Παρασκευή, 30 Μαρτίου 2012

Dead Can Dance - Spiritchaser [1996]

This is  Dead Can Dance's final work...which is very unfortunate, as "Spiritchaser" sees DCD breaking some amazing new ground here which cries out for further exploration by Perry and Gerrard. On this release, the Mideastern and European tinges fade away, to be replaced with a vibrant focus on Caribbean, Native American, African, and Indian directions that promised so much. Everything on here is a standout track.This album is so much a fully-composed listening experience that begs to be play from start to finish.


Hossam Ramzy & Rafa El Tachuela - Flamenco Arabe [2003]

"An interesting fusion between Arabic music and flamenco. Some of the pieces are most straightforward flamenco with some additional Egyptian percussion, thanks to Hossam Ramzy. In other parts, it reverts to a straightforward Egyptian dance rhythm with some careful Spanish guitar in the background. It's when the two mesh that the sound is something worth hearing. Despite the relative obscurity of Rafa Tachuela (actually a German flamenco artist, hence the obscurity), the skill is certainly present to power the music forward. There is some able help from Said Kamal and Mohamed Naiem, providing the Egyptian sounds beyond Ramzy's percussion, and in the end, some help from the Sabri brothers in the addition of a touch of Indian music, as the artists attempt to explore the roots of flamenco through Egyptian music and the roots of Egyptian music through its Indian forebearers. Given that the rise of flamenco came after the Iberian peninsula had been taken over by the Moors, the links between North African music and flamenco are somewhat expected. When the two forms are brought back together to play in tandem, though, something more than the sum of its parts emerges. An excellent addition to the collection of any world music fusionist. "


Τετάρτη, 28 Μαρτίου 2012

Miguel Czachowski - Indialucia [2005]

Indialucia is a musical project, which fuses two fascinating styles of music: Indian and Flamenco music. The album expresses both the human and musical fusion of these cultures, which could have had a common ancestor. Improvisation and rhythm are the common elements in both styles and are essential to the continued existence of this music. The recordings were made between 1999 and 2004 mostly in India and Spain. Many great artists from the two continents performed. This album is the result of the years of work, which for the first time demonstrates the common elements of flamenco and its Indian roots fused into one art form. The rhythmically driving chords of the flamenco guitar are perfectly balanced with the soothing, more soulful melodies of the Indian vocals and sitar. A unique listening experience.


 Caribbean saxophonist Joe Harriott's classic collaboration with Calcutta composer and conductor John Mayer. In England in the 1960s, Harriott was something of a vanguard wonder on the order of Ornette Coleman. And while the comparisons flew fast and furious and Harriott was denigrated as a result, the two men couldn't have been more different. For one thing, Harriott was never afraid to swing. This work, written and directed by Mayer, offered the closest ever collaboration and uniting of musics East and West. Based almost entirely in the five-note raga -- or tonic scale that Indian classical music emanates from -- and Western modalism, the four ragas that make up the suite are a wonder of tonal invention and modal complexity, and a rapprochement to Western harmony. The band Harriott assembled here included his own group -- pianist Pat Smythe, bassist Coleridge Goode, and drummer Allan Ganley -- as well as trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, flutist Chris Taylor, Diwan Mothar on sitar, Chandrahas Paiganka on tamboura, and Keshan Sathe on tabla, with Mayer playing violin and Harriott on his alto. Of the four pieces, the "Overture" and "Contrasts" are rooted in blues and swing, though they move from one set of ascending and descending notes to the other, always ending on the tonic, and involve more than the five, six, or seven notes of Indian classical music, while the latter two -- "Raga Megha" and "Raga Gaud-Saranga" -- are out to lunch in the Western musical sensibility and throw all notions of Western harmony out the window. The droning place of the tamboura and the improvising sitar and alto shift the scalar notions around until they reflect one another in interval and mode, creating a rich, mysterious tapestry of sonic inquiry that all but folds the two musics into one another for good. Amazing.


Τρίτη, 27 Μαρτίου 2012

Voices Of East Harlem - Right On Be Free (remastered & expanded) [1970]

Digitally remastered and expanded reissue of the 1970 debut from the 20-member ensemble. Producers Leroy Hutson and Curtis Mayfield (both of the Impressions) worked with the group, whose ages ranged from 12 to 21. The Voices Of East Harlem were a community choir that grew from an inner city action project in 1969. Their music mixed devotional Gospel fervor with commercial R&B and Soul, and included lead vocalists Gerri Griffin and Monica Burress. Coming to the attention of Elektra boss Jac Holzman via their producer Jerry Brandt, they were signed in 1970 for their debut Right On Be Free, which showcased a diverse song selection from Buffalo Springfield’s "For What It's Worth, to Richie Haven's "Run Shaker Life", all performed in their distinctive high-energy style. plus two live tracks recorded at the “Soul To Soul” concert in Ghana in 1971.


