Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Live Dead

According to the late great Curtis Mayfield, Freddie the junkie is as dead as a doornail. "A terrible blow, but that´s how it goes..." But the just as funky Spirit Of Atlanta swears the dude´s alive and well, although he sure went through hell. And what´s more: Freddie´s clean now, too. "He´s got him a job, he´s the king of the mob..." Answer records: you just got to love ´em.

Curtis Mayfield - Freddie´s Dead MP3
Spirit Of Atlanta - Freddie Is Alive And Well MP3

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wild Weekend Vol. 42

It´s just another Wild Weekend as we jazz it up revolutionary style with mr. Shepp, take L Dopa with mr. Albini and preview El Classico with mr. Smith. Plus we´ve got a Cohen protégé, an sixties acid folkie and a new bluesy talent to watch. Enjoy and please do have a wild one.

And we´re off in jazz mode with Archie Shepp and a soulful monster from his ´72 masterpiece Attica Blues. Grooves like hell, lamenting in the meantime the miserable fate of activist George Jackson, the famous Black Panther and Soledad Brother who was shot by guards at Saint Quentin prison in an alleged escape attempt. Shepp had his doubts about this, and probably with good reason. Next up: renowned producer Steve Albini´s both revolutionary and uncompromising eighties power trio Big Black. Short but sweet sample track L Dopa hails from a certain razor sharp album with a sleeve and a title to die for. Alright?

Archie Shepp - Blues For Brother George Jackson MP3
Big Black - L Dopa MP3

El Classico will be played in Barcelona this Monday, which is an incredibly big thing in Spain, and especially in my dearest Catalunya. Barça vs. Real Madrid is a game drenched in history, which guarantees an electrical atmosphere in the Camp Nou. Better believe me, as I witnessed a couple of amazing encounters between the blaugrana and the blancos there myself. Forza Barça! Find Mark E. Smith´s ode to the match of matches on what´s possibly the Fall´s finest: Hex Enduction Hour. For something completely different, we turn to Charlie Parr. I read an enthusiastic piece about his last album in my newspaper of all places, checked out one of his bluesy Americana songs on the Hype Machine and immediately ordered When The Devil Goes Blind straight from the lion´s mouth. Yes, he´s that good.

The Fall - The Classical MP3
Charlie Parr - I Dreamed I Saw Jesse James Last Night MP3

A while back, reader Holly alerted me in a comment to an interesting album on the legendary underground label ESP by some weirdo who called himself MIJ. And indeed, Yodeling Astrologer (from ´69) does sound quite unique, as the acid drenched Grok (Martian Love Call) illustrates. Freakfolk avant la lettre. And we´ve come to the end of another Wild Weekend with a sunny sounding popsong by Neema, a Canadian singer from Egyptian and Lebanese descent who lives quite close to Leonard Cohen. "It´s a foggy night in the streets of Montreal..." The ageing master must have been rather smitten by his near-neighbour, as he co-produced her album Watching You Think, and drew its cover too. Quite a recommendation methinks.

MIJ - Grok (Martian Love Call) MP3
Neema - Escape MP3

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bluer Than Blue

"That old feelin´
Sure goes stealin´
Down to my shoes..."

Reads a bit like a haiku, but it´s only our friend Mac Rebennack, saluting the Duke New Orleans style.

Dr. John - Mood Indigo MP3

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Punch Line

In a hurry? Then waste no time opening up this fast and furious six pack of American pre-hardcore punk blasts, all guaranteed to clock in under the one minute mark. "Progressed to the point of no distinction, dementia of a higher order... what we do is secret, secret..." All you need is a punch line really.

Germs - What We Do Is Secret MP3
Circle Jerks - Red Tape MP3
Black Flag - Spray Paint The Walls MP3
Bad Brains - Joshua´s Song MP3
Descendents - Weinerschnitzel MP3
Minutemen - The Punch Line MP3

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wild Weekend Vol. 41

It´s Wild Weekend number 41, filled to the brim with wild gospel, heavy roots reggae, hot soul, pre-postrock, psychedelic pop, and one of them perfect rock songs to drive your car to. Beep beep. Yeah.

We´ll get going with the rootsy reggae sounds of the unjustly obscure Sylford Walker and his signature tune Jah Golden Pen. "Just got to touch ya finger on Jah golden pen, to write ya name up there..." Heavy heavy bass in a fine Mighty Two production, which means Joe Gibbs and his trusted sidekick Errol Thompson are in total control as usual. The original vinyl single is one of the holy grails for reggae collectors btw. Meanwhile back in the States, my estimated blogging colleague Scott from Pretty Goes With Pretty has just published a book in the 33 1/3 series on Slint´s influential masterpiece Spiderland. I´ll buy me a copy for sure. You can read an interesting interview with the author here, while listening to a cool post-Spiderland instrumental from the Louisville legends below.

