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AFRICA WESTERN SAHARA GROUP DOUEH Sublime Frequencies 030 Guitar Music From The Western Sahara $17.98
8 tracks, 40 mins, recommended
If you are a fan of African music and guitar playing then this is the CD for you: this quartet from the Western Sahara region of Africa--featuring the guitar playing of group leader Doueh that combines equal parts traditional Sahrawi music with the technique of Hendrix-has made some inspired music that is highly uplifting and inspirational, which is not surprising given that the performers are from a region that has been fighting for independence since 1975. There is no clear way to describe the sound of this music except to say that if these guys had played at the Monterey Pop Festival in '67, they would have fit right in (they could have played after Ravi Shankar). From the distorted freak out of Eid For Dakhla to the mournful Fagu these tracks from Doueh's personal archives-recorded at his home during the 80's and 90's with help from his wife (on vocals and Tbal drum) and son (keyboards)-constitute a fascinating peek into the music of an African region that I wasn't familiar with. Worth a listen, but be forewarned that the recording quality might not be everyone's cup of tea. Still, a little distortion is a small price to pay for such inspiring music! (GMC)

PORTUGAL AMALIA RODRIGUEZ Buda 995782 The First Recordings $15.98
20 tracks, essential
The Portuguese Fado, like Greek rembetika emerged from cheap bars, small restaurants and smoke-filled taverns and like rembetika is a mournful style featuring songs of nostalgia and fatality (Fado means "fate"), yearning and resentment and songs of exile. The Fado developed out of a synthesis of musical styles - not least the modulations and inflexions of Arabic song. Amalia Rodriguez is generally considered the greatest of all Fado singers to record and the artist who introduced the music to a world wide audience. She started singing in her teens in the 1930s and continued performing up to her death in 1999 at the age of 79. She started recording in 1945 when she was living in Brazil and this wonderful collection features 20 of those early sides. Her achingly beautiful voice is accompanied by two guitarists - one playing A Spanish nylon string guitar (the violao) and the other playing a 12 string steel strung guitar with pear shaped body called the guitarra. The intertwining of the two instruments provide an exquisite backdrop for Amalia's voice. Although the brief notes don't tell us anything about the songs for those of us who don't speak Portuguese it doesn't really matter since the feeling comes through clearly. Truly lovely! (FS)

CUBA ARSENIO RODRIGUEZ Tumbao 315 El Alma De Cuba $189.98
Six C D set with 151 tracks. The definitive collection of this important Cuban music pioneer features all his recordings made for RCA Victor between 1940 and 1956. The appearance of Arsenio Rodriguez's ensemble in 1940 created a style, that because of its instrumental set-up and Arsenio's conception of harmony and rhythm, would change the path of popular Afro-Cuban music. The addition of a second trumpet, a piano and a tumbadora to the classic septet, converged in a new style of son, which became known as son montuno. Later, he would adapt the traditional guaguanco to his son montuno, creating a new style of guaguanaco, uniquely and characteristically his and was rapidly picked up the dancers of La Habana. The CD come in three double digipacks in a box with two booklets in English and Spanish - one by musicologist David Garcia (88 pages) discusses the life and music of Rodriguez and the other by this project's producer Jordi Pujol (44 pages) includes a comprehensive discography and recounts anecdotes about the musicians and singers that were part of the group.

AFRICA-WEST AFRICA VARIOUS ARTISTS Honest Jon's 33 Living Is Hard - West African Music In Britain 1927-29 $18.98
23 tracks, 72 mins, essential
In our continuing efforts to bring to our customers new, exotic, educational, and exciting music, we present this collection of West African music that was released in Britain in the late 1920's by the Zonophone label. It was Zonophone's intention to dominate the West African music market, and they succeeded by exporting hundreds of discs and record players back to Africa. The musicians themselves recorded these songs in Britain, but not much is known about them personally. Sung in various West African languages-Fanti, Twi, Ga, and Yoruba among them-the songs are folky, basic and quite hypnotic showing the influence of spirituals, ragtime, jazz and the classical compositions of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The liner notes contain the history of blacks in Britain during this time-as one could imagine, not an easy existence-and the story of the music's genesis, and in addition, for those who care, English translations of the songs' lyrics. But the lyrics don't really matter, in this kind of music it's the feel and emotions that count. And I would like to commend Honest Jons for stepping up to the plate and re-issuing this stuff. If you dig early American Negro spirituals or field songs (which I can hear echoes of in Domingo Justus' Buje, for example), then you owe it to yourself to give these fascinating tracks an earful. (GMC)

