New York

Sweet Bob Marley tribute featuring the deep n murky Wackies production

This reissue combines two twelves. Tribute To Bob Marley was originally released on the Top Ranking International label in 1981, soon after the Wailer's death in May, and provided an outstanding cut on Horace Andy's Exclusively album set issued the following year in London by Solid Groove. The flip side featured Jah Batta's DJ cut Great Super Star, uncredited on the original label. Lingering Spirit offers a completely different mix, first issued in England on the red Bullwackie's label in 1983 (its title more reticent now, after the hundreds of Marley tribute records). It was coupled with Horace's compelling interpretation of Love Hangover, which - though Lloyd Barnes himself has always been a soft touch for a bit of lovers - had been principally arranged and recorded by Prince Douglas, the year before.

Perfect Vinyl Rip by Don Goean

A1 Horace Andy - Tribute To Bob Marley 3:58
A2 Jah Batta - Great Super Star 4:45
B1 Horace Andy - Love Hangover 4:26
B2 Horace Andy - Lingering Spirit 4:19

Notes
Labels and sleeve swap the positions of the B-side tracks.

Niger

Most people (myself included) are woefully ignorant as to how creative and radically innovative African music was during the 1970s. Everyone knows the giants, like Fela or Tony Williams, but this album by Mammane Sani and his organ hold up rather nicely. -Rudy Carrera

Mammane Sani Abdullaye is a legendary name amongst Niger's avant garde. A pioneer of early West African electronic music, for over 30 years his instrumentals have filled the airwaves. The instrumental background drones of radio broadcasts and instrumental segue ways of TV intermissions borrow heavily from his repertoire. The dreamy organ instrumentals drift by sans comment, yet are known to all. Mammane first found the organ in 1974. 

Mammane's composes in technique that can only be called minimal, relying on the simplicity and space. It is a remarkable manipulation of sound that uses the silence to invoke the emptiness - a metaphoric desert soundscape. Unsurprisingly, his source material is folkloric Nigerien music, and many of the compositions on this record are reproductions of ancient songs brought into the modern age. Interpreting this rich and varied history of Niger's dance and song for the first time in contemporary musics, Mammane electrifies the nomadic drum of the tende, the polyphonic ballads of the Woddaabe, and the pastoral hymns of the Sahelian herders. Accompany this repertoire are a few compositions, such as Salamatu, the deeply personal love letter to an unrequited romance. 

His first and only album was recorded in 1978. Mammane stepped into the studio of the National Radio with his organ, where it was transposed and overdubbed in two takes. In coordination with the Minister of Culture, the album was released in a limited series of cassettes showcasing modern Niger music. The cassette project unfortunately did not progress as planned, and merely a handful were released. Today his cassettes are rare objects, highly sought by fine art connoisseurs and experimental music collectors in Niamey.

''The romantic notion of the musician making music in splendid isolation purely for their own volition is a concept that has been rendered almost obsolete in the modern world.

The immense evolution in the tools of the trade has changed all of this. The means of making music has found its way into our pockets in the shape of smartphones for one thing. Generating sound is now just a click away.

Things were a lot different in Niamey in 1978. The capital of Niger is where Mammane Sani Abdoulaye called home. A deep love for music was inculcated by his family. His father’s occupation as a librarian at the American Cultural Centre was a blessing. Information on the world at large was at his fingertips and he was fortunate enough to have the sound of elsewhere reaching his curious ears. The seeds of his artistry were sown early.

Through his position as a functionary with Unesco, he got to spread his wings and visit Japan and Europe. Travel broadened his musical horizons further and on one such trip he purchased the second-hand electronic organ that would enable him to realise his lucid electric dreams back home.

There were no precedents for the type of compositions he conjured on this machine. His reference points were the folkloric songs and rhythms of the Wodaabe and Tuareg tribes but his solitary pursuit of a modern twist on these traditions lead him into entirely uncharted territory. His singular voyage of discovery was not in vain.

There’s magic in the languid way the tunes unfurl like desert flowers. Their surface simplicity is underpinned by a beautifully melodic undertow that draws you in unbidden. It’s deeply contemplative music. The pensive mood never wavers. The listener is a passenger on a journey to previously hidden realms.

It was recorded in a studio at Niger National Radio in two takes. As few as 100 cassettes were made. Its survival is almost as miraculous as its provenance. By sheer chance this music was discovered and released anew by the Sahel Sounds label in 2013.

I believe in miracles.'' -Donal Dineen

1. Lamru 8:18
2. Salamatu 4:51
3. Kobon Kerai 5:19
4. Lidda 5:36
5. Bodo 4:20
6. Tunan 3:21

Notes
Originally released in Niger in 1979, re-issued by Sahel Sounds and Mississippi/Change Records in 2013.

Niger

Pure Bliss... Sahara desert, late at night star filled sky, mystical lights , calming breeze, emotional journeys. Da Yan Matan
9 am, Five Hundred miles away, a city perhaps, dust clouds, busy streets, bustling markets, No sleep yet, the journey continues...

Experimentation in early electronic music in the Sahara from the singular Mamman Sani. Dreamy organs and droning melodies reinterpret ancient folk tradition into sublime fantastical soundscape. Never before released recordings from the very beginning - unreleased tracks from his first album, recordings of a short lived trio, and a cover of an American folk ballad.

''On one of my visits to Niger, Mamman Sani gave me a box of cassette tapes. I digitized a few, and promptly forgot about the rest. In the piles of media and recordings collected, they went from one archive to another. I recently had a chance to revisit them, and found some sessions that we had thought were lost.

In 1981 Mamman’s recording session at the National Radio of Niger went on to become his first and only official release (and the content of “La Musique Electronique du Niger”). During this session, he also recorded material for a second album that was never released.

We’ve compiled some of these lost sessions into the new LP – Unreleased Tapes 1981-1984. Most of the songs feature Mamman playing on his Orla accompanied by a BOSS Dr. Rhythm. It also features one of Mamman’s first songs – Arman Doley, which talks about the dangers of arranged marriage. A unique track, it’s also one of the first recordings of Mamman singing. The track Mai Dawaya features a short lived group with Mamman Sani and two guitarists (Salif, Babu) called Farin Wata, recorded for television. We’ve yet to find the VHS.''

It’s only been a fortnight but already it’s time for part two of the Mamman Sani tale to be told. When last we spoke of him, it was in the context of miracles. and we remain in that supernatural area. It’s the place to be. Bonus territory. In the first half of the tale, I was referring to the wondrous charms of his 1978 debut record Musique Electronique de Niger which was serendipitously rescued from a Niamey library and given its first official release in 2013.

Good things came of that move. In artistic obscurity, Mamman Sani had still managed to forge a life in music for himself but strictly in the shadows. He was responsible for incidental music for TV and radio in Niger. His daily trade was plied in the background.

His true labour of love was a private affair. The music he made solo at home were electric dreams for his ears only. His explorations in sound involved a myriad of elements but his rendering of the tende drum rhythms of the Toumani tribes in warm electronic tones created beacons of sound for those seeking sonic shelter from the white noise storm.

For all Mamman’s good fortune in being discovered, we are still the lucky ones in this story. The unveiling of these precious reveries has been a revelation.

Deeper the story goes. Disappointment with his debut’s fortunes did not deter the great innovator. Unreleased Tapes is a collection of recordings made in the aftermath and he is on fire.

There is no upset here. The solo venture is expansive and easy on the ears. It’s so serene yet expressive of big terrain and huge vistas of emotional landscapes of sound. He works off his own scale. Everything flows outwards. Effortlessly.

There’s even a song. Beckett said don’t sing your song too soon. Sani heeds the call and delivers a Cascando. More miracles again. -Donal Dineen

1. Samari Da Yan Matan 4:51
2. Zaybanakoy 5:30
3. Arman Doley 7:17
4. Bodo 6:21
5. Gosi 6:01
6. Five Hundred Miles 6:42

Trinidad

This delightful CD is a remarkable time capsule of Trinidadian society of the 1930s, preserving opinions, emotional responses, and attitudes of the people along with the historical record of the events of the day. The Calypsonians use witty wordplay to comment on local and international politics, sports, movies, music, and matters of the heart. Endearing music accompanies the topical lyrics. Clarinet and violin often play lead, joined by horns and piano, and the rhythm sections propel the syncopated music along jauntily. It is easy to enjoy this music without knowing some of the more obscure lyrical references, but the extensive liner notes do a fine job of explaining the context and details. The sound restoration of the rare masters that make up this excellent collection preserves the ambience of the period while getting rid of annoying surface noises and making the important lyrics all the more clearly audible. --Jeff Grubb

