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Music Reviews

Lewis, Walter “Furry” – “Take Your Time ” – [Adelphi Records]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD

A very laid-back 1969 recording session with Lee “Mudboy” Baker helping out (check out that giant can o’ Falstaff!) this is a simple, honest Memphis/Delta blues style – easy pace, classic lyrics, big ol’ guitar. Furry was born sometime around 1893 so he would have been about 76 at the time of this recording. He played guitar for traveling “medicine shows” in the early 1900’s and got into the blues in the 20’s. Lost his leg in a train accident but he still got around quite a bit, recording in Chicago and Memphis, even worked as a street sweeper! – check out the full biography inside the booklet… great stuff!
*review by David Richoux

Youngblood Brass Band – “Unlearn ” – [E Pluribus Bumpass Music]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Back with Attitude – the Youngbloods have jumped up several levels since their last CD. with special guest vocal by Ike Willis (ex-Zappa) track 4 and lots of & rap-poetry stuff with Talib Kweli and Mike Ladd – some bits of bad language tracks 7 & 8, DJ Skooly scratching and a solid brass section, lead by “The Warrior” on Sousaphone (check out his acoustic-weird tones on some tracks using no electronic effects…) These guys are from the suburbs of Madison, Wisconsin but they still live in the heart of New Orleans Soul. *review by David Richoux

New Klezmer Trio – “Short for Something ” – [Tzadik]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Yet another in the “Radical Jewish Culture” series – this one finds Ben Goldberg noodle-ing around on his clarinet – mostly minor key and mysterious (even the Freylekhs are pretty slow,) Dan Seamans rumbling around the basement and Kenny Wollesen holding the whole thing together on percussion. Very dark and sad yet beautiful music on this CD. *review by David Richoux

Riley, Steve & the Mamou Playb – “Happytown ” – [Rounder Records]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Country

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys are of the generation that followed the modernization and revival of “Cajun” music by Beausoleil, Zachary Richard and a few others – Steve has taken the style just a little closer to mainstream rock using electric guitar and some electronics. Just a bit. They are still an exciting band, especially in a live setting. This recording covers a lot of different styles from straight old traditional Cajun waltzes to some eerie & dark swamp funk. Instros and some vocals – in Cajun and some English. *review by David Richoux

Caravana Cubana – “Late Night Sessions ” – [Dreamer Music /Rhino]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Rhino RecordsWith all the attention on Cuba and New York based Afro-Cuban Jazz people tend to forget another long time center for this style – Los Angeles. Dizzy Gillespie really focused this in the 40’s. Here we have a true all-star cast of musicians and singers (some were in that Dizzy Band) deep in the roots of Cubanisimo doing some hot, danceable, exciting and driving ensembles. Thanks to the folks at Rhino for producing this original (not reissue) session.
– *review by David Richoux

Sexmob – “Solid Sender ” – [Knitting Factory Records]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Knitting FactoryBack again with another wild recording – Steve Bernstein, Briggan Krause, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollsen (and many guests) step into the void left by the death of Lester Bowie to totally fuck with some jazz and pop classics. This time it is Rock and R&B instead of “spy movies” and the stuff is outstanding!
Imagine if you will: “Ruby Tuesday,” “Please3” or “For What It’s Worth” done by a rowdy buncha New Orleansish New Pork funk horns, a giant rubber band bass (with a string section and a bit of turntable action on some tracks!) YOW!
Watch out for a lot of really short tracks between the real stuff – not exactly introductions, but they are separate things. Track 17 features the Sex Mob Children’s Choir. *review by David Richoux

Lewis, George New Orleans Jazz – “Hello Central ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Don’t confuse this George Lewis with the jazz trombone player.
This one was a New Orleans clarinetist who took the original jazz style (less solo, more ensemble) out to the world. Playing to what were called “Moldy Figs” or trad revivalists (mostly white) -G.L. sparked a great deal of interest in this New Orleans style. He played an Albert System clarinet, so the tuning can sometimes sound a bit off, but folks really liked it. This recording was done in 1953 (a peak year for the revival) San Francisco with a great touring band. Some vocals – great music… *review by David Richoux

