Melting Pot

Archive for the ‘Dig Deep’ category

Modulos

Modulos – Realidad
Modulos – Todo Tiene Su Fin
Modulos – Dulces Palabras

As I’ll mention in more detail, eventually (I promise), when I put together a mix of the music I bought during my recent jaunt overseas, I hadn’t originally planned on spending enough time in Granada to be able to go to any stores, let alone three. But misfortune and misdirection led me to change my original plans and cause me to stay an additional day in a city that I now have quite a lot of affection for. Some of that certainly relates to the fact that they have a first class record store there in Discos Bora Bora.

In fact, after visits to Barcelona, Madrid (back in 2008) and now Granada, of the 8 or 9 stores I’ve been to in two trips to the country, Bora Bora is my second favorite store (next to Wah Wah in Barcelona). 03 (0) IMG_9387

Part of it relates to the selection, which is split between the usual genres we expect in US stores combined with an extensive 45 and LP collection of music produced in Spain. Part of it connects to the vibe of the store, which includes an adorable white boxer, requisite shaggy bearded employee, signed drum heads from musicians, vintage guitars and a mellotron in one corner and an upstairs oddball boutique.

In my first trip to Spain, I didn’t actually buy a whole lot of vinyl, and aside from a Canarios record I shared in Melting Pot’s early days, I didn’t buy much music recorded in Spain. I was keen to rectify that this time around and Bora Bora did not disappoint, particularly in terms of being able to check out some Spanish new wave, electro and post-punk from the early 1980s. But the record that I enjoyed most, perhaps my favorite single record from the entire trip was this one from Modulos.

As has often been the case, picking up this record was a matter of good timing. It wasn’t on the floor when I arrived, but was something that the guy behind the counter began to play maybe 45 minutes into my stay. The very first thing I heard was that kick drum, followed by the bass and then the guitar on the lead track, “Realidad,” which reminded me of Love’s version of “My Little Red Book.” While that piqued my curiosity, as that first minute rolled out I wasn’t really giving the song my full attention. But once it really started with the rolling drums, rolling guitar, rolling organ, I was definitely hooked but still cautious. My days of buying “one-tracker” albums are long behind me, and when I have a chance to hear a record I like to know that the album really is worth adding to my collection. Nothing else on the first side grabbed me the way “Realidad” did, so I was thinking I was going to pass. When Side 2 started with “Todo Tiene Su Fin,” I was back on board and finally asked what was playing and got a chance to see the band. Modulos2

At first I miss read the back on the LP, thinking that this had been recorded in 1981, though later I was able to figure out that album was released in 1970, the debut for the group, regarded as one of the better “progressive” groups from Spain. By the time “Dulces Palabras” came shimmering through the speakers, there was no way I was going to be leaving without this record. Again, time was on my side, because I got to process the whole album with very few people in the store. The album must have been a favorite of the employee cause he played it three times while I was there, and as the day progressed other people came up to him to ask about it, or chat about the sounds, but thankfully I had reserved it during that first spin, which allows me to share it now with you.

Cheers,

Michael

DaliCLock

I’m generally a pretty mellow dude, and definitely don’t consider myself a hateful person. But, if there is one thing in this world that I truly hate, it is Daylight Savings Time, the completely arbitrary movement of time forward that happens just as Spring approaches. There should be a special place in Hell for whoever came up with this idea (preferably one where they perpetually wake up and find that they are an hour late for every important thing that they could experience). To try and make up for the lunacy of DST, and the ill-mood that it puts me in, I decided to share a few things that I’ve picked up here in 2016. I haven’t bought too many records thus far, mostly because I’m saving up for a couple of trips in the Spring, but I did have a little spell where I bought a couple handfuls of 45s, and these are the best of the bunch.

