Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ernest Ranglin - Below The Bassline/Boss Reggae

Ernest Ranglin - the greatest Studio One session guitar man. He plays on the majority of the ska and reggae singles - My Boy Lollipop, The Rivers of Babylon etc.etc. He is also a great jazz player, having recorded with Sonny Stitt, among others.
Below The Bassline is his recent "comeback" recording - a mellow and very very groovy jazz/reggae fusion. When I heard it, I thought it sounded like Monty Meets Sly and Robbie, except with guitar upfront instead of the piano. Sure enough, it turns out Monty Alexander is backing him on this disk; in fact, they are old mates, having played together in Jamaican studios in the 60s and 70s, on the Skatalites', Jimmy Cliff's and Prince Buster's records.
In general, I am suspicious of the "comebacks", but this one is a big exception. If anything, I like it better than his '70s Boss Reggae (which is more reggae, less jazz). Here are both albums, you are welcome to make your own comparison.

Ernest Ranglin - Below The Bassline 1996
REUP: depositfiles
320kbps, 126 mb
1. Congo Man Chant
2. Surfin'
3. King Tubby Meets The Rockers
4. Satta Massagana
5. 54-46 (Was My Number)
6. Ball Of Fire
7. Black Disciples
8. Bourbon Street Skank
9. None Shall Escape The Judgement
10. Nana's Chalk Pipe
11. Below The Bassline
Personnel: Ernest Ranglin (Guitar); Monty Alexander (piano, melodica); Ira Coleman (Acoustic Bass); Idris Muhammad (Drums); Gary Mayone (Keyboards, Percussion); Rolland Alphonso (Tenor & Soprano Sax)

Ernest Ranglin - Boss Reggae 1970?
link below
1. Grandfather's clock
2. Soulful i
3. Liquidation
4. Dr. no-go
5. Everybody's talking
6. Pop-a-top
7. Sweet sensation
8. Scoopy
9. There's a fire
10. My elusive dreams

You can also find another Ranglin-Monty collaboration, "Rocksteady", over here.

Three archives on depositfiles:
Boss Reggae + Ultimate Ranglin Roots
Below the Bassline + In Search of a Lost Riddim
A Mod A Mod Ranglin + Memories Of Barber Mack + Sounds And Power

Miriam Makeba - Folk Songs From Africa / Pata Pata

I became aware of her through a book on linguistics. She is singing in Xhosa, which is one of the click languages. It is thought that the click languages are the most ancient language group on Earth. The first tune here is titled A Click Song AKA Qongqothwane, where the q's are alveolar clicks.
She was pretty popular in US in the 70s. I have no release info on this CD, but it sounds genuine to me: no synths, no drum programming, the instrumentation is sparse and authentic. So this is most likely a collection from her original 60s albums, or even if it's a recent (re-)recording, then it's just as good.

Miriam Makeba - Folk Songs From Africa
44mb, 128kbps
1. Click Song
2. Retreat Song
3. Mbube
4. Suliram
5. OlililI
6. Amampondo
7. Nomeva
8. Pole Mze
9. Saduva
10. Iyaguduza
11. Kilimanjaro
12. Qhude
13. Dubula
14. Umhome
15. KwedinI
16. Maduna
17. Lakutshn Ilanga
18. Mayibuye

This is one of the original albums from the early 70s, including the song that made her famous - Pata Pata. It's an African standard, like Mbube AKA Wimoweh.

Pata Pata, 1972
160 kbps, 40 mb
REUP: sharebee
01. Pata Pata
02. Ha Po Zamani
03. What is Love
04. Maria Fulo
05. Yetentu Tizaleny
06. Click Song No.1
07. Ring Bell, Ring Bell
08. Jol'inkomo
09. West Wind
10. Saduva
11. A Piece of Ground
12. Malayisha

