Beat Box

By MC Ledbetter, August 10, 2017

Steely Dan

Steely Dan

Updated for August 2017. Every month we recommend a few classic music CDs that rarely see the light of day. This month sees: Incredible Bongo Band, Jesus Guerrero, Budos Band, Dead Combo, Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos, Ali Khattab and The Cairo Jazz Band get main billing.

May’s selection includes: Incredible Bongo Band, Jesus Guerrero, Budos Band, Dead Combo, Ebo Taylor, Clifton Chenier, Carmen Amaya, Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos, Galactic, Blind Willie McTell, Antonio Serrano and Albert Sanz, Frank Zappa, Ali Khattab, Rudresh Mahanthappa, the Exciters from Panama and Hossein Alizadeh.  See you next month.

Try these for size:

Incredible Bongo Band – Bongo Rock
Strut 2001

The band released two albums, 1973’s Bongo Rock and 1974’s Return of the Incredible Bongo Band. The instrumental “Bongo Rock”, co-written by Art Laboe and Preston Epps and released by Epps as a Top 40 hit in 1959, was covered by the Incredible Bongo Band (shown as “Bongo Rock ’73” on the album), and became a minor US hit for them in 1973, and a substantial hit in Canada (#20).

Bongo Rock full album.

Jesus Guerrero – Calma
Concert Music 2017

One of the very best of the new generation of flamenco guitarists. Still young at the age of 31 he has already played along side Miguel Poveda, Carmen Linares and Marina Heredia. One to watch out for

Jesus Guerrero live.

Budos Band – Burnt Offering
Daptone 2014

Jazz, deep funk, Afro-beat, soul and heavy-metal influences can be heard in the Budos Band recordings, all of which were released on Daptone Records and recorded at the label’s own studio, Daptone’s House of Soul, in Brooklyn, New York. Though they reside in Brooklyn The Budos Band have toured most of North America, Several countries in Europe and parts of Australia.

Budos Band on Youtube.

Dead Combo & Royal Orquestra Caveira – AO VIVO NO SAO LUIZ
Dead & Company 2010

Dead Combo and the Royal Orquestra das Caveiras is a DVD of a concert by the Portuguese band Dead Combo with the Royal Orquestra das Caveiras, recorded in the Jardim de Inverno do Teatro Municipal São Luiz, Lisboa, in 2009.

live footage of Dead Combo & Royal Orquestra Caveira – AO VIVO NO SAO LUIZ

Ebo Taylor Love and Death
Strut 2010


Born in 1936, Ebo Taylor has been a vital figure on the Ghanaian music scene for over six decades. In the late ’50s he was active in the influential highlife bands the Stargazers and the Broadway Dance Band.

Ebo Taylor – Love and Death

Clifton Chenier Live
Arhoolie 1972

Excellent live session from the master of Louisiana Zydeco.

Clifton Chenier’s version of “Rock me Baby”.

Carmen Amaya

Carmen Amaya

Beat Box takes a new turn, moving into dance this month with Carmen Amaya the legendary gypsy flamenco dancer and singer (1918-1963) from Barcelona who died an untimely death. She toured the world and remained outside of Spain during the Civil War and was even feted in the White House by Franklin Roosevelt. A remarkable dancer.

Video link to three clips of Carmen Amaya dancing flamenco

Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos – The Prosthetic Cubans
Atlantic – 1998

The Prosthetic Cubans is a studio album recorded in New York City by Marc Ribot with Los Cubanos Postizos and features compositions by Arsenio Rodríguez.

Video link to Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos

Galactic (feat the Rebirth Brass Band) – Ya-Ka-May
Anti – 2010


Galactic have turned back to their roots with a New Orleans themed CD with some help from a cast of local greats: Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas. The Rebirth Brass Band make all the difference!

Video link to Boe Money (Featuring The Rebirth Brass Band) by Galactic – Ya-Ka-May

Blind Willie McTell – Last Sessions
Universal – 1992

A classic of the Blues. Blind Willie McTell is here reminiscing about his life and the blues, some say this is not the man at his best as he was already old but have a listen and decide. One of Bob Dylan’s favourites.

Video link to Blind Willie McTell’s “Last Sessions”

Carles Benavent, Tino Di Geraldo and Jorge Pardo – El Concierto de Sevilla
Nuevos Medios – 2000

The Concierto de Sevilla, was recorded in the Teatro Central de Sevilla in December 1999. It is a masterful fusion of jazz, flamenco and Mediterranean music by three Spanish jazz greats: Carles Benavent, Tino Di Geraldo and Jorge Pardo.

Video link to the Seville Concert

Antonio Serrano & Albert Sanz – Mahalo

World renowned Spanish harmonica genius Antonio Serrano with pianist Albert Sanz with a fantastic collection that includes their version of Gerwshwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Catch them live if you can.

Video link to Antonio Serrano from his previous CD Harmonious

Frank Zappa- Mothers of Invention – Uncle Meat
Bizarre – 1969

Uncle Meat is the fifth studio album by the Mothers of Invention, released as a double album in 1969. Uncle Meat was originally developed as a part of No Commercial Potential, a project which spawned three other albums sharing a conceptual connection: We’re Only in It for the Money, Lumpy Gravy and Cruising with Ruben & the Jets.

Video link to the Mothers of Invention live in London 1968

Ali Khattab – Sin Pais
Nesma Music – 2014

Sin Pais

Ali Khattab (July 4, 1977) is an Egyptian composer and guitarist. In his works, he combines the elements of two musical worlds and traditions: The Arab-Oriental and the Gypsy-Andalusian, flamenco. From the age of seventeen, the time when he first starts performing on stage, everything he does is meant to lead him to two places: the cradle of flamenco, Jerez de la Frontera. From then on, Ali spends a lot of time in Andalucia, meeting and performing with influential flamenco musicians, singers, guitarists, and dancers who introduce him to the true universe of flamenco.

Video link to the Ali Khattab Sextet live at the Cafe Central Madrid – playing “El Derviche”

Allan Holdsworth – The Sixteen Men Of Tain
Allan Holdsworth – 2000

sixteen men

One of the world’s great guitarists and composers. For jazz guitar excellence and Synthaxe/guitar synth mastery none can match Holdsworth in voicings, phrasings, various techniques nor song composition. He is unique in a world of guitar all his own. He has created his own niche. His signature style will echo through many generations. Highest recommendations and deepest of respect for this exceptional artist.

Video link to 0274 by Allan Holdsworth

Esbjorn Svensson Trio – From Gagarin’s Point of View
Superstudio– 1999

Just a reminder of the brilliance of the Esbjorn Svensson Trio. Sorely missed.

Video link to live verion of “Cornette” by EST

Tõnu Naissoo Trio – Els Himma & Avo Joala
Melodiya– 1968


An East European Deep Jazz treasure by Estonian pianist Tõnu Naissoo! Recorded in 1968, forged behind the iron curtain! Heavily influenced and schooled into jazz by his father(famous Estonian composer and multi-instrumentalist Uno Naissoo) Tõnu got the chance to record his own Trio album at the young age of 16. The album was released on the Melodiya imprint two years later as a 10″ inch long player. The original release is now very rare, changing hands for three figure sums. The album showcases tremendous lyrical quality and compositions displaying a wide range of styles, at times free and open, other times rhythmical. A concept album that changes the mood throughout the tracks. Free of boundaries and with a good dose of raw youthful expression. The vinyl reissue is limited 500 copies worldwide and comes in authentic collectors seventies ”paste-on” packaging. Remastered from original reels by Ebony Cuts, extensive liner notes with Tõnu’s own story, never before seen pictures and one previously unreleased track.

Video link to Tõnu Naissoo Trio

John Berberian and Rock East Ensemble – Middle Eastern Rock
Verve– 1969

John Berberian

John Berberian (born 1941) is an American musician known for his virtuosity on the oud. Berberian was born in New York City; his parents were Armenian immigrants. His father was an accomplished oud player, as well as instrument maker, and oud masters of Armenian, Turkish, and Greek heritage frequented his family’s home. He first recorded traditional oud music with violinist Reuben Sarkisian, when a student at Columbia University in the mid-1950s. He subsequently recorded for a variety of labels including MGM, RCA, Roulette, Verve and Mainstream Records. He graduated from Columbia with a B.A. in economics, and received his MBA from Harvard Business School. He expanded beyond the ethnic music market in the mid to late 1960s, decades before “world music” became fashionable, with a series of LPs which explored fusions between traditional Middle Eastern music, psychedelic rock and jazz. These included “Expressions East” (1964), “Music of the Middle East” (1966), and “Middle Eastern Rock” (1969) with guitarist Joe Beck.

Video link to “The Oud and the Fuzz” by John Berberian

Paco de Lucia – Fuente y Caudal
Polygram Iberica– 1973


Fuente y Caudal (Source and Flow) is the ninth studio album by the Spanish composer and guitarist Paco de Lucía. This is certainly one of his best but there so many to choose from. A phenomenal album by one of Spain’s most iconic artists and flamenco masters. A must.

