Saturday, March 31, 2007

Robert Gordon With Link Wray + Fresh Fish Special

Another entry in the Link Wray retrospective. Two albums recorded by Link with the rockabilly revivalist Robert Gordon in the late 70s. These records are near perfect on many levels. In the aftermath of the punk explosion, the world finally caught up with Link's noisy, minimalistic guitar sensibilities that seemed so far out in the 50s. Link is finally able to play what he wants for the sympathetic, appreciative audience - and, what's more important, with the sympathetic, appreciative band members. The songs are drawn from the early rock and rockabilly gold reserve; the execution perfectly balances respect for the material and a modernized sound - mostly thanks to Link's guitar.
This disc combines two original albums on one CD with bonus tracks.
Great stuff, get it now!

Robert Gordon With Link Wray + Fresh Fish Special
256 kbps, 102 mb
mediafire or depositfiles
1. Red Hot
2. I Sure Miss You
3. Summertime Blues
4. Boppin' The Blues
5. Sweet Surrender
6. Flying Saucers Rock 'n' Roll
7. The Fool
8. It's In The Bottle
9. Woman (You're My Woman)
10. Is This The Way?
11. The Way I Walk
12. Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache
13. If This Is Wrong
14. Five Days, Five Days
15. Fire (with Bruce Springsteen)
16. I Want To Be Free
17. Twenty Flight Rock
18. Sea Cruise
19. Lonesome Train
20. Blue Eyes
21. Rock Billy Boogie
22. Black Slacks
23. Love My Baby
24. All By Myself
25. Nervous
26. Sweet Love On My Mind
27. Drivin' Wheel
28. Someday Someway
29. Fire (Live)

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Kinks - Fab Forty

A great collection of the Kinks' singles. A one-stop solution for the curious.

The Kinks - Fab Forty
REUP: depositfiles
110 mb, VBR
1. I Took My Baby Home
2. Long Tall Sally
3. You Still Want Me
4. You Do Something to Me
5. You Really Got Me
6. It's Alright
7. All Day and All of the Night
8. I Gotta Move
9. Tired of Waiting for You
10. Come on Now
11. Everybody's Gonna Be Happy
12. Who'll Be the Next in Line
13. I Need You
14. Set Me Free
15. See My Friends
16. Never Met a Girl Like You Before
17. Till the End of the Day
18. Where Have All the Good Times Gone?
19. Sunny Afternoon
20. I'm Not Like Everybody Else
21. Dead End Street
22. Big Black Smoke
23. Waterloo Sunset
24. Act Nice and Gentle
25. Autumn Almanac
26. Mr. Pleasant
27. Polly
28. Wonderboy
29. Days
30. She's Got Everything
31. King Kong
32. Plastic Man
33. This Man He Weeps Tonight
34. Shangri-La
35. Victoria
36. Mr. Churchill Says
37. Lola
38. Berkeley Mews
39. Rats
40. Apeman

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Barry and the Remains

To continue the early 60s theme, here's some ass-kicking American merseybeat.
Two of the Remains' singles are the highlights on the Rhino's Nuggets collection, which is how I became aware of them. American merseybeat may sound like an oxymoron, but the label fits. The Remains sound like a British Invasion combo in the instrumentation, repertoire, and attitude; and they are from the US. I don't want to suggest any second-handedness, though: Barry is a great songwriter, and the Remains totally burn the house down. They are easily better than 95% of the Brits, and they could have been as big as the Beatles if it was not for internal conflicts etc.etc. that ended the group prematurely. They opened for the Beatles on their last American tour, BTW.

Barry and the Remains
192 kbps, 75 mb
1. Why do I Cry
2. When I Want To Know
3. Ain't That her
4. All Good Things
5. I'm Talking 'Bout You
6. My Babe
7. Say You're Sorry
8. Baby I Believe In You
9. You Got A Hard Time Comin
10. I Can't Get Away From You
11. Me Right Now
12. Time Of Day
13. Once Before
14. But I Ain't Got You
15. Diddy Wah Diddy
16. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
17. Lonely Weekend
18. Heart
19. Thank You
20. Say You're Sorry
21. Don't Look Back

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Don't Download This Song!

A coupla articles on the cultural significance of the iPod:

I fear that Rock Snobs are in grave danger. We are being ruined by the iPod.

How the iPod changes culture

The ultimate addon: an iPod-activated sex toy.

The Irma Thomas Collection: Sweet Soul Queen Of New Orleans

Here's one I am listening to a lot lately. Irma Thomas is still active, playing concerts and recently winning a Grammy in the blues nomination, but this one is a compilation of her tracks from the 60s. The special 60s sound is probably what makes them so appealing to me. These cuts were recorded when the earlier styles just started coming together - you can hear jazz and jump blues, Spector-ish girl pop (check out the backing vocals and handclaps on Break-A-Way), straightforward soul/gospel, early rock... The first time I put it on, I thought this was something that the very early Rolling Stones might have dug - and then, sure enough, it turns out Time Is On My Side is not a Stones original, as I sorta assumed all these years, but an Irma Thomas cover.
Best tracks: Cry On, While The City Sleeps, It's Raining, and my favorite, Break-A-Way.

