Friday, May 09, 2008


I was in Chicago last week, doing some research for my upcoming Pizza Class at Sur La Table. After visiting my favorite pizzeria, I was reminded how much I love giardiniera on pizza. In Chicago giardiniera is popular on Chicago beef sandwiches. If you do not know about Chicago beef sandwiches get familiar Ever since I was a kid I have been putting giardiniera on pizza. So I have decided to make a big batch of giardiniera using California produce. Soul Cocina California Giardiniera? Fusion with reason. I might bring some of my giardiniera to the pizza class at Sur la Table on June 10th. As of now there are only six spots left so sign up today if you plan to attend. For the hands on class we will prepare pizza margherita, Chicago deep dish pizza, stromboli, calzone and pide. We will make the dough, sauces, and toppings from scratch. We will not be making the calzones like this. Here are some pictures from a recent pizza party we put on at Hands On Gourmet

With my busy pizza schedule in Chicago, I did not have a lot of time to hit up all my favorite record shops. I did stop in at an old favorite, Remember When Records in Muddy Water's town of Westmont.

I found some records by The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

Tune: A Dance, a Kiss and a Song by The Watts 103rd st Rhythm Band

Tune: Do Your Thing by The Watts 103rd st Rhythm Band

I have posted some tunes from these guys before here at Soul Cocina.
You will find some real gems from The Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band over at Soul Sides.
I heard about the group Rabbits and Carrots when reading the "Hop to This" post at Soul Sides. When I heard that they did a cover of The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band tune Express Yourself, I planned to track down the record at Dusty Groove in Chitown. But my pizza took priority over carrots and rabbits. Luckily, I found a copy at Amoeba in SF when I got home.

Tune: Expresate by Rabbits and Carrots

In my search for merengue and cumbia 45's the guy at the shop directed me to the "ethnic" section, where there were records from the 80's spanning the globe from Brasil to Turkey with a huge selections of Polkas. I heard that there are more Polish people in Chicago than there are in Warsaw. Here's what I pulled from the "ethnic" bin.

Tune: Los Afortunados by Rubby Haddock

Tune: La Negra by Jossie Esteban y la Patrulla 15

From "El gangster de Nueva York" we move on to The Gangster of Love, Johnny "Guitar" Watson. Many record diggers know Johnny Watson from his crazy album covers from the 70's. The funky gangster with big Cadillacs, big bling jewelry, lots of girls, pimp fur coats and a gold grill who looks like the persona that Snoop trys to capture. I find his records from this period to be a little silly with a serving of cheese. Bu it is still funky stinky cheese, like teleggio, perhaps. My favorite JGW stuff comes before all this. In the 60's and part of the late 50's JGWs music still had the playful tom foolery and his stage performance was full of shinanigans. He has always been a showman. He used to play the guitar behind his back a decade before Jimi Hendrix hit the scene. He had that blues soul r&b stuff down. And they didn't give him that middle name for nothin'. Dude can play the guitar. He played on Frank Zappa's One Size Fits All in the wonderful year of 1975. In 1973 he released the LP "Listen"!
WOW! smooth, soulful, raw. One of my cherished LPs. The first record I ever bought at Groove Merchant in San Francisco. The records after "Listen" are good, but nothing to write home about. They are sure 'nuff funky with over the top bass, lyrics, and bling, but it's the 1973 and before stuff that gets play on my turntables at home. I am still on the look out for the three preceding LPs that were released in 1967:
"Bad" (Okeh 1967)
Johnny Watson Trio "In The Fats Bag" (Okeh 1967)
Larry Williams & Johnny Guitar Watson "Two For The Price Of One" (Okeh 1967)

Here's a 7" that I picked up at Remember When records:
Tune: Some one Cares for Me by Johnny Guitar Watson
Tune: Those Loney, Lonely Nights by Johnny "Guitar" Watson

I did not find any Desi music in the "ethnic" bin at Remember When Records, and I did not have time get up to the north side to visit Devon Street, so I was unable to bring back any Chicago Bhangra for the Mission Bombay Crew. I was hoping to find some new remixes like this one:
Tune: Jadoo (Spell on Me Remix) by Blitzkreig

On my next trip to Chicago in the summer, I will track down some juke mixtapes.

