mardi 30 mars 2010

Scott McKenzie - The Voice Of Scott McKenzie (CBS - 1967)

Scott McKenzie - The Voice Of Scott McKenzie

Scott McKenzie is a one hit wonder. His hit was in fact so big it became boomers generational anthem, San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flower In Your Hair). Millions of people bought the single but nobody gave a shit about Scott's album when it went out. Pretty sad, The Voice Of Scott McKenzie being not a that bad pop folk album even if Scott had the charisma of a potato and a limited tone range. The major curiosity on it, for French pop connoisseurs, is his cover of Michel Polnareff's hit La Poupée Qui fait Non, issued as No, No, No, No, No.

lundi 29 mars 2010

Freda Payne - Band Of Gold (Invictus - 1970)

Freda Payne - Band Of Gold

After years spent churning out hits and making of Berry Gordy a billionaire, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland decided in 1967 to rack chips for themselves and to defy Tamla Motown on its own territory, creating The Hotwax and Invictus labels. Relying on their writing and production skills, they started to scout talents all over the country. They signed a then unknown jazz singer, Freda Payne and made her record what will become an immediate soul classic, Band Of Gold, which resulted in album of the same name. A pure effort of stellar Detroit soul, Band Of Gold could have been recorded by Diana Ross. The album is maybe not as innovative or groundbreaking of what Motown was still able to produce at that time (think Marvin Gaye golden age) but is the best effort of an singer that will never meet that level of success again. Invictus and Hot Wax closed in the mid 70's and Holland/Dozier/Holland splited.

mardi 23 mars 2010

Lou Donaldson - Alligator Bogaloo (Blue Note - 1967)

Lou Donaldson - Alligator Bogaloo

A weird but beautiful cover, an all star backing band (George Benson on guitar, Lonnie Smith on organ, Leo Morris on drums), a Lou Donaldson at the top of its inspiration and 6 groovy jazzy scorchers with the magic Blue Note stamp of approval on it. For the French hip hop heads, track 2, One Cylinder was sampled by Jimmy Jay for Mc Solaar Qui Sème le Vent Récolte le Tempo.

dimanche 21 mars 2010

Dusty Springfield - Dusty In Memphis (Mercury - 1968)

Dusty Springfield - Dusty In Memphis

Mix producers Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin, Memphis best American Studio sessions players, good chorists, The Sweet Inspirations and a declining british pop diva all together in hard and enduring recording sessions. The result is an absolute pop and soul classic called Dusty in Memphis. Dusty Spring field reivented herself and never sounded so relevant. Instead of copycating the british pop harmonies made famous at the time by The Beatles, she found her redemption in Brill Building Pop (songs were penned by Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Randy Newman, Burt Bacharach) sang in a deep soul manner. It's simple: every single track sounds like a classic by itself. The copy I posted is a CD copy with the original mono versions of the singles issued from the album as bonus tracks.

jeudi 18 mars 2010

Funky Nassau - The Compass Point Story (1980-1986) (Strut - 2008)

Funky Nassau - The Compass Point Story (1980-1986)

From my point of view, the 80's were an absolute musical nightmare. Can you imagine what it was being a teenager with Phil Collins and Dire Straits representing rock'n'roll. The disco-reggae-punk produced at Chris Blackwell's Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas with the cream of the crop of jamaican session musicians (Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Mikey Chung, Uziah "Sticky" Thompson) coupled with two european mercenaries (Barry Reynolds and Wally Badarou) was completely unknown in the small village of the Alps where I grew up. When I realise what I missed, I wish I could time travel to trade my shitty tapes (yes, in the 80's, music was listened on tapes played on strange machines called tape players) against Grace Jones, Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads or Ian Dury scorchers here included. Well better late than never...

samedi 6 mars 2010

Jungle Brothers - Straight Out The Jungle (Warlock Records - 1988)

Jungle Brothers - Straight Out The Jungle

One question I always ask myself about old school hip hop is: does it still sound fresh to my ears because it reminds me of my youth or because it is so good it said relevant more even 20 years after it was released. Concerning me, 21 years ago, I was finishing high school and never heard of the Jungle Brothers. Hip hop was a really far far away galaxy and I was more into French FM crap. Consequently, I presume that Straight Out The Jungle is a seminal album still sounding really good today even if digital hip hop fiends may find it a bit dated. Infused with uncredited jazz, soul and James Brown samples, the first Native Tongue posse album ever released is still to me a breath of funky innovative fresh air. Composed of Mike Gee, DJ Sammy B and Baby Bam, the Jungle Brothers didn't really survived the 90's, at least artistically , but they paved the way for all the Golden Age hip hop to come and even invented hip house with the Todd Terry produced I'll House You. I posted this record in a Czech Republic special edition which comes with 6 bonus tracks: 2 well known I'll House You remixes and 4 rare instrumental pieces. Peace.

lundi 1 mars 2010

Ananda Shankar - Ananda Shankar And His Music ( Fallout - 1975)

Ananda Shankar - Ananda Shankar And His Music

The success of my Donovan post makes me believe that psyche fans wander around the internet. Don't look further, I offer you another absolute jewel, not less than Ananda Shankar stellar 1975 psych-funk masterpiece, celebrated for its two dancefloor stormers, Streets Of Calcutta and Dancing Drums, Ananda Shankar And His Music. Only released in India, this record was famous for being pretty rare in its original vinyl form but has been since largely reedited. Excellent from its very first note to the last, it blends perfectly traditionnal Indian instruments with Western influences without sounding like world music cheesy crap. Maybe because Ananda Shankar was a true Indian and not a little white rocker looking for a declining inspiration by digging in the East.