Friday, 24 March 2023


I've been to three gigs over the last couple of weeks, one of them good, the other two excellent. There's one more still to come before the end of the month but we'll deal with that one separately.

The run started at the church down the end of my road where we were treated to a set by self-styled 'guitar convincer' Gwenifer Raymond

Gwenifer convinced her guitar to make some great noises and I would  happily see her again, but to be honest the support act will probably live longer in the memory - a stylishly dressed trans accordionist who used the instrument to make a slow droning sound while intoning the lyrics to "Boys Boys Boys" by Sabrina over the top of it.

Next up was the great Lonnie Holley at Cafe Oto in Dalston. I've seen him before - coincidentally at the church down the end of my road - when it was just him on his own. This time round he was backed by drums and trombone duo Nelson Patton and they helped lift it up to a whole new level.

Lonnie has a new album out, "Oh Me Oh My", but he didn't play anything from that. Instead we got a semi-improvised set, which is how he tends to do things - evidently he decides on the broad themes he wants to sing about, agrees with Nelson Patton which rhythm or tune they will use as a starting point and then off they go. 

The result was really rather magical. He is a very compelling performer and the experience was like listening to a gospel preacher (but one that sings about spaceships).  

Last, but definitely not least, was the magnificent Gina Birch at Oslo in Hackney. She is touring her new album - the first under her own name - "I Play My Bass Loud", with the admirable assistance of Jenny Green and Marie Marlei (aka The Unreasonables). 

The album is fantastic and will definitely be somewhere in my 'best of' list come the end of the year, but many of the songs sounded even better live. The energy and conviction with which Gina and the band played them was transforming.  Particular highlights included the title track, "Digging Down" and instant garage band standard "Wish I Was You".

You should go and see all of these folks if they come your way and you should buy the new albums too. We'll round things off with something from their respective back catalogues - in Gina's case from her old band - and the original of the distinctive cover version I mentioned earlier.

"Sometimes There's Blood" - Gwenifer Raymond

"There Was Always Water" - Lonnie Holley

"No One's Little Girl" - The Raincoats

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Progg Not Prog

I recently picked up a compilation of the Nationalteatern, leading lights of the Swedish progg music scene in the 1970s.

That's not a typo, the extra G is there for a reason. Progg was short for 'progressiv musik', an anti-commercial musical movement promoting alternative lifestyles and what might be broadly described as left-wing views. Some progg bands were also prog bands, but not all of them.

The progg scene was closely associated with similar movements in art and theatre, which is where Nationalteatern fit in. They started off as a travelling theatre company that incorporated music into their shows but gradually mutated into a band. 

Nationalteatern haven't made any new records since the early 1980s but apparently still get together to tour every now and then. The live clip is from 1991.

"Speedy Gonzales" - Nationalteatern

"Ut I Kylan" - Nationalteatern

Monday, 20 March 2023

Public Service Announcement

I know a number of our regular readers are big fans of North African guitar sounds. So this is to alert them to the impending release of an excellent compilation of the one of the pioneers of the scene, Les Abranis.

Les Abranis were formed in Paris in 1967 by two exiled Algerian Berbers who hatched a plan to fuse their traditional rhythms and melodies with garage rock and psychedelia - a plan that worked out brilliantly.    

The compilation is called "Amazigh Freedom Rock 1973-1983", it comes out on the Bongo Joe label at the end of April and is available for pre-order on Bandcamp now. I suggest you get over there pronto.

"Chenar Le Blues" - Les Abranis

"Id Ed Was" - Les Abranis

It seems that the lads are still going strong. Here is a fine clip of them from ten years ago to see us out.

Friday, 17 March 2023

Bunong Singalong

We are heading back to Cambodia today, more specifically to Mondulkiri Province, home of the indigenous Bunong people. 

In 2017 Les Cartes Postales Sonores, a label that specialises in field recordings of indigenous music, issued a compilation titled "Bunong Pop Songs". It is available on Bandcamp on a "name your price" basis.

Like many field recordings, none of the performers are identified. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it is great that their music is being brought to a wider audience. On the other, not crediting any of the artists by name has a whiff of exploitation about it. Let's hope they were at least paid.

The album is dedicated to Lok Ta, evidently one of the leading lights of the Bunong music scene who died in 2016. It is not mentioned whether Lok Ta features on the album but the musicians provide a fine tribute, as these snappily titled tracks show:

"▲ 1" - Groovy Bunong Man

"▲ 5" - Groovy Bunong Woman

Here's a video featuring the mbuat, a traditonal Bunong instrument that resembles bamboo bagpipes. Go on, you know you want to.

