Cal Tjader, Hip Vibrations

“Every night before I go to sleep, find a ticket, win a lottery,

Scoop the pearls up from the sea, cash them in and buy you all the things you need.

Every night before I rest my head, see those dollar bills go swirling round my bed.
I know they’re stolen, but I don’t feel bad. I take that money, buy you things you never had.”
Patti Smith, articulating my fantasy that one day someone other than me
will fund my record store adventures.

Cal and me, posing with things that are making us feel good while also killing us
(cigarettes and record buying, respectively).
Because life just plays little tricks on you like that sometimes.
Name: Cal Tjader, Hip Vibrations (Verve, 1967).

T’jay-der, definitely. Oh wait, no; it’s Chay-der, says Wiki. Swedish. This reminds me of my daily look at Stockholm Street Style, and how get a little sad that all those girls are wearing cute outfits I’d look like a complete hooker in because of body type.

Fashion’s biased against girls with hips and it’s not fair. Ah but the sadness doesn’t last long. I remember that having hips is the best possible female situation in life to have. Hips are really where it’s at. Especially when they vibrate, you know.

Is this title acceptable? Yes! YES IT IS. It’s called Hip Vibrations. Hip is one word in the title and vibrations is the other. So, goodness gracious, I approve! If you are new to this blog, welcome, and yes I probably am a little too fond of photographing my hip area. This is my hustle and it’s on repeat. But it’s like when you’re so good at something that it just comes easily, it’s hard to cut down. Like with my Rawss hate; it’s a natural skill that I like to show off. Also sewing, comedy, sex acts and spouting musical history on command (sometimes I combine those last two things). If what you want is music history without the hips I would direct you towards another record site, this one or maybe that one, as they are run by dudes who are, because evolutionary anatomy says they don’t need them, hip-less. But I wish you’d stay. Pretty please.

The title track is the only one on this record that was a Cal original – the rest are covers of songs that were recent (at the time) pop hits (“Georgy Girl,” and “Windy” – a cute one, but inferior to “Along Comes Mary” when it comes to songs by The Association), or part of the Blue Note catalog (“Moanin,” “Sweet Honey Bee”). “Hip Vibrations,” ode to protruding roundness, became the album title and I’m not sure I’d be as fond of the album if it weren’t for that fact. There’s also the wacky theory that the name Hip Vibrations is in reference to Cal’s instrument of choice – the vibraphone, a supremely unsexy piece of equipment. (You know what is sexy? That thing when singer/guitar players clutch the mic while holding the pick in the crook of their finger. I LOVE THAT SO MUCH and if you need me I’ll be knee-deep in Google image search for the next few days.)


Entered my life: April 2010, Beat Swap Meet, sunny Los Angeles, California. $8.

Difficulty of finding, vinyl-wise (1-10 scale): 5? 6? Cal’s got beat-digger cachet because of all his breaks used by deities including Diamond D and Premier, and because he’s got a funny name (Lalo Schifrin and Django Reinhardt are also in this club). Therefore, most of his stuff is hard to find in major metro areas. My hip-less competition (all dudes), you know how they are, they’ll just snatch up anything with his name on it regardless of quality. I still have my secret digging spots in secret places, though. Oh and does anyone know of any record stores in San Antonio? I My uh friend will be going there and she needs some suggestions. So far all I know about the place is that Austin’s an hour away from where I’ll be staying, I NEED TO GO TO THIS SHOW, YOU ALLLLLREADY KNOW (I don’t care that it’s happening tonight and there’s no way I could make it in time), and the Republic of Texas’ major exports are horrible presidents (other than LBJ – he was OK), terrific rappers, Selena, Buddy Holly, and the death penalty. It is also my understanding that only cattle and homosexuals come from there. I like both those things! I shall have a wonderful time.

Produced by: Esmond Edwards, a man of Jamaican stock who started as a photographer at Prestige. He worked his way up to producer, and actually headed Verve in ’67 when Hip Vibrations came out; this was the same year Verve had the freaking Mothers of Invention on its roster which proves that America is the greatest country in the whole wide wor- Oh goddamn, I just saw that a 5-year-old might be charged with murder. Never mind! WE’RE AWFUL. Ace work, America!

You look at the name Esmond Edwards, and then you hear he’s Jamaican, and of course you’re like, Yep. Makes sense. Those Jamaicans always have fancy, royalty-sounding names. Barrington. Desmond. Esmond. Alton. Horace. Augustus. And…Vybz, obviously. (Obvz!) Edwards produced Ramsey Lewis, Eric Dolphy, Les McCann. He also produced a Jimmy Smith album called The Boss, which, if you’re Jimmy Smith, is a highly accurate title. Edwards died before getting the opportunity to swing around to the other end of the spectrum and produce for a man known for his highly inaccurate titles (Teflon Don).