                           Live from Soul to Soul festival in Ghana.1971:



Δευτέρα, 26 Μαρτίου 2012

The Gospel Truth: The Gospel Soul and Funk of Stax Records

By the 1970s gospel music was at a crossroads. Rhythm and blues had moved into soul, and the old-timey feel of much of gospel was alienating younger audiences. It fought back by adapting the sounds of contemporary funk and soul to their songs of devotion, and in recent years these records have become some of the hottest items amongst collectors. However until now the Stax Organisation and its Gospel Truth label had been largely ignored.
Started by label boss Al Bell and run by veteran black music radio promotions man Dave Clark, it aimed to capitalise on the success Bell had had with the Staples Singers, the gospel group becoming a pop sensation on the main Stax label. The idea was that the Gospel Truth label would take existing and new gospel acts and give them the Stax makeover. The very best soul musicians in the world would take time out from cutting hits to create the music for a series of gospel soul and funk masterpieces.
This compilation tells the story of Stax's move into the gospel field by choosing the best of the output. From the Staple Singers' glorious template via the inspired and unique voice of Rance Allen, the mainstay of the Gospel Truth label itself. We have cuts from the sought-after and super-rare Sons Of Truth LP, and Joshie Joe Armstead's You Got The Vibes, a UK northern soul monster almost from the day it was released.
The 20 tracks reflect the sound of popular black American music of the day - from the out and out funk of Clarence Smith, through the group soul harmonies of 21st Century to the proto-disco sound of the Howard Lemon Singers. If the connection with God sometimes seems tenuous, it was all part of the plan to bring you to Him by stealth.


Shattered Dreams: Funky Blues 1967-78

As soul became the music of black America in the late 60s, the blues had to adapt to survive. For those who could, playing to the white rock crowd was an attractive option, but in hundreds of sweaty, run-down clubs in cities and towns across the US an older urban black audience was still there to be entertained. Blues musicians made a few concessions to the age, added funk licks and a few soul screams and created some seriously good music, which has often been ignored by blues scholars. Shattered Dreams is BGP's celebration of that period.Drawn from the vaults of such influential labels as Stax, Modern and Jotis this exciting music comes from major names including Little Milton, Lowell Fulsom and Albert King, using all the nous gathered through years on the chitlin' circuit to keep themselves relevant to record buying audiences of the day. Elsewhere we have both terminally obscure and cult heroes. Finis Tasby and Smokey Wilson created music of great worth that was rarely heard at the time, never mind 40 years later.
In recent years funky blues has started to be a sought-after genre, especially with funk collectors and numbers such as Tasby's It Took A Long Time, Slim Green's Shake It Up and Buddy Guy's I'm Not The Best would all fill a floor. The blues guys could certainly hit a groove, but if Shattered Dreams captures anything it is a sense of despair you can hear as Smokey Wilson sings You Shattered My Dreams. Despair for an age that was passing away.




Σάββατο, 24 Μαρτίου 2012

Sabicas With Joe Beck - Rock Encounter [1966]

This album shows a fantastic mixture of authentic traditional Flamenco, Progressive and Psychedelic Rock by Spanish legend Sabicas and extraordinary electric Jazzrock guitar by Joe Beck with congenial backing band among others Donald Mac Donald on drums, Warren Bernhardt organ and Tony Levin on bass. This is an album for those, who are willing to look over the edges of their progressive and psychedelic horizon. Great guitar playing all over. Unique and hypnotizing!


Πέμπτη, 22 Μαρτίου 2012

Akira Ishikawa Trio & R&B All Stars - Soul Session Jazz Goes R&B [1969]

A master piece by Akira Ishikawa and his band. They play successfully covers of the most famous standard of rhythm & blues and Jazz from Stax or Atlantic records (Otis Redding, Joe Zawinul, Eddie Floyd, Aretha Franklin, The Bar-Kays...)

Ice - Afro Agban (The Afro-Instrumental) [1973]

The group was formed in Long Island, NY as the Bobby Boyd Congress; deciding America was already overloaded with funk acts, in 1971 they relocated to France, but when frontman Bobby Boyd returned stateside the remaining members renamed themselves Ice and became the house session band at producer Pierre Jaubert's Parisound studio.

Regularly performing live in Paris' Barbesse district — an area made up primarily of African immigrants — Ice's driving funk became increasingly influenced by African rhythms and textures, and in the wake of their 1973 debut LP 'Each Man Makes His Own Destiny', Jaubert changed the group's name to the Lafayette Afro Rock Band.

Eugene McDaniels - Outlaw [1970]

Album note:
Under conditions of national emergency, like now, there are only two kinds of people - those who work for freedom and those who do not... the good guys vs. the bad guys. -Mc D.