Rumba Congolaise AKA El Congo Brazza Kin

The buttery music on El Congo Brazza Kin (Marabi/Harmonia Mundi) evokes rather than duplicates the classic Cuban-influenced music of the Congo, which in its heyday carried more than a hint of brashness. The quasi-acoustic approach partners low-key amplified guitars with up-front percussion and vocal harmonies so soothing they make sleep seem laborious in contrast. Most of the core repertoire of songs made famous by African Jazz and African Fiesta is carried here by the Rumbanella Band. This third-generation rumba outfit was formed in 1986 by singers Madou Lebon Mulowayi and Lola Bivuatu, bassist Bolita Mzela Zimbika and guitarist Kankonde "Serpent" Joseph to keep alive the old-time Kinshasa sound. Tabu Ley Rochereau's "Kellya" gets a Hawaiian vocal lilt plus guitar arpeggios with a few slack-key-style pull-offs, while the gliding "Ngalula" probably isn't an ode to hairy female legs despite a typo to that effect in the liner notes. Rumba pioneer Wendo Kolosoy fronts his band Victoria Bakolo Miziki, bringing yodeling vocals and a dash of golden-age Ngoma label-style grit to "Botiakitembé." His reprise of his 1948 hit "Marie Louise" strains his pipes a bit, but Rumbanella fills the vocal cracks with effortless instrumentation. Veteran likembe thumb-piano virtuoso Antoine Moundanda contributes improvised song "Bounsana" about the recent civil war in the Congo that for all its loveliness feels out of place on a rumba disc, as does his "Wendo Likembé" with Kolosoy adding vocals. Think of them as added texture on a nearly flawless release.

Real Congolese rhumba had a lilting rhythm that's almost irresistible, especially when paired with harmonizing voices on top. And this, although it's new, is definitely real rhumba, not the speeded-up soukous that ruled in the '70s and '80s. The sensuous mix of Cuba and West Africa is safe in the sure hands of Rumbanella Band, a young group of musicians who are not only skillful, but imbued with the spirit of history. But this is more than a re-creation — some of the genre's early giants also perform, like Wendo Kolosoy, whose "Marie Louise" (done anew here) was one of the first Congolese rhumba records in 1948. He's wonderful with the veteran band Victoria Bakolo Miziki, but one of the joys is to hear him perform with his old friend Antoine Moundanda (who plays thumb piano) on "Wendo Likembé." This is an easy joy of a disc, quietly effervescent, going through some classics of the genre with taste and real elegance, but never forgetting that at its heart this is music for dancing. Perhaps, in the long wake of Buena Vista Social Club, this music is due for a real revival — and this mix of old and young musicians might well be rhumba's Buena Vista. It's certainly every bit as glorious and luscious.

A very thorough article: A golden age reborn: classic Kinshasa rumba.

Various - El Congo Brazza Kin
320kbps, 155mb
REUP2: two separate archives
Pt. 1 on rapidshare or sharebee
Pt. 2 on sharebee

Guitar Paradise of East Africa (Kenya)

Though at least three of the artists came up in Zaire, this classic compilation comprises six four- or five-minute Kenyan dance hits and five eight- or nine-minute Kenyan dance hits. So I guess it's benga, a beat/genre/label even more all-embracing than the soukous it cheerfully lifts. Though at times the guitaristics billow like Kinshasa, they're gentler, quirkier, more rural--and they're not definitive, because this is a song album. Nasally conversational or breathily musical, the voices get catchy to impossibly fetching melodies, and though only one band can afford horns, that band comes up with a great chart--a great cheesy chart. Intensely pleasurable up till cut seven, Orchestre Super Mazembe's atypically dark, typically gorgeous "Shauri Yako." After that, five consecutive tunes make you sit up and exclaim, "Oh boy, that one." Destructible, I suppose--persuasion, not power, is the idea. But if this is one world, undeniable. A+
Robert Christgau

Drawing deeply on the rhumba and benga rhythmic traditions that are so important to the popular music of Kenya, Guitar Paradise of East Africa gathers singles by such local legends as Daniel Kamau, H.O. Kabaselleh, and Orchestra Super Mazembe. The selections all feature vocals prominently, but as the compilation's title indicates, the guitar plays a central role in every song; rippling, cascading guitar lines flow throughout each track, and in some cases multiple lines bounce off each other contrapuntally. This latter tendency is especially apparent on Kabaselleh's "Achi Maria" and on the remarkable "Odesia," a song by Les Mangelepa that features a Latin-tinged horn chart along with complex duo guitars and a throbbing, syncopated bassline. Most of these recordings come from the mid-'80s, and the sound quality isn't always top-notch, but the musical quality is amazingly consistent. Highly recommended.

Now that Kenyan music is a firmly-established genre we see it shading off into distinct Benga, Luo and Swahili styles, and there is the pervasive influence of Soukous. Zairean expatriates Orchestre Virunga had their VIRUNGA VOLCANO rereleased on CD in 1990, a soaring set of incendiary music from East Africa. But Kenya stems the tide of Zairean bands with its own brand of energetic guitar music. Issa Juma & Les Wanyika Stars SIGALAME 2 and Super Mazembe GREATEST HITS were licensed by Discafrique from Kenyan companies and remixed for Western ears. Both are outstanding. Quavery vocals, dissonant harmonies, jagged spindly guitar lines and brisk hi-hat and snare drumming are the earmarks of Swahili pop, which is recorded with an echoey dance-hall sound. Some of the bands, like Les Wanyika, hail originally from Tanzania, a country which is only beginning to realize its musical potential, with a state-run contest this year to identify the top bands. GUITAR PARADISE (& its companion KENYA DANCE MANIA) is an introduction to some of the less prominent bands, but includes Super Mazembe's monster hit, "Shauri Yako," (originally by Nguashi Ntimbo) one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Another characteristic of Swahili pop is a long drawn-out bridge where the music gets very spare so the recording can be sliced to make an "A" and "B" side, and of course the second half is not so much a reprise as an excuse to cut up the rug and leave the ends frayed.

