SONG OF THE DAY James Booker – Gonzo

James Carroll Booker, a.k.a James Booker was an American pianist born in New Orleans in 1939. His music career was surprisingly expansive considering he spent much of his life battling with drug addiction and a rather large chunk of it serving prison sentences! His character was rich and his life laden with hardship, but his music was the one constant, his music was his salvation and in this world he was king!

Dr John once described Booker as the “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced” and though he spent much of the 1950’s recording R&B, his musical explorations expended far beyond these realms! Genres such as pop, film soundtracks (he was responsible for the theme from The Godfather) and classical recreations (he also did renditions of Chopin Waltzes) were all part of his repertoire!

I dare say that I am merely skimming the very surface of the surface here when it comes outlining the fascinating and extraordinary life of James Booker, but I’ve just found an article that does a grand job of unearthing so much more – find that here. 

Gonzo was backed with Cool Turkey and released as a 45 in 1960 on Peacock Records. It’s flute/keys combo serves up a dish of smooth and sharp textures, adding contrasting substance to this dish of funk! It’s easy on the ears and got a nice groove! Check it out above.

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SONG OF THE DAY Bruce Haack – Incantation

If an artist not only paves the way for many artists to follow, but literally helps to carve out a new genre, I’d like think I would’ve heard of them, but not this one!! For anyone already familiar with the weird and wonderful sounds of Bruce Haack, I apologise for preaching to the converted, but this is a new one for me today!!

Born on May 4, 1931 in Alberta, Canada, Bruce Clinton Haack is considered one of the pioneers of electronic music during the 50’s and 60’s. His prolific repertoire was truly exploratory, covering anything from electronic children’s songs to satanic music, and what came in between was nothing short of curious and highly experimental!! Not only did he create innovative sounds, but he also concocted an array of extraordinary musical instruments, such as the Theremin-inspired Magic Wand and the Dermatron, a device that worked off the natural conductivity of the human body. Oh to explore such a mind!!

Bruce Haack’s robotic songs were like a template to the work of Synth Pop artists from the 70’s such as Kraftwerk and Gary Numan, and his cosmic-psychedelic electronic music was a clear influence in the Space Rock scene!

Bruce Haack’s The Electric Lucifer is cited as one of the masterworks of 20th century electronic music. Originally recorded in 1968-69, it has been described as an “eminently listenable work where Pop-psychedelia and Moog musique-concrete sounds coalesce…”  There is definitely a lot of otherworldly sounds cracking off on this fascinating album!!! It has been reissued more recently and also contains today’s song, entitled Incantation….a rather apt title for a charm such as this! This song makes you feel like you are on one of those Ghost Train rides at a fair ground, but instead of the weirdness being something to fear, it instead fills your senses with wonder, excitement and anticipation! What pops up out of darkness is strangeness, indeed, but this kind of bizarre is highly enticing!

Incantation has also been sampled a few times in the past, with artists such as Homeboy Sandman and Edan (The Gut), Blockhead (Fire Is Warm) and J Dilla (Track 6) all sampling it!!

Listen and enjoy above and if you fancy listening to the rest of the album, you can find it here! 

Posted in Acid rock, Electronic, Experimental, Synth pop | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Eugène Mona – Bois Brilé

Georges Nilecam, better known as Eugène Mona, was a singer and flutist from Martinique. His all-too-short life on this planet ended when he was just 48 after an apparent altercation with a neighbour, which brought on a stroke. The most random of endings to a life that was full of music and creativity.

Son of musician, he was a leading artist in West Indian music and a songwriter who received great praise for his work from writers such as Patrick Chamoiseau (author of novels, tales, essays, theorist of Creole) and Raphaël Confiant (writer of  French expression and Creole). As a child he won a Creole singing competition at the age of 15 and made several appearances at the cinema (sometimes as an actor, as in Rue Cases-Nègres by Euzhan Palcy ), but also as a composer.  His songs contained powerful Creole literary content and his voice, well, his voice contained the mighty capacity to deliver this power with intense feeling and expression! 

He was also nicknamed “the standing Negro” or “poto mitan” and described himself  as a Creole artist, claiming African and European heritages, but also as an Indian artist – from which he introduced (in particular) Tamil sounds into his explosive rhythms.

He released several albums from the mid-1970’s, right through to the late 1980’s, but today’s rhythmic delight is taken from a Live album called Témoignage, which he recorded in 1989. Originally, however, the song featured on a 1973 record called Special Folklore – Boi Brilé, but was also recorded on this live version. I love its organic and earthy feel, which relies on nothing but his hypnotic flute playing and a steady, trance-inducing drum beat! His voice soars above this rhythmic din with effortless panache, the less-is-more approach drawing out the strength of his vocals.  Check it out above.

