Friday, 16 March 2018

Croatian Compo 2

The second selection from the treasures I acquired recently in Zagreb is another compilation album, this one rejoicing under the title "Mala Antologija Hrvatskog Rocka 1963 - 1997".

I had been looking forward to digging some groovy Slavic sounds of the sixties, but it was not to be. It was only when I got it home I noticed the "3" at the end of the title on the side of the CD container. What I bought is the final instalment of a 3-CD collection.

I think I would probably have preferred Volumes 1 and 2, but it's OK. I like the Darko Rundek track, which was apparently 'Song of the Year' in Croatia in 1996. As for the ITD Band, well, if you ever wondered what Bruce Springsteen might have sounded like had he been born in Zagreb rather than the USA, now you know.

"Apokalipso" - Darko Rundek

"Roden U Zagrebu" - ITD Band

The ITD Band seemed to specialise in rewriting hit songs to make them about Zagreb. As well as Bruce, here they are with a remake of an old Bread standard. They are essentially a slightly more pompous Croatian version of Frank Sidebottom.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Back To The Front Line

A month or so back I featured a couple of tracks from "Front Line Presents Reggae Discomixes", a compilation of 12" singles from the late 1970s on Virgin's short-lived reggae subsidiary, Front Line. It is far too good a compilation to fob off with a single spin, so here are two more highlights.

"Innocent Blood" - Culture

"Cairo/ Cairo Dub" - Joyella Blade

The old farts among you may be thinking to yourself "this is a cover version of the old Amazulu hit", but you would be wrong; it is the other way round. Joyella's original came out in 1978, while Amazulu didn't get round to it until 1983 (also their version wasn't actually a hit either, but I'm not going to rub your noses in it). Personally I like both versions, so here's the cover.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Free As A Bird In Zagreb

I mentioned in my last post that I have recently been in Zagreb for work. While there I paid a visit to the excellent Free Bird Music Shop, generally regarded as the best second hand record shop in Zagreb - and, I would guess, very possibly in Croatia as well. If you are ever passing through, make sure you find time to pop in.

As you can see from the photos on their website, the good folks at Free Bird have gone for the "pile 'em high" approach to retail in a big way. The owner, Tomislav, and his colleague made me very welcome and tipped me off to some promising looking vintage Croatian rock and soul, which I'll no doubt be featuring at some point in the future. He also kindly chucked a local compilation CD on to pile for free.

We'll start with a couple of tracks from that CD, which is called "HGF Retro 1996-2009". From what I can work out, HGF is a competition for unsigned Croatian bands that has been running for over twenty years. There were two CDs issued in 2010 - one featuring all the past winners, and this one featuring bands that missed out on the big prize but went on to have decent careers nonetheless. It isn't all my cup of tea, by any means, but I rather like these two.

"Automatic Disco" - Dogma

"Putovanje Vlakom" - Cota G4

And as a sort of companion piece to "Automatic Disco"...

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Triple J Action

I'm just back from a few days in Zagreb, where I managed to pick up some very promising looking local stuff of various vintages. More of that anon, but first a couple of cracking tunes from Mr Jerome Louis Jackson, known as J.J. to his friends and fans. Why J.J. rather than J.L., I hear you ask? I'm afraid you must ask in vain, as I haven't the faintest idea.

"But It's Alright" was his hit, making the US Top 40 in 1966, and both of today's tracks were on the album of the same name. If Wikipedia is to be believed, "The Stones I Throw" is one of the earliest recordings of a Robbie Robertson song.

"But It's Alright" - J.J. Jackson

"The Stones I Throw" - J.J. Jackson

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Toronado Time

A couple of corkers to get you in the mood for Saturday night, courtesy of the T.S.U. Toronadoes.

Hailing from Houston, they originally met at Texas Southern University (hence the T.S.U.) and established themselves as an unofficial house band for any big name passing through town. Their best known unknown contribution to music was playing on Archie Bell's "Tighten Up", the riff of which was based on an instrumental they wrote. But they released some cracking records in their own right too.

"Getting The Corners" - The T.S.U. Toronadoes    

"Play The Music Toronadoes" - The T.S.U. Toronadoes  

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Belated Birthday Boy

I am grateful to Charity Chic for alerting me to the fact that the notorious Lusitanian-Caledonian contrarian, George, celebrated a birthday with a five on the end of it yesterday.

The choice of today's artists is a sort of cryptic tribute to the young lad. That's right, folks, it's Bitty Ford Rumba Time!

"Love On My Brain" - Jim Ford

"Walk Away From Love" - Bitty McLean

"Caramelos" - Rabbit Rumba

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Take This To The Banks Too

Worn down by Gram's relentless moaning, I am giving in. Here is a clip of Shalamar.

To accompany it, here are a couple of songs about banks - the evil, exploitative sort, not the morally neutral ones where there is a tendency for dramatic things to happen. 'Offshore Banking Business' hasn't aged at all, more's the pity.

"Offshore Banking Business" - The Members

"The Jolly Banker" - Woody Guthrie