Monday, 29 September 2008

The Staple Singers - Uncloudy Day

Hello boys and grrls, got some lovely music for you today. Everybody's heard something by this famous musical family, probably some of their fabulous Stax singles like I'll Take You There or If You're Ready (Come Go With Me). These are fantastic songs that showcase that big Memphis sound, but you won't find any of that on their first album, Uncloudy Day, which came out way back in 1959. This album gives us some real haunting rootsy Southern spirituals and it features some great, spare guitar work from Pops Staple and loads of heartfelt harmonising. All the songs are heavy on the old time religion, but musically, the songs here are influenced by Pops Staples Mississippi blues roots, his heavily reverbed guitar giving the whole thing a lowdown, swampy feel that I can't get enough of.


1. Uncloudy Day
2. Let Me Ride
3. God's Wonderful Love
4. Help Me Jesus
5. I'm Coming Home
6. If I Could Hear My Mother Pray
7. Love Is the Way
8. I Had a Dream
9. On My Way to Heaven
10. Going Away
11. I'm Leaving
12. I Know I Got Religion

Get the spirit over here, or over here.

Also, here's a taster:

Friday, 26 September 2008

Franco et Orchestre T.P. O.K. Jazz

A couple of weeks ago I picked up two double albums by Franco et Orchestre T.P. O.K. Jazz in a junk shop for 50p. They're both African pressings from the early '80s, and both unfortunately completely knackered. I was dubious as to whether the records would be listenable, but you take a gamble on these things. I got them home and, being new to this stuff, was completely knocked out by the outrageous beauty of the music. I recorded this album on the computer and its been on rotation in the house ever since, despite the fact that there are a fair few jumps, pops and crackles. I was unsure as to whether to post this, considering the jumps, but decided that the quality of the music just shines through the here it is in all its infectious glory!

Franco and the Orchestra were from Congo and their gorgeous, supple music made them one of the most famous and influential bands in Africa. Listening to this stuff, you can hear why.


Record 1:
01 Liberte

02 Matata Ya Muasi Na Mobali Ekok

03 Melou

04 Voyage Na Bandundu

05 Kamikaze

06 Nzete Esololaka Na Motote

Record 2:
01 Baninga Tokolo Balingaka Ngai

02 Seli-Ja

03 Salima

04 Tosambi Bapejiyo Raison Na Qua

05 Bokolo Bana Ya Mbanda Na Yo Ma

Get the whole lovely, crackly lot HERE.

Here's some old footage of the band playing Liberte:

Monday, 22 September 2008

Nicolette - Now is Early

I was out at a boot sale on Sunday and picked up a copy of Nicolette's 1992 hardcore monster 'O Se Ne Ne' on 12". When I got it home I played both sides, then just had to dig out my copy of her album, Now is Early. It's as strange and beautiful as I remember it, Nicolette's gorgeous vocals snaking about over PJ and Smiley's diamond sharp breakbeats and weird melodies. The opening track, 'No Government' is downtempo retrofuturist jazz and it could have been an anarchist anthem as Nicolette imagines a peaceful world of mutual aid and communal joy. From there on in though, we're treated to a fantastic set of Shut Up & Dance's trademark blend of breaks, bass and twisted acid atmospherics that makes me nostalgic for long nights in dark warehouses or squats, strobe lights and sweat and smiles...


No Government (2:02)
Dove Song (4:55)
Single Minded Vocals (3:09)
I Woke Up (4:46)
Waking Up (Remix) (5:07)
O Si Nene (5:56)
It's Only To Be Expected (5:41)
Wicked Mathematics (4:49)
A Single Ring (2:09)

Get it here, or the rapidshare is here.

Friday, 19 September 2008

El Maleem Mahmoud Guenya

This is the first cd I've posted, and it seems appropriate that the sounds on the disc should jar slightly with the digital age. This is Gnawa music (or Gnaoua), a hybrid sound that has evolved over many years, the product of the meetings of the musical and religious cultures of black africa with the musical and spiritual traditions of the Moroccan Berbers and Arabic Muslims. It is ritual music that is performed by Maleems, or master musicians who are able to use music to induce trance states and open up spaces for communication with the spirits of ancestors. It's a music of healing and protection that is based in traditions that have travelled North through Africa, constantly adapting to shifts in the cultural landscape, but always maintaining its central purpose...even through a cd player, this still has the ability to produce strange states.

Mahmoud Guenya is one of the better known Gnawa musicians. He has recorded with Pharoah Saunders on an album called The Trance of Seven Colours. This music isn't jazz fusion or anything frightening like that, so don't be scared to give it a go. The cd we've got here was picked up in Morocco and it's beautiful, deep contemplative music that still has an irresistable groove...the metal castanets that drive the rhythm cast a spell for sure.

Get it here.

Read some stuff about Gnawa here and here.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Flaming Demonics

Hey ho, let's's musical offering is my favourite album from the demented, sax wielding standard bearer of New York's No Wave scene. James Chance was a founder member of Teenage Jesus & The Jerks along with Lydia Lunch, before going on to front a number of great bands who came to more or less define the confrontational and nihilistic attitude of much of the art coming out of the city in the period:

"If somebody comes to see me, they have to pay. And not just in money… New York people are such assholes - so cool and blase. They think they can sit and listen to anything and it won't affect them. So I decided I just had to go beyond music, and physically assault them… The first time I actually did it, really hurt people, was in Soho. I really fucking hate Soho. It was a benefit for this artsy magazine, and all these artsy-fartsy people were sitting around on the floor - and if there's one thing I can't stand it's people sitting on the floor. See, there was all this room, and no tables, and I figured everybody was going to dance. But they just sat there on the floor… I guess it just sorta went on from there."

