Monthly Archives: January 2002

Someone got to meet Morrissey. There are pictures, too!

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Gavin Smith

I just spent a bit of time poking around my old angelfire site (born 1997, died 1999). I’m not linking to the site because it is really not recommended or interesting. However, I did dig up some audio oddities from there – things I had recorded and deposited there for some reason. My favorite is ‘hello‘ (it’s a 439kb mp3 file), a ridiculous Pet Shop Boys-influenced postcard to my friend Mark.

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I have two current compilation/music-gathering projects:

  1. Compile a fun ‘German’ CD, with as much spoken word as possible. My parents are learning the language, and their birthday is coming up. And besides, I want further excuse to listen to the Hildegard Knef box set, and my ‘Nymphomania’, ‘Pop Shopping 2′ CDs.
  2. Gather a vast number of cool songs for the wedding of my friends Edmund and Jenny. I have a handful of things together, but am on the lookout for new ideas. The progression will be a) older, west coast jazz, b) mid 60s jazz-pop with a lot of scat vocals, and c) funky late 60s pop and soundtracks. But it’s funny – I guess because it’s a happy occasion I have to steer clear of anything with miserable lyrics.

If anyone has any favorites which might fit into either category, please recommend them.

Oh, and the show went very well on Saturday. Here is a picture:

Compilation: 'Nymphomania' (CD; Sexy Hexy; 1967-1973)
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A bootleg compilation of 'sexy' european tracks, the first volume of this series is really superb, and introduced me to tracks I would probably never have heard otherwise.

The CD is chock full of quirky vocal tracks, sleazy, funky organ-laden instrumentals (many, like 'Claudine 69', with porno noises over the top), and even a wonderful soundtrack bossa nova with wordless vocals.

Standout tracks for me include the aforementioned bossa (Juliette LeBlanc's 'theme from Nights of Sin'), Klaus and Uschi's 'Young Stud' (which was sampled by English band Bentley Rhythm Ace - the track that goes 'I luuuuve it!'). The Monaco Danceband's 'Snake in the grass' is also incredible - a jaunty number with flute and ludicrous vocals that never fails to raise a smile, while orchester Lou Castell's 'Miniskirt' (not the esquivel track) is a perfect sounding late 60s blues-funk instrumental, with great percussive piano, watery guitar sounds, and cool horns.

The whole disc is tremendously fun, and recalls a night at the superb 'Vampyros Lesbos' club night in NYC, which was put together by the guy who compiled this disc, DJ Franco.

Nico Gomez and his Afro Percussion Inc.: 'Ritual' (CD; P-VINE; 1971)
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This group is apparently essentially the same group as the Chakachas, well known for their track 'Jungle fever', which was used to great effect in the movie 'Boogie Nights'. Although clearly very funk-influenced, they sound authentically South American to me, so it's interesting to note that they were apparently a Belgian group.

Well, the wait is finally over, and I own my very own copy of this album. To say my appetite for it was whetted by the tracks 'Ritual' and 'Baila Chibiquiban' would be an understatement. Both tracks are so entirely perfect and wonderful, with such a great blend of sounds, that they really changed my musical world.

The first thing I noticed after splashing down $25 for this CD is its length. It's a standard Japanese reissue - in that you get just the original LP, not 2 on 1, and no bonus tracks. You do however get excellent sound quality and nice faithful cover art reproductions (front and back). I had wanted to get the vinyl (I bought this at Dusty Groove), but it sold out instantly.

There are ten short tracks, including the aforementioned "dancefloor monster" tracks 'Baila Chibiquan' and 'Rio'. Both are a tempestuous, compelling mix of electric guitars, shouting, frenetic, tribal percussion. Another track in a similar vein that has also been compiled (on the 'Brasilian Beats' compilation) is 'Lupita'. This is one of two Perez Prado interpretations on this LP. Being a big Prado fan, I'm happy to see these on here, and although to me, 'Lupita' doesn't quite match the other two dancey tracks, it's great fun nevertheless.