Kid Sister is pretty big in Chicago.
Tune: Beeper by The Count and Sinden feat Kid Sister

Some tunes from a Soul Cocina Favorite, Chicago's own Curtis Mayfield:
Tune: Let's Do it Again by The Staple Singers with Music by Curtis Mayfield from the OST Let's Do it Again recorded in Chicago at Curtdom Studios.
This film features some spectacular actors (Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, JJ Walker) and it was released in the glorious year of 1975. It's on my list of movies to see.

Tune: Number One by John Legend uses the Let's Do it Again sound

Tune: This Love is Sweet by Curtis Mayfield from the 1976 LP Give, Get, Take and Have

Tune: Do Do Wap is Strong in Here by Curtis Mayfield from the 1977 OST Short Eyes
This record was priced at 60 dollars on display on the wall at Open Mind Music in SF when it used to be on Divisidero. I listened to it a few times and each time I went in there, I tried to haggle the price down, but the staff wouldn't budge. The record stayed on the wall for months. One day my wife and one of her girlfriends walked into the store and got the record for 20 bucks!?

Tune: Tripping Out by Curtis Mayfield from the 1980 LP Something to Believe In

Chitown's favorite neighbor, Baby Huey from Indiana, recorded with Curtdom Records.

Monkey man by Baby Huey and the Babysitters
Tune: One Dragon, Two Dragon by Baby Huey and the Babysitters
and i am posting pt II of a Curtis Mayfield song done by Huey and the Boys (Some of you have part I from the old Rani and Raja site)
Tune: Mighty Mighty Pt II by Baby Huey and the Babysitters

Tune: Hello San francisco by Buddy Guy
when I worked at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago in the 90's I got to see Buddy play up close and live. He is a great character. His Brother Phil, not only a blues player but also a chef, used to join the kitchen team on occasion and cook up a batch of gumbo or red beans in the kitchen. He had a lot of great stories about growing up in Louisiana.

Tune: Many of Many Words by Buddy Guy and Junior Wells from the 1972 LP Buddy Guy and Junior Wells Sing the Blues

Tune: Messin with the Kid by Buddy Guy and Junior Wells from the 1972 LP Buddy Guy and Junior Wells Sing the Blues features the harp man Junior Wells on vocals. Jr and Buddy have tons of recordings together. They were good homies for a long time. This 1972 album showcases the raw funky blues that is Chicago.

Tune: Chicago Falcon by The Budos Band

Tune: Springtime in Chicago by Sun Ra

Here is another record I picked up at Remember When Records:
Tune: I Need Your Lovin by Don and Dee Dee Ford
I already had this tune on a full length LP by this soulful duo with a gospel feel. I bought the record at the now defunct Village Music in Mill Valley, CA (R.I.P.) But the sound quality was pretty poor on the LP.
The song gets more and more climatic as it heads toward the grand finale. It bursts into big sounding endings and continues to move on, fooling the listener. It keeps sounding like it is going to end but then trods on and keeps on grooving. The whole song seems like one big grand finale. When I saw Maceo Parker play at House of Blues in Chicago about ten years ago, the band did the same thing. The entire show had the energy of the last two chords of a powerful song.


Jo/No said...

just discovered your blog today and love your varied selection! Great cumbiamix and lots of interesting tracks in this post as well (say how old is that Sun Ra track? really nice anyway..).
I will check in again, thank you!

And I would be truly honoured if you would check in my humble place over at

Me too try to keep my readers diet varied with bits of jazz, latin, afro, oldies and goodies.

Great! said...

Hi, I was wondering if you'll still be adding posts... I've found some really cool music on your blog, I'm loving your taste across all musical borders :)

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