Alabama


This is African-American roots music, through and through.

In an attempt to break away from the caricature of black music that was popular in America during the 1950s, Harold Courlander compiled this collection as documentation of black music in Alabama in its purest form. This first volume of secular music highlights some of the different manifestations of black music during that time including the virtuosic harmonica playing of Joe Brown, the left-handed guitar playing of Willie Smith, and the popular ring games of school children.

Vol. 1
1. Joe Brown - Mama Don't Tear My Clothes 1:42
2. Joe Brown - Southern Pacific 1:23
3. Rich Amerson - Black Woman 5:00
4. Red Willie Smith - Kansas City Blues 1:46
5. Red Willie Smith - Salty Dog Blues 1:30
6. East York School (ala.) - I'm Goin' Up North 1:27
7. Lilly's Chapel School (ala.) - Little Sally Walker 1:05
8. Lilly's Chapel School (ala.) - See See Rider 1:21
9. Vera Hall - Mama's Goin' To Buy Him A Little Lap Dog 0:47
10. Earthy Anne Coleman - Soon As My Back's Turned 1:35
11. Willie Turner - She Done Got Ugly 1:20
12. Willie Turner - Now Your Man Done Gone 2:05
13. Annie Grace Horn Dodson - Field Calls 1:20
14. Annie Grace Horn Dodson - Father's Field Call 0:27
15. Annie Grace Horn Dodson - Children's Call 0:45
16. Enoch Brown - Greeting Call 0:48
17. Unspecified - Complaint Call 0:42
18. Rich Amerson - Brer Rabbit And The Alligators 3:55

In an attempt to break away from the caricature of black music that was popular in America during the 1950s, Harold Courlander compiled this collection as documentation of black music in Alabama in its purest form. Placed in the context of homilies and prayers this second volume of religious music captures the essence of black spirituals found in the south and features the popular hymn, “Free At Last.”

Vol. 2
1. Dock Reed - Trampin' Trampin' 1:26
2. Dock Reed & Vera Hall - Dead And Gone 1:45
3. E.d. Tuckey - Abraham And Lot 4:03
4. Earthy Anne Coleman, Price Coleman & Rich Amerson - Rock Chair, I Told You To Rock 3:54
5. Annie Grace Horn Dodson - I Wonder Where My Brother Gone 1:21
6. Dock Reed & Vera Hall - Free At Last 1:41
7. Earthy Anne Coleman & Rich Amerson - Jonah 6:26
8. Dock Reed - Low Down Death Right Easy 2:19
9. Dock Reed - Jesus Goin' To Make Up My Dyin' Bed 1:20
10. Dock Reed & Vera Hall - Prayer 2:41
11. Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church (bogue Chito, Miss.) - Prayer Meeting 2:04
12. Hibler Family & Rosie Hibler - Move Members Move 2:03

American folklorist Harold Courlander compiled this series in an attempt to break the caricature of black music that was popular in America during the 1950s. Many aspects of the distinct musical styles presented can be traced back to their roots in traditional African music, including the use of handclapping, responsive singing, and falsetto voice. This third volume presents a glimpse into the prophetic mind of Rich Amerson, a rural blues and folk musician, who tells stories of ethics and the old South, Earth and animals, the sermons of nature and human emotions as they have the ability to transcend poverty. This album demonstrates Amerson's belief that "when life is big, music is big."

Liner notes include an explanation of the various influences that helped shape African American music from this time period, as well as a brief biography of Rich Amerson and the album's complete song texts.

Vol. 3
1. Rich Amerson - Railroad-lining Track 3:18
2. Rich Amerson - Texas Sandstorm 2:08
3. Rich Amerson - John Henry 8:01
4. Rich Amerson - Chicago And Rome 1:55
5. Rich Amerson - Challenge To The Doctor 2:49
6. Rich Amerson - Draft Board 2:27
7. Rich Amerson - River, Creek, Sun, Moon 0:56
8. Rich Amerson - The Champion 5:01
9. Rich Amerson - Brer Rabbit Tales 13:50
10. Rich Amerson - Sermonizing 2:51

American folklorist Harold Courlander compiled this series (Negro Folk Music of Alabama) from the recordings he made in rural Alabama in 1950. The album is an attempt to counter the stereotypes of black music that were popular in America during the middle of the 20th century. This fourth volume, album 2, presents traditional spirituals and newer gospel songs (plus one story), often displaying the traditional call-and-response singing pattern. Although Rich Amerson takes the lead, his sister, Earthy Anne Coleman, is consistently present in a supporting role.

Liner notes include an explanation of the various influences that helped shape African American music, as well as a brief biography of Rich Amerson and song lyrics.

Vol. 4
1. Richard Amerson - Animals In Church 3:32
2. Richard Amerson - King David 4:51
3. Richard Amerson - Israelites Shouting 4:16
4. Richard Amerson - Didn't You Hear 3:35
5. Richard Amerson - When You Feel Like Moaning 2:47
6. Richard Amerson - Death Have Mercy 3:23
7. Richard Amerson - It's Getting Late In The Evening 5:26
8. Richard Amerson - Lord I'm Waiting On You 3:36
9. Richard Amerson - Job Job 6:34
10. Richard Amerson - Come On Up To Bright Glory 1:56
11. Richard Amerson - This May Be Your Last Time 5:07

This album is the fifth in a series of volumes dedicated to " American negro music," showcasing spirituals performed by Dock Reed (1878-1958) and Vera Hall Ward (1902-1964). Reed was a deeply religious man whose repertoire was stayed within spiritual music rather than secular or " sinful" songs. Ward was Reed’s cousin, and both worked in manual labor (Reed in agriculture, Ward in house work). This plays into the elements of typical aspects of the work songs within this genre, such as responsive singing and rhythmic punctuation used to mark labor tasks, such as striking a nail with a hammer. The clear, direct singing on this album serves as documentation of this music rather than focusing on the performance element of the music. Liner notes include an overview of the entire series of Negro Folk Music of Alabama , as well as notes and lyrics specific to this volume.

Vol. 5
1. I'm Going Home On The Morning Train 2:01
2. My God Aint No Lying Man 2:13
3. Where The Sun Will Never Go Down 2:06
4. Troubled Lord, I'm Troubled 1:31
5. Look How They Done My Lord 2:03
6. Job Job 2:16
7. What Month Was Jesus Born In 2:10
8. Somebody's Talking About Jesus 1:31
9. Death Is Awful 1:46
10. The Hills Of Mt. Zion 1:43
11. Low Down The Chariot And Let Me Ride 2:09
12. The Blood Done Signed My Name 3:23
13. Everybody Talkin' About Heaven 2:51
14. Noah, Noah 1:25
15. Plumb The Line 1:39
16. Travelling Shoes 1:43

American folklorist Harold Courlander compiled this series (Negro Folk Music of Alabama) from recordings he made in rural Alabama in 1950. The album is an attempt to counter the stereotypes of black music that were popular in America during the middle of the 20th century. This sixth volume begins with ring and line games which were recorded at various rural Alabama schools. Ring games are played with children standing in a circle, often holding hands; the leader stands outside the circle performing some action. To get the idea, imagine “Duck, Duck, Goose.” (The identical ring game recordings are found on FW07004.) They are followed by miscellaneous children's songs, work songs, blues, hymns, and relatively modern gospel songs.

Liner notes written by Harold Courlander include directions on how to play various ring games.

Vol. 6
1. Recorded At Lilly's Chapel School In York, Alabama - Mary Mack 2:00
2. Recorded At Lilly's Chapel School In York, Alabama - Bob A Needle 0:54
3. Recorded At Lilly's Chapel School In York, Alabama - Watch That Lady 1:20
4. Recorded At Lilly's Chapel School In York, Alabama - Old Lady Sally Wants To Jump 0:50
5. Recorded At Lilly's Chapel School In York, Alabama - Loop De Loop 1:46
6. Recorded At Lilly's Chapel School In York, Alabama - Green Green Rocky Road 1:29
7. Recorded At Brown's Chapel School In Livingston, Alabama - Rosie Darling Rosie 1:37
8. Recorded At Brown's Chapel School In Livingston, Alabama - I Must See 1:37
9. Recorded At Pilgrim Church School In Livingston, Alabama - Bluebird Bluebird 1:13
10. Recorded At Pilgrim Church School In Livingston, Alabama - May Go 'round The Needle 2:35
11. Recorded At East York School In East York, Alabama - Stooping On The Window 1:10
12. Recorded At East York School In East York, Alabama - Charlie Over The Ocean 0:56
13. Celina Lewis, Recorded At Her Home In Livingston, Alabama - Session With Celina Lewis 5:13
14. Annie Grace Horn Dodson - Water On The Wheel 0:48
15. Annie Grace Horn Dodson - Go Pray Ye 2:37
16. Willie Turner, Near Livingston, Alabama - Captain Holler Hurry 1:27
17. Willie Turner, Near Livingston, Alabama - John Henry 2:16
18. Peelee Hatchee (emanuel Jones) Near Livingston, Alabama - Going To Have A Talk With The Chief Of Police 1:48
19. Davie Lee, Marian Mississippi - Meet Me In The Bottoms 1:35
20. Joe Brown, Harrison Ross And Willie John Strong Near Livingston, Alabama - When The Role Is Called In Heaven 2:41
21. Joe Brown, Harrison Ross And Willie John Strong Near Livingston, Alabama - I Moaned And I Moaned 1:21
22. Rosie N. Wilson At Brown's Chapel, Alabama - I'm Standing In A Safety Zone 2:53

American folklorist Harold Courlander

Nuyorican

Great compilation of tracks from the New York Latin scene at the end of the 60s. Bringing us the infectious percussion of latin music combined with the raw power of 60s r&b, this is the sound of nuyorican boogaloo.