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Kingston Cowboys

Today we feature a magnificent seven reggae artists who chose to name themselves after screen cowboys. "Why?", I hear you ask. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

You have to concede that their respective nom de plumes sound much more impressive than Norval Headley,  Anthony Waldron, Devon Perkins, Gregory Williams, Joseph Sterling and the brothers Robert and Wade Brammer, to give them their real names.

"Call The Police" - John Wayne

"Fish Tea" - Lone Ranger

"Spot And Beat The Banker" - Lee Van Cleef

"Poco Man Jam" - Gregory Peck

"Nice Up The Dance" - Josey Wales

"Caroline" - Clint Eastwood

"Midnight Cowboy" - Trinity

Monday, 13 March 2023

They Are The Mirror Men

While I was in Cape Town recently I picked up a CD reissue of the first two albums by local lads Falling Mirror - "Zen Boulders" (1979) and "The Storming Of The Loft" (1980).

Falling Mirror were two cousins, Allan Faull and Neilen Marais (a.k.a. Neilen Mirror), aided and abetted by South African Svengali producer Tully McCully and the occasional hired hand. Their series of albums in the first half of the 1980s stood out as being more interesting than most of the local scene at the time.

We have a track apiece from both albums for you together with their biggest (and I think only) hit - the title track from their 1986 concept album about a man hooked on prescription drugs who has an unhealthy obsession with the counter assistant at his local pharmacy. Based on a true story apparently (and alarmingly). 

"Archie & Juggie Went Down To The Store" - Falling Mirror

"I Wish I Was A Purple Door" - Falling Mirror

"Johnny Calls The Chemist" - Falling Mirror 

I can't find any Falling Mirror videos on YouTube so here are some other mirrors of a similar vintage instead.

Friday, 10 March 2023

Friday Book Club

Regular readers may recall that last year we ran a short series of posts featuring the stars of the golden age of Cambodian pop, an age brought to a shuddering and tragic halt by the Khmer Rouge.

Inspired by listening to the likes of Sinn Sisamouth and Ros Sereysothea, one of my late Christmas presents to myself was a copy of "Away From Beloved Lover" by Dee Peyok. 

In the book she tracks down some of the survivors of the golden age and tells their stories. In the course of doing so she also provides a history of Cambodian music and insights into what life was like under the Khmer Rouge regime. It was a fascinating read and I would heartily recommend to anyone with an interest in Cambodian music or the country's recent history.  

Having bought the book because I enjoyed vintage Cambodian music, after reading it I thought the next obvious step should be to listen to some newer stuff. A bit of searching on Bandcamp uncovered some very good records. Top of the pile was "Cambodian Women Of Song - The Demos".

The album is credited to Julien Poulson and Professor Kinski. The Prof is a German producer based in Phnom Penh while Julien P was a founder member of the late lamented Cambodian Space Project, who knocked the likes of Dengue Fever into a cocked hat. 

While they may be the brains behind the project, the real stars of the show are the three featured vocalists - Nang Yeye, Tep Modyka and Sochi (the last of whom co-wrote all the songs with Julien P). Here are two tunes that feature all three of them, but I could have chosen almost any track on the album. Every one's a winner.

"If You Hear This Song (feat. Nang Yeye & Tep Modyka)" - Julien Poulson & Professor Kinski

"Honey In The Jungle (feat. Sochi)" - Julien Poulson & Professor Kinski

Let's round the week off with some fun and frolics from Mr Poulson's old band.

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

David Lindley RIP

I was sad to hear that we lost David Lindley last Friday at the tender age of 78.

Having started out in Kaleidoscope (the American one) in the 1960s he quickly established a reputation as a sideman and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, working with the likes of Bob, Bruce, Dolly, Rod the Mod and many people who need surnames, most frequently Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Warren Zevon.

He also made a series of tasty little albums in his own right in the 1980s fronting his band El Rayo-X. Here are a couple of album tracks followed by a 90 minute live concert from 1982. Sit back and enjoy.

RIP Mr Lindley.

"Tuber-Cu-Lucas And The Sinus Blues" - David Lindley & El Rayo-X

"I Just Can't Work No Longer" - David Lindley & El Rayo-X

Monday, 6 March 2023

Hippies And Poppies

Four songs linked in three pairs today - two Molinas, two hippies and two poppies (Les Fleurs De Pavot means "the poppy flowers" in French as I am sure you know).

CCR will need no introduction, the others may. Les Fleurs were a short-lived French garage band from the late 1960s. Nicolás Molina hails from Castillos in Uruguay. This track is from his 2019 album "Querencia" and clocks in at over nine minutes for you long song fans. 

"Querencia" is available on a 'name your own price' deal from Bandcamp. Also available on Bandcamp is Kalbells' 2021 album "Max Heart", one of my favourite albums of that year and much plugged here at the time.

"Molina" - Creedence Clearwater Revival 

"Los Ultimos Hippies del Verano" - Nicolás Molina 

"Hippies Nous Voila" - Les Fleurs Des Pavot

"Poppy Tree" - Kalbells

And now, more Kalbells!

Friday, 3 March 2023

Bubbling Up

I returned from my fortnight's holiday in South Africa a couple of days ago clutching a small number of local CDs which I will share with you over the days and weeks to come.

We will start with a couple of tracks from "Bubblegum Celebration", a compilation released 20 years ago celebrating the local pop music of 30-40 years ago. It includes tracks by Tsonga stalwarts Peta Teanet and Paul Ndlovu and big stars of the time like Yvonne Chaka Chaka, as well as a few lesser known gems like today's selections.

If you like the Kamazu track you might want to check out a compilation of his work that bears its name, released by the Afrosynth label a few years ago and available on their Bandcamp site.

"Nomalisa" - V-Mash

"Korobela" - Kamazu

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

It Was 60 Years Ago Today

I am briefly interrupting my holiday with the South African branches of the Goggins clan to share with you the UK Top Ten from this day in 1963. I will let you draw your own conclusions as to the reason.

We will count down from Number Ten to Number One, as Alan Freeman no doubt did on 'Pick Of The Pops" back then.

10. "Sukiyaki" - Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen

9. "Bachelor Boy" - Cliff Richard

8. "Island Of Dreams" - The Springfields

7. "All Alone Am I" - Brenda Lee

6. "Loop-De-Loop" - Frankie Vaughan

5. "Little Town Flirt" - Del Shannon

4. "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes" - Bobby Vee

3. "Diamonds" - Jet Harris & Tony Meehan

2. "Please Please Me" - The Beatles

And at Number One, an affliction that affects me increasingly as I age...

1. "The Wayward Wind" - Frank Ifield

Bubbling under - no further pun intended - we find The Rooftop Singers, up seven places from 18 to 11. Take it away, Rooftops!

That's it for now. pop pickers. I'm back home at the end of the month, see you all then.

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Minty Freshness

I am off on my hols in a few hours, heading to South Africa to see the local branches of the Goggins family.

Once on board the plane I am tempted to have a chat with the pilot to see if they would be willing to make an unscheduled stop at Nouakchott International so we can all head to a club and dance the night away to the sounds of Noura Mint Seymali - sounds like these two smashes from her 2016 album "Arbina", available from Glitterbeat.

"Ghlana"- Noura Mint Seymali 

"Suedi Koum" - Noura Mint Seymali 

Back at the end of month. Until then, stay groovy.

Monday, 13 February 2023

Newness Abounds

As an international tastemaker and renowned surfer of the zeitgeist I get sent a lot of music to review, far more that I can ever listen to. The vast majority gets unfairly neglected but I do try to find time to listen to records by some of the artists whose names are new to me as well as any old favourites who happen to appear in the inbox. This small hand-picked selection of stuff I have received over the last couple of months is a mix of the two.

First up, and pick of the bunch, is "Cadence" by Cinder Well, one of the finest new folkie types I have heard in a while. The album isn't out until 21 April but is available for pre-order on Bandcamp now. While you are there you should check out her back catalogue as well, in particular her 2020 album "No Summer".

Next we have MF Tomlinson, whose new album "We Are Still Wild Horses" grows on me more with each listen. It is a distinct step up from 2021's "Strange Time", which is worth a listen in its own right. The second side consists of a single 21 minute epic. I thought of posting that what with this being Monday but opted for this relatively modest 8 minute number instead. 

"We Are Still Wild Horses" comes out on Friday, as does "All In Good Time" by Blues Lawyer, the first of the three acts of which I was not previously aware. The others are Jesse Blake Rundle ("Next Town's Trees" - out 3 March) and Darren Jessee ("Central Bridge" - out 24 March).

It isn't entirely accurate to describe Darren Jessee as a new name. He was the drummer in Ben Folds Five and has also appeared on albums by the likes of Josh Rouse, Hiss Golden Messenger and Sharon Van Etten, but this is the first time I've heard his solo stuff. 

As always, many thanks to all the lovely people in Promoland. I'm sorry I can't do you all justice, but keep on doing what you do.

"Two Heads, Grey Mare" - Cinder Well

"The End Of The Road" - MF Tomlinson

"Make Up" - Blues Lawyer

"Yes I'm Angry" - Jesse Blake Rundle

"Riding The Horses" - Darren Jessee

Also worth looking out for is "Ears Of The People", a new compilation of music from Senegal and Gambia featuring the ekonting, a sort of West African banjo, which came out last week on the Smithsonian Folkways. Here is a live version of one of the tracks from that album.

Sunday, 12 February 2023

Single Song Sunday

Today is the first Single Song Sunday of the year and, if my records are correct, the 61st in total since we first started doing this back in 2010. At this rate we will reach the 100th instalment some time in 2031. Be there or be square.

Today we are bringing you an old country standard, always a reliable source of the series if I am lacking in inspiration. This time round it is "Sweet Dreams" (not to be confused with the Eurhythmics' song with a similar name of which there seem to be even more cover versions than there are of this ome).

We will kick things off with Don Gibson's original from 1956. It was then covered by pretty much every country singer you can name from the 1950s and 1960s, most notably Patsy Cline's posthumous release in 1963. Also from 1963 - the divine harmonies of the Everlys. 

Patsy's was the most successful version until gnarled swamp-rocker Tommy McLain mooched his way up to No. 15 in the Billboard charts in 1966. Tommy released a comeback album last year with the support of famous fans including Elvis Costello who pops up next. 

Elvis C plays it pretty straight, unlike The Mekons whose version I prefer for that reason. We then round things off with two very fine soul covers, a bluesy instrumental and the Mandatory Reggae Version. Because some of us know the rules.

"Sweet Dreams" - Don Gibson

"Sweet Dreams" - Patsy Cline

"Sweet Dreams" - Tommy McLain

"Sweet Dreams" - The Everly Brothers

"Sweet Dreams" - Elvis Costello & The Attractions

"Sweet Dreams" - The Mekons

"Sweet Dreams" - Mighty Sam

"Sweet Dreams" - Bettye Swann

"Sweet Dreams" - Roy Buchanan

"Sweet Dreams" - The Pioneers

Friday, 10 February 2023

Burt Bacharach RIP

I don't have the words that can do Burt Bacharach justice but Hal David, Bob Hilliard and Carole Bayer Sager do. RIP Mr Bacharach.

"Please Stay" - The Drifters

"The Answer To Everything" - Joe Dolan

"I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" - Dusty Springfield

"Make It Easy On Yourself" - The Walker Brothers

"On My Own" - Patti Labelle & Michael McDonald

"One That Might Surprise You"

Wednesday, 8 February 2023

Twinkle Time

I'll be brisk and business-like today. Things to do, people to see, places to build - you know how it is.

The Twinkle Brothers have been making top notch reggae music for nigh on 60 years now. They released their first single back in 1965 and are still going strong under the leadership of the mighty Mr Norman Grant. Here are two personal favourites from their huge back catalogue.

"Since I Threw The Comb Away" - The Twinkle Brothers

"(This Man) King Pharoah (12" mix)" - The Twinkle Brothers

For the video I couldn't decide between "Terry" by the Brothers' near namesake or Sue Thompson's heartfelt tribute to Mr Grant so you are getting both. You lucky, lucky people.

PS In unrelated news, I went to see this lot last night. Great show. Go if you get the chance.

Monday, 6 February 2023

Boom Chicka Wau Wau

Last Friday was Bandcamp Friday so I did as I always do and headed to the Sahel Sounds page to take advantage of their 'name your own price' offer. I came away with a copy of "Mariage", the second album by Wau Wau Collectif which came out three months ago.

The Collectif is a collaboration between a group of Senegalese musicians and Swedish musician/ producer/ label owner/ weaver of artisan beards Karl Jonas Winqvist. Like its predecessor "Yara Se Doom" the album is a bit of a mish-mash of all sorts - or "stylistically expansive" as the blurb would have it - but in a good way. 

Some parts are pretty traditional with just kora and vocals, others have synths and a bit of desert blues guitar. There is a children's chant behind which a groove gradually emerges. And then there are the two tracks I have selected. 

The first is almost prog-jazz, while the second sounds like something that Augustus Pablo might have made if he'd been given the xylophone instead of the melodica in his school orchestra. George may wish to note that there are flutes on both.

