Trini Lopez – Trini Lopez At PJ’s (1963)

FrontCover1Trinidad López III (May 13, 1937 – August 11, 2020) was an American singer, guitarist, and actor. His first album included a cover version of “If I Had a Hammer”, which earned a Golden Disc for him. His other hits included “Lemon Tree”, “I’m Comin’ Home, Cindy” and “Sally Was a Good Old Girl”. He designed two guitars for the Gibson Guitar Corporation, which are now collectors’ items.

Lopez was born in Dallas, Texas, on May 13, 1937. His father, Trinidad Lopez II, worked as a singer, dancer, actor, and musician in Mexico; his mother was Petra Gonzalez. They married in their hometown of Moroleón, Guanajuato, prior to moving to Dallas.[2] Lopez has four sisters (two are deceased) and a brother, Jesse, who is also a singer. He grew up on Ashland Street in the Little Mexico neighborhood of Dallas and attended grammar school and N. R. Crozier Tech High School. He had to drop out of high school in his senior year because he needed to earn money to help support the family.

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Lopez formed his first band in Wichita Falls, Texas, at the age of 15. Around 1955/56 Trini Lopez and his band worked at The Vegas Club, a nightclub owned by Jack Ruby, the nightclub owner who assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald, avenging Oswald’s assassination of JFK . In 1957, at the recommendation of Buddy Holly’s father, Trini and his group “The Big Beats” went to producer Norman Petty in Clovis, New Mexico. Petty secured a contract for them with Columbia Records, which released the single “Clark’s Expedition”/”Big Boy”, both instrumental. Lopez left the group and made his first solo recording, his own composition “The Right To Rock”, for the Dallas-based Volk Records, and then signed with King Records in 1959, recording more than a dozen singles for that label, none of which charted. In late 1962, after the King contract expired, Lopez followed up on an offer by producer Snuff Garrett to join the post-Holly Crickets as vocalist. After a few weeks of auditions in Los Angeles, that idea did not go through. He landed a steady engagement at the nightclub PJ’s, where his audience grew quickly. He was heard there by Frank Sinatra, who had started his own label, Reprise Records, and who subsequently signed Lopez.

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His debut live album, Trini Lopez at PJ’s (R/RS 6093), was released in 1963. The album included a version of “If I Had a Hammer”, which reached number one in 36 countries (no. 3 in the United States), and was a radio favorite for many years. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. He also performed his own version of the traditional Mexican song “La Bamba” on the album; his recording of the tune was later reissued as a single in 1966. Another live album from PJ’s was recorded later that same year under the title By Popular Demand More Trini Lopez at PJ’s (R/RS 6103), which contains the song “Green Green” which was written by Randy Sparks and Barry McGuire and originally recorded by the New Christy Minstrels earlier that year for their Columbia album Ramblin.

His popularity led the Gibson Guitar Corporation to ask him in 1964 to design a guitar for them. He ended up designing two: the Trini Lopez Standard, a rock and roll model based on the Gibson ES-335 semihollow body, and the Lopez Deluxe, a variation of a Gibson jazz guitar designed by Barney Kessel. Both of these guitars were in production from 1964 until 1971, and are now highly sought-after among collectors. Owners of the guitar include Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and Noel Gallagher of Oasis.

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He scored 13 chart singles through 1968, including “Lemon Tree” (1965), “I’m Comin’ Home, Cindy” (1966), and “Sally Was a Good Old Girl” (1968). On the adult contemporary chart, he racked up 15 hits, including the top-10 singles “Michael” (1964), “Gonna Get Along Without Ya’ Now” (1967), and “The Bramble Bush” (1967). Beyond his success on record, he became one of the country’s top nightclub performers of that era, regularly headlining in Las Vegas. In 1968, he recorded an album in Nashville entitled Welcome to Trini Country (R/RS 6300).

In 1969, NBC aired a Trini Lopez variety special featuring surf guitar group The Ventures, and Nancy Ames as guests. The soundtrack, released as The Trini Lopez Show, has him singing his hits with The Ventures as his backing band.

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During the 1960s and 1970s, Lopez moved into acting, though his film career was not as successful as his music. He continued his musical career with extensive tours of Europe and Latin America during this period; an attempt to break out by releasing a disco album in 1978 proved a flop. Lopez produced a single promoting the Coca-Cola soft drink Fresca in 1967.

In 1993, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.

In 2002, Lopez teamed with Art Greenhaw for Legacy: My Texas Roots. The album used the “Texas Roots Combo” including Lopez, Greenhaw, and Lopez’s brother, Jesse.[17] Said reviewer Steve Leggett of AllMusic, “The album has an easygoing feel very similar to Lopez’s classic live sets from the 1960s, only it rocks a good deal harder.”[18] Thereafter, Lopez did charitable work and received honors such as being inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2003.

On May 15, 2008, his 71st birthday, Lopez was inducted into the Las Vegas Walk of Stars.

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Lopez was still recording and appearing live in the years leading up to his death. He took part in a benefit concert to raise money for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami,[21] and appeared as a guest performer in a number of shows held in Maastricht in the Netherlands with the Dutch violinist and composer André Rieu.[22] He continued to record; El Immortal was released in 2010, and the following year he released his 65th album, Into The Future.

Lopez’s first film role was in Marriage on the Rocks (1965), in which he made a cameo appearance in a nightclub scene; Lopez’s soundtrack song, “Sinner Man”, became a hit single (no. 54 pop/no. 12 adult contemporary). He was one of The Dirty Dozen (1967), appeared as himself in The Phynx (1970), and played the title role in Claudio Guzman’s Antonio (1973). He made two appearances (playing different characters) on the television program Adam-12. In 1977, he played the role of Julio Ramirez in “The Mystery of the Silent Scream” which was part of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries TV series.

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Lopez remained a lifelong bachelor and had no children. His nephew, Trini Martinez, was the drummer for the Dallas indie rock band Bedhead.