No one could have guessed that the crossover success enjoyed by Latin bandleaders Ray Barretto and Mongo Santamaria early in the '60s was going to pave the way for a parade of artists later in the decade. Mixing pop, jazz, and soul with plenty of Latin flavor, they recorded some of the most moving -- literally -- tracks of the early Aquarian age for a variety of labels later gathered under the Fania umbrella: Cotique, Tico, Alegre, and of course, Fania itself. The Bad Boogaloo: Nu Yorican Sounds 1966-1970 certainly isn't the first to chart the same territory (check Broasted or Fried and Nu Yorican Salsa Experience to start with), but it digs a little deeper than the rest, with great results. For instance, none of the boogaloo hits of the '60s appear here, although many of the artists are represented with great work (including Barretto, Joe Cuba, and Johnny Colon). Secondly, the obscure or left-field come through with excellent material, including Lenni Sesar's scorching "Morris Park" and an instrumental called "Happy Soul with a Hook" by Dave Cortez (who earlier in the '60s had a hit with "The Happy Organ"). -AllMusic Review by John Bush

1. La Lupe - Fever 2:46
2. The Joe Cuba Sextet - Gimme Some Love 3:01
3. Lenni Sesar - Morris Park 4:26
4. Ralph Robles - Come And Get It 2:58
5. Bobby Valentin - Bad Breath 2:48
6. Ray Barretto - Mercy Mercy Baby 2:45
7. Eddie Palmieri - Ay Que Rico 3:27
8. Joey Pastrana - King Of Latin Soul 4:16
9. Dave Cortez With The Moon People - Happy Soul With A Hook 3:02
10. King Nando - Mama's Girl 2:27
11. George Guzman - Marilu 4:03
12. Vladimir And His Orchestra - Baby Boo Boogaloo 3:10
13. The Latinaires - Camel Walk 2:50
14. Ray Rodriguez & His Orchestra - Jumpin' With Symphony Sid 1:43
15. Johnny Colon - What You Mean 3:42
16. Johnny Ventura - Guajira Con Soul 4:13

Zambia

The popular music of Zambia has remained relatively unknown to worldwide audiences in comparison to that of its neighbors Zimbabwe and Congo. The SWP imprint from the Netherlands has attempted to remedy this situation by releasing a series of recordings from this culturally rich nation. Although it is difficult to pigeonhole the sounds of such a diverse nation, Zambian popular music is often characterized by delicate and sinuous electric guitar lines, tight vocal harmonies, and lyrics from a diversity of indigenous languages that tend toward the narrative or didactic, sometimes resembling short moral essays. Volume 2, which contains material from the 1960s and 1970s, focuses on three important artists from the period: The Big Gold Six, Emmanuel Mulemena, and Nashil Pichen Zazembe.

The Big Gold Six's secret weapons were sublime multipart harmonies and the sharp, cubist guitar stylings of Bestin Mwanza. Filled with an exuberance that so characterizes African pop music in the post-colonial 1960s, Big Gold Six saw their country as moving inexorably toward unity and prosperity ("One Zambia One Nation," "Copper Ebuboni" ["Copper Means Riches"]), while remaining deeply grounded in indigenous culture, as evidenced by their clever re-shaping of the country's diverse traditional music. These are not earnest nationalists, however. Indeed, one of Big Gold Six's most beautiful pieces, "Mumbanda" ("My Heart Yearns for You") is lyrically among their least characteristic, a lilting paean to love and desire.

Emanuel Mulemena was a master of the steel string acoustic guitar, his rhythmically sophisticated playing approaching the syncopated alternation of bass and rhythm playing found in US Delta blues. On these pieces he is accompanied by an unnamed guitarist and singer, and the way in which these two players lean into the harmonies is a thing of beauty. Mulemena's lilting music provides a stark contrast to its lyrical themes, which deal with cautionary tales of mayhem ("Mbokoshi Yalufu / Box of Death" about an auto accident), adultery, drunkenness, and the promise of life after death for the Christian faithful ("Shuka Shuka / Lucky Lucky").

Interestingly, the most widely beloved Zambian artist of this period was Nashil Pichen Kazembe, a Zambian expatriate who recorded most of his earlier hits in Kenya and relied heavily on Swahili and Zairean rhumba styles. Although addressing some of the same themes as Mulemena, Kazembe had a wry view of human foibles that contrast with the former's moral ascetism. "Mpandileko Kabwanga" ("Can You Make a Charm for Me") displays Kazembe's skills as an arranger, with its complex multi-part harmonies sung in the style of his native people, the Lunda. "Chuma Chivuta" ("Money is a Problem") is an incredible electric guitar workout, both subtle and elegant, where Kazembe shifts from shimmering rhythms to leads that are the essence of joy and economy.

Volume 1 covers the 1980s, which represents in many respects a high water mark for Zambian pop music. In the early 1970s, President Kenneth Kaunda decreed that 90 percent of the music played on national radio would be from Zambia, and by the end of that decade, a critical mass of new acts were gaining widespread exposure. By the 1980s, there was an increasing interest in incorporating rural sounds with Western instruments, and groups from the countryside poured into the recording studios in Lusaka. Some, like the propulsive Julizya Band and the hypnotic groovemeisters Amayenge (the latter represented by two stellar tracks), would flaunt their rural-ness, and by extension their Zambia-ness, by appearing onstage in full warrior regalia. But regardless of sartorial presentation, the best of these groups display the characteristically fluid electric guitar, multipart harmonies, complex bass parts and an increasing interest in revamping traditional songs into a pop idiom. An additional lyrical concern during this period was social status, which was addressed satirically, often with sexual undertones, in such tunes as the Green Label's Wurlitzer piano-driven call and response "Kwacha Ngwee" (a reference to Zambia's old and new currency), and the Black Power Band's humorous "Imisango Ya Ba Chairman" ("Behavior of the Chairman"): "He goes around the neighborhood carrying a piece of paper and a pen, pretending to be working when he is actually peeping to see if the husband is out so he can get with the wife".

These two volumes present a unique time capsule of a rich and diverse music scene that was ultimately overcome by tragedy. The collapse of the Zambian economy, coupled with widespread music piracy, led to the closing of the Teal record plant in 1993, which pressed nearly all of Zambia's hit records. These collections thus rely on vinyl records for their source material rather than master tapes, which results in some sonic thinness on a number of tracks. Perhaps most tragically, these collections represent an epitaph not just for the Zambian music scene, but for the musicians as well. Nearly all of the musicians in Volume 1--as well as Nashil Pichen Kazembe, Zambia's most beloved musician--have subsequently died of AIDS. All we are left with are these recordings, filled with joy, dancability, and a deep cultural richness. -Michael Duke

Vol. 1
The electric music from Zaire and Zimbabwe from the '80s may be well-known in the West, the music from Zambia is not. Musically, there is no good reason for this. Zambia had always had a vibrant and diversified music scene, and during the '80s yet another new musical era emerged -- the kalindula years. The true meaning of the era is that rural dance music from all over Zambia went electric and these songs became the big hits of the time: Zambian popular music had finally become roots music! So put yourself in a dancing frame of mind and let yourself be zambushed.

1. Five Revolutions - Kachasu 6:59
2. Amayenge - Kusiyana Siyana Kwa Maofesi 7:05
3. Masiye Band - Dziko La Mulungu 8:12
4. Amayenge - Mao 5:45
5. Uweka Stars - Grace 8:05
6. Black Power Band - Imisango Ya Ba Chairman 7:50
7. Julizya Band - Tai Yaka 5:54
8. Green Labels - Kwacha Ngwee 3:56
9. Serenje Kalindula Band - Umwana Wanshiwa 7:23
10. Mashabe Band - Ukwenda Nayenda 7:08

Vol. 2
Three Zambian legends: the sophisticated group The Big Gold Six featuring the jazzy guitar of Bestin Mwanza, the sweet singer from the province Emmanuel Mulemena, and the cosmopolitan Nashil Pichen Kazembe. Now we can finally hear how they sounded -- and what we hear are three different great vocal sounds and three different great guitar sounds that could only have come from Zambia. So once again, put yourself in a dancing mode and let yourself be zambushed by this beautiful music!

1. The Big Gold Six - Titwe Titwe 2:17
2. The Big Gold Six - Lukombo 2:00
3. The Big Gold Six - Kanya Titi Kalila 2:40
4. The Big Gold Six - Jairo 2:13
5. The Big Gold Six - Antu Onse Tingwilizane 3:22
6. The Big Gold Six - Ku Nakambala 3:13
7. The Big Gold Six - Mumbanda 3:14
8. The Big Gold Six - One Zambia One Nation 2:46
9. The Big Gold Six - Bana Mayo Banomba 2:34
10. The Big Gold Six - Mulya Wondwe 2:31
11. The Big Gold Six - Musendayi We Mwana 2:20
12. The Big Gold Six - Tunsensele Ingombe Balalaya 2:21
13. The Big Gold Six - Copper Ebuboni 2:13
14. Emmanuel Mulemena - Mbokoshi Yalufu 4:04
15. Emmanuel Mulemena - Ki Bukwe Hya Mutown 3:23
16. Emmanuel Mulemena - Shukka Shukka 3:55
17. Emmanuel Mulemena - Imbote 4:01
18. Nashil Pichen Kazembe - A Phiri Anabwera 4:23
19. Nashil Pichen Kazembe - Peace Work 4:09
20. Nashil Pichen Kazembe - Mpandileko 3:48
21. Nashil Pichen Kazembe - Chuma Chivuta 4:16
22. Nashil Pichen Kazembe - Mwamuna Wanga Mwana 4:19

Jamaica

Although not as well-known as Skatalites trombonist Don Drummond, Rico Rodriguez (or just Rico) was just as strong a player and as in-demand as his better-known counterpart, as Trombone Man makes clear, packing 52 tracks from 1961 to 1971 onto two discs. The earliest sides here reveal Rico to be a player who was unconcerned with how things were labeled, with tunes like "Blues from the Hills" perching one foot in R&B and the other in ska, while "Duck Soup," credited to Drumbago's Orchestra, steeps its steady pulse and ringing horns in thick nyahbinghi drums years before reggae would herald the Afro-thump as its spiritual heart. Rico's loping horn lines graced a few full-length albums in the late '60s. Tracks from Blow Your Horn, Brixton Cat, and the entirety of Tribute to Don Drummond fill out much of the rest of the collection. Trombone Man ends its survey in 1971, making it a cliffhanger of sorts considering the wealth of great cuts that Rico laid down later in the decade, including the deep reggae classic Man from Wareika. Nevertheless, Trombone Man is an excellent introduction to one of the great instrumentalists of Jamaican music, whose work puts him in the same class as Jackie Mittoo, Augustus Pablo, and Dean Fraser. -AllMusic Review by Wade Kergan

For his extensive contribution to the development of Jamaican popular music, the jazz trombonist, producer, and ska pioneer, Emmanuel 'Rico' Rodriguez, MBE, is being awarded the silver Musgrave medal by the Institute of Jamaica.

The institute recognises outstanding Jamaicans in the fields of the arts, literature and science, a tradition that began from as far back as 1897. Fellow musician, pianist Dr Don Shirley (bronze), and the Herbert Morrison High School band (silver) are also being honoured.

The honours are being bestowed at the Institute of Jamaica Lecture Hall, 10-16 East Street, Kingston, entrance on Tower Street, tomorrow at 3 p.m. The function is free and open to the public.

Along with a select few of his contemporaries, Rico Rodriguez's inventive fusion of jazz technique, a pop accessibility, and his Rastafari affinity with the African soul imagined a popular music form, which Jamaica could claim as its own.

Both his solo efforts and extensive contributions to many of Jamaica's formative music groups warrant the gratitude and recognition of his homeland.

Rodriguez was born October 17, 1934, in Havana, Cuba. On arrival in Jamaica, his mother enrolled him in the Alpha Boys' School at the age of four. During the 1940s and '50s, the school produced an unprecedented number of musicians who would later define the era's music. Rodriguez was a product of that generation, learning the trombone from his slightly older classmate, Don Drummond.

The two would later play with the innovative Rastafarian drummer, Count Ossie, and the genre-defining set of musicians who would later form The Skatalites.

After leaving the Alpha Boys' School, Rico apprenticed as a mechanic, and in 1954, continued studying music at the Stony Hill Music School.

Struggling for daily sustenance

American jazz trombonists J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding would inspire the budding jazz musician. Then struggling for daily sustenance, Rodriguez regularly performed for fishermen in exchange for fresh fish. There, Rico developed his pleasure for performance.

"Because you were poor and had to eat, you stay down where the fishermen draw their nets so you'd have food every day. Fishermen always give you fish; they like to hear you playing," Rodriguez recalled.

Also during this period, Rodriguez converted to Rastafari and joined the community led by percussionist Count Ossie. His exposure to the Rasta chants and African-rooted Burru drumming tradition would later influence his Afro-centric approach to popular music.

Recalling his musical education with Count Ossie and fellow Rasta musicians, Rodriguez noted that "they're more developed, mentally and musically, than the average musician. When you play with them, you can really explore. Most of what I know I learned from playing with them".

The Rasta foundations that infused his music would later awe eclectic jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, who once asked Rico, "How can you play like that? To play like you, I had to go to Africa to learn."

By the late 1950s, Rodriguez had begun winning prizes from the radio talent competition, Vere John's Opportunity Hour. This would also bring the struggling trombonist his first professional exposure.

In 1956, Rodriguez performed on the very first Clement 'Coxson' Dodd recording session. He played on Easy Snappin', Theophilus Beckford's seminal recording, considered by experts the first ska song ever.

Rodriguez also played on Rock a Man Soul, Salt Lane Shuffle, Shufflin' Jug, Milk Lane Hop, his own first hit, Let George Do It, and many more.

With the transition from costly, live band orchestras to the more feasible sound systems on Jamaica's dance circuit, Rodriguez delved deeper into the budding, indigenous recording scene. He performed on recordings for Count Ossie's group, Clue J & His Blues Blasters, Drumbago and his All Stars, and the Smith All Stars under the supervision of the period's best producers, such as Prince Buster, Duke Reid, Lloyd Daley, and Vincent Chin. It was Chin who recorded Rodriguez's first solo effort, Rico's Special, in 1961.

That first recording would be released in England with the then fledgling, Island Records.

Encouraged by the successful reception of his record and those of other Jamaican musicians, Rodriguez moved to England in 1961 to perform for the growing market of Caribbean migrants.

In London, he joined live bands such as Georgie Fame's Blue Flames. He also continued recording as a popular-session man on records for such producers as Emil Shallitt on the Melodic label and Siggy Jackson on Blue Beat.

Standout trombone solos

His standout trombone solos featured on Laurel Aitken's Daniel Saw the Stone, on old friend Prince Buster's Barrister Pardon, and on the Sugar and Dandy's 1967 hit A Message to You Rudy. He also began recording with his own band, Rico's All Stars, and later Rico and the Rudies, for Island Records, Trojan Records, and Pama. Those recordings would include the albums Blow Your Horn (1969) and Brixton Cat (1969).

These early recordings would begin to feature his combination of classic jazz and Afro-consciousness, Midnight in Ethiopia and Soul of Africa being prime examples.

At the brink of reggae's emergence, in the late 1960s, Rico joined the British reggae band The Underground, where he first delved into the new genre. His distinctive trombone solos would also make their presence felt in reggae recordings for Island Records.

In 1975, he was hired at Island as a studio musician, contributing to the recording of Jim Capaldi, Toots and the Maytals, and Burning Spear. This work with the era's great reggae artistes would influence his 1976 definitive album, Man from Wareika.

An artistic breakthrough for Rodriguez, the album is an original union of jazz, Afro-drumming and reggae. The album would also be released on the prestigious American jazz label, Blue Note.

The music from that album is considered pioneering work of Jamaican jazz.

Rodriguez began performing with the new generation of Jamaican musicians. He performed with Bob Marley and the Wailers through their European tour. His major collaborative success, however, would come from joining The Specials and their 2Tone Records label. The immense success of their cover of A Message to You Rudy launched the label and their featured music of ska, reggae, and African pop to British and European audiences.

Rico's soulful trombone added authenticity to The Specials' combination of punk and reggae. Rico released two solo albums during this period: That Man is Forward (1981) and Jama Rico (1982).

In 1982, Rico returned to Jamaica to retire from professional performance.

The Heart Beat Band would later convince Rodriguez to reconsider retirement and inveigled him back into music in 1987 for a tour with the group. He also joined Jazz Jamaica, a band founded by bassist Gary Crosby in 1991 - a group inspired by Rodriguez's fusion of mento, reggae, ska, and jazz.

Rodriguez also released two more collections: Roots to the Bone (1995) and Tribute to Don Drummond (1997).

For more than a decade, this ska legend has been associated with Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra working 40 weeks a year in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Asia and making numerous television appearances. He again announced his retirement from music in 2007, the same year that he was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth for his significant contribution to music.

Music would call on him again.

As further testament to Rico's stellar contribution, the Barcelona-based musician and filmmaker Jep Jorba produced The Legacy - The Rico Rodriguez Story, a fitting documentary honouring the trombonist.

The MBE particularly recognises not only his musical invention, but also Rodriguez's importance to music fans beyond the Jamaican diaspora. Rodriguez is a man of Jamaica that enveloped himself in the global music memory. When Rodriguez left in 1961, intending to tug at the homesick hearts of Jamaican expats, he also gave our indigenous music audiences all over the world, provoking the emergence of foreign artistes in all the Jamaican popular genres, from British punk rockers to Swiss reggae bands.

His contribution is indicated by a collection of 50 songs on the CD Rico Rodriguez and Friends - Trombone Man: Anthology 1961-1971. As one Internet reviewer says, "Rico is a great and gifted musician and a worthy role model for anyone taking up such a wonderful instrument."

Named after Sir Anthony Musgrave, then governor of Jamaica and founder of the Institute of Jamaica, the first set of awards were given out in 1897. It is in keeping with this tradition that Rico Rodriquez, Dr Don Shirley, and the Herbert Morrison High School band are being recognised.

Contributed by Herbie Miller - Director/Curator - Jamaica Music Museum at The Institute of Jamaica.

