Donnerstag, 27. Juli 2017

Memphis Slim & Willie Dixon - In Paris - Baby Please Come Home!

Piano pumper Mephis Slim (1915 - 1988) and bass thumper Willie Dixon (1915 - 1992) were kindred spirits. Both men were commanding vocalists and brilliant songwriters who played key roles in shaping the Chicago blues sound of the 50s, though their roots were in an earlier era.

The tow blues men usually worked separately, but duting the late 50s and early 60s they frequently teamed up for recordings, club dates, and concerts, often in Europe.

This recording of a 1962 show in Paris is a vital document of that accosication. It's not a landmark event in either of the blues legends' distinguished recording careers, but it's a nice enough outing with a friendly, low-key tone. Slim recorded a lot of LPs in the early '60s, often as a solo pianist/vocalist, and this is frankly more lively than his norm for the era, if for nothing else than the fact that he's playing in a band. The Dixon-sung tracks are interesting inasmuch as he didn't record much during this period, though he's really adequate at best as a singer. When Slim sings, he sticks mostly to self-penned material; the Dixon-fronted cuts may stir some curiosity among blues fans due to the inclusion of some of Willie's more obscure compositions, like the novelty-tinged "African Hunch with a Boogie Beat."


1Rock And Rolling The House4:28
2Baby Please Come Home2:16
3How Make You Do Me Like You Do4:59
4The Way She Loves A Man3:08
5New Way To Love5:30
6Afican Hunch With A Boogie Beat3:35
7Shame Pretty Girls3:24
9Do De Do2:41
10Cold Blooded5:37
11Just You And I2:55
12Pigalle Love3:59
13All By Myself1:44

Memphis Slim & Willie Dixon -  In Paris - Baby Please Come Home!
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 25. Juli 2017

Dakar Sound Volume 2 - Sorano Singers

It was in the 70s that Dakar-businessman Mass Diokhane, dealer in cars and radio-cassete players, got the idea to produce young talents of his nieghbourhood on a label called "Touba Auto K7". So he hired a technician and they started to record the new sound of booming Dakar.

After the huge success of Etoile 2000 Diokhane´s next idea was to record the Sorano Singers, who are the vocalists of the national ensemble. They practice and perform at the Sorano theatre in Dakar, which is still the breeding-place for new traditional talent. Diokhane taped the music almost without rehearsing, using just two microphones, as the various singers improvise their text on a well known tradtional melody.

The Sorano singers are presented here with a selection of songs from their individual cassettes, all released in the beginning of the eighties. Madiodio makes her entranceon this CD with a song called Xouda Doki. She is accompagnied by a mysterious group called SK7. The orther artists are backed up by non other than Super Etoile.

VA - Dakar Sound Sampler Vol. 2

In Senegal, international capitalism meets traditional African commerce head on. The skyscrapers and colonial buildings of Dakar may be crumbling, but down by the Medina, the city´s original `native quarter´, they´re building vast ultra-modern banks, while, outside, stalls errupt from pavements heaving with hawkers and touts. And evreyone it seems, from the ragged beggars to the sleek-suited executives or the turbanned women in billowing robes and stiletto hells, is radiating pise and self possession - the same nonchalant swagger that underpins mbalax, the rhythm that has come to define Senegalese music.

A collection of classic West African pop music, "Dakar Sound Sampler Vol. 2" showcases some of the "Dakar Sound" label’s finest releases.


 1. Bolero - Dexter Johnson
2. Mamu Wa Mpoy - African Fiesta
3. Seul - Superstar
4. Am Am - Royal Band
5. Kontar
6. Xouda Doki
7. Kolankoma - Sékou Bembya Diabaté
8. Darou Muxti
9. Tounka - Djanka Diabate,
10. Tama - Sekou Kouyate
11. Mkuki Myoni - Tondo
12. Kyere Wo Do
13. Dowaka
14. Liverpool

VA - Dakar Sound Sampler Vol. 2
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 24. Juli 2017

Art Bears - Winter Songs

Finding distribution on the Residents' Ralph Records label, the Art Bears' second album consists of 12 songs of various tensions: rest vs. speed, improv vs. pulse, space vs. density, Dagmar Kraus's vocals vs. everyone else.

As usual, Chris Cutler's lyrics tell political allegories through medieval-tinged stories: slaves, castles, and wheels of fortune (and industry) dominate. Fred Frith explores discordance through his guitar, and European folk figures through his always enjoyable violin.

Though not as confrontational as their other work, the centerpiece has to be the frantic "Rats and Monkeys" with three minutes of teeth-gritting, out-of-control insanity as all three players are plugged into a wall outlet and let rip. A guaranteed lease breaker if played often enough.

A1The Bath Of Stars
A2First Things First
A4The Summer Wheel
A5The Slave
A6The Hermit
A7Rats And Monkeys
B1The Skeleton
B2The Winter Wheel
B3Man And Boy
B4Winter / War
B63 Figures
B73 Wheels

Art Bears - Winter Songs
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 20. Juli 2017

VA - Cajun Vol. 1 - Abbeville Breakdown 1929-1939

A collection of ancient recordings of Cajun music by musicians from the Abbeville area of Louisiana. These songs were all recorded between 1929 and 1939, and are split essentially into two groups. The Breaux Fréres (and brother-in-law Joseph Falcon) provide the earlier half of the works, with an early mastery of the basic Cajun lineup that would become standard -- accordion, fiddle, and guitar. Falcon proves himself a worthy accordionist, paving the way for much of the later music to come from the genre (and simultaneously standing as the first recorded Cajun accordion player). Cleoma Breaux Falcon (his wife) is an able guitarist, and the Breaux Fréres do well on fiddle and accordion, as needed.

The second half of the album is dominated by the Alley Boys of Abbeville, an accordion-less group of youngsters who recorded once for Vocalion and were recorded again on various compilations. The recording quality on the album is admittedly sub-par, and seemingly not remastered completely. Nonetheless, it's an enjoyable album for those looking for the roots of Cajun music, though the rare recordings of Amédé Ardoin would be recommended beforehand, as the branching point for both Cajun and Zydeco forms.    


 1. Vas Y Carrément  - Amedee Breaux/Cleoma Breaux & Ophy Breaux
2. Poche-Town - Joe Falcon/Cleoma Breaux & Ophy Breaux
3. Prenez Courage (Take Courage) - Cleoma Breaux/Joe Falcon & Ophy Breaux
4. Quand Je Suit Partis Pour Le Texas - Cleoma Breaux/Joe Falcon & Ophy Breaux
5. Aimer Et Perdre (To Love And Lose) - Joe Falcon
6. Egan One Step - Breaux Feres
7. T' As Volé Mon Chapeau (You Have Stolen My Hat) - Breaux Feres
8. Home Sweet Home - Breaux Feres
9. Le One Step A Martin - Breaux Feres
10. La Valse Du Bayou Plaquemine - Breaux Feres
11. Abbeville Breakdown
12. Te A Pas Raison (You Have No Reason)
13. Se Toute Sain Comme Moi Ma Saine (I Wonder If You Feel The Way I Do)
14. Jolie Petite Fille (Pretty Little Girl)
15. Quel Espoire (What's The Use)
16. Moi Et Ma Belle (Me And My Pretty One)
17. Je Vous T' Aime Lessair Pleurer (I'll Never Let You Cry)
18. Es Ce Que Tu Pense Jamais A Moi (Do You Ever Think Of Me)
19. Tu Ma Quite Seul (Prisoner's Song)
20. Jolie Petite Blonde (Small Pretty Blonde)
21. Apres Jengles A Toi (Thinking Of You)
22. Te Bonne Pour Moi Estere (I Don't Care What You Used To Be)

VA - Cajun Vol. 1 - Abbeville Breakdown 1929-1939    
(192 kbps, cover art included)    

Dienstag, 18. Juli 2017

Hugh Masekela - Still Grazing

Released to coincide with Hugh Masekela's autobiography of the same name, "Still Grazing" picks up the Masekela story from Verve's summary of the best of the MGM albums, "The Lasting Impression of Ooga-Booga", and runs through the "Uni" and "Blue Thumb" material. The 1966 tracks are from "The Emancipation of Hugh Masekela", where the trumpeter mixes his florid horn calls and vocals with variations of the boogaloo, township jive, soul-jazz, and in Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Felicidade," a slight pinch of bossa nova into a hip, brightly colored cuisine that no one else was attempting at the time.

