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NEWSLETTER #134
Ethnic & World Music
Ray Barretto ->
Various Artists
 

 

 
CAJUN THE MAMOU CAJUN BAND Swallow 3002 Cajun Sole ● CD $11.98
CD issue of Swallow 8001 originally recorded in 1969 featuring the accordion and fiddle of Cyp' and Adam Landreneau with Jerry Devillier or Isom Fontenot on fiddle. Authentic traditional style Cajun music with no commercial trappings.

 
REGGAE MILLIE Trojan 80442 Time Will Tell ● CD $13.98
28 tracks, 77 min, recommended
Though known as Millie Small in the US where she had a huge hit in '64 with My Boy Lollipop, the first ska song to make waves in the States, she was known simply as Millie throughout the rest of the world. After a second hit, she faltered awhile, trying pop before getting into reggae. This set reissues he Trojan LP from '70, only her second non-compilation. The original 13 tracks included the controversial tune Enoch Power which you may often seen mis-titled as Enough Power, but is in-fact a play on Enoch Powell, the racist British politician who was anti-immigrant. Also from that LP were the hit Mayfair & the controversial White Boys (Millie tells why she prefers them). The 15 bonus tracks cover many of her non-LP 45s for the first time including her hit duets with Roy Panton & Jackie Edwards, as well as covers of That's How Strong My Love Is/ Peaches & Cream, my fave Fats Domino tune I've Been Around, & a kind of answer-record to Patty & The Emblem's Mixed-Up Shook Up Girl, the wonderfully titled Mixed-up, Fickle, Lonely Self-Centered, Spoiled Kind Of Boy. And check out that topless front cover! (GM)

 
CUBA EDDIE PALMIERI & CAL TJADER Vampisoul 018 Bamboleate ● CD $19.98
8 tracks, highly recommended
Eddie Palmieri and Cal Tjader are two of the leading latin jazz figures of the past fifty years. Tjader (along with Tito Puente) helped bring the sound of the vibraphone to latin music when he left pianist George Shearing's jazz combo to front his own mambo band in the mid-fifties. New Yorker Eddie Palmieri introduced the modern jazz piano sound to latin music and has led latin jazz groups since the early sixties. This CD is a reissue of a classic 1960's collaboration of the two stars and has a laid-back mood that allows both players to stretch out on solos. (JV)

 
CUBA RICO'S CREOLE BAND Fremeaux 5055 Cuba In Paris, 1947-1951 ● CD $25.98
Two CDs, 36 tracks, 104 minutes, highly recommended
Havana native Filiberto Rico was one of the musicians who brought Cuban music to France in the 1920's. He was a triple threat-instrumentalist (flute, clarinet, and saxophone), composer, and bandleader. He was forced to return to Cuba during World War II, but returned to France in 1946, just as several latin dance crazes began (mambo, bolero, samba, etc.) Rico's Creole Band was a big hit in the cabarets and he recorded extensively. This collection gives a varied sampling of the many styles the band played in those years. (JV)

 
CUBA SEXTETO NACIONAL Tumbao 097 Cubaneo ● CD $14.98
18 tracks, 58 minutes, highly recommended
Cuban bassist and composer Ignacio Piniero founded the Sexteto Nacional in 1927 in Havana (after returning from an American tour with Sexteto Occidente) to take part in the great popularity of the son dance craze at the time. He had grown up in Havana absorbing the rich musical culture of the city. His band quickly established itself as one of the leading exponents of the son due to Pineiro's compositions and its distinctive tenor/baritone duo vocals. This CD captures their early sound. The sextet eventually became a septet with the addition of a trumpet to the musical lineup and was led, on and off, by Pineiro through the 1960's. (JV)

 
CUBA SEXTETO Y SEPTETO HABANERO Tumbao TCD 300 Grabaciones Completas ● CD $49.98
4 CD set, 98 tracks, 314 minutes, highly recommended
Modern salsa is descended from Cuban son, a style of traditional Cuban music with strong African roots from Oriente Province. By the 1920's, son had made it to Havana, whence it gained worldwide fame. Sexteto y Septeto Habanero was the leading Cuban son band of the 1920's and 1930's. It took the originally rural style, typically played by two or three string and rhythm instruments, and revolutionized it, expanding the instrumental lineup to six or seven players (including brass). This 4 CD "brick" collects all the band's early recordings and is accompanied by a 100-page booklet (in Spanish) with full discography. (JV)

 
LATIN VARIOUS ARTISTS Fremeaux & Associates 191 Latin Crooners, 1930-1949 ● CD $25.98
36 tracks, 107 minutes, highly recommended
This wide-ranging anthology collects three dozen romantic and sentimental songs by South American and Carribbean latin male singers of the 1930's and the 1940's (the accompanying booklet, with notes in English and French, calls them "the tenors of the Americas"). Popular song styles of the day, including Milonga, Modinha, Waltz, and Bolero, are covered. Featured singers include Cuba's Miguelito Valdes, Mexico's Pedro Vargas and Argentina's Carlos Gardel. (JV)

