Sonntag, 30. September 2012

21st Century Dub (Roir, 1980)


This is a combination rerelease of Pecker Power and Instant Rasta, two albums recorded by Japanese percussionist Pecker in conjunction with Jamaican musicians. It's an interesting effort, combining a certain Jamaican rawness with a sophisticated Japanese surface, and it certainly comes equipped with the reggae muscle to kick it along - Sly & Robbie on the one hand, and the Wailers band on the other, and both Channel One and Tuff Gong studios (if only they'd managed Federal as well, but that might have meant the Dragonaires as a backing band).

I'm not sure exactly how much of Pecker's work is really being heard on this album, but that really isn't the point - the point is more that it's a good reggae and dub set. ROIR is the home of some killer reggae, and this album is no exception to Neil Cooper's rule. I'd consider "21st Century Dub" a must-have for any dub fan, great or small.

"Some of the best dub of all time. This complete reissue of two Japanese LP's ('Pecker Power' and 'Instant Rasta') combines the best of classic mid-70's dub (Joe Gibbs 'African Series', Pablo, Tubby styles) with the best in technological advances. Quite simply, classic." - Peter Wright (now GM of Rykodisc) 1987
From ROIR site:
"An amazing but true story about an experimental dub session organized by BOB MARLEY in Jamaica in 1979!!!

In 1979 during a visit to Japan, Bob Marley met the acclaimed Japanese percussionist Pecker. Pecker, a big fan of reggae, convinced Marley to bring top Japanese musicians (mostly members of The Yellow Magic Orchestra) to Jamaica to mix it up with the cream of Jamaican reggae artists, to jam and play out in informal dub sessions at both Channel One and Tuff Gong Studios. The astounding results were released only in Japan on two separate LP's in 1980."

Tracklist:
1. Pecker - Mystical Cosmic Vibrations (5:24)
2. Pecker - International Orchitis (4:10)
3. Pecker - Pecker Power Part Two (1:25)
4. Pecker - Pecker Power Part One (5:07)
5. Pecker - Concrete Jungle (5:11)
6. Pecker - Militant Sniff (4:27)
7. Pecker - Jamming (4:11)
8. Pecker - Mystical Electro Harakiri (5:02)
9. Pecker - Beggar Suite Part 1 (4:54)
10. Pecker - Beggar Suite Part 2 (3:32)
11. Pecker - Beggar Suite Part 3 (2:49)
12. Pecker - Dub Jam Rock (4:50)
13. Pecker - Kylyn (6:42)
14. Pecker - Dr. Dr. Humanity (1:18)
21st Century Dub (Roir, 1980)
(192 kbps, small front cover included)

Samstag, 22. September 2012

Cisco Houston - Sings The Songs Of Woody Guthrie (1963)


Cisco Houston is sometimes more remembered for his association with Woody Guthrie than for his gift as a folksinger. His smooth, deep baritone was interpreted by many folk purists as "commercial," thus inauthentic, and unlike Guthrie, he preferred interpreting other writer's songs as opposed to writing his own.

Released two years after Houston's death, "Cisco Houston Sings the Songs of Woody Guthrie" finds the singer once again stepping out of the limelight to pay deference to his famous friend. The surprising thing to anyone unfamiliar with traditional folk music, however, is how enjoyable and accessible this collection is. Indeed, Houston's vocals on classics like "Deportees" and "Buffalo Skinners" are much more pleasing musically than Guthrie's dry, Oklahoma rasp. If one compares Houston's take on "Pastures of Plenty" with Guthrie's version on "The Asch Recordings", for instance, Houston's version comes across as more inspired and more respectful of the lyrics. While this comparison would not hold true on Houston's versions of "Pretty Boy Floyd" and "Do Re Me," his interpretations are more than proficient. Perhaps the best way to understand his contributions to folk music is to understand him as a prophet of sorts, a John the Baptist spreading the word about another great folksinger who - because of Huntington's chorea - could no longer sing his own songs.

"Cisco Houston Sings the Songs of Woody Guthrie" is a lovely tribute to a friend by someone who understood the significance of his music.

Review by Bill Adams:
"What can I say? If you love Cisco, you must own this. If you like Woody, you must own this. If you enjoy folk music, you must own this. One can quibble as to whether some of these performances were "over-produced" or not, but the bottom line is that Cisco is in fine voice, his guitar rings out true, the songs are some of Woody's best, Cisco was in on the creation (uncredited) of several of them. Some people just can't warm up to Woody's own voice and pickin', and for them, these versions by Cisco were essential to forming an appreciation of Woody's genius."


Tracklist:

(THIS LAND)
Pastures Of Plenty
(My daddy flies a) Ship in the Sky
Deportees (Plural, not singular)
Grand Coulee Dam
Sinking of the Reuben James

(CURLEY HEADED BABIES)
Curly Headed Baby
Ladies Auxiliary
Taking It Easy
Hard, Ain't It Hard

(BIG MEN)
Jesus Christ
Buffalo Skinners
Pretty Boy Floyd
Philadelphia Lawyer

(LONE WOLVES)
Old Lone Wolf
Talking Fishing Blues
Ranger's Command
Do Re Mi
Blowing Down That Old Dusty Road

Cisco Houston - Sings The Songs Of Woody Guthrie (1963)
(224 kbps, cover included)