Monday, 31 August 2009

The Walking Seeds - Bad Orb, Whirling Ball (Paperhouse 1990)

This is the first of a bunch of occassional Shimmy Disc related posts. Shimmy Disc was a hugely influential New York record label that released a dizzyling variety of psychedelic/folk/noise/outsider sounds from 1987 until people stopped paying attention in the mid-'90s. SOme of the most popular acts they worked with included the legendary Bongwater, King Missile (Dog Fly Religion), Jad Fair, Lida Husik, B.A.L.L., Shockabilly, Galaxie 500, Ween, the list goes on and on.
Bad Orb, Whirling Ball wasn't released on Shimmy Disc in the UK, but this great album was produced by Kramer and is a fantastic example of the Shimmy Disc neo-psych sound.

The Walking Seeds were from Liverpool and their grungey wall of fuzzed out rock 'n' roll made them one of the most exciting UK bands of the period. Their live shows were a howling mess of feedback and wah wah, beer and sweat, properly euphoric affairs. Here's what Julian Cope's fantastic Head Heritage website has to say about this great album:

"Every good thing in the World was invented in Liverpool.... ask any Liverpudlian and they'll tell you. Humour, football,fashion, culture ... all invented in Liverpool. Another thing they invented was "Grunge" music. Yes, in 1986, a good year or two before Sub Pop, hairy Liverpool beat combo The Walkingseeds produced a debut LP (on Probe records) of loud, fuzzy, demented evil genius. This LP marked a watershed and was almost certainly exported in numbers to Seattle - it mangled The Fugs and Blue Cheer with punk rock and set the tone for things to come. The album is called "Skullfuck" and I think you can buy it on reissue from Godbless records (or just ask the girl at the counter in Woolworths!). Of course, the British music press ignored them, first in favour of shoe gazing art school boys and then later the very American bands who owed most to Liverpools finest (I'm talking Mudhoney, Nirvana, Tad,etc) but The Walkingseeds walked on, losing some personnel to The La's, getting a second album out (1989's "Down wind of atonement.."), to some acclaim, on Glass records, and then, in 1990, releasing what for many is their defining work "Bad Orb...". Like "Downwind..." before it, this album is produced by the great Kramer and also features contributions from Sonic Youth associate and sometime Dinosaur Jr. member Don Fleming, but even without their stirling efforts this album would have been brilliant! Imagine an album where the vocals are bellowed, like on Floyd's "Nile Song", all the way through so you can actually hear the singer (Frank) going hoarse (and all in that american accent that only people from the north west of England can do!), an album of malign, choppy cosmic fuzz that Killing Joke would have died for, an album that twists American delta blues and English folk shanties into strange psychedelic vistas that far better musicians can only dream of!....... Imagine all this and you can probably hear The Walkingseeds! Hell, they even relieve themselves on the bloated corpse of The Beatles, turning in a cover of "She said, she said" which is both frazzled and spot on. "Bad orb..." is a relentless,cathartic, pysch-rock album that spins with malice towards it's final conclusion ... "You're not fit to live in normal society..." hollers Frank on the final track, harking back to their grizzled debut and paying tribute to the few strange werewolf misfits who liked 'em back then. Get this album, and if you like it then look for the other stuff. They went on to do a mini ("Dwarf") LP called "Sensory Deprevation Chamber Quartet" which was produced by The Bevis Frond (and good it is too) plus a lo fi live album called "Earth is Hell". A band this evil couldn't last and unfortunately they split amid recriminations and genuine heartfelt on-stage violence during the early 90's. Ah, The Summer of Love .... that was invented in Liverpool you know. P.S. After the split bassist Lee Webster (by far the most accomplished musician in the band) went on to form an outfit called Froth and then later Rhombus of Doom, while Frank Martin (Intelligent lyricist/great singer) and Bob Parker (guitar) formed a band called The Del Bloods. Stuff may still be available from both these bands. Tony Mogan was a decent drummer but I don't know what happened next for him."

