Curated and Written By: Derek See
Foreword By: Jordannah Elizabeth
There´s a level of naivete I try to maintain with everything I am involved in. Publik / Private is about self discovery, allowing new things to surface from the old and experiencing a level of artistic vulnerability (in a safe environment) that hopefully allows a creative envelope to open and unfold new possibilities without tearing. Publik / Private is about a lot of things, but the only thing I think about in regards to this mixtape is that you never know what you´re going to learn day to day.
I´ve run into Derek See a number of times. We run in the same circles in San Francisco and of course, I knew of his influence, but it wasn´t until a few days ago when I was surfing discogs.com (as many insanely devoted music nerds do) that I found an online discography of Derek See´s record collection…all 1,400 pages of it. The Gentle Cycle is See´s current and main music project. He also plays occasional guitar with Myron & E, The Rain Parade and Chocolate Watchband. You never know who you´re standing next to at a party.
So, without further ado, Mr. See made a mixtape for Publik / Private. It is as appreciated as much as all of the amazing artists and writers who have contributed music and words before him. Check out what Derek See is into:
Dig that ominous, hypnotic, and downright menacing groove. When Sam’s vocal begins, it’s all over.
From Birmingham, AL, Sam Dees journeyed to Nashville as a young man to begin recording in the late ’60s. Even though records such as this and the mighty “Lonely For You Baby” are the type of 45s that make soul collectors weak in the knees, these devastating records sold next to nothing upon their initial release. However, considering how whipped my personal copies of these records are, they were undoubtedly loved and partied with by their former owners. Fortunately, Sam Dees saw success as a songwriter – his songs having been recorded by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston (and dozens more) and he remains active to this day.
Sons Of Adam – Feathered Fish
Featuring legendary underground guitar hero Randy Holden, this group (relocated from Baltimore to LA also changed their name from The Fender IV to The Sons at the insistence of a notorious LA scenester/ pedophile whose name I refuse to mention) released, in this single, one of the most monstrous psych records EVER.
“Feathered Fish” was written by LOVE genius Arthur Lee (while he didn’t release a version until much later) and is like a sister song to ‘7&7 Is’.
Ray Agee – The Monkey On My Back
This side from Alabama born/ Los Angeles based vocalist Ray Agee (with an uncredited female vocalist who truly steals the show here) is by far the best recent discovery I’ve had in years. (Of course I would never make any claim on discovering a record – I mean in the sense that it’s new to me; however, not many people ‘in the know’ seem to know about this one.) This song is haunting. Fate smiled down on me when I found my copy for 50c among boxes of mostly awful, completely filthy 45s while digging in Sacramento.
Darwin Teoria – De La Ceca, A La Meca
This Darwin Teoria (not to be confused with Charles) were a Dutch group relocated to Spain who cut at least two singles, of which THIS is the one. Immediately we are hit with an overload of fuzzed out wah wah guitar and some Hammond organ that takes us on a wild ride whether it’s the dance floor, living room or behind the wheel. Almost silly, nursery rhyme like verses make way for the anthemic chant of the chorus; my friend Brian (aka DJ Midnight Cowbwoy, and that is not a misspelling) played this song TWICE at Mod Chicago 2012 and when he played it again at around 3 AM Saturday night/ Sunday morning it was a call to arms that hypnotized and brainwashed me that I MUST HAVE THIS RECORD, while those of us still awake were tearing up the dance floor to this massive sound. Luckily I was able to score one of my own rather quickly. It’s been stuck in my head ever since.
Wooden Nickels – Nobody But You
The lead vocals here are from legendary Motown singer Brenda Holloway. As she was signed to Motown at this time, her name isn’t mentioned anywhere on the record, and it’s very, very hard to find. A pity, as this devastating piece of roof raising soul should be in the collection of every enthusiast of the sound. Easily in my top ten singles, ever.
Barbara Lynn – I’m A Good Woman
Barbara Lynn is a trailblazer and hero. Equally talented as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, she fearlessly began her musical career as a teenager when the idea of a female guitarist was nearly unheard of. ‘Good Woman’ is perhaps her ultimate statement, as it lays it all on the line in a devastating 2:20. I have had the pleasure of hearing the actual session tape for this record; the track was recorded live in the studio, and Barbara sang and played the guitar part at the same time, with no overdubbing.
Brian Jonestown Masacre – That Girl Suicide
I’ll never forget the day in 1996 when this CD arrived in my mailbox. My old band had just released our first album on a Bomp records offshoot, and Bomp sent a big package with their recent releases. I put on Methodrone and was very humbled. I had been feeling pretty confident about our band, but the song craft and sonic world of BJM sent me back to the drawing board. And has again and again over the last 19 years.
The Velvet Underground & Nico- I’ll Be Your Mirror
Although one could easily say who ISN’T influenced by The Velvets? I’ve been a fanatic since I was a kid, and their music just gets better and better to me over time. ‘Mirror’ is perhaps the most beautiful lyric ever put to pen. The simplicity and beauty of this track will reduce me to a puddle every time.
Ruth Copeland – Your Love Been So Good To Me
Ruth Copeland recorded two albums in the early 70s that used the mightiest backup band in the land; (the original lineup of) Funkadelic. Ruth is an English answer to Janis Joplin of sorts, and while some of the tracks on her records are a bit on the odd side, the ones such as this where Funkadelic flies the freak flag are lethal. Eddie Hazel is a massive influence on my guitar playing, and he lays out one of his finest solos on this track.