Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Eddy Okonta

An LP found some years ago in Brick Lane flea market. Nigerian highlife on the Phonodisk label from the 80's one assumes from the album title "Page One '81".
Side Two here with the tracks as follows -

1. Anioma
2. Adura
3. Mama Sweet Papa Super

Remembering Eddy Okonta, the Obi of trumpet
By Benson Idonije

"IF Eddy Okonta, the late great trumpeter and highlife musician were still alive, today's musicians would be learning the technique of articulating 'rhythm' as an essential musical component at his feet. While he lived, he pretty well appreciated the fact that the main essence of African music is 'rhythm' and he used it to full advantage, thoroughly Africanising his own brand of highlife in the process.

He had served an initial apprenticeship with the Sammy Akpabot Sexlet, an aggregation that revolved this same name even as it increased or diminished with time. He was there with the late Oba Funso Adeolu on auto and tenor saxophones. He enjoyed sharing solos with him while bandleader Akpabot himself provided an ideal background for highlife and dance music to blossom with his dexterity on the vibraphone, an instrument which only Akpabot could play at the time in the whole of West Africa.

As an instrument, the vibes has a special way of resonating sounds and floating them through harmonies and arrangements. But Eddy's high notes helped to put all the reverberation in check for dancing and easy listening.

Eddy later served a long term of apprenticeship with the late Bobby Benson of Africa, this time culminating in outstanding professional musicianship, with proficiency in arranging and composing. He not only put the final polish to his accomplishment with the Bobby Benson Jam Session where he stood out the way Chief Bill Friday and Zeal Onyia before him did, his artisting now reached its apotheosis in the area of improvisational design. He began to use the vast resources of his creativity to construct solos that contained revolutionary melodic language and rhythmic subtlety.

As one of the pioneering big bands in the country, the Bobby Benson Jam session offered all its graduates a well rounded musical experience and discipline as they were exposed to all dance music forms including swing, Latin American , Jazz, Afro Cuban, the ball room type that dominated the colonial era with the music of Joe Loss and Victor Sylvester, and all."

Eddy Okonta - Side Two

I.K. Dario

A Nigerian Juju LP on Decca from the 60's I imagine found at Brick Lane flea market many years ago. The five tracks on side one are as follows - Eni mi ko sen'nia - Toba ndara f'oko aya ni - Toba rije f'omo ni keji - Ojo ikehin - E huwa rere.

"Considered by many to be the "father of juju" for his many innovations, Isaiah Kehinde Dairo was born in Kwara State, Nigeria, in 1931. One story has it that his lifelong love of music stemmed from a drum that his father, a carpenter, made for him in his youth and that accompanied him wherever he went. In early adulthood, Dairo tried earning a living as a barber, a construction worker, and a cloth merchant, among other jobs. Dairo sat in with early juju bands at night, led by musical pioneers Ojoge Daniel and Oladele Oro. In the mid-'50s he formed his own group, the ten-member Morning Star Orchestra, which gained fame later as the Blue Spots.

Though highlife was the most popular form of band music in West Africa at the time, Dairo and his band released a long succession of influential singles that, by the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970, helped establish juju as the premier Nigerian sound. Dairo changed the tenor of juju by introducing the accordion and talking drums to the orchestra and singing in a variety of regional dialects, which widened the rural appeal of the music. When his appeal began to wane at the end of the 70s, he gave up performing, turning first to managing clubs and a hotel in Lagos, then to a ministry in the Cherubim and Seraphim church movement. In 1990 he recorded his first album in 15 years with a re-formed Blue Spots band."

Bob Tarte.

Tracks are as follows -

1. Eni mi ko se'nia
2. Toba ndara f'oko aya ni
3. Toba rije f'omo ni keji
4. Ojo ikehin
5. E huwa rere

I.K.Dario - Side One

Friday, March 18, 2011

Charlie Gillett - Andy Summers

I was reminded the other day that it's been a year since Charlie passed away and in memory of him I am uploading another of his great Capital Radio shows - this time with guest Andy Summers who used to play bass in the Police and later went on to do solo projects with Robert Fripp etc. Andy plays an eclectic choice which includes Captain Beefheart, Les Paul, Hot Club Of France and Steve Reich.