As for the rest of the album, I'll have to give it some time to sink in. It does actually seem quite varied. The first track, 'Caballo Negro' is a fierce, bare instrumental, with some cool organ, repetetive bass, and some weird shouting - at one point when they shout 'Caballo', it sounds like 'Howareyou'. It doesn't have any harmonic variation, but the instrumental blend and style are very cool.

'Naci Para Bailar' is longer. The organ, wah wah and echoey vocals give it a very cool late 60s rock feel, in spite of the bongos and Latin instrumentation. 'Cuba Libre' is another exhuberant, reasonably vocal-heavy track. The vocals get a bit too much to me in this one, but it is undeniably great party music.

'Samba de una nota so' is an unexpected treat. The group treats us to a beautiful laid back version, in which Bacharach's 'this guy's in love' is reprised in the introduction. The melody is delicately played out by flutes, and the gentle bossa backing is superb. It's not quite as overwrought as the wonderful version on Eumir Deodato's 'Intuil Passagem' album, but is great in a different way.

'Baila Chibiquiban' probably needs no further elaboration. I reviewed it, with a sound sample, here. Next up is a pretty freaky version of 'El condor pasa'. Although the introduction is cool, at this point I feel I could do without this track. This is followed by the aforementioned 'Lupita'.

The superbly named 'Pa! Pa! Pa! Pa!' is really very cool, a laid back number which might have been better named 'Ba Ba Ba Ba' - in that the vocals are actually nice gentle easy listening style. The insanely brilliant 'Ritual' is next, with great percussion, frenetic organ and electric guitar work, and wailing brass.

The album closes with 'Eso es el amor', a slower but extremely groovy track with male and female latin vocals that ping pong between the left and right channels.

Getting an album after so much anticipation (a couple of years for me, since I first heard 'ritual') is odd: it can never quite live up to expectations. However, this one almost does. There are many other great tracks aside from the ones I knew before. It will be hard for me to get out of the habit of searching for the record all the time though!

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Hey, I’m finally doing what I created this weblog for – reviewing records! I did quick reviews of a pile of records just now. Cover art to appear soon if it isn’t there already. Those in New York City, please come to the Knitting Factory tonight at 10pm. The Isolators are playing.

Alvino Rey: 'His Greatest Hits' (LP; Dot; 1961)
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For such a boringly titled LP, this is quite incredibly good. I believe this is Alvino's concession to the early 60s trend of bandleaders to re-record their hits in the newly available 'Hi-fi Sound'. Hence we get re-recordings of 'Steel Guitar Rag', 'Mama Blues' (which I recommended over at musical taste), 'Rose Room', 'Hindustan', 'Bloop Bleep', 'Tiger Rag', 'St Louis Blues', 'Cement Mixer', 'Idaho', 'On the alomo', 'Near You' and 'Guitar Boogie'.

How does that sound? Not that interesting? Well, in fact, it's quite superb, and really one of the best records I've ever bought. The arrangements are quirky, but never jarring or tasteless. The recording and sound quality are superb, and Alvino's guitar playing (he plays several different types, and is pictured on the back cover with half a dozen of them) is top class. I'm quite partial to this stuff anyway (for example, I LOVE the recordings Les Paul made in the late 40s, 50s and early 60s), but I have to recommend this album to absolutely anyone. It's brilliant, and stands head and shoulders above most things ever released.

Compilation - Birds and Brass: 'Golden Hour of' (LP; Pye/Golden Hour; 1969-1976)
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There is some confusion over 'Birds and Brass', so I will try and clear it up, to the best of my knowledge. As in the 'Exotic Guitars' conundrum, which I will cover another time, there were actually two 'Birds and Brass'. Well, actually, one was called 'Birds and Brass', and the other was called 'Birds'n'Brass'. The one represented on this record is probably the inferior one, and the person behind it is Stan Butcher. The reason why there is interest in the Birds and Brass is probably a handful of tracks featured on the 1996 and 1997 'Inflight Entertainment' compilation CDs, which are excellently-selected collections of mostly UK-issue easy listening gems from the late 60s and early 70s. This sound is exemplified by 'Sorta Soul', a superbly funky instrumental with catchy female scat vocals, which was featured on 'Further Inflight Entertainment'. However, the 'Birds'n'Brass' behind this record were a different group, masterminded by Keith Roberts, and recording on Charles Berman's hibrow UK budget label 'Rediffusion'. To my knowledge, they released just one LP, 1970's 'SOUNDSATIONAL'. I don't own this, but apparently it has many more tracks with that great beaty UK easy sound, including a cool version of 'American Woman'.

