Look among the members of Sweet Potato and you'll find musicians from San Francisco Bay Area bands (of the past and present) like The Hieroglyphics Ensemble, The Paul Dresher Ensemble, The Dry Look, Kotoja, Simone White Trio, Alphabet Soup, Dysjoynt, Papas Culture, Zydeco Flames and Wazobia, among others. Search the Sweet Potato lineup for a "star", and you'll be easily drawn to soloists Dave Agretellis (for his furiously funky tenor workouts) or Bruce Gordon (for his in-the-pocket Clavinet and Hammond chops). But taking this approach with Sweet Potato misses the point: this is a band in which all the cats rip. So potent is the Sweet Potato formula that their first two studio recordings were immediately picked up by San Francisco-based label Ubiquity. The first, Crankshaft, was released on the Ubiquity compilation Mo' Cookin, released in March 1994. Their second track, Monkey Wrench, is on the pre-release 12" for Still Cookin, released July 1994. Hipsters from all over the States, as well as Australia, Japan, Germany, and England, have called in to say they're "down with the Potato sound."
WET WILLIE Ubiquity Recordings has released the latest Sweet Potato track, titled "Wet Willie". This slow and sneaky growling groover appears on a Ubiquity compilation called Whats Cookin.
Although the members of Sweet Potato have mostly moved on to other projects, there are some great tracks in the Fog City archives that may see release in the future on Fog City Records compilations.
"the new guardians of East Bay funk"
Blues & Soul(London)
(top of the Giant Step playlist)
- DJ Smash (Groove Collective NYC)
"one fat slice of JB's-style retro-funk!"
- Urb (Los Angeles)
"a dancefloor party driven explosion"
- Jazz Juice (San Diego)
"jazz funk with a generous portion of groove"
- Touch Magazine (London)
For help on playing back these excerpts on your computer, click here.
- Crankshaftavailable on "Mo' Cookin" (Ubiquity URLP 004 / URCD 004)
SOUND BITE: 24 sec. audio file
- Monkey Wrenchavailable on pre-release 12" single (Ubiquity UR12 003)
and on "Still Cookin" (Ubiquity URLP 005 / URCD 005)
SOUND BITE: 31 sec.
- Wet Willie
available on " Whats Cookin" (Ubiquity URLP 014 / URCD 014)
(Photography by Alex Hansen)
To check out some flyers from past Sweet Potato gigs, click here.
Some of the Sweet Potato tracks have been released on the Ubiquity Recordings label. For information on where to find these releases, click here. A compilation is planned for release on Fog City Records in the near future. It may include a track from past Sweet Potato recording sessions. Click here to join our mailing list; we'll be sure to tell you when we have a release date.
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