The Tiara and the Fez: A Soul Music Showdown!

Connie T Empress does the boogaloo in front of the Robert Bar, emphasizing the magnificence of her tiara. Photo montage by Luis Zuluaga.

On July 27, Joshua White, an owner of the tastefully appointed Robert Bar in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, posted on the Facedog that he needed a DJ for Saturday August 19. Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus–living up to his name, for once–saw it and pounced. Maybe a second or two later, Connie T Empress, the Empress of Soul Records, also saw it and asked for the night. Thus, it was decided that the tiara-wearing Empress and be-fezzed Boogaloo Omnibus join forces on this evening in order to present Tiara vs Fez: There’s Gonna Be a Showdown!

 

Empress at the controls!

As has been written previously in the Boogaloo Bag , Connie T Empress was the den mother of the late, great Empire State Soul Club. Also, that Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus is the resident DJ for the Subway Soul Club. So you just know that when these two get together a few soul records will be played.

And so they were.

Connie T Empress and Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus display their respective headgear at the Robert Bar! Photo by Christopher Kay.

The Empress excited all the attendees with her excellent selection of favorites from the Empire State Soul Club days. Those ESSC events were so fabulous and every record that Miss Connie played reminded us all just how so. The Boog, on the other hand, played a bunch of new acquisitions along with a few old favorites and folks seemed to dig it anyway.

Brooklyn Babydoll and her man Jack swing at the Robert Bar!

Another one of the highlights of the night were the yummy oatmeal/chocolate chip cookies baked by Nancy “Jeannie” Gardner. Although she was unable to make the scene, her presence was very much felt! Thank you, Miss Nancy! It was great to see some familiar faces at the Robert Bar and we met some new folks, too, including Christopher Kay and Luis Zuluaga, both of whom took some photos that are presented here in this Boogaloo Bag post. Thank you, people!

Here’s a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus at Tiara vs Fezz: There’s Gonna Be a Showdown!

None of these records are for sale. Dig the links to the youtubes and dig the soul sounds!

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus and Connie T Empress swing at the Robert Bar!

 

Two Years of Swingin’ at the WHAM-O WATUSI!

Kid Congo and Phast Phreddie swing at the Second Anniversary of WHAM-O WATUSI!

The very first WHAM-O WATUSI took place on July 10, 2015–originally billed as a “one night only” event hosted by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus with guest DJ Rata on hand to spice up the festivities. It was such a success that the owner of the Bootleg Bar, Mr. Bobby Rich, insisted that the WHAM-O return to the club. It did, of course, eventually settling in on the first Saturday of the month–well, usually.

The WHAM-O was advertised as “a whole new scene, concocted in the Wang Dang Doodle laboratory by crazy people. It is the playing of old 45 RPM records containing all sorts of reet sounds: in other words—folks bangin’ on shit and screamin’!!!” Things have not changed since then. Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus and his fabulous guest DJs have done a very consistent job in spinning only the bossest, wildest, reetest of sounds–in other words, folks bangin’ on shit and screamin’! This has been going on for two years! So a celebration was in order and it took place on Saturday August 5.

Guest DJ for the Two Year Anniversary of WHAM-O WATUSI was the legendary Kid Congo Powers. As you know, The Kid was a guitarist for The Gun Club and The Cramps. Hanging out with Jeffrey Lee Pierce and Lux Interior, you can be assured he was exposed to some fabulous old noise. That is the exact sensibility that the WHAM-O WATUSI strives for and Kid Congo brought it in buckets! He played some super boss records, including some whacked-out rockabilly gassers, rippin’ R&B stompers and plenty of boppers full of East L.A. grease.

Note here that The Kid has been quietly developing his own night, called Sex Beat, at a groovy club called Cafe Nine in his present home town of New Haven, CT.  The event consists of The Kid playing “searing 60’s soul and Garage rockets, psychic surf, 70’s Glam Bam Bam, 70’s Punk peanut shells, and any other wild thing [he] can find.” Sounds like our kind of action. The next one takes place on Sunday August 13. Don’t miss it!

Oh! The Boogaloo Bag writers would be totally lame if we did not mention The Kid’s current day job: leader of a great rock’n’roll group called The Pink Monkey Birds. The band makes an absolutely wicked racket and should be checked out as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, back at the Bootleg Bar, the party was further enhanced by the wonderful and delicious Mexican brownies made by Boogaloo Bag photographer Nancy “Jeannie” Gardner. Miss Jeannie has baked several sweet items for the WHAM-O faithful over the years, so perhaps she should actually be considered as a co-host of the event.

Mexican brownies. MMMM…yummy!!