 Like many other Americans of the era, something happened to Eugene McDaniels between 1965 and 1970 that transformed him from Gene McDaniels to “Eugene McDaniels the Left Rev. Mc D”. The former Mr. McDaniels was a clean-cut soul singer in the mold of Jackie Wilson that enjoyed minor commercial success in the early ‘60s with songs like “A Hundred Pounds of Clay” and “Tower of Strength”; the reinvented Reverend posited himself as a fervent voice of protest, recording a pair of now-classic records for Atlantic in 1970 and 1971. But where many other artists dabbled in the counterculture to explore different ways of presenting their image or to take advantage of looser codes of moral   conduct, McDaniels fully embraced the movement’s radical politics.
   On Outlaw McDaniels recorded  with a rock- (and jazz-) solid band that featured legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter and ubiquitous ‘70s session guitarist Hugh McCracken—a group that fleshed out the Rev’s hippie-folk-funky dreams with undaunted restraint. 


Τρίτη, 20 Μαρτίου 2012

The Souljazz Orchestra - Rising Sun [2010]

Rising Sun is the Souljazz Orchestra's first all-acoustic afro-jazz album. Playing over thirty different instruments, the group creates a rich soundscape of otherwordly jazz, driven by heavy African rhythms and soulful grooves. The esoteric arrangements and fiery improvisations make it one of the Souljazz Orchestra's most unique offerings.


Δευτέρα, 19 Μαρτίου 2012

Fritz the Cat - OST [1972]

The soundtrack to the early-'70s underground cartoon hit, based on an R. Crumb character, was produced by Ed Bogas and Ray Shanklin, who also ended up writing much of the material. Most of it's funky instrumental soul-jazz, with contributions by such noted players as Bernard Purdie (drums), Merl Saunders (organ), Melvin Sparks (guitar), and Chuck Rainey (bass); Cal Tjader plays vibes on his own tune, "Mamblues." It's well-suited for the kind of loose, Joe Cool ambience of the film; judged purely as soul-jazz, it's just average. Providing a bit of variety are cuts licensed from Bo Diddley ("Bo Diddley"), Billie Holiday ("Yesterdays"), and the Watson Sisters, who deliver a gospel-soul number. The album's been reissued on a CD that also includes the soundtrack to Ralph Bakshi's subsequent adult-oriented animated feature, Heavy Traffic.

Κυριακή, 18 Μαρτίου 2012

Äl Jawala - Asphalt Pirate Radio [2009]

With their combination of Balkan Soul and funky dance beats 
Äl Jawala   boil  European clubs and festivals from France to the Black Sea.

Äl Jawala  create an absorbing and innovating urban sound that takes the
soul of Balkan-brass out to the Dancefloors. 
An explosive and highly charged cocktail, in which cultural limits fade.
Äl Jawala  reaches out further than the common “Style-Mix-Formats”. They
dare to reach into the unexplored, they break loose, transform into a  orchestra,
become DJ,Punkband and Storyteller.

In May 2009 the German Pioneers of Balkan Big Beats released their first studio album
.. Asphalt Pirate Radio... 
Focused energy, the quintessence after nine years of live experiences, lyrical,
up-front and 100% dancing pleasures guaranteed! Rooted in the soul of the Balkans
and grown from the European streets.

Παρασκευή, 16 Μαρτίου 2012

Emil Richards- Journey to Bliss [1968]

A fantastic bit of "Eastern" tinged jazz – and a real musical Journey To Bliss on its own! Vibist Emil Richards has always been totally groovy working in an exotic mode that features lots of weird percussion over choppy modal grooves from keyboards, guitar, and drums – all in a wild blend of rhythms and grooves played by Richards and his Microtonal Blues Band. Players include Tom Tedesco and Dennis Budimir on guitar, Dave MacKay on keyboards, and Joe Porcaro on drums – but all players handle a variety of instruments, as does Richards, who must play dozens of different percussion elements on the set! Side one of the album features some great short groovers – like "Maharimba", "Bliss", "Mantra", and "Enjoy Enjoy" – all of which are in a tripped-out LA guru hippy mode that's simply wonderful! Side two features the extended "Journey To Bliss" suite, which has some spoken bits and a much wilder sound – but also the same sort of groovy pop-Eastern sound as side one! 

Πέμπτη, 15 Μαρτίου 2012

Embryo - Rocksession [1973]

This outstanding German band plays a trippy jazz rock like no one else. "Rockession" is a very technical, achieved effort which develops long instrumental, groovy, syncopated tunes with an enormous feeling. This album can easily be a real revelation for every jazz rock lovers.

Τρίτη, 13 Μαρτίου 2012

Praise Space Electric - Mushroom Jazz [1997]

Praise Space Electric are the alter ego of key members of much loved UK band The Moonflowers.
Recorded in 1996 in France at the Moonflowers farm studio and mixed in Bristol, Mushroom Jazz is a highly inventive combination of laid back funky grooves, psychedelic rock and cool jazz that defies comparison. With it's roots in the underground, lounge-fusions of Bristol's funky club scene, this album is bizarre yet obvious.

Why hasn't this been done before? The answer is of course that nobody has had the nerve or the ability. The liquid guitar work of Jesse Vernon recalls Jimi Hendrix at his acid fried best whilst the stunningly competent and fluid backing of bass, drums and keyboards/synths supplied by the rest of the band is a breathtaking experience. Assorted extra musicians add woodwind, strings and vocals to add the garnish to a highly original and magically different album that will dust down those purple flares in the boutique at the back of your mind.... 


Δευτέρα, 12 Μαρτίου 2012

Baba Zula - Duble Oryantal [2005]

Intrepid buccaneers and experimentalists Baba Zula continue to explore uncharted waters with this, their third "Duble Oryantal (Belly Double)" album on Doublemoon. Mixed and mastered in the heart of mega-city Istanbul by legendary British dub producer Mad Professor, who also worked on their last outing "Psychebelly Dance Music", "Duble Oryantal" is the culmination of years of fearless musical adventuring, and as usual there's a talented and eclectic supporting cast on board for a share of the bounty.
Guest musicians include reggae legends Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, Alexander Hacke - bassist with seminal German noise artists Einsturzende Neubauten and Crime and the City Solution, Canadian vocalist and regular collaborator Brenna MacCrimmon and three acclaimed artists who span the spectrum from traditional Turkish music (celebrated clarinettist Hüsnü Þenlendirici from Laço Tayfa) to Turkish rock and pop (Özkan Uður from MFÖ), and writer-painter-musician Mehmet Güreli.
The very natural cross-breeding of reggae and oriental music takes well in Baba Zula's electronic treatments of traditional Turkish instruments, and with "Duble Oryantal (Belly Double)" they have further developed the new genre they have named oriental dub.


Κυριακή, 11 Μαρτίου 2012

Domna Samiou R.I.P.

The Burger Project – We live in Athens [2009]

The Burger Project are here to turn your favorite songs into “hybrids”!! They have a spicy sense of humor, no artistic arrogance but all the knowledge, passion and talent it comes with.
They are a cover band. Something common in Greece and the world over since the 50’s. You may recall a small band called the Beatles who started out like that. Nothing new here then, so why bother? Simply because The Burger Project found a way to combine fun and imminence, the basic ingredients of a good live concert and also being inventive in a way that you don’t expect when you seek a good night out.
Their surreal outfits, uncommon for Greek audiences, provoke and alienate at first. Until they start playing. Then you realize that their eccentricity is only the visual analogy to their ground breaking music. You also understand that choosing their attire is a natural process similar to how the breathe life into an 80’s hit like ‘Take My Breath Away’, giving it a Jamaican twist or ‘swinging’ ‘Another One Bites the Dust’. In their album ‘We Live in Athens’ they talk about relentlessly mixing musical memories of a whole generation, rediscovering and covering ‘diamonds’ from swing to punk, and from disco to country: Clash, Alice Cooper, Queen, Ramones, Thin Lizzy, Godfathers, White Stripes, Prince, Fats Domino, Johnny Cash, Sonics, Undertones, Tsitsanis et. What they don’t say is that someone might even fall in love with a song that they used to hate until they heard it from The Burger Project.


Παρασκευή, 9 Μαρτίου 2012

Fishtank Ensemble - Super Raoul [2005]

Gypsy flamenco frenzy! A blend of up-tempo traditional and original music — Romanian, Roma, klezmer, flamenco and Japanese — with a contemporary twist. From the smokey cafes of Bucharest to the Gypsy caravans of yesterday, this CD evokes the spirit of a past age and the sounds of tomorrow. 7-piece orchestra with vocals, 2 violins, saw, accordion, shamisen, flamenco guitar, double base and percussion. A unique musical experience--and a rollicking good time!


James Knight & The Butlers - Black Knight [1971]

"An excellent bit of southern funk -- very much in the early mode of Little Beaver, but with a sound that's even harder! James Knight is The Black Knight -- leading a tight little combo with a raw funky 45 sound, heavy on the horns for backing, but with James' guitar right up front in the mix, jamming hard in a way that would have made Hendrix proud! The tracks are a mix of heavy funk numbers and more tripped-out jams -- and Knight's vocals remind us a bit of Charles Wright in the old days, blaring out of the speakers with a bit of distortion and lots of soul, really driving home the quality of the songs. Titles include "Fantasy World", "Save Me", "Flyin High", "Funky Cat", "Uncle Joe", "Cotton Candy", and "Just My Love For You".DG


Exuma - Exuma [1970]

One of the most unique and hard to classify artists of the 1970s, Exuma was a singular talent. Mixing the infectious rhythms and folkloric qualities of Bahamian music with rock, country, and other U.S. influences and adding a sharply satiric element of social commentary, Exuma's music aimed for the heart and the feet at the same time.

