Friday, October 20, 2006

Even sillier!! 100 More Great & Groovy Albums

It’s a beautiful sunny day here on Whidbey Island. Things are drying out nicely . . . but blog obsession has set in and so here I am.

Cheeku, compiler of the excellently funky African Serenades Vol. 28 and the charmingly vintage and very grooving African Serenades Vol. 29 (see Matsuli’s archive), observes that he “might quibble about some CDs left off (none of the syliphone discotheque reissues or the bembeya retrospective?)” from my 150 Great & Groovy Albums list. He is, of course, only too right — those albums are not on my list and they are very fine albums. However, I can only comment that, over the years, I have also enjoyed immensely works by Azumah, Bonga, Captain Yaba, Djeli Moussa Diawara, Nahawa Doumba, Eyuphuro, Ghorwane, Abdullah Ibrahim, Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens, Antoine Moundanda, Pamelo Mounk’a, Kosmos Moutouari, Tshala Muana, Nyboma, Remmy Ongala, Geoffrey Oryema, Super Rail Band, and Philip Tabane & Malombo — to name a few other notable African musicians who did not appear on the list. Even the mighty Ali Farka Toure is not on it for reasons that I simply cannot explain this morning!

The situation gets even worse when you think about other genres with great artists mysteriously missing. From the world of reggae, there’s no Aswad, no Burning Spear, no Culture, no Heptones (except on Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Arkology compilation), no Gregory Isaacs, no Prince Far-I, no U-Roy. These are not insignificant names! We’re not finished listing the omissions when soul artists like James Brown(!!!), Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Little Willie John, Curtis Mayfield, Parliament, Otis Redding, and Percy Sledge are not to be found on my list. Yet, you can bet that I’ve spent many happy hours listening to their music.

From the world of Latin music, I’ve had serious affections for the works of Joe Arroyo, Bobby Matos, Charlie Palmieri, Pérez Prado (it’s true), Tito Puente, Toto la Momposina, and Mongo Santamaría. Jazz has given me Dizzy Gillespie, Jerry Gonzalez, Lionel Hampton, Yusef Lateef, John Lytle, David Murray, Leon Parker, Don Pullen, Pharoah Sanders, Cal Tjader, and Steve Turre in addition to the very few jazz albums that made it on to the list.

Among blues artists, I’ve frequently found musical companionship from the likes of Paul Butterfield, Olu Dara, Willie Dixon, Slim Harpo, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Milton, and Big Joe Turner. While I’m in a completist mood, let me mention three rock artists not on the list who have also tickled my auditory nerve endings pleasurably on a repeated basis: The Doors (sad but true), Jefferson Airplane, and Van Morrison.

And we haven’t even considered smaller and more unclassifiable genres that include musicians like Sussan Deyhim, Jon Hassell, Stephen Kent, Steve Roach, and Trance Mission. Then there’s India and Pakistan. What? No Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or the Tabla Tarang — Melody on Drums of Pandit Kamalesh Maitra? And where’s the new sound of the Maghreb with Natacha Atlas, Hamid Baroudi, and Gnawa Diffusion?

You get the idea. There’s a lot of music out there and I’ve hardly scratched the surface.

The obvious thing to do is to expand the list to 250 albums, but even then there’d be some of my personal musical greats who didn’t get on. This is the problem with making lists, you never finish — and someone always gets left out!!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Getting silly! 150 Great & Groovy Albums

Okay, this is getting silly! This is not rhythm! Nearly four months with no posts!! However, life on a mock homestead in the woods of Washington state tends to make focus on any one thing difficult — so my focus over the past few months has been diffuse and I've been splitting wood, building a Fort Knox of a composting system (to keep our dogs out), and inoculating our hopefully-to-be mushroom farm (shitake and pearl oysters, not the pyschotropic sort, sorry!). Real life has trumped bloglife.

The main musical event has been the selecting and sequencing of Wax d'Afrique Vol. 1 — African Fiesta Party, which Matsuli kindly hosted on his wonderful blog. In due course, I'll get around to writing some notes on the tracks and will repost it here on Black Magic Plastic Bullet. The very initial stages of Wax d'Afrique Vol. 2 — Ambiance Ambiance are also underway.

