“silence is a riddim’ too…”

23 10 2010

With a mixed cultural heritage (German/British), mixed-up cultural focus (noise/reggae) and a mixmastered public persona (art school/wild child), Ari Up brought a disjointed beauty to her vocals that remain haunting.  I had seen her perform with the Slits @ Tier3 in 1980 (?), the foot-off-the-ground stage adding to the intimacy surrounding a band that never seemed all that distant.  I had met her a few times at the Rough Trade office in London also, back in the Rasta distribution area, a permanent cloud of weedsmoke hovering over the shipping desk, a time when it seemed the label, the people, the scene would go on forever.


Ari (Ariane Forster) died a few days ago.  She is survived by three children, a more than interesting extend family (publishing scions, Johnny Rotten),  jungle homes (Indonesia, Belize) and a very satisfying body of work.

My favorite (above) is the eponymous twelve-inch single containing “In the Beginning There Was Rhythm.”  Using a range of Jamaican musics as a jumping off point, the songs dispense with the heavy-on-the-upstroke Reggae guitar, replaced with a more than satisfying sharp No New York minimalist sound and solid base work.  It’s difficult for me to describe a music that was both discordant and charming.  But I’m not a critic.  But I never stopped listening to this stuff.

You can still get versions of the Slits’ “Cut” on CD, on Island.  When it was released it caused a bit of a stir because of the skin.  More importantly the name was similar to overusing ‘nigger’ by rappers, taking a pejorative and making it their own.  So while the stance and the cover produced some sales,  the band never charted in the US, only reaching #30 on the UK charts in Sept 1979.  No other single or LP charted here or there.  But the influences flowed into and from a variety of kindred spirits; The Raincoats, UT, Blurt, Flowers of Romance, The Pop Group, The New Age Steppers.

Ari’s Slits recordings were mostly produced by Dennis Bovell, but my favorite things were with the New Age Steppers and producer Adrian Sherwood.  Here Ari’s joined by second-gen Slitmate, Viv Albertine.  These two LPs are treasures, meandering deeply atmospheric dub, still clearly British.

You can get pieces of Action Battlefield on iTunes, but even the CD of the self titled LP is going for more than $30 used these days.  It contains one of the bands gems, “Fade Away.”  Nice records to be remembered by.

Here’s an alpha list of the Slits vinyl recordings @ the ARChive:

• “Animal Space”//”Man Next Door”/”In the Beginning There Was Rhythm” (Human Records, USA, YUS-1, 12″ 45rpm, vinyl disc single, 1980).

• “Animal Space”/“Animal Spacier” (Human Records, USA, HUM-4, 7” 45rpm, vinyl disc single, 1980).

• Cut (Island Records, UK, ILPS-9573, 12″ 33 1/3 rpm, vinyl disc LP, 1979).  One version here has a special custom label with a silhouette of the girls.

• Cut (Antilles Records, US, AN-7077, 12″, 33 1/3 rpm, vinyl disc LP, 1979).

• “Earthbeat”/“Begin Again Rhythm” (CBS, UK, CBS-A1498, 7” 45rpm, vinyl disc single, 1981).

• “Earthbeat And Earthdub”/“Begin Again Rhythm” (CBS, UK, CBS-A 13 1498, 12” 45rpm, vinyl disc single, 1981).

• “Earthbeat And Earthdub”/”Or What Is It” (Epic, USA, 49-02576, 12” 33-1/3rpm, vinyl disc single, 1981).

• ”In the Beginning There Was Rhythm” (Slits)/”Where There’s A Will There’s a way” (Pop Group) (Rough Trade/Y Records, UK, RT 039/Y-1, 12″ vinyl disc single, 1980).

“Man Next Door”/ “Man Next Door Dub” (Rough Trade/Y Records, UK, RT 004/Y-4, 7″ 45rpm, vinyl disc single, 1980).

• Return of the Giant Slits  (Urgent Records/CBS, UK, 85269, 12” vinyl disc LP with single containing an extra cut and interview, 1981)

• “Typical Girls”/”I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (Antilles, ANS-102, with a folded poster sleeve, 7″ 45rpm, vinyl disc single, 198?).

• “Typical Girls”/ “Typical Girls – Brink Style”//”I Heard It Through the Grapevine”/”Liebe And Romance” (Island Records, UK, 12WIP-6505, 12″ 45rpm, vinyl disc EP, 1979).

