As they say in some rustic quarter entertainment business... "He's Baaaaccckkk!" Well, not quite. Despite irritating mic feedback and a peculiar clammy vocal feeling- which I attribute to an extended period away from radio and a pre-swine flu experience- I thorougly enjoyed being re-initiated within the programming saddle. Like other KAXE volunteers of late, I'll jump on the bandwagon and post my playlist and thoughts from a recent OTR experience 4/24/09 (7-10pm). What follows are the selected songs, albums, and labels. Nothing ground-breaking here, except for the idea that I can post comments and reflections weeks after the live program. The downloads unavailable now and for good reason...
1. Ramsey Lewis Trio: "Wade in the Water"_ Chess Northern Soul (Chess)
The definitive 60's northern soul-jazz instrumental and spiritual that defines my whole reason for playing music on-air.
2. The Chantays: "Pipeline"_Pipeline (Varese Sarabande)
3. Clifton Chenier: "I Got The Blues"_ Live at Grant Street (Arhoolie)
4. The Groove Collective: "Dfu"_People People, Music Music (Savoy Jazz)
Acid jazz connoisseurs step out and unveil this Kuti afro-beat influenced composition. The driving, melodic backbeat underscores a free-style sax while capture the essence of middle Africa. Band includes NYC protégé DJ Smash.
5. Animal Liberation Orchestra: "Barbeque"_Fly Between Falls (Brushfire)
6. Buckwheat Zydeco: "When the Levee Breaks"_Lay Your Burden Down (Alligator) Chenir's B-3 organist (yes, that's right) returns with a diverse and powerful new album. One of the highlights on the album is his version of the original river classic...first recorded by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy. We all know it by Bonham's thump, but BZ provides the modern touch!
7. Camera Obscura: "French Navy"_My Maudlin Career (4AD)
We've come to expect reverby, string-laden songs complete with up-tempo rhythm's and " I want to be Heartbroken" lyrics. Cam Obs and Tracyann Campbell rarely disappoint. I expect continued raves from this new tinny platter.
8. Shawn Lee feat. Fanny Franklin: "Cruel Woman"_Soul In The Hole (Ubiquity) West coast multi-instrumentalist doesn't stray far from his love of soul music. By enlisting contemporary vocalists and musical sounds, Lee provides an modern soul update. *** stars.
9. Sharon Jones & Dap-Kings: "Inspiration Information"_Dark Was The Night (4AD) Todays best soul and R & B band provide positive vibe and a deliciously smooth re-working of the relatively unknown Shuggie Otis classic. Luaka Bop records brought most of us up to speed with their fine 2001 reissue of Shuggie's 1974 album Inspiration Information. Incredible album! Muscially complex yet combined the best elements of rock, pop, and trippy psychedelic soul! The Dap Kings selection is one of many to be found on the 2009 Red Hot/4AD Label Compilation 'Dark Was The Night' The "inspiration" for the record is a bit challenging to describe. A showcase for independent music appears to be the overall purpose, but there is also a strong and liberal promotion for AIDS awareness and prevention. An underlying Christian theme also emerges in the artwork and liner notes. Aaron Dessner describes,..."the Dore illustrations for Milton's Paradise Lost, which make up the art imagery in this booklet evoke a 'fallen' world of struggle, but also the capacity of art to inspire us to rise above the obstacles put in our path. Our nights may be dark, but music gives us inspiration and hope of brighter days to come." A question of mine- We all agree that musical ideals continue to soar, but do they achieve lasting social change?
Red Hot was one of the first music companies to promote AIDS awareness. Bless their hearts. Unfortunately, they stop short of truly grasping the full complexities of the modern issue. I'm led to believe in the liner notes that the best approach for reducing AIDS is safe sex. Huh? A full understanding of this challenging social issue would also consider faith-based approaches including promotion of monogamous marriage and abstinence. Fortunately, we can agree that more medical advances and treatments are needed. Still, many developing countries lack basic education, forego women's rights, and turn away from faith in God....My prayers go out to the many individuals who work directly with AIDS patients, and to the Vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict XVI.
Again, these are my initial impressions of "Dark Was The Night" What's truly inspiring is Shuggie's lyric sung by Ms. Sharon Jones! In a soul beat groove!
"He had a rainy day... I'm in a snake-back situation... here's a pencil pad... I'm gonna spread some information...you, makin me happier, now I am snappier, while I'm with you....I...got to be having you...cause I am happier...when I met you...
Your my little symphonia singing the weather...I get a dark blue rain...I get a slap-back call for the blue yonder...I get a purple string...cause it isn't in tune...beside the whistle-cat...singin the hours...along a frosty road side...always in time...
I get another rain... makin me happy...that will take me for another ride up in the sky..." Shuggie Otis (1974)
10. The J.B's: "My Brother (Parts 1 & 2)"_Funky Good Time (Polydor)
11. Orgone feat Fanny Franklin: "I Get Lifted"_The Killion Floor (Ubiquity)
Patiently awaiting a new release from this west coast soul-funk ensemble. Another fine example of talented musicians -fused- with fresh, dynamic vocals. See also The Dynamites feat. Charles walker.
12. Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears: "Sugarfoot"_Tell 'Em What Your Name Is (Lost Highway) A Speedy tempo, Humble Pie strut defines Lewis' brand of high energy R & B. I sense a new voice for gut bucket blues and Austin TX rap. Following in the footsteps of Archie Bell, Lewis brings much needed grit and glory to an over-saturated Americana scene. Overall, the album reminds me of the singular and soulful wail of Marriot's"30 days in the Hole" Look it up.
13. Cyril Neville: "Shake Your Gumbo"_Brand New Blues (M.C) Surely influenced by BW Trout's "The Electric Gumbo Show"
14. Brigitte Demeyer: "Shepherd"_Red River Flower (BDM Music) Inspired Gospel folk from independent Americana artist. Buddy Miller and Al Perkins provide that extra push. I'll never tire of saying it, Nashville... how about a little commercial airplay! Oh, never mind. Let's keep Demeyer where she belongs- well steeped in community radio.
A writing clip from her website: "Those who follow DeMeyer will recognize her artistry on this album while noticing as well that it has risen to a higher level. “Being in Nashville affected me,” she says. “When I’d worked before with Buddy, sometimes it was done by mailing music files back and forth. But to have him show up and be in the studio with me and the other players is a completely different experience.”That’s evident from the first notes of the track, “Shepherd.” The groove is relaxed but irresistible, sweetened by rustic dobro fills from Al Perkins and down-home harmonies on the chorus prayer: “Oh, Lord, make a shepherd out of me.” The feeling continues throughout Red River Flower, whose acoustic textures, lashed by flashes of rock intensity, illuminate the ache and understatement of DeMeyer’s vocal.
15. Wayne Hancock: "Movin On #3"_Viper Of Melody (Bloodshot)
16. Malcolm Holcombe: "Marvelene's Kitchen"_Another Wisdom (Purple Girl)
17. Bearfoot: "Good In The Kitchen"_Doors & Windows (Compass)
From the great state of Alaska no doubt. Up and coming blugrass outfit shines on closing acapella number... Kitchen dreams as opposed to kitchen nightmares. Stay tuned for a reprise of the Chef Ramsey's April fools suprise.
18. Indigo Girls: "Second Time Around"_Poseidon & The Bitter Bug (Vanguard) Solid release from Emily Saliers and Amy Ray. Dylanesque on this particular track. Poseidon... appears to be their first true independent release. Recommend seeing the duo with a full, live band on-stage... not with guitar techs and others off-stage.
19. U2: "Dancing Barefoot"_Best of Singles & B Sides (Island)
20. Buddy & Julie Miller: "Ellis County"_Written In Chalk" (New West)
ALL THINGS SAHM
Doug Sahm unquestionably provides music in-spiration. One doesn't have to be a musician to appreciate his love for style. A "Jack" of all genres, master of none, DS always brought a smile to the music. A border lyric, a groove on, a stimulated Texas home-run! Sir Douglas keyboards... keyboards... and keyboards...A very fond song title sums up his state of mind at times: "You Never Get Too Big And You Sure Don't Get Too Heavy, That You Don't Have To Stop And Pay Some Dues Sometime."
21. Freda & The Firedogs: "Be Real"_Keep Your Soul- A Tribute To Doug Sahm (Vanguard)
22. The Bottle Rockets: "Lord, I'm Just A Country Boy In The Great Big Freaky City"_Songs of Sahm (Bloodshot)
23. Sir Douglas Quintet: "The Tracker"_Singles (Varese Sarabande)
24. Flaco Jimenez & The West Side Horns: "Ta Bueno Compadre"_Keep You Soul
25. Doug Sahm: "I'm Not That Kat Anymore"_Best Of (Mercury)
26. Jimmy Vaughan: "Why Why Why"_Keep Your Soul
27. Tom Russell feat Gretchen Peters: "Guadalupe"_One To The Heart, One To The Head (Scarlet Letter and Frontera Records) Hmmm, this song gets closer and closer toward the sacred heart of Jesus through Mary. No one questions TR's committment to the folk troubadour persona, and his unique ability to define Southwestern culture, but I'm not sure he captures what true devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe is all about. The story is a lengthy one. Her message is not. May is the month for Mary!
28. The Elders: "Better Days Ahead"_Better Days Ahead (Pubtone)
Celtic influenced rock from Mid-America. Seasoned veterans display abundant musicianship and a knack for foot-stumping, hummable sing-alongs.
29. Amadou & Mariam: "Magosa"_Welcome to Mali (Because Music)
30. Nicola Conte feat. Lucia Minetti: "Kind of Sunshine"_Other Directions (Blue Note) How many Italian jazz producers do you know? Probably just one considering Conte's major lable exposure on Blue Note back in 2004 . This isn't, "you are my sunshine, my only sunshine... you make happy when skies are grey." But, it is uplifting and beat driven. No sampling or sound collages here. Pure instrumentation that does launch jazz in other directions. Conte's worth exploring if you like genre-bending. He's well versed in electronica, club, bossa nova, and classical.
31. Soundtrack Of Our Lives: "Bigtime"_Origins Vol. 1 (Republic)
Psych-Rock from Sweden. A reflection on the state of the modern world? KAXE is currently promoting their new album, "Communion" on Yep Roc. An album worthing spending time with. Listen for the Nick Drake cover.
A FOLKY CONCLUSION
32. Joe Rathbone: "Mary"_Mad July EP (Prime Cut)
33. Alela Diane: "Dry Grass and Shadows"_To Be Still (Rough Trade)
34. Angus & Julia Stone: "Paper Aeroplane"_A Book Like This (Capitol)
35. Justin Townes Earle: "Can't Hardly Wait"_Midnight At The Movies (Bloodshot) Fine rendition of the Replacements song circa 1987. Justin's warm vocal provides a softer but no less tamer shunning of the bigtime. Oh addiction.... how we mourn you.
"Lights that flash in the evening,
Through a hole in the drapes
I'll be home when I'm sleeping
I can't hardly wait
I can't wait. Hardly wait." Paul Westerberg (1987)
36. Alison Brown: "The Road West"_The Company You Keep (Compass)
One of the top instrumentals of the year. Brown's bluegrass and jazz influences merge together in pure transcedence. Recommended.
37. Hem: "Almost Home"_Funnel Cloud (Nettwerk)
38. Wilco: "What Light"_Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch)