East meets West

Reissue of two influential east-meets-west album experiments with oud and modal jazz dating to the late '50s. Remastered from original tapes and accompanied by liner notes from MOJO's Dave Henderson. Includes some really dope and psychedelic oud excursions.

''Yusuf Lateef’s 1957 album Prayer To The East is often cited as one of the first eastward investigations in jazz, but this compilation repackages two dates from the late-1950s that prove others weren’t too far behind. Ahmed Abdul-Malik was a New Yorker of Sudanese descent who provided double bass for Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. But it was as a player of the lute-like oud that he dug deeper into his roots on albums like 1958’s Jazz Sahara and, represented here, 1959’s East Meets West, which tastefully collides traditional Middle Eastern and north African folk tunes with deep, modal jazz and bullish hard bop. 

Charles “Chick” Ganimian was an Armenian-American oud player who brought Armenian and Turkish flavours into western music, and went on to collaborate with Herbie Mann in the 1960s. His one LP as a leader, included here, was Come With Me To The Casbah – a session with an even wider range than Abdul-Malik’s, roaming from pulsating, percussionheavy dervish jams to R&B stompers and mellow readings of classics like ‘My Funny Valentine’. Undoubtedly far-out at the time, today both these sets give off a pleasing waft of kitsch.'' –Daniel Spicer

Oud Vibrations brings together two complete albums from the late 1950s, which sit at the meeting point of eastern and western cultures, instruments and styles. Featuring Ahmed Abdul-Malik's super rare 'East Meets West', (an evocative tapestry of structured raga-styled music set off against some classic jazz horn breaks) and the rare début album 'Come With Me To The Casbah' from Charles 'Chick' Ganimian (a hybrid of Armenian and American cultures that touched on rock 'n' roll with the single 'Daddy Lolo' as Ganim And The Asia Minors, which was a minor US radio hit.) These vintage buried treasures from two unsung heroes of jazz create an intriguing set of sounds that should appeal to lovers of space age pop and exotica as well as jazz enthusiasts and fans of Yusef Lateef, Paul Horn, Alice Coltrane and Terry Riley. Cross-cultural unions and collisions of musical instruments always bring about intriguing other worldly ambiences. The oud's distinctive sound, and its traditional swirling, percussive backdrop was a malleable commodity that dovetailed neatly into Jazz music and early rock 'n' roll. It sounded truly different when it was introduced to tackle old standards. The instrument itself is a pear-shaped stringed affair, which looks like a sawn-off psychedelic guitar. The late great Ahmed Abdul-Malik was part of the New York Jazz scene in the mid-'50s, where his double bass acted as foil for Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Zoot Sims and Thelonius Monk, among many others. Of Sudanese descent, he had a penchant for the roots music of his on 'East Meets West' from 1959. The music is rich and heady, a multi-layered set of tonal grooves that are wrapped tight beneath the melody lines. Charles 'Chick' Ganimian was an Armenian American who played only record as a bandleader was 'Come With Me To The Casbah'; an exotic slice of mystery, which comprises tracks nine to 20 in this collection. The album features the hit single 'Daddy Lolo' as well as a superb reading of classics 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' and 'My Funny Valentine'. Like Abdul-Malik's album, it's super rare in its original vinyl form, an even deeper, swirling set of textures that are completely enveloping. Ahmed Abdul-Malik's ability to fuse Western Jazz with the driving rhythms created by his oud that seems almost sequenced, are startling. Ganimian's swing phrasings added to his sensuous, evocative song structures make both of these sets landmark recordings, where two cultures clashed and the result was a supremely different kind of music. 

East Meets West
1. Ahmed Abdul-Malik - E-Lail (The Night) 4:18
2. Ahmed Abdul-Malik - La Ilbky (Don't Cry) 4:55
3. Ahmed Abdul-Malik - Takseem (Solo) 5:10
4. Ahmed Abdul-Malik - Searchin' 4:02
5. Ahmed Abdul-Malik - Isma'a (Listen) 4:14
6. Ahmed Abdul-Malik - Rooh (The Soul) 3:40
7. Ahmed Abdul-Malik - Mahawara 4:12
8. Ahmed Abdul-Malik - El Ghada [The Jungle] 3:05
Come With Me To The Casbah
9. Charles "Chick" Ganimian & His Orientals - Oriental Jam 4:53
10. Charles "Chick" Ganimian & His Orientals - Over The Rainbow 2:44
11. Charles "Chick" Ganimian & His Orientals - The Whirling Dervish 3:52
12. Charles "Chick" Ganimian & His Orientals - Play Girl Play 2:16
13. Charles "Chick" Ganimian & His Orientals - Swingin' The Blues 2:19
14. Charles "Chick" Ganimian & His Orientals - Daddy Lolo 2:04
15. Charles "Chick" Ganimian & His Orientals - My Funny Valentine 2:32
16. Charles "Chick" Ganimian & His Orientals - Come With Me To The Casbah 2:30
17. Charles "Chick" Ganimian & His Orientals - Hedy Lou (Where Are You) 2:35
18. Charles "Chick" Ganimian & His Orientals - Hayastan Moods 3:56
19. Charles "Chick" Ganimian & His Orientals - Halvah (Halvaje) 2:12
20. Charles "Chick" Ganimian & His Orientals - Nine Eight 4:13

Jamaica

Remastered, 1982 roots reggae classic, includes four previously unissued tracks.

“Dread is me culture, know wha’ I mean? Me could not a sing reggae music and really be a man that trim. Ha fe be a dread. When I say dread, a Rastaman, know wha’ I mean? I ha fe dread because every song that I sing is dread. The way I sing it is dread. Yeah, the music itself dread… Just I way deh. One o’ the humble, one o’ de meek, one o’ de cool, but very vicious when I deal with music… A real reggae singer ha fe be forceful. A forceful reg¬gae singer will always survive. Reggae music, man—it might look simple, but it naw so simple, you know. You ha fe ready and you ha fe ready with the punch. You ha fe ready to attack and very swift. You see a karate man punch a man, you know, and move again. Well it’s just same way reggae. You ha fe tense your body to sing reggae.”

—Albert Griffiths

Albert Griffiths founded the Gladiators in 1966 after some success on his own. The group scored their first hit, produced by legendary producer Coxsone Dodd, with “Hello Carol” in 1968. During the ’70s the Gladiators made their way through releases on labels like Studio One, Upsetter, Virgin, and Groovemaster. 1980 found the Gladiators working with producer, and pre-“Electric Avenue” hitmaker, Eddy Grant on the album Gladiators, which also featured members of the band Aswad lending a musical hand.

On 1982’s Symbol Of Reality, their first for the Nighthawk Records label, they revisited their own catalog of songs re-recording their classics, “Dreadlocks The Time Is Now” (appearing here as “Streets Of Gold”), “Watch Out” and “Big Boo Boo Deh” (returning retitled as “Cheater”) while also paying homage to The Wailers with covers “Small Axe” and “Stand Alone,” both written by Bob Marley.

This newly remastered version of the album features the original ten tracks, the two bonus tracks that were added to the original 1997 Nighthawk CD reissue, “Symbol Version” and “Righteous Man Version,” plus four previously unissued tracks, “Streets Of Gold Version,” “Not Afraid To Fight Version,” “Symbol Of Reality Instrumental Dub” and “Streets Of Gold Instrumental Dub.” Original liner notes are also included. The reissue has been overseen by original Nighthawk Records’ producer Leroy Jodie Pierson and Grammy® Award-winning producer, Cheryl Pawelski, and has been remastered from the original tapes by Grammy® Award-winning engineer, Michael Graves.

On this superb set, the Gladiators revisit the past and take note of the present, while simultaneously looking to the future. First the past, and here once again the trio resurrects its classic "Natty Roots." They first cut this number for Studio One back in the early '70s, then re-recorded a fine version in 1977 for Prince Tony Robinson under the title "Dreadlocks the Time Is Now." And now it's back as "Streets of Gold" in its most sumptuous form to date, with the rich arrangement fleshed out by a fabulous brass section -- a masterpiece that keeps improving with time. Originally from 1970, "Watch Out" is given as equally sympathetic update, "Big Boo Boo Deh" returns as "Cheater," and there's an equally evocative retread of "Righteous Man," all three singles originally recorded for Coxsone Dodd years ago. But it's not just its own back catalog that the group is revisiting, but the Wailers' catalog as well. Over the years, the Gladiators have oftentimes paid homage to Jamaica's legendary group, and here they deliver up phenomenal covers of "Small Axe" and "Stand Alone." On to the present day, and the Gladiators offer up the dancehall-flavored "Bumping and Boring" and "Mister Goose," the latter magically blending dancehall rhythms with British beat-laced keyboards. But the band's future remains roots-bound, and the title track glories in the genre, keeping the atmosphere heavy through an appended dub. For a time it looked like the Gladiators had lost their final battle, but Symbol of Reality finds the group back in top form. -AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene

1. Symbol Of Reality 4:29
2. Symbol Version 4:34
3. Small Axe 5:14
4. Bumping And Boring 3:28
5. Cheater 3:34
6. Watch Out 3:33
7. Mister Goose 3:48
8. Streets Of Gold 3:56
9. Streets Of Gold Version (Bonus Track) 4:12
10. Righteous Man 3:24
11. Righteous Man Version 3:29
12. Stand Alone 3:21
13. Not Afraid To Fight 3:36
14. Not Afraid To Fight Version (Bonus Track) 3:34
15. Symbol Of Reality Instrumental Dub (Bonus Track) 4:20
16. Streets Of Gold Instrumental Dub (Bonus Track) 4:11

USA

Legendary Soul Sister

Eula Cooper's complete Tragar, Note, and Super Sound recordings. Produced by Atlanta record mogul Jesse Jones between 1968-1972, Let Our Love Grow Higher chronicles the development of this gifted, black soprano from high school freshman to womanhood over twelve slices of sultry southern soul. Recorded at the finest studios in the south, including Muscle Shoals and Fame, Jones spared no expense capturing Cooper’s unique and lilting delivery, even if the resulting 45s languished in Atlantan exile.