Trippin

Dwight Houston and the Ghettos – Trippin

Don’t know much of anything about Dwight Houston, or his group “The Ghettos,” except that they put out this funky instrumental double sider on the Equator label. The flipside is an upbeat number labeled “Ghetto Stroll,” but something about the way this song struts it’s stuff in mid-tempo that gives me the feeling that the other song was meant to be called “Trippin'” and this is actually “Ghetto Stroll.” I know when I hear this, I immediately want it to be my soundtrack music for when I’m strolling through LA.

Marrero

Ricardo Marrero & the Group – My Friend

Ricardo Marrero’s A Taste is a true Holy Grail album, something that when it is sold, fetches prices more than twice my rent here in LA. It’s not likely to be a record that I ever own, but I’m happy to at least have this 45 featuring a couple cuts from the same group. The thing about this 45 is that there 4 different versions of it out there! Marrero and his group cut the first one as music for a soundtrack. Not entirely happy with the results, they went back into the studio to cut a second version of both “Babalonia” and “My Friend.” They then, much to the consternation of record collectors everywhere, promptly released the second version on their own Yu Qui Yu record label, with the exact same catalog number as the first. This version was later released on Don King’s Don record label and then there is apparently a fourth version, which features music from this second session, but in unedited form. Whichever one you find, if you find it, hold on to it. As you can tell from the breezy “My Friend,” featuring vocals by Angela Bofill, this one is a record that absolutely lives up to it’s reputation.

Owens

The Calvin Owens Show – The Cat

Also don’t know a whole lot about Calvin Owens, though I suspect he’s from the Texas area. “The Cat,” is an extra super greasy instrumental with a long break that would make folks in New Orleans happy.

Adams

Betty Adams – Make It Real (Ride On)

Speaking of New Orleans sounding records that turn out to not be from New Orleans, there’s this cut from Betty Adams. “Make It Real” has all the feel of NOLA Soul, but is actually an Ohio record. I’ll probably look for a mintier version of this one, because the song is just straight up Party-Startin’ Extra Sassy Sister Funk. Ride On indeed…

Odyssey

Odyssey – No One Else Pt. 1

Finally we come to Odyssey. Like a couple of the other records in this post, there’s not a lot of information I have about this group. They sound like George Clinton and Funkadelic stopped off in Memphis to hang with Willie Mitchell for a hot second. “No One Else,” sounds like no one else on the Hi Record label, just an epic slice of Psychedelic funk with a keyboard/piano line that you’ll likely have in your head for days and days after hearing this. The first time I heard this song I must have played 20 times back to back. According to Mr. Funk, Rickey Vincent, Donald Burnside of Chicago’s Captain Sky. What’s less clear (though someone I know said that Dante Carfagna confirmed it) is whether this is the same Odyssey that recorded for MoWest in the 1970s (Odyssey was apparently a popular name, as there are four or five other groups with the name that put out solid music around this time). The groups sound wholly different to my ears, so hopefully one day someone will not only clear this up, but also find the full session with the full take of “No One Else.” It’s the kind of thing that I spend hours thinking about, but since I lost that whole hour due to Daylight Savings Time, I’ll just use the time I got to keep dropping the needle, over and over again, on this gem.

Cheers,

Michael

WeldonSinbad

Weldon Irvine – I Love You
Weldon Irvine – Do Something For Yourself
Weldon Irvine – Music Is The Key

Because of some (fingers-crossed) big-ish plans for the 7th anniversary of this blog in July, I’ve recently tried to map out and plan some of my posts a bit more than I really ever do. As I was running through records that I wanted to share here I almost missed this album, thinking that I’d already posted something about it. What must have been in my mind was the though to post this up shortly after Don Blackman passed in 2013. Given that at the time my marriage was falling apart, it’s highly likely that that played a part in my decision at that time not to post this record. The reason for that is fairly simply. “I Love You” is perhaps my single favorite song from the 1970s. It’s an absolutely perfect, unabashedly romantic song and something that I’ve always wanted to sing to the woman I love. To date, I still haven’t had a chance to, but I’m posting this up on Valentine’s Day as a pledge to that woman, whoever she may be, that she’ll know when she hears this song exactly what it means.

