dimanche 30 mai 2010

The Class Of Mayfield High - Billy Butler - Major Lance - Otis Leavill (Demon-Westside - 1999)

The Class Of Mayfield High

The Class Of Mayfield High is an excellent compilation digging 60's and 70's singles of Billy Butler, Major Lance and Otis Leavill released on the Brunswick and Dakar Chicago imprints. The three guys shared a common master, Curtis Mayfield, who was barely their age but was affirming himself already as the undisputed leader and choice songwriter of the chicagoan soul scene. If Billy Butler, Major Lance or Otis Leavill had a voice a bit too common, to pretend to Curtis throne, they nonetheless scored a handful of smoking deep soul scorchers, backed by Brunswick and Dakar first class studio musicians, as good as the Funk Brothers ,while Willie Henderson Carl Davis were sharing the producer seat. Really, really good.

samedi 29 mai 2010

The Troggs - Cellophane (Page One - 1967)

The Troggs - Cellophane

The Troggs (Reg Presley, Chris Britton, Pete Staples, Ronnie Bond) have a true garage rock name and the reputation to be one of the first punk rock band ever. They had it all 10 years before the punk revolution: the stupid name begining with "the", raw, basic and lubricious rock'n'roll songs but were still dressed like your average British Invasion pop band with stupid Joan Of Arc style haircuts. Cellophane had the reputation to be record hard to find but not that good, even if one of The Troggs best song, Love Is All Around, is included. Influenced by the psychedelic sound of their London peers, The Troggs didn't really convinced psych specialists with Cellophane even if I find personnaly the album really good. On the reedition I posted, you'll find interesting bonus tracks: 8 single only sides and 2 singles released by Ronnie Bond and Reg Presley while trying to go solo.

mercredi 26 mai 2010

New York Noise - Dance Music From The New York Underground 1978-1982 (Soul Jazz Records - 2003)

New York Noise

Released in the middle of the punk funk revival, the first volume of the New York Noise serie is probably the best compilation ever devoted to resurrect New York forgotten underground heroes of the 80's. Often imitated but never matched, Soul Jazz genius gathers tracks everybody must possess. From the seminal Optimo, by Liquid Liquid, a song James Murphy listened really a lot, to Baby Dee by Konk, a mix between electro and Manu Dibango, from the proto techno of Material to the noisy sound of Glenn Branca, from the afro disco of Dinosaur L created by Arthur Russell to the amazing sisters of ESG, all those artists were announcing the Yk music scene twenty years before. A compilation that made me immediately forget all the shitty acts that emerged in the 80's (remember Dire Straits?) and disgusted me from this decade.

mardi 25 mai 2010

Billy Eckstine - Senior Soul (Enterprise - 1972)/If She Walked Into My Life (Enterprise - 1974)

Billy Eckstine - Senior Soul/If She Walked Into My Life

Billy Eckstine was already a well established jazz artist when he signed on Stax subsidiary, Enterprise. He was singing since at least 1944, when he formed his own big band, and had recorded his first album in 1950. Before Stax, he even released three albums on Motown, being probably one of the only singers releasing albums on both labels, Motown AND Stax. But with his baritone, the lush and sultry orchestrations of his songs, Billy Eckstine Stax tenure was closer to The Rat Pack and Tom Jones tries and far away from your usual raw deep soul Stax moments. That's what made the true originality of those two albums. Senior Soul is a pure great moment of singalong Brill Building soul, Mr Eckstine showing to his label mates who the boss is. If She Walked Into My Life is a bit less good and a bit too slow for me.

lundi 24 mai 2010

Dolly Parton - Coat Of Many Colors (RCA - 1971)

Dolly Parton - Coat Of Many Colors

After a Neil Young post that nobody read, nothing beats a country music one. But country music of the best kind, not that shitty shiny redneck Nashville shit. Coat Of Many Colors made of Dolly Parton a superstar and an American icon for pretty good reasons. Its 12 songs are just beautifully written with a raw country pop twist in the production similar to Johnny Cash. Dolly has that raucous twist in her voice, a raucous twist of a woman that, despite her young age (she was around 25 at the time and had already more of ten years in the music biz under her belt) saw her share of shit happening before music kept her out of abusive poverty. Country music is here only sugar put over wounds of the Deliverance kind. Rock'n'roll.

samedi 22 mai 2010

Neil Young - After The Gold Rush (Reprise - 1970)

Classic... Beautiful... Neo folksters would cut and chew their balls to release such an album.

mercredi 19 mai 2010

? And The Mysterians - The Best Of ? And The Mysterians (Abkco - 2005)

? And The Mysterians - The Best Of ? And The Mysterians

This is not a real best of as this compilation gathers ? And The Mysterians two LP's released by Chicago based label Cameo Parkway, 96 Tears and Action, the non-LP single Do Something To Me/Love Me Baby (Cherry July) and two unreleased versions of Midnight Hour and 96 Tears. 96 Tears (69 with the numbers turned around) was ? And The Mysterians moment of glory, their legacy to rock'n'roll 60's circus. This piece of efficiency and minimalism has the best organ (Farfisa, Thomas Organ or Vox Continental, the debate has never been completely settled even if the inner notes plead for Thomas Organ) riff ever written for a rock song, equal with Light My Fire. ? And The Mysterians released the two albums here compiled after this masterpiece and then vanished into obscurity, letting fans mourning their raw fuzzy bluesy garage sound and their shades wearing crazy leader, Rudy Martinez.

dimanche 16 mai 2010

L.T.D. - Love To The World (A&M - 1976)