Phil Ochs once referred to his broadside folk as "All the news that's fit to sing," but Trinidad's calypso singers had the Greenwich Village folkie beat by several decades. The calypsos that were composed every year for Carnival functioned both as irresistible dance tunes and as smart, often satiric synopses of the previous year's noteworthy events. The 25 calypsos collected on the excellent Roosevelt in Trinidad are a solid mix of news stories, including somber retellings of local disasters like "Trinidad Hurricane" and more lighthearted sports stories like the cricket match calypso "M.C.C. vs. West Indies." There are calls to political action like the stirring "West Indian Federation" (by the Atilla, who also wrote the title track, one of the most famous calypsos of its time) and humorous stories about easily recognizable figures like the sinning parson in "Unfortunate Bridegroom." Thanks to both its colonization by Great Britain and its proximity to the United States (almost all of these calypsos were in fact recorded in New York City for American labels and imported back into the West Indies), the popular culture of Trinidad at this time was a curious mixture of adoration for cricket and the British royal family (several tracks, including the classic abdication song "Edward the VIII" by the Caresser, are about the House of Windsor) and all-American interests like "Movie Stars" and "The Four Mills Brothers." Helpfully, the extended liner notes include not only full lyrics, but extensive footnoting explaining now-forgotten personalities and translating the bits of French Creole that pop up here and there. An utterly charming collection, Roosevelt in Trinidad is an excellent introduction to the world of historical calypso. -AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason

1. Wilmoth Houdini And His Humming Birds - Trinidad Hurricane 3:06
2. Lionel Belasco And His Orchestra - The Treasury Fire 2:54
3. The Atilla - West Indian Federation 2:55
4. The Tiger - Mannie Dookie 3:05
5. Egbert Moore (Lord Beginner) - Captain Cipriani 2:53
6. Raymond Quevedo (Atilla The Hun) - Duke And Duchess Of Kent 3:06
7. Egbert Moore (Lord Beginner) - M.C.C. Vs. West Indies 2:52
8. King Radio - Unfortunate Bridegroom 2:56
9. The Tiger - Movie Stars 3:01
10. The Lion - Four Mills Brothers 2:45
11. King Radio - Body Line 2:57
12. The Atilla - Intercolonial Tournament 2:58
13. The Caresser - Edward The VIII 3:06
14. The Atilla - Roosevelt In Trinidad 2:33
15. The Lion - King George The VI 3:10
16. The Executor - Reign Of The Georges 3:08
17. The Lion And The Atilla - Modern Times 2:37
18. The Growler - History Of Woodbrook Vicinity 2:41
19. The Tiger - The Beautiful Land Of Iere 2:47
20. The Lion - The Vendor's Song 2:45
21. Black Prince - School Boys' Adventure 3:12
22. The Caresser - Fire, Fire In Port Of Spain 2:54
23. The Growler - Police Diplomacy 2:40
24. The Lion - Bing Crosby 2:52
25. Lord Executor - Poppy Day 2:54

Ethiopia

….very beautiful strange music.

''To my surprise, Hailu Mergia (keyboard/accordion-player and bandleader of Ethiopian origin) sent me his only copy of this cassette-only release from 1978, Wede Harer Guzo. I knew of Dahlak Band but I didn’t know he recorded with them. The soulful, smokey reinterpretations of seminal Ethiopian standards, along with two Mergia originals, make a considerable impact on your heart, if only you’re still human in these strange and challenging times.''

Details about Hailu Mergia & Dahlak Band:
By 1978, Addis Ababa’s nightlife was facing challenges. The ruling Derg regime imposed curfews, banning citizens from the streets after midnight until 6am. But that didn’t stop some people from dancing and partying thorough the night. Bands would play from evening until daybreak and people would stay at the clubs until curfew was lifted in the morning.

One key denizen of Addis’ musical golden age, Hailu Mergia, was preparing a follow up to his seminal Tche Belew LP with the famed Walias Band. It was the band’s only full-length record and it had been a success. But his Hilton house band colleagues were a bit tied up recording cassettes with different vocalists. Still Mergia, amidst recording and gigs with the Walias, was also eager to make another recording of his instrumental-focused arrangements. So he went to the nearby Ghion Hotel, another upmarket outpost with a popular nightclub. Dahlak Band was the house band at Ghion at the time. Together they made this tape Wede Harer Guzo right there in the club during the band’s afternoon rehearsal meetings, with sessions lasting three days.

“My instrumental music was very in-demand and I could have waited,” Mergia recalls. “But I wanted to have a different kind of sound. I had done several recordings with Walias so this time I needed a different sound.”

Dahlak Band catered to a slightly more youthful, local audiences, while Mergia’s main gig with the Walias at Addis swankiest hotel had a mixed audience that included foreign diplomats and older folks from abroad. Therefore their sets varied included lighter fare during dinnertime and a less rollicking selection of jazz and r&b. Meanwhile Dahlak was known more for the mainly soul and Amharic jams they served up for hours two nights a week to a younger crowd.

When Mergia entered the Ghion hotel nightclub to record this tape he was teaming up with a seasoned band who were particularly suited to his instrumental sound. Ethiopian popular music at the time combined elements of music from abroad and Dahlak balanced Mergia’s traditional song selection with the modern approach of a seasoned soul band.

Crucial to the resulting collaboration were Mergia’s arrangements which replaced distinctively use vocals for melodies normally played by instruments. His arrangements conjured memorable new flavors out of existing songs already popular with listeners.

Before Walias Band’s successful gig as house band at the Hilton, Mergia was a young musician hustling from one place to another around Addis. After finishing gigs at the Hilton or on nights off, he would go to good bar where azmari—roving musicians who play traditional songs for tips—and he’d pick up ideas and inspiration. Late night azmari performances revealed for Mergia which songs were moving people in the city. He regularly attended clubs, bars and special private after-hours venues called zigubgn where azmari perform. For Mergia, it was crucial to feature songs he knew people would recognize.

Amharic music has a large repertoire of standard songs everyone knows, the original composers and lyricists of which are often unknown or forgotten. Many of the songs Dahlak, Walias and other bands of that era (including Ibex and Shebele) were playing came from the treasury of shared music, which helped ensure a good vibe in the air.

Mergia released Wede Harer Guzo (“Travel to Harer,”with Sheba Music Shop, which was located in the Piazza district but has long since shut down. Recalling the audience’s positive reaction to Wede Harer Guzo’s novel arrangements, he says it sold well and found many fans. However, as no trace of the tape can be found online, there’s no indication as to why the cassette appears largely forgotten until now.

The Dahlak band had something to say and they were saying it with a giant in their midst

This is by far the most recently unearthed Sunken Treasure we’ve featured in the history of this column. We’ve got the peerless Awesome Tapes from Africa to thank for its miraculous unveiling after a cassette posted to the label from Mr Hailu Mergia himself turned out to be a golden ticket. Sometimes precious goods come in small packages. It got past the post. Winner alright.

This LP is a trove of such dazzling quality it beholds us to pass on the good news, so hear ye! The title track is a thing of beauty. The group, with which the imperious Mergia was moonlighting from his official role in the revered Walias Band, are on fire.

This collaboration sent sparks flying. They sounded like soldiers of fortune willing to pay the price. Everything sways and the vocals soar in tandem with far-out licks from Mergia’s nimble fingers. It feels ancient and modern. All manner of western breezes waft into a heady mix of grooves of Amharic origin. It’s an intoxicating brew. Hot. Hot. Hot.

It dates from the year of 1978, a short four years after the military Derg had taken power in Ethiopia following the ousting of Emperor Haile Selassie. The golden age of music was being stifled. The regime had put the brakes of Addis Ababa’s pulsating nightlife scene and moving cassettes underground became the modus operandi.

This was one such mover in that system. It was a big hit on the scene. There’s a vitality and soul to these recordings that’s stirring in every way. The Dahlak band had something to say and they were saying it with a giant in their midst.

Their reinterpretations of Ethiopian standards are given coats of many colours. There are gospel echoes in the vocal tunes. The grooves that Mergia concocts circle majical mystery tours around the world. People get ready. There’s a change a-coming. -Donal Dineen

1. Embuwa Bey Lamitu 6:05
2. Sintayehu 6:48
3. Bati Bati 7:04
4. Migibima Moltual 6:26
5. Yene Nesh Wey (Amalele) 4:38
6. Wede Harer Guzo 6:35
7. Yemanesh Ayinama 7:11
8. Almaz Eyasebkush 5:40
9. Anchin Kifu Ayinkash 5:24
10. Minilbelsh 5:57

Note
Recorded in 1978 at Ghion Hotel, Addis Ababa

Trinidad

Well, yes, of course, it's run-don't-walk time. This baker's dozen of songs revealed Sparrow as the greatest calypsonian of the post-WWII era, and arguably of all recorded time -- "Jean and Dinah," "Sparrow Come Back Home" and "Obeah Wedding" are perhaps the biggest gems, but nothing here is less than a diamond of the purest ray serene. -AllMusic Review by John Storm Roberts

Review Summary: This gem, known by few in the UK, is one of the greatest albums in history - and this is according to someone who doesn't even like compilations.

If you were an artist before the mid-1960s, original albums – conceived as such – were probably not how you rolled. You probably just released singles that were, if you were both lucky and talented, assembled into compilations. Well, even if you happened to be Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley or Elvis Presley, chances are you never released a compilation as astonishing, world-beating, poignant, and downright hilarious as Mighty Sparrow’s Volume 1, released in 1992 and spanning the years 1956 to 1967.

I’m not sure where to begin extolling the manifold virtues of this incredible record. The 13-song track-list starts wonderfully and gets better as the album progresses, clocking in at 54 minutes – ample listening time, but not so lengthy as to grow wearying. Then again, the only reason it might have become wearying is its intensity: an extensive but far from exhaustive list of topics covered includes nationalism, colonialism, racism, prostitutes, economic independence, superstition, education, fickle fandom, materialism, and cannibalism. The tedium experienced by reading that last sentence is directly proportional to the hip-swinging enjoyment afforded by Sparrow’s album: any song that mixes cannibalism and anti-racist satire, as ‘Congo Man’ does, has to be worth at least a laugh, if not more.