As in the MGM days, Masekela is obliged to cover the hit tunes of the day, although "Up, Up, and Away" has more life and jazz licks than those earlier attempts. 1968's "The Promise of a Future" was the real commercial breakthrough - thanks to the out-of-the-blue success of the cowbell-beating "Grazing in the Grass," which improbably rose to the number one slot on Top 40 radio in those enlightened times. That triumphant track would be Masekela's last trip to the Top 40, whereupon he promptly used the exposure to shine a harsh light on what was going on in his homeland ("Gold") and America in 1968 ("Mace and Grenades"). The CD then jumps to a percolating, Echoplexed "Languta" from a 1973 session in Lagos, Nigeria, before concluding with a withering account of the South African coal-mining trains ("Stimela").

The package is given extra credibility by the original producer of these tracks, Stewart Levine, who compiled the album and also wrote a fond set of reminiscences. Many of these premonitions of today's world music scene have been gone for decades, and it's good to have at least some of them back in circulation again.  


1Child Of The Earth
Bass – John CartwrightCongas – Big Black (2)Drums – Chuck CarterPiano – Charlie SmallsProducer – Stewart LevineTrumpet, Vocals – Hugh MasekelaWritten-By – Hugh Masekela
2Ha Lese Le Di Khanna
Bass – John CartwrightCongas – Big Black (2)Drums – Chuck CarterPiano – Charlie SmallsProducer – Stewart LevineTrumpet, Vocals – Hugh MasekelaWritten-By – Caiphus Semenya
Bass – John CartwrightCongas – Big Black (2)Drums – Chuck CarterPiano – Charlie SmallsProducer – Stewart LevineTrumpet – Hugh MasekelaWritten-By – Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius De Moraes
4Up, Up, And Away
Bass – Henry FranklinDrums – Chuck CarterPiano – Cecil Barnard*Producer – Stewart LevineSaxophone [Tenor] – Al AbreuTrumpet – Hugh MasekelaWritten-By – Jimmy Webb
5Bajabula Bonke (The Healing Song)
Bass – Henry FranklinDrums – Chuck CarterPiano – William HendersonProducer – Stewart LevineSaxophone [Soprano] – Al AbreuTrumpet, Vocals – Hugh MasekelaWritten-By – Miriam Makeba
6Grazing In The Grass
Bass – Henry FranklinDrums – Chuck CarterGuitar – Bruce LanghornePercussion – Unknown ArtistPiano – William HendersonProducer – Stewart LevineSaxophone [Tenor] – Al AbreuTrumpet, Vocals – Hugh MasekelaWritten-By – Harry Elston, Philemon Hou
Bass – Henry FranklinDrums – Chuck CarterGuitar – Arthur AdamsPiano – Bill Henderson*Producer – Stewart LevineTrumpet, Vocals – Hugh MasekelaWritten-By – Hugh Masekela
8Mace And Grenades
Bass – Henry FranklinDrums – Chuck CarterGuitar – Arthur AdamsPiano – Bill Henderson*Producer – Stewart LevineSaxophone [Soprano, Tenor] – Al AbreuSaxophone [Tenor] – Wilton FelderTrombone – Wayne HendersonTrumpet, Vocals – Hugh MasekelaWritten-By – Hugh Masekela
Congas, Flute, Vocals – Nat "Leepuma" Hammond*Congas, Vocals – James Kwaku MortonDrums – Acheampong WelbeckDrums [Talking], Percussion, Vocals – Isaac Asante*Electric Bass, Vocals – Stanley Kwesi Todd*Guitar – Richard Neesai "Jagger" Botchway*Percussion, Vocals – Samuel Nortey*Producer – Stewart LevineTrumpet, Vocals – Hugh MasekelaWritten-By – Hugh Masekela
10Been Such A Long Time
Congas – James Kwaku MortonCongas, Vocals – Nat "Leepuma" Hammond*Drums – Stix Hooper*Drums [Talking], Percussion, Vocals – Isaac Asante*Electric Bass, Vocals – Stanley Kwesi Todd*Electric Piano – Joe SampleGuitar – Richard Neesai "Jagger" Botchway*Producer – Stewart LevineRattle [Calabash], Bells, Bass Drum – Acheampong WelbeckShekere, Vocals – Samuel Nortey*Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Vocals – Hugh MasekelaWritten-By – Hugh Masekela
11Stimela (Coaltrain)
Congas – James Kwaku MortonCongas, Vocals – Nat "Leepuma" Hammond*Drums – Stix Hooper*Drums [Talking], Percussion, Vocals – Isaac Asante*Electric Bass, Vocals – Stanley Kwesi Todd*Guitar – Richard Neesai "Jagger" Botchway*Piano – Joe SampleProducer – Stewart LevineRattle [Calabash], Bells, Bass Drum – Acheampong WelbeckShekere, Vocals – Samuel Nortey*Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Vocals – Hugh MasekelaWritten-By – Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela - Still Grazing
(192 kbps, front cover included)            