Anyway, back to the more goofy and laidback pleasures of Stan Butcher's 'Birds and Brass', this LP is a Golden Hour production, meaning that 60 minutes worth of tracks are squeezed onto some poor quality vinyl, leading to slightly inferior sound quality. That said, there are some very enjoyable tracks hidden among the largely silly collection of songs. The first track, 'Birds meet brass' is a classic of its type - over the top scat vocals and a pantomime type backing. 'Sounds of Mars' is disappointingly dull, but 'Janie' is a very nice bossa instrumental. There are also some nice versions of 'somethin' stupid' and 'Mood indigo'. But there are also plenty of tracks I could have done without, such as 'chim chim cheree' and 'release me'. Overall, it's an interesting record to have if you see it in a charity shop, but I would advise against making the mistake of a few previous ebay shoppers and mistaking this for a record by the similar-sounding 'Birds'n'Brass'...

Bud Shank: 'Plays Music from Today's Movies' (LP; World Pacific; 1967)
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This is a surprisingly strong album. I now have a couple of Bud Shank's instrumental LPs on this label, and they're both better than I had expected. This one is elevated by its excellent choice of material, including 2 Lalo Schifrin numbers ('venice after dark' from The Venetian affair and 'the pin' from Murderer's Row) and the superb 'Hurry Sundown'.

The best tracks have a great beat and mid-late 60s mood to them. I wish I could describe that better. What I'm basically trying to say is that they are very groovy, but not quite funky, in the way that a lot of records recorded around 1965-6 seem to be.

Cal Tjader: 'Hip Vibrations' (LP; Verve; 1968)
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This is probably the best Cal Tjader record I've bought so far. I really enjoyed the gentle funkiness of his 'solar heat' album on the skye label, so was really looking for more from that era (1969-70), but when I found this slightly earlier Verve release (in less than perfect shape), I took a chance. I'm very glad I did - the record achieves a really superb blend of jazzy—yet still very pop—grooves and vibes. Highlights for me so far have been 'Canto De Ossanha' and 'Sweet Honeybee', but the whole album is solid.

David Whitaker: 'Hammerhead' (LP; Colgems; 1968)
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I came across 'Hammerhead's apartment' on a Colgems label compilation and was excited - the warm strings and great bossa instrumental sound were very much my thing, and recalled some of the best moments on Morricone's 'Mondo Morricone'-compiled recordings. Sadly, this soundtrack album doesn't offer much more than that to me. There is a great vocal version of the same theme (vocals are by Madeleine Bell). The rest of the album is slightly jumpy and frenetic. I imagine it would have worked brilliantly in the film, but rather like some of Quincy Jones's interesting soundtracks, this isn't something I could regularly enjoy all the way through.

Frank Hunter: 'White Goddess' (LP; Kapp; 1961)
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A fascinating 'exotic' LP from the early 60s. Hunter, who as far as I know was a Kapp label staff arranger, and never made another LP like this, mixes well-chosen standards (Poinciana, Jungle Drums) with some superbly inventive originals. The originals have evocative names (like 'Ritual of the Torch', 'Strange echoes', 'Lost plateau', 'Mist of Gorongoza'), and also sound superb, with mysterious wordless vocals and great percussion and vibes.

To be completely honest, I think I only started really appreciating 'exotica' in the last couple of years, having spent four or five years hearing and learning all about it, but choosing instead to listen more to soundtracks, later easy listening records and brazilian music. The time for 'exotica' and me has definitely now come, and this record is a great one to have.