"Yay Balma" - Wau Wau Collectif

"Yonou Natange" - Wau Wau Collectif

From Wau Wau to Wow Wow. This will mean nothing to any youngsters out there watching it while riding your jet packs.

Friday, 3 February 2023

Hellbound, Homesick & Demented

I got my second gig of the year under my belt on Wednesday, at the always excellent What's Cookin' club night in swinging Leytonstone. 

Steve and Ali are stalwarts of the live music scene in my part of London and have been setting up gigs for the best part of 20 years now. Steve wasn't there on Wednesday as he is recovering from a bout of nastiness that put him in hospital for a while, but hopefully he'll be back to his best soon. 

Top of the bill were Morton Valence. They are a duo (Rob Jessett and Anne Gilpin) who have been making records for even longer than Steve and Ali have been giving them a stage to play on. On this occasion they were promoting their most recent, self-titled, album which came out last year. The album was produced by the legendary B.J. Cole who also joined them on stage. 

Rob is living in Spain these days which might explain why there are a number of songs on the album, and in their set, in which he gets all misty-eyed about old London town - including the one below.

Support came from Hellbound Glory, all the way from Reno, Nevada where they presumably shoot men just to watch them die. I didn't know their stuff previously and I suspect I would have enjoyed them more with a full band line-up to give things a bit more oomph. They were still worth a listen though, and did a particularly nice version of the song I have selected.

As an extra treat for you all, today's video is one I took myself at the gig. It features Anne, B.J. and the looming heads of the two twerps in front of us. It's a cover of Iris Dement's "Our Town" which is elevated by B.J. Cole sprinkling his magic over it.

As well as being a good listen in its own right, it gives me the excuse (not that one is needed) to tell you that Iris has a brand new single that came out yesterday. It is called "The Sacred Now", it is on her upcoming album "Workin' On A World" which hits the shops later this month, and you can hear it here.

"Summertime In London" - Morton Valence

"Streets Of Aberdeen" - Hellbound Glory

Oh alright, you can have a proper video as well then.

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Kaboom Shakes The Room

I hadn't expected to be back in Uganda so soon after our recent Winston Mayanja post, but then again I hadn't expected to discover a previously unknown music genre - Electro Acholi!

I am not sure whether that is a real thing or was invented by the good folks at Kampala's Nyege Nyege Tapes to promote their 2019 compilation album "Electro Acholi Kaboom from Northern Uganda".

Either way, I like it a lot, possibly because there are elements of the sound that remind me very much of my dearly loved Tsonga Disco. Like Tsonga Disco they have retained the traditional rhythms and call and response vocals but added drum machines and synths and sped things up a bit. 

According from blurb "the electronic re-interpretation of traditional Acholi courtship songs began in Northern Uganda, primarily in the cities of Gulu and Lira around 2003, when Northern Uganda was still mired in a brutal civil war. First performed at weddings, they replaced the much larger traditional bands that under war time conditions had become too costly for many newly weds to afford".

The album consists 15 tracks from the scenes heyday between 2003 and 2008, including these two corkers.

"Bandera Pa Kaka" - Bosmic Otim

"Can Deg Ming" - Brother Q & City Boy

I can't confirm it definitively but I am pretty sure that it isn't this City Boy performing with Brother Q.

Monday, 30 January 2023

Haines 57

Regular readers may dimly recall me raving about an art exhibition by Gina Birch a few months back. That was held at Gallery 46 in London's swinging Whitechapel, and on Saturday just gone I went down there again for an exhibition by Luke Haines (ex Auteurs, Black Box Recorder etc). It runs until 5 February and it is worth popping in if you are in the area.

If you are familiar with his lyrics you won't be surprised to hear that his art is also heavily influences by pop culture of the 1970s and 1980s. The exhibition is called 'It's A Royal Knockout' and features the likes of Brian Jacks of Superstars fame and Dennis Waterman dressed as Les Gray from Mud. 

Here are a couple of the pieces on display. The first one features Ulrike Mienhof, the second Rod Hull and Eno (top punning there by Mr Haines). I have shared a few more over on Flickr if you are interested, including a good one of Geoff Capes. It includes a rude word so I didn't display it here in case anyone is reading this before the watershed.

The pictures are followed by a track apiece from his two best known bands, followed by one from "All The Kids Are Super Bummed Out", his new album with Peter Buck which came out late last year.

