Give the Drummer Some's
Favorite Downloads from the MP3 Blogosphere
I first stumbled on Shin Jung Hyun's amazing version of "In-a-Gadda-Vida" (see below) on the wonderful blog Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll. The link there is inactive, but the original post is still up. (Read my 2008 eulogy to the site's late, lamented blogger Dirk here.) Last week on my radio show, I started off a set of Bollywood tracks with the opener of Bappi Lahiri's score for the 1977 film College Girl. Seems that Lahiri, like Shin, is, like, a total Iron Butterfly fan: Everybody Dance With Me (mp3).
Three years ago, Beware of the Blog and the 365 Days Music Project brought you a version by the Goddard High School Stage Band (Roswell, NM): Listen (mp3)
Shin Jung Hyun & the Questions ~ "In-a-Kadda-Da-Vida"
(Blog: Bomber Blog)
It's not like Iron Butterfly's enduring fuzzfest has been covered by absolutely everyone. I mean, who has the time? On the other hand, any tune performed by such wide-ranging talents as Mongo Santamaria, David Van Tieghem and the organist at Reverend Lovejoy's First Church of Springfield ought to have more bands mimeographing the sheet music. After checking out this mind-melder, slurp your tongue up off the floor and be sure to check out the dizzying cover of Wilson Pickett's "Funky Broadway" elsewhere on the album.
Thank You for Smoking
I'm not sure if Joe Cain ever clacked a clave or squeezed his knees around a set of bongos, but his contributions as conductor/arranger on a series of killer Latin percussion albums in the fifties and sixties earned him instant induction into my personal Mambo Hall of Fame.
Roland Kirk ~ "Meets the Benny Golson Orchestra"
(Blog: Seventeen Green Buicks)
An Orchestra of One
No one blinked in '61 when Kirk dragged his rig (tenor/manzello/stritch/flute/siren) into the studio to record with Hammond B-3 bad-ass Brother Jack McDuff. This unusual session from '63, pairing the "exotic" iconoclast with the suave, elegant Benny Golson might have made a few junior execs at Mercury nervous. Bonuses all around! The results, as you will hear, are gorgeous.
Lou Johnson ~ "With You in Mind
(Blog: Funk My Soul)
From the album: Beat (mp3)
Most people know his early work as a faithful interpreter of the David/Bacharach catalog and other Brill Building fare, but Lou's last couple of LPs—this, his most recent, was recorded in 1971—are way rootsier affairs. Co-produced by the New Orleans soul geniuses Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn, With You in Mind is a smoldering stewpot brimming with chunky organ riffs, manic brass wailing, and sassy backup vocals (not to mention the occasional sitar flourish). The must-hear highlight is the eight-minute psyched-out lovesick epic "Transition."
Cincinnati Makes (Records), the World Takes
Long before impresario Syd Nathan called "Please, Please, Please" by James Brown "the worse piece of crap I've heard in my life," his King Records label was a regional powerhouse in the hillbilly and C&W market. (Nathan's Federal subsidiary would nevertheless make a killing off of Brown's early releases.) These four compilations comprise the first 50 78rpm country records to roll off King's presses, starting with "The Steppin Off Kind" by Grandpa Jones and Merle Travis in '43 (recording as the Sheppard Brothers) all the way through J.E. Mainer's "John Henry" in '46.
Flageolets of My Fathers
Subtitled "Irish Folk Music on Wind Instruments," these airy laments and puckish jigs were captured during historic field recordings made for Topic Records in 1967. Whistles and flutes abound, but bagpipes and accordions are well represented, too.
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