1. Mediavuelta, “Apex Predator”, Secretariat Don’t Wash Dishes, Ananalog, 2017, USA
Ananalog’s family beatmaker, Mediavuelta, leads off with a short loop and a track that features a bass drop like a Persian leopard dropping from an ancient cypress to snap your neck.
2. Bahamadia, “True Honey Buns”, Kollage, Chrysalis, 1996, USA
Party prep jam sees the Philly rapper pumping the brakes on her girl putting out after a Wu Tang show. Respect yourself; represent your friends well. You can hear that Premier in the two bar loop from a block away.
3. Novos Baianos, “Preta Pretinha”, Acabou Chorare, Som Livre, 1972, Brazil
Acabou Chorare topped a Rolling Stone list of hundred greatest Brazilian albums. No song on the album better represents the joyful, communal anarchy exuded throughout than “Preta Pretinha”. The group vocal response to Moraes Moreira’s lead recalls the mass singing performed by samba schools. It is distinct from the more introspective, individual bossa nova pioneered by the group’s mentor, Joao Gilberto. “Preta Pretinha” shares a spot in my heart next to Caetano Veloso’s “If You Hold A Stone” because of the communal vocals found in each.
4. Wee, “I’m All Changed”, You Can Fly On My Aeroplane, OWL, 1977, USA
Numero reissued Wee and Norman Whiteside’s You Can Fly On My Aeroplane a decade ago. The album is a half-hour of hazy, bedroom soul, if the blue sky was your bedroom and a nimbus cloud was your body pillow. I’ve been fruitlessly working over a sample of “I’m All Changed” for a few weeks.
5. Pete Dunaway, “Supermarket”, Pete Dunaway, Som Livre, 1974 Brazil
Back to Brazil via Memphis. In (the possibly tongue-in-cheek) “Supermarket”, Dunaway, a Brazilian composer and former music director of Som Livre, straddles stank legged funk in the intro and blue eyed soul in the verses of this four minute masterpiece. Call the guitar a drum. This jam is still too slow to disco.
6. Ice, “Reality”, 7″ single, Ice (AOTN reissue), 1980, USA
There is currently an original of “Reality” for sale on Discogs for four grandissimi.
7. Marcia Aitken & Trinity, “My Man / Blouse and Skirt”, 12″ single, Joe Gibbs Record Globe, 1979?, Jamaica
Early lovers dancehall from Marcia Aitken and Joe Gibbs with Trinity toasting on the version half of the mix. After the earnestness of Aitken’s side, Trinity pops from the dubwize shower like a dog in heat. His first lines dub her out her blouse and skirt; the last seem to confuse her gender. “She a one girl man.”
8. Blood Ulmer, “Black Rock”, Black Rock, CBS, 1982, USA
Stomping, acute angled New/No Wave jazz from James Blood and company with great contributions from Calvin Weston on drums.
9. Ivan Ave, “George Duke”, Every Eye, Jakarta Records, 2017 Norway
Ivan requests specifics, but stays coy himself in this smoove, heartbroken reminiscence produced by Olso collaborator, Fredfades. “I played George Duke for you,” is poetry of the cast off lover (slash music nerd), conveying more frailty than such a potentially corny line has any right to.
10. Birkineh Wurga, “Alkedashim”, 7″ single, Philips, 1975, Ethiopia
I don’t have much insight into this track, recently compiled by Ernesto Chahoud’s BBE release of “stompers” from 1970s Ethiopia. Wurga is the singer. The Army Band, which be heard backing Tlalhoun Gessesse on a few tracks on the Ethiopiques Vol. 17 comp, lays down the stomp.
11. Black Spade, “Dance 4 Me”, Hopeless and Romanticizing, Vibe Music Collective, 2018, USA
I might rave about music frequently, but I really mean it when I rave about Hopeless and Romanticizing. St. Louis veteran vocalist and producer Black Spade has put together a mature, coherent soul album and you should listen to the whole thing after this MPR episode. It’s Miseducation of Lauryn Hill good.
“Did you forget who showed you how to fuckin watusi?” is the best breakup line written to a fellow dancefloor killer. I know that vibraphone sample, but can’t place it. Someone let me know.
12. Neue Grafik, “Dance To Yemanja”, 12″ single, Rhythm Section International, 2018, France
If this doesn’t bring you joy, it’s time to give up. Neue Grafik is on the right with the MPC.
13. Moacir Santos, “Haply-Happy”, Saudade, Blue Note, 1974, Brazil / USA
I’m always curious about Blue Note oddities, like Sabu and Arsenio Rodriguez’s Palo Congo or Solomon Ilori’s African High-Life. Saudade is not quite a total oddity, but with a large ensemble, multilingual vocals, moderate Brazilian influences, a dozen tasteful guitar solos from Lee Ritenour, and the lovely quilted chicken cover art, it surely isn’t standard Blue note post-bop. Santos was a beloved jazz composer and educator from Pernambuco.
14. Beverly Glenn-Copeland, “Erzili”, Beverly Glenn-Copeland, GRT, 1970, Canada / USA
If Black Spade is revelation 1A from my spring of music discovery, Beverly Glenn-Copeland is revelation 1B. “Erzili” is the final track from Glenn-Copeland’s self-titled 1970 folk, jazz, art song masterpiece. It’s like Nina Simone fronting CSNY with Lenny Breau on lead guitar. No wait, that actually is Lenny Breau on lead guitar.
This album and Glenn-Copeland’s 1986 Keyboard Fantasies are both available on Bandcamp.
– RS, 5/4/18