''Eula Cooper was trying on clothes at the boutique below the Tragar offices when she giggled her way through “Shake Daddy Shake” for her friends. The shop’s proprietor suggested she take the song to the guy on the second floor. Cooper and her friends marched upstairs to find Jesse Jones sitting behind a small desk in a paneled office. After her performance of “Shake Daddy Shake,” Jones immediately sent Eula home to fetch her mother. 

Born in Opelika, Alabama, but raised in both Birmingham and Atlanta, Eula Cooper was the artist Jesse Jones had been waiting for. Beautiful, articulate, and headstrong, Cooper had an incredible command of her voice, green though she was. A child of divorce, Jones would become something of a father figure to her over the next four years, as she would spend all her time between Booker T. Washington High and the office, studio, or stage. Jones believed that Eula Cooper was the best chance they had for hit status outside the city; “Shake Daddy Shake” seemed to prove that hypothesis, immediately finding a place on the local charts. Regional radio promoter Charles Geer began pushing the single outside of I-285’s loop and even convinced Atlantic Records to license it for a national run. Neither “Shake Daddy Shake” nor “Heavenly Father” had the legs or production values to jump state lines, but this would hardly be Eula’s last foray into the studio. At 14, it seemed she had plenty of time to crack the charts. 

As 1969 rolled in, Jones was finalizing the second Eula Cooper 45. The two had spent most of the fall in the studio working on a handful of tracks, but “Try” was the clear standout. Tommy Stewart’s arrangement was impeccable: a simple melody taped out on glockenspiel for the introduction lead to a mid-tempo soul jam with royalty written all over it. For the B-side, Jones went familiar and used a note-for-note remake of Martha Reeves & the Vandellas' 1965 hit “Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things.” It was built for chart movement but faced a challenge bigger than Atlanta this time. Money was tight, and not even Jones’ wealthy benefactors could pull him through the foreclosure of his house. A 1969 regrouping and restructuring left Eula Cooper’s best shot lost in the shuffle.'' (NG)

1. Shake Daddy Shake 1:54
2. I Can't Help If I Love You 2:26
3. Try 2:16
4. Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things 2:57
5. That's How Much I Love You 2:36
6. Heavenly Father 2:17
7. Since I Fell for You 2:03
8. Let Our Love Grow Higher 2:40
9. Beggars Can't Be Choosey 2:33
10. Standing By Love 2:26
11. I Need You More 3:05
12. My Man Is More 2:48
13. Mr. Henry 3:20
14. Have Faith In Me 2:45

Europe

''This is a classic and sought after afro funk LP. One of the best recordings in the genre: Pulsating african rhythms with funk bass and heavy brass sounds: Essential and ultra hard to find album with tons of true killer afro funk breaks. A sure killer set for collectors and DJs! Some also call it a stripped down Fela Kuti sound.''

Mombasa was a European band, put together by LA trombonist Lou Blackburn (1922-1990) in 1973. All of their albums between 1975 and 1981 have been recorded in Germany. The trombone of Lou Blackburn carries the lead on most tracks -- snaking out wonderfully over the grooves, with a quality that's amazingly soulful, and which almost has him standing head to head with Fred Wesley as a '70s innovator on his instrument. Other members of the group include Doug Lucas on trumpet, Bob Reed on percussion, Alan Tatham on drums, and Don Ridgeway on electric bass. A great ensemble that knew to mix together jazz and African roots with a sound that's unlike anyone else we can think of -- quite unique in its approach to rhythms, sounds, and solos! 

From original liner notes 1975:

"In describing the music of Mombasa which is a mixture of rhythm, jazz, folklore, blues, spirituals and worksongs, Lou Blackburn would prefer not to use the word jazz. Many people ask us, he says, how one describes our type of music. To this I can only answer that I leave it to the audience because i don't want to give it a label, for me it is simply ours, Mombasa's music"

Original producer H. Manfred Schmitz with his memories from September 2006:

I started working as an artist promoter at german Electrola in 1970, responsible for radio/ tv promotion and later as a freelancer at WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk). Rudy Petri has been te boss of Edition Accord, a publishing department of EMI. In Rudy's office, I met Lou Blackburn, a middle aged afro american with an exceptional headgear that I had not seen before. When he held out his hand to welcome me, I was feeling an unknown calmness and sovereignty from this tall man. His eyes were lookingat me through metal-rimmed glasses in a friendly way. They looked so warm and I felt that he was looking at me with his heart. My band Mombasa and I, we are looking for somebody to produce an album with us. We wanna go on a european tour soon and would like to sell our music after the concerts. We also know what we want to achieve in the studio, everything is well rehearsed and we will not need much time for the recordings. We mainly need support for the logistic aspects and a good connection to a suitable distributor. We already started our common work after 10 days: Edition Accord and my publishing company Many Music shared the cost and work for the production and we decided to record Mombasa in the Cornet Studio/ Cologne, that was equipped with a small but fine 8-track machine.

We needed two hours for the preliminaries of the recording process and focussed on the best adjustments for the rhythm group. From the beginning Lou had a very good connection to the sound engineer W. Sorger. While some of the musicians checked their instruments, others were decorating the recording room with african cloths, candles and even added incense cones to the prevailing mood. The band drew up like they did on stage, with the drums in the very back but with a visual contact to every band member. There was no real break within the recording session, only the ones for changing instruments and tuning them again. I got the impression they were giving one of their concerts!

We immediately felt a bubbling enthusiam. After the recording - there was only one! - Lou Blackburn came to the control desk and listened to everything that was recorded. We had only worked for three hours then. There was nothing to improve and so we began discussions about the final mix that was done with Lou alone. All in all the whole production only lasted one day. The first approach for a record label was successful too: From the first moment, Peter Springer of Intercord loved the product and wanted to release it on the german Intercord label Spiegelei (Fried Egg). Lou also confirmed to buy a few thousand records for their european tour so that the contract was signed early.

Finally I can tell you that I was never carried away by such a positive energy before. I felt so much happiness with Mombasa, especially with Lou Blackburn, without being able to appreciate it properly. But I owe Lou and his fellows a debt of gratitude until today! I hesitated for a long time before releasing this claim from the geography of my recently discovered soul. But with this re-release of the first Mombasa recordings, we are on a way, that Lou would have gone with us.

African Rhythms & Blues:
1. Nairobi 7:33
2. Massai 8:04
3. Holz 4:23
4. Kenia 6:49
5. Makishi 2:36
6. Shango 7:49


Reissue of the second LP release by the legendary cross-cultural Mombasa band: Deep Afro Jazz and Funk by Lou Blackburn and his group recorded 1976 in Germany - rare album formerly released on the Spiegelei label only, transferred from the master tapes, contains sought after DJ-spins "African Hustle", "Yenyeri" and "Shango II", with original cover artwork.

This is the second internationally famous and sought after Afro Jazz LP by Mombasa. And like the first legendary album already reissued by Sonorama in 2006, it was released on the german Spiegelei- abel in small amounts only and has completely vanished from markets and memories: Pulsating African rhythms with funk bass and heavy brass sounds. Stunning afro beat production that belongs to the best recordings in the genre. Essential and ultra hard to find album with tons of true killer afro funk breaks.

The second album from Mombasa was possibly even better than the first. The group have really come into their own by the time of this date - mixing together jazz and African roots with a sound that's unlike anyone else we can think of - quite unique in its approach to rhythms, sounds, and solos. The grooves aren't really the Afro Funk you might expect - and instead, they're based on a headier brew of bass lines and percussion, one that's somewhere in a space between Boscoe, The Pharoahs, and Demon Fuzz - but with a sound that's ultimately different than both. The trombone of Lou Blackburn carries the lead on most tracks - snaking out wonderfully over the grooves, with a quality that's amazingly soulful, and which almost has him standing head to head with Fred Wesley as a 70s innovator on his instrument. Other members of the group include Doug Lucas on trumpet, Bob Reed on percussion, Alan Tatham on drums, and Don Ridgeway on electric bass - the last of whom really does a great job shaping the sound of the tunes.

