USA

A superb music education course in banjo styles! - from "old school" to "new school"

This CD contains a wide range of old time banjo music, from modal to bluegrass - mostly 5-string and mostly clawhammer.

'The banjo is a “bigger than life” instrument, a symbol of deep southern American heritage. At the same time, beneath its veneer of old-time icon, the story of the banjo is one of enormous creativity and adaptation to many musical traditions around the world - from Africa, to the Caribbean, to North America, to Europe, and beyond. In Classic Banjo from Smithsonian Folkways, banjo connoisseurs Greg Adams and Jeff Place cull 30 gems of banjo artistry from more than 300 albums in the Folkways collections, offering a gateway into the deep and varied veins of banjo history.' (Folkways)

'This sampling of banjo recordings from the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections is the labor of love of two Smithsonian archivists: Greg C. Adams of the Rinzler collections and Jeff Place of Folkways. In what must have been one of the most rewarding work assignments in history, the two combed through hundreds of tracks to find 30 that are “iconic, instructive, or [reflective of] some of the more notable ways in which people have used the banjo over time.”

Beginning with a medley of traditional tunes and ending with an explosion of bluegrass banjo from Bill Keith (with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys), this album showcases the history and range of the instrument and the diversity of those who play it. Adams’ and Place’s delight in their task is transmitted to the listener: playing Classic Banjo feels like sitting on the floor with a friend, rummaging through CDs until half the night has gone by. This album is not a shoebox of familiar tunes: even those who have listened to banjo for decades will find fresh techniques, rhythms, and musical ideas in this outstanding collection.

Classic Banjo starts off with a blast of upper-register ear candy, a pinging and plunking of pure anarchic banjo that quickly takes shape as “Fly Around My Blue-Eyed Girl.” Pete Seeger’s vocals, tinged with a patrician vibrato, float above the maelstrom of metallic tones, which leap upward in controlled flights during some of the more jaw-dropping moments of this track. Seeger’s sound could not be more different from that of Irvin Cook, who pairs his gristly baritone and understated two-finger style in “I Wish to the Lord I’d Never Been Born” with the fiddling of Leonard Bowles, whose bow sounds as if it is scraping toast.

The CD does not shy away from primitive sounds. In Hobart Smith’s “Banging Breakdown,” stomping feet and thumps on the banjo head punctuate a series of downward-rolling phrases. The tune is simple, but the percussion provides an intricate overlay and a sense of barely contained energy. In Josh Thomas’s “Roustabout,” Mike Seeger draws from a style he describes as “African-Virginian” to bang out a relentless series of minor-key riffs while singing plaintively above.

Dink Roberts’ “Coo Coo” stretches the limits of listenability: the first few notes hit the ear like a burst of shrapnel, and Roberts’ playing seems to know no laws. With heathen glee, he shoots up into the stratosphere of the range for extended unaccompanied interludes during which he alternates between two pitches, then tumbles down in atonal rapids of sound before taking up the vocal line. You’ll either never listen to this track again or consider Roberts a deconstructionist genius. Either way, he ends the song with a comic aside that sets the others in the room laughing and speaks to the communal nature of the music.

All the tracks on this CD have a complexity that belies their rustic origins. Lee Sexton’s “Fox Chase” is so backwoodsy that you can feel pine needles under your feet, but it starts at a run, decelerates to a canter, throws in some notes from an alien key, switches melody and possibly time signature, then slows to a halt, telling a story through sound alone.

Some artists ooze sophistication. Don Vappie’s “Gut Bucket Blues” refreshes with its trumpet licks and its interweaving of influences ranging from jug band to New Orleans-style brass band. Doc Watson plays “Rambling Hobo” with such mastery, the notes sound as if spun from air (he does not mention that he learned the tune on an instrument made out of the family cat). The chiming of guitar and dulcimer on Ola Belle Reed’s “Foggy Mountain Top” sets off her voice, worn smooth by age, and creates an enveloping sound reminiscent of the Carter Family.

Forty-two pages of liner notes accompany the tunes, putting each into context as well as providing a history of the instrument (whose alternate names in its early days include strum stump and merrywang). The banjo’s reputation as a rustic slave instrument, object of minstrelsy, and hillbilly noisemaker did not deter people from all walks of life from unpacking its charms: the CD features recordings by coal miners, railroad workers, sons of slaves, members of legislature, and professional musicians. The notes include historic photographs of players, many of whom stare down the cameraman with a look of defiance.

The curatorial skill of Adams and Place ensures that each piece stands out as a distinctive offering, balancing with the others and setting them off by way of differences in texture, tempo, and style. You can listen to all 64 minutes of this album without getting sick of the sound or feeling as if you’re listening to the same thing over and over—no mean feat when it comes to showcasing one twangy instrument played mainly in the American southeast. Whether funky, introspective, rousing, or hypnotic, the tunes on this CD will move you. Place’s assertion that “We will continue to mine the vaults for new collections” inspires hope for a Classic Banjo volume II, volume III, and so on. Any who buy this album will wish that they could join Adams and Place in their next excavation.' -Lauren Hauptman

An obscure provision of the Patriot Act has been triggered to force Smithsonian Folkways record company to release 30 major tracks from its secret tapes of vintage banjo music by some of America’s most notorious un-Americans—like Pete Seeger and his late half-brother Mike, who once described his banjo style as “non-violent,” which raised some red flags over at the NSA’s sister agency—the NCA—the National Clawhammer Association.

It is no accident that Smithsonian Folkways—with its long history of promoting Marxist minstrels like Woody Guthrie (who condemned private property in his controversial “patriotic” song This Land Is Your Land), Leadbelly (he of the infamous Bourgeois Blues pointing out that Washington DC was racially segregated), and Mr. Seeger himself, who was an unfriendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955, when he hid behind the First Amendment and brazenly told them “You have no right to ask any American these questions”—is caught up in Washington’s latest scandal.

Faced with mounting criticism over its recent release of Jewish banjo player Stephen Wade, (whose nomination by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Grammy voters wisely ignored in giving its folk award to classical cello player Yo Yo Ma) Smithsonian Folkways finally announced that it would comply with the NSA order: Release or Recant.

But in typical Folkways style—carrying on for its suspect founder Moses Asch (whose very first release was of the ex-con Leadbelly—singing children’s songs no less)—Smithsonian Folkways picked Hiroshima Day, August 6, 2013 to release their new album Classic Banjo from the Smithsonian Folkways vaults. My late friend “Banjo Fred” Starner (unfortunately not on the album) would have appreciated the irony, especially since he too was born on August 6, and dedicated his life to singing out for peace, justice and the environment. However Fred, the Hobo Minstrel’s mentor Pete Seeger is on the album, and his motto, stenciled on his banjo head does speak to the concerns associated with that haloed name: “This Machine Surrounds Hate and Forces It to Surrender.”

So in all seriousness let us begin by noting that had Pete’s motto—from a World War II veteran—framed Truman’s military policy perhaps the eight-year old girl Sadako would not have had to die from leukemia brought on by radiation poisoning within a year of the Atom Bomb that killed a quarter of a million people outright. Pete’s half-brother Mike Seeger—also on the album—may also have appreciated the irony since as already noted he often referred to his banjo style as “non-violent”—to distinguish it from Earl Scruggs’ bluegrass style, which was vastly more popular.

Needless to add that my political associations are not Smithsonian Folkways—and that they no doubt were oblivious to the historical connotations.

With the permission of FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) I managed to hack into Smithsonian Folkways computer network and pull out the actual track listing for the benefit of the White House, the NSA, Fox News and FolkWorks readers. Compiled by Smithsonian Folkways archivist Jeff Place and ethnomusicologist Greg Adams it is available here for the first time, unless you go on Smithsonian Folkways web site, where you can also see it.

Classic Banjo from Smithsonian Folkways tracklist:

1. Pete Seeger - Fly Around My Blue Eyed Girl / Cripple Creek / Ida Red / Old Joe Clark 2:35
2. Hobart Smith - Banging Breakdown 1:17
3. Frank Proffitt - Johnson Boys 1:41
4. Wade Ward - Peachbottom Creek 1:24
5. Dink Roberts - Coo Coo 2:10
6. Mike Seeger - Josh Thomas’s Roustabout 2:38
7. Willie Chapman - Jaw Bone 0:52
8. Dock Boggs - Bright Sunny South 3:36
9. Pete Steele - Coal Creek March 1:52
10. Josh Thomas - Mississippi Heavy Water Blues 3:37
11. Rufus Crisp - Walk Light Ladies 1:28
12. Bill Cornett - Buck Creek Girls 1:00
13. Don Vappie - Gut Bucket Blues 4:15
14. Mick Moloney - Skylark / Roaring Mary 3:24
15. Ken Perlman - St. Anne’s Reel / La Renfleuse Gorbeil 2:50
16. Roger Sprung - Smokey Mokes 2:21
17. A.L. Camp - Golden Bell Polka 2:25
18. Tony Trischka With Bill Evans - Banjoland 3:00
19. Snuffy Jenkins - Sally Ann 1:10
20. Roni Stoneman - Lonesome Road Blues 1:12
21. Lee Sexton - Fox Chase 0:56
22. John Tyree - Hop Along Lou 1:08
23. "Big Sweet" Lewis Hairston - Cotton Eyed Joe 1:23
24. Ola Belle Reed - Foggy Mountain Top 2:29
25. Doc Watson - Rambling Hobo 1:37
26. John Snipes - Old Rattler 2:46
27. Elizabeth Cotten - Georgia Buck 1:42
28. Irvin Cook - Wish To The Lord I’d Never Been Born 3:07
29. Roscoe Holcomb - Black Eye Susie 1:24
30. Bill Keith With Bill Monroe And The Bluegrass Boys - Bluegrass Breakdown 3:09

The most startling fact about this track listing is its clear interracial bias, throwing black and white musicians onto the same recording, when everyone knows that while African-Americans invented the banjo, they no longer play it. So how did Smithsonian Folkways find these black musicians to record them before they disappeared? The same way they always have—by going out into the field and hunting them down like a good coon dog; many of these black tracks come from a previous long-buried Folkways album called Black Banjo Songsters of North Carolina and Virginia, including Dink Roberts, John Snipes, John Tyree and Lewis “Big Sweet” Hairston. Elizabeth Cotten also hails from North Carolina, and was not included on that album, but has her own recording. Is it any accident that she practically raised Mike Seeger when she was a maid in the Seeger household?

