Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wild Weekend Vol. 4

Yet another Wild Weekend, which we´ll celebrate in the usual way: with a sixpack mix of songs chosen by my iPod´s nifty shuffle function. Get down.

And off we go with Curtis Mayfield, and a funky junkie lament from his famous soundtrack to the blaxploitation flick Superfly. "I´ve got a jones, runnin' through ma' bones, I'm sorry son, all your money's gone..." Which is followed by a perfect ode to boredom by obscure Detroit protopunks Destroy All Monsters. Yup, that´s Ron Asheton of Stooges fame on guitar folks.

Curtis Mayfield - Little Child Runnin´ Wild MP3
Destroy All Monsters - Bored MP3

Tricky´s amazing Maxinquaye still gets plenty of playing time around here. This Bristol-bred triphop masterpiece still sounds as fresh now as on the day it was released back in ´95. Special attention for Martina´s mysterious vocals: sublime. Next on the agenda is some far out heavy stoner rock by Alabama Thunder Pussy. These guys - who hailed from Virginia btw - sure knew their rifferama. Fab band name too of course.

Tricky - Hell Is Around The Corner MP3
Alabama Thunder Pussy - Dryspell MP3

We continue with Alexander ´Skip´ Spence, the acid casualty of sixties greats Moby Grape. Before he became completely fried, Skippy recorded the first lofi album ever: the fantastic Oar. Let´s hear it for Lawrence from Euphoria, Vivian from Oblivion and Ellie Mae from Californ-i-a! And we bid you adieu with some exotic sounds from faraway Azerbaidjan. I don´t know much about Ashiq Hasan, but I guess you will agree with me that he´s one hell of a singer.

Skip Spence - Lawrence From Euphoria MP3
Ashiq Hasan Trio - Koroghlu MP3

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Where Did The Wolfman Go

As reader Pete from down under recently pointed out to me after I wrote about obscure Texas country artist Terry Allen in these pages, there´s more to the man than just his masterpiece Lubbock (On Everything). His later efforts may be a little more uneven, but the highlights are definitely not to be missed.

Take Flatland Boogie, from Human Remains (´96) for instance. A heavenly tune, featuring exquisite backing vocals by Lucinda Williams, who´s timing it just right. Richard Bowden´s fiddle is to die for, too. "Got Four Roses in a sack, and we ain´t lookin´ back tonight..." Sounds good to me.

Terry Allen - Flatland Boogie MP3

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Room By Room

"You think you've got it all set up, you think you've got the perfect plan..."

Two sides of the same soul coin. It doesn´t really matter if Earl Randle´s classic composition is given the treatment by Memphis southern soul diva Ann Peebles in ´73, or by London pubrocker Graham Parker in ´77. Both soulful versions are guaranteed to leave you in the dust, wondering what the hell just happened.

"What you´re gonna do when you look up one day, and see your playhouse tumbling down..."

Ann Peebles - I´m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down MP3
Graham Parker & The Rumour - I´m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down MP3

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Johnsons

Blind Willie, Lonnie, Tommy, Elizabeth, and the king of ´em all: Robert of course. Four legendary bluesmen and one obscure blueswoman. They were not related - but easily could have been.

Blind Willie Johnson - Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed MP3
Lonnie Johnson - Death Valley Is Just Half Way To My House MP3
Tommy Johnson - Canned Heat Blues MP3
Elizabeth Johnson - Sobbin´ Woman Blues MP3
Robert Johnson - Drunken Hearted Man MP3

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wild Weekend Vol. 3

Wild Weekend time again... With the For The Sake Of The Song iPod on shuffle and the eyes on the prize. The outcome? A sixpack of tunes exclusively picked by the ghost in the machine. Here we go.

And we´re off, with those blokes you can trust. "It was smaller than a cow, it was bigger than a cat..." Yup, the Cosmic Psychos are here, tackling a typically Australian phenomenon: a dead roo. Which is followed by the exquisite pairing of John Coltrane on tenor sax and Don Cherry on trumpet, performing the lovely Cherryco from their 1960 collaboration The Avant-Garde.