Sylford Walker - Jah Golden Pen MP3
Slint - Glenn MP3

A stark cover version of Ain´t No Grave was apparently the last song ever recorded in this life by Johnny Cash, but ´gospel ranger´ Brother Claude Ely´s 1953 manic gospelbilly original remains the real deal alright. "Meet me Jesus, meet me, well meet me in the middle of the air, if these wings should fail me, meet me with another pair..." Now that´s the spirit, bro. More hot stuff to follow thanks to John Fogerty and the lads. Tombstone Shadow comes to you from The Concert, recorded live in Oakland 1970. My fave music for highway driving will always be Creedence, dunno why. It just is. Earned me some speeding tickets, too. Not nearly as many as the missus though.

Brother Claude Ely - There Ain´t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down MP3
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Tombstone Shadow (live ´70) MP3

Moving into more tranquil waters now with the Electric Prunes, whose claim to fame will always be their legendary garage smash I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night). Don´t underestimate their second outing Underground (´67) though, a warm batch of psychedelic pop songs in its own right. Just check out the Goffin & King penned I Happen To Love You for proof. And we´ll finish this week´s edition of Wild Weekend with a hot soul scorcher by ZZ Hill that you can blame on the Dogg. Because that´s the eccentric Jerry Williams Jr., better known as Swamp Dogg, in the producer´s chair. Which of course means satisfaction´s guaranteed. See ya next weekend, just might be another wild one.

Electric Prunes - I Happen To Love You MP3
ZZ Hill - Touch ´Em With Love MP3

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sure Does

"Feels so good just to wake up in the morning by myself,
Cup of coffee in the kitchen, fire up a little danger to my health,
They say that love is all you need, but freedom´s something else..."

There´s a new Leonard Cohen album in the pipeline, and the 76-year-old legend from Montreal is slowly fitting some virgin songs into his current stage show. You can sample a trio below, including a majestic ode to loneliness called Feels So Good, in truly exceptional sound quality. A heartfelt thanks goes out to the taper who recorded these songs at the famous open air opera stage of Römersteinbruch in Austria last September.

Leonard Cohen - Feels So Good (live) MP3
Leonard Cohen - The Darkness (live) MP3
Leonard Cohen - Born In Chains (live) MP3

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In The Ghetto

The Kingston ghetto that is. Tough place, but also a breeding ground for remarkable vocal talent. Presenting a rather rootsy six pack.

"The youthmen down in the ghetto,
Them have to carry this heavy load..."

Sugar Minott - Ghetto-ology MP3
The Royals - Ghetto Man MP3
Dennis Brown - Ghetto Girl MP3
Jacob Miller - Ghetto On Fire MP3
Prince Alla - Youthmen In The Ghetto MP3
Big Joe - In The Ghetto MP3

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wild Weekend Vol. 40

Welcome to Wild Weekend, a.k.a. Week-end Sauvage, edition 40. Got some great songs sung in French (x2) and German for you this week, plus a bit of beat poetry, an Iron & Wine beauty, and a girl group gem the Beatles couldn´t get enough of. Just have another wild one, mes amis de musique.

Let´s warm things up a bit with the help of more or less forgotten beat poet Kenneth Patchen. This month´s edition of Mojo magazine comes with a free cd covering Dylan´s Scene in early sixties bohemian New York, which means lots of folkie tracks of course. Patchen´s jazzed-up State Of The Nation is the contribution I like most of all though. The poet oozes cool, as he ought to, while the Chamber Jazz Sextet backing him sure sounds hot. Dig it. Meanwhile over at One Horse Town, which is kind of a follow-up to the late great Setting The Woods On Fire blog, you can find a handy zipfile with the originals of all 24 songs the Beatles ever covered. Wonderful stuff of course; check it out here a.s.a.p. Here´s a taster: Devil In His Heart by Detroit girl group the Donays. Wow indeed.

Kenneth Patchen - State Of The Nation MP3
The Donays - Devil In His Heart MP3

Ready for some foreign language stuff now? Très bien. Here´s a touching ode to the flatlands he called home by that legendary francophone Fleming Jacques Brel, arguably the greatest singer Belgium ever produced. "Avec le fil des jours pour unique voyage, et des chemins de pluie pour unique bonsoir..." Recorded live at the famous Olympia Theatre in Paris back in ´64. A fine version in Flemish/Dutch exists as well btw: watch this space. Continuing our multilingual trip, make way now for San Franciscan art punks Tuxedo Moon. They cover a famous song by the Stones. In German for some reason, which works. "Ich hasse meine Nachbarn, ich hasse Arbeit auch..." Right on.