I think not. Those Commies always stuck together. Why he was still out promoting her when she was 90 years old, singing that finger-picking guitar piece Freight Train she claimed to have written when she was only 12 years old. No wonder she played left-handed upside down guitar and banjo—an old lefty—as President Nixon liked to say—right down to her pink panties.

On June 12—the 50th anniversary of Medgar Evers’ assassination—I first got wind of this integrationist propaganda with an email I managed to open from Smithsonian Folkways self-described “Marketing Intern,” Lydia Warren (no relation to the socialist senator from the liberal bastion of Massachusetts) bragging about their “mission statement” of “cultural diversity,” and how this collection demonstrates the international and multicultural significance of the banjo.

Americana fans beware, you thought the banjo was just an American instrument—indeed American as the cowboy and apple pie. Think again: in the hands of compilers and annotators Greg Adams and Jeff Place you will be taken on a cosmic journey and a wild ride, for “the history of the banjo stretches across a complex, international terrain, from West Africa and the Caribbean, to North America and around the world.”

Here we go again—more One-Worldism from the federal government, promoting the United Nations and its dubious allies.

So let me lay this out on Front Street: if you like your folk music in neatly bound containers, well-defined categories restricted by race, custom and national origin, this is not the album for you. For this is a mind-bending, genre-shattering and stereotype-busting collection; it is as American as the Freedom Rides, the Woolworth lunch-counter student sit-ins, the Selma-to-Montgomery March, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act.

Musicians like Doc Watson and Libba Cotton, Rufus Crisp and Dink Roberts, Frank Proffitt and John Tyree, Hobart Smith and John Snipes, and Dock Boggs and Lewis “Big Sweet” Hairston have played together from time immemorial; only record companies have kept them apart.

But not this record company: Smithsonian Folkways—ever since Folkways founder Moe Asch discovered a copy of John Lomax’s Cowboy Songs in a French bookstall after being told “America has no folk music” has carried a torch for interracial harmony and multicultural diversity that was instrumental in creating the Folk Revival of the 1960s. For those were the records musicians Roger Sprung, Tony Trischka, Bill Evans, Bill Keith and Ken Perlman grew up on.

And now they are on Folkways too—Smithsonian Folkways, black and white together, carrying it on just the way Gil Turner’s classic song asked them to.

We Shall Overcome. And come August 6, Happy Birthday, “Banjo Fred,” Starner, playing banjo up in Heaven now with Pete Steele, whose classic banjo instrumental Coal Creek March—all 1 minute and 52 seconds of it—would knock Yo Yo Ma’s socks off. -Ross Altman

Notes
Incl. Pdf

Nigeria

''The prophet of our time is gone, did you ever pay attention to his album, Nigerian Jews? In his tribute to Oliver The Coque, he made a startling reality check profession, that the Igbos dont know how to preserve their great people. They have all gone, Osadebe, Oliver, Ojukwu, Akunyili Dora are all now the wasted breeds! Where are our prophets? Could this be true, he mentioned Sunny Ade, Ebenizar Obey, all still alive but where are our prophets? KEDUZI ONU GA EKWULU NDI IGBO?!!!''

'The late prophet Ozoemena Nsugbe, father of Igbo music and the High Life King. Ozoemena Nsugbe was a great Igbo Highlife musician who was the head of the Oliokata singing party. He was also referred to as Ayaka Nsugbe. In his life time, Ozoemena Nsugbe sang praises of some late Igbo singers, like, Ali Chukwuma, Osadebe among others. He also sang praises of other Igbo icons, among whom was Senator Chris Ngige who was his special fan.'

The Folk Performer as Siren 
'I am an artist. I have my reasons for being sad. I want to change sadness. I want people to be happy. And I can do it by playing happy music and through happy music I tell them about the sadness of others. So that they will come to realize that “Oh we can be happy”. With my music, I create change. I seek it. So really, I am using my music as a weapon. I play music as a weapon. The music is not coming from me as a sub-conscious thing. It’s conscious.' -Ozoemena Nsugbe

'IGBO Highlife Music was believed to be the best kind of music played by the eastern people of Nigeria. One of the main objective of Igbo traditional music is the ability to keep the people together under their culture in the same brotherhood and oneness. Igbo Highlife Music is the best music that teaches morals, speaks reality, and a medium to showcase inner wisdom through highly talented Highlife musicians. Over time, Igbo Highlife traditionalists claimed that the mixture of Christianity with tradition is right, in the sense that religion should play it’s role why tradition also should play it’s role in the human community.'

Chief Akunwata Ozoemena Nsugbe (Ayaka Igbo Nine) is dead. He passed away last night in Lagos state (2014). It is unfortunate that some of us do not know this great Igbo musician nor listen go his inspirational songs.
Some of his songs are:
Power to Nigerian Jews.
June 12.
Uzu Awka special.
Tribute to Osadebe.
Onwu Ali Chukwuma.
Miracle water.e.t.c.
May his soul rest in peace!
Egwu odinana agwugokwe ooo

1. Tribute To Osadebe 12:06
2. Uzu Awka Special 21:42
3. Tribute To Ojukwu 25:49
4. Nsungbe Tribute To Osadebe 12:07
5. Dibia Na Uka 9:38
6. Igbo 19:05
7. Kpanakwukwu 7:37

Incl.
Pdf: ORAL PERFORMANCE AS SIREN The Example of Ozoemena Nwa Nsugbe
Alex Asigbo, PhD

France

Brilliantly-bonkers 19 track compilation of revolutionary children's music from the pioneering French label Chevance, mixing forward-thinking folk and avant-garde jazz, driven by a strong literary spirit.

'France at the crossroads of the '70s: the Chevance collection revolutionizes music for children. Mixing forward-thinking folk and avant-garde jazz, driven by a strong literary spirit, its exceptional catalog was created under the direction of producer Philippe Gavardin, in the tradition of the Saravah label or iconoclastic publisher Harlin Quist. It brought together a band of classically inspired free musicians, propelling its singers into orbit by exploiting all the fantastical potential of texts by Jean Tardieu, Robert Desnos, Jacqueline Held, and many others. More strictly instrumental, its younger sibling, the Sonoriage collection completed the company, dedicating itself to the acousmatic exploration of children's familiar environments. The small collection named Chevance was founded by Philippe Gavardin in the course of the 1970s. Gavardin, notably with free jazz drummer Jean-Louis Méchali, forged the identity of this series of recordings for the younger generations: musically Janus-faced, definitely literary, impregnated with a surrealism that echoed the decade's psychedelic and libertarian experiments. Each record took a clear direction: modern fables, bestiaries, musical tales, cookbooks; words were the backbone of every release. Features Anne et Gilles, Steve Waring, Christine Combe, Jean-François Gaël, Le Groupe Organon, Alain Savouret, and Naomi Moudi.'

CHEVANCE (etc.)

Another Music for Children / 1974-1985

In the land of Presidents Giscard and Mitterand, thermal clothing and elbow pads, Sautet films and Sunday roasts, the carpeting of a nursery is strewn with a handful of 7-inches. There, exotic birds and courteous elephants guarding a castle built with cakes form a Front for the Liberation of the Imaginary: colourful, systematically framed illustrations standing out against the cream background of gatefold sleeves… doorways to a maze of sounds at the crossroads between the neatest form of chanson and the most prospective jazz.

Founded in the course of the 1970s by Philippe Gavardin, the small collection named Chevance is above all the story of buddies who were out and about between the twilight of the Trente Glorieuses and the disenchantment that followed the socialists’ rise to power, gravitating around this mentor known for his kindness and curiosity. Originally a linguist, Gavardin was one of these open-minded intellectuals, with one foot in the Contrescarpe cabarets and the other in step with the avant-garde, combining his apparently classical tastes with a keen interest in the novelties of his time. It is notably with Jean-Louis Méchali—a drummer from the free jazz scene who became Gavardin’s team-mate and arranged a good deal of the releases—that he forged the identity of this series of recordings for the younger generations: musically janus-faced, definitely literary, impregnated with a surrealism that echoed the decade’s psychedelic and libertarian experiments. The label developed a real editorial policy disregarding commercial constraints. Each record took a clear direction: modern fables, bestiaries, musical tales, cookbooks… Words were the backbone and every release was both carefully designed and perfectly manufactured.

Several teams were built up in the course of meetings which were more like congenial brainstormings. In the chanson category, Anne and Gilles, a duet regularly performing in the left bank area, alternated with the Swiss actress Cristine Combe who had recently settled in Paris and wanted to sing Kurt Weill. As for the folk projects, Imbert and Moreau, who were more in the hippie vein, took turns with the canonical pioneer Steve Waring, whose famous Grenouilles were then turning round and round in José Arthur’s Pop Club. The musicians included many a jazzman from some of the most adventurous factions of the French scene: Méchali’s fellow travellers involved in the Cohelmec Ensemble; The Marvelous Band, a gang from Lyon that had also co-founded the “Association à la Recherche d’un Folklore Imaginaire” (Association in Search of an Imaginary Folklore); and various mavericks like multi-instrumentalist Teddy Lasry, or the intriguing, so often credited Jacques Cassard, whose track seems to have been completely lost today.

Initially distributed by the label Le Chant du Monde, Chevance was definitely included in the catalogue of this venerable parent company when Gavardin started directing it. Thus, it joined a selection of traditional music and work songs also including chanson, poetry and recordings that just can’t be categorised. While bookshops for kids knew a historic boom in France, the collection eventually enjoyed the monopoly of the prizes awarded by “Loisirs Jeunes” or the Charles Cros Academy, a key factor to reach school and library networks.

If the collection gives a striking change from mass-produced music for kids, its spirit is nevertheless akin to other singular attempts that were made at the time.

Mixing songwriting and avant-garde jazz, Chevance seems to be, first of all, Saravah’s  younger sibling. Founded by Pierre Barouh, Saravah showed the same balance between moderation and radicalism, with oddities like those of Brigitte Fontaine, Alfred Panou, Barney Willen and so many other musicians feeding the creative frenzy that characterised the French jazz scene.1 As the Cohelmec Ensemble bridged the two worlds, the teams got to know one another and often worked in the same studios.

As for the literary dimension, it is right in the lineage of the American iconoclastic publisher Harlin Quist, whose activity in France left its mark on the genre. Similar selections, a common taste for playful uses of language, and the same distancing from both conventional and outcome-based education… A universe excluding the mundane to make room for cosmogonic visions in which, at the turn of each page, everyday life is relentlessly assaulted by the incongruous. The parallelism with Chevance goes even beyond questions of editorial, graphical or typographical choices: the two worked with the same team of illustrators, which included Henri Galeron, Nicole Claveloux and Patrick Couratin.

While Chevance had strong literary roots, Le Chant du Monde developed, in the middle of the 1980s, another collection in a more abstract, rigorously instrumental line, far from textual concerns.

Initiated by Anne H. Bustarret, a critic, a major activist in the field of creation for kids and a friend of Gavardin’s, Sonoriage openly campaigned for ”an active initiation to the listening and reading of today’s music based on the attention to every day sonic environments.” Inspired by the many situations she experienced in workshops and the hundreds of hours she spent stirring the imagination of children with a bunch of keys hanging at the end of a string, Bustarret carefully presented each record, systematically adding an illustrated, notebook-like insert to guide the kids’ listening.

Bernard Baschet—the sound sculptor who invented, along with his brother François, the “crystal” bearing their name, and worked with Pierre Schaeffer on the typology of sound objects for the Treatise on Musical Objects—was an old friend of Anne Bustarret’s. She therefore naturally turned to him for the Musiques de table project, before he oriented her towards Jean-François Gaël. A cornerstone of the amazingly hybrid band Sonorhc, a student of acousmatics and a first-class arranger who had worked for many of the decade’s singers, Gaël was a crystal lover who followed Baschet around his interventions, including in schools.

When Gaël set to work, Bustarret called the composer Alain Savouret, asking him to select excerpts from his tape-recorded Sonate Baroque, so as to compile another volume entitled Musiques en Bande. Renaud Gagneux, who was in charge of the Louvre’s carillon, had just been ringing his bells for Musiques sur la place when she contacted the outsider naturalist Knud Viktor about a project which, unfortunately, was never carried out.

As a rather up-to-date though not-so-commercially-successful collection, Sonoriage constitutes a kind of ideal illustration of François Delalande’s theories.2 This very serious member of the GRM also worked as a research supervisor at the National Audiovisual Institute. His theories emphasised the unexpected parallelism between the methods of the most respectable practitioners of concrete music and the way the youngest children explore their sonic environment.

Necessarily incomplete and subjective, this very partial overview deliberately draws attention to the most peculiar tracks. Unfortunately, some equally valuable works could not be included: Jean-Louis Méchali and François Ruy-Vidal’s Petit Poucet (a monolithic musical tale that cannot be sized down), Colette Magny’s rough and raucous lullabies, B-sides from the Antifables series, La Promenade de Picasso, a record that had to be destroyed and therefore seems definitely lost… May the most curious listeners feel like putting these fragments back in their broader context so as to (re)discover the vast inheritance this uncommon project bequeathed us.

Anne et Gilles – Les Erreurs / Conversation

Composed by Gilles, sung by himself and Anne, this adaptation of a text by Jean Tardieu is stamped with Méchali & Cassard’s trademark: the voice is typically propped up with a multilayered arrangement in which “nothing goes with anything.” Also featuring keyboardist Jean-Louis Bucchi from Speed Limit, this Conversation benefits from the unique sound quality of the Acousti studios. Playing with the very matter of language as if with clay, Tardieu is having fun, as usual, with the anguishing gap between reality and its double, the text.

Cristine Combe – Antifables / Transformation

Antifables, volume 1, will certainly remain the only record for kids with a cover showing a monkey literally smoking bananas. Jacqueline Held, a prolific author of children’s books, parodies the moral dimension of fables to explore less civilised territories. Jean Querlier’s flute rivals with members of the Cohelmec Ensemble in modular arrangements. While the record, one of the most peculiar and cerebrally demanding in the series, was found rather puzzling when it came out, it is now much sought-after.

Jean-François Gaël – Musiques de table / Profiteroles

In this miniature instrumental composition inspired by the sounds of cooking, the melody is played by Michel Deneuve, a specialist of the Baschet crystal he manipulates here, along with eggshell cracks sampled thanks to one of the first operational Mac, “Apple 2 and its 250ko memory stick.” According to Jean-François Gaël, “including the crystal made sense for [him]: it showed the links between [his] meeting Baschet at the GRM and [his] own practice of concrete music.”

Steve Waring & le Workshop de Lyon – Mirobolis / Image

In the early 1970s, musicians Maurice Merle and Christian Rollet formed La Carrérarie, a company performing plays with music. Willing to renew creations for kids, they found inspiration in “the dynamic desire for liberty which was galvanising the European jazz scene” and founded the Association in Search of an Imaginary Folklore, teaming Le Workshop de Lyon with the Marvelous Band. They met Steve Waring thanks to one of the 400 performances of their successful show La Bataille. Cultivating a taste for new forms far beyond the limits of his functions as an ambassador of American folk, Waring enthusiastically joined the association: “I loved it! An imaginary folklore, why not? That was what I was secretly looking for.” Many tracks that came out on Chevance were therefore music for the stage then turned into records, and they were conceived and reworked during exhausting international tours with stops in Canada or Japan. Image is an exception, for it was specifically made for the record. Accompanied by Maurice Merle (saxophone), Louis Sclavis (clarinet), Jean Bolcato (double bass) and Christian Rollet (drums), Waring dives into the meandering waters of this long track contrasting with his own deceptive image, that of the moustached guitarist. Setting the record straight, this 7-inch reminds us that Waring could take us on board a ship to unknown lands.

Anne et Gilles – Chantefables / Le Gnou

This obsessive tune is from a hit record based on Robert Desnos’s surrealistic bestiary, which describes his rather unconventional collection of animals and insects. The arranger, Méchali, literally lost sleep over it: the three knocks on the soundbox of the guitar that structure Gilles Méchin’s nagging composition led to a small ideological quibble regarding their basically illustrative function. An emblematic debate in which the singer had the last word.

Cristine Combe – Antifables 2 / Conseils aux enfants sages

Mocking good manners, this excerpt from the second volume derived from Jacqueline Held’s fables testifies to Chevance’s distancing from the conventional rules of music for children and overly educational or pedagogical concerns. A perfectly ill-mannered record, all in all.

Jean-François Gaël – Musiques de Table / Sucre Candi

Another instrumental excerpt in which the percussive sounds of the crystal are mixed with those of salad bowls and utensils being officially tested by Bernard Baschet in the kitchen department of a classy Parisian store, in the presence of stupefied sales assistants.

Le Groupe Organon – Le Chant du Facteur / Adieu

This record, which preserves the daring and varied soundtrack to the show entitled Le Chant du Facteur, is one of the few volumes in the collection that are not targetting children. A tribute to the Turkish poet in exile Nazim Hikmet, it was conceived and interpreted by the same Parisian crews and its grammar remains in keeping with that of the collection: a mix of singing and spoken word with multilayered arrangements, collages and varied sound effects taking a stance radically different from the old refrains that French dissenters usually dedicated to this inspiring figure.

Alain Savouret – Musiques en bande / La dictée

Another track from the Sonoriage collection, taken from the first movement of Alain Savouret’s Sonate Baroque, a large-scale work initially composed for adults, but not without humour. Savouret, a composer who was also familiar with young audiences, developed throughout his career an approach based on “aurality”: stimulating imagination through listening rather than knowledge, relying on free improvisation, and systematically taking into account the social contexts of production and performance. His projects were “concrete” in every sense of the word.

Anne – Chansons du pays gourmand / Vendredi: les caramels au chocolat

Taking the form of a diary, this cookbook written by the singer Anne draws a list of impossible recipes while the drummer Alain Bouchaux is busy beating the butter.

Anne – Chansons du pays gourmand / Lundi: les Croûtes aux groseilles

A second, more fleshed out composition taken from this culinary adventure. It is interpreted by some of the best Saravah musicians enjoying a break: Jean-Charles Capon, cellist from the Baroque Jazz Trio, and Jean-François Canape, another friend of the Cohelmec, who could pull off such feats as wonderfully playing a bumped trumpet, as he did for Pierre Barouh’s Ça va ça vient.

Le Groupe Organon – Le Chant du Facteur / Vivre

Another track from the great LP dedicated to Nazim Hikmet. This cosmogonic recitative for adults echoes once more the recurrent themes of the records for children.

Anne et Gilles – Chantefleurs / Le soleil

Along with Chantefables, Anne and Gilles’ Chantefleurs was amongst the best-selling Chevance records. Based on Desnos’s herbarium, it reaches an exemplary balance between typical chanson and uncommon arrangements. On this track, the notes from Jacques Cassard’s flute raise up to the sky and beyond.

Steve Waring – La Nuit dort le jour / Me uno me douno

This song is a nursery rhyme from the region of Auvergne, collected and arranged by one of Steve Waring’s fellow travellers, composer and songwriter Alain Gibert. This sweet and tireless musician from the school of ball music conjugated real sophistication with a sensibility for the popular. This version of the tune, which was part and parcel of the Marvelous Band’s repertoire, reveals all its potential as a rhythmical and linguistic game. Making the winds dialogue with Christian Ville’s body drumming, it is an asset to this “Nonsensical Petite Suite” ordered by the label.

Naomi Moody – Berceuses noires / Who dat

This much punctuated miniature contrasts with the lullabies selected for the Berceuses du monde LP. Jean-Louis Méchali’s taste for percussive arrangements as well as Gavardin’s attention to breaks are obvious here. When Gavardin wanted things to be more daring, he could enter the studio and shout: “A coma! I want a coma!”.

Anne et Gilles – Chantefables / Les Hiboux

Second extract from Chantefables: an exercise in style based on a spelling rule. Not long before his deportation to Terezin, Desnos confided in his publisher: “What I am writing, here or elsewhere, won’t be of interest to anyone apart from a few curious readers in the future. Every twenty-five or thirty years, my name and a few excerpts, always the same ones, will be exhumed for confidential publications. The poems for children will survive a bit longer. I will be presented as one of those trivial oddities.”

Steve Waring – Petit bleu et petit jaune / Fais voir le son + impro peau

These two tracks are in a row, but do they make one? The lyrics were written by Renée Mayoud, a pioneer of music workshops in schools whose approach had a definite influence on Waring’s career. They evoke, not without a certain naivety, the atmosphere of peaceful times. This time, body drumming was developed by Christian Rollet through weekly collective workshops open to everyone. “We adapted rhythms from around the world with our hands and feet: an Argentinian chacarerra, a bossa… Steve joined us. His cheeks and hands sounded great. The mouth is like a resonator, and it resounded incredibly loudly when he slapped his face. We developed this together with Christian Ville. Actually, it can be related to that naive habit of folk musicians who rely on concrete sounds to conjure up images, be it to imitate a car or a boat.” Waring regularly used sound as a way to illustrate things, including in his famous Grenouilles… This is key to understand how, as they were looking for an imaginary folklore and its raw materials, the members of the ARFI came to blows.

Anne et Gilles – Les Erreurs / La Môme néant

A second excerpt from Les Erreurs bringing everything to full circle with cringing, jarring chords placed on Jean Tardieu’s text.

Anne & Gilles – Pablo Neruda / Cela est certain

Let’s return to the world of adults for one last folk lament about a child born from the little death: an elegant tribute to Neruda that came out the year following his passing, the circumstances of which are still unclear today.

1. Anne et Gilles - Conversation 1:35
2. Christine Combe - Transformations 1:53
3. Jean-François Gaël - Prefiteroles 0:48
4. Steve Waring - Image 4:25
5. Anne et Gilles - Le Gnou 1:17
6. Christine Combe - Conseils aux enfants sages 1:29
7. Jean-François Gaël - Sucre Candi 1:13
8. Le Groupe Organon - Adieu 2:22
9. Alain Savouret - La dictée 4:07
10. Anne - Vendredi, les caramels au chocolat 0:36
11. Anne - Lundi, les croûtes aux groseilles 2:13
12. Le Groupe Organon - Vivre 2:12
13. Anne et Gilles - Le soleil 1:00
14. Steve Waring - Me uno Me douno 2:45
15. Naomi Moudi - Who dat 0:25
16. Anne et Gilles - Les Hiboux 1:30
17. Steve Waring - Fais voir le son 4:37
18. Anne et Gilles - Le môme néant 0:47
19. Anne et Gilles - Cela est certain 3:46

Profile: 
Born Bad Records is a French Record Label based in Paris.

Congo

Classic Zaiko Langa Langa

'Recorded in the mid-seventies, this is Zaiko Langa Langa at their best before all of the splits and the addition of synthesizers. This is the raw sound that shook up the Kinshasha scene at the beginning of the 70's, not the slick Paris-based soukous sound. The production is simple, the harmonies are loose, and the three interlocking guitar sound of the band is in full display.
When Zaiko began they were considered wild and their style forever change the Congolese rumba. Almost all of their albums are out of print, but the truth is that you can't do better than this album.' -The Nomadic Tribesman

One of the great if not the greatest Congolese groups of the 70s, 80’s and 90’s

ZAIKO LANGA LANGA , The band was formed in 1969 with the provisional name "Orchestra Zaiko". The original lineup was composed of Papa Wemba, Mavuela Somo, Evoloko Lay Lay, Teddy Sukami, Oncle Bapius, Zamuangana le meilleur and Manuaku Waku (also known as Pépé Fely) and N'Yoka Longo.

The band also had a pop section, which was playing before the soukous section.

The sound of Zaiko Langa Langa was revolutionary with respect to the soukous tradition. They adopted a more up-tempo beat, abandoned wind instruments and emphasized snare drums and lead electric guitars (and eventually also synthesizers). The percussion rhythms were adapted from traditional Congolese music and the sebene became more prominent.

While their "rebel" attitude, which resembled that of the hippie movement, earned them the sobriquet of "Zaire's Rolling Stones". In 1974, Zaiko Langa Langa were amongst the Zairean bands to be invited to play in Zaire '74, a huge musical event celebrating the Rumble in the Jungle (George Foreman and Mohamed Ali).In 2002, Zaiko performed in the mythic arena Zenith of Paris, France. More than 6.000 fans attended.

Later on, N'Yoka Longo's group reacquired the original name "Zaiko Langa Langa", which has maintained until today. N'Yoka Longo is still the leader of the group.

1. Mwana Wabi 1 & 2 8:48
2. Selika 1 & 2 11:06
3. Liwa Ya Somo 1 5:10
4. Liwa Ya Somo 2 4:15
5. Bomdonki 1 & 2 10:26
6. Mizou 1 4:31
7. Mizou 2 4:46
8. Elusam (Live) 5:35
9. Zena (Live) 9:41
10. Ma (Part 1) (Extra Track) 4:52
11. Ma (Part 2) (Extra Track) 4:44

Mississippi

Duel in crown for unsung blues hero

'McDowell was one of the blues greats deserving of more attention than he currently receives. As an influence on others he was on a par with Charlie Patton, while he had the confidence and self-belief to know exactly what his position was in the Delta pantheon. Here, McDowell’s gruff vocal style and slide guitar techniques are to the fore. This session was recorded by the legendary George Mitchell in 1967; McDowell and Woods hadn’t played together for many a year but, as you listen to this passionate affair, you can’t tell. The duo sound like they’re racing towards the finish line, playing – or battling – as if they’re facing a recording time limit. This is a bragging session, the duo strutting in front of Mitchell, and we, the listeners, are the benefactors.' -Paul Rigby