The WHAM-O Second Anniversary drew a bunch of old pals to the Bootleg Bar, too, including our dear old friend Kevin Long, an original member of the great L.A. Eighties Mod band The Untouchables (dig his story of this fine band here!). The Boogaloo Bag writers were also very pleased that several of Phast Phreddie’s fellow reet music DJs also dropped by to swing, including Mr. Vacation, Drew Redmond and Reyes Rodriguez. Mr. Redmond and his significant other Zuzia Mrozinska proceeded to do the alligator on the floor; Mr. Vacation hopped around in ecstasy; while Mr. Rodriguez was simply happy to meet Kid Congo.

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus, Kevin Long (Untouchables) and Kid Congo Powers.

Kid Congo Powers, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus and Drew Redmond.

Kid Congo Powers and Nancy “Jeannie” Gardner.

Kid Congo Powers, Mr. Vacation and Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus.

Kid Congo Powers!

For the occasion, Phast Phreddie dragged out a bunch of his favorite 45s–especially some hot garage rock blasters that, when he played a set of them, Mr. Redmond declared, “Phreddie, you are killing it tonight!” All for the sake of the WHAM!

The Boogaloo Bag writers would like to take a moment here to thank Bootleg Bar owner Mr. Bobby Rich for allowing all this “bangin’ on shit and screamin’” go on for so long. It’s been a stupendous two years. Here’s hoping for another two or so, at least!!

Below is a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus at the Second Anniversary of the WHAM-O WATUSI:

None of these records are for sale. Click on the links to the youtubes and dig yourself!!

BIG TEN INCH Summer 2017 Edition!

Nancy “Jeannie” Gardner distributes her wonderful chocolate chip cookies at the BIG TEN INCH.

Very often, mid-summer events are attended very poorly–due to folks going on vacation; folks not wanting to deal with the heat; too many other things to do. Not so for the BIG TEN INCH, held on July 30 at the Hi-Fi Bar in the East Village of Manhattan. There was a lovely crowd of folks, old friends and new, who came to dig the spinning shellack discs. Everybody had a great time, diggin’ the old noise, eating pizza and man, those chocolate chip cookies that Boogaloo Bag photographer Nancy “Jeannie” Gardner made were super yummy! She even went so far as to bake some gluten-free brownies for one of the regulars, who has a health issue with that sort of thing. It was really incredible of her to be so thoughtful. How many other DJ nights can boast such hospitality? Folks, if you are not making it to the BIG TEN INCH, you are not making it anywhere!!

Adam Lore swings with a hot blues on the Cobra label.

Alex De Laszlo heats up the joint with a mambo!

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus searches for a disc that the crowd will dig!

First-timer Josh Mackie played some swing records, then gave them away!!

Smart-ass Juke Joint Jonny played a set of all 12-inch 78s!! Great stuff, too!

Justin CollectorScum played a bunch of new acquisitions.

Michael McMahon always plays hot Hillbilly records!

Tony Salvaje displays his cool Sonny Boy Williams 78 on Decca!

So who was there–who brought 78s to spin? Well, along with host Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus, there were several regulars: Juke Joint Jonnny, Adam Lore, Justin CollectorScum, Michael McMahon, Alex De Laszlo and Tony Salvaje. Newcomer Josh Mackie not only played the 78s he brought, but he gave many of them away! If you dig 78s, you gotta come by, because someone is always trying to find a new home for old discs. (The Boog scored a great calypso record and played it!)

Here’s a gallery of some of the 78s that were played:

Here’s a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus:

None of these records are for sale. Some of them have links to the youtubes or the George Blood collection at the Internet Archive so you can dig the action in the privacy of your own mind.

Midsummer Night WHAM-O!!

Binky Griptite and His Incredible Jumping Orchestra!

The first of July was no holiday for Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus. He had two DJ gigs scheduled for that day: First was the Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. Second was WHAM-O WATUSI at the Bootleg Bar in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Although the gigs were on opposite sides of town, it was made a little easier with Midsummer Night Swing starting and ending early and the WHAM going way into the wee hours. But things weren’t as simple as they should have been–they never are.

Binky Griptite plays the blues guitar at Midsummer Night Swing!

The featured performer at Midsummer Night Swing was Binky Griptite and his incredible jumping orchestra. Mr. Griptite, as the astute Boogaloo Bag reader knows, was the guitarist for The Dap Kings, the funky band behind the late, great Sharon Jones. After Ms. Jones‘ sad passing last November, Mr. Griptite proceeded to reinvent himself as a modern day T-Bone Walker–singing and playing guitar in front of a swingin’ and rockin’ little big band…and he does it really well. The Boogaloo Bag writers witnessed a performance at a high school gymnasium about a month earlier and dug the scene. At his Midsummer Night Swing gig, his band was augmented with a couple more horns, a female singer and our pal Eli “Paperboy” Reed on harmonica. The Boog was on hand in order to provide the spinning of jump blues 45s between sets.

