Originally called The Lovejoys, The Apollas were considered the Warner Brothers equivalent of the Supremes. Beginning in the early 60s as a quartet from The Bay Area, including one male singer, Ronnie Brown, they eventually ended as a trio anchored by the powerful growl of Leola Jiles. By her side was Ella Jamerson, and a rotating 3rd member (Originally 17-year-old Joann Forks, then Dorothy Ramsey, Billie Barnum, and briefly Blondell Breed). WB released their music on their short-lived LOMA soul imprint, before converting them back the main label for the remainder of their contract. During that time, they opened for Barbra Streisand and the Monkees, and performed on many nationally syndicated TV shows. Towards the end of the 1960s they toured extensively in Asia. The group called it quits in the early 70s due to a failure to break through commercially. Dick Glasser, who signed Jiles to a solo contract (stop me if you’ve heard this one) then promptly refused to let her audition under fair terms as the new lead singer of the Supremes, dashed her hopes for a mainstream career. However, the group singles found a new and enthusiastic audience in London’s Northern Soul scene. Since disbanding, all members have continued to perform as professional back- up singers, along with occasional solo tours, and most recently a reunion in UK in 2007. This is wonderful. A nice mix of upbeat RnB rockers, soulful strings, and melancholy heartbreak. Leola Jiles spectacular lead vocals burn hot and are very distinctive and memorable in my book. I’m glad we have the opportunity to share this collection, which includes some of Jiles solo cuts, with our listeners.
Nnamdi – Brat
Chicago based, multi- instrumentalist. He earned a degree in electrical engineering from UoC, so I’m guessing the expertly layered production values his 4th studio album is his own doing. He also the founder of Sooper Records (The label this record is on) and has been in too many bands to count. He has presented us with a great mix of Avant pop, jazz, folk, hip hop, electro-soul. It’s gorgeous, lush, and dreamy. His vocals are soft and floaty—a understated falsetto, with *maybe* a touch of autotune. This is pretty emotionally sexy. We it have filed under hip-hop, but it would fit under soul or A as well. CLEAN COPY
Gender non- conforming Queer Black artist from Oakland. This immediately stood out to me because of the obvious danceability of the music, but also because of the way they weave deeply personal & confessional lyrics through the electronic beats. The consciousness here—of self (in the wake of a HIV diagnosis), the new reality of their world, the universe itself, is all on display. At times its extremely meditative in a drug fueled journaling kind of way, and a reminder that even extreme pain can still see flashes of joy through light and movement. MaHaWaM, aka Malik Mays, grew up in a Religious Family from the East Coast before they relocated to San Antonio, and eventually Arizona, where they studied Creative Writing and Music in 2012. Although I would consider this experimental electronic Hip Hop, the influences of R&B and Gospel, and an early interest in Classical music and poetry is all evident in their work. They have lived in Oakland since 2013. FCC on tracks 3-5
Xuxa Santamaria – Sofia Cordova (born in Puerto Rico) and Matt Gonzalez Kirkland (Born in Brooklyn to a Cuban mom) met in Massachusetts during college. They have since relocated to Oakland, and this 2019 release is full of songs about revolution, colonization, feminism, climate change, politics, etc. All over catchy, dark, mystical, shimmery beats, With Lyrics predominately in Spanish. This has both dancefloor jams and trippy floaters. Both Cordova & Kirkland are multidisciplinary artists, so they are responsible for all aspects from music, to lyrics, and album art. This is excellent!
Fun, smooth, sweet as a toothache, and impossibly catchy, these ladies make me want to find some friends to dress in matching outfits, tease my hair to the sky, and choreograph synchronized dance moves. Their harmonies are tight, the hand claps and doo-wahs are on point, and there is a confidence to these tunes that make it way more about finding personal strength through teenage heartbreak than just chasing stupid boys. A product of the Carole King / Gerry Goffin hit machine. Masterfully produced early 60s girl group sound. The trio, who started out as backup singers for Little Eva on her King/Goffin smash, “Locomotion” featured Earl–Jean McCrea, Dorothy Jones, and Margaret Ross. They had worked on other various songs in 1962, but working after working with King, they moved from background to foreground. In a bit of scandal, Earl-Jean ended up giving birth to a baby girl in 1964 fathered by Gerry Goffin, who was married to Carole King at the time. She ended up retiring from music, and by 1967, The Cookies had disbanded. Dorothy Jones has since passed away, but Margaret Ross still tours as The Cookies on occasion with two other new backup singers.
cadilliac margarita 1/30/2020 A Library
Recorded at his own Spellcaster Lodge in New Orleans, Mr Quintron is king of the mellotron, hammond, chamberlin, vibraphone, and his own invention, the drum buddy. Hipster exotica with forays into Dixieland and swampy blues, this is perfect mood music for a dimly lit hangout. His music always has the ability to go from whiskey on ice to all out sweaty dance jam with one deft flick of the keys. This is all instrumental —perhaps improvised—but some of his genius lies in always keeping the listener guessing. I love this freak!!
