Archive for September, 2011


It was during the early ’80s that Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s profile was high enough to warrant releasing his records in the U.S.
So for the first time, one did not have to scour the import bins or pay import prices to get a dose of Afro-beat. On “Black President”, the politics are at the forefront as Fela rails against colonialism and the military government growing rich at the expense of Nigeria’s poor.
The grooves are dense and supple and in many ways this is classic Fela, it just doesn’t kick quite as hard as “Expensive Shit” or “He Miss Road”.

Fela Kuti – Black President (1981)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

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It was during the early ’80s that Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s profile was high enough to warrant releasing his records in the U.S.
So for the first time, one did not have to scour the import bins or pay import prices to get a dose of Afro-beat. On “Black President”, the politics are at the forefront as Fela rails against colonialism and the military government growing rich at the expense of Nigeria’s poor.
The grooves are dense and supple and in many ways this is classic Fela, it just doesn’t kick quite as hard as “Expensive Shit” or “He Miss Road”.

Fela Kuti – Black President (1981)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

A press release from the United Democratic Front of Nigeria on the occasion of Fela’s death noted: “Those who knew you well were insistent that you could never compromise with the evil you had fought all your life. Even though made weak by time and fate, you remained strong in will and never abandoned your goal of a free, democratic, socialist Africa.”

The album “I Go Shout Plenty” on the Afrodisia label was released in 1986 but apparently recorded earlier.

Tracks:

1. I Go Shout Plenty
2. Why Black Man Dey Suffer

Fela Kuti – I Go Shout Plenty (1977)
(256 kbps, front cover included)

A press release from the United Democratic Front of Nigeria on the occasion of Fela’s death noted: “Those who knew you well were insistent that you could never compromise with the evil you had fought all your life. Even though made weak by time and fate, you remained strong in will and never abandoned your goal of a free, democratic, socialist Africa.”

The album “I Go Shout Plenty” on the Afrodisia label was released in 1986 but apparently recorded earlier.

Tracks:

1. I Go Shout Plenty
2. Why Black Man Dey Suffer

Fela Kuti – I Go Shout Plenty (1977)
(256 kbps, front cover included)


Rounder Records deserves much praise for brightening up the often dull and familiar American pop musicscape with a flurry of releases that challenge our stereotypical view of “island music.” This is particularly true of the music of Trinidad and Tobago, identified in the American popular mind with the synthetic Calypso-meets-disco sound of soca. While soca is a more complex and worthy genre than some opine, it’s associated less with Calypso’s social protest and hilariously witty innuendo than with less-graceful expressions like popular soca artist Arrow’s sexual request in “Winey Winey” to “winey winey ‘pon your pum-pum.”

This fascinating CD puts the gleam on the fine old wood of the earliest Calypso songs, featuring wonderfully baroque orchestrations from the finest T&T Calypso orchestras from 1914 to the ’50s, with elegant keyboard passages, swooning strings, snaking horns, exotic male choruses with African overtones, and the sublime vocals of seminal Calypsonians such as Lionel Belasco, Roaring Lion, Babb and Williams, Houdini, Lord Executor, and Lord Invader. This collection of treasures from the Smithsonian, other archives, and commercial studios transformed a series of tracks by the set’s producers into a heady taste of carnival through the decades.

Calypso Calaloo is actually the aural accompaniment to Donald R. Hill’s written volume Calypso Calaloo: Early Carnival Music in Trinidad, a fascinating account of that island’s music pioneers, its world-famous annual carnival, and the culture that spawned it.
.
VA – Calypso Calaloo – Early Carnival Music In Trinidad
(256 kbps, front cover included)


Rounder Records deserves much praise for brightening up the often dull and familiar American pop musicscape with a flurry of releases that challenge our stereotypical view of “island music.” This is particularly true of the music of Trinidad and Tobago, identified in the American popular mind with the synthetic Calypso-meets-disco sound of soca. While soca is a more complex and worthy genre than some opine, it’s associated less with Calypso’s social protest and hilariously witty innuendo than with less-graceful expressions like popular soca artist Arrow’s sexual request in “Winey Winey” to “winey winey ‘pon your pum-pum.”

This fascinating CD puts the gleam on the fine old wood of the earliest Calypso songs, featuring wonderfully baroque orchestrations from the finest T&T Calypso orchestras from 1914 to the ’50s, with elegant keyboard passages, swooning strings, snaking horns, exotic male choruses with African overtones, and the sublime vocals of seminal Calypsonians such as Lionel Belasco, Roaring Lion, Babb and Williams, Houdini, Lord Executor, and Lord Invader. This collection of treasures from the Smithsonian, other archives, and commercial studios transformed a series of tracks by the set’s producers into a heady taste of carnival through the decades.