The Irma Thomas Collection: Sweet Soul Queen Of New Orleans
On depositfiles here or here
01. Cry On
02. I Done Got Over It
03. It's Raining
04. Hittin' On Nothing
05. Ruler Of My Heart
06. Wish Someone Would Care
07. Break-A-Way
08. I Need Your Love So Bad
09. While The City Sleeps
10. Time Is On My Side
11. Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)
12. Moments To Remember
13. Straight From The Heart
14. Take A Look
15. It's A Man's Woman's World (Pt. 1)
16. Long After The Night Is All Over
17. Times Have Changed
18. He's My Guy
19. What Are You Trying To Do
20. Nobody Wants To Hear Nobody's Troubles
21. The Hurt's All Gone
22. I'm Gonna Cry Till My Tears Run Dry
23. It's Starting To Get To Me Now

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Link Wray - Guitar Preacher: The Polydor Years

OK, I'll take an easy way out with this review and just copy one from AMG.

Wray's image as leather-clad, fuzz-drenched cowpunk is so indelibly etched into the minds of most fans that it's been convenient to overlook the fact that in the early '70s, he eschewed grungy instrumentals for laid-back, homespun roots rock. He wrote lyrics and sang on these albums as well, some of which were recorded in a three-track studio built in a converted chicken coop on his family farm. Reflecting the pastoral, rural influence of the Band and other groups of the day, Link also largely abandoned his electric guitars for acoustic ones on some of the albums, though he returned to harder-rocking electric sounds by the middle of the 1970s. This double-CD box set collects 37 songs from five albums spanning 1971 to 1974. One of these LPs only surfaced in England (Beans and Fatback), and another was an odd effort by one Mordicai Jones on which Link played most of the instruments and wrote most of the material. The anthology rightfully emphasizes his self-titled 1971 comeback album, the best of these recordings, which has an enigmatic backwoods ambience and spiritual lyrics, and contains a couple tunes later covered by the Nevilles ("Fire and Brimstone" and "Fallin' Rain"). The later albums, some of which featured high-profile guests like Jerry Garcia and Tower of Power, had a more generic early-'70s AOR rock feel; not so on the Mordicai Jones tracks, though, on which rustic arrangements back Jones' vocals, which sound like a more subdued Robert Plant. As a whole, the work assembled here isn't nearly as important as Wray's instrumental recordings from the '50s and '60s — and Wray's wracked, tense vocals are something of an acquired taste — but it's rather intriguing stuff with little relationship to the rest of his catalog.

Link Wray - Guitar Preacher: The Polydor Years
REUP: both CDs on depositfiles
256 kbps, ~280mb altogether

from the record LINK WRAY
1. La De Da (Y. Verroca)
2. Take Me Home Jesus (Y. Verroca)
3. Juke Box Mama (Y. Verroca)
4. Rise And Fall Of Jimmy Stokes (Y. Verroca)
5. Fallin' Rain (Link Wray)
6. Fire And Brimstone (Link Wray)
7. Ice People (Link Wray)
8. God Out West (Y. Verroca)
9. Crowbar (Link Wray)
10. Black River Swamp (Link Wray)
11. Tail Dragger (Willie Dixon)

from the record BEANS AND FATBACK
12. Hobo Man (Y. Verroca / Link Wray)
13. I'm So Glad, I'm So Proud (Y. Verroca / Link Wray)
14. Georgia Pines (Traditional arr. Y. Verroca / Link Wray)
15. Water Boy (Y. Verroca / Link Wray)
16. Alabama Electric Circus (Y. Verroca / Link Wray)
17. Take My Hand (Precious Lord) (Traditional arr. Y. Verroca / Link Wray)

from the record MORDACAI JONES
18. Walkin' In The Arizona Sun (Y. Verroca / Link Wray)
19. Scorpio Woman (Y. Verroca / Link Wray)
20. All Because Of A Woman (Y. Verroca / Link Wray)
21. On The Run (Y. Verroca / Link Wray / Mordicai Jones)
22. Days Before Custer (Y. Verroca / Link Wray)

from the record BE WHAT YOU WANT TO
23. Be What You Want To (Link Wray)
24. All Cried Out (M Deborah and M Curtis)
25. Tucson, Arizona (Doug Wray)
26. River Bend (Link Wray)
27. You Walked By (Link Wray)
28. Walk Easy, Walk Slow (Link Wray)

from the record THE LINK WRAY RUMBLE
29. Morning (Link Wray)
30. It Was a Bad Scene (Link Wray)
31. Good Time Joe (Link Wray)
32. Walkin' Bulldog (Link Wray)
33. I Got To Ramble (Link Wray)
34. Backwoods Preacher Man (Tony Joe White)
35. She's That Kind Of Woman (Link Wray)
36. Super 88 (Mark T Jordan)
37. Rumble (Link Wray)

Link Wray - The Original Rumble

Another Best Of, it only overlaps with the previous one by about one-third. Although Rhino's collections are impeccable, Link's legacy is too extensive to cover on one disc. So - you know you need it!
More fuzz, more rumble, more guitar ugliness!

