No knew release from the lads this year, but the hardest working band delivered some soundboards worth turning up loud. This youtube video is close.
Because the accordion is intrinsic to zydeco, Andre Michot of the Broussard Louisiana’s Lost Bayou Ramblers doesn’t pick up his lap steel enough for my tastes. But when he does. . . sweet.
Louis Michot – Fiddle & Vocals
Andre Michot – Accordion & Lapsteel
Cavan Carruth – Guitar & Vocals
Eric Heigle – Drums
Korey Richey – Bass
Over the past week I’ve unveiled some of the music that brought me satisfaction and, often, extraordinary moments of sonic alignment–which is how great music strikes me, and, has struck me for forty-five years.
Nowadays it is clear that musical culture in the USA revolves around everybody being their own mix master. Almost all the music mentioned in the previous week’s post can be sampled via Spotify or Pandora. It can be purchased at iTunes or Amazon or GooglePlay, yet the best place to purchase it, is at the artist’s web site–where such an opportunity exists.
The following is my ordering of my very favorite releases from last year. This evaluation isn’t intended to parse artistic merit. It just serves my desire to name Wussy the album of the year, and to put their superb Attica in the company of other peerless examples of vital musical artistry.
12 ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS – 2014
1. Wussy – Attica |buy direct| ***record of the year***
2. The Swans – To Be Kind |buy direct|
3. Sam Newsome – The Straight Horn of Africa A Path to Liberation (Art of the Soprano, V2) |buy Amazon|
4. Noura Mint Seymali (Mauritania) – Tzenni |buy direct|
5. D’Angelo & The Vanguard – Black Messiah |buy Amazon|
6. Hassan Hakmoun (Morocco) – Unity |buy Amazon|
7. Tisziji Munoz – Taking You Out There! Live |buy direct|
8. Irma Thomas – Full Time Woman (The Lost Cotillion Album)
|buy Lousiana Music Factory|
9. Aya Nishina – Flora [from 2013] |buy|
10.The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream |buy direct|
11.Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds In Country Music |buy direct|
12.FKA Twigs – LP1 |buy Amazon|
Special Mention – Archival Discovery of the Year
John Coltrane – Offering – Live at Temple University |buy Resonance Records|
Irma Thomas – Full Time Woman (The Lost Cotillion Album)
The results, as soul lifting and impactful as anything she has has done, are an object lesson in the profound vacuousness of the music business — which tried to throw Thomas away well before her time. Luckily for Thomas, and for us, she’d rebound into the 1980s after quickly leaving Atlantic, first on Charly and then on Rounder. Nobody questions the Queen anymore. (Nick DeRisio,
writing for SomethingELSE. full review
Thomas wasn’t exactly thrilled that they’d been rediscovered. The 15 songs were recorded in four different cities, with various producers, as Atlantic experimented in an effort to revive her career.
“I was praying that those songs would never come out,” she says. “I didn’t think it was my best work. I had totally wiped that out of my mind — that’s how bad I felt about those recording sessions.”
She bought a copy of “The Lost Cotillion Album” anyway, took it home, and gave it a listen.
“The songs themselves aren’t that bad,” she concluded. “But had I been allowed to perform them the way that I wanted to, it would have been much better.
“They were hell-bent for leather to have me sound like somebody they wanted me to sound like. That’s where the loss came in.” Irma Thomas has mixed feelings about the rediscovery of her 1970s-era ‘Lost Cotillion Album’
Swamp Dogg – The White Man Made Me Do It
D’Angelo & The Vanguard – Black Messiah
Dr. John – Ske-Dat-De-Dat…The Spirit Of Satch
Henry Butler & Steven Bernstein – Viper’s Drag
Howlin’ Wolf The Complete RPM & Chess Singles As & Bs 1951-62
Albert Collins – Funky Blues Live 1973
Sonny Knight & the Lakers – I’m Still Here
Joe Louis Walker – Hornet’s Nest
King Legba and the Loas – King Legba and the Loas
Meshell Ndegeocello – Comet, Come To Me
The Sweet Inspirations – The Complete Atlantic Singles
VA – Chicago Blues Summit With J. B. Lenoir & Sunnyland Slim
Muddy Waters – The Complete Aristocrat & Chess Singles As & Bs 1947-62
va – Say Amen! Gospel Funk from Jewel Records
Blues & Soul – New Orleans Division
Los Po Boy Citos – Hasta
Allen Toussaint – Songbook
Trombone Shorty – Say That to Say This
Walter Wolfman Washington & The Roadmasters – Howlin’ Live at dba New Orleans Davell Crawford – My Gift to You
comment: Los Po Boy Citos takes the crown with their wide-eared synthesis of, hold on, boogaloo, salsa, surf, second line, funk, NOLA indian music, blues, and soul.
Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign
Chocolate Milk – Chocolate Milk
James Booker – Classified
Messengers Incorporated ?- Soulful Proclamation
Womack & Womack – Conscience
comment: King’s cornerstone blues date greatly benefits from remastering; the Chocolate Milk set fills a large gap in their digital discography; Conscience is one of my all time favorites; and Soulful Proclamation was the rarity that rose to the top of my estimation.
comment: a tie at the top! Holley, better known as folk sculptor, is compelling and unique, and he is so in the entire sweep of musical artistry! See Lonnie Holley: The Insider’s Outsider, New York Times; Self-Made Man NPR; Ms. Monae is deservedly both a cutting edge artist and superstar; the Blind Boys celebrate their 70th anniversary this year.
Magic Sam – Live At The Avant Garde (Amazon)
Eric Bibb – Jericho Road
Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite – Get Up!
Gwyn Ashton – Fistful Of Blues
Tamara Peterson w. Lucky Peterson Band – Whatever You Say (Amazon)
Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup – Sunny Road (Amazon)
The Slide Brothers – Robert Randolph Presents The Slide Brothers
comment: Magic Sam, departed to St. Peter’s houseband in 1969, is captured in a trio format in 1968. It’s no knock on his contemporaries to note that they just do not make Chicago blues records like his or that of Crudup anymore. Ashton is a terrific electric slide player from the UK, and The Slide Brothers feature three pedal steel players, two stand up and play and one sits down.
1 Charles Bradley::Trouble In The Land 00:58
2 Charles Bradley::Lovin You, Baby 5:25
3 Hot Tuna::Vicksburg Stomp 3:44
4 Lucky Peterson::Running Down The Railroad 6:38
5 ReBirth Brass Band::The Dilemma 3:53
6 Hawthorne HeadhuntersNo Crying Now, No Lyin Down 3:07
7 Gina Sicilia::Gimme A Simple Song 3:54
8 Me’shell Ndegeocello::Crazy and Wild 4:29
9 Mayer Hawthorne::Work To Do 3:55
10 Ceux Qui Marchent Debout::All Together 4:00
11 Johnny Nicholas::(It’s All Over Now) Baby Blue 5:04
12 Steve Cropper::Right Around The Corner 2:36,
13 Tracy Nelson::One More Mile 5:52
14 The Funk Ark::From the Rooftops 4:30
15 Blind Boys of Alabama::The Last Mile of the Way 4:26
16 Eric Bibb with Staffan Astner::People Get Ready/Get Onboard 11:20
Having settled back sometime ago into a decidedly old school frame of mind, there’s nothing here cozying up to any kind of envelope.
320kbs iPod ready download Rapidshare |
The Devil Is An Angel Too
Still the Rain
|Pinetop Perkins &
Willie Big Eyes Smith
Joined at the Hip
You Are Not Alone
|The Haggis Horns
Keep On Movin’
|Carolina Chocolate Drops
Genuine Negro Jig
British Rock Songbook
Bought For a Dollar,
Sold For a Dime
Aretha Franklin-King Curtis
Live at the Fillmore
|Junior Wells & the Aces
Live in Boston 1966
Last in my year-end accounting come blues, soul, and funk. Funk serves as a catch-all. In important respects the umbrella class is rhythm and blues. In recent years this class doesn’t get enough attention. The main reason for this is that I tend reach for old classic Chicago blues and southern soul when I want to scratch my itch. For funk my habit is to pull out Fela, The Meters, James Brown, and others. These predilections do not imply my global value judgment about recent rhythm and blues. I have to narrow my attention simply as matter of time, and, I’m as enthusiastic about the gems here and deeper on my list, as I am about anything else I’ve put my ears to this year.
The fact of the matter is that in this summary sits the one record I’d dare to elevate to be my record of the year. We’ll get to this honor shortly.
Buddy Guy is 74 years old. He originally was a leading light of the second wave of Chicago electric bluesmen, establishing his signature sound starting in 1965 with his debut for Delmark and the classic six sides made with Junior Wells for producer Sam Charters, forever enshrined on volume one of Chicago/The Blues/Today, (Vanguard Records.) It’s fitting the two most thrilling records of electric blues I heard last year came from the elder statesman Guy, Living Proof, and his off-and-on partner, Junior Wells, Live in Boston 1966.
The latter record captures a working band on a working night. The recording is serviceable, the playing sturdy and locked in. The music provides a time machine back to a time when this was how blues drummers drummed and blues bass players played. We are here talking about Dave Myers and Fred Below. Louis Myers is on guitar. Wells, thirty-one at the time of this club date had been plying his trade for 15 years by this night. He, and a handful of others, were about to enjoy a brief enlightening run through college town clubs, hippie ballrooms and main stages, such as the two Fillmores. Here, we’re on the cusp of the Chicago blues coming to town. Rock and roll would never be the same.
