Charles Mingus – Pithecanthropus Erectus (1956)

June 4, 2018 Leave a comment

I think this is one of the most extraordinary records ever made. The fact that it dates from 1956 is staggering.

According to Mingus’s liner notes from the LP of the same name, this is a 10 minute tone poem depicting the rise of man from his hominid roots to an eventual downfall due to “his own failure to realise the inevitable emancipation of those he sought to enslave, and his greed in attempting to stand on a false security”. (Nope, me neither!)

Nonetheless, this might be the greatest performance on the bass in history as Charles weaves his magic whilst always returning to that relentless walking bass line that just eats its way into your mind.

Utterly perfect.



Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen (1977)

May 21, 2018 Leave a comment

Just have to post this as penance for quite enjoying the royal wedding on Saturday – no, really! The dress, the kiss, the veil, British pomp at its best, the creativity, the vitality, the love. Marvellous ….

An astonishing record: epoch defining in many ways but possibly more in how it influenced other people to influence others rather than how it influenced people directly itself?

Nonetheless, a great tune, football terrace chants and Mr Lydon at his most provocative and, sometimes, whimsical?

Three versions:

  • The original, peerless, recording;

  • a version from Winterland, San Francisco, in 1978 that demonstrates why Sid Vicious was in every way a waste of space, a distraction and a dead end (ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated, etc), and, finally;

  • an almost elegiac performance from the 2007 reunion where Lydon knows he has won and seems to wonder whether a mass, stadium chant is how he wanted the song to be remembered anyway.

The paradox between integrity and mass adulation. Discuss?

Lydon, himself: “You don’t write ‘God Save The Queen’ because you hate the English race, you write a song like that because you love them; and you’re fed up with them being mistreated”.



Basic Channel – Phylyps Base (1983)

May 21, 2018 Leave a comment

I’ve recently bought myself a new turntable to enable me to play my old vinyl records.

However, I’ve also started buying stuff which is often best appreciated, or is only available, on vinyl.

In the former category, I’m trying to get all the great LPs and singles associated with the wide ranging career of Nile Rodgers!

In the latter, I’ve been buying up 12″ singles by Basic Channel, Maurizio, Rhythm & Sound, etc, where the vinyl versions are often longer and different to those available on CD. Tonight’s post is a great example.

Ear bleeding Berlin techno from the early 1990s – utterly relentless and compelling. Play loud!

Bobby Hutcherson – Catta (1965)

May 18, 2018 Leave a comment

I’m having a bit of a jazz jag at the moment and am working my way through three enormous guides in alphabetical order. On the way, I’ve already bought up 20+ CDs and I’ll be posting highlights over the next few days.

Why not start here? I’m not generally a big fan of the vibes but Bobby Hutcherson does a great job of avoiding too much showboating and with Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and the brilliant Andrew Hill on piano, the combination was always likely to be a winner.

Taken from the Dialogue LP released on Blue Note in 1965.

Alice XY – Me and the Devil (2018)

This is how to do a cover version.

  1. Take a 1937 blues classic from the legendary Robert Johnson.

  2. Meditate on how Gil Scott Heron tackled it.

  3. Radically strip back the music to the essentials required to make your point – simple bass, gorgeous keyboard washes and pulsing drums.

  4. Add soaring, yet melancholic, vocals over the top and definitely don’t change the genders of the subjects.

  5. Mix down, add video and release.

A new talent has arisen, Alice XY hits the mark with her debut solo release.

Did I mention that she’s my daughter?

Eric Dolphy – Bee Vamp (1961)

April 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Recorded live at the Five Spot in New York in July 1961, “Bee Vamp” is a wonderful track written by Booker Little who plays trumpet on the piece (and who died 4 months later at the age of 23).

The band is led by the wonderful Eric Dolphy on alto saxophone and bass clarinet. Ed Blackwell on the drum keeps an understated beat going but, for me, it is Mal Waldron on the piano who steals the show. From an insistent, metronomic pulse, he suddenly breaks out into a wonderful solo from 7:17 in. It will be the best thing you here today!

Tim Maia – Rational Culture (1974)

April 8, 2018 Leave a comment

Twenty one minutes into Tim Maia’s Racional LP, I was beginning to wonder whether my almost infallible “friend in New York” had recommended a rather expensive turkey for me to buy. However, 12 and a half minutes later, I had heard this stunning track and within an hour it had been elevated into the pantheon of thebestmusicofalltime.

Tim Maia is one the icons of Brazilian music and “Rational Culture” is a stone cold funk classic. That being said, there are hatters out there who might be a tad offended were anyone to liken Mr Maia to one of them.

According to Wikipedia, Tim was visiting a composing friend and came across a book Universo em Desencanto (Disenchanting Universe) which revolves around the cult of Rational Culture (me, neither). Anyway, in double quick time, Mr Maia converted to the cult, abandoned the drugs and red meat, and decided to write lyrics based on the knowledge contained in the book. RCA rejected the resulting albums.

Fortunately, Tim bought the masters and released two volumes of Racional.

I’d like to say a big thanks to Tim for his gumption and I know you are going to want to do the same.

What a record!

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