Abstract Index Playlist - April 23/08
The latest incredible reissue from the Numero Group got to me just in time for Passover. How better to get your "next year in Jerusalem" groove on than by loading up the iPod (jPod?) with the psychedelic Hebrew soul of Good God! Soul Messages From Dimona?
The title format may seem familiar to Numero-logists. The first Good God! volume was a stunning collection of obscure, funky gospel. But this is something else.
Undoubtably, it's a novelty to come across such incredibly polished music produced by a various groups formed from a community of Black Hebrews living in Dimona, a village in the middle of the Negev desert in Israel. They regard Dimona as the spiritual center of the universe, and that sentiment comes through loud and clear in often startling lyrics. If this was Christian proselytizing, I wonder if I'd be quite so taken with this disc - though V1 of Good God! certainly nudged me a little closer to Jesus. But the pitch perfect Hebrew Curtis Mayfield concept of the Soul Messengers "Go To Proclaim" is stunning. It's a trans-Atlantic, trans-Mediterrean , bond across the ocean to the main Black Hebrew community in Chicago.
I find myself asking questions like: how did the residents of this desert hamlet stay in tune with the vanguard of tripped out soul? Seriously, this stuff out-cosmics Roy Ayers and Earth Wind and Fire put together. Like EWF, the core musicians were session players for second tier Chicago soul indies like One-derful and Mar-v-lus. Also like EWF, they were hip to Phil Cohran and the nascent AACM. But this music is from '75-'81, some 10 years after they left the States via Liberia (that's a whole other utterly compelling story, recounted in the liner notes) to end up in Israel.
I also wonder why this almost apocalyptic soul became known as the finest party music in Israel? Then again, the version of party anthem "Na Na Na Na Hey Hey" works surprisingly well in Hebrew.
Finally, music this professional, this complex had to have been arranged and rehearsed extensively - might we be hearing the world's most successful community centre program of all time?
I can't say I'm surprised this disc exists. I've never been to Israel, but it's an incredibly diverse place which draws from all parts of the Jewish diaspora. Anyone who's hip to the music coming out of Tel Aviv right now (Kutiman, Boom Pam) knows that there's a whole lot of cultural mixology going on. So Black American Hebrews funking it up in the desert doesn't seem all that unusual in a country alongside Indian Jews, Ugandan Jews, Chinese Jews and their respective party musics.
Hour 1 podcast
Hour 2 podcast
autobonsai - shot x shot (high two)
bondage - lucas niggli drum quartet (intakt)
miss o - jason adjemian (delmark)
broken promises - quiet village (k7)
ajhoon na aye - sunil ganguly (sublime frequencies)
parkdale - elizabeth shepherd (do right)
tete muo bu mo - tony tete & the star heaters of nigeria (strut)
modernization - sons of the kingdom (numero)
street parade - earl king (soul jazz)
southern fried chicken - bill thomas & the fendells (perfect toy)
italy 73 - shawn lee's ping pong orchestra (ubiquity)
showdown - don armando's second line rumba band (strut)
a refreshing night/a union them - ken aldcroft's convergence ensemble (oval window)
slant - mario pavone trio arc feat. paul bley (playscape)
volks! - icarus (rump)
we lost the signal - fidgital (fidgital)
truths and rights - ernest wilson (BBE)
i'm in love with a dreadlocks - brown sugar (greensleeves)
i love you so - twinkle brothers (virgin)
my woman pt. 2 - bim sherman (pressure sounds)
musicology dub - keith hudson (pressure sounds)
rockers lead the way - prince ras murray (moll selekta)
bells of death - crystalites feat augustus pablo (makasound)
smile orange reggae - crystalites feat robert butler (BBE)
i am a levi pt. 2 - ijahman levi (basic replay)