'Singer-guitarist Fred McDowell was a giant of the blues who'd spent much of his life pumping gas. Johnny Woods was a scrapper who somehow cobbled out a living between gambling and drinking and playing harp. On these recordings, made in backwoods Mississippi shacks in 1967, the two bluesmen mix with primal authority. McDowell sings about love, hard times, and madness with unbridled passion as he pumps his slide 'n' drone acoustic guitar with rock & roll thrust, and Woods adds hand-muted cries and commentary that's raw as a skinned weasel. Picking out the African cadences of "Red Cross Store" or batting out their local juke-joint "hits" like McDowell's "Shake 'Em On Down," the duo blend the sloppy energy of pure feel with bursts of honed virtuosic precision. The result is blues music that not only cuts to the bone, but slices through it. Whether they're stomping out a powerhouse "John Henry" or slowly tugging every teardrop from a heartbreaker like "I Walked All Night Long," their playing here is as addictive as moonshine.' --Ted Drozdowski

'Since no one could copyright "Mississippi," two major blues performers, Fred McDowell and John Hurt, adopted the state as part of their name. To confuse matters more, both performers made comebacks during the late '50s/early '60s and both specialized in prewar acoustic blues. While a blues novice might find such similarities confusing, the two men's singing and guitar styles are polar opposites. Whereas Hurt's smooth, deep vocals and Piedmont fingerpicking made him easily accessible to the folk revival crowd, McDowell's soulful vocals and forcefully rhythmic guitar represented something more primitive. In 1967, producer George Mitchell brought together McDowell and harp player Johnny Woods for an off-the-cuff session not unlike what one might have heard at a Como, MS, house party. Interestingly, the two men hadn't played together in eight years, but on songs like "Standing at the Backdoor" and the title track, one would never guess it. This isn't a polite affair, with one player holding back while the other solos. Instead, McDowell and Woods trade notes, overlap, and rush forward on "Long Haired Doney" and "Shake Em' on Down" as though they had an unlimited supply of energy. While McDowell's vocals and slashing guitar propel "Goin' Away" and "I Got a Woman" forward, Woods' harp adds pizzazz. Acoustic blues fans will warmly embrace Mama Says I'm Crazy and be thankful that Mitchell went to the trouble required to track down Woods for this earthy set.' -AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

1. Shake 'Em on Down 2:53
2. Goin' Away 2:54
3. Mama Says I'm Crazy 3:54
4. I Got a Woman 4:41
5. Red Cross Store 4:44
6. Going Down to the River 4:31
7. Standing at the Back Door 4:52
8. What's Going to Become of Me 4:24
9. Long Haired Doney 2:54
10.J ohn Henry 3:59
11. I Walked All Night Long 2:57

Notes
Incl. scans

Jamaica

Now,this is a not to miss Rastafari album. Every track is a gem!

The uniquely close working relationship between Chris Wilson's Heartbeat label and Clement "Coxsone" Dodd's venerable Studio One label continues to produce some of the best reggae reissues around, and this one is no exception. This album consists of extended 12" mixes of old singles by such eminent Studio One artists as Lloyd Robinson, the Gaylads, the Silvertones and the great Ken Boothe; interestingly, the original tracks (mostly recorded between the late '60s and early '70s) seem to have new drum parts overdubbed onto them by the legendary drummer Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace. The result is an interesting juxtaposition of old-school rock steady sounds and sharper, more modern drum parts laced with the occasional hint of synthesized percussion. It's a combination that works better than you might expect -- Lloyd Robinson's "Cuss Cuss" benefits greatly from Horsemouth's solid attack, and Ken Boothe's more ska-inflected "Come Running Back" is also nicely fortified by better bass definition and a crisp hi-hat sound. Most of these tracks are presented with dub versions appended; in other cases, the instrumental track is simply extended once the vocal part is finished. Those mixes are less effective than the real dub versions, but aren't a real liability. Recommended. -AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson

Essential collection of Classic era Reggae Discomixes recorded late 1960's/early 1970's from Studio One

Rare Reggae Grooves From Studio One (Aka Studio One Showcase Vol. 2) -- Heartbeat Records – HEARTBEAT 11661-7725-2

Heavy smooth chugging intricate rhythms (with a spongy edge), subtle horn lines, floating keyboards and great songs in extended form with subtle echo-o-o-o-es, all with some of the best Reggae people.
Part of the late 1970's Studio One resurgence was to revisit old tunes with slight overdubs (including Leroy Horsemouth Wallace on Drums) to update the sound while retaining the feel and still remaining vintage.

1. Lloyd Robinson - Cuss Cuss 6:25
2. Peter Broggs - Sing A New Song 4:10 (Something On My Mind rhythm)
3. The Gaylads - Love Me With All Of Your Heart 4:12
4. The Silvertones - Take A Little Love 7:01
5. Ken Boothe - Come Running Back 6:13
6. The Martinis - My Baby 6:12
7. Arthur Robinson - Moments 6:15
8. Winston Francis - Going To Zion 6:45

Musicians include: The Soul Brothers, The Soul Vendors, Sound Dimension, Studio One Band, The Soul Defenders
Including members: Jackie Mittoo, Leroy Sibbles, Ernest Ranglin, Richard Ace, Rick Frater, Cedric Brooks, Vin Gordon, Johnny Moore, Lloyd Brevvette, Roland Alphonso, Phil Calender, Bagga Walker
Producer/Engineer: Coxsone Dodd, Sylvan Morris
Studio: Studio One (JA)

Sound mastering is pristine.

Dan

Notes
Incl. booklet

As written on the backcover: "Rare Reggae Grooves From Studio One is a follow up to HB 224, Studio One Showcase Volume 1. In the mid to late seventies in Jamaica, it became popular to extend each song by adding an instrumental reprise at the end of the vocal version. This allowed the producer to extend the song from three minutes to sometimes over eleven minutes, which ensured that if you had a hit, it would keep the dancefloor filled for a good amount of time! At Studio One, this resulted in countless 12" mixes of some classic hits as well as many that were deemed suitable for extending because of their popularity. 
Many of the songs on Rare Reggae Grooves From Studio One were originally released in the late sixties and re-released in their extended version ten years later. (Originally released as Studio One showcase Volume 2) All the tracks were overdubbed from their two track origins and then remixed and released. Many feature the drumming of the legendary Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace who was a member of the Studio One Band."

Nigeria

This album happens to be one of Sir. Alh. Waziri Oshomah's best collection. -Matthew SADO

''Today I completely lost myself in the music of Waziri Oshomah. Been listening to his awesome records all day, what a rush. Waziri’s highlife is of a different level.'' --according to world-music authority Moos

Vinyl rip by YARG (afroslabs.blogspot.com)

A1 Ega - Oleluomo 9:36
A2 Oleleme - Pat Oguah 8:42
B1 Kobeva Nigbe Alhaja Alima M.S. 8:41
B2 Izemize Ceramic Alaji M.S.Umoru 10:19

Notes
crackly!

Label: Shanu Olu Records
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: Nigeria
Released: 1984

Guinea

Featuring the great Horoya Band and lesser known Kébendo-Jazz  and Niandan-Jazz (Jazz at the time meaning 'band') which never released albums on their own. It's a fine sampler of Syliphone orchestras skills. Green and yellow labels copy in stunning condition. DOPE!

1. Horoya Band - Alphabetisation 4:03
2. Niandan Jazz - Fassouloukou 3:39
3. Kébendo Jazz - Soumba 4:15
4. Kébendo Jazz - Pili-Pili Wonde 4:23
5. Niandan Jazz - Kounkouma 3:12
6. Kébendo Jazz - Lende-Nalen 4:29
7. Horoya Band - Touba 3:36
8. Niandan Jazz - Facely Kante 3:30
9. Niandan Jazz - Idissa-So 4:13
10. Horoya Band - I Gnato-To 4:30

Trinidad & Tobago

A pair of unique island disco bangers from Trinidad & Tobago outfit, These Eyes. Originally released in 1981.

'Mysterious oddball soca/disco - "Soca Hustle" from Trinidad and Tobago! So obscure that he siblings didn't even know he made it, after throwing most of the copies down the hill where he lived in Port Of Spain. One or two survived and now reissued by the Invisible City Editions stable.'

'One of the most mysterious and outsider 'Soca' 45s out there by H.M. 'These Eyes' Timothy. The A-side 'Soca Hustle' sounds like the Residents jamming a Marvin Whoremonger song with Augustus Pablo. And the B-side 'Let Me Love' sounds like doo wop recorded with Oluko Imo's gear. The original 45 is so obscure that even his siblings didn't know that he made music. And rumour has it that, frustrated by its lack of success, Michael threw most of the copies of the 45 in the valley beside his family's house in the hills just outside Port Of Spain.'

1. Let Me Love 4:29
2. Soca Hustle 4:43

early American minority music

'This record was the one that got me hooked with Mississippi Records. It is a must have.' -Jeremy Rials

'Compilation of early American minority music, in print again for the first time in 7 years! This record runs the genre gambit between klezmer, calypso, Hawaiian, cajun, country, Cuban, Greek, gospel, Tex-Mex and beyond. Somehow this all fits together nicely and makes for a highly listenable compilation of early 78s. One of the LPs that cemented Mississippi’s aesthetic. Artists include Wilmouth Houdini, Marika Papagika, Lydia Mendoza, The Two Gospel Keys and more.'

