Monday, November 29, 2010

The Armpit Jug Band

From a cassette of an LP called Live At The Laughing Academy. They have been around a while it seems and still functioning today though the personel of the band has changed a bit.

The bands website says -

"If life is like a tale told by an idiot, then being in the Armpit Jug Band is a lot more like life than we realised. What Strange Chemistry connected this band?

Before the Armpit Jug Band there was the Gosford Armpit Band. And before that there were several disparate and desperate individuals wandering the mysterious and joyous landscape of the early 60s.

Jazz Beasley and Hot Lips Haines, his surly companion in schoolboy criminality, were struggling out of the musical straightjackets of the Boys Brigade to form the ill fated Tame Valley Juke Stompers. It foundered on the rocks of discordant incompetence. Little Wedge Beasley was kicking at his pushchair straps and beating his Tommee Tippee in time to Budgie and Iron Maiden.

Somewhere on the others side of the Birmingham tracks, in the depths of Shard End, was T-Bone "Axeman" Jones, treading the solitary path of a blues Visionary. He was to be a catalyst in the evolution of Fleetwood Mac . . . He told Peter Green to give all his money away.

In the days when Fred West was just another cowboy builder with a spare bag of cement .... somewhere in Gloucester was Stringbean, the tortured aesthete standing alone in the shadows of the match factory . . . England's Glory! He tossed a coin up into the foggy glare of a sodium lamp and lost his bus fare home.

Jazz and Stringbean, with others too inept to mention, became the Gosford Armpit Band while students in Coventry. At first it was just holding hands . . . but before they knew it they were going steady. There were hours of rehearsal . . . ( was it 3 or 4?) . . . in a tiny room made of foetid with the secretion of bodily odours and the acrid smouldering of Park Drives.

At last they were ready to thrust themselves into the world of musical history. "

Armpit Jug Band - I'm Satisfied With My Girl

Armpit Jug Band - Chritopher Columbus

Armpit Jug Band - Wild About My Lovin'

Bembeya Jazz National

An Lp on the Syliphone label from Paris. The band itself are from Guinee in West Africa. I have feaured them before some years ago and so well overdue for another airing. The brass always sounds a little out of tune to me but that just adds to it's charm somehow.

Wikipedia says -

"In the aftermath of the Guinean Independence in 1958 and through the cultural policy of "authenticite", which encouraged cultural pride, numerous bands were created throughout the regions of Guinea. Guinea's President, Ahmed Sékou Touré, disbanded all private dance orchestras and replaced them with state-supported groups, such as Keletigui et ses Tambourinis and Balla et ses Balladins. The most popular was Bembeya Jazz National, formed in 1961. Specializing in modern arrangements of Manding classic tunes, Bembeya Jazz National won 1st prize at two national arts festival's in 1964 and 1965 and were crowned "National Orchestra" in 1966.

Initially an acoustic group, featuring a Latin-flavored horn section of saxophone, trumpet, and clarinet, Bembeya Jazz National reached its apex with the addition of lead singer Aboubacar Demba Camara. The group toured widely, and became one of the most well-known groups in Africa. Among their biggest hits were the songs "Mami Wata" and "Armee Guineenne".

Bembeya Jazz National’s most ambitious album, Regard Sur Le Passe, released in 1968, was a musical tribute to the memory of Samory Touré, who founded a Mande conquest state in much of what is now northern Guinea in 1870, and who became a nationalist emblem following 1958."

Bembeya Jazz National - Deuxieme Partie

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lord Buckley

A cassette on Frank Zappa's "Straight" label from the 70's I would imagine. Not much info. on the sleeve. Two tracks from Side One called marquis De Sade and Governor Slugwell. I can't quite see the appeal but somebody out there might like it.

Wikipedia says -

"Born to English immigrants in Tuolumne, California, Buckley's earliest years are unclear, although he's referred to as an "ex-lumberjack". By the mid-1930s he was performing as emcee in Chicago at Leo Seltzer's dance marathons at the Chicago Coliseum, and worked his own club, Chez Buckley, on Western Avenue through the early 1940s. During World War II Buckley performed extensively for armed services on USO tours, where he formed a lasting friendship with Ed Sullivan.