Les Reed: 'The Girl on a Motorcycle' (LP; Tetragrammaton; 1967)
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I just picked this up recently. It's extremely cool - lots of motorcycle effects over a jazzy, Michel Legrand-like orchestral backing. The main theme has a wicked organ lick. I notice the production of the 'British Lion Orchestra' is by Peter Knight, who was responsible for some the string arrangements on Scott Walker's solo albums, as well as on the exquisitely brilliant 'Elis Regina in London' LP from 1969.

Nancy Ames: 'Latin Pulse' (LP; Epic; 1967)
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An upbeat album, with a handful of really outstanding latin 'beat' tracks, with a stomping, 'now sound'-type feeling which is somewhere between the 'discotheque' sound and the kind of mod pop sound found on slightly later records. Hmm, was that a good description? I think not, sorry. The liner notes describe it as having a 'sensuous beat', which sounds about right.

Anyway, the album's contents are mainly versions of famous songs, sung in Spanish, such as Yesterday ('ayer'), Call me ('Dimelo') and A Taste of Honey ('Un gusto a miel'). Some are great, others slightly less so. The highlights are probably the two numbers which Brad Bigelow, owner of the excellent Space age pop site put on a tape for me about five years ago: 'Carcara' and '1-2-3'. Both are short but great showstoppers with a pulsating latin beat.

Nelson Riddle: 'Changing Colors' (LP; BASF; 1973)
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An interesting Nelson Riddle record, very different to his earlier American recordings. This was recorded in the Black Forest of Germany with Claus Ogerman for the MPS label, which gives it a different edge. Indeed, I'd say this is far, far more interesting than the two late 60s US albums I have by him ('the contemporary sound of..' and 'Nelson Riddle today'). Highlights here are two originals, 'Sao Paulo' (recommended at musical taste) and 'Changing colors', as well as Antonio Carlos Jobim's excellent 'Lamento', which was included on the German 'Snowflakes' compilation of mood music material on the MPS label. There are also pop covers (like 'my sweet lord' and 'close to you'). A very nice LP.

Update: I listened to this album again last night and noticed that it includes a version of Dusty Springfield's 'Just a little lovin'. A pretty cool album, all in all, although perhaps too lush and slow for most people's taste.

Ramsey Lewis: 'Mother Nature's Son' (LP; Cadet; 1968)
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One of the most beautiful instrumental pop albums ever made, in my opinion. This LP covers many different moods and tempos, but the piano playing is always tasteful yet interesting, and the beats are always beautiful and crisp. The production by Charles Stepney is excellent, and is enhanced by some occasional moog touches, which are cool sounding but not intrusive. Particular highlights are 'sexy sadie', 'back in the USSR', 'dear prudence', 'cry baby cry' and 'Julia'. But there really isn't a bad track on here.

Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66: 'Equinox' (LP; A&M; 1967)
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Genius album. Almost every track is a highlight. This is one of those albums that makes me yearn to have been there when it came out, just because I can't escape the sense that a time when this was a huge hit must have been a better time to live. Nonsense I expect, but nevertheless, the thought occurs to me. The group's second album, this includes such greats as 'cinammon and clove' (covered well by the modern Italian band Balanco recently), Jorge Ben's 'chove chuva', a great version of Jobim's 'triste', and Marcos Valle's 'gente'. All are played perfectly with that great blend of percussive and tuneful piano lines, female vocals and solid Brasilian percussion. The result is accessible and really quite joyful and wonderful. And the really beautiful thing? The album sold millions in the 60s, and should be available very cheaply in a town near you!

Walter Wanderley: 'When it was done' (LP; A&M/CTI; 1968)
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A strong and interesting Walter LP. It's a little more laid back than his records on Verve, all of which I love, but still very nice. This late offering, housed in a beautiful metallic sleeve with a cool Pete Turner photo, has a few vocal tracks (Walter himself does not sing, but there are female guest vocalists, including Anamaria Valle, wife of Marcos Valle). Highlights for me are an English vocal version of the superb 'Andanca' (great song; check out the Elis Regina or Beth Carvalho versions as well), here renamed 'Open your Arms (Let me walk right in)', and a cool version of 'Surfboard'. There's also material composed by Burt Bacharach ('reach out for me'), Eumir Deodato ('On my mind', which has also been sung by Astrud Gilberto and Maria Toledo) and Luiz Gonzaga ('Baiao Da Garoa'), Edu Lobo (the excellent 'Ponteio') and Chico Buarque ('Ole, Ole, Ola'). A nice LP

Warren Barker: 'Hawaiian Eye' (LP; Warner Brothers; 1962)
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I just picked this up recently, and was really delighted with it. Produced by Alvino Rey, and featuring the stunning exotic arrangements of Warren Barker, this is a dreamy record, full of really cool instrumentals with vibes and bongos, as well as some nice vocals.