Disc 1
1. Magic - Duke Reid's All Stars
2. Blues From The Hills - Duke Reid's All Stars
3. Duck Soup - Drumbago's Orchestra
4. London Here I Come - Rico's Combo
5. Hitch And Scramble - Rico's Combo
6. Orange Street - Rico & The Rudies
7. The Bullet - Rico & The Rhythm Aces
8. Return Of The Bullet - Rico & The Rhythm Aces
9. Friendly Persuasion - Rico & The Rhythm Aces
10. Psychedelic Island - Rico & The Rudies
11. Nyah Serenade (AKA Brixton Serenade) - Rico & The Rudies
12. Rico Special - Rico & The Rudies
13. Peace - Rico & The Rudies
14. The Lion Speaks - Rico & The Rudies
15. Blues - Rico & The Rudies
16. Jumping The Gun - Rico & The Rudies
17. Lazy Boy - Rico & The Rudies
18. Quando Quando - Rico & The Rudies
19. Reco's Message - Rico & The Rudies
20. Niyah Man - Rico & The Rudies
21. Caribbean Serenade - Rico & The Rudies
22. Session Begin - Rico & The Rudies
23. Biafra - Rico & The Rudies
24. The Proud One - Rico & Joe's All Stars
25. Hey Jude - Rico & Joe's All Stars

Disc 2
1. Reco's Torpedo - Rico & Joe's All Stars
2. Poison Snake - Rico & Joe's All Stars
3. Funky Reggae, Part 1 - Rico & Joe's All Stars
4. Behold - Rico & Joe's All Stars
5. Honky - Rico & Joe's All Stars
6. Hot Line - Rico & Joe's All Stars
7. Tribute To Don Drummond (AKA Peanut Vendor) - Rico
8. Anancy Rumba - Rico
9. Rainbow Into The Rio Mino (AKA Green Island) - Rico
10. Sweet Chariot - Rico
11. Tom Jones - Rico
12. Scar Face - Rico
13. Trombone Man - Rico
14. Japanese Invasion - Rico
15. Top Of The Class - Rico
16. Black Milk - Rico
17. Strangger On The Shore - Rico
18. Place In The Sun - Rico
19. Blue Mountain - Rico & The Rudies
20. Going West - Rico & Des All Stars
21. Rock Back - Rico & Des All Stars
22. One Eyed Giant - Rico & Des All Stars
23. (Let's) Work Together - Rico & Des All Stars
24. Once A Man - Rico & Des All Stars
25. Hammer Rock (AKA Hammer Reggae) - Rico & Des All Stars
26. Walk With Des (AKA Further Look) - Rico & Des All Stars
27. Waterloo Rock - Rico

Ghana

Oosh! Academy LPs present this reissue of a scorching Ghanaian Afro-funk/Highlife classic from 1975 packed with infectious percussion, hot horns, tightest hammond organ hooks and James Brown-inspired raps, grunts and scat from the main man, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley. If we told you original copies on the legendary Essiebons label go for hundreds of pounds you'll probably realise that this is one of those LPs you kinda need to know about, and once you've checked the intro to 'Kwaakwaa' you'll likely be smitten.

A holy grail of 70s African Funk – and not just for the unusual look of the cover. The set's a really unique one – almost rootsier than most of the better-known Ghanian grooves of the time, but funkier too – with a brilliant blend of raw percussion, quirky basslines, and some smoking horn parts that are a lot more American soul and funk than the usual 70s African groove. The whole thing's stunning all the way through – a record that totally informs an understanding of its generation, yet in ways that no other record can touch. Wonderful all the way through, with not a bit of filler – and all cuts are right on the money for any fan of African funk.

A1 Kwaakwaa 5:19
A2 Akoko Ba 5:23
A3 This Hustling World 4:14
B1 Toffie 6:49
B2 Adwoa 4:08
B3 Fa No Dem Ara 4:33

Thailand

Molam is a multi-faceted folk music native to Laos and the predominantly rural northeastern region of Thailand known as Isan - home to myriad ethnic groups and provinces, and once a part of present-day laos. ‘Mo’ meaning 'master' and ‘Lam’ meaning 'song', Molam literally translates into 'master singer', but it remains more of an umbrella term covering over a dozen types of Lam styles in which male and female singers can be backed by a free-reed bamboo mouth organ called a khaen or indigenous lute-like instruments (the phin or the soong). The classic recordings featured here are selections from rare vinyl LP’s, 45s and cassettes recorded in Isan and beyond between the 1970s and 1980s. This was a pivotal time when music of the region began to be electrified and integrated with western instruments. When electric bass, effected guitars, electric organs, kit drums and horns played alongside the khaen and the phin. Molam had never sounded this way before - and due to the typically ephemeral nature of the music industry and the introduction of the modern keyboard workstation, molam will never sound like this again.

Compiled by Mark Gergis from a multitude of sources, this collection of Molam music comes from a distinct window in Isan, Thailand history. Molam, which comes from the rural areas of Northeastern Thailand and neighboring Laos, was for many years generally characterized by male and female vocals backed by the khaen (a free-reed mouth organ). Migrating rural Thai and Laotian people to the cities modernized their Molam with electric guitars, bass, drums and keyboards and the music spread like wildfire to the urban population. Inevitably, through the ever changing nature of music and the economically driven producers, the electronic keyboard surpassed the need for a band and the music was more often than not reduced to the standard pop that is ubiquitous throughout Thailand. This is a time capsule of the glory days of Molam gone electric. Certainly fans of the Cambodian Rocks compilations should take heed here as well, but you will find a collection of tracks that are much more removed from Western rock. Firstly, there are no covers of popular rock songs, nor are the melodies here even related - except by chance - to Western pop. These are all traditional tunes that have merely been arranged with modern electric instrumentation (which isn't to say that you won't here any khaen on these tunes). It is the vocals though that are what really drive these songs, modernized or no. With melodies that seem utterly independent of what the band is playing, the lilting, almost yodelled, singing is unlike that of any other region in the world. Dare we say it's quite mysterious and sultry. Oh so very highly recommended.

1. Kwanjai Kalasin Yuk Patana - Chiwit Sao Molam (Life of a Molam Woman)
2. Khong Khao Noi Mea Ka 99 - Pleng Peebah (Crazy Song)
3. Unknown Artist - Pleng Keh Sam Sip Sam Natee (33 Second Song)
4. Kwanjai Ubon – Oaipon Tahan Chaiden/Vocals - Sodsi Rungsong (Sending My Love to a Border Soldier)
5. Chaan Siang Phin – Wasana Gam Par/Vocals - Mon Siang Phin (Could You Love Me)
6. Sabaithong Powpuri - Ruk Mai Somwong (Broken Heart So Let’s Dance)
7. Gawow Seungthong – Mai Ow Mai Ow/Vocals - Chaba Petchaboon (Don’t Want Don’t Want Marriage No Way)
8. Khong Khao Noi Mea Ka 99 - Ahn Nai? (Which One?)
9. Unknown Artist - Pua Mao Mea Mao (Husband Drunk Wife Drunk)
10. Chaan Siang Phin - Lam Phun Keaogan (Year of Famine)
11. Boonchu Farlab - Molam Sing Tao Bahn Phun (Legendary Man of Bahn Phun)
12. P. Chaland & Pimjai - Lam Thuy Ying Mora (Don’t Accuse Me)
13. Unknown Artist  Soong Nam Dondhan Saliga (The Sparrow And The Waterfall)
14. Kwanjai Kalasin Yuk Patana – Ruk Pee Deh Bun Mai Terng/Vocals - Chabapai Namwa (Love The Man I Could Never Have)
15. Sabaithong Powpuri - Seangkhuan Jak Sao Nong Khai (Nong Khai Girl’s Lament)
16. Tong Me Malai - Lam Phun Eun Sai (I Call For You)
17. Sangwan Lokum - Lam Phun Songlao Mao Ganja (Ganja Better Than Booze)
18. Chaan Siang Phin – Sao Noi Makaleng/Vocals - Tidmee Danchompu (Young Girl From Kakaleng)
19. Hongthong Khanonglam - Yung Phen Soed (I’m Still Available)
20. Sabaithong Powpuri - Sop Na Kap Mon (Cry Into The Pillow)
21. Unknown Artist - Tzung Puthao Hua Tokmon (The Old Man And The Bad Pillow)

Mali

Outstanding manding afro fusion LP by the Malian multi intrumentist.

One of my favorite modern Malian music LP from the 70's, melting perfectly the tradition (from Eastern Mali and Dogon area) with modern instruments as the guitar, flute or saxophone. Groovy and psychdelic album featuring 'Porry' as compiled in the World Psychedelic Series.


Vinyl rip by Cortez
Info

A1 Yayoroba 6:01
A2 Porry 11:29
B1 N'Ne Diarabila 7:49
B2 Dintal 8:52

Zimbabwe

The one and only Thomas Mapfumo in his prime.

'Thomas Mapfumo is a Zimbabwean musician, known for his mbira infused music that echoes the struggles of the people of Zimbabwe.

Affectionately known at home as “Mukanya” (“Baboon”) and to the rest of the world as the “Lion of Zimbabwe’, Thomas Mapfumo has been a witness and participant of the history in his native country, Zimbabwe. From the bloody years of the country’s liberation war in the 1970’s, right through the present economic and political cries, Mapfumo has used his revolutionary, spiritually charged music to decry injustice and highlight the historical and cultural issues that underlie the news headlines. A pioneer of the Chimurenga music style, Mapfumo is a musical visionary, fearless social critic, and certainly one of the greatest African bandleaders of the past century.'