So without further ado, to sort of catch up in a hurry and dump a load of very slowly evolved content, here is my version of an idea I shamelessly ripped off from BiggaBush of his Top 100 albums. (It's a flashy interface: click on the Play button so it changes to Tunes and then click on the obvious for his list.) He compiled his list in Autumn 2002. In the ensuing four years, I think it reasonable to add a few more albums to allow for the passage of time and my own gargantuan tastes. I always hestitate to claim that anything is actually the best, so this is simply my list of 150 Great & Groovy Albums I Have Loved.

It's more or less in alpha order of artist for the year(s) of original recording, or the original release, whenever possible. I probably goofed up a couple of times; sometimes I can't tell from the release the exact year and have guessed. Especially in the case of retrospective compilations, there's a certain amount of fuzziness. If you know your shit, or care, inconsistences abound!

Certainly, the year of release was not always the year I was listening to the music. For example, I was not listening to Mingus in 1959 or Mulatu Astatqé in 1969 — unfortunately! However, in many cases I was cuing it up the week, even the day, of release. So, the list is both somewhat reflective of what I was into when as well as much of it being the result of obsessive musical archaeology since, both on my part and labels such as Soundway. Some attributions are to the original English labels, some to American releases, some to a label from another country, and some to some weird combination as I think appropriate and as represented in my collection.

And, of course, there are thousands of other great albums out there — but these are 150 of My Great & Groovy Albums!