Link Wray - The Original Rumble Plus 22 Other Storming Guitar Instrumentals
192 kbps, 72 mb
REUP: mediafire
1. Rumble
2. The Swag
3. Batman (Theme)
4. Ace Of Spades
5. Jack The Ripper
6. I'm Branded
7. Fat Back
8. Run Chicken Run
9. Turnpike USA
10. Deuces Wild
11. Mustang
12. Blueberry Hill
13. Run Boy Run
14. The Sweeper
15. Hound Dog
16. That'll Be The Day
17. The Fuzz
18. Rawhide
19. Draggin'
20. Aces Wild
21. Bull Dawg
22. The Rumble Man
23. Copenhagen

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Rumble! The Best of Link Wray

I wanted to play something that didn't sound like Chet Atkins - Link Wray

Link Wray - the other guitar hero of the 50's. Where Chet Atkins stood for dedication, professionalism, musicianship, Link was raw power, the grit, the attitude. There isn't much I can say about him besides recycling the old cliches - Rumble is the only instrumental banned from radio play for being "suggestive of delinquency" and it's also the most memorable tune from Pulp Fiction that somehow did not get onto the soundtrack album; Link's guitar sounds that way because he punched holes in the amp speaker; his singing sounds that way because he's only got one lung; Link is an "inventor of the power chord" and godfather of the 60s noise-mongerers like Pete Townshend...

Link is the first person to show that noise can be music and vice versa, and a reminder to us all that there is no wrong or right way to do things: if the only way to get that sound is to string your guitar with a barbed wire and strum it with a tin can top, then that's what you got to do - even though Chet Atkins wouldn't approve.

Rumble! The Best of Link Wray
REUP: 220VBR, 82 mb
1. Rumble
2. The Swag
3. Raw-Hide
4. Dixie-Doodle
5. Ramble
6. Ain't That Lovin' You Babe
7. Jack the Ripper
8. The Black Widow
9. Big City After Dark
10. Run Chicken Run
11. The Shadow Knows
12. Deuces Wild
13. Hang On
14. Ace of Spades
15. I'm Branded
16. Batman Theme
17. Hidden Charms
18. Climbing a High Wall
19. Switchblade
20. Jack the Ripper [live]

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Aavikko - Back From The Futer

Not sure what it is about Scandinavia, but they got a disproportionate number of great bands. Maybe they have nothing better to do during those six-month-long polar nights but sit around and jam. BTW, I am not talking about the ridiculous church-burning bandmember-killing who's-the-truest-satanist-competing brainless black metal hairy fucks from Burzum or whatever, I am talking real music. My favorite band of 2006, Kaiser's Orchestra, are Norwegians. But in the little Finland, there are funkateers the Soul Investigators (I wrote of them earlier), there are surfers Laika and the Cosmonauts, the folk-punkers Elakelaiset, there are the genre-defying Kimmo Pohjonen, Alamaailman Vasarat, Apocalyptica, and the completely undescribable Aavikko.

Aavikko is one of those bands made to excercise the vocabulary of the music critics: they've been called any conceivable combination of labels and then some. "Electro-surf", "casio exotica", "hoarse garage lounge", "retro-futurist synth rock", "cinematic Finnish casiocore", "the casio madness is propelled with pseudo disco syncopations and hyper-active breakbeats, while second hand synths weave surprisingly lush noir soundscapes, equal parts moody cocktaily jazz, propulsive spy thriller soundtrack muzak, spastic mechanical sounding krautrock and pretty much every musical stop in between." The band itself talked about their first release as ranging from "surf-house to maniacal monkey-jazz, from delicate faux-lounge moments to grating avantgarde screech, from ethnic rhythms to quasi-disco boogie blast."

I know this is a lot of nonsense and not enough information, so here's my pedestrian explanation of what they are like: a live drummer and two keyboardists armed with vintage cheap synths play a very intense melodic electronic rock with a dirty lo-fi sound. Grab it, it's good!

200VBR, 58 mb
1. Back From The Futer
2. Rosinante
3. Homo Futurus
4. Una Lira Soluzione
5. Erotica
6. Wot Wot NeoZulu
7. Futer City
8. P-Piste
9. Salamapallo
10. Capitano Argento
11. Diamond Pyramid

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Orchestra Baobab - Pirate's Choice + Bamba

My favorite afro-jazz band; some of my favorite music in general. I really should have put this up earlier, instead of Makeba n'stuff. Really, really good. When I grow up die and go to heaven, I want to be a guitar player in Orchestra Baobab. I think this is the way guitar should be played - simple, not flashy, but every lead is so incredibly melodic, it sticks in your head right away, and you can sing it on the second listen. The rest of the band is just as good: they generate this suspended melancholy groove that lifts you up and carries you away.

Yesterday I was picking my son up from school (fourth grade) and asked him what should I play in the car. He said: Put on something sad... something about being lonely. So I found Mouhamadou Bamba, and before playing it, I said: I can't speak Wolof, and I don't know what Bamba is, but if we imagine it means loneliness, this will be just right for you.
And a minute later, he agreed.

Orchestra Baobab - Pirate's Choice
210VBR, 140 mb
REUP 2/7/2014: depositfiles
1. Utrus Horas
2. Coumba
3. Ledi Ndieme M'Bodj
4. Werente Serigne
5. Ray M'Bele
6. Soldadi
7. Ngalam
8. Toumaranke
9. Foire Internationale
10. La Rebellion
11. Ndiaga Niaw
12. Balla Daffe

Orchestra Baobab - Bamba
192 kbps, 100 mb
REUP 2/7/2014: depositfiles
Mouhamadou Bamba
Doomou Baaye
Bon Bon I
Sou Sedhiou
Sibou Odia

Monday, March 19, 2007

Vagtazo HalottKemek (Galloping Coroners) - Jumping Out The World-Instinct/Teach Death a Lesson

Some excellent tribal punk from Hungary, Jello Biafra's proteges - this disc came out on Alternative Tentacles. We all know hungarians come from outer space: their language is unrelated to any other European language, they are the smartest people in Europe, and the most prone to suicide, and they all look different (don't they?). This record proves it again. Echoy chants from the frontman Atilla (who is rumored to be a professor of astrophysics), cavernous riffage, subterannean drums. They sing in hungarian, and they might just as well. Below is a sample lyric from the sleeve:

animal corpses are elevating in the courtyard of the Moon!
madly moving to the rhythm of the Great Game!
everything is filled with light!
i'm a giant mushroom rotating in the windshadow of the Sun!
lighting objects getting to flight rotating in space!
wheels are rolling to everywhere! the wheel-arms of the sky are
into the tents of my hair

Hungarian is probably the only language on Earth in which this would not sound ridiculous.

Vagtazo HalottKemek (Galloping Coroners) - Jumping Out The World-Instinct/Teach Death a Lesson
200VBR, 112 mb
1. Hallo, Mindenseg! - Hello, Universe!
2. Hivlak! - I'm Calling You!
3. Porbol Varat Epitek - I'm Building a Castle from the Dust
4. A Vilagoszton Kiugrasztasa - Jumping out the World--Instinct
5. Hol Vagy? - Where Are You?
6. Masfele Taj - Another Kind of Landscape
7. A Vilagoszton Beporgetese - Spinning in the World--Instinct
8. Indulok! - I'm Going to Do It!
9. Ki vele, as Istenert! - Get it Out, for God's Sake!
10. Radebredek - I Wake Up with You
11. Talruj Vilag - Open Up, World
12. Mi Tortent? - What Happened?
13. Elo Vilagegyetem - Living Universe

Monty Alexander - Monty Meets Sly and Robbie

I mentioned this disc as a point of reference in my Ernest Ranglin post, I might as well put it up, too. Seven years since it's been released, and it's already a classic.
Monty Alexander, a pianist accomplished both in the reggae world and in the jazz circles, attempts to bring together the two. Backed by a crack rhythm team of Sly Dunbar on drums and drum programming, and bassist Robbie Shakespeare, Monty reinterprets the jazz groove masterpieces of the 60s and 70s: Herbie Hancock's Chameleon, Lee Morgan's Sidewinder, Ramsey Lewis' The In Crowd, and Moanin' from Art Blackey's eponymous album. Monty's originals - Do the Kool Step, Hot Milk, Monty's Groove - are equally good; in fact, the last one would be my pick off this disc.

Monty Alexander - Monty Meets Sly and Robbie, 2000
256 kbps, 90 mb
1. Chameleon
2. Monty's Groove
3. Soulful Strut
4. The In Crowd
5. Sidewinder
6. People Make The World Go 'Round
7. (Do The) Kool Step
8. Moanin'
9. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
10. Hot Milk

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Blossom Dearie

My wife's favorite jazz singer, the ultimate chick music. I like her, too. She is also a good piano player, just like Mose Allison and King Cole, my other favorite jazz vocalists. Blossom has a fragile little girl's voice, not much by itself - but with her understated piano, a very tasteful selection of songs, and the appropriate nerdy looks, it all comes together. She creates an image of a vulnerable femme - a pose that any girl likes to strike and one that makes the guys feel very masculine.
An obligatory bit of trivia: Blossom Dearie is her real name.

Blossom Dearie - Blossom Dearie
120VBR, 40 mb
1. 'Deed I Do
2. Lover Man
3. Everything I've Got
4. Comment Allez Vous
5. More Than You Know
6. Thou Swell
7. It Might As Well Be Spring
8. Tout Doucement
9. You For Me
10. Now At Last
11. I Hear Music
12. Wait Till You See Her
13. I Won't Dance
14. A Fine Spring Morning
15. They Say It's Spring
16. Johnny One Note
17. Blossom's Blues

Chet Atkins - The RCA Years [1947-1981]

Here's an out-of-print Atkins 2CD box with a selection from his recordings on RCA.

Chet Atkins - The RCA Years [1947-1981]
190VBR, 112 mb
Disc 1
1. Avalon (w/Les Paul: guitar) (Rose / Jolson / DeSylva) (6:32)
2. A Taste Of Honey (Scott / Marlow) (2:41)
3. Snowbird (Gene MacLellan) (2:13)
4. El Condor Pasa (Robles / Milchenberg) (2:55)
5. Main Street Breakdown (Chet Atkins) (2:16)
6. Yakety Axe (w/Charlie McCoy: harmonica) (Randolph / Rich) (2:03)
7. Slinkey (Chet Atkins) (2:01)
8. Windy & Warm (John D. Loudermilk) (2:26)
9. Chinatown, My Chinatown (Jerome / Schwartz) (1:57)
10. Country Gentleman (w/Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops Orchestra) (Chet Atkins / Boudleaux Bryant) (1:56)
11. Blue Angel (Natalico Lima) (2:24)
12. Black Mountain Rag (Tommy Magness) (2:35)
13. Good Stuff (w/Jerry Reed: guitar) (Jerry R. Hubbard) (2:43)
14. Cascade (Gene Sloane) (2:28)
15. Jerry's Breakdown (w/Jerry Reed: guitar) (Jerry R. Hubbard) (2:11)
16. Vincent (Don McLean) (3:14)
Total timing: 42:58

Disc 2
1. Sweet Georgia Brown (w/Lenny Breau: guitar) (Bernie / Casey / Pinkard) (4:41)
2. Terry On The Turnpike (w/Boots Randolph: saxophone) (Chet Atkins) (2:28)
3. Do I Ever Cross Your Mind (w/Dolly Parton: vocals) (Dolly Parton) (2:41)
4. Boo Boo Stick Beat (M.Harmon / J.D.Loudermilk) (2:10)
5. Floatin' Down To Cotton Town (Frost / Klickmann) (2:16)
6. Swedish Rhapsody (Hugo Alfven) (2:32)
7. Little Music Box / Lagrima (Francisco Tarrega) (3:38)
8. Junk (Paul McCartney) (2:09)
9. The Boxer (Paul Simon) (3:43)
10. Wimoweh (Linda / Campbell) (2:43)
11. Nine Pound Hammer (w/Merle Travis: guitar) (Merle Travis) (2:50)
12. Jitterbug Waltz (Thomas Fats Waller) (2:57)
13. Take Five (Paul Desmond) (2:39)
14. Don't Monkey 'Round My Widder (Karl Davis) (3:30)
Total timing: 41:35

The artwork on the CDs:

Friday, March 16, 2007

Incredibly Strange Music Vol. 1+2

ANOTHER REUP: Vol. 1: sharebee
190VBR, 52 mb
1. Buddy Merrill - Busy Bee
2. Bob Peck - Sweet 16
3. Dean Elliot - Lonesome Road
4. Katie Lee - Will to Fail
5. Harry Breuer - Minute Merengue
6. Rajput & The Sepoy - Up, Up & Away
7. The Scramblers - Mister Hot
8. Rod Dave Harris - Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals
9. Perrey & Kingsley - Swan's Splashdown
10. Jo Ann Castle - Tico Tico
11. Billy Mure - Hawaiian War Chant
12. Fred Lowrey - William Tell Overture
13. Kali Bahlu - A Cosmic Telephone Call

Vol. 2 REUP: megaupload
190VBR, 50 mb
1. Hot Butter - Skokian
2. Bob McFadden & Dor - The Mummy
3. The Nirvana Sitar & String Group - The Letter
4. Lucia Pamela - Walking on the Moon
5. Ken Nordine - Flesh
6. Billy Mure - Chopsticks Guitar
7. Myrtle K. Hilo - Lover's Prayer
8. Russ Garcia & His Orchestra - Delicado
9. Del Close & John Brent - Introduction
10. Jean Jacques Perrey - Gossipo Perpetuo
11. Ken Nordine - Green
12. Eden Abhez - Full Moon
13. Harry Breuer - Bumble Bee Bolero
14. Little Marcy - Join the Gospel Express
15. Les Baxter - Terror
16. Ken Nordine - Yellow
17. Rusty Warren - 1st Song/Opening Monologue

Once in a while one needs a visionary to point back and say: Something important just happened while you were looking the other way. Lenny Kaye did that in 1971, releasing the Nuggets compilation. It single-handedly created the "garage" genre and started a long line of similar releases - Pebbles Vol. 1 through god-knows-how-many, Green Crystal Ties, Acid Daze, Back From The Grave, and all these Teenage Cavemen: Lost Psych/Garage-Punk No-Hit Wonders of Cowshed, South Dakota and the like. We turned around and realized that those teenagers smoking dope and bashing out three chords in their parents' garage were not an accident, but a part of a scene, a spontaneous social and cultural grassroots movement which embodied the spirit of the 60s as much as Woodstock and Summer of Love did.
A revelatory moment happened again in 1994, when these two compilations came out together with two eponymous books from the RE/Search publishing. They gave a name and a voice to all things unusual, obscure, left-field. This time the visionary pointed not back, but forward. The internet media revolution was about to happen, and these two books became its prophets. Nowadays all sorts of unclassifiable weirdness is rescued from the 10-cent bin, digitized and offered through blogs and Soulseek to the appreciative listeners. The Incredibly Strange publications turned it overnight from trash into treasure, Cinderella-style, giving it the second life (or sometimes the first).
Several kinds of recordings are collected on these CDs. There is some early electronic music - Hot Butter and two Perrey tracks. There are far-out instrumental experiments by the "real" musicians - Buddy Merrill, Billy Mure, the supersonic accordeon of Jo Ann Castle, the whistling virtuoso Fred Lowrey. There are some novelty recordings such as Sweet 16, Will To Fail and The Mummy. There is spoken word - beat poetry of Ken Nordine, a track off "How To Speak Hip" by Del Close & John Brent. And, finally, there is some truly outer-space stuff that defies description, like a track of the LSD casualty Kali Bahlu and one by Little Marcy, a christian ventriloquist doll. Many of the recordings mentioned are now available complete online, but only because of these comps.
I should add that these are not "good albums" in the proper sense. They are cohesive conceptually, but it is difficult to listen to them straight through. Just as everyone will find something attractive, everyone will find something irritating or repulsive - the variety here is both a strength and a weakness.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mighty Sparrow and Byron Lee - Only a Fool + one more by Byron Lee

