Furia en la Corazón!

los_aos_ye-ye-cuando_espaa_hizo_popMay I interest you folk in a little Sixties Ye-Yé, straight outta Franco’s Spain?

Just came back from a bit of a city-break type thing in Liverpool and a jolly good time was had by all. Sights were seen, tapas was eaten and alcohol was drunk. Oh yeah, and one or two CDs were purchased…

Paid my second ever visit to the near-legendary Probe Records, too, now in School Lane, but still going strong (my first visit was in 1982, when I almost literally bumped into Pete Burns, thumbing through the singles racks. Spent rest of the day expecting to find myself sat next to Julian Cope on the bus…). I spent a happy hour or so going through their shelves, and left with a substantially lighter wallet but a bag full of esoteric goodies. I’ll no doubt start banging on about most of the stuff at a later date (there was a Robert Wyatt record amongst them and you know I’m not going to be able to resist writing about that…) but in the meantime…

¡Chicas!

The record I was most deliriously excited about and I’ve played almost continually since getting home is this, though, the second volume of Vampisoul’s sparkling “¡Chicas!” compilation. The first volume was good enough, with many, many memorable moments such as Vainila Doble’s weirdly psychedelic “La Maquina Infernal”, Sonya’s ballsy “Aqui en mi nube” and this by the delightfully bonkers Pili y Mili – “Un Chico Moderno”:

 

Played the record to death when we came back from Madrid the year before last, but to be honest, if anything, this second volume is even better than the first. It’s full to bursting with daft but unwaveringly groovy numbers from beginning to end, all of which seem to have eluded Franco’s eagle-eared sensors. Watch this, for instance, by French singer Claudine Coppin “40 grados a la sombre”. The sound’s not great – there’s a better sounding version on YouTube but it doesn’t have this top footage from the film of the same name:

 

So anyway, I was thinking it must be about time I put together a Ye-Yé Lucky Seven post and, well, here it is, you lucky, lucky people…

Lucky Seven – ¡Chicas!

Pochoclo – Las Trillizas de Oro (disturbingly bonkers version of “Popcorn” complete with the frothiest of lyrics. What’s not to like?)

Come, C’mon – The Satin Bells (a group of Liverpool lasses – so that’s appropriate – who moved to Spain and released a clutch of ill-fated singles. I’m slightly disappointed that it’s in English but nonetheless it’s a rather steamy little number…)

Tabú Tabú – Sola (another burner, with soulful Mexican vocals and a feckless, wandering bassline that won’t be told…)

No Te Acuerdas de mí – Marisa Medina (really ballsy song, belted out by the redoubtable Sra Medina, complete with full band, flutes and a jaunty little touch of Eddy-esque twang)

Soy una Nube – Elia y Elizabeth (my favourite track from another superb Vampisoul collection of this pair of sisters’ greatest hits. Lovely driving bass and guitar combination, superbly led by hippy child vocals. Really great stuff)

Hey, Hey Bunny – Los Gatos Negros (Not actually a “chica” as such, but a groovy mid-sixties number, driven on by a brass section and electric organ combination that is pretty damn irresistible. Could surely have been a Northern Soul classic…)

Furia – Furia (Finally, something a little later, early seventies I’m guessing. A heavyish, somewhat proggy hummer, driven but always danceable.)

Fix me up with your sweet dose…

ImageI uploaded this special Freakbeat Lucky Seven a good fortnight ago and can’t believe I didn’t post it at the time…

Not been listening to a lot of new music recently, but instead have spent a lot of time wallowing in the sugary mire of British psychedelia and mid-sixties freakbeat. And in the spirit of the time, I thought I’d share a little something with you…

Take Her Anytime – The Longboatmen (fantastic crashing feedback guitars that gradually take over …)

You’re Too Much – The Eyes (spoke about these lads in the last post – beats me how they’re not more well-known, again, a cracking, dangerous guitar riff dominates)

Strange Walking Man – Mandrake Paddle Steamer (another track I’m amazed I didn’t know earlier, cleverly put together, sounding a lot like Revolver-era Beatles)

Mud In Your Eye – Les Fleur De Lys (another biff-bang-pow of a record, Pretty Things/Who guitar riff, could’ve chosen five or six by this lot)

Vacuum Cleaner – Tintern Abbey (actually knew this record from the eighties Chocolate Soup For Diabetics collection, a re-discovered favourite…)

I Must Be Mad – Craig (more driving, urgent guitar riffs, common theme developing, priceless)

Hold On – Rupert’s People (wrote about these last time too, and I think I read somewhere that they were some sort of Fleur De Lys offshoot, here they’re doing the same song as FDL were talking in the YouTube clip.)