• Typical Girls Won’t Pay More Than $8.00 So Why Should You? (Basic Records, USA, BASE-1, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, Bootleg, 19??)





Ties that Bind

6 10 2010

Staying in NYC for the weekend for this and that, for both of them, saw and heard some very nice performances by Khaira (or Haira) Arby and Laurie Anderson.

On Saturday Khaira , ‘The Nightingale of the North,” aka, “The Aretha Franklin of Mali“ was playing a houseparty on the now nightlife-friendly Bowery.  Her North is the desert region of Mali, north of Timbuktu; the temp would make it the south in most countries, just about on a straight line with Jamaica.  The style is being marketed as ‘desert blues’ (she’s a cousin of Ali Farka Touré) and ‘duskcore,’ (think desert, not jungle or techno), but let’s say it fits in with the more established Songhai tradition (named for the Renaissance era African empire, village based, griot, largely secular, Islamic influenced, high tessitura praise singing) tweaked by monumental psych electric guitar runs from 17 year old Abdramane Touré.   One thing I noticed, and something I have seldom seen, is that for two plus hours no one in the band tapped their feet to the beat, any beat.  It just flowed.  So the voice is keening, soaring, evocative, the structure circular, haunting, hypnotic…but the guitar, but the guitar.

Here’s your dashing (means showing appreciation with cash in much of West Africa, not an attribute) author, reduced to singles in these hard times.

Like a lot of musicians in this world Khaira hopes her reception on her first US tour, and readily available music, will allow let her leave her day-job, as a salt trader along the old caravan routes.

It was a privilege to hear such a high quality performance in such an intimate space, the entire band smokin’ (but the guitar…).  I guess that’s why we live here, or in Timbuktu.

Here’s the discography I’ve been able to track down.  Cassette-player-less?  Get a copy of here first CD avail stateside.  I’ve never heard any of these, but did I mention I loved the guitar work I heard live?

• Moulaye     (Samassa Records, Mali, CS, 1990) We have also seen this listed as Diabira.

• Hala    (Mali, CS, 1994)

• Ya Rassoul   (Samassa Records, Mali, CS, 2002 or 2005?)

• Timbuktu Tarab    (Clermont Music, USA, CD, 2010)

This just in : a note from Clermont says they are looking to release all of the cassettes on CD in the future.

 

Now Laurie Anderson is also from the North (Illinois, Ireland, Sweden) and has brought her urban griot vision full circle, from the playful wondering of the early days to looking back and wondering why.  Her latest (Delusions) at BAM was majestic, the visuals not as striking as I wanted them (sheets of rain best), and the music better than ever (able accompaniment by Eyvind Kang on violin and Colin Stetson, sax.).   It was stories, non sequiturs, space-lore, snippets piled high, that by the end of the show are both zero sum and fully loaded, and you have no idea how she did it.

Her latest release is Homeland on Nonesuch Records.  For those of you who don’t know, I released LA’s first single, ‘O Superman,’ back when NYC was full of making, not the curatorial place holder it is now.   Nice to see her wearing my skinny ska tie I gave her in the 70s.

As both performers referenced their ancestors and offered unfamiliar nods to the Divine,  an e-mail that only came in today, addressed to “the Whole World,” seems to tie the skinny all together.

I, Margaret Veronica Nabakooza Kiyaga,

Katonda Afirika, WIFE OF GOD,

have the great honour and pleasure to announce to the whole world that The Lord God, has today,

the 27th September 2010,

beatified the beloved musician of Afirika, Franco.

MAY GOD BE GLORIFIED. AMEN.





Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas

30 08 2010

As you may know ARC is building a Brasilian/Brazilian Collection.  Now if YOU are building a Brasilian/Brazilian Collection, I think the next record you should get is Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas, Tropicalia Psychedelic Masterpieces 1967 – 1976. (Tropicalia In Furs, USA, WPFC TIF 102, 2010).  This was put together by Joel Stones, our pal over at Tropicallia In Furs, New York’s best (only) Brasilian/Brazilian record store.

