Week 38 - Fri 17 Sep
Welcome to the RPM Seven Day Soundtrack, weekending Friday 17th September 2021. Requiring a musical diversion to distract for a few hours from the troubles of the world? Look no further; over to...
"Hi RPMers, This week I've chosen tracks from albums acquired in the past seven days. The first is from 'Dark Matters', the new album by The Stranglers which arrived by post on Saturday. The other two choices are from LPs I bought at the record fair in Leicester on Sunday; 'Rasta' by Benjamin Zephania and 'Harder Than The Rest' by Culture."
"Greetings and best wishes to all RPMers as always. I haven't listened to a great deal of music this week, but it struck me that I could start this week with a version of a song that I mentioned last week."
Any Old Time performed by Maria Muldaur - "...with a band including Ry Cooder, David Lindley and Jim Keltner."
I Need Your Love by Charley Crockett - "...from his new album out this week, which I haven't got yet but have on order."
"Hi Folks. I am sure that you will all agree that it is often hard to choose just three tracks. I play quite a lot of music, as does Jayne. Over breakfast one morning (Tuesday) this week, amongst several other cuts, we heard these three."
Sabor a Bossa by Iskander - "Of the Iskander tracks that I have been playing, (Glorious 20 year old Mexican Pop!) the one that I have settled with is just one of the top two, Choosing between them was hard! Sadly I dropped 'Tiempo Para Enamorarnos' in favour this one."
Colours by Black Pumas - "Some of my listening has a political scent, from the name of this band, I guess we can tell where they are coming from..."
"When I first heard the initial album recorded by the late Andy Palacio, and the band that he formed, ‘The Garifuna (Funk) Collective’, it was, a musical and political, revelation, to me. My reaction was similar to hearing ‘Tinariwen’, when that came out.
Astounding cross rhythms and sinuous instrumental melodies intertwined, and combined, sensuously with the equally exotic sounding lyrics. The beautiful sounding singer sang songs which bore a political message about lifting the Garifuna people from the situation that they had been placed in by politicians and corrupt international trade deals.
There follows a vaguely relevant ramble into the history of N/E South America... feel free to skip to the music!
The origins of the Garifuna community, a tiny ethnic group, of mixed Caribbean and African origin, can be traced a slave ship wrecked in the 16th Century when African survivors intermarried with indigenous people, the Miskito/Sambu.
In the 16th century the British Crown welcomed the Sambus as allies against the Spanish and one hundred years later, in 1638, the son of one of the leaders was welcomed to join the British Royal Court. (Did you ever wonder why, in the past, black people were commonly called ‘Sambos’?) But it didn’t last. (Money was to be made!)
After being “forcibly displaced by the British, in time they became just one of a number of interrelated rural tribes, which spread to inhabit the dense, shore side, jungles which span the 'Mosquito Coast' (from 'Miskito' - nothing to do with flying insects) on the borders of Belize, Nicaragua and Honduras. They now total about 400,000. Of them, the smallest ethnic group (less than 1%) are Garfina.
With a collective history of communal living, in small, isolated villages of self built homes, mainly self sufficient, reliant on fishing, and very basic, subsistence level food farming, and textile weaving, for five centuries the Garifuna have struggled. Their history has been plagued with colonial oppression, 3rd class citizenship, poverty and ethnic cleansing.
Having been marginalised by society, and driven to live in the jungles which nobody else could bother to scrape a living from, by the 1970s even that land that they occupied was being systematically stolen from them. They were under attack from aggressive government troops, and para-military agencies (in the direct pay of American farming corporations), and (indirectly US state sponsored) terror gangs. The surviving populations were being brutally ‘relocated’ to urban, shanty slums against their will, for the benefit of shareholders in tinned pineapple production.
Over 30 years ago Andy Palacio, through the medium of his ‘Punta’ music, brought their plight to the attention of the world. He was successful. Many things have changed for his people, and continue to do so even after his ‘untimely’ death in 2008.