In the 1950s Buckley hit his stride with a combination of his exaggeratedly aristocratic bearing (including waxed mustache, tuxedo and pith helmet) and carefully enunciated rhythmic hipster slang. Occasionally performing to music, he punctuated his monologues with scat singing and sound effects. His most significant tracks are retelling of historical or legendary events, like "My Own Railroad" and "The Nazz". The latter, first recorded in 1952, describes Jesus' working profession as "carpenter kitty." Other historical figures include Gandhi ("The Hip Gahn") and the Marquis de Sade ("The Bad-Rapping of the Marquis de Sade, the King of Bad Cats"). He retold several classic documents such as the Gettysburg Address and a version of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven." In "Mark Antony's Funeral Oration", he recast Shakespeare's "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" as "Hipsters, flipsters and finger-poppin' daddies: knock me your lobes."

Buckley adopted his "hipsemantic" from his peers Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Redd Foxx, Pearl Mae Bailey, Count Basie, and Frank Sinatra, as well as Hipsters and the British aristocracy.

Buckley enjoyed smoking marijuana. He wrote reports of his first experiences with LSD, under the supervision of Dr. Oscar Janiger, and of his trip in a United States Air Force jet. Ed Sullivan reflected "...he was impractical as many of his profession are, but the vivid Buckley will long be remembered by all of us."

Lord Buckley made an amusing appearance on Groucho Marx's popular TV programme "You Bet Your Life" where he recited a few lines of his monologues."

Lord Buckley - Marquis De Sade/Governor Slugwell

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Morecambe and Wise

A charity shop find from a few years back. This LP on the Philips label is was released in 1971 and features songs made famous by another great comedy duo Flanagan and Allen.

"The theatrical/TV impresario Bernard Delfont gave Morecambe and Wise their own ITV show after the pair appeared frequently on the small-screen in 1960, notching up 12 spots on Val Parnell's Sunday Night At The London Palladium. Now the same network pitched them into a show of their own, teaming the comedians with another double-act, the writers Sid Green and Dick Hills. Sid and Dick, as they soon became known to the nation, also ventured out from behind-the-scenes to feature in front of the cameras with the comics.

The first ATV series - broadcast live each week from the Wood Green Empire in north London - was so successful that a second run was commissioned and given a Saturday primetime slot; from here on, after seven years of irregular TV appearances, Morecambe and Wise were firmly established as stars of the medium and Britain's best comedy double-act. Catchphrases soon developed, with Eric as the wag and Ernie the butt of all jokes: Morecambe would grab Wise by the throat and remark 'Get out of that!'; Morecambe would claim that Wise possessed 'short fat hairy legs'; the two comics, with their scriptwriters, sang a catchy comedy song that attained national fame, 'Boom Oo Yatta Ta Ta'; and every programme ended with the first line - but never more - of the age-old dirty joke 'There were these two old men sitting in deckchairs...'.

As a result of these marvellous ITV shows, Morecambe and Wise branched out into the cinema with three starring feature films, The Intelligence Men, That Riviera Touch and The Magnificent Two, released in 1964, 1966 and 1967 respectively."

Side one tracks are - Underneath The Arches, Run Rabbit Run, Umbrella Man, Are You Havin' Any Fun, Strollin' and A Shanty In Old Shanty Town.
Side two tracks are - Down And Out Blues, Nice people, Hometown, Dreaming, Can't We Meet Again and Where The Arches Used To Be.

Go HERE to find out more about Eric and Ernie.

Morecambe & Wise - Side One

Morecambe & Wise - Side Two

Byron Lee

More ska and rock steady from 1966 on the Atlantic label of all places. One thinks of Atlantic as a soul and rock label but obviously they tried to branch out further afield. Not sure how many other reggae artists they represented.

