Caribbean Carnival

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My first thought when I spotted this baby was “Exotica!!”. But closer inspection reveals that this is an early example of British exploitation of the burgeoning West Indian market, triggered by the immigration explosion in the early part of the sixties.

The music is performed by Russ Henderson and his Caribbean Boys. Apparently, London-resident Russ got the gig because he was originally from Port-Of-Spain, Trinidad and “had no difficulty in finding artists from his country with the right feeling and rhythm necessary to produce an authentic recording”.

Included are standards we know and love like “Walking The Dog”, “Yellow Bird” and a steel band rendition of “Peanut Vendor”, along with the energetic ska of “Sammy Dead Oh!” and equally morbid “Stone Cold Dead In De Market” (another version of which featured on our mixtape) and finishing with an instrumental rhythmic orgy called simply “West Indian Drums”.

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Published in: on May 13, 2010 at 8:13 am  Comments (2)  
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Ofra Haza – Im Nin’Alu (Played In Full Mix)

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Isreali chanteuse Ofra Haza had her only sizable UK hit with this in 1988, off the back of Coldcut’s cheeky sample as featured on their remix of Eric B. and Rakim’s “Paid In Full”. With me so far?

I didn’t buy it back then, but was quite pleased to find this Dutch pressing recently, though it hasn’t aged as well as I’d imagined. Ms Haza still sounds great of course, but the production by Izhar Ashdot in Tel Aviv sounds a bit lame by today’s standards. Should’ve commissioned a Coldcut remix, innit.

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nina De La Puebla y Luquitas De Marchena

As of today – I have now a very sizable number of flamenco discs – be warned – you will be seeing them…

First up is this babe – obviously purchased initially for no other reasons than the sleeve is so bleedin classic an example of hyper-cool design – it simply had to be owned.

This is a pairing of 2 greats – and is recorded as if they have simply sat down and without a care in the world ploughed through a set of old folk standards (which they may well have done).

I will not attempt to go into the backgrounds of either of these artists – needless to say – they were huge – and the web will provide you more than enough details..

Nothing like a bit of Spanish folk music whilst cooking a spicy curry hey !!

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 5:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Kontikis – Island Magic

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There’s always that slim hope, whenever I come across an Hawaiian album, that it will inadvertently sound a bit strange and other-worldly, like Martin Denny. Alas, The Kontikis fail to deliver on that score, though it’s quite a pleasant listen, and I like the fact that the sleeve art is unusually, erm, dark.

Published in: on December 11, 2009 at 7:33 am  Comments (4)  
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Luis Alberto Del Parana

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Okay, here’s ”the Real McCoy’. Luis Alberto Del Parana and Los Paraguayos, first toured Europe back in 1954, and by the time this record was released 19 years later, Luis and his crew were world-renowned performers of genuine Latin American folk music.  A native of Paraguay, Luis covered all the traditional tunes from Mexico to Argentina and everywhere in between, and his dedication to the cause made him a hero in his homeland: whenever he returned home from touring, the Paraguayan army would lay-on a guard of honour at the airport, and then a presidential limo with police escort would whisk him away to his riverside mansion.

Published in: on December 4, 2009 at 7:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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Africana

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Polydor presents Horst Wende and his orchestra in “Africana”, a collection of tunes from that mysterious, exciting continent – and all “made in Africa”.

Among the instruments used by Horst Wende in these catchy arrangements one can hear the unmistakable sound of African penny-whistles and drums so popular with both the white and the coloured populations.

Quite what the ‘coloured population’ would really have made of this selection of colonial ditties, performed by a German orchestra to boot, will probably never be known.  Anyone hoping for an emphasis on traditional native rhythms will be sorely disappointed, and as for those new-fangled styles like Rai or Juju.. forget it!

Still, “Alibama” is  “a favourite folk-song of the Cape coloured people that dates back to the time when the American sailing vessel “Alibama” called at Cape Town”, and Wende’s self-composed “Africano” is “a typically African tune based on native melodies”.