'I'm sorry, but any record that opens with a vintage rebetika track is pretty much sold for me, and since this record does, the rest doesn't really matter, it's already awesome. Yep the first track on this killer re-issue is from Marika Papagika and sets the pace (and standard) for the rest of the album, which is a showcase of music recorded in the USA between 1927 and 1948 but rooted in other cultures. So from the initial blast of gorgeous Greek folk, we're thrown into Calypso, Appalachian folk, Cajun, Gospel and even Chinese influenced folk music and every moment is as breathtaking as the last. This is a truly shocking collection of American primitive music and concentrates on the oft-ignored section of American culture, the immigration which has made it what it is today. In this we hear what shaped American music at this time and we can hear clues as to how it has influenced the development of what we hear from America now. This selection is just so important, from the instrumentation down to the sentiment behind the lyrics, giving a real focus on how secluded and ignored these people must have been feeling in their new 'home', and mirroring the journeys we read about time and time again. If you had any interest in the American Primitive series of compilations, or more importantly in the Nonesuch Explorer compilations, this strikes in a place where the two meet and is breathtaking from start to finish. Essential listening!' -- a UK website that carried record

'This is probably my favorite record that Mississippi has put out. It reminds me of when I used to hang out in LA with Richie Lee from Acetone. We used to listen to Hui o Hana, which is beautiful Hawaiian music that sounds like birds, with voices that sing notes that sound like they could go on forever.

This record is immigrant music recorded in America that’s barely, if at all, touched or infected by American music. It opens with Marika Papagika’s Greek masterpiece “Zmirneikos Balos” (she was a singer who “died of disappointment” in New York in 1943). It also has a beautiful sad song by the Blue Sky Boys called “Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone” and a bunch of Hawaiian and French recordings.

My copy has the track listing printed in the wrong order and someone’s gone in with that ballpoint again and scratched out the numbers and rewritten them.' -By J. Spaceman

'Man, the world is so fuckin huge but if you lived in the 30s you could basically just go to America and see all of it. They had Greeks, Louisiana Creole people, Polacks and even Communists. The recording quality isn't that bad either. Get this if you don't feel at home in this world anymore. There's too much (c)rap, disco, and screaming music, this shit is the real deal tho.' -Neat

'Imagine browsing the loveliest, darkest, most romantic little antique shop around, and you're close to the feeling you get from this compilation LP of folk music mostly made by immigrants in America from 1927 to 1948. These dreamy old recordings are full of what R. Crumb once called—describing the creaky pre-war blues music that he loves—"calamitous loss". Like the title says, this is music from people who are far away from home. It begins with a sparkling bit of piano and violin-based Greek rebetiko—folk music of the urban-based lower classes in Greece—and then we get arch calypso music, a crushing Hawaiian lullaby, sad gospel, a mournful-sounding slice of Cuban traditional music, an Eastern European group's playful xylophone instrumental, and— you get the idea.' -JasonHernandez

'A varied, morose and fantastic glimpse into a forgotten musical world, actually into several.  Transitioning through rembetika, gospel, blues, Hawaiian music, Cuban music, Cajun music and others, the album feels and sounds like browsing through a really great record shop in the 1930s.' -stereobread

'Fahey fans will have a total freak out upon hearing Big Boy Cleveland's "Quill Blues", the source material for "The Singing Bridge of Memphis, Tennessee".
Anyway, superb collection.' -chodus

'Every once in a while, I wanna roll around in melancholy, and the heartfelt sincerity and beauty of "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?" does the trick every time.' -Michael Van Vleet

'Haven't listened far past the first track because I keep going back for her singing. Favorite track: Zmirneikos Balos.' -Sam Baguley


1. Marika Papagika - Zmirneikos Balos 3:57
2. Belasco's Orchestra Feat Houdini - Blow Wind Blow 3:07
3. Cleoma Falcon - Prends Donc Courage 2:59
4. Mme. Riviera's Hawaiians - E Mama Ea 2:48
5. The Caresser - Edward the VIII 3:09
6. Two Gospel Keys - I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore 2:32
7. Sexteto Bolona - Te Prohibido El Cabaret 3:23
8. Jacob Hoffman & Kandal's Orchestra - Diona & Hora 3:03
9. Blind Uncle Gaspard & Dela Lachney - Baoille 3:22
10. Mike Hanapi's Ilima Islanders - Hilo Hula 3:21
11. Lydia Mendoza - Palida Luna 2:49
12. Blue Sky Boys - Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone? 3:09
13. Unknown Artist - Sorban Palid 1:44
14. Big Boy Cleveland - Quill Blues 2:35

India

A fascinating piece of work that dives into the intersection of folk, classical, and psychedelic music.

Reissue of 'Songs Of India' from prominent vocalist Nitai Dasgupta, originally released on Vic Keary's underground label Mushroom Records in 1972. While Vic Keary's background was in reggae, Mushroom Records dabbled in recording a bit of everything. Mostly known for hyper-rare psych, prog and acid folk, Nitai Dasgupta's LP fit in perfectly with his British psych and prog label mates like Simon Finn, Magic Carpet and Chillum. Nitai Dasgupta was one of the most talented Indian classical singers in Great Britain. His sweetness and flexibility created a unique style complemented by his melodious voice and composing abilities. 'Songs Of India' pleases the lovers of Indian classical and semi-classical music while enticing pop and folk lovers. This LP even caught the ears of acclaimed electronic artist Four Tet, who featured track 'Cham Cham Cham Cham' on his NTS Radio show.

'I inherited the Nital Dasgupta LP from my grandfather. I've no idea how he came to have it and after he died it sat on a shelf for many years before I found it and gave it a listen.' -Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet.
1. O Ganga Tu Bahati Ja 3:45
2. Cham Cham Cham Cham 3:37
3. Sajni Sajni Tere Bin 3:51
4. Bhaja Re Bhaya 4:05
5. Mat Kara Mohu Tu 4:09
6. Kayse Jau Tore Pas 2:28
7. Raga: Bhairava (Bharion) 24:11
8. O Padmabati 3:32
9. Baitha Tano 4:24

Zambia

Mondo Music's first oldies compilation features ten classic Zambian Kalindula and Zamrock hits from past decades selected by the late radio DJ Isaac Mulinda. As "Dr. Zambia" said on the album sleeve: "This is the music of our people. The music that identifies us as liberated people with a rich cultural identity. This album is for all those who believed in me, knocking on my door day and night, urging me to compile an album of the Sweet Zambian Music that I play on ZNBC Radio 2. The songs on this album are bound to invoke great recollections of special moments in life, especially for those of us who remember them from our early years. They will also stand as a lesson in our country's musical heritage for those who were not there, or were too young to remember them." Mondo Music's now classic 'classic oldies' compilation includes the likes of John Nyirongo's 'Ngomwa', PK Chishala's 'Icupo Ninsasa', Paul Ngozi's 'A Lungu', Masiye Band's 'Dziko La Mulungu', Julizya Band's 'Tai Yaka' and many other great Zambian classics.

1. Uweka Stars - Grace (1988) 4:29
2. WITCH - Janet (1981) 4:52
3. Burning Youth - Sebenzesani Ma Condom (1997) 5:03
4. John Nyirongo - Ngomwa (1982) 4:19
5. P K Chishala - Icupo Ninsansa (1990) 7:59
6. Masiye Band - Dziko La Mulungu (1983) 4:30
7. Black Power Band - Imisango Ya Ba Chairman (1986) 4:04
8. Julizya Band - Tai Yaka (1988) 3:23
9. Dickson Mponda - Bashi Maini (1999) 10:07
10. Paul Ngozi - A Lungu (1986) 4:37
11. Uweka Stars - Grace (Part 2) 4:07
12. Masiye Band - Dziko La Mulungo (Part 2) 4:29
13. Black Power Band - Imisango Ya Ba Chairman (Part 2) 4:06
14. Julizya Band - Tai Yaka (Part 2) 3:08
15. Paul Ngozi - A Lungu (Part 2) 3:10

Notes
Incl. booklet

USA

Essential early Gil Scott-Heron

'(3-CD set) The three albums that Gil Scott-Heron recorded for Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman label are among the most important in black music history. They showed a multi-talented artist coming to full fruition with his first efforts on wax. The Revolution Begins contains every piece of music he released for the label from 1970-1971. In recent years Gil has become a lauded as one of the all-time greats. This music is the reason why.

It includes classic performances, including both the spoken word and band versions of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Home Is Where The Hatred Is, Lady Day and John Coltrane, Pieces Of A Man, Whitey On The Moon and Free Will.

Taken from the original master tapes, the sound quality on this release trumps all previous reissues. The bonus material includes an alternate version of Gil's third album Free Will and the previously unreissued Artificialness, which Gil recorded with Bernard Purdie on his Stand By Me album. The in-depth sleeve notes contain previously unpublished interview material from both Gil and his songwriting partner Brian Jackson. The booklet also includes previously unpublished photographs of Gil taken by Raymond Ross at the sessions for Free Will. Packaged in a digipak and slipcase with a separate booklet containing a note by project supervisor Dean Rudland.'