Bananas is a deluxe two record set, with a 3-D cover, appropriate viewing glasses, and a 48 page booklet insert providing details on all the source material in English and Portuguese.  The discs sound wonderful and the illustrated booklet gives a bit of history and the inside scoop on the dogged tracking down of the sounds.  You may think you’ve heard it all before, the soft sambas of the past, or those now-sound tinkly elctrobeats.  Brace yourself.  This is psychedelic, fuzz guitar, acid 60’s rock-solid+sloppy, loud, proud, funky druggie music.  Like a good table set in Salvador, there’s plenty to eat, but you don’t know the names of any of the fruits.  And occasionally there’s a bit of sand in that last bite.

Cuts are taken exclusively from elusively available, mostly promotional Brazilian seven-inch singles. It was a time when Brasil was in dangerous flux, but a mere dictatorship couldn’t stop folks from creating great pop scrambles, like Celio Balona’s take on the Batman theme, “Tema de Batman”, or Mac Rybell glow in the dark version of the Stones’, “Lantern”.  Not that all of these songs are covers, but a visiting scholar, Tom Cvikota, noticed that “Som Imaginario De Jimmi Hendrix”, may begin with a Experience-like crescendo, but is an unaccredited cover of the James Gang’s, “Funk 49”.

ARC regularly trades with and shops at Tropicalia.  Sure it’s predictably colorful, and fun, and Joel is cute and lovable and knowledgeable – but go anyway.

Tropicalia In Furs, 304 E. 5th St., New York, NY 10003, near Second Ave in the East Village.  Open, more than likely, late afternoon into night.  Call to make sure: 212-982-3251  No webthing.  So just order it from Joel.  Say B. sent you.  $20 for the discs, and $6 for shipping and handling.  There’s also a documentary on the enhanced CD, What Are Fuzz Bananas, which highlights the hunt (hey Joel, where’s the ARC copy?)

Today I took two friends to buy copies.  Last night Fred, Beco + B (the Dino, Desi and Billy of crate digging) spent a few hours at the store and returned with these fine, finer, finest vinyl’s – first the Brazilian+ world, then other assorted:

• Joao Bosco.   Galos De Briga  (RCA Victor, Brasil, 103.0171, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1976)

• Victor Assis Brasil.   Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim  (Continental, Brasil, LP 0-46 411 068, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1981)

• O Pequeno Burgues.   Azes Do Samba  (Cartaz, Brasil, LPC 5062, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, n.d.)

• Erasmo Carlos.   O Tremendao  (RGE, Brasil, XRLP-5.306, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, n)

• Cartola.   Pranto De Poeta, Serie Documento  (RCA Victor, Brasil, 130 0058, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1989)

• Manâ Do Cavaco.   Martinho Da Vila Apresenta  (RCA Victor, Brasil, 103 0068, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1973)

• Dori Caymmi.   Dori Caymmi  (EMI-Odeon, 31C 064 422899, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 88)

• Nana Caymmi.   Renascer  (CID, Brasil, 8016, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, Mid-70’s)

• Maria Creuza.   Pecado  (RCA Victor, RCA, 103.0306, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1979)

• Carlos Dafâ.   Malandro Dengoso  (Warner Bros, Brasil, BR 26.036, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1979)

• Djalma Dias.   Nno Faéa Drama,,, Caia No Samba  (Som Livre, 403 6050, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1974)

• A.C.Jobim.   Matita PerÉ  (Philips, Brasil, 6349071, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1973)

• Ed Lincoln.   A Volta  (Musidisc, Brasil, HI FI 2088, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, –)

• Lord Kitchener.   Hot Pants  (Trinidad, Trinidad, TRCS 0002, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, n.d.)

• Machito.   Machito Goes Memphis  (RCA Victor, USA, LPM 3944, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, n.d.)

• Ruy Maurity.   Ganga Brasil  (Som Livre, Brasil, 403.6127, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1977)

• Marilia Medalha.   Caminhada  (RGE / Fermata, Brasil, 303.0017, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1973)

• Sencion Minaya.   Y Los Quisqueyanos  (Madely, 116, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, n.d.)

• Marilia Medalha / Vinicius De Moraes.   A Caneno E A Voz De Marilia Medalha Na Poesia De V  (RGE, Brasil, 303, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1972)

• Paulinho Nogueira.   Moda De Graviola  (Continental, Brasil, 1-01-404-110, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1975)

• Cir Pereira & Jaime Santos.   Avante Brasil  (ACS, Brasil, LP 002, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, n.d)

• Jair Rodrigues.   Abra Um Sorriso Novamente  (Philips, Brasil, 6349 120, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1974)

• Claudette Soares.   Gil, Chico E Veloso Por Claudette  (Philips, Brasil, R-765 021 L, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1968)

• Elza Soares.   Elza Negra  (CBS, Brasil, 1 38184, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1980)

• Raimundo Sodre.   Massa  (Polydor, Brasil, 2451 144, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1980)

• Sparrow (Mighty).   Sparrow Come Back  (RCA Victor, Trinidad, LPB – 3006, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, n.d. [1962])

• Zimbo Trio.   Zimbo Trio Vol, 2  (RGE, Brasil, XRLP-5 277, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, –)

• Nana [Vaconcelos].   Amazonas  (Philips, Brasil, 6349 079, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1973)

• Marcos Valle.   O Compositor E O Cantor  (Odeon Brasil, MOFB-3413, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1965)

• Vanusa.   Vanusa  (Continental, Brasil, SLP-10 156, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1974)

• Veloso, Caetano & Chico Buarque.   Caetano E Chico Juntos E Ao Vivo  (Philips, Brasil, 6349 059, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1972)

• Caetano Veloso / Gilberto Gil.   Tropicçlia 2   (Philips, Brasil, 79339, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1993)

…and here’s the other odds + ends we got…

• David Robert Jones  [ David Bowie ].   ChangesThree  (GRACE, AZL1-1984, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Arnett Cobb.   Sizzlin’  (Status / Prestige, ST 7227, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1961)

• Julian Dash.   A Portrait of Julian Dash  (Master Jazz Recordings, MJR 8106, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Davis, Eddie “Lockjaw”.   Cookbook Volume 1   (Prestige, 7141, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Davis, Eddie “Lockjaw”.   Trackin’  (Prestige, PR 7271, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Freddie and the Dreamers.   You Were Mad for Me  (Columbia, UK, 33SX 1663, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1964)

• Ron Goodwin.   Music in Orbit  (Captiol, T 10188, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• The Harmonizing Four.   Tommie, Lonnie & Me  (Atlantic, SD R026, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1970)

• Hollywood Saxophone Quartet.   Jazz in Hollywood  (Liberty, LJH 6005, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Carl Holmes & the Commanders.   Twist Party at the Roundtable  (Atlantic, 8060, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1962)

• Harlan Howard.   To the Silent Majority, With Love  (Nugget, NRLP-105, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Richard Hayman.   The Era of Cleopatra  (Time, USA, S 2080, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, n.d.)

• The Jet Black’s.   Twist  (Chantecler, Brazil, CMG-2.184, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• King Curtis.   Azure  (Everest, LPBR 5121, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1960)

• B. B. King.   Blues, The  (Crown, CLP 5063, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry.   Guitar Highwway  (Verve Folkways, FV-90919, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp     , n.d.)

• Houston Person.   The Big Horn  (Muse, MR 5136, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1979)

• James & Bobby Purify.   James & Bobby Purify  (Bell, BELL 6003, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Reno & Smiley.   On the Road with Reno & Smiley: Songs Truck Drivers Love  (King, 911, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Reparata and the Delrons.   1970 Rock & Roll Revolution  (AVCO Embassy, AVE 33008, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Shorty Rogers and His Giants.   Shorty in Stereo  (Atlantic, SD 1232, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Sonny Stitt.   All God’s Children Got Rhythm  (Prestige, 7248, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Sonny Stitt.   Come Hither  (Solid State, SS 18057, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Al Wagner and his Philharmonic Strings.   £12 English Sterling – The Music of Randolph Adcock  (Soundscape, , SRC 33700 P, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• The Who.   Pop History Vol. 3  (Polydor, France, 2673 007, 12″, vinyl disc-2Lp, n.d.)

• Sondra Williams.   Hark the Voice  (Atlantic, SD R003, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1967)





Some RIPs

7 07 2009
Best_small_MJ

Ghostly Visit to 54 White St

Well, the Summer Sale is over and was a great success.  Thanks to all who braved the rain and helped us out by carting off our wretched excess.  We’ve neglected the blog for a while, so here’s some recent things that caught our eye/ear.  And it’s more than the weather that has made me a bit cranky.

