Wednesday, 25 June 2008

More African Soundz!

This time we start with a sort of Continental anthem all the way from Kenya, then you get more from Ghana and Nigeria, the unmistakable Ethiopian sounds of Mulatu Astaqé (also found with different spelling...) and others and one I'm not too sure where they came from.
One of the most entertaining tracks here comes from Zaire (that's how The Democratic Republic of the Congo was called at the time of this recording) and it's perhaps one of the most African sounding...clocking at over 12 mins I love the way it changes around the middle to then go back to its initial groove.
Dig it!
01 Steele Beautttah Africa KENYA
02 Orlando Julius & His Afro Sounders New Apala Afro NIGERIA
03 The Ogyatanaa Show Band Ageisheka GHANA
04 Christy Azuma and Uppers International Naam GHANA
05.Dionisio Rocha Lemba ANGOLA
06. Bahta Gebre Heywet Gizie ETHIOPIA
08.The Uhuru Dance Band Agbadza GHANA
09.Uppers Chapter 2 Samarin Bolga GHANA
10.Dackin Dackino Yuda ZAIRE
11.Sorry Mamba Porry
12.Mulatu Astaqé Yègellé Tezeta ETHIOPIA

Africa...Oh Africa!

Lately I noticed few bloggers complaining about not receiving enough comments...
Back in February I posted one of three African comps I had made for my sister, promising more if people enjoyed it...I never received any comments whatsoever (hold on! One positive comment but under a different post...) but do you know what?
It's probably the other way round...the less comments you find the more people liked the music!
I'm only kidding, but after a quick look I noticed how the number of people who downloaded my African comp was almost double when compared to most of my other posts.
Conclusions: I'd love to hear from somebody who liked it but I couldn't care less if you can't be bothered...meanwhile here is another African comp with artists coming from NIGERIA, GHANA, ANGOLA, ETHIOPIA and others also featuring early stuff by Fela Kuti, once again this is for "beginners" if you're a fan of this stuff you'll know all or most of it...
01.Fela Kuti Laise Lairo
02.Fela Kuti Omuti Tide
03.The Black Star Sound Nite Safari
04.Ngoma Jazz Belita Kiri-kiri
05.Alemayehu Eshete Honey Baby
06.Fela Kuti Highlife Time
07.Ayalew Mesfin Hasabe
08.Fela Kuti Ololufe Mi
09.Kalle & L'Africa Team De Paris Africa Boogaloo
10.Kale with Orchestre OK Jazz Tika Nedeka No Te
11.Jimi Solanke Eje Kajo
12.Fela Kuti Wadele Wa Rohin
13.Orlando Julius & His Afro Sounders Home sweet home
14.Alemayehu Eshete Ayalqem Tedengo
15.Pedrito Ngalenga Kubata
16.Gambuzinos Kalumba
Hope you dig it as much as the first one!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Love Makes Sweet Music!

A Trip on the Dear Old Soft Machine...
One of my very favourite bands here Live at the BBC in December 1967 (tracks 3-7).
It is a wonderful performance with the first couple of songs by Kevin Ayers, both great and both never issued on the Softs records.
Their first single (tracks 1 & 2) was released in February 1967 by the four piece band, with the great Robert Wyatt on spectacular drums and unique vocals, Mike Ratledge on keyboards, Kevin on bass and vocals and Australian Daevid Allen later of Gong on guitar. Both songs were written by Kevin Ayers. I always loved his stuff with The Soft Machine and obviously once he was gone it was a different story, I love their second album and even "Third" but from then on it's not really my cup of tea...Kevin Ayers would re-record several songs from this period for his solo albums but they will never sound as good!
Also recorded when they were still four are tracks 9-17, those have appeared several times over the years, they were demos recorded in April 1967 soon after their debut single . Over the next few months they recorded a bunch of songs for projected new singles like the different take of "She's gone" from a July 1967 session (track 08).
The last song on this post is the 45 version of another great Kevin Ayers composition that was on their debut album "Why are we sleeping".
Kevin left after the Softs first fantastic album and was replaced by Hugh Hopper that together with Wyatt and Ratledge went on to record a lot more stuff and appear in the bonus tracks...but what exactly is a dream and what exactly is a joke?
01 Love makes sweet music
02 Feelin reelin squeelin
03 Clarence in Wonderland
04 We know what you mean
05 A certain kind
06 Hope for happiness
07 Strangest scene (AKA Lullaby letter)
08 She's gone (45 version)
09 That's how much i need you now
10 Save yourself
11 I should've known
12 I'm so low (Jet propelled Photographs)
13 When i don't wan't you
14 Memories
15 You don't remenber
16 She's gone
17 I'd rather be with you
18 Why Are We Sleeping
Bonus tracks!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Viaggio Allucinogeno Nº 3: Armando Piazza "Suan"