Mombasa 1976 was:

Lou Blackburn: Jamaica, 14 years U.S.A., there with Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Quincy Jones a.o. Since 1971 in Berlin, with Kurt Edelhagen for SFB Radio and TV. In 1973, Lou founded Mombasa. 

Doug Lucas: Arkansas, teacher of music, in Europe since 1968. Sessions with J.J. Band, Barry White, George McCrae. 

Bob Reed: New York, started with Latin groups, in Europe since seven years, here with Wyoming Electric Jungle and Equinox. 

Don Ridgeway: San Francisco, in USA with People`s Choice, since four years in Europe, worked with Jimmy Smith, Fox Hunters... 

Alan Tatham: Montego Bay, Jamaica, since 14 years in Europe, studied music in Vienna, studio musician in London and Vienna. 

From original liner notes of “African Rhythms & Blues 2” (1976): 

“My thanks first to the four marvelous musicians who made this record possible. Again thanks to president Ikeda for being. The energy and direction instilled in me through his guidance. Nam-Myoho-Renge-kyo.” (Lou Blackburn)

African Rhythms & Blues 2:
1. Yenyeri 6:52
2. Holz II 5:33
3. Shango II 8:42
4. Nomoli 9:46
5. African Hustle 5:32
6. Al Rahman 4:48

Trinidad/New York City

Invisible City Editions officially reissue the sublime extended 12” version of 'Praise Jah', this eccentric island-disco rarity from 1979, distinct with crazy electronic effects! Essential.

Oluko Imo was a Trinidadian born multi-instrumentalist, founder of the legendary spiritual afro jazz groups Mansa Musa and the Black Truth Rhythm Band. He moved to New York City in the 80s and divided his time between teaching music there and touring Africa with Fela Kuti as both his manager and part of the band. 

Praise Jah is Imo’s crowning achievement. An elevated electronic mantra that perfectly fuses synthy soca disco with his spiritual afro-Trinidadian leanings. It’s a timeless piece of music that sounds as visionary today as it did when it emerged from the aether back in 1979.

''Oluko Imo's career as a recording artist was as sporadic as it was exemplary. In 1976, his Black Truth Rhythm Band released their only album, Ifetayo, which was a calypso record with an emphasis on West African music. Imo's best record, the disco soca seven-inch Praise-Jah, emerged two years later. In the mid-'70s, soca—the Lord Shorty-engineered successor to calypso—was emerging in Trinidad, Imo's home country. US soul and funk were staples of Trinidadian radio, and Haitian and Jamaican music was popular, too. But Imo was drawn to West Africa, a region whose highlife sound bubbled on the surface of his catalogue. 

Where Ifetayo merged calypso with funk and Afrobeat in an easygoing style, Praise-Jah turned towards disco with earnest spiritual overtones. On the vocal version, Imo and an uncredited female singer trade devotional chorus and verse over organ funk, sweet synth harmonies, churning bass and dub-style sparks. Between her crisp shouts of "praise him," Imo plays trumpets, drums and cymbals, as though his instruments might have the agency to respond. Later, he sings, "Let everything that breathe the breath of life / praise, praise He, the Lord." 

Invisible City Editions, run by Brandon Hocura and Gary Abugan, has reissued rare music from Zambia, South Africa and the US, but it has given special focus to Trinidad. The 12-inches the label has sourced from the Caribbean island have what Abugan calls a "refraction of styles." Stephen Encinas' Disco Illusion and Michael Boothman's Touch were disco records with alien touches. Soca, disco, dub and gospel come together with the same ineffable clarity on Praise-Jah.''

1. Praise-Jah 6:10
2. Praise-Jah (Version) 6:01

Bristol

A lost treasure coming from the early 80's: groovy, free punk-funk to satisfy the heart and the mind.

Kiran Sande (Blackest Ever Black) and Chris Farrell (Idle Hands) trigger their Silent Street cooperative with a surefire survey of Maximum Joy’s dub-fuelled punkfunk and pop singles 1981-1982, collected as I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights. Digging a pivotal point in Bristol’s dub-informed lineage, it reveals the sound of Bristol parties and after-hours blues in the early ‘80s, which would also find success among the punk-funk crowds and hip hop stations of NYC. Fans of Vazz, The Slits, Glaxo Babies, The Pop Group need to check this one! -Boomkat

“I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights is centred around the trio of singles the band released on Dick O’Dell’s Y Records between 1981-1982. Their first, ‘Stretch’, was licensed to seminal American label 99 Records and soon after became an anthem on the New York club underground, a cult staple at Danceteria and on late-night radio. Closer to home and a shared personal favourite is their first B-side, ‘Silent Street / Silent Dub’: a languid, haunting tribute to long summer nights in St Pauls (where the Idle Hands shop presently resides), and specifically the Black & White Cafe, “where dub-reggae reigned supreme, 24/7”. Llewellin’s mesmerising one-drop kit and Catsis’s outrageously heavy bassline anchor the track, allowing Rainforth’s exquisite vocal and Wrafter’s trumpet to soar within the intense, expressionistic dub mix. In both subject matter and execution it is the definitive Bristol tune. 

‘White And Green Place (Extraterrestrial Mix)’, ‘In The Air’, and wistful instrumental ‘Simmer Til Done’ also feature; the non-Y bonus is the 12” version of ‘Do It Today’, Maximum Joy’s contribution to the Fontana compilation Touchdown, which originally came out in ’82 as a white label split with The Higsons. 

I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights is the first official UK vinyl reissue of Maximum Joy material, with sleevenotes by Janine Rainforth, Tony Wrafter and Kevin Pearce. We invite you to acquaint, or reacquaint, yourself with the eclectic, exhilarating work of Bristol’s finest, brightest pop idealists.”

Like many of their early ’80s UK peers, Maximum Joy mixed punk, funk, disco, and reggae. This new set captures a band carving its own place with two of music’s most powerful tools: muscle and joy.

Listening today, three-and-a-half decades later, it’s easy to hear Maximum Joy as a relic of their era. The defining characteristics of their music—rope-like basslines, squalls of dub delay, and alternately soaring and honking horn parts—peg them to the early 1980s, when punk rock, funk, disco, and reggae were all mixing together. But the Bristol, UK, group has never enjoyed the acclaim of contemporaries like Rip Rig and Panic, Pigbag, or the Pop Group (with whom they shared members), to say nothing of New York acts like ESG or Liquid Liquid (with whom they rubbed elbows on the roster of New York’s 99 Records). The group’s prime recording years spanned only from 1981 until 1983, in which time they recorded three singles, an Adrian Sherwood-produced LP, and a handful of compilation tracks. Since then, Maximum Joy have remained largely a footnote, despite the widespread reappraisal of funk-punk that began in the early 2000s, with the rise of DFA. They landed one track on Strut’s landmark 2008 compilation Disco Not Disco and another on last year’s Sherwood at the Controls Volume 1: 1979-1984; it has largely fallen to DJs like Andrew Weatherall and Optimo’s JD Twitch to keep their memory alive for the dancing public.

This new collection overlaps with an out-of-print 2005 anthology on Germany’s Crippled Dick Hot Wax! label, though the compilers here have mostly opted for different mixes, like the 7” “Silent Dub” of “Silent Street” instead of the 12” version, or the 12” mix of “In the Air,” which runs nearly twice the length of the previous comp’s version. Focusing primarily on the group’s three singles, I Can’t Stand It Here on Quiet Nights captures a band carving out its own place using two of music’s most powerful tools: muscle and joy. The former is right there on the surface, in the group’s slashing and zig-zagging rhythm section and horn riffs. Bassist Dan Catsis, formerly of the Pop Group, is alternately nimble and brute in his attack: On “Silent Street (Silent Dub),” he traces a taut pattern so neatly you might not even notice that the song is in 9/4 time; on “White and Green Place (Extraterrestrial Mix),” he digs in hard, thumbing a riff that suggests kinship with Liquid Liquid’s “Cavern” bassline before sliding fat, greasy fifths down the neck of his instrument.

Ex-Glaxo Babies drummer Charlie Llewellin is the perfect foil for Catsis’ blend of agility and force, with a fondness for crisp, skeletal grooves—nimble dub on “Silent Street,” neck-snapping disco on “Stretch (7 Inch Mix)” and “In the Air (12 Inch Mix)”—that make the most of the emptiness between hi-hats and snares. As for guitarist John Waddington, another Pop Group alumnus, he sides mainly with that gaping negative space, his presence felt mainly in glancing funk chords that fall across the music like the glow of a stained-glass window.

It’s singer Janine Rainforth that best embodies Maximum Joy’s exuberance: Having co-founded the group when she was just 18 years old, she channeled her inspirations—singers like X-Ray Spex’s Poly Styrene and the Slits’ Ari Up—into her own shape-shifting style. On “Stretch,” the A-side of the group’s debut single, she belts it out in the manner of her mentors, slicing into the midrange frequencies with a tone poised at the midway point between speech, screaming, and singing. It’s an entirely fitting complement to the song’s defiant positivity: “Stay positive, stay strong!/Hold safe, hold straight/Don’t terminate, no end!” Listen closely, though, and you’ll hear another side of her: a soft soprano background coo, diffuse as a pastel-colored mist. This is the voice that gives “Silent Street (Silent Dub)” its ethereal, sui generis feel: The lyrics (“Let’s have the music all day long/Let’s have the sound all night”) may scan as reggae boilerplate, but her airy tone lends a uniquely spooky quality to the song, like a ghost haunting the dancehall. It’s a quality you won’t find in any of their contemporaries.