Additional album personnel that make me sigh with desire and yet somehow fulfillment of desire at the same time:

Ron Carter on bass – he played on Stanley Turrentine’s Cherry, with the BDP drums n’ horns!
On congas there was a gentleman by the name of RAY BARRETTO – he’s one of my primary inspirations for lying to people and claiming I’m part Puerto Rican. It just feels right, and I can get away with it, so I’ll keep doing it on occasion. Start anywhere you want in terms of getting familiar with Barretto’s stuff, but please realize I was lucky enough to have been raised with Acid playing in the living room. And look how great I turned out. (Other than being terribly shy and underweight)

Herbie Hancock on piano. Sorry, never heard of him, but I do know he would go on to compose unstoppable Logan Walking Down the Street anthem “Chameleon.” The walk is glorious, cinematic, me lookin like Foxy Brown if she were more shy, less foxy, and thought about Rick Ross way too much.

Patti Brown on piano too; she also played for Quincy Jones. Mel Lewis on drums; he later did “Quiet Lady,” a song that is about me (in my daydreams). Pete Rock thought it was gonna be smooth sailing when he started flipping it. Dilla reminded him to drop it on the one and then he turned to a buddy of his, Monsta Beatz (all good producers hang out together in my daydreams) and asked for a soda, but Monsta was annoyed and said Get it ya self.

Artwork by John Murello, who mostly did covers for Verve and Cotique musicians. I keep reading that Cotique fancied itself “the Blue Note of Latin soul” in the ’60s and ’70s, and I learned that the label fell down and died after putting out some records by young musicians that Fania was too old and crotchety to touch. (One day this same fate shall befall Maybach Music Group). Cal’s Breeze from the East was one of Murello’s designs, as was Johnny Colon’s Boogaloo Blues with its camera-reflected-in-the-horn’s-bell stylishness. The photo looks too good to have been a mistake! Murello also did THIS, a homoerotic tableau that pays tribute to the mighty Wonder Wheel at Coney Island:

Coney Island means The Warriors,

which of course means helpless pouty princess beauty/style icon Mercy,

who refused to wear a bra and I guess you can run around behaving that way if you’re an A cup. I like it, that whole lush ’70s style, the feathered hair and the lashes. Almost every Halloween I consider recreating her look – I have the big sad eyes of a helpless female and my lips are pretty OK in the pouty department – but I refuse to turn brunette because I have integrity or is it that I’m just hard-headed? Either way, I’m committed to my current hairdo. So once again I’ll probably be pulling out the old St. Pauli girl getup in October.

Global events at the time of its release: It was 1967; “Baby I Love You” was climbing the charts and no doubt had a profound effect on a young Marty Scorsese (that scene in Goodfellas when Janice is showing all the other side-pieces the apartment Henry paid for). “Respect” was a huge one too, and sure it’s an OK song I guess, if a tiny bit overplayed, but residents of apt. 680 hold it in the highest of regards due to Prince Paul whipping it into some posse-cut finery on 3rd Bass’ “The Gas Face.” The star of the show? One Daniel Dumile, whose verse holds up still. Cash or credit for unleaded at Sunoco. Where is Doomsy? Did he die and the whole world is protecting my delicate psyche by keeping me in a bubble of ignorance? That’s nice. I love you guys.

Breaks contained:

“Django” was used in Guru’s “Lifesaver,” a song title that would be pretentious if anyone else tried to get away with it. The line a thorn scrapes my heart when I see another life that’s been torn apart is memorable but usually I just listen to his older songs when I need to hear tips from the master, reflections about life. If you’re a sucka you need a bodyguard. If you’re shining, beware of people who try to dull you. Some among us act wrong and sell their souls for mass appeal.

More later; I’ll let those sink in for now.

Best YouTube comment (it’s a draw):

Lifesaver og sample, RIP GURUndkone

Fucking great!Sjoerd110

“I bet that girl would have sex with me. I think I’m gonna go ask her how her day is going” – every LAPD officer in a 10-mile radius of apt. 680. Come with me to get coffee downtown sometime; you’ll see.

Sartorial accompaniment: $4 white tank over Cube-face tank*, red gym-ish shorts that are too short to wear outside apt. 680 and it’s a damn shame because they are the perfect shade of red and I wish you all could see them in real life. $7 shoes (!). Fawcett waves. My aesthetic is either “Laundry day” or “Girl you just saw at Payless who is a fan of LA music godfathers, and who also happens to be training for a marathon and just listened to some Jada* to get that heartrate going and for hairstyle inspiration.”


*I love cornrows and Farrah Fawcett feathers
It’s a message in a glass bottle, read the letter

Money in the bank membership Visa sweaters

And we ride or d-i-e together.

Fact of nerdy interest that excites me and might show up on Jeopardy! someday: Cal started with Fantasy, went to Verve, and returned to Fantasy. See, so who’s laughing at my “Dre WILL return to Death Row” theory NOW?

Suitable activities while listening:
Get that eyeliner and black glossy lash game even tighter than it currently is. Put hair into a juvenile style and practice looking naive, just like the young lady on Cal’s Doxy. Halloween costume?

Other things about today:

Jean Grae’s next album is supposed to be called Cake or Death; the mixtape – Cookies or Comas. I love her, obviously, and both of these speak to me, since, just like Drake the fuzzy-haired Canadian grommet, all I care about is money and the city that I’m from. Current fantasy mixtape titles in apt. 680 include You Are the Father and While We’re Blamin Society, He’s at a Party with His Man (Guru shout! A little wordy, but still fresh if I don’t say so myself).