Video link to Paco de Lucia – Fuente y Caudal/Chanela

Jalil Shahnaz – Zaban-E-Tar
Chaharbagh – 2009

Jalil Shahnaz died in Tehran on 17 June 2013, he is sorely missed in is native Iran. He was one of the great maestros of Persian classical music and a legendary master of the tar, a long-necked lute.

Video link to Jalil Shahnaz playing the tar

Brushy One String – Destiny
RiseUp Entertainment, LLC – 2013

Brushy is from Jamaica and has become a huge hit playing his one string guitar. His song “Chicken in the Corn” is on the film soundtrack “Rise Up” and despite the one string, the track is totally infectious. He has a new CD “Destiny”. Check it out!

Video link to Brushy One String – “Chicken in the Corn” from “Rise Up” soundtrack”

Rudresh Mahanthappa – Samdhi
ACT Music – 2011

Samdhi represents a new direction in combing the complex melodic and rhythmic elements of both Carnatic (South Indian) music and the traditions of jazz within an electro-acoustic format consisting of alto saxophone with electronics, electric guitar, electric bass, and drums. In Sanskrit, Samdhi means that which combines or unites”” or “”the interval between day and night.”” In more traiditonal Hindu terms, it refers to the period between the end of one age (or yuga) and the dawn of another. For Rudresh this project represents a new direction in combing the complex melodic and rhythmic elements of both Carnatic (South Indian) music and the traditions of jazz within an electro-acoustic format consisting of alto saxophone with electronics, electric guitar, electric bass, and drums. A direct result, of his research as a Guggenheim fellow, this new work will deeply engage the listener while breaking new ground in the multicultural landscape of modern music.

Youtube link to Rudresh Mahanthappa – “Killer”

Salah Ragab and The Cairo Jazz Band – Egyptian Jazz
Art Yard – 2008

A Major in the Egyptian Army through the 1960s, he first attempted to form a jazz band in 1964, with American saxophonist Mac X. Spears. Together with Hartmut Geerken and Edu Vizvari, he founded one of the first Egyptian jazz big bands. Ragab is perhaps best known outside Egypt for two collaborative concerts he performed with Sun Ra, in 1971 and 1983. He died in July 2008 in Cairo at age 72.

Youtube link to Salah Ragab and The Cairo Jazz Band – Egypt Strut

The Exciters – The Exciters in Stereo
Tamayo Records – 1969 original release

Made famous by the “Panama! Latin, Calypso and Funk on the Isthmus 1965-75” compilation that contained the Exciters’ Theme. A huge hit in Panama in the 60s and 70s. A bit of a collector’s item but well worth the search and the money.

Youtube link to “Exciters Theme”

Hossein Alizadeh – NeyNava / Song of Compassion
Kereshmeh Records – 1995

NeyNava is a landmark piece of Persian music, in that it successfully blends the precision of a western orchestral piece with the haunting effects of esoteric Persian melodies. Songs of Compassion was as a requiem for the victims of the devastating earthquake in the northern region of Iran in 1990.

Youtube link to “NeyNava”

Spencer Davis Group – Eight Gigs a Week

1996 retrospective featuring 51 classics on two CDs subtitled the ‘The Steve Winwood Years’, it showcases their best tracks with him from 1964-1966, including previously unreleasedlive versions of ‘Kansas City’ & ‘Oh! Pretty Woman’. True hit of nostalgia and great music.

Youtube link “I’m a Man” Live

John Zorn – Jazz in Marciac 2010
Mezzo – 2010

No CD available only donloads. John Zorn, the American avant-garde composer, arranger, record producer, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist in a live performance that was filmed August 11, 2010, capturing John at his best with some of the top musicians in the field. John Zorn. Direction, Saxophone, Marc Ribot – Guitar, Jamie Saft – Piano, Organ, Trevor Dunn – Bass, Kenny Wollesen – Vibraphone, Joey Baron – Drums and Cyro Baptista – Percussion

Youtube link to the concert

Big Mama Thornton and the Muddy Waters Blues Band
Arhoolie – 1966

With the Muddy Waters Blues Band 1966 album by Big Mama Thornton was released Aug 03, 2004 on the Arhoolie label. In the mid-60s, Big Mama Thornton was a relatively obscure blues singer known mainly for her original recording of “Hound Dog” in 1953, three years before Elvis had a monster hit with it. With the Muddy Waters Blues Band 1966 songs Due to a lack of gigs, Thornton had a tough time keeping a steady band on the road and would scramble to gather consistently decent musicians. With the Muddy Waters Blues Band 1966 album Fortunately, Arhoolie Records’ founder and president Chris Strachwitz had witnessed an amazing performance of the era which had Thornton backed by a group of Chicago musicians who included Buddy Guy on guitar. With the Muddy Waters Blues Band 1966 CD music With that performance in mind, Strachwitz was determined to capture that excellence in the studio. He offered the gig to Muddy Waters, whom he met in San Francisco a few days prior to this session. Muddy accepted and brought with him James Cotton (harmonica), Otis Spann (piano), Sammy Lawhorn (guitar), Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson (bass), and Francis Clay (drums).

Youtube link to Big Mama Thornton and the Muddy Waters Blues Band

3 Mustaphas 3– Heart of Uncle
Ace Records – 1989

3 Mustaphas 3 is a British World music band formed in 1982. Core members are Ben Mandelson (under the name Hijaz Mustapha), Tim Fienburgh (1954–2008) (under the name Niaveti III) Colin Bass (under the name Sabah Habas Mustapha), and Nigel Watson (under the name Houzam Mustapha), around which orbit many other Mustaphas – all supposed to be the nephews of Uncle Patrel Mustapha. They claim to originate from the Balkans, but play music from almost every continent; their slogan, “Forward in all directions!”, is an expression of this musical diversity. Active at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, they have now stopped producing and performing together, but haven’t officially disbanded.

Youtube link to 3 Mustaphas 3

Soho Sessions– Peter Green Splinter Group
Snapper Music – 1999

Soho Session is a live album by the British blues band the Peter Green Splinter Group, led by the mythical Peter Green. A great concert with Nigel Watson playing some Robert Johnson favourites and Peter Green’s hits. Released in 1999, this was their third album. Green was the founder of Fleetwood Mac and a member of that group from 1967–70, before a sporadic solo career during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He is one of the greatest bluesmen of all time.

Youtube link to Peter Green Live at Ronnie Scott’s

Esbjörn Svensson Trio– 301
Act Music & Vision – 2012

Culled from nine hours of music recorded just before the accidental death of pianist Esbjorn Svensson at 44 years old in 2008, (301 is named after the recording studio) is probably the final statement this trio will get to make, a reality made all the more poignant by being such an engrossing listen.
Youtube link to a classsic from EST “Cornette”

Gavino Murgia – Megalitico 5tet
Megasound – 2010

Gavino Murgia is a Sardinian saxophonist and singer, fascinated by the sounds and sonority of Sardinian music, and in particular the use of the voice with a saxophone and other typical Sardinian instruments of his island, but in a modern musical context. He has a phenomenal voice that reminds many of Tibetan throat singers.
YouTube link to Gavino Murgia “Old Memory”
YouTube link to Gavino Murgia – “Arketipo”

John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett– Otway and Barrett and Deep and Meaningless
Active Distribution Ltd – 2010

Two legendary albums by John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett. I think you had to be there but watch the video and you will get the picture.
YouTube link to “Really Free” Live

Son House – Death Letter
Edsel – 1994

“Death Letter”, also known as “Death Letter Blues”, is the signature song of the Delta blues musician Son House. It is structured upon House’s earlier recording “My Black Mama, Part 2” from 1930. House’s 1965 performance was on a metal-bodied National resonator guitar using a copper slide. One commentator noted that it is “one of the most anguished and emotionally stunning laments in the Delta blues oeuvre.” This was a comeback album for Son House who had not sung for literally decades. But the power is still there.
YouTube link to “Death Letter” by Son House

Franco – Originalité
Retroafric – 1956

The grandfather of Congolese music. François Luambo Makiadi Lokanga La Djo Péné (6 July 1938 -12 October 1989) better known as Franco Luambo or simply Franco was a national figure in 20th century Congolese popular music. Franco founded and led the Orchestre T.P.O.K. Jazz from 1956 until his death in 1989. Originators of the modern Congolese sound, Franco revolutionized modern African music, releasing hundreds of records, training hundreds of musicians and achieving an African super-star status. Known for his mastery of Rumba, he was nicknamed the “Sorcerer of the Guitar” for his seemingly effortlessly fluid playing.
YouTube link to “Mario” by Franco

Rabih Abou-Khalil and Ricardo Ribeiro – Em Portugues
Enja – 2008

The Lebanese master of the oud teams up with majesterial Portuguese fado singer and the result is a delight. Fans of Abou-Khalil were amazed with this new creative turn but it was a huge success. Em Portugues is not fado but more Mediterranean blues with a spirit of its own and a light step. Ribeiro’s voice is powerful and carries you away. The orchestration is excellent with a sharp band: Michel Godard on bass and tuba, Jarrod Cagwin on drums, and Luciano Biondini on accordion. Buy it!
YouTube link to “Como um rio” – Rabih Abou-Khalil & Ricardo Ribeiro