The tracks are
Hawaiian Eye
Deep Night
Let's Do it
Steele on the prowl
Soft green seas
Rumba rhapsody
Cabbie Kim
What is thing called Love?
You're getting to be a habit with me
Cricket's corner
When my dreamboat comes home
Lopaka's Beat
Hawaiian Eye

I wish I had seen the series. Some day I will collect all the original films and TV series for which I like the music. Some day...

Xavier Cugat: 'Viva Cugat' (LP; Mercury/EMI; 1962)
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An album I have great fondness for, since it was one of the first really interesting albums I picked up when I was first getting into interesting 50s/60s records. I remember the reluctance of the guy in the Oxfam shop when he was selling it to me. Anyway, it's a superbly atmospheric journey through some Latin American standards, with really cool thick percussion parts. Highlights are 'Isle of Capri', 'Perfidia', 'Jungle Drums' (a big personal favorite) and 'Anna'.

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The days have really been flying by. I seem to have made a resolution to only buy CDs from dustygroove. This way, the CDs cost more, so I buy fewer, and then I can spend time just buying records, or actually listening to the music I own.

My latest contribution to the current rare LP download frenzy is below.

Dorothy Ashby: 'Dorothy’s Harp' (LP; Cadet; 1969)
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This 1969 LP on Chicago's Cadet label is hard to categorize - although in many ways it is 'jazz', it also has clear elements of soul and funk, as well as the neo-classical strings more commonly associated with mood music and easy listening albums. Whatever you call it, I'd say this is a pretty nice LP. It could be accused of being a one-trick pony, the 'trick' being to add a solid, slightly funky beat and bassline to every song. Even if this is partly the case, I don't think it detracts from my enjoyment of the LP.

Original Liner Notes:

DOROTHY'S HARP is a magical experience, indeed! It shimmers, glimmers and soars! It's funky, baroque and beautiful. Soulful, haunting, melodic. And besides that, it sounds good. An unbelievably versatile instrument, it offers the simple directness of the guitar, the fluidity and grace of the piano, the Old-World delicacy and charm of the harpsichord. Not surprising, really, since all these instruments evolved from the harp.
What is surprising is that, until Dorothy Ashby, the harp has been consistently #1 in Downbeat's Category of "Most Forgotten Miscellaneous Instrument," easily edging such contenders as the theremin and the seraphine. Yet, with all the versatility and beauty the harp has offered through the ages, most folks can name only two harpists, and they're remembered for skills other than their harping. David, who played lead harp in King Saul's Army Band, achieved his fame first by bonking Goliath the Super-Philistine, and later by becoming King of the Israelites. What's more, he looked like Gregory Peck. And finally, his harping wasn't that good. Like President Nixon on piano, he played everything in "G."
Harpo Marx was an incredible harpist who could have done much to popularize the instrument, but he's remembered primarily for inventing the hydrogen bomb, which he kept in his to the telephone, which was invented by Don Ameche.
So much for history. The fact is the harp has needed a champion for aeons, and it finaly has one in Dorothy Asby, as one hearing of Dorothy's Harp will reveal.
If you're a professional musician or jazz fan, chanced are you're already aware of just how great Dorothy is; if this is your first exposure, you're in for a treat that'll make you glad to have ears.
Producer Richard Evans' arrangements showcase Dorothy's Harp to perfection and reflect everything that is tasteful and exciting in today's popular music. In addition to the six recent standards, you'll be delighted by two Evans originals ("Truth Spoken Here" and Toronado") and two Ashby originals ("Cause I Need It" and "Just Had to Tell Somebody").
The fender piano work of Odell Brown is also first rate, as are the flute and oboe solos by Lennie Druss.
This is the kind of album I'm happy to share with an audience.

