Are You a Herb?

Herb Sundays is a weekly playlist series chosen by me, Sam Valenti. The "herb" in question is an allusion to NYC slang for an uncool person. The name came out of a tweet I sent admitting/sharing I was listening to a Greatest Hits album by Steely Dan, which is sort of like doubling down on a questionable position.

I ask world-class music fans, some more famous than others, to make their perfect Sunday mix for "when no one is looking." So it should be a great mix but maybe include some unexpected or uncool moments that work in this context. No posing, no flexing, just the best stuff.  Check out the mixes.

image by Michael Cina

Feedback from:

Cool Hunting: “For someone like the Turner-prize winning conceptual artist Jeremy Deller, that includes Willie Nelson’s cover of “The Harder They Come” by Jamaican musician Jimmy Cliff. Music supervisor Jocelyn Michelle Brown recommends pairing her Sunday assortment with oolong tea while Luaka Bop co-owner Yale Evelev simply offers up a playlist of songs chosen in pairs. Herb Sundays has something for everyone’s euphonic palate—although, even in their herbiest moments, the selections veer wonderfully far from the mainstream.”

Substack: You interview “world-class music fans” for this newsletter. What does it mean to be a world-class music fan?

SV4: My criteria is that the folks I ask for playlists have dedicated a large portion of their life to the search for music in some capacity. They don’t have to work in music, but music informs their work and is a big part of their inner life or sense of self.

Why Is This Interesting?: “All the Herb mixes are fantastic. But I think the one I’ve gone back to the most is #17 from noted DJ, graphic designer, and label boss Trevor Jackson (a true WITI hero). As I said, my measure of how much I like one of these is how many paths it takes me down. I think I’ve now got albums in my library with nearly every song featured on this mix.”

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People

Sam Valenti IV
Asking people for playlists