Fix yourself up…

Lucky Seven – The Joy of Sets

dexys2OK, regular Christmas readers of this organ will remember that it often takes me a while to get into this end of year malarkey, but once I’ve warmed up…

So, anyway, I’m venturing forth and starting with some great gigs I’ve been to this year. I’m always a bit sheepish about recounting my gig tally for the year – usually I can do this on the fingers of both hands, although this year I’ve had to take off my shoes and socks too. (I have buddies who talk about getting close to three figures, think about it…)

That being as it may… here we go, chronologically:.

 

February: King Creosote & Jon Hopkins @ The Fleece, Bristol

My first visit to the Fleece, if I remember rightly, and really enjoyable evening it was too. Hot, pubby, beset with sound problems yet still gentle and intimate. Spent a lot of time following Creosote and his warm, delicate songs, but Hopkins impressed too, sympathetically colouring in around the King’s bold lines. Really nice support spot from Withered Hand too.

Only Living Boy in New York

 

April: Trembling Bells with Bonnie Prince Billy @ Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham

Possibly my highlight of the year. Oldham was as unconventional as you’d expect, by turns daunting, witty and self-effacing, employing a new and impressive set of quirky gestures and never less than whole-hearted in the delivery of a terrific bag of songs. Trembling Bells were also powerful and more than a little scary, and a storming set was delivered with what can only be described as Gusto.

Every Time I Close my Eyes (We’re back there)

 

June: Anaïs Mitchell & the Young Man Band @ St Bonaventura’s, Bristol

Another massive treat in the warm, DIY surroundings of one of my favourite venues. Performed most of the wonderful Young Man in America record, and a good selection from her earlier stuff, all with affection and intelligence, and was supported expertly by one of the most talented bunch of musicians I’ve seen for ages. And she signed a copy of Hadestown for me.

Saw her later in the year solo in Oxford, which was also brilliant but didn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of this gig.

Tailor

 

June: Andrew Bird @ Trinity Centre, Bristol

Another debut venue, and another beautiful evening in Bristol; and if we’re talking expert musicians you’ve got to tip your hat towards Andrew Bird. I’ve never seen a man play the fiddle like this guy, bowing beautifully, then strumming it like a yuke, then back to the bow all within a verse sometimes. Played a good long, occasionally theatrical set and finished it up with an Ol’ Timey clutch of toons. Didn’t know whether to stroke my beard or grin like a loon…

Desperation Breeds

 

July: Wooden Shjips @ The Fleece, Bristol

This was the steamy, roller coaster of an evening you kinda hope for when Ripley Johnson and his awkward crew lumber on stage. You know what you’re going to get with the Shjips, meandering, uncomplicated and repetitive yet somehow fascinating and complex at the same time. The Elevators of the 21st Century… Another evening where the support band, three young lads from Weston called Towns, added to the fun.

Flight

 

August: Dexy’s @ Green Man

So to the festival season.

Despite the rain, there were some fine moments at Green Man as usual –some of them young (TOY, Savages, Field Music), some of them old (Van) and lots of them Welsh (Cate le Bon, H Hawkline, Sen Segur, Pen Pastwn). But the most enjoyable set of the weekend came from the wild-eyed bugger himself. Only managing to get through 5 or 6 numbers in his hour (so gloriously teased-out was each one), Rowlands, and a band that included long-suffering confidante Pete Williams; Mick Talbot and spurned chantoose Madeleine Hyland mugged their way through a hugely pleasing set. Highlights included This Is What She is Like, Lost and a gigantic version of Come On Eileen. Wow!

Lost

 

August: Woods @ End of the Road

There were some even better sets at my End of the Road debut this year too. Honourable mentions should go to Yeti Lane, Gravenhurst, First Aid Kit, TOY (again) and a bedraggled Midlake, but my favourite section of the weekend was Saturday afternoon’s belter from Woods. Their records often major on the slightly fey, slightly geeky tones of Jeremy Earl’s vocals and Woods’ bubblegum sound. On stage. however, the shackles were off and some great garage-y, psychedelic meandering went on. We also heard a lot of stuff which was new then, but which appeared on Autumn’s Bend Beyond.  Happy daze.

Cali in a Cup

End of the Road ’12 – Best Sets of the Weekend

So that was End of the Road. Lordy!

I had a ball, really, a much brighter experience than Green Man this year. To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s because of the weather (GM = foul; EotR = mostly fine), but for me End of the Road far outshone Green Man in pretty much every respect. I was very impressed with EotR – they just seemed to do everything right.

Hmmm… next year…

Lucky Seven – Best of End of the Road ‘12

I’ve not been entirely idle since then. As usual I have a mountain of recordings, some of which I’ll post about soon, some of which I may never use. But while I’m sorting myself out, I thought I’d put together a Best of… compilation of some of the recordings I have. It’s hardly exhaustive – I saw some great sets and by all accounts missed some great sets too. Also some of the great sets were not unfortunately great recordings (combination of wind on the mic / being surrounded by gibbering ninnies / being a gibbering ninny myself…)

Anyway here goes:

Midlake – “Roscoe”

A combination of a long day and the first rain of the weekend meant I was hanging on a bit when Midlake made their way onto the Garden Stage. Pretty much straight away however, I was woken up by a really accomplished performance, mixing material from The Courage of Others and The Trials of Van Occupanther with a few new songs. Lovely set which the band themselves seemed to really enjoy. All very good mannered too…

 Alt-J – “Tessellate”

Nearly missed this set altogether, drinking and chatting with friends, and when we rolled up at the Big Top, we were met with the biggest crowd I saw in there all weekend. Once we’d elbowed our way in (and I’d lost all the people in was with), Alt-J put on a really tight performance, going through most of their record, in what felt like an absolute sauna. Indeed at times it felt like listening to the recording itself so polished was their performance (I don’t mean that in a bad way…)

Jeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard – “Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song”

Didn’t really know anything about Jeffrey Lewis and actually missed his scheduled Garden Stage spot earlier on the Friday. Fortunately, he did a few songs later on that evening in the Tipi Tent. What a character he is! His songs were alternately garage-y, throw-away, poignant and always funny. Another highlight was his PowerPoint presentation on the history of Punk Rock on the Lower East Side 1950-75, all written in limerick form, which really needs YouTubing…

First Aid Kit – “Emmylou”

Another set that was packed out, and which I also nearly missed part of was this one by First Aid Kit. I really didn’t realise they were so popular, but with hindsight there was a bit of a buzz about them for most of the previous day. Just the three of them but they made an enormous noise and went down very well.

I Was Gone – Woods

The reason I was late for First Aid Kit was that I simply couldn’t tear myself away from Woods on the Main Stage, who were a bit geeky at first but really started to cut loose about half way through and by the end were really “wigging out” (I think the term is…). Once I’d got used to Jeremy Earl’s high pitched vocals, it was all good from there…

Analogue Wheel – Yeti Lane

About half way through the weekend I started to feel that I was spending too much time seeing bands I knew, (and in some cases had seen before), and not enough time investigating new bands. So for that reason, I ditched Patti Smith and went to see French psychedelic duo Yeti Lane. Best decision of the weekend, didn’t regret it for a second. The duo consisted of a drummer with electronic noodling duties and another “wigging out” guitarist. Particularly liked their retro, Doctor Who-style electronics desk…

Ghost of St Paul – Gravenhurst

Last set of the weekend was Gravenhurst, who again I didn’t know at all, but was realty impressed by. A really quiet, precise set that finished rather too quickly and prompted me to buy the last two releases.

A lovely weekend altogether…

Best of End of the Road ‘12

Lucky Seven 16 – Lloyd Brevett

(Hope this doesn’t seem a little opportunistic…)

Lloyd Brevett

Lloyd Brevett, legendary bassist of the legendary Skatalites, has died this weekend of a stroke, a fortnight after the murder of his son inJamaica. A tragic end to the life and career of one of the great figures of Jamaican music.

I’m not going to pretend I’m any sort of authority on Ska and Rocksteady, but there’s no mistaking the distinctive, playful tones of his “walking” string bass playing on all of the classic Skatalites songs and (such was their dominance of the Jamaican studios), most of the early ska classics of the era.

There are some decent obituaries, here, here (I like the quote from Bunny Wailer) and here; and an interesting interview with the man himself here.

