Sunday, 4 October 2015

Single Song Sunday

I don't quite know how or when, but over the years I appear to have acquired 14 different versions of "Make It With You". Here are ten of them, starting with the original by Bread and ending with a Spanish language version by MC Blvd. The filling in the sandwich - bread metaphor! - is mostly soul, but there is a bit of jazz from Rahsaan Roland Kirk and the Mandatory Reggae Version courtesy of Little Roy.

"Make It With You" - Bread

"Make It With You" - Dusty Springfield

"Make It With You" - Teddy Pendergrass

"Make It With You" - Earth, Wind & Fire

"Make It With You" - The Whispers

"Make It With You" - Marc Cohn & India Arie

"Make It With You" - Rahsaan Roland KIrk

"Make It With You" - Little Roy

"Make It With You" - Ralfi Pagan

"Quiero Hacerte El Amor" - MC Blvd

Spare a thought tonight for Brendan Rodgers, who has just discovered that the directors of Liverpool F.C. have decided that there are not going to make it with him. Let's see if his Auntie Clodagh can help cheer him up.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Friend Of The Stars

Whenever I have to go over to Brussels for work I try to build in time to nip down to the Matonge district to check out the Congolese record shops. I was in one such emporium last week when this very dapper gent strolled in and introduced himself as Nkumu Mohamed from Groupe Bonyoma Djokisa. This is the photo taken to mark the occasion - I will leave you to ponder who is who.

Groupe Bonyoma Djokisa are a vocal trio who perform traditional music of the Congo, which bears only limited resemblance to the rumba sound which is the main Congolese musical export. You won't hear much guitar on their album "Petit A Petit (Mokongo Ya Nyama)", and on many tracks the only instruments are drums. It's good stuff though.

"Kota Pengele" - Groupe Bonyoma Djokisa 

"Festival" - Groupe Bonyoma Djokisa   

Monday, 28 September 2015

Macka Splaff

Those folks at VP Records are on fire. Last week I featured a couple of tracks from their excellent "Reggae Gold 2015" compilation. Over the weekend they sent me the title track from Macka B's new album "Never Played A 45", and it has gone straight to the top of my charts. The sentiment - nothing sounds better than old vinyl - is one that old farts like me can only agree with. There is, as Mr B says, something about the feel and the vibe.

As a bonus for you I have bunged in three of Mr B's oldies, all of them collaborations. They seem to bring out the best in him. They are all good, but I am particularly fond of "Hamady Boiro".

"Never Played A 45" - Macka B

"Far Away From Babylon" - Macka B & Queen Omega

"Hamady Boiro" - Baaba Maal & Macka B

"Dread A Who She Love" - Macka B & Kofi

Unless I am mistaken, "Never Played A 45" samples the old "Boops" rhythm - just like this fellow does. I love this record more than I can possibly explain.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Golden Days

Those nice folks at VP Records recently sent me a complimentary copy of "Reggae Gold 2015", which features some of the biggest reggae hits of the year to date. I suspect I may be abusing their generosity by posting a couple of tracks, but hopefully doing so will encourage you to go off and buy the album - there is a lot of good stuff on there.

The first track is more golden oldie than "Reggae Gold 2015", being as it is a reworking by Inner Circle of one of their great songs from the 1970s, while the second is an all too rare example of fruit-based reggae.

"Tenement Yard (News Carrying Dread)" - Inner Circle (featuring Chronixx and Jacob Miller)

"Avocado" - Jah 9

I tried to find a clip of Barry Biggs' version of "One Bad Apple" to continue the fruit-based reggae theme, but I couldn't. So you'll have to settle for this instead.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Swamp on Saturday

Among the versions of "You Send Me" we featured last Sunday was one by Swamp Dogg. The day after I found myself in Notting Hill Gate for a meeting and I took the opportunity to pop into the Record & Video Exchange, a place where I have spent many happy hours over the years but rarely get to now. And there, waiting just for me, was a copy of Swamp's rare 1981 album "I'm Not Selling Out, I'm Buying In".

It is a class album, one of the highlights of which is a slightly bonkers duet with Esther Phillips which we will save for another time. On the album Swamp demonstrates his proficiency in both the profound and the profane, as these two tracks show. As a bonus I have added an old hippy standard as a sort of tribute to the Record & Video Exchange.

"Low Friends In High Places" - Swamp Dogg

 "Sexy Sexy Sexy # 3" - Swamp Dogg

"Notting Hill Gate" - Quintessence

Here's Garth Brooks who finds himself in the reverse situation to Swamp Dogg. Good to see he resisted the urge to create an overly literal staging for the song.  

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Single Song Sunday

This Sunday we are keeping it mellow with Sam Cooke's classic "You Send Me". Sam wrote it himself but gave the writing credit to his brother L.C. Cook, allegedly in order to stop his record company nicking his share of the royalties.

Sam's original was a hit in 1957. In the US a "white" version was recorded Teresa Brewer, as was standard practice in those days when there was a reluctance to play "black" records on "white" radio stations, but fortunately good taste prevailed and it was Sam who got the number one hit. Teresa has not made the cut today either.

Many of the names below will be very familiar to you so I won't go through them all, but  you may not know Sam Butera (a Louis Prima protege who released his version in 1960) or the Ponderosa Twins Plus One (a soul group from Cleveland for whom this was a minor hit in 1971). Swamp Dogg has been round since the beginning of time but only released his version on his recent album, "The White Man Made Me Do It". Pam Hall provides the Mandatory Reggae Version.

"You Send Me" - Sam Cooke

"You Send Me" - Aretha Franklin

"You Send Me" - Otis Redding

"You Send Me" - The Ponderosa Twins Plus One

"You Send Me" - Swamp Dogg

"You Send Me" - Percy Sledge

"You Send Me" - Sam Butera & The Witnesses

"You Send Me" - Pam Hall

You are not getting any video clips of "You Send Me". Instead I am taking the opportunity to plug my new favourite musical fusion in all the world - Japanese cajun music (with two lady rub-board players!). Take it away, Zydeco Kicks.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Dreary Monday

In Zimbabwe, as in other parts of southern Africa, it is quite common for parents to name their children for attributes or characteristics that they hope they will embody. You can't help thinking Mr and Mrs Matsito would have been well advised to consult a dictionary before choosing a name for their son. Fortunately for us all, his music does not match his name.

"Erina" - Tedious Matsito & Ngwenya Brothers