Sparrow was born Slinger Francisco in Grenada in 1935, and has been musically active since the age of 14. He was brought up in Trinidad, and his experience of choral singing and steel bands is discernible in his hits. Not for nothing is he widely known as ‘Calypso King of the World’: his lyrics are as good as, and his melodies better than, Chuck Berry’s. Only Paul Simon has exhibited a more natural synthesis of words and music, and even he lacks Sparrow’s brilliant wit and humorous indignation. In about 250 seconds the calypsonian can deliver an insanely catchy, even-handed view of the effects of American imperialism on Trinidadian women, in a vignette stuffed with humour, poignancy, and vivid incidental detail. I defy you to listen to ‘Don’t Go Joe’ and not be moved to laughter and/or sadness; if you remain unimpressed, you might want to check your pulse.

He has an ear for soaring melodies, and a refreshingly unpredictable style of delivery, but his greatest asset is his use of humour to tackle all sorts of issues. Not a single song on the album seems didactic or too serious-minded. In his song about the practical inconveniences of love, he trills (in character), “Johnny, you’ll be the only one I am dreaming of / You’re my turtle dove, but: no money, no love. / Find some money, Johnny!”. The mellifluence of his ever-optimistic voice can somehow make insults like “If you really want a wedding ring, Melda / There are many other ways and means / Like scrubbing your teeth and bathing regular…” sound like sweet come-ons. His intermittent feminist-baiting is mitigated by his context and the exuberant charm of his delivery.

Sparrow’s recorded output is not uniformly superb. Sometimes, his satire is a little heavy-handed; at other times, he employs dated, saccharine synths. But Volume 1 suffers from neither problem. It’s one of the greatest albums of all time, compilation or otherwise, and once you hear it you’ll wonder how you ever felt complete without Sparrow in your life. -thinbrownduke

1. Jean and Dinah 3:47
2. Jack Palance 3:20
3. Robbery With V 4:36
4. Don't Go Joe 4:02
5. Our Model Nation 3:47
6. Dan Is the Man (In the Van) 4:47
7. Sparrow Come Back Home 4:17
8. Congo Man 4:11
9. Federation 4:45
10. Calypso Twist 3:55
11. Obeah Wedding 4:34
12. No Money No Love 4:34
13. Govenor's Ball 3:55

Ethiopia

Over the last decade, Lebanese DJ and traveling crate-digger Ernesto Chahoud has developed an obsession with the "golden age" of Ethiopian music in the late '60s and 1970s. Back then, Ethopian musicians developed a distinctive "Ethio" style that drew influences from a myriad of black American styles - most notably funk, soul, jazz, rhythm and blues, boogaloo and rock & roll - whilst remaining home-grown and East African in feel. To prove the dancefloor-slaying potential of some of these raw, fuzzy and thrill-packed gems, Chahoud has joined forces with BBE to deliver this fine 25-track set. There's not enough space to list all of the highlights, but suffice to say it will appeal to all those who enjoy heavy, funk-fuelled hybrids of East African, Arabic and black American music.

Ernesto Chahoud’s ‘Taitu’ is a collection of soul-fuelled stompers straight from the dancefloors of 1970s Addis Ababa. A breathless journey through the unique Ethio sound that bands were forging at the time, the 24-track compilation is the result of the Lebanese DJ and crate digger’s decadelong love affair with the ‘golden age’ of Ethiopian music.

Among the musical gems featured are 7”s by some of the heavyweights of the scene including the godfather of Ethio jazz Mulatu Astatke and Alemayehu Eshete, the vocalist dubbed the ‘Ethiopian Elvis’, alongside tracks by more obscure artists such as Merawi Yohannis and Birkineh Wurga.

For ‘Taitu’, Chahoud has selected 25 of his essential Ethio-Soul 7”s, that never leave his DJ box, and together they capture this opportune moment in Ethiopian music history that saw bands experiment with an armful of influences: gliding through R&B, rock & roll, jazz, funk, soul and boogaloo. What came out was a distinctly Ethiopian interpretation: pentatonic scales, horn-driven melodies and soul-shattering vocals sung in Amharic.

The songs are difficult to box in to one genre but they share a simplicity and rawness, added to by their lo-fi quality – with many recordings made in rudimentary studios with only a couple of mics for the entire band.

From the R&B stomper ‘Honey Baby’ by Alemayehu Eshete to Astatke’s swaggering ethnic-jazz instrumental ‘Emnete’ and the bluesy melancholic vocals of Hirut Bekele on ‘Ewnetegna Feker’, ‘Taitu’ is a window in on the exciting records being made in Ethiopia in the 1970s.

Ethiopian Stompers:
1. Menelik Wossenatchew - Fikratchin 3:06
2. Mulatu Astatke - Emnete 3:29
3. Teshome Meteku - Hasabe 4:01
4. Birkineh Wurga - Alkedashim 3:16
5. Selomon Shibeshi - Endiet Zenegashiw 4:07
6. Alemayehu Eshete - Chiro Adarie Negne 4:28
7. Hirut Bekele - Ewnetegna Feker 3:16
8. Bezunesh Bekele - Felagote 2:56
9. Alemayehu Eshete - Mekeyershene Salawke 1:49
10. Tilahun Gessesse - Aykedashim Libe 4:58
11. Merawi Yohannis - Teleyeshign 2:28
12. Hirut Bekele & Alemayehu Eshete - Temelese 3:20
13. Alemayehu Eshete - Honey Baby 2:37

Ethiopian Clappers and more:
1. Seifu Yohannes - Ebo Lala 3:35
2. Bezunesh Bekele - Aha Gedawo 3:53
3. Alemayehu Borobor - Yeshebelewa 3:36
4. Seifu Yohannes - Mela Mela 4:10
5. Tilahun Gessesse - Sigibgib Joroye 3:28
6. Alemayehu Eshete - Gizew Honeshyna 2:40
7. Bahta G. Hiwot - Tessassategn Eko 4:03
8. Getatchew Kassa - Fikrishin Eshaleyu 3:23
9. Hirut Bekele - Almokerkum Nebere 3:21
10. Muluken Melesse - Alagegnhwatem 4:07
11. Menelik Wossenachew - Tezeta 4:28
12. Tamrat Molla - Ene Yewodedquat 4:14

Senegal

Deep Folk instrumental music recorded in 2014 in Northern Senegal, close to the Mauritanian border, sung in Pulaar and played with guitar and 'Hoddu', a kind of N'Goni. The A side is a pleasant enough jaunt through a few local folk tunes. Easy on the ears and well played. The B side is totally transcendent; all the more so for initially sounding so unassuming, and is worth the price of the record all by itself.

Dreamy instrumentals from Fouta Toro. Improvisational session of acoustic guitar and hoddu, drawing on regional folklore, ancient praise songs and epic ballads. Recorded in a fishing village in Northern Senegal, with an ever present backdrop of children's voices culminating in a clapping and stomping rhythm section. Debut release on Sahel Sounds & Mississippi Records new international imprint "Songs from Home."

Tempered by Thiam’s guitar, Konté’s playing is infiltrated by his idyllic surroundings

Among the glittering array of contemporary Senegalese musicians, Amadou Binta Konté is a relatively undiscovered gem. His low profile has a lot to do with his character and his location on the island of Morfil on the Senegalese river in the extreme north of the country. The region is known colloquially as Fouta Toro, the Pulaar-speaking area straddling the Senegal/Mauritania border. Konté leads a simple life. The idyll of his surroundings infiltrates his music. There would appear to be peace in this valley. Remoteness causes him no worry. He has never travelled in a car or carriages. The music he makes evokes a kind of calm that is in stark contrast to the accelerated urban energy of Dakar. Unusually for a musician of his stature in this part of Africa, he is not a griot (bard) but a fisherman. Charmingly, he first heard his instrument, the hoddu, a kind of banjo with braided fishing line for strings, from a passing canoe. Goat or sheepskin is stretched over the resonator. I imagine it travels sweetly over water. It did in this case. The sound stirred something within him. He heard it again when the canoe was making its return journey. Next day he went into the forest, found some wood and assembled his first hoddu. The one he plays so gracefully on the album Waande Kadde was made by his own hand. Most of his days are spent on the water. His life is centred around the small family compound on the riverbank, and it was here that this album was recorded in his small mud house. The simplicity of the setting is palpable in the music. Konté’s children are audible, clapping, snapping and stomping along. The gorgeous echoing resonance of Konté’s playing on Waande Kadde is tempered by the sound of Tidiane Thiam’s guitar, which toes a steady line in its stead. The music feels like something of an ode to the sleepy landscape. It evokes a dreamy calm that isn’t eerie but comforting; music sent directly from the earthen floor of a mud house to the sky and stars of a shimmering African sky above. I’m in. Beam me up. -Donal Dineen

Via Exy

1. Dialélam 4:27
2. Kayraba 7:05
3. Taara 5:01
4. Mbiffé 2:37
5. Guilly 18:33

USA

Fahey's last (1967) studio album for Takoma is another wonder, with such idiosyncratic touchstones as Revolt of the Dyke Brigade and A Raga Called Pat Pts. 1 & 2. 

