WHAM-O Goes Whaaaaaah!

Dab Van Ommen and Jonny Trash swing at the WHAM-O WATUSI!

Saturday the Fourth was the date of the March WHAM-O WATUSI; it was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because our pals Jonathan Toubin and Todd-O-Phonic Todd had scheduled, for Friday the Third, a fabulous program of boss rock and soul acts at the Warsaw: Nick Waterhouse & his band backing Ural Thomas, Baby Washington, Young Jessie, Maxine Brown, Archie Bell and David Johansen; King Khan; Joe Bataan and his Orchestra; all topped off with a very special performance by the legendary Irma Thomas. A most excellent event, and the Boogaloo Bag writers were in attendance and dug the show immensely. This show drew people from all over the world and The WHAM-O WATUSI benefited when several out of town DJs came knocking, looking for jobs for the following night.  WHAM-O host and resident DJ Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus hired on three of them, plus local selector DJ Rata. It was going to be a very swingin’ affair!!

DJ Rata, Lilly Martini & Dab Van Ommen swing at the WHAM-O WATUSI!

Then, perhaps a few weeks before the big weekend arrived, it was announced that Mr. Toubin had scheduled another slightly less heavy but still quite fabulous show at Baby’s All Right (with Nick Waterhouse, King Khan, Ural Thomas and Eli Paperboy Reed in the performance space and more than a dozen fabulous DJs spinning in the front room) for Saturday the Fourth. Mr. Toubin even invited a couple of WHAM-O DJs to work at his event!

Whaaaah!!!!

But all was not lost. The WHAM-O WATUSI took place as scheduled at the friendly confines of The Bootleg Bar, where WHAM-O attendees were in abundance in spite of the hipper gig across town. Guest DJs included Jonny Trash (Spankys; Peterborough, Ontario), Dab Van Ommen (Utrecht, Netherlands), DJ Alr!ght (Secret Soul Club, Cleveland) plus our pal DJ Rata. Everybody took turns spinning their rockin’ 45s with host Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus. Excellent records were played, new friends were made (including Chelsea Hartman, Jay Nugent and Lilly Martini, who provided the Bag with some photos) and old friends turned up to jump around. DJ Alr!ight and Jonny Trash performed their respective sets early in the night, hung out for a spell, then took off for Baby’s All Right. Mr. Van Ommen and Rata stayed to make noise well into the wee hours.

DJ Alr!ght swings at the WHAM-O WATUSI!

The Boogaloo Bag writers first became aware of DJ Alr!ght at the Keystone State Soul Weekender last year. Although his DJ sets were not witnessed, music was discussed intensely and it was determined that DJ Alr!ght has all the right records and attitude.

Jonny Trash swings at WHAM-O WATUSI!!

Jonny Trash came to us via SMA-F (social media apparatus: facedog). He owns a joint called Spanky’s in Peterborough, Ontario that apparently features reet music every night and has hosted Jonathan Toubin’s Soul Clap events there. So you know he’s got the goods.

Chelsea Harman, Dab Van Ommen and Jay Nugent swing at WHAM-O WATUSI!!!

Dab Van Ommen came to our attention via DJ Rata. The two of them have DJed together, both in New York, as well as in Mr. Van Ommen’s home town of Utrecht, where he hosts many fine parties—some dealing with reggae music.

DJ Rata swings at the WHAM-O WATUSI!

Of course, DJ Rata is DJ Rata, a frequent guest DJ at the WHAM-O and one can read about him in many past Boogaloo Bag posts, such as this one and this one.

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus, Dab Van Ommen and DJ Rata conspire to swing at the WHAM-O WATUSI! (photo by Chelsea Hartman)

Not only did each DJ play incredible records, some of them came bearing gifts. DJ Alr!ght presented the Phastman with his recent mix CD. DJ Rata gave the Boog a cool Swing-A-Ling record. Our new Dutch friend gave everyone a copy of the EP Go Sound by The Riddlers, a fantastic surf combo Mr. Van Ommen played guitar with during the Nineties. He also gave the Boog a cool 45 by the Nederbeat group Ro-D-Ys.

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus swings at the WHAM-O WATUSI! (photo by Javier Roa)

For his part, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus gave each DJ a copy of The Pizza Record and played all of these 45s:

None of these records are for sale. Some of the songs listed above have links to the youtubes–click on them and recreate the WHAM-O WATUSI scene in the privacy of your own environment!