Somewhere in between all that sinew and euphoria, Wrafter’s saxophone and trumpet blaze their own trail, shrieking and soaring and honking. On “In the Air,” no wave skronk comes to the fore, abetted by Rainforth’s own dissonant violin; on “Simmer Til Done,” his lowing, lyrical style has more in common with Clarence Clemons or the “Saturday Night Live” band’s Lenny Pickett. It’s here, as well as in his guttural bellowing on “Stretch,” that Maximum Joy’s music can occasionally feel dated.

Elsewhere, though, Wrafter's woozy tone gives the music its undeniable frisson: On “Silent Street” and “Building Bridges (Building Dub),” his atonal trumpet blasts are the glue that holds everything together. It’s no wonder the compilation opens with “Silent Street,” which was the B-side to their debut single. The song is where they found something inimitable. At the nexus of a bunch of different styles, in the shadow of their peers, they struck a spark that still glows. -Philip Sherburne

1. Silent Street / Silent Dub 7:53
2. White And Green Place (Extraterrestrial Mix) 5:27
3. In The Air (Extended Version) 6:39
4. Building Bridges / Building Dub 6:19
5. Simmer Til Done 4:44
6. Stretch (7" Mix) 3:45
7. Do It Today 4:59
Extra Track
8. Let It Take You There 8:03

USA

Clocking in at an epic eleven minutes, Vince Howard’s “I’m Gonna Love You More” is a tantric reimagining of Barry White’s 1973 top ten sex classic. Where White was content delivering a subtle and syrupy innuendo, L.A. drummer, band leader, and producer Vince Howard transforms the break-heavy track into a meandering fuck/funk workout. From “sliding off your pinkies” to Marsha Sims’ playful moans, Howard keeps the groove going until his roping climax at the nine minute mark before asking to “hold onto me for a while. Keep it wrapped up just like you got me.” 

Howard's Heart-Soul & Inspiration Orchestra cut their only album in 1974 for John Springs’ Los Angeles-based Viscojon concern under the watchful eye of R&B godfather Johnny Otis. The crooning Howard got his start in 1957 with Herb Newman’s Era label before signing with Viscojon in 1963. A few singles were tracked over the ensuing decade as Howard slowly began piecing together his “Orchestra” of bassist Jimmy Soul, guitarist Ron Carr, and pianist John True. After their Barry White/Isaac Hayes facsimile LP failed to gain traction, the group tracked their final recordings—“Funk on Down” b/w “Fallen Angel”—for Viscojon, petering out as disco and the DJ came to prominence and dominance on the nightclub circuit.

1. I'm Gonna Love You More 11:04
2. Can't Get Enough 7:17
3. Make Love to Your Mind 5:09
4. My First, Last, My Everything 4:59
5. Funk on Down 2:56
6. Fallen Angel 3:40

Italy

A really great Italian jazz score composed for La Legge dei Gangsters (Gangster’s Law), an obscure 1969 Italian crime film starring the mighty Klaus Kinski. Featuring a large ensemble of the country’s strongest players (including Oscar Valdambrini on trumpet), the music is a creation of the great Piero Umiliani and is plenty full of sophisticated, groovy and romantic tunes.

This late-'60s soundtrack was composed for a thriller about a group of gangsters (including future international star Klaus Kinski) who commit a robbery only to have it go horribly wrong. The score was penned by Italian composer Piero Umiliani, who mixes conventional orchestral touches with swinging crime jazz to create a score that is elegant and punchy all at once. The standout orchestral-style moment is "Crepusculo Sul Mare," a dramatic instrumental that wraps a lush string arrangement around a circular, hypnotic acoustic guitar riff. The highlight in the jazz arena is the title track, a seven-minute epic that travels through a variety of tempos and textures as it provides a showcase for some amazing horn arrangements. The score also includes "Lui E Lei," a percolating instrumental built on a clever male and female scat duet that has made it a favorite of lounge fans. Fans of Piero Umiliani will be pleased to see that Easy Tempo's reissue of this once-rare soundtrack album doubles its length by restoring some previously edited cues (including "La Legge Dei Gangsters") to their full length and also providing an array of bonus jazz cues that didn't make it to the original album. The best of the unreleased cuts is "Gangster's Song," a swinging, brass-heavy vocal number whose string-sweetened melody is reminiscent of Henry Mancini's jazzier moments. All in all, La Legge Dei Gangsters is a stylish and swinging treat for Piero Umiliani fans and anyone who enjoys soundtracks at their most jazzy. -AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco 

''It’s an excellent sign when the recording you’re listening to for review purposes ends up being played purely for pleasure. La Legge dei Gangsters (Gangster’s Law) was an obscure 1969 Italian crime film. It starred Klaus Kinski and was the last picture directed by Siro Marcellini. But what appears to be no more than the score to a forgotten gangster flick is actually a great Italian jazz album, featuring a large gathering of the country’s strongest players (including Oscar Valdambrini on trumpet). It is the creation of Piero Umiliani and is right up there with his classics such as Svezia Inferno e Paradiso and is certainly one of the maestro’s most jazz-dominated film projects. 

Crepuscolo Sul Mare (Twilight on the Sea) is a vehicle for plangent acoustic guitar, which begins almost in media res, by Mario Gangi. Genoza P.zza De Ferrari Dalle 2 Alle 7 signifies a time and an (abbreviated) address (Genoza Piazza De Ferrari From 2 To 7) and, by contrast, the guitar here is electric and is played by Enzo Grillini with the fat sound of Wes Montgomery. The prudent and judiciously deployed vibes are the work of Franco Chiari and Umiliani himself plays piano with Basie-like restraint and minimalism. The captivating, probing bass flute is courtesy of Gino Marinacci and the mocking trumpet by Cicci Santucci blows Miles Davis style fragments. This piece has both powerful swing, propelled by Enzo Grillini’s bass and Roberto Podio’s drums, and a modernist surface of sustained solos. 

Swing Come Sempre (Swing As Always) is propulsive West Coast big band jazz with a substantial and lovely tenor solo sax played, with distinction, by Livio Cerveglieri set against massed brass interjections. It’s reminiscent of Shorty Rogers with a harder, more aggressive Stan Kenton edge (of course Shorty Rogers played and arranged for Kenton). The splendid title track, La Legge Dei Gangsters is an extended piece which features a boppish tenor solo from Cerveglieri that evokes a moan of pleasure from a member of the band and is also noteworthy for the wild keening squeal of the trumpet by Cicci Santucci, which becomes California-mellow at the end. Enzo Grillini’s easygoing guitar and more of Marinacci’s lovely flute are further treats to be found here. 

Episodio is a folkloric, baroque piece distinguished by a slanting expanse of strings played by Orchestra D’Archi and the wavering water-colour Hammond electric organ of Antonello Vannucchi. Lui E Lei (He and She) is aptly titled, with a ravishing countermelody of male and female scat interweaving from the (husband and wife) team of Alessandro Alessandroni and Giulia Alessandroni. Tema Dell’addio (Farewell Theme) is another showcase for Vannucchi’s Hammond organ, supported by subtly effective drums and bass (Roberto Podio and Maurizio Majorana), and strongly calls to mind the crime jazz masterworks of Elmer Bernstein and his film scores like Walk on the Wild Side and The Carpetbaggers.

This soundtrack has been issued before in various forms. As an introduction to the maestro’s work, this title comes most warmly recommended, both for the high density and superb quality of the jazz it contains. If you only buy one Umiliani album, then this is probably the one you've been waiting for.'' -Andrew Cartmel

1. Crepuscolo Sul Mare (Twilight On The Sea) 2:47
2. Genova P.zza De Ferrari Dalle 2 Alle 7 (Genova, P.zza De Ferrari From 2 To 7) 12:32
3. Epilogo (Epilogue) 3:05
4. La Legge Dei Gangsters (Gangsters' Law) 7:39
5. Episodio (Episode) 2:41
6. Very Fast 2:20
7. Alba Sul Mare (Dawn On The Sea) 3:13
8. Tema Dell'Addio (Farewell Theme) 2:33
9. Lui E Lei (He And She) 2:3
10. Epilogo (Epilogue) 4:35
11. Sei Ottavi In Blues (Six-Eights In Blues) 3:36
12. Apertura In Jazz (Jazz Overture) 3:56
13. Disgelo (Snow Melting) 2:30
14. Spiaggia Deserta (Empty Beach) 6:16
15. Sequenze Ritmiche (Rhythmical Sequences) 6:21
16. Swing Come Sempre (Swing As Usual) 2:49
17. Gangster's Song 3:38

Miami

Prime cuts of rare-groove funk recorded from the original master tapes including the hits "Cookie Crumbs" and "Soul Freedom" -The complete 1973 album including rare and unreleased tracks.

