Paddy Canny

30 06 2008

Paddy Canny 1919-2008

Because his playing was so identified with the “east Clare” style, Canny’s passing is an important moment in Irish traditional music.  He was born in 1919 into a musical family (his father was a fiddle player) and had music all around him from a young age.  In 1947, he became one of the founding members of the infamous Tulla Ceili Band (that’s him, 3rd from left, I believe):

He was a Tulla Band member when he won an all-Ireland fiddle title in 1953 and was with them when the Tulla group recorded in 1958 (check out Echoes of Erin; Dublin Records DU-LP-1000).  His seminal recording happened in 1959, when, along with PJ Hayes, Peader O’Loughlin and Bridie Lafferty, he recorded All Ireland Champion (Dublin DU-1003), one of the very finest albums ever made of Irish traditional music.  (Shanachie reissued this album under the title An Historic Recording of Irish Traditional Music; Shanachie 76001–it is available on iTunes.)  Later (late 50s-early 60s), Canny made a few 78rpm records for the Irish Gael-Linn label (these have been reissued on the Seoltaí Séidte box set; Gael-Linn CEFCD 184) and then, not a whole lot.  For years, it seems, he shied away from recording.  This changed in the 1990s–he appeared on concertina player Gearoid O’hAllmhurain’s album Traditional Music from Clare and Beyond (Celtic Crossings – OWR 0046) and made a solo record of his own in the mid-1990s (Paddy Canny: Traditional Music from the Legendary East Clare Fiddle; Cló Iar-Chonnachta CICD 129) but as far as places to hear his playing there’s not a whole lot out there.

Despite the relative paucity of recordings, Canny’s influence on a generation of musicians was incredibly strong and is one of those players everyone should be aware of.  His passing is a great loss.  The video above of of him playing with Frankie Gavin of De Dannan fame.  Enjoy!


Nigerian Musician Sonny Okosuns Dies

25 06 2008

Nigerian composer, singer and activist Sonny Okosuns died May 24 in Washington DC of Cancer.

Not well known in the States, Sonny’s great voice (the only African voice) may have been noticed on Sun City, the anti-apartheid album from 1985 or on the soundtrack of Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild. I had the privilege of doing a remix of the song from the film Highlife for Shanachie Records.  I remember the difficulty we had editing, as the drummer moved the song along as only a human could, somewhat at odds with producing a dance track.

Here’s a profile I wrote in the late 90s and a listing of the recordings we have at the ARC.

Sonny Okosuns
b: 4/3/1947.Enugu or Benin City, Nigeria

In his teens Sonny studied as an actor with the Eastern Nigerian Theater, couching a desire to become a playwright within a Hollywood obsession. He often spent a day at the cinema, and the occasional night after falling asleep in his seat.  Elvis Presley’s Loving You, Cliff Richard’s Expresso Bongo and The Tommy Steele Story made a lasting impression. Misreading the large numbers of adoring on-screen fans as friends, the young Okosun was attracted to this idealized lifestyle. The gift of a guitar in 1964 led to the formation of his first band, the Postmen, in 1966.

The Postmen specialized in straight ahead rock and pop, playing Elvis songs and earning a local reputation for Beatles covers.  With the advent of the Nigerian Civil War in 1967, Sonny moved to Lagos to do design work for a TV station. There, along with everyone else in the capital, he went crazy for American soul and sang in amateur soul groups. 1969 marks the beginning of his professional career with a move to Benin City to play second guitar with Sir Victor Uwaifo’s Melody Maestros, a prominent Highlife band. Uwaifo taught him composition and provided practical experience on the ins and outs of earning a living as a musician. Flying back from a Japanese tour in 1970, Sonny purchased instruments at a London stopover – gear necessary to form his own band being prohibitively expensive and difficult to come by in Africa. He also picked up a new set of Western influences while in the UK, launching Paperback Limited in ‘72, a mix of Eastern (Bendel) Highlife and the underground sound of Santana, Hendrix, Creem and Traffic.