Guitar Paradise of East Africa
REUP 11/11/14: zippyshare or
66mb, 128kbps
1. Sukuma Songa - Sukuma Bin Ongaro
2. Achi Maria - H. O. Kabaselleh
3. Mumbi Ni Wakwa - Daniel Kamau
4. Odesia - Les Mangelepa
5. Wana Wanyika - Simba Wanyika
6. Mama Kamale - Sukuma Bin Ongaro
7. Shauri Yako - Orchestra Super Mazembe
8. Ndia - Peter Mwambi
9. Harare - Les Mangelepa
10. Ndiretikia Ni Nii - The Famous Nyahururu Boys
11. Mwendwa Jane - Kilimambogo Brothers

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mose Allison Sings

Mose Allison is my favorite jazz singer, along with Armstrong and King Cole. All three started as instrumentalists (both Mose and Cole were piano players), but luckily for us, were forced into the singing role by the market demands. None of the three have a "real singing voice", but their minimalistic (especially so in Mose's case) approach is much more effective than five-octave vocal histrionics. Mose's singing is rooted in country blues: he was born in the Delta, and that southern drawl which many associate with black bluesmen is his birthright. Unlike Cole, Mose have never abandoned his piano playing; it is more modern-sounding than his singing, with bop influences, and the combination works wonders.

In addition to his keyboard and vocal talents, Mose is also a great songwriter, very witty and sardonic. His songs are somewhat like Motorhead's - they are all the same, bearing his signature, but different enough to make you want more. I think I have 10 albums of his, and that's not nearly enough. I am in good company, too: his records were extremely popular with the british hipsters in the 50s and 60s, and his songs were covered by The Yardbirds (I'm Not Talking), The Who (Young Man Blues), Blue Cheer (Parchman Farm), The Clash (Look Here), Van Morrison (a whole album of Mose covers) and everybody in between.

This record came out as Mose Allison's Greatest Hits On Prestige, but it's an earlier record repackaged with three instrumental bonus tracks; the original album, Mose Allison Sings, was a compilation drawn from six previous Prestige albums: Creek Bank, Local Color, Back Country Suite, Autumn Song, Young Man Mose and Ramblin’ with Mose Allison, all released in the late 1950s. * Not all the tunes here are originals, Mose covers Willie Dixon's Seventh Son, Sonny Boy's Eyesight to the Blind and Ellington's Don't Get Around Much Anymore. Just to show off my credentials, I gotta boast that I have it on vinyl!
More reviews: 1, 2

Mose Allison Sings
REUP: depositfiles
105 mb, 320kbps
1. The Seventh Son
2. Eyesight To The Blind
3. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
4. Lost Mind
5. I've Got A Right To Cry
6. Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand
7. Parchman Farm
8. If You Live
9. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
10. One Room Country Shack
11. I Hadn't Anyone Till You
12. Young Man's Blues
13. That's Alright
14. Blueberry Hill [bonus]
15. Trouble In Mind [bonus]
16. Creek Bank [bonus]

Alternative artwork:

A bitrate rant

Listening to music mostly on an iPod, like I do, means that I have to seek a balance between the quality of the encoding and the space considerations. In practice, that means I don't mind 128kbps and prefer not to have 320kbps on my player if I have a choice of smaller files. I prefer 192 and above for modern recordings and, say, at least 96 for pre-30s records and things like Hasil Adkins. When I rip my own CDs, the default is high VBR (around 200).

In the last few years it became easier to find and download album N off the web rather than go through my shelves, pull an actual CD out, rip it, tag it etc. etc. I think this trend will only accelerate, so I do not view my mp3 collection as anything permanent to pass onto my grandchildren. What that means, again, is that the music here is only to introduce you to the new sounds, sometimes with an "introductory" bitrate. If you dig it, you can find an audiophile-quality copy (i.e. buy a CD) for your heavy rotation.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Reefer Songs

A most excellent compilation of early blues and jazz concerning the muggles, tea, reefer, the jive and many other wonderful things known to the law enforcement as Cannabis sp. A very strong selection of tunes by a variety of artists, from the better-known like Benny Goodman and Ella Fitzgerald, to the forgotten ones. Hardly any filler here at all, folks!

REUP: megaupload
128kbps, 62 mb
1. Reefer Man - Don Redman And His Orchestra
2. The Man From Harlem - Cab Calloway And His Orchestra
3. Here Comes The Man With The Jive - Stuff Smith And His Onyx Club Boys
4. If You're A Viper - Bob Howard And His Boys
5. Texas Tea Party - Benny Goodman And His Orchestra, With Jack Teagarden
6. Light Up - Buster Bailey's Rhythm Busters
7. Jack I'm Mellow - Trixie Smith
8. Sweet Marijuana Brown - Barney Bigard Sextet
9. Viper Mad - Sidney Bechet With Noble Sissie's Swingers
10. The Weed Smoker's Dream (Why Don't You Do Right) - Harlem Hamfats
11. The G Man Got The T Man - Cee Pee Johnson And His Band
12. All The Jive Is Gone - Andy Kirk And His Twelve Clouds Of Joy
13. The Stuff Is Here - Georgia White
14. Wacky Dust - Chick Webb And His Orchestra, With Ella Fitzgerald
15. Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs Murphy Ovaltine - Harry 'The Hipster' Gibson
16. Jerry The Junker - Clarence Williams And His Washboard band
17. Reefer Song - Fats Waller
18. Lotus Blossom (Sweet Marijuana) - Julia Lee And Her Boy Friends
19. Willie The Chimmeny Sweeper - Ernest Rodgers
20. Weed - Bea Foote
21. Save The Roach For Me - Buck Washington
22. Knockin Myself Out - Lil Greene
23. Minnie The Moocher - Cab Calloway And His Cotton Club Orchestra

Alternative artwork:

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mas boleros

Los Panchos - Los mejores boleros
Another best-of, this one does have Besame Mucho.

Eydie Gorme & Trio Los Panchos
Eydie Gorme, a beautiful woman and a wonderful singer. I had this album before. The last tune, La Ultima Noche, is really something.

VA - Boleromania 4 CD
A compilation. Get it here, while the links are still alive.

Four Los Panchos albums here:
I did not check the links.

Brazil: Forro - Music For Maids And Taxi Drivers

Accordion-triangle-drum trios from rural Brazil play primitive barnburning asskicking dance music, 90 seconds apiece. If you ever wondered what would the Ramones sound like with a squeezebox instead of the guitars, pick up this CD and find out. And with the title like that, you know you can't go wrong!

Brazil: Forro - Music For Maids And Taxi Drivers
REUP 2/18/2014: zippyshare
68mb, 256kbps
1 Balanço da Canoa / Toinho de Alagoas (Rock the Boat) 2:13
2 De Pernambuco Ao Maranhão / Duda Da Passira (From Pernambuco to Maranhao) 2:13
3 Eu Também Quero Beijar / José Orlando (I Want To Kiss, Too) 2:55
4 Bicho da Cara Preta / Toinho de Alagoas (Black-Faced Ghoul-A Folkloric Figure) 1:53
5 Comeco de Verão / Heleno Dos Oito Baixos (Start of Summer) 2:53
6 Peça Licenca P'ra Falar de Alagoas / Toinho de Alagoas (Ask If You Can Speak of Alagoas) 1:49
7 Recordação da Passira / Duda Da Passira (Remembering Passira) 2:36
8 Agricultor P'ra Frente / José Orlando (Modern Agriculture) 2:57
9 Entra E Sai / Heleno Dos Oito Baixos (In and Out) 2:09
10 Linda Menina / José Orlando (Pretty Girl) 3:00
11 Casa de Tauba / Duda Da Passira (Wooden House) 1:44
12 Morena da Palmeira / José Orlando (The Brunette of Palmeira) 2:39
13 Caráter Duro / Toinho de Alagaos (Hard Character) 1:31
14 Minha Zezé / José Orlando (My Zezé) 2:07
15 Sonho de Amor / Toinho de Alagoas (Dream of Love) 1:44
16 Namoro No Escuro / Toinho de Alagoas (Dating in the Dark) 1:52
17 Forró da Minha Terra / Duda Da Passira (Forró of My Land) 1:45

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Essential Radio Birdman 1974-78

A most excellent punk band from the so-called Down Under, land of the kangaroos and AC/DC. Influenced by MC5 and the Doors. They actually collaborated with Manzarek on some of the later songs, you can hear that unmistakable keyboard sound. I was very emphatically introduced to them by a manager of KDVS (UC Davis indie radio station), who was not only a music freak, but also a very beautiful and smart girl, and thus cool beyond belief. So, you know they gotta be good! The first song, Aloha Steve and Danno, quotes from Hawaii Five-O (known to many in the Ventures rendition), which only adds the bonus points.