I’d been meaning to resurrect my Lucky Seven thing for a while now; it’s a shame that it took the passing of the man to get me going. I’ve put together seven classy Brevett contributions for a special RIP Lucky Seven.

Lucky Seven 16 – Lloyd Brevett

Rock Steady –AltonEllis

Rudy, A Message to You – Dandy Livingstone

Dr Decker – the Skatalites

Corner Store – the Skatalites

Inez – LesterSterling/Tommy McCook

Lester’s Mood – the Skatalites

African Roots Dub – the Skatalites

 

Lucky Seven – Live and Unreleased!

Got to thinking about a couple of the self-deprecating comments I made in the last post, and thought “I’ll put a couple of them right at least…”

So here’s the first Lucky Seven for a good while, and it’s made up of some of the recordings I made during 2011, which are currently languishing unattended on my hard-drive.

Summer Holiday – Wild Nothing

Chinatown– Destroyer

Undegpedwar – Y Niwl

BatteryKinzie – Fleet Foxes

Queen of Eyes – Robyn Hitchcock

Don’t Want Love – Antlers

Since We’ve Fallen Out – Burns Unit

Now I come to look at it, these were all part of the mess of Green Man recordings that I still have, so I’ve added a bonus recording to the package, made at End of the Road, by my good friend Marcus – I’ll leave you to find out what it is…

Lucky Seven – Live and Unreleased

Have a good ‘un!

Lucky Seven – Ethiopiques


It’s all been a bit quiet on the New Music front, here, hasn’t it?

Actually, I lie, I’m still the beneficiary of a ludicrously generous deal from Emusic, (which I’m sure they’d love to get out of, if they could), and as ever a load of this is new stuff that I’m taking a punt on. Some decent sounding stuff by Wye Oak, Travels, Ducktails and Bleeding Heart Narrative, some of which I shall no doubt post on in the near(ish) future… Also been sent a record to review (which I’m getting on to I promise, Dave). On top of that I’ve just come back from a trip to Fopp in Bristol…

Truth is that my iThing has been completely overrun by all things Ethiopiques. I think I’ve mentioned the Swinging Addis collection and that I’d nominated it for the next album for #lpgroup to cover. In the event, only one other punter voted for it, but it has reminded of how great the stuff is and as a result I’ve gone and bought another six volumes of the series, each one as exciting as the one before. Suddenly, the house and car resound with the goofy sounds of seventies Ethiopia; and Alemayehu Eshete, Mahmoud Ahmed and Mulatu Astatque have become household names over here.

I won’t try to sound like I know all about Ethiopian music and the unique bubble in time that encloses the entire Swinging Addis scene, but if you’re interested (and why wouldn’t you be?) there’s an interview with Francis Falceto the genius behind the series, at the Afropop Worldwide site which is fascinating.

Anyway all you need to know is that a pile of razor-sharp jazzy, souly, RnB recordings emerged, a mixture of American arrangements and unique Ethiopian stylings, generally sung in Amharic. All of it brimming with self confidence and attitude. It’s just breath-taking stuff…

Common flavours are the reedy sounds of organ and rhythm guitar, jumpy exotic vocals and traditional instrumentation. The driving force, however, common to pretty much every track, is the spiky, intelligent and just plain groovy presence of two or three man horn sections all over the place. Can’t find hardly any video of the musicians but the photos suggest all sorts of synchronised moves from the brass players, in the style of the Famous Flames. It must’ve been wild.

An added, somewhat tragic, element to all this is that with the ousting of Selassie by the Derg and President Mengistu, Swinging Addis disappeared completely after a series of curfews and bans were imposed. Some of the main artists went into exile, some died, some just packed it in and went back to their original trades. As far as I can tell, there’s almost no trace of the whole scene in modern day Addis and it’s been consigned to history.

The good people of Buda, however, have now issued 27 (I think) volumes of the Ethiopiques series and with one or two more “difficult” exceptions, it’s all absolute gold.

I haven’t done a Lucky Seven for ages, so it seems fitting that this one should be an Ethiopiques special. You lucky, lucky people!

Lucky Seven – Ethiopiques

Ene Negn Bay Manesh – Girma Beyene

Tchero Adari Negn – Alemayehu Eshete

Aynotchesh Yerefu – Samuel Belay

Eskegizew Bertch – Alemayehu Eshete

Ambassel (fast) – Alemayehu Eshete

Yekermo Sew – Mulatu Astatke

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