Randy “Hotthobo” Ellis is a co-owner and label manager of Hobo Camp Records and Voltaire Records in California, longtime vinyl DJ/collector, host of the NTS radio program “Mint Condition”, as well as a producer, re-mixer, arranger, event promoter/coordinator and frequent contributor/collaborator to projects like Loose Shus, Chautauqua, Elegant Borzoi and Relish. His DJ sets journeys deep into an abyss of new, classic, and obscure 12″ and 7″ records, with a focus toward high-end boogie, disco, two step, sweet soul, italo, house and modern funk.
1. What’s your favorite tune to cruise at night?
Wah Wah Watson – “Good Friends” (1976)
A true cruiser, the guitar licks get you instantly prepped for the ride, and quickly the whole arrangement just builds and falls right into place. The bass is heavy and repetitive enough, but still totally live with licks and feels galore. Wah Wah (born Melvin Ragin) was a seriously in-demand session guitar player, so if you ever want to trip out, check out the long list of classic tunes he played on.
2. What’s your favorite tune to chill?
General Lee & The Space Army Band – “We Did It Baby” (1979)
“We Did It Baby” sonically replicates the same feeling that I get levitating through clouds in my dreams. The instrumentation, chords, strings and vocal glide along lushly, and instantly put me at ease.
3.What’s your favorite tune for a romantic evening?
Leroy Hutson – “Paradise'” (1982)
Saxophones, synth bass and heavy breathing with Leroy’s amazing vocals rounding it out…can’t think of anything much more sensual than that. Chicago soul always seems a step deeper than the rest, Leroy being a perfect example of the Chicago sound throughout his career, with this particular track exemplifing that notion.
4. What’s your favorite tune to shake your body down to the ground?
Blue Feather – “Let’s Funk Tonight” 12” Mix (1981)
his one gets in the groove and just keeps pushing…once it opens up to the solos, it’s certified dancefloor mania, breaking it down for everyone to actually get into a trance and follow wherever they happen to be taken organically…and you can play this one looooong. When dancing to most songs it’s typical to just grab onto one thing (for me its typically the bass and drum patterns), and just ride that out, but with this track as a dancer you can literally follow any instrument and jump between them.
5. What’s the tune that gives you instant nostalgia?
Michael McDonald – “I Keep Forgettin” (1982)
Although I vaguely remember this track from my childhood, it always reminds me of the G-Funk classic that sampled it: Warren G – “Regulators” … it dually brings to mind the smooth yacht-rock AOR stuff that dominated the radio in the 80s, and also all the Rap and G-Funk stuff that I listened to in the 90s that either sampled or emulated that sound. Also I was trained to do live sound by a sound-guy that used this song to test every single system that we set up…his argument was that he knew this song so well that he could pick out any issue on any system, that it was a safe enough song to play in front of any crowd/client, and that anyone from any background or upbringing would probably like it.