Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fela Kuti - Expensive Shit/ He Miss Road (1975) (320)

Fela Kuti was the pioneer of afrobeat music and the driving force behind anti-imperialist and anti-statist resistance in Nigeria in the 1970s. If there's ever an example for the power of music to make positive social change, this is it. This is one of my favorite of his albums (although they are numerous). The title is a reference to the infamous incident in a Nigerian airport where the authorities planted a joint on Fela's person in order to imprison him for good. Legend has it that he managed to eat the joint before it was discovered, so he was detained until they could search for it in his shit. So that's where all that covert American aid money was going... Expensive shit! Anyway, this is one of Fela's more melodic/accessible efforts without compromising the funk or the fuck-shit-up. Enjoy!


1. Expensive Shit
2. Water No Get Enemy
3. He Miss Road
4. Monday Morning in Lagos
5. It's No Possible


Monday, May 17, 2010

Baden Powell - Love Me With Guitars (1964) (320)

This well-respected Baden Powell record is perfect for the gorgeous May days that we're seeing around where I live. The opening track "Deve Ser Amor" makes me want to strap a ghetto blaster to my bike and hand out popsicles to all the fine young people. Powell's seemingly lazy guitar mastery sails flawlessly from Rio to Pernambuco to Bahia to Buenos Aires to Andalusia to Italy and back to the beach in time for sunset. His music is certainly within the Bossa Nova and Samba traditions but also draws on the slightly less known and slightly more somber, if still upbeat, Brazilian guitar style of "Choro", which literally means "I cry" in Portuguese. This digitization from the outstanding blog Toque Musical diminishes the weird channel conflicts of the LP, which result in a strange din on the Brazilian vinyl version released in 1976-- the record was released first in France and re-released many times after. I was so happy with this record that I figured I'd bring it here for you fine individuals to enjoy!


1. Deve ser amor
2. Choro para metronome
3. Adagio
4. Berimbau
5. Preludio
6. Chanson d'Hiver
7. Samba Triste
8. Bercause a Jussara
9. Prelude
10. Euridice
11. Bachiana
12. Garota de Ipanema


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Eric Dolphy - Last Date (1964) (320)

"When you hear music, after it's over, it's gone, in the air. You can never capture it again."

This is Eric Dolphy's last recorded performance before his death of a diabetic coma in Berlin. Along with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Dolphy was one of the most talented jazz multi-instrumentalists. Last Date is a good display of his range, performing on alto saxophone, bass clarinet, and flute. Dolphy opens the set with a brief, wild bass clarinet introduction to Thelonious Monk's "Epistrophy", before easing into a more straight ahead approach. Dolphy's second solo on the Monk tune is a sublime example of his virtuosity, really following the changes while experimenting with the tone and jumping all over his range. Jazz flute is commonly misconceived as inevitably corny (it often is), but listen to Dolphy play on the ballad "You Don't Know What Love Is" - truly sentimental, soulful playing. The all-Dutch rhythm section features renowned drummer Han Bennink, the closest living personification of the Muppet's Animal. For someone who later worked with Peter Brötzmann and Derek Bailey, Bennink really sits back on this one. I'm attaching the head of "South Street Exit" so you can play along. Enjoy!


1. Epistrophy
2. South Street Exit
3. Madrig Speaks, the Panther Walks
4. Hypochristmutreefuzz
5. You Don't Know What Love Is
6. Miss Ann


Eric Dolphy, flute, bass clarinet, alto saxophone
Misja Mengelberg, piano
Jacques Schols, bass
Han Bennink, drums
Recorded: June 2, 1964, Hilversum, Holland

Fontana 822 226-2


Monday, May 10, 2010

Redman - Whut? Thee Album (1992) (320)

Redman is one of those rappers who, despite widespread critical acclaim and an undisputed right to some place in the hip hop history books, still seems like he never quite made it into the mainstream consciousness beyond How High. Indeed, his collaborations with Method Man have enough people thinking he's simply the 10th member of Wu-Tang (he's not). Yet Dr. Trevis' style has always been a little funkier and a lot less serious than that of the Wu as a whole. Repping Newark, New Jersey, the wit and punchiness of Redman's flow has changed little since his debut, Whut? Thee Album. It's interesting to compare Red's colorful use of samples from P-Funk, Zapp, Sly and other funk artists to the G-Funk stuff that was happening on the West Coast around the same time. The tunes are equally celebratory, but with a faster pace and a distinctly East Coast mentality. From the hype single "Time 4 Sum Aksion" to the smooth "Tonight's Da Night", Red's production (mostly a collaboration with EPMD teammate Erick Sermon, who gave Red his break) is pretty close to flawless and shockingly complex for 1992. The obvious highlight of the album is "How To Roll A Blunt", containing my favorite mantra "Not the city of Philly, silly punk/ I'm talkin' about the cigar, the Phillie blunt", but the album is a classic start to finish. Regardless, I feel that warning is in order for those who have a distaste for skits: there are a fuckin' lot of them on this and all of Red's records. Enjoy!


1. Psycho Ward (Skit)
2. Time 4 Sum Aksion
3. Da Funk
4. New Break (Skit)
5. So Ruff (feat. DJ Scratch)
6. Rated "R"
7. Watch Yo Nuggets (feat. Erick Sermon & Charlie Marotta)
8. Psycho Dub (Skit)
9. Jam 4 U
10. Blow Your Mind
11. Hardcore
12. Funky Unlces (Skit)
13. Redman Meets Reggie Noble
14. Tonight's Da Night
15. Blow Your Mind (Remix)
16. I'm A Bad
17. Sessed One Night (Skit)
18. How To Roll A Blunt
19. Sooper Luver Interview (Skit)
20. A Day of Sooperman Lover
21. Encore

Def Jam, 1992