Canto Al Pueblo
Esteban Jordan y Pura Jalea Canto Al Pueblo LP (El Grito, 1978)
A legend among accordion freaks and Tejano fans, Tex-Mex artist Esteban Jordan has been called the "Jimi Hendrix of the Accordion." Some of the Hendrix comparison is due to Jordan's style: He wears and eye patch and dresses like Hendrix circa Band of Gypsies. A lot of the Hendrix tag is because Jordan really burns the keys of his squeezebox. Ah but I am not gonna give you a smoker today. Instead, I'm gonna continue this funky streak I'm on and lay Squeeze Box Man on you. I'd write that this is one of Jordan's novelty tunes, but the guy has lent his accordion to lots of different styles, so nothing he does is really a novelty.
I really have no idea how hard this record is to find as this one came to me as a gift via Larry "The Flower Vato" Rodriguez.
Moe Koffman Goes Electric
Moe Koffman Goes Electric LP (Jubilee, 1967)
Though jazz certainly was played in Canada before Moe Koffman, flautist Moe was the man largely responsible for introducing the Great White North to bebop, bringing many jazz greats up north of the border to play in front of our communist neighbors. In 1958, he recorded the great Swingin' Shepherd Blues and established himself, along with Herbie Mann and Yusef Lateef, as one of the great jazz flute players. Inspired by Roland Kirk, he learned how to play multiple wind instruments at once and perfected his circular breathing so that he could play long passages without pause. Like many jazzbos, the late 60s saw Moe play pop, rock, and soul. Here are a couple songs from Moe's crossover album, Goes Electric. Comin' Home Baby is as good as any Canadian Jazzbo Goes Funky song as you will ever here. And Swingin' Explorer is a tasty psychsploitation tune, with a nice sitar and a pretty cool Middle Eastern riff. Enjoy.
Sons of Nature Survival b/w Disillusion City - Town 45 (Juldane, 1974)
Here is one of those rare funk 45s that no one seems to know anything about. I've done occasional searches on the net for this single and the most I get are catalog listings from long ago. Info that I've gleaned from the label is that these guys might have been from the San Francisco Bay Area. Other than that, nada.
Hell, I am so unsure about this record that I don't even know if I like it. There are elements about it that I like a lot: The vocals are cool; there is a feel to it that is similar to the Pharoahs or the Chicago Gangsters; Social Commentary funk is great; and it is funky. There are things I don't like about it such as the too busy bass and some of the instrumental breaks. However if weigh the good and the bad, the good wins, obviously so as not only am I posting this but it sits in my record collection.
Do the Choo-Choo Pt 1 / What Goes Around
Jack Ashford & the Sound of New Detroit Do the Choo-Choo Pt 1 45 (Blaze, 1975)
Black Ivory What Goes Around (Comes Around) 45 (Kwanza, 1974)
Today you get a couple of not so obscure (to the funk collector) but great funk songs. Jack Ashford was one of the Funk Brothers, a percussionist whose tamborine can be heard on hundreds of Motown singles. He did Do the Choo-Choo in 1975.
Black Ivory made a GREAT bedroom soul album on Today, in tune with the Delfonics and the Chi-Lites. Unfortunately, they lacked the chartbusting hits the aforementioned sweet soulsters were able to get and the label floundered. They jumped from Today to Kwanza. Kwanza wasn't to last more than a year or so. Buddah came next. Buddah died and the band split for a while. It was reformed as a duo and stumbled along for a few years, dying in the early 80s. This great funk single is their Kwanza release.
We Put Our Magick on You
Graham Bond with Magick We Put Our Magick on You LP (Mercury, 1971)
Poor Graham Bond. The man was a musical wizz, though in the US, he is known only by those who turned onto him back in the 1960s or music freaks. And, even then, his name brings to mind his endless appetite for drugs, his devotion to Aleister Crowley (to the point where he was claiming to be the Great Beast's son), his erratic behavior (he was most likely bipolar), and his suicide (underneath the wheels of a train). 'Tis not fair. Graham was an innovator and inventor and one hell of a keyboard player. His Graham Bond Organisation was the rawest of the 60s Brit blues rock groups and their records are well worth looking for. We was a member of Ginger Baker's Air Force. He played with countless greats. In fact, it would take someone like Pete Frame to really do Bond justice or better yet a site dedicated to Bond.
The two songs here come from Bond's neglected We Put Our Magick on You LP, a record he made with the band Magick, featuring his wife Diane Stewart and African percussionist Gaspar Lawal. While all the songs on the album have mystical, magical or Crowleyite lyrical themes to them, there is nothing mystical or trippy about the music. Bond plays hard blues rock and funk. Forbidden Fruit is a raging funk jam as good as any Jimmy McGriff or Booker T. Ajama, sung and written by Gaspar Lawal, does Afro-funk gritty enough to be passed off as Afrobeat. And there are other goodies on this record, but I am gonna let you dig for them.
365 Day redux
Do you know the 365 Days Project? Several years ago, one Otis Fodder started a blog in which he and some friends posted one MP3 a day. The Project covered all kinds of music and sound, most of it obscure, all of it worth a listen. I don't think it would be a stretch to claim that 365 Days was the first MP3 blog or at least the first one that mattered. It certainly served as an inspiration for Crud Crud.
