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Tuesday 29 October 2019

Jennah And Her Sisters

Whether it is the sea or the zeitgeist, all surfers know that to catch the wave you have to start paddling before it arrives. If you wait until it's right on top of you, you've missed it.

So it is in that spirit that I'm alerting you to an album that you won't be able to get until next March. It's called "Holiday", it's by Jennah Barry and it is very good indeed. You can get the advance single, "The Real Moon" on Bandcamp, where you can also find her previous album "Young Men", which includes today's selection.

Jennah is from the South Shore of Nova Scotia, and to my ears fits into that line of Canadian female singer-songwriters who manage to sound both sweet and slightly off-kilter at the same time. Like this lot.

"The Coast" - Jennah Barry

"Anew Day" - Mary Margaret O'Hara

"Complainte Pour Ste Catherine" - Kate & Anna McGarrigle

"I Love You, Go Easy" - Devon Sproule

"Tell me Ernie, are there any other notable musicians from the South Shore of Nova Scotia?", I hear you asking. Well, there's old Hank Snow for a start. He's sounding pretty sweet himself, although the only thing slightly off-kilter here is the toupee.

Saturday 26 October 2019

Tabasco Time

Some top pop from Mexico courtesy of Chico Che. Chico hailed from Villahermosa (Happy Town in English) in the great state of Tabasco, home of the sauce.

He sadly died in 1989 at the tender age of 43, but not before leaving us some great tunes that made the residents of Happy Town even happier. These two are from his 1977 album "Le Pejelagarto", named for a fish commonly found down Tabasco way.

"Cuando Me Vaya De Tu Lado" - Chico Che

"Las Mujeres del Itsmo" - Chico Che

Credit to the good folks of Mexico for recognising Chico was a cool dude despite looking and dressing like a children's television presenter of the era.

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Big In Baalbek

I am still slowly working my way through the pile of sleeveless Arab pop CDs I bought in a charity shop a few months back for 50p a go. Today it was the turn of Assi al Helani and his 2004 album "Zghiri El Dinney". He's from Baalbek in Lebanon - hence the title and the video.

"Tarani" - Assi al Helani

"Senin" - Assi al Helani

Sunday 20 October 2019

Reggae Riders

Evidently there was a bit of a craze for riding on in Jamaica between 1975 and 1981. Whether they were riding on anything in particular I don't know - it is a bit too early for BMX and maybe a bit too late for Raleigh Choppers. Let's hope that the girl Johnny Clarke is offering encouragement to isn't either Sandra or Christine, or things could get messy.

"Ride On" - Jimmy London

"Ride On Girl" - Johnny Clarke

"Ride On Christine" - Don Carlos

"Ride On Sandra" - Trinity

"Ride On (Natty Dreadlocks)" - Linval Thompson

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Rock Around The Campfire

Today we revisit the short-lived early 1960s craze for combining the folk songs of old America with the popular dance styles of the day (and in the case of Sam Cooke and Little Eva, with their recent big hits). You can understand why they thought this was a surefire hit formula. What could possibly go wrong?

Jan & Dean provide the answer to that. I don't know what led some genius to pitch the idea "Do you know what would complement the tragic tale of a man who loses his sweetheart in a drowning accident? Some yakety sax!", but someone probably should have said no.

"Camptown Twist" - Sam Cooke

"Old Smokey Locomotion" - Little Eva

"Clementine" - Jan & Dean

All of which was done purely to have an excuse to show you this...

Monday 14 October 2019

Concrete Conga

I have just spent a very pleasant weekend in Scarborough, with a side trip to Filey throw in for fun. I can recommend them both when it isn't raining (which fortunately it wasn't most of time). Here's a postcard of Scarborough.

I popped into some charity shops while I was up there, in emulation of Charity Chic, but the pickings were pretty slim. It was almost out of a sense of obligation that I bought a CD in the last one that I visited. And I'm very glad I did, because it turned out to be a corker.

The album in question is "Thousand Finger Man" by Candido, released on Blue Note in 1969. Candido Camero - who is still going at the age of 98 is Wikipedia is to be believed - is a Cuban conga and bongo player who has played with any number of big names: Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Tito Puente etc etc.

If you are put off by Candido's pedigree and the Blue Note connection, don't be. This isn't noodly jazz, the players are serving the groove. The choice of covers - Booker T, Rufus Thomas - helps make sure of that.

According to the sleeve notes, "Tony's Theme" is from the film "Lady In Cement". I've never seen it, but I feel a pressing need to now.

"Tony's Theme" - Candido

"Hallelujah! I'm Coming Home" - Candido

"Postcards Of Scarborough" - Michael Chapman

Thursday 10 October 2019

Hoovering Up The Henrys

The UK is currently being ripped to shreds by a bunch of halfwit Hooray Henrys, but we must be careful not to damn all Henrys by association (not even Henry Marshall if we believe Kobo Town). So this one is for all you folks out there called Henry, Henri, Henrik, Enrique, Henrietta or any other variation on the name. Say it loud, you're Henry and proud!

"Roll With Me Henry" - Etta James

"I've Got A Notion" - Henry Lumpkin

"The Trial Of Henry Marshall" - Kobo Town

"With A Girl Like You" - Henry Buckley

"Enrique VIII" - Los Yaki

Henry Lumpkin released a few singles on Motown in their early days, of which this is one. Surely Berry Gordy or someone should have taken him aside and suggested that a name change might improve his chance of a long career? As it is, he sounds like he's more in need of a lotion than a notion.

And now, a little something from Henry Mancini...

Monday 7 October 2019

Osaka It To 'Em, JB

The Japanese seem to have a bit of a thing about funk orchestras and soul revues. And who can blame them? In the right hands, they can be things of great joy.

This morning I bought my tickets for Osaka Monaurail's gig in London later in the month. Then when I got home I dug out from the pile of goodies I picked up while in Japan a couple of months back the self-titled debut album by the unfeasibly, but accurately, named Your Song Is Good. Get ready to get groovin', folks.

"Yakiniku Madness" - Your Song Is Good

"Good Bye" - Your Song Is Good

Friday 4 October 2019

The Sound of Samba

Some scintillating soukous for you today, courtesy of Samba Mapangala and his friends in Orchestra Virunga. Both tracks come from their 1991 album "Feet On Fire", for which they were credited simply as Virunga - a name they borrowed from a volcano in DR Congo.

Samba himself was born in the Congo and started his career in Kinshasa, but it wasn't until he relocated to Nairobi in the late 1970s that things really started to take off. Orchestra Virunga formed in 1981, and the blend of Congolese and Kenyan musicians and rhythms gave them a distinctive sound.

Judging by his Facebook page, it seems Samba is still going strong and occasionally still recording and gigging with the current line-up of the Orchestra. Happy news, and happy sounds.

"Sungura" - Virunga

"Unisamehe" - Virunga

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Monthly Music

The observant among you will have spotted that it is now October. Here are a couple of bands - one Scottish, one Somali - who want to share with you their thoughts about the month ahead. The title of the second track translates as "What's October? It's Ours". For the first one you're on your own.

"October Song" - The Incredible String Band

"Oktoobar Waatee? Waa Taayadii" - Waaberi Band

I have belatedly realised that we never paid tribute to the month just gone. Let's put that right.