Apparently Horst Wende was studying music at the conservatory in Leipzig when his career was ‘interrupted’ by the outbreak of war.  His political allegiance at the time are not recorded in the sleeve notes, though clearly he had a genuine interest in native musics – according to his Wiki page, he was also Roberto Delgado who, you might remember, was entertaining me yesterday with his South American repertoire.

Published in: on November 24, 2009 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Caramba!

It’s Monday once more, and as I stare out yet again at the blustery, rain-sodden English landscape, time to break out some more of those exotic sounds of yesteryear, but this time with an emphasis on big orchestral arrangements of the Latin/Mexican/South American numbers. Nevermind that, if you actually visited most of these places today, you’d be dodging bullets in drug-gang controlled warzones to a soundtrack of gangster rap – just give me The Mexican Hat Dance, The Peanut Vendor, Tequila, and all those old rumba, samba and bossa grooves, as performed by the orchestras of Roberto Delgado, Erwin Halletz, Bert Kaempfert, Ray Martin, Edmundo Ros, Mantovani and others…

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Wow, just as I’m finishing up this post, the sunshine suddenly breaks through the clouds. That’s the power of music for you!

Published in: on November 23, 2009 at 12:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mikis Theodorakis – “I Yitonia ton Angelon”

An absolutely superb piece of music – originating I have manage to find out around 1963, on the EMI/Columbia imprint (062-70208).  Research has been somewhat hampered due to all notes/titles etc being in the Greek alphabet and also having gone through some Romanization process to present a form these uneducated eyes can read – trouble is – it would seem there must be numerous methods to do this – and the subtle difference in spellings make online searching a tad tricky ..

Picked this up this week for a quid in that mecca of second-hand vinyl, Yeovil.  The sleeve is totally stunning – with a perfectly framed black-and-white image, half-shadowed – very reminiscent of something that could have graced an early 4AD Records release – absolutely beautiful !   It consists of music conducted/played (I hesitate to say written but probably is) by Mikis Theodorakis, who to say is prolific in output would be ridiculously under-stating the issue!

He is undoubtedly most famous in these parts for the piece of music Zorba (of which the original whole song ‘Srose To Stroma Sou’ starts off this LP); along with having supplied the soundtrack for the film Serpico; these 2 references are only just scratching the surface of his substantial back-catalog.

To be honest the more uptempo Bouzouki pieces are not what do it for these ears – the slower and at times totally haunting numbers are just sublime.  The second track on the LP ‘Penia’ running at a mere 1 minute or so – barely starting a simple solo Bouzouki refrain before ending – is quite stunning – and could be dropped mid set in any gig I played (hence me not getting top billings much these days I suppose!) ..

As you might guess – after an hour or so of searching – I have managed to find some pesky online site – that will sell you the afore-mentioned track for a mere 0.08 Euros, which totally makes you realise how damn nice it is to hold the original (near mint) condition vinyl !

For those of you with no chance to hear this stuff – and I am not going to give any crap MP3 links (you can do all that searching yourselves) – here is one of the numbers to wet the early morning appetites !

Published in: on November 22, 2009 at 7:03 am  Comments (3)  
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The World of Travel (Argo SPA 212)

 

The World of Travel

The World of Travel

A simply excellent LP this one  released in 1973 – an age before Sublime Frequencies performed the same (perhaps more detailed) crate digging – an audio snap-shot of times gone and places I personally wish to explore more …    I must confess to being addicted to these long-forgotten recordings, preserved in long forgotten slabs of wax – and this one in particular satisfies more than most ..  everything on here is good – but the track ‘Music from Iraq’ with Abdul-Karim Al Azawi playing the Tabl to very fine effect, is stunning – a snippit to drop mid-dubstep set – and if I believed in the concept – a staple-sample moment if ever there was one …!

travel-back

Published in: on October 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm  Comments (4)  
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