While Sonny was successful, he felt that his music is still not very distinctive. He returned home to Enugu and came up with a roots music based on his Esan (Ishan) culture. He renamed the band Ozziddi after an Ijaw river God and christened his sound “Ozziddzm”.  His first song in Ozziddi style, “No More War”, was a hit, as were his next three albums, Ozzidi, Living Music and Ozzidi for Sale, all of which sold over 100,000 copies. His fourth LP, Papa’s Land (1977), did even better. The title cut, a funky Highlife number sung in English, preached a militant gospel of African rule “from Cape Town to Cairo”. The LP also contains one strong Afro-reggae song, “Rain”, attesting to a blossoming interest in reggae, and a back cover quoting the Old Testament, an affirmation of his born again Christianity.

EMI, impressed with Papa’s Land, sent the band to London in 1978 where Sonny recorded his next two LPs at Abbey Road studios, the home of his boyhood idols, the Beatles. (Sonny claimed to have used nearly half the Beatles titles for his own compositions, one of which, “Help” was a big hit). “Fire In Soweto” is a well produced Afro reggae title cut that showcased Sonny’s warm, rootsy voice. The English lyrics allowed the message of freedom to reach beyond Nigeria’s borders and made Sonny a star throughout the continent. In 1980 “Fire” flooded West African airwaves providing the soundtrack for Samuel K. Doe’s Liberian coup. That same year Sonny was the first artist to take the stage at Zimbabwe’s independence celebration.

Exploring the language-oriented calypso form, he next cut an LP with Explainer, calling the style Afro-Carnival. Shifting gears again, Sonny flirted with a disco sound on “No More War” on his 1980 Third World LP, with many of the songs again incorporating reggae stylings. The title cut stressed the Afro over the reggae to produce his most satisfying effort to date. Sonny delights in the airiness of reggae – the large empty spaces that allow room for the words – as attractive as it’s religious and political tendencies. Okosuns’ gift is hearing Africa’s perfect pitch on it’s return trip to the motherland; in New World rock, reggae, funk, black American dance and Caribbean music. The follow-up, The Gospel According to Ozziddi, was a shaky disco effort. Okosuns has toured the world, including a visit to Cuba and a sold out concert at New York’s Apollo theater in 1984.

Sonny Okosun’s Ozziddi. 3rd World (Makossa, USA, M 2397, 12, vinyl disc-Lp, [1980])
Sonny Okosun’s Ozziddi. 3rd World (Oti, UK, M 2397*, 12, vinyl disc-Lp, [1980])
Sonny Okosuns. African Soldiers (Profile, USA, PCD-1414, 5, compact disc, 1991)
Sonny Okosun. Fire In Soweto (EMI, Nigeria, NEMI 0330, 12, vinyl disc-Single or Ep, 1978 )
Sonny Okosun. Happy Days (, HMV 058, 12, , 1980s)
Sonny Okosun. Highlife (Shanachie, USA, SH-5011, 12, vinyl disc-Single or Ep, n.d. {1984]). This is the one B.George and Goran Andersson remixed.
Sonny Okosun. Liberation (Shanachie, USA, 43019, 12, vinyl disc-Lp, 1984)
Sonny Okosun. Liberation (Shanachie, USA, 43019*, 5, compact disc, 1991)
Sonny Okosun. Message (MFR 120714, 12, 1980s)
Sonny Okosun. Message (Melanie, USA, JRF-1009, 12, vinyl disc-LP, 1980s)
Sonny Okosun. Mother and Child (EMI, Nigeria, HMV 030, 12, vinyl disc-Single or Ep, 1982)
Sonny Okosuns. Over The Years (Celebrity, 1001, 5, compact disc, )
Sonny Okosun’s Ozziddi. Papa’s Land (EMI, Nigeria, NEMI 0232, 12, vinyl disc-Single or Ep, 1977)
Sonny Okosun. Sonny Okosun (OTI, UK, OTI (LP) 058-82447, 12, vinyl disc-Single or Ep, 1978 )
Sonny Okosun’s Ozziddi. The Gospel of Ozziddi (EMI, NEMI (LP) 0530, 12, vinyl disc-Single or Ep, n.d.)
Sonny Okosun’s Ozziddi. Third World (OTI, OTI (LP) 0500, 12, vinyl disc-Single or Ep, 1980)
Sonny Okosun. Togetherness (EMI, Nigeria, HMV 033, 12, vinyl disc-Single or Ep, 1983)
Sonny Okosun. Which Way Nigeria? (Jive Afrika, USA, HIP 18, 12, vinyl disc-Single or Ep, 1984)
Sonny Okosun. Which Way Nigeria? (EMI, Nigeria, HMV(N) 036, 12, vinyl disc-Lp, 1984)
Sonny Okosun. Wind of Change (Ivory Music, Nigeria, IVR 001, 12, 1990)

Songs of Praise from 1994 (we don’t have) was sort of a comeback that sold nearly a million copies. It heralded a Christian twist.

