Thursday, July 1, 2010

2 Busy Saying Yeah 22 - Luv 'n Haight Records

One day in the fall of 1990, I took the bus across the Bay to visit a record store that had recently opened on Haight Street in San Francisco, the Groove Merchant.

I combed the bins for hours, stacking up a large pile of funk, jazz and soul 45s and LPs and chatting occasionally with the young couple that owned the store, Michael and Jody McFadin. I was shocked when, as they rung me up, they offered me a job-- they wanted to get out of town for a week, so they more or less just handed me the keys to the shop and to their livelihood.

Jody and Michael McFadin in 1999

Within a year, Mike and Jody launched the Luv 'n Haight Records label from the Groove Merchant. Although the store continued to thrive, drawing everyone from local DJs to foreign record dealers to A-list rap producers, it soon became more of a sideline for them once the record label took off. While Luv 'n Haight stayed focused on reissues, it soon spawned Ubiquity, which was devoted to new music, and Cubop, which was devoted to Latin Jazz. I had stopped working for Mike and Jody by about 1993, but I've watched their success over the years with admiration.

This year the labels are celebrating their 20th year in business with a series of releases and events. I recently spun at one of them, an art opening and party at Guerilla Arts Cafe in Berkeley. (Fun event, by the way; it was great to meet and talk with Darondo and Lawrence Ross of Twilight plus also to see Sureshot Shane, Cool Chris and a lot of other record folks I seldom run into. I also got to play alongside Ohmega Watts, who is a surprisingly good DJ.)

Looking back on what Luv 'n Haight has released over the years, I got motivated to do a live mix of some of my favorite songs from Luv 'n Haight's amazing catalog. Long before labels like the Numero Group, Now-Again and Light in the Attic were around, Luv 'n Haight was making obscure and wonderful rare groove music available. I feel proud of them and of my connection to the label.

For this mix, I drew exclusively from material released on Luv 'n Haight and did not touch on anything from Ubiquity or Cubop, although they've put out some great music too. I also limited myself to one selection per artist-- otherwise there would have been more Darondo, more Mighty Ryeders and way more Arthur Verocai! There are plenty of other songs I would have liked to include, but the mix runs kind of long even with this limited track list.

The mix is dedicated to the original Groove Merchant/Luv 'n Haight crew-- Mike and Jody, Dan Prothero and Damian "Domino" Siguenza-- and also to Andrew Jervis, who came on board a little bit later but has been instrumental in shaping and shepherding the labels through the years.

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1. Darondo : Didn't I
2. Arthur Verocai : Caboclo
3. Penny Goodwin : Too Soon You're Old
4. Weldon Irvine : Turkish Bath
5. PI-R Square : Fantasy
6. Leon Spencer : Where I'm Coming From
7. Sons and Daughters of Lite : Darkuman Junction
8. Mike James Kirkland : Hang On In There
9. J.R. Bailey : Just Me 'n You
10. Twilight : You Know It's Me
11. The Mighty Ryeders : Lovely
12. Eugene Blacknell : We Know We Got to Live Together
13. Courtial : Losing You
14. HP Riot : I Have Changed
15. The Pharaohs : Freedom Road
16. Project Soul : Ebony
17. George Freeman : The Bump
18. The Vibrettes : Humpty Dump
19. Dee Edwards : Why Can't There Be Love
20. The Organization : Smokey Feeling
21. Onyx : Break It Loose
22. Cal Tjader : Mambero
23. Har You Percussion Group : Welcome to the Party
24. Joe McPhee : Shakey Jake
25. Warm Excursion : Hung Up
26. Carl "Sherlock" Holmes : Black Bag
27. The Propositions : Bad Seed
28. Marva Josie : He Does It Better
29. Harry Whitaker : Black Renaissance
30. Sugar Pie DeSanto : Git Back
31. Linda Lyndell : What a Man
32. The Turner Bros. : Sweetest Thing in the World
33. Gary Bartz Ntu Troop: Celestial Blues
34. 24-Carat Black : Food Stamps
35. Rufus Harley : Malik
36. Leroy & the Drivers : Sad Chicken
37. Robert Jay : Alcohol
38. Johnny Talbot & De Thangs : Pickin' Cotton
39. Roy Porter : Party Time
40. Ricardo Marrero : Bablonia (Take Two)
41. Wisdom : Nefertiti
42. James Mason : Sweet Power Your Embrace
43. Burning Desire : Why She Had to Go
44. Rokk : Patience

To hear a slightly different version of this podcast as it originally aired on with a spoken introduction from me, visit here:

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