Mittwoch, 12. Juli 2017

Lecuona Cuban Boys - Lecuona Cuban Boys (1965)

The Lecuona Cuban Boys was a popular Cuban orchestra which toured the world for over forty years.

The band was founded by Ernesto Lecuona, whose role was that of a patron-entrepreneur. He did not actually play with the band, but sometimes gave a piano recital before the band played. The core of the band was put together in 1931 as Orquesta Encanto; the band changed name early in 1934. On tour in Europe, in 1934, Lecuona returned to Cuba, and Armando Oréfiche took charge of the band in Europe. Ernesto gave them the gift of his name, which, at the time, was a property well worth having, and the right to use a number of his compositions.

The LCB was exceptionally strong in arrangements, compositions and instrumental quality (most of them could play two or three instruments). Their only weak spot was the lack of a really first-rate Cuban singer, but that was not so important as might seem because they played so often to non-Latin audiences. Some of their pick-up singers could sing in English, and many of their numbers were instrumentals. The band played the full range of Cuban popular music, but their speciality was the conga. Though it was perhaps Eliseo Grenet who first composed a conga in its ballroom dance style, it was certainly the LCB who took it round the world and made it famous. The LCB was therefore the first conjunto to use the conga drum regularly in its performances, and not Arsenio Rodríguez, as is often supposed.

The band initially organized itself as a collective, but in practice Armando Oréfiche (composer, arranger, pianist) was the leader. Other band members were Ernesto 'Jaruco' Vázquez (trumpeter, guitarist, composer, arranger); Adalberto 'Chiquito' Oréfiche (tenor sax and bongo); Agustin Bruguera (timbales, conga, voice); Gerardo Bruguera (tenor sax and clarinet); Jesús Bertomeu (trombone); Jorge Domínguez (alto sax, clarinet, violin); Daniel González (alto sax, clarinet, violin); Guillermo Hernández (guitar, tumba, guiro, maracas); Enrique López Rivero (trumpet) 1932 34; Alberto Rabagliati (voice) engaged 1934; later Fernando Díaz and Luis Escalante were engaged as replacement trumpeters. In 1947 Bob (Irv) Mesher joined the group after a brief stint with Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez and Pupi Campo. Irv took over the lead chair when Jaruco Vazquez left the band...

The band toured throughout the world: the USA, Latin America and Europe were the main tours. When World War II broke out, the band went to Latin America and continued their touring there. After WWII there was a dispute within the band, which ended in a split. Armando Oréfiche left with a few members, and started the Havana Cuban Boys; the rest stayed under the old name, based in New York until 1960. The Lecuona Cuban Boys continued to tour, and finally retired in 1975.

