Monday, 23 November 2009

The Best of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Qawwal and Party Volume 1 (WOMAD/Oriental Star 1986)

About Qawwali:
Strong voices and explosive hand-clapping characterize
the devotional music known as qawwali. An
ensemble of usually 12 male performers conveys a
religious message through music and song based on
mystic poetry by Sufi masters. The texts usually deal
with divine love (’ishq), the sorrow of separation
(hijr, firaq) and the union (visal), these concepts being
symbolically reinforced and illustrated by the
music. Qawwali blends Iranian and Central Asian
poetic, philosophical and musical elements into a
North Indian base, combining popular music with
classical traditions. Following the same pattern of
combination and blending, the texts cover Arabic
and Persian, but the main text body is usually in a
simple idiom form of Indian languages: Urdu,
Hindi, Purbi and Punjabi. Qawwali is derived from
the Arabic word qaul, literally meaning “saying” but
has taken on the meaning of “belief ” or “credo” in
South Asian languages. Qawwali is spiritual in essence;
it is the devotional music of the Sufis to attain
trance and mystical experience—originating in the
10th century and blossoming into its present form
from the 13th century onwards.
Qawwali is inseparable from the name of a Persian
court musician, composer, poet and mystic of that
period: Amir Khusrau (1254-1325). Amir Khusrau
experimented with musical forms, combining the
Indian and the Persian, the Hindu Bhakti and the
Muslim Sufi to produce the present form of
Qawwali thus became a popular expression of
Muslim devotion open to all faiths throughout
Northern India. This form of music rapidly became
a vehicle for the Islamic missionary movement in
India, while at the same time reinforcing the faith of
the Muslims. In many cases, the original Persian
mystical text is followed by a translation in the local
idiom sung in the same manner as the original.
While the orthodoxy continues to reject what they
perceive as a blasphemous mixture of music and religion,
qawwali remains an expanding form of music
enjoying universal popularity in South Asia and
beyond. An even more energetic form of qawwali
developed around the 16th century in the middle
Indus at the crossroads between Iran, Central Asia
and India. This form, called the Punjabi ang, presents
the crystal-clear and profound texts of Punjabi
Sufi poetry and folk songs woven into attractive
melodies and powerful rhythms. The late Nusrat Fateh
Ali Khan belongs to this branch of qawwali.


01 Allah Hoo Allah Hoo
02 Yaad-e-Nabi Ka Gulshan Menka
03 Haq Ali Ali Haq
04 Ali Maula Ali Maula Ali Dam Dam
05 Mast Nazroon Se Allah Bachhae
06 Ni Main Jogi De Naal

Get it HERE.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Get Up and Get Down! - Various Artists (Philips 1974)

Absolutely top notch collection of rare mid-'70s funk, soul and disco. The record contains some sweet northern soul like this one from Brother's Guiding Light:

It also has a sprinkling of street-tough ghetto funk like Etta James' stunning 'Out On the Street Again':

My very favourite though (and also one of John Peel's all time favourites) is this classic from Don Covay:


A1 Act One - Tom The Peeper

A2 Brothers Guiding Light - Getting Together

A3 Al Downing - I'll Be Holding You

A4 Joe Tex - Cat Got Her Tongue

A5 King Floyd - Can You Dig It?

A6 Aaron Neville - Hercules

A7 Cissy Houston - Midnite Train To Georgia

A8 Annette Snell - You Oughta Be Here With Me

B1 Whispers - A Mother For My Children

B2 Roy C - Got To Get Enough (Of Your Sweet Stuff)

B3 Etta James - Out On The Streets Again

B4 Joneses - Hey Babe (Is The Gettin' Still Good)

B5 Don Covay - It's Better To Have (And Don't Need)

B6 Ohio Players - Streakin' Cheek To Cheek

B7 Dramatics - Choosing Up On You

B8 Little Anthony & Imperials - La La La At The End

Get Up and Get Down HERE.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Bad Brains - Rock for Light (Abstract 1983)

The power of Bad Brains' classic 1983 hardcore album has not diminished over the years. Lightning fast and taut like razor-wire this record helped to define the sound of American punk. While Rock for Light is available on CD, the version that you can buy is completely different to this vinyl release. The CD contains 20 songs, most of which are significantly faster than the original recordings.
Check out this clip of a 1982 live show at New York's CBGB's. Total chaos:

  1. Coptic Times
  2. Attitude
  3. We Will Not
  4. Sailin' On
  5. Rally 'Round Jah Throne
  6. Right Brigade
  7. F.V.K.
  8. Riot Squad
  9. The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth
  1. Joshua's Song
  2. Banned in D.C.
  3. How Low Can a Punk Get?
  4. Big Takeover
  5. I and I Survive
  6. Destroy Babylon
  7. Rock for Light
  8. At the Movies
Get it HERE.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

L'Afrique Danse Presents Orchestre Stukas (1976)

Glorious Rumba/Soukous from the mid-'70s. This is frantic, psyched-out stuff, twitchy drums and madly phased, wah-wah guitars. Here's what Gary Stewart had to say about the band in his great book Rumba on the River:

"The Stukas Boys had gotten their start as a neighbourhood band doing James Brown covers in 1968, nearly two years before their more successful competitors Bella Bella and Zaiko came along. In 1970 the group had improved to the point that it was able to secure a booking at the prestigious Para Fifi night club...and the next year it cut some records. By than a fairly stable core had evolved that included singers Lita Bembo, Lomingo Alida, Kisola Nzita, and Suka Bola, guitarists Samunga Tediangaye and Bongo Wende, and drummer Bakunde Ilondjoko

Like the Trio Madjesi, The Stukas Boys were known less for their music than for theirgreat live performances. And Zaire's developing show system was made to order for their front man, the incredible Lita Bembo. Young and athletic, Lita...had a workmanlike voice but the instinctive moves of a premier dancer. Once on stage, he alone commanded the audience.

Samunga, barely into his twenties, anchored the band with a flashy lead guitar which he sometimes plucked with his teeth a la Jimi Hendrix. But when the 'showman' Lita Bembo appeared, no one else had a chance. 'The young man will literally dominate the scene,' reported. 'He will make the mike "suffer." Dropping to his knees like a voodoo man in a trance, exhibiting his sacred dance...Lita Bembo proves his skill by showing off his impossible postures.' After his stellar performance at Zaire 74, Salongo declared 'he set the tone for the evening. And the concert he presented to the public brilliantly confirmed his rank as a great star of Zairean music'"
Here's a clip of this great band in action on a Saturday night variety show:


01 C'est La Vie
02 Esta Bibisha
03 Colombo
04 Awuti Poto

Get it HERE.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Genius of Rap - Various Artists (1982)

This is a great archive of sounds from that delicious moment when hip hop burst out of New York's ghettoes in a blaze of spangly disco grooves and delerious, sharp tongued swagger. Here's a clip from the 1984 BBC documentary, Beat This, which featured all the great dj's, mc's, breakers and bombers of the time:

This film certainly caused a stir in my school playground, and you can watch the whole thing here.


01 Twennynine Featuring Lenny White - Twennynine (The Rap)

02 T-Ski Valley - Catch The Beat

03 Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde - Genius Rap

Afrika Bambaataa & The Jazzy 5 - Jazzy Sensation

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - Superappin'

Bon Rock & The Rythem Rebellion - Searching Rap

Tom Tom Club - Rappa Rappa Rhythm

Compass Point All Stars - Peanut Butter

Get it HERE.