If you check out 'Garifuna', on line, these days, it seems that the thing that they are mostly widely recognised for, culturally, is a ‘twerkish’, bum wiggling dance, often performed, whilst wearing colourful 'national Dress' for the entertainment of cruise ship passengers..
But 13 years after Andy Palacio's demise and the posthumous international recognition of his musical master work 'Watina', The Garifuna Collective’ are still going strong…Still making great music."
"Here's my three..."
Underwater World by Hanoi Rocks -
"Hope you are all enjoying this partial Indian Summer. Here are my 3 for the week."
A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square performed by Bobby Darin - "As we've had a few selections recently of singers like Sinatra, Crosby and Belafonte I thought this week I'd pick one of my personal favourites in that genre singing one of the best songs he ever recorded. Darin could really add swing to a song and on this recording he was arranged and backed by Billy May."
"If anybody is interested in what a Nightingale looks and sounds like I've added a youtube link so you can take a peek. It's a liquid song and I go to Westleton Heath every year to hear them if I can but between you and me I prefer the evening song of the Blackbird."
Think by Aretha Franklin - "I was watching a documentary this week about Amy Winehouse and when looking at footage of her being backed by a couple of very Blues Brother looking singers was reminded of this song from the BB film for some reason.."
Hurt by Johnny Cash - "Another musical piece that caught my eye this week was a tv program devoted primarily to this song which also touched on the making of it as part
of Rick Rubin's inspired idea of Cash recording songs which he might consider to be out of his comfort zone. He had been released by his record company and appeared to be drifting into obscurity in spite of his extensive impact on recorded music. This remains a riveting song and video and one which, for a fan of Cash like me, cements his reputation as a Titan of popular music even in frail old age. His ability to reinterpret this song, "Personal Jesus" and many more over a series of albums overseen by Rubin and impress the originators in the process is remarkable."
"Time to return to one of my favourite 'genres'.......... US 'garage rock'. When I look back at this period I'm struck by how little apparent influence the Beatles had on the US musical output during those years. There were a few bands who slavishly copied the Fab Four (notably The Knickerbockers and The Castaways), instead it's the Stones, Pretty Things and Them et al who gave thousands of 'garage dwellers' the impetus to troop along to the myriad of primitive studios which seemed to proliferate in virtually every town in the States.
First up it's quite possibly (in my 'umble opinion anywayze) the greatest double-sider from the era. Recorded at the B.A.Starr Studio in Garden City Michigan, just 75 copies were pressed for the band to try to sell. However, every time the band played they were bottled off stage and had to revert to regular name changes to try to secure further gigs. Then, disaster struck twice for the band; just before they took possession of the discs their lead singer was decapitated in a motorcycle accident and this was followed by the studio being destroyed in the '67 Chicago race riots. Luckily, studio owner Yolanda Owens had kept a safety copy and pressed a further 100 copies on her Orbit label with 75 going to the band and the rest to 'local DJ's and star makers'!!! There are just 14 copies known to have survived and, such is it's collectability, that a cracked copy was sold for $400 in 2003 whilst a playable copy was snapped up by Jack White's cousin for $2561 in 2005!!"
To Find Out by The Keggs - (7" single released December 1967. Orbit label. This from 'Back from the Grave Part 5' LP, released 1985. Crypt label)
"More primal (or should that be primordial ?) rock, this time from the southern US, Bridgeport Texas to be exact. This track was recorded for the local Wash-Tex label at The Cross Roads Cafe in Bridgeport (allegedly utilised, according to the label boss, for its 'superior' acoustics and not just because it was free to use as it was owned by the guitarist's mother!!) and it's well outside of the usual time frame for garage rock.... 1968!! Just what were these guys thinking of?? Released on the offshoot Big Tex label, the disc gained recognition thanks to the Pebbles compilation collections and garnered covers by the Cramps and the Lemonheads in 1981 and 2009 respectively. Just 500 were pressed and, as the band rarely played more than 70 miles from home, many copies went unsold which led to the group taking the remaining copies out back for target practice! Fast forward almost 40 years and Dr Ira Padnos, founder of the Ponderosa Stomp festival, telephoned lead guitarist Les Dale and asked him to contact the rest of the band with a view to reforming for the festival. After some discussion, and many hours of rehearsals, the band returned to the stage at the 2008 Stomp with a set of sixties 'chestnuts', beefed up with a cover of Neil Youngs 'Down by the river' which was well received by the crowd who demanded an encore of this genre classic."