Radio Birdman - Essential Radio Birdman 1974-78
97 mb.
REUP: depositfiles
1. Aloha Steve and Danno
2. Murder City Nights
3. New Race
4. Love Kills
5. Descent into the Maelstrom
6. Burn My Eye '78
7. I-94
8. Anglo Girl Desire
9. Hand of Law
10. Snake
11. Do the Pop
12. Non-Stop Girls
13. What Gives?
14. Man With Golden Helmet
15. Hanging On
16. Crying Sun
17. Smith and Wesson Blues
18. Time to Fall
19. Alone in the Endzone
20. Breaks My Heart [Live]
21. More Fun [Live]
22. Dark Suprise [Live]

Os Grandes Sambas da Historia

These are two samba compilations I grabbed from a blog which is now, unfortunately, deceased, so I re-upped them. A nice historical cross-section of the style, the tracks range from 1930 to late 70s.
As I was going to post this, I found that there are more volumes posted here, so I included them, as well.
Bitrate is 128kbps for all volumes.

REUP: - all 5 volumes in one archive, 160 mb

1 Pelo telefone - Almirante, Pixinguinha e Grupo Velha Guarda (1955)
2 Batuque na cozinha - Martinho da Vila (1972)
3 Cabritada mal sucedida - Geraldo Pereira (1953)
4 Feitio de oracao - Maria Bethania (1965)
5 Se voce jurar / Para me livrar do mal - Ismael Silva (1973)
6 Abre a janela - Orlando Silva (1938)
7 Patrao, prenda o seu gado - Martinho da Vila (1974)
8 Acertei no milhar - Jorge Veiga (1971)
9 Palpite infeliz - Aracy de Almeida (1935)
10 Se acaso voce chegasse - Cyro Monteiro (1938)
11 Eu gosto da minha terra - Carmen Miranda (1930)
12 Canta Brasil - Cauby Peixoto e Angela Maria (1992)

1. Gosto que me enrosco - Carlos Galhardo (1968)
2. Burucuntum - Carmen Miranda (1930)
3. Al al - Carmen Miranda e Mario Reis (1933)
4. Faceira - Silvio Caldas (1931)
5. Na virada da montanha - Francisco Alves (1935)
6. Alegria - Orlando Silva (1937)
7. Pisei num despacho - Jackson do Pandeiro (1947)
8. Mulata assanhada - Elizeth Cardoso, Jacob do Bandolim e Conjunto poca de Ouro (1968)
9. Da cor do pecado - Silvio Caldas (1939)
10. Pra chatear - Sambistas do Asfalto (1967)
11. Escurinha - Cartola (1977)
12. Brasil pandeiro - Anjos do Inferno (1971)

01. Ze Keti - A Voz Do Morro (1973)
02. Elizeth Cardoso, Jacob do Bandolim e Conjunto Epoca de Ouro - Barracao (1968)
03. Cyro Monteiro - Falsa Baiana (1944)
04. Mario Reis e Conjunto Gente do Morro - Estas no meu Caderno (1934)
05. Carmen Miranda - Minha Embaixada Chegou (1934)
06. Almirante - O Orvalho Vem Caindo (1933)
07. Ismael Silva - Antonico (1973)
08. Diabos do Ceu e Mario Reis - Agora e´ Cinza (1933)
09. Aracy de Almeida - Tenha Pena De Mim (1937)
10. Jorge Veiga - Que Bate-Fundo e´ Esse (1973)
11. Synval Silva - Adeus Batucada (1973)
12. Moreira da Silva - Amigo Urso (1941)

01. Mario Reis e Diabos Do Ceu - Doutor Em Samba (1933)
02. Aracy De Almeida - Seculo do Progresso (1937)
03. Linda Batista - Me Deixa Em Paz (1951)
04. Christina - Quantas Lagrimas (1974)
05. Titulares Do Ritmo - Onde O Ceu e´ Mais Azul (1972)
06. Silvio Caldas - Aquarela Do Brasil (1939)
07. Maria Bethania - Mora Na Filosofia (1965)
08. Orlando Silva - Chora Cavaquinho (1935)
09. Martinho Da Vila e Originais do Samba - La em Mangueira (1971)
10. Vassourinha - Seu Liborio (1941)
11. Linda Batista - Nega Maluca (1949)
12. Francisco Alves - Foi Ela (1934)