…but mostly I just wanted to post this pic. I believe in this pic. And really I don’t believe in Jimmy as much as I believe in the instrumentals over which he “raps”(?) as crafted by Chink Santana and Girl Talk*. I need to walk down the street to both of them during one of the upcoming warm summer months.

* “Believe in Magic.” This song! It’s… what is it? It’s cotton candy. It’s a pretty flower you picked for me that’ll wilt by Saturday. Perishable, but fun and sweet while it lasts. It’s summertime, c’mon. Lighten up. (I will try to take this advice as well). Or just go here and get it refreshingly Jimmy-free.


S’GUCCI for the foreseeable future, but S’NOT “Gucci Gucci.” Definitely not. My official stance on Kreayshawn is NO. She is generally harmless but still an awful rap carpetbagger like Drake the fuzzy-haired Canadian grommet. She has enthusiasm for rap; I have enthusiasm for rap. Maybe in real life we’d be friends? But the rule is that white girls in rap should either be Monica Lynch, disposable video bunnies, dead and in panties, or bikini-clad bloggers. That’s all I got for now. I just might completely change my opinion about her tomorrow, though. I can’t be trusted; I’m always tripping over my feelings that just leap outta me plus I’m kind of a bad person who secretly likes the very music she says she hates (every day I catch myself singing along to “I’m On One” in the car, even the fuck it part they had to edit out for radio. That grunt thing that Rawss does? It pleases me but I will deny this in public if asked. Also I’m positive Drake is not, in fact, “on one.” He doesn’t do anything his nutritionist and personal trainer don’t recommend.)

Sing-along admission #2: “Town Called Malice,” which is not, unfortunately, an ode to a Thornton brother. Ah well.

Harpers index comes with it, once again making me think about some of life’s heavier aspects. Wow. Humans are really quite primal, aren’t we? It’s easy to forget that sometimes…

So then all of a sudden this large-bodied piece of Detroit finery wanders in from the “Fuck My Car” video set/my daydreams, and asks me to straddle it. Because I’m a primal being, ruled by my senses, just an animal when you get down to it. I wanna just put the whole thing in between my skinny thighs somehow, even though physics says that’s impossible. Hold it in my arms. Lounge in the backseat in some denim cutoffs while eating an ice cream cone. (Oh sorry! Still in daydreamland.)

The pretty thing is for sale, and above is the owner’s description. We have all the Dyno papers/and receipts for the new owner’s records will soon be a Lil B hook to chant, but until then there are at least 19 different Fantasy Mixtape Titles contained up there.

Custom Tuned and Dynoed.
505 Big Block.
Retard Booster. (personal fave)
Custom Yellow Top.
Knob Next to the Shifter.
It Ain’t Dayton If You Got It. (groan; sorry!)

“Over $130,000 was spent building this vehicle,” the blurb continues. “First the body was removed and a frame off restoration was performed. After the body had been restored, over $25,000 was spent on the fade away yellow-red paint and suede interior.” Meanwhile, the median household income of my neighborhood is about $38,000/year so I’m a jerk for wanting this, correct? Can’t help myself, though. Jean Grae knows what I mean. Cake Candy Paint or Death; Cookies Caddies or Comas.

Listen before ya dumb ass say some stupid shit
And have my dog laying on your house on some Snoopy shit.

Loh-Soh on the Brooklyn Bridge with a quick and clever line. This makes it the second time I’ve praised a Charles Schulz rap this year.

The universe is balanced.

You fakin’, n—a, I get it shakin’
I’ll shoot your wife at the dinner table like Taken
I did dirt since Krush Groove and Breakin
Now they got a Biggie movie, Pac comin’ next
You can suck my dick, you said The LOX ain’t the best
Now yell pause and no homo that*
And get a bullet in ya fitted where the logo at
Yeah, another one by the NE sign
Stab him in the face with the pen he signed
Now that’s that, turn your fitted to a snapback.

The same day I find out Drake made his 57th song about the difficulties of success and the struggle of keeping a female plaything, then turning around and complaining about the lack of emotional connection between himself and his kept female plaything, I hear this gorgeous, pissed-off verse from Styles P. When P gets going over a beat, I feel like P actually might have kilt somebody before. He’s in love with death. It would be extra menacing if he added an “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” at the end, just to really drive the manslaughter point home. In summation: cartoony violence, a sneaky *“shut up, Cam,” and the phrase “doin dirt” (which I haven’t heard in a long time)? I like it all, all of it. Thank you, universe. Please don’t let them charge the 5-year-old with murder. Amen/goodnight.


One thought on “Cal Tjader, Hip Vibrations

  1. good medicine

    cosmic cal tjader connections abound! i recently came across a copy of cal's “cal tjader plugs in” album and it has been my never leaving the numark morning music for the past few weeks. something about the sound of a vibraphone and rhodes that helps a dude ease into the day!


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