Green Fuz by (Randy Alvey and the) Green Fuz- (7" single released late 1968. Big Tex label. This from Pebbles Vol 2' LP, released 1979. BFD label)
"And to conclude, here's a band determined to 'make it big' in LA......... the only problem being that they lived 3000 miles away in New Jersey NYC. Students Roger Kelley, Richard Ehrenberg, Jeff Hildt, and Dwight Harris decided, in Spring 1966, that the best way to fill in their summer vacation and ensure they were not drafted into the Vietnam bound US Army was to form a band and relocate to LA....... by road. Our intrepid non-musicians agreed to write and record an album of material en-route which was duly laid down in the high desert city of Albuquerque. Armed with these very basic recordings they hawked them around LA's premier labels, finally clinching a deal with the tiny KR label, set up by Koppelman-Rubin, the production company behind the Lovin’ Spoonful. A single was duly pressed up, further (re-) recordings made and several gigs arranged but all to no avail. The world just wasn't ready for the unholy mix of Mad magazine humour, horror movie effects and crude surf/early psychedelic music, and perhaps that's still the case!! Pretty soon, KR stepped in and cancelled the proposed album, their gigs quickly dried up and as a result, in late summer 1966 the band returned to NY to resume their studies."
The Reality of (Air) Fried Borsk by The Driving Stupid - (7" single b-side to 'Horror Asparagus Stories',* released mid 1966. KR label. This from 'Horror Asparagus Stories' CD, released 2002. Sundazed label)
(* There are currently six copies for sale on Discogs with the cheapest weighing in at $50 (in VG condition) and the most expensive being a mint 'Promo' offered for A$150!!)
"Stay safe everyone, thanks to all for keeping the tunes flowing and, especially, big thanks to Tim for continuing to be our guiding light!!"
"Binge-watched the 2nd series of Lupin this week....these songs featured in the soundtrack."
"Hi everyone, hope you all have had a good week. My three this week are inspired by gigs I have seen at the UEA."
"Greetings RPM friends and I trust you are all feeling positive and well. Here are my choices for this week."
"Hi everyone. Here are three from my week."
Let Nature Sing recorded by Sam Lee, Bill Barclay and Adrian Thomas for the RSPB - "Sam Lee talked about this single, Nightingales, conservation in general and folk singing with Simon Armitage on an edition of The Poet Laureate Has Gone To His Shed podcast. I think there's a Nightingale near the end somewhere, Tony. RPM synchronicity again."
Bailey Hill / Wittenham Clumps by Spiers and Boden - "The masters of English folk music return with new album Fallow Ground. Much better than anything Bellowhead did, in my opinion, and strengthens the view that less is often better than more., i.e 2 musicians better than 11."
Strange Encounters by Hawkwind - "New studio album Somnia just out....and after getting excited about seeing them play in York last week, it all suddenly deflated with the notice that the Somnia tour has been postponed 'till next year, "due to Covid complications". Hmmm, hope band members are Ok. Anyway, this is a mid to solid musical excursion and, in my view, should have been released as a Dave Brock solo album rather than a HW one. As on previous DB solo outings, there is a lot of meandering about and a lack of overall cohesiveness, even though the theme of sleep is used as a common thread to hold it all together. I'm not being disparaging to Mr Brock here, as I do enjoy his work away from the mothership....but the majority of material here is just not proper Hawkwind. This track is as Hawkwind as it gets and will probably be a belter live....when they finally hit the road again. That really sold it, didn't it?"
'Til Next Time...