DJ Rata, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus and Dab Van Ommen are the last DJs standing at the WHAM-O WATUSI! (photo by Lilly Martini)

This Little Piggie does the WHAM-O

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For February, the WHAM-O WATUSI was pushed back two full weeks and took place on the 18th at the Bootleg Bar—Bushwick’s most exciting watering hole! But that’s ok, as it turned out that night was the best time for guest DJ Andy Maltz to make his first appearance at the WHAM.

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The Boogaloo Bag writers have been aware of Mr. Maltz for some time, mostly via a vast array of mutual friends; his bands The Little Killers and The Piggies; and through the activities of Norton Records in which he often partakes. Plus, he DJs twice a week at Union Pool in Williamsburg–Thursday and Sundays starting at 8pm. Thus, everybody already knows he has hip taste in reet sounds. However, The Boogaloo Bag writers were very impressed with his DJ skills as he applied them on January 1 at Friends and Lovers during the birthday tribute to the late great Billy Miller of said Norton Records. The way he put his set together—punk rock mixed in with garage rockers and R&B shouters—was totally boss. WHAM host Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus heard that and was knocked out completely—deciding right then that Mr. Maltz had to be asked to swing at the soonest WHAM-O WATUSI possible.

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Andy Maltz did not disappoint. First off, due to subway train schedules being mixed up over the weekend, the Phast Man was nearly 20 minutes late to the dance. Luckily, when he walked into the dark, friendly confines of the Bootleg Bar, Mr. Maltz was already swingin’, having set up the DJ booth and commenced playing cool 45s at the appropriate volume for the lucky folks in attendance. Each of his thirty-minute sets seemed to contain mini-sets that kept the beat flowing in a sensible manner, even when he was playing insensible records! For the last hour, he and Phast Phreddie traded plays, as they went from some rockabilly platters, to garage rock, to surf records before it got a little nuts.

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Unfortunately, the Boogaloo Bag writers left the camera at home, therefore no photos exist of Andy Maltz swingin’ at the Boot on this night. For that, we apologize and promise to have him back soon in order to make up for this unthinkable oversight in planning!

Here’s a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus at the WHAM-O WATUSI on February 18:

Some of the songs have links to the youtube so the reader can attempt to recreate the night in the privacy of his or her own home. None of these records are for sale.

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Solid Hit Boogaloo

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On Friday January 27 at the Commodore in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, an evening took place that could only have been billed as Solid Hit Boogaloo. Host Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus asked his pal Greg Tormo to guest DJ with him and to spin more syncopated soul records than he usually does. Mr. Tormo has great records—mostly the kind known as Northern Soul. In fact, he is known far and wide as an excellent Northern Soul DJ and record collector. His Solid Hit Soul Club of the late Nineties was a fabulous, though ultimately short-lived, stop-gap between the Empire State Soul Club and the Subway Soul Club, the latter of which came alive in the early part of the 21st Century.

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Greg Tormo makes another genius selection at Solid Hit Boogaloo!

Little did anybody know that Mr. Tormo also has a fine collection of funk records, and it was mostly those that he spun at the Commodore on this evening. Greg was obviously having a good time. It seemed as if after just about every record he played, he would announce that he had never played that one out at a club before. People, if you have an event that requires funk music, the Boogaloo Bag writers heartily recommend that Mr. Tormo be hired; he has fantastic funk records! You better catch him quickly, as he is due to move to Palm Springs, California in the fall. If the good people running the Desert Soul Club have their dirt together, they would ask Mr. Tormo to swing as often as possible.

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Greg Tormo cues another hot funk 45 at the Solid Hit Boogaloo!

Here’s a list of the soul and funk records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus at the Solid Hit Boogaloo–many with links to youtubes clips:

None of these records are for sale.

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Too Much Boogie at Big Ten Inch!

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On Sunday January 22, a BIG TEN INCH took place at the Hi-Fi Bar in the East Village of Manhattan. Along with host Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus, eight other folks showed up to spin 78s: Adam Lore, Alex DeLazslo, Tony Salvaje, Andy Upsetter, John Clemente, Michael McMahonJuke Joint Jonny and Rich Sibello. Each came packing hot 78s that were each played at the proper speed.

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Adam Lore

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Alex DeLazslo

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Tony Salvaje

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Andy the Upsetter

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Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus

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John Clemente

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Michael McMahon

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Juke Joint Jonny

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Rich Sibello

 

Highlights included a 12-inch V-Disc recording of Machito and his Orchestra and a 1968 recording by Ramito—an ode to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had just been assassinated. The latter is proof that 78s were part of the Latin music market well into the sixties and it is probably one of the most recent 78s that will get played at the BIG TEN INCH. Both of these were played by Andy Upsetter.

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Another high point of the event was when spontaneous swing dancing took place. This often happens when a hot swing or jump blues record is spinning.