Eli “Paperboy” Reed and Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus dig the Clarence Gatemouth Brown record!

However, Mother Nature had other plans. After The Boog‘s short opening set, dance instructors took over in order to show the many folks in attendance how to dance to blues music. They got maybe 10 or 15 minutes into it when it started to rain…really hard…thunder and lightning! That put the end to that real fast. However, the show was only delayed, not stopped. The Boog‘s first set was severely edited and Mr. Griptite and his orchestra performed two 45-minute sets, instead of the usual two one-hour sets a band normally does at these events.

Our pals April Palmieri and Phillip James swing at Midsummer Night Swing!

During the rain delay, The Boog was able to get together with Mr. Griptite to make sure he does not play any song that the band may perform that night. That may prove to be embarrassing…or at least, redundant. Mr. Griptite was able to show The Boog his list of songs for the first set.

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus swings at Midsummer Night Swing!

The second set was another thing. Having not seen that set list, The Boog played “Honey Hush”  between the band’s sets. It was the second or third song that Binky Griptite and His Orchestra played! Mr. Griptite is a talented and gracious human being who probably doesn’t care about such things. The Boog, on the other hand, was totally embarrassed and apologizes to Mr. Griptite, his great musicians, the nice people who put on Midsummer Night Swing every year, and the fine multitudes who were in showed up to dance. After this, The Boog packed his stuff and headed to Brooklyn, a cloud of shame hovering over his head the whole way.

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus and Sir Charles Gaskins compare notes at the WHAM-O WATUSI!

When we got to the Bootleg Bar in deep Bushwick, guest DJ Sir Charles Gaskins was already set up and goin’. He was playing hot punk rock records for those who arrived early. Sir Charles always has great records and he played a ton of them on this night, including some hard rock numbers we haven’t heard in a long time. Sir Charles has appeared in the Boogaloo Bag several times before, so make sure you dig him here, and here!

Sir Charles Gaskins cues a hot number at the WHAM-O WATUSI!

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus started his first set with five Popeye records in order to pay tribute to Sir Charles, who has a fondness for Popeye’s Chicken–one sits across the street from the Bootleg Bar. The Boog then proceeded to spice his sets with some of the jump blues records that he didn’t have time to play back at Lincoln Center, along with the usual WHAM-O fare–garage rock, R&B, surf and soul records.

Charles Gaskins and Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus swing at the WHAM-O WATUSI.

[The next day, The Boog took a jet to San Francisco where he spent two weeks, thus the late posting of this Boogaloo Bag entry.]

Here’s a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus at the Midsummer Night Swing in Lincoln Center featuring Binky Griptite and his Orchestra:

Don’t forget to click on the links to the youtubes in order to dig the tracks!

Here’s a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus at the WHAM-O WATUSI that very same night:

None of these records are for sale.

Shake It Up Sundays at Rockaway Beach!

Disreputable Shaman, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus, Grace of Spades, Rata and Wig Doctor swing at Shake It Up Sunday!

For the last several years, our pal DJ Rata has been hosting fabulous parties at Rockaway Beach on certain select Sundays during the summer. Called Shake It Up Sunday, it takes place at Caracas, an open-air Venezuelan restaurant located along the boardwalk at the beach (the coconut smoothie is godhead!). The place has a huge patio, and that’s where the festivities took place on June 25. The date was close enough to Rata’s birthday (the 29th) that it was celebrated, too. Since Rata is a big Batman fan, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus (who was invited to play a few rekkids) and Boogaloo Bag photographer Nancy Jeannie Gardner surprised him with a batch of Batman cupcakes, Batman napkins and Batman balloons. Oh, did we mention that The Boog wore his Batman socks?

Tony Salvaje, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus and Rata swing at Shake It Up Sunday!

Rata also invited a few other boss jocks: Grace of Spades, Wig Doctor and Disreputable Shaman. (There may have been one or two others, but they must have left before the Boogaloo Bag writers arrived, or else they kept low profiles. Tony Salvaje was in the house, but forgot to bring records!). Plus, The David Hillyard Quintet played two sets of funky, vibes-driven, soul jazz.

DJ Rata plays some hot mambo records at Shake It Up Sunday!