''A lost gem from Ray and his Court. Fusing JB funky horns with an afro groove. Throw in a little Latin and it sums up the sound perfectly. One of the more obscure funk bands of it’s time.'' -Jazzman

The late sixties and early seventies proved to be a fertile era for the Miami music scene. Those in the know, know that it was the heavy influx of Cuban musicians who had recently migrated to Miami from their homeland as being responsible for upping the musical ante. Ray Fernandez was the first Cuban musician to incorporate American funk and soul rhythms into the Cuban mix and was truly the "King" of the Miami Cuban music community. Many Miami musicians who are well renowned today have, at one time or another, passed through Ray's court. 

Some of the tightest funky 70s jamming ever – a lost gem from Ray & His Musical Court, a group that perfectly fuses JB/Horny Horns funk with beat-heavy Afro-Cuban groove. Ray and the group are one of the more obscure funky combos of the era, and it's a damn shame, because the group's tight-as-can-be amalgam of JB's style horn riffing and thumping Afro-Cuban percussion is some of the absolute best of its kind. This group seriously smokes any of the current funk bands on the road. On these sessions Ray wrote, produced, played "organ flute" and provided some vocals in a large group that includes three trumpets, bass clarinet, sax, two drummers, congas, electric bass, and a line of mostly Spanish vocalists. Amazing 70s super funk with a very proud Latin edge. -dustygroove

1. Cookie Crumbs 3:01
2. Soul Freedom 4:14
3. El Alacran 3:06
4. El Bimbo 3:08
5. Venimos Acabando 3:03
6. De Eso Nada Monada 3:20
7. Silencio 5:13
8. El Sapo 4:25
9. Lo Sabia 3:13
10. Brazil 2:54
11. La Senorita Lola 2:48
12. Sunny 2:57
13. Domino 3:25
14. Mil Congojas 4:57
15. No Desentiendas Tu Casa 3:14
16. Plena Pa Gozar 2:55
17. Tamangari 2:57
18. A Que No Te Atreves 4:13
19. Coming Home 3:14
20. Tu Mirar 2:21
21. Chega Mais 3:23
22. More More More 5:02

Soul, Folk and Jazz nuggets

LET'S CELEBRATE - Part 2! Why? The Universe knows that Tramp is celebrating their 40th trip around the sun in 2018. And what about planet Earth? Well… it is as blind as it is in so many other situations. Therefore, it is time to shine the light on Tramp for all of its unremitting efforts. As musical diversity is vanishing, especially in the field of African American music from the 1960s/70s, it is our duty to stop the extinction of threatened species of music in the same way an animal welfare activist would do anything to save a gorilla's life. Tramp Records keeps this beautiful heritage alive, every single day, again and again and again. So we are here wondering why Earth people and especially to those from our beloved home country; why? why are you just sitting there, going about your life unaware of this historic event? That is really a pity! 

The announcement is especially striking when it comes to the prestigious "Praise Poems" series. Like all its predecessors, this sixth volume contains sixteen Soul, Folk and Jazz nuggets from between the early 1970s and 1980. The fact that ALL songs have not been compiled elsewhere yet is a jaw-dropping phenomenon! The track listing starts with the amazing "Cherokee" by Verses. Next comes Monopoly's latin-jazz jewel "Things I Could Be" followed by a monster cover version of Stephen Stills' "For What It's Worth". Fans of Oscar Brown Jr. will be delighted to discover Federico Cervantes as well as three more little known but outstanding funky-jazz tracks. Orange Lake Drive's insanely romantic and hopelessly optimistic "Rare Thing" steps into new territory and the recordings by Michael Kiser, Alan Burton and Waves prove to be beautiful examples of privately produced sunshine pop from the 1970s. Garage 7" collectors will freak out to finally get a chance to listen to Daybreak's super hard to find cover version of Richie Havens' all time classic "Freedom" while others may agree that the unbelievably melancholic "Soda Creek Ferry" by Ted Ritchie is the highlight of this sixth volume. The album closes with "Laughing In The Sun" by Elrige Anselmi and Flood's incredible six minute psych masterpiece "White Bird". 

Almost one hundred great unknown songs have been re-released on the first five volumes in the "Praise Poems" series, the majority of which can not be found elsewhere, and Vol. 6 is no exception. Turn your friends and neighbors on! Thank you! 

1. Verses - Cherokee 3:57
2. Monopoly - Things I Could Be 2:44
3. Cesar's Children - For What It's Worth 2:31
4. Tony St. Thomas - Love Is Forever 5:28
5. Federico Cervantes - Betcha Never Knew 3:16
6. Rama Dyushambee - For All The Good Times 5:59
7. Fusion - Going Crazy 3:41
8. Lola Falana - It's A Good Feeling 3:32
9. Robert Cote with Orange Lake Drive - Rare Thing 3:35
10. Michael Kiser - Melting The Ice 3:49
11. Alan Burton - Sunshine You'll Love It 2:59
12. Waves - Feeling The Sunshine 4:13
13. Daybreak - Freedom 4:35
14. Ted Ritchie and Friends - Soda Creek Ferry 4:01
15. Elrige Anselmi - Laughing In The Sun 2:47
16. Flood - White Bird 5:59

Brazil

Historic samba. Fresh as an ice-cold beer and fiery as a shot of neat cachaça, Brazil’s vibrant early 20th century musical heritage had a different kind of beat for another kind of lifestyle. Luperce Miranda, Pixinguinha and Os Oito Batutas, Silvio Caldas, Araci de Almeida, Sinhô, even Noel Rosa singing Conversa de Botequim!

Another stunner in this incredible French series. A beautiful collection of mostly-instrumental music, featuring the legendary Pixinguinha and acoustic jazz pioneer, mandolinist Jacob do Bandolim. There is some teensy overlap between this and the first BRESIL comp, but it's pretty negligible considering how great both collections are. This collection is indispensible for anyone looking into the roots of Brazilian samba. -DJ Joe Sixpack

Disc 1
1. Pixinguinha - O urubu e o Gaviao 3:11
2. Araci de Almeida - Flauta cavaquinho e violao 2:58
3. Oito Batutas - Urubu 3:02
4. Pixinguinha - 1 X 0 2:14
5. Luperce Miranda - Naquelle tempo 3:03
6. Luperce Miranda - Risonha 3:11
7. Garoto - Fala bandolim 2:27
8. Grupo Chiquinha Gonzaga - Sultana 3:30
9. Ernesto Nazareth - Apanhei te cavaquinho 2:12
10. Januário de Oliveira - Chekere 2:57
11. Orlando Silva - Carinhoso 2:48
12. Francisco Alves - Nao quero saber mais dela 2:40
13. Silvio Caldas - Na baixa do sapateiro 3:17
14. Carmen Miranda - A preta do aracaje 3:13
15. Joao Teixeira Guimares - Sonho de magia 2:50
16. Silvio Caldas - No rancho fundo 3:21
17. Luiz Gonzaga - Vira e mexe 2:56
18. Orquestra Victor Brasileira - Murilo no frevo 3:15

Disc 2
1. Carmen Miranda - Deixa comigo 3:12
2. Orlando Silva - Preconceito 3:11
3. Baiano - Pelo telefone 3:14
4. Silvio Caldas - Lenco no pescoco 3:01
5. Aracy de Almeida - Rapaz folgado 3:31
6. Francisco Alves - O que sera de mim 2:39
7. Orlando Silva - A primeira vez 3:23
8. Moreira da Silva - Implorar 2:57
9. Trio de Ouro - Praca xi 3:08
10. Aracy de Almeida - Tenha pena de mim 3:20
11. Noel Rosa - Voce vai se quizer 2:35
12. Noel Rosa - Conversa de botequim 2:49
13. Aracy de Almeida - Palpite infeliz 3:08
14. Francisco Alves - Divina dama 3:07
15. Orlando Silva - Curare 3:26
16. Carmen Miranda - O que e que a baiana tem 3:15
17. Ciro Monteiro - Falsa baiana 2:51
18. Carmen Miranda - Recenseamento 2:49
19. Silvio Caldas - Aquarela do Brasil 3:10

Panama, Colombia, Ghana, Nigeria, Benin and the French Caribbean

"He introduced me to Ethiopian music, music from Colombia and some hard Ghanaian albums. Miles Cleret is a proper expert on world music because he hears like a DJ and he likes hip hop" -- Gilles Peterson BBC Radio 1

"Simply put, England's Soundway label equals quality. The track selection on it's multi artist comps is nothing short of astounding" -- Pitchfork 

"World music you can dance to without stroking your chin!"  -- Mark Lamaar BBC Radio 2

Soundway's first ever retropsective compilation covering both sides of the Atlantic from West Africa to the Caribbean and beyond. 'Discovery' price introduction to the cream of Soundway's catalogue Features music from across the globe – Panama, Colombia, Ghana, Nigeria, Benin and the French Caribbean.