01. Orlando Silva - Pela Primeira Vez (1936)
02. Jorge Veiga - Na Cadencia do Samba (1962)
03. Nelson Cavaquinho - A Flor e o Espinho (1972)
04. Orlando Silva - Meu Pranto Ninguem Ve (1938)
05. Cyro Monteiro - Tive Sim (1968)
06. Beth Carvalho - O Mundo e´ um Moinho (1977)
07. Ataulfo Alves - Deixa Essa Mulher Pra La (1952)
08. Cyro Monteiro - Boogie-Woogie na Favela (1945)
09. Aracy de Almeida - Fez Bobagem (1942)
10. Cartola com o Conjunto de Jose de Menezes e Canhoto - Preconceito (1970)
11. Jorge Veiga e Cyro Monteiro - Cafe Socaite (1955)
12. Emilinha Borba e Cesar de Almeida - Os Quindins de Ya Ya (1954)

A (cunning) rant

I should probably mention that the title of this blog is not a marketing ploy by Steve Jobs, but somewhat of an accident: my first-choice titles (What's that sound? and What's that noise?) were already taken. OTOH, it's not entirely an accident - I do most of my listening on the iPod, in the car or in lab, so this piece of metal is a pretty prominent part of my relationship with music.

I do not endorse Apple or their products. I never used other mp3 players, so no superiority for the iPod is implied. However, I must say that I am pretty happy with mine (a second-gen 10Gig iPod); it must be a single object I never leave home without.

One annoying quirk of the iPod is that it cannot be treated as an external hard drive where drag-and-drop is enough; iPod needs a program mediating between the mp3 player and the computer. I have a general mistrust of the proprietory software, so I do not use iTunes for Windows. There are several third-party programs for the Windows-iPod interface; I only tried EphPod and stuck with it. There are no pop-up windows that try to sell you something, it does not contact a remote host to relay my listening preferences, it does not mess with my registry, and that's what matters. It is very good for my purposes, although it does not support some of the functions on the new iPods, namely there is no image or video support.

Another iPod quirk is that it does not recognise file names or folder structure, but only the file tags. The files absolutely must be tagged properly; if they are not, the music collection on the iPod turns into a mess. AFAIK, the best tagging program is Tag&Rename. It is not free, but it is good (and since I indulge in the copyright violation here anyway, I might as well say that the crackz are easy to find).

Despite the blog name, I will try to avoid the gimmick of referring to my iPod in every review (i.e. "this album never leaves my iPod" etc.etc.) If that happens, you have my permission to kick me in the shins.

That's it for now. So, <sarcasm>let's crank those iPods and get rockin'!</sarcasm>

Lonnie Mack - Memphis Wham! (expanded)

I was reading a "best 60's instrumentals" list one time, with all the usual contenders - Booker T and the MGs, the Ventures, Link Wray, stuff like Telstar, Tequila and Misirlou, and all the rest. There was one name I didn't recognise, though - Lonnie Mack. I found an album that had both of his signature instrumentals, one called Memphis and another named Wham!, and, yes, they both very much deserved a place on the best-of list. What really blew me away, though, was his singing. The intense vocal over the burning guitar solos and the soul-y brass section support sounded so much like my favorite West Side bluesman - Otis Rush - that I was shocked to find out that Mr. Mack is neither black nor a Chicagoan.

Lonnie Mack is the stocky guy with a pompadour and a Flying V on the picture below. He wears his influences on his sleeve: the pompie and his love of instrumentals are reminiscent of Freddie King, and the Flying V is just like the other King, Albert, plays.
Lonnie's career is similar to that of the guitar legends like James Burton, Roy Buchanan, Jimmy Bryant, and Danny Gatton: the effortless virtuosity made him a legend in the musicians' circles, but his distaste for the music business kept him away from the public eye. Blues fans may know him as the biggest influence on SRV; Lonnie Mack's comeback concert brought together a score of other fans like Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Ry Cooder (who joined Lonnie onstage) and Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, Eddie Van Halen, who were in the audience.

I meant to start this entry with the famous quote from Hunter S. Thompson but then found it on Lonnie Mack's website (bottom of this page).

This record includes the original LP from 1964 and some non-album tracks.