Unfortunately, there's no live footage of the band available anywhere on the net, so here's a little taste of the album:


01 The Gates of Freedom
02 Weight of these Years
03 Mortal Blues
04 Broken Cup
05 He Said, She Said
06 Peter's Trip
07 Caged Beatnik
08 World's OK
09 Skullfuck

Get it HERE.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Erkin Koray - Elektronik Türküler (1974)

Groovy psychedelic rock from Turkey that blends traditional instruments and wonderful Anatolian percussion with monstrous fuzz guitars and a '70s prog sensibilty. Erkin Koray was one of the pioneers of rock and roll music in Turkey, first releasing records in the early '60s. By the end of the decade he had adopted a more psychedelic sound. There's plenty of info on the man and his music, and his influence on the Turkish pop scene, over here. Meanwhile, here's some film of his band playing 'Cemalim' from this album:


01 Karli Daglar
02 Sir
03 Hele Yar
04 Korkulu Rüya
05 Yalnizlar Rihtimi
06 Cemalim
07 Inat
08 Türkü

Get it HERE.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Timmy Thomas - Why Can't We Live Together (Glades 1972)

The title track from this album is probably familiar to many, its deep, minimal gospel inflected
soul sound is striking and stays with you long after the song finishes. Like many 'message' songs (from the sublime 'Imagine' to the ridiculous 'Where is the Love?') this one proved popular with the record buying public, making the top 3 in the US and the top 10 in many European countries in 1972 and '73. What struck me when I first heard it was the inventive use of an early drum machine and the rudimentary production that lends the song a weird, otherworldly quality. I picked this album up at a boot sale last sunday and was unsure as to whether it would be any good, but was really surprised to find that the otherworldly reverberations seep across the whole album. Some of it comes on like someone spiked the drinks at the tea dance on the end of Blackpool Pier. The album is entirely solo. Timmy Thomas is the only musician on the album; the beatbox is built into the keyboard and he squeezes out bass lines with the foot pedals. Here he is in action (try to ignore the out of step go-go girl):

Hope you enjoy this one as much as I have.


01 Why Can't We Live Together
02 Rainbow Power
03 Take Care of Home
04 The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
05 The Coldest Days of My Life
06 In the Beginning
07 Cold Cold People
08 Opportunity
09 Dizzy Dizzy World
10 Funky Me

Get the goodness HERE.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Kalos et Buffalo - Afric Music Vol 2

Don't know much about this one. I think the musicians may be Congolese, probably from the '80s and I think its energetic soukous music with guitars like lightning.


01 Petit Nzele
02 Ntssa Ntssa
03 I Envie You
04 La Vie

Get it HERE.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

King Sunny Ade (Golden Mercury of Africa) & His African Beats - Searching for my Love (Sunny Alade 1980)

Just for a treat, here's some more sublime, cosmic juju to brighten up our days. Perfect sounds from King Sunny Ade, the Golden Mercury of Africa, and his incredible band.

Track list:

01 I'm Searching for my Love
02 She Loves Me
03 Oh Dear
04 I found my Love

05 Igbagbo Mi Duro
06 Ore Ti Afinu Han
07 Ronu Koto Sebi
08 Chief Aderibigbe Shitta
09 Alhaji Muyideen Agunbiade

Get it HERE.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Gypsy Music recorded at the Festival of Les Saintes Maries De La Mer, 1955 (London Records)

