Sunday, February 11, 2007

Abstract Index Playlist - February 7/07

This show was a pretty loose riff on African History Month. A theme never really developed beyond a few "message songs", but there were some very encouraging phonecalls telling to keep doing what I was doing.

Love that Rick Holmes track "Remember To Remember". It's as if he set the back of an Afrika Bambaataa album to music. In his distinctive baritone, Holmes recites nine minutes worth of Afro-American musicians and personal inspirations. He's not alone; he's got a sympathetic female chorus behind him to respond to his call - e.g "John Coltrane said: A Love Supreme" "John Colll-trane!!". And he throws himself into the mix for good measure...
This was one of the definitive records on Roy Ayers' Uno Melodic/Gold Mink records, the label he started after leaving Polydor round about 1980. Ayers' sound got more and more brittle as the decade wore on, and although this cut has the beginnings of the digital synth sound that would soon overtake his oeuvre, it has that timeless late night downtempo groove that says "we've had a lot of fun tonight, but here's something to think about as you make your way home in the cold light of day".
Getting back to Bam, those album covers were real eye-openers for me back in high school. For those who don't know, he would thank dozens of individuals on his albums. He'd start by namechecking the entire Zulu nation, then move on to almost every rapper in New York, then a few other cities, and into musical and historical figures both near and far. I wasn't being taught a whole lot of African history in school so these led me to investigate further. Some of the juxtapositions were pretty funny, too, as in the notes for Planet Rock, The Album which thank "Gandhi, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Jane Fonda" and "Stevie Wonder, Mao Tse Tung, Eddy Grant". For a budding liner note analyst like myself, these were names that could lead into any number of directions. And over the years, they did. A few years later I met Bambaataa and thanked him for the knowledge.
remember to remember - rick holmes (uno melodic)
upside down - sandra isidore & afrika 70 (celluloid)
negro por siempre - peru negro (thrill jockey)
bimoko magnin - super djata de bamako (syllart)
adeoey - los reyes '73 (waxing deep)
rio carnaval dos carnavais - elza soares (emi)
la verdad - cortijo (mp)
wokyiri me - african guitar summit (cbc)
mara fein - kocassale dioubate (beresanke percussion)
immigres - youssou n'dour (earthworks)
let's clean up the ghetto - the PIR allstars (philadelphia international)
guess i'll have to cry, cry, cry - james brown (universal)
show us the way - dennis brown (JA)
stand up and fight - slim smith (sonic sounds)
memories of the ghetto - augustus pablo (shanachie)
stop your fighting - noel ellis (light in the attic)
good vibes - horace andy (blood and fire)
tribute to the duke - dr. alimantado (greensleeves)

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