Review
By the time Heron had finished reciting The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, he had unwittingly changed his life. He would no longer be seen as a writer, but a singer, voice of musical black radicalism, doomed junkie... and the man who invented rap. This three-disc reissue of everything Heron and his pianist partner Brian Jackson recorded on Thiele's Flying Dutchman label would probably not exist if Heron hadn't bid farewell to that world in May 2011. But for listeners who only know Heron through his final 2010 album I'm New Here, The Revolution Begins... will be a revelation. Not just because it features some great music and poetry, much of which still sounds acutely relevant. But because the man who slowly killed himself with drugs, spent two lengthy periods in prison, and never quite came to terms with his chaotic childhood, prodigious intellect and hatred of white power, is as present and defined and agonized here, in his early twenties, as he is on I'm New Here. Listen to The Vulture, or Who'll Pay Reparations On My Soul?, or Home Is Where The Hatred Is and you can only come to the chilling conclusion that Gil Scott-Heron knew exactly where he was headed. --Uncut.com

Poet, singer, polemicist, the late Gil Scott-Heron wrote his ghetto 'manifesto' a little over 40 years ago, and it's still resonating. (4 STARS) --Mojo

The Revolution Begins... offers every last-known remnant of Gil's Flying Dutchman recordings, making it one of the most historic collections in the evolution of hip-hop. These are far more than building blocks, however; here's a place where jazz, soul, politics and a rare intuitive passion coalesced in one man, who ultimately proved as humanly fallible as his subjects. (5 STARS) --Record Collector

When Gil Scott-Heron died the focus seemed to be on his comeback, a decade and a half in the wilderness – and at least a decade of not much before that – and then there was one terrific, sometimes terrifying album and a remix project that both paid tribute to the man and existed as its own thing entirely, most likely it did that fabled job of turning on new fans too. But what about the fury of the early years? That’s the really important stuff – that’s the story.

Dean Rudland has created an amazing 3-CD story here – with the best liner notes I’ve worked through in some time. He takes the early albums and separates out the songs for the first disc, the poetry onto another and the third contains the unreleased stuff for collectors – alternate takes from the Free Will sessions.

So it is both a dream set for completists and a perfect introduction.

Gil Scott-Heron was a writer – first and foremost. But when he recited his most famous poem – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – there was music in his voice, in his heart, in his fury.

To think that his “pick-up” band featured Ron Carter, Bernard Purdie and Hubert Laws!

Lady Day And John Coltrane, Home Is Where The Hatred Is, Save The Children, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – all in a row, that’s how the first disc kicks off. These are the pieces of a man that stand as some of the best poetry, some of the most beautiful soul music and some of the most powerful polemic in R’n’B – templates for hip-hop’s consciousness, treatises from the blocks. A voice for Civil Rights, a voice from his earlier novels, so confidant, so strong.

And at every stage it’s impossible not to be knocked over by the voice from the stage and the voice on the page – all at once. For the writing is the thing. Gil Scott-Heron played beautifully and sung exquisitely but it wouldn’t have meant shit without those worlds and that worldview. And then there’s the band that moves behind the words, intuitively, efficiently. It’s so clean, all about the silk-churn, that momentum, the pulse.

My world was knocked over when I was introduced to Gil Scott-Heron; it’s one of just a handful of actual life-changing moments in music for me. I can’t go back to a time before hearing Gil. His work is too powerful. It had an impact like hearing The Stones and The Beatles and Elvis and James Brown and Prince and Bob Dylan.

The poetry pieces – the most famous being the bongo-backed original take on Revolution, Whitey On The Moon, No Knock, Billy Green Is Dead and Paint It Black – sound more powerful, more ferocious for being placed together to huddle in and gather strength.

To think this was how it all just started for Gil – and yet this is very much the best of what he offered (to) music and words. All here. All of it worth hearing. All of it seemed so prophetic.

This is a must-own.

This was – and I believe still is – life-changing music. 

Simon Sweetman

'Gil Scott-Heron's first three albums for Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman label have been reissued many times over by a variety of different labels and distributors. While Small Talk at 125th and Lenox and Pieces of a Man have been universally celebrated for their musical, poetic, and militant vision, Free Will, the final date for the label, has been the subject of much debate over the decades. On the original LP, one side featured songs and the other spoken word. While Brian Jackson had been Gil's musical partner since before Pieces of a Man was recorded, he was never given his proper due as a co-composer and collaborator. Free Will reveals that collaboration and balance in full. Before recording, Jackson wanted more music, Gil wanted more spoken word; they got both and the album is all the better for it. It is the contrast and juxtaposition on that recording that provided the impetus for the Dean Rudland-compiled The Revolution Begins: The Flying Dutchman Masters. Disc one features all of the Scott-Heron and Jackson songs recorded for the label, regardless of which album they appeared on. From "Lady Day and John Coltrane," "Home Is Where the Hatred Is" (which, it turns out, Scott-Heron may have been singing into a mirror all along, and by home, he wasn't referring to his family, but America itself), and the second version of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" with musical backing, to "Pieces of a Man," "Who'll Pay the Reparations On My Soul," and more, all play out in an intense, soulful, funky, beautifully remastered, hour-long set. Disc two contains all of the spoken word material, which includes virtually all of Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, the second half of Free Will, and other pieces, including the liberal-baiting "The Subject Was Faggots" and "Wiggy." The lone deviation is "Artificialness," on which Scott-Heron fronts Pretty Purdie & His Playboys on a spoken word blues shuffle. The final disc contains an alternately assembled version of Free Will. While shoddy and edited versions of some of its tracks appeared on an earlier RCA compilation, these are the full alternate takes, carefully remixed from original multi-track session tapes, with particular attention paid to the source material. As such, an entirely different Free Will is on display with a real feel for session flow, despite the separation of music and poetry on it; it's not better or worse, but very different. It is a treasure trove of kinetic studio energy with an abundance of free-flowing ideas in process. The Revolution Begins does present a problem, however. By jumbling recordings into what, in essence, is a pair of anthologies, Small Talk and Pieces of a Man are dislocated from their original contexts, which creates an unnecessary separation between music and poetry that were initially regarded as a multi-dimensional and holistic force. Though that shift in history and intent is present, it's far from a deal breaker, because all of the material on The Revolution Begins is unassailable.' -AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek

Disc 1: Songs
1. Lady Day And John Coltrane 3:34
2. Home Is Were The Hatred Is 3:19
3. Save The Children 4:25
4. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised 3:05
5. Did You Hear What They Said? 3:27
6. Pieces Of A Man 4:52
7. Speed Kills 3:15
8. Everyday 4:20
9. I Think I'll Call It Morning 3:29
10. When You Are Who You Are 3:21
11. Free Will 3:32
12. Or Down You Fall 3:12
13. The Needle's Eye 4:48
14. The Middle Of Your Day 4:29
15. A Sign Of The Ages 4:01
16. Who'll Pay Reparations On My Soul? 5:14

Disc 2: Poetry, Jazz & The Blues
1. Introduction/The Revolution Will Not Be Televised 3:21
2. Whitey On The Moon 1:57
3. No Knock 2:10
4. Small Talk At 125th And Lenox 1:20
5. Billy Green Is Dead 1:28
6. Sex Education: Ghetto Style 0:50
7. The Vulture 4:33
8. The Prisoner 9:25
9. ...And Then He Wrote Meditations 3:11
10. Plastic Pattern People 2:51
11. The Get Out Of The Ghetto Blues 5:07
12. Artificialness (feat. Pretty Purdie And The Playboys) 3:05
13. Ain't No New Thing 4:30
14. Brother 2:34
15. Evolution (And Flashback) 3:20
16. The King Alfred Plan 2:46
17. Enough 4:13
18. Paint It Black 0:31
19. Omen 1:44
20. Wiggy 1:36
21. Comment #1 4:26
22. The Subject Was Faggots 3:11

Disc 3: The Alternate Free Will
1. Did You Hear What They Said? (Alt Take 1) 3:28
2. The Middle Of Your Day (Alt Take 1) 4:39
3. Free Will (Alt Take 1) 2:56
4. The Get Out Of The Ghetto Blues (Alt Ending) 5:03
5. Speed Kills (Alt Take 3) 3:17
6. The King Alfred Plan (Alt Take) 3:00
7. No Knock (Alt Take) 2:02
8. Wiggy (Alt Take) 1:29
9. Ain't No New Thing (Breakdown Take) 2:40
10. Billy Green Is Dead (Alt Take) 1:31
11. ...And Then He Wrote Meditations (Alt Take) 1:30
12. No Knock (Breakdown Alt Take) 2:07
13. Free Will (Alt Take 2) 2:49

Notes
Incl. booklet

USA

'During his lifetime, the classically trained composer, cellist and disco artist Arthur Russell studied and performed with a wide variety of musicians and artists such as Ali Akbar Khan, Allen Ginsberg, John Hammond, David Byrne, Rhys Chatham, Jon Gibson, Peter Gordon, Jerry Harrison, Garret List, Frank Pagano, Andy Paley, Leni Pickett, and Peter Zummo. As a solo act in the 1980’s, Arthur Russell produced successes such as “In the Light of the Miracle” and the album “World of Echo” which incorporated many of his ideas for pop, dance and classical music for both solo voice and cello format. When Arthur Russell died in 1992 at the age of 40, the Village Voice wrote: "his songs were so personal that it seems as though he simply vanished into his music." The re-release of “Another Thought” by Orange Mountain Music is a celebration of this collection of Arthur Russell songs and tribute to a great musical innovator.'