1. Tony Allen Lagos No Shaking Honest Jon’s 2006
2. Etran Finatawa Introducing World Music Network 2006
3. Cheikh Lô Lamp Fall Nonesuch/World Cicuit 2006
4. V/A Our New Orleans 2005 Nonesuch 2006
5. Cheb i Sabbah La Kahena Six Degrees 2005
6. Ska Cubano ¡Ay Caramba! Casino 2005
7. V/A Africa Remix Ah Freak Iya Milan 2005
8. Abyssinians & Friends Tree Of Satta Volume 1 Blood & Fire 1969-2004
9. Antibalas Who Is This America? Ropeadope 2004
10. SambaSunda The Sunda Music Rice 2004
11. Trio Mocotó Beleza! Beleza!! Beleza!!! Ybrazil/Zirguiboom 2004
12. V/A Electric Gypsyland Crammed 2003
13. Richard Dorfmeister Presents—V/A A Different Drummer Selection Different Drummer 1992-2002
14. Gilberto Gil Kaya N’Gan Daya WEA Music 2002
15. Salif Keita Moffou Decca 2002
16. Lightning Head Studio Don Sonar Kollectiv 2002
17. Tito Paris Guilhermina Universal Classics 2002
18. V/A Select Cuts From Blood & Fire 3 Select Cuts 2002(?)
19. Dub Syndicate Acres Of Space Lion & Roots 2001
20. Orlando Cachaito Lopez Cachaito World Circuit 2001
21. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros Global A Go-Go Hellcat 2001
22. Marcos Valle Escape Far Out 2001
23. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tuni The Sultan Of All Munshidin Long Distance 2000
24. Culture Musical Club Bashraf Dizim 2000
25. Grupo Batuque Africa Brazil Far Out 2000
26. Sabah Habas Mustapha & Jugala All Stars So La Li Kartini/Omnium 2000
27. Issa Bagayogo Sya Cobalt 1999
28. Mose ‘Fan Fan’ The Congo Acoustic Triple Earth 1999
29. Cheikh Lô Bambay Gueej World Circuit 1999
30. Mas & Rallo Tamiz Harmonia Mundi 1999
31. Boy Gé Mendes Noite De Morabeza Lusafrica 1999
32. Peace Orchestra Peace Orchestra G-Stone 1999
33. Bally Saggoo Dub Of Asia ISHQ 1999
34. Yat Kha Dalai Beldiri Wicklow 1999
35. V/A Rhythm-Time: World Percussion World Music Network 1999
36. Manu Dibango & Cuarteto Patria CubAfrica Celluloid 1998
37. Mahmoud Fadl Love Letter From Tut-Ank-Amen Pi’ra:nha 1998
38. Taj Mahal & The Hula Blues Band Sacred Island Private 1998
39. Thierry ‘Titi’ Robin Kali Gadji Auvidis 1998
40. Kruder & Dorfmeister—V/A DJ Kicks K7 1997(?)
41. Lo Jo Mojo Radio Emma 1997
42. Manu Dibango Anthology Eagle 1960-96
43. Cheikh Lô Né La Thiass World Circuit 1996
44. Ernest Ranglin Below The Bassline Island Jamaica Jazz 1996
45. Sounds From The Ground Kin WaveForm 1996
46. V/A The Event Horizon City Of Tribes 1996(?)
47. Black Star Liner Yemen Cutta Connection Exp 1995
48. Coldcut—V/A Journeys By DJ JDJ 1995
49. The Disciples Resonations Cloak & Dagger 1995
50. Hank Jones Meets Cheick-Tidiane Seck Sarala Gitanes/Verve 1995
51. Pops Mohamed Ancestral Healing B&W 1995
52. 2 Bad Card Hustling Ability On-U Sound 1995
53. Loop Guru Duniya Nation 1994
54. Baaba Maal Firin’ In Fouta Mango 1994
55. Material Hallucination Engine Axiom 1994
56. Transglobal Underground International Times Nation 1994
57. United Future Organization No Sound Is Too Taboo Talkin Loud 1994
58. Jah Wobble’s Invaders Of The Heart Take Me To God Island 1994
59. Dub Syndicate Echomania On-U Sound 1993
60. Original Rockers Rockers To Rockers Different Drummer 1993
61. Papa’s Culture Papa’s Culture, But . . . Elektra 1993
62. V/A Ambient Dub Volume 3 Beyond 1993
63. V/A Ambient Dub Volume 2 Beyond 1993
64. Galliano A Joyful Noise Unto The Creator Talkin Loud 1992
65. Fela Kuti The Two Sides Of Fela Jazz & Dance Barclay/Universal 1972-92
66. V/A Ambient Dub Volume 1 Beyond 1992
67. Dub Syndicate Stoned Immaculate On-U Sound 1991
68. Gaspar Lawal Kadara GlobeStyle 1991
69. Massive Attack Blue Lines Virgin 1991
70. The Orb Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld Wau! Mr. Modo/Big Life 1991
71. P. M. Dawn Of The Heart, Of The Soul And Of The Cross Gee Street 1991
72. Baden Powell Afro Sambas JSL 1991
73. V/A Pay It All Back Volume 3 On-U Sound 1991
74. Beats International Let Them Eat Bingo Go! 1990
75. Gary Clail/On-U Sound System End Of The Century Party On-U Sound 1990
76. Coldcut What’s That Noise? Ahead Of Our Time 1989
77. Neville Brothers Yellow Moon A & M 1989
78. Remmy Ongala Songs For The Poor Man RealWorld 1989
79. V/A Pay It All Back Volume 2 On-U Sound/Netttwerk 1988