A pair of Goofballs swing at Big Ten Inch!

A pair of Goofballs swing at Big Ten Inch!

Let’s not forget Adam Lore’s full set of nothing but John Lee Hooker records! “Too Much Boogie!” I don’t think so.

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John Clemente always prints out a list of the records he brings, and often plays them in the order in which they appear.

John Clemente's list.

John Clemente’s list.

In all, it was another fabulous evening of platters, pizza and pilsner at the Hi-Fi Bar. Here’s a list of all the 78s played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus:

 

None of these records are for sale

Wham-O Is What’s Happening!?!?

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In January, the weather in New York City can get pretty cold. On the evening of the first WHAM-O WATUSI for 2017 (January 7, to be exact), it was twenty-four degrees Fahrenheit. That is chilly. What the WHAM needed was a hot guest DJ, and, boy, did we get one: Matt Clarke.

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Matt Clarke swings at WHAM-O WATUSI!

Mr. Clarke must be one of the busiest men on the scene today. Most folks know him because he is in two of Brooklyn’s best rock’n’roll combos: he plays guitar for The Above and bass for Quitty & the Don’ts. He also hosts a program called What’s Happening! on the WFMU Rock ‘n’ Soul Ichiban Stream that airs every Tuesday from 3pm to 4pm. The show is heavy on the Sixties Beat Scene: British Invasion, garage rock, freak beat, Euro Beat, sunshine pop—you get the picture. (The shows are archived, so feel free to listen to them any time you need an hour of boss beat power.)

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Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus and Matt Clarke say, “Dots nice!”

Mr. Clarke is also a snappy dresser. For this special occasion, host Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus snapped up his attire as well.

With the temperature outside the Bootleg Bar way below freezing, inside the venue the DJs heated the place up with their super groovy sounds. Both played songs from the Sixties—fuzz-toned garage rock, yeah! Also, some wicked R&B and soul records were thrown into the mix for keen effect. Folks were jumpin’ around and ballin’ it up. It was a hot time at the Boot, that’s for sure!

Here’s a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus (many have links to youtubes clips so you can instantly dig them!):

None of these records are for sale.

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New Year’s Eve with Robert!

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(Photo by Melissa Walker)

For the last several years it seems somehow, some way, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus has been requested to spin records at a New Year’s Eve party. There were some great Subway Soul Club NYE events—like the two sold-out shows at the Bell House and the one at Coco 66; the several Dynagroove events at Teddy’s; and last year’s Casino Battle Royale at an undisclosed location near the Gowanus Canal. This year it was the elegantly appointed Robert Bar that swung with The Boog. Yana Li’l Jerk was the nominal hostess with Bad Penny and Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus appearing as her guest DJs.

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Bad Penny, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus and Yana Lil’ Jerk swing New Year’s Eve at the elegantly appointed Robert Bar.

Yana is a cool chick who spins regularly at the Robert Bar. On most Thursdays one can find her at the turntables spinning New Wave Brit Pop records from the Nineties at her Madchester night. Yana is also known for her love of reggae records, but she did not bring any!

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Yana Lil’ Jerk swings at the Robert Bar!

That’s ok, because Bad Penny brought some. She also brought some cool soul records and all three DJs kept the joint hoppin’ and heads were a-boppin’!

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Bad Penny swings at the Robert Bar.

The Robert Bar is a beautiful, intimate club and it was packed on New Year’s Eve. Its owner, Phil Morgan, stood up on the solid wooden bar with a watch and did the countdown to 2017. Everyone screamed, drank free champagne, hugged each other and wished each other a Happy New Year. One of the best things about this New Year party was that there was no TV screen, and therefore, no corporate countdown/ball drop from Times Square—square indeed! The Robert Bar is a solid scene where the kids are clean!

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Mr. Morgan shouted the countdown to the New Year from atop the bar!

 

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The Robert Bar was full of very groovy people!

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Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus swings at the Robert Bar. (Photo by Sam Mends-Cole)

Although it was billed as a Sixties New Year’s Eve Party, it really wasn’t, what with Yana’s Brit Pop obsession and Bad Penny playing reggae records. Even Phast Phreddie veered from the map, as can be seen in the complete list of all the 45s he played that night:

None of these records are for sale.

The WHAM Salutes Billy Miller

Lenny Kaye and Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus pay homage to their fallen friend, Billy Miller, at the WHAM-O WATUSI.

Lenny Kaye and Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus pay homage to their fallen friend, Billy Miller, at the WHAM-O WATUSI.