Jacques Brel - Le Plat Pays MP3
Tuxedo Moon - 19th Nervous Breakdown MP3

There´s a new Iron & Wine album in the pipeline, and I´m rather curious what mister Sam Beam will come up with this time around. While we wait with bated breath, here´s a beautiful track from the bearded one´s first outing, the impressive The Creek Drank The Cradle from 2002. And we bid you adieu with a swinging underground vibe courtesy of French turntablist DJ Cam. "Les herbes, les fleurs, les fruits..." And hey, let´s not forget l´amour. Bye bye, et jusqu'à la prochaine week-end sauvage.

Iron & Wine - Lion´s Mane MP3
DJ Cam - Dieu Reconnaitra Les Siens MP3

Thursday, November 11, 2010

At Your Command

"Maybe, if I kissed your lips, I´ll be at your command..." In the indispensable collection The Heart Of Rock And Soul, which chronicles his 1001 greatest singles ever made, rock scribe Dave Marsh needs only one line to sum up this lovely girl group smash from 1958. It´s spot on of course: ´Virginity personified as an unwelcome condition´.

The Chantels - Maybe MP3

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

No Last Name

Mix the songwriting genius of Tom T. Hall with the melancholy mariachi-style desert trumpets of Calexico and you know you´ve got yourself a winner. "If you meet a girl named Juanita, with some ribbons in her hair, would you tell her that she's wanted on the phone..."

Calexico - Tulsa Telephone Book MP3

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wild Weekend Vol. 39

"For Christ´s sake don´t jump for me - jump for yourself". Or: welcome to Wild Weekend, edition #39. Just another selection of pukka tunes, be they triphop or blues, noiserock or rocksteady, punk or Ethiopiques. Jump in and have a wild one.

Starting off with a little ancient blues to get you in the right mood. Ted Gioia, in his much recommended book Delta Blues, writes the following about Geeshie Wiley´s Skinny Leg Blues: "listen to how she shapes the opening guitar phrases - even the very first note with its lazy, arcing sureness - and you know that you are in safe hands..." Amen to that. And while we´re on the subject of blues, do yourself a favor and check out a new blues-blog called Hell Hound On My Trail. The guy don´t talk much, but he sure spins the goodies... Meanwhile, we´re moving into triphop territory, with the wild boys from Unkle. Josh Davis aka DJ Shadow works his magic behind the mixing desk, while the spooky vocals come courtesy of Alice Temple. Cool Blade Runner ending, too. "You are alone?"

Geeshie Wiley - Skinny Leg Blues MP3
Unkle - Bloodstain MP3

Two weeks ago we had Ry Cooder covering a Maurice & Mac original, and now it´s Ken Boothe´s turn to give the soul duo a run for their money. And surprise surprise, his smooth rocksteady turnover fits You Left The Water Running like the proverbial glove. Find it on Safe Travel, a killer collection of early Phil Pratt productions. Time for some decidedly heavier stuff now. Let´s hear it for New York noiserockers supreme Unsane, with a typical track from their relentless ´91 debut. Came in a sleeve to die for by the way... Big city blues for the hard of hearing.

Ken Boothe - You Left The Water Running MP3
Unsane - Vandal-X MP3

Regular For The Sake Of The Song readers will probably know by now that I count Jeffrey Lee Pierce (´58-´96) among the true greats. So it pleased me enormously that Off!, a hobbyhorse of Circle Jerk Keith Morris, has just released an energetic eulogy to the late Gun Club foreman. Extra bonus points: the amazing Raymond Pettibon draws their cover art. And we go out in grand Ethiopean style with the exciting grooves of Ayaléw Mèsfin, backed by the mighty Black Lion Band. I mean it: one day I´ll go on a pilgrimage to faraway Addis Abeba. Better start saving up pronto.

Off! - Jeffrey Lee Pierce MP3
Ayaléw Mèsfin - Feqer Aydèlèm Wèy MP3

Thursday, November 4, 2010

And I Thought Of You

His tasty treatment of Neil Young´s recent La Noise made me revisit another job well done by the acclaimed Daniel Lanois: Dylan´s ´89 comeback Oh Mercy. And I´m glad I did. Different sound, same class. "Listen to the engine, listen to the bell, as the last fire truck from hell goes rolling by..." Wise words, heed them well.

Bob Dylan - Shooting Star MP3

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Clove And Cinnamon

"A dança do vento, o ventre da noite, e o sol da manhã..." It took me a while, but I finally managed to track down all the originals of The Brave And The Bold, that wonderfully weird ´06 cover collaboration between Tortoise and Bonnie Prince Billy. And of these, I probably like Milton Nascimento´s Cravo E Canela the best. A steaming beauty, surprisingly featuring Miles Davis sidemen Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. From tropicália to postrock: not such a big step after all? Brace yourself for two spicy treats, one from Brazil and the other from Chicago by way of Kentucky. "The dance of the wind, the belly of the night, and the morning sun..."

Milton Nascimento - Cravo E Canela MP3
Tortoise & Bonnie Prince Billy - Cravo E Canela