Tuesday, October 17, 2017

World's away (Jesse Cook) (LP 152 - 154)

Jesse Cook Nomad (CD - Norada/Virgin, 2003) ***
Jesse Cook Frontiers (CD -  Virgin, 2007) *** 
Jesse Cook The Rumba Foundation (CD - EMI, 2009) ***  

Genre: World

Places I remember: Virgin Megastores in Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai.

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: 
La Llorona (Frontiers)

Gear costume: Cecilia (The Rumba Foundation), It Ain't Me Babe (Frontiers).

Active compensatory factors: Canadian guitarist, Jesse Cook, is huge in the Middle East. His flamenco guitar has a number of Middle Eastern and European flavours and so I had no clue he was Canadian until I checked out his biography for this post.

The tasteful Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel covers are the only nods to pop influences on these CDs - mostly some great Latin jazz style rhythms are the order of the day.

Frontiers is the pick of the three studio albums featured here, in case you were wondering.

Where do they all belong? He traverses a variety of genres - world, jazz, even pop at times but resides in the 'World' section of my collection. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

So much things to say (Bob Marley) (LP 151)

Bob Marley and The Wailers Exodus (CD - Tuff Gong, 1977) *****

Genre: Reggae

Places I remember: The Warehouse (Cambridge)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Jammin'

Gear costume: Natural Mystic, Exodus, Three Little Birds

Active compensatory factors: Why feature Jammin', you ask? The answer dates back to a performance by an Auckland reggae band at Mt Albert Grammar the year after I left school. 

beautiful sunny day in 1977, and the school was having a gala. I went along, maybe with Greg? Not sure. We'd both had our final year at MAGS the year before and so, we'd been part of plans for the gala, or at least, the planning for it was in the air.

What I am sure about is the brilliant song I heard that day from some anonymous band. I never found out their name but they did their version of Jammin' and it sounded amazing.

Not only that, but seeing a joyful bunch of pacific island guys in dreads speaking of jah and other phrases foreign to my ears was something of an ear opener!

Pretty sure this was my first experience of the cool reggae groove as well. I eventually found the source - Bob Marley and he's been soundtracking my summers ever since.

For this album, Bob's singing sounds more mature, more confident to me. 

Where do they all belong? Next up, a clutch of live BM albums of variable quality.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Affirmation (George Benson) (LP 150)

George Bens0n Breezin' (CD - Warner Bros, 1976) ***

Genre: Jazz

Places I remember: The Warehouse, Hastings NZ

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles/ Gear costume: Breezin'

Active compensatory factors: When I was working for Marbecks Records during a 1981 University holiday, George Benson's double album The George Benson Collection came out. Oh my my! Did it go off!! We're talkin' mega!! I lifted a ton of those beasts onto the racks!

At the time the smooth jazz guitar stylings were a bit too poppy for my tastes. Plus I had/have this thing about stuff that everybody is buying. 

Instead I picked up a compilation, in the Columbia Jazz Profiles series, that is much more to my taste, being pre-pop stardom Benson.

Anyway. Breezin' had come out in the mid seventies and my old buddy (as in he's been a mate for yonks), Greg Knowles, taped a copy for me and I fell for the first few tracks, before the strings take over. It became a guilty pleasure of sorts.

And now, here it is some 40 years later and I picked up a CD copy cheap from a clearance bin at a red shed. It still has that lovely glow of familiarity about it - a re-acquaintance with an old friend!

Where do they all belong? George's pop/jazz niche is pretty much his own, so, kudos George. Next up it's back to Anouar Brahem in the jazz genre.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

I'm OK, you're OK (Boyz II Men) (LP 148 - 149)

Boyz II Men Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya (CD - Universal, 2000) ***
Boyz II Men Full Circle (CD - Arista, 2002) ***

Genre: Soul

Places I remember: The Warehouse (Cambridge)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: The Colour Of Love (from Full Circle)

Gear costume: Beautiful Women

Active compensatory factors: These albums are okay. Nothing startling here like the first three albums but enough quality signature Boyz II Men moves to keep me interested.

Colour Of Love is a classic Boyz II Men chune, and, while the rest is pleasant, they were treading some well known terrain here.

And yet, and yet...those harmonies!!

Where do they all belong? Full Circle was the last album with the original members, as Michael McCary had to leave for health reasons. A covers album was their way back in as we will see in due course.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Gonna take you for a ride in my Tarotplane (Captain Beefheart) (LP 147)

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Mirror Man (CD - Buddha Records, 1971) ****

Genre: Alternative

Places I remember: Real Groovy (Auckland)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Tarotplane

Gear costume: The other long one - Mirror Man.

Active compensatory factors: Rarely did the Captain tease out songs into lengthy blues rooted riffermanias. But he does on these Mirror Man tracks.

Given these songs were abandoned at the time, they may never have seen the light of day without the record company (Buddah) being avaricious.

Mirror Man is a kinda weird album even in the weird world of Don Van Vliet. It gets a bad press but it's one I play a lot. 

It kicks off with Tarotplane, a lengthy 19 minute blues jam that includes some wonderful harmonica from the Captain. The other three tracks use the same tactics - a basic blues riff that are vehicles for the Captain's startling vocals and lyrics.

Originally recorded in 1967 - it took four years for it to emerge (and even then with a Magic Band photo that is out of date). I'm not sure what the good Captain's reaction was to it at the time but I'm glad it exists.

Where do they all belong? A shiny, bat chain pulling beast is coming!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Travelin' light (J J Cale) (LP 146)

Eric Clapton Reptile (CD - Reprise Records, 2001) ****

Genre: Blues

Places I remember: Kings Recording (Abu Dhabi). 

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Superman Inside

Gear costume: Travelin' Light is in the zone.

Active compensatory factors: The novelist,Haruki Murakami, is responsible for me owning this somewhat underrated album by Slowhand.

I'd picked up on Haruki's mention of the album as a great album to listen to while jogging. Of course, he's spot on.

Bookended by two EC instrumentals, there is nice overall feel to the album - it's relaxed, easy on the ear, oozes confidence, and is personal in a way that EC is seldom personal. 

Nothing incendiary on offer though, no guitar wig outs, but, yes, Haruki, great for jogging.

Where do they all belong? Back to vinyl next for EC - loads to come, solo, Blues Breakers and Cream of course.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Honour and praise (Fairport Convention) (LP 145)

Fairport Convention From Cropredy to Portmeirion (CD - Eagle Records, 2007) *** 

Genre: Folk

Places I remember: The Warehouse Whangarei

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: London River is a great singalong!

A live version during a 1990 full concert is great viewing as well. Go to the 29.09 minute mark for all the fun.

Gear costume: Red and Gold

Active compensatory factors: Unlike Steeleye Span and Lindisfarne, Fairport Convention is an English electric folk band that I've never really cottoned on to. Maybe the forever shifting line ups (checkout the list here) without a charismatic front person post Denny, or maybe the lack of a killer couple of tunes. It all contributes.

I picked up this live momento from a tour in the early nineties cheaply from The Warehouse and it's okay, but nothing that special. From a tour without a female vocalist, they really miss the variety and strong presence of a Sandy Denny type.

Where do they all belong? Along with Fotheringay and the Spans.