Groovy neo-soul from a multi-cultural quartet of 2 singer/songwriters from South Africa, and 2 German multi-instrumentalists, equally contributing to the intriguing sound tapestry presented. There is piano, synth, drums, guitar, and strings. This is lovely and mellow, shimmering with positivity and upbeat in a very relaxing way. The lyrics never get too preachy, just contemplative in an existential way that can make even the most cynical of listeners stop and consider getting out of your own head for a while. Take a look at the world around you to consider others, their existence, and how you can relate and connect.
cadilliac margarita 1/17/2020 12-inch
Home Recordings from 1978-1980 by the prolific John Bender while living in Cincinnati. Tracks are labeled by number based off various catalogue positioning (i.e. Cassette 31, Side A, Track 4). Everything about these lo-fi synth bangers with manipulated robotic but entertainingly nonsensical vocals was DIY. The 1980 original release came with sleeves individually hand-designed by Bender, and put out on his own “record sluts” label.
Re-released here on limited edition red vinyl by Superior Viaduct in 2016.
Hip hop out of Oakland from James Wavey aka Alleyes Manifest aka Michael Bridgmon. This is trippy experimental psych- jazz- stoner funk- poetry. Chill, smart, & topical, with cleverly layered mixes, and intelligent word play. Lots of FCCs. All marked.
1 of 8 in a series of Arthur King Presents records, The prolific Bill Baird brings us spacey mellow psychedelic eltctro krautrock. Mostly instrumental— guitars, bass, drums, and analog synth, and a few saturated vocals drop in here and there. This is both light and dark, heavy and mellow. He was inspired by his son’s obsession with Owls. Neat-O!
Their 1969 LP + demos and a few bonus tracks from the early 1970s.
The Flirtations (Sisters Ernestine and Shirley Pearce, along with friend Vie Billups, who also performs under the moniker of Pearly Gates) began as a 4 piece with their other sister Betty and Lestine Johnson in NYC in 1960. After recording a few singles and mild success domestically, they were convinced to relocate to the UK where Northern Soul was still very popular. They hooked up with producer Wayne Bickerton and writer Tony Waddington, and released their debt full length album on Decca. They have recorded and performed ever since, working with several different labels.
Lovely full sound! Lots of clear and well-rounded vocals, plucky horns, dramatic strings, and upbeat percussion.
FAST FACT: Their big single (Track 1) was used in a KFC advertisement campaign in 2007.
A compilation of “Deep Soul”* (soul from America that never found a wide audience in America) selected by the late Dave Godin, a UK Record shop owner and soul music enthusiast who coined the phrase*. There are a few familiar names on here…Irma Thomas, Ruby Andrews…other than that, mostly artists new to me, including some artists that there is little to no info on. Love and pain, both political and personal can be found on these recordings spanning the years of 1966-1973, which as we know was a time of turmoil and big change in this country. My personal standouts: A3, A4, and the first three tracks on side B, which cook!!
A trippy reworking of Solange Knowles 2016 critically acclaimed album, A Seat At The Table, by KO (aka LA based Producer/DJ/ Rapper, Dominique Purdy). These side-long mixes could technically be played as one really long mix with actual cuts from the album it was drawn from spliced in…or you can just drop the needle. You hear bits of Knowles vocals, spoken dialogue from the original album celebrating black pride & culture– while highlighting history & racism, and plenty of delicious looped beats. He has even taken her original cover art and added the signature wolf mask that he wears when promoting and performing as KO. He considers this work homage to an album that, while on the periphery of the mainstream, (she is the younger sister of “Queen Bey”) has been celebrated as Avant & an alternative deep modern soul masterpiece. If this grabs you, definitely check out Solange’s full album and subsequent work….This album sends that message.