Midsummer Night Swing (a fine roster of entertainment from an organization that I boycott because of the segregation of a paying and not paying sections, non payers getting lousy sound) will feature our very own archivist – DJ: Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus.  Fred will play the pony, twist and way funkier stuff, pre –mid + post The Chubby Checker set.   It’s this Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 6:30.  Dance Lesson at 6:30, Live Music at 8:30, Damrosch Park, 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam.  They don’t say it upfront (because they are ashamed) and they hide the single event price (pushing an $80 batch of tickets), but you can actually get on the dance floor for ONLY $15.

Other shocking news is that one of the best Rai singers is in the clink.   Reuters reports that Cheb Mami (Mohamed Khelifati ) got 5 years from a French court for trying to force his girlfriend to have an abortion.  It wasn’t just that he offered a strong polemic; it seems he had her kidnapped, drugged, and he and his henchmen attempted an amateur operation at the star’s villa in Algeria.   A light sentence if you ask me.

I‘ve often abandoned artists with reprehensible acts in their resumes.  Not that my vote counts, but if you shoot your wife in the head (Wm Burrohs) or seem ‘fascinated’ by fascism (any old Futurist), or that joining the Hitler Youth is good training for being the Pope, well, you lost me.

A speaking of the wrong person in a nice place, Prince is once again slated to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival – the closing act no less.  What, they couldn’t book Hanna Montana?   That there is so little imagination left in this world is baffling.  Prince is but one of too many non-jazz acts, making the festival indistinguishable from all the other Euro summerfare.  Call me naïve, but I believe a jazz festival should book jazz artists.

Diddly_signed_sml On the bright side, one donation during the sale brought in a signed copy of, Have Guitar Will Travel, by that world renowned jazz artist, Bo Diddley.  For youguns out there, the calling card and travelin’ theme on this LP comes from a late 50s-early 60s TV western “Have Gun Will Travel” starring Richard Boone.  His character, Paladin, was a mustachioed knight-errant, schizo-ing between tails and all-black westernwear.

Finally, I’m torn between my hatred of the lowest common denominator and corporate media rule, in an AP story of Disney having its lawsuit dismissed against the masterminds (?) behind the animated comedy (?) Family Guy, for their off-color parody of “When You Wish Upon A  Star” from Pinocchio, sung by Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike).  The only thing worse than a lame parody, it the protection of an imagined sacred source.

So in memorial, after you hit Forest Lawn for a MJ deathpeek, grab a uke and mosey over to visit Cliff Edwards at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park in Burbank.  We have no idea where Vibe is buried, but it’s gone too…

NJcasket





Rubber Seoul

27 02 2008

It was a proud and teary moment when we here at the ARC heard the strains of the Star-Spangled Banner played in Pyongyang, North Korea, last evening by a local band, the New York Philharmonic.

It took me back to the early 80s, when a young Kim Jung Il visited the ARC and donated some of his favorite tunes, about 20 discs in all. Long before he commanded the 5th largest standing army in the world, the Great Leader was a big music fan – mostly Brit rock – not too interested in that revolutionary 60s stuff coming out of the States.

rubberseoul_sml1.jpg clapton_sml1.jpg

Here are two examples from that donation : The Beatles’ Rubber Soul (Taedo, Korea, EU 407, LP, 1970) and Eric Clapton’s One In Every Crowd (Giant, Asia, TD-1554, LP, 1975). The Beatles’ tunes really resonated with this University of Malta grad, who studied in English, and was quick to pick up on titles like, “Run for Your Life,” “I’m Looking Through You” and “Think for Yourself.”

And Clapton. Hound doggies Kim-bo loved his blues. We had a running joke, that it was “Eric Clampdown.” And his favorite song on this album? “Don’t Blame Me.” I think this early infatuation has a lot to do with the recent rumors that Eric will be invited to perform a concert in Seoul following a visit to London by North Korea’s State Symphony Orchestra this summer. Hope it happens. …and Mr. Kim, keep those donations coming, it’s all part of the growing collection of materials from around the world that makes the ARC the valuable resource that it is.

This is an excerpt for our ongoing, longer work: Problematic Encounters Between Primitive Man and Modern Music (unpublished) by B. George.








%d bloggers like this: