SONG OF THE DAY Donald Byrd – Cristo Redentor

It’s not often I delve into the realms of jazz, but when I heard this track on the radio this morning I had to find out what it was!

Originally released on 1964, Christo Redentor was a song performed by the American jazz trumpeter, composer, bandleader and educator, Donald Byrd.  An active musician for nearly 60 years, Donald Byrd was known as one of the only bebop jazz musicians who successfully pioneered the funk and soul genres while remaining very much a jazz artist.  As a bandleader, Byrd is notable for his influence on the early career of Herbie Hancock, with whom he performed with throughout the mid 50’s; also playing alongside an array of other leading jazz musicians such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Theolonious Monk!

Today’s song appears on A New Perspective, Donald Byrd’s 1964 record that featured a whole gospel choir and a septet consisting of himself on trumpet, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, guitarist Kenny Burrell and pianist Herbie Hancock.  Released on the Blue Note label, the album is one of his better-known offerings, identified as a milestone in his career with Christo Redentor described as a “memorable effort that is innovative in its own way.”

In 2017 A New Perspective was ranked at number 194 on Pitchfork’s list of the “200 Best Albums of the 1960s,” which comes as no surprise as the LP boasts a beautiful balance of soul and jazz, offering the likes of me the opportunity to enjoy the more soulful side of what I can sometimes find a hard-going genre.  In an article I read about Donald Byrd he had this to say of the project:

“I mean this album seriously. Because of my own background, I’ve always wanted to write an entire album of spiritual-like pieces. The most accurate way I can describe what we were all trying to do is that this is a modern hymnal. In an earlier period, the New Orleans jazzmen would often play religious music for exactly what it was – but with their own jazz textures and techniques added. Now, as modern jazzmen, we’re also approaching this tradition with respect and great pleasure.”

Posted in Instrumental, Jazz, Soul, Soul spiritual jazz | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY RF Shannon – Hotevilla

If music had the power to physically teleport me to another place, I’d be feeling the scorching heat of the desert on my face by now, with endless vast blue skies unfolding before me…if only…  With RF Shannon’s Hotevilla you get the next best thing because this song, this 11 mesmerising minutes of smouldering song, really sucks you in until you can almost taste the sand particles sizzling on your tongue as you breathe deep this vast, desolate sound! It’s hypnotic escapism at its finest!!

Shane Renfro, a.k.a RF Shannon, is a Texas-based psych-americana musician who emerged last year with his debut album,  Jaguar Palace (check out his latest album here).  Today’s song appears on this record and after working my way through it recently (though drifting is probably a much more apt word), I am happy to have discovered not only a very gorgeous album, but a mellow place to escape to when all I want to do is be lost in the big wild wilderness….which is most days!!  So, surrender your senses to 11 minutes of big sonic soundscapes and enjoy Hotevilla above.

Listen/purchase Jaguar Palace from here

Posted in American Folk, Americana, Country, desert psyche, Folk, Psychedelic, Psychedelic rock, Texas | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Irma Vep – Evil

It’s a little bit strange (in a good way), it’s a little bit quirky, it’s a whole lot psychedelic and a big mamma, mountain-sized chunk of cool!…..I present you today’s track: Evil, a truly wicked piece of lo-fi,retro, 60’s inspired bliss!!

Irma Vep is the latest project from Edwin Stevens, a Welsh musician who is currently making a name for himself in Glasgow’s guitar underground.  Available via Handsome Dad Records on the 22nd of next month, it came as quite a relief to me that Evil will soon be mine!!…all mine!! It’s a great track and I loved it in an instant and if you are loving it just the same, here is where you can purchase your copy! 


Posted in Garage pop, lo-fi, Psychedelic, Psychedelic rock, UK | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY The Magnificent Tape Band – Black Tiger

Founders of Leeds soul and funk label ATA Records, Neil Innes and Pete Williams, a.k.a The Magnificent Tape Band, are to release a new album later this month.

Taking inspiration from the more abstract realms of soul, The Subtle Art of Distraction is a record that combines psychedelic soul with British library music to create a very distinct and dramatic sound.  Using original 1960’s recording equipment the album immediately brings to mind the more experimental psychedelic soul records of the late 60s/early seventies by incorporating driving clavinet, loping drums and swirling organ and Mellotron alongside Rachel Modest’s powerful vocals. 