AFRICA-MISCELLANEOUS VARIOUS ARTISTS Network 495115 Golden Afrique, Vol. 3 $32.98
Two CDs, 34 tracks, highly recommended
Superb set of African music recorded between 1939 and 1988 with most of it being from the 50s, 60s and 70s. The first disc is devoted to South African popular music and includes Solomon Linda's Original Evening Birds and their seminal recording of Mbube (aka Wimoweh plus artists as varied as Abagqomi, Brenda Fassie, The Dark City Sisters, Sipho Mabuse, The Mahotella Queens, Mahlathini, Miriam Makeba, The Soul Brothers, Hugh Masekela and others covering a broad spectrum of South African popular music. The second disc features 8 tracks from Zimbabwe - a number featuring the skittering electric guitar sound based on the sound of the traditional Mbira and includes artists like The Four BRothers, The Hallelujah Chucken Run band, Oliver Mtukudzi and others and also includes 8 tracks from the neighboring country of Zambia with performances from Dolly Rathebe, Big Gold Six, Smokey Haangala and others. Includes booklet with numerous photos and notes in English, French and German. (FS)

HUNGARY VARIOUS ARTISTS Ocora 600013 Hongrie: Musique Populaires $21.98
Fine collection of traditional music from various regions of Hungary recorded between 1960 and 1995 - some on location and some in the studio of Hungarian Radio. About half the tracks are unaccompanied vocals - mostly solo but also several group performances. Two vocal features features accompaniment by pipes. The rest are instrumental including straight pipe solos, bagpipes, cymbalum, a localised flute called furulya, a zither ensemble and hurdy gurdys. One track features a "hairy bagpipe" - I wonder what that is? Includes 24 page booklet with notes in French, English & Ungarian.