Exuma was born McFarlane Anthony McKay on Cat Island in the Bahamas sometime in the early '40s (no one seems to know exactly when). Raised on traditional Bahamian folk songs and the popular music known as junkanoo, a West African-based Bahamian version of calypso or samba named after a Boxing Day festival that's the local equivalent of Mardi Gras or Carnival, McKay nevertheless planned a career as an architect and fell into life as a performer almost by accident. Moving to New York in the early '60s to attend architecture school, McKay soon found himself living in the state of near-penury that's the urban college student's life. Noting the popularity of Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence's records in the Greenwich Village folk scene, McKay began playing venues like the Bitter End and Cafe Wha?, bringing traditional Bahamian folk music to the city, first as a solo artist but quickly forming a group called Tony McKay and the Islanders.

Tony McKay and the Islanders were a popular club band, opening for artists like Richie Havens or Peter, Paul and Mary through the mid-'60s. McKay began undergoing a personal transformation by the end of the decade, absorbing political influences from the black power movement and musical influences from acts like the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Sly and the Family Stone. McKay translated this political and artistic excitement through the traditions of his homeland and re-emerged by decade's end as Exuma, the Obeah Man. (Exuma, besides being the name of one of the Bahamas' largest islands, was a spirit balanced between the worlds of the living and the dead; Obeah is an Afro-Caribbean tradition of sorcery, like Santeria in Cuba or Vodun in Haiti.)

Signed to Mercury Records in 1969, Exuma quickly released two albums, "Exuma the Obeah Man" and "Exuma II" (both 1970). Mixing powerful Afro-Caribbean rhythms with Exuma's shamanistic exhortations and vividly Obeah-inspired lyrics, these albums were conceptually similar to what Nigeria's Fela Kuti was beginning to do around the same time. Like Fela, however, Exuma was largely ignored by American press, radio, and consumers, and Mercury quickly dropped him.

Exuma's debut album was a real odd piece of work, even by the standards of the late '60s and early '70s, when major labels went further out on a limb to throw weird stuff at the public to see what would stick than they ever had before or have since. Roughly speaking, it's kind of like a combination of the Bahamian folk of Joseph Spence with early Dr. John at his most voodooed-out, though even that nutshell doesn't really do justice to how unusual this record is. Often it seems more like eavesdropping on a tribal ritual than listening to songs. Some of the tracks, indeed, have little or less to do with conventional "songs" than with tunes and lyrics; they're more akin to Mardi Gras street percussion jams airlifted to the Caribbean islands. Exuma and his accompanists make quite a spooky clamor with their various bells, foot drums, chanting, gasps, sighs, shouts, and other percussive instruments, creating a mood both celebratory and scary. He's not totally averse to using more standard song forms, though, singing about "zombies walking in the broad daylight" in "Mama Loi, Papa Loi"; devising a simple, fairly singable soul melody for "You Don't Know What's Going On," his most famous song due to its inclusion in the movie "Joe"; and setting "The Vision" to an appealing, if again quite simple, folk melody. Exuma's rough, unschooled vocals cut off any prospect of mainstream accessibility, but they get the job done in getting both his uplifting and ominous spirituality over.


Πέμπτη, 8 Μαρτίου 2012

The Coasters - 50 Coastin' Classics

The Coasters are best known for their dynamic delivery, writing the book on harmonies and vocal interplay, allowing their songs to ride on a loosely fitting instrumental structure, and relying on numbers that are designed for the younger person, not so much because they’re immature, but because they’re more of a novelty in nature.  But even so, tunes like “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” “Yakety Yak,” and “Young Blood” will forever live in the minds of those who were around when the songs were receiving so much AM air time in the mid 1950’s and early 60’s, and a constant request at Sock Hops across America at the time.

Many of their songs were penned by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, artists in their own right, who managed to take The Coasters out of the Doo Woop circuit and move them into the R&B/Rock & Roll genre; though their music was covered and imitated so often that they will forever be linked to Doo Woop ... but that’s what happens when evolution takes place, with a constant looking back in order to redefine the future.

Every once in a while The Coasters would float a song like “Down In Mexico,” a song that was so unexpected and so good that it transcended time and boundaries.  A tune like that would have me holding my breath, hoping that the next outing from the band would be equally dynamic and engaging.  Even so, The Coasters will forever be part of a musical legacy, and though they toured under various lineups, any of their incarnations put on a splendid show.

