SONG OF THE DAY Sorry Bamba – Porry

One of the most pivotal figures in the history of Malian music is Sorry Bamba! Born to a noble and a veteran in 1938, it was music that shaped Sorry Bamba’s life and his birth home that sparked this lifelong journey.  Mopti, a.k.a “The Venice of Mali,” is a city located where the rivers of Niger and Bani join; its location a hub great cultural  diversity.  Growing up in this vibrant city ignited a curiosity in Sonny and from this came an insatiable desire to learn! This passion still characterises Sorry’s career to this day!  

Sorry’s father was long-serving officer of the Emperor Samory Touré’s army and under Mali’s strict law, this meant that he was forbidden to play music (this was an art reserved exclusively for griots). However, after being orphaned at a very young age, Sorry turned to music for solace, channelling his energy and focus into a six-holed flute.  His interest in music only grew as he got older and in his teens he developed a taste for a rich variety of sounds, including traditional Malian music and highlife from Ghana.  He would learn from other artists and gained a lot of influence from local musicians, including accordion master Toumani Touré, Corsican vocalist Tino Rossi, and Luis Mariano, a singer from Spain’s Basque country (who would influence his later work).

In 1957, Bamba formed his first band, Group Goumbé and for the next five decades he continued to perform with psych-funk/traditional Malian folk collectives, Bani Jazz the Kanaga Orchestra. In 1977 Sorry produced Du Mali, his second LP for the Paris based Sonafric group and this is where today’s song can be found. Porry is a glistening gem that spans over a blissful 11 minutes, where inspiriting vocals entwine with multi-textured melodic layers.  Horns explode with sound as they usher you to into realms of hypnotic euphoria and the whole experience is rather dazzling! Check it out above and listen to the rest of the album here. 

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SONG OF THE DAY Shirley Bassey – Jezahel

Most of the time the original to any song is the one you prefer, even if its not the first version you heard?  I say ‘most’ of the time because I’m sure there will be exceptions? For me, today is one of those!!

Shirley Bassey didn’t just cover Jezahel (or Jesahel as the original artist entitled it), she completely smashed it! Her voice transcends any other rendition I’ve ever heard!  Originally written and released by the Italian prog-rock band Deliurm in 1972, Shirley Bassey also issued her euphoric rendition that same year.  Featuring as the A-side to a single put out on the United Artists label, the song also appears on her album, And I Love You. Check it out above and listen to the wonderfully ‘flute’y’ original below.

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SONG OF THE DAY DJ Format & The Simonsound – The Peruvian

Back in 2011 DJ Format and The Simonsound teamed up once again to begin work on a new two-track project.  Eight years later, this single was finally released and what came out was their own electronic interpretation of two classic songs: Babe Ruth’s, The Mexican (check this on my blog, here ) and David Axelrod’s, Holy Thursday (check my blog here).  Whilst I’m not so sure about the Axelrod rendition, I love their Babe Ruth cover and chuckled when I saw the title they had given to this: The Peruvian!

The Peruvian was inspired by a record found in Tokyo which sounded like the guitar riff on the original version of The Mexican; this was the catalyst for the project!  In keeping with the original (which I very much love) the essence is much the same, only now the strong guitar melody is replaced by some cool, cosmic, fuzz electronics! Being only an instrumental you could anticipate that some of the oomph was lost, but on the contrary, this packs the same mysterious, dusty-desert buzz into its interstellar exploits!  Limited to only 500 pressings, you may find it hard to get hold of a copy of this, but very recently Mr Bongo Records featured The Peruvian on one of their great compilation series, Mr Bongo Record Club 4, which you can find here! Listen above. 

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SONG OF THE DAY Palace Music – More Brother Rides

There are moments in this song where Joseph Will Oldham a.k.a Palace Music (a.k.a Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Admiral Wiley Balls, High & Blue, Little Willy Bulgakov, Pushkin Will, Tusitala De Las Olas, Wayne Olephant, Will Oldham) hollers out some real Tim Buckley tones; such is the brilliance of this track! I love how one minute his vocals are projecting with great intensity, whilst the next they fade out with this melodic hoarseness. 

Today’s song appears on Oldham’s third album, Viva Last Blues.  Released in 1995 on Drag City Records, the record possesses a timeless quality and, to this day, still sounds as fresh and inviting as the day it was released!  More Brother Rides is one of my favourite tracks, I love the way he writes! Listen above and check out the lyrics below. 