In addition to the perfection of “I Love You,” Sinbad presents a cross-section of Irvine’s talents as a performer, bandleader and songwriter, with a large group including Blackman, Cornell Dupree, Eric Gale, Steve Gadd and Randy & Michael Brecker. There are crowd pleasing covers of Stevie and Marvin, funk/disco vamps like the title cut, pensive pieces like “Here’s Where I Cam In,” and Spiritual funk with “Do Something For Yourself,” and “Music Is The Key” that are representative of what I appreciate most from the career of Weldon Irvine. But ultimately it all comes back to “I Love You,” which is just one of the most absolutely perfect listening experiences from the decade of my birth. Valentine’s Day is every day with music this lovely.

Cheers,

Michael

Breakdown: Top 5 Finds Of 2015

January 5th, 2016

BestVinyl2016

***Honorable Mentions: Hansson & Karlsson – Monument [Atomic Records, Burbank], Vicente Rojas – A Las 2 A.M. [Tienda Seriosha, Habana Vieja, Cuba], The Perfect Circle – S/T [Atomic Records, Burbank], Horace Silver – Spiritualizing The Senses [Crate Diggers Record Fair, DTLA], Jards Macale – S/T [Tropicalia In Furs Pop-Up, Highland Park]

5. Muddy Waters – After The Rain – Cadet Concept [Gimme Gimme Records, Highland Park]
Muddy

Muddy Waters – Bottom Of The Sea

I’ve featured this record here already, but strangely enough, it seems I didn’t share the story behind how it came my way. Maybe the second or third time I’d been at the new location for Gimme Gimme, it turned out that comic Marc Maron was also there in the store. From what I hear, Maron really loves the store and has even filmed portions of his show there. On this particular day the owner was trying to get Maron interested in a couple of records that I’m extremely familiar with, the Howlin’ Wolf album and this album from Muddy Waters. Apparently he’d bought Electric Mud recently and seemed pleased with the Howlin’ Wolf record, but since this one was sealed and he couldn’t listen to it at that moment, he passed. Roughly 5 seconds after he left, I immediately went up to ask about this record, something I’d never seen “in the wild,” and a couple minutes later I was on my way. The album isn’t as wild as Electric Mud, but it’s still got that sludgy psychedelic sound, mostly courtesy of guitar master Pete Cosey. Very very happy to have this in my collection.

4. Modo – 7″ – Melodiya [Tienda Seriosha, Habana Vieja, Cuba]
Modo

Modo – Ziedu Karalis

As I mentioned previously, I was just as excited being in Havana to dig for Cuban music as I was about the possibilities of finding music from the Soviet Bloc, Africa or other places in Latin America. Picking this one up was a no-brainer, given that it seemed to be clearly from the 1970s and the band was also billed as a “instrumental ensemble.” Turns out only the A-side was an instrumental, a real proggy one at that, but the B-side featured two hard-core funk songs, including the break-tastic song I shared from this previously and “Ziedu Karalis” which I share here. I’m looking forward to picking up more from the band this year, now that I know a bit more about them.

3. Achim Reichel – AR4 – Zebra [Crate Diggers Record Fair, DTLA]
Achim

Achim Reichel – Vita

In terms of pure aural enjoyment, I think I’ve probably listened to this album the most in the later half of the past year. At some point in the near future I’ll share more from it in a Dig Deep post. Achim Reichel put out several Kraut-rocky albums in the 1970s. This one came my way at the inaugural Crate Diggers record fair in L.A. I didn’t have a great deal of money, but was hopeful that I’d run into some interesting titles. I didn’t even make it past the second table. Picked this up from a Vegas dealer who had a lot of solid and interesting records. This record didn’t have it’s original cover, was just in a white sleeve with “Zebra” written on the front. Perhaps because the print on the label was so small, it seemed that someone though that Zebra was the artist, instead of rightly noting Reichel’s name. Turned out to be a very good thing for me, since this record often sells for $100+ and I got it for $5.

