Sunday, September 27, 2009

Instrumental Early Reggae

Jo Jo Bennett & Mudie's All-Stars - "Snowbird" b/w "Change the Tide" is the 45 I have for you today. Jo Jo is an Alpha Boys School alum, as so many of Jamaica's greatest musicians have been. He is known for his fine trumpet work, and I suppose his biggest "hit" was "Leaving Rome" on Trojan records in the UK, or maybe "Lecture Me", which I believe went on to become the oft-versioned "Lecturer" riddim that dancehall artists still use to this day. He moved to Canada, as so many of his fellow-Jamaicans did and still do. This 45 was one of his awesome recordings for Mudie's "Moodisc" label. My copy has most of the info scratched out, so it took some hunting and figuring out on my part just to find a name for the A-side. Turns out it's an instrumental, cooled-out early reggae version of Anne Murray's 1970 country hit "Snowbird"! That dates the recording of this to about that year.

I have to say, this instrumental version of Snowbird KILLS the original Anne Murray version (not surprising, I guess). It gives it such a nice melancholy vibe, with the lilting melody played PERFECTLY "behind" the rhythm. You'll see what I mean when you listen to it, it's lovely. "Change the Tide" to me sounds like a slighty-reggae-fied version of the "I Dream of Jeannie" theme song (written by Hugo Montenegro). I love it. Weird percussion, yelled vocal breaks, and the funky rhythm make this tune worth a listen. The only thing "reggae" about this track seems to be the organ and guitar hits. Check it out by downloading below:

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Favorite NJHC 7", right now, at least

Vision - Undiscovered is currently my favorite New Jersey Hardcore punk 7" EP ever, but that is subject to change depending on my mood or where I'm hanging out or what color I'm wearing or whatever. It's just a brilliant debut 7" from one of New Jersey's all-time best hardcore bands. This is on the melodic side. Definitely not the tough guy metal-tinged stuff, and also not the goofy-but-blistering AOD/Bedlam kinda stuff. It's awesome late 80's NJ hardcore punk that has influenced a lot of bands since. "Falling Apart" is one of my favorite NJHC songs EVER. Awesome melody, with vocals that are just the right mix of yelling/spitting words at you with venom, and actually sort of singing. At very least, we're not talking gutteral grunts and deep-throated screams. You can hear and understand every lyric (something my grandparents would say, but seriously, it rules). I have just been on a total mid-late 80's melodic hardcore kick recently with all of the DC stuff from that period dominating my listening. Then I picked up this 7" and remembered how fucking awesome it was, and why I loved seeing this band live so much. First hardcore band I ever saw, and they've never gotten old in my eyes. Still awesome. Support this band and buy actual, better-sounding versions of the songs from this EP on the "One and the Same" CD. For now, download this mediocre-sounding rip of the original 7".

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Otis Clay's Deep Soul

Otis Clay - "She's About a Mover" b/w "You Don't Miss Your Water" is a wicked 45 on Atlantic's Cotillion subsidiary. This is seriously DEEP soul from Mississippi-born Clay, recorded at Muscle Shoals under Rick Hall's production. The 45 SOUNDS awesome thanks to tight production and a crack band, with Otis Clay's unique readings of these 2 classic songs. "She's About a Mover" was the Sir Douglas Quintet's "Nugget", and a good, rollicking R&B-styled song. Otis Clay and the Muscle Shoals band honestly take it to the next level and put the song in the correct context. It's great.

"You Don't Miss Your Water" is maybe my second favorite Soul song ever after "Dark End of the Street." Currently it's the one I feel the most, as, sadly, I'm sure many folks my age do. Your pretty standard story of having a good thing going with someone, leaving it for whatever bullshit reasons, and then later on when the superficial good times clear out, you find yourself missing the original, pure good thing you had. But of course it's too late, you had your shot, and forces of the universe have closed that door in your face. "You don't miss your water 'til your well runs dry" is a fairly well-known saying, and William Bell wrote an honest, touching soul ballad to PERFECTLY express his own realization that he missed his water. Otis Redding did a moving version of the song, and many have since covered it. This is my second favorite version, with the original Bell take on Stax being my favorite. This is a unique reading of the song, more conversational and laid-back in vocal tone (as maybe was Clay's general style), but still quite powerful. Download and listen below and find a copy, it's worth it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Elvis Costello Rarities/bootleg Part 2!

Here's side B, LP 1 from the same bootleg comp as my last post! 2 sides to go after this!