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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BIG TEN INCH Strikes Back!

Tony Salvaje and Michael McMahon swing punches as they fight over who plays the next 78 at the BIG TEN INCH!

Tony Salvaje and Michael McMahon swing punches as they fight over who plays the next 78 at the BIG TEN INCH!

The November BIG TEN INCH 78 RPM Listening Party was quite possibly the best one ever—certainly since it was resurrected last year. There were lots of folks in attendance and a full dozen folks with 78s to play. Dig: DJ Rata; Adam Lore, Tony Salvaje, Alex De Laszlo, Ted Barron, Michael McMahon, Darren Deicide, Andy Upsetter, Justin CollectorScum, Rich Sibello and John Clemente—plus host Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus. This was quite a departure after the September BIG TEN INCH, when only three DJs showed up. This time, Club Hi-Fi was crowded and folks were excited and enthused about the sounds being put down. All the DJs had some boss jams in the shellac format. Newcomer Darren Deicide delighted us with a series of novelty songs and the other cats played the usual blues, rock’n’roll, hillbilly, mambo, jazz, R&B, doo wop and mento platters. Hi-Fi supplied some pizza and the four pies disappeared before you can say, “pizza sure is good!”

Swingsters swing at the BIG TEN INCH!

Swingsters swing at the BIG TEN INCH!

And that’s not all; Boogaloo Bag photographer Nancy “Jeannie” Gardner made some very special fudge and we all were able to satisfy our sweet teeth!

Adam Lore displays his BIG TEN INCH!

Adam Lore displays his BIG TEN INCH!

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Alex DeLazslo makes with the BIG TEN INCH!

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Andy Upsetter spins boss mento jam at the BIG TEN INCH.

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Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus is faced with a decision at the BIG TEN INCH.

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Darren Deicide plays the Elmer Fudd record at the BIG TEN INCH.

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John Clemente exhibits Excello excellence at the BIG TEN INCH.

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Justin CollectorScum proudly shows off his Rudy “Tutti” Grayzell 78 at the BIG TEN INCH.

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Michael McMahon explains the finer points of a 78 RPM record to his friend at the BIG TEN INCH.

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Rata makes it mambo time at the BIG TEN INCH.

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Rich Sibello displays his Checkered past at the BIG TEN INCH.

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Ted Barron rifles through his box of 78 RPM hits at the BIG TEN INCH.

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Tony Salvaje appears here with his black shellac at the BIG TEN INCH.

The hits do not stop there. Adam Lore was nice enough to give to The Boog one of the greatest records of all time: “Shrimp and Gumbo” by Dave Bartholomew! (This was especially appreciated after coming off a week where The Boog lost two of his closest friends.) Expect to hear this record at many up-coming BIG TEN INCH Parties! Adam, The Boog owes you in a major way—and he will be happy to make a payback of some sort!

Here’s a list of all the 78s played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus at the BIG TEN INCH, held on November 27th at Hi-Fi in New York City (click on them for link to youtubes):

None of these records are for sale.

Below is a gallery of some of the 78s played at the BIG TEN INCH:

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Wang for Waller.

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Don Waller was a friend of The Boogaloo Bag writers for more than forty years. Suffice to say that he was pretty close to Phast Phreddie, especially during the latter’s years in Los Angeles (early Seventies to 1991, when he moved to New York). Early in their lives they influenced each other in very positive ways, most of which involved music. Waller died on November 17, after a battle with lung cancer that lasted nearly a year.

The Boogaloo Bag writers are much too saddened by Don’s death to supply much background information on their dear friend. They suggest you read his obituaries in the L.A. Times, the L.A. Weekly and one that our friend Steve Hochman wrote for buzzbands. By doing so, you will start to understand the scope of the person Waller was.

There is one truth in this world: No matter what happens, no matter if the event is tragic, terrifying, ground-breaking, or no matter how extreme, life will go on. The death of Don Waller has been devastating to us here at The Boogaloo Bag because he meant so much to us. However, life goes on; and so do DJ gigs.

It was with Don Waller in mind, about a week after his passing, that we selected records for our November gig at The Commodore. Waller dug all kinds of reet music. In the early Seventies, he turned us on to The Stooges, Mott the Hoople and The New York Dolls. Blue Öyster Cult adapted one of his songs, “This Ain’t the Summer of Love.” He dug The Clash and The Sex Pistols, X and The Blasters, The Faces and The Rolling Stones. He wrote a book about the great soul music record company Motown.

Don Waller loved soul music. After his book came out in 1985, he became the go-to guy for soul music information. He interviewed just about every living soul singing legend, semi-legend, and one-hit wonder still alive in the Eighties, from James Brown on down. He enjoyed every minute of it.

When it came time to select records for The Commodore DJ night, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus found himself picking records connected to Don Waller—either ones that Waller had played when they DJ’d together, had turned the Phast Man on to, had written about or had some other association with Waller. So The Boog decided to turn the night into his own personal celebration of Don Waller and their friendship. In all, about 300 or so 45s must have been pulled—way more than the Phast Man could ever play in the five hours allotted at the Friday night gig. It was hard to edit them down: He would only have time to play less than half that many records and his box only held about 160. So it was decided: Leave the hard rock, punk rock, and garage rock at home and bring only the soul and funk records.

The Boog did a little homework. He found a Waller set list from a DJ gig he did a few years ago in an old email and used it as a guide. It included many fabulous funk records, and The Boog noted that the opening and closing records were by Georgie Fame. Obviously, a preponderance of Motown (and associated) records was in order. Waller’s DJ name was Agent Double-O Soul, so the Edwin Starr record was a must (as was the Sonny Stitt instrumental version). When Waller interviewed a soul singer, he asked every one of them this question: Of your performing contemporaries, who do you think was the most underrated? Every one of them, except one, answered that they themselves were underrated. James Brown said Joe Tex. So Joe Tex records had to be played. Waller had seen Labelle play at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, so “Lady Marmalade” was played. Other songs we learned from cassette tapes that were sent to Waller by a Detroit music collector who was helping him with research for the Motown book. In April of 1980, The Clash played a show at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip. DJ Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus was the opening act with Don Waller as his assistant. The last record they played before the band went on was Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose.” At the time, The Clash was opening its shows with a cover of “Time Is Tight” by Booker T & the M.G.’s, which has a very similar riff. The group started playing while the Otis record was spinning and it sounded as if the band was playing along with it. Waller and The Boog cracked up!! So that event was sort of recreated at The Commodore. There was one LP track that was played–a song by Major Lance that Waller dug but was never issued on a 7″ 45 RPM record. The original version of “Back Door Man” by Howlin’ Wolf had to be played, since it was the name of the hard core rock’n’roll fanzine that Waller, Phast and their pals DD Faye and Tom Gardner (among others) worked on during the mid-Seventies. And so it went.

In a sad coincidence, two artists that Waller admired, Mose Allison and Sharon Jones, also recently passed away. So their records were added to the mix as well.

Although few people in New York City knew Don Waller, the folks in attendance at The Commodore enjoyed the evening. Who doesn’t love soul music? Toward the end of the night, during one of the funk portions of the program, the place went absolutely wild, with folks frolicking and falling all over themselves; losing themselves in the music—as did The Boogaloo Bag writers.

For more than twenty years, Don Waller lived with his partner Natalie Nichols—herself an excellent music journalist. Once the tremendous shock of Waller’s death has receded somewhat (it can never recede fully for those of us who knew him), she may plan a proper memorial in Los Angeles, where many hundreds of people knew and loved him. It may be a full-on party, where we can listen to The Stooges and The Miracles and The Sonics and The Zeros and Chocolate Watchband and Wilson Pickett and Patti Smith and Little Richard and watch the video of his band The Imperial Dogs and everyone there will understand and dance and laugh and sing as we celebrate the passing of this great human being.

Maybe then we can stop crying.

Here is a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus in tribute to his friend Don Waller at The Commodore on November 25, 2016:

None of these records are for sale.