This is the final part of this Psychedelic Italian Tryptich...another very rare and obscure record by a bit of a mysterious character, at least for me!
"Suan" is a very different record and came out in 1972 but apparently even then it wasn't easy to find since it was either sold at concerts or by mail.
Armando Piazza was a songwriter from Naples and he's joined here by Shawn Phillips who was living around there at the time.
Shawn, that among other things played in Donovan's best records from 1966-67, is playing bass and some guitar in this album.
It is mainly acoustic with bursts of fuzz guitar, check the spooky "The House on the hill" reminds me a little bit of Jake Holmes.
A second album with the backwards title of "Nuas" came out, it's not bad, more people are involved in it and it has some good tracks but overall I think it is inferior to "Suan".
01 Going into the sunset
02 Birds
03 In the station
04 The house on the hill
05 I met a woman
06 My friend
07 Harmony
UPDATE! (June 03)
Please note that thanks to some vital information I just received, I now discovered that the above tracklist is the one "put together" by Akarma that reissued both albums on one CD, the actual REAL running order is found in the comments!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Viaggio Allucinogeno Nº 2: Le Stelle di Mario Schifano

Here we are most definitely flying higher, a lot higher, reaching for the stars!
This was and still is a work of Art, starting with Mario Schifano himself,a Pop Artist that designed the beautiful cover/artwork.
In fact this record has been "translated" as a kind of Velvet Underground (Le Stelle) and Andy Warhol (Mario Schifano) of Italy.
Considering where it came from it is an astonishing record.
It is without any doubt one of the most wanted and expensive records to come out of the Italian 60s and for once rare means good!
While several bands started recording very long tracks and placed them on side two of their albums, like Love's "Da Capo" or the Seeds "A Web of Sound" here a bold decision was made. “The Last Words of Brandimarte, as taken from Orlando Furioso, with guest Peter Hartman and end; to be listened to with the TV on, but the sound off” is the opening track that will blow your mind, with around 17 minutes of improvisation, you can just imagine the band playing it live with psychedelic lightshow and art by Schifano...
It starts with the guys talking in the studio, then a girl begins what sounds like a Medieval melody, there is chaos until around 6-7 minutes in when a cool psychedelic guitar enters the frame and that's when the band seems to find some kind of path for the next 10 minutes or so.
Side two in contrast has five short and more accesible songs, having said that they don't really sound like anything else around in Italy at that time.
They were obviously not aiming at the charts...
People that witnessed their performance at the mythical "Piper Club" in Rome were certainly left with their mouths open.
The band also released a final 45 in 1968.
Their only album was called "Dedicato a..." and was released in 1967.
Here is the tracklist:
01 Le Ultime Parole di Brandimante, dall’Orlando Furioso, ospite Peter Hartman e fine (da ascoltarsi con TV accesa, senza volume
02 Molto alto
03 Susan song
04 E dopo
05 Intervallo
06 Molto lontano (a colori)