Wikipedia says -

"Summers was born in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, England to Maurice and Jean Somers. When he was a young child, he moved to Bournemouth, Dorset, attended Summerbee School and took up the guitar at age 14. By 17 he was playing in local clubs. While a teenager he worked in a Bournemouth music store frequented by a young Robert Fripp. Although Summers had been essentially self-taught when he began his professional musical career, he studied classical guitar at California State University at Northridge for four years until 1973.

Pre-Police careerSummers began his recording career in the 1960s as the guitarist for the R&B group Zoot Money's Big Roll Band, and its subsequent psychedelic-era incarnation, Dantalian's Chariot. In 1968, Summers was a member (for a couple of months, from May to July[citation needed]) of the Canterbury scene jazz fusion band Soft Machine, although he did not record with the group[citation needed] He also recorded with Eric Burdon and The Animals (Love Is),and spent much of the mid-seventies doing session work for Jon Lord, Neil Sedaka, Kevin Ayers, Kevin Coyne, David Essex and others. In 1977 he was invited by ex-Gong bassist Mike Howlett to join his band Strontium 90 along with Sting and Stewart Copeland.

The Police (1977–1983; 2007–2008)
Summers achieved international prominence as the guitarist for The Police (which he first had contact with in 1977, and of which he was the oldest member by almost a decade), most notably on popular hits such as "Message in a Bottle", "Don't Stand So Close to Me", and "Every Breath You Take". Summers also wrote songs for the Police, such as "Omegaman" and "Mother". In 1980 his instrumental "Behind My Camel" won the Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental. Although Sting was the primary lead vocalist, Summers sang lead vocals on several songs, including "Be My Girl Sally", "Friends", "Someone to Talk to" and "Mother."

Charlie Gillett - Andy Summers Pt. 1

Charlie Gillett - Andy Summers Pt. 2

Ivy Pete & His Limbomaniacs

An LP on the Somerset label from the late 50's when "limbo" was a big dance craze. This is a weak kind of blue-eyed calypso that was made for tourists and for playing at parties. Great kitsch sleeve though which is the only reason I bought it.
The sleeve notes don't tell us much about Ivy pete and his band but says- " Authorities say all you need for a limbo party is three poles ( two upright and one across - see sleeve ) and a group of people with strong backs "bent" on having a ball with "Ivy" Pete and the gang. We recommend you don't try the flame bit on the pole.... this is for real experts or drunks that live near the firehouse."

Tracks are -

1. Jamaica Farewell
2. Little Brown Skin Girl
3. Sly Mongoose
4. I Adore Her
5. Donkey Wants Water
6. Limbo Man

Ivy Pete & His Limbomaniacs - Side One

Chicken Rock

Not a great deal found on the web regarding (William) Fat "Daddy" Holmes. This rockabilly and surf instrumental compilation was released in 1974 and contains songs by a variety of obscure artistes including The Chancellors, Scottie Stuart, Carl Bonafede and Jesse Lee Turner. The stand out tracks though are by Holmes with quirky chicken sound effects on "Chicken Rock" ( 1954 ) and dopey hep-cat jive talk on "Where Yo Is" from around the same time.

Tracks on Side Two are as follws -

1. Rockin' Blues - The Beaumarks
2. Roots - The Champs
3. Little Rocker - Scottie Stuart
4. Story That's True - Carl Bonafede & The Gem Tones
5. Baby Please Don't Tease - Jesse Lee Turner
6. You Don't Bug Me - Terry Daly & The Nu Tones
7. Moonlight Party - The Beaumarks
8. Chicken Rock - Fat Daddy Holmes

Chicken Rock - Side Two

Friday, March 11, 2011

Miriam Makeba

An LP from 1963 on the London label I found many years ago. I thought I had featured it here but a quick look in the archive proved fruitless, so here it is. Nice varied selection as the title implies - ranging from gospel, jazz and calypso. Side Two with tracks-

1. Liwa Wechi
2. Nagula
3. Carnival
4. Night Must Fall
5. Love Tastes Like Strawberries
6. Can't Cross Over

Wikipedia says -

"Miriam Makeba (4 March 1932 - 10 November 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a Grammy Award winning South African singer and civil rights activist. In the 1960s she was the first artist from Africa to popularize African music in the U.S. and around the world. She is best known for the song Pata Pata first recorded in 1957 and released in the U.S. in 1967. She recorded and toured with many popular artists, such as Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, and her former husband and South-African Hugh Masekela. She actively campaigned against the South African system of Apartheid. As a result the South African government revoked her citizenship and right of return. After the end of Apartheid she returned home. She died on 10 November 2008 after performing in a concert organized to support writer Roberto Saviano in his stand against the Camorra, a mafia-like organisation local to the Region of Campania."