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SONG OF THE DAY Avanço 5 – Não sou de ferro 

I’m really loving the intro of today’s lively little psychedelic nugget! It’s great when a song just wallops you in the face with a big wall of sound, it makes it hard not to sit up and take notice!!..and never more apt was an album cover!!! A rocket flying on an intergalactic trip through the purple glow of space, with the smiling faces of all the band members encompassed in planetary shapes!! It’s colour spells vibrancy and the theme mirrors the cosmic joy that this music generates!!

Hailing from Brazil, Avanço 5 were a band (a five-piece if you haven’t already guessed!) that released just one album in their musical career. Entitled, Somos Jovens (translating as “We’re Young”), their one and only offering entered our orbit in the year 1970. Packed full of psychedelic sunbeams, this record really is, from what I’ve heard so far, a happy carnival for the ears!

I can’t find many more details on the band, sadly, but if anyone can assist with further information, I’d be really happy to discover more about this band? Não sou de ferro (translating as “I’m Not Iron”) is a little rocket that gets the blood bubbling and the ears buzzing!! Check it out above.

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SONG OF THE DAY Songs: Ohia – VU Anxiety

JSongs: Ohiaason Andrew Molina, better known as Songs: Ohia, spent nearly 15 years recording music. As a vocalist, musician and singer-songwriter he worked with a cast of rotating musicians over the years, all of whom supported his solo projects Songs:Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. I don’t know enough about this artist, I’ll be honest with you, but his untimely passing in 2013 was a tragedy..he was only 39!

In the years he was active, he produced a total of sixteen studio albums, eight EPs, and numerous singles. His overall discography was recognised by critics for his blending of indie rock, blues, and alternative country, and his notable tenor vocal range defined him!

Today’s song was originally (I believe) written in late 1998 and featured heavily in his 1999 tour schedule.  V.U. Anxiety was previously unreleased and though Jason Molina toured with this song, it has never been officially issued…until now! Secretly Canadian have today made this song available to buy and though this is the first time I’ve heard this, for those already aware of it, you may be chuffed to know you can now purchase it from one of these places! Check it out above.

Posted in Alternative, Alternative Rock, Blues, Secretly Canadian | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY The Elcados – Chokoi & Oreje 

Whatever the funk do you do with a song as groovy as this! Play it as loud as you can and forget its a foggy Tuesday, I say!!

Starting out as the Moonrakers in Nigeria in 1968, Steve Black, Rocky Mustapha, Tony Nosika and Frank Martins spent nearly a decade gigging their way into the bigger realms of African Funk.

By the time released their 1973 record, This World Is Full Of Injustice, the band had changed its name to The Elcados, and as time went on they began experimenting with a more disco/reggae sound. This isn’t a side to the band that appeals as much though, I definitely prefer their earlier Afrobeat, funk offerings a whole lot more! Which is why today’s song is such a treat! This appeared on that 1973 album and cuts a nifty groove into what is a fine specimen of Nigerian funk! Check it out above.

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SONG OF THE DAY Sinn Sisamouth – Beloved Girlfriend

My weary ears needed to hear something soothing and coaxing tonight and it just so happens that I  managed to find the perfect sound for this job!

It’s not the easiest of feats writing about an artist who’s well-earned title of “King of Khmer Music” stemmed from decades of prolific song writing, but this Cambodian singer-songwriter really did shape the music of his day – and, indeed, for years to come! Sinn Sisamouth was a Cambodian singer-songwriter active from the 1950’s to the 1970’s who was part of a thriving music scene in Phanom Penh.

Together with Ros Serey Sothea (whose career he help to launch & with whom he performed many a duet), Pen Ran, Mao Sareth, and other Cambodian artists, Sinn’s creations blended elements of Khmer traditional music with the sounds of R&B and Rock’n’Roll to develop a Cambodian rock sound. He also wrote many songs for the soundtracks of a number of popular Cambodian films and though it was his parents wish for him to become a Dr, music was always his dream!

Sisamouth displayed a natural talent for singing and learned to play stringed instruments at the age of six or seven.  He was composing before he left school (at 16) and was soon hired by the Cambodian national radio station as a singer with its band! You only have to hear his voice once and it becomes immediately evident that his tender, crooning tones were a defining and striking feature! One that was likened to that of Nat King Cole, while his stage presence has been compared to that of Frank Sinatra.

During the Cambodian Civil War in the early 1970s, Sisamouth was a supporter of the Khmer Republic military and recorded patriotic songs supporting the Republic’s stance against the Khmer Rouge insurgents. His career continued until the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh in April 1975 and what became of him during the Khmer Rouge genocide was never known. His exact fate has never been confirmed and just like Ros Serey Sothea, his last days are a mystery.  What he left behind, however, is a wealth of beautiful sounds and literally hundreds of songs – his son, Sinn Chanchhaya, believed that he wrote roughly one song for every day that he was a professional musician and this covered a period of nearly 20 years!).

