Scroll to the bottom for a link to a playlist based off this week’s Hear to Listen.

As promised in last week’s debut listening column, I return to you with more sound selections from a trustworthy source: Dennis Owens.

If you’ve called yourself a resident of Long Beach in the last 25 years and you haven’t heard that name or of a certain dance night called The Good Foot—congratulations, you’re exactly the type of person this series hopes to help.

Owens has been running his all vinyl funk and soul night for a quarter century and over those years he’s inspired plenty of people to try their own hand at disc jockeying. On Friday, he and seven other DJs lugged cases of wax up to the Alex’s Bar stage to celebrate 25 years—and boy did the floor shake under a great many good feet.

When I took my own first Good Foot steps, it was just a handful of years ago. That night, I got the sense that the entire population of Alex’s Bar was in on something I’d long been missing out on. Weaving through the 100-plus sharply dressed attendees, I reached the belly of the beast (the dance floor’s center) and let myself be lost in it.

After all, it’s nearly impossible to stand still when James Brown is blaring, and why fight city hall? From that night on, I knew where to find my funk footing again each month.

But enough about myself and onto the person responsible for all this Friday grooving.

Owens and I talked for over an hour last week about the origins of The Good Foot, which you can read about here. We also talked about his methods of musical foraging—which span almost every genre from cumbia to punk. First off, it doesn’t hurt that he works at Twelves, a record shop in Downtown Long Beach. Secondly, he’s kind of a bookworm.

“I’ve always loved researching music,” he said. “I read about music history all the time and even about things I don’t necessarily like. The whole world of music is something that’s so endlessly fascinating to me.”

During the pandemic, Owens said he finally found time to dig into jazz and classical music, a feat that isn’t as simple as finding a new funk 45 for Good Foot.

“I just started reading about it. Classical is not the type of thing, you know, like the tracks we look for as DJs where it’s immediate for us and we can tell quickly whether we’re feeling it or not. With jazz and classical, you just have to sit down and listen and decide for yourself. There’s no easy route.”

Here’s what Owens has to impart.

What’s been selling at Twelves lately? What have people been looking for or asking you about? 

Customer favorites at Twelves: Thee Sacred Souls, Ralfi Pagan, Joe Bataan, Brenton Wood and MF Doom to name a few.

Are there any notable trends you can share? What’s the most popular format lately (vinyl, tapes, CDs, etc)?

Twelves primarily carries used vinyl (soul, funk, jazz, classic/punk/alternative-rock, Latin music, reggae and more) on LP & 7” single, although we do carry some new releases, especially stuff on Daptone, Penrose, Stones Throw, Numero Group, Colemine, Big Crown, Discos Mas, Analog Africa and any number of other similar labels.

We also have a small, but nice selection of cassettes. Unfortunately, we don’t carry CDs.

What records, tracks or artists are YOU into this week? 

Current, up-to-the-minute favorites:

“Contours” LP – Sam Rivers

“Point Of Departure” LP – Andrew Hill

“Journey To Satchidananda” LP – Alice Coltrane

“Unity” LP – Larry Young

“With Love From The Lovelites” LP – The Lovelites

“I Can’t Stand The Rain” LP – Ann Peebles

“Don Blackman” LP – Don Blackman

“Musical Massage” LP – Leon Ware

“I Can See” LP – Ralfi Pagan

“Recto Verso” LP – Paradis

“Angin Kencang” EP – Noh Salleh

“Don’t You Give Your Love Away” 12” single – Steve Shelto

“Don’t Use My Heart” 45 – Fresno Cruz and Pauline Gibbs

“(It’s Gonna Be A) Long Hot Summer” 45 – Pam Kellum

“Tell Her She’s Lovely” 45 – Batteaux

“Unyielding” 45 – Gloria Taylor

“Running Back And Forth” 45 – Edwin Starr

“Beggin’” 45 – Timebox

“I Wouldn’t Change A Thing” 45 – Coke Escovedo

What’s the most common request that you get at the DJ booth?

I rarely get song requests at The Good Foot. I mainly get requests for birthday shout-outs, which I’m happy to do.

What was in your very first stack of records?

The first pieces of music that I owned were 8 tracks that my parents bought for me: Kiss, Beach Boys & Barry Manilow (!!!).

The first pieces of music I bought with my own money were on cassette. Some of the earliest cassettes I bought were the first three Oingo Boingo releases, Run DMC’s first album, “Escape” by Whodini, the Beat Street soundtrack, “Radio” by LL Cool J and “Pyromania” by Def Leppard.

Later, when I started buying records, my first LPs were records by The Specials, The Selecter, English Beat, Circle Jerks, Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys, Bad Religion, Descendents and the first Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 LP (which I actually acquired from my parents’ very small record collection).

If you had to pick a handful of tracks that have come to define The Good Foot—the go-to floor fillers since the early days—what those would be?

“From The Love Side” – Hank Ballard and the Midnight Lighters, plus several other James Brown-related productions (too many to list!)

“Baby Be Mine” – The Sweet Delights,

“Expansions” – Lonnie Liston Smith

“Getcho Soul Togetha Part Two” – Breakestra

“No No No” – Boogaloo Assassins

“Melo Do Tagarela” – Gang Do Tagarela

“Last Night Changed It All” – Esther Williams

“Funky Kingston” – Toots & The Maytals

“Zombie” – Fela Kuti

What genre/era have you been digging into and learning about lately?

Having a bit of extra time during the pandemic helped rekindle and deepen my love for jazz (as you can see from my playlist). It also allowed me time do a deep dive into classical music and I found that I love chamber music more than symphonies (I especially love string quartets), and most of my favorite compositions come from 20th Century modern and avant-garde composers (with the exception of Beethoven’s late string quartets, which I love and were my gateway into classical music).

Additional comments?

Come visit me at Twelves on the weekends! We have good records! Come to The Good Foot! It’s every third Friday of the month at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach!

We’ve created a playlist based off of Owens’ up-to-the-minute favorites and the tracks that have come to define his 25-year dance night, The Good Foot, in this column. Find it on Spotify here.

The Hi-lo’s Hear to Listen is a weekly series where you’ll be able to find new music recommendations from the most reliable sources: Long Beach music heads. Are you a Long Beach-based musician, DJ, record store worker, band director, choral singer, a person with an obscene record collection or just a local music nerd with good taste? Email me