L.T.D. - Love To The World

This record was a bit of a disapointment. I was a big fan of Larry and Fonce Mizell production work, especially their Blue Note period for the likes of Donald Byrd or Bobby Hutcherson but I didn't find the cool funkyness of the previous artists on L.T.D. (for Love, Togertheness & Devotion) third album. The ingredients were the same (funky songs with a jazzy feeling or jazzy songs with a funky feeling) and it works extremely well on the first track, Love To The World, as well as on two fantastic ballads, Love Ballad and Love To The World Prayer. But on the rest of the album, the recipe doesn't work. It's not that Love To The World is a bad record, it just that it doesn't really stand out amidst other records produced by the Mizell brothers. Maybe I was expecting too much...

samedi 15 mai 2010

John Holt - Police In Helicopter (Greensleeves - 1983)

John Holt - Police In Helicopter

Europe is freezing its ass right now, with temperatures 10 degrees below normal. Winter clothes are back from the closet when we should normally start officially the barbecue season. And for a successful barbecue, nothing is better than a good reggae roots album. Especially this one. Produced by Henry "Junjo" Lawes at Studio One and backed by the almighty Roots Radics, Police In Helicopter sees John Holt embrassing the cultural/rastafarian thematics, leaving on the side his usually more middle of the road repertoire. On the mythical cover, he tries to save a bag of weed from a Jamaican Defence Force Eradication Units helicopter. Since then, every owner of this record, from suburbans kids to Japanese students, feels like a giggling rebel.

jeudi 13 mai 2010

Pink Floyd - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (EMI - 1967)

Pink Floyd - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

Pink Floyd always represented what I always hated about rock: a prententious stadium rock band for my old folks, racking in money on their past moments of glory. But I must recognize those guys broke boundaries with The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. As the only real Pink Floyd album composed with Syd Barrett, it's a weird and freaky piece like I rarely heard. Even the popiest moment always dissolve in echoes, distortions and LSD induced experimentations. In fact, it's the equivalent of crashing in while being sober a party where everybody's stoned. It's hard to get in but it's a real mental experience. The version I've posted is the stereo one, included in the 2007 3-CD Deluxe Edition.

mardi 11 mai 2010

The Pretty Things - The Pretty Things (Fontana - 1965)

The Pretty Things - The Pretty Things

All right, all right, I know: another bunch of hairy 60's white boys. Coming just after a post about The Walker Brothers, this can seem a bit too much. But in fact, The Pretty Things had absolutely nothing in common with the Walker boys, except talent. No fucking orchestrated pop here but only the expression of pure bluesy juvenile savagery. You realise something is wrong immediately with the first track, Roadrunner of what is their first LP, The Pretty Things. At first you think "oh no, again, little sloans going from art school trying to play like the bluesmen they grew up on". But suddendly, from the guitar to the voice, everything goes into the red. And calling a song Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut 3 years before 1968 is a the proof of their intuitive ability to feel the air of the time. From the beginning to the end of this album recorded in only 48 hours, you feel an emergency and an energy that set tup how garage or punk would sound like for the years to come. The kind of sound that Jack White still spend his time chasing nowadays.For the little story, those Brits were Rolling Stones acquaintances and get rid of their producer after only half an hour of recording session. Seminal band, seminal record.

vendredi 7 mai 2010

The Walker Brothers - After The Lights Go Out - The Best Of 1965-1967 (Phonogram - 1990)

The Walker Brothers - After The Lights Go Out - The Best Of 1965-1967

The Walker Brothers were not brothers. They didn't called Walker and were not related to any Texas Ranger. They had Brit Beat Invasion style haircuts but were Americans and became living legends in the UK. They dressed like popstar but sang sophisticated and orchestrated songs that Frank Sinatra would have not rejected for a Las Vegas show. Scott Walker sang them with an attitude, a strength and a voice so deep and cavernous that it clearly inspired David Bowie, David Sylvian or Neil Hannon. They finally split up in 1978 undermined by Scott Walker solo career, troubles and ego. This very good compilation contains all their noteworthy titles from their best period, among which three absolute masterpiece: Make It easy On Yourself, penned by the pair Baccharach/David, The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore and I Can't Let It happen To You, a nice psychedelic number.

mercredi 5 mai 2010

Psych Funk 101 - 1968-1975 - A Global Psychedelic Funk Curriculum (Now Again - 2009)

Psych Funk 101

Once again, Egon is at the control for a trip around the psychedelic nuggets from his huge record collection. Coming from the 4 corners of the earth, from Turkey (Husnu Ozkartal Orkestrasi) to Nigeria (Kukumbas), from South Korea (Kim Sun) to Iran (Mehr Pooya), passing by Lebanon, (Wadih Essafi) Italy (The Group, Armando Sciascia) or Russia (George Garaninan With The Melodiya Jazz Ensemble), this collection of 14 unknown 60's and 70's bands, selected for their talent to mix their native original musical roots with the innovation of American and British psychedelic funk (?) of the same era, will fill with enthusiasm even the most bored looking gentrified western city inhabitant. Fuzzy, funky, moogy, devilish psyche mayhem that changes from punk funk, krautrock or cosmic disco but is in fact not that far away from it...

samedi 1 mai 2010

The Sylvers - The Best Of (EMI - 2003)

The Sylvers - The Best Of

The Sylvers are not really worth more than a greatest hits album. They had those uge Afro haircuts, have the reputation to be a Jackson 5 ripoff and sang harmless but catchy disco funk songs made for young teens in the 70's.