Another fine calypso album by Mighty Sparrow collaborating with Byron Lee and his group. Byron Lee is an interesting personage: his band, the Dragonaires, might be the longest-running musical group from Jamaica; they were very financially successfull and popular in Jamaica, all over Caribbean, and in the US in the 60s and 70s, but now are all but forgotten. Both their former popularity and their current obscurity stem from one source: they adapted the music of the slums to the tastes of the elite. So while the "real deal" was too dirty and dangerous, Byron Lee was a hit; when it was tamed by time and distance and became acceptable, the Dragonaires' fortunes declined.
The Dragonaires were musical omnivores, playing every caribbean style from calypso, mento and ska to reggae and rocksteady, but all of it with an eye for respectability. Byron Lee, a very talented musician and arranger, and a shrewd businessman, collected the latest tunes and trends from all over the islands, and then played them his own style, tight and smooth; hot dance numbers were interleaved with sappy ballads and instrumental covers of the US hits. This is the approach they choose here.
On this LP Mighty Sparrow made an honest effort to go commercial: he picked only the love songs from his repertoire, purging all the drinking, fighting and whoring subject matter. Unfortunately, this wasn't enough to fill an album, so there are some saccharine ballads sung by somebody else (I assume it's Byron Lee himself, but I have no positive proof) which are pretty disposable, and a couple of instrumental pieces, caribbiefied takes on the popular movie themes of the times - and those are pretty good. Only a Fool was Sparrow's only appearance on American charts. Incredibly, the song, while bearing his name ("Mighty Sparrow and Byron Lee", say the credits), did not have his vocals.
You can't keep a good man down, though: Sparrow's tunes are driving dance numbers with a chugging locomotive beat. Even his cover of an Otis Redding ballad (Try a Little Tenderness) is twice as fast as an original.
I will throw in another Byron Lee album without my endorsement. If you are a big reggae fan, go for it.

Mighty Sparrow and Byron Lee - Only a Fool
REUP: sharebee
210VBR, 52 mb
1. Maria (MS)
2. No Money, No Love (MS)
3. More And More Amour (instrumental)
4. Born Free (BL)
5. Sandra (MS)
6. Walk Away (BL)
7. Peace And Love (MS)
8. Only A Fool (BL)
9. Theme From Dr Zhivago (instrumental)
10. More (BL)
11. Make The World Go Away (instrumental)
12. Try A Little Tenderness (MS)

Byron Lee and the Dragonaires - Reggay Eyes
REUP: mediafire
128 kbps, 28 mb
1. Soul Serenade
2. Can I Change My Mind
3. More Scorcher
4. Long Shot Kick De Bucket
5. Square From Cuba
6. Another Scorcher
7. Musical Scorcher
8. Throw Me Corn
9. Bond In Bliss
10. Too Experienced
11. Games People Play
12. Pum Pum On A String

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

iPod deathclock
"When will my iPod Croak? Depending on how you use (or abuse) it, we can take a guess at how long your little friend has left in this world."
They tell me my iPod should be dead by now.

A book for you iPod freaks:
O'Reilly - iPod: The Missing Manual 5th Edition

MediaFour XPlay - a non-iTunes syncing utility. Like EphPod, but simpler and integrated with Explorer.
v. 2.3.0 (megaupload)
v. 2.2.8 (link out)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Catapilla - Changes

An obscure, but excellent early 70s British prog. Reminds me of early Hawkwind, except these guys knew how to play and probably took baths more often. A lot of saxophone; also a female vocalist with a great operatic voice - think "Great Gig In The Sky". The compositions are long and hypnotic.

Catapilla - Changes, 1972
320 kbps, 86 mb
1. Reflections (12:06)
2. Charing Cross (6:40)
3. Thank Christ For George (12:02)
4. If Could Only Happen To Me (6:37)

Lagos All Routes

Afrofunk and more from Nigeria; mid-60s to early 80s.

Lagos All Routes
192 kbps, 92 mb
1. Ebenezer Obey - Eyi Yato / Elere Ni Wa
2. Sir Victor Uwaifo - Joromi
3. Travellers Lodge Atomic 8 - Ikut Asana Edem
4. Sagbeni Aragbada - Sowambe
5. Super Negro Bantous - Professional Super Bantous
6. Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson - Tom Kirisite
7. Ambali Adedeji - Ole Obinrin
8. Chief Umobuarie And His Group - Ebalume
9. Mike Ejeagha - Onye Ori Utaba
10. Kollington Ayinla - Omo Mi Gbo Temi
11. Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson - Nume Inye
12. The Harbours Band - Da Wa Lohun
13. Haruna Ishola - Pariboto Riboto
14. Dr. Victor Olaiya - Moonlight Highlife
15. Sir Patrick Idahosa And His African Sound Makers - Eni

Koroleva Krasoty - Best Songs of the XX Century

Internet is bursting at the seams with the 60's music from all over the globe. This very blog featured Turkish and South Korean psychedelia; you are one search away from compilations of Nigerian, Mexican, Swedish, Ethiopean, Chilean, New Zealand bands doing their thing. But one big blind spot is Soviet music. The reason is simple: the collectors and compilers are usually interested in the garage/psychedelic stuff, and there was none of it in the 60's USSR. There was no underground scene to speak of. Psychoactive substances were only available in the KGB labs creating the next chemichal weapon; for the rest of the country the mind-expansion options ran between cognac and moonshine. Finally, there was a small matter of the instruments: the Soviet electric guitars were made at the military factories and were better suited for taking over Afghanistan than for playing rokenrol.
But none of this means there was no good music in Russia in the 60s, it simply took other routes. This disc collects the some of the greatest Soviet pop of the time (and a few lame ducks, as well). The music is not that different from the American radio hits of the 50s and 60s - big band crooners and divas, cheerful jazzy twists, gypsy songs and moody ballads, and all of it very melodic and catchy.
The sound is a bit crackly, sounding like a moderately worn LP rip, but it does not interfere with the music. The best tracks are #2, 8, 9, 14, 16. There is also a rather weird "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" cover called "Zachem Slova?" (No need for words) with lyrics in russian and japanese.

192 kbps, 95 mb
1. Muslim Magomaev - Koroleva Krasoty (Beauty Queen)
2. Maya Kristallinskaya - Ya Tebya Podozhdu (I'll Wait For You)
3. Vladimir Makarov - Poslednyaya Elektrichka (The Last Train)
4. Nina Brodskaya - Kak Tebya Zovut (What's Your Name?)
5. Valerii Obodzinskii - Vostochnaya Pesnya (The Oriental Song)
6. Edita Pyexa - Tak Uzh Byvaet (not sure how to translate this one... "Shit Happens"?)
7. Emil' Gorovec - Makarony (Macaroni)
8. Iosif Kobzon - A U Nas Vo Dvore (In Our Yard)
9. Tamara Miansarova - Chernyi Kot (Black Cat)
10. Vadim Mulerman - Lada
11. Kvartet Akkord - Kotenok (A Kitten)
12. Raisa Nemenova - Pomogi Mne, Buratino (Help Me, Pinocchio)
13. Zhan Tatlyan - Belyi Medvezhonok (A White Bear Cub)
14. Nani Bregvadze - Otrada (Joy)
15. Eduard Xil' - Lunnyi Kamen' (Moonstone)
16. Aida Vedischeva - Pesenka O Medvedyax (The Little Bear Song)
17. Anatolii Korolev - Lyubov I Poklonnaya Gora (Love and the Mountain)
18. Nina Pantele - Zachem Slova (No Need For Words)
19. Rashid Beibutov - O Pesnya Zvonkaya (My Song Rings Out)
20. Galina Velikanova - Bubency (Little Bells)
21. Oleg Uxnalev - I Ne To Chtoby Da, I Ne To Chtoby Net (It's Not A Yes, It's Not A No)
22. Larisa Mondrus - Sinii Len (Blue Flax)
23. Eduard Xil' - Ya Shagayu Po Moskve (I Am Walking Along In Moscow)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Os Mundi - Latin Mass

A fine piece of prog from the early 70s. German band recreates catholic mass as a psychedelic concept album; you could call it "The pope meets the dope". The lyrics are in latin (although Kyrie Eleison is greek, isn't it?), and the music is typical late-60s organ/fuzz mongering, but of the good kind. Some fragments are very reminiscent of the Doors' hypnotic jams (i.e. The End); online reviewers also call this album "krautrock" and compare it with Uriah Heep and Iron Butterfly.

Os Mundi - Latin Mass
192 kbps, 57 mb
1. Overture
2. Kyrie
3. Gloria
4. Credo I
5. Credo II
6. Sanctus
7. Agnus Dei

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Chester and Lester - Guitar Monsters

Another installment in the Atkins retrospective, the second album with Les Paul.

Chester and Lester - Guitar Monsters
210VBR, 52 mb
1 Limehouse Blues (Braham, Furber)
2 I Want to Be Happy (Youmans, Caesar)
3 Over the Rainbow (Arlen, Harburg)
4 Meditation (Meditação) (Jobim)
5 Lazy River (Carmichael, Arodin)
6 I'm Your Greatest Fan
7 It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (Mills, Ellington)
8 I Surrender, Dear (Barris, Clifford)
9 Brazil (Russell, Barroso)
10 Give My Love to Nell (Traditional)
11 Hot Toddy (Flanagan)

Takeshi Terauchi - The Blue Jeans' Complete Collection + The World Is Waiting For Terry

Seems like the Terry shares generate the most hits to my blog, so I'll put up a few more albums. I read about Terry in the Incredibly Strange Music magazine. Jello Biafra was raving about him, and I thought I absolutely have to find and check him out. I could not find his albums online at the time; that must've been before WFMU put up his albums, and for some reason Soulseek did not help, either. The only mention I could find is that San Francisco Japanese Consulate had his CD in their library. So I actually went to the city, found the consulate (downtown, 22nd floor, with a Bay Bridge view, gotta be seen to be believed), registered with the library, checked it out and ripped it. Voila!
The CD had the titles in japanese, so the titles are somebody's translation and my subsequent edits (i.e. I had to figure that "10th street murder" is actually "Slaughter on 10th Avenue" and so forth). It's a Best-Of, with selections from several albums - for instance, the first two are from Let's Go Classics, Tsugaru is from his Shamisen covers LP etc.

The other one I don't have much info about, so I'll quote: [The Bunnys'] 3rd LP, The World is Waiting for Terry, contains Moanin’, a rippin’ toe-tapping instrumental, along with covers like House of the Rising Sun, Night Train, and Blue Moon.

Previous posts: The Bunnys' Singles and Beat! Beat! Beat! Vol.1-4

The Blue Jeans - Complete Collection
210VBR, 96 mb
1. Fate (Theme From Beethoven's 5th Symphony in C minor)
2. In A Persian Market
3. Tsugaru
4. Walk Don't Run
5. Caravan
6. Slaughter On 10th Ave
7. Diamond Head
8. Pipeline
9. Far Away From The Sun
10. Karelia (Kiri-no Kareria)
11. Driving Guitar
12. Feedback Guitar
13. Flying Guitar (Sora-tobu gita)
14. Guitar In Tears (Namida-no Gita)
15. Forever With You (Kimi To Itsumademo)
16. Black Sand Beach (Burakku Sando Biichi)
17. Hey, Traveller (Tabibito Yo)
18. Stars In The Night (Yozora-no Hoshi)
19. Seishun-e-no Messeeji
20. Blue Star