Fritz Perrenbook
WBNS Radio Columbus, Ohio

My review:

1. By the time I get to Phoenix

A really great album opener. The arrangement shimmers and sparkles through the opening, with a funky beat, baroque strings and fender rhodes (played by Odell Brown, who also recorded on Cadet). before Dorothy's harp comes in, and the mix becomes more bare. The relentless beat continues throughout the song, which also features some unusual woodwind arrangements, reminiscent of the albums Richard Evans was producing at around the same time with veteran band leader Woody Herman. The first version I heard of this song was Nick Cave's stripped down version on 'Kicking Against the Pricks' from 1986, and while I love that version, along with Glen Campbell's and countless others, this one rates pretty highly as well.

2. Canto De Ossanha

I consider this Brazilian classic by Baden Powell to be 'bulletproof' - that is, one of those songs which always sounds brilliant, whoever is interpreting. This version is certainly very cool, with a relentless rhythm, more gentle than some of the other tracks on the LP, but very addictive all the same, with great bongos. Dorothy's harp playing is quite exquisite and intricate, with some great improvisation. At times the mix quietens down, and the bass, fender rhodes and percussion are highlighted.

3. Love is Blue

While it's perhaps not 'bulletproof', I'm very fond of this Andre Popp instrumental (Claudine Longet's version is a particular favorite). The approach taken here is to fit the tune into the same kind of funky 4-4 beat used in 'By the time I get to Phoenix', and mix in the same kind of baroque arrangements. At times, everyone drops out except the woodwind. It works quite well, although it feels slightly labored to me sometimes.

4. Reza

Another Brazilian classic, the standard version of which for me is by Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 (although the version by Nancy Ames on 'Spiced with Brasil' is great as well). It's another very strong track, with lots of great gliding shimmers on the harp, and a relentless rhythm with a nice guiro sound.

5. This Girl's in Love with You

A complete change of mood, with a slow, jazzy take on this Bacharach number. Although I'm an enormous Bacharach fan and love this song, I'd say this is one of the weaker tracks on the album. Perhaps this because the laid-back arrangement lacks the drama of Burt's own recording (or, for that matter, the many hit versions).

6. Truth Spoken Here

Opening with a middle-eastern sounding instrumental passage on the harp, this track explodes into life after 15 seconds, with a huge beat and a tight bassline. Dorothy picks out an intricate tune, which is then echoed by the woodwinds.

7. Toronado

Although this is a Richard Evans original, the opening strongly recalls 'Baubles, Bangles and Beads' to me, and I keep expecting the song to turn into it. I'm thinking of the Frank Sinatra version on his album with Jobim, or even the Deodato version on 'Prelude'. It also recalls that song 'The Joker'. Anyway, original or not, it's a nice track, more gentle than many of the others on this LP. The string arrangements remind me of a Nelson Riddle album on the MPS label I have, 'Colors', some of the tracks of which were compiled on the 'Snowflakes' compilation of MPS material a few years ago. The track develops further in the middle, with some interesting wordless vocals, and then what sounds almost like a reprise of 'fly me to the moon'. Or am I hearing things? Either way, it's a very interesting track.

8. The Windmills of your mind

When I was researching this album on the internet a few years ago, I came across a posting where someone claimed this was the only good track on this album. I guess this was because of the 'classic' quality of its beat and general groove. It opens with some dramatic plucks of the harp, and then falls into a delectably funky beat, with all of the hallmarks of this album - a tight and relentless drumbeat and bassline, topped with an intricate harp line. Strings then seep into the mix, adding a nice dramatic feel.

9. Cause I need it

A Dorothy Ashby original, this track is another highlight, with a simple bluesey riff running through it and some great guitar playing. It ends with a super cool echoing harp scale.

10. Just Had to Tell Somebody

Another Dorothy Ashby original, this one is slower and sweeter, and really very charming. There is a wah wah like effect in the background; I can't tell if this is a synth or just a guitar with effects on it; either way, it's pretty cool.

