Wednesday 30 June 2021
Monday 28 June 2021
We kick off the week with some top pop from West Africa - Guinea, to be precise. Both tracks come from a 1998 compilation called "Guinea Vibrations" that I picked up way back when in one of the many African record shops near Chateau Rouge metro station in Paris. I hope they are all still going, and I hope I'll get to go back one day.
"Wa Casser" - Ibro Diabate
"Kankan" - Baba Djan
Before you ask: No, "Kankan" is not a cover of this:
Friday 25 June 2021
Some sad news to bring you. David R Edwards, founder and frontman of the influential Welsh language band Datblygu died earlier this week after struggling with various health issues. RIP Mr Edwards.
After releasing a series of homemade cassette EPs in the early to mid 1980s, Datblygu's first two 'proper' albums, "Wyau" and "Pyst", came out in 1988 and 1990 respectively. Both have recently been reissued by Hate Records, and we'll kick things off with a track from "Pyst".
As it happens, a newer Welsh band is releasing its debut album today. They are called BOI, possibly short for BOIsterous, and the album is "Coron O Chwinc". It is available on Bandcamp and no doubt elsewhere. This track - there is no way I'm typing that title out twice - is the lead single.
We round off the audio with a cracking tune from the excellent "Welsh Rare Beat Volume 1" compilation that we have featured here before - also available on Bandcamp, as is the equally good Volume 2 - and then finish with the great Meic Stevens.
"Am" - Datblygu
"Tragwyddoldeb" - BOI
"Dwr" - Huw Jones
Arhoswch yn dda, bawb. Cael penwythnos da.
Wednesday 23 June 2021
Last Friday the nice people at New West Records had a one-day half-price sale on Bandcamp. I took the opportunity to pick up a couple of albums I have had my eye on for a while: "Breakdown on 20th Avenue South" by Buddy & Julie Miller and "Carrying On" by Kacy & Clayton.
Both albums were released in the Last Days of The Great Before, or 2019 as it was known at the time, and both were well worth the $5 I paid for them. Here is a slice of happy-go-lucky chirpiness from each.
"Feast Of The Dead" - Bubby & Julie Miller
"Spare Me Over One More Year" - Kacy & Clayton
Keeping with the laugh fest, Buddy & Julie include a nice version of this old favourite on their album.
Monday 21 June 2021
I have mentioned previously that I keep up my subscription to eMusic not despite the fact that most respectable UK and US labels won't let it sell their product, bur because of that. I'm on an historic rate which means I can buy 40 tracks for next to nothing every month, and I use it to experiment with all sorts of weird and wonderful sounds.
One of the labels that does sell through eMusic is Laizoms Musika. They are based in Manipur in India, one of the states way over east on the border of Myanmar. As far as I can work out they dedicate themselves to the pop music of the Meitei people, the largest ethnic group in Manipur.
The lads at Laizoms are putting out a lot of new releases, which I have not got round to listening to yet, and there is also what appears to be a country gospel album which is a must have I think. But we'll start with a couple of tracks from the earliest release in their catalogue, which is a 1989 compilation called "Jun Louh Zogam".
The sound quality is terrible but, hey, that's the zeitgeist for you.
"Zogam Liang Se" - S Chingnu
"Zogam Ngai Veng" - V Paukhansiam
To preempt the inevitable questions: No, this lot and the Meitei people are not related.
Friday 18 June 2021
A pair of super Summer smasheroonies from the great Barrington Levy for you today. You can find them both on the fantastic "Sweet Reggae Music (1979-84)" compilation - 40 tracks of prime Barrington for £11 to download from the tax-dodging, rocket-launching online store (and no doubt elsewhere).
"Here I Come" - Barrington Levy
"Under Mi Sensi" - Barrington Levy
"Here I Come" was a minor hit for Mr Levy in the UK in 1985, peaking at No. 41. It then reappeared in 1991 when Rebel MC used it as one of the building blocks of "Tribal Base", which went all the way to No. 20. Being an old fart I prefer the original, but here is the new modern version for you kids out there.
Wednesday 16 June 2021
We've not had any soul music here recently so we've enlisted the help of Sam Dees to put that right.
Sam hails from Birmingham, Alabama and is still going strong at 75. He released a string of singles from the late 60s and early 80s as well as one highly acclaimed album, 1975's "The Show Must Go On", but never had much commercial success as a performer. Perhaps his best known recording is "Lonely For You Baby", now considered a bit of a standard by Northern Soul enthusiasts.
