Friday, 27 February 2015

Phoning It In

Who could resist an album called "Music From Saharan Cellphones"? Not me, certainly. Nor should you, not when it means you can dig some highly groovy grooves by paying a mere $5 on Bandcamp.

As the bumpf on the website explains "In much of West Africa, cellphones are used as all purpose multimedia devices. In lieu of personal computers and high speed internet, the knock-off cellphones house portable music collections". The good folks at Sahel Sounds have done us all a favour by scouring those phones and uncovering some real corkers.

"Alghafiat" - Amanar

"Abandé" - Yeli Fuzzo

Both those artists are from northern Mali. Head north-west from there and you pitch up in Western Sahara, home of Mariem Hassan. George at Jim McLean's Rabbit has been enthusing about one of her videos that we featured the other day, as he is a generally sound man and it was his birthday earlier in the week, I thought we would treat you to one of hers as well. Belated happy birthday, George.

"Sbar" - Mariem Hassan

Is it just me, but does the guitar riff on "Alghafiat" sound like a slowed down version of this?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Greek Gifts

I spent a few days in Athens last week for work - nothing to do with the big stuff - and managed to find time to pop into one of my favourite record shops anywhere. The Solonos is in a basement in a hard to find alleyway just up from the street of the same name, and it has an excellent selection of new and second hand records and CDs, with a particular speciality being obscure psychedelia.

That's not what you are getting though. Among the CDs I picked up was a compilation of famous local songstress Dimitra Galani, which included 50 tracks recorded between 1969 and 1989. Here are a couple of those I enjoyed most on first listen.

"Koutsi Kithara" - Dimitra Galani

"M'agapouses Thimamai" - Dimitra Galani

Posting Greek music provides an appropriate opportunity to pay belated tribute to the late Demis Roussos. Him and Barry White made it possible in the mid 1970s for us larger men to be considered sex gods. Sadly I was a few years too young to take advantage - right waist, wrong time.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Hey, Bebe!

Somewhere and somewhen along the way I picked up a compilation album called "Women of Africa". With a title like that, you won't be surprised to learn that it comprised songs sung by African women. Very good they are too.  Today's selections come from Guinea and Cameroon.

"Fenko" - Oumou Diabate

"Ami O" - Bebe Manga

Here are some more African ladies to entrance you in their different ways, from the Congo, Western Sahara and South Africa respectively.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Great Scotties!

Later in the week I will be meeting up with an old friend called Malcolm Scott. Malcolm has never been known as Scotty, but I am going to pretend he has in order to justify featuring these two corkers from the real Scotty (not that justification is needed). For "Miss Wire Waist", we will double up and dedicate it to Whom as well.

"Draw Your Brakes" - Scotty

"Miss Wire Waist" - Scotty

For a number of years Malcolm served Queen and Country as Our Man in Dusseldorf. I don't think he ever bumped into this lot though.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Whom, this concerns you. As for the rest of you, if I gave you £5 would you take yourselves off to the pictures?

"She's Royal" - Tarrus Riley

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Haarlem Shake, Utrecht Stomp

I am indebted to my old friend Mister F for introducing me to the work of Bonnie St. Claire. Bonnie was a sort of Dutch Suzi Quatro, and her classic "Clap Your Hands And Stamp Your Feet" is the stand-out track - and title track - on a fine compilation of vintage "Nederglam" available on Excelsior Records.

There are plenty of other goodies on there as well. I particularly like "Powerful Jim" by Serpentine and this track by the Heavy Dwarfs, which bears the distinct influence of That Unspeakable Man.

"Clap Your Hands And Stamp Your Feet" - Bonnie St. Claire & Unit Gloria

"Moeder Natuur" - The Heavy Dwarfs

If you want to see a clip of Bonnie and the boys in action - and I am sure you do - head on over to Mister F's place. If, on the other hand, you want to see the original Suzi's most magical mellow moment, stick around. You can do both, of course.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Mister Men

We start tonight with some music from the streets. I mean that literally - while wandering down the Mile End Road on Friday night after a pleasant evening in the Wentworth Arms, I spotted a CD lying on the pavement and snaffled it.

It turned out to be a copy of  "Mister Sanders presents Nostalgic". It was released in December last year and, according to the blurb posted on the Mixtape Madness website, on it "Mister Sanders plays tribute to his musical roots by showcasing his flows and thoughts over some of grime's classic instrumentals".

It is not really my sort of thing at all, but you might like it. So here is "Hood Economics", which if nothing else has the virtue of being over quickly. And if that doesn't appeal, maybe the other two Misters will.

"Hood Economics" - Mister Sanders

"Tana Ka Mina" - Mr. Chacklas

"Rise" - Mr. Vegas

And we finish with the man who started the trend for using "Mister" as part of your stage name - the late, great Mr Acker Bilk.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Tanks For The Memories

When I was in Nicaragua last year I acquired copies of "Nicaraguan Pop Hits of the 1960s Volumes 5 and 6". "Volumes 5 and 6" should have been sufficient warning that the main sound I would hear would be that of barrels being scraped, but at 40p each I thought it was worth a go. It wasn't.

However, they did feature some exotically named bands. My favourite was Los Panzers, who it appears were very popular in their day. So much so that there is now what I assume is a next generation band called Los Nuevos Panzers doing the rounds. Here is one from each of them.

"Recordando Tu Mirar" - Los Panzers

"Bailalo Ya" - Los Nuevos Panzers

I think I prefer the new version to the originals. It was the other way round with the Seekers.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Hello Dutchland!

Just a quick one today. Three top tunes from a great compilation called "Dutch Beat Explosion" which, as you can probably guess, features Dutch beat groups of the 1960s. Gekke liedjes, kinderen!

"Come" - The Toreros

"Just Fancy" - The Roddys

"Seeing Her" - James Mean

This post is dedicated to my groovy Dutch friend Charlotte. She works in a restaurant. She keeps pet rats. She can't mix work with pleasure for obvious reasons.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Single Song Sunday

Rod McKuen died earlier in the week. I was never particularly a fan, but he did write at least one absolute classic, "Love's Been Good To Me". So to mark his passing, here are a few versions. To be honest, Frank Sinatra's is so perfect you don't really need any others, but they are all worth a listen. Sonny Wong provides the designated reggae version, not that any reggae-fication is particularly noticeable.

"Love's Been Good To Me" - Frank Sinatra

"Love's Been Good To Me" - Tom Jones

"Love's Been Good To Me" - Johnny Cash

"Love's Been Good To Me" - Sonny Wong

This was Rod's biggest hit. All together now, "We had joy, we had fun, we had Tottenham on the run..."