05/04/2016
MILES CLERET (SOUNDWAY): PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE 

Each month, we are focusing on a record label founded by an active digger. This month, Miles Cleret from Soundway Records, one of our favorite labels around! From their amazing compilation series to beautiful reissues and great new tropical acts (think the mighty Meridian Brothers!), Miles Cleret’s choices and opinions are clearly worth checking! --www.superflyrecords.com 

When did you start digging records?
Properly when I was a teenager I guess – my dad was a digger (Jazz & Soul and 50s RnB and Rock & Roll mostly) so there were plenty in his house when I was growing up. It was hard though as money wasn’t an easy thing to get at the age of 14 but back then (the 80s) you could get good stuff in little record fairs and market stalls and there were just tons of record shops everywhere – even outside of London. The age of expensive rare records hadn’t really begun apart from the mega-fans who collected the big names in Rock and Pop (of which the UK had a lot). I wasn’t looking for rare stuff then though – just music that seemed exciting and new.

What Lps did you buy at first? Do you still listen to them?
Well not the very first records I bought – they were mostly really terrible pop records from when I was about 10. There was a store in the UK called Woolworths and you could buy discounted ex-chart 45s for about 20 pence so I’d spend all my pocket money on them for a few years until I was about 13. I remember buying most of the Beatles albums really cheaply on Spanish editions on a holiday in Barcelona when I was about 13 at a record store that was closing down. That changed my musical life a lot (my dad hated the Beatles so never had those records in the house) and then David Bowie, The Clash, the Cure and and then when I was about 14 or 15 I got into bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind, Gong, The Grateful Dead, Caravan, Traffic etc – and yes I still listen to those LPs but I didn’t for a long time until recently – they have a way of transporting me back to my youth. Then I got into funk, jazz, hip hop and reggae and electronic music a few years later and dropped the guitar sound for quite a few years.

Do you have a particular style or favourite period?
No, not really now. I have pretty wide ranging tastes from the 1950s right up until yesterday. I know I don’t like much really heavy Thrash Metal, Goa Trance & also commercial pop etc to name a few styles. For quite a few years just before Soundway started in the late 90s I was pretty entrenched in records (mostly jazz, funk, soul, afro & latin) made between 65-76, but at some point or other over the last 20 years I’ve been into Detroit style techno, underground House, Psych-Rock, Prog-Rock, Synth-pop, Electronica, Boogie, Disco, Soca, Reggae, Dub and more. I just love hearing new kinds of music and I would get really bored if I stuck to one area exclusively. That kind of happened with West African music for about 8 years – I still love it and collect it but had to get out of solely listening to that stuff after soaking myself in it for all the comps we did back then.

Are you still digging, buying vinyl, visiting record shops?
Yes but nothing like as much as I used to – I have kids now so I’d be neglecting them if I was digging as much as I used to (I am in Indonesia as I type though about to go digging in Java for three days starting tomorrow). I try to be less obsessive than I used to be and let stuff go occasionally if I don’t DJ with it (Can’t afford not to really) – Personally I believe it can be un-healthy to obsess too much on the collection – you can never have them all so best just to enjoy the music and get your fix from the musicians and people involved in the music scene (easier said than done with some records though!). I also move around a lot and we have been out of the UK a bit recently so I don’t currently have a record “cave” – most of my records are in storage.

What was your first release?
“Ghana Soundz”: Afro-Beat, Funk & Fusion in 70s Ghana…

Why did you choose this name, Soundway? what does that represent?
It’s the title of a track by a band called Wrinkar Experience from Nigeria and was quite a big hit in West Africa in the 70s on EMI. The name just stuck as I was listening to it a lot in Ghana when I was starting the label and it kind of sounded right.

Among your first releases were the Ghana Soundz series which gained cult status. How did you work on it? how did you prepare that? Was it a longtime project?
It took about 2 years to do the first Volume. I went travelling in Ghana with my wife in 2001 and at the end of the trip had a couple of days digging records in Kumasi & Accra. The stuff I found was mind-blowing to me at the time. I’d spent a few years previously getting into afro stuff after all the American jazz, soul & funk etc and would try and find records in the UK at record fairs etc but it was hard to find and this was before the days when you could really get much real African stuff on ebay or the internet (with some notable exceptions). There’s an English collector named Duncan Brooker who works with Strut and he had been in Nairobi working when we were about 18 – he came back with some incredible 45s and some Kenyan presses of Nigerian recordings that he traded and sold at the time, but Ghana stuff was invisible – especially the ‘afro’ stuff. So I went back to Ghana on-and-off for a year just really going deep into looking for records, artists, producers and decided to do a compilation of non-highlife music. It was a great time and I was lucky enough not to have any competition from other labels for the styles i wanted to license at the time so I could take my time and really concentrate on it without there being any other people there from outside Ghana doing what I was doing or looking for records. Records would sit on the street with second-hand dealers and in stores for months without being bought and were cheap so there was no pressure to buy quickly – nobody really wanted them apart from a few Ghanaian collectors who helped school me. Hard to imagine now. There were also still some ‘recording studios’- relics of the 80s, where a shop would have a big collection of vinyl but would use it to record custom-made cassettes for customers – the internet killed most of them off a few years back. It was all just trial and error and great times getting to know people like Ebo Taylor, K. Frimpong, K. Gyasi’s son, Dick Essiebons and Kwadwo Donkor and hanging out with them at their homes and prising the stories and the pieces of the jigsaw from them over time.

After those you released a whole bunch of other records in the same mould such as the Kenya Special record. Has this become your trademark? Which one was the most fulfilling?
Ghana Soundz and the Nigeria Special series were the most fulfilling because the music was all so new to me at the time. I had no kids then so time wasn’t an issue and when you start a label and you’re young you have to keep pinching yourself that this is what you’re actually doing as a job. Its just so exhilarating and fresh and records you had no idea existed were popping up on an almost daily basis. That is still the case on certain projects but as the label gets bigger and bigger you can get bogged down in the administration side of things which is not something you need to worry about so much when you only have a handful of releases in your catalogue. and you’re starting out.

One of the lesser known parts of your activity is record-digging. When did you go to Africa first for that purpose?
In 2001. I was in Ghana, Benin, Togo, Ethiopia & Nigeria a lot between the years 2001-2005.

How was Nigeria when you first got there? What’s your best record digging story in Lagos?
Nigeria is huge and so full of incredible music it still astounds and surprises me now. I first went there in 2002 – Strut had just put out their Nigeria 70 comp and I’d been in touch with Quinton Scott so had a few contacts from him. There were amazing records there then but much harder to find than in Accra – Lagos is a big big place with terrible traffic so getting around the city is a problem. Its just a vast metropolis but those places always have great records if you look hard. I travelled out of Lagos a few times as well but again you really need to live there to get consistent record hauls – it’s not the sort of place you find stuff immediately in so all the Nigerian dealers and collectors are the ones who usually get the best stuff. For this reason (and because they are very good) Nigerian records have gone bananas price-wise recently though so you need to mortgage your house or be very rich these days to be able to buy from the dealers. I was lucky to get a lot of great records before it all went sky-high. I once found a box of mint Afrodisia 45s (50 different titles) whilst visiting the house of a retired producer who had subsequently become pretty wealthy in the pharmaceutical business. Its very hard to find 45s in that kind of condition over there and some of those titles I’ve never seen anywhere since. When I asked him how much he wanted for them he said I could just have them all and that he no longer wanted them. Finds don’t come much better than that.

You are responsible for remarkable selections, reissues, as music from Siam, or Nigerian disco… How do you decide on the choice of reissues/issues?
Just what we have time and money to do and feels right really – music that I like – it’s no more exact a science than that. But I do like to try not to rush things.

You released a great selection of highlife, but there wasn’t a big echo in the press (in France anyway). How could you explain this?
I guess you mean the “Highlife On the Move” compilation? It got some good attention but I think 1950s highlife is not particularly hip for journalists right now – maybe will never be. I think that was a very important compilation to make though. Its the genesis of the afrobeat story so it will be a solid catalogue title for a few years to come – not one that blows up at the beginning but chugs along nicely. I think it looks and sounds beautiful as well.

Have you received many negative answers on some of the LPs you were trying to reissue?
One or two – mostly by people who believe they can out-perform the market and sell hundreds of thousands of copies more than all the other releases in the same genre! There are some big egos out there and the music industry has more than it’s fair share- always has and always will. Most people (95%) are cool though – but occasionally some do take a bit of convincing. Some are also worried that they don’t technically have the rights sign a master contract as they signed the rights away when they were young. Others have no such worries at all!

There are more and more reissues of old LPs, and more and more record labels (major or indie) now release their new artists on LP, or EP. Do you think that the LP reissue market could ever reach saturation point?
I think it’s possible yes. There are certainly a lot of people who buy vinyl because either they think it’s cool (often these people are just rich and don’t actually ever listen to music properly) and or because they see it as a good investment, which it often is these days. I think it’s inevitable that many of those people will offload it all in spades in a few years and the market could see a glut of cut-price titles. The whole vinyl speculator thing is a pain in the arse to be honest. Its just people with money buying up stock and then letting it back out at way over the odds – and these are people who can afford to sit on it. It’s not necessarily a bad things for labels as they sell out quickly on limited runs but it just means the vinyl market is controlled by investors and real music fans with not enough money to keep up can’t get the releases they want for the right price. Simple economics I guess but I never really thought it would hit the new vinyl world in quite the way it has.