Lonnie Mack - Memphis Wham! (expanded)
REUP: depositfiles
87 mb

1. Memphis
2. Where There's A Will There's A Way
3. Wham!
4. I'll Keep You Happy
5. The Bounce
6. Baby What's Wrong
7. Down And Out
8. Satisfied
9. Susie Q
10. Why
11. Down In The Dumps
12. Rockin' Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu
13. Gee Baby
14. Chicken Pickin'
15. Oh, I Apologize
16. Say Something Nice To Me
17. From Me To You
18. Turn On Your Love Light
19. The Freeze
20. Farther On Up The Road
21. Cry, Cry, Cry
22. Save Your Money
23. Tension (Part 1)
24. Tension (Part 2)

Calypso King and the Soul Investigators

A band I stumbled on while searching for calypso music. Despite the name, this is not calypso, this is a heavy, raw retro-funk in the style of the Meters or late 60s James Brown instrumentals. They also put out an album with a neo-soul singer Nicole Willis; I have it but didn't get to it yet.
The band's identity is unclear: the names in the credits, the liner notes and the All Music Guide review all suggest they are from Finland; other sources (i.e. an Amazon review) states that they are, in fact, impostors - New Yorkers masquearading as finns. It only sounds logical - anybody would like to be mistaken for a Finn, right?

Calypso King and the Soul Investigators - Home Cooking (2004?)

01. Home Cooking Part I
02. Mo' Hash
03. Greasy Pork
04. Greens Please
05. Midnight Bar-b-q
06. Ti-ki Tofu
07. Good Food
08. Home Cooking Part II
09. Electric Cooker
10. Micro Popcorn
11. Deep Fried Chitlings
12. Momma's Gravy (Yum Yum)
13. Green Tea & Tobacco

Calypso King & The Soul Investigators - Soul Strike! (2001)
rapidshare, megaupload, or
320kbps, 86mb

1. Gator Funk Pt.1
2. Ma-Gee
3. Mo' Calypso Strut
4. Some Funk
5. Raw Grapes
6. Investigator's Groove
7. Struggling My Way
8. Brand New Potatoes
9. Ahh Soul!
10. Soul Strike!
11. Chick Beans
12. Ci-Ka-Boo

Monday, January 22, 2007

Vecchio - Afro-Rock

Every so often I come across a review that talks about an unjustly forgotten genius, and every time it turns out that his output is obscure for some very good reasons, and its place in the 50 cent bin is well-deserved. But if there is one exception to that rule, Vecchio must be the one.
What is known about them would probably fit on a matchbox. Vecchio is named after a keyboardist Luis Vecchio (who, I think, is italian); the rest of the band is unknown and I am not sure if it really was a band rather than studio musicians. Afro-Rock is on the De Wolfe "library music" label.
Apparently, in the 70s some TV producers figured they'd like to have a store of prerecorded music ("a sound library") to pick from if need be. They would hire a bunch of anonymous hacks to bash out ten, twenty, fifty hours of faceless elevator muzak, and when someone shoots a show, they can just go pick out something from the shelf instead of recording a soundtrack specifically for the occasion. This policy generated hundreds and hundreds of hours of, yes you guessed it, faceless elevator muzak. For some reason it recently got popular with the DJ types who delight in obscurity; there are many compilations of the least-faceless tracks under the titles like "Music for dancefloors" or "Cream of [label name] library sessions", and, IMHO, the whole thing is a damn travesty.
BUT NOT THIS! Afro-Rock is a massive fat ten-ton monstergroove of a record; it's not faceless, it's in-your-face. A barrage of afro percussion, tight fusion-brass section and pumping funk bass all melt into a seamless forty-minute groovefest to fry your brain. I first heard it on the excellent Africafunk compilations, where he easily outfunked such monsters as Tony Allen, Manu Dibango, and the mighty mighty Fela himself. This is the only record which stays on my iPod ever since I got it (the record, I mean). I truly cannot recommend it enough! If a casual visitor is to take one thing from this blog, let it be this one.

I'll conclude with the last shred of info on Vecchio himself: apparently, this record overloaded his fuses and he left for Canary Islands to join a religious cult. He recorded one other album as a keyboard trio. From what I hear, it's about Solar Christ and aliens.

REUP: mediafire
192kbps, 65mb
1. Megaton
2. Renegade
3. Facade
4. Chabati
5. Green Hell
6. Boss
7. Nsambei
8. Waboco
9. Cult
10. Ngoma-ku

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Takeshi Terauchi - Beat Beat Beat Vol. 1-4

With all that water around Japan, it's no wonder they got a lot of surf. And with the Ventures cult they've got going there, it's no wonder they've got their own surf music scene. What's surprising, though, is how good the japanese surf is.
With the first tidal wave of surf popularity in the 60's, japanese teenagers formed a million guitar bands to emulate the Ventures. This style was called ereki (electric), and Takeshi Terauchi (AKA Terry) was the biggest ereki star of them all. Just like the Ventures, Terry put out countless albums, a lot of them "concept" - i.e. Terry plays classical themes surf-style, Terry plays trad japanese folk tunes surf-style, Terry plays this, Terry plays that... These LPs are "Terry plays the deathless surf standards and then some" - Walk Don't Run, Diamond Head, Apache, Wipeout, Out of Limits etc. etc. He manages to walk that fine line between being faithful to the classic surf style and having his own individuality - his sound is a lot like the Ventures', but harder, drier and edgier.
You think that Pulp Fiction soundtrack is all the surf worth hearing? Terry's guitar will have it for lunch!