Cosmic Psychos - Dead Roo MP3
John Coltrane & Don Cherry - Cherryco MP3

Sixties garagepunks The Denims ask themselves that age-old question: "Why baby why?" Find it on Volume 7 of the still amazing Pebbles series and leave reality behind. When I first heard Hestia some fifteen years ago, I saw Katell Keineg as the missing link between Joni Mitchell and PJ Harvey, and predicted fortune and fame. Nostradamus I´m not then. Oh well. It´s still a great song.

The Denims - White Ship MP3
Katell Keineg - Hestia MP3

Which brings us to Chester Burnett, better known as Howlin´ Wolf, portraying ´the troublingest woo-hoo-woman´ that he´s ever seen. A giant of a man, a giant of a singer. Howl awhile. And last but not least there´s ole Shane and the Pogues. I lived close to the Shannon river myself for quite a spell, and it´s broad and majestic indeed. "I sat for a while by the gap in the wall, found a rusty tin can and an old hurley ball, heard the cards being dealt, and the rosary called, and a fiddle playing Sean Dun Na Ngall..." Good memories.

Howlin´ Wolf - I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) MP3
The Pogues - The Broad Majestic Shannon MP3

Friday, January 22, 2010

Turning On A Light

While reading the liner notes to Jimmie Dale Gilmore´s After Awhile (see post below) I happened upon the following Gilmore quote, describing his early, pre-Flatlanders days in Lubbock, Texas. "A number of factors and people influenced my writing. To begin with, there´s a guy named Terry Allen whom I met in highschool. He´s a couple of years older than me, and he´s a pianist, a songwriter, and also a very accomplished painter and sculptor. We became very good friends, and meeting someone who actually wrote songs turned on a light for me. I realized that you could just do it, you didn´t have to wait ´til you were forty years old."

Some inspiration. I´ve been digging Allen´s rather obscure ´79 masterpiece Lubbock (On Everything) for a long time now. It´s an album every country music fan worth his salt should own, but for some reason only a happy few know it even exists. So if you´re "all caught-up with the need, to trade in some emptied out spaces for some speeeeed, an that good ol´ American Dream," check out the fine songs below.

Terry Allen - The Wolfman Of Del Rio MP3
Terry Allen - New Delhi Freight Train MP3

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

With Gratitude

Time to pay some dues here. Or: presenting some artists I discovered through the enthusiastic posts of fellow music bloggers over the past couple of years.

So here´s a ten pack of pure gratitude, featuring soul from Terry Callier, Rodriguez, Shuggie Otis and Syl Johnson, folk from the Incredible String Band, country by Willis Alan Ramsey and Tom T. Hall (cheers Paul!), afrofunk by Segun Bucknor and more modern sounds by Wooden Shjips and Sunburned Hand Of The Man.

And yup, I actually bought all the albums these tracks were on, after sampling the odd mp3 on the internets. Just goes to show that music blogging actually works, the man...

Terry Callier - What Color Is Love MP3
The Incredible String Band - My Name Is Death MP3
Rodriguez - Sugar Man MP3
Tom T. Hall - Spokane Motel Blues MP3
Segun Bucknor - Sorrow, Sorrow, Sorrow MP3
Shuggie Otis - Sparkle City MP3
Wooden Shjips - For So Long MP3
Syl Johnson - Is It Because I´m Black? MP3
Willis Alan Ramsey - Geraldine & The Honeybee MP3
Sunburned Hand Of The Man - Yer Own Eyes & The Number None MP3

Monday, January 18, 2010

Shine So Bright

"I´m glad to see you coming, I´m glad to see you go...
She once told me I´m glad to see you coming, I'm glad to see you go..."

Treat Me Like A Saturday Night was penned by Jimmie Dale Gilmore, but his old Flatlanders pal Joe Ely recorded it first, for his excellent ´77 debut. For some reason, Gilmore waited until ´91 to tape a version for his equally fine After Awhile album. Both versions do it for me, although I have a slight preference for Ely´s performance, as it has an underlying tension to it, like a smouldering fire.

"You gotta give up something when you try anything new,
You gotta give up something when you try out anything new,
But whatever I give up, love, it won't be you..."

Joe Ely - Treat Me Like A Saturday Night MP3
Jimmie Dale Gilmore - Treat Me Like A Saturday Night MP3

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wild Weekend Vol. 2

Time for another version of Wild Weekend, where the shuffle function of my iPod decides the contents of a sixpack of songs. What did the ghost in the music machine line up for you this time? You´re about to find out.

Let´s get warmed up with the legendary Motor City Five, and a track from their killer second album Back In The USA. "Felt like screaming out loud..." Sharp soloing by brother Wayne Kramer here. Next up is something completely different, as it should be: allegedly the most widely known and biggest selling record in African music history. The half Nigerian and half Camerounian Prince Nico sold over 15 million (!) copies of his ´76 hit Sweet Mother to date.

MC5 - Looking At You MP3
Prince Nico Mbarga - Sweet Mother MP3

Time for one of my favorite horn players. Here´s king of the tenors Ben Webster performing the Duke Ellington classic Don´t Get Around Much Anymore. Ben digs deep. The Only Ones were one of my fave bands of the so-called new wave. Out There In The Night is a fine example of Peter Perrett in his prime. That lyrical guitar comes courtesy of the way underrated John Perry btw.

Ben Webster - Don´t Get Around Much Anymore MP3
The Only Ones - Out There In The Night MP3

"Be a hip cat, be a ship cat..." There´s not a lot of Pink Floyd on my iPod, as I´m one of them snobs who abhorrs almost anything of the post-Barrett era. Cause "that cat´s something I can't explain..." Wonderful song. And we reach the finish of this week´s edition of Wild Weekend with the late great Johnny Thunders covering Dylan. Remembering only a fraction of the lyrics, and improvising the rest, he still manages to pull it off somehow.

Pink Floyd - Lucifer Sam MP3
Johnny Thunders - Joey Joey MP3

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Funky Lagos

If you feel attracted to the funky powers of Nigerian music other than the obvious classics of afrobeat figurehead Fela Kuti, I´ve got a recommendation for you. Nigeria 70, The Definitive Story Of 1970´s Funky Lagos on the Strut label is an exemplary two disc compilation that will surely knock you out. Diversity is the keyword here, although the continent´s trademark complex rhythms are always there. In fact, this thing is so groovy that I immediately ordered its companion set too, which is called Nigeria 70 - Lagos Jump. More on that one when the mailman comes a-knockin´.

To further wet your appetite, here´s a couple of funky highlights, Lagos stylee. Bongos Ikwue rides that fine lazy backbeat for all he´s worth. Cool organ riffs all around here. "God made a man, and a man made a woman, but the woman made the devil..." As the liner notes put it: let´s say political correctness was not on the agenda.

Bongos Ikwue - Woman Made The Devil MP3

Drummer Tony Allen was more or less the inventor of the afrobeat rhythm - supposedly one of the most difficult drumming techniques known to man - during the time he served in Fela´s band. He left Kuti in ´78 to find more musical freedom and started the Afro Messengers, a nod to Art Blakey´s Jazz Messengers. The hypnotic No Discrimination is yet another proof of the man´s special powers.

Tony Allen & His Afro Messengers - No Discrimination MP3

The quite brilliantly named Sahara All Stars Band Jos ruled the scene in the north of Nigeria. Just get into the groove and... enjoy yourself!

Sahara All Stars Band Jos - Enjoy Yourself MP3

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Don´t Look Down Or Back

Time for some recent stuff that caught our ears here at For The Sake Of The Song headquarters. All the tracks in this refreshing ten pack either came out recently or will be released in the very near future.

O man, can´t wait for that new Tunng album. But don´t stop there, we´ve got a lot more excellent tunage here. Try the intimate sound of The Fools for instance, a very promising girl duo from New York City. Or take the crispy folk rock of Timothy Cushing from Maine, the lush dreampop of Californians Avi Buffalo, the Baltimore country of Paul Masson...

Hell, just check ´em all out and if you like what you hear, please support the artists in question. Go to their shows, buy their albums, start a fanclub, fall in love. Promise?

Tunng - Don´t Look Down Or Back MP3
The Fools - The Great Whale MP3
Timothy Cushing - Dandelion Wine MP3
Avi Buffalo - What´s In It For? MP3
Paul Masson - Where Have All The Gentlemen Gone MP3
Ryan Doyle - The Motor Works In An Empty Room MP3
Harlem - Friendly Ghost MP3
Kevin Barker - You & Me MP3
Holopaw - Little Stallion With A Glass Jaw MP3
Scout Niblett -The Calcination Of Scout Niblett MP3

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wild Weekend

A new year, a new series. It´s going to be a wild weekend on For The Sake Of The Song every Saturday or Sunday from now on, featuring a cool sixpack of tunes solely decided by the shuffle function on my iPod. I´ve heard a lot of people hailing this blog as eclectic, and I´m pretty sure the ghost in the music machine will make it even more so. And that´s cool as far as I´m concerned.

Let´s start off - immediately cheating on my own iPod formula as I picked this one myself, but one needs a theme song, right? - with the track that lends its title to this series. Wild Weekend is an early American punk gem from 1977 by the Zeros, who were often called the Latino Ramones. For song number two, we move to outlaw country with David Allan Coe. "Lord, I´d give my life to find the freedom lost within the old songs that you sung..." A beauty from the Heartworn Highways soundtrack. Do try to see that documentary, it´s awesome.

The Zeros - Wild Weekend MP3
David Allan Coe - I Still Sing The Old Songs MP3

I´ve known J.J. Cale´s Travelin´ Light for ages, but it only recently dawned on me that this funky lil´ ditty is actually about sex. "We can go to paradise, maybe once, maybe twice... travelin' light, is the only way to fly..." Alright! Two boss tenors up next, straight from Chicago ´61. Gene ´Gentle Jug´ Ammons and Sonny Stitt fight a saxophone duel almost to the death here.

J.J. Cale - Travelin´ Light MP3
Gene Ammons & Sonny Stitt - Blues Up And Down MP3

"Steady dippin´, ego trippin..." Must be the liquor talkin´. Tell me about it. A soulful contribution from way underrated Sub Poppers Big Chief. And last but not least, the iPod picked a heavy dub track by Inner Circle´s Fatman Riddim Section. Which I´d like to dedicate to Ib, over at the controls of the always inspiring Siblingshot blog. Keep on dubbing mate.

Big Chief - The Liquor Talkin´ MP3
Inner Circle & The Fatman Riddim Section - Killer Dub MP3

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Shapin´ A Century

Many people seem to think that just because Ornette Coleman is known as the father of free jazz, his music has to be unlistenable skronk. But although his teeth are sharp enough, Ornette doesn´t bite. Just check out these two choice cuts from his landmark ´59 albums The Shape Of Jazz To Come and Change Of The Century to see what I mean.

Ornette Coleman - Congeniality MP3
Ornette Coleman - Ramblin´ MP3

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pa Pa Padapa

Debris Slide! Been playing early Pavement to death again lately. Not to deny the quality of later critic´s darlings as Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain or Wowee Zowee, but the unpolished barbwire experiments of their first musical steps still suit me best.

For a while, Pavement seemed to personify everything that was musically interesting in the early nineties. From the sloppy but exquisite collages they wrapped their records in to their often mystifying songtitles (Internal K-Dart anyone? Krell Vid-User?), it all immediately hit the spot somehow. Some band members lived in California while others resided on the east coast, and the drummer was said to be a certified nutcase. And then there was their glorious brand of beautiful noise of course. Their influences may have been rather obvious (Velvets, The Fall, Swell Maps, Sonic Youth), but the resulting cheeky racket was already totally their own.

As I was lucky enough to be in on Malkmus and co right from the start, I´ve got all these rough diamonds on vinyl too, but the nifty Westing (By Musket And Sextant) compilation sure comes in handy for everyday use. May I recommend that you buy it forthwith? All together now: Pa Pa Padapa... Debris Slide!

Pavement - Debris Slide MP3
Pavement - Box Elder MP3
Pavement - Spizzle Trunk MP3

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back (More Or Less)

And wishing you a prosperous and inspired 2010, dear readers. Just a short post to start the new year, as I just got back from a short but very sweet trip to the weird and wonderful country that is India, and it kinda feels like my mind is still lingering somewhere on the Bay of Bengal coast. Fear not though, as business as usual will be resumed real soon. And as I managed to score a new album by Ghulam Ali there, one of his beautiful songs will of course be today´s soundtrack.

Ghulam Ali - Jiska Koi Nahin Hota MP3