Odds and Ends 004
Yes We Can: Songs About Leaving Africa (Out Here)
The new Afropop reality‑-a continent's worth of emigre Afrorap (Afrikan Boy, "Lidl"; Matador Feat. Gor Mak, "Xippol Xol") ***
Afro-Beat Airways (Analog Africa)
Best proof yet that there was Afrobeat beyond Fela‑-though no frontmen like Fela, and some of it's kinda highlife, and some of it's from Togo, and there's loads of organ throughout (K. Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas, "Me Yee Owu Den"; Orchestre Abass, "Awula Bo Fee Ene") ***
The Rough Guide to African Guitar Legends (World Music Network) Less than the sum of its oft-familiar parts, several of which you can do without a lot easier than you can Syran M'Benza's bonus Franco album (Eric Agyeman, "Nea Abe Beto"; Henry Makobi, "Omulanga Wamuka") ***
Boubacar Traoré: Mali Denhou (Lusafrica)
When you're pushing 70 and your voice sounds it, you earn fewer charm and texture points in Bambara than in English ("Mali Denhou," "N'Dianamogo") **
Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80: From Africa With Fury: Rise (Knitting Factory)
Heir apparent with less to prove and nothing new to prove it with‑-except, uh-oh, new musicians ("African Soldier," "Mr. Big Thief") **
Sia Tolno: My Life (Lusafrica)
She's from Sierra Leone, she's trilingual, and it sounds more like her career than her life to me ("Blamah Blamah," "Ayibon") *
Femi Kuti: Africa for Africa (Knitting Factory)
Still too entitled, still too grand, at long last a little smarter ("Obasanjo Don Play Yoy Wayo," "Politics in Africa") *
Sidi Touré & Friends: Sahel Folk (Thrill Jockey)
Pretty much what the title would lead you to figure, which is far from everything you'd hope ("Haallah," "Waya zarrabo `Women Madness'") *
Not that this has anything to do with recent discussions, but.....
Several months ago, I made a flip remark here pertaining to Dave Brubeck's "authenticity". I deserved a more stern rebuke, but Tom Hull chimed in with a polite and informative appreciation of the man and his music.
I had DVR'd the Eastwood-produced In His Own Sweet Way last summer, but didn't get around to watching it until last week. It's a good overview of his life and work with some respectful comments from Clint, Bill Cosby, David Benoit, Keith Emerson, et. al., along with the rest of the Brubeck clan. There's a great scene at the end with he and Jay McShann doing a blues duet on piano. What a positive, enthusiastic guy he is; great wife, too. It's worth renting or else try to catch the documentary whenever TCM gets around to airing it again. Boy, I'd give anything to be half that vital if I make 90.
Perhaps he isn't one of the "titans", but I think Brubeck deserves enormous credit not only as a performer but as an educator and ambassador for exposing jazz to the masses with his college visits and non-stop touring. I also believe he was a world music pioneer utilizing themes culled from his various global treks on many LPs.
Having only a "greatest hits" knowledge of his music, I'm now collecting his better-rated individual records and digging them. Tom called him a "mensch" - I belatedly concur.
I saw Amy Rigby at a small club in Edinburgh on the Little Fugitive tour. After the show (which was delightful), she was selling CDs, and I bought the two I didn't have yet. My accent gave me away that I wasn't a native, so we struck up a brief conversation. And then I suggested perhaps the greatest idea I ever had: she and Jon Langford should make an album together. She said she knew him and liked the idea. Sadly nothing seems to have come from my one shining moment of brilliance.
[Edit] P.S. Greg: as of her online diary entry on 6 January, Eric and Amy are still together. Also moved from France to the States.
Every time I hear about Wreckless Eric I can't help thinking about his lady (hope they are still together-who knows these days)- the great Amy Rigby. If you aren't familiar with her music- jump, immediately. Xgau would certainly agree. It was his ratings of her albums that turned me on.