But let’s start the Sunday the way we should–at Field Number One in Prospect Park, where Phast Phreddie pitched a 9-4 win game in the early afternoon. (One of the players on his team, Joel Wilhelmi, showed up with his family to make the scene at Shake It Up Sundays later that day. Mr. Wilhelmi played a key roll during the game when: while playing short stop, he went for a ground ball, tripped, knocked the ball toward the second baseman, who picked it up, stepped on the bag and threw to first base for a 6-4-3 double play!). Then, after the game and a quick presto-change-o, The Boog and Nancy Jeannie were off: F Train to the A Train that will take them to Rockaway Park. However, the wait at the Jay Street station was a l-o-n-g forty minutes. Plenty of trains came and went, but not the train to Rockaway. However, the wait was made quite pleasurable by a fellow playing a steel drum and singing Bob Marley songs on the platform.

A steel drummer plays for the people in the subway.

Finally the train came and the hour or so trip was completed. The Boogaloo Bag writers showed up at Caracas around 5:30–just in time for The Boog to sneak in about 30 minutes of 45 RPM records before the jazz combo played.

The David Hillyard Quintet featuring Larry McDonald really swing at Shake It Up Sunday. That’s star softball player Joel Wilhelmi with his daughter riding piggy-back in the background.

And what a jazz combo! It was lead by David Hillyard, an excellent tenor saxophonist who also plays with the ska/reggae influenced rock band The Slackers as well as The Rocksteady 7, a Jamaican jazz outfit that also features Larry McDonald. Mr. McDonald is a legend among Jamaican music aficionados, as he has played on a myriad of rocksteady and reggae records. In fact, that very day, The Boog had a record in his box that Mr. McDonald played on–one by Carlos Malcolm. The David Hillyard Quintet also included a talented vibraphonist and the group spiced its improvisations with Latin and reggae rhythms for an exciting mix of grooves.

Grace of Spades hits the decks with heavy, heavy dub and rocksteady beats at Shake It Up Sunday!

Grace of Spades has been mentioned in the Boogaloo Bag a couple of times. Once when she worked with him at an Out of Sight night at the Beauty Bar. Another time, she invited The Boog onto her radio show, Watch This Sound, for a tribute to Sam Cooke and Etta James. She has great reggae records and The Boog’s vinyl glands salivate when she plays them!

Wig Doctor acts casual as he spins another exciting record at Shake It Up Sunday! Don’t believe the sign; the Wig Doctor did NOT play any trash!!!

The Wig Doctor is a cat we met through the ubiquitous and inimitable Drew Redmond (they often DJ together at the Bootleg Bar). He played some fabulous records.

Disreputable Shaman expertly cues an off-center Colombian 45 at Shake It Up Sunday!

Disreputable Shaman is a fellow we met that day. He specializes in South American rhythms and often plays them at Club Barbes in Park Slope. He is said to have one of the finest collections of Peruvian and Colombian records in the Northern Hemisphere. Indeed, he played several tremendous ones that day.

Rata and Jamaican music legend Larry McDonald.

After the second set of the jazz combo, the DJs took turns playing two songs apiece until the Caracas people turned the lights off and kicked everybody out. It was about as magical as any night could have possibly been in the borough of Queens. The Boogaloo Bag writers all had a blast and they wish Rata a very happy birthday.

Nancy Jeannie Gardner’s Batman cupcakes made quite a yummy scene at Shake It Up Sunday! That’s Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus in the background, yearning for another taste!

Here’s a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus at Shake It Up Sundays:

None of these records are for sale. Many of the songs have links to the youtubes so you can dig them in the privacy of your own head!

* After it was played, this record was presented to Rata as a birthday gift.

Jumpin’ with Rebel Boogaloo Action!

Seiji Sato swings at Rebel Night!

How often do we have to say it: Rebel Night is BOSS and we dig it! Hosted by a host of crazy Japanese kids–Seiji, Hiromo and JunichiRebel Night features some of the rockin’est rock’n’roll music you will ever hear: loud, pure, simple, perfect for dancing and with a heavy emphasis on the rockabilly. On Friday June 23, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus was asked to guest DJ at its first event at a new location: Diviera Drive. At one time, the location was a gas station/auto repair shop, but it had been closed for a very long time and about a year ago some folks turned it into a swingin’ Italian restaurant where, on weekend evenings, they pull out the tables and chairs and let folks swing. Thus was the room when the Rebel Night took place.

Hiromu Yanagiya is at the controls at Rebel Night!

Our good friend DJ Jumpy was also on the scene and along for the ride. Each DJ was allotted 30 minutes, as per an hourglass (or half-hourglass, as the case may be) that was employed to keep each disc-spinner honest.