"Show Girl" - The Auteurs

"I Ran All The Way Home" - Black Box Recorder

"Waiting For The UFOs" - Luke Haines & Peter Buck

When I visited on Saturday I was the only person there apart from the curator, who turned out to be famed promoter and former Subway Sect and JoBoxers drummer Sean McLusky. Inspired by our surroundings we shared a trip down Memory Lane, visiting Mick McManus, 'Logan's Run' and all points in between. Here is Sean with his mates back in the day.

Friday, 27 January 2023

Tunji Jumping

In the unlikely event that any of you haven't spent all your Bandcamp Xmas vouchers yet you could do worse than pop over to the Soundway Records page and pick up a copy of "A Nigerian Retrospective 1966-79" by Tunji Oyelana. At just £8 for 24 tracks it is an absolute steal.

Tunji has had an interesting life and is still going strong at the tender age of 83. As well as making a lot of excellent music with his band The Benders he has also been a university lecturer and an actor, in which capacity he regularly worked with Wole Soyinka. The two of them wrote a musical called "I Love My Country" sending up the Nigerian political elite, which eventually led to them both being forced into political exile in the 1990s. 

Tunji settled in the UK and until fairly recently could be heard regularly strutting his stuff at his wife's restaurant in Camberwell - as featured in this short documentary made by his family and friends to mark his 80th birthday in 2019.

I've cut out the middle, man, and gone with the first and last tracks on the compilation. "Which Way Africa" is a magnificent piece of polemic. Unfortunately it seems that neither Africa nor anyone else was writing down the directions.

"Ojo" - Tunji Oyelana

"Which Way Africa" - Tunji Oyelana

Video clips of Tunji in his prime are rarer than hen's teeth, but there are plenty of other "Which Way" songs to choose from. I chose this one.

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Saravah Palaver

After Yukihiro Takahashi left us recently I decided to look on Bandcamp to see if I could find his 1977 solo album "Saravah!", released after the Sadistic Mika Band had folded but before he became a founder member of the Yellow Magic Orchestra. I did, but only after an interesting and unintentional detour.  

I got the R and V the wrong way round the first time I typed the album title into the search box. Instead of Mr Takahashi's mellow magic I found myself at the page of a band called Savarah. They hail from Bordeaux and describe their music as being "like Blonde Redhead making love to King Crimson in Brazil".

I don't know about that but they're not bad at all and this particular track of theirs fits quite nicely with the sounds of "Saravah!". 

"Present" - Yukihiro Takahashi

"La Meute" - Savarah


Monday, 23 January 2023

Wobble Like A Duck

I picked up another bargain last week, this time from our local Buddhist charity bookshop. "I Could Have Been A Contender" is a 3 CD collection of the works of Jah Wobble that was released in 2004 and for which I had to fork out all of 50p. Buddhists are clearly very charitable.  

As well as his solo and Invaders Of The Heart stuff it includes a small number of tracks from his PiL days and collaborations with the likes of Eno, Holger Czukay and Natascha Atlas amongst others. It came out on the Trojan label - one to put next to my well-worn copy of "1000 Volts Of Holt".

Today's first selection clocks in at just under 25 minutes so it counts for my occasional and entirely original Monday's Lengthy Listen series. His Wobbleness is joined by an all-star cast including Bill Laswell, Harold Budd and Jaki Leibezeit.

I have also added the shortest track on the compilation for those of you who are too busy to listen to the long one.

"The Mystery Of Twilight Part 2" - Jah Wobble's Solaris

"So Many Years" - Jah Wobble's Invaders Of The Heart

Those of you who feared the worst when you saw the title of this post were right to do so. Come on in, Coast To Coast (or Jah Wobble's Coast To Coast as I prefer to think of them).

Friday, 20 January 2023

Kampala Kool

I don't know whether this has been happening to other bloggers, but I have recently been bombarded by messages the gist of which are "this stuff you play is all very well, but what we really want is some mid-90s reggae from Uganda".

After extensive efforts on my part - those bargain bins don't rummage themselves - I am now in a position to oblige. I have tracked down a CD by one Winston Mayanja which contains two of his albums, "Bloodshed in Africa" (1993) and "Abafumbo" (1995).  

Mr Mayanja seems an interesting character. I discovered from a 2018 interview with him that he has a parallel career as a promoter - by his own account a very successful one although his does omit to mention the time he was briefly imprisoned and declared bankrupt after some shenanigans involving the no doubt blameless Chaka Demus & Pliers. He's also had a few spats with fellow performers.

