Omar Souleyman/Original Sound of Cumbia
Standing Out and Having Fun
I don't know how I missed this guy, but though maybe his three earlier compilation-style albums on Sublime Frequencies render this one redundant, I doubt it‑-played blind, it grabbed me by the what-the? from the moment track two speeded things up and didn't quit till the end of track nine an hour and change later. A Syrian not to be confused with the Egyptian placeholder president of approximately the same name, Souleyman is a local wedding singer turned world-music attraction playing a supposedly dumbed-down, synthed-up, hickoid-metal variant of a major Levantine pop style called, how loosely or precisely I know not, dabke. Recorded in such exotic locales as Berlin, Melbourne, Philadelphia, and Kortrijk, Belgium, this delivers the kind of intensity Lester Bangs craved and almost got when he tore the shrink-wrap off the Count Five's Cartesian Jetstream. And don't nitpick‑-Lester couldn't understand the lyrics either. A MINUS
The Original Sound of Cumbia (Soundway)
Subtitled "The History of Colombian Cumbia & Porro: As Told by the Phonograph 1948-1979," this is a crate dig rather than a hits collection: two CDs culled from five years of rooting around among 78s by the prolific U.K. beatmaster-bandleader Bill "Quantic" Holland, who also provides 5000 words of fact-filled notes. There's not much of the surface sparkle of the Disco Fuentes cumbia comps here, but boy, are these guys determined to stand out and have fun. Few of the 55 three-minute dance tracks by 50-plus artists are catchy in the pop sense, but most boast a mark of difference‑-intro or small arranging trick, yodel or spoken byplay or Donald Duck voice or comic call-and-response or lead tuba or humorous squeezebox trickery. Accordions and a panoply of local percussion dominate the Afro-mestizo groove, so that the larger horn sections that materialize toward the end are almost buzz killers sometimes. Not the kind of album you put on craving greatness‑-the kind of album you put on craving company. A MINUS
P-to-V ratio (inspired by everyone's favorite hirsute lady poster): This number could vary depending on allowances, but I count 28 of the top 100 records as having a significant female presence.
Female solo artists: 9 (Kala, Blue, Car Wheels, Guyville, Immaculate Collection, Horses, SFTC SFTS, Lucinda Williams, Spirit in the Dark)
Female groups: 3 (K. and A. McGarrigle, Dig Me Out, Hot Rock)
Compilations including female artists: 2 (TIBo Soweto, Consensus Motown compilation)
Gender mixed groups: 14 (69 Love Songs, VU3, There's a Riot Going On, Daydream Nation, Fear and Whiskey, Rock n Roll, Tallulah, Sly & Family's Greatest, VU and Nico, Funeral Dress, Germfree Adolescents, Wild Gift, Thousand Leaves, Neon Bible)
compilations covering multiple decades: 8
might throw some stuff up about singets later today.
Imagine my surprise when the Wu-Tang name generator kick up Visible Choirboy for the name Dennis Coles instead of ... well you know. Mine was Dependable Skeleton.
Edit- Wow thats weird, JFK and I have the same name. I'm flattered but not sure if I'll ever go to Dallas again.
Recent wu presidents:
George W Bush - Bastard Bastard Harbor Mastah
Bill Clinton - 100-Watt Warlock
George Bush - Tha Lonely Donkey Kong
Ronald Reagan - Sheepish Lord of Chaos (damn, that's mine)
Jimmy Carter - Gorky's Zygotic Glove Puppet
Gerald Ford - Erratic Assassin
Richard Nixon - Alarmingly Named Wolfman
Lyndon B Johnson - Big Gay Mule
John Kennedy - Dependable Skeleton
Dwight Eisenhower - Grand Moff Puppeteer
Harry Truman - Bilious Bad Janitah
Franklin Roosevelt - Eight-Legged DJ
Our presidential wu-contenders:
Barack Obama = Ultra-Chronic Monstah
Rick Santorum = Flippant She-Creature
Newt Gingrich = Inebriated Assistant
Ron Paul = Temporary Spastic
Mitt Romney = Sullen Choirboy
Wow, if that doesn't make the choice clear, nothing does.
which would only have added an "M" to Irene's possibilities
Instead, let me offer some 19th-century rap -- or rather doggerel that my dad learned as a kid, more than 100 years ago now. Two brothers are talking:
We knew our father was dead
We knew what a life he had led
So I knew what he meant when he said
"Go to father."
Here, btw, is a site that generates whole (gibberish-y) raps, not just names:
chris drumm from this day forward you
you will also be known as
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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