Going Global with Joe

Joe Strummer

Dick Rude, a long time friend of Joe Strummer, is releasing an hour long movie on DVD this summer entitled ‘Let’s Rock Again!’.

The one-hour film was shot over the last 18 months of Joe’s life. “It has been my blessing to share with the world an intimate portrait of such a passionate and humble man,” Rude said in a statement “Joe was a true hero. His music changed people’s lives. His love affected me profoundly. I am proud of the story he has allowed me to tell, but I would trade it all in a heartbeat to have him back.” Let’s Rock Again! opens with a montage of Clash-era footage of Strummer before ultimately settling into his stint fronting the Mescaleros. The film includes some stunning live performance footage and both frank and amusing interviews with Joe. (- from Strummersite.com)

Here’s a preview tune from the movie, a Mescaleros live version of “Global a Go-Go”. Hop on over to Stummersite for more info on the movie, and other Joe / Mescaleros stuff.

Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros: Global a Go-Go (live) (mp3) – Original version found on Global a Go-Go, released in the summer of 2001.

Jr. Gong All Night Long

Damian Marley

Another great tune recently heard on Sirius Disorder… this one comes from Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s third and latest release, ‘Welcome to Jamrock” (2005). The album is produced by Damian and brother Stephen. Jr. Damian is the youngest singing son of Bob Marley, and his nickname is based on his dad’s oft-used nickname “Tuff Gong”. I love the groove on this one. It’s not reggae per se, but some other island flavored style. Anybody know?

Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley: All Night (mp3)

>> Buy Welcome to Jamrock on Amazon.

>>Damian’s Official Web Site

A Different Look at Brazil

sa e guarabyra

Photographer Geoffrey Hiller has an amazing collection of photographs from a recent trip to Brazil in a web project entitled Canto de Brazil. The site is made up of about 30 minutes of Flash movies highlighting different areas of Brazil, with a very informative narrative accompanying it. I highly recommend taking some time to check it out.

My buddy Ty, founder of Denver-area Brazilian band Sambadende, hooked me up with these tunes. If you’re in the Denver / Boulder area, check their shows on their web site and go check them out.

S’ e Guarabyra: Sorriso Aberto (mp3) – buy their music on Amazon

Bonus: Sergio Mendes: Magalenha (mp3) – from Brasileiro

Geoffrey Hiller’s Canto de Brazil

Laswell’s Rhythmic Stew

Tonight it’s all about atmospherics. I only own one Bill Laswell album: ‘Imaginary Cuba’. On top of that, Nick from Jazz and Conversation posted a great sample / podcast of his work a while back. So obviously I need to get on the ball and pick up some more of his stuff. From what I’ve heard, the man knows how to set a mood, and lay down some gorgeous and enchanting rhythms. You can find out all about the man at his All Music bio.

For my little mini podcast / sample, I’ve put together the three “Habana Transmission” tracks that are spread throughout ‘Imaginary Cuba’. Like one review of the album says, what you’re hearing is a “rhythmic stew… complex and often dub-inflected sound collages that sound like no one but Laswell while still maintaining respect for the music’s origins.” So here you are, and – let it be noted – this is most definitely headphone-worthy.

Bill Laswell: Habana Transmission #1 / Avisale a la Vecina Dub | Habana Transmission #2 / Cuban Evolution | Habana Transmission #3 / Shango Sound Scan (mp3)

Chez Seychelles

So my wife and I are sitting in the Glendale Arena a few weeks ago, waiting for Bruce Springsteen to take the stage. The pre-show music that’s piping over the PA is great stuff, most of it I don’t recognize. One in particular gets my wife’s attention. She remembers hearing it as she grew up in Seychelles…. an old traditional folk tune.

So the other night, I’m checking out Bruce’s web site, and lo and behold, he mercifully has provided us with a list of the pre-show ‘walk-in’ music! It turns out the name of the tune is “Chez Seychelles”, as performed by the keepers of the Cajun sound, Beausoleil. It is indeed a traditional song, and Michael Doucet (of Beausoleil) gets writing credit on the tune (just wondering, does a person get composition credit by offering a new arrangement of a traditional song?).

Ah, the power of music. The way one song can take you back in time.. it’s an amazing thing. My wife hadn’t heard this song in years, and suddenly, waiting for a Springsteen show to start in the middle of the Arizona desert, she suddenly finds herself back in her homeland, a beautiful tropical island in the Indian Ocean.