MISCELLANEOUS VARIOUS ARTISTS Proper BOX 142 Steelin' It - The Steel Guitar Story $26.98
Entertaining 100 - track history of the steel guitar in its various guises, from its Hawaiin origins to its prominent role in American Western Swing and mainstream Country music. It covers the years 1925 to 1957. The first C D features 25 examples of Hawaii's foremost exponents of the instrument, famous and obscure. The other three discs chronicle the use and development of lap steel guitar , resonator guitar , console/table steel guitar and pedal steel guitar in American Wester n Swing and mainstream Country and Rockabilly , along the way showcasing all the main acts who made the instruments such an integral part of their sound . Includes Andy Sanella, Sam Ku West, Jim & Bob - The Genial Hawaiians, Bob Dunn (accompanying Milton Brown, Modern Mountaineers and others), Leon McAuliffe, Ted Daffan, The High Flyers, Spade Cooley, Ernest Tubb, Cecil Campbell & The Tennessee Ramblers, Tiny Murphy & His Bar 69 Cowboys, Shot Jackson, Billy Walker, Charlie Feathers, Onie Wheeler, Bill Haley & His Comets and lots more.
SHELLY LEE ALLEY: I've Got the Blues #2/ Train Whistle Blues/ LES ANDERSON: And I Shook/ This Is Southland/ H.M. BARNES AND HIS BLUE RIDGE RAMBLERS: Honolulu Stomp/ JOHNNY BOND: I Won't Stand In Your Way/ John's Other Wife/ The Daughter Of Jole Blon/ BILL BOYD & HIS COWBOY RAMBLERS: Jitterbug Jive/ BILLY BRIGGS: Down In New Orleans/ Pretty Baby Boogie/ MILTON BROWN & HIS BROWNIES: Takin' Off/ CLIFF BRUNER & HIS BOYS: Kelly Swing/ CECIL CAMPBELL & THE TENNESSEE RAMBLERS: Campbell's Steel Guitar Special/ Steel Guitar Hop/ SPADE COOLEY: Boggs Boogie/ Spadella/ Steel Guitar Rag/ Texas Steel Guitar/ TED DAFFAN: Car Hop's Blues/ Weary Steel Blues/ Blue Steel Blues/ AL DEXTER: Down At The Roadside Inn/ LITTLE JIMMY DICKENS: I've Just Got To See You Once More/ BOB DUNN'S VAGABONDS: Stompin' At The Honky Tonk/ MELVIN ENDSLEY: I Ain't Getting' Nowhere With You/ CHARLIE FEATHERS: I've Been Deceived/ Peepin' Eyes/ TERRY FELL: That's The Way The Big Ball Bounces/ Wham Bam Hot Ziggity Zam/ FOUR HAWAIIAN GUITARS: Black Boy Blues/ BILL HALEY & THE COMETS: Is It True What They Say About Dixie/ THE HAWAIIAN BEACHCOMBERS: Breezy Hawaiian Melody/ JIMMY HEAP & THE MELODY MASTERS: Dessau Waltz/ THE HI-FLYERS: Juke Box Jump/ SOL HOOPII & HIS NOVELTY QUARTET: An Orange Grove In California/ SOL HOOPII & HIS NOVELTY FOUR: Iniki Malie/ SOL HOOPII & HIS NOVELTY QUARTET: Oh Lady Be Good/ LEODIE JACKSON: Double Crossin' Mama/ Steeling The Blues/ SHOT JACKSON: Steeling The Mood/ JIM & BOB - THE GENIAL HAWAIIANS: By The Waters Of Minnietonka/ Saint Louis Blues/ KALAMA'S QUARTET: Wai O Minnehaha/ KANUI & LULA: Ua Like No A like/ SAM KU WEST: Farewell Blues/ St Louis Blues/ The Memphis Blues/ MERL LINDSAY & HIS OKLAHOMA NITE RIDERS: Safety Pin Rag/ Slidin' Steel/ THE LONE STAR COWBOYS: Steel Guitar Bounce/ SEGIS LUVAUN: Wela-Ka-Hao/ ROSE MADDOX: Looky There Over There/ JOE MAPHIS: Fire On The Strings/ BUSTER MARTIN: Herbie's Steel Guitar Polka/ LEON MCAULIFFE: Steel Guitar Rag/ Take It Away Leon/ Twin Guitar Boogie/ CHARLES MITCHELL: Mean Mama Blues/ MODERN MOUNTAINEERS: Taking Off/ TAU MOE & THE ORIGINAL HAWAIIANS: Hula Blues/ Rhythm Of The Islands/ GEORGE MORGAN: Be Sure You Know/ BILL MOUNCE: I Found A New Baby/ TINY MURPHY & HIS BAR 69 BOYS: Hot Steel/ KING NAWAHI'S HAWAIIANS: Hawaiian Capers/ ROY NEWMAN: Dust Off That Old Piano/ PALAKIKO & PAALUHI: Honolulu March/ HANK PENNY: Remington Ride/ Steel Guitar Stomp/ WEBB PIERCE: I Need You Like A Hole In The Head/ MARVIN RAINWATER: Where Do We Go From Here/ SLIM RHODES: Gonna Romp And Stomp Tonight/ Uncertain Love/ ANDY SANELLA: Blues Of The Guitar/ Slidin' On The Frets/ TOMMY SARGENT: Steel Guitar Boogie/ ROY SMECK HAWAIIAN ORCH: Kalima Waltz/ ROY SMECK'S SERENADERS: Guitarese/ Limehouse Blues/ Slippery Fingers/ SONS OF DIXIE: Don't Ever Go Wrong/ SONS OF THE WEST: Panhandle Rag/ Sally's Got A Wooden Leg/ FLOYD TILLMAN: I Don't Care Anymore/ ERNEST TUBB: Don't Look Now (But Your Broken Heart Is Showing)/ So Round So Firm So Fully Packed/ WAIKIKI HAWAIIAN TRIO: My Best Girl/ BILLY WALKER: Mexican Joe/ SPEEDY WEST: Stratosphere Boogie/ Speedin' West/ ONIE WHEELER: A Beggar For Your Love/ A Booger Gonna Getcha/ HANK WILLIAMS & THE DRIFTING COWBOYS: Settin' The Woods On Fire/ BOB WILLS: Steel Guitar Stomp/ Steel Guitar Rag/ Texas Playboy Rag/ Stay A Little Longer/ FARON YOUNG: I'm Gonna Live Some Before I Die/ Shame On You