As far as his own music is concerned you would not call it cutting edge but it is perfectly pleasant and Fine For A Friday. Here is a track apiece from both albums.

"Winston Dubstyle" - Winston Mayanja

"Okwagala Kuling'obudde" - Winston Mayanja

This post was written yesterday. I woke up this morning to the news that David Crosby has left us. This one's for him. RIP Mr Crosby.

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

A Big Bash For Barış

I got my first gig of the year under my belt last week. Billed as "The Psychedelic World of Barış Manço", it was a boisterous tribute to the late Anatolian rock legend and multiple 'Moustache Of The Year' winner. This has been an annual event in recent years, pandemics permitting, but this year's edition also marked what would have been the Great Man's 80th birthday earlier this month.  

Not just that, but way back in 1975 Barış released a concept album - they were de rigueur at the time - called "2023". I don't speak Turkish so I don't know what the particular concept was, but I imagine the lyrics are full of references to jetpacks and robot butlers. Either that or it is a vision of a dystopian future that has turned out to be spookily accurate.

We present for your pleasure and delight the title track of the concept album - apologies for the slightly wonky sound quality - and a couple of  Barış's big bangers.

"2023" - Barış Manço

"Hal Hal" - Barış Manço

"Binboga'nın Kızı" - Barış Manço


Monday, 16 January 2023

Three For Free

In my previous post I told a long and rather dull anecdote about how the pricing policies of my local second-hand record shop had led me to buy four CDs I would not have bought otherwise in order to save £1. One of them was the excellent eponymous debut album by Melt Yourself Down. Today we'll take a brisk run through the other three.

We'll start with the only one of the three acts I had previously known about. That is El Khat, a Tel Aviv based band led by Eyal el Wahab, a member of the Yemeni diaspora. I have a couple of tracks from their 2019 album "Saadia Jefferson", and am now the proud owner of last year's "Albat Alawi Op.99" which aims to evoke traditional Yemeni music. You can find it on the Glitterbeat Bandcamp site if you are so inclined.  

Next up is "Piece Of Me", a decent slab of retro-soul by Lady Wray (real name Nicole Wray) that also came out last year. Her Ladyship started her career back in the late 1990s as a protege of Missy Elliott and even had a Top 10 hit in the US in 1998 under the name Nicole.  Time passed and she became one half of a retro-soul duo called Lady and a backing singer for Lee Fields. "Piece Of Me" is her second album as Lady Wray. Also available on Bandcamp, naturally.

Which brings us to "Deadhorse" by buMMer, an album acquired solely because of the title of the track below. Unfortunately as the vocals are just a load of incoherent grunting I am none the wiser as to why they want to bash the Boss in his boy bits.

"La Sama" - El Khat

"Through It All" - Lady Wray

"I Want To Punch Bruce Springsteen In The Dick" - buMMer

Here is Lady Wray with her big smash hit from way back before she was ennobled. Personally I prefer her new old-sounding stuff.

Friday, 13 January 2023

Truth Is Molten

Our local second-hand record shop has a couple of boxes tucked away in the corner containing CDs that are priced at £1 each or £5 for 10. Once a month or so I pop in for a rummage. Sometimes there's only trash, but sometimes there's treasure.

Last week's visit yielded treasure with a capital T. Someone who either sends or receives promo CDs had dropped a load off and in a matter of moments I had picked out six albums that I definitely wanted.  This put me in the position of needing to find four more in order to reduce the overall price.

That in turn gave me the freedom to select artistes and albums I knew nothing about - there was nothing to lose and £1 to gain. So that is what I did. One of the four I chose had no information on either the cover or the CD itself  It looked like this:

I was delighted to discover when I got home and slipped the disc into my CD drive that I had acquired the self-titled debut album by Melt Yourself Down, who have described their music as "Nubian inspired party-punk music". I don't know what if anything that means but if you think Pigbag meets Omar Souleyman then you'll have a rough idea. Anyway, it is a rather splendid racket that I imagine may sound even better live.

The album came out in 2013 and you can find it and the 2016 follow-up "Last Evenings On Earth" on their Bandcamp site. The Melts have since released a couple more albums but they are on Decca so you'll have to go to less reputable websites to find them.

"We Are Enough" - Melt Yourself Down

"Kingdom Of Kush" - Melt Yourself Down

When you've listened to those tracks try playing the two videos at the same time to see whether my description holds up.

Wednesday, 11 January 2023

Wilma Lee, Stoney And God

For the second Wednesday in a row we have some gospel for you - for me that counts as a series. Today's selections are very different in style to last week's funky outpourings though.

Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper hailed from West Virginia and were big names on the bluegrass and traditional country music scene from their marriage in 1941 to Stoney's death in 1977. After that, Wilma carried on as a member of the Grand Ol' Opry until retiring 2001 at the age of 80. 

Here's a couple of tunes of theirs from the early 1950s.

"Are You Walking And A-Talking For The Lord" - Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper

"I'm Taking My Audition (To Sing Up in the Sky)"  - Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper 

Monday, 9 January 2023

Holes In The Oz-zone

Last week Khayem over at Dubhed featured one side of an Australian compilation cassette containing allegedly psychedelic sounds. This was what prompted me to get down from the shelves for the first time in many years a compilation of Australian psychedelic pop from the late 1960s.

The compilation is called "Peculiar Hole In The Sky" and it came out in 2002 on the Big Beat label (an Ace Records offshoot I believe). I have no idea whether it is still available, but I suspect not.  

Today we have for you the title track by The Valentines together with a little something from Cam-Pact. The lead singers of both bands went on to bigger things. The Valentines were fronted by one Bon Scott, while Cam-Pact's Keith Glass became the first manager of The Birthday Party - not the easiest job in the world one suspects - and released their early records on his Missing Link label.

"Peculiar Hole In The Sky" - The Valentines

"Drawing Room" - Cam-Pact

"Peculiar Hole In The Sky" was written by famed songwriting duo Harry Vanda and George Young when they were in The Easybeats. George was the big brother of Malcolm and Angus with whom Bon Scott teamed up a few years later. Here are a few of Harry and George's hits.

Friday, 6 January 2023

Sweet Talkin' Guys

First Glasgow on Monday, then Gospel on Wednesday and now Ghana. Our celebrations marking National Words Beginning With G Week reach their climax with an album that I picked up for next to nothing while in Germany (another G!) last month.

"The Kusum Beat" by The Sweet Talks was originally released in Ghana in 1974 and reissued for a global audience by the ever excellent Soundway Records in 2010. You can pick up a digital copy on their Bandcamp site for a mere £4, a bargain if ever there was one. They have got the album title and band name mixed up but never mind.

I have chosen the first and last tracks for you but every one of them is a cracker. The album will have you smiling from start to finish.

"Akampanye" - The Sweet Talks

"Kyekye Pe Aware" - The Sweet Talks

I couldn't find a clip of The Chiffons performing "Sweet Talkin' Guy" - I should really have checked that before choosing the title for this post - so here is a sweet talkin' woman instead.

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

In Greg We Trust

I recently acquired a copy of "Greg Belson's Divine Funk", a compilation of rare gospel soul and funk that was released on the Cultures of Soul label back in 2021.

According to the blurb Mr Belson is "one of the world's leading collectors and DJs of gospel music", and to be fair I can't name another one. I do wonder what the artistes make of his shameless self-promotion though. I suspect they thought they were glorifying God not Greg.

Having said that it is a fantastic record and well worth picking up from the Cultures of Soul Bandcamp page. Here is a couple of selections, plus a clip of someone you may have heard of who was also quite good (and a phenomenal afro in he background as a bonus).

"Troubles Of The World" - The Christian Harmonizers

 "Who's Your Boss" - Pearl Farano & The High Lites Of Joy

Monday, 2 January 2023

What The Cutler Saw

And so it begins. 

We kick off this year's musical meanderings in Glasgow, home of such luminaries as Charity Chic, Citizen Bravo and the late Ivor Cutler. Mr Cutler would have turned 100 in two weeks' time so you can consider this an early celebration of his centenary. 

It's not as early a celebration as the one co-ordinated by Citizen Bravo though. Way back in 2020 he released "Return To Y'Hup - The World Of Ivor Cutler", featuring the songs of Ivor and guest vocals from many well-known names on the Scottish indie scene - including Emma Pollock, who has recently been seen over at Charity Chic's place.

I saw Ivor live once about 40 years ago. At the time I thought he was a bit of a cantankerous old sod, although now I am roughly the age he was then I probably am too. I can't comment on the other two fellows. 

You can pick up the Citizen Bravo album from Bandcamp if you are so inclined. Here are a couple from that plus one from Ivor's own "Jammy Smears" album.

"Size Nine And A Half" - Citizen Bravo (featuring Emma Pollock)

"Pickle Your Knees" - Citizen Bravo (featuring Karine Polwart)

"A Wooden Tree" - Ivor Cutler