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Elektra – 1965

A classic blues album that put saw the talents of Paul Butterfield merge with those of Mike Bloomfield. White boys were playing hard driving Chicago blues and the result was amazing. The band’s “Got my Mojo Workin'” and “Born in Chicago” are irresistible versions.
YouTube link to The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – British Tour 1976
Major League Productions– 2004

Harvey was born in 1935 in the Kinning Park district of Glasgow, Scotland, a working-class neighborhood, where he spent his childhood and youth. By his own account, he worked in a number of jobs, from carpentry to waiting tables at a restaurant to carving tombstones, before finding success in music. He first began performing in skiffle groups in 1954. In 1972, Alex Harvey formed The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (often shortened to SAHB) with guitarist Zal Cleminson, bassist Chris Glen, and cousins Hugh and Ted McKenna on keyboards and drums respectively, all previous members of progressive rock act “Tear Gas”. SAHB produced a succession of highly regarded albums and tours throughout the 1970s. Their biggest hit was with their version of Tom Jones’s “Delilah”.
YouTube link to the Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Riad Abdel-Gawad – El Tarab El Aseel
Incognito– 2006

Riad Abdel-Gawad is an Egyptian composer and violinist. Misr: Um al-Donya—Egypt: Mother of the World is Riad Abdel-Gawad’s latest full-length album. It relies both on the talents of his quintessential Middle Eastern ensemble, and his Western classical influences ranging from Joseph Haydn to John Coltrane. All of the principle classical instruments from the Arabic Middle East are represented: the kamanga (Riad’s violin is tuned several tones lower than its Western counterpart), nay (bamboo flute), qānūn (plucked dulcimer), riqq (tambourine), and the oud (lute). The percussive rhythm of bongos, duff (frame drum), and contrabass on this release, adds another musical dimension.
YouTube link to Riad Abdel-Gawad

Clifton Chenier – Louisiana Blues and Zydeco
Arhoolie – 1965

Clifton Chenier was the undisputed King of Zydeco, and the man who literally invented the genre. He took Louisiana’s rural Creole music from the house dances to concert halls around the world. He was not only the King, but the father of zydeco. This CD features his first recordings for Arhoolie, recorded at historic Gold Star Studios in Houston, Texas. In 1965, Arhoolie Records producer Chris Strachwitz went to Houston to make a Lightnin’ Hopkins record. Hopkins tipped Strachwitz off to a great blues accordion player, his cousin by marriage, Mr. Clifton Chenier. Chenier was playing a new kind of music, which blended old-fashioned French Creole and Cajun music with electric blues and R&B: zydeco! Strachwitz recorded him, released this record, and the rest is history.
YouTube link to Clifton Chenier

The Neville Brothers – Yellow Moon
A&M – 1989

The Neville Brothers, was formed back in 1977 in New Orleans, Louisiana. It all started when the four brothers of the Neville family, Art (born 1937), Charles (b. 1938), Aaron (b. 1941), and Cyril (b. 1948) got together to take part in the recording session of The Wild Tchoupitoulas, a Mardi Gras Indian group led by their uncle Big Chief Jolly. “Yellow Moon” is their best CD with some Dylan and Sam Cooke covers and an appearance by Brian Eno of all people. They are a classic New Orleans sound.

YouTube link to the Neville Brothers “Yellow Moon”

Charlie Mingus – Oh Yeah
Atlantic – 1962

This is a Mingus classic. “Hog Callin’ Blues” is worth the price on its own. There is nothing to be said about the man that hasn’t been said before but if you haven’t heard this one, get hold of it straight away.

YouTube link to Charlie Mingus “Hog Callin’ Blues”

Wild Child Butler – Lickin’ Gravy
MC Records – 1976

George “Wild Child” Butler (1936 – 2005) was born in Hernando, Mississippi or Autuagaville, Alabama United States (depending) ,and started playing in the 1950s. When he moved to Chicago he started playing with Willie Dixon, Cash McCall and Jimmy Dawkins as sidemen. He later moved to Canada and issued about 7 records during the course of his career.
YouTube link to Wild Child Butler

Besh o Drom – Best o Drom
Narrator – 2011

Besh o Drom is breathless gypsy punk with musical touches from Egypt, Transylvannia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece. They have tremendous energy and seeing them live is an absolute must, but in the meantime try thir “Best of” Besh o Drom.

YouTube link to Space Maudi by Besh o droM

Csik Zenekar – Lelekkepek
Fono – 2011

The Hungarian Csík Band, has been playing for twenty years. They play not only the village music of today’s Hungary, but also that of Palócföld, the Southern part of historical Upper Hungary (a part of Slovakia today) and of the various beautiful regions and settlements of Transylvania. They mix folk music with touches of rock. Band members are: Péter Makó – clarinet, soprano sax, tenor sax, etc., Marianna Majorosi – singer, Zsolt Barcza – cimbalom / accordeon, József Bartók – double bass, János Csík – violin, Attila Szabó – violin, Tamás Kunos – viola. Truly original.

YouTube link to Csik Zenekar

Balogh Kálmán – Aven Shavale
Folk Europa – 2007

Kálmán Balogh is one of the foremost Hungarian cimbalom players, descending from a famous dynasty of Hungarian Gypsy musicians. Alongside Kálmán Balogh are the Gipsy Cimbalom Band which offers the earthy, fresh sounds of Hungarian gypsy music. With Sándor Budai and László Major, two fine mature gypsy violinist, playing rhapsodic, melancholic and merry Balkan, Moldavian and Macedonian melodies, a wonderful rich bass, guitar and trumpet. A real find.

YouTube link to Balogh Kálmán és a Gypsy Cimbalom Band – Aven shavale

The Quintet – Jazz at Massey Hall
Debut – 1953

Jazz at Massey Hall is a live jazz album featuring a performance by “The Quintet” given on 15 May 1953 at Massey Hall in Toronto. The quintet was composed of several leading ‘modern’ players of the day: Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach. It was the only time that the five men recorded together as a unit, and it was the last recorded meeting of Parker and Gillespie. Billed quite simply as the “greatest jazz concert ever”.

YouTube link to The Quintet – Jazz at Massey Hall

Max Roach – We Insist!
Candid – 1990

We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite is a 1960 recording containing a suite which Max Roach and lyricist Oscar Brown had begun to develop in 1959 with a view to its performance in 1963 on the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. The suite deals with black history (particularly slavery) and racism. Driva’ Man is a powerful anti-slavery song. Former night-club singer Abbey Lincoln’s voice is haunting. On Triptych: Prayer / Protest / Peace, Lincoln is heard in duets with the drummer and her wrenching screams of rage are unforgettable. The cover harks back to the sit-in movement of the Civil Rights Movement with a picture of blacks in a “whites only” establishment. The Penguin Guide to Jazz has awarded the album one of its rare crown accolades, in addition to featuring it as part of its Core Collection. It has been said that the US record industry blackballed Roach for a few years after this album but this is unconfirmed.

YouTube link to Max Roach’s Triptych: Prayer/Protest/Peace

David Maxwell – Maximum Blues Piano
Tone Cool – 1997

Pianist David Maxwell has been a part of the Boston blues scene as a sideman since the late 1960s, but has only in the ’90s begun leading his own band and recording under his own name. Maxwell’s debut record for Tone-Cool, Maximum Blues Piano, is a collection of instrumental tunes that showcase many of the Boston scene’s veteran players: Ronnie Earl and Duke Levine on guitars, Kaz Kazanoff and Gordon Beadle on saxophones, drummer Marty Richards and bassist Marty Ballou. Echoes of all of his influences can be heard throughout the tracks, including Pete Johnson on “Down at A.J.’s Place,” and Otis Spann on “Deep Into It.”

YouTube link to David Maxwell

Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté – In the Heart of the Moon
World Circuit – 2005

This is a unique album of duets by Ali Farka Touré (Guitar) and Toumani Diabaté (Kora). Two of Africa’s greatest musicians. It was recorded using a mobile studio in the Hotel Mandé on the banks of the Niger River in Bamako, Mali.
YouTube link to Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate – Kala!

Peter Green – Hot Foot Powder
Snapper Music – 2000

Hot foot powder is used in African American hoodoo folk magic to drive unwanted people away. In the 1930s song “Hell-Hound on My Trail,” the famous blues musician Robert Johnson said, “You sprinkled hot foot powder […] all around your daddy’s door / it keep me with ramblin’ mind, rider, every old place I go.” In 2000, Peter Green released “Hot Foot Powder,” containing 13 covers of songs by Robert Johnson. He plays with the Nigel Watson Splinter Group and guest stars, Buddy Guy, Honeyboy Edwards, Dr John, Otis Rush, Joe Louis Walker and Hubert Sumlin. This is Peter Green at his best.

YouTube link to Peter Green playing Steady Rollin’ Man

Hadouk Trio – En Concert au Satellit Cafe
Naive– 2003

The Hadouk Trio featuring Didier Malherbe, Loy Ehrlich and Steve Shehan, live at the Satellit Cafe in Paris back in 2003. This is actually a DVD of the entire concert, absolutely fantastic.
YouTube link to Alma Celesta by Hadouk Trio

JB Mpiana – Feux de L’amour
Wenge Musica– 1997

JB Mpiana, whose real name is Jean-Bedel Mpiana wa Tshituka, is the son of Mpiana and Agnes Lusambo, he was born on le 2 June1967 in Kananga (previously Luluabourg), and he has been a leading light of the fourth generation of Congolese musiicians since 1997 when he came out with “Feux de l’amour” that was a great upbeat CD that sold 150,000 copies. One track in particular, “Ndombolo”, was a huge success.

YouTube link to Ndombolo by JB Mpiana

Camaron con Tomatito – Paris 1987
Universal– 1999

Camaron de la Isla, the world’s greatest flamenco singer with Tomatito the greatest flamenco guitarist, together on stage at the Cirque d’hiver in Paris in 1987. It was a legendary concert. This is pure soul and electrifying.

YouTube link to Camaron de la Isla and Paco de Lucia

Toots and the Maytals – Live
Island – 1980

Recorded live at Hammersmith Palais in 1980. Quite simply Toots and the Maytals at the top of their form. This is a must. Toots & the Maytals: Toots Hibbert (vocals); Hux Brown, Carl Harvey (guitar); Harold Butler, Winston Wright (keyboards); Jackie Jackson (bass guitar); Paul Douglas (drums); Raleigh Gordon, Jerry Matthias (background vocals).

YouTube link to Toots and the Maytals in 1962

Erskine Hawkins – Jukebox Hits 1940-1950
Acrobat – 2003

Erskine Ramsay Hawkins (July 26, 1914 – November 11, 1993) was an American trumpet player and big band leader from Birmingham, Alabama, dubbed “The 20th Century Gabriel”. He is most remembered for composing the jazz standard “Tuxedo Junction” (1939) with saxophonist and arranger Bill Johnson. The song became a popular hit during World War II, rising to #7 nationally (version by the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra) and to #1 nationally (version by the Glenn Miller Orchestra). Vocalists who were featured with Erskine’s orchestra include Ida James, Delores Brown and Della Reese. Hawkins was named after Alabama industrialist Erskine Ramsay.

YouTube link to Erskine Hawkins

Compilation – The Guitar and Gun
Earthworks – 2003

Classic Highlife music from Ghana recorded 1981-1984 during the country’s revolutionary period. The Guitar And Gun was recorded at a time of severe economic austerity that had adversely affected the existence of most recording studios and music clubs, and the purchase of musical instruments. Nevertheless Bokoor Studio kept the show rolling. From the stunning harmonies and rolling percussion of Salaam And His Cultural Imani Group to the skittering guitar wizardry of F. Kenya’s Guitar Band you can hear the influences of traditional music, gospel and Western sounds. This timeless music sounds as good today as it did when originally released.

YouTube link to F. Kenya’s Guitar Band – Oh Papa

Karl Hector and the Malcouns – Sahara Swing
Stones Throw – 2008

Now-Again Records follows up The Heliocentrics’ percussive excursions into the astral realms of psychedelia with an album of Afro-tingled funk music originating from Southern Sahara and recorded in Germany. Karl Hector has, to date, only appeared on one 7-inch, from 1996, as the leader of the Funk Pilots. For this album, he has teamed up with Jay Whitefield (producer and guitarist for the Poets Of Rhythm and the Whitefield Brothers, and founder of the now defunct Hotpie & Candy Records) and Thomas Myland and Zdenko Curlinja, founders of the Malcouns. Alongside Bo Baral, other members of the Poets of Rhythm and crack Munich-based session musicians, Whitefield, Myland and Curlija have crafted nearly twenty tracks that follow the musical roads that Hector has travelled. The underlying groove that ties these ideas together, of course, is as rooted is James Brown as it is Fela Kuti. As informed by Mulatu Astatke of Ethiopia as it is by Jean-Claude Vannier and Can. This is an album of the world. Not “world music”- but that will appeal to any culture ever transfixed by rhythm on “the one.”

YouTube link to Sahara Swing

Terry Allen – Human Remains
Sugarhill – 1996

Gifted poet, artist, musician and outlaw lyricist, Terry Allen now dedicates his time and genius to painting and installation – he has left us with ten stunning albums recorded in quick succession between 1975 and 1999. With ‘Human Remains’ his collaborators are David Byrne, Joe Ely, Charlie and Will Sexton and some wonderful early Lucinda Williams vocals.

Twisted takes on Texas, border town life from Mexico to New Mexico and society in general did not make Terry a Nashville favourite yet his perfectly pitched take on the choices we make and the corresponding fallout make his albums a joy. ‘Peggy Legg’ is one of the more fabulous of his tracks lyrically as well as musically and ‘Gone to Texas’ …just needing a ride paints the desolate American landscape with a simple phrase. Humour is prevalent in every aspect of Terry’s art and having a listen to this terrific album will push you to reconsider the way you look at pretty much anything and have a good chuckle. Terry is an American treasure and his accessibility makes for a humbling and riotous dose of the good stuff – catch him when you can, he is still out on the road storytelling, exhibiting his art, singing and in conversation.

YouTube link to Terry Allen

T Model Ford – Pee Wee Get my Gun
Fat Possum – 1997

James Lewis Carter Ford (born c. 1920, Forest, Mississippi) is an American blues musician, using the stage name T-Model Ford. Unable to remember his exact date of birth, he began his musical career in his early seventies and has continuously recorded for the Fat Possum Records label.

His musical style melds traditional Chicago blues and juke joint blues styles with the rawness of Delta blues and a rebellious attitude. Alternately known as “The Taildragger”, Ford, in reference to his age, has been known to tell studio musicians, “T-Model Ford is going to remember you sorry fuckers how it’s done.”
T-Model Ford didn’t learn to play guitar until he was 58, and even then the Mississippi lumber-truck driver didn’t play the way most people do. In his thick, throbbing amplifier buzz, he lengthens and shortens measures at will and allows the beat to fall wherever he feels it at the moment. Over these extremely elastic rhythms, he growls and mumbles bits of other songs and his own violent warnings against unfaithful women and musical rivals. This unusual approach is no doubt the reason Ford didn’t release this debut album, Pee-Wee Get My Gun, until 1997, when he was 76.

YouTube link to “I’m Insane” by T Model Ford

Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics – Inspiration Information
Strut – 2009

Mulatu Astatke (born 1943; surname sometimes spelled Astatqé on French-language releases, and is an Ethiopian musician and arranger best known as the father of Ethio-jazz. Born in the western Ethiopian city of Jimma, Mulatu was musically trained in London, New York City, and Boston where he combined his jazz and latin-music interests with traditional Ethiopian music. Astatke led his band while playing vibraphone and conga drums—instruments that he introduced into Ethiopian popular music—as well as other percussion instruments, keyboards and organ. His albums focus primarily on instrumental music, and Astatke appears on all three known albums of instrumentals that were released during Ethiopia’s Golden ’70s. The third in STRUT’s Inspiration Information studio collaboration series brings together an intriguing pairing between one of Africa’s greatest and most innovative bandleaders, MULATU ASTATKE, with the next level musicianship of THE HELIOCENTRICS collective from the mighty roster of STONES THROW / NOW AGAIN.Known primarily through the successful ‘Ethiopiques’ album series and the film soundtrack to JIM JARMUSCH’s ‘Broken Flowers’, Mulatu Astatke is one of Ethiopia’s foremost musical ambassadors. His selfstyled Ethio-jazz sound flourished during the “Swinging Addis” era of the late ‘60s as he successfully fused Western jazz and funk with traditional Ethiopian folk melodies. The Heliocentrics have become known as one of the UK’s foremost free-thinking collectives of musicians, inspired by a wide palette covering SUN RA, JAMES BROWN, DAVID AXELROD and all manner of psych, Afro and Eastern sounds. The collective have featured on records by MADLIB and DJ SHADOW and are now a fixture within the Stones Throw / Now Again roster, they forged their own genre-breaking directions in the astral analogue groove on their 2007 debut album, ‘Out There’.

YouTube link to Mulatu Astatke

Hound Dog Taylor and the House Rockers
Alligator Records – 1971

Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor was born in Natchez, Mississippi in 1915 (although some sources say 1917). He originally played piano, but began playing guitar when he was 20. He moved to Chicago in 1942. He became a full-time musician around 1957 but remained unknown outside of the Chicago area where he played small clubs in the black neighborhoods and also at the open-air Maxwell Street Market. He was known for his electrified slide guitar playing roughly styled after that of Elmore James, his cheap Japanese Teisco guitars, and his raucous boogie beats. He was also famed among guitar players for having six fingers on his left hand

After hearing Taylor with his band, the HouseRockers (Brewer Phillips on second guitar and Ted Harvey on drums) in 1970 at Florence’s Lounge on Chicago’s South Side, Bruce Iglauer – at the time a shipping clerk for Delmark Records – tried to get him signed by his employer. Having no success getting Delmark to sign Taylor, Iglauer formed a small record label with a $2500 inheritance and recorded Taylor’s debut album, Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers, on his fledgling Alligator Records in 1971. It was the first release on Alligator records, now a major blues label. It was recorded in a studio in just two nights. Iglauer began managing and booking the band, which toured nationwide and performed with Muddy Waters and Big Mama Thornton.[citation needed] The band became particularly popular in the Boston area, where Taylor inspired a young protege named George Thorogood. A live album Live At Joe’s Place documents a Boston appearance from 1972.

Their second release, Natural Boogie, was recorded in late 1973, and led to greater acclaim and touring. In 1975, Taylor and his band toured Australia and New Zealand with Freddie King and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. His third Alligator album, Beware of the Dog, was recorded live in 1974 but was only released after his death. More posthumous releases occurred as well, including Genuine Houserocking Music and Release the Hound, on the Alligator label as well as some bootleg live recordings. Taylor died of lung cancer in 1975.

YouTube link to Hound Dog Taylor

Arnaldo Antunes – Saiba
Sbme Argentina – 2004

Arnaldo Antunes (Portuguese pronunciation: [axˈnawdu ɐ̃ˈtunis], born Arnaldo Augusto Nora Antunes Filho, September 2, 1960), is a writer and composer from Brazil. He began as a member of the band Aguilar e Banda Performática in the late 1970s. For most of the 1980s he was a member of the rock band Titãs. After 1992 he had six solo albums. Since 1992 he has been an award winning poet, but he was first published in 1983. He is noted abroad for collaborations with Marisa Monte. His album Saiba is from 2004.

YouTube link to Arnaldo Antunes

The Wild Tchoupitoulas – The Wild Tchoupitoulas
Mango – 1976

The Wild Tchoupitoulas is a 1976 album by the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian “tribe” The Wild Tchoupitoulas. The album features “call-and-response” style chants typical of Mardi Gras Indians. Vocals were provided by George Landry, as “Big Chief Jolly”, as well as other members of his Mardi Gras tribe. Instrumentation was provided in part by members of the New Orleans band The Meters. The album also notably features Landry’s nephews, the Neville Brothers, providing harmonies and some of the instrumentation. While not a commercial success, the effort was well received critically and the experience recording it encouraged the four Neville brothers to perform together for the first time as a group.

YouTube link to The Wild Tchoupitoulas

Lounge Lizards – Voice of Chunk
Strange and beautiful- 1998

John Lurie rejigged the Lounge Lizards to include trombonist Curtis Fowlkes and guitarist Mark Ribot. This is a combination of smooth jazz and some funk too with the heart beating “Voice of Chunk” track with a great solo by Mark Ribot. Cool and totally original. Usually called Post-Bop, whatever that may be. Hints of Coltrane, Miles Davis mixed with John Lurie’s own special brand of jazz.
YouTube link to Voice of Chunk live

R.L. Burnside – Come on In
Fat Possum – 1998

Blues, electronic, punk and a bit of everythging else too. A truly great CD from the then ageing R.L Burnside. The perfect mic of Delta blues and Chicago blues from a Mississippi blues man in his 702! R. L. Burnside (died in 2005), was a North Mississippi hill country blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist but did not receive much attention until the early 1990s. In the latter half of the 1990s, Burnside repeatedly recorded with Jon Spencer. This is raw and really really good.
YouTube link to R.L. Burnside

Rattlesnake Annie ~ Troubadour
Sony Records 1996

One of the great collaborators to roam the world with her guitar, recording with Bill Monroe, Willie Nelson, Les Paul, Patsy Montana and Lonnie Mack, to name a few ~ Rattlesnake Annie channels heroes. She conjures spirits of Comanche, cowboys, truck drivers, loving partnerships as well as writing songs that pack a political punch ~ Greenpeace adopted her ‘Goodbye to a River’ as an anthem; a lament to the Brazos River of Texas forever altered by the construction of a nuclear power plant in the 70‘s on Comanche Peak, a sacred gathering place for tribes to discuss peace. Signed to Sony Japan since 1990, she grabbed this freedom to record in a variety of languages and styles with artists from all over the globe. Of the countless albums she has released over the years, Troubadour is a good mix of this diversity and lyrical prowess, flavoured by her time in Japan, Mexico and Eastern Europe ~ an unlikely and fluid melding of cultures! ‘Adios Last Cowboy’ is a haunting evocation of the wide open places where honourable cowboys carved paths through the prairie and is a salutation to the endless majesty of a fading American landscape. ‘Comanche Tears’ brings audiences to their feet every time, invariably also in tears. ‘Kunitachi’ beautifully parallels the cherry bloomin’ of Appalachia with a Japanese romance in Spring. Staying with the love of Japan that Rattlesnake Annie celebrates through her music there is the extraordinary ‘Revolution’ sung with Tokiko Kato in her native Japanese. This album is merely a taster and Rattlesnake Annie’s prodigious output is worth exploring. Rattlesnake Annie came out of the grass decades ago and remains firmly in the studio and on the stage to date, possibly at a venue near you ~ grab the chance to hear her and you can always hang back and speak with her, she is mighty approachable and a most excellent troubadour friend.

YouTube link to German TV performance of ‘I Ride Alone’

YouTube link to Goodbye to a River ~ 1983 / Wembley

Erik Truffaz – Ladyland – Face a Face
Blue Note- 2006

French trumpeter Erik Truffaz is from the Miles Davis electric 70s school with a touch of funk. This is a live album. This was recorded in several locations but cut to sound like a single concert. The twenty tracks that make up this double album recall just a few of these unforgettable moments from among the hundreds that exist in the memory of those who were lucky enough to experience them. Call it what you will, jazz, rock, fusion or funk, it has a kick to it. Truffaz is a Swiss-born French jazz trumpeter, infusing elements of hip hop, rock and roll and dance music into his compositions. He signed with the French EMI label in 1996. Truffaz gained international attention with his second album on Blue Note, The Dawn, produced together with Pat Muller, Marcello Giuliani and Mark Erbetta. Since then they have produced many Blue Note albums together such as Bending New Corners, which became a Silver Album in France. The latest Truffaz release Arkhangelsk is a mixture of pop songs, French chanson, and jazz-groove. In 2007 he and Ed Harcourt appeared in a Take-Away Show video session shot by Vincent Moon.

YouTube link to Erik Truffaz

Junior Kimborough – You Better Run
Fat Possum – 2002

This is the greatest hits CD of Junior Kimbrough, the wild North Mississippi bluesman. He was born in Hudsonville, Mississippi, and lived in the North Mississippi Hill Country near Holly Springs. He recorded for the Fat Possum Records label. He was a long-time associate of labelmate R. L. Burnside, and the Burnside and Kimbrough families often collaborated on musical projects. This relationship continues today. Rockabilly musician and friend Charlie Feathers called Kimbrough “the beginning and end of all music.” This is written on Kimbrough’s tombstone outside his family’s church, the Kimbrough Family Church, in Holly Springs.

Beginning around 1992, Kimbrough operated a juke joint known as “Junior’s Place” in Chulahoma, Mississippi, which attracted visitors from around the world, including members of U2, Keith Richards, and Iggy Pop. Kimbrough’s sons, musicians Kinney and David Malone Kimbrough, kept it open following his death, until it burned to the ground on April 6, 2000.

Junior Kimbrough died of a heart attack in 1998 in Holly Springs following a stroke, at the age of 67.
YouTube link to Junior Kimbrough

Hallelujah Chicken Run Band – Take One
Analog Africa – 2007

In 1973, Thomas Mapfumo helped form the Hallelujah Chicken Run Band and, for the first time, began to shift his music away from Western-influenced rock and explore the traditional music of his Shona people, transcribing the scale of the traditional instrument mbira (or thumb piano) to guitar with his guitarist Joshua Dube. The HCR Band was one of the first to develop the staccato style of guitar for which Zimbabwe is known today, and was also one the first modern groups to sing in the traditional Shona language – a major act of liberation and an act of protest against the Rhodesian government. This compilation presents 18 of the Hallelujah Chicken Run Band’s biggest and most influential hits, recorded from 1974-1979 and all painstakingly remastered. Take One is a wonderful mixture of songs of liberation alongside poignant love songs. Carefully prepared 24-page booklet is absolutely overflowing with a complete history of the band (edited by renowned critic Banning Eyre), a full detailed discography, and numerous extremely rare photographs and artifacts.
YouTube link to Hallelujah Chicken Run Band

JB Lenoir – Alabama Blues
Original release 1965 – re-released in 2007 by Snapper

Alabama Blues came out just two years before JB Lenoir’s untimely death in 1967. It was produced by Willie Dixon. It is without doubt his greatest achievement, a true classic. The lyrics are especially powerful, poetic and vitriolic at the same time, and a denunciation of racism in the southern states. Listen to the disturbing “Remove This Rope”. J. B. Lenoir was a truly original blues musician with his distinctive high-pitched voice and showy outfits. “Alabama Blues” was one of the first blues records to openly criticise the treatment of black people in the United States. Even Jimi Hendrix said this album had a profound effect on him. Truly great music.
YouTube link to JB Lenoir

Amadou and Mariam – Sou Ne Tile
Tinder, 1999

The first track, “Je Pense a Toi,” was the big hit of this CD but all the tracks are a huge success. Amadou plays the guitar and is accompanied by violins and an Arabic flute, which make a fantastic combination with the Hammond organ and a snazzy brass section. Mariam’s beautiful voice is an absolute delight. They create a perfect combination of the Malian sound with R&B. Mariam Doumbia and Amadou Bagayoko met when they were children at the Institute for the Young Blind of Mali. They are now married with three children.They are accompanied on this CD by an eclectic collection of guest musicians from Europe, Arabia, India and Colombia. “Baara” and “Dogons” are both tracks of pure genius. A must.
YouTube link to Amadou and Mariam

Mombasa – Aftrican Rythms and Blues
Sonorama, 2006

A beautiful mix of jazz and African rhythms – by the band assembled by trombone player Lou Blackburn. Originally recorded in 1975 in Germany on the German Spiegelei label. It was remastered 2006. This is a classic and sought after afro funk LP. One of the best recordings in the genre: Pulsating african rhythms with funk bass and heavy brass sounds: Essential and ultra hard to find album with tons of true killer afro funk breaks. A sure killer set for collectors and DJs! Titles include “Nairobi”, “Massai”, “Holz”, “Kenia”, “Makishi”, and “Shango”.
YouTube link to Mombasa

Guitar Slim – The things that I used to do
Ace, 1991

Guitar Slim was a New Orleans blues guitarist, from the 1940s and 1950s, best known for his million-selling song, “The Things That I Used to Do”. It is a song that is listed in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. He may have been the world’s greatest performer, Every account of Guitar Slim places him as the greatest showman and most outrageous performer in the history of New Orleans music. That’s saying something. He would dye his hair the same color as his suit and shoes—sometimes using paint to get the shoe color to match. One week it was red, the next blue, or yellow, and so on. Different reports calculate the length of his guitar cord between 200 and 350 feet. He would enter a club through the front door, playing while moving through the crowd, and join his band onstage, frequently on the shoulders of his personal valet. He exited the stage in the same fashion, proceeding to his car and driving away while still playing.
YouTube link to Guitar Slim

Jimmy Little – Messenger
Festival records, 1999

Jimmy Little is a legend in the truest sense of the word. Australia’s first commercial Aboriginal recording artist (in 1959) breaking down the barriers, his career spanning 4 decades as a gifted and graceful balladeer. Jimmy has commanded an astonishing assembly of Australian talent to contribute to his album. And the cream of Australian songwriting talent have OK’d the man to cover their own legendary songs, when no-one else would be allowed the same privilege. Look at that Tracklisting!
YouTube link to Jimmy Little

Nils Petter Molvaer – Streamer
Thirsty Ear, 2006

Trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, one of the founding fathers of the Norwegian nu jazz scene, with Streamer, a live album recorded in Norway and London in 2002. The band includes atmospheric guitarist Eivind Aarset, drummer Rune Arnesen, as well as sidemen DJ Strangefruit, and French electronic programmer Raymond C. Pellicer creating loops and interspersing samples and effects. The tracks “Little Indian” and “Sauna” are a must.
YouTube link to Nils Petter Molvaer Live

Duane Allman – The Duane Allman Anthology
Island/Mercury, 1972

The Duane Allman Antholgy is Part One of two releases. Duane Allman’s career only lasted from 1966 to 1971 and he is best known for his work with the Allman Brothers but his guitar genius took him to many studios as a session musician. Anthology Part One has a fantastic version of “Hey Jude” with Wilson Pickett, “The Weight” with Aretha Franklin and “Games People Play” with King Curtis and above all his tremendous contribution to Derek and the Dominoes’ classic, “Layla.” There are also some tracks from the Allman Brothers. Duane died in 1971 in a motorcycle accident but during his brief career he established himself as one of the greatest guitar players of all time.
YouTube link to Livin’ on the Open Road – Delaney & Bonnie, Duane Allman

Taraf de Haidouks – Band of Gypsies
Crammed Records, 2000

Taraf de Haïdouks are a troupe of Romani-Romanian lăutari from the town of Clejani, the most prominent such group in Romania in the post-Communist Era. Since the release of their first album back in 1991, Taraf de Haïdouks have been considered the epitome of Romany music’s vitality. The group has toured worldwide, released acclaimed albums and a DVD. This a live album that offers the best of their dynamic gypsy sound. Recorded in Bucharest during three special concerts and additional studio recordings in December 2000, “Band Of Gypsies” is their fourth album.
YouTube link to Taraf de Haidouks

Country Joe and the Fish – Electric Music for the Mind and Body
Vanguard, 1967

A classic of acid rock from 1967 – you might even say it created the genre. Country Joe McDonald, better known for his appearance at Woodstock, which he said ruined him, is a far more versatile musician than many imagine and here is the evidence. Barry Melton plays the guitar as if it were a whole new instrument. This album is worth it just for the acid sound he creates. Band members are: Joe McDonald, Barry Melton, David Cohen, Bruce Barthol and Chicken Hirsh.
YouTube link to Country Joe and The Fish – Superbird

Stephen Stills – Stephen Stills
Atlantic 1970

The album features an array of well-known guest musicians, including David Crosby and Graham Nash, who contributed vocals. Ringo Starr drums on two tracks under the pseudonym “Richie,” which he also used for his contribution to the London Sessions album by American bluesman Howlin’ Wolf, recorded in England the same year. Stills’ album is also the only album in rock and roll history to which both Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix supplied guitar work. Hendrix would be dead before the album was released—Stills dedicated the album to “James Marshall Hendrix.” Cherokee and Black Queen are two unusual songs worth looking out for. His hit “Love the One You’re With” is on this too. The album credits read like a list of Rock and Roll VIPs such as Booker T Jones, Rita Coolidge, Graham Nash, David Crosby and Cass Elliott.
YouTube link to Stephen Stills and Cherokee

The Blues Never Die! (1964) — Otis Spann
Prestige/Bluesville, 1969

Otis Spann is widely considered to be the greatest of the Chicago blues pianists. Although he recorded periodically as a solo artist beginning in the mid 1950s, Spann was a full-time member of Waters’ band from 1952 to 1968 before leaving to form his own band. He had a beautiful boogie-woogie sound witha soulful style. Spann’s contributions as part of Muddy Waters’ band are inestimable. This CD is considered his best solo work along with “The Bottom of the Blues” where he is accompanied by his wife.
YouTube link to Otis Spann

Radio Tarifa – Fiebre!
Nonesuch (2004)

Radio Tarifa was created at the end of the 80s by three musicians: Fain S. Dueñas, percussions, strings and arrangements, Benjamin Escoriza, singer and lyric writer, from Granada, and Vincent Molino, in the wind section. Their work was an eclectic work with Arab, Oriental, German Medieval, old Andalucian, Sefardic and Sanabrian music. Radio Tarifa celebrated the tenth anniversary of their first ground-breaking disk in 2003 with the release of Fiebre! (Fever), their first ever live album. With it they not only capture the exhilarating ‘fevered’ atmosphere of their live gigs, but also show just how far they have evolved during their first decade together.
YouTube link to Radio Tarifa

Fela Kuti – Fela With Ginger Baker Live!
FAK/MCA (1971)

Fela With Ginger Baker Live! was recorded in 1971 with Fela Kuti’s group the Africa 70. This is Fela Kuti with a touch of jazz. On this live recording, the newly formed Africa ’70 is joined by former-Cream drummer and fan, Ginger Baker. Baker, who fits right in to Fela’s sound. But despite Ginger Baker’s presence on the CD and on the cover this is a Fela Kuti album – but with a twist and that twist may well have been the influence of Ginger Baker. The album is a delight with an added axtra in the the final track, recorded later in 1978 at the Berlin Jazz Festival: a drummers’ duet lasting 16 minutes with Fela’s drummer Tony Allen and Ginger Baker.
YouTube link to Fela Kuti and Ginger Baker

Larry “Wild Man” Fischer – An Evening With Wild Man Fischer
Bizarre, 1968

Described by Allmusic as a “certified paranoid schizophrenic and acid casualty”, Fischer’s highly unusual style has developed a cult following. Discovered and nurtured by Frank Zappa, who was responsible for this, Wild Man’s only album, Fischer managed to ruin their relationship by throwing a jar at Zappa’s daughter Moon Unit. The ensuing estrangement from the Zappa family has meant that the 36 tracks of “something not exactly musical” have not been released on CD by Zappa’s widow Gail. Original vinyl copies have been sold for high amounts on the Internet.
YouTube link to Wild Man Fischer performing Merry-Go-Round

Goran Bregović – Underground
Mercury Records, 1995

Original score to the 1995 Golden Palm (Cannes Film Festival) award-winning film by Emir Kusturica – a surreal take on 20th century Yugoslavia. One of the mast popular and well-known exponents of the Balkan Sound, Bregović has composed for such varied artists as Iggy Pop and Cesária Évora. He has also composed music for dozens of films including Kusturica’s Time of the Gypsies and Arizona Dream as well as for La Reine Margot, Train de Vie and Borat. “Mesecina” and “Kalasnjikov”, from Underground became instant classic tavern and brass-band hits.
YouTube link to Kalashnjikov live

The Last Poets – The Last Poets
Varese Sarabande, 1970

Formed in 1968 in East Harlem, The Last Poets were heavily involved in the civil rights movement and black nationalism. Their music has been cited as a forerunner of hip-hop. Responsible for the soundtrack of “Right On”(1971) a music documentary in which two of the founding members Felipe Luciano and Gylan Kain star as themselves, the original members of The Last Poets can also be heard in the film Performance (1970) with the track “Wake Up Nigger”. However the band’s make-up was in continual flux, with Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, Umar Bin Hassan, Abiodun Oyewole, and percussionist Nilaja Obabi, generally considered the primary and core members. They are the musicians on this, The Poets’ debut album.
YouTube link to The Last Poets: When The Revolution Comes

The Rolling Stones – Live at Leeds University
Bootleg, 1971

Unquestionably the greatest bootleg of all time. The Stones playing at Leeds in 1971 with Mick Taylor also has the best – and longest – version ever of Midnight Rambler. It is worth it just for that. Enough said.
YouTube link to Midnight Rambler

Various Artists – Savoy Sound Wave Goodbye
Go ! Records, 1981

Live recordings from the San Franciscan nightclub The Savoy in 1981, capturing the best of the avant-garde SF music scene at that time. The album features among others Snakefinger, Tuxedomoon, Sleepers, Ultrasheen and The Mutants.

Selim Sesler – Anatolian Wedding
Doublemoon, 2007

A collection of “turkus” (Turkish folk songs) traditionally played in the run up to a wedding, this 13-track album by virtuoso clarinet player Selim Sesler makes a musical tour of his homeland with songs from the northwestern city Edirne, southeastern Urfa, northeastern Trabzon, and western Izmir. Born in 1957, Sesler was already playing clarinet regularly at local fairs and weddings at the age of 14, prior to moving to Istanbul in the 80s with a band of Roma musician friends. There he built on his experience playing in restaurants with fasil groups as well as continuing to play at Roma and non-Roma weddings. He features in Fatih Akin’s films “Against the Wall” and “Crossing the Bridge”.
YouTube Link to Selim Sesler in Crossing the Bridge

Prince Buster – FABulous Greatest Hits
Sequel, 2002

Recognized as one of the most important figures in the history of ska music, Cecil Bustamente Campbell, aka Prince Buster was born in Kingston Jamaica in 1938. His 1967 hit single “Al Capone” was the first Jamaican recorded song to make it into the UK Top 20. During the 60s he wrote, recorded and produced hundreds of records for the Blue Beat label. However he didn’t limit himself just to the creative side of the music business, opening a record shop in Kingston in the 60s (which is still owned and operated by his family) and setting up a jukebox company, as well as founding his own label, Prince Buster Records. This album contains classics like Judge Dread, Madness, The Ten Commandments and Take it Easy as well as his signature tune Al Capone. Irresistible.
YouTube link to Prince Buster & The Delroy Williams Junction Band live in Cardiff 2008

Electric Gyspyland
Crammed Discs, 2003

Electronic music producers from the UK, Brazil, France, Turkey, the US, Yugoslavia, Chile, Germany and Belgium have remixed tracks by leading Balkan Gypsy bands from the Crammed Discs stable: Taraf De Haïdouks, Koçani Orkestar and newcomers Mahala Rai Banda. The result is simply electrifying.
YouTube link to Shantel vs Mahala Rai Banda track ‘Iest Sexy’

Dr John – Dr John’s Gumbo
Atco Records, 1972

A tribute to the music of his home town, this album from the gravelly-voiced pianist features covers of New Orleans classics like “Iko Iko”, “Little Liza Jane”, “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Blow Wind Blow”. Here Dr. John’s distinctive brand of “voodoo” blues is backed by other New Orleans names including Shirley Goodman vocals, Ronnie Barron on organ and Harold Battiste on clarinet and sax. In 2003 Gumbo was ranked among the top 500 albums of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.
YouTube link to Dr John playing Iko Iko

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou Dahomey – The Vodoun Effect
Analog Africa, 2008

In the 70s, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo was a household name in Benin. The group recorded dozens of songs and toured all over Africa. Now thanks to the efforts of producer Samy Ben Redjeb, who sifted through 500 records from the band’s prolific output, the work of this astonishing group of musicians has been salvaged from the dust of ages, scorpions and the ignorance of the West. Benin is the birthplace of Vodoun (or voodoo) whose rituals are always backed by complex poly-rhythmic music. Two Vodoun rhythms dominate the sound of the Orchestre: Sato – music used in rituals in memory of the dead and Sakpata, dedicated to a divinity which protects against smallpox! This album offers a seemless mix of funk, salsa and Vodoun recorded between 1972-75.
YouTube link to Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou “Se Tche We Djo Mon”

Alfio Antico – Supra Mari
Alfamusic, 2003

Alfio Antico is a virtuoso Tamburo player (an ancient tambourine-like instrument ) Until the age of 18 he was a shepherd in his native Sicily but when he started to play on stage he became an iconic folk figure and a hero of the counter-culture in Italy. His mesmerising live performances are a mixture of music, poetry, story-telling and theatre that the studio cannot quite capture but it is really worth listening to all the same.
YouTube link to Alfio Antico live

Panama: Latin, Calypso and Funk on the Isthmus 1965-75
Sound Way, 2006

A fantastic anthology of Panamanian classics from the late 60s and early 70s. Of special note is the band “The Exciters”. These were previously obscure recordings from the golden age of Panamanian music. This is a great compilation of Latin music that was so popular that it has developed into Parts 2 and Parts 3. This is the first CD with the best quality tracks. You can’t live without it!
YouTube link to Panama: Latin, Calypso and Funk on the Isthmus 1965-75

The Pink Fairies – Live at the Round House
Virgin Records, 1982

The Pink Fairies were an English rock band active in the London (Ladbroke Grove) underground and psychedelic scene of the early 1970s. They promoted free music, drug taking and anarchy and often performed impromptu gigs and other agitprop stunts, such as playing for free outside the gates at the Bath and Isle of Wight pop festivals in 1970, as well as appearing at Phun City, the second Glastonbury and many other free festivals including Windsor and Trentishoe.
Live at the Roundhouse 1975 is a 1982 album of a 1975 concert by the UK underground group Pink Fairies.
A one-off reunion concert featuring all five previous members of the group was organised by Ted Carroll, head of Chiswick Records. At the time of this gig, Rudolph was also playing bass for Hawkwind whilst Wallis was playing guitar for Motörhead. The tapes were licensed from Douglas Smith for release in 1982, although only part of the concert was issued, the rest being deemed unsuitable for public consumption.
YouTube link to The Pink Fairies Live at the Roundhouse

Prince Nico Mbarga and Rocafil Jazz.
RAS, 1981

Prince Nico Mbarga (1 January 1950 – 24 June 1997) was a highlife musician, born to a Nigerian mother and a Cameroonian father in Abakaliki, Nigeria. He is renowned for his hit song “Sweet Mother”, recorded with his band Rocafil Jazz.
His music was inspired by the five years he spent in Cameroon during the Nigerian Civil War in the late 1960s. He played the xylophone, conga, drums, and electric guitar in school bands and he made his professional debut as a member of a hotel band, the Melody Orchestra, in 1970. Although he only recorded one significant hit, “Sweet Mother,” in 1976, which sold more than 13 million copies (and which is recognised as one of Africa’s greatest songs), Mbarga played an important role in the evolution of African popular music. He temporarily relocating to England in 1982 and became known for his flamboyant, 1970s glam rock-inspired performances. While he continued to appear with Rocafil Jazz, Mbarga also performed with London-based highlife band the Ivory Coasters and Cameroonian vocalist Louisiana Tilda. Prince Nico Mbarga was killed in a motorcycle accident on June 24, 1997, leaving behind “Sweet Mother” as the most popular song amongst Nigerians.
YouTube link to Prince Nico’s famous hit single “Sweet Mother”

Gong – Expresso II
Virgin Records, 1978

This is the second album from Pierre Moerlen’s Gong which is an offshoot of Daevid Allen’s original Gong. This album is predominantly jazz-fusion featuring Mick Taylor of Rolling Stones fame, Allan Holdsworth and Darryl Way. Pierre Moerlen’s version of Gong is nothing like the psychedelic space rock of Daevid Allen’s original, even though the bands share a common history.
YouTube link to Gong Expresso II