Nicholas, Albert & Art Hodes – “Albert’s Back in Town ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

As the liner notes tell you, Albert Nicholas was one of the important clarinet players in the early years of jazz and he kept on playing well into the 60’s. Check out the list of bands he played in! On this 1959 session with pianist Art Hodes (Ho-dez, I think) and his band you will hear some great “classic traditional” jazz – not “Dixieland,” not “Trad Revival” – just some great tunes played with inspiration and long-term knowledge of what to do with them. all instrumental, with some alternate takes. *review by David Richoux

Mora’s Modern Rhythmists – “Mr. Rhythmist Goes to Town ” – [Mr. Ace Records]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Much like the Bay Area band “Royal Society Jazz Orchestra,” Mora’s Modern Rhythmists from the LA area have worked very hard to recreate the early 20’s-30’s orchestra style of jazz. Meant for both dancing and listening, these “Society” bands had a smooth yet hot sound (very polite for jazz) playing in posh hotels, ocean liners and fancy parties. On this recording there is an interesting mix of tunes from the early eras of jazz and proto-swing. The style of singing and playing is not a total imitation of Paul Whiteman recordings, but there sure is a lot of influence. Fun stuff… *review by David Richoux

Clusone 3 – “An Hour With… ” – [Hat Hut]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Like the other Clusone 3 recordings we have, this is some fun stuff! More bird inspiration, and I don’t mean Charlie Parker.
Reijseger on cello is WAY out there, but Moore and Bennink don’t do anything to bring him back. Goofy and silly jazz at times but then things settle into a groove – no explanations. *review by David Richoux

Amh Trio – “Live at Field & Frame ” – [Plutonium Records]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Hoonkh, Blurt, Weerrbbble, Scree, Poot, Groan, Grummph, etc.
Fun stuff from the lower register from Albuquerque – Bari Sax, Tuba, Bass Clarinet and some higher things as well – very strange but not really scary when compared with some of the other things we have been getting lately. Seems to be total improvjazz but it is hard to tell these days… Mark Weaver on tuba is showing a lot of chops!
*review by David Richoux

New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra – “Grace and Beauty ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

While Ragtime was not invented in New Orleans, it was very popular and was a major part of the development of jazz in that city. John Robichaux (Row be show) had a band and did a lot of ragtime arrangements in the early 20th century. In 1965 these charts were found and a band was formed in 1967 to play them. The musicians on this 1967-1970 recording also played in the early Preservation Hall bands in the ’60s and some were playing jazz in the 1930s and ’40s.
Not a slick band (check out the New England Ragtime Conservatory band if you want polish) – there is some problem with intonation and the pace is a bit ragged, but these are some sweet tunes. All instrumental and of an era that will not come round again… *review by David Richoux

Jackson, Franz & the Salty Dog – “Yellow Fire ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

A recent recording (not a reissue) of the Salty Dogs, a Chicago style trad band from Purdue that has been around since the late 1950s! Still playing great music (most of the tunes on this CD could have been heard in some Chicago jazz joints since the early 1920s) this is just great, swinging, driving, hot jazz. Some good vocals, just a bit of hokum – but check them out!
*review by David Richoux

Beebe, Jim – Chicago Jazz – “Saturday Night Function ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

2 LPs in one CD, a bargain pack of great Chicago Style traditional jazz recorded in the late 1970s with an all-star lineup of musicians from the mid-west and west coast. Trombonist Jim Beebe had a great deal of experience before these sessions and the band definitely knows what it is all about. There are two trumpets (or trumpet/cornet) for that unmistakable King Oliver-Louis Armstrong style lead line. There are a lot of different looks here, from boogie-woogie to slow blues, swingers to New Orleans jazz standards. Some well placed vocals, but the important part is how this band really cooks, regardless of the line-up.
*review by David Richoux

Bukowski, Charles Readings, SF ?73 and Iowa City ’73 [N/A]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