Picked up this wonderful recording of flamenco music from a local boot sale recently, and what a treasure it is. The album was released in the late '50s, but it was recorded at the annual Gypsy pilgrimage to Saintes Maries de la Mer way back in 1955. Some breathtaking performances on this disc and all the music is performed amidst a real carnival atmosphere. Here's what the sleeve notes have to say:
Gypsy Music recorded at the Festival of Les Stes. Maries De La Mer, 1955
These recordings of Flamenco music were made at the festival held in May each year by the Gypsies at Les Stes. Maries de la Mer in the South of France. In recording this festival, it was hoped to find some link between the Flamenco type voice-production and the songs of the wandering Bauls from Bengal, whose vocation is to never remain rooted in one place for any great length of time, but to roam throughout India singing religious, philosophical and amorous songs.
The researchers wondered how a recording machine would be taken by the Gypsies; perhaps they would resent it as an intrusion on their festivities. But from th moment of arrival at the festival they were accepted with a warm, naïve delight, mingled with childish shyness on the part of some of the women, although very few were at all reluctant to sing in front of the microphone. The music and dancing of these people is so powerful that one is hardly aware of material surroundings beyond the thick sound of many people clustered round the groups of singers and guitarists. Although the Gypsies come not only from Spain, but also from France and Italy, difference of language was no barrier to communication between them; it was very beautiful to see the way their music forms a strong link and means of expression between the different races.
The recordings were taken under rather difficult conditions. The Microphone was taken from one group to another, as they sang and danced night and day in the streets and arena, intoxicated by alcohol and the rhythmical fire of their music. Although there is a certain spirit of rivalry between the different groups of Gypsy musicians, they become as one, rushing to surround the singer, clapping hands, stamping feet, shouting encouragement, caught up in the throb of the music and the lust of the dancing. There is a brutal, savage quality in the wild strangely long drawn out cry of these songs and in the sadness of the Cante Jondo.
Side 1:
(All the pieces of music on this side of the record were performed by the same group singing in front of a constantly increasing audience who helped the music to grow more and more lively, also adding the necessary atmosphere to this spontaneous ensemble. The language is Spanish.)
  1. BULERIAS: Love song by a group of Spanish Gypsies now wandering in the South of France. The song is alternated with instrumental interludes, and while the singers, both men and women, performed, the Gypsy audience took active part in the performance by clapping the rhythm. The accompaniment is on guitar.
Side 2:
Artists: FARE MICHEL and party
Get it HERE.

Just to whet your appetite, her
e's a couple of great clips from Tony Gatlif's moving film about the Rom people, their journeys and their musics, Latcho Drom:

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

George & Gwen McCrae - Together (Cat Records 1975)

Great Miami soul from George and Gwen McCrae. This album swings between the smooth soul sound of songs like 'You and I Were Made for Each Other', and the dirty, sex-funk of songs like 'Mechanical Body' or 'The Rub'. Gwen McCrae has a really fantastic voice and this album has been getting a lot of play in my house over the last few weeks. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

A little taster:

Track list:

01 I'll Do The Rockin'
02 You and I Were Made for Each Other
03 Mechanical Body
04 I'm Comin' At You
05 Let's Dance, Dance, Dance
06 Winners Together, Losers Apart
07 Home Sick, Love SIck
08 The Rub
09 Let Your Love Do the Talkin'

Get it HERE.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Akeem Ayinla Omowura & His Apala Modernizer Band - 1985 Challenge Cup (Afrodisia 1985)

Akeem Ayinla Omawura is the son of famous Nigerian Fuji bandleader, Alhaji Ayinla Omowura. Omowura Sr. died in 1980 and his son released this, his only album that I can find, on the legendary Afrodisia record label in 1985. Can't find any information about the younger Omowura on the internet, so I'm afraid there's nothing more to say other than enjoy this beautiful music.

Side 1:

01 Challenge Cup 1985
02 Alhaji Rasaki Kolawole
03 Alhaji Mosudi Ogunsanya Enkalow
04 Ode Totori Ategun Lo Gbe Ibon

Side 2:

01 Tuntun Lo Ma Je Jade
02 Alhaji Ajasa Sansaliu
03 Baiye Se Nyi
04 Aditu Ede Mo Gbere De
05 Omowunmi Tony Adegboyega

Get the Fuji goodness HERE.