Wikipedia says -

"Lee was born in Christiana in Manchester Parish to an Afro-Jamaican mother and a Chinese father (a language teacher) originally from Kowloon, Hong Kong. His mother was from Auchtembeddie, where mento and junkanoo were popular musical forms, and his family actively upheld the cultural and musical traditions of their African ancestors. The family moved to the Mountain View Gardens area of Kingston when Lee was around 8 or 9. He learned to play piano at a convent school in Mandeville, but put music on hold when he became a member of the Jamaican national football team. He taught himself to play bass on a homemade instrument, and around 1950, along with his friend Carl Brady, he formed the first incarnation of the Dragonaires, named after the college football team that they played for, at that time concentrating on mento. The band turned professional in 1956 and went on to become one of Jamaica's leading ska bands, continuing since and taking in other genres such as calypso, Soca, and Mas.

In late 1959 or 1960 Byron Lee is known to have introduced the electric bass to Jamaica. However, the reason Lee began to use the electric bass as opposed to its stand-up counterpart had nothing to do with sound. Rather, it was a way for Lee to avoid carrying the large and heavy stand-up bass to the truck to move from gig to gig. The bass guitar soon gained popularity throughout the country and soon became the standard. The electric bass' louder, clearer, and more in your face sound soon changed the entire sound of Jamaican music entirely, especially after Skatalites bassist Lloyd Brevett took a liking to it.

Lee also worked as a producer, producing many of the ska singles by The Maytals, and his entrepreneurial skills led to him setting up the Byron Lee's Spectacular Show tour, which involved several Jamaican acts (including The Maytals) touring the Caribbean. He also became the head of distribution in Jamaica for Atlantic Records. Lee purchased the West Indies Records Limited (WIRL) recording studios from Edward Seaga after fire had destroyed the pressing plant on the same site, and renamed it Dynamic Sounds, soon having a new pressing facility built on the site. It soon became one of the best-equipped studios in the Caribbean, attracting both local and international recording artists, including Paul Simon and The Rolling Stones. Lee's productions included Boris Gardiner's Reggae Happening, Hopeton Lewis's Grooving Out on Life, and The Slickers' "Johnny Too Bad". Dynamic also acts as one of Jamaica's leading record distributors."

Byron Lee - Riverbank Jump Up

Byron Lee - Benwood Dick/ El Negrito

Byron Lee - The Road March

Byron Lee - Jamaica Jump Up

Byron Lee - Happy Wanderer

Jackie Mittoo

An LP on the Coxone label from Jamaica from 1968. Ska and Rock Steady instrumentals with an infectious shuffling beat.

Wikipedia says -

"He was born Donat Roy Mittoo in Browns Town, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica, and began learning to play the piano when he was four under the tutelage of his grandmother.

In the 1960s he was a member of The Skatalites, The Rivals, The Sheiks, The Soul Brothers and The Soul Vendors. Among Mittoo's contributions in the mid to late 1960s were "Darker Shade of Black" (the basis for Frankie Paul's "Pass the Tu Sheng Peng"), Freddie McGregor's "Bobby Babylon", Alton Ellis' "I'm Still in Love with You", The Cables' rocksteady anthem "Baby Why" and Marcia Griffiths' first hit, "Feel Like Jumping". He played for Lloyd "Matador" Daley in 1968 and 1969.

He emigrated to Toronto, Canada at the end of the 1960s. There he recorded three albums, Wishbone (Summus), Reggae Magic (CTL) and Let's Put It All Together (CTL). He also set up the Stine-Jac record label, as well as running a record store.

In 1970, his song "Peanie Wallie" was versioned by The Wailers, becoming the hit "Duppy Conqueror". He had a hit with Wishbone in 1971. He performed in local Toronto lounges throughout the 1970s. Mittoo assisted Toronto-area reggae musicians, including Earth, Roots and Water, Esso Jaxxon (R. Zee Jackson), Carl Harvey, Lord Tanamo, Boyo Hammond, Carl Otway, The Sattalites, Jackie James and Jason Wilson. Mittoo continued to record for Jamaican producers in the 1970s, mostly Bunny Lee.

In the 1980s, he worked regularly with Sugar Minott. In 1989, Mittoo joined the reunited Skatalites, but health problems soon forced him to bow out. In 1989 and 1990 he recorded Wild Jockey for Lloyd Barnes’ Wackies label.