When John Fahey recorded this album in 1967, he was at the peak of his considerable powers as a musician, writer, and composer. His fingerpicking is astounding; surely no stronger thumb ever struck a bass string than the one that drove "Night Train to Valhalla," no surer fingers ever plucked a melody than the ones that coaxed the epic sweep of "The Portland Cement Factory of Monolith, California" from six strands of steel and a wooden box with a hole in it. This album includes some of Fahey's best-loved tunes, including the aforementioned songs, the bluesy "Revolt of the Dyke Brigade" (Fahey was tweaking the sensitivities of folk music audiences before anyone knew what political incorrectness was), and the uncategorizable "Raga Called Pat." The latter isn't Indian music at all, but a sprawling two-part odyssey constructed from train whistles, bird calls, and dancing guitar figures. This well-mastered and lovingly packaged reissue includes two sets of liner notes; Fahey's originals are a hilariously obtuse parody of poetic, philosophical, and historical pretensions, while a new set by journalist and poet Monica Kendrick acknowledges his passing mere months before this record came out by paying homage to Fahey's enduring artistry. --Bill Meyer

Originally released in 1967. Days Have Gone By continues Fahey's interest in soundscapes, sound effects and experimental music mixed in with more traditional guitar playing of his earlier musical style"Sam Graham once referred to John Fahey as the "curmudgeon of the acoustic guitar," while producer Samuel Charters noted that Fahey "was the only artist I ever worked with whose sales went down after he made public appearances." This tumultuous spirit, in turn, made tumultuous music on albums like Days Have Gone By, filled with odd harmonics, discord, and rare beauty. The esoteric titles like "Night Train of Valhalla" stand beside more abrasive ones like "The Revolt of the Dyke Brigade." Fahey's guitar work on the latter song, however, does little to evoke the title. Instead, it reminds one of what might happen if a guitar player from the Far East, familiar with open tunings, interpreted Blind Blake. "Impressions of Susan" combines the same odd tunings with nice, and at times joyful, fingerpicking. Dissonance, though, remains the primary mood that Fahey's guitar resonates. "The Portland Cement Factory at Monolith, California" begins with a lovely cascade of notes, only to fall into odd harmonics that create a pensive foreboding. To call attention to the disharmony and discord, though, is not a criticism. Days Have Gone By, like all of Fahey's early- and mid-'60s work, expands American blues traditions by enriching the palette of the guitar with Eastern tunings. He may create a challenging work like "A Raga Called Pat--Part Two" that is difficult to interpret, but its opulence is undeniable. Fahey has often been grouped with new age music but this -- especially with his early work -- is somewhat of a misnomer. New age strives to build harmony; Fahey revels in conflict. Days Have Gone By is another rewarding reissue of the master's classic '60s work and will be eagerly greeted by guitar aficionados.

1. The Revolt Of The Dyke Brigade 2:38
2. Impressions Of Susan 5:05
3. Joe Kirby Blues 3:08
4. Night Train Of Valhalla 2:14
5. The Portland Cement Factory At Monolith, California 4:23
6. A Raga Called Pat-Part One 6:22
7. A Raga Called Pat-Part Two 8:06
8. My Shepherd Will Supply My Needs 8:48
9. My Grandfather's Clock 1:27
10. Days Have Gone By 2:51
11. We Would Be Building 1:57

Note
Incl. booklet

USA

A complex and rooted performer, Fahey defined a style of acoustic guitar playing that has still to be interpreted - includes duet with his doppelganger Blind Joe Death.

Key Tracks: John Fahey’s Voice of the Turtle

John Fahey is undoubtedly an American original. The guitarist had a style of playing that has been copied ever since his beginnings in the late ’50s and ’60s. Defiantly independent in a time when independent labels were a rarity, Fahey’s Takoma Records became an example of DIY culture before DIY even existed. In this exclusive excerpt edited and condensed from Steve Lowenthal’s Dance of Death: The Life of John Fahey, American Guitarist, we present a behind-the-scenes look at one of Fahey’s most compelling works, The Voice of the Turtle

The Voice of the Turtle offers a more in-depth look at John Fahey than any in his catalog. The album exists as a world unto itself, so rich with symbolism that it functions more as semi-fictional autobiography than an album. Here Fahey introduces his audience for the first time to the turtle, a recurring presence throughout his life. He considered himself an amateur expert on turtles and kept many as pets around his house, sometimes more than a dozen. If he saw a turtle crossing a highway he would stop, get out of his car, and bring it to the other side of the road so it wouldn’t be harmed.

Once when he and Jan – his first wife – were visiting a local pet store, Fahey became appalled at the conditions in which the turtles were kept. He decided to buy all 13 turtles they had in the store, despite having no idea what to do with them. Once they rescued the creatures from their cages, Fahey had to keep them all in his bathtub. Whenever he or Jan wanted to take a shower they had to remove the turtles and then scrub the tub clean from turtle dung. They kept it up for a few weeks, but then even Fahey had to concede that they had to go. Though he didn’t have the means, he would prefer to have lived with as many as he could.

In terms of artwork and layout, The Voice of the Turtle is Fahey’s most sprawling and elaborate album, with a 12 page insert that includes extensive pictures and liner notes. The package reads like a museum exhibit whose narration spirals into the absurd. “He didn’t say anything about the cover, but for that insert of his, um, deranged ranting, he brought over all the materials and told me exactly what he wanted,” remembers cover designer Tom Weller, “So I precisely followed what he said.”

The booklet, also titled “The Fahey Picture Album,” it is littered with images of people and places, notably Fahey’s ex-girlfriends. Knott’s Berry Farm Molly, Linda Getchell of the Great San Bernardino Birthday Party, and Pat Sullivan (dubbed Evil Devil Woman below her picture) are all seen for the first time. He had written songs featuring the real women in his life, and they had also become recurring characters in his liner notes – but now his audience could see them vividly for the first time. None of the women were asked permission – or even informed that their pictures would adorn his records.

It was a first for a record of any kind, and a communication to the audience that was personal but also obscure, as the public had little idea who these people were. Yet to those who knew him, it was a diary. “I’m not aware of any other musician who put out anything remotely resembling the presentation of The Voice of the Turtle before that came out,” says Barry Hansen. “He had these surrealistic ideas running around in his brain starting at a very early age, probably before he began recording. When people started asking him why the heck he named one of his instrumental pieces ‘Stomping Around on the Pennsylvania-Alabama Border’ [sic] he began to think that some of his followers might be interested in some of those thought processes, and eventually began writing them down. I had no idea that he was using a snapshot of me [for the insert of The Voice of the Turtle] until he handed me a finished copy.”

In addition to his lovers, he included images of his friends and relatives, and even Takoma Park. Characters like Chester C. Petranick (the real-life inspiration for Fahey’s pseudonym), his grandparents, and shots of guest musicians littered the pages. Other images included blues legend Son House’s birthplace, the Takoma Park Funeral Home, and Barry Hansen holding a rare Jelly Roll Morton record during a canvassing trip. The back cover showed a photo of Fahey as a 17-yearold, exhibiting a public distance and an intense stare, his hair slicked back in classic 1950s greaser pompadour. The overall effect was of an elaborately narrated photo album. Everyone became a part of his universe, like constellations, laid out in a virtual confessional art exhibit.

“Notes, in those days, were often intended to convince people to buy a record, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here,” adds Hansen. “I think that in the final analysis he was writing for himself . . . using writing to sort out all the things that obsessed him, writing to help mitigate the ways those things disturbed, even tormented him. Eventually, of course, his writing became an end unto itself, still related to his music but not attempting to explain any particular pieces.”

Released on Takoma in 1968, The Voice of the Turtle is a musical collage as well as a visual one. In his most elaborate prank, Fahey released two different albums with the exact same cover, booklet, and track titles – but with completely different recordings. Each pressing of the record contained a different sequence and music. It was yet another vexing display of Fahey’s absurd humor. These alternate versions of the same album remain the most confusing part of his discography, since they were indistinguishable to the record-buying public save by the color of the center label.

Using recordings from the last several years, Fahey created an audio patchwork that properly mirrored the timeline of the notes, using recordings from throughout his personal archive. He starts the album with the traditional “Bottleneck Blues,” a 1927 performance by Weaver & Beasley, with which Fahey plays along on the record – another prank on the listener. The track is credited to John Fahey and Blind Joe Death. In the process, Fahey literally plays on top of his favorite records and uses them as his own in an attempt to place himself into his beloved blues history.

After “Bottleneck,” the album shifts to the more modern, psychedelic ragas of the oft-reprised Fahey composition “A Raga Called Pat.” Part 3 ends the A-side, and part 4 begins the B Side. These two tracks offer a surreal counterpoint to traditional, Tin Pan Alley nostalgia of earlier tracks including “Bean Vine Blues.” After “Pat,” a flurry of guests appear on the record. Most notable are the performances (again from Fahey’s personal archive) featuring Nancy McLean on flute.

Also included are two pieces recorded on a 1966 canvassing trip with Hansen. The pair went to Oklahoma, northeast Texas, Arkansas, and northern Louisiana. The official reason for the trip was to record two old-time fiddlers, Hubert Thomas and Virgil Willis Johnston. Arrangements for the visits had been made in advance, and they spent an afternoon/early evening with each fiddler. Hansen ran the UCLA Folklore Department’s AMPEX tape deck while Fahey supervised the sessions, sometimes accompanying the fiddlers on guitar.