You are not only focused on « old » Lp, compilations. What is the best deal/business: to make reissues or to produce/coproduce new records?
New records are a better thing to do for me personally right now but not necessarily always the best business in the short term – it’s a commitment and emotional investment in the music scene right now. Re-issues and compilations may sell quicker in the short run but over time for a label I think new releases and building catalogue in that area is the best way to go. Also we run a publishing company that publishes much of our new output – This is potentially a far better way to pay the bills in the long term but it takes time and is far from always predictable. People’s attitude to old music is that it’s somehow validated by time – they have a solid idea about the 60s or the 70s or the 80s (or now the 90s) in their heads that’s been confirmed by hundreds of books, documentaries, social commentaries and articles in a way that whats happening now isn’t. Some people play safe and wait or tell themselves they only like music of a certain era – it’s very much like vintage fashion. The idea of music existing in a far-off pre-internet time (and somewhere more exotic) makes many people trust it more somehow especially if it’s a bit wonky, loveable or low-fi. Of course music can be very evocative of a certain time and eras go in and out of fashion with different generations. Occasionally records turn up that are meant to look old and people aren’t sure. There was a Caribbean calypso-funk 45 a few years ago that was made in 1999 but sold as a 70s record – I remember a few people going nuts over it but then were upset when they found out it wasn’t old – the music remained exactly the same but the provenance had changed so it became less ‘real’ somehow in their eyes.

Are they two different jobs?
New bands are obviously more demanding and the process of promoting new records is much more involved – compilations and re-issues often sell themselves – so yes a little bit.

Dexter Story looks like a vintage record, just like Ghana Soundz. What is this project about, and how does it fit into your catalogue ?
Dex is a very experienced musician who has played on a lot of amazing musicians’ records from Kamasi Washington to Gaslamp Killer and way beyond. He is from Los Angeles but like many people over the past ten years became obsessed with classic Ethiopian and East African music. The Wondem project has it’s feet rooted in the 1960s, 70s & 80s music of that region but is also extremely modern in many ways and not just a straight retro duplicate – that was what attracted me to it.

Could you tell us more about Fumaça Preta and Batida. Is there a « luso » connection ? How did you discover them ?
Fumaça Preta are a band that again struck me because of the way they took wigged out Brazilian psychedelic rock from the 70s but melded it with bits of acid house, punk and metal in a way I hadn’t really heard anyone else do. They reference a ‘smorgasbord’ of musical styles from Funaná to Funk but wrap it up in their own unique, lysergic way. Alex the drummer is a big time record collector who co-runs a store in Amsterdam called Vintage Voodou – he sent me the demos and I was hooked immediately.
Batida is an electronic dance act from Lisbon run by DJ Pedro Coquenão. He grew up in Angola and so was immersed in the sounds of classic 70s Angolan music all around him which he sampled and incorporated into his sets. These morphed into the Batida live show that features dancers, live musicians and slide shows – he entertains and educates people in equal measure at his gigs. I heard Batida on a compilation that came out a few years ago on Crammed by the Radioclit/Secousse crew and got in touch with Pedro tyo see if we could work on an album.

Meridian Brothers, Bomba Estereo, Los Miticos Del Ritmo, Family Atlantica, again another branch of Soundway, more South American. What could be the meeting point of all these releases?
I guess they are all in some way referencing the music we re-issued on compilations and re-issues and so it was an obvious progression – I think we’ll get further and further away from that in time though and already this year we are signing some acts that have nothing at all to do with South America or Africa.

Can we mention a certain eclecticism in terms of catalogue? Is it more difficult to be well received, well identified, by the media and record shops or is it in fact a force?
Again I think it’s harder in the short term – Many journalists and distributors/stores just want to put you in a one genre box and keep you there but I couldn’t think of doing that – As I said before I have very wide tastes musically so want to keep moving and surprising rather than getting stuck in one place. Its tough sometimes but as the catalogue grows people start to get it. Major labels can do it so why not independents?

What could be the label’s leitmotif?
Music from Planet Earth : Past, Present, Future.

What are your next releases?
New Albums by Fumaca Preta (Darker and more introspective than the first maybe) & Family Atlantica (featuring Marshall Allen and Orlando Julius). Psychedelic pop from Flamingods with “Majesty” – I saw these guys in a tent I was DJing in at Glastonbury last year and was blown away – a whole band of multi-instrumentalists who met in London and the Middle East. This is their third album and has shades of early Pink Floyd, Os Mutantes, the Beatles & Sun City Girls, crashing into Les Baxter and Martin Denny. Then we have a new 45 by Chico Mann, Kenya Special Volume 2 , re-issues of People Rock Outfit and Jay-U experience from Nigeria and some edit 12s. Later on in the year I hope the new Ondatropica album will drop alongside some more new signings and re-issues etc and a comp of Nigerian Disco and Boogie.

What is the LP you dream of reissuing?
If I tell you that 100’s of other people will try and do it first!

1. Ebo Taylor - Heaven 6:06
2. Fruko Y Sus Tesos - A La Memoria Del Muerto 4:22
3. Papi Brandao - Viva Panama 3:09
4. Lito Barrientos - Cumbia En Do Menor 2:46
5. Oscar Sulley And The Uhuru Dance Band - Bukom Mashie 5:07
6. Les Loups Noirs De Haiti - Jet Biguine 3:26
7. The Sweet Talks - Akumpaye 4:27
8. The Action 13 - More Bread To The People 3:11
9. Los Silvertones - Tamborito Swing 3:38
10. Celestine Ukwu & His Philosophers National - Okwukwe Na Nchekwube 6:11
11. T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo - Gendamou Na Wili We-Gnannin 6:12

USA

James Brown’s extensive catalog is rife with exotic oddities, but this one tops them all. Rescued from the original two-track master of an unreleased full-length album, These Are the J.B.’s documents the explosive entrance, in early 1970, of bassist Bootsy Collins and his guitar-slinging older brother Catfish into The J.B.’s orbit. It jumps off, almost literally, with the jazzy title cut, which encapsulates the fluid, hard-driving sense of rhythm that the Collins brothers would bring to “Sex Machine” and other staples. It’s followed by “I’ll Ze,” a funk-blues jam that features solos from each member of the group (including a sweetly chicken-picked break by Catfish). “The Grunt,” with its opening horn squeal famously sampled by Public Enemy, kicks things into overdrive, but “When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can”—a 12-minute funk clinic that opens as an instrumental cover of Marva Whitney’s “It’s My Thing”—really defines the session. Under Collins’ direction, the band switches gears in rapid fashion, calling out The Meters, Kool & The Gang and, eventually, Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys, whose “Power To Love” (known more informally as “Power Of Soul”) had only just been released. As a glimpse of funk history, not to mention the roots of Parliament-Funkadelic, this one is essential. -Bill Murphy

''The unreleased album by James Brown's backing band: the Bootsy Collins-lead JB's. Never-before-heard James Brown and J.B.'s originals and covers of Jimi Hendrix, Kool & the Gang, the Meters. 

This album is the Rosetta Stone of funk's dominant idioms, yet its existence has barely been a rumor. In 1970 James Brown perfectly captured a definitive moment in modern music when he ordered Bootsy Collins into the studio to record the tracks that would be test pressed on King Records as These Are The J.B.'s. This album is the epitome of funk music, Brown's innovation that influenced everything that came after it, from Afro beat to disco to hip-hop. And if there is any funk ensemble as influential as Brown's, in the post-"Cold Sweat" musical landscape, it's the Parliament/Funkadelic contingent. Those two streams, as Grammy Winning James Brown historian Alan Leeds details in this album's liner notes, converged for the first time here. 