Lopez died on August 11, 2020, at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California. He was 83, and suffered from complications of COVID-19.  (wikipedia)

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And here´s his debut album.

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This was the album that made Lopez explode nationally, reaching number two, staying in the Top 40 LP charts for about a year, and yielding the hit “If I Had a Hammer.” All of this seems to have been largely forgotten today, but at the time Lopez was ubiquitous indeed. What he did, at the head of a trio with Mickey Jones (later to play briefly with Bob Dylan) on drums and Dick Brant on bass, was to make folk-pop swing. There is certainly some folk music on here, including “If I Had a Hammer,” “This Land Is Your Land,” and “Gotta Travel On.” It could be surmised that by treating such material in this fashion, Lopez had a tiny influence upon the subsequent folk-rock movement; Marty Balin of the Jefferson Airplane has said as much. In truth, however, Lopez was more the all-around entertainer with a Latin lilt than he was a folk singer, so you also get “America” (from West Side Story), “La Bamba,” Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say,” “Volare,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.” The live party-a-go-go atmosphere did much to put Lopez’s likable energy over, and likely influenced the similar live-in-a-small-club ambience on Johnny Rivers’ early hits, especially as Jones played with Rivers as well. (by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
Dick Brant (bass)
Mickey Jones (drums)
Trini Lopez (guitar, vocals)

Trini Lopez07Tracklist:
01. A-me-ri-ca (Bernstein/Sondheim) 4.01
02. If I Had A Hammer (Hays/Seeger) 3.00
03. Bye Bye Blackbird (Dixon/Henderson) 2.18
04. Cielito Lindo (Lopez) 2.03
05. This Land Is Your Land (Gold/Boone) 3.51
06. What’d I Say (Charles) 3.12
07. La Bamba (Traditional/Lopez) 4.36
08. Granada (Lara/Dodd) 3.20
09. Gotta Travel On (Clayton) 2.07
10. Down By The Riverside (Lopez) 1.30
11. Marianne (Miller/Dehr/Gylkison) 1.05
12. When The Saint’s Go Marching In (Traditional) 0.46
13. Volare (Modugno/Migliacci/Parish) 1.08
14. Unchain My Heart (Jones/James) 3.07

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More Trini Lopez:
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Trini López (May 13, 1937 – August 11, 2020)

Flora Purim – Perpetual Emotion (2001)

FrontCover1Flora Purim (born March 6, 1942) is a Brazilian jazz singer known primarily for her work in the jazz fusion style. She became prominent for her part in Return to Forever with Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke. She has recorded and performed with numerous artists, including Dizzy Gillespie, Gil Evans, Opa, Stan Getz, George Duke, Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, Santana, Jaco Pastorius, and her husband Airto Moreira.

In 2002, Purim was the recipient of one of Brazil’s highest awards, the 2002 Ordem do Rio Branco for Lifetime Achievement. She has been called “The Queen of Brazilian Jazz”. (wikipedia)

For those who thought that despite recording, Flora Purim’s musical career went out the window with her prison term in the early ’90s, or, worse, at the end of 1970s jazz-world Flora Purim01fusion boom, think again. Perpetual Emotion is the strongest recording Ms. Purim’s monumental talent has given us since 1975’s 500 Miles High. Accompanied by life partner and collaborator percussionist Airto Moreira, saxophonist Gary Meek, pianist Christian Jacob, bassist Trey Henry, and acoustic guitarist Oscar Castro Neves, and producer Dom Comardella, Purim has selected material that showcases the ease and flow of a voice that contains within it the passion of Brazil and the airiness of a spring day. Some of those selections, such as Cesar Mariano’s “Saudade,” offer the deep melancholy of looking back to places you can never again visit and reveal within them the sweeter memories they hold. Chris Jacob’s piano leads the way trough the tune and strips it of any false “exotic” artifice. It’s a jazz ballad with a Brazilian melody and rhythm, eased through the gates by Moreira’s easy touch and a flowing bassline by Henry. On “Fotographia” by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Purim takes the tune, which has been recorded literally hundreds of times, to its folksy essence and makes of it a song that is neither jazz nor samba, but a tome of memory and longing. The highlight of the album is the revisiting of Chick Corea’s and Neville Potter’s “Crystal Silence.

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While the song had been in Purim’s early repertoire as an improvisation, a wordless melody, because she had not known — even though she had been part of Corea’s Return to Forever — that the tune had words all along. Her feeling for the original is fierce and moving; it flows from her like a river of feeling and motion, it offers the notion of seeing with new eyes that which has been present all along. Her interpretive voice has never sounded stronger, and her band is understated enough to let it come freely through the mix while providing her with musical challenges to rise to. Perpetual Emotion is the album Purim’s been promising to deliver her entire career. Let us hope that this is the first of many like it to come. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Trey Henry (bass)
Christian Jacob (piano)
Gary Meek (saxophone, bass, clarinet, flute)
Airto Moreira (drums, percussion)
Oscar Castro-Neves (guitar)
Flora Purim (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. San Francisco River (Moreira/Purim) 4.58
02. My Ship (Gershwin/Weill) 4.13
03. Escape  (Purim) 4.12
04. Saudade (Purim) 3.02
05. Crystal Silence (Corea/Potter) 6.18
06. Flora And Airto (Purim) 5.00
07. Fotografia (Gilbert/Jobim) 6.55
08. Journey To Eden (Purim) 5.19
09. Search For Peace (Purim/Tyner) 6.07
10. Airto’s Jazz Dance (Purim) 4.07
11. Carinhoso (Pixinguinha/Purim) 3.50

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Sir Richard Bishop – The Freak Of Araby (2009)

FrontCover (2)Richard Bishop is an American composer, guitarist and singer best known for his work with the Sun City Girls. He styles himself Sir Richard Bishop.

In 2005, Bishop began performing as a solo artist, playing throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States. He has done extensive touring with Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy), Animal Collective, Devendra Banhart, Bill Callahan, and many others.

