Wednesday, March 06

03-06-2024 Both Sides Now: A CHIRP Vinyl Listening Bar

Audiotree Presents:
7:30PM Doors | 7:30PM Show

Each month, one of CHIRP Radio’s tastemaker DJs curates a selection of vinyl specially designed to make your ears happy. This month’s installment is curated by DJ Joe Held:

Both Sides Now: Faces of Soul & Jazz: from Chicago and London

The Staple Singers – Be Altitude: Respect Yourself (1972)
Many consider this to be The Staple Singers’ best single album, which contains three Top Ten R&B hits, “Respect Yourself,” “I’ll Take You There,” and “This World.” The first two were Top 20s on the Pop charts, and “I’ll Take You There” going all the way to number one.” This record was named after the passage in Matthew 5 in the Bible, which is known as the “Eight Beatitudes” and introduces the Sermon On The Mount. The songs on this album are similar to sermons – but they never sound preachy. They are truthful, determined, and full of hope. Stax co-owner Al Bell was the producer for this album. Rather than use the Stax in-house band of Booker T & the MG’s, Bell decided to switch things up and record the backing sessions in Alabama with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and the Memphis Horns.

SAULT – 5 (2020)
This is the debut album from this secretive London based collective, lead by Ivor Novello award winning producer INFLO (aka Dean Wynton Josiah Cover), who has worked with Little Simz, Michael Kiwanuka, Jungle and Adele. Regular singers in the collective include Cleo Sol (Cleopatra Nikolic) and Kid Sister (Melisa Young). The music is a mix of soul, funk, Nigerian Afrobeat and rock. Many songs mine similar grooves and rhythms to the sounds coming from soul and funk artists in the early 70’s (Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown, Rufus ft. Chaka Khan, Willie Hutch, B.T. Express, Cymande, and others) and funk-loving, post-punk bands in the late 70’s to early 80’s (A Certain Ratio, Maximum Joy, ESG and Rip Rig + Panic). The mellower, laidback tracks have familiar neo-soul sounds. Their lyrics are often inspirational and they touch on social justice issues. Could Sault be considered to be a contemporary version of The Staple Singers?

The Style Council – Café Bleu [UK] (1984)
March 16th marks the 40th anniversary of this debut release from The Style Council, a group fronted by the duo of Paul Weller (The Jam) and Mick Talbot (keyboards: Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and The Merton Parkas). Weller called it quits for The Jam when they were near the peak of their success, because he felt it had run its course, and he wanted to work on music that was based on his love of soul, R&B, and jazz music. This is an ambitious album, covering many styles, including soul, jazz, funk, lounge and hip-hop. It was essentially an attempt to create a soundtrack for contemporary progressive, mod culture and style. It was significantly removed from punk culture and sounds. Many of these tracks include political and social commentary (similar to The Jam) – criticizing conservative economic policies of Thatcherism. The music is primarily performed by English musicians. A few guests include: Tracey Thorn & Ben Watt (Everything But the Girl), D.C. Lee (Diane Catherine Sealy, later to become Weller’s wife). This album appears in the book 1,001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2011 Edition). [Note that debut US album that included many of these songs was much different, with a different track order, different mixes, and some tracks omitted. Additionally, the US album title was My Ever Changing Moods.]

Makaya McCraven – In These Times (2022)
This is a great album from a Chicago based artist who has established himself as a highly regarded jazz drummer and producer. Does the album title refer to the “times” we are living through, or does it refer to the musical times signatures? McCraven works with a variety of time signatures throughout these tracks. The music is a mix of contemporary jazz with some hip-hop rhythms. Rather than being as improvisational as much of his previous work, these songs seem to be more planned and compositional. McCraven plays a variety of instruments on this one: drums, sampler, percussion, tambourine, baby sitar, synth, kalimba, vibraphone, Wurlitzer, and organ. Many other proficient artists from Chicago and North American contribute, including: Brandee Younger (harp), Junius Paul (bass), Lia Kohl (cello), Jeff Parker (Tortoise on guitar), Marquis Hill (trumpet & flugelhorn), Macie Stewart (FINOM fka OHMME on violin), Marta Sofia Honer (viola), Joel Ross (vibraphone, marimba), Greg Spero (piano), De’Sean Jones (flute), Matt Gold (guitar, percussion, baby sitar), Rob Clearfield (piano), Zara Zaharieva (violin), and Greg Ward (alto saxophone), Irvin Pierce (tenor saxophone).

Step into a realm where the music takes center stage and vinyl records reign supreme. Introducing Both Sides Now: A CHIRP Vinyl Listening Bar — a monthly oasis for music aficionados and introverts alike. Nestled in the cozy upstairs room of Schubas Tavern, this unique event happens every first Wednesday of the month. Our vinyl listening bar, inspired by the captivating tradition popularized in post-World War II Japan, celebrates the pure joy of listening. Embracing the ethos of listening bars around the world, we prioritize the sublime experience of vinyl, brought to life through stellar sound systems. Experience your favorite albums played front to back in full high fidelity, while enjoying drink and food offerings from Schubas Tied House. Let the DJs from CHIRP Radio 107.1FM curate the sonic journey each month as you savor the symphony. “Both Sides Now” is your sanctuary, an introvert’s dream where the focus is on the music, not loud conversations or bustling dance floors. Join us and immerse yourself in the world of vinyl, one needle drop at a time.

This show is at Schubas

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3159 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
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