2. Ensemble Al-Salaam – The Sojourner – Strata East [Groove Merchant, San Francisco]
Salaam

Ensemble Al-Salaam – Optimystical

Sometimes finding great records is just about timing. In this case, the record Gods smiled on me during a one-day trip to the Bay Area and to the Groove Merchant. Cool Chris wasn’t there, but B-Cause was able to call him up at the WMFU record fair to discuss the records I’d brought to trade. If not for that, I wouldn’t have had the money to pick up this record, one of the rarer ones on the already super rare Strata East record label and one of the deepest Spiritual Jazz records I own.

1. Rafael Somavilla – Instrumental – Areito [Tienda Seriosha, Habana Vieja, Cuba]
Somavilla

Rafael Somavilla – En Casa Del Pobre

Spending several days digging through the crates at Seriosha’s in Havana was one of the great vinyl experiences I’ve ever had. Part of what made it even more memorable was the process after returning to the States, spending hours cleaning off the 45s and LPs and then dropping the needle on the things that I had found. Even though I thought I knew a little something about modern Cuban music from the 1960s and 1970s, the vast majority of the records I bought were things that I had virtually no idea what they were going to sound like. As I’ve shared earlier, this Rafael Somavilla record was the one that surprised me the most, in terms of the diversity of sounds that were coming out of my speakers. All of the records I brought back from Havana were not winners, but even if 90% of them had turned out to be ruined, warped or scratched up, finding this record would have made up for them. We’ll see what I find on my second trip to Havana later this year.

Vinyl 2015

I may not have a radio station, but I still got records, a mixer, a voice, a computer and a microphone and so, this marks the return of “The Melting Pot Radio Hour.” As has been our tradition over the past five years, I focus on the “Best Of 2015” during this first week of the new year. Normally this show, focused on the best vinyl I found in 2015, comes at the tail end of the year. But it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these shows from home, and it will take some time to figure out a workable routine. Probably won’t have things the way I like them until next month, but still it’s nice to get back to sharing music. Tomorrow I’ll post my “Best Of 2015” show and all week I’ll be focused on the best music I heard throughout last year…Enjoy!

Melting Pot’s Best Vinyl Dug Up In 2015: Part 1
Melting Pot’s Best Vinyl Dug Up In 2015: Part 2

Playlist:
{opening theme}Boris Gardiner – Melting Pot – Is What’s Happening (Dynamic)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Rafael Somavilla – Dominga – Instrumetnal (Areito)
Nara Leao – Mamae Coragem – Nara Leao (1968) (Phillips)
The Savage Ressurection – Talking To You – The Savage Ressurection (Mainstream)
Muddy Waters – Blues and Trouble – After The rain (Cadet Concept)
The New Birth – You Are What I’m All About – Birth Day (RCA)
The Perfect Circle – Spreadin’ News – The Perfect Circle (Inner City)
Modo – Nevajag Raudat – 7” (Melodiya)
Los Tios Queridos – Si Me Ves Volar – 7” (RCA)
Rd Burman – Dil Lena Khel Hai Dildar Ka – 7” (Music India)
The Maytals – Disco Reggae – Toots Presents The Maytals (Chin Randy’s Records)
Vicente Rojas – Esto No Es Para Bailar – A Las 2 A.M. (Areito)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Mystery Band – Mystery Song – Mystery 12” (White Label)
The Nation Of Ulysses – The Sound Of Jazz To Come/N.O.U.S.P.T.D.A. – Birth Of The Ulysses Aesthetic 7” (Dischord)
The Power Of Zeus – Sorcerer Of Isis – The Gospel According To Zeus (Rare Earth)
Ronnie Von – Voce De Azul – Minha Maquina Voadora (Polydor )
Dungen – Soda (Instrumental) – Skit I Allt Instrumentals (Subliminal Sounds)
Achim Reichel – Vita – AR4 (Zebra)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Marinho Castellar – Atencao/Luando – Marinho Castellar e Banda Disrritimia (Novo Mundo)
Alice Coltrane – Turiya – Huntington Ashram Monastery (Impulse)
King Crimson – Lady OF The Dancing Water – Lizard (Atlantic)
Silvio Rodriguez – El Hombre DeMaisinicu – XX Aniversario De La Cinematografia Cubana (Areito)
Babu Satake – Tetego Hashi (Theme Song Lone Wolf & Cub TV Series) – 7” (Victor)
Carl McKnight – Pusher Man – Sweat & Steel (Trace)
Hansson & Karlsson – Tax Free – Monument (Polydor)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Ensemble Al-Salaam – Peace – The Sojourner (Strata East)
Sass – I Only Wanted To Love You – 7” (20th Century)
Juan Pablo Torres – Extracto De Son – Con Todo Los Hierros (Areito)
Jards Macale – Vapor Barato – Jards Macale (Phillips)
Tatsuro Yamashita – Dancer – Spacy (RCA)
John Kasandra – The Other Brother – The True Genius (Respect)
The Precisions – What I Want – 7” (Drew)
Lorez Alexandria – Endless – Didn’t We (Pzazz)
Baden Powell – Violao – 27 Horas De Estudio (Elenco)
The Outsiders – Start Over – Calling On Youth (Raw Edge)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

