New edition of “Across 135th Street” here, as I get into another soul and funk 45s thing. This originally started out as more of a soul-45s-for-grey-skies type theme, but ultimately I relented and finished on a lil’ more upbeat note. As per usual, in lieu of a playlist I’ve scanned label art on all the records played in the show that you can peruse in the photo gallery while you listen. Audio and more descriptive stuff ’bout the program below. Enjoy!
In the latest installment of “Across 135th Street,” vinyl obsessive Jeff “Chairman” Mao delves into his cache of vintage 45s for another exploration of soulful sounds both moody and uplifting (with a few detours into the deep end of the funk pool for good measure). Melancholia is well represented in the unrequited romantic yearnings of the mysterious Archie Williams and Company, Motor City ensemble The Twenty Dollar Friendship (later known as the Ghetto Friendship) and the string-laden depression of Chicago’s The Fugitives (whose “Love Come Down” is not an Evelyn “Champagne” King cover – though that would’ve been ill). Bitterness is accounted for in the form of Tina Turner’s fearsome “You Got What You Wanted.” But equally musically rugged is D.C. funk pioneers The Young Senators’ “Ringing Bells (Sweet Music),” guaranteed to be the hoardest, ass-kicking-est fuzz guitar-fueled love song you’ve heard in a District minute. As Joe Bataan’s house(-on-the-hill) music contemplations (“What Good Is a Castle, Part 2”) give way to The Flairs’ sweet espousals of theft and the unguarded optimism of the Soul Brothers Six, Merv Murphy and the Detroit Emeralds, before you know it, “Things Are Looking Up.” We conclude our program with a smooth reading of a Eugene McDaniel-Roberta Flack classic by North Carolinians, the Saints, that’s as virtuous as the crew’s name suggests. Searching for soul, or simply soul searching? Listen, here.
CLICK THE THUMBNAILS ABOVE FOR LABEL ART FOR EACH RECORD PLAYED ON THE SHOW