Mama Inéz (Rumba)
La Cumbia Del Amor (Cumbia)
Solamente Una Vez (Bolero)
El Bodeguero (Merengue)
My Shawl (Bolero-Cha-Cha)
Rumba Mirinda
Organito De La Tarde (Mambo)
Caribia (Afro)
Anita (Cha-Cha)
Choce (Cumbia)
Lamento Borincano (Bolero)
Campanitas De Cristal (Porqué) (Cumbia)
Chivirico (Merengue)
La Comparsa (Cumbia)

Lecuona Cuban Boys - Lecuona Cuban Boys (1965)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Mary Hopkins - Earth Song / Ocean Song (1971)

It was the British supermodel Twiggy who alerted Paul McCartney to the Welsh singer Mary Hopkin when Apple Records was looking for talent in 1968. The waifish soprano scored a huge worldwide smash with her first Apple single, the melancholy but rabble-rousing ballad "Those Were the Days," in late 1968; it actually knocked the Beatles' own "Hey Jude" out of the number one position in the U.K. Paul McCartney lent Hopkin a further hand by producing her first album and writing her second single, "Goodbye," which was also a hit. More comfortable with refined, precious ballads and folky pop than rock, Hopkin scored several more hit singles in the U.K., although she never entered the American Top 40 again. Her commercial success diminished as Apple's fortunes dwindled in the early '70s.    

More folk-oriented than her first effort, Mary Hopkin's lilting voice soothes the listener like hot tea with honey. Included in this set, which was produced by Tony Visconti, are her interpretations of Ralph McTell's "Streets of London," Cat Stevens' "The Wind," and Gallagher & Lyle's "International."    

01 - International
02 - There's Got To Be More
03 - Silver Birch And Weeping Willow
04 - How Come The Sun
05 - Earth Song
06 - Martha
07 - Streets Of London
08 - The Wind
09 - Water, Paper And Clay
10 - Ocean Song

Mary Hopkins - Earth Song / Ocean Song (1971)         
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 9. Juli 2017

Alice Coltrane - Journey In Satchidananda (1970)

Alice Coltrane's landmark "Journey to Satchidananda" reveals just how far the pianist and widow of John Coltrane had come in the three years after his death. The compositions here are wildly open and droning figures built on whole tones and minor modes. And while it's true that one can definitely hear her late husband's influence on this music, she wouldn't have had it any other way.

Pharoah Sanders' playing on the title cut, "Shiva-Loka," and "Isis and Osiris" (which also features the Vishnu Wood on oud and Charlie Haden on bass) is gloriously restrained and melodic. Coltrane's harp playing, too, is an element of tonal expansion as much as it is a modal and melodic device. With a tamboura player, Cecil McBee on bass, Rashied Ali on drums, and Majid Shabazz on bells and tambourine, tracks such as "Stopover Bombay" and the D-minor, modally drenched "Something About John Coltrane" become an exercise in truly Eastern blues improvisation. Sanders plays soprano exclusively, and the interplay between it and Coltrane's piano and harp is mesmerizing.

With the drone factor supplied either by the tamboura or the oud, the elongation of line and extended duration of intervallic exploration is wondrous. The depths to which these blues are played reveal their roots in African antiquity more fully than any jazz or blues music on record, a tenet that exists today, decades after the fact. One last note, the "Isis and Osiris" track, which was recorded live at the Village Gate, features some of the most intense bass and drum interplay - as it exists between Haden and Ali - in the history of vanguard jazz. Truly, this is a remarkable album, and necessary for anyone interested in the development of modal and experimental jazz. It's also remarkably accessible.

Alice Coltrane - Journey In Satchidananda (1970)
(320 kbps, cover art included)


A1  Journey In Satchidananda
A2  Shiva-Loka
A3  Stopover Bombay
B1  Something About John Coltrane
B2  Isis And Osiris