It would be nice if Liam's show was available that way too! I always see his shameless plug after the show has streamed. And I can't ever keep track of the time on Saturday. Liam, if you do the show in advance, wouldn't you have a copy you could stick in dropbox and post us a link, leaving it there for a few days?
Very flattered you're interested in hearing it! I doubt I could put it in dropbox before it goes out first (station gets first release!) It is repeated on Wednesday noon GMT and Saturday 6 am GMT. I'll see what I can do about getting a copy. I don't keep a copy myself, I record it at the station and I don't think they store all the sound files. I don't have a dropbox account either, not as tech savvy as some of you guys, but I'll look into it. Some of the stuff I play is on vinyl and I haven't stored it digitally yet - I have the equipment but not the time.
I found the post where the EP discussion took place, it was on the Carolina Chocolate Drops EP. I'm doing three EP shows now, second premieres Sat 21, third Sat 28. Will start my usual practice of going back ten years next month, so a month of programmes on 2002, 1992, etc., as far back as I can go.
always open minded enough to give a band some second chance, i went through that Smiths box this afternoon and it still is a problem for me to hear what's so great about that band(in our region anyway) .As a singer i think he has presence enough but most of the time those songs really don't work for me.
Could be his original melodic flow that" hangs" in there.Or is it just his voice ?
Sorry for not getting back earlier, sometimes takes a couple of days before I can log in again.
I was never an uncritical Smiths fan, I don't think they made a totally great album (The Queen is Dead is closest, but even that has a couple of flat tracks, esp "Vicar in a Tutu"). A friend of mine once said he thought Morrissey and Marr had a symbiotic relationship, in that the words were strong when the music was, and weak when the music was weak. When the two hit together, for me it was brilliant, anytime I hear the opening guitar riff from "This Charming Man" I'm looking for flowers to stick between my teeth and in my back pocket so I can spin around on one foot.
I never understood how lots of people didn't find them funny, all the mooning about seemed hilarious to me, "now I know how Joan of Arc felt", "girlfriend in a coma, I know it's serious", etc. (Equally, I never understood how lots of people didn't seem to get that Leonard Cohen was funny until I'm Your Man came out.) Saying that, my favourite bit (apart from "This Charming Man") is straightforwardly from the heart, the middle eight (or is it chorus?) from "There is a Light that Never Goes Out" ("to die by YOUR SIDE", etc) - might not reduce well to paper but never fails to get me.
I don't have the new collection and as I said, I think their output was patchy so you'd hear that if you sit down to listen to that box in a sitting. So I'm not sure I can convert you, or whether that provides any illumination - I could suggest a playlist of my faves maybe?
Milo, how on earth did you come across that Teen Dreams comp?
Oh, I talk to all sorts of music nuts. Few months ago I was chatting with an oldies expert and I complained that too many retrospective anthologies from the pre-Beatles years were burdened with numbers that were either too familiar or too hip for the average teen in those days. (Sure, you heard them on the soundtrack of a nostalgic movie* but what was more likely on the radio or played at home back in the day?) He recommended Teen Dreams as a non-hip collection put together by somebody with a complete sensibility and a sharp ear. And it was far from a mere crate-dig, too. And he was right.
I was kinda surprised I didn't have it already. But Sony didn't send me every reissue, that's for sure, and this one was a quickie -- like I say, there's not even any indication who put it together.
*This is not to deny the importance of the very best of them, American Graffiti, which gave a major boost to interest in oldies.
The sole Amazon customer review is accurate and pretty funny: goo.gl/FqMJU
you can include songs from your hard drive in your Spotify library
I think this is mainly so they can grab your copy of a song and upload it to somebody else on the network who wants to hear it (P2P).
I doubt it - I would think this would get Spotify in all kinds of troubles with record labels. Plus when you use a playlist made by someone else that includes songs that are on their hard drive but not Spotify's library, those songs won't play, unless you have them on your hard drive too.
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.
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