2 CDs of beat poetry from one of the masters. In his tired, gravely voice, Bukowski holds forth on sex, death, oppression, and whatever else comes to mind. No track titles on the CD, so I made some up after listening. For the most part each CD is a contiguous recording that was divided up into tracks. Whoever did this did a pretty lazy job of picking where to start tracks. Sometimes he will say the title of a poem on the end of the previous track. The sound quality is poor, but you can always understand what he is saying.
I *think* Disk 1, tracks 3-12 are the San Francisco recording (the sound quality is different and there is no discernable audience noise). The first 2 tracks of the 1st disc and the entire 2nd disc sound like they are from the same recording, which I assume is the Iowa City recording. It’s all good and heavy, drop the proverbial needle anywhere and let a couple tracks play (but watch for language!).
Language: Disc 1 – 3, 5, 7, 10
Disc 2 – 1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 16, 19, 20
Stingray

Apostle of Hustle – “Folkloric Feel” [Arts and Crafts]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

This three-piece (plus guests) out of Canada delivers well written and produced psychedelic folk. There’s just a touch of electronics and feedback on some tracks. There are some Latin-folk influences (lead singer Andrew Whiteman had recently returned from a trip to Cuba where he learned to play the tres (a Cuban guitar)), especially on tracks 3, 7, 8, and 10. The sound is melodic and shimmery, and the production has resulted in an appealingly full sound.
Favorites: 1 (Prog-rock-influenced folk jam), 3 (great, but still mellow use of bongos and tamborine), 7 (a Latin-influenced contra style ballad), 8 (laid back swing beat, longuey vocals).
Track 11 is a :37 second long very quiet shimmery little chord.
Language: 3 (‘shit?), 4 (‘fuck’),
Stingray

14 Year Old Girls – “Strategy Guide” [Retard Disco]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

Imagine that Devo were a bunch of nerds. OK, fine, Devo are a bunch of nerds, but imagine that they were obsessed with video games and gamer culture rather than, umm, whatever it is they were obsessed with. Songs about Megaman, Pac Man, Wario, Tomb Raider, et al. The music is catchy, sometimes punky electro-pop with male and female vocals. It’s well produced and fun, and the lyrics are often quite brilliant. All the songs are very short (none over 2 minutes), but the breaks between the tracks are very short, so you can let it track through and play a couple of them. If you have time, the liner notes are quite hilarious.
Favorites: 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 18, 21, 22, 24, 25
Language: 3 (‘fucking?), 5 (‘fucking?), 14 (‘shit?), 26 (‘fucking?)
Stingray

Aroah – “The Last Laugh” [Acuarela]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

Aroah is lead by Irene Rodriguez a Spanish female singer/songwriter. This album predominantly features her clear, simple voice and acoustic guitar work with occasional appearances by drums, flute, and electric guitar, but always sublimated to the voice and acoustic guitar. She is clearly strongly influenced by John Fahey (and says as much on her website). All songs are in English (including the one with the Spanish name) and she has no discernable accent).
Language: 12 (‘fuck’, though she says it so gently I had to listen a couple times to make sure that’s what she was really saying)
Stingray

99 Hooker?s – “Generica”

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

Sexually charged beat poetry rants over a bed of bass, guitar, samples, and occasional reeds singing over the top. The words aren’t sung so much as spoken in time. The rants are directed variously at Hollywood (7), religion (3,8), redneck America (4), and, umm, miscellaneous. I really like the last track, but it is quite long. From the label’s copy: ’99 Hooker’s Generica is to pop music as crank is to Michelob?.
Members of Note: M2 (of Chemical Brothers), Donald Miller, Ray Sage.
Language: 3 (‘shit?), 4 (‘fuck’), 6 (‘motherfuckers?), 8 (‘shit?)
Oh yeah, the punctuation is correct. ?99 Hooker? is the name of the band leader.
Stingray

John Berberian and the Rock East Ensemble – “Middle Eastern Rock” [Acid Symposium]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD, International

Middle-eastern acid rock led by oud player John Berberian (an oud is kind of a fat mandolin). The music incorporates Middle Eastern and Armenian instrumentation and rhythms with western jazz, soul, and funk. Track 3 has some Armenian vocals; other tracks are entirely instrumental. Very groovy, laid back stuff. Break out the hookah, pick any track, and enjoy!
Stingray

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