Mittoo entered a hospital on 12 December 1990 and died of cancer on 16 December at the age of 42. His funeral was held at the National Arena in Kingston, Jamaica, on 2 January 1991. Hortense Ellis, Neville 'Tinga' Stewart, Desmond "Desi Roots" Young, Ruddy Thomas, Tommy Cowan, Clement "Coxsone" Dodd were among the attendees. A memorial concert was held around the same time, with performances by Vin Gordon, Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Glen 'Bagga' Fagan, Pablo Black, Robert Lynn, Michael "Ibo" Cooper, Ken Boothe, Delroy Wilson, Carlene Davis, Tinga Stewart and others."

Jackie Mittoo - Hot Milk

Jackie Mittoo - Autumn Sound

Jackie Mittoo - Full Charge

Jackie Mittoo - Hot Shot

Jackie Mittoo - Rock Steady Wedding

Jackie Mittoo - Drum Song

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Les Gipsons

Another Cheshire Street find from the 80's. On the Magic Tirelir Disques label produced in Paris, France around the same time I imagine. Originally from the Antilles I believe but not quite sure as very little on the internet about Les Gipsons - nothing in fact!
Side two comprises Rive Nous Rive, Monia and Dynamite Gipsons.

Wikipedia says -

"The music of the Lesser Antilles encompasses the music of this chain of small islands making up the Northern and Eastern portion of the North Billerica. Lesser Antillean music is part of the broader category of Caribbean music; much of the folk and popular music is also a part of the Afro-American musical complex, being a mixture of African, European and indigenous American elements. The Lesser Antilles' musical cultures are largely based on the music of African slaves brought by European traders and colonizers. The African musical elements are a hybrid of instruments and styles from numerous West African tribes, while the European slaveholders added their own musics into the mix, as did immigrants from India. In many ways, the Lesser Antilles can be musically divided based on which nation colonized them.

The ex-British colonies include Trinidad and Tobago, whose calypso style is an especially potent part of the music of the other former British colonies, which also share traditions like the Big Drum dance. The French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe share the popular zouk style and have also had extensive musical contact with the music of Haiti, itself once a French colony though not part of the Lesser Antilles. The Dutch colonies of Curaçao, Bonaire and Aruba share the combined rhythm popular style. The islands also share a passion for kaseko, a genre of Surinamese music; Suriname and its neighbors Guyana and French Guiana share folk and popular styles that are connected enough to the Antilles and other Caribbean islands that both countries are studied in the broader context of Antillean or Caribbean music."

Les Gipsons - Side Two

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Orchestra Chepin

Another Cheshire Street find I think from the 80's. No date on this Siboney label LP from Cuba but imagine its early 80's or maybe even the 70's.
Very little gleaned about Orchestra Chepin only this bad Google translation -

"La Orquesta Chepin-Choven sesentenaria arises l932 June 24 in the city of Santiago de Cuba. Has been to elect directors Horruitinier Rosell (Chepn) and Bernardo Chaovn (Choven), Orestes and currently Choven desempea Garbey Jos Ramon Hernandez. Agrupacin is a dedicated to the development and dissemination of popular dance music Cuabana.

It has a band jazz orchestral format.

An important moment in the history of this versartil agrupacin he has sown points to be followed by other musical and dance are 14, what is its presentation in the ler reorganizaciny. Disc Festival in the eastern provinces (l971)

Its repertoire is composed of various genres of music and cultivated mainly bolero, Creole, guaracha, son, danzn, Son Montuno and rhythm chepinsn.

Major activities involved include:

The ler. Disc Festival in the eastern provinces, the Creator Musical Festival "Benny More" World Festival of Youth and Students Festival Danzn, Matanzas, Festival del Son "Miguel Matamoros, Guatnamo, Festival of the Arts Caribbean, ler. Chepn in Memoriam, Morn, EGREM Prize, International Festival "Matamoros Son/94" to quote."

Orchetra Chepin - De Nuevo Con Chepin

Orchetra Chepin - El Son De Nicaragua

What Passing Bell

This seems appropriate to uplaod just before Rememberence Sunday - a factory pressing of what seems to be an Argo label LP of poems and prose from the Great War (1914 - 18 ). Not sure who is reading on here as no sleeve available or info. found on the internet. Certainly very moving and sad reminder that war isn't such a great idea.

