horrible 70s drop bars and brake levers. he started out by setting me up with some used Bluemels/SKS chromo plastic fenders. We then decided that some old cruiser bars would work, as long as they had a few inches lopped off of each end. I said that I wanted to go with the Tektro inverse brake levers. We looked in some catalogs, but all of the ones that we found had externally routed cables. That was not going to work with the cork grips and the shortened cruiser bars.

The Bike Guy found some internally routed Tektros a few days later in another catalog. He then drilled some holes on either side of the stem to route the brake cables. I have to say, that they make the bike. They are kind of hard to see in the picture above. They look cool, and work very effectively to pull the Dia-Compe centerpulls to achieve maximum braking force.

Today, I swapped out the orginal looking Raleigh racing pedals for some Shimano Deore XT pedals from the 80s. They are lighter, and seem to work great. The bearings seem to have a lot more life in them than the other pedals.

The seating position on this rig is pretty straight up, and the bars allow for a comfortable upright stance as well. I think that I could put 100s of miles on this machine. I am really looking forward to it.


Raleigh Grand Prix update

Well, there has been some progress on the Grand Prix that I picked up a week ago.

First of all, I decided to go with some Bluemels/ SKS aluminum and composite fenders. The Bike Guy had used pair that are going on as I type. There is an old taillight alread on there, that I am planning to replace. It looks good as it stands, though.

I put my trusty Brooks B17 saddle on the bike. under the saddle I placed the extremely cool Velo Orange Croissant bag. The build quality n this bag is out of control- Solid brass (not plated) buckles, really nice leather straps and cool retro treated duck cloth. I also removed the brittle 70s reflectors.

I decided to go with some old used cruiser bars. The Bike Guy and I thought that if about 5 inches were clipped from each side, the bars would be perfect. I am going to go with natural cork grips. (I am thinking that a nice layer of Barge cement might be just the ticket for protection.) Salsa brake levers will be a modern, rad touch. To do the conversion, I am going to require new brake cables and cable housings. I chose black for the housings. To finish off the bars, I am going with a Velo Orange water bottle cage attachment as well as VO Moderniste cage.

I will post pics when the bike is back in the stable.


A new project...

I added the Raleigh Grand Prix pictured above to the stable. I have been getting more into the vintage touring and randoneuring thing lately. I even considered doing the whole 650b thing to my 84 Paramount. Alas, it seemed to be too much work to force the issue with that bike.

I decided to look for a 70s Raleigh and this one came up on craigslist, so here it is. The current idea is to strip all the bs off this bike and then add some velo-orange fenders. I plan to put a bottle cage on the bars as there is not a braze on for that purpose on the frame itself. I am currently undecided on the bars, but I will need to replace those and get some new brake levers as well. I will add the Brooks saddle to this one as well.

This one has the full Simplex kit and also has some Dia-Compe centerpulls. The frame is a piece of built-in Nottingham beauty with gold paint accented lugs. I am dating this one to the mid 70's but that is just a guess at this point.

Should be fun.