The album concludes with one such collaboration, the spiritual “Lonesome Valley.” Ending with a spiritual, he echoes an old Nashville tradition of praising the Lord to wash away the secular damage of earlier tracks – a typical end to a Fahey record. Fahey also uses the idea of ending with a spiritual as a social critique, attacking in his liner notes those who he feels are insincere in their musical presentation. Fahey sought the feelings they stirred, not the stylistic conventions, of those old blues records. He rarely played them those days; he was writing his own music, assured of his vision.

In his liner notes, under the guise of a narrator Fahey evaluates his own art: “The recordings which comprise this record comprise a well-defined yet non-directive channel of Mr. Fahey’s roots and the progression of his music for the casual listener to be entertained thereby, the inquisitive listener thus may have his curiosity satisfied and the casual listener may, in the same manner, as it were be entertained,” he said in his best faux-scholar voice.

The pieces form a view of Fahey from all angles – the professional, the myth, the collector, the romantic, the scholar – and form the sum total of his early American experience. The result sounds almost like a conversation the artist is having with himself, rearranging and editing the details of his life. All the while, the audience is privy to this process, and its voyeuristic indulgence becomes a justification for Fahey’s self-obsessions. After all, Fahey himself fantasized about his work being viewed with the same level of devotion as that of his idols.

“He was unassailably convinced of his importance,” says Sam Charters. “As for mythology, didn’t he do for himself what he did for Charley Patton? That was his blueprint. He became a legendary figure just like Patton was. When John did the Patton book we didn’t know very much about him. It was largely conjecture, a musical interpretation in a way. So yes, I think this was the working template for what John was doing. It’s easy to fall into. It’s a kind of presentation that you understand has value and has a methodology. So he did his own version of a methodology, a working musicologist, and he did it on himself while creating the music at the same time. You get a wonderful parallel universe, of him creating the document while documenting its creation at the same time.”

All that said, The Voice of the Turtle was a financial disaster. The bulky packaging cost 15 cents more per unit to manufacture than the wholesale price at which the company sold it, so they lost money on every copy sold. According to Fahey, no one at Takoma figured this out until a year after its release. -By Steve Lowenthal on May 29, 2014

1. Sylvester Weaver & Walter Beasley - Bottleneck Blues 3:03
2. Hubert Thomas & John Fahey - Bill Cheatum 1:52
3. Nancy McLean & John Fahey - Lewisdale Blues 2:13
4. John Fahey - Bean Vine Blues 2:42
5. The Blue Boys - Bean Vine Blues #2 (Easy Winner) 2:47
6. John Fahey - A Raga Called Pat, Part III 9:03
7. John Fahey - A Raga Called Pat, Part IV 4:25
8. The Blue Boys - Train (Memphis Stomp) 1:44
9. John Fahey - Je Ne Me Suis Reveillais Matin Pas En May 2:19
10. John Fahey - The Story Of Dorothy Gooch, Part I 5:23
11. John Fahey - Nine-Pound Hammer 1:57
12. Virgil Willis Johnston & John Fahey - Lonesome Valley 1:41

Note
Incl. booklet

France

Compilation of the 1967 output (2 EP's for the Vogue-label and an Italian single release) by the queen of the 'Swinging Mademoiselles', which basically was the female equivalent of the French '60s Yé Yé movement. These songs are fruity, catchy, youthful, sparkling, beat-era influenced pop tunes, of course all sung in French. A super enjoyable album for anyone into sunny, feel-good '60s pop. Roll back the carpet, put your worries away, and dance to the songs of Clothilde!

Clothilde (Elisabeth Beauvais), the fantastic, almost-forgotten gem of 1960s French girl-pop. Undeservedly obscure, she released only 2, 4-track EPs and a couple of alternate-language singles, she's never going to be as well known as France Gall or Françoise Hardy, but oh what might have been...

Discovered by would-be pop auteur Germinal Tenas, who seems to have imagined himself a French Phil Spector. In spite of an alternative "wall-of-sound" populated by all manner of kazoos, squeaky proto-electronics and other goofy aural wall paper, the songs themselves are (almost) all delightful and more than redeemed by Clothilde's charming and original vocals. The lyrics go from dark and weird (Fallait Pas Écraser La Queue Du Chat) to deliberately absurd (Saperlipopette). No teenage love songs here.

Sadly, Clothilde bailed out of a pop star career after releasing just these 8 (or so) songs. Still, she belongs firmly in the pantheon of the best 1960s French Girl Pop and this comprehensive collection is very worth investigating. -Paul McLean

Clothilde, queen of the "Swingin' Mademoiselles." Why Clothilde? Why not that more star-worthy, internationally-acclaimed Françoise Hardy, or the more akin to the sub-genre, France Gall? Because she's the most characteristic, archtypical French mademoiselle, that's why! Christine Pilzer, even Jacqueline Taïeb before her, both may have been rediscovered first in this style unique to French '60s pop, and Stella also may have been the most out and out "anti-ye-ye" with her slightly anti-establishment and derisive lyrics countering the pop system and establishment, but Cleo's all about text, not that much as a whole production. As such, Clothilde takes the crown. Not only has Clothilde the most natural (albeit unknowingly) disposition as a chanteuse, singing such subversive lyrics with as much second degree detachment as possible but also, the music itself is highly original: inventive arrangements including French horn, musical saw, church bells, barrel organ, marimba, brass fiddle, woodwinds, and busy fuzz guitar amidst all that slapstick comedy-like audio bric-à-brac. Almost avant-garde in concept, it was imagined and produced by Clothilde's impresario, manager and indeed creator, legendary Disques Vogue A.D. Germinal Tenas. This could've only come out of France.

1. Fallait pas ecraser la queue du chat 3:10
2. Je t'ai voulu et je t'ai bien eu 2:17
3. La chanson bete et mechante 2:27
4. Le boa 2:19
5. Saperlipopette 2:38
6. La ballade du bossu 3:04
7. 102 - 103 2:55
8. La verite toute la verite 2:58
9. Des garçons faciles feat Les Charlots 2:00
10. A ora sos'e 3:06
11. Qualcosa che non va 2:38
12. BONUS TRACK - Fallait pas ecraser la queue du chat STEREO 3:16

Congo

Classic Rumba from Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Republic

As the infamous OK Jazz phrase goes “On Entre OK, On Sort KO” (On entrance OK, on exit KO). The phrase was a self-referential comment on this legendary Congolese band’s ability to bowl over their audiences.

OK Jazz, later renamed TPOK Jazz (short for Tout Puissant Orchestre Kinshasa, "all-powerful Kinshasa orchestra"), was a soukous band from the Democratic Republic of the Congo established in 1956 and fronted by Franco. The group disbanded in 1993.

Location
The OK Jazz band was formed in 1956 in Léopoldville (now Kinshasa), in what was at the time the Belgian Congo. On independence in 1960, the Belgian Congo became the Republic of the Congo, later Zaire and is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At one time in the late 1970s and early 1980s the band grew to over fifty members.During that period, it often split into two groups; one group stayed in Kinshasa, playing in nightclubs there, while the other group toured in Africa, Europe and North America.

History
1950 - 1959
The musicians who started OK Jazz included Vicky Longomba, Jean Serge Essous, François Luambo Makiadi, De La Lune, Augustin Moniania Roitelet, La Monta LiBerlin, Saturnin Pandi, Nicolas Bosuma Bakili Dessoin and vocalist Philippe Lando Rossignol. They used to play at Loningisa Studios in Kinshasa as individual artists, before they got together to form a band in June 1956. The name OK Jazz originated from the bar in which they played which was named OK Bar, owned by Oscar Kashama. The new band played regularly at a specific studio in the city during the week and on some weekends they played at weddings. In 1957, the lead vocalist, Philippe Lando Rossignol, quit OK Jazz and was replaced by Edo Nganga, from Congo-Brazzaville. Later in the same year, Isaac Musekiwa, a saxophonist from Zimbabwe joined the band. Up to that time the band's leadership was shared between Vicky Longomba, Essous and Franco.

1960 - 1969
In the early 1960s Vicky Longomba and Jean Essous left OK Jazz to join African Jazz. Franco then became the leader of the band. He recruited vocalists Kwamy Munsi and Mulamba Joseph Mujos. Simaro Masiya Lutumba joined OK Jazz in 1961. Essous was replaced by saxophonist Verckys Kiamuangana Mateta. In 1962 OK Jazz visited Nigeria on their first foreign tour. Later that year, Vicky Longomba rejoined the band. Lola Checain, a vocalist who had left earlier also came back.