Mention of the stars reduce us back
They, about them, have time’s things hanging;
We are around near the railroad track
Checking out the thundering
Names you call could have been ours
To call and live among them;
Friends come by and spend some hours
And then back down to working…

At night, things come and half a life
Not so silly walking
All different clothes in the half light
And a halting way of talking
There really was one way to be
Yet this is not it, we think
To be such younger folk as we
Not levelled as we drink

We’re busted up, so ragged down
And kissing and subsisting;
Our eyes glint wild and roll around
And the dog, he whines insisting
He asks that we allow the sex
To make us unrecognizable;
That we allow slow violence
To prove us rebaptizable 

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SONG OF THE DAY Joni Haastrup – Greetings (including a stripped-down raw funk demo version!)

Later known as Soul Brother Number One in Nigeria, Joni Haastrup was a bandleader and (striking) vocalist born in Nigeria to a Yoruban King. An early pioneer of the Afrofunk scene, he earned this title in 1966 after singing on Orlando Julius Ekemode & his Modern Aces’ 1971 Afro-Beat album, Super Afro Soul.  Later, in 1971, Haastrup got an unexpected break when Ginger Baker invited him to join him on tour as part of the Air Force band and further shows as part of the SALT project.   This opportunity gave Haastrup a taste for the big time and as soon as he returned to Nigeria, he formed his own band, MonoMono. Their debut album, released in 1973, was called Give The Beggar a Chance and was one of two albums plus a handful of singles put out by the band.  By 1975/76 the MonoMono’s had split and in 1978 Joni Haastrup released his one and only solo album, Wake Up Your Mind.

Greetings appears on this solo album and unleashes the dazzling vocal prowess that Haastrup was so celebrated for. Accompanied by some furiously vibrant funk melodies, this track even strays into the vivid highs of disco funk, forging an unexpected bridge between these two genres.  It’s a truly uplifting six minutes!!

**Extra bonus alert**  I’ve also just found a really cool (and only recently discovered) stripped-down, raw demo version of this song taken from outtake of some 1978 sessions entitled, Imokiraria!  Check this out below!

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SONG OF THE DAY The Gripsweats – Alpha Dog

Today’s otherworldly delight is a deep groove instrumental from 2016.  Coming to you from planet Colemine Records, this sleek chunk of monster funk has a real extraterrestrial feel, and if a Martian were to land on earth tomorrow, fully equipped with its own house band, this smoky funk frenzy is exactly how I’d expect them to sound! 

Hailing from Nashville, TN, The Gripsweats are a funk/soul outfit that originally formed as a studio project.  Eventually migrating to bandleader Andrew Muller’s basement studio, things soon changed and out poured a very rough and raw sound.

Released in 2016, Ziggy’s Walk b/w Alpha Dog was the band’s debut single and what a way to introduce yourself!  These swanky offerings dishes up some very tasty funk, with a slow-burning rhythm section, raw guitar and deliciously gritty darken the room and lets get smoky!  Check out the b-side, Alpha Dog, above and if you want to purchase/hear more, check that out here. 

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SONG OF THE DAY Piero Umiliani – Lady Magnolia

Attaining just the right balance between mellow and titillating, Piero Umiliani was on to a scorcher when he wrote Lady Magnolia. 

With a sound that transcends it’s original 1971 issue date, this track whacks out some ultra cool flute melodies and super-fine earthy beats! You can see why this song has been sampled over the years!!  It feels like walk in a fantasy park where bubble trees of marshmallow softness are adorned with multicoloured birds and leaves of velvet…or whatever form of escape your mind happens to take as this song whisks you off into dreamy realms.

Although he is best known for his lounge-oriented film scores like Svezia Inferno E Paradiso and Angeli Bianchi…Angeli Neri, Italian composer Piero Umiliani was also a prolific composer of easy listening jazz and pop.  Like many of his Italian colleagues at that time, he composed the scores for many exploitation films in the 1960’s and 1970’s, covering genres such as spaghetti western, Eurospy, Giallo, and soft sex films.  Although not as widely regarded as the likes of Ennio Morricone or Riz Ortolani, he helped form the style of the typical European ’60s/’70s jazz-influenced film soundtrack that later experienced a revival in films like Kill Bill and Ocean’s Twelve.

Some say that one of the finest album’s he released was his 1971 instrumental double LP, To-Day’s Sound.   This adventurous release dishes up 21 tight, punchy instrumentals that fuses lounge, jazz, easy listening and very funky pop hooks all in equal measure.  Another notable feat is that it incorporates the then-new Moog synthesizer into a large number of its tracks, adding what would have been (and still is) an exciting and contrasting texture of sound – Not to mention just how funk-filled this record is!!!

Lady Magnolia has become a favourite of remixers on the modern lounge music scene thanks to its effective combination of funk rhythms and sizzling synth lines.  Appearing on To-Day’s Sound, the song is one of the album’s 21 jazz/funk offering’s and if you like the sound of this, I can pretty much recommend you check out the rest! This record is packed full of deliciously intriguing and wonderfully groovy instrumental delights; I LOVE it!!!

Listen above and take a listen to the whole album here. 

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SONG OF THE DAY George Coleman – I Wish I Could Sing

For the opening track on his one and only album (released in 1969) George Coleman wished he could sing!!  Now, I dare say there may be some of you out there who will be frantically nodding in agreement when they press play; but as the shrill (dulcet??) tones of Coleman are unleashed upon the ears, nothing can prepare you for this sonic experience!

George Coleman was a American street performer, percussionist and singer. Known by many as Bongo Joe, he was often seen traveling round the US on a moped with his makeshift drum kit (a 55 gallon oil drum) strapped to his back!  He needed nothing else but his voice and percussion to devise his unique creations – of which were often satiric and improvised; his humour and world views were delivered with organic simplicity. Considered both an inspired and novelty act, Coleman developed a unique percussion sound as he toured popular tourist attractions in Texas and, given a choice, he preferred to perform on the streets rather than lucrative stage venues.

George “Bongo Joe” Coleman recorded just one album, Bongo Joe,  for Arhoolie Records in 1968 (which remains in production).   I Wish I Could Sing was the track that introduced me to him and I love it! I love quirkiness and drums, so this does it all for me really!! Check it out above.

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SONG OF THE DAY Beat Bronco Organ Trio – Missoula​-​Nairobi Pt​.​1

Earlier this year the Madrid-based, soul-jazz outfit, Beat Bronco Organ Trio, released their debut album, Road Trip.  Issued on Rocafort Records, the record boasts an inviting fusion of organ-led latin licks, jazz, funk, soul and r&b.

Bridging the link between the drummer’s hometown in Montana and the love of African rhythms, the Beat Bronco Trio are purveyors of all things percussive and uplifting.  Scattering their attentions into lively instrumental tracks, what you can be sure of when you listen to this band is plenty of funk action, deep grooves, crazy drumming and journeys into a wealth of absorbing sounds.  This stuff grips you and each song is a trip – a road trip!!

Today’s song is the bands most current release and was put out a couple of months back. Featured as a two-part song, Missoula​-​Nairobi Pt​.​1 /Pt.2 continues on the theme of road trips and musical travels.  Embarking from the land of the shining mountains, this offering takes us across wild continents as the rolling flutter of drums keeps the pace crisp.  Carried out across a live, 4-track tape machine, it’s sunshine all the way as vibrant melodies offer up a warm Latin feel, the dynamic breaks adding a splash of contrasting shade….Yum! Listen above and purchase both tracks from here. 

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SONG OF THE DAY The William Loveday Intention – People Think They Know Me (But They Don’t Know Me)

I’ve just spent the last few minutes trying to recall the name of the band this song reminds me of!  I got there in the end and it turns out that this IS actually the person it reminded me of! Ha! This is Billy Childish and he is back with a brand new and experimental project going by the name of The William Loveday Intention!

His voice is unmistakable but, for his latest project, his sound has slipped into a new and dusty realm.  Whilst some have said that this new reinvented sound is very similar to previous works, Childish himself claims that this has “a different feel to anything he has done before.” 

Inspired by classic spaghetti westerns and all things Ennio Morricone, some of his new offerings have a very desert/wilderness feel to them – take the project’s debut single, My Love For You, for instance!  This track appears on People Think They Know Me But They Don’t Know Me, the first of a four-album series which includes guest appearances from the likes of James Taylor (The Prisoners, JTQ), Dave Tattersall (The Wave Pictures) and trumpet player Tom Morley,  amongst others.  All four releases will be staggered over the coming Winter, with each being issued one per month.  The title track to this first album (which is out now on Damaged Goods Records) is what brought me here, so this is my feature of the day! Check it out above, listen to more here and read more about The William Loveday Intention, here.

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