But to this album 50 Coastin’ Classics, this is the one you need, this is the complete compilation.  After all, The Coasters only put out five albums, and twenty eight ‘A Side’ singles ... yet have managed to tally something in the neighborhood of eighteen compilations, with I’m sure, more to come.  While 50 tracks by The Coasters may be way more than you need, this is certainly a release that is both worth your time and your consideration.  There is no way I’m going to tell you that you’re going to find yourself playing these selections over and over, they will certainly become part of your musical reference library, and a timeless source of satisfaction for the lineage and development of classic R&B and early Rock & Roll. 

Also the classic sexy dance:

Enjoy!   Vol.1   &   Vol.2

Τετάρτη, 7 Μαρτίου 2012

The Swing Shoes - Ladies & Gents, Here's The Swing Shoes [2010]

The Swing Shoes were formed in Athens in 2006. Initially a street guitar duo, they evolved into a four-piece, with the standard swing quartet instrumentation: two guitars, bass and violin. Gypsy swing - or jazz manouche, as it is called in France, its birthplace - is a musical idiom that originated in the 1930’s and owes its
international popularity to Django Reinhardt, the man who single-handedly defined its style - even down to the way the chords are played on the guitar - due to an injury that left him unable to use two fingers in his left hand. The standard major or minor chords were replaced by major 6ths and minor 6ths, and modified chords.
Another particular element of jazz manouche is the distinctive rhythm guitar strumming technique known as la pompe (the pump), which gives a continuous rhythmic drive.
The Swing Shoes fully respect the rules of this folk idiom, while consciously omitting any kind of Hollywood glamour linked with swing. Their faces reflect the purity, the honesty and courage of their folk heroes: Django Reinhardt, Markos Vamvakaris, Karagiozis, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Manolis Hiotis, etc.
But although they faithfully adhere to the traditional gypsy swing conventions, the Swing Shoes are also part of a special breed of musicians that manage to sound innovative, due to their choice of seemingly unlikely cover tunes from the Greek popular and folk songbook, like Karagouna or Then Se Thelo Pia, which are
often re-interpreted in an unpredicted manner on the CD you are holding. If you happen to catch them live, you may find that sometimes the violin glissandos can swiftly transport you from a pre-war Paris street corner to contemporary Ikaria or Smirni. That’s how music stands on its own two feet, wears its shoes and moves on.

Τρίτη, 6 Μαρτίου 2012

The Dead Brothers - Wunderkammer [2006]

The fourth album by Germany's the Dead Brothers is an eclectic, at times slightly crazed, mash-up of country, psychobilly, blues, fractured art rock, and anything else that seems to come to mind. So in the album's first three songs alone, things veer from the spooky, echoed, funereal slide guitar instrumental "Trust in Me" to an assaultive, bluesy raver that sounds like the Mekons in their country period to a completely unexpected piece of big-band Gypsy jazz that sounds like it came right off the stage of the Hot Club of Paris circa 1930. Then comes the cross-culturally inexplicable "I Can't Get Enough," which sort of sounds like it might be a catchy little country-tinged song, but there's an oompah-band tuba holding down the bass and a jazzy little horn section floating in every so often. "Mustapha" turns vaguely Middle Eastern tropes into a surprisingly Kinks-like piece of character-study pop; "Am I to Be the One" and "Time Has Gone" do the same things with country and Gypsy music, respectively, and "Marlene" is a just plain weird reverie for backwards tapes, accordion, and vocals that comes from the bottom of a well. So Wunderkammer is a sprawling, at times deeply strange record that reaches across several different musical cultures and eras to create an odd but effective crazy quilt of influences. Remarkably, all of this coheres into a solidly enjoyable listen. 

Δευτέρα, 5 Μαρτίου 2012

Loukianos Kilaidonis - Tragoudia gia kaka pedia [1986] & Nea Kipseli nea Orleani [1998]

Ο Λουκιανός Κηλαηδόνης γεννήθηκε και μεγάλωσε στην Κυψέλη. Σπούδασε Αρχιτεκτονική στο Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο (Θεσσαλονίκη), καθώς και στο Μετσόβειο Πολυτεχνείο (Αθήνα), χωρίς ποτέ να ασκήσει το επάγγελμα του αρχιτέκτονα, αφού από πολύ νωρίς φαινόταν ότι θα τον κέρδιζε ολοκληρωτικά η μουσική.
Το 1976 ο Λουκιανός γράφει την «Media Luz» τον μοναδικό του δίσκο με ορχηστρική μουσική, που είναι το soundtrack μιας υποθετικής ταινίας “Film Noir” .
Από το 1978 και μέχρι το 1991 κυκλοφορούν πέντε απόλυτα προσωπικοί του δίσκοι : «Είμαι ένας φτωχός και μόνος καουμπόϋ», «Ψυχραιμία Παιδιά», «Χαμηλή πτήση», «Τραγούδια για κακά παιδιά», «Γιατί θα γίνω μαραγκός» και ένας δίσκος με τραγούδια της δεκαετίας του ’50 με τίτλο «Fifties και ξερό ψωμί». 

Παράλληλα όλα αυτά τα χρόνια ο Λουκιανός κάνει πάρα πολλές ζωντανές εμφανίσεις σε ολόκληρη την Ελλάδα και στην Κύπρο. Γνωστότερη από αυτές είναι το περίφημο «Πάρτυ στη Βουλιαγμένη», που έγινε το 1983 και που συγκέντρωσε περίπου 70.000 κόσμο. Το «Πάρτυ στη Βουλιαγμένη» θεωρήθηκε το ελληνικό “Woodstock” και ο Λουκιανός με αυτήν την εκδήλωση ήταν ο πρώτος καλλιτέχνης που έβγαλε τις συναυλίες από τα γήπεδα και τα θέατρα σε φυσικούς χώρους. 
Επόμενες δισκογραφικές του δουλειές το : «Νέα Κυψέλη – Νέα Ορλεάνη» που προήλθε από την συνεργασία του με το περίφημο συγκρότημα της Νέας Ορλεάνης Preservation Hall Jazz Band και «Τα φανταρίστικα», πάνω σε στίχους ανώνυμων φαντάρων.
Το 1999 δημιουργεί μαζί με τη σύζυγό του Άννα Βαγενά τον δικό τους χώρο Θεάματος το «Μεταξουργείο», όπου δραστηριοποιούνται μέχρι σήμερα.


Tragoudia gia kaka pedia [1986]

Nea Kipseli nea Orleani [1998]

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Up Above My Head

Rockin' Mama!

Κυριακή, 4 Μαρτίου 2012

Demon Fuzz – Roots And Offshoots [1976]

Their legendary 2nd LP!
Demon Fuzz is the brainchild of Paddy Corea, born during his musical sojourn in Africa (Morocco 1968). The idea was to blend all the musical influences & poly-rhythmic styles he had experienced, from sax to the 'steel pan', vibes, guitar,flute, jazz, reggae, classical, Indian raga, blues, suffi Arabic sounds, ska, calypso, Ethiopian church music, African highlife, kwela music,Joe Harriot-Shake Keane Indo-Jazz Fusions. All these influences synthesized into Demon Fuzz.We wrote some, we borrowed some, but we constructed a new sound, different from all the other black bands in England at the time, so much so Demon Fuzz became the prototype of a new musical genre in England, baptized as Afro-Rock by the legendary Eddie Grant and Paddy Corea. We used different time signatures 6/8, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, and several types of rhythms,different movements in the same piece (like classical works), used steel-band type bass and blues harmonics in some passages, African drumming  even early rap (Biafra , Our World Today).We inspired a new breed of bands after 1969, Spear, Cymande, Protoplazm, Batti-Mamselle, Assagai, Noir, The New-Tonics, even Osibisa, and many more.


Σάββατο, 3 Μαρτίου 2012

Lumumba - Lumumba [1974]

I don't know the story behind Lumumba. All the musicians except for two are credited as coming from Ghana (the two non-Africans, West Indies and Los Angeles). Though the group is named after the singer Lumumba, it seems as though a fellow named Rim Kwaku Obeng is the leader of the band. Obeng has records under his own name and they are sought after by Afrobeat collectors. The record was recorded in Los Angeles, which is rare for an Afrobeat record. How is the album? Spotty and sometimes suspect. I am not sure if the musicians were cobbled together by A&M looking to break Afrobeat or if some American producer stumbled upon them in Africa, brought them to the States and put them in a fancy studio. Many of the songs are over produced and some sound very studio musicianish.Highly recomended.

 "Stop talking about peace; make peace. Stop talking about love: make love."


Gordon 'N' Rogers The Inter-Urban Electric A & E Pit Crew And Rhythm Band - Bug-In! [1969]

Kelly Gordon and Shorty Rogers collaborated on a couple of funky rarities in the late sixties. Gordon's 1969 masterpiece ‘Defunked’ is oneand this wild obscurity credited to the ‘Inter-Urban Electric A&E Pit Crew And Rhythm Bandis the otherjumping on the Califor-nia dune buggie wave of the 60's, the chicks-cars-surf-gogo themed gatefold cover gives a first hint of the treasure inside. the funk is really tuned up to the max here on this action packed studio session! the stricly instrumental tracks have 'a groove that is impossible to stop, add fluid scorching solo horns against firecracker chunk-a-funk electric guitar, fender bass, electric piano, drums, funky reverberated flutes and I think even some conga drum.' (Jack Diamond) the excellent, tight horn section delivers infectious, ultra-funky rhythms with a sleazy, very early 70s sound, strongly reminding of some Tom Scott & the L.A. express session from the same time. in between mixed you can hear roaring motor sounds (just like Michel Legrand's 'Le Mans' OST) producing incredibly funky effects you can almost see the buggys wheelin' and jumpin' over sand dunes. a highly recommended and throughout consistent Capitol release, and a rare one too as it’s not listed in any soundtrack guide. the all killer, no filler-tracklist includes titles like 'Glitterbag', 'Spyder Bug', 'The Manx Meets The Bronco', 'Boss Bug', 'Wampuskitty' or 'Mini T'. all that's left to say is: bug in!, turn on!, drop out! and get down! to the inter-urban electric grooves of Gordon N Rogers! 