Bishop’s first official solo record, Salvador Kali, was released by John Fahey’s esteemed Revenant Records label in 1998. The album showcases Bishop’s own particular obsessions and roots, drawing from a variety of worldwide sources. Locust Music issued his second record, Improvika, in 2004. This album consists of nine extemporaneous pieces for solo acoustic guitar. Up next was Fingering the Devil, which was recorded at an impromptu session at London’s Southern Studios on a day off from the 2005 European tour. This was followed by two more releases from Locust: Elektronika Demonika, a recording of electronics, containing no guitar at all; and While My Guitar Violently Bleeds, which is made up of three extended compositions for acoustic and electric guitar. Richard’s 30-minute film God Damn Religion was released on DVD by Locust in 2006.

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2007 saw the first Sir Richard release from the Drag City label, Polytheistic Fragments. It includes works for acoustic, electric and lapsteel guitar, plus two piano compositions. Next up was The Freak of Araby (Drag City, 2009). This was the first Bishop album to feature a full band of supporting musicians. The record is a tribute to late Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid as well as to Middle Eastern music.

In May 2010, Drag City released the album False Flag by Rangda, a new group featuring Bishop, Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance, Comets on Fire), and Chris Corsano (Flower-Corsano Duo, Flaherty/Corsano, Jandek, Björk, etc).

Bishop was a founding member (along with brother Alan Bishop) of ethnic-improv pioneers and underground tricksters Sun City Girls, who during their 26 years (1981–2007), produced an extensive discography of over 50 full length albums, 20 one-hour cassettes and a dozen 7” records. In the early 1980s he was also a member of the group Paris 1942 which included Alan Bishop, J. Akkari and former Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker.

In 2003, Richard Bishop, along with Alan Bishop and Hisham Mayet, founded the Sublime Frequencies label, dedicated to acquiring and releasing obscure sights and sounds from Africa, India, S.E. Asia and beyond. (wikipedia)

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Sir Richard Bishop is the Pico Iyer of the guitar. On his previous five solo recordings he’s visited not only various nations and continents, as the writer has done in his books, but time periods on his instrument as well — something that Iyer, limited by physics, has been unable to do. Arabic music has long held a place in Bishop’s heart as a guitarist, as a member of the Sun City Girls and as a solo artist, but he’s never indulged it so completely as he does on The Freak of Araby. There are two distinct inspirations for this album; the primary one is the Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid (1945-1991), known as “the King of Arab Guitar.” His influence, in the way Bishop phrases and uses everything from reverb to his picking style, reveals the inspiration of Khorshid, who, at the beginning of his career, was a member of Abdel Halim Hafez’s Oriental Orchestra, and went on to become an actor and one of the great composers in Arabic cinema; he scored more than 40 films during his brief lifetime. The other influence, which is a bit more subtle but unmistakable, is the great Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum — Khorshid was a member of her backing band for a time.

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Bishop plays only the electric guitar here, and utilizes a small band on this set — a quartet with a bassist, a drummer, and a percussionist. There are five originals and six “covers” of standards from the Arab world — including “Enta Omri,” by the great composer Mohamed Abdel Wahab. It should be noted that the way in which Bishop approaches the traditional and cover material is with a sense of reverence but not slavishness. He takes liberties and his sense of humor is on full display here. Check his reading of the traditional “Kaddak el Mayass,” which blends the very traditional melody with surf guitar technique and sound. There’s just enough of the latter to make it a modern reading, but the sense of mode, tonality, and phrasing of the vocal song is everywhere on display as well. The opening cut, “Taqasim for Omar,” is a gorgeous solo guitar piece that uses modes and Eastern tonalities and cadences as well as Bishop’s full-blown knowledge of the electric guitar as a “folk” instrument of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

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One of the more startling things about this recording — which may irk some fans — is the lack of guitar solos here, and this is where the influence of the great Egyptian vocalist comes in: Bishop treats the majority of this material in a truly songlike manner, forgoing his own genuinely engaging and startling ability for pyrotechnics on the instrument in favor of re-creating the lyricism of the songs themselves. The sense of sung melodies is everywhere apparent — check the readings of the aforementioned “Enta Omri,” Elias Rahbani’s “Ka’an Azzaman,” or the traditional “Sidi Mansour” (though there is a boatload of reverb utilized in the middle section of the latter that departs significantly). The lack of fiery guitar wizard machinations — at least the overt ones — might bother excitement junkies, but a second listen will yield plenty of them in Bishop’s playing as well as his approach to the material and the open acknowledgement of his muses for this project. In sum, The Freak of Araby is simply wonderful. (by Thom Jurek)

In other words: This music is full of magic !

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Personnel:
Rasheed Al-Qahira (guitar, chanter (morocan))
Mohammed Bandari (drums)
Abdullah Basheem (percussion)
Richard Bishop (guitar)
Ahmed Sharif (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Taqasim For Omar (Bishop) 7.16
02. Enta Omri (Wahab) 2.45
03. Barbary (Bishop)  2:20
04. Solenzara (Bacar/Darbal/Marfisi) 5.01
05. The Pillars Of Baalbek (Bishop) 5.18
06. Kaddak El Mayass Traditional) 3.26
07. Essaouira (Bishop) 2.21
08. Ka’an Azzaman (Rahbani) 2.51
09 .Sidi Mansour (Traditional) 6.03
10. Blood-Stained Sands (Bishop) 7.26

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Barbara Thompson & Paraphernalia – Everlasting Flame (1993)

FrontCover1One of the finest saxophone player ever… Barbara Thompson:

Barbara Gracey Thompson MBE (born 27 July 1944) is an English jazz saxophonist. She studied saxophone and classical composition at the Royal College of Music, but the music of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane made her shift her interests to jazz and saxophone. She was married to drummer Jon Hiseman of Colosseum from 1967 until his death in 2018.