Beausoleil: Chez Seychelles (mp3)

Manu Manu

Manu Chao was born in Paris to Spanish parents in 1961. In his earlier years, he was in a rockabilly band that went by the name of Les Hot Pants (great name!). He also fronted a popular French rock band called Mano Negra. His music is hard to pin down, but you hear some reggae, pop, and lots of latin rhythms. It’s a grab bag of styles, very interesting stuff…

He’s a very politically active guy, and his bio is pretty interesting. In 92, he toured Latin America with a circus and actors, “aided and abetted by various political guerilla groups.” Anyone who can make the jump from Les Hot Pants to a circus tour funded by guerillas has to be interesting. His web site is an eyeful too.

Manu Chao: Bongo Bong (mp3)

You can listen to an entire live show (over 2 hrs long) on the Multimedia section of his site.

Buy the music of M. Chao

Standing in the Rain in Vain

Linton Kwesi Johnson was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and raised in the Brixton section of London.

Johnson invented dub poetry, a type of toasting descended from the DJ stylings of U-Roy and I-Roy. But whereas toasting tended to be hyperkinetic and given to fits of braggadocio, Johnson’s poetry (which is what it was — he was a published poet and journalist before he performed with a band) was more scripted and delivered in a more languid, slangy, streetwise style. Johnson’s grim realism and tales of racism in an England governed by Tories was scathingly critical. The Afro-Brits in Johnson’s poems are neglected by the government and persecuted by the police. – All Music.com

Well, my introduction to LKJ a few years ago didn’t come via a scathingly critical political song, but a laid back, sweet and humorous tune by the name of “Loraine”. It’s about his encounter with the lovely Loraine on a rainy day in May. Try as he might, ol’ Linton doesn’t get the girl, which gives us the great chorus:

Now I’m standin’ in the rain in vain, Loraine
Hoping to see you again
Tears fall from me eyes like rain, Loraine
A terrible pain in me brain, Loraine
You’re drivin’ me insane

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t know you (or maybe I do), but you’ll like this one.

Linton Kwesi JohnsonLoraine (mp3)

Linton Kwesi JohnsonInglan is a Bitch (mp3)

Respect to the Lady in My Life

Today is my second wedding anniversary, so today, my lovely wife of two years picks a tune for you all. It’s her favorite Skatalites tune, “The Vow”. Fitting for an occasion like today, as the tune expounds on the promise and virtues of loving one person for the rest of your life. The very idea that I am married to a woman who hears the lyrics to this song, and thinks of me, is in itself amazing.

Here’s a song review from All Music:

Two of the The Skatalites’s singers pledge their troths to each other, while the band offer their congratulations on this celebratory single from 1965. The backing has an almost oom-pah Oktoberfest feel, as the entire group join in to emphasize the coursing rhythm, while overhead Johnny “Dizzy” Moore blows bubbles of trumpet notes into the air. His muted tones add to the joyful mood, while Roland Alphonso’s warm solo reminds one of the seriousness of the ceremony.Both Jackie Opel and Doreen Schaeffer give excellent performances within, he ever more passionately asking her to declare her eternal love, she warm and loving in response, and together when they launch into their duet finale, the romance kindles into fiery romance. – Jo-Ann Green, All Music.com

The Skatalites – The Vow (mp3) – featuring Jackie Opel and Doreen Shaffer – 1965

Buy Foundation Ska, a great Skatalites compilation, on Amazon.

Getting Hi on Life

You’re in for a treat this evening / morning / afternoon. Some grooves get you from the very get go. I guarantee you that 3 seconds into this song by Ghana’s C.K. Mann, you’ll be shaking your booty faster than a fat lady being tasered on an episode of ‘Cops‘. Don’t worry, it’s very natural to have this reaction to this highlife-funk beat. This song is 30 years old, but sounds as fresh as ever. Thanks to Benn Loxo du Taccu for introducing me to it in December.

And now, brothers and sisters…..shake it!

Listen:C.K. Mann – Funky Hi-Life (mp3)
Buy: C.K.’s music.

Get Lucky

Here’s another artist I discovered courtesy of my wife, who lived in Seychelles all of her life until that fateful day we met while she was visiting Arizona. So she introduced me to Lucky Dube. I said “Lucky Doo-Who?” Well, Lucky is a very popular South African Reggae singer, popular all across the African continent. He would even hop a plane over to Seychelles to perform. My wife saw him once. Anyhow, here’s a sample of Lucky Dube (pronounced Doo-Bay, not Doobie you stoners).

Lucky Dube – Rasta Man’s Prayer – from ‘Trinity’, 1995, Tabu Records

Buy ‘Trinity’ on Amazon.
See the All Music entry on Lucky Dube.