Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bay Area Dispatch

I just spent an hour at Amoeba Music in San Francisco.

I bought a few soul compilations, including Luv & Haight's "V/A Super Cool California Soul" and Zealous Records' "Soul Sides (Volume One)" - tunes handpicked by none other than Oliver Wang at

Reading O-Dub's introduction to the liner notes has helped kickstart a new commitment to this audioblog. Wang writes: "When I originally began in the winter of 2004, it was mostly as an excuse to go through my personal record library and pull out music I enjoyed or was discovering. Despite over 10 years spent as a music journalist, scholar and DJ, I found that audioblogging pushed me to engage music in a more direct way; my posts are inspired by trying to understand - for myself - what moves me about certain songs and what catches my ear."

I thought to myself, That's why I started We Check Records... way back in the Summer of 2010. For the next little while, readers can expect at least one weekly post filed by each Wednesday.

Below is the first track of this California Soul comp I bought. Gow Dow featured Dr. James Benson, Ph.D. and members of the Black Student Union at Claremont College. This track was released on their self-titled album in 1972.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Notorious B.I.G.

Shot dead, 15 years ago today. Still one of the best, most consistent flows ever.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

We Take Care of Our Own: Another Political Football

Remember when candidate Reagan used Springsteen's "Born in the USA" as the theme of his 1984 Presidential campaign? Obviously he hadn't listened closely to the narrator, who had been coerced to fight in an unjust war and then abandoned by the deintustrialized economy of his hometown upon his return.

Mayor Rahm Emmanuel here in Chicago got to request one song on WXRT last night as part of the radio station's annual "Chicago Day". He chose "We Take Care of Our Own", the new Springsteen single, which I blogged about a few weeks ago in my account of the Grammys. The song is ironic, with Bruce reminding us of rural poverty and images of the Superdome during Katrina. "From one boss to another," he said. What a fool! Here's the guy who just shut down over 15 public schools and multiple mental health clinics in the city. Like Reagan, I guess our Mayor wasn't listening too closely.

I want to ask Rahm the same thing Bruce is asking all of us in that song. "What happened to the promise?" The promise of watching out for the most vulnerable among us here in Chicago and across the country.