Junichi Matsuzaki cues another boss jam at Rebel Night!

Hiromo commenced the evening with fine set of rockin’ tunes. Then The Boog was up and he kept the house hoppin’. Seiji continued with the rockin’ sounds. I don’t know how he does it, but at every Rebel Night, Seiji proves himself to be one of the finest rock’n’roll DJs around. Next up was DJ Jumpy, who benefitted from the breakdown of the hourglass–he had been at the turntables for well over 45 minutes before anyone realized that the sand in the hourglass was stuck! That’s OK, though, because his set had to be one of Jumpy’s best the Boogaloo Bag writers had ever witnessed. Folks were dancing the entire time.

DJ Jumpy attempts a clean cue at Rebel Night!

The official Rebel Night hourglass was fixed and Junichi–another guy with great records–took his turn at the DJ booth. Lead-off batter Hiromo followed with an even better set than his earlier one. During The Boog’s second set, he was praying that the hourglass would jam up again; he was having such a gas playing records for the dancers that he didn’t want to quit. Seiji, on the other hand, took full advantage of the generous amount of drink tickets dispensed by the club, and when it was his second turn, he declined, lest he ruin one of his rare records. Judging by his second set, Jumpy must have also taken advantage of his allotted drink tickets; nearly every one of his offerings was mis-cued!!! Yeowzah!! (Though it should be noted that the PFL system was less than optimal.)

Junichi finished off the night with another fine set of rockabilly madness. The night ended way too soon. Folks were still dancing when the club announced it was time to go home. WHAAAHHHH!!! But what a night was had and anyone who would like to re-live it can always refer to this here Boogaloo Bag.

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus greases his hair back for Rebel Night!

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus swung with Fifties and Sixties hits and hot ones. He got a request to play a couple soul records, so he played the rockin’est soul records he had in his box! It’s always a pleasure to play for the people when the people are twistin’ to the beat. Dig it all the records he played at Rebel Night here:

Every song has a link to the youtubes. Dig it!! None of these records are for sale.

Nitty Gritty Noizz City!!

Nitty Gritty Soul City is a get down Rock and Soul event hosted by our pal Drew Redmond–one of the City’s excellent disc-slingers of reet music. It takes place at a fairly new club in Williamsburg called Diviera Drive whenever Mr. Redmond can get it together. The night includes racket-making by punk bands; the playing of old soul, R&B and funk records by DJs; plus the artistic gyrations of Go-Go dancer Anna Copa Cobanna. On Friday June 16, the guest DJ was Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus.

Three fabulous bands were scheduled to play: The Wilful Boys, The Die Die Die’s and The Art Gray Noizz Quintet. The Boogaloo Bag writers got to the venue too late to see The Wilful Boys, so a photo and a report on them will not be available. Only the last song of The Die Die Die’s was witnessed–but it was a rockin’ one! The group includes Max Frechette of The Othermen (one of our fave acts) on guitar, so we must look out for the group in the future.

The Die Die Die’s

The entire set of The Art Gray Noizz Quintet was experienced and the Boogaloo Bag writers are pretty unanimous in their praise of said teen combo. The band made a solid, rockin’ noise–as per its moniker (but there are only four guys in the band). A special treat was that the band included the excellent fret-work of Andrea Sicco of The Twin Guns (another fave band) and the two-string bass playing of our pal Ryan Skeleton Boy. That’s right, folks, the cat played with only two strings on his bass. He couldn’t have added anymore strings if he wanted to since the instrument only has two tuning pegs; but man, the guy got the utmost from the two strings he used! The Art Gray Noizz Quintet further impressed the Boogaloo Bag writers by including a cover of “Life of Crime” by The Weirdos in its set. Man, that was a gas. A little nostalgia for us old folks, eh? So this could be our favorite new teen combo!

The Art Gray Noizz Quintet

Due to the fact that the Boogaloo Bag writers were unfamiliar with the layout of the club–first timers–and that Miss Cobanna’s dancing area and her fan club was across the room, on the other side of a column holding up the building, photos of said Go Go dancer will not be gracing this entry of the Boogaloo Bag. The Boogaloo Bag writers humbly apologize to Anna Copa Cobanna, as well as to everyone expecting to see pictures of her in her cash-stuffed bikini!! This is truly a sad day for the Boogaloo Bag

However, reet music trainspotters can take solace in viewing the list of every record played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus at Nitty Gritty Soul City here:

Drew Redmond swings at Nitty Gritty Soul City!

None of these records are for sale. Click on them for youtubes links to dig in the privacy of your own head.

Miss Muzia hangs with Drew Redmond at Nitty Gritty Soul City!