{closing theme} Horace Silver – Moving Forward With Confidence – Spiritualizing the Senses ( Silveto)

PerfectCircle

The Perfect Circle – Hands Of Time
The Perfect Circle – For Your Funkification
The Perfect Circle – I’ll Always Love You (Girl)
The Perfect Circle – Peaceful Funk

PerfectCircle2As is our tradition here on Melting Pot, the final post of 2015 belongs to the last record I bought, which in this case was a pretty solid one and something that I’ve had my eye on for a really long time. This Perfect Circle record has been just chillin’ at Atomic on their wall of fame for probably two or three years (though from a comment from the owner, it’s also possible that they had a couple on hand,instead of it just being the same exact record, who knows), just begging for me to buy it, and here on the final day of the year, the stars aligned. The Perfect Circle were a funk outfit out of the Bay Area, based in Oakland. It’s exactly the kind of thing that I probably would have asked Matthew Africa about and if he were still around I’m sure he would have had a story to tell. Inner City Records seems to be a private press, and from the note on the back (Inner City Records is a division of Inner-City Attractions a product of free, black, and new America), it must have been a righteous affair. I’ve included the thoroughly funky “Hands Of Time,” “Peaceful Funk” (did the whispers) and “For Your Funkification,” as well as a slow and sweet one “I’ll Always Love You Girl.” 2015 was a stellar year in terms of tracking down records for me (as you’ll get a taste in the return of the Melting Pot Radio Hour, looking at some of the best vinyl I got in 2015) and by all indications 2016 should be as good or better. Happy New Year!

Cheers,

Michael

SorpresaDos

It took a lot longer than I intended, but that longer wait, hopefully just made it all the better, especially since I get to present it as Christmas present to all of you…here (FINALLY!) is the second mix of music dug up in Cuba, this time focusing solely on LPs. Some of these records I’ve featured here, some I’ll be featuring in coming months, lots of fantastic sounds. I have no doubt that there will be more of these as I continue digging in Cuba, which I hope to get back to in May 2016. Until then..Dig On It!

Sorpresa Musical Volume 2

Sorpresa Musical Vol. 2 – Tracklist:
1. Mirtha y Raul – Ya No Habran Raices – Mirtha y Raul
2. Chucho Valdes – Invento No. 4
3. Rafael Somavilla – La Batea
4. Eddy Gaytan y Su Combo – Para Vigo Me Voy
5. Omara – Soy Cubano
6. Lucecita – So Una Raza Pura
7. Irakere – Xiomara
8. Los D’aida – Canto A Ogún/Es Mi Manera/Da Igual
9. Senen Suarez – Sonsoneando
10. Grupo Sazon – Baconao
11. Vicente Rojas – Esto No Es Para Bailar
12. Son 14 – A Bayamo En Coche
13. Pacho Alonso – El Upa Upa Del Chambelán
14. Juan Pablo Torres y Algo Nuevo – Extracto De Son
15. Juan Formell y Los Van Van – Cuentame
16. Olivia Byington – Procissão
17. José María & Sergio Vitier – Riesgo
18. Silvio Rodriguez – Cancion Tema De El Hombre De Maisinicu*

Julito

José María y Sergio Vitier – Riesgo
José María y Sergio Vitier – Persecucion
José María y Sergio Vitier – Despedida

Been a little while since I shared more from my Havana trip, and with the whole year on my mind here at the end of it, seemed like this would be a pretty good time (not to mention the fact that I FINALLY finished the second volume of Sorpresa Musical!). I previously shared compilation of Soundtrack music out of Cuba, but this record is the soundtrack for a single film, Julito, El Pascador. From the pictures and description inside it seems that Julito is just a normal fisherman, but he gets mixed up some “bad” people and drama ensues. Having not heard any soundtrack music out of Cuba, I really didn’t know what to expect. My hope was that since the record appeared to have been recorded and released in 1979, my hope was for some funky stuff. With a 55 piece orchestra, not including a chorus, there was really no way to know what to expect. For the most part the music, under the direction of brothers José María and Sergio Vitier, did not disappoint, with a number of nice pieces, but it’s “Riesgo” that really stands out. The song begins with an ominous, insistent and heavy set of drums, drums that never leave the song, even as flutes, organs, guitars and other instruments flit in and out of the mix. The song has almost a “Sweetwater” period Weather Report feel to it that really starts to cook about 1:30 in, when all the instruments fully come into the mix. Best be sure, that when I return (most likely in May 2016) I’ll be on the look out for more music from Cuban Films and especially from the Vitiers.

Cheers,

Michael

Outsiders

The Outsiders – Start Over
The Outsiders – Calling On Youth
The Outsiders – Break Free

First heard this last Summer during a quick jaunt to New Orleans, mainly just to buy records. The very first store I went to was Domino Records, and while I was there the clerk started playing this album. What really grabbed my attention was how very unpunk, especially for late 1970s UK punk, many of the songs were. On the first side especially, almost every other song was in a slower, moody and more introspective style. By the time I heard “Start Over” at the end of the first side, I knew this was record I needed to track down and asked about it.

The Outsiders were started up by Adrian Borland, who went on to more acclaim with The Sounds and on his own before tragically committing suicide by throwing himself in front of a train in 1999. This album, the debut for the band and Borland, was recorded at their family home by his father and released on their own label. It’s a raw sound and in some ways the slower and moodier tracks are even rawer than the “punk” ones. It’s clear even at this early stage that the depression that would ultimately would rob us of Borland was heavy on his mind. As someone who deals with depression personally, there’s a lot that I can relate to in a song like “Start Over.” Borland’s style and talents sharpened after this earliest moment, but I’m not sure if there’s anything that’s better than the purity that comes through in these songs.

Cheers,

Michael

HK

Hansson & Karlsson – Tax Free
Hansson & Karlsson – Triplets
Hansson & Karlsson – Collage

I must have been some crazy providence that the same week I got a copy of that Bruce & Vlady record, I ended up tracking down this LP over at Atomic in Burbank. I knew the name, “Hanson & Karlsson” because Jimi Hendrix name-checked them when he performed a version of their song, “Tax Free,” but had never heard their sound. After having had my mind blown by the organ/drum sound of Bruce & Vlady after a first listen, I had it blown all over again when I dropped the needle on the original version and heard that Hammond blazing and those drums crashing all over the place. My mind quickly became obsessed with another Swedish band and so I haven’t done nearly enough digging into the band, but it’s something I’m looking forward to doing cause I can’t imagine the breaktastic bounty that is waiting for their material recorded in 1968 and 1969.