Around 1970, Thompson was part of Neil Ardley’s New Jazz Orchestra and appeared on albums by Colosseum. Beginning in 1975, she was involved in the foundation of three bands:

United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, a ‘band of bandleaders’ …
Barbara Thompson’s Jubiaba and:
Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia, her most recent band

Barbara_Thompson01he was awarded the MBE in 1996 for services to music. Due to Parkinson’s disease, which was diagnosed in 1997, she retired as an active saxophonist in 2001 with a farewell tour. After a period of working as a composer exclusively, she returned to the stage in 2003.

Thompson has worked closely with Andrew Lloyd Webber on musicals such as Cats and Starlight Express, his Requiem, and Lloyd Webber’s 1978 classical-fusion album Variations. She has written several classical compositions, music for film and television, a musical of her own and songs for the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia and her big band Moving Parts.

She played the incidental music in the ITV police series A Touch of Frost starring David Jason. She also played flute on Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.

From 1967, until he died in June 2018, Thompson was married to the Colosseum drummer Jon Hiseman. The couple’s son Marcus was born in 1972, and their daughter Anna (now known as singer/songwriter Ana Gracey) in 1975. (wikipedia)

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And here´s another brilliant album … criminally underrated …

”This recording produces breathtaking impressions in the listener.” (Extra Dry, 06/94)
What an album!
Barbara Thompson herself feels this is one of her best albums and I tend to agree. Featuring her daughter’s vocals, it is a rich aural experience that draws on Egyptian rhythm and harmony. Listeners won’t regret buying this wonderful album. (Agadoo)

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Personnel:
Anna Gracey Hiseman (vocals)
Jon Hiseman (drums)
Peter Lemer (keyboards)
Malcolm MacFarlane (guitar)
Hossam Ramzy (percussion)
Barbara Thompson (saxophone, flute)
Paul Westwood (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Everlasting Flame (Thompson) 5.15
02. In The Eye Of A Storm (Thompson) 5.06
03. Emerald Dusky Maiden (Thompson) 4.59
04. Unity Hymn (Thompson) 3.54
05. So Near, So Far (Hiseman/Thompson) 3.20
06. Tatami (Lemer) 4.56
07. Ode To Sappho (Thompson) 9.27 (*)
08. The Night Before Culloden (MacFarlane) 5.10
09. Ancient Voices (Thompson/Westwood) 6.33
10. The Fanaid Grove (Thompson) 7.15

(?) This composition based probably on an song, written by Marika Papagika called “Ta Pedia Tis Gitonias Sou”, written in 1925

 

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Various Artists – From Tunis – Kasbah To Kairo – Tahrir Square And Back (2011)

FrontCover1This very important sampler is subtitled “Our dreams are our weapons soundtracks of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt”, this is an intriguing reminder of the role music has been playing in the Arab Spring; upheavals across north Africa and the Middle East have been helped by the protesters’ use of social networking sites, with songs of struggle often intercut with news footage and posted on YouTube. The musical variety is remarkable particularly in Tunisia. There are sturdy, revolutionary pop songs and folk-rock anthems, but also furious rap from Hamada Ben-Amor, better known as El Général, whose protests landed him in jail earlier this year. There’s rousing orchestral work and oud songs, and an experimental, compelling call to arms from Alia Sellami, who creates unsettling effects by singing into bottles. In Egypt the emphasis is more on rock bands. There’s a powerful lament for a martyr from Ahmed Farahat and an emotional song of patriotism and freedom by Aida el Ayoubi, written nearly 20 years ago and now revived on the internet. (Guardian)

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At first this bifurcated selection of eight liberation songs from Tunisia and six from Egypt sounds noble and no more. Although the 14 tracks vary considerably, all are on the respectable side except for one Tunisian rap, which was recorded well before the revolt got the rapper imprisoned. But soon the Tunisian sequence hits home: uplifting neotrad opener to songpoem with crowd chatter to haunting rap to marchlike hymn right through a rock anthem that swept all the way to Tahrir Square. Unfortunately, after a Nubian opener the Egyptians’ contributions don’t connect as deep. The two oud-and-percussion features by two Coptic brothers are too many, and the saved-for-last “The Challenge,” by Tunisian oud-and-zither brothers with their own album on this very label, strives a little too solemnly to, as the notes put it, “build a bridge between Orient and Occident.” A matter of taste, of course–tragic sacrifices and momentous changes merit some solemnity. But I’d love to hear just one beat from the rappers I know damn well were taking their A game to the Cairo streets. (by Robert Christgau)

This album should remind us, how many people in the world have to live unfree !

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Tracklist:
01. Zorah Lajnef: Tounis Hurra! (Free Tunisia) 3.04
02. Skander Guetari & Khaled Waghleni: Itkallem Ya Tounis (Speak, Oh My Tunisia) 5.37
03. El Général: Rais Lebled (Head Of The Country) 3.53
04. Rabii Zammouri: Nasheed Ath’thawra (Hymn To The Revolution) 2.05
05. Alia Sellami: Revelation 4.57
06. Amine & Hamza: N’seyem Tounis (Breezes From Tunisia) 7.48
07. Hany Adel & Amir Eid: Sawt El Hourreya (The Voice Of Freedom) 4:03
08. Mohamed Mounir: Ezzayy? (Why?) 3.33
09. Mohamed Rashad & Aya Farouq: Wallahi Al-Azim Ya Baladna (Oh Our Country, We Swear) 4.06
10. Joseph Tawadros & James Tawadros Helm: Ash-Shaab (People’s Dream) 4.48
11. Ahmad Farahat: Ash-Shaheed (The Martyr) 4.10
12. Joseph Tawadros & James Tawadros: Gomaa Hayran (Uncertain Friday) 5.47
13. Aida El Ayoubi: Bahebbek Ya Balady (I Love You Oh My Country) 4.08
14. Amine & Hamza: The Challenge 8.10
15. Arabian Knightz feat. Lauryn Hill: Rebel 3.43
16. Rayes Lebled: El Général (Tunisia) 3.49

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I got this rare item from Mr. Sleeve … thanks again !!!

René Aubry – Play Time (2008)

FrontCover1René Aubry is a French composer born in 1956. He is a multi-instrumentalist known for blending classical harmonies with modern instrumentation. Aubry has composed for choreographers such as Carolyn Carlson, Pina Bausch and Philippe Genty. He has also scored for films and released many of his own albums.