As noted in previous Boogaloo Bag entries, our friend Billy Miller passed away on November 13. Billy Miller was a huge influence on the Boogaloo Bag writers, especially Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus, who knew him quite well. Billy, along with this wife Miriam Linna, founded the legendary Kicks Magazine; the important Norton Record Company; and he was the lead singer for the incredible A-Bones. To get an idea of the breadth of his activities and importance to the musical community, please read the New York Times obituary. Billy sold Phreddie some of his favorite records. They often talked about records and recording artists. When Billy was in the hospital, Phreddie visited with a stack of records and a portable record player.

About a month ago, when The Phast Man was rounding up a guest DJ for the December WHAM-O WATUSI at the Bootleg Bar, our hero Lenny Kaye agreed to appear and turn some records. Billy and Lenny have been friends since the late seventies. After Billy passed, Lenny suggested the WHAM-O night be transformed into a tribute to Billy by playing some of his favorite records, records Norton issued, records that reminded us of Billy, records by artists that were important to him and especially records emblazoned with the Fortune label–the Detroit record company that Billy was in the process of writing a book about.

The event took place on Saturday December 3. Although this was not an official Billy Miller memorial, it had the blessing of Miriam, who shared the Facedog event page and expressed pleasure with Lenny and Phreddie for arranging it. It looked as if she may even show up, but alas, she was still overcome with grief at Billy’s loss and could not make it. Many of us are still overcome with grief; however, some of us were able to celebrate Billy’s life and the music he loved at the Bootleg Bar on this WHAM-O WATUSI night.

Lenny Kaye swings with Jonathan Toubin, Bobby Rich (Bootleg Bar), Drew Redmond, Todd-O-Phonic Todd, Danny Rozelle (Pretty Quick) at the WHAM-O WATUSI.

Lenny Kaye swings with Jonathan Toubin, Bobby Rich (Bootleg Bar), Drew Redmond, Todd-O-Phonic Todd, Danny Rozelle (Pretty Quick) (Avi Spivak in the back!) at the WHAM-O WATUSI.

Among the celebrants were people who were close to Billy, including Avi Spivak, the artist for Kicksville Comics; Brian Hurd, singer for the boss blues with rhythm combo Daddy Long Legs, whose records are issued by Norton; Reyes Rodriguez, who currently works with the Norton people; WFMU DJ Todd-O-Phonic Todd (AKA The Boss Groover); Jonathan Toubin (Soul Clap). Boogaloo Bag photographer Nancy “Jeannie” Gardner made chocolate crinkles that gave everyone a sweet taste.

Pixie 66 tastes one of Nancy "Jeannie" Gardener's chocolate crinkles at the WHAM-O WATUSI.

Pixie 66 tastes one of Nancy “Jeannie” Gardener’s chocolate crinkles at the WHAM-O WATUSI.

One of the highlights of the evening was about forty minutes of Lenny and top reet music DJ Drew Redmond spinning 45s from the Fortune Records catalog. That was a gas and a half! There was a fellow who brought an album by the Flat Duo Jets (issued on Norton) that he said changed his life, so a track was played. With a photo of Billy in the DJ booth, his presence was definitely felt, and one can only hope that he would have enjoyed this little tribute to him. A larger, official memorial is being planned for the spring and we hope that all the Boogaloo Bag readers will be able to attend.

A photo of Billy Miller was in the DJ booth in order to inspire rockin' records.

A photo of Billy Miller was in the DJ booth in order to inspire rockin’ records.

Billy Miller was a major force on the reet music scene, here in New York City, as well as around the world. To give you just an idea of how great of a force he was we can tell you that no less than ten WFMU DJs presented tributes to him on their respective shows in the immediate days after his passing.

Lenny Kaye and Brian Hurd swing at the WHAM-O WATUSI.

Lenny Kaye and Brian Hurd swing at the WHAM-O WATUSI.

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Lenny Kaye and Drew Redmond played a bunch of records from the Fortune catalog at the WHAM-O WATUSI.

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Lenny Kaye swings with Jonathan Toubin at the WHAM-O WATUSI.

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Lenny Kaye got visited by Todd-O-Phonic Todd at the WHAM-O WATUSI.

Even more than being such a music impresario, Billy was a great friend and one of the most wonderful human beings that anyone will ever meet. The world cannot afford to lose people like him—especially in these trying times. His absence is going to leave a significant hole in our soul forever. Nearly every one of Phast Phreddie’s DJ gigs are spiced with records that are connected to  Billy in some way, and in the future they will evoke a special poignancy and reflection.

Here is a list of all of the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus at the WHAM-O WATUSI tribute to Billy Miller:

None of these records are for sale.

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