Just found a copy with sleeve visible on eBay which says the people reading the poems and prose include Hugh Burden, Michael Horndern, C. Day Lewis, John Stride, Gary Watson and Patrick Wymark.

What Passing Bell - Side One

Monday, November 08, 2010

Gregory Isaacs 1951 - 2010

Greatly underrated reggae singer who died a couple of weeks ago. This LP on the Taxi label was produced in the 80's by Sly and Robbie.

Wikipedia says -

"In his teens, Isaacs became a veteran of the talent contests that regularly took place in Jamaica. In 1968, he made his recording debut with a duet with Winston Sinclair, "Another Heartache", recorded for producer Byron Lee. The single sold poorly and Isaacs went on to team up with two other vocalists (Penroe and Bramwell) in the short-lived trio The Concords, recording for Rupie Edwards and Prince Buster. The trio split up in 1970 and Isaacs launched his solo career, initially self-producing recordings and also recording further for Edwards. In 1973 he teamed up with another young singer, Errol Dunkley to start the African Museum record label and shop, and soon had a massive hit with "My Only Lover", credited as the first lovers rock record ever made. He recorded for other producers to finance further African Museum recordings, having a string of hits in the three years that followed, ranging from ballads to roots reggae, including "All I Have Is Love", "Lonely Soldier", "Black a Kill Black", "Extra Classic" and his cover version of Dobby Dobson's "Loving Pauper". In 1974 he began working with producer Alvin Ranglin, and that year he had his first Jamaican number one single with "Love Is Overdue". Isaacs recorded for many of Jamaica's top producers during the 1970s, including Winston "Niney" Holness, Gussie Clarke ("My Time"), Lloyd Campbell ("Slavemaster"), Glen Brown ("One One Cocoa Fill Basket"), Harry Mudie, Roy Cousins, Sidney Crooks and Lee "Scratch" Perry ("Mr. Cop"). By the late 1970s, Isaacs was one of the biggest reggae performers in the world, regularly touring the US and the UK, and only challenged by Dennis Brown and Bob Marley. Between 1977 and 1978, Isaacs again teamed up with Alvin Ranglin, recording a string of hits including "Border" and "Number One" for Ranglin's GG's label.

International stardom seemed assured in 1978 when Isaacs signed to the Virgin Records offshoot Front Line Records, and appeared in the film Rockers, in which he performed "Slavemaster". The Cool Ruler (which became one of his nicknames) and Soon Forward albums, however, failed to sell as well as expected, although they are now considered among his best work. In 1981, he made his first appearance at the Reggae Sunsplash festival (returning annually until 1991), and he moved on to the Charisma Records offshoot Pre, who released his The Lonely Lover (another nickname that stuck) and More Gregory albums along with a string of increasingly successful singles including "Tune In", "Permanent Lover", "Wailing Rudy" and "Tribute to Waddy". He signed to Island Records and released the record that finally saw him break through to a wider audience, "Night Nurse", the title track from his first album for the label (Night Nurse (1982)). Although "Night Nurse" was not a chart hit in either the UK or US, it was hugely popular in clubs and received heavy radio play, and the album reached #32 in the UK."

Gregory Isaacs - Soon Forward

Gregory Isaacs - You'll Never Know

Gregory Isaacs - Motherless Children

Stars Of Zaire Vol. 2

Another old african LP picked up in Brick Lane market many years ago I think. I thought I had uploaded tracks from this already but a quick check didn't find any so here is side one for your listening pleasure.

Wikipedia says -

"Since the colonial era, Kinshasa, Congo's capital, has been one of the great centers of musical innovation, ranking alongside Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg and Abidjan in influence. The country, however, was carved out from territories controlled by many different ethnic groups, many of which had little in common with each other. Each maintained (and continue to do so) their own folk music traditions, and there was little in the way of a pan-Congolese musical identity until the 1940s.

Like much of Africa, Congo was dominated during the World War 2 era by rumba, a fusion of Latin and African musical styles that came from the island of Cuba. Congolese musicians appropriated rumba and adapted its characteristics for their own instruments and tastes. Following World War 2, record labels began appearing, including CEFA, Ngoma, Loningisa and Opika, each issuing many 78 rpm records; Radio Congo Belge also began broadcasting during this period. Bill Alexandre, a Belgian working for CEFA, brought electric guitars to the Congo.

Popular early musicians include Feruzi, who is said to have popularized rumba during the 1930s and guitarists like Zachery Elenga, Antoine Wendo Kolosoy and, most influentially, Jean Bosco Mwenda. Alongside rumba, other imported genres like American swing, French cabaret and Ghanaian highlife were also popular.

In 1953, the Congolese music scene began to differentiate itself with the formation of African Jazz (led by Joseph "Grand Kalle" Kabasele), the first full-time orchestra to record and perform, and the debut of fifteen-year-old guitarist Francois Luambo Makiadi (aka Franco). Both would go on to be some of the earliest Congolese music stars. African Jazz, which included Kabasele, sometimes called the father of modern Congolese music, as well as legendary Cameroonian saxophonist and keyboardist Manu Dibango, has become one of the most well-known groups in Africa, largely due to 1960's "Independence Cha-Cha-Cha", which celebrated Congo's independence and became an anthem for Africans across the continent.

Big bands (1930s–1970s)
Into the 1950s, Kinshasa and Brazzaville became culturally linked, and many musicians moved back and forth between them, most importantly including Nino Malapet and the founder of OK Jazz, Jean Serge Essous. Recording technology had evolved to allow for longer playing times, and the musicians focused on the seben, an instrumental percussion break with a swift tempo that was common in rumba. Both OK Jazz and African Jazz continued performing throughout the decade until African Jazz broke up in the mid-1960s. Tabu Ley Rochereau and Dr. Nico then formed African Fiesta, which incorporated new innovations from throughout Africa as well as American and British soul, rock and country. African Fiesta, however, lasted only two years before disintegrating, and Tabu Ley formed Orchestre Afrisa International instead, but this new group was not able to rival OK Jazz in influence for very long.

Many of the most influential musicians of Congo's history emerged from one or more of these big bands, including Sam Mangwana, Ndombe Opetum, Vicky Longomba, Dizzy Madjeku and Kiamanguana Verckys. Mangwana was the most popular of these solo performers, keeping a loyal fanbase even while switching from Vox Africa and Festival des Marquisards to Afrisa, followed by OK Jazz and a return to Afrisa before setting up a West African group called the African All Stars. Mose Fan Fan of OK Jazz also proved influential, bringing Congolese rumba to East Africa, especially Kenya, after moving there in 1974 with Somo Somo. Rumba also spread through the rest of Africa, with Brazzaville's Pamela M'ounka and Tchico Thicaya moving to Abidjan and Ryco Jazz taking the Congolese sound to the French Antilles. In Congo, students at Gombe High School became entranced with American rock and funk, especially after James Brown visited the country in 1969. Los Nickelos and Thu Zahina emerged from Gombe High, with the former moving to Brussels and the latter, though existing only briefly, becoming legendary for their energetic stage shows that included frenetic, funky drums during the seben and an often psychedelic sound. This period in the late 60s is the soukous era, though the term soukous now has a much broader meaning, and refers to all of the subsequent developments in Congolese music as well."

L'Orchstre Conga 68 - Tambola Na Mokili

Ochestre Veve - Fifi

Orchestre O.K. Jazz - Lumunba Heros National

Et L'Orchestre Comete Mambo Techeza - Monthana

Fly Me To The Sun

Not sure where this record came from but I've had it for a while , tucked away in the deepest recesses of a cupboard. Best place for it I hear you all cry. I must admit I was hoping for more than the kitsch sleeve delivered - it being mostly soulless lift musak and MOR orchestral schmalzh of a most tedious kind. I'm not sure how the likes of Les Paul got in there. Put together for the Dutch airline Transavia in the 60's on the Transavia Holland label. One presumes they gave it away to customers to lure them to all those sunny places they mention in the tunes - Granada, Spanish Harlem, Madrid, Isle Of Capri etc.
Included in this selection are Les Paul, Franck Pourcel, Joe Loss, Vittoria and Manuel.

Fly Me To The Sun - Side One (extract)