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Monday 16 April 2018

Surfing The Zeitgeist

I'm heading off on my travels tomorrow until early May - South Africa with brief visits to Addis Ababa and Dubai at either end, since you ask - so you won't be hearing from me for a little while. To keep you occupied in my absence, here is a selection of some of the best new music that those nice folks in Promo Land have sent me over the last couple of months.

I say "some of the best" advisedly, because I haven't included the pick of the bunch.  Last week I got an email from the estimable Kaytea at XO Publicity which opened with "OK so kind of freaking out here". Now I normally take that sort of hyperbole with a pinch of salt, but on this occasion it turns out it was justified.

The cause of the out-freaking was "Understand What Black Is", the first new album by The Last Poets in over 20 years. It is an altogether excellent record, and "Rain Of Terror" is one of the best 10 minutes I've heard in a long time. The album comes out on 19 May and you should order it now.

And while you are doing that you should think about adding some of these albums to the basket as well. We open with Bart Davenport happily channelling The Sound Of Young Scotland, after which things get a bit more downbeat - but in a nice way!

"What's Your Secret (Cleo)" - Bart Davenport (from "Blue Motel")

"Spoil With The Rest" - Ryley Walker (from "Deafman Glance")

"Culture War" - The Mammals (from "Sunshiner")

"Saw A Light" - Bonny Doon (from "Longwave")

"Windsong" - Dana Sipos (from "Trick Of The Light")

"Sunday Road" - Pretty Gritty (from "Seven Year Itch")

Regular readers will know that when I go on holiday I normally post a video of DJ Sven and MC Miker G doing their classic "Holiday Rap". It still seems a little early in the year for songs about summer holidays, so instead here is something equally magnificent which I'll watch to remind me of the place I'm leaving behind for a while.

Friday 13 April 2018

Before Temptation

Popping up immediately before The Temptations on my iTunes are The Temprees, a vocal trio from Memphis who managed to sound like a 1960s Motown group despite recording on Stax in the 1970s. What crazy mixed up kids!

"(Follow Her) Rules And Regulations" - The Temprees

"Explain It To Her Mama" - The Temprees

Here's the follow up.

Tuesday 10 April 2018

All Hail To The Chief

Some vintage Nigerian highlife music for you tonight, courtesy of the late Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe.

The Chief enjoyed a career of over forty years before sadly passing away in 2007. If the website 'Nigerian Biography' is to be believed, in his youth "he was nicknamed 'Doctor of Hypertension' by music critics and fans alike" - presumably because he induced it in his audience rather than because he was prone to abdominal aortic aneurysms while performing. Let us hope so anyway.

Today's selections were recorded in 1968 and 1977 respectively. "Mr Dictative" suggests that the Chief was not a man overly bothered by trivialities such as spelling.

"Mr Dictative" - Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe

"Ogo Di Nkpa" - Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe

It has been quite a while since we featured music in this particular style, so it's good to be - wait for it, wait for it - back in the highlife again.

Sunday 8 April 2018

Mighty Big Mother

This is second and probably final part of what has turned into an unplanned "Roots of Elvis" series. Our last post featured Little Junior Parker, writer of "Mystery Train". Now here's the woman who did the original version of "Hound Dog".

"Don't Talk Back" - Big Mama Thornton

"Big Mama's Coming Home" - Big Mama Thornton

You would have to be a pretty tough guy to even think about talking back to Big Mama Thornton. I know just the man for the job.

Thursday 5 April 2018

Junior Squared

A couple of cracking tunes from way back when courtesy of Little Junior Parker. I sort of suspect that "yo-yo" might be a euphemism for something less wholesome, but I couldn't swear to it.

"Annie Get Your Yo-Yo" - Little Junior Parker

"Peaches" - Little Junior Parker

Little Junior (or Junior as he became known when he got bigger) indirectly played a big part in launching the career of one Elvis Presley, being as he was the writer and original performer of "Mystery Train". I have searched in vain for a clip of him performing it, or indeed of anything at all, and have had to admit defeat. So here is another junior Parker instead.

Monday 2 April 2018

The Sound Of Nineties Nouakchott

"The Sound Of Nineties Nouakchott" may not sound particularly enticing, but I would contend that it is more catchy than "Moorish Music From Mauritania", the title of the album we are featuring today.

"MMFM", as we'll call it for short, was released in 1990 and - if the sleevenotes are to be believed - was the first time the Moorish Music of Mauritania had been captured on a "quality studio recording". The album starred Dimi Mint Abba, arguably the greatest Mauritanian singer ever and rated by no less an authority than Ali Farka Toure as just about the finest singer in all of Africa, ably supported by her husband Khalifa Ould Eide and two daughters.

"Waidalal Waidalal" - Khalifa Ould Eide & Dimi Mint Abba

"Nikhtar An Kulelawtan Awtani Mauritan" - Khalifa Ould Eide & Dimi Mint Abba

Dimi sadly passed away in 2011, but her legacy lives on through her step-daughter Noura Mint Seymali, who we featured here a few years back. Further exploration of her genealogical line reveals a rather unexpected British connection as well - her distant cousin from Knotty Ash, one Dicky Mint.