Thomas Mapfumo and his band, Blacks Unlimited, provided the soundtrack of rebellion in Zimbabwe. His records and concerts helped fuel the fire and kept the spirit alive, and his chimurenga ("struggle") music -- rooted in Shona tradition, but still sounding thoroughly modern -- packed an emotional punch -- enough to get him jailed for three months by the colonial authorities. After independence in 1980, Mapfumo's songs were in praise of the new leaders (although that would change later in the decade). This collection of his Zimbabwe singles comes from a prolific and emotional period when the music most definitely did matter in a very vital way. While his sound was based on the mbira, or thumb piano, Mapfumo used guitars to imitate the repetitive parts during this period, to good, even startling, effect. The lyrics, especially on the earlier songs, are made up of Shona deep proverbs, which would make no sense to white authorities, but which the rebels understood all too well. Also listen for the cock-a-doodle. -AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson

1. Pidigori 4:03
2. Ngoma Yekwedu 5:02
3. Pemberai 4:49
4. Nyamutamba Nemombe 4:53
5. Zeve Zeve 3:17
6. Pachinyakare 7:27
7. Taireva 4:40
8. Haruna 4:32
9. Tombi Wachena 3:20
10. Kuyaura 4:06
11. Madhebhura 3:53
12. Ruva Rangu 3:44
13. Dangurangu 6:27
14. Madiro 5:01
15. Tongosienda 4:59
16. Makandiwa 3:57

Having first invented a genre and then deployed it against colonialism, Mapfumo would rank with Franco or Youssou N'Dour if only his usages were pan-African instead of southern African or Zimbabwean or Shonan. While he's remarkably reliable--now past 50, he's less rote than Rochereau or Mahlathini, neither of whom phones his music in--his adaptation of thumb piano effects to guitar-band dynamics will remain marginal except among Afropop acolytes. So the more accessible of two recent compilations is a good place to pick up on him. Sharply danceable as often as not, it cherry-picks 12 especially catchy 1978-1993 tracks. You can tell the newer ones because his voice is deeper. -robertchristgau

Any artist as important as Thomas Mapfumo certainly deserves a career retrospective or three, and the selection on Chimurenga Forever does give a good sense of the varying moods of Mapfumo's music. What this collection does not do, alas, is give any sense of the development of Mapfumo's style. The songs are not presented in the order that they were released, or any other kind of order as far as can be discerned. With Mapfumo, this can be hard to tell, as much of his music was first written and released when he was performing clandestinely, and it has been haphazardly released in various countries on small independent labels. In some cases, there was a delay of years between the time something was recorded and the time it was released, which can bewilder or mislead serious students of Mapfumo's music. The lyrics of many songs have allegorical meanings that were designed to get around censorship, but there is little information about those inner meanings here either. Instead of providing this information, much of the space on the CD sleeve is devoted to photos of Mapfumo and hype for other projects by the same label. If that space had been used to give more insightful liner notes, one would be more inclined to seek out those other albums. As it is, this CD is rated lower than it might be if the documentation was better. Chimurenga Forever is still a fine album of well-recorded music by Thomas Mapfumo, but it's not the package that it could be. -AllMusic Review by Richard Foss

1. Serevende 7:11
2. Mhondoro 5:04
3. Vanhu Vatema 6:26
4. Nyoka Musango 5:21
5. Zvandiviringa 3:46
6. Hanzvadzi 5:39
7. Hwahwa 4:53
8. Nyarara Mukadzi Wangu 7:21
9. Zvenyika 5:21
10. Hondo 8:34
11. Ndavekuenda 8:34
12. Shumba 5:08

USA

If you are interested how it all got startet with bluegrass, rock'n'roll and country swing - this cd-set is the proper place. Welcome to the cradle of the music you love and welcome to the Delmore Brothers. It is a pleasure to listen to their harmony-singing. You'll enjoy on this compilation not too fancy but very tasteful guitar-work and boogie-patterns. For students it is a benefit for their playing to figure out some acoustic runs and licks, which are not to hard to master but very effective. Mainly it makes you glad to hear the music I would just call "the real thing". And if anyoune has doubts about the sound-quality: The tracks of mono-recordings, but you need not to fear the noise of scratched shellacks. All tracks appear very carefully remastered. These CD-set brings you back to the roots, where it all began. -Hannes Fehringer

The Delmore Brothers were one of the first great hillbilly acts, recording dozens of sides with thrilling Appalachian harmonies and subtle but impressive instrumental work that were to be a clear, crucial influence on such performers as the Stanley Brothers, the Maddox Brothers & Rose, and the Louvin Brothers (in fact, one of the Louvins' finest albums was a 1960 tribute to the Delmore Brothers). At the same time, in the later years of their career, Alton Delmore and Rabon Delmore became among the first and strongest practitioners of hillbilly boogie, making some potent up-tempo swing and country-flavored blues on their recordings for King Records in the late '40s and early '50s. Both sides of the Delmore Brothers' sound are captured on this four-disc set from the British JSP Records label, which cherry picks from two decades' worth of material but puts its strongest focus on the King Records era, which often found the brothers joined by harmonica man Wayne Raney and a variety of guest pickers (including Homer & Jethro on some 1946 sides, and Merle Travis on other sessions cut the same year). While the jump from pure country sides to blues-influenced material may have been a bit dramatic in the eyes of many listeners, Alton and Rabon's harmonies are strong and honest from the first cut to the last, and their tight guitar picking actually improved with the passage of time: "Mobile Boogie" features killer solos from both brothers along with a duet break that's mighty fine, and demonstrates that they needed no prompting from others to make with the boogie. The best moments on this set make clear that the dividing line between country music and the blues was never as wide as most folks like to believe, and whether they were dreaming of the hills or whooping it up at the roadhouse, the Delmore Brothers delivered passionate, essential music that's stood the test of time. Many of these selections were sourced from well-worn shellac discs, but the remastering makes the most of the material's fidelity, and the liner notes by Pat Harrison offer a solid biography of the duo as well as details on when and where the material was recorded, and who accompanied the Delmores. With a list price of less than thirty dollars, Delmore Brothers, Vol. 2: Later Years 1933-1952 is a fine value as well as great music. -AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

Disc 1
1. Ramblin' Minded Blues
2. I Ain't Gonna Stay Here Long
3. I'm Going Back to Alabama
4. I'm Leavin' You
5. By the Banks of the Rio Grande
6. Don't Let Me Be in the Way
7. Hey I'm Memphis Bound Hey
8. I Guess I've Got to Be Going
9. I Know I'll Be Happy in Heaven
10. I Believe It for My Mother Told Me So
11. Carry Me Back to Alabama
12. I Don't Know Why I Love Her
13. Don't Forget Me Darling
14. Memories of My Carolina Girl
15. Wonderful There
16. The Farmer's Girl
17. Look Down That Lonesome Road Look Up
18. Ain't It Hard to Love
19. Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow
20. Brother Take Warning
21. Alcatraz Island Blues
22. There's a Lonesome Road
23. Leavin' on That Train
24. My Home's Across the Blue Ridge Mountains

Disc 2
1. I'm Alabama Bound
2. Nothing But the Blues
3. Some of These Days You're Gonna Be Sad
4. Heart of Sorrow
5. Quit Treatin' Me Mean
6. Just the Same Sweet Thing to Me
7. The Only Star
8. Baby You're Throwing Me Down
9. No. 2 Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar
10. No. 3 Brown's Ferry Blues
11. I Loved You Better Than You Know
12. Goin' Back to Georgia
13. Home on the River
14. Gambler's Yodel
15. The Wabash Cannonball Blues
16. That's How I Feel So Goodbye
17. The Storms Are on the Ocean
18. She Won't Be My Little Darling
19. Gathering Flowers from the Hillside
20. Last Night I Was Your Only Darling
21. New False Hearted Girl
22. I Wonder Where My Darling Is Tonight
23. Precious Jewel
24. I'll Never Fall in Love Again
25. I'm Leavin' You

Disc 3
1. Prisoner's Farewell
2. Sweet Thing Sweet
3. The Fast Old Shovel
4. Why Did You Leave Me Dear
5. I Found an Angel
6. Lonely Moon
7. Midnight Special
8. Be My Little Pet
9. Remember I Feel Lonesome Too
10. Fast Express
11. I'm Sorry I Caused You to Cry
12. Hillbilly Boogie
13. I'm Lonesome Without You
14. Don't Forget Me
15. She Left Me Standing on the Mountain
16. Somebody Else's Darling
17. Kentucky Mountain
18. Midnight Train
19. Goin' Back to the Blue Ridge Mountains
20. Rounder's Blues
21. The Wrath of God
22. Calling to That Other Shore
23. Freight Train Boogie
24. Shame on Me

Disc 4
1. Harmonica Blues
2. Mississippi Shore
3. Waitin' for That Train
4. Brown's Ferry Blues
5. Mobile Boogie
6. Stop That Boogie
7. Used Car Blues
8. Barnyard Boogie
9. Fifty Miles to Travel
10. Now I'm Free
11. Lonesome Day
12. Down Home Boogie
13. Peach Tree Street Boogie
14. Blues Stay Away from Me
15. Trouble Ain't Nothin' But the Blues
16. Everybody Loves Her
17. I Let the Freight Train Carry Me On
18. Please Be My Sunshine
19. Who's Gonna Be Lonesome for Me
20. The Girl by the River
21. There's Sumpin' About Love
22. Tennessee Choo Choo
23. Good Time Saturday Night
24. The Trail of Time

Jamaica

Having made their mark as top session players during the early seventies, drummer, Lowell ‘Sly’ Dunbar and bass player, Robert Shakespeare first united on disc as members of the Revolutionaries, the pair quickly developing an almost telepathic understanding. Showcasing the best of Sly & Robbie’s Dub cuts from the late seventies and early eighties, ‘In Riddim’ perfectly illustrates why the pair have become renown as the most famous rhythm section in World music. Included are 40 killa tracks, cut for likes of Bunny Lee and Linval Thompson, along with a number of titles produced by the duo for their own Taxi label.