Viaggio Allucinogeno Nº 1: Gli Astrali

This is the first instalment of very obscure recordings from Italy with a clearly Psychedelic sound and vision.
This band is so obscure that they actually never had any records released at the time. Gli Astrali came from the Northern city of Turin and their work was finally released in 1995 by Destination X, a label that did a great job unhearthing many lost bands from the Italian 60s.
The quality here is a bit rough but I think the performances are great and even more so in the context of the Italian musical landscape.
This posthumous album opens with a great version of the Yardbirds'"Evil hearted you" followed by "Viaggio Allucinogeno" (Hallucinogenic Voyage...or is it Trip?!) actually a short groovy instrumental. More experimental it's the next one as you can guess by its title, shame it is only 1:30 long.
Next there are a couple of interesting covers, especially The Byrds'"Eight Miles High" followed by the Standells'"Rari" .
The last track on this record is the aptly titled "Un'altro viaggio allucinogeno" , "Another Hallucinogenic Trip"....and this time we're sailing into psychedelic waters for nearly 9 minutes.
I love this record, at times reminds me of some of those more Psychedelic inclined US Garage bands.
01 Non siamo come voi
02 Viaggio Allucinogeno
03 Improvvisazione
04 Credi
05 Vado su in alto
06 Una notte al bar
07 La libertá
08 Un'altro viaggio allucinogeno

Monday, 2 June 2008


I never hesitated when asked, for me BO DIDDLEY was the Man!
No Elvis, Chuck Berry or whoever else you might prefer from the early days of Rock'n'Roll.
Besides, many if not all of our favourite bands would have not existed, as simple as that! The Pretty Things, The Downliners Sect, The Animals, The's a very long list!
I was lucky enough to see him once in a Blues Festival in Pistoia, Italy, about 20 years ago and at that time he was touring with Ronnie Wood (check my previous post on the Birds...just in case you were thinking Rolling Stones, of course Bo's fanatics too in the early days...).
Here is Bo at his best, from the TNT Show, 1966.

Bo Diddley (December 30, 1928- June 02, 2008)

The Rationals: The Album that never was...

They were one of the earliest band from Detroit/Ann Arbor, releasing some fantastic singles in 1965-1966 and by the end of 1966 there was a scheduled LP to be released on their Fan Club label...that never happened and apparently only a couple of copies were pressed (literally! not even one for each member!).
Tapes of that have been circulating, as well as continuous rumours of it being finally released...well, this post apart from being a tribute to the Rationals' beginnings is trying to piece together that album.
Sound quality is not the best on most tracks but the performances are just great.
There is at least one song("I Want To Walk With You") I don't have that is mentioned here:
an excellent place to get the full story of the band, and you can also find an interview to Scott Morgan by Richie Unterberger here:
Please note, this is NOT the Fan Club LP exactly as it was, I don't know the exact running order (perhaps someone can tell us that!)and while there are alternate versions of their first singles, the fabulous "Feelin' Lost" (with Iggy on drums!) is from the 45.
The opening track is pure garage, you also get an excellent cover of "Gloria", some instrumentals, perhaps among the earliest recordings of the band and a version of "Smokestack Lightning" that shows them at their wildest...the song turning into the Animals' "Inside looking out" but unfortunately (for me!) instead of being an example of things to come the band would prefer to go down the Soul path...
They released a bunch of singles between 1967-1969 including two versions of "Leavin' here" one backed by "Respect" (before Aretha Franklin's version...) and finally a whole album in 1970.
I used to have that LP but never really got into it even though I liked "Guitar Army" and especially "Glowin"...this is a taste of what this band was like in the early days and hopefully there will be a proper issue of this material soon!
I expect some comments!
Singles Discography:
Look What You're Doing to Me Baby/Gave My Love
A-Square Records, 1965
Feelin' Lost/Little Girls Cry A-Square Records, 1966
Leavin' Here/Respect A-Square Records/Cameo Records, 1966
Hold On Baby/Sing Cameo Records, 1967
Leavin' Here/Not Like It Is Cameo Records, 1967
I Need You/Out In The Streets A-Square Records/Capital Records, 1968
Guitar Army/Sunset Genesis Records, 1969
01 Look What You're Doing to Me
02 Gave My Love
03 Blues Jam
04 Little Girls Cry
05 Someday
06 Be My Girl
07 Wayfairing Stranger
08 Irrational
09 Turn on (Danby's)
10 Feelin' lost
11 I need you
12 Gloria
13 Smokestack Lightning