You can imagine that I was please to hear that the great WFMU poked and prodded Otis into reviving 365 Days, offering to give him the webspace to do it. Even more special to me was being asked to contribute to 365 Days (and WFMU's Beware the Blog). I am not sure how often I will be throwing things Otis's way, but that is of no matter. You should check 365 Days out each and every 365 days of this year or how many are left. Lots of great stuff appears there.
Uele Kalabubu et sa Tribu Sassa Boumbitumba 7" (AZ, 197?)
'tis a mystery here. Some sinister sounding, funky Congolese drum music or at least that is what I gather. This also could be some studio cash in on the Euro's Afrobeat/Afrofunk obsession of the '70s. The record is from France. All the references I find for Uele Kalabubu are for "Afro funk" records released in Italy or France. The photo on the sleeve is stock photography. Uele Kalabubu has been comped on some Afrofunk comps, but that means nothing other than someone likes "his" music.
Two songs here, both of them drum heavy and both of them full of dark funk. My fave of the two is Simbalele, but Sassa Boumbitumba is also a scorcher. Enjoy.
The Cheng: Two Masters Play the Chinese Zither
Liang Tsai-Ping & Louis Chen The Cheng: Two Masters Play the Chinese Zither LP
(Summit Musical Industries, 1980)
As much as I listen to music, as much as I know about the history and sociology of music, I've never been able to fully grasp music theory. Much like the Babbitt who knows art when he sees it, I know music when I hear it. Still, it frustrates me to know that my understanding of the technical hows and whys of music is about as deep as my knowledge of calculus. So when I say I hear blue notes in ancient Chinese zither music, if I am not technically right, grant to me that The Cheng sounds like the Blues.
The Blues masters in this case are also zither masters. Laing Tsai-Ping was an expert on the guhzeng, a twelve-string zither, an instrument which originated in 20 BC China. From Taiwan, he established the guhzeng as a major instrument in Chinese traditional music and wrote a major work on Chinese music. He also was a teacher of Western composers such as Lou Harrison. Louis Chen was also a zheng master and plays on dozens of recordings. He called Hong Kong his home. As you will hear, both of these guys play a couple of mean zithers.
When you listen to these three recordings realize that only one of them was composed in the lifetime of the two masters. Baked Cakes and Fritters was written by Laing, a meditation on his childhood. Mutual Longing, inspired by a poem by the Taoist Li Po, was penned in the 700s. A Drunken Fisherman Sings in the Evening was first played in the 10 Century. The songs not only sound blue but the sounds are much stranger than what I expect ancient music to sound like. Of course, that expectation is based on nothing but ignorance and cultural blindness, but acknowledging my limits doesn't lessen the excitement I get when I stumble on sounds that are both odd and familiar to my ears.
I found this one in a record store that specializes in rare punk rock records. Because this did not conform to the rigid expectations of punk collectors it was priced at $2.50, the cheapest record in the store. The guy behind the counter smirked at me when I bought it. I doubt he had ever heard the thing.
Four Folk Tunes of Pakistan
Fore Thoughts Four Folk Tunes of Pakistan 7" (The Gramophone Company of Pakistan Limited, 196?)
Welcome to 2007! Into this new year, Crud Crud will hold true to the principles that brought us here: An affection for absurdity, a love of ill-places sound effects, a dedication to surrealistic extremism, and an embrace of musical miscegination, of course all vetted for top quality and premium entertainment. To prove how dedicated to this task, nay, oath I am, I present to you one of my most prized records: Four Folk Tunes of Pakistan by 'Fore Thoughts.'
Recorded in the early 1960s, this Pakistani foursome play "a successful and happy marriage of Eastern melodies to western musical instruments." All songs composed by Suhail Rana, using traditional folk tunes for the basis of the songs. The result of this marriage is a strange and wonderful sound. While the instrumentation sounds familiar, the rhythms and melodies, the music that emerges is unique. This result shouldn't be any surprise to those of you who have turned on to the recent batch of releases by labels such as Sublime Frequecies. The 60s pop music of Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern countries, as well as Turkey, shows a richness that comes when traditional sounds are filtered through rock & roll and Western pop. One of the big appeals to me is that this musical miscegination tends to operate without a rigid set of rules. "That isn't supposed to sound like that" is not a sentence uttered by these musicians. On a grander note, this mishmash is the promise of humanity, what we can achieve by exploring the Other while holding on to what makes us us.
A Voxx organ playing Pakistani folk tunes is as nearly as odd a pairing as me finding a instrumental pop/folk record from Karachi (on blue vinyl!) in a dusty record store called called Ye Olde Record Shoppe in Diamond Springs, California. Ye Olde is one of my favorite stores ever. No longer among us, the store was in a primitive strip mall in the most unlikely place, Diamond Springs. A former Gold Rush town, Diamond Springs sits about 30 miles east of Sacramento in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. Today, it serves as an Edge City for Sacramento; its population booming with conservatives fleeing the "sinful" cities and escaping the "Browning" of California. So how in the hell does an obscure 7" of Pakistani surf music wind up in White Flight country? I am sure there is a logical explanation but I would rather be bemused.
Happy New Year!