Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Abstract Index Playlist - July 16/08

Oh Numero Group, why do I ever doubt thee?

I feel bad criticizing them even a little bit. There are certain collections they put together of never-would-have-been R&B that truly are substandard, but through no fault of their efforts. Even among their less-listenable compilations (and we're still talking about a solid B grade), the soul is strong, if irredeemably off key. The label always puts together liner notes which bring forgotten corners of urban music to life. Lately, one reissue seems to be leading to the next. Such is the case with Brotherman, which is linked to their earlier comp of Twinight material.

Chicago vocal quartet The Final Solution (truly terrible name...) are responsible for this would-be soundtrack album. Thing was, the film never got made, and there may not have even been a final script before the group and a few musicians laid these tracks in 1975. As Blaxploitation goes, this is minimal stuff: four part harmonies, guitar, bass and drums. Since most of it remained unmixed until recently, we are treated to a very basic, but busy rhtyhm section which is a more effective backdrop to the exquisite, Temptations style harmonies than a full orchestra might have been.

What sets this release apart is some chang-a-langin' guitar courtesy of Carl Wolfolk. It's a deeply boogie counterpoint to the polish of the vocals and archetypal seventies drum sounds. The guitar plays over everything, and was likely intended as a guide track, but becomes an unusual and almost no wave part of the whole. There are times this music reminded me of Skip And The Exciting Illusions one-step-back from James Blood Ulmer grooves in the 80s, but residing firmly in this most 70s of genre. At least 8 tracks on this disc are superb, the rest... are low-budget but still very listenable.

Once again, Numero, thanks for renewing my faith in record labels.

Sanctification – jonathan klein (trunk)
Mental fitness – eric hove (effendi)
Honey – Move D and Benjamin brunn (smallville)
Transition/toure samar – karl hector & the malcouns (now again)
Vanorapa – chiwoniso (cumbancha)
Burst – Tanya tagaq (Jericho beach)
Angoma franoas – oyikwam internationals (otrabanda)
Loni – papa wemba (sterns)
Brotherman – the final solution (numero)
Bibi – jayme stone/mansa sissoko (no label)
Ghurabaa – andy haas (resonant)
Loco -mofungo (aagoo)
Black midnight – jj jones (numero)
West end 12 – burning Babylon (sound shack)
Hang tough – Neville francis (ida b)
Sons of jah – cocoa tea (minor 7 flat 5)
Highest dub – king tubby/roots radics (greensleeves)
Rent man – black uhuru/jah grundy (heartbeat)
Movements of his majesty – bobby ellis & the professionals (third world)
This is my song to you – keith and tex (makasound)

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