REUP: mediafire, 112mb, both albums in one archive

Beat Beat Beat Vol. 1 + 2
01. Oh, Pretty Woman.mp3
02. Tell Me.mp3
03. Django.mp3
04. Kissn' Cousins.mp3
05. Twin Cut Out.mp3
06. Una Sera Di Tokyo.mp3
07. Walk - Don't Run.mp3
08. A Hard Days Night.mp3
09. The House Of Rising Sun.mp3
10. Ti Voglio Amar.mp3
11. Please Mr Postman.mp3
12. I'll Touch A Star.mp3
13. Hold Me.mp3
14. En Blu Jeans Et Troudon De Chur.mp3
15. Diamond Head.mp3
16. Slaughter On Tenth Avenue.mp3
17. 500 Miles.mp3
18. Keep Searchin'.mp3
19. Il Sure Della.mp3
20. Blue Jean No.1.mp3
21. 007 - Gold Finger.mp3
22. Heart of Stone.mp3
23. Pipe Line.mp3
24. Apache.mp3
25. Just Think of Tonight.mp3
26. Mr Carpenter.mp3

Beat Beat Beat Vol. 3 + 4
01. Fugitive.mp3
02. Game Of Love.mp3
03. What Have They Done.mp3
04. On The Beach.mp3
05. Donna Donna.mp3
06. Mes Amis Mes Copains.mp3
07. Cruel Sea.mp3
08. Crying In the Chapel.mp3
09. Mariner Number 4.mp3
10. This Little Bird.mp3
11. Tar Un Beau Matin D Ete.mp3
12. Your Baby.mp3
13. Miserlou.mp3
14. Wipeout.mp3
15. Desert Island.mp3
16. Journey To The Stars.mp3
17. Rock-A-Bye Rag.mp3
18. Out Of Limits.mp3
19. Sentimental Train.mp3
20. Caravan.mp3
21. La Playa.mp3
22. Night Load.mp3
23. In The Chapel In the Moonlight.mp3
24. Touch Your Heart.mp3

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Trio Los Panchos - Mis 30 Mejores Canciones

I first heard them on a tape a hipster friend of mine forced on me. I didn't like them at the time because I thought they were too mellow, but as I grew up, they grew on me. There are scores of compilations out there; the Panchos' membership changed over the years, and presumably some periods are better than others. I can't tell you when or who's on this one, but the way it sounds to me, this must be their exitos del oro or whatever.
I think they got famous by covering Besame Mucho (not on this disc, but gives you an idea). These discs are chockful of songs just as good and not as worn-out. Beautiful melodies, trio singing in harmony, love lyrics in spanish - in short, all the corazon your heart desires...
As the world entered the new century, I had to keep up with the Joneses and replace all my tapes with CDs (now obsolete, as well), so this is a rip from my own CD, 200VBR, 2 CDs 65 mb each.

REUP: depositfiles

1. Sin Un Amor
2. Rayito De Luna
3. Contigo
4. Sin Ti
5. Perdida
6. Ladrona De Besos
7. Sin Remedio
8. Dilema
9. Nuestro Amor
10. Ya Es Muy Tarde
11. No, No Y No
12. Caminemos
13. Amor De La Calle
14. Mi Magdalena
15. Mi Ultimo Fracaso

1. No Me Quieras Tanto
2. Me Castiga Dios
3. Me Voy Pa'l Pueblo
4. Un Siglo De Ausencia
5. Los Dos
6. No Trates De Mentir
7. Una Copa Mas
8. Flor De Azalea
9. Miseria
10. Nada
11. Solo
12. Te Fuiste
13. Basura
14. Una Voz
15. Recuerdos De Ti

Hello world

This is the place to document what I am listening to. Sometimes I will upload the albums myself. Other times I will give links I found on other blogs, because that's where I get a lot of new music.
I listen to a variety of music, but mostly "world pop" - african, south american, european, just as long as they don't sing in english - also, old pop music from the first half of the century, and generally anything that's not on the radio.
For now I will use because they keep files for 60 days before deleting. If you have better suggestions - write me.