Friday, July 31, 2009
Kaleidoscope - Pulsating Dream
Kaleidoscope was an American psychedelic folk band who recorded 4 albums and several singles for Epic between 1966 and 1970. They are not to be confused with the British Psychedelic group Kaleidoscope.
The original line-up featured Solomon Feldthouse, David Lindley, Chris Darrow, Chester Crill (a.k.a Max Budda, Fenrus Epp, Templeton Parcely) and John Vidican. Between them, they played a wide range of stringed instruments and world-music influences, deployed in their early psychedelic songs such as Egyptian Gardens and Pulsating Dream and then in longer pieces such as Taxim, which they also performed live at the Berkeley Folk Festival on July 4 1967. They were also unusual among rock bands in being able and willing to feature music by Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington in their repertoire.
Their 1967 piece Stranger in Your City/Beacon from Mars, recorded live in the studio, was also influential, with Led Zeppelin admiring Lindley's controlled feedback solo.
Darrow and Vidican left and were replaced by Stuart Brotman and Paul Lagos for their 3rd and 4th albums. The release, "Bernice," is deep, amazing psych with phenomenal electric guitar work that was missing from some of the other albums, and while it looks as though it may be more country influenced, which many of their albums surely were, this one is WAY overlooked. At the end of 1969, Kaleidoscope contributed 2 new songs ("Brother Mary" and "Mickey's Tune") to Michaelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point.
Kaleidoscope - Pulsating Dream
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
"Everything Scatter/Noise for Vendor Mouth" is another gem in the Fela two-albums-on-one-CD reissue series on MCA. It should be noted that unlike some of the other titles in this series, the tracks that make up the "Everything Scatter" LP -- the title cut and "Who No Know Go Know" -- were previously available on CD on the Celluloid label in the late 80s. "Scatter" was part of the original "Zombie" disc, and "Who No Know" was on "Mr. Follow Follow." Both "Everything Scatter" and "Noise for Vendor Mouth" (and its b-side "Mattress") were originally released in 1975. This was the beginning of what was arguably Fela's greatest period, and in the next three years he would release more than a dozen albums! While "Zombie" and "Opposite People" are clearly the essential recordings from this period, this disc, and all of the Fela reissues, are really indispensable.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Toots Hibbert is often compared to Otis Redding, and since Hibbert was greatly influenced by classic American R&B as well as the music of his own Baptist church, that comparison is certainly apt. But while he owes a debt to the intense, high-octane vocal approach of Redding, there is also a great deal of similarity between Toots and the great James Brown. In many ways and at roughly the same time, Hibbert did for Jamaican soul what Brown did for its American cousin--he made it funky and nasty! One listen to the chunky guitar riffs underneath and Hibbert's repetitive vocal chants on top of 1968's "Do the Reggay" and this much is clear: while the energy of ska remains, the deep groove has become supreme ruler. This awesome collection goes back to an early Prince Buster-produced single from 1964 and follows the Maytals--and with them, the history of Jamaican pop--from sweet-harmonizing, horn-driven ska to steadfast rock steady to archetypical roots reggae. And don't forget that Hibbert wrote 18 of these 19 jewels himself (there's one Redding cover here), showing himself to be highly effective with both topical tunes and cheerful rave-ups.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Miami had a different slant on soul music than other Southern cities. New Orleans had the second-line rhythms and bayou flavor; Memphis, Nashville and Muscle Shoals, Alabama, had both quartet gospel and down-home blues in their corners. However, the musicians in Miami were fairly sophisticated, as equally influenced by Motown and Chicago’s makeout music as they were the South. The Outskirts of Deep City is Numero’s second excavation from the vaults of Miami’s Deep City label. Both albums are all over the map stylistically, and although this second volume offers more of the same, its contents are hardly unused leftovers.
The Rollers’ “Knocking at the Wrong Door” is a working definition of the “Miami Sound” as it was back then: near-pop melodies grafted onto a hard Memphis-style backbeat (though Deep City had several one-off anomalies that didn’t fit that template). This goody bag includes smooth vocal chanteuses like Helene Smith and Lynn Williams, right alongside nascent funk bands like James Knight and the Butlers. The Nasty Dog Catchers and Perk Badger bolt straight for the dance floor with their offhanded soul shuffles. Betty Wright, arguably the most famous artist here, is heard in her prehit days, working out on “Mr. Lucky,” aided by some riotously out-of-place gunshot sound effects that don’t seem to fit the story line, unless Mr. Lucky is some kinda badass: “Mr. Lucky, that’s what your name should be_/_’Cause you’re lucky to still have me.” Even Clarence Reid turns in a couple of straight-ahead soul numbers that don’t give any clue he’d later don a mask and record X-rated parodies of popular songs as Blowfly.