He also composed the music for the 2009 animated film The Gruffalo and its 2011 sequel The Gruffalo’s Child, as well as 2012’s Room on the Broom.

In addition, his music was often heard in a Greek comic-satirical TV series Οι Στάβλοι της Εριέτας Ζαΐμη (by wikipedia)

And this is a 2008 collection of tracks from the great composer, featuring new versions of his own songs that have remained very close to his heart. With music composed for shows by Carolyn Carlson, Pina Bausch and Philippe Genty, soundtracks for films, and 15 albums to his name, René Aubry is a popular, prolific and discreet composer. This native son of Epinal is self-taught and has traced his own career as a composer of “songs without words”. (by Hopi Mesa)

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This is an audiophile’s dream album. I have a very high-end audio system and this is one of my ‘demo’ discs that I use to show off the sound quality of my system. GREAT stuff and very nice music to listen to. (Mr. Big)

This production music is wonderful because it uses rhythms and percussion, created by a skilled composer, who know to use, with great skill, emotional voice, knowledge of the tools, all in sync. (by Ceolin)

Oh, such a unique album … I´m so excited !

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Personnel:
René Aubry (guitar, mandolin, banjo, bouzouki)
Antoine Banville (percussion)
Daniel Beaussier (clarinet, oboe, saxophone)
Marc Buronfosse (cello)
Stefano Genovese (keyboards)
Jean-Marc Ladet (violin, viola, mandolin)
Marco Quesada (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Sirtaki A Helsinki 3.40
02. Prima Donna 3.03
03. Dare-Dard 2.50
04. Chaloupée 3.45
05. Steppe 4.13
06. Rose 3:39
07. Facéties 2.22
08. Après La Pluie 3.07
09. Blue Lady 3.59
10. Quintette 2.28
11. Mémoires 5.08
12. Night Run 3.54
13. Demi-Lune 4.11
14. La Danse Des Trois Chapeaux 2.53
15. Ne M’oublie Pas 4.09
16. L’abîme 3.30
17. Zig-Zag 3.13
18. Les Sept Erreurs 2.25

Music composed by René Aubry

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Buddy Rich & Alla Rakha – Rich A La Rakha (1968)

FrontCover1Two great musicians:

Bernard “Buddy” Rich (September 30, 1917 – April 2, 1987) was an American jazz drummer and bandleader. He is considered one of the most influential drummers of all time and was known for his virtuoso technique, power, and speed. He performed with Tommy Dorsey, Harry James and Count Basie, and led a big band.

Ustad Allarakha Qureshi (29 April 1919 – 3 February 2000), popularly known as Alla Rakha, was an Indian tabla player, who specialized in Hindustani Classical music. He was a frequent accompanist of sitar player Ravi Shankar. (by wikipedia)

Amd here´s a their album … and I´m very impressed:
This is one of those times when five stars isn’t really enough. I’m not on an expert on Indian music, but I really like it and have done for decades. I have dozens if not hundreds of Indian classical and Asian fusion albums, I took table lessons for a year or so, and I try to play the bansuri a little bit.
So I’m not really qualified to comment on the music in any technical way, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Paul Horn plays flute on this LP, and Ravi Shankar provided some compositions, and claps taal on one of the drum solos. Another cool thing is that none of the tracks are in teentaal (16 beats), which is a very serviceable and ubiquitous rhythmic structure in North Indian classical music. “Boring” would be too strong a word, but it’s nice to hear some different taals– 5 beats, 11 beats, and 6/8.
The liner notes are great, very educational, with brief artist bios, a little history of the recording, and some technical notes. Also some leads on more good music to seek out.

Los Angeles 1968

So, since I can’t say much on a technical level, here’s my experience: it’s a very, very enjoyable recording to listen to. I find myself dancing and beating rhythms on stuff every time I hear it, which I’m prone to do, but usually not quite this much.
So just a really good recording.

The other thing is, Alla Rakha’s personality really comes through. I’m much more familiar with his #1 son Zakir Hussain, and Alla Rakha has a different personality. Zakir is very sophisticated, and has a sense of humor that expresses itself in jokes, both verbal and musical. in fact he’s bit of a wise-ass. A great guy, wonderful personality, but very sophisticated and worldly. True to his Indian roots, certainly, but rooted in Western culture as well, lived with the Greatful Dead, all that. Alla Rakha, on the other hand, is more pure, one-pointed, strictly an Indian classical musician.

Alla Rakha

Of course he’s doing fusion here, and elsewhere, and had a lot to do with the development of Asian fusion and introduction of Indian music to the West, but he just does his thing, brings an unalloyed Indian style to the fusion experience. Not saying Rakha DOESN’T have a sense of humor, he does, but the experience, as one of the other reviewers said, is pure joy. And I’m not saying Alla Rakha is in any way less than Zakir. Of course he famously sang taals to his infant son after concerts, sent him to spend time with the Dead and so on; without him there’s no Zakir. (by Jerry Larsoni)

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Personnel:
Shamim Ahmed (sitar)
Amiya das Gupta (tambura)
Paul Horn (flute)
Nodu C. Mullick (tambura, cymbal)
Alla Rakha (tabla)
Taranath Rao (dholak)
Buddy Rich (drums, dholak)

Conducted by Ravi Shankar

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Tracklist:
01. Khanda Kafi (Shankar) 5.13
02. Duet In Dadra (ubnknown) 4.40
03. Rangeelā (Shankar) 4.14
04. Nagma E Raksh (Rakha) 7.39
05. Tal Sawari (unknown) 14:22

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Buddy Rich

Paul Simon – Graceland (1986)

FrontCover1Graceland is the seventh solo studio album by American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. It was produced by Simon, engineered by Roy Halee and released on August 25, 1986, by Warner Bros. Records.

In the early 1980s, Simon’s relationship with his former musical partner Art Garfunkel had deteriorated, his marriage to actress Carrie Fisher had collapsed, and his previous record, Hearts and Bones (1983), had been a commercial failure. In 1984, after a period of depression, Simon became fascinated by a bootleg cassette of South African township music. He and Halee visited Johannesburg, where they spent two weeks recording with South African musicians.

Recorded in 1985 and 1986, Graceland features an eclectic mixture of genres, including pop, rock, a cappella, zydeco, isicathamiya, and mbaqanga. Simon created new compositions inspired by the recordings made in Johannesburg, collaborating with African and American artists. He received criticism for breaking the cultural boycott imposed against South Africa because of its policy of apartheid. Following its completion, Simon toured alongside South African musicians, performing their music and songs from Graceland.

Graceland became Simon’s most successful studio album and his highest-charting album in over a decade; it is estimated to have sold up to 16 million copies worldwide. It was lauded by critics, won the 1987 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and is frequently cited as one of the best albums of all time. In 2006, it was added to the United States’ National Recording Registry as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important”.

PaulSimon1982Following the 1970s, in which he had released a series of hit records, Simon fell on hard times. His relationship with his former musical partner Art Garfunkel had again deteriorated; his sixth solo studio album, Hearts and Bones (1983), achieved the lowest sales of his career; and his marriage to actress Carrie Fisher collapsed. “I had a personal blow, a career setback, and the combination of the two put me into a tailspin,” he recalled.

In 1984, Simon became fascinated with a bootleg cassette tape, Gumboots: Accordion Jive Hits, Volume II, loaned to him by Heidi Berg, a singer-songwriter with whom he was working as a producer. He described it as “very good summer music, happy music”, and said it reminded him of 1950s rhythm and blues. He began improvising melodies over it as he listened in his car.

Simon asked his contacts at his label, Warner, to identify the artists on the tape. Through South African record producer Hilton Rosenthal, Warner confirmed that the music was South African and played by either the vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo or the Boyoyo Boys.[nb 1] “I first thought, ‘Too bad it’s not from Zimbabwe, Zaire, or Nigeria.’ Life would have been more simple,” Simon said at the time.

Simon considered buying the rights to his favourite song on the tape, “Gumboots”, and using it to write his own song, as he had with the song “El Condor Pasa” in the 70s. Instead, Rosenthal suggested that Simon record an album of South African music, and sent him dozens of records from South African artists.

Paul Simon

In the 1980s, recording in South Africa was dangerous, and the United Nations had imposed a cultural boycott for its policy of apartheid. This forced “all states to prevent all cultural, academic, sporting and other exchanges” with South Africa and ordered “writers, artists, musicians and other personalities” to boycott it. Nonetheless, Simon resolved to go to South Africa, and told The New York Times: “I knew I would be criticized if I went, even though I wasn’t going to record for the government … or to perform for segregated audiences. I was following my musical instincts in wanting to work with people whose music I greatly admired.”

Before leaving for Johannesburg, Simon contributed to “We Are the World”, a charity single benefiting African famine relief. Simon spoke to producers Quincy Jones and Harry Belafonte about recording in South Africa, who encouraged him to do it. The South African black musicians’ union also voted to let Simon come, as it could benefit their culture’s music, placing it on an international stage. At the time, musicians in Johannesburg were typically paid $15 an hour; Simon arranged to pay them $200 an hour, around triple the rate for top players in New York City. Simon said he “wanted to be as above board as I could possibly be”, as many of the musicians did not know who he was and would not be lured by the promise of royalties alone. He also offered writer’s royalties to those he felt had contributed particularly to compositions.

Paul Simon Performing

In February 1985, Simon and his longtime engineer Roy Halee flew to Johannesburg, intending their visit to be secret. Recording sessions took place at Ovation Studios. Halee had feared the studio would be a “horror show”, but was surprised to find it “very comfortable”. The studio was reminiscent of a garage, which Halee feared would be a problem for recording, and none of the musicians wore headphones.

Rosenthal used his connections to assemble the variety of musicians who had inspired Simon, including Lulu Masilela, Tao Ea Matsekha, General M. D. Shirinda and the Gaza Sisters, and the Boyoyo Boys Band.[9] Jam sessions ranged from 10 to 30 minutes, with Simon and Halee intending to assemble an album from them upon their return home. Though the playing style was technically simple, Simon found it difficult to mimic. Outside the studio, the general public was hostile toward Simon, but the Musician’s Union received him warmly. At the end of the two-week trip, Simon found himself relieved of his former personal turmoil and with a revitalized passion for music.

Though Simon described the recording sessions as “euphoric”, he recalled “tension below the surface” due to the effects of apartheid. When recording sessions continued into the evening, the musicians would become tense, as they were not allowed to use public transportation or be on the streets after curfew. Simon recalled, “In the middle of the euphoric feeling in the studio, you would have reminders that you’re living in incredibly tense racial environment, where the law of the land was apartheid.”

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Simon and Halee spent around two weeks recording in Johannesburg before returning to the Hit Factory studio in New York City to edit the material. Simon flew several South African musicians to New York to complete the record three months after the original sessions in Johannesburg. These sessions resulted in “You Can Call Me Al” and “Under African Skies”.

Simon began writing lyrics at his home in Montauk, New York, while listening to the recordings. The process was slow, but he determined he had sufficient material to begin re-recording the tracks. He played the tracks backward to “enhance their sound”, interspersing gibberish to complete the rhythms.

He brought together guest musicians including American singer Linda Ronstad and his childhood heroes the Everly Brothers. Simon’s trip to Louisiana with Richard Landry led to the recording of “That Was Your Mother” with local band Good Rockin’ Dopsie and the Twisters. After seeing the group at a dance hall in Lafayette, he recorded the song with them at a small studio behind a music store. He felt that the accordion, central to zydeco, would make a pleasing transition back to his own culture. Afterward, he contacted Mexican-American band Los Lobos, with whom he recorded “All Around the World or The Myth of Fingerprints” in Los Angeles.

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Engineer Roy Halee edited the album with new digital technology, transferring analog tape recordings to the digital workspace countless times. He said: “The amount of editing that went into that album was unbelievable … without the facility to edit digital, I don’t think we could have done that project.” He used tape echo and delay on every song, and paid particular attention to the bass, saying: “The bassline is what the album is all about. It’s the essence of everything that happened.” Each song was mixed in about two days at the Hit Factory, where most of the vocal overdubs were recorded.

Warner executives were uninterested in the project, viewing Simon as a bad investment due to the failure of his previous two solo albums.[15] The label was much more invested in Prince and Madonna, viewing Simon as a has-been. Simon felt their indifference to him worked in his favor, as it gave him more freedom. According to Halee, he believed executives at the label viewed the duo as “crazy” (by wikipedia)

Singles

 

With Graceland, Paul Simon hit on the idea of combining his always perceptive songwriting with the little-heard mbaqanga music of South Africa, creating a fascinating hybrid that re-enchanted his old audience and earned him a new one. It is true that the South African angle (including its controversial aspect during the apartheid days) was a powerful marketing tool and that the catchy music succeeded in presenting listeners with that magical combination: something they’d never heard before that nevertheless sounded familiar. As eclectic as any record Simon had made, it also delved into zydeco and conjunto-flavored rock & roll while marking a surprising new lyrical approach (presaged on some songs on Hearts and Bones); for the most part, Simon abandoned a linear, narrative approach to his words, instead drawing highly poetic (“Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”), abstract (“The Boy in the Bubble”), and satiric (“I Know What I Know”) portraits of modern life, often charged by striking images and turns of phrase torn from the headlines or overheard in contemporary speech. An enormously successful record, Graceland became the standard against which subsequent musical experiments by major artists were measured. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Demola Adepoju (pedal-steel guitar)
Bakiti Kumalo (bass)
David W. Bargeron (trombone)
Adrian Belew (guitar synthesizer)
Steve Berlin (saxophone)
Randy Brecker (horn)
Ronald E. Brecker (trumpet)
Ronald E. Cuber (saxophone)
Jon Faddis (trumpet)
Babacar Faye (percussion)
Alex Foster (saxophone)
Steve Gadd (drums)
Earl Gardner (trumpet)
Morris Goldberg (penny whistle, saxophone)
David Hildago (accordion, guitar, vocals)
Johnny Hoyt (saxophone)
Alonzo Johnson (bass)
Vusi Khumalo (drums)
Kim Allan Cissel (trombone)
Bakithi Kumalo (bass)
Lloyd Lelose (bass)
Lewis Michael Soloff (trumpet)
Conrad Lozano (bass)
Ralph MacDonald (percussion)
Makhaya Mahlangu (percussion)
Mike Makhalemele (saxophone)
Petrus Manile (drums)
Lulu Masilela (tambourine)
Jonhjon Mkhaladi (accordion)
Forere Motloheloa (accordion)
Rob Mounsey (synthesizer)
Isaac Mtshali (drums)
Youssou N’Dour (percussion)
Teaspoon Ndlela (saxophone)
Louie Pérez (drums)
Chikapa “Ray” Phiri (guitar)
Leonard Pickett (saxophone)
Barney Rachabane (saxophone)
Sherman Robertson (guitar)
Cesar Rosas (guitar, vocals)
Alan Rubin (trumpet)
Alton Rubin (accordion)
Alton Rubin Jr. (drums)
David Rubin (washboard)
Joseph Shabalala (vocals)
Paul Simon (vocals, guitar, bass, synclavier)
Assane Thaim (percussion)
Daniel Xilakazi (guitar)
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background vocals:
Michele Cobbs – Diane Garisto – Linda Ronstadt Guest Artist, Vocals
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The Everly Brothers – Gaza Sisters – Ladysmith Black Mambazo (vocals)

Booklet04ATracklist:
01. The Boy In The Bubble (Motloheloa/Simon) 3.59
02. Graceland (Simon) 4.51
03. I Know What I Know (Shirinda/Simon) 3.13
04. Gumboots (Masilela/Mkhaladi/Simon) 2.45
05. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes (Shabalala/Simon) 5.48
06. You Can Call Me Al (Simon) 4.40
07. Under African Skies (Simon) 3.37
08. Homeless (Shabalala/Simon) 3.48
09. Crazy Love, Vol. II (Simon) 4.19
10. That Was Your Mother (Simon) 2.52
11. All Around The World Or The Myth of Fingerprints (Simon) 3.15

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Inti Illimani – Viva Chila ! (1973)

FrontCover1Inti-Illimani (Spanish pronunciation: [in.ti.ji.ˈma.ni]; from Quechuan inti and / Aymara illimani) are an instrumental and vocal Latin American folk music ensemble from Chile. The group was formed in 1967 by a group of university students and it acquired widespread popularity in Chile for their song Venceremos (We shall win!) which became the anthem of the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende. At the moment of the September 11, 1973 Chilean coup they were on tour in Europe and were unable to return to their country where their music was proscribed by the ruling military junta. In Europe their music took on a multifarious character, incorporating elements of European baroque and other traditional music forms to their rich and colourful Latin American rhythms – creating a distinctive fusion of modern world music. They are perhaps the best internationally known members of the nueva canción movement. Their name means ‘Sun of the Illimani.’ In Aymara Illimani is the name of a mountain in the Bolivian Andes.

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The group was formed by students at Universidad Técnica del Estado at Santiago, Chile in 1967. In 1973 as they were on tour abroad, General Augusto Pinochet launched a coup d’etat and took power. Having heard of the numerous extra-judicial killings of many fellow artists by Chile’s army, they took up residence in Italy, resulting in “the longest tour in history” for Inti-Illimani as they lived in de facto exile. They continued their efforts supporting Chilean democracy internationally; magnitizdat copies of their work continued to be widely distributed in Chile. In September 1988, days after they were no longer banned from Chile, they began touring Chile again. They helped organize the voting down of the referendum that would have re-elected Pinochet. Recently, they were actually supported by Chile as representatives of Chilean culture.