Around this time, the band changed their name to TPOK Jazz. TP stood for "Tout Pouissant" (all powerful). Band membership had increased to over twenty. The quality of their music had improved to where they could challenge African Jazz for the position of Congo's premier group. Franco's music appealed to ordinary people mainly because it discussed issues that affect the common man on a daily basis. Franco led other Congolese musicians in using new technology to produce sounds of much higher quality than in any other part of Africa. The new technology included electric guitars, amplifiers and basses. Congo had now assumed the premier position as Africa's leading music nation. During the late 1960s, Kwamy Munsi and Mulamba Joseph Mujos led nine other musicians in a mass defection from TPOK Jazz. A few months later, saxophonist Verckys Kiamuangana Mateta also left. Franco recruited Rondot Kassongo wa Kassongo to replace Verckys. He also brought in solo guitarist Mose Fan Fan. Fan Fan had a new style of guitar-playing called sebene, which was more danceable. This style came to be known as Sebene ya ba Yankees. Fan Fan also composed a number of extremely popular hits including Dje Melasi. -Wiki

Longomba, "Vicky" (Longomba Besange Lokuli, Victor), outstanding Congolese singer and band leader; born Kinshasa, Dec. 13, 1932; died Kinshasa Mar. 12, 1988.

Vicky began his career in 1953 at the CEFA recording studio in colonial Léopoldville (Kinshasa). Singing tenor, often in combination with other studio singers Roger Izeidi and François Engbondu as Les Trois Caballeros, Vicky recorded songs in the emerging Congolese rumba style. "Chérie Awa" (darling Awa) and "Congo ya Sika" (new Congo) numbered among his early sides.

As CEFA verged on bankruptcy in 1955, Vicky moved to the Loningisa studio. There, in 1956, he joined the guitarist known as Franco and four other session musicians to form the band O.K. Jazz. Vicky and singer Edouard "Edo" Ganga, who joined the band in 1957, formed a duo that set the vocal standard for the O.K. Jazz "school" of the Congolese rumba.

The year 1960 saw Vicky and band mate Brazzos join with Joseph Kabasele and members of O.K. Jazz arch rival African Jazz for performances and recording in Brussels at the round table conference on Congolese independence from Belgium. Vicky contributed backing vocals on Kabasele's "Indépendance Cha Cha," one of the most famous Congolese songs of all time, and wrote several others including "Vive Lumumba Patrice."

Vicky's departure for the round table ruptured his relations with O.K. Jazz. When he returned home he formed a new band called Négro Succès. With Vicky at the mike and Léon "Bholen" Bombolo on lead guitar, the band was indeed a success. So much so that it continued, even prospered, when Vicky departed some two years later and returned to O.K. Jazz. Back beside Franco and Edo, Vicky contributed vocals to most of the group's hits like the great "Ngai Marie Nzoto Ebeba" (I Marie whose body is wearing out), a story about a Kinshasa prostitute. He also wrote many of the band's songs including several, like "Conseil d'Ami" (friend's advice), in a slow, bolero-flavored style that he seemed to prefer.
Vicky and Franco shared leadership of O.K. Jazz for nearly a decade until it became clear to both that one boss was enough. Vicky departed in 1971 to form a new band he called Lovy du Zaire. Lovy boasted a number of young up-and-coming musicians like future Quatre Etoiles guitarist Syran M'Benza. Vicky's deteriorating health brought an end to the band and his performing career in 1974. Surgeons removed what Vicky described as a "cystic tumor" from his head in 1974 and again in 1981. Diabetes nearly cost him a leg. He recovered sufficiently to assume the presidency of the musicians union (UMUZA) in 1986, where he served until his death.

One of Congolese music's best-loved singers, Vicky left a legacy of dozens of compositions and hundreds of recordings. Together with Franco he helped to build O.K. Jazz into one of the finest bands in Africa. His duets with Edo and Edo's successors defined the vocal side of the O.K. Jazz sound for more than two decades. As a measure of his contributions to Congolese culture, Vicky was honored by President Mobutu with induction into the National Order of the Leopard, at the time the nation's highest award. -Gary Stewart

1. Valenta Yoka 3:41
2. OK Aswanaka Te Mpo Na 4:09
3. Ma Iwasso 5:32
4. Bolingo Nzo Etumbu 4:33
5. Boya Vicky Okende Poto 5:44
6. Mama ya Bilamba Aboti 4:41
7. Nalingi Nde Koniata Baninga 4:20
8. Mado 4:39
9. Nzorba 4:48
10. Kiwita Kumunani 3:47
11. Mama Okoka 4:22
12. Mosala Mibali ya Bato 4:33

Moos

Moos ..just a passionate music collector who likes to share his treasure with the world. Crazy about, architecture, printed paper, a good smoke of charas, birds, tropical food, funny dances, dogs, Belgian beer and such.. Professional enlightment specialist.

Every music obsessor has those few secret sources on the web where they go to find the best music around. Today we decided to hook up with one of the most astonishing. Globalgroovers.com is a home-made blog run by one incredibly committed man with a treasure trove of rare African records you would otherwise never have known existed.

The head-honcho of Global Groove spends a staggering amount of time uploading thousands of 50s/60s/70s vinyl to his website that would otherwise never see the light of day, and has developed a strong cult following of obsessed African music lovers who scour his website because of it.

We got in contact with the man behind the site and asked if he’d like to curate a Monday Morning Mixtape with a selection of the finest West African music. We were luckily enough for him to agree and sit down for an interview with us as well, of which you can discover below.

Before we even get into Global Groove, could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I just turned 56 so I was born in 1958. In the sixties when I was like 7 or 8 years old my love for music started developing. In those days we had the famous Radio Veronica which was a pirate radio station sending from the North Sea from their ship ‘Veronica’. My sisters are 8 and 10 years older so at evenings when my parents went out, my sisters had their boyfriends over and were dancing in the living room. I was hiding behind the couch to spy on them and got to hear the Kinks, the Animals, of course loads of Beatles and Stones and so forth. I had this little transistor radio myself and at night when everybody thought I was sleeping, I was listening to my radio through my pillow so only I could hear.

My hometown is Hilversum, the center of Dutch radio and television. Among our family’s friends and aquaintances are many who worked with broadcasting companies so music has always been around me and became a part of my life. Age 14 I bought my first single, it was Jimi Hendrix with on the a-side ‘Voodoo Child’ ( slight return ) and on b-side, ‘All along the watchtower’ and ‘Hey Joe’. Slowly my taste of music developed, pop, rock and blues were the first styles I liked but I took quite a few roads through jazz and early seventies, jazzrock and fusion. Mid seventies when Bob Marley broke through in Europe, my friends and me got obsessed with Reggae and a bit later the first African music appeared. I have always listened to many genres and artists and never liked to make lists of favourites, so many styles and colours in music and I think there is a time and moment for everything.

You’ve obviously developed an amazing collection of records over the years, lots of them would probably be hard to find on the internet. When did your record collecting begin and what parts of the world have you found them in? 

At first I started in local record shops, I live 30 minutes from Amsterdam where I used to find most things I wanted. One of my best friends owns a record shop and keeps me informed of new releases. Twice a year we have Europe’s biggest recordfair in Utrecht, only twenty minutes from us, I am with him to build up the stand and start hunting for records before the fair opens for public, very nice. In the 90’s I fell in love with a Brazillian lady and started going to Rio where she’s from. This is when my love for samba started, learning Portuguese and starting to understand the lyrics I got crazy with the stuff. I collected quite some records on my trips there. For African and other tropical music the Utrecht fair used to be very good but it is getting more and more difficult to find. I made several trips to Paris in the past as well. France is a country that hosts lots of African people so it is a good place to find African music. I never went to Africa myself but know some record dealers who go there and bring back LP’s. A couple of years ago I met with a guy who travells to Colombia where his mother lives, he always brings back piles of Colombian material, fantastic happy music that has captured me since the release of ‘Cumbia Cumbia’ One and Two in 1989 and 1993. Two cd’s with stuff from the vaults of Discos Fuentes and my first encounter with the style.

Where are your favourite places to discover music? 

Nowadays of course the internet is one of the better places to learn about music. But once I get to know something new that I like, I start looking in shops and fairs to find the original LP’s. Over the past decades I have collected a series of addresses I use to frequent, crate digging remains my favourite way. I never buy from the internet, I think it is no sport to order a rare record this way. I want to find it myself, digging through piles of dusty records. The moment you find something you’ve been looking for is always special and can send a shiver down your spine.

For those that haven’t yet had the delight of discovering Global Groove, could you give us a short biography of what it’s all about and how long it has been around? 

After discovering music blogs, I guess it was in 2005 or 2006, I got completely hooked. It was the great Loronix of Zeca Louro in Rio that got me triggered, shame it does not exist anymore. On one of my Rio trips, it was in february 2007, I went to visit him and we had a fantastic afternoon going to the record shops in Leme and Leblon neighbourhoods close to the Copa Cabana. When I returned home I could not resist any longer and started to find out how to make my own blog. the Global Groove was born in May 2008. I have always used to play music on party’s of friends and in bars and such. Over the years I found it more and more difficult to get satisfaction in meeting people that understand the music that touches me, the internet however opened new ways to find like-minded folk. I am very happy to be able to reach a massive public through the Global Groove, the site has some 30.000 visitors every month, I am still astonished to see..

What have been some highlights for you since running Global Groove, any special uploads that are close to your heart? 

That is always a very difficult question, so many wonderful lp’s have passed by over the 6 years the GG exists. It is impossible to call a few without doing short to others but okay. The eight following LP’s are just a few of the treasures we had and personal favs (all searchable on my site):

Etoile de Dakar – Absa Gueye
Guillermo Buitrago – Diciembre y Año nuevo
Vicky & OK Jazz
Riachão, Batatinha e Panela – Samba da Bahia
Thelma – Thelma canta Nelson Cavaquinho
Verckys et l’Orchestre Vévé – “Dynamite” Verckys
Kyeremateng Atwede & Kyeremateng Stars – I go die for you
Lord Kitchener – Kitch ’67

What are your thoughts on the term ‘World music’ being used in the Western world to attribute a collective genre for local music from “out there” sort a speak?

