Bachata Roja/Vijana Jazz Band
Oldies but Goodies, Pained and Jocose
This introduction to Dominican son was "recorded live to 2-track," sniffs the same label's co-released Bachata Legends, in which the original artists re-record decades-old classics smoothly and even beautifully but seldom enthrallingly. What the original vocals lacked in accomplished ease they made up and then some in quirky intensity, and they weren't anything like amateurish. With more at stake professionally and personally, these young singers grabbed onto the "bitterness" at the heart of their barrio-bohemian genre so as to dramatize not only the pain of thwarted love but the hunger for public identity that eats at a people after half a century of tyranny. Sometimes it's almost like they're crying. A MINUS
Vijana Jazz Band: The Koka Koka Sex Battalion: Rumba, Koka Koka & Kamata Sukuma: Music From Tanzania 1975-1980 (Sterns)
One band with two names so it could record over quota when it managed the journey to the studio in Nairobi, Vijana Jazz Band and its Koka Koka Sex Battalion doppelganger favored the typical East African iteration of soukous's rippling guitars. Sometimes this approach is compared to country music, but that's a metaphor, not a musical analogy‑-these guys aren't true soloists, and rarely is Nashville guitar so ramshackle. In East African rumba, guitars provide atmosphere more than content. The content's in the jocosely hectoring vocals and single-line saxophone interjections, which with this enjoyable little band are numerous and various enough to engage non-Swahili speakers who find some of the melodies warm and others tepid. B PLUS
Early "Can't Hardly Wait": goo.gl/d2Lji
Cy: A great question and a very incomplete answer --
Julieta Venegas' "Lento" is highly political if you are Latina. I think.
And Aterciopelados is known for their political stance, especially female lead Andrea Echeverri. Their music is a little hit or miss with me though, "Panal" being my fave.
I'm also a big fan of Los Rodriguez, "Sin Documentos"; "I love you without documentation." Again, I think. Venegas covered it on her excellent album Limon y Sal.
None of the above are in English though.
Looks like lots of Scott Miller on YouTube. In a brief survey I also like this version of "Daddy Raised A Boy" from 1999.
[A]ll I got was an arch "oh they're using minor key to make it sound more Jewish. So cliched."
Your kids, while smartass punks, rule. How old was that one?
Is anyone here expert acoustic and electric Delta blues of the 1930s and 1940s that were actually recorded in the Mississippi Delta and Arkansas?? My question is why virtually nothing exists of the stuff in the natural setting of the jukes and house parties on Saturday nights, where a single song might run twenty minutes or more? (Unfortunately, recording them as 78s or for 78 release meant the songs were unnaturally short.)
ETA: Also this one that one of my friends kept sneaking into the queue at my Christmas party last weekend http://goo.gl/3XsVC
Wouldn't it be crazy if we really were faking it and had stolen the identity of four people who happened to be friends??
Best to everyone for the holidays (from Montreal, QC).
jreamteam -- Scott Miller. What do you make of the (I assume) historically accurate John Brown references in "Highland County Boy"
gmort -- i have quite a few thoughts on this song, but it will take more time than i have right now to sort my brain and post something (hopefully) thoughtful on it.
interestingly, i'm going hiking at Harpers Ferry sometime in the next coming weekends. been there many times before, but maybe i'll visit it with some newly gained perspective.
jreamteam -- Scott Miller. What do you make of the (I assume) historically accurate John Brown references in "Highland County Boy", one of the songs inspired by letters from his great-great-grandfather? Pretty fascinating IMHO.
Currently listening to Scott Miller's Citation. i love how he extensively borrows from Bryan Adams on the first song. sounds terrible i know, but this is actually a good thing imo.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.