Originally recorded in 1979 (a rare and valuable LP), reissued in 2018. Kiki was born in Takoradi, Ghana in 1957. He began playing music at 5, and was quickly discovered to be a keyboard prodigy, turning pro at 12. By 15, he was touring as the Keyboardist for Osibisa, after joining them in London. After playing with them for 7 years, and gaining notoriety for his skills, he went solo with this record, blending afro beat with disco, reggae, and synth heavy electronics. This record is so good, so bright an upbeat; Long grooves that just cook. Even Black Afro Punk, which is a mellowish reggae dub, got me tapping toes. The keyboards are of course the main star, since he was a genius with that instrument. After this album, and a brief marriage to the daughter of Fela Kuti, Gyan went pretty much MIA due to a tragic and debilitating drug addiction. He died from AIDS related complications in 2004.
Born in South Carolina in 1940, and Raised in Harlem, Jeanette “Baby” Washington joined vocal group The Hearts at 16 years old in 1956. The following year, she began recording solo tracks. Her voice is so rich and emotive, and these tracks are dripping with love, heartbreak and melancholy. The production is classic northern soul and very well done, with lots of strings, percussion, and horns. Dusty Springfield (who stated several times that Washington was her favorite singer) was clearly influenced, and that may explain why she isn’t better known. But hot damn!! Now’s your chance! Like a lot of 60s soul performers, disco took its toll, and she hasn’t recorded much since the late 70s. She’s now 78 years old and still actively performing mostly in Europe.
Ivory Joe Hunter – 7th Street Boogie
A compilation of tunes recorded between 1945-1960 at various studio sessions all over the US, Ivory Joe Hunter (his given name!) wrote over 2000 songs during his career (cut short by cancer at the age of 60 in 1974). Born into a spiritual and musical family, Hunter began his career young, recording music for the library of congress while still a teenager. He was less interested in the spirituals of his upbringing, and looked towards music as pure entertainment. This is Jazz, Blues, R&B, Boogie Woogie, and Rock’n’ Roll. Yet another artist who was a major influence on legendary artists ( Nina Simone), but whose work has largely flown under the radar. Piano, sax, percussion, and vocals make for a really enjoyable listen. It’s not overly energetic, and the recordings are clear and fantastic.
Early 1980s Anarchistic punk from New Zealand with spoken / shouted lyrics, driving rhythmic guitar & percussion.
Original members Roger Allen and Lindsay McKay formed in 1983 with Tim Ord, and Sam Swann joining shortly thereafter. In 1985 they added Blaise Oarsman and Dave Appleton on guitar FOG? Eventually became ?FOG City Enterprises, an art collective operating “Red House” which became a hub for underground music and art in Auckland. The national arts council of NZ helped fund the release of the original 7” (re-released here on Bunkerpop), they disbanded in 1988, and it is unclear if they ever officially released any other music as a band.
25th Anniversary LP release of a 1995 Originally hand-made cassette, now the stuff of legend. These young men of the Bay Area Hip-Hop underground are scrappy and intelligent; gifted wordsmiths rapping about life as they knew it – The San Francisco Bay Area of the early 90s, when young artists like themselves might still be able to survive by working hard and not being afraid to take credit for their success. This is a slice of life, and it listens like a series of recording sessions and street corner jams, caught on tape. Private asides, background noise, sound bites, atmospheric blips, and brilliant improvisations.
Formed in 1979 out of Messina, Italy, the duo of Antonio “Eze” Cuscinà and Carlo Smeriglio only released 1 EP (tracks A1, A2 on this double LP) in 1983, and this is a collection of demos recorded to cassette between 1983-1985. Guitar and Synth. There are vocals, however, they are swallowed by production. If you want the lyrical scoop, have no fear, there is a nice insert that explains the melancholy stories behind each vocal track in fine detail. Very of the era. Very danceable.
From 2003, this was the 5th album from the prolific musican-composer-record label founder (tigerbeat6) Rjyan kidwell, who uses the moniker CEX interchangeably to identify himself. A frequent collaborator of longtime friend and business partner kid 606, Cex is a talented wordsmith who hits hard with hip hop inspired rhymes over electronic beats. You can’t really pigeonhole this record into any one category. It’s electro hip hop with mixed with folk and fuzz guitar. There’s even some field recording-type ambiance. He was clearly dealing with one hell of a broken heart in early 2000s. and (not) hung up on his ex who may have been called Melanie? Or Katie? Or both? It’s fantastic, pain fueled, and dark, but delivered with a sense of humor that saves it from being a total sad bastard affair. Since 2003 he has recorded several more albums, and I have no doubt they’ve each been unique and that he’s continued to experiment and evolve.
12345 S. El Monte Road Los Altos Hills, California 94022
Public Inspection File