Monday, July 19, 2010

Abstract Index Playlist - July 15/10

What makes one obscure album worth reissuing and another worth blogging about?

Playing the Zorro Five next to the excellent (is there any other word?) new reissue of Lee Scratch Perry dubplates by Pressure Sounds is a study in similarities and contrasts. Of course, any new material by Scratch has automatic commercial potential, and it's a bonus that this collection covers the Black Ark era of 1973-79 with its numerous classic rhythms. The sound of these well-worn dub plates only adds to the appeal: Pressure Sounds never fails to deliver splendid remasters, and Scratch's high frequencies, distorted loudness and woofy bass become even more surreal when given this digital polish. Vinyl rips of the dubplates would not likely have resulted in such ear-opening sounds, to say nothing of the biographical material and new graphics that complete the package.

On the other hand is the Zorro Five. Apparently they once had a skinhead-era chune called Reggae Shhhh which indicated to the British public that this was an anonymous band hopping on the early reggae bandwagon (not unlike the Mohawks, who had their dalliances with reggae). If you recall the first couple of years after rock steady, the initial reggae sound was quite sprightly and achieved a fair bit of chart success in England - this was the commercial peak for Scratch's Upsetters who had a UK top 5 hit in 1969. However, it turns out that the Zorro Five were actually from South Africa. There are no liner notes to this vinyl rip - just a JPEG, some music and a brief but tantalizing writeup on the rarity of the album. A little searching reveals another site with comments including someone who confirms the label (licensed by EMI) was from SA, and that the band was most likely bi-racial (in the late 60s!) which is why there are no photos and scant information. Even though the album reputedly fetches a decent price, I'd reckon this would be just about impossible to license due to this fact, although perhaps the "Brigadiers" label owner still holds the rights, but not the artist. Nevertheless, the vinyl rip does a perfectly satisfactory job of representing the music for the perusal of sonic archaeologists.

Still though, like the Mohawks, there are some superior R&B funky grooves even if the grasp of reggae is a little rudimentary. They probably were imitating Scratch's sound of the time, and were pitched to the same skinhead market. What intrigues me is the track played on this show "Bacarolle" sounds like it's got a whiff of mbaqanga.

As is so often the case, two related sounds separated by great geographical distance come together back to back on the Abstract Index.


midnight sun - air (candid)
ikoko - eppio fanio (soundway)
kalima shop titi - poirier feat boogat rmx by uproot andy (ninja tune)
bailemos esta cumbia - mr iozo feat caballo (no label)
mshni wam - spoek mathambo (bbe)
wine up - baobinga vs killa benz (steak house)
naramidou poita - dadub feat quilo rmx by arogalla (les cristaux liquident)
adidas to addis - cut chemist (mochilla)
bacarolle - zorro five (emi/brigadiers)
my luv 2 u - cinister cee (neferiu)
chim cherie - lee scratch perry (pressure sounds)
limits - freddie joachim (organology)
falling far - nite jewel (big love)
isle de joie - mandre (rush hour)
raga malkauns - charanjit singh (bombay connection)
in the ghetto - ljx (no label)
jah children dub style - heptones (lagoon)
is it because i'm black - ken boothe (trojan)
mamy blue - juan torres y su organo melodico (musart/balboa)
estilo ricky ramirez - satanique samba trio (amplitude)
unnameable dance - justin haynes/jean martin (barnyard)
ganjil - gamelan madu sari (songlines)
64 fire damage - isan (morr music)
brown recluse - annie whitehead/barbara morgenstern/bill wells/stefan schneider (karaoke kalk)
in a salient way - moondata (moondata)
electricone - lloyd miller & the heliocentrics (now again)
la la la (hard version) - segun bucknor (vampisoul)

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