Eddie Bo - In The Pocket With Eddie Bo!

New Orleans Rock&Roll, R&B, Soul, & Funk Goodies 1955 to 2007

This Vampi Soul collection is arguably the most representative audio portrait of the New Orleans songwriting and performing kingpin, Edwin Bocage. Covering 60 years of music making, its whopping 28 tracks highlight his songs, singles, and productions for other artists. Like all of the best New Orleans music, this baby is sweaty, raw, greasy, and super funky. Some of the classics here include Bo's stellar bit of proto-soul-funk in "I Found a Little Girl" (while it may borrow from Ray Charles' gospel-soul inspiration, it gives back in its prefiguring of the bridge style James Brown used to great success later on), "We Like Mambo" (the Afro-Caribbean style welded hard to NOLA second line), and the great break-driven duet "Lover & Friend" with Inez Cheatham. There are an equal number of highlights in his productions and arrangements including -- but not limited to -- "Horse with a Freeze, Pt. 1" by Roy Ward, the Explosions' "Garden of Our Trees," with its burning bassline and tight horn charts, and Curley Moore & Cool Ones' "Funky Yeah" (which is just damn nasty in the way it uses Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" rhythm). Then there's the elastic wah-wah guitar and keys in "The Rubber Band" by Bo with the Soul Finders and the straight-up employment of a Motown-style string chart on his 2007 single "Chained." Anyway you want to listen to this slab, chronologically, on shuffle, or one track played over and over until you gotta move to the next, is just fine because In the Pocket with Eddie Bo. is the bomb

Παρασκευή, 2 Μαρτίου 2012

Electric Psychedelic Sitar Headswirlers - [Vol's 1-5]

This is a massive collection (97 tracks spread over five CDs -- each volume was originally released in numbered limited editions by Purple Lantern Records) of swirling psychedelic folk and rock featuring the sitar from the late '60s and early '70s. It draws on bands and performers from the U.S., Britain, India, Germany, Sweden, Holland, Australia, and several other points on the planet, and it's difficult to imagine getting more flower power drone for the dollar anywhere else. It's all wonderfully dated, of course, an incense-soaked time capsule from a very particular time in pop music, and some of it is incomprehensibly baffling, like Mehrpoojah's ultra-serious "Love Dance of the Lemmings" -- which sounds like nothing so much as Spinal Tap in full hippie phase -- while some of it seems like a natural fusion of Eastern and Western folk music (Pentangle's "Once I Had a Sweetheart"). George Harrison and the Beatles had a lot to do with this sitar phenomenon back in the Summer of Love, so it should come as no surprise that there are a couple of sitar-led instrumental versions of Beatles songs here ("I Am the Walrus" from Lord Sitar and "Eleanor Rigby" from Chim Kothari) as well as a version of the Byrds' "Eight Miles High" by the Folkswingers -- Roger McGuinn's iconic electric 12-string guitar breaks in the original version of the song were attempts to fuse Ravi Shankar with John Coltrane in the first place. The end result of all this droning through 97 tracks is a fun set that is probably best enjoyed in small doses -- one could seriously drift away on the incense.

Enjoy! Vol.1

  Enjoy! Vol.2

                                                Enjoy! Vol.3

                                                Enjoy! Vol.4

                                                Enjoy! Vol.5

Big Jim Sullivan - Sitar Beat [1967]

Top British session guitarist Jim Sullivan was not a novice to the sitar when he recorded this instrumental album in 1968, having studied it seriously and established himself as the only non-Indian session musician who could play the instrument on U.K. recordings. The record still sounds like rather cheesy East-meets-West à go-go, though. Covers of then-current rock faves like "A Whiter Shade of Pale," "Sunshine Superman," and the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home" and (of course) "Within You, Without You" share space with three Sullivan originals, with John McLaughlin playing some session guitar. The rock covers are basically instrumental rearrangements that save for the sitar fit into the usual 1960s pop/rock background mood music format, though "She's Leaving Home" is changed to fit more Indian rhythms. Sullivan's original compositions (even the one titled "Flower Power") are more Indian in flavor, though nothing to set alongside your Ravi Shankar LPs, with "The Koan" buttressed by a nice jazzy breeze.