Monday, October 31, 2011

Fatala - Fatala (1988)

Returning from a couple of weeks of hiding from the cyber world, in a more verdant environment, today I bring you a tasty dose of mandé percussion with the Guinean group Fatala. Recorded in the pristine Real World Studios, this album has long been a favorite of mine.

Led by percussion master Yacouba Camara, the nine tracks are dominated by intricate and compelling drumming, but the singing of Mabinty Sahko is noteworthy, despite being mixed underneath the percussion. The timeless classic "Yékéké is given a refreshing roots interpretation, but the love song "Boke" is perhaps the strongest and best-balanced production on the album.

This record was rereleased on CD in 1993, as Gongoma Times, which still may be available, but this is the original release.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dimensión Costeña - Palo de Mayo (1984)

A few months ago I posted the first palo de mayo record made in Nicaragua, the wonderful Barbaros del Ritmo. Today I offer another listen to the infectious dance music from the Atlantic coast, a land of tropical rainforest rimming the Caribbean Sea. Dimensión Costeña was the hottest dance band in Nicaragua during the 1980s, performing at countless festivals and celebrations. This is one of two records I have from this band, and it has a characteristicly long, amped Caribbean medley that leads inevitably to sweaty bliss at a dance party. Rustic, but hot!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jazz and Hot Dance in South Africa 1946-1959 (1985)

Occasionally you happen upon a golden album by chance, in a bin where it's totally out of place or one where normally you would never look. Although I do not quite remember where I found this one, I know it was serendipitous, and that I was in luck.

Jazz and Hot Dance in South Africa is a compilation of early jazz recordings from that country. The bopping begins with the Manhattan Brothers, and it does not slow down through 16 songs lasting 43.5 minutes. These are African mutations of American jazz from earlier decades, treasures from the shabeens that grew into distinctive township jazz. There are too many bands to name, but the highlight for me is the early Dorothy Masuka hit, "Ba Zali Bami." The hip song from the Shanty City Seven is sweet, and the closing track spotlights well-known penny-whistle jive master, Spokes Mashiyane.

This collection reminds my of John Storm Roberts' Original Music efforts due to its unearthing of rare vintage recordings and their detailed presentation. Every track has all available details included on the record sleeve: musicians, original publishing date and source, and English translations of song titles. I've included close-up photos of the extensive notes in the download, but a better option is to head over to the wonderful archive FlatInternational, where all the notes are published on the web.

Most, if not all of the songs, were taken from original records, so there is normal surface noise, but that does not detract at all from the great music. Jump and jive to this one, baby!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Franco and his All Powerful O.K. Jazz - Sorcerer of the Guitar (1984)

Here is the U.S. version of Franco's classic Tres Impoli from 1984, which was posted last year on Global Groove. I post this version for the somewhat garish cover, the English translation of "Tres Impoli" on the back cover, and the exceptionally clean sound. One of my favorite Franco songs is on this record, the duet with Madilu called here, "Tu Vois?" That song is so good, it reappeared a year later renamed "Mamou," on the album Franco et le T.P. O.K. Jazz Presents Madilu System. Under either title, it is classic.

All three of the songs on this album are delicious and need no other recommendation.