A nice discography is at:

You can get a great assortment of the releases on CD from our pals at Sterns, so visit them at

Reflecting on the Sale…

20 06 2008

The sale’s over. Next sale Begins Saturday, Dec 13. Just thought we’d toss out a few images before we get back to cataloging and caring for the world’s largest popular music collection.

What can you do with those antique round sound thingies? Hey, they’re shinny and work really well as reflectors on the streets on New York.  Ask Lester.

More importantly, who shops at the ARC sale?  Well for one, sophisticated ladies in tropical skirts – here’s a shot from our opening night party…

Don’t forget to donate new, used and unwanted recordings in any format to the library. We compare all donations to the existing collection (2 million recordings) and only sell things when they are THIRD copies.

So see you in December. We’ll still be under the spell of those worthless Bush dollars, so Euroshoppers come on down!

14 06 2008

One nice thing about the ARC sale is the new friends we meet who come in to shop. Our latest pal’o’pals is Joel who runs one of the nicest little record shops left in Manhattan, Tropicalia In Furs. Joel shopped at the ARC sale and we traded a bit. What we got is listed below. You may notice from the list that Tropicalia is a Brazilan store, but there is a lot of hot soul and rarities. Most on the list belore are pretty hard to get in such good condition. So visit his shop (304 East 5th St, NYC – 212-982-3251) and don’t forget to shop at our sale on this the last weekend. We’re @ 54 White St., NYC, this Sat + Sun, 11am – 6pm.

• Antonio Carlos E Jocafi. Definitivamente (RCA Victor, Brazil, 110.0005, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1974)
• Banda de Pau e Corda. Arruar (RCA, Brazil, 103.0281, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1979)
• Banda de Pifanos de Caruaru. Bandinha Vai Tocar (Discos Marcus Pereira, Brazil, MPL 9416, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1980)
• Caetano Veloso. Caetano Veloso (Philips, Brazil, 6349 007, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1971)
• Caetano Veloso. Jóia (Philips, Brazil, 6349 132, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1975)
• Elis Regina. Fascinacao (Philips, Brazil, 836 844, 12”, vinyl disc-2Lp, 1989)
• Gal Costa. Legal (Phillips, Brasil, 765.126, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1970)
• Gilberto Gil. Expresso 2222 (Fontana, Brazil, 6488 194, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1982)
• Hermeto Pascoal. CÉrebro Magnetico (Atlantic, Brazil, BR-30 127, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1980)
• Jair Rodrigues. 10 Anos Depois (Philips, Brazil, 6349 105, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1974)
• Jorge Ben Jor. Mestres da MPB – Jorge Ben Jor – ao vivo (Warner, Brasil, 670.4306, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1993)
• Jorge Ben Jor. Sacundin Ben Samba (Fontana, Brazil, 6488195, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1964)
• Mario Castro-Neves. Brazilian Mood (Decca, UK, PFS 4294, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 19??)
• Martinho Da Vila. Martinho Da Vila (RCA, Brazil, BBL 1488, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1969)
• Nara LeÃo. Os Meus Amigos SÃo Um Barato (Philips, Brazil, 6349.338, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1977)
• Pedro Sertanejo. ForrÓ Povão (Chantecler, Brazil, 2-04-405-008, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1981)
• Various Artists. Tom Jobim (Musica Popular Brasileira, Brasil , HMPB-27, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1977)
• Ze Do X. Um Paraibano Em Oito Baixos (SOM, Brazil, SOLP 40.124, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1968 )

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges!

11 06 2008

Unable to push through a “Cross Dressing” or edible “Trans-fat” merit badge last fall the Los Angeles Boy Scouts (50,000 strong) have approved the “Respect Copyrights” patch, sponsored by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America).