The World Is Waiting For Terry, 1967
128 kbps, 28 mb
1. Riders In The Sky
2. House Of The Rising Storm
3. Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise
4. The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise
5. Moanin'
6. Shine
7. Night Train
8. Red Sails In The Sunset
9. Blue Moon
10. Stardust
11. Moon River
12. Comin' Home Baby

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Old and In The Way + Fade To Bluegrass: Tribute to Metallica

Two bluegrass ablums that can make a believer out of anyone.
Old and In The Way is a "progressive bluegrass" supergroup with Jerry Garcia on banjo and his frequent collaborator Peter Kahn on bass, the definitive jazz mandolin virtuoso David Grisman, and two of the old-time bluegrass/country stars, Vassar Clemens on the fiddle and a former Monroe's Blue Grass Boy Peter Rowan on guitar. With a lineup like that, you can't go wrong.
This is the only studio album of the group; since then, a couple of live recordings came out, too. Old and In The Way is credited with jump-starting the 70s "newgrass" revival, and for good reason. While traditional bluegrass is rather an acquired taste (which I never acquired), anyone can relate to and enjoy this album, and you don't have to be a Deadhead.

Old and In The Way, 1975
~200VBR, 62 mb
1. Pig in a Pen (Traditional) – 2:53
2. Midnight Moonlight (Peter Rowan) – 6:17
3. Old and in the Way (David Grisman) – 3:05
4. Knockin' on Your Door (trad.) – 3:36
5. The Hobo Song (Jack Bonus) – 5:05
6. Panama Red (Rowan) – 2:57
7. Wild Horses (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) – 4:19
8. Kissimmee Kid (Vassar Clements) – 3:32
9. White Dove (Carter Stanley) – 4:45
10. Land of the Navajo (Rowan) – 6:19

Fade To Bluegrass is just one of many bluegrass rock tributes proliferating lately. There is Hayseed Dixie (a pun on AC/DC), a bluegrass band doing heavy metal covers; I've also heard tributes to Pink Floyd and Ozzy, and there are others (LedZep, Modest Mouse etc.etc.). This album is easily the best one of the bunch. In most cases, the shtick starts to wear thin by the second song. This album is solid from cover to cover; when I first got it, I spun it on repeat for several days, and I am not tired of it a year later. Metallica's apocalyptic lyrics fit perfectly to the death-and-desolation mood of the traditional bluegrass, the musicianship is flawless, the pace is unrelenting. And you don't have to be a Metallica fan, either.
P.S. The word is, Iron Horse put the second volume out. I haven't heard it, but they say it's just as good.

Iron Horse - Fade To Bluegrass: Tribute to Metallica, 2003
192 kbps, 65 mb
Alternative link - not sure what the bitrate is.
1. Unforgiven
2. Nothing Else Matters
3. Enter Sandman
4. Hero Of The Day
5. Fade To Black
6. One
7. Ride The Lightning
8. Wherever I May Roam
9. Fuel
10. The Four Horsemen

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Merle Travis and Joe Maphis - Country Music's Two Guitar Greats

Looks like it's a tradition in country music for two great guitar players to record an LP together. This disc might be the one that started this tradition - or maybe not, I am not too keen on the c&w history. Anyway, if Chet with Breau was jazz, and Chet with Les Paul was, like, country-jazz-pop, then this one is unadulterated country of the highest grade.
An average listener associates country with the nauseating radio shlock, but it was not always like that, and it should not be. There is a great guitar tradition that runs through the history of the style, under the radar of the music business and many fans. The contemporary guitar wizards like Junior Brown or Jim Campilongo are but heirs to the virtuosos of the 40s and 50s like Jimmy Bryant, for whom Leo Fender created Telecaster. But Merle Travis and Joe Maphis are probably the fathers of them all. Merle is the inventor of the "Travis picking", that inspired Chet Atkins to develop his own thumb-and-two-fingers playing style, and Joe Maphis is simply an excellent musician; that doubleneck monster you see him holding on the cover is his signature instrument, a mandoline/guitar mutant.

Merle Travis and Joe Maphis - Country Music's Two Guitar Greats
320 kbps, 68 mb

[excerpt from the original LP liner notes]:
"Merle Travis and Joe Maphis deserve a far finer tribute than I have the ability to write. I would ordinarily shy away from anything that involves writing. But a job like this can be a labor of love if the subjects are two of the mightiest men who ever rested guitars in their laps, and, of course, they've been two close friends of mine for a good many years now. Now that Capital Records has teamed these two thoroughbreds, this album will be a must for all of us guitar pickers." -- Chet Atkins, 1964

1. Corrine, Corrina (Willams / Chatman / Parish) (2:31)
2. Big Midnight Special (trad. arr. Travis / Maphis) (2:30)
3. Bayou Baby (Merle Travis) (2:04)
4. Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down (Merle Travis) (2:18)
5. Guitar Rag (Merle Travis) (2:13)
6. Blast Off (Travis / Maphis) (2:23)
7. When It’s Time for the Whippoorwill to Sing (Alton Delmore) (2:02)
8. West Coast Blues (Merle Travis) (3:37)
9. Mainstreet Breakdown (Chet Atkins) (2:25)
10. Picture On the Wall (trad. arr. Travis / Maphis) (2:19)
11. Kentucky Waltz (Bill Monroe) (2:40)
12. Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar (Alton Delmore) (2:21)