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In the past the group was musically led by Horacio Salinas and politically led by Jorge Coulon. However, in 2001 there was a controversial split of the group, which started when three key members left the group (José Seves, Horacio Durán and Horacio Salinas). They were replaced by Manuel Meriño (from Entrama), Cristián González and Juan Flores. Due to the importance of departed members, many called into question the ability of the remainder to carry on the Inti-Illimani name. Meanwhile, the three departed members started their own group they call Inti-Histórico. From 2005 there are two groups:

Inti-Illimani New (Coulon brothers)
Inti-Illimani Histórico (José Seves, Horacio Durán and Horacio Salinas) (by wikipedia)

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And here´s is their 13th album, but the first, they recorded in exile in Italy.

And it´s a sad album, because list their homeland and it´s a strong album, because this musicans were ready to fight against the dictator Augusto Pinochet … and they won ! What a great, proud sucessful story !

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Personnel:
Horacio Salinas Alvarez (guitar, Charango, percussion, quena, panpipes, cuatro, tiple)
Max Berru Carrion (guitar, percussion)
Jorge Coulon Larranaga (guitar, tiple, panpipes, rondador)
Jose Seves Sepulveda (guitar, charango, percussion, quena, panpipes)
Jose Miguel Camus Vargas (percussion, quena, panpipes)
Horacio Duran Vidal (guitar, charango, panpipes, cuatro, tiple)

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Tracklist:
01. Fiesta De San Benito (Traditional) 3.34
02. Longuita (Strumentale) (Traditional) 1.53
03. Canción Del Poder Popular (Rojas/Advis) 2.57
04. Alturas (Salinas) 2.56
05. La Segunda Independencia (Lena) 2.30
06. Cueca De La C.U.T. (Pavez/Traditional) 1.43
07. Tatati (Salinas) 3.27
08. Venceremos (Iturra/Ortega) 2.24
09. Ramis (Traditional) 2.16
10. „Rin“ Del Angelito (Parra) 3.19
11. Subida (Bailecito) (Cavour) 1.57
12. Simón Bolívar (Anónimo/Lena) 2.46

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Alternate frontcovers:
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And in 2017 they celebrate their 50th anniversary … what a great concert:

Accordions Go Crazy – Overboard (1988)

LPFrontCover1Accordions Go Crazy was a six piece band formed in 1985 by the accordionist, pianist and performance artist Mike Adcock including Clive Bell, Dean Speedwell Brodrick, Nicola Hadley, Sylvia Hallet and Stuart Jones. The group featured the accordion as the lively, fresh and fun-loving instrument it was always meant to be. On occasion every member played an accordion, but usually the group presented two or three accordions complemented by combinations of bass guitar, drums, voices, violin, flute, piano, trumpet and trombone.

The music ranged from dance to folk to pop to experimental. As a dance band,
Accordions Go Crazy presented Cajun two-steps, French waltzes, Norwegian folk dances, rock’n’roIl and original material. For a Concert situation a wider range of pieces were available, maybe a Romanian birdsong scherzo compete with a forest full of larks, or an aching Roy Orbison baIIad. The band’s experimental side was much less predictable, venturing boldly into the uncharted territory of the avantgarde accordion.

They recorded three albums on the Trikont label: Overboard in 1988, Zombie Dancer in 1989 (with Nicola Hadley replaced by drummer Ann Day), and The art of paper folding in 1991, with Stuart Jones replaced by Ruth Bitelli on bass guitar. Gradually people got more involved in other projects, and Accordions Go Crazy last played on a short tour of Italy in 1991, with Dan Brown replacing Ruth on bass. (last.fm)

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An offshoot from the London Musicians’ Collective, Accordions Go Crazy, formed 1985, included musicians then playing with Kahondo Style, the English Gamelan Orchestra or British Summer Time Ends, as well as other British performance groups. They released 3 LPs on the German Trikont label between 1988 and 1991, this one being the first. Members Sylvia Hallett and Clive Bell also included one of the band’s compositions on their 1988 Golden Apples compilation, posted here.

All members (Mike Adcock, Clive Bell, Dean Speedwell Brodrick, Nicola Hadley, Sylvia Hallett and Stuart Jones) play accordion alternatively, in addition to various instruments. Overboard is a joyous celebration of the accordion’s ebulient potentialities through evocative, festive and multi-colored dancing numbers sourced from Cajun, Bulgarian, Romanian and Klezmer traditions. In line with the accordion’s generosity and profuse output, the arrangements favor musicians’ virtuosity and interplay, a trait further enhanced by live-in-the-studio recording conditions. Of course, the title of the band doesn’t imply the instruments are crazy but rather that the accordions will drive you crazy. You’ve been warned. (continuo.wordpress.com)

What a great and funny album !

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Personnel:
Mike Adcock (accordion, piano, vocals)
Clive Bell (accordion, flute, khene, vocals)
Dean Brodrick (accordion, percussion, bassoon, vocals)
Nicola Hadley (accordion, percussion, vocals)
Sylvia Hallett (accordion, violin, trombone, vocals)
Stuart Jones (accordion, bass, trumpet)

Mike Adcock

Tracklist:
01. Symphony For Massed Bands No. 1 (Hallett) 4.02
02. Cotswold Twostep (Adcock) 2.48
03. Tango René (Adcock) 2.20
04. Halinka’s Fall (Brodrick) 4.06
05. Violin Solo “The Red Shred” / Imalamayka (Hallett/Traditional) 4.31
06. See My Baby Jive (Wood) 4.33
07. The Falcon Waltz (Adcock) 3.24
08. Ciocirlia “The Lark” (Traditional) 3.11
09. Lebedik un Freilach (Traditional) 2.18
10. Colinda (Traditional) 3.05
11. The Delta (Adcock) 2.18
12. Sea Cruise (Smith) 2.25
13. Diamond Tongued (Bell) 1.34
14. The Third Coming (Adcock) 5.16

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