Dub simply doesn’t get any heavier – or better!

The powerhouse rhythm duo of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare have been at the cutting edge of the Jamaican music scene for four decades.

Lowell Charles ‘Sly’ Dunbar was born in Kingston, Jamaica on 10th May 1952, and while still in his teens formed a deep love of music, acquiring the nickname used US funk-master Sly Stone whom he admired greatly.

By 1969 he was already a session drummer, reportedly making his recording debut on the immortal ‘Night Doctor’, recorded for organist Ansel Collins. Collins later sold the track on to Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, who gained a big hit with it both in Jamaica and the UK.

Among many other formative hits, Sly was also responsible for the sticks-work on the chart-topper ‘Double Barrel’ and Al Brown’s excellent reggae rendering of Al Green’s ‘Here I Am Baby’, cut towards the close of 1973.

By this time, the drummer was an integral part of the Skin Flesh & Bones backing band and it was through his work with the group that he met bass-playing Robert Shakespeare.

Born on 27th September 1953, Shakespeare had travelled a similar musical session path and with the same interests and age, the pair quickly formed a bond and took to working as a bass and drum team.

The duo rapidly became the backbone of a multitude of hit records as the seventies moved into the roots and rockers era, heading notably the Aggrovators and the Revolutionaries studio bands. Within these fluid groups of session players, Sly and Robbie were able to reinvent old rock steady rhythms, and create entirely new backing tracks to order, constantly shifting the structure of the music to new horizons. It was said that by the time other drummers had begun replicating Sly’s latest style he had already moved on to yet more original rhythm patterns.

As the Revolutionaries, the band exploded the then conventional reggae tempo with their groundbreaking rhythm styling and with Sly's rim-shot drum licks, propelled artists such as the Mighty Diamonds and Leroy Smart in to the charts. And as the in-house band of the new studio complex of the Hoo Kim brothers, where the hits were recorded, they made Channel One the tops as the 1970’s slid past the half way mark.

Their Taxi production house and label was inaugurated in 1979 and nearly every artist great or small made the trip to their studio, and to a mutually satisfying conclusion.

Major players, such as Gregory Isaacs and the Black Uhuru vocal trio passed through the Taxi doors, and laid down some of their best and most lasting work.

As early as 1981, the clanking, mechanised backing to vocalist Junior Delgado’s ‘Fort Augustus’ showed the pair’s interest in new technology - in this case the electric syn-drum. In lesser hands it would have turned Delgado’s impassioned vocals into an easily forgotten slice of vinyl, but with Sly at the helm it gave a foretaste of the new music of the 1980’s.

Sly and Robbie can be thanked, (along with major songwriter/lead vocalist Michael Rose), for taking the roots group Black Uhuru from underground appreciation to almost mainstream acceptance, and becoming the top international reggae band following the death of Marley in 1982.

With the duo’s mesmerising, almost motorised rhythm structures and Rose on lead vocal spitting out his fearsome reality lyrics, Black Uhuru became hot musical property. Island Records signed them and they toured the world with Sly and Robbie, complimented by a full contingent of crack JA session-men, until Rose left in the mid 1980’s to again pursue a solo career.

Uhuru struggled on with Junior Reid replacing Rose, but it was all too apparent who was the backbone to the song-writing and overall sound, and without their lynchpin the group slowly lost all the international ground it had gained.

By this time Sly and Robbie had moved the boundaries of their production work from reggae to mainstream, and had begun projects with such diverse artists as Grace Jones, Ian Dury and Bob Dylan.

It seemed the Rhythm Twins could do no wrong and their brand of dense rocking rhythms were applied to many international hits. Sly’s embracement of new technology and interest in other musical styles furthered their international cause, and too, continued to push the boundaries of reggae music further out from the tight rhythm-copying studios which constantly tried to replicate the each other’s hits.

Major world recognition came in the 1990’s with Chaka Demus & Pliers’ bhangra influenced ‘Murder She Wrote’, as the pair infused slinky Indian beats with modern dancehall reggae.

Further evidence came with a trio of recordings for the Taxi label with their old friend Michael Rose, who had by then become a very successful solo artist. The highly addictive ‘Monkey Business’ being the peak of their production work with a mesmerising almost-reggae beat rippling under Rose’s tirade against crack-cocaine. A whole album of the pair’s work with the singer-songwriter was issued on a white label pressing and remains a high point in both party’s careers.

Whilst creating exciting new rhythms and recording just about everybody in Jamaica, the pair also laid down some exemplary instrumental and dub albums.

Sometimes they collected together the version flip sides from their Taxi singles and at other times using their productions such as the ‘Soon Forward’ album by Gregory Isaacs.

New material was also recorded, or the rhythms were reused with the vocals removed, such as on the two instrumental albums Sly headed up for Virgin Records in 1979, with of course, Robbie ensconced on bass guitar. Here major hits of the day like ‘I Know Myself’ from vocalist Ernest Wilson was transformed into the semi-instrumental delight called ‘Ah Who Say’, with disco echoes as the nightclub era of the 1970’s drew to a close. 

More traditional dub albums were also mixed, and have become sought after items by collectors such as ‘Disco Dub’ from 1978 and ‘Gamblers Choice’ from 1980.

Not content with the vast output of their Taxi work, Sly and Robbie also undertook mixing dubs for various other producers, notably Bunny Lee who owned a vast amount of rhythm tapes.

Lee had always favoured King Tubby as his dub mixer, with his wild soundscapes completely changing a mediocre vocal track to a scintillating new creation with just some deft manipulation of the board. But as the 1980’s rolled in, Tubby had taken less and less interest in actually mixing, and much of the duties were performed by his assistant Lloyd ‘Jammy’ James who ultimately would set up his own studio.

As a result, Lee turned to Sly and Robbie to not only play in his rhythm section but to take over board duties as well. The production credits for many on Bunny Lee’s early 1980’s tracks, but there is no doubting the significance of the input from the bass and drum duo.

A few other bass and drum partnerships have come from the reggae world such as brothers Aston and Carlton Barrett, Steely and Clevie, and the UK’s own Mafia and Fluxy, but they have all remained fixed in the reggae idiom.

Sly and Robbie stand astride modern popular music, and have tasted mainstream success way outside of the small Jamaican sphere. Like King Tubby, who sparked the whole dance-remix-dub world, the Riddim Twins introduced bhangra to reggae, which in turn influenced the rise of ragga, which in itself has altered the shape of modern club music.

The pair still continue to twist and change the shape of the modern Jamaican beat, while remaining almost unknown and unaccredited by today’s hip dancers for the major influence they’ve made on the club scene.

Disc 1
1. Soon Forward Dub 3:00
2. Rasta Man Chant 4:07
3. Motherless Children Dub 2:25
4. Sly & Robbie, The Kings Of Dub 2:12
5. Fisherman Dub 2:46
6. Crazy Baldhead 3:28
7. '79 Rock 3:19
8. Africa Love Dub 3:22
9. Jah Jah Man 2:59
10. Channel One In Dub 3:42
11. Negrea Africa Dub 2:50
12. Dub I Dub 2:47
13. Mistake Dub 2:43
14. Thompson In Dub 3:34
15. Jah Jah Children Dub 3:34
16. Lambsbread 4:03
17. Top Ranking Style Dub 3:06
18. Cocaine 3:48
19. Rizla 3:03
20. Rock Me In Dub 3:22

Disc 2
1. Roots Dub 3:21
2. Herb 3:29
3. Roots Man Dub 2:18
4. Thompson Sound Incorporated 3:33
5. African Dub 4:18
6. Going Downtown Dub 2:58
7. African Roots 3:32
8. Buffalo Soldier 3:49
9. Slave Driver Dub 3:04
10. Burial Dub 4:03
11. Conference 3:44
12. Good Rocking Dub 3:37
13. African Free Up 3:32
14. Jah Live 3:55
15. Liquidation Dub 4:06
16. Dub Revolution 3:52
17. Lion Dub 3:01
18. Peace 3:14
19. Stone Age Dub 4:04
20. You'll Never Know Dub 2:30

One year after his Taxi Productions debut with the Gregory Isaacs hit "Soon Forward," Sly Dunbar released his fifth album of dub instrumentals under the name Sly & the Revolutionaries. Black Ash Dub boasts a great lineup, including Dunbar himself on drums and his mate, Robbie Shakespeare, on bass, plus Ansel Collins on organ, Bingy Bunny on guitar, producer Jah Thomas, and mixing by Prince Jammy and Scientist. Though Dunbar made a much better producer than he did an instrumentalist, the sheer accumulation of talent on this session assures great results. Each track a tribute to a drug (or in the case of "Rizla," drug paraphernalia), the album hits with plenty of great ideas: "Marijuana" is a takeoff on a classic rhythm (the Heptones' "Pretty Looks Isn't All"), while the dub classic "Collie" sports carnival-like horns and a loopy sense of dub time. A solid latter-day dub album by a great lineup. -AllMusic Review by John Bush

1. Marijuana 2:43
2. Herb 3:28
3. Collie 2:50
4. Lambsbread 4:03
5. Rizla 3:15
6. L.S.D. 3:16
7. Acapulco Gold 3:02
8. Cocaine 3:47
9. Black Ash 3:08
10. White Rum 3:49

United Kingdom

Eddie Snide: Mighty Ballistics Hi-Power / MB Hi-Power entire (lamentably small) discography, inc. Andy Kershaw radio session, never released on CD, taken from the original masters @320. Post-punk political dub, if you like The Clash... 

The Mighty Ballistics Hi-Power make echo rock on their album Here Come the Blues. It's dreamily majestic music floating in a pool of swirling repetitions—like tape bleed-through amplified to the hundredth power. The Ballistcs' primary instrument is the recording studio, to which they bring black blues banjo, electric and acoustic guitars, and some of the saddest electric keyboards this side of hell. Technically, their music is reggae, because it incorporates Jamaica's traditional lope-along boat. But the Ballistics' flatly whispered and scratchily intoned vocals take their pedigree from latter-day punks, not rastas, and the keyboard that perks and burbles in calliope bubbles on ''Francos Fleet Street'' owes as much to the Farfisa sound of the mid-'60s as it does to the bouncy tropical sunshine of ska.

If you let Einsturzende Neubauten loose in your kitchen to brew tea, they might sound like the percussion on ''New Face In Hell,'' a clatter of clanging kitchen cutlery in which every cabinet is explored for an elusive kettle, cup, and spoon. But it's the title track, ''Here Come The Blues,'' that crashes into your consciousness with mallet and spike. Timelessly chilling, it opens with a little group hum—a defiant chorus, innocuously sinister, with roots centuries deep. Like the prison gang leader who starts a riot by tapping his fork against his plate, the hum seems innocent enough. But within that innocence is a dark foreboding, like the first pigeon you see after watching The Birds. It's a spiritual hum, lifted from black gospel, beaten down, battered, but infused with The Dream. Sweetly and softly the chain gang hums its wavery unity as the crash of heavy steel mallets punctuates every bar. That crash is a hard, clear shock of sound, lightly driven home with its own layer of echo. ''They tell me Joe Turner's come to town with a thousand links of chain ... a nigger for every link,'' interrupts the vocalist in his heavy British accent. Suddenly the song's off in a racing fury of high-speed strumming. Nothing trancelike or plodding in the Ballistcs' lope. It's action dub from the British punk label Criminal Damage. -SPIN juni 1986

A1 Here Come The Blues 7:00
A2 4 Million On The Dole 3:47
A3 No Justice For The Poor 4:47
B1 Privilege 4:53
B2 Francos Fleet Street 3:50
B3 New Face In Hell 6:03

A Ghost Train 5:34
AA1 Springheel Jack 4:33
AA2 Black Gold 3:33

1. MB Hi-Power - Woman Of Straw 4:27
2. MB Hi-Power - English Man Abroad 4:21
3. MB Hi-Power - Black Gold 3:01
4. MB Hi-Power - Rememberance Day 3:05

Grand Marais, Louisiana

This long-retired Lafayette-based singer and songwriter's high-register vocals are an utter delight.

The Essential Adam Hebert Cajun Music Collection is a nearly exhaustive collection of Adam's recordings on Swallow Records. Many of his songs are considered classics today, having been recorded and performed by most other legendary Cajun musicians as well as today's active Cajun bands.

Like the Bay Area’s Arhoolie Records, the beauty of Ville Platte’s Swallow Records lies not in which upshot they’ll unveil next but in the treasures that lie dormant inside their vaults.

Though this re-release is long overdue, nevertheless the music of Adam Hebert rightfully belongs in Swallow’s Cajun Pioneer Series alongside volumes from the Balfa Brothers, Nathan Abshire, D.L. Menard and Belton Richard. In recent years, Hebert’s radio play may have quieted down due to 45 and LP-only offerings, yet his contributions have remained vital though soulful interpretations rendered by Steve Riley, Kevin Naquin, Ray Landry, Charivari, Jambalaya and others.

But now is certainly better than never as these bountiful 27 tracks of all original material represent Hebert’s entire discography. Interestingly, his late ’50s-’60s popularity coincided when Cajun music was at its lowest ebb. Thankfully, Hebert’s contributions kept things moving along, beginning with his first hit “Blues de Dix Ans” in 1958 through his last sides waxed in ’67. During that nine-year run, Hebert was responsible for such cherished tunes as “Pour la Dernière Fois,” “Cette-là moi j’aime,” “J’aimerais Connaitre” and the exhilarating “La Pointe Aux Pins.”

Other big hits include the tuneful “Madeleine” and “Ouvre Cette Porte” where the song’s last verse issues a subtle innuendo as the protagonist raps on a locked door. Though most selections experienced jukebox success in Cajun country, one in particular, “La Valse De Ma Chérie,” experienced a revival 13 years later as a part of Charles Bronson’s Hard Times flick. Three songs make their debut including Hebert’s only English recording—“Tomorrow I’ll Be Gone.”

From beginning to end, it’s all killer stuff provided you crave Cajun music’s unvarnished, rough-hewn edges. While Hebert possessed one of the most piercing high lonesome voices ever heard in all of roots music, he never failed to surround himself with quality musicians. Clabby Richard, father of popular icon Belton Richard, pumped authoritative tones on accordion while Hebert’s swirling steel guitarist was multi-instrumentalist Dick Richard. While these proceedings benefit from recent re-mastering, never for a second do they sacrifice their rustic dancehall ambience.

Last year Swallow’s Touchet Brothers reissue ignited interest in that band’s repertoire, so expect Hebert to take a similar ride. Truthfully, the man deserves it. -Dan Willing

''This cd in Swallow Records' Pioneeer series documents the music of Cajun great, Adam Hebert. It draws from the 1987 lp compilation of Hebert's 45s on the Swallow label, The Best of Adam Hebert, as well as some surprises not included on the lp.

The music is a fine mixture of traditional Cajun music and the country-western music of the 1950s and 60s, just the kind of thing that was popular in the dancehalls of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas, on the jukeboxes, and on Cajun French radio. Some of Adam Hebert's songs were so beloved, they became standards in the Cajun and Creole music repertoires, even to the present day!

Hebert recorded for Swallow from 1958 up through 1967. His high, passionate vocals, old-timey fiddle, and original lyric poetry make his sound unique and memorable. He's backed by accordion, steel guitar, bass, and drums for that 1960s dancehall style. Certainly a Cajun music hall of famer if there ever was one!

You will get all his hits as well as some unfamiliar tunes. The hits include Pour la Dernière Fois (For the Last Time), La Valse de ma Chérie (The Waltz of My Deary), La Porte du Nord (North Side Door), Cette-là Moi J'aime est Commme Un Petit Oiseau (That One There I Love is Like a Little Bird), Madeleine, Donnez-Moi Colinda (Give Me Colinda), J'aimerais Connaitre (I Would Like to Know), Ouvre Cette Porte (Open That Door), 'Tit Galop Pour la Pointe aux Pins (Canter to Pine Point), Le Moulin (What's the Matter with the Mill?), and Mon Cable et Mes Éperons (My Rope and My Spurs). Bonus songs include Blues de Dix Ans (Ten Year Blues), Christmas Blues, Tous les Soirs Quand Ça Fait Noir (Every Night When It Gets Dark), Rayne Bounce, Country Playboys Special, and two very country-western sounding songs, La Porte de Mon Couer (The Door of My Heart) and the heartbreaking, gorgeous Tomorrow I'll be Gone (in English).

For those who like Cajun music a bit later than pre-World War II but earlier than the Cajun renaissance days of the 1970s onward (as represented by Beausoleil, Zachary Richard, Wayne Toups, Steve Riley, etc.) this collection fills something of a black hole in the availability of Cajun music history! Here's a tip of the hat to Swallow records for putting out these recordings that are simply essential in the history of Cajun music.'' -Neal F. Pomea

1. Country Playboys Special (1960) 2:27
2. Je Suis Apres M'Ennuyer (I'm So Lonely) (1965) 2:40
3. Cette-La Moi J'Aime (The One I Love) (1960) 2:53
4. ('Tit Galop Pour) La Pointe aux Pins (Canter to Pine Point) (1964) 2:26
5. Je Peux Pas Me Faire Accroire Que C'est Vrai (I Can't Believe It's True) (1967) 2:05
6. La (North Side Door) Porte du Nord (1959) 2:29
7. J'Aimerais Connaitre (I'd Like to Know) (1960) 3:01
8. Tu Vas Re-Jamais Casser Mon Coeur (You'll Never Again Break My Heart) (1965) 2:32
9. Blues de Dix Ans (Ten Year Blues) (1958) 3:07
10. Le (The Mill) Moulin (1961) 2:37
11. Mon Cable et Mes Éperons (My Rope and My Spurs) (1961) 3:14
12. Homesick Waltz (1960) 2:56
13. Pour la Derniere Fois (For the Last Time) (1962) 2:39
14. Donnez-Moi Colinda (Give Me Colinda) (1960) 2:47
15. Mon Tour Va Venir (My Turn Will Come) (1965) 2:11
16. Tomorrow I'll Be Gone (1960) 3:44
17. La (The Waltz of My Dear) Valse de Ma Cherie (1961) 2:34
18. Rayne Bounce (1960) 2:40
19. La (The Door of My Heart) Porte de Mon Coeur (1967) 2:37
20. Tous Les Soirs Quand ca Fait Noir (Every Night When It Gets Dark) (1959) 3:00
21. Jolie Fille Special (1961) 1:53
22. Je Peux Pas Dormir le Soir (I Can't Sleep at Night) (1961) 2:29
23. Madeleine (1960) 2:38
24. Ouvre Cette Porte (Open This Door) (1962) 3:27
25. Jolis Petits Yeaux Bleus (Don't Cry, Pretty Blue Eyes) Braille Pas (1964) 2:56
26. Rosalie (1965) 2:49
27. Christmas Blues (1960) 3:06

Ville Platte, Louisiana

An essential collection of authentic Cajun french music.