Dizzy Gillespie and Machito – Afro-Cuban Jazz Moods.
Original Jazz Classics, 1975

While Ry Cooder’s production of the Buena Vista Social Club album helped bring Cuban music to world attention in the 1990s, a hugely influential period of collaboration between American and Cuban musicians began in the 1940s. The musicians on this 1975 reunion album were among the leading founders of the Afro-Cuban music movement. Gillespie plays inspired trumpet over Machito’s orchestra to O’Farrill’s compositions and arrangements. While the album reflects some of their great work of the past, the fresh approach of the musicians and the arrangements, and the inclusion of instruments such as synthesisers and electric bass, also looks to the future, and the nu-jazz sound of the late 1990s. “Afro-Cuban Jazz Moods” is only 32 minutes long, but as well as the quality of the performances, its significance also lies in its place in jazz history.
YouTube link to Dizzy Gillespie and Machito

Mike Henderson and the Bluebloods – First Blood.
Dead Reckoning, 1996

Nashville musician Mike Henderson describes his style of guitar playing as “half Bill Monroe and half Muddy Waters.” This overlooked album features a stand-out backing band, and covers of superb songs. “First Blood” is gutsy, bar-room style, electric blues with more than a hint of a social conscience, with the inclusion of tracks such as “When The Welfare Turns Its Back On You”. “Pay Bo Diddley” questions why Bo Diddley never received his dues from the record industry for the huge number of hits he generated. Reece Wynans’ piano solo on Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘So Sad To be Lonesome’ helps make this track one of the album’s highlights.
YouTube link to Mike Henderson and the Bluebloods

Gil Scott-Heron – Spirits.
TVT Records, 1994

Songwriter, poet, singer and activist, Gil Scott-Heron has been called the “grandfather of rap”. His early 1970s recordings mixed poetry and politics, jazz and rhythm and blues, his lyrics a blend of anger at the conditions of black Americans in the inner-city ghettos and hope that these could be changed through political action. Important songs from this period included “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, and “The Bottle”, which reached number 15 on the US R&B charts. But Scott-Heron’s life in part went on to reflect the stories told in his songs, with long periods battling drug addiction. Following more than fifteen years without making a recording, and time in jail for drug offences, he has recently released a highly acclaimed new album “I’m New Here”. The album Spirits, recorded in 1994 with a superb band, falls between the successes of the early years and this latest release. “Message to the Messengers” is a biting critique of the misogyny and violence of gangsta rap, and a message to his young brothers to use their influence more wisely. The title song sets Scott-Heron’s lyrics to a John Coltrane composition. “Work for Peace” is a rap based on Eisenhower’s idea of the military-industrial complex: he tells us that the “Military and the Monetary, get together whenever they think its necessary”. Spirits is a politically charged, but optimistic, album of powerful and exciting music.
YouTube link to Gil Scott-Heron

Quyen Van Minh – Birth 99 (NGẪU HỨNG ’99)
Music Publishing House, 1999

This gentle and engaging recording by saxophonist Quyen Van Minh was the first release of a Vietnamese jazz album. Quyen Van Minh taught himself jazz saxophone after encountering jazz on American radio and the BBC during the Vietnam War. “Birth” consists mainly of traditional Vietnamese folk songs, with their distinctive scales, recorded with jazz instruments and arrangements. Erroll Garner’s “Misty” is the only cover of a Western jazz standard. Quyen Van Minh runs, and performs at, the Quan Nhac Jazz club in Hanoi. This album is available by mail order but buying it on site after enjoying a night of Vietnamese jazz is highly recommended.
YouTube link to Quyen Van Minh

Grace Nono – Tao Music
BMG Pilipinas, 1993

Grace Nono’s recordings are unlike much of the contemporary music emanating from the Philippines, which is often strongly influenced by American pop music. This 1993 neo-folk album draws on traditional Filipino rhythms and instrumentation but with modern production touches and arrangements. Nono wrote, composed and performs all songs “Tao Music”. As well as a musician, Nono is a champion of many Filipino cultural practices, including arts and crafts, theater, and healing and spiritual traditions. The Philippines is too often ignored by the world music industry, and Grace Nono’s work deserves a wider audience.
YouTube link to Grace Nono

Mercy Dee Walton – Troublesome Mind.
Arhoolie, 1961

The Master of Texas piano. Born in 1915 and died early in 1962. Originally had a hit with “One Room Country Shack” in the 50s. Great humorous and sardonic lyrics. “Call the Asylum” and “Troublesome Mind” are both great classics. K.C. Douglas accompanies on guitar and Otis Cherry on drums.
YouTube link to Mercy Dee Walton

Farid Al Atrache – The King of Oud.
Voice of Lebanon, 1989

Originally from Syria, the King of Oud wasa virtuoso Oud player and a popular movie actor. He emigrated to Egypt as a child. This CD has two very long tracks: Takassim Oud and Kelmet Itab. True virtuoso.
YouTube link to Farid Al Atrache

Joe Harriott – Indo Jazz Suite.
Koch Jazz, 1999

Originally released in 1966 on Atlantic. The Indo Jazz Suite had five jazz musicians joined with four Indian musicans, with a concert flautist too. The project was under the direction of John Mayer, the violin player and Indian composer who moved to Britain from Calcutta in 1952. Traditional Indian music mixed with the contemporary jazz sounds of Joe Harriott. Totally unique. Youtube link to Joe Harriott

Miles Davis – Jack Johnson.
Sony, 1971

Miles Davis takes the plunge into jazz rock for the soundtrack of the film about the black heavyweight boxer, Jack Johnson – Directed by William Clayton. There are just two tracks: “Right Off” and “Yesternow”. Herbie Hancock on the organ, John McLaughlin on guitar and Billy Cobham on drums. Difficult to find.
YouTube link to Miles Davis – Jack Johnson

Le Trio Joubran – Randana.
Fairplay, 2005

The trio of oud players from Palestine: Samir, Wissam and Adnan. Samir Joubran started out on his own with a CDs Taqassim 1996 and Sou Fahm in 2001. In 2002 he joined up with his younger brother Wissam who was a lute maker like their father. the youngest brother, Adnan joined them in 2004 and the result is this CD. The title “randana” comes from a fusion of two arabic words, “resonance” (ranna) and “Humming” (dandana).
YouTube link to Le Trio Joubran – Randana

Laco Tayfa – Bergama Gaydasi.
Doublemoon, 2000

Turkish folk music with gypsy strains meets contemporary jazz. The band is led by the clarinet player Husnu Senlendirici. Laco Tayfa, gained instant notoriety with the album “In The BuzzBag”, recorded with Brooklyn Funk Essentials, but they turned to their own type of funk. Some of the tracks on their debut album, Bergama Gaydasi, such as, “Malatya,” “Izmir’in Kavaklari,” “Fidayda” and “Çiftetelli,” have already become anthems of the music markets on Istiklal Cad.
YouTube link to Laco Tayfa

Sex Mob – Sex Mob does Bond.
Ropeadope Records, 2001

Unusual New York City jazz band led by Steven Bernstein on slide trumpet. This is a selection of Bond music covers in the band’s inimitable style. Recommended tracks include: Bond with Bongos, Oddjob’s Pressing Engagement and Teasing the Korean. Bernstein and his band take the familiar Bond themes and songs from Goldfinger, From Russia With Love and You Only Live Twice, pulls them apart and puts them back together again with his own brand of humour, jazz and improvisation.
YouTube link to Sex Mob does Bond

Ray Barretto – Hard Hands.
Fania Records, 1968

The world’s greatest conguero originally made a name for himself in the 1960s with his album ACID. This CD has Adalberto Santiago and Rene Lopez on lead vocals. It is New York mixed with Afro-Cuban. Barretto has worked with the Rolling Stones and Charlie Parker. Turn it up!
YouTube link to Ray Barretto – Hard Hands

Kocani Orkestar Meets Paolo Fresu & Antonella Salis – Live.
Il Manifesto, 2004

A Romani brass band from Kočani, Republic of Macedonia. Kočani Orkestar are among the funkiest exponents of the Balkan brass band style which is found across ex-Yugoslavia. Their music is part Balkans, a touch of Turkish and a bit of Latin. Here they meet up with two Italian jazz men, Paolo Fresu (trumpet) and Antonello Salis (piano). A magical mix and irresistible music.
YouTube link to Kocani Orkestar Meets Paolo Fresu & Antonello Salis – Live

African Scream Contest.
Analog Africa, 2008

A collection of raw and psychedelic Afro sounds from Benin and Togo in the 1970s. Some truly great music including tracks from the more famous Orchestre Poly-Rythmo and Le Super Borgou de Parakou who have a classic track called Congolaise Benin Ye. If you like African music this is a must. The best comes last with the final track by Les Volcans de la Capital playing Oya Ka Jojo – Cuba meets Africa.
YouTube link to African Scream Contest

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