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NEWSLETTER #135
Ethnic & World Music
Joe Bataan ->
Various Artists
 

 

 
CUBA JOE BATAAN Vampisoul 012 Latin Funk Brother ● CD $19.98
19 tracks, 72 minutes, essential
New Yorker Joe Bataan's music mirrors his ethnic heritage. He is part Filipino and part African-American and his music mixes the Latin rhythms of East Harlem with the soul of Harlem. His hip lyrics (sung in English) and the irresistible boogaloo and salsa beats of his music earned him the title of "the King of Latin Soul" in the late 1960's and 1970's. This CD samples the best tracks from five Fania LPs Bataan made between 1967 and 1972 and includes fine covers of soul hits like Gypsy Woman and Shaft as well as his own compositions such as the humorous Subway Joe. (JV)

 
MEXICO LOS CENZONTLES Arhoolie 444 De Un Bonita ● CD $9.98
Not a new release but now part of Arhoolie's budget series. Collection of songs and tunes performed by group of young musicians and singers who first formed in 1989 to explore traditional music of dance of Mexico in a manner relevant to its young urban members. The tracks here are drawn from five self produced and distributed CDs recorded between 1997 and 2000.

 
BELIZE CHATUYE Arhoolie 383 Heartbeat In The Music ● CD $9.98
10 cuts, 59 min., recommended
Not a new release but now part of Arhooli'es budget series. Explosive music from the Central American nation of Belize, formerly British Honduras, recorded in Los Angeles by some traditional Garifuna musicians. The Garifunas, or Black Caribs, are descendants of escaped slaves who intermarried & lived with Arawak Indians on St. Vincent in the 15th century, until the British defeated them in 1797 and removed them to Belize. Maintaining their unique language and proud culture, this group of 10 musicians show the uninhibited drumming and mesmerizing singing that makes them so irresistible. With 3 large "tuba" drums both propelling and improvising on the rhythm, aided by maracas, claves, and turtle-shell marimbas, the band generates a fireworks of sound, which their wild call & response vocals, part in Garifuna & part in English, intensifies. The songs comment on life in Belize, as on Dusumaba (Take It Easy) or You've Got To Many Homes. And that drumming! Whew! (JM)

 
CUBA CONJUNTO CASINO Caney CCD 507 Moliendo Cafe ● CD $16.98
16 tracks, 44 minutes, highly recommended
The Orquesta Banda Kubavana, which took its name from singer Alberto Ruiz' popular 1940's Kubavana Band, was an all-star studio recording dance band assembled by bassist Carlos Barberia in Havana in the years just before Castro's revolution. They played, as this CD excellently demonstrates, fine renditions of all the dance styles of the day, from son to mambo to guaracha. (JV)

 
NORTENO ISIDRO LOPEZ Arhoolie 9042 15 Original Hits ● CD $9.98
15 tracks recorded for Ideal in the late 50s and early 60 by band led by vocalist and alto sax player Isidro "El Indio" Lopez who is considered the father of Tejano music. Includes rancheras, boleros, vals rancheras, polkas, danzons and rock & roll with varied arrangements from small accordion led conjuntos to 15 piece orquesta tejanas.

 
CUBA MACHITO & HIS AFRO-CUBANS Verve 2023 Vacation At The Concord ● CD $12.98
12 tracks, 32 minutes, highly recommended
In the 1940's, bandleader Frank "Machito” Grillo pioneered that mixture of Cuban rhythms and American jazz that would come to be called Latin jazz. In the 1950's he continued to lead bands playing latin music at big clubs and resorts, such as the Concord in upstate New York. This fine 1958 record, an early "concept" album, presents a collection of cha cha chas and mambos that one might have heard his band playing in their shows at the time. (JV)

 
CUBA CHEO MARQUETTI Tumbao 107 Region Matancera ● CD $14.98
21 tracks, 59 minutes, highly recommended
Born in 1909 in Alquizar in Pinar del Rio province, Cheo Marquetti grew up to be one of the classic singers of Cuban son. Possessed of a beautiful, lyrical voice, he first found success singing with a variety of bands in the 1930's and 1940's. His greatest fame, though, came when he recorded a series of son and guajira-son with his own conjunto in Havana in 1956 and 1957 (they are collected on this CD). Although he died forgotten a decade later, these stand as memorable gems of classic Cuban music. (JV)

 
CUBA ORQUESTA KUBAVANA Caney CCD 505 A Toda Cuba Le Gusta ● CD $16.98
18 tracks, 51 minutes, highly recommended
The period between the two World Wars saw the rise of the conjunto as a musical aggregation form in Cuban music, bringing with it greater roles for Afro-Cuban elements and brass instrumentation. Cojunto Casino is one of the best and longest lived (since 1937) of those groups and has preserved that style in the succeeding years. Their nickname, "Los Campeones del Ritmo" (the Champions of Rhythm), tells all you need to know about their music. This CD collects classic tracks recorded in Havana in the late 1950's (think Buena Vista Social Club with musicians in their twenties rather than their seventies. (JV)

 
REGGAE LEE PERRY & THE UPSETTERS Trojan 80463 Dub-Triptych ● CD $18.98
Two CD set combining three LPs.

 
CAJUN WALLACE "CHEESE" READ Arhoolie 415 Cajun House Party ● CD $9.98
29 tracks, 78 mins, recommended
Not a new release but now part of Arhoolie's budget series. The package calls this 'classic' Cajun music and truer words were never written. This is a huge helping of the best kind of front porch Cajun music, rustic, honest, and played for the love of it. The late fiddler/singer Read is backed by a good-sized band on many of the 17 tracks recorded in 1979. Some of the accordion and fiddle interplay is exquisite. You get a full Cajun menu of 2-steps, waltzes, and a hot shuffling Keep a-Knocking. In addition, producer Chris Strachwitz has included 12 more rare tracks from the late 50s, stripped down to bare bones - just one or two musicians at a time - well-recorded, and powerfully direct. Building a repertoire? There's probably something new here for you. (DC)

 
REGGAE MAX ROMEO Trojan 80455 Wet Dream - The Best Of Max Romeo ● CD $13.98
25 track retrospective mostly from the 60s through the mid 70s of this fine reggae performer best known for the (at the time) controversial title song which reached #10 in the British pop charts. The material is very varied including a reggae version of Bob Dylan's Blowin' In The Wind as well as Rasta-themed tracks like Natty Dread Take Over and The Coming Of Jah. Includes a number of tracks making their first appearance on CD and set comes with an eight page illustrated booklet.

 
CUBA MONGO SANTAMARIA Milestone 47075 Watermelon Man ● CD $17.98
18 tracks, 73 minutes, essential
With the possible exception of Tito Puente, conga and bongo player Mongo Santamaria was the latin music percussionist best-known in the United States, establishing himself as both a jazz and latin dance player. His biggest hit record was his version of Herbie Hancock's Watermelon Man. That track and the rest of the 1963 album it appeared on make up the first dozen tracks of this CD (which also contains his version of Yeh-Yeh, a hit for Georgie Fame a few years later). The CD is rounded out with six longer live cuts recorded at San Francisco's famous Blackhawk and includes Mongo's classic Afro Blue. (JV)

 
CUBA THE TICO ALL STARS Vampisoul 015 Descargas (Complete Sessions) ● CD $19.98
6 tracks, 80 minutes, essential
As latin music in New York City was moving from the mambo era to the days of boogaloo and latin soul, on May 23, 1966 Tico Records held a descarga (latin jam session) at the Village Gate in Greenwich Village featuring a who's who of latin stars of the day (and later), including Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Charlie & Eddie Palmieri, and Johnny Pacheco (to name just a few). The fantastic show, made up entirely of long jams, appeared then as three classic LPs, all of which are collected on this CD. (JV)

 
REGGAE TOOTS & THE MAYTALS Trojan 80262 54-46 Was My Number - Anthology, 1964-2000 ● CD $21.98
2CD set, 48 tracks, 153 mins, essential
Fantastic collection featuring some of the greatest early recordings of one of the architects of reggae - Frederick "Toots" Hibbert and his great vocal companions Nathanial "Jerry" McCarthy and Henry "Raleigh" Gordon aka The Maytals. The group drew strongly on American R&B and deep soul and produced beautifully melodic and memorable music. In spite of the album title most of the recordings here are from the period 1965 and 1974 when the group was in its prime and includes some of their most popular songs including 54-46, Struggle (based on his 12 month prison sentence on a marijuana possession charge that was never proved), a gorgeous version of the American civil rights anthem We Shall Overcome, the song that gave the newly developing music its name Do The Reggay, Pressure Drop (featured in the classic reggae film "The Harder They Come"), Monkey Man (his first international hit), 54-46 Was My Number/ Redemption Song/ Funky Kingston, a cover of the R&B classic Louie Louie, an exquisite version of (Take Me Home) Country Roads put in a Jamaican setting and others. A number of tracks here were only previously available as singles in Jamaica and are making their first appearance on CD. Sound quality is superb and fold out booklet as notes, a selective singles discography, photos and label shots. Glorious stuff - if you're not already a reggae fan this will convert you. (FS)

 
CUBA MIGUELITO VALDES Tumbao TCD 104 Algo Nuevo ● CD $14.98
22 tracks, 63 minutes, highly recommended
Cuban vocalist Miguelito Valdes was one of the leading singers of the golden age of Cuban music from the 1930's through the 1950's. He did much to fuel the Latin music craze in the United States with his expressive delivery when he sang for several big name bands. He became a star when he replaced Desi Arnaz in Xavier Cugat's band and scored a hit with his recording of Babalu (he was then billed as Mr. Babalu). This CD collects some fine rhumba and mambo numbers by Valdes recorded in Havana and New York City in 1946 and 1949. (JV)

 
AFRICA-MISCELLANEOUS VARIOUS ARTISTS Buda 82284 African Popular Music - Archives, 1926-1952 ● CD $14.98
Wonderful collection of African popular music drawn from commercial 78 recordings made between 1926 and 1952 including music from Mozambique, Uganda, Cameroun, Congo-Zaire, Ghana, Nigeria and Haute-Volta (now Burkina Faso). Sound quality is excellent and there are informative notes in French and English by Nadar El Dugar.

 
AFRICA-SOUTH AFRICA VARIOUS ARTISTS Columbia (South Africa) 3008 Homebrew, Vol. 4 ● CD $12.98
16 tracks, 51 mins, highly recommended
We've turned up a few copies of this excellent and inexpensive collection of contemporary flavored traditional style music from South Africa. Most of it falls under the category of mbaqanga - a heady mixture of traditional Zulu and Shangaan music melded with American R&B, rock 'n' roll and funk utilizing exquisite vocal harmonies, thundering electric bass, chattering guitars and drums plus occasional accordion, organ or sax. A couple of tracks feature exquisite acapella vocal harmonies in the mbube style popularized by the great Ladysmith Black Mambazo. This collection features some of the top artists of the 80s and 90s including Mzikayifani Buthelezi, Isithembiso, The Thulisa Brothers, Ntombizanje, The Mighty Hot African Boys, Majakathatha, The Boyoyo Boys (the group that first inspired Paul Simon's "Graceland" album),Patrick Mabasa Na Shingange Sisters and others. There are brief notes on all the songs. Supplies of this CD are very limited. (FS)

 
CUBA VARIOUS ARTISTS Concord Picante 4899 Jam Miami - A Celebration Of Latin Jazz ● CD $17.98
10 tracks, 71 minutes, highly recommended
This is a CD of a great latin jazz program held in Miami in 2000 showcasing some of the best contemporary latin jazz players, such as Oscar DeLeon, Pete Escovedo, Pancho Sanchez, and even Chick Corea! There are some fine solos and the songs vary from the classic (Guachi Guaro) to the whimsical (a closing version of the "I Love Lucy" theme song). (JV)

 
INDIA VARIOUS ARTISTS Dejavue Retro 4289 The Best Of Bollywood ● CD $12.98
You might or might not know that India has a film industry (known outside of India as Bollywood) that puts Hollywood to shame, at least in terms of of the quantity of films released each year. Music has played a large part in these films since the early days and is not confined to musicals and dramas, thrillers and even horror movies in India often have one or more songs or dance routines. The music is a blend of genres and mixes traditional Indian instruments (sitar, harmonium, tabla, etc.) with more contemporary Western sounds (electric guitars, synthesizers, etc). This two CD budget set with 28 tracks is a collection of music from movies made in the last three or four years and sometimes the Western elements overpower the Indian ones but there is still a great deal of charm to the music.

 
HAWAII VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 7738 It's Hotter In Hawaii - Early Hits From A Unique Musica ● CD $28.98
Four CD box set featuring 105 tracks of vintage Hawaiian music featuring some of the greatest and most influential exponents of the genre.
SAM ALAMA: Ama Ama/ H.M. BARNES & HIS BLUE RIDGE RAMBLERS: Honolulu Stomp/ BEZOZ HAWAIIAN ORCHESTRA: Pame Sti Honolulu/ BILTMORE HOTEL TRIO: Clownin' The Frets/ BILTMORE ORCHESTRA: Kaui Kahio/ GINO BORDIN HAWAIIAN ORCHESTRA: Caresses Venitiennes/ SOL K. BRIGHT: Tomi Tomi/ CORAL ISLANDERS: Na Lei/ S. CORTES Y SUS HAWAIINOS: Caperucita/ Lirios/ EMERY COURNAND: Why My Craf Vex With Me/ EDDY'S HAWAIIAN SERENADERS: Down In Waikiki/ FRANK FERERA: Honolulu March/ In The Heart Of Hawaii/ Maui/ Melani Anu Ka Makani/ St. Louis Blues/ Cielito Lindo/ Iko Okamuko/ FERERA, FRANCHINI & LUFSKY: One-Two-Three/ FRANCHINI & DETTBORN: Palakiko Blues/ HANAPI TRIO: Indiana March/ HAUULEA ENTERTAINERS: 12th Street Rag/ Ellis March/ Railroad Blues/ HAWAIIAN QUINTETTE: Akahi Hoi/ Pua I Mohala/ HAWAIIAN SONGBIRDS: Happy Hawaiian Blues/ HAWAIIAN SILVER QUARTET: Honolulu March/ HAWAIIAN SERENADERS: Honolulu Stomp/ HAWAIIAN SILVER QUARTET: Kawahau/ HAWAIIAN TRIO: La Paloma/ My Hawaii (You're Calling Me)/ O Sole Mio/ Valse Bleu/ HILO HAWAIIAN ORCHESTRA: Hula Love Medley March/ HONOLULU PLAYERS: Mindinao March/ SOL HOOPII: Hawaiian March/ Lady Be Good/ Lehua/ Lepe Ula Ula/ Pidgin English Hula/ Uheuhene/ JIM & BOB: By The Waters Of Minnietonka/ Chimes/ Hula Blues/ Song Of The Range/ KALAMA'S QUARTET: Pehea Hoi Au/ KAMSKU & KAWAIHAE: King Kalakaua March/ KAMSKU & KAWALHAE: Pua Lima Waltz/ KANE'S HAWAIIANS: Hilo/ KANUI & LULA: My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua/ KEAUMOKA LOUIS: Garden Of Paradise/ Penei No/ JOE KEAWE & HIS HARMONY HAWAIIANS: Hookipa Paka/ My Little Grass Shack/ GEORGE KEOKI DAVIS: Slack Key Hula/ KING, QUEEN, JACK: Stack-O-Lee/ RAY KINNEY & HIS ROYAL HAWAIIANS: Coral Isle/ Kauna Kea/ WALTER KOLOMOKU: Medley Of Old Time Waltzes/ GEORGE KU TRIO: Kuu Lei/ Na Ali'l/ Na Pua O Hawaii/ SAM KU WEST: Hawaiian Hula/ WangWang Blues/ LAWSON'S HAWAIIANS: Drifting And Dreaming/ LES LOUPS: La Portena Es Una Papa/ HELEN LOUISE & FRANK FERERA: K'alu Luliluli/ Kai Maia O Ka Madi/ LUA & KAILI (IRENE WEST'S ROYAL HAWAIIAN: Drowsy Waters/ Kohala March/ MASTER'S HAWAIIANS: Blue Sparks/ Hawaiian Stormy Weather/ MOANA SERENADERS: E Mama Ea/ He Mea Nui/ TAU MOE'S HAWAIIAN JAZZITES: U Like, Noa Like/ M.K. MOKE: Moana Chimes/ JAMES MOLKEHA: Maui Girl/ KING BENNIE NAWAHI: Waikiki Waltz/ PAT PATTERSON & HIS CHAMPION REP RIDERS: The Cat's Whiskers/ ROLAND PEACHY & HIS ROYAL HAWAIIANS: China Boy/ Goodby Blues/ MM. RIVIERES HAWAIIANS: E Mama Ee/ Ellis March/ La Lupe Ua Sola/ Mai Kai No Kauai/ Paahana/ RODNEY ROGER'S RED PEPPERS: Milenburg Joys/ ANDY SANELLA: Blues Of The Guitar/ Sliding On The Frets/ ROY SMECK: 12th Street Rag/ Bugle Call Rag/ Hilo March/ Kalima Walk/ Limehouse Blues/ Twilight Echoes/ TOMMY SOLOMON: Old Timer's Hula/ SOUTH SEA ISLANDERS: Liliu E/ DANNY STEWART: Les Femmes d'Amerique/ TAMARI TAHITI: Parari'i Pararara'i/ TRUETT & GEORGE: Ghost Dance/ UNKNOWN GERMAN ORCH: The Road To Paradise/ CHARLIE WILSON: Palolo/ JIMMY YATES' BOLL WEEVILS: Smiles

 
CUBA VARIOUS ARTISTS Rhino 74312 !Saoco! Masters Of Afro-Cuban Jazz ● CD $17.98
18 tracks, 69 minutes, highly recommended
The title says it all! This CD collects eighteen excellent examples of the latin jazz form, mainly recorded on the 1960's, played by creators of the musical form like Frank "Machito" Grillo and Israel Lopez "Cachao" as well as later stars in the form, such as Tito Puente and Mongo Santamaria. The sides from lesser-known performers are equally fine-not a clunker in the lot. (JV)

 

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