Brian Hart Cassidy is a member of Universal Cave. Philadelphia`s three-man crew of DJs, diggers, and music lovers. Alongside friends, Ryan Todd and Shawn Ryan.
I first became aware of them when they would very kindly post me copies of their Soft Rocks For Hard Times mix-tapes. Compilations of impossibly curated funky and soulful, “Wants-List” generating, guitar-led obscurities. Long before the format became fashionable.
In 2014, the cassettes led to a series of sell-out 7s. Again initially focusing on the crossover between singer / songwriter / axe-hero and the dance floor / sun-lounger.
Pulling in Euro-Disco rarities by teaming up with the likes of Jaz
Then bringing in Selvagem for a Brazilian special
Last year they started releasing 12s of new music, beginning with California`s Sorcerer and Beat Broker.
Just like Universal Cave`s release schedule, Brian`s mix for The Remedy is super eclectic.
Words, Music & Pictures by Universal Cave`s Brian Hart Cassidy.
Illustration by Grace Hwang.
Rob said that “Ban Ban Ton Ton” is an onomatopoeia – like a kid banging on a drum. The image of a kid playing on a drum is an inspiring thought to focus on while listening to music. That image – either remembering being a child, drumming, or watching a child drumming – paints a pure, dynamic expression of life. Drums are always my favourite. I know that`s silly, but when the drums are right, I always want to dance.
Eric Dolphy – Improvisations and Tukras
What would the dance to this song look like? Improvisations and Tukras was composed for Modern Dance while Dolphy was studying Indian composition. Gina Lalli on tablas and vocals counts out the rhythm in a hypnotic cadence. My friend Jon played this for me *rather late one night* and floored me. I’d forgotten all about it by the time he handed me a copy of the LP a few weeks later. My kind of late night record. Recorded in New York City, 1960. Dolphy died four years later.
Ken “Professor” Philmore – Mr. Magic
This makes me laugh every time. A steel drum cover version of Mr. Magic is something I can’t resist. Nice album artwork doesn’t hurt either.
Niney The Observer – Nuclear Jammin
The synth on this is so sinister. Thanks to Jared for so many good trades and friendly sales over the years.
Stella Monye – Satisfaction Guaranteed
I`ve been playing this as often as I have an excuse. Nigerian Modern Soul / Boogie with a nice break.
Tony Gregory – You and I
My friend Shawn Ryan – who runs Universal Cave along with Ryan Todd and myself – gave me this LP as a wedding present last summer. Kindest.
Caiphus Semenya – Without You
For my two cents, this is all I’m looking for in a Modern Soul tune. It destroys me every time. As far as I know, Without You is only available on Semenya’s Listen to the Wind LP or as the B-side to the Kenyan 7” pressing of Angelina. If only Jive had pressed Without You on all those Angelina 12s!
Bill Campbell – Nearest to My Heart
This is a great 12″ for a nice price. My friend Ian was playing the 45 at work one day and I grabbed a 12 by the end of the day.
Tropic Amber – Loving Song
I like this at 33+8 a lot. This is at 45-8 to fit the mix. I’m currently obsessed with dubbed out horns. These aren’t even that crazy but they work like an earworm for me.
The Collective Star – Circle Around
Take a look at the cover and label and try not to listen to it. Spiritual Jazz. Percussion.
Ed Moxey – Stew Fish and Grits
Ed Moxey was cultural powerhouse in the Bahamas. He championed Bahamian heritage, performed music at Progressive Liberal Party demonstrations, and became a politician who created a cultural centre called Jumbey Village – to focus on championing Bahamian culture as well as economic development. A documentary is out there about him, The Price of Being A Man, which won a best documentary award at the Ft. Lauderdale film festival in 2012. Can someone track that down? I would love to watch it.
I`d never heard of him, his public life or LP, when I found a copy of the Stew Fish and Grits 45 in a crazy hoarder’s disaster zone in the Middle of Nowhere, Ohio. My friend Anthony and I listened to it in a motel room on a portable, googled the dude, and learned all about his story. An interesting, well-documented figure who laid down one ripper of a tune. Talk about drums. I could listen to those all day long.
Patience Africa – Ngiyesaba
The song is Ngiyesaba, or “I’m Afraid,” by South African Pop singer Patience Africa. This is a single from her LP, Let’s Groove Tonight.
James Chimombe & The Ocean City Band – Cecilia
This one is beautiful. Those keys and the hook. The drummer is tight. The Ocean City Band is a name that I could never pass up. I can’t help but think of Ocean City, Maryland or New Jersey when I read the name.
Muriel Mwamba and Direction Band – Memories
A stepper on the Zambezi label, who I think put out Witch’s Lazy Bones LP. Easily. Some interesting info on her later career here.
Keith Sweat – Lucky Seven (Instr.)
Keith Sweat’s current radio show The Sweat Hotel is so ill. Classic sample source Soul, some New Jack Swing and smooth 90s RnB. The drummer on Lucky Seven is so tight. Those fills are too smooth. I was talking about this 45 with a friend as something I wanted to find. He goes out, finds it the next day and mails it to me straight away. Sometimes all you have to do is talk about a record and it shows up. Thanks, Cameron. Now all I need is that UK only Mark Morrison Return of the Mack 45.
Al Collie and the VIPs – Just My Imagination
I rediscovered this in my collection as I was sorting things to sell, and grabbed it back at the last second. This cover version grew on me. I really like the steady woodblock and the ambient sound in the recording. Coincidentally his album features a song dedicated to Ed Moxey’s Jumbey Village.
Abafana Bentuthuko – Special Invitation
A South African Jazz-Rock 45. I could stand for a 10 minute edit of this to listen to that guitar float on forever and ever.
Thanks to Dr. Rob for asking me to contribute to his radio show. Thanks to all my friends who spoon feed me incredible music every day. And a special thanks to Grace Hwang for the illustration that so perfectly fits the spirit of the music.