James Chance

James Chance's music differs from the noisy avant-punk sounds of the period. After his first album with The Contortions, Chance started to blend the no wave sound with elements of funk, disco and free jazz. By the time we get to the early '80s, Chance's albums are owing as much to Ornette Coleman and Michael Jackson as they are to The Stooges or The Electric Eels. Today's post, James White's Flaming Demonics, is for me, the best example of Chance's high energy, spastic punk-funk, featuring some mindbending scratchy guitar interplay and lots of high pitched free jazz skronk. You also get the narcotic voodoo of I Danced with a Zombie, which is worth 10 minutes of anyone's listening time. I think this album really churns up all the major musical currents that were flowing through New York at the time, and seems to capture the bohemian spirit of places like the Danceteria or the Mudd Club, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.


The Devil Made Me Do It (8:13)
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (7:12)
Rantin' And Ravin' (8:53)
The Natives Are Restless (7:39)
Caravan / It Don't Mean A Thing / Melt Yourself Down (8:44)
I Danced With A Zombie (9:54)

You can get the zip here.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Killer rats and the pleasure of leisure

Today's billboard for the local newspaper contained a headline that conjured some horrific mental images and almost got me worrying about giant, slavvering mutoid rodents with fangs and a taste for human flesh... maybe like these ones:

Apart from fretting about killer beasts, I've been looking for work now that I've found myself 'inbetween jobs'. Its a full time occupation, and one that I get bored with very quickly...all that form-filling, trying to make yourself sound employable, what an impossible task. Despair at my predicament led me to reread Bob Black's great piece of ludic utopianism, The Abolition of Work:

"No one should ever work.

Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you'd care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.

That doesn't mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life based on play; in other words, a ludic revolution. By "play" I mean also festivity, creativity, conviviality, commensality, and maybe even art. There is more to play than child's play, as worthy as that is. I call for a collective adventure in generalized joy and freely interdependent exuberance. Play isn't passive. Doubtless we all need a lot more time for sheer sloth and slack than we ever enjoy now, regardless of income or occupation, but once recovered from employment-induced exhaustion nearly all of us want to act."

It's a very entertaining piece from the self proclaimed 'Groucho Marxist', and if you've ever dreamed of escape from the pressures of the grind, then you should check it out.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

King Sunny Ade - Private Line (1978)

African music seems to be enjoying something of a resurgence in popularity lately. Interest and imaginations have been sparked as a number of young bands like the Dirty Projectors, Extra Golden, Yeasayer or Vampire Weekend have tried to introduce something of an 'African' guitar sound into their music, evoking the rhythms and sounds of highlife or afrobeat. Some fantastic compilations and reissues, and some great blogs, have also helped bring some beautiful, vintage music to listening ears and draw attention to the richness and diversity of this huge continent's recent musical history. So, from the deep and mystical sounding '60s and '70s afro-jazz of Ethiopia's Mulatu Astatke, or the wild, guitar workouts of Sir Victor Uwaifo, we get to catch a glimpse of the Africa that lies behind official representations of a continent and people in need of Europe's paternal presence, first in the name of the colonial civilising mission, then in the name of development.

Today's musical offering is from one of Africa's most popular musicians, The Minister of Enjoyment, King Sunny Ade. I picked up a battered copy of this wonderful example of juju music at a car boot sale.

It's a Nigerian pressing from the Sunny Alade label and I don't think this music has had any kind of European or American release, although the track 365 is my Number was rerecorded and shortened for one of Sunny Ade's Island releases. This really is beautiful music, with gorgeous recurring phrases and melodies that play around the intricate rhythms of the many percussion instruments, and some fantastic, understated guitar playing. Maybe I'm easily pleased, but this stuff just seems to put me in a good mood. We've not had much of a summer here in England, but this stuff has been providing me with plenty of musical sunshine.


365 Is My Number-Dial
Kale Sanwa Jowuro Lo
Omo Nigeria Ti Mbe Lehin Odi
Ajo Ki Dun Ki Odida Ma Rewo
Alhaji Kola Wole Olokodana

The zip is here or here. Enjoy the sunshine...

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

First Post: Gritty funk from The Meters

Here at Snap, Crackle & Pop, we'll be posting all kinds of music from all around the world. All manner of sounds ripped from dusty vinyl and discarded cds that I've picked up over years of trawling car boot sales, flea markets and junk shops.

We have to start somewhere, so I thought we should start with something hot from the local charity shop:

This is The Best of the Meters. I'm sure many are familiar with the gritty, down home Louisiana funk of The Meters, but for those who aren't, this great compilation covers the years 1971 - 1975 and includes classics like "Just Kissed My Baby", which was sampled by Public Enemy on their first lp.

Here's the tracklist:

Jungle Man
Hey Pocky A-Way
Can You Do Without?
Just Kissed My Baby
Love Slip Upon You
People Say
Fire On The Bayou

You can get it here. Happy listening.