donderdag 25 augustus 2011

Dr. John - Gris-Gris (1968)

Of course, not all the classics are on this blog yet, this blog's main purpose is to reveal some of the 'classics' that are not certified as being one yet. In my eyes those albums are classics, have sustained the test of time, aurally that is, because they are often not in press anymore, and hard to find. This album is a classic, and most people judge it as such. Every now and then there's room for such classics, because my blog is also my way of paying tribute to the lates and the greats. I admire Dr. John primarily for this album, a lot of his other 70s output is doable, but he has since degraded himself into a sort of novelty, appearing on all the lame blues festivals available.

This is why Dr. John was a great, visionary musician. It influenced so many other artists, yet sounds utterly only like itself.

danse fambeaux

The Holy Modal Rounders - The Moray Eels Eat the Holy Modal Rounders (1969)

I've said this a lot of times, but once again it's true: one of the most underrated bands we have here. The Holy Modal Rounders are among The Red Krayola, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, and the like in terms of sheer originality and innovation. There first two albums were very funny takes on folk music, revisiting many classics with emphasized twangs and exaggerated vocal performances. The vocals are still present on this album, one of their strongest point, but in comes a lot of psychedelica, loneliness, anger, anti-nationalistic sympathies, counter culture and society mockery.

One of my favourite albums, I can say, in fact. Enjoy this album, with fresh ears!

dame fortune

John Fahey - Volume 6: Days Have Gone By (1967)

John Fahey is without a doubt one of the greatest musicians who ever lived. The initiator of American Primitivism, his incredible streak of albums can be seen as among the best instrumental music albums, not being jazz. This is one of his more experimental albums, with some very fine fragments of found sound he adds to the record. A train driving past, a dog barking, all contributing to the mood pieces here present.

John Fahey has made many, many albums as great or in the vicinity of this album. Please look for more of his work, because he has a lot to offer.

my grandfather's clock

Lee Dorsey - Yes We Can (1970)

Someone at Rate Your Music said it best: "At one point or another you've most certainly asked yourself what exactly is funk? Surely, you've thought, real funk can't just be a bunch of over-energized showmen strutting back and forth on stage yelling "let's git funkahy!" right? Right. Just like water doesn't have to tell you it's wet, funk doesn't have to tell you it's funky. You can just feel it man, and when you hear the pure hard funk and New Orleans soul of Yes We Can, nothing else really matters."

He goes on to say many other clever things, why this album is what it is, but I guess listening to it will reveal the truth soon enough. All songs written by Allen Toussaint, who also produced this record, with the backing band being The Meters. Can't go wrong. Lee Dorsey is a hero! Even I can't possibly sit still during this record.


The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Will The Circle Be Unbroken (1972)

In 1972 The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band asked a whole string of old-timers to record music with them. They a few tapes running all the time, one of them recording the dialogues from the studio. Most of the songs begin with the dialogues about how to play the songs, the history of the song, etc. Doc Watson, Merle Travis, Bashful Brother Oswald, Roy Acuff, Earl Scruggs, Mother Maybelle Carter, Vassar Clements, all these crazy old red necks are present on this album. But hey, let's not talk about the political ideas of these lunatics, but praise the fact that they made fine music. Bluegrass is a form of music that hasn't develop a bit in hundred years, so this album can be seen as one of the most important blueprints for bluegrass.

A triple-album, it will take you a while to hear it all, but everything here is beautiful.

will the circle be unbroken part i
will the circle be unbroken part ii

Os Mutantes - Os Mutantes (1968)

Once again: when this record would've been done in Europe or North America, it would've sounded less exotic, less adventurous, less innovative. Less good. By far the best this band put out, and helped by the fantastic Rogério Duprat, who made up all the arrangements, this record has been hyped for years and years, and with good reason. Os Mutantes have created on this album a fantastic blend between found sounds, musique concrète, pop music, their own Brazilian ingredients, and psychedelia.

This is the classic it deserves to be.

ave genghis khan

Sandy Bull - Fantasias for Guitar & Banjo (1963)

The music that American Primitivism has brought forth, cost me a long while to like. Despite representing so few musicians (American Primitivism can be seen as primarily John Fahey, Leo Kottke, Sandy Bull, Robbie Basho, some other minor figures in the 60s and 70s and a new generation that brought us the solo records of Sir Richard Bishop, Jim O'Rourke and Jack Rose. And that's sort of it), it is extremely rich in ideas and output.

Here is one of the earliest examples of what American Primitivism is: solo guitar pieces. Sandy Bull sometimes accompanies these pieces with drums, and live he used to work with taping and looping other instruments as well. Serene and heavenly, that is what American Primitivism is.

gospel time

Shirley Collins - False True Lovers (1960)

Without a doubt, I'm more for American folk, but still, this record is one of the most beautiful folk records ever made. Her crystal clear voice is what makes this most distinctive, the sparse arrangements and production are what will draw your attention right after it. This record was released by Folkways, as a sort of ethnic document of English rural folk music. Shirley Collins went on to make some more beautiful records, with her sister Dolly, with Davy Graham, in groups, and solo.

The only really long song on this record, The Cruel Mother, is one of my favourite songs whatsoever. A beautiful piece of music that needs attention and hopefully gets it from some enthusiasts in the weeks following this post.

mowing the barley

Tom Zé - Todos os Olhos (1973)

This album is one of the more divine one's available in pop music. Tom Zé is the most experimental and innovative of all the MPB artists. Tom Zé surpasses Gil, Veloso, Ben and Costa in originality and on this record he truly shines. He was already an accomplished artist in Brazil when this record came out, and on this record he went a bit too far, concerning the mainstream position MPB kept in Brazil. Which, I would like to emphasize, is nothing short of a miracle. Such an innovative, avant-garde musical genre being the mainstream music available. Brazil must've been fantastic in the 60s, and 70s. Music-wise, that is!

Listen to all the complex tunings, rhythm shifts, you name it. Especially song 4 to 9 are absolutely astonishing. This is difficult music that sounds easy.

brigitte bardot

Ya Ho Wa 13 - Penetration, An Aquarian Symphony (1974)

There's only one thing I can do right now, and that is to describe the history of this group. The guy you see on the picture is Jim Baker. He fought the Second World War, was a Vedantic monk, followed Yogi Bhajan, a Sikh leader and teacher of Kundalini yoga, so it goes. He was born in 1922, so in 1973 he was already an old guy, especially for having a hippie band. He had a highly succesful organic vegetarian restaurant on Sunset Strip, Laurel Canyon, LA. Celebrity regulars: Marlon Brando, John Lennon, Julie Christie. At the peak his restaurant made 10,000$ a day. Oh, and he called himself Father Yod at this time, or YaHoWha, and he was the leader of a commune called the Source Family. After eating raw carrots and drinking home-made tea, they used to record psychedical space-rock in the early morning. These records were pressed only 500 or 1000 pieces a record, and they were sold in a corner of the restaurant. This is their best album. So it goes. Oh, in 1975 Father Yod moved to Hawaii, and went hang-gliding off a 1300-foot cliff, without experience. He crash-landed on the beach and died the next day. The Source Family made a few albums after his death, mostly containing laments about the death of Father Yod. So it goes.

journey through an eternal kingdom