Category Archives: Uncategorized

We will wade in the tides of the summer every summer




River 3  1448

L1140719-1  River 4

I imagine if you were a kid in Florida you had Ponce de Leon shoved down your throat in elementary school, and if you’re from Texas you were taught all about Sam Houston. For California kids, our white male figure of state pride is John Muir. I did a report on him in third grade and remember exactly 3 things about his life: he was from Scotland, his father was super religious, and he is known as the Father of the National Park System for churning out so much pro-wilderness propaganda that Teddy Roosevelt set aside lands for protection in perpetuity. The entry fee for the park is just $20, a direct result of its status as federal, public land. Can’t find a much cheaper vacation than that, guys.

Later on, I learned that Muir and I agreed on the criteria for good living. “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,” he said, “places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal.” He died in 1914, a couple decades before home phonographs really took off in popularity, which explains why he’s not quoted as saying, “beauty as well as bread and most importantly of all: records.”


Yosemite Family Funtimes, Aug. 3 – 8, 2014!

Premise: Last week was our annual Yosemite Family Funtimes Trip™, which, as luck would have it, always coincides with MY annual Driving Through the Scary Republican Parts of California to go Digging on the Way to Yosemite Trip™. This year we stopped by Tower District Records, where they didn’t have the most reasonably priced records but they let us bring in Cairo, our sweet and mellow shepherd/retriever mix. When we got to the cabin, I spread all of my purchases out on the bed, took some pics, then took my body to the river where I washed myself in the water, in the water, heyyy…(fade out).

Promotional consideration provided by: Toyota, the Frye Company, Apple, Conde Nast Publications, lots and lots of caffeine, Lagunitas brewery, and the US National Park System.

Apparel: cutoffs, flip-flops, boots, tank tops, bikinis (mint green, royal blue), and The Phil Lynott Shirt of Goodness and Light™.


Road trip stops, vinyl-related: Tower District Records in Fresno (drive up), Velouria Records in Visalia (drive back).

Road trip stops, non-vinyl-related: In-N-Out, Barnes & Noble, depressing gas station snack marts.

Current awful popular radio song, heard 5-7 times: “Garbage Song” or something like that, by Lil Wayne. I hate it. Everyone I respect and love will tell me how much they hate it. It will be a monster hit.

Historical fucking terrific palate-cleansing joint and overall theme song for the trip: Ramsey Lewis’ “Wade in the Water.” Esmond Edwards forever.

Reading material: King of the World, David Remnick; The Things I Never Told You, Celeste Ng; The Last Holiday, Gil Scott-Heron; Fantasy Football mag, Q magazine for its Motown cover story because I’m a sucker.

Minor annoyances attempted to soothe by walks in the woods: Should I take Jamaal Charles or Calvin Johnson first in my Fantasy draft? Am I a terrible person for continuing to play Fantasy Football*? Is my bikini top too small?

Major stress attempted to erase by purifying myself in the waters of the Merced River: *Ray Rice & Roger Goodell, the fleeting nature of time, loneliness.

The chosen:

Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted and Black. “Rock Steady,” obviously. The names Dowd, Mardin, Purdie, and Rebennack on the back cover, obviously. I shouldn’t have to justify this purchase to you people. Secretly, though, I bought this because of “Day Dreaming,” a lovely slice of longing with that throbby Hathaway organ for an intro. I’m a feminist and I deeply believe in the words “I wanna be what he wants when he wants it/And whenever he needs it,” and there’s absolutely no conflict there, and it’s beautiful.

Cannonball Adderley and Friends. I didn’t need this, but that applies to a good 60% of my record collection. I always run across this man in bins, and I always pick him up and announce that I have an urgent and horrifying news story. I’m 13.

Dollar Brand, Cape Town Fringe. In the Yosemite of life, vinyl bros are the racoons who aren’t sure if human record-digging females are friends or foes. They hide behind comments sections and message boards until they’re sure it’s safe to show themselves. Hello, gentlemen. Let’s talk about this pretty pretty record.

Bernie Worrell, All the Woo in the World. This one’s got a folksy, pensive vibe – Nick Drake picking Richie Havens up in his VW bug to go hang out in Nilsson’s backyard AHAHAHA just kidding it sounds like a fuciking Bernie Worrell record circa 1978. How on earth, by the way, did this turn up in a tiny shop in tiny Fresno, California? I ain’t superstitious but I feel like the closeness of Fresno State provided some good juju for me on this digging expedition. A tip of the hat to Tark, Rafer Alston, and my man Logan Mankins.

Mal Waldron, Signals. Sure sure, Mal played with this cat and that cat, but he played with Jackie McLean which means I get to take a trip to Mars for the hundredth time. Bidabidaboop bidabidaboop BAP BAP? Fuck no – it’s bidabidaboop bidabidaboop BIP BIP. Anyway, I actually haven’t listened to Signals yet but Mal can just coast on Mingus at the Bohemia forever as far as I’m concerned.

Wayne Shorter, Schizophrenia. “Tom Thumb” almost makes up for the fact that this record is not Adam’s Apple. “Kryptonite,” while lovely, is missing the Killer Michael vocal that I crave in the alternate version.

Jimmy Cliff, Wonderful World, Beautiful People. If you say so, Jimmy.

Grachan Moncur III, New Africa. A teenage Grachan went up to Miles Davis at Birdland and told him he admired him. Miles, a real sweetheart, replied, “Don’t you ever say that corny shit to nobody.” Grachan then went on to play in Ray Charles’ band which included David Fathead Newman, who, according to the performance of Bokeem Woodbine in the major motion picture Ray, was a real dick. This record was overpriced and I’ll probably regret it, but I’m a chump.

Jaki Byard, There’ll Be Some Changes Made. The title is a quote from noted dick/genius Mingus in the studio during the sessions for The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. He didn’t like Thiele’s original mix and they got into it, or, equally likely, the man at the newsstand looked at Mingus funny, or the amount of cream in his coffee was wrong, ALL WRONG. Smartly, Jaki changed the title from If You Don’t Know Just Go Ask Jimmy Knepper What Happens When You Incur My Wrath, which was just too clunky.

Natural Four. Curtom. Hutson and Hathaway were the original Westbrook and Love when it comes to rad collegiates. Fuck off, Tommy Lee Jones and Al Gore.

Stevie Wonder, Fulfillingness’ First Finale. I’m now the owner of 2 copies of this, since I have one at home but couldn’t resist when I saw it in a store bin far from home. It was perfect for the cabin. Baby Boomers need the comforting, predictable song structure of Motown hits to really relax while on vacation.

Little Feat, Waiting for Columbus. Also bought largely to appease the Baby Boomers in the cabin, the standout is “Dixie Chicken,” a sick-breakdown joint about a slutty southern woman who tricks men with her vagina and then Tower of fucking Power show up and blow the roof off. It’s so wonderful. This whole record sounds like my childhood and listening to it prompted my mother to get drunk and tell stories about my crippling shyness as a child. GOOD TIMES. It would’ve been the cabin favorite, but ultimately this one was done in by causing a bunch of bickering among my family members about how the word “Dixie” is inappropriately stripped of its offensive history in this song. “EVERYONE LIGHTEN UP,” I said, because I was drunk. (Sober me would have been the #1 most offended person in the conversation, I guarantee it.)

John Lee Hooker, Born in Mississippi, Raised Up in Tennessee. I noticed this one when Velouria posted it on its Instagram feed a couple weeks ago, and I was shocked that it was still available. Baby Boomers again.

Rick Danko. People say Rick can’t sing, which is true but does not need to be announced. I have ears. I’m still waiting to hear why Donald Fagen gets a pass, though.

Spoon. “Rent I Pay” is no “I Summon You,” but goddamn I really like this record.



Faze-O, Good Thang (She, 1978)

faze o 1264

Chose this one for the OH SHIT EDDIE BONGO BROWN PLAYS ON HERE factor as well as the creamy dessert factor. I just finished a Muhammad Ali bio containing the delicious factoid that he celebrated taking Liston in 7 (the first time) by eating vanilla ice cream, hanging with Jim Brown, then taking a nap on Malcolm X’s bed. It’s 2014 now, Jim likes to hit women so we can’t hang out, and Malcolm is unavailable, but at least I got the ice cream plus I’m the greatest, I must be the greatest, and I’m pretty, I shook up the world, I’m a baaaad maaan, and did you hear I’m the greatest? I am.

I was unable to go full Open-Mouth/Do Things to My Body Daddy for the camera as pictured on the cover. I am physically unable to perform such a cornball stunt.


Kool & the Gang, Funky Stuff/Jungle Boogie (De-Lite, 1977)

kool and the gang 1263

“Everyone kind of had a nickname. So I tried to fit in, and I decided to come up with a nickname, and I came up with Kool. There was another guy in the neighborhood who was named ‘Cool’ also, but he spelled his with a C. So I just changed that and spelled it with a K.”

Big big shout to the comically large egos of men who bestow nicknames upon THEMSELVES, bands with the bass player as the frontman, musicians who do songs about themselves (Kool & the Gang, “Method Man,” “Bo Diddley,” “Black Sabbath,” “Minor Threat,” etc. etc.), and albums that give me an opportunity to bust out the zebra skin rug AND my dad’s headphones from the Carter administration. People, this record satisfies me in so many ways.



De La Soul is Dead (Tommy Boy, 1991)

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SNUGGLE TIGHT AND HANG LOOSE, BOYS. It’s time to groove to a De La Slow move on WRMS!

Teddy Pendergrass, It’s Time for Love (Philadelphia International, 1981)

teddy p it's time 1264Before Jay-Z did it, Diamond Dallas Page did it. And before both of them, Teddy P did it – but instead of throwing his hands toward the heavens to seduce a bunch of teenage boys in the crowd, he laid back, kinda fashioned his hands into a sexy diamond made of flesh, and waited for his woman to come over like an elegant gentleman. Teddy doesn’t need to make a big show about his jewels, you guys.

Teddy doesn’t need to wear a watch, neither, because no matter when you look at it, the clock always says IT’S TIME FOR LOVE.



Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, Bustin’ Loose (Source, 1979)

chuck brown bustin loose 1264I’m still deeply invested in the playoffs, guys, so my album recreation output continues to be somewhat stifled. My 2 beloved worlds of televised sporting events and recorded music intersected in a weird, cosmic way this week, though, as I picked this record at random and noticed that it’s produced by LOGAN WESTBROOKs(!), a clear indication that OKC is trolling me. Nice try, Russ, Sefolosha, and Cawrong Butler.

Anyway, Chuck says “Gimme the bridge, yall” at all the wrong moments in the title track. I hate that ex-Hoya Hibbert seems to be battling some Space Jam demons inside his enormous body. Dan Snyder remains a fucking terrible human being. And John Wall lacks a Jamal Crawfordesque buttery crossover. But still – DC, I love you. Please accept my humble tribute.



Junie Morrison, Freeze (Westbound, 1975).

junie 1-1“Arranged by, producer, composed by, drums, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, clavinet, synthesizer (Mini-moog, Arp String Ensemble), grand piano, Hammond B-3, talkbox, vocals: Junie Morrison” – back cover.

Posing, keeping hair looking fucking fantastic while posing, staying strategically covered by flimsy robe, and spouting unsolicited music history while posing, though? That’s alllllll me.


Al Green, Greatest Hits (Hi, 1975).

Al Green 1-1Al is on the very very short list of gentlemen I’d let talk to me about Jesus (Prince, Stevie, the young Sam Cooke, the Doobie Brothers). I love Al’s voice and phrasing; “Simply Beautiful” is one of the greatest dress removers of all time. BUT.

Al is also on the very very LONG list of male musicians who’ve been accused of physically assaulting their romantic partners. Cognitive dissonance remains a constant when you’re a feminist music nerd, guys.