Miriam Makeba - Side Two

Mighty Sparrow

Another old calypso LP on the National label from the West Indies. Made in 1966.
Excuse the jumps and scratches - I think this one has been well played in the past.

Wikipedia says -

"In 1956, Sparrow won Trinidad's Carnival Road March and Calypso Monarch competitions with his most famous song, "Jean and Dinah". His prize for the latter was $40. In protest of the small sum, he wrote the song "Carnival Boycott" and attempted to organize other singers to boycott the competition. About half of the singers followed. Sparrow claims credit for succeeding improvements in the conditions of calypso and steelband musicians in Trinidad, as well as the formation of the Carnival Development Committee, a musicians' assistance organization. Sparrow refused to participate in the competition for the next three years, but he continued to perform unofficially, even winning another Road March title in 1958 with "P.A.Y.E."

Calypso music enjoyed a brief period of popularity in other parts in the world during the 1950s. Trinidadian expatriate Lord Kitchener had helped popularize calypso in England, and Sparrow also found some success there. In the United States, interest in calypso was sparked largely by Harry Belafonte's 1956 album Calypso, the first LP to sell over one million copies. In January 1958, Sparrow, along with longtime rival Lord Melody, traveled to New York City seeking access to the American music audience. Sparrow had already been recording with Balisier and Cook Records, and with Belafonte's help he also began to record for RCA Victor. He did not achieve the success he had hoped for; he said in a 2001 interview, "When nothing happened for me, I went back to England and continued on with my career."

In 1960 Sparrow returned to the Calypso Monarch competition, winning his second Kingship and third Road March title with "Ten to One Is Murder" (an autobiographical song about an incident in which Sparrow allegedly shot a man and "Mae Mae." He also began recording for his own label, National Recording. He continued to enjoy great popularity in Trinidad throughout the 1960s."

Tracks -

1. B.G. Plantain
2. Obeah Wedding
3. Papa Jack
4. Sir Garfield Sobers
5. Bikini Girl ( not uploaded - jumps!)

Mighty Sparrow - Side Two

Conroy Recorded Music Library

The titles of the tracks sounded intriguing but turns out to be pretty standard MOR orchestral stuff nicked from the classics - hints of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven.Made in 1974 by Berry Music Co. Ltd.

Tracks include titles such as Whats New, Whats On, Whats Next, Brave New World and Beyond Tomorrow.

Conroy Music Library - Side One

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Charlie Gillett - Undercurrents 14

Another Undercurrents radio show hosted by Charlie Gillett from the early 80's. No guest but an interesting selection of records as always - mostly independent singles from that time on small labels.

Charlie Gillett - Undercurrents 14 Pt.1

Charlie Gillett - Undercurrents 14 Pt.2

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

English Melodeon Players

An album on the Plant Life label recently bought from the Oxfam shop for 99p. Mostly instrumentals by solo artistes at the forefront of the folk music world back in 1986 when this first came out. Tracks on side one included here are as follows -

1. A Small Fee/Crying Jenny and Laughing Joan - Martin Ellison
2. Young Collins/Princess Royal - Roger Watson
3. The Rose Tree - Tony Hall,Dave Roberts & Roger Watson
4. The Olde Favourite - Tony Hall
5. Johnny Mickey Barry's/The Freedom Of Ireland - Edward II & The Red Hot Polkas
6. 100 Pipers - Tony Hall

Find out more about the melodeon HERE.

English Melodeon Players - Side One

Mohammed El-Bakkar

I thought I had featured this LP some years ago but looking back through the archive I see that I missed it for some reason. Apart from the striking sleeve it has some very nice Egyptian music on it. Sounds very authentic to me but what do I know! Made back in the 60's for the Hi-Fi enthusiasts more than anyone and an interesting flavour of the Middle East long before the phrase "world music" was ever invented.

Wikipedia says -

"Mohammed El-Bakkar (Arabic: محمد البكار‎; d. Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United States, September 8, 1959) was a Lebanese tenor, oud player, and conductor.

El-Bakkar was a noted tenor and appeared in several Arabic-language films. He moved to the United States in 1952 and lived in Brooklyn. He released several LPs of Arabic music in the United States. He also played a singing Oriental rug salesman in the Broadway musical Fanny, in the Oriental bazaar scene; the production ran from 1954 to 1956.

He died of a cerebral hemorrhage on September 8, 1959, at the age of 46, after collapsing while performing at an annual Lebanese American festival in Lincoln, Rhode Island."

Mohammed El-Bakkar - Side One

Charlie Gillett - Frances Lass

Francis Lass was a journalist writing the gig guide at Time Out magazine back in the 80's when she guested on Charlie's "Undercurrents" radio show on Capital. Some memorable tracks from mostly British bands of the time like Scritti Polliti, Girls At Our Best and The Chefs etc. New small label bands with a pop sensibility that still sound good today. A shame that so many of them vanished without trace!

Charlie Gillett - Frances Lass Pt. 1

Charlie Gillett - Francis Lass Pt.2

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Standells

Had this LP in my collection for years - probably a Cheshire Street market find from the 70's or 80's. I uploaded some tracks once before so time I did so again. Obviously a band who were highly regarded at the time but almost forgotten now except by a few fans of 60's "garage bands".

"The Standells were formed in 1962 by guitarist Tony Valentino and organist Larry Tamblyn. The early line-up included Gary Lane on bass and drummer Gary Leeds, who would later find more success with the Walker Brothers. Leeds was eventually replaced by former Mousketeer Dick Dodd. As for the name the band chose, they would later tell Dick Clark on American Bandstand, they were just "standing around" one day, trying to think up a name for the band. The quartet became a leading attraction in Los Angeles night-spots and recorded some weak selling albums and singles for Liberty, MGM, and Vee Jay. As a popular local band, they also found themselves appearing in the movie "Get Yourself a College Girl", and getting a lot of television work (most notably, a guest appearance on 'The Munsters').

The band managed to hit the upper regions of the U.S. Top 100 with tunes like "Big Boss Man" and "Someday You'll Cry", but they didn't really hit their stride until teaming up with producer Ed Cobb, formerly of the vocal group the Four Preps. Cobb wrote a song called "Dirty Water", which marked quite a change of direction from their previous clean-cut image. At first the group didn't even like the song, but six months after it was released, "Dirty Water" was the number 11 song in the nation.

With their image now considerably toughened, the group issued four albums in quick succession in 1966 and 1967, as well as appearing in (and contributing the theme song to) the psychedelic exploitation movie "Riot on Sunset Strip". Cobb, in addition to writing "Dirty Water," also penned their other singles, including "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White", "Why Pick on Me" and 'Try It" (the last of which was widely banned for its suggestive delivery). The group did write some decent material of their own, such as "All Fall Down", which bears an interesting similarity to some of Pink Floyd's early work.

Tower Records, as was the case with most of its artists, didn't apply intelligent long-range planning to the band's career, releasing too many albums at once. The group didn't help their own cause by issuing an awful vaudeville-rock single, "Don't Tell Me What to Do", under the transparent pseudonym of the Sllednats (Standells spelled backwards). It would be their last recording."

Songs on Side One are -

1, Why Pick On me
2. Paint It Black
3. MiHai Fatto Innamorare
4. Black Hearted Woman
5. Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White

The Standells - Side One

Franco Et Son T.P.O,K,Jazz

I can't remember exactly where this album came from - maybe one of the prizes I picked up during a Tower Records dash where I had a minute to run through the store and grab as many records as I could. I think this was one of them. Lucky me eh?
I did grab a few turkeys on the way through in my haste it must be said. Luckily the store was very kind and let me swap a few some days later - the ones I didnt really want. This one is great though and Franco at his most melodic and hypnotic - almost too hypnotic at times - you think the needle has stuck!
On the Choc label recorded in Belgium? Or maybe just made in Belgium - not sure where it was recorded.

Wikipedia says -

"François Luambo Makiadi was born in the rural village of Sona Bata in the western Bas Zaire region of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then the colony of Belgian Congo). When he was still a baby, his parents moved to the capital city of Leopoldville (now Kinshasa). His father, Joseph Emongo, was a railroad worker while his mother baked homemade bread to sell at a local market. At age seven he built a rudimentary guitar that he played to attract customers to his mother's stall. His talent was recognized by guitarist Paul Ebengo Dewayon who taught François how to play. In 1950, the twelve year old made his professional debut as a member of Dewayon's band, Watam, impressing audiences with his skills on a guitar almost as big as himself. Three years later, François recorded his first single Bolingo na ngai na Beatrice (My love for Beatrice) after he had become part of the house band for Loningisa Studio. The band leader, Henri Bowane, shortened his given name to "Franco", a tag that would stay with him for the rest of his life. Under Bowane's tutorage Franco became a lead guitarist skilled at the Congolese guitar display style called sebene, and also began writing songs for Loningisa artists and singing some himself. By now he had embraced the Cuban rumba and other styles of African music mixed with Latin influences.