 
AFRICA-NIGERIA VARIOUS ARTISTS Shanachie DVD 1201 Konkombe - The Nigerian Pop Music Scene ● CD $17.98
DVD Now on DVD. Extraordinary exploration, from 1980, of the diverse Nigerian pop scene, from the amazing raspy-voiced blind street drummer, Benjamin Kokuru (I couldn't believe he alone did the fuji-style drumming); to the King of Lagos "dashing" Sunny Ade's forehead with money in time to the music; I.K. Dairo on accordian and in his own Aladura church performing gospel juju with 100 white-robed women; the hilarious exchange between Julius Araba and his wife on the role of Nigerian women; the dazzling Lijadu Sisters singing and talking again of women's roles; and Fela Kuti with his wives and his sax. And this is before we leave Lagos and Yoruba music! Then were off to Eastern Nigeria's Ibo music, highlighted by transvestite thumb-piano player, Area Scatter (great name for a unique performer!), the highlife of the Oriental Brothers and Sonny Okosuns, and a traditional konkombe accordian and percussion group. Finally to the Saharan North for a boxing match accompanied by two dozen talking drums and flutes, wandering griots, and, most amazing of all, the Argungu Fishing Festival, where hundreds of fishermen with nets descend to the river, accompanied by scores of drummers in boats, who drum the fish into the nets. A journey not to be missed. (JM)

 
JAMAICA VARIOUS ARTISTS Shanachie DVD 1202 Roots, Rock, Reggae - Inside The Jamaican Music Scene ● CD $17.98
DVD Now on DVD. A fine survey of Jamaican reggae in the pivotal year of 1977. Reggae is discovering its power, both politically in the Manley years, and musically. We see lovely and moving performances of the Abyssinians doing Sattamassagana in an empty church, Joe Higgs' sublime There's A Reward, Ras Michael's Rastafarian chant, Toots & the Maytals, and Bob Marley. Fine studio sequences of Lee Perry working his magic, Jimmy Cliff recording Play on Mr. Music, the Mighty Diamonds, Jack Ruby auditioning hopefuls in Ocho Rios, and Jacob Miller composing Forward Ever, Backward Never and then performing with Inner Circle in the streets of Kingston round out this fine and historic film. (JM)

 
CUBA VARIOUS ARTISTS Shanachie DVD 1203 Salsa - Latin Pop In The Cities ● CD $17.98
DVD Now on DVD. Fine view of the salsa scene in New York and Puerto Rico in 1979, featuring music from Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri, and Ray Barreto in the streets of New York and at a wedding, Celia Cruz in rehearsal with her powerful voice, a touching sequence with Palmieri teaching some youngsters the glories of salsa music, and the talented Ruben Blades showing how salsa can make people think as well as dance. This is accompanied by dated but still valid 70s political rap by Felipe Luciano of the Young Lords. Then off to Puerto Rico, for Puerto Rican cowboys at the Hilton, a fine plena trio with cuatro, guitar, tamborine and lovely vocal harmonies, an Independista rally, a cock fight, dances, santeria, and more. This isn't quite as absorbing as the others, but is still very good. (JM)

 
AFRICA-SOUTH AFRICA VARIOUS ARTISTS Shanachie DVD 1204 Rhythm Of Resistance - Black South African Music ● CD $17.98
DVD Now on DVD. This 1979 film presents some remarkable examples of the indomitable spirit of Black South Africans under apartheid. Fabulous perfromances by Ladysmith Black Mambazo in a small church, the Mahotella Queens and Abafana Baseqhudeni tearing up a stage with high-energy mbaqanga, Philip Tabane and Malombo's jazz-rock, and Sipho Mchunu and Johnny Clegg on guitar and mouthbow demonstrate this spirit. But equally impressive are non-professional performances like the gumboot dances of the goldminers, the unison chants of streetworkers, and especially the wonderful acapella singers who compete all night in the black workers' hostel, for the prize of a goat-the winning group being determined by a white ex-con who looks like Charles Aznavour and who is presumably "unbiased". A captivating look at a divided, oppressed, but vibrant society. (JM)

 
REGGAE VARIOUS ARTISTS Trojan 80457 Trojan Reggae Duets Box Set ● CD $21.98
3 discs, 50 tracks, highly recommended Another of the ump-teen budget box sets Trojan has been putting out over the last few years - this set's criteria being that the tune is done by 2 people! The highlight here is the original Jamaican mix of the classic (To Be) Young Gifted & Black by Bob & Marcia, along with their It's A Rockin' Good Way. Also includes the wonderful Housewives Choice by Derrick & Patsy as well as their version of Gypsy Woman, a cover of the Wailers' Stop That Train by Keith & Tex, covers of The Vow by Slim & Doreen, Soul Man by Glen & Hopeton, much more. (GM)

 
CUBA VARIOUS ARTISTS Tumbao CTC 101 The Essence Of Cuban Music ● CD $11.98
25 tracks, 77 minutes, essential This label sampler and catalog for the Tumbao Cuban Classics label from Spain doubles as a great single CD introduction to Cuban music from the golden era from the 1920's to the 1950's simply because the label is the world's premier Cuban classics reissue label. The CD, entitled "The Essence of Cuban Music," lives up to its name with two dozen tremendous cuts from 1928 to 1960 (and one straggler from 1987) in most of the major styles of the era by some artists you have heard of (like Celia Cruz and Perez Prado) and many more equally fine artists that you probably haven't heard of. The 78-page full-color catalog presents covers and track listings for the first 150 or so of the label's CDs. (JV)

 

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