Cheers,

Michael

Zeus

Power Of Zeus – The Sorcerer Of Isis
Power Of Zeus – It Couldn’t Be Me
Power Of Zeus – No Time

Today would have been Matthew Africa’s 44th birthday and as has been the case since he left us in 2012, many of the people who knew him and were influenced by him have been paying tribute to him on this day. This year the album I’ve chosen to highlight is one that I only discovered because of the memorial sale of Matthew’s collection. Like so many, just perusing all of those titles, some of which I distinctly remembered and many I simply had never heard, was quite an experience. While I was able to win some of the records that were most personally important to me (like the Fire Eater I shared last year), there were many many albums that I just missed out on or were way out of my meager budget. This album was one of the ones that got away, but just before my birthday this year I was able to track down a copy.

Power Of Zeus was a hard (I do mean HARD) psych band out of Detroit with a sound that showed they were clearly very big fans of Black Sabbath. MatthewAfrica2015“Sorcerer Of Isis” is the song that most people seek this album out for, and it’s got the kind of clean, open and hard rock drums that producers drool over. I was just as impressed with “No Time” and “It Couldn’t Be Me” where that heavy sound is also on display. I wish I’d been able to talk to Matthew about this record, instead of discovering after he passed, but then again, there never would have been enough time to talk to Matthew about all of the music he loved. Though Matthew was known for his soul and funk collection, his psych & rock chops were just as strong. In fact, Matthew is one of the few people I’ve known whose tastes were as diverse as mine. It’s rare to find people who really dig on as many types of music as Matthew did, which is one of the reasons his loss still hits so many of us so hard all these years later. But thankfully, there will always be the music.

Peace be with you,

Michael

VicRojas

Vicente Rojas – Esto No Es Para Bailar
Vicente Rojas – En La Nieve
Vicente Rojas – En La Orbita

September has belonged to records dug up in Havana, and for the last Dig Deep of the month, I thought I’d share this record from bandleader/producer Vicente Rojas. Like most of the music that I grabbed at Seriosha, I hadn’t heard anything about Rojas prior to getting this album. Since there’s no turntable there and I didn’t bring one with me, the music was going to remain a mystery until I got back home. When I went through the stacks, I pulled out way more records than I could afford and thus had to make tough choices about what to keep and what to leave behind.

With so little knowledge of many of these artists, I tried to focus on two things, instrumentation and catalog numbers. Without any recording dates mentioned on records, all I could do was compare this album to albums I already knew their recording dates. Having owned 3 or 4 Juan Pablo Torres albums from the mid-1970s to the 1980s gave me a way to contextualize what the album might sound like. Based on those records I knew this was late 1970s or early 1980s. Looking at the back cover revealed a long list of musicians, including a keyboardist who was listed as playing synthesizer, clavinet AND piano, but no listing for a singer/vocalist. That gave me the impression that this would be an instrumental album. Those two facts were more than enough to keep this record in the pile I eventually bought and brought back.

When I finally did get a chance to put the needle to the record, I was pretty blown away. “Esto No Es Para Bailar” is the first track and it was as if Giorgio Moroder had recorded an album in Havana, as totally spacey organ sounds eventually burst into a disco beat. “En La Orbita” has the feel of a song from a John Carpenter Horror film and “En La Nieve” bridges the gaps between these prior two favorite songs. It might take me a while to find out more about Vicente Rojas, but this was a most welcome introduction.

Cheers,

Michael

XXCUBA

Eduardo Ramos – Vocacion – Revolucion
Noel Nicola – Examenes y Narajanas
Silvio Rodriguez – Cancion Tema

Like Cuban music from the 1970s, Post revolutionary Cuban Film isn’t particularly easy to come across here in the States. when I went digging at Tienda Seriosha I was hoping I might find some soundtracks knowing that film industry was similarly supported by the government. Admittedly, I knew less about Cuban film than I did Cuban music, but just using the same logic I do when digging in the States, I figured that if there was music associated with films of the 1960s and 1970s, it would have to be as good as the records that were being released regularly. While I was only able to track down one full soundtrack (from a film called, Julito El Pescador, you’ll probably hear more from that later), I was able to grab this collection of film music, released in 1979 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.

The 15 tracks on the album are culled from six different films and feature some of the more popular Nueva Trova singers, particularly Silvio Rodriguez and Pablo Milanes (11 of the 15 tracks feature one or the other), with “Vocacion – Revolucion” and “Examenes y Narajanas” coming from the same film, a documentary titled La Nueva Escuela, while the Silvio Rodriguez track I’ve highlighted, “Cancion Tema,” comes from a film called El Hombre De Maisinicú. Both films were released in 1973 and have a sound that fits that period. I’d be curious to know how many films were produced during that 20 year period with full soundtrracks, but that is another mystery to look forward to uncovering on future trips back to Havana.

Cheers,

Michael

Somavilla

Rafael Somavilla – La Batea
Rafael Somavilla – Dominga
Rafael Somavilla – Mi Guajira No. 2
Rafael Somavilla – Mirando Traves De Un Mundo De Cristal

You can expect to see nothing but Cuban records in this section during this month, after my time spent at Tienda Seriosha in Havana. This LP might be my favorite of all of the ones that I picked up. Rafael Somavilla was a bandleader of some note in Cuba, primarily it seems with the Orquesta Cubana De Musica Moderna. For this album, songs were selected from Tony Taño, Juan Almeida and Raul Gomez. Knowing those names let me know that this would likely be a great record, as did the fact that there was a cover of Jorge Ben’s “Dominga” which I knew was from a record he put out in 1969. One of the other keys for me was the fact that the rhythms for the album were listed along with the songs and five of the songs were labeled as “Fantasía,” which more or less was used to describe psychedelic music in Cuba. With all of that, more than any other record, I couldn’t wait to clean this one up and drop the needle on it.

Once I did, as you can hear form the tracks above, the album did not disappoint. “La Batea” leads off the album and sets the tone, begining with what sounds like someone handwashing on a washboard and takes off from there into some really wild rhythms. The cover of “Dominga” closes up the album and shares quite a bit from the original, but smooths out the wilder edges of Ben’s original arrangement. In between those two stellar songs are eight other ones (“Mi Guajira” and “Mirando” just my two faves) that constantly flow into unexpected places. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more music from this period of time from Somavilla on my next trip.

Cheers,

Michael

Sorpresa Musical Vol. 1!!!

September 7th, 2015

Sorpresa1

Finally, here is my first mix of Cuban music dug up during my recent visit to Havana. In this case, I’ve focused only on the 45s, with 20 songs that cover a wide variety of styles, but heavily favor the 1960s. Stay tuned for Volume 2, focused on the LPs, in the very near future…Dig on it!

Sorpresa Musical: Volume #1

Sorpresa Musical Vol 1 – Tracklist:
1. Los Meme – Como Sea
2. Mirta y Raul – Donde El Cielo Va A Encontrarse Con El Mar
3. Orquesta Cubana De Musica Moderna – La Soga
4. Orquesta Cuba Ritmo – Chocolate Sin Menta
5. Martha Justiniani – No Tienen Color
6. Orquesta Sensacion – Shake De Amor
7. Mirta Medina – Donde Va Mi Corazon
8. Conjunto Los Latinos – Quemando
9. Senen Suarez – Ritmo Son Son
10. Farah Maria y Orquesta Egrem – Oh! Cuanto Te Amo
11. Los Van Van – Resuelve
12. Raul Gomez – 6 Son
13. Modo – Nevajag Raudat
14. Grupo Irakere – Baila Mi Ritmo
15. Raul Gomez – Anatomia De Un Problema
16. Puntillita – Olvidate Muchacha
17. Lourdes Gil y Los Galantes – Marty
18. Maggie Carles – Te Vas A Casar
19. Mirta y Raul – El Salvaje Del Amor Pierde La Felicidad
20. Chucho Valdes – Sonidos Siderales

Proudly powered by WordPress. Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Copyright © Melting Pot. All rights reserved.
[powerpress url="http://www.meltingpotblog.com"]