I must say it never really bothered me, with so many different genres world wide, it is absolutely impossible to find a term that covers it all. I understand that the record business picked just this term. The masses are stupid and need a pole to hold I guess..

Do you have any crate digging tips for all those record enthusiasts out there on how to spot a good record that you might not know anything about? Or is it just pot luck with some of the really old stuff you might find?

Well, it is not an easy thing to do. Over the years I have learned what labels and years of release I must look for. For example, when looking for calypso from Trinidad I want the lp to be from the sixties, later on it turns to soca ( soul Calypso ) and I prefer the earlier stuff above the later..In samba however I am looking for the stuff from the early seventies. Every style has a period in which it was best but off course there are no guarantees, I have also bought LP’s I was sorry about afterwards but that happens, only time and experience can teach you..

Finally, could you tell us a bit more about the mixtape you’ve created for us?

I have focused on West African and because you are a huge lover of Okukuseku I made an all Ghanaian highlife compilation. We hear some of the finest groups I have in my collection. It is always hard to pick the best tracks with so many to pick from. The comp starts with three bands that combine organ and guitar. As from track four most numbers are guitar based, I like both variety’s. Kyeremateng Atwede is the man with the sweetest voice, Nana Ampadu I one of the finest guitar players but to be honest I just love’m all equally much. -Joshua Brill → Full mixtape

Jamaica

Another opportunity to acquire some vintage Striker Lee dubs, that originally appeared on Lee's Jackpot label.

Not really rare, but still good
The bulk of this collection was previously released on the Dub Jackpot album on Trojan's Attack label, having previously been issued on Jackpot label singles, and most have also been released on various dub compilations since. So as dubs go, not particularly rare, but Tubby's dubs of Bunny Lee's productions is a recipe for quality, so well worth having if you don't have these already. -Mike Andy

The productions of producer Bunny "Striker" Lee were so extensive in the early to mid-1970s that labels were created just to handle his ever-expanding output. Three labels that came about during this time when dub was king were Jackpot, Justice, and Attack. Here, Jamaican Recordings look at the Jackpot label and have compiled a collection of some of its finest dub cuts. Jackpot Records was formed in the early 1970s as a subsidiary of Trojan Records to handle the output from the hit-maker from Jamaica, Bunny "Striker" Lee. Bunny was present at the birth of dub and worked closely with dub master King Tubby. Having his masters stored at Tubby's allowed his rhythms to be worked on by Tubby, whether it was to remix or add vocals to an existing tape, and the new interest in the dubbed version would see the next single being worked on for its version side. Jamaican Recordings have gathered here what they think are some of the best dub cuts from this label and era. CD includes four bonus tracks.

1. The Mighty Diamonds / Straight To Channel 1's Head (Carefree Girl - The Mighty Diamonds) 3:48
2. Horace Andy / Straight To Jackson's Head (You Are My Angel - Horace Andy) 2:44
3. Cornell Campbell / Watch This Version (Watch This Sound - Cornell Campbell) 2:43
4. Cornell Campbell / Just A Version (Just A Moment - Cornell Campbell) 2"43
5. Derrick Morgan & Johnny Clarke / Behold This Version (Behold - Derrick Morgan & Johnny Clarke) 3:40
6. Johnny Clarke / The Knock Out Punch Version (Don't Talk Too Much - Johnny Clarke) 3:04
7. Johnny Clarke / Straight To Edwards Head (If You Should Lose Me... - Johnny Clarke) 2:52
8. Ronnie Davis / Lifetime Dub (That's Life - Ronnie Davis) 2:53
9. Carl Harvey / Come Softly Dub Version (Come To Me Softly - Carl Harvey) 3:07
10. Horace Andy / Blessed Dub (Love Of A Woman - Horace Andy) 3:35
11. Johnny Clarke & Dennis Brown / So Much Version (Look What Love Has Done To Me - Johnny Clarke & Dennis Brown) 3:26
12. John Holt / You're All I've Got Version (You're My Soul And Inspiration - John Holt) 3:30
13. Johnny Clarke / Going Version (Give Me A Love - Johnny Clarke) 2:58
14. Jackie Edwards / The Poor Barber (Ali Ba Ba - Jackie Edwards) 3:14
15. Jackie Edwards / So Dub Say (So Jah Say - Jackie Edwards) 3:41
16. Delroy Wilson / King Tubby Dub (Get Ready - Delroy Wilson) 3:10
17. John Holt / Caretaker Dub (You Must Believe Me - John Holt) 3:08
18. Linval Thompson / At The Dub Market (Long Long Dreadloacks - Linval Thompson) 3:06

Notes
CD Version. Tracks 15-18 are exclusive bonus tracks for the CD release originally from Tommy McCook & The Agrovators - King Tubby Meets The Agrovators At Dub Station.

Trinidad

THE Steel Drum CD to Own! The legendary 1971 Warner Brothers album, produced by VAN DYKE PARKS.

Produced by Van Dyke Parks, the Esso Trinidad Steel Band's self-titled LP is a wonderfully funky collection of calypso-inspired renditions of pop hits like the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Cecilia." The sheer magnitude and intricacy of the steel drumming is astounding. The two-dozen percussionists are like cogs in a colossal machine, each working in perfect harmony with the others and all of them essential to the outcome. Parks' sun-kissed production contributes mightily to the overall party vibe. This music is the tropical fantasia of the collective unconscious. -AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny

Van Dyke Parks -- legendary producer, songwriter, arranger, composer and musician -- has worked with such varied artists as Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Ry Cooder, U2, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, Natalie Cole, Arlo Guthrie, Sheryl Crow, Aaron Neville, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, The Mighty Sparrow and Randy Newman. 

In 1971 he traveled with the Esso Trinidad Tripoli Steelband and Liberace, filming an hour-long documentary about the band. He later produced the band's album, The Esso Trinidad Tripoli Steelband. To this day, he still says that the Tripoli Steelband was "the greatest group I've ever had the privilege to produce''. Like his calypso brethren, Parks may’ve been bloodied, but his confidence in the art of calypso is unyielding. ''All of the bravado of such poverty—poor people speaking plainly, representing the disenfranchised—is what calypso is all about''.

"In 1962, I worked with my first steelband," Parks says. "It opened my eyes to what I think is the greatest music of the 20th century, on a popular level -- calypso music. 

"Like Ulysses, I went on an adventure with calypso music. Steel drum impressed me a great deal, because I had always been interested in tuneful percussion. The best group to express the love that I had for calypso was the Trinidad Tripoli Steelband. Tripoli, why Tripoli? Shores of Tripoli, the movie -- an homage to the Yanks. Trinidadians grew up on American movies, and they commented on them in their calypsos.

"The Trinidadians have a rhythm that is very interesting. Hugh Borde, the leader of the group, taught me about the rhythm 'whip the lion.' All of the beats are pushed -- all of them are ahead of the beat. Forward, forward, backward. Forward, forward, backward. 

"Rhythms have a great importance in a lot of civilized activity," Parks says. "There are so many different purposes to the rhythms of our lives. These rhythms are the starch..."

"Produced in 1971 by Parks and originally released by Warner Brothers, this album showcases the extraordinary talents of 23 steel pan players conjuring dense, swinging soundscapes that seem to be made out of pure light. The band work their magic on tunes by the Kinks, the Jackson 5, and even Simon & Garfunkel, as well as a few classic calypsos, classical pieces, and a new tune by Parks. The music is as dizzyingly intricate as that of any classical ensemble, yet the band grooves, swings, and bounces with the precision of a machine. Their covers of tunes like "Apeman" and "Cecilia" are instantly recognizable yet exotic, and their stunning version of "I Want You Back" has been a DJ staple of mine for years -- to hear a dozen or so panmen sing the song in unison as the layers of pan drumming swirl around them is startlingly beautiful."

1. Apeman 2:24
2. If You Let Me Make Love to You Then Why Can't I Touch You? 3:00
3. Ride on Sammy 2:52
4. Simple Calypso 4:25
5. Cecilla 2:44
6. I Want You Back 2:15
7. Sabre Dance 2:06
8. Come to the Sunshine 1:20
9. Erasmus B. Black 2:53
10. If I Had the Wings (Like a Dove) 3:12
11. Singer Man 3:01
12. Aquarium 2:32

Peru

''Puts you in touch with the real thing."

Mountain Music of Peru, Vol. 1 gives a varied view of urban and rural Andean music from the 1960s. Musicians use Andean and European instruments, including the guitar–like charango, siku (panpipes), harp, conch shells, and drums. Songs like the marching-band-style “Bella Andajina” and processional “Catholic Mass Sung in Quechua” show Spain’s influence, while the instrumental “Huayno from Ayacucho” and solo female voice in “Song of Marriage” exemplify indigenous sounds. Liner notes include information on Peru’s ethnic groups, features of Andean music, lyrics, and track notes. (FW)

What makes a satisfactory national compilation is obviously to some extent a question of ideology. This one is superb as an overview and introduction. It ranges from shepherd pipe, solo voice, and carnival music, to popular huaynos from the towns. Unlike the plethora of middle-class groups with a political agenda that beclutter the field, this one does music that is real and superb, as are John Cohen's notes. Parts were released in 1966, but 15 minutes' worth has been added for this re-release. -AllMusic Review by John Storm Roberts

1. Paloma Blanca - Band of Sacsamarca 2:20
2. Song of Marriage - Young girl 2:57
3. Catholic Mass sung in Quechua - Catholic congregation in Ocongate 2:43
4. Huayno from Ayacucho - Louis Lamasca 2:20
5. Yaravi and Fugue "Garsila" - Antonio Sulca ("Sunka Sua") 5:34
6. Band from Huaras - Band from Huaras 1:34
7. Flute and Guitar - Band from Chumbibilcas (Cuzco) 1:33
8. La Tragedia Del Estadio - Los Errantes y Sus Guitarras 2:45
9. Señor Comandante - Los Hijos de Sangara 2:54
10. Andina - Huayno - Típicas Roncadoras 2:21
11. Bella Andajina - Banda Filarmonica 2:25
12. Ukuku - Two Q'ero men 0:32
13. Turpa - Q'ero man 0:28
14. Wallata - Domingo Chompi and Louisa Sera Chompi 0:52
15. Wallata - Old Q'ero woman 1:02
16. Wallata - Three Q'ero men 0:51
17. Wallata - Two Q'ero men 0:53
18. Chunchu - Q'ero man 0:52
19. Chunchu - Q'ero man 0:44
20. Chunchu - Q'ero man 0:51
21. Chunchu - Two Q'ero men 0:56
22. Music for cows - Domingo Chompi 0:33
23. Corresponding song for cows - Louisa Sera Chompi 0:41
24. Music for alpacas - Domingo Chompi 0:32
25. Corresponding song for alpacas - Louisa Sera Chompi 1:07
26. Music and song for sheep - Domingo Chompi and Louisa Sera Chompi 1:09
27. Marcation Ceremony: Man - Q'ero man 0:58
28. Marcation Ceremony: Woman - Q'ero woman 2:09
29. Song of Last Year's Carnaval (1963) - Old Q'eros woman 0:45
30. Palcha, or Cashua-Taiki - Q'ero family party 0:57
31. Love song - Louisa Sera Chompi and Domingo Chompi 0:43
32. Lullaby - Louisa Sera Chompi 0:49
33. Matrimony song - Louisa Sera Chompi 0:50
34. Waitu - Louisa Sera Chompi 0:55
35. Flute - Q'ero man 0:39
36. Two young girls at Wayuna Pampa - Two young Q'ero girls 2:09
37. Chunchu - Q'ero flute, bass drum, and snare drum 1:20
38. Palcha song from ceremony for alpacas in corral - Q'ero women 3:39
39. Conch shell trumpets - Q'eros authorities 0:51
40. Serena - Group of Q'eros women 3:26
41. Paras flute, shepherd tune 0:59
42. Serjente - Two women of Colla 1:22
43. Cashua - Two women of Colla 1:37
44. Compadre Punuchi - Man and woman of Colla 0:58
45. Piruwani - Group with flutes, triangle, and drums 1:25

Notes
Tracks 12-17: Q'eros: Music and related songs of the 'Pina Pinculu' - 4 hole notched, vertical flute

Tracks 18-21: Chunchu music of the Pitu 6 hole, transverse flute

Tracks 22-26: Music and related songs of the Canchis Sipas - Panpipes 7 pipes (double rows)

Tracks 27-28: Chants and Narrative at Ceremony for Marking of llamas, August

Tracks 29-35: Songs from Q'eros

Tracks 36-40: Recordings from Q'eros 1976,1984, 1989

Tracks 41-45: Music from the village of Colla, near Q'eros

Jamaica

All-time 1970 classic Studio One album with extended and overdubbed remixes of Desperate Lover, Unchained and Feeling Soul. A superlative collection of thoughtful 'reality' and lovers lyrics over rock-solid Studio One rhythms. Everyone should have a copy of this in their collection.

Bob Andy was introduced to Jamaican record buyers in the 1960s as a member of the Paragons, the vocal quartet best known for the hit "The Tide Is High." Andy went on to achieve greater fame in the following decade as one half of the vocal duo Bob & Marcia (with Marcia Griffiths) on hits like "Young Gifted and Black" and "Pied Piper" for Harry Johnson. His greatest artistic successes, however, can be found on the three albums the singer recorded for Clement Dodd's Studio One beginning in the late '60s. While selections from The Music Inside Me cropped up on Heartbeat's Retrospective, Lots of Love & I had long been out of print and Andy's exceptional Songbook was available, in CD format, only on this inferior quality Studio One issue. Criticisms about sound and packaging aside, however, Songbook (recorded between 1966 and 1968) remains utterly essential. Though the music preceded the roots era by nearly a half-decade, many of the themes taken up by the dreads of the 1970s can be found blossoming in Andy's late-'60s songs. His classic "I've Got to Go Back Home" must have been one of the earliest songs to deal so explicitly with a "sufferers" theme. The singer's delicate, bittersweet melody is married to a tune of ghetto hardship. "Unchained" attacks slavery with lyrical directness and an impassioned vocal. Covered by Gregory Isaacs, Big Youth, and Barrington Levy, the definitive version of Andy's classic "My Time" is found here. Equally moving are "Going Home," "Let Them Say," "Feeling Soul," and "Crime Don't Pay." A singer and songwriter of the highest order, Andy's place in musical history is assured on the basis of Songbook alone. -AllMusic Review by Nathan Bush

Bob Andy reflects on Song Book
By Howard Campbell/JamaicaObserver/Monday, August 28, 2017

Bob Andy is synonymous with Studio One, the legendary record company where he started his solo career in 1966. It is hard to believe that in three years there, he only recorded 12 songs.

In 1972, Studio One patriarch Clement “Coxson” Dodd released Bob Andy's Song Book, a collection of his work with the singer. It is considered a classic, one of the best examples of Jamaican songwriting.

Twenty years ago, Dodd reissued the album on Studio One for the first time on compact disc. It contains My Time, I've Got to go Back Home, Too Experienced, Going Home, Let Them Say, and Unchained.

Andy, 73, told the Jamaica Observer that the songs did not enjoy great airplay in the 1960s. Its greatest exposure came through a medium that was growing throughout Kingston.

“They were popular in the dancehall. That's how people came to know them before Coxson compiled the album,” he said.

At the time of its initial release, Andy had moved to Federal Records where he had a big hit with a cover of Joe South's Games People Play. He recalls going to Studio One on business and seeing Dodd who told him of his plans to release a compilation album of his songs.

Born Keith Anderson in Kingston, Andy was a founding member of harmony group The Paragons before going to Studio One. The label hit its stride in the rocksteady era (1965-67) with a rush of quality songs, many of them written by Andy.

He believes what helped make his songs special and timeless were the musicians.

“I went through three sets of bass players at Studio One…Lloyd Brevett, Brian Atkinson, and Leroy Sibbles; Jackie Mittoo was always the keyboards man,” he explained. “There were some main horn players, from time to time they would shuffle them. Like, for I've Got to go Back Home it was Bobby Ellis (trumpet), Roland Alphonso (saxophone) and Carlton Samuels (saxophone).”

First released on vinyl, then cassette, 'Song Book' is a must-have for collectors. Its rhythms have been used for many hit songs, while Too Experienced, My Time and Unchained and have been covered by Barrington Levy, Sanchez and Jack Radix.

After leaving Studio One, Andy's career continued to flourish. He had a massive hit song in Young, Gifted And Black in England with Marcia Griffiths. That was followed by Games People Play and the provocative Fire Burning.

Whenever he performs, most of his set is built around Songbook which he describes as “a phenomenon”.

“It became a legendary piece of work over time,” said Andy.

1. My Time 1:59
2. Desperate Lover 4:24
3. Life Could Be A Symphony 3:40
4. Too Experience 3:11
5. I've Got To Go Back Home 3:21
6. I Would Be A Fool 3:12
7. Going Home 3:34
8. Stay In My Lonely Arms 2:46
9. Let Them Say 3:01
10. Unchained 5:00
11. Feeling Soul 4:03
12. Crime Don't Pay 2:20

Notes
Tracks 2 and 10 are extended remixed versions compared to the 7" singles

Classic Rocksteady - Bad CD Reissue

With reissues of classic Jamaican music, you often have to take what you can get. CD reissues mastered from dusty vinyl singles and LPs are pretty common and unless they're really bad, they usually don't detract from my enjoyment of the music too much.

Now, this CD is worse than the usual deal. Not only were some tracks mastered from vinyl, but a couple of the tracks have nasty digital glitches (NOT skipping caused by scratches) in them. These glitches are so glaring that I have no idea how this CD made it through any sort of quality control process.

To top it off, I have it on good authority that some of the tracks were remixed or has post-production elements added to them for the reissue.

Given that this is widely considered to be some of the greatest rocksteady/reggae music ever recorded, it's disrespectful to the artist and the music.

Unfortunately, there is no other option other than this CD for music buyers that want these recordings unless you are prepared to shell out a lot of cash for the original vinyl LP or the singles that it was compiled from. -patient_ot

Archive