11. Fool on the Hill

This was never my favorite Beatles track, but it seems to stand up to cover versions quite well. This track is a bit of an oddity though. It opens with some familiar sounding bells (they make me think of the Beach Boys' 'Pet Sounds'). Anyway, this track contains the same mix of woodwinds, harp and percussion as most of the others here, but the changing time signatures give it an extra twist. Not one of the best tracks on the album, but quite nice all the same.

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Matt at scrubbles linked to this fascinating article about the 800 submissions of post September 11th songs to the Village Voice.

Oh, and congratulations to my friend Mark on his 5 seconds of fame:

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Stop Waiting

RIP Peggy Lee. It makes me very sad. While Julie London won my heart with her superb choice of material and sultry delivery, Peggy really was a superb singer, and I have fond memories of sitting in Amsterdam listening to the box set of her work. ‘Waitin’ for the train to come in’ was a particular favorite.

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This is hardly the kind of thing I would normally link to, but it is really rather neat. I had a nice day today, recording a couple of songs (ok, I didn’t actually finish them) and listening to a lot of records. Still having a remarkably thrifty month.

I should really tidy them up or annotate them before posting them, but here, for no particular reason (other than that it’s a good place for me to store them for the future) are the playlists for our multidisc CD player over the last couple of years: 24th June 2000, 14th August 2000, 5th December 2000, Jan 29th 2001, 10th June 2001, 3rd December 2001 (these discs are still in there). We actually got the player back in 99, but the first couple of lists were before we had a computer at home (seems amazing now), so they were handwritten. My, what fascinating stuff!

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I don’t think I have bought one CD this year. Actually, that’s not true – I had that order from dustygroove the other week with the Gainsbourg film work box set. But anyway, in general, I’ve been being very disciplined, not buying any CDs from stores. Anyway, you can write about CDs even if you didn’t actually end up buying them.

Here’s some records I had in my hand in the store, but ended up not buying recently: today I was at Academy (superb used CD store on 18th St., NYC), and someone had traded in his ‘Cocktail Nation’ CD collection – so they had all the Martin Denny 2-on-1 CDs on the Scamp label, a couple of volumes of Ultra Lounge, etc. I actually didn’t own any of these discs, and was certainly tempted by the Denny ones, particularly in view of my recently heightened interest in classic exotica. But anyway, I resisted.

And last week I was in Tower Records’s World music store (which, while overpriced, is actually a pretty decent store). I nearly bought a Japanese pressing of a Quarteto Em Cy record (it was so beautiful that it seemed cheap at $16.99 – ridiculous, eh..) AND a Japanese pressing of Marcos Valle’s ‘Viola Enlurada’ with an extra track, for $24.99 (reduced from $29.99 – bargain!).

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I haven’t been posting recently because I’m still sick, unbelievably. Thankfully my flu and fever has subsided, and I now just have an irritating cough and runny nose, but things could be better. Practice tonight for the Isolators show a week on Saturday (yikes).

Michel Colombier: 'Capot Pointu' (CD; Magic; 1969)
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This pop instrumental album from Michel Colombier, one of Serge Gainsbourg's most frequent collaborators, makes for a strange listen. It contains some undeniably cool moments, but overall suffers from cluttered arrangements and sound, and could fairly be classified as overproduced. In fact, some of the arrangements strongly remind me of another record that was accused of being over-produced, Billy Nichols's 'Would You Believe', which was finally released a couple of years ago after 30+ years of mystery and rumors about it being “England's 'Pet Sounds'.”

The opening track, Lobellia, is undeniably catchy, with a very cool piano line. However, the 'ba ba' wordless singalong vocals by FR David (yeah, I think it's the same guy who had a hit with 'Words' in the early 80s) are a little bit much to take (a bit like Steve Marriott's backing vocals on Billy Nichols's 'Would you Believe'). Two of the tracks are co-written with Serge Gainsbourg, but neither jumps out as being especially good. I'm rating this as 6/10, because it has enough musical variation to make me think it will grow on me. I hope it does.

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