80. Lee Scratch Perry & Dub Syndicate Time BoomXDe Devil Dead On-U Sound 1987
81. Bim Sherman Haunting Ground RDL 1986
82. Doctor Pablo & Dub Syndicate North Of The River Thames On-U Sound 1984
83. Baaba Maal & Mansour Seck Djam Leeli Palm 1984
84. Youssou N’Dour Immigrés EarthWorks 1984
85. Franco et Rochereau L’Evénement! Genidia/Sonodisc 1983
86. Thomas Mapfumo Ndangariro EarthWorks 1983
87. King Sunny Ade Juju Music Island 1982
88. Orchestre Baobab Ken Dou Werente/Pirates Choice Miim’s/World Circuit 1982
89. Jackie Mittoo The Keyboard King At Studio One Universal/Soul Jazz 1965-82
90. Stevie Wonder Original Musiquarium I 1982 Motown
91. Creation Rebel Psychotic Jonkanoo Statik/On-U 1981
92. Dr. Orlando Owoh Greatest Hits Vol. 1 Music Biz International 1980s(?)
93. T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo Kings Of Benin Urban Groove Soundway 1972-80
94. The Beat I Just Can’t Stop It Go Feet/Arista 1979
95. Jorge Ben Brazilian Hits & Funky Classsics Manteca 1974-79(?)
96. Sam Mangwana Maria Tebbo/Waka Waka Stern’s 1978/79
97. Graham Parker & The Rumour Squeezing Out Sparks Arista 1979
98. Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry Arkology Island 1975-79
99. Rico Roots To The Bone Mango 1976-79
100. Specials Specials 2 Tone 1979
101. V/A Afro Baby Evolution Of The Afro-Sound Soundway 1970-79
102. Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks United Africa Wait-A-Bit 1978
103. Bob Marley & The Wailers Exodus Island 1977
104. Sex Pistols Never Mind The Bollocks Virgin 1977
105. Alhaji K. Frimpong Kyenkyen Bi Adi Mawu!/Public Demand West African Sound 1976(?)
106. Pierre Akendengue Nandipo/Afrika Obota Saravah 1973/76
107. Jorge Ben África Brasil Philips 1976
108. Graham Parker & The Rumour Heat Treatment Mercury 1976
109. Graham Parker & The Rumour Howlin Wind Mercury 1976
110. Lloyd Brevette with Skatalites African Roots Grover 1975(?)
111. Keith Hudson & Friends Studio Kinda Cloudy Trojan 1970-75
112. Augustus Pablo Original Rockers Greensleeves 1972-75
113. Skatalites Meet King Tubby Legendary Skatalites In Dub Motion 1975 (?)
114. V/A Studio One Rockers Soul Jazz ≈1960s/70s
115. V/A Studio One Roots Soul Jazz ≈1960s/70s
116. V/A Studio One Scorchers Soul Jazz ≈1960s/70s
117. Mulatu Astatqé Éthiopiques 4 Buda 1969-74
118. Taj Mahal Mo’Roots Columbia 1974
119. Etta James Etta James Chess 1973
120. The Wailers Burnin’ Island 1973
121. Bob Marley & The Wailers Catch A Fire Island 1973
122. Roxy Music For Your Pleasure EG 1973
123. Sly & The Family Stone Anthology Epic 1967-73
124. Captain Beefheart Clear Spot Reprise 1972
125. Jr. Walker & The All Stars Ultimate Collection Motown 1962-72
126. Captain Beefheart The Spotlight Kid Reprise 1971
127. Hawkwind Hawkwind Liberty 1971
128. Pink Fairies Never Never Land Polydor 1971
129. Edgar Broughton Band Sing Brother Sing Harvest 1970
130. Bob Marley & The Wailers Rasta Revolution Trojan ≈1970
131. Bob Marley & The Wailers African Herbsman Trojan ≈1970
132. MC5 Back In The USA Atlantic 1970
133. Miles Davis Bitches Brew Columbia 1969
134. Fugs It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest Reprise 1969(?)
135. Richie Havens Richard P. Havens, 1983 Verve 1968-69
136. King Crimson In The Court Of The Crimson King Island 1969
137. Taj Mahal Giant Step/De Ole Folks At Home Columbia 1969
138. Quintessence In Blissful Company Island 1969
139. V/A Gutbucket Liberty 1969
140. Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland Track/Experience 1968
141. V/A The Rock Machine Turns You On CBS 1966-68
142. Captain Beefheart Safe As Milk/Dropout Boogie Buddah 1967
143. Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity Open Marmalade(?) 1967(?)
144. Jimi Hendrix Experience Smash Hits Track 1966-67
145. V/A That’s Soul Atlantic 1967
146. The Beatles A Collection Of Beatles Oldies Parlophone 1963-66
147. Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto Getz/Gilberto Verve 1963
148. Ike Quebec Bossa Nova Soul Samba Blue Note 1962
149. The Piltdown Men The Piltdown Men Ride Again Capitol/Ace 1960s/1998
150. Charles Mingus Mingus Ah Um/Mingus Dynasty Columbia 1959/1960

Accusations of stylistic impurity will be cheerfully mocked.