Numero apparently went through quite a lot to get a hold of these masters. Fortunately, the effort was not in vain.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
On the edge of the Amazon in the ’60s, a sound emerged that united
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sweet jazzy funk -- from the cornbelt of Omaha! The LA Carnival are one of those rarer-than-rare funk groups who not only never got their due back in the day -- but also recorded a heck of a lot of great material that never even got issued! They have a totally great sound that bubbles in jazzy licks on trumpet, sax, and organ -- next to tighter, funkier vamping on the rhythms -- all of which makes for a killer approach to the groove that's surprisingly fresh, given the passage of three decades since the group's heyday. And leave it to the folks at Stones Throw -- who know how to dig beyond the crates, into the earth, and come up with a lost slice of funk history that has made the world a much better musical place. They've lovingly remastered these great recordings from the early 70s, and have packaged the whole thing with a well-done set of notes that really goes into detail about this unique group, their amazing sound, and their obscure Nebraska origins! An instant funk essential -- and one you'll be thanking yourself for buying for years to come. Titles include "Black Man's March", "Ron's Tune", "The Klan", "Color", "Flyin", "We Need Peace & Love", and "Blind Man".
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Bob Marley and the Wailers
Songs of Freedom
Songs of Freedom is a four-disc box set containing music by Bob Marley and the Wailers, from Marley's first song "Judge Not" recorded in 1962, to a live version of "Redemption Song", recorded in 1980 at his last concert.
It is said to be complementary to the greatest hits compilation "Legend", in the sense that any of the tracks with the same names are presented in different versions from the normal single mixes on Legend
Friday, July 10, 2009
Champeta is the riotous Afro-Colombian street sound of Colombia's Caribbean coast - a powder-keg of rhythms from local slave descendents brewed together with Congolese soukous, Ghanaian highlife, and Nigerian Afro-beat. Three years in the making, Voodoo Love Inna Champeta Land finds Colombian Champeta stars Viviano Torres, Luis Towers and Justo Valdez jamming with African legends Dally Kimoko, Diblo Dibala, Sékou Diabaté, Nyboma and Rigo Star, bringing roots Afro-Colombian grooves back home to African soil. Afro-Latin grooves have never sounded like this before...
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Your starter for a hundred classic reggae albums, this is arguably the first and definitive volume of the ever fine Soul Jazz series. Grouping together fourteen central documents at the very foundation of reggae music and dub - from the prototype Lee Perry funk of popcorn, the Pete Rock snap and break of Greedy G - all time classic rarities like Cedric Brooks give rasta glory, ending appropriately enough with drum song, whether you've heard these tunes once or a thousand times - they never lose their indelible magic. This is one of the most important reggae collections out there, so if you're looking to a way into a summer sound, or just simply the perfect party record then look no further, the party starts here.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
MCA continued the series of definitive masters of the Jimi Hendrix catalogue in 2000, releasing the self - titled box set The Jimi Hendrix Experience, a boxed set consisting of four discs. The material includes alternate recordings, live performances and some rarities. Although most of the material had been released in earlier compilations, some previously unreleased material (such as live versions of "Killing Floor" and "The Wind Cries Mary") was also included.
The alternative recordings include some tracks from Hendrix's studio albums, even including some from First Rays of the New Rising Sun. This list includes "Purple Haze", "Highway Chile", "Little Wing", "Gypsy Eyes", "Stone Free", among others. The live songs are taken from performances such as the Monterey Pop Festival, the Royal Albert Hall, and the Isle of Wight and includes a near-complete version of Hendrix in the West.
On some tracks, especially on those from Hendrix in the West, the recordings have been slightly altered to clean up the sound, but even when modifications were made the result does not differ too much from the original masterings.
Another edition of this boxed set was released on 28th November 2005, which, under the Universal music group label, included an exclusive bonus DVD featuring a 30 minute documentary called "Hendrix And The Blues", originally created as part of the 'Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues' series. As well as this, this bonus DVD also includes several Live tracks, including "Johnny B. Goode" which was recorded live at Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley, California on May 30 1970, "Red House" and "In From The Storm", both of which were recorded live at Isle Of Wight, England on August 30
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Racially mixed and, for a time, commercially hot, War forged an undeniable fusion between the 'hood and the barrio, infusing their brand of funk with Latin rhythms, jazz flourishes, and gritty social realism that summed up the '70s. This two-CD collection traces War's lengthy and varied career, from the early days backing up Eric Burdon on "Spill the Wine" to their "Low Rider" (still sampled to this day) and the steely desperado epic "Cisco Kid." Capable of both pop hits such as "Why Can't We Be Friends" and the murky R&B of "Slipping into Darkness," War created some of the coolest and musically adventurous tracks of the '70s and '80s, paving the way for Latino rappers like Cypress Hill and Kid Frost.