One of his many original songs is today’s offering (translated as), Beloved Girlfriend, and though I cannot confirm an exact release date, I can recommend that you delve deeper into this artists extensive repertoire if you find yourself enjoying this? His voice really is a thing of beauty!…especially also in his cover of the old and much-loved Mexican song from 1945 called Besame Mucho. Listen above.   

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SONG OF THE DAY Isaac Sasson – Chuma

For his latest record, Venezuelan singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Isaac Sasson pays tribute to the wonders of the natural realms. Summoning the sounds of the wind, birds, crickets, fallen leaves and the atmosphere of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas by night, Sasson also draws inspiration from his daytime wanderings through the meadows of the Pyranees. Incorporating both locations and their natural draws, he has created a parallel universe that joins his home country of Venezuela, and his current place of residence in Barcelona, Spain.

Canciones de Isaac was released two days ago on UK’s Olindo Records and is the 7th full length offering from this exploratory artist. Played best in its entirety, all songs on this album offer brief flashes of earthy delights, each sound an experience, offering up nature in all its raw and beautiful glory. I love how he sings his songs alongside the accompanying sounds of bird song; sharing the limelight as both voices sing as a duet!

Throughout the LP, Isaac’s gentle voice is accompanied by the traditional bandola llanera, charango and cuatro; various percussion and wind instruments; and carefully arranged strings. The 13 songs on the album develop a narrative built around personal stories that touch upon human emotions, family ties and friendships, to craft a collection of sonic postcards that evoke memories, places, travels and moments spent with loved ones during the musician’s journey between two continents.

Recorded between Caracas and Barcelona, and mostly mixed by Fidel Goa, the results carry hues of the Venezuela Caribbean, with hints of the Mediterranean thanks to the additional mixing work of Benet Serra. Mastered and cut by Frank Merritt at The Carvery, the music is beautifully complemented by illustrations from Andreína Vallés, with additional design by Brunella Giannangeli.

Chuma is the track that drew me into this glorious world and after several plays today, I just keep loving it more each time! Check it out above and listen/purchase the rest of the album from here. 

Posted in Acid Folk, Afro-Caribbean, Experimental, Folk, Jazz, latin world, Psychedelic, World | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Father John Misty – Funny Girl

In the past I’ve dabbled with some of Father John Misty’s ever-engaging creations, but have really taken to his latest single, Funny Girl! With its classic, orchestral-adorned and rather lavish crooner sound, I love the delight of the music, verses the darker edged lyrics! It’s got that lulling-draw-of-danger- wrapped-up-in-sweetness thing about it!!

The single appears on his his fifth album, Chloë and The Next 20th Century, which is his first new material since the release of God’s Favorite Customer in 2018. Written and recorded August through December 2020 and features arrangements by Drew Erickson, the album sees Tillman and producer/multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Wilson resume their long time collaboration, as well as Dave Cerminara, returning as engineer and mixer. Basic tracks were recorded at Wilson’s Five Star Studios with strings, brass, and woodwinds recorded at United Recordings in a session featuring Dan Higgins and Wayne Bergeron, among others.

Funny Girl was written as a nod to the the bittersweet 1964 showbiz musical of the same name starring Barbra Streisand and outlines the story of an onlooker who is charmed by a comic that appears in “the new live-action Cathy” and makes an appearance on Letterman. For a moment, the infatuation borders on creepiness as opposed to equal adoration and as he sings the lyrics, “Could you pencil in an industry outsider? / Yeah, you’re young but, baby, you’re not getting younger,” Misty sings with a sinister undertone. Later, missed schedule alignment could be read as stalker behaviour with the line, “Funny girl / For once your timing wasn’t great / I must have missed you by a day.” It gets you thinking! It’s a charm and if you are interested in watching the accompanying video, I’ve included it below too! Enjoy!

Chloë and The Next 20th Century is due for release on April 8th, 2022 and can be pre-ordered form here! 

Posted in Alternative, Alternative Rock, bella Union, Surf pop | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY  Los Martinicos – El Diablo

If, like me, you lack a certain sparkle after a long and busy week, then prepare yourself for some sonic nourishment in the form of today’s sonic medicine!

Released on a Mexican label called Orfeon in 1969, El Diablo is a rare Latin soul track recorded by a band called Los Martinicos. The band were an Argentinian group led by the main vocals of Henry Osorio, a.k.a Henry Nelson, who was also the main voice of the band. Today’s song was actually the b-side to El Amor Es Un Bicho, and both tracks are, I’ve now discovered, rather sought after!

Such is the case of this rare offerings that I cannot find out too much else about the band either, but what I do know is that their vocals are something that makes their sound stand out! Especially with today’s song, check out those harmonious La La La’s as they collectively adorn this little firecracker with a lashings of dazzling joy! Smiles all round really! What more do I need to say? I just hope you are smiling too as you listen? Check it out above.

Posted in Funk, latin world, Soul | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment