Oliver Wang: Crate Digging
- Words: Ken Taylor
San Francisco writer/DJ Oliver Wang has always had his taste-making hands in every pot on the stove–from contributing to NPR and Vibe to maintaining blogs for MSN, Napster, and his own critically vaunted Soul Sides audioblog–so it was only a matter of time before he got into the compilation-curating game. Wang culled down a list of 50 dust-covered soul gems to arrive at the 14 beautiful slabs on his first compilation, Soul Sides Volume One. Here he tells XLR8R about some of the jams that made the cut--and one that got away.
Charles May and Annette May Thomas "Keep My Baby Warm"
"I originally found this on 45 at Rooky Ricardo's in San Francisco and was just blown away by how beautifully the song blended gospel, soul, and funk. It took me years to track down the album."
Erma Franklin "Piece of My Heart"
"It kills me that so many people think Erma covered Janis Joplin when it's the other way around. Erma never had the fame her sister Aretha enjoyed, and it's a bitter truth that Joplin blew this song up better than Erma [but] I'm glad we got it on here so we could set the record straight."
Linda Lyndell "What A Man"
"An old friend, Georges Sulmers, was spinning in a small bar in Brooklyn and threw this song on. I recognized it from the Salt 'N' Pepa remake but was instantly charmed by the original. I recently had a chance to interview Lyndell–despite a 25-year hiatus, she is now back making music."
Al Green "Strong as Death (Sweet as Love)"
"This 7-inch-only song was recorded right before Green's 'Belle' era and it's one of the most amazing tracks from his years at Hi. So soulful it's searing but, for whatever reason, it never made any album. We were ready to put this on the comp but it turned out to be too expensive."
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