AFRICA-NIGERIA VARIOUS ARTISTS Soundway 011 Nigeria Rock Special $18.98
15 tracks, 68 mins highly recommended
Like the title says, this CD compiles some of the best LP and 45 cuts from the Nigerian rock scene of the early 70's. It was drummer Ginger Baker, who first visited Nigeria in 1970, that recognized the potential and talent of the musicians, and he featured some of the players in his bands Ginger Baker's Air Force and Salt. One listen to these tracks will reveal influences ranging from Hendrix to Santana to War to James Brown, but always with a foot in traditional African rhythms. Marvel at the funky workout of the Hygrades' instrumental In the Jungle or the stone-cold grooves of Ofo the Black Company's Eniaro, and consider that these tracks could have been (except for the foreign language vocals) recorded by any U.S. rock or funk band of the day. The perfect compliment to your old Tower of Power, Santana, and Chambers Brothers albums, this CD is a must have. (GMC)

INDIA VARIOUS ARTISTS Sublime Frequencies 014 Radio India - The Eternal Dream Of Sound $17.98
A remarkable two CD set of recordings taking from radio broadcasts made in India in 1989 and 1996 from Bengal to Rajasthan and many points in between. Disc one features a collage of music-only excerpts while the second disc is an adventurous blend of music, radio commercials, news, DJs, and raw sound collages. The music includes folk songs, pop hits, film music, classical music and more incorporating elements of Indian music and drawing on styles from beyond the subcontinent. It includes ragas, Bollywood breaks, electric guitars, chenai, violin music and more. The individual performances are not indentified so it's best to just put it on and submerge yourself in an experience that is both exotic and exhilarating.

INDIA VARIOUS ARTISTS Sublime Frequencies 043 Bollywood Steel Guitar $17.98
21 tracks, highly recommended
Fascinating and delightful collection of Indian film music featuring the distinctive sound of the steel guitar. In the Indian film industry (often referred to as Bollywood) film music is an extremely important part of the film and a whole industry is based around this. Most Indian films - even horror and crime movies will usually have one or more songs and these songs and tunes are often covered by other artists in instrumental versions which is where this album steps in. As best as I can tell from the notes the performances here are not ones used in the movies but are cover performances. The 21 tracks cover the period 1962 through 1986 and like all Indian film music the music is a blend of Asian and Western influences creating a heady musical brew and the presence of hot steel guitar really gilds the lily. Joining the steel guitars are accordions, violins, swaxes, electric guitars, percussion and more. A truly inspired released from this small and imaginative Seattle based record label. (FS)

JEWISH/YIDDISH/KLEZM ER VARIOUS ARTISTS Trikont 354 Shtetl Superstars $22.98
19 tracks, 70 min., recommended
The accuracy of the subtitle, " Funky Jewish Sounds From Around The World, " depends upon one's definition of "funky." But this offering from the global children of the post 1970s klezmer revival is a challenging and often exciting combination of the cutting edge and ancient history. Imagine Russian rap and Hasidic reggae singers. Imagine a landscape where elements of hip hop and punk stand along side elements of Yiddish swing and traditional klezmer. Some of the better (and better known artists to Americans) include Balkan Beat Box (USA/Isreal) and Terry Hall & Mushtaq (Great Britian), but Germany, Holland, Canada, Russia, and France are also represented. The glorious experiment falls flat from time to time, as on Geoff Berner's Lucky Goddamn Jew and Alec Kopyt's Tramvay, but the ride is always at least worthwhile, the scenery at least interesting. Seven cuts are previously unreleased works or versions of released works. (JC)

MISCELLANEOUS VARIOUS ARTISTS Wergo 1623-2 Global Accordion - Early Recordings, 1927-1948 $24.98
26 tracks, 72 mins, very highly recommended
Fabulous collection of traditional music from around the world featuring the accordion - an instrument that spread throughout the world in the 19th century. The recordings here were made between 1927 and 1948 and features performances from Puerto Rico, Ireland, France, Turkey, West Africa, Finland, Switzerland, Brazil, Louisiana USA and more. An exciting and very varied selection with superb sound and 34 page booklet with numerous illustrations, extensive notes in English and German by Christoph Wagner and discographical information. A true delight. (FS)

AFRICA-MISCELLANEOUS VARIOUS ARTISTS Wergo 1624 Echoes Of Africa - Early Recordings $24.98
Wonderful and varied collection of African music drawn from commercial recordings made between 1929 and the early 50s. It includes music from South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Zanzibar, Tanzania and Kenya and includes accordion duets, twin guitar highlife, brass bands, female group vocals with percussion, vocal & drum ensembles, South African doo-wop, vocals with single stringed fiddle, vocals with violin and banjo, Arabic songs and more. Sound quality is superb and the set includes a 32 page booklet with some great photos and informative notes by Keth Chandler in English and German.


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