In 1955, although he was being given plenty of studio work, Franco formed a band with Jean Serge Essous that debuted in the OK Bar in Leopoldville. The following year the band was renamed OK Jazz (later TPOK Jazz) in honor of the place it had begun. Within a year of its founding, OK Jazz, now with singer Vicky Longomba, was challenging Grand Kalle's African Jazz as the biggest group in Congolese music, and it continues to be the standard by which modern Congolese musicians are judged. In 1958, Essous left OK Jazz, as 19 year-old Franco went on to become the main songwriter of a constantly metamorphosizing group that ballooned from six original members to about 30 in the 1980s. Franco claims that OK Jazz produced over 150 albums during the 30 years of its existence, though 84 have been conclusively documented, and the band dominated the Congolese music scene."

Franco/ O.K. Jazz - La Resonse De Mario/Sadou

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

King Fighter (Requested Re-Up)

Another old calypso LP from the archives found many years ago in Cheshire Street market, just off Brick Lane. This rarity is on the National label and released in the 60's one imagines though no date on the record. It comes without a sleeve so had to search the internet to find it. What a great sleeve it was too!

"King Fighter (Shurland Wilson) (March 10, 1928 - December 12, 1999)

Born in Victoria Village, on the east coast of Guyana, Wilson got his name, King Fighter, because he was a boxer known for his fancy footwork. Fighter started out as a fisherman, then a boxer, before becoming a calypso singer. He started out singing boleros and love songs before switching to calypsos.

One of his main influences was the Guyanese vaudeville singer Bill Rogers. As for calypso, his favorites were Kitch and Melody and he started singing in Guiana. However, he left and moved to Trinidad because he couldn't make a living in his native country as either a boxer or a singer.

He came to Trinidad in the Fifties and was an active performer, primarily in the OYB tent until the 1980s. He first appeared in Trinidad with fellow Guyanese calypsonian Lord Coffee in 1955 and quickly rose to be a very successful calypso singer. He was a finalist for 1957 monarchy out of the Young Brigade with Smart Woman and Dhalpourie (Indian Wedding). He was singing both his Why BG Don't Want to Federate and Animal Beauty Contest that year. He was recorded extensively on a large of record labels in the Fifties and Sixties on records issued both in British Guiana, Trinidad and in England."

Discover more about King Fighter HERE.

King Fighter - Quarkey

King Fighter - Peace

King Fighter - Beat He

King Fighter - Lovely Country

King Fighter - They Want Me

King Fighter - Wash The Plate

King Fighter - Senorita Cindy

King Fighter - You Does Come Too Soon

King Fighter - Envy

King Fighter - Dollar Bill

Lord Christo (Requested Re-Up)

Another calypso record from Brick Lane picked up in the 80's. It's on the cleverly titled Kalypso label and released in 1963.

"Christo made a living as a cabinet-maker and sang in church choirs before he became the lead singer for the John "Buddy" Williams Band in the 1940s. His calypso career began in 1952 when he appeared at Atilla the Hun's Victory Tent. He then joined the McLean Brothers and accompanied them on a tour of the USA in December 1952. He later moved over to the Young Brigade Tent in 1955. The Young Brigade Tent became the Original Young Brigade Tent (OYB) in 1956, and Christo continued to sing with the OYB until he left for Chicago, Ilinois, USA, where he appeared at various nightclubs and on television. He returned to Trinidad in 1960 and continued to sing at the OYB for the rest of his career. Although he never won a title, Christo's popular songs "Miss Universe" and "Chicken Chest" were tailor-made for steelbands and were played extensively on the road during the 1957 Carnival."

A great archive of old calypso HERE at Irwin Chusid's radio show in the last hour. Well worth a listen if you like this kind of stuff. The first couple of hours is good too!

Lord Christo - Side One

Lord Christo - Side Two