Khruangbin appeared as the latest guest in Amoeba Music‘s long-running viral series, What’s In My Bag? During their appearance on the quarantine-adjusted home edition of the program, the members of the three-piece outfit highlighted their native Houston, TX music scene.
Appearing first was bassist Laura Lee Ochoa who decided to choose all 45″ records, “because they’re the cutest of all the records.” She began the Houston-centric theme with Billy Preston‘s “Kick It”/”And Dance” and described Preston as a “Houston legend”. Lee Ochoa would also go on to choose “the most Houston song ever” in Archie Bells & The Drells‘ “Tighten Up”, which was recorded at Houston’s Sugarhill Studios.
After that, it was on to drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson, who continued the Houston theme with Ronnie Laws‘ Flame, who he also describes as another “Houston legend.” Johnson highlighted the track “All For You” which features Larry Dunn (Earth, Wind & Fire). Later on in the video, DJ took things in a different direction with the Southeast Inspirational Choir‘s I’ll Go which he said is “very special to the Houston-area and the gospel scene.” Though released in 1983, the Choir still exists today and even had a reunion concert just before COVID-19 hit.
“Founded in the early 80s, [the Southeast Inspirational Choir] features an organist by the name of Carl Preacher who I’m a huge fan of,” DJ said. “Carl Preacher has his own signature sound on the B3 organ to where he plays the choir parts as the choir’s singing them, and it’s what I grew up thinking church sounded like.”
Related: The Story of Khruangbin: Global Sounds, Sonic Journeys, & “All That Rad Sh*t” [Interview]
Guitarist Mark Speer rounded out the band’s What’s In My Bag? session with more Houston notables, as well as a callback to one of DJ’s picks. Speer’s first pick was Hubert Laws‘ Say It With Silence, a “1978 jazz-funk masterpiece featuring members from the illustrious Laws family”, which included Ronnie Laws. On Say It With Silence, Speer highlighted the “end of the night, dance floor chiller ‘Love Gets Better’, that song itself is worth more than the price of admission, which was $3.”
Speer also dug up Bubbha Thomas & The Lightmen‘s Free As You Wanna Be. Khruangbin’s guitarist has a personal connection to Thomas as the late multi-instrumentalist was once his instructor back in Houston. Speer described the record as “a psych-jazz, borderline free jazz, workout. Gets pretty out there. Y’all are absolutely not ready for the tracks ‘High Pockets’, ‘#109 Psychosomatic’, and ‘Luke 23:32-49’. This is an out-there record.”
Finally, Speer brought the session to a close with the most Houston record possible with Man On The Moon. The record was recorded live at Mission Control in Houston, TX during the Apollo 11 moon landing.
“Let’s get cosmic with your host with the most, Roy Neal,” Speer said. “And featuring performances from Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins as they launch into their hits ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ and ‘One Small Step’. It’s out of this world.”
Watch Khruangbin’s appearance on Amoeba Music’s What’s In My Bag? (Home Edition).
Khruangbin – What’s In My Bag? (Home Edition)