Antenna up about exactly what sponsorship means, especially as scouts are encouraged to mount MPAA software Parent File Scan on their home machine to detect downloads, legal and otherwise. The guide to earning this badge proffers: “There are peer to peer groups who offer legal downloads and those who offer illegal downloads. Make a list of both. Suggest ways to detect peer to peer software like the MPAA Parent File Scan.”

We have e-mailed the scouts to ask how many surveillance forays have been mounted and badgewinners there are, and will duly report. At least the Girl Scouts mean cookies when they say cookies, and promoted domestic tranquility recently when they made Dolly Parton an honorary scout for life! Sadly, Boy Scouts threatened to counter with a “Hooters” badge.

7″ Songscape:

“Boy Scout Troop” by Judy Thomas. (ABC, seven inch 45rpm, 10990,1967)
“I’m Girl Scoutin,’” by The Intruders, (GAMBLE seven inch 45rpm, 4009, 1970)
“My Lover Is A Boy Scout,” by The Charmettes.  (MALA, seven inch 45rpm, 491, 1964)

Then there’s the comedy riff seven-incher – “The Boy Scout” by the unfunny Allen and Rossi (MERCURY, 72378, 1965)

All our Singles are Worthless Now?

10 06 2008

As you may know the ARC was the reciepient of one of the best solid rock collections in the USA when Jeep Holland gave us his record collection. Jeep was also the mastermind behind A2 (squared) records our of Ann Arbor (A squared), as both he and I (B-squared) went to the UofM there.

Today ACE Records / Big Beat released the definitive collection of Jeeps efforts, A2 (of Course) # CDWIKD 274, on CD. Here you’ll find “historic recordings by luminaries MC5, Thyme, Scot Richard Case and Frost, plus the rarely-heard Prime Movers, with a young Iggy Pop on lead vocals.”

The thorough and nice Alec Palao put it all together, and he had a long look at our holdings – and was kind enough to thank Freddie and B, although we could provide nothing new to his exhaustive survey.

But our sale is still on and if you want the the original A2 singles by the Frost, Thyme or MC5, come on down – we’re here until Sunday.

Summer Sale Update!

6 06 2008

Great party last night!  ARC members were out in force to take advantage of our food, drink and low, low prices!  It was an enjoyable night indeed and a great kickoff to our big annual Summer Sale (details about which can be had by following this link).

We still have lots of great, great things.  For example, we have multiple copies of the infamous Glastonbury Fayre soundtrack:

Originally released as a three LP set in 1972, its original pressing was limited to 5,000 copies.  With performances by the Grateful Dead, David Bowie, Hawkwind (yes, w/ Lemmy), Pink Fairies, Brinsley Schwarz, Mighty Baby, Marc Bolan, Skin Alley, Daevid Allen and Gong, the Edgar Broughton Band and Pete Townsend, it’s a who’s-who of rock and an extremely rare item!

Speaking of “rare” and “Pete Townsend,” we have a copy of a promotional 45 upon which Pete and the boys hawk Sunn equipment.  The Who sell the sizzle in the form of radio spots around the time of their Who Sell Out album.  The B-side features Peppermint Trolley.  An ultra rare must for Who fans, “it’s blinking marvelous.”

Don’t forget, due to the fact that the ARC obtained the warehouse of the legendary Detroit rock label “A Squared” many years ago, we have for sale many extremely rare 45s from this label.  Highly recommended are those by The Rationals, especially the single that is split with the SRC (Scott Richard Case Group).  The Rationals do a raw version of “I Need You” by The Kinks and SRC performs “Get the Picture” by The Pretty Things in an equally ruanchy manner.

ALSO, this will be the LAST SALE where we will be selling stone mint (meaning unplayed) copies of the ORIGINAL 1968 A Squared release of MC5’s “Looking at You” / “Borderline” (A2 333) at $50.  Price goes up the next time around, so come on down if you want to get while the getting’s good!

Remember, too, we’ve got thousands of LPs to go through.  Also CDs, cassettes (many good ones, including some wild soca titles, at 2 for a dollar!!), DVDs, VHS videos, stereo equipment, computer equipment, books, kitchenwares, clothes and all sorts of wild stuff.  See you there!

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