Buddy Guy is without any doubt the preeminent guitarist of the Chicago blues sound. He is also a survivor, whose long recording career has demonstrated his keen ability to evolve his artistry with the currents of change in Black popular music. A confident player, sometimes he can seem to coast while cranking out the tried-and-true. He’s always been a terrific singer, and my hope with each outing over the years is that it go beyond mere everything falling into place. No problem with Living Proof: Guy goes right for the heart of the matter with the first track, etching slashing, psychedelic blues lines as only he can do. From there, he’s so on that cameos by B.B.King and Carlos Santana are as frosting–sweet augmentation. Greatly advantaged by the arrangements and recording, this strikes me as the most invigorating blues record of the new century, so far.
New Orleans R&B has equal standing with Chicago blues in my funked-up world. Trombone Shorty, I’m sure, means to amuse on Backtown, a record preceded by a reputation somehow gathered up and delivered on the ethers. He’s good to this advance world. Although the NOLA brass band is central to a number of big easy ritual musics, here various conventions get stretched and hammered into bottom heavy funk only Shorty is thumping out. Backtown is razor sharp in execution and smile-inducing in its borrowings from the Caribbean, urban funk, Wonderesque soul, and fusion jazz. Crazy good.
I’d like to offer a concoction: a bit of Peggy Lee, a bit more David Bowie, and a liberal helping ofThe Fugees. Hmmm, you’re shaking your head? Let me adjust this mix then. Sprinkle some Queen and David Axelrod into the pot. Huh, you don’t know who Axelrod is? Okay, sounds unappetizing, but just take a sip.
Janelle Monáe. The ArchAndroid, Ms. Monáe’s second record, and one which continues her suite, Metropolis, is one of those musical moments I wouldn’t of thought possible. Her earlier record didn’t trip my triggers and then she signed on Bad Boy, and joined Diddy‘s stable of has-beens and wannabees.
So what happens? She forges the most ingenious and extravagant and utterly unique slab of neo-everything since Prince’s heyday.
Here’s an excerpt from Pitchfork’s review.
The songs zip gleefully from genre to genre, mostly grounded in R&B and funk, but spinning out into rap, pastoral British folk, psychedelic rock, disco, cabaret, cinematic scores, and whatever else strikes her fancy. It’s about as bold as mainstream music gets, marrying the world-building possibilities of the concept album to the big tent genre-mutating pop of Michael Jackson and Prince in their prime. Monáe describes The ArchAndroid as an “emotion picture,” an album with a story arc intended to be experienced in one sitting, like a movie. It most certainly works in this way, but at first blush, it’s almost too much to take in all at once. The first listen is mostly about being wowed by the very existence of this fabulously talented young singer and her over-the-top record; every subsequent spin reveals the depths of her achievement.
Here, I’ll poor you a full glass.
Bobby McFerrin‘s VOCAbularies, his first new recording in eight years, is an astonishing record, . His sunny experiments in the collected human voice are always welcome. When assembling my roster of favorite records for the last year, VOCAbularies started out in jazz, but I’ve moved it into the experimental catch-all category. There it rises close to the top.
I had the lucky privilege of singing in his Voicestra in a one shot performance at The Omega Institute in the late eighties. There were roughly about 200 volunteer singers distributed in the four corners of a large hall, and McFerrin conducted from the center. He told us all something that stuck with me, ‘Don’t worry too much about being in tune because you’ll help each other find it together.’
The Pentatonic is a deep wellspring of possibility built upon a complex evolutionary and cultural integration. I recommend fooling around with the black keys to get the experience of melodic resolution out of which the natural improviser is evoked. Consider too that this five note mode, and its variations, join a singular repertoire of materials that can be traced back through contemporary music, and then farther back through folkloric musics from just about every corner of the world, and, finally, and speculatively, tracked back to what I believe to be its biological origin as a fundamental sonic insight within the emergence of proto-music, or that sound-making precedent to music ‘proper’. Reflect upon what music was before, in whichever culture it was so, it obtained the various instrumentalities we commonly associate with music.
(What was music it was a form of artistry, or entertainment, or, medium for communicating sentiment, or, a form for integrating language, etc.)
(The pentatonic modes are an essential aspect of my RhythmRiver experiential learning concept. One of its programs is called Pentatonic Drift.)
All over the place blues, so cheap for you.
1 Jay McShann – Some Kinda Crazy 2:41
2 Bob Brozman & Djeli Mousa Diawara – Maloyan Devil 5:59
3 Kelly Joe Phelps – Little Family 3:57
4 Imperial Kings – Love Blues 4:20
5 Geoff Muldaur & The Texas Queens – Hard Time Killin’ Floor 4:19
6 Papa Mojo – Bunkie Boogie 3:01
7 Jim Dickinson & Chuck Prophet – Down In Mississippi 4:07
8 John Campbell – Lockdown 3:51
9 Tab Benoit – What I Have to Do 5:00
10 Joe Barry – Rollin’ Bones 2:15
11 Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood – Driftin’ 5:41
12 Better Days – New Walkin’ Blues 6:17
13-14 Robert Randolph – You Got to Move-Goin’ In the Right Direction 12:48
15 The White Stripes – Death Letter -> Motherless Children -> Death Letter 8:01
16 The Black Keys – When The Lights Go Out 3:13