This link between Brown's funk and all that followed features Bootsy and his young band running through twelve-minute instrumental take of Marva Whitney's "It's My Thing," replete with blues chord changes, alongside interpretations of the Meters, Kool and the Gang and none other than Jimi Hendrix. This is a young band's James Brown-turned-on-his-head style of funk that they nail in a one-minute vamp that pre-dates their obscure but important work as the Houseguests ensemble and embodies the essence of the psychedelic-flavored music that would propel them into the orbit of George Clinton and his mothership, where they poked cosmic holes in funk's polyrhythmic ozone layer in the mid-1970s. ''

''The world just got a little bit better as of yesterday. An announcement via Rappcats and Now-Again Records is one of the biggest we’ve heard in a while. It is the first commercial release of a J.B.’s record said not to exist and features a young Bootsy Collins. In the words of our friend Doc Nu: “Merlin’s beard!” This is a huge release for fans of the James Brown legacy, as well as music itself. Taken from a test pressing that never went public, this is the most exciting and experimental J.B.’s band ever IMHO. A vinyl only release and limited to just 3000 records worldwide, this will be the big one that got away if you sleep on it. Highlights include this incarnation of Bootsy and the young band doing a 12 minute take of Marva Whitney’s classic “It’s My Thing” with interpretations of Kool and the Gang, The Meters, and Hendrix throughout! Featuring liner notes by Grammy winning James Brown historian Alan Leeds, the music was taken from the original two-track master that The Godfather himself and engineer Ron Lenhoff submitted to the record company forty years ago. Specifically mastered for vinyl by Elysian Master’s Dave Cooley, this release will be out on November 28th, 2014 aka Black Friday. Let the JB frenzy begin, the rumors were true and this will sit nicely beside your copy of Pass The Peas. Packed with unpublished photographs and the aforementioned liner notes and booklet by Leeds and Egon from Now-Again, this is one record to get for 2014 people. Sell your silly rap 45s and get this in your collection ASAP. This kind of record doesn’t come around often.'' -fleamarketfunk

''What’s there to say about this previously unreleased album by James Brown’s backing band, except that it’s very surprising. Surprising on many levels! Now-Again Records has struck gold by unearthing These Are The J.B.’s, the predecessor to the J.B.’s first album, Food for Thought (People Records, PE 5601, 1972). Actually, to be precise, the album was recorded in 1971 for King Records just before the band’s catalogue got bought out by Polydor. Only a few test pressing were produced, and they were presumed to have been lost.

Supervised by Eothen “Egon” Alapatt and Harry Weinger, this first commercial issue of the album includes a booklet with liner notes by James Brown historian Alan Leeds and unpublished photos of the band members. The new front cover design is very similar to Food for Thought, with large black and white capital letters on a red background.

All of the songs on this album were recorded between 1970 and 1971, just after the “Great Split” marking the end of the James Brown Orchestra and the departure of most of his musicians. James Brown met the Pacemakers-a small group from Cincinnati, Ohio, who were playing as a backing band in the King Records’ studios-in the late ‘60s via A&R men Charles Spurling and Henry Glover, who produced artists such as Bill Doggett, Hank Ballard, Arthur Prysock and Little Willie John. The Pacemakers were formed in 1968 by William “Bootsy” Collins, and also featured Phelps “Catfish” Collins (guitar), Frankie “Kash” Waddy (drums), and Philippe Wynne (later of The Spinners fame). After leaving nearly his entire band behind, the Godfather felt a new energy in the Collins brothers, something fresh that soon transformed his whole sound from the raw funk of Cold Sweat to the explosive vivacity found on These are the J.B.’s. After naming his new instrumental and backing band the New Breed Band, Brown decided to turn it into something more personal and said to the Collins brothers: “We’re gonna rehearse, we’re gonna get the show down, you’re gonna be the band and you’re gonna be called The J.B.’s.” This album represents that transitional moment, the cornerstone of the J.B.’s sound at the turn of the ‘70s, a dynamic and fluid sound that was emphasized and perpetuated when trombonist Fred Wesley came back to lead the band in 1971.

Musically, this album shows how connected the J.B.’s are with the era and the emergence of a new rock and psychedelic-flavored funk. In the title track “These Are the J.B.’s,” the hypnotic bass of Bootsy Collins, the funk strum played on guitar, the force of the horn section, and the funky drums reinforced by percussion marks the beginning of a more fluent, less syncopated, but still extremely tight sound. The second track, “I’ll Ze,” is an instrumental take that reuses the same groove as that of Marva Whitney’s “It’s My Thing.” By reconsidering previous grooves, the J.B.’s exploited new possibilities and at the same time opened up new perspectives on funk music. And that’s exactly what the J.B.’s are doing when they play “The Grunt,” a skillful reinterpretation of the Isley Brothers’ “Keep on Doin’” that, in a reference to their peers, also breaks definitively from the previous beat to explore a louder instrumentation.

Finally, the extended “When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can” is the most surprising track of the album, featuring various covers blended together and played sometimes very loud, sometimes very fast. Kool and the Gang’s “Let the Music Take Your Mind,” Jimi Hendrix’s “Who Knows,” and the Meters’ “Chicken Strut” are among the most directly recognizable excerpts. It’s a kind of work-in-progress sound that the J.B.’s have offered us, since it’s very rare to hear covers on their albums. For listeners this becomes a powerful tool, allowing us to experience the J.B.’s very specific groove and envision the way they were connected to their time, yet already pushing the groove toward another dimension: the heavy rhythmic and dynamic construction of “the One.” So, as James Brown would say, “get on up!” These Are The J.B.’s is a must have for funk aficionados, if you can still score one of the limited edition copies released on Black Friday.'' -Reviewed by Guillaume Dupetit

A1 These Are The J.B.’s Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 4:35
A2 I’ll Ze 10.08
B1 The Grunt Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 3.21
B2 When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can 12:17

Notes
Record Store Day - Black Friday 2014 release. Limited edition of 3,000.

Originally scheduled for release in July 1971 as King SLP 1126.
Produced by James Brown.
Engineered by Ron Lenhoff.

“The Grunt” recorded May 19, 1970, at King Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio; “I’ll Ze” and “When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can” recorded June 30, 1970, at Starday Studios, Nashville, Tenn. “These Are The J.B.’s” recorded September 9, 1970, King Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio.

“The Grunt” written by James Brown, Phelps Collins, William Earl Collins, John W. Griggs, Clayton Isiah Gunnels, Darrell Jamison, Robert McCollough, Clyde Stubblefield and Frank Clifford Waddy; “These Are The J.B.’s” written by The J.B.’s; other selections written by James Brown.

"When You Feel It Grunt If You Can" includes portions of "Let The Music Take Your Mind", written by Kool & The Gang and Gene Redd Jr.; "Chicken Strut", written by The Meters; "Power Of Soul", written by Jimi Hendrix.

The originally scheduled issue of this album included overdubbed crowd noise. For this issue of the album, the original, undubbed two-track stereo mix was used as source.

Personnel: Clayton “Chicken” Gunnels, Darryl “Hasaan” Jamison (trumpet); Robert McCullough (tenor saxophone); St. Clair Pinckney (flute, baritone saxophone on “These Are The J.B.’s”); Bobby Byrd (piano on “The Grunt”); James Brown (organ on “I’ll Ze”); Phelps “Catfish” Collins (guitar); William “Bootsy” Collins (bass); Frank “Kash” Waddy (drums on “The Grunt,” “I’ll Ze” and possibly on “When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can”); Clyde Stubblefield (drums on “These Are The J.B.’s” and possibly on “When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can”); Johnny Griggs (conga).

Egypt/India

In an extaordinary performance, Baligh Hamdi (who composed and arranged songs for Oum Khalsoum) proposes a sort of Oriental 'jam session' with fifteen Egyptian musicians and three Indian musicians included Magid Khan, (sitar).
A highly remarkable album for its excellent quality of music as for the wonderful beauty of the instruments (sitar, tambura, tabla, qānūn, nāy, ourghoul, mizmār, tambourine, darabukka, and violin...).

''An exceptional record, out of the thousands of Arabic albums that were recorded over the years. On this album Baligh Hamdi, an Egyptian composer and songwriter, as well as the husband of the diva Warda (and at one point the husband of Lebanese diva Sabah) plays alongside Indian sitar guru Magid Kahan. It is a special album that perfectly combines the classical Egyptian sound with the hallucinatory sounds of Indian sitars and tablas.

On the cover: Such an exceptional and important album needs an exceptional cover. A lovely illustration by French painter Dideya Clasa.'' -By Cafe Gibraltar 

The idea for this record occured when Baligh Hamdi, famous Egyptian composer, heard the excellent sitar player Magid Khan when Khan visited Cairo. Hamdi had been expanding the horizons of Egyptian music by incorporating organs, electric guitar and saxes since the late fifties and this proved to be a new challenge. The resulting album, with the orchestra of Abdelhalim Hafez with Khan on sitar and added tabla and Tamboura, is a very natural blend between arabic and Indian styles. Magid Khan is shredding it seriously on the sitar but the solo’s by the featured Egytpian musicians are equally great. Most tracks have a barer sound but I think the most intense track Gazairïa is the best. It’s structured around a known Hamdi melody, played and improvised on by different instruments with the sitar going from acid background drones to on point improvisation. Somewhere halfway a moog is ripping through shortly but just long enough to definately tip the track over into trip-land. -milan

1. Gazairïa 5:38
2. Sahara 4:56
3. Achark 7:43
4. Lahore 6:07
5. Ennaï 5:25
6. Magnouna 5:10

Notes
Aka
Baligh Hamdi - Belly Dance (2003)

AllMusic Review by Sean Westergaard
The Air Mail division of Playasound has been issuing excellent recordings of various international music for some time now. Air Mail Music: Belly Dance is another strong entry, but with a twist. Normally Air Mail releases are quite traditional, but this time they mix an Arabic ensemble (led by Balish Hamdi, who composed and arranged for Umm Kulthum) with a handful of Indian performers, and the results are marvelous. The music is still pretty traditional Arabic fare, but the tones of the Indian instruments add another dimension altogether. The idea was a stroke of genius that is interesting and effective without ever sounding like a gimmick. If you're looking for a belly dancing album with a different flavor, this one comes recommended.

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