In the 80s he mostly made his living as a songwriter, writing for the likes of Aretha, Whitney and Gladys - including the one in the video, which made it to No 1 in the US R&B charts in 1983.
"It's All Wrong" - Sam Dees
"Train To Tampa" - Sam Dees
Monday 14 June 2021
There was great excitement at Leggies HQ the other day when we had our first ever visitor from Lebanon. To welcome them to the gang, here is a small selection of Lebanese sounds.
First up is Roger Fakhr. The reliably excellent Habibi Funk label has recently issued "Fine Anyway", a collection of his recordings from the 1970s. There's nothing remotely funky about them - you might easily mistake "Dancer On The Ceiling" for a Pentangle rarity - but there is plenty of good stuff on there. The album is available from Bandcamp and all good online stores.
Roger is followed by Assi El Hellani, who is considerably funkier, and we finish off with one of my favourite singles of all time from anywhere. I found an original 7" of "For Your Information" in a junk shop 30+ years ago and fell in love with it instantly. While you really need to listen to it on 1960s vinyl to get the full snap, crackle and poptastic experience, its pretty groovy in any format.
"Dancer On The Ceiling" - Roger Fakhr
"Tarani" - Assi El Hellani
"For Your Information" - The Cedars
The arrival of our new friend prompted me to look at which countries are still missing from the visitor book. According to Flag Counter there are 113 more to go. Some on the list are not countries at all (e.g. the Aland Islands) and there are others we are highly unlikely to hear from (e.g. Tokelau, pop. 1499) but there are some notable absentees.
I may have to start a Missing Countries series to see if I can lure them in. In the meantime, let's hear it for Lebanon...
Friday 11 June 2021
Today we're paying tribute to Gary Numan. No particular reason, its just how the mood took me. Anyway, here are cover versions of his first two hits followed by the man himself with his third.
"Are 'Friends' Electric?" - Chris Whitley & The Bastard Club
"Cars" - The Katzenjammers
Wednesday 9 June 2021
Some new music news for you today. About six weeks ago we featured "Tihoussay Tenere", a great new track from our friends Dag Tenere, and mentioned that an EP was on the way. That EP has now arrived.
The EP is called "Iswat", it is available on Bandcamp and at just €5 is an absolute bargain. It is an excellent record from start to finish but if I had to choose only one song it would maybe be the title track. Its just drums and vocals but close your eyes and you can feel yourself being transported to a different place.
Dag Tenere are based in Niamey in Niger. Another band with a Nigerien connection are Kel Assouf who are based in Brussels but whose main man, Anana Ag Haroun, hails from Niger. I was lucky enough to see them live in 2016 when a work trip to Brussels happened to coincide with one of their gigs. They were promoting their album "Tikounen", and it was a great show. Here's a track from that album and one from their heavier follow up "Black Tenere" (both also on Bandcamp).
"Azawad" - Kel Assouf
"Fransa" - Kel Assouf
Hopefully when the world is in a better way we'll all have the chance to see Dag Tenere live. Until then, their records and videos will more than suffice.
Monday 7 June 2021
We're back from a short break with some ace 1960s Peruvian garage sounds, courtesy of the peculiarly punctuated Los Shain's. Get groovin', gatos geniales.
"No Hay Más Que Dar" - Los Shain's
"No Eres Para Mi" - Los Shain's
Here are all the lads getting back together about 40 years after their heyday. That's Gerardo Manuel on lead vocals. After Los Shain's split first time round Gerardo went on to form The (St Thomas) Pepper Smelter, whose "Betty Boom-Little Monster-Doggie And Peggie At The Witches Castle" was featured here a few years back. If you ask nicely I'll dig it out again.
Tuesday 1 June 2021
I am heading off this morning for a short break - the Peak District, since you ask - and will be back here next week.
I'm sure I'll be having a lovely time, and in a different way hopefully you will too. The time in question being 3:24, which according to my mp3 player is the length of each of today's selections - including the songs in the videos in their original recorded form.
Have fun, see you in a week.
"When You Are Who You Are" - Gil Scott-Heron
"Temeles" - Alemayehu Eshete
"I Want My Baby" - The King Bees
"Let's Submerge" - X-Ray Spex
"Gol-e Aftab Gardoon" - Noosh Afarin
"Queen Of The Minstrels" - The Eternals
"So Sad" - Dillard & Clark
"Middle School Frown" - Josh Rouse