Reviews
"Another Thought" are solos for voice and cello that tuck a world of influences into puckish, resolutely optimistic songs. -- NY Times, November 26, 1994

'A post-humous record that's like a gateway to the cosmos. An expressive, emotional human offering to an alien planet. Another Thought is a beautiful record with otherworldly cello-playing and vocals like twitchy heart palpitations smoothed out by a thick cloud of reverb. For those who'd like a minimalist, avant-garde Remain in Light.'

'For something cobbled together from tapes leftover after the artist's death this is an astounding record. It's absolutely beautiful, with enough of a rhythmic dance element to compliment, but never overpower the classically inspired cello melodies.'

'This is something extremely unique. His only-cello-driven songs are fantastic! It feels like they're totally out of space and time.'

'there's some kind of magic at work here I haven't yet begun to understand'

'it is perhaps the most sonically coherent album ever released of Russell's material'

'The cello on Home Away From Home is so bizarrely entrancing. It picks up hooks only then to slowly ebb in and out in favor of a more erratic, discordant playing.'

Compiled from selections from a daunting number of tapes and recordings made by Arthur Russell over the last decade of his life, Another Thought serves as a somewhat unintentional sequel to the majestic World of Echo. While it's a primarily vocal/cello recording, Russell himself might have arranged and performed a final version differently, given his never flagging interest in the possibilities of dance and disco. Whether seen as a tribute, a collection of demos, or something else, it's still a truly excellent record, Russell's evocative, soulful-in-its-own-style singing and performing given a sweet showcase. There's a striking sense how away from the dancefloor Russell's work parallels that of the Durutti Column (and its own cellist, Bruce Russell), with the emphasis on space and spare but direct emotion in words and music. That selections from nearly ten years apart have a similar essential core may result in part from careful post-production to an extent. In the end, though, Russell's own particular muse dictates the feeling, from the quietly bubbling energy of "A Little Lost" (Russell's singing on the chorus in particular is a dream) and "Keeping Up" to the reflective melancholia of "Losing My Taste for the Night Life." Special note should go to two of the few collaborations included, "My Tiger, My Timing" and especially "In the Light of the Miracle," where percussion, backing vocals, and brass instruments bring out his obsessions with beat more thoroughly. His cello performances are jaw-dropping on their own, at once pop and not pop. "Home Away from Home" finds hooks and then abandons them, changes pace and timbre at the drop of a hat, and uses subtle overdubs to emphasize rhythm but not overwhelm. Brief appreciative liner notes aptly convey his successes and the tragedy of his death, but it's the songs that serve as the best epitaph for a unique artist. -AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett

During the months which Another Thought was created, Arthur Russell was contrastingly withering away. Russell was heartbreakingly diagnosed with AIDS after the release of 1986's World of Echo, and the famously prolific artist was finally, unfortunately hindered from making music, from living his well-earned and much-appreciated livelihood, basically. But not prevented: not even full-blown AIDS, not even nasty side-effects like fucking throat cancer, not even the chemo could stop Russell from making music. Thus, Another Thought.

That's the heartbreaking story behind this record, released posthumously as a last hurrah to Russell's twisted, complicated legacy, before he drifted unfairly into obscurity until a resurgence came about many years later. There's also the music. Another Thought looms far and above World of Echo and all of those recently released compilations as the archetypal Russell record, one that blends all of Russell's different guises into one cohesive whole. It's his accidental masterpiece.

Much of Another Thought is filled with the icy, fragile cello textures that filled World of Echo, which perfectly accent Russell's cavernous, yet gentle voice, sounding ripped apart by pain and emotion on every track. That cello is key, and is important to why Another Thought sounds so delightfully otherworldly. A guitar would be too exacting, see: Russell's cello is instead meandering and varied, ranging from the wall-of-sound of "Keeping Up" to the swift, bouncy melodies of "This Is How We Walk On the Moon", without ever losing the same ghostly, nightly aesthetic that the entire album carries, like blues for the anxious, insomniac sort. And with a cello. 

That isn't to say Another Thought is same-y, though, or ever runs together. Songs vary from drifty and abstract ("Home Away From Home"; "Losing My Taste For the Nightlife") to danceable and fun ("Me For Real"; "In the Light of the Miracle"), some even finding Russell shedding the cello for the kind of synthetic "mutant disco" he specialized in the early days of his career. But alas, Russell's vocals are as downcast and reverberate with as much echo here as they do on the darker moments of the album, being those moments where it's just him and his cello, when you get that mental picture of him wasting away, working on his album he'll never actually finish. It's like he's fucking drowning in it, the echo, it seems; almost like he just can't escape.

And I like that. Artists like Dan Snaith (Caribou) must like that too, as his recent Swim hits a lot of the same moods and feelings that Another Thought hits. That feeling, in particular, being where you always feel there's just something darker lying underneath, an ominous notion brought upon by the production, by the vocals, by whatever. It's what makes Another Thought more than just a singer-songwriter album, more than just a disco album, or a electronica album, or some sort of avant-garde, performance art, Downtown music sort of thing. No, it's something else, entirely and totally. And, crazier yet, Another Thought is merely an incomplete work; there was perfecting to be had here, somehow. "It's all so unfinished"" The mind boggles. -joshuatree

Another Thought was originally released in 1994, just two years after Arthur Russell's death from AIDS in 1992. At that time the enigmatic downtown NYC cellist/composer's work appeared to be in danger of fading into obscurity, with nearly all of his recorded material either hopelessly out-of-print or unreleased entirely. But in the last few years-- thanks to recent compilations like Soul Jazz's The World of Arthur Russell and Audika's First Thought Best Thought-- Russell's back catalog has undergone serious renovation, and his work has finally begun to receive the broad-based recognition it deserves. Within the context of this freshly refurbished discography, Orange Mountain's new reissue of Another Thought takes on a slightly different character, as this excellent collection can now better serve to connect the routes between Russell's various musical galaxies.

As most of his fans have doubtless noticed by now, Russell was an artist whose career defies easy synopsis. Formally trained as a cellist, his music seemed to effortlessly draw links between the outwardly incompatible vocabularies of No Wave/post-punk, space disco, and avant-garde modern composition. So it is probably for the best that Another Thought was never intended as greatest hits package or a comprehensive career overview. The collection was instead compiled by producer Don Christensen from the countless hours of unreleased tapes that Russell had recorded over the final decade of his life. Most of this material consists of eccentric, deceptively simple solo pop songs for voice and cello. And as suggested by the album's cover photo-- which depicts Russell nonchalantly sporting a newspaper pirate hat-- there's a boyish innocence and playful romanticism to many of these tracks, resulting in some of the warmest and most intimate performances of his career.

It remains unclear what exactly Russell's intentions had been for this material. He recorded so extensively during the 80s-- reportedly leaving behind as many as a thousand unreleased tape reels-- that it becomes difficult to determine which of these tracks he considered to be finished, and which were simply fragmentary sketches for future projects. In a strange sense, however, the unvarnished quality of these recordings generally works in Russell's favor. Unlike much of the homespun dance pop that appeared on Audika's 2004 collection Calling Out of Context, few of these tracks feature any of the lyrical or production earmarks that would necessarily date these recordings to the 1980s. Beguiling love songs like "A Little Lost" and the title track have instead a winsome, out-of-time quality that has aged them well-- an impression accentuated by the still-alien impact of Russell's percussive cello work and unique, expressive vocals.

Over the course of the album, however, echoes of Russell's innovative work as a disco producer begin to reverberate on full-group tracks like "This Is How We Walk On the Moon," with its exotic hand percussion, vocal distortion, and Black Ark-style horn section. On "Keeping Up," Russell gets vocal assistance from the soundtrack-friendly pipes of Jennifer Warnes, their refracted voices doubling back on themselves as they encircle the cello's propulsive, almost subliminal pulse. And on the spellbinding "In the Light of a Miracle," a longer version of which appeared on The World of Arthur Russell, the composer displays the full breadth of his peculiar alchemy by interweaving vocals and elements of classical Indian percussion and minimalist textures into his meditative proto-house rhythms.

The inclusion of melancholic tracks like the world-weary "Losing My Taste for the Night Life" or the existential "A Sudden Chill" can give Another Thought an elegiac appearance-- and a certain air of finality-- that probably seemed more appropriate back in 1994 than it does today. These days, Arthur Russell's creative legacy seems to be in better health than ever, and with labels like Audika continuing to unearth previously unreleased Russell material it seems like it could be a long time before there's any need to finish writing his epitaph. -Matthew Murphy

1. Another Thought 2:14
2. A Little Lost 3:17
3. Home Away From Home 5:11
4. Lucky Cloud 2:12
5. This Is How We Walk On The Moon 4:41
6. Hollow Tree 2:28
7. See Through Love 4:46
8. Keeping Up 6:18
9. In The Light Of The Miracle 6:03
10. Lucky Cloud (Return) 2:59
11. Just A Blip 3:39
12. Me For Real 4:52
13. Losing My Taste For The Night Life 4:33
14. My Tiger, My Timing 5:39
15. A Sudden Chill 2:42

Archive