Calypso Calaloo is actually the aural accompaniment to Donald R. Hill’s written volume Calypso Calaloo: Early Carnival Music in Trinidad, a fascinating account of that island’s music pioneers, its world-famous annual carnival, and the culture that spawned it.
.
VA – Calypso Calaloo – Early Carnival Music In Trinidad
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Born Winston Cooper, King Stitt was one of the early DJs on the reggae scene. Spotted by Count Machuki at a dance, Stitt was asked to try his hand at DJing because of his spectacular dance moves.
Born with facial disfigurement, Stitt used it as a gimmick, taking advantage of the islanders’ love for Westerns and calling himself the Ugly, after Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. Initially, people went to his shows to find out if he really was ugly or not. After a time, he came into his own as a DJ without needing the gimmick, using ideas taken from radio DJs in Miami and New Orleans that came over the broadcasts to Jamaica.
He began working with Coxsone Dodd, and then moved on to Clancy Eccles, with whom he produced a number of works that met with success in both Jamaica and the U.K.- “Fire Corner,” “Herbman Shuffle,” and “Van Cleef” (because Lee Van Cleef was the “ugly one” in the movie). Now, he works at Coxsone’s Studio One from time to time.

“Reggae Fire Beat” is a superb collection of tracks produced by Clancy Eccles in the first reggae era at the end of the sixties into the early seventies featuring the distinctive voice of one Winston Spark aka The Ugly One aka King Stitt.
Tracklist:

01 – King Alpha (The Beginning)
02 – Dance Beat 1
03 – Jump For Joy
04 – Soul Language
05 – Herbsman Shuffle
06 – Lick It Back
07 – Lee Van Cleef
08 – On The Street
09 – Vigorton Two
10 – Oh Yeah
11 – Fire Corner
12 – I For I
13 – In The City
14 – Rub A Dub
15 – Sounds Of The 70’s
16 – Christmas Tree
17 – King Of Kings
18 – Queen Omega (The End)

King Stitt – Reggae Fire Beat (Jamaican Gold)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Born Winston Cooper, King Stitt was one of the early DJs on the reggae scene. Spotted by Count Machuki at a dance, Stitt was asked to try his hand at DJing because of his spectacular dance moves.
Born with facial disfigurement, Stitt used it as a gimmick, taking advantage of the islanders’ love for Westerns and calling himself the Ugly, after Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. Initially, people went to his shows to find out if he really was ugly or not. After a time, he came into his own as a DJ without needing the gimmick, using ideas taken from radio DJs in Miami and New Orleans that came over the broadcasts to Jamaica.
He began working with Coxsone Dodd, and then moved on to Clancy Eccles, with whom he produced a number of works that met with success in both Jamaica and the U.K.- “Fire Corner,” “Herbman Shuffle,” and “Van Cleef” (because Lee Van Cleef was the “ugly one” in the movie). Now, he works at Coxsone’s Studio One from time to time.

“Reggae Fire Beat” is a superb collection of tracks produced by Clancy Eccles in the first reggae era at the end of the sixties into the early seventies featuring the distinctive voice of one Winston Spark aka The Ugly One aka King Stitt.
Tracklist:

01 – King Alpha (The Beginning)
02 – Dance Beat 1
03 – Jump For Joy
04 – Soul Language
05 – Herbsman Shuffle
06 – Lick It Back
07 – Lee Van Cleef
08 – On The Street
09 – Vigorton Two
10 – Oh Yeah
11 – Fire Corner
12 – I For I
13 – In The City
14 – Rub A Dub
15 – Sounds Of The 70’s
16 – Christmas Tree
17 – King Of Kings
18 – Queen Omega (The End)

King Stitt – Reggae Fire Beat (Jamaican Gold)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Leadbelly – Easy Rider (1999)

Huddie Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly, was a unique figure in the American popular music of the 20th century. Ultimately, he was best remembered for a body of songs that he discovered, adapted, or wrote, including “Goodnight, Irene,” “Rock Island Line,” “The Midnight Special,” and “Cotton Fields.”

But he was also an early example of a folksinger whose background had brought him into direct contact with the oral tradition by which folk music was handed down, a tradition that, by the early years of the century, already included elements of commercial popular music.

Because he was an African-American, he is sometimes viewed as a blues singer, but blues (a musical form he actually predated) was only one of the styles that informed his music. He was a profound influence on folk performers of the 1940s such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, who in turn influenced the folk revival and the development of rock music from the 1960s onward, which makes his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, early in the hall’s existence, wholly appropriate.

Leadbelly – Easy Rider
(256 kbps, front cover included)

On his return to Europe from the USA in 1948 Eisler had a large stock of vocal compositions “in his bagage”, written in exile but as yet virtually unperformed.
Finding suitable artists to interpret this large group of works was exceptionally difficult. Not until 1956 did Eisler find a singr in the person of Irmgard Arnold who had everything he needed for his music – in his own words: “lightness, intelligence, friendliness, strictness, grace and hardness, fun an seriousness.” The soprano Irmgard Arnold was born into a Munich family of musicians in 1919 and after engagements in Augsburg and Halle came in 1949/50 to the Komische Oper ensemble in Berlin. She gave her first Eisler concert at the second All-German Music Festival, held in Coburg at the endo of August and beginning of September 1956.

The vocal works on this recording were presented over the course of many years at her lieder recitals – accompanied by Andre Asriel, who had been top of Eisler´s composition class at the Academy of Arts in East Berlin in 1950/51. The works on the album are presented in chronological order, not as they were originally heard in the concert hall or presented on gramophone records. Irmgard Arnold´s concerts did much to reveal the “unknown” Eisler. Her way of singing Eisler can still be useful for deeper understanding of the difficulties caused to the inquring artist by this side of Eisler – and for the enthusiasm and enjoyment that intensive work can yield.

Hanns Eisler – Irmgard Arnold singt Eisler
(192 kbps, front cover included)