In recent years, Swallow Records has expanded its longstanding Cajun Pioneer series with reissues of recordings by such figureheads as Adam Hebert (2005) and Joe Bonsall (2008). Its latest installment, Austin Pitre (pronounced ‘Pete’) is another stellar choice, mainly because he was the stuff of legends. He drew capacity crowds at clubs, not only with exhilarating dance music but also with flamboyant showmanship. When he wanted his crowd to go bonkers, he played the squeezebox between his legs and behind his back and head, long before Jimi Hendrix ever thought about doing that with a guitar. He was also known to be the first accordionist to play standing up without using a strap, which requires great physical strength.

This bountiful, chronologically arranged 24-track collection is a comprehensive examination of Pitre’s Swallow discography. The rousing 1959 hit single, “Flammes D’Enfer” as well as its flip side, “Opelousas Waltz,” open the album; several, previously unreleased sides from the early ’70s round it out. In between, Pitre and the Evangeline Playboys are exemplary on standards and signature originals alike, a few of which were strategically christened after dancehalls. There’s even an English-sung number, “Don’t You Shake My Trees,” that’s a grooving adaptation of Nathan Abshire’s “Pine Grove Blues” during which Pitre practically screeches his lungs out.

Several tracks find a steel guitarist providing snazzy licks while the electric guitarist tears it up in a riveting, honky-tonk style. When it’s Pitre’s turn for a ride, he comes barreling in authoritatively with clean, precise playing. Thanks to this posthumous anthology, Pitre, with his killer, high vocals, is also cooler than ever. -Dan Willing

unknown, Claney Perron, Clifton Fontenot, Austin Pitre, Floyd Fontenot, Pee Wee McCauley (sitting) Shoe store in Ville Platte, LA
From Swallow Records' pioneer series, this set covers Cajun great Austin Pitre, one of the most popular artists of the "dancehall period." For those who like Cajun music a bit later than those earliest recording days of pre-World War II but before the Cajun renaissance days of the 1970s onward with Beausoleil, Zachary Richard, Wayne Toups, Steve Riley, etc. this collection fills something of a black hole in Cajun music availability! It could easily be called Early Swallow Records History: Austin Pitre. He recorded earlier than 1959 for other labels, but these qualify as early in the history of Swallow records.

Recordings such as these were made for 45 rpm records that made their way to jukeboxes and French radio programs across southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas. The recordings here are regional "hits" by Austin Pitre, one of the greats on accordion, vocals, and occasional fiddle. Typical of the electrified dancehall bands featuring accordion, fiddle, drums, rhythm guitar, steel guitar, for the most part.

Here are some notes from the CD.
"Austin's only album on Swallow Records, released in 1981, was compiled from 12 songs recorded and released as 6 singles over the years by Floyd Soileau on the Swallow label. The earliest single included on the album was from his first session for Swallow in October 1959. It was Austin's first hit single as well: "Les Flumes (Flammes) D'Enfer" with Opelousas Waltz on the flip side. The songs: Two Step de Bayou Teche, Opelousas Waltz, Two Step a Tante Adele, Rainbow Waltz, Rene's Special, Grand Mamou Blues, Les Flumes d'Enfer, Chinaball Blues, Le Pauvre Hobo, Pretty Rosy Cheeks, Don't Shake My Tree, La Valse D'Amour. Later in 1996 Swallow Records re-issued the original vinyl lp on cassette tape and included 3 more recordings to the original 12 ... Chataignier Waltz, Jungle Club Waltz, and J'ai Cogner à Ta Porte."

This cd includes more Swallow singles, including the following: Lakeview Special, New Oakdale Waltz, Evangeline Playboy Special. It also includes several previously unreleased songs: C'est Trop Tard, Catin; Chère Tit Bassette; Pitre Special; I Know I'm to Blame; Quoi Mon J'vas Faire?; and You're the Only One for Me.

Jungle Club Waltz turns out to be a song from Austin Pitre on another label as La Valse de Chagrin from the early 1950s. On the cd there is some studio conversation added. Interesting dialog between Austin and Floyd Soileau of Swallow Records on the placement of the mic for "Tit 'lan", i.e. Allen Ardoin, the marvelous fiddle player in the Evangeline Playboys at the time in 1966. J'ai Cogner à Ta Porte is from 1961 and the accordion player and singer is really Milton Molitor, a real gem for Molitor's fans! Then the Lakeview Special is a masterpiece! Shows some good French rocking and rolling! New Oakdale Waltz is a great tune that I don't think too many bands played. I have only heard Maurice Barzas' Mamou Playboys do it, Milton Molitor.

The previously unreleased songs are very interesting. C'est Trop Tard, Catin, is the tune of a familiar country-western song but I can't put my finger on the title. Anybody recognize it? Chère Tit Bassette is more reminiscent of Iry LeJeune and Wilson Granger's Duralde Waltz than Chère Bassette by J.B. Fuselier. Austin plays some nice fiddle on that one! Pitre Special sounds like Pee Wee Broussard's M&S Special on the Fais Do Do label, also like Duson One Step by Louis Cormier and the Moonlight Playboys on the La Louisianne label. Quoi Moi J'Vas Faire appears on his Sonet lp 815 as Lake Hope Special. He used to play at a club at the Lake Hope campgrounds. You may recognize I Know I am to Blame to be close to Pee Wee Broussard's Valse des Bons Amis. All the previously unissued songs are quite interesting. Can't see why they weren't released. Was Austin Pitre a perfectionist or something?

It was a long time in the making (no CD of their recordings of Austin Pitre in the 20+ years since they have been popular! an artist's contribution can fade from the culture's memory in that amount of time!!), so here's a tip of the hat to Swallow for putting this out now in its Cajun Pioneers series. -Neal F. Pomea

1. Flammes d'Enfer (1959) 2:25
2. Opelousas Waltz (1959) 2:23
3. Rene's Special (1960) 2:03
4. Rainbow Waltz (1960) 2:56
5. Chinaball Blues (1960) 3:27
6. Two Step de Bayou Teche (1960) 3:03
7. Two Step à Tante Adele (1960) 2:38
8. Grand Mamou Blues (1960) 3:16
9. Valse d'Amour (1961) 3:00
10. J'Ai Cogner à Ta Porte (1961) 2:02
11. Don't Shake My Tree (1963) 3:05
12. Jungle Club Waltz (1963) 4:10
13. Lakeview Special (1966) 2:29
14. New Oakdale Waltz (1966) 2:16
15. Evangeline Playboys Special (1967) 1:46
16. Chataignier Waltz (1967) 2:31
17. Pauvre Hobo (1971) 2:34
18. Pretty Rosie Cheeks (1971) 3:18
19. C'est Trop Tard Catin (Previously unreleased) 2:11
20. Chere 'Tit Bassette (Previously unreleased) 2:15
21. Pitre Special (Previously unreleased) 2:12
22. I Know I'm to Blame (Previously unreleased) 2:45
23. Quoi Mon Je Va Faire (Previously unreleased) 2:53
24. You're the Only One for Me (Previously unreleased) 2:47

Los Angeles

Raw, unfettered funk from one of LA's hardest working live outfits, Ray Frazier and Shades Of Madness recorded a criminal amount of 45s... One of which - "My Baby's Hand" - regularly fetches the handsome sum of £1000 between collectors. Instantly triggering the biggest northern soul sensations (stomping beats, relentless super-tight grooves, show-stopping splashes of bold soul), this will resonate with, and unite all, funk and soul aficionados across the globe. Highlights include the strident string-led blues riff on the aforementioned "My Baby's Hand", the chop-slapping JB-echoing tightness of "I Who Have Nothing" and the lazier, luxurious swing of "Gonna Get Your Love". Presented as a trio of sweet 45s, Jazzman have curated an exceptional document right here.

1. Ray Frazier And The Shades Of Madness - I Who Have Nothing 2:51
2. Ray Frazier And The Shades Of Madness - Lonliness 2:54
3. Ray Frazier And The Shades Of Madness - Gonna Get Your Love 3:51
4. Ray Frazier And The Shades Of Madness - Push And Pull 3:43
5. Ray Frazier And The Cats - Your Eyes 3:49
6. Ray Frazier And The Cats - My Baby's Hand 2:42

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