Recorded in a disused garage on the outskirts of Leeds, The Subtle Art Of Distraction uses an array of vintage equipment to create a dark musical landscape and first single Black Tiger is no exception to this with its atmospheric, punctuated rhythm and striking, cinematic vocals.  Check it out above and pre-order your copy of the record from here. 

Posted in ATA Records, Funk, Leeds, R&B, Soul | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Lost Arts – Marlowe (L’Orange & Solemn Brigham)

“An artist afraid to overreach himself is as useless as a general who is afraid to be wrong” (Raymond Chandler) 

Producer L’Orange & rapper Solemn Brigham have just joined forces under the name Marlowe and, true to the words of screenwriter and novelist Raymond Chandler (as quoted on their Bandcamp page – see above), the duo have shown no fear on the innovation and experimentation front!

Due for release this July via Mello Music Group Marlowe’s eponymous album consists of 17 tracks, fusing prohibition and civil rights-era samples with tough lyrical content that tackles issues such as urban decay and police brutality.  Musically the album is inspired by an array of artists such as, Sam Cooke, Ice Cube, Otis Redding, Chuck D, Curtis Mayfield and KRS-One, also infusing Asian psychedelic rock flourishes into the mix.

First single Lost Arts, is the one thing here NOT true to its name, for there is no sign of any artistic loss here!! No siree!! This is one beat-tastic hit if ever I heard one!  Available via their Bandcamp page, Lost Arts is being offered up as a free download right now which, as far as I’m concerned, is the best news I’ve heard all day!!

Marlowe’s self-titled album will be released on July 13th th via Mello Music Group. Pre-order the record from here. 

Posted in beat music, beats, hip hop rap, Rap, rap soul | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Little Milton – Blind Man

When I first heard this song I immediately thought it was Bobby Bland, which is funny because he was actually the first person to record and release this song, but the version I was listening to was actually the first official cover performed by Little Milton.

Better known as Little Milton, James Milton Campbell Jr was a blues singer and guitarist who started making music at the age of just 12 when he performed regularly as a street musician.  Heavily influenced by T-Bone Walker and the sounds of blues and rock’n’roll, Little Milton was in his first band whilst still only a teenager and it was at this point that he got his first record deal!  In 1952, whilst out playing with his band, he caught the attention of Ike Turner, who at the time was a talent scout for Sam Phillips at sun Records.  He signed a contract with the label and recorded a number of singles, but none of these made airplay and (subsequently) poor record sales were a reflection of this; by 1955 he had left the Sun Records.

After several failed attempts so secure a position with another record company Milton set up his St. Louis-based Bobbin Records label and it was through this that he scored a distribution deal with Leonard Chess of Chess Records!  It was at this point that Milton also began to produce records, helping artists such as Albert King and Fontella Bass rise to fame, whilst also experiencing his own success for the first time!

After a number of small format and regional hits, his 1962 single, So Mean to Me, broke onto the Billboard R&B chart, eventually peaking at #14.  His next release brings you to today’s song, Blind Man, which Little Milton released as a single in the December of 1964, just 10 months after Bobby Bland released the original (which you can listen to below).  Both Bland’s and Milton’s versions are great, but it was Little Milton that introduced me to this track and I am rather fond of his powerful rendition so check it out above!

Posted in Blues, cover version, Funk, Soul | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Kologbo feat. Monkuti – Cool Down

Nigerian Afrobeat guitar legend Oghene Kologbo has been making music ever since he was a young teenager!  Spending many years performing with Fela Kuti, he later went on to record more than 50 records with his band, Afrika 70.

To celebrate a life in music, Paris DJs are releasing a brand new song on the 6th of every month, labelling this as ‘Kologbo Day.’

This month’s offering is entitled Cool Down and features Parisian afrobeat band Monkuti, with production courtesy of the Grant Phabao relentless music factory.  The message is clear, as Kologbo tells it: “Cool down everyone, use your brain, and think something right for the sufferation of people. Everything is going astray so we need to cool down and do something”… Listen above and purchase your copy of the single from here. 

Posted in Afro beat, Afro jazz, Blues, Funk | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Scacy & Sound Service – Sunshine Pt. 1

Are you ready for some mighty funk? I surely hope so because today’s bodacious blast of bold r’n’b will shake you to the bone!  Reissued via Germany’s Tramp Records last month,  Sunshine Pt. 1 was originally released in 1972.

Performed by Irving ‘Scacy’ Haywood and the Sound Service, Sunshine was written by the band’s organist and recorded at Track Recorders in Silver Spring, Maryland in 1972.  Irving ‘Scacy’ Haywood had been singing ever since the age of just 13 years old and emerged in 1961 as part of a group called The Vells.  That same year, after winning a talent show contest, the band’s prize took them to the Howard theatre where they soon found themselves performing alongside the likes of Marv Johnson, The Flamingos, The Cadillacs, Billy Blann, Etta Jones and Mike Gram, M C.!

It wasn’t until the early 1970’s that Irving changed his newly formed band’s name to Scacy & the Sound Service and the rest as they say…… Check out today’s glorious hunk of funk above and order your copy of this newly reissued 45 at Tramp Records here. 

Posted in Funk, hip hop, Jazz, R&B, Soul | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY RF Shannon – Tooth Ache

Yesterday I endured an ordeal in a dentist chair that lasted for over 1.5 hours! I can safely say it was one of my worse dental experiences ever and I can imagine that you may be wondering why on earth I am sharing this seemingly random piece of information, but there is a link so bear with me!

Today’s song came up in a feed I was listening to yesterday, I liked the song before I even knew the title, but when I discovered the track was called Tooth Ache I did grin to myself marvelling at the timing of this chance find!

Shane Renfro, a.k.a RF Shannon, is a Texas-based country musician who emerged last year with his debut album,  Jaguar Palace.  Yesterday saw the arrival of follow-up record Trickster Blues which, unlike its predecessor, was laid down in a very short space of time as Shannon explained in a press release: “We kept a quick pace due to external circumstances via random or otherwise inevitable interruptions, so we learned to take what we could get. If a take was good, it was a keeper, we didn’t second guess it. In just four days we had demoed the majority of my new material and it just felt so right.’’

The album was demoed in four days in Marfa and recorded in two in Lockhart, Texas with the help of Jesse Woods and Will Patterson.  In essence the album captures the raw spirit in which it was recorded, going with a ‘seize the moment’ feeling and running with the good sound it created in what was only a few short takes.  Explaining the writing process, R.F Shannon also describes how, “The lyrics are about acknowledging consequences and saying “so what”, the reward is worth the risk, etc. It’s about feeling a pull, a calling, and dedicating to it hell or high water, whatever that may be. It’s the heart of it all.’’

True to its name, the record encourages lighthearted reflection and in doing so offers possibility and optimism through its dreamy sonic soundscapes.  On his Bandcamp page, R.F Shannon also details the meaning of the album’s title by explaining how:  “I think that’s what this record will always mean to me. That’s kind of the Trickster in a way. Many different facets, and much more than I can say in this context, but the name conjures a sort of pure whimsical mischief, a dose of raw wild impulse that reminds you to laugh at whatever it is that’s happening, or else its laughing at you. Either way, you end up with something to learn” 

I really like this album and the warm, hazy feeling that comes out of its eight mellow tracks.  First song Tooth Ache is such an easy listen, cool and soothing to the ears opening with the line ‘take it slow,’ which is just what you will want to do after you press play and let this album unfold..It has certainly worked its desert-drenched magic on me! I’m sold! Check out the song above and listen/purchase the rest of Trickster Blues from here.

Posted in Alternative, American Folk, Americana, Country, country blues, Psychedelic, Psychedelic rock | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

SONG OF THE DAY The Buttertones – Midnight in a Moonless Dream

LA’s cinematic retro-rockers The Buttertones are a force to be reckoned with!  Their furious relentless energy is a defining feature and if you just so happen to find yourself drawn into their powerful magnetic orbit, you’d better hold on tight and prepare yourself for one crazy ride!  One of my favourite discoveries in recent years, The Buttertones have been a constant ‘stand-out’ band for me ever since I stumbled upon them in 2015.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of their latest album and now the day has finally come,  Midnight In A Moonless Dream is out and from what I’ve heard so far, these little beauties have scored another corker with this record!! It’s superb!!!

The album’s title track snarls its way through moody soundscapes with a belting-beat hot on its tail, smouldering and intense like a coiled spring the pace is stomping.  It’s all fast, furious and fantastical!!!

Midnight In A Moonless Dream released today via Innovative Leisure.  Oder your copy from here. 

Posted in Alternative Rock, Alternative rock/blues, cinematic, Garage Rock, Innovative leisure, LA, rock n roll | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment