USA

Aurora Rising present a reissue of Miss Nelson & Bruce Haack's Dance Sing And Listen, originally released in 1963. This album is somewhat of a curiosity for it was actually conceived as an educational, open-minded children's music. The sound is a mash up of story-telling for kids and simple, happy sing-along music mixed with loads of electronic effects making it an utterly spacey affair. This reissue makes sure this cult album can be enjoyed by people crazy for early '60s electronic music. Let go of all spiritual chains and float away with the tape looped rhythms and all the hissing and buzzing and chirping upon which Esther Nelson, actually a children's dance teacher, and Bruce Haack, a composer and pioneer of electronic music, recite poems, give dance instructions or play melodies on primitive synthesizers. Dance Sing And Listen is meant to fire the imagination of children and due to its musical quality and weird mood, it may do the same with adults. From this pioneering piece came the sound bands like Kraftwerk and Neu! would head for about ten years later. Enjoyable children's music that's far out enough to make souls travel.

Back cover notes
”Love with Discipline’ is Esther Nelson’s explanation of the phenomenon which has made her one of Americas foremost educators in the realm of children’s dance. The magnetism of her personality and the exceptional musicality of her speaking voice spellbinds children with the result that in her presence their bodies live they know the beauty of movement and free imaginative expression. And through this comes the discipline and knowledge of the fundamentals of dance and body movement presented in a way no child can resist.

Westchester County has been the center of Esther Nelson’s teaching activities where she has influenced the lives of thousands of children. She teaches in 3 Westchester Communities but her students come from 15 Westchester Communities. Miss Nelson built the children’s dance programs for Community Workshops of Scarsdale (now Scarsdale Dance Inc.). for the Forest Hills School of Music & Dance, and for the Knoliwood School for Children. Her association with the Fieldson School has caused the dance enrollment of its Saturday Art Center to double. She is creating a dance program at Temple Israel, New Rochelle.

Having studied dance with Martha Hill and dance composition with Louis Horst, Miss Nelson received her Master’s Degree in Dance Education from New York University. She also holds a B. A. in Psychology.

To quote Esther Nelson, ”every child instinctively knows the joy of simple body movement. Combine this with love and discipline, and every child can dance.”

EVERY NOTE of music on this record was played by Bruce Haack (who modestly says he is not a performer!). Bruce Haack is indeed the legendary Pied Piper and his piping employs every conceivable instrument of the orchestra and many electronic ones which he has invented). By the skillful use of multitrack recording, and by means of his own particular magic, he weaves instruments and sound in manner hitherto unequaled. Besides being the total orchestra, he was his own recording enginneer.

But Mr. Haack still says that he’s a composer, not a performer and to prove his point he has earned composinng credits in the fields of symphonic music (”Windsong” 1957, ballet (”Les Etapes” a Belgian TV film), Broadway ‘How To Make A Man”), Off-Broadway (‘The Kumquat in the Persimmon Tree”), and the commercial recording industry (as a writer for Teresa Brewer). He has created hundreds of singing commercials, and is the inventor of the ”dermitron” (an electronic device which allows the human body to be played as a musical instrument by means of skin contact).His ”Mass for Solo Piano” was premiered by the young virtuoso Ted Pandel at Carnegie Recital Hall Feb. 16, 1963, and his music for Nicola Marionettes and Bliss Displays is heard on a national scale. Despite all this and his degree in psychology, Bruce devotes most of his time to working with children.

1. Introduction

2. Clap Your Hands; Miss Nelson gives us things to do in movement and dance to the rousing folk tune “Old Joe Clark”. Banjos and Oboe are electronic!

3. Sunflowers: you are a little seed- you grow, you battle the wind, you move in a way which becomes dancing. This imaginative, original story by Miss Nelson is set to the world’s first electronic jazz by Bruce.

4. Skating Party: let’s pretend that we’re outside on the old skating pond, we can do everything but fall down (until the end, that is’!

5. Medieval Dances: two dances from around the year 1200. One for fair princesses with tall hats called ”the hennin” and one for bold knights on horseback.

6. My Bones: here Miss Nelson makes us aware of some very important parts of the body to the tune of a fine old spiritual, ”Dry Bones”

7. A Little Discussion – what a funny title! Mara and Risa answer and Eine Kline -some questions about dancing, and Bruce’s Gebouncemusik: plays same of the bounciest music ever.

8. Coca the Coconut: in many years of teaching, Miss Nelson finds that this original story s still the favorite! Here Bruce plays a real steel drum from the is land of Grenada, assorted drums, and harmonica.

9. Sailing: Miss Nelson sings this old French song, and tells us how to move. Listen to her beautiful voice, and let your arms be the sails.

10. A Stuffy Story: a funny story which Bruce wrote and tells. There is a big surprise in the end of both story and music!

11. Pussycats: another great original by Miss Nelson — the melody is an old folk ”Molly Malone’. You will really feel that you’re a kitten! Bruce makes a piano sound like a harpsichord.

12. Trains: some trains are fast, some trains are slow. These trains sound Flamenco!

Note
Incl. booklet

Mauritania

Renowned as the Muslim world's finest female vocalist, Dimi Mint Abba was one of the first musicians to bring Mauritanian music to an international audience. Rarely captured on record, the complex rhythms and expressive singing that characterise the Moorish tradition have been an important influence on flamenco and - as this exceptional recording illustrates - continue to be a powerful medium for both political comment and religious devotion.

Mauritanian music has been unavailable for so long, this would be an important release even if it were not also an absolutely gorgeous example of the enormously rich brew of Afro-Islamic nexus. The two women singers featured (the country's most famous) sing in a contemporary-traditional idiom like those of Fanta Sacko and other Malians. This is a total must-have. -AllMusic Review by John Storm Roberts

1. Waidalal Waidalal 6:19
2. Yar Allahoo 7:51
3. Hassaniya Song For Dancing (Lebleyda Wigsar) 5:25
4. Hassaniya Love Poem (Wana Laily Ya Allah) 5:19
5. The Tortoise's Song (Ishteeb Laggatri) 8:00
6. Independence (Yar Moritani Alek Mubarak Listiqlal) 6:21
7. Art's Plume (Sawt Elfan) 8:07
8. Oh Lord Bring Apartheid Crashing Down! 5:13
9. Mauritania My Beloved Country (Nikhtar An Kulelawtan Awtani Mauritan) 3:33
10. My Young People Do The Youth Of Nations Invite (Ashabab Yidie Shabab Aldual) 5:49
11. Autoot 6:03

Note
Incl. booklet

Florida

Gospel Roots - Old school gospel duo

Just discovered The Consolers from listening to old LPs of gospel music. I'm not a religious man but I am blown away by their songs and the power of their voices. Very moving. -Alan in Ireland

This Florida husband and wife duo became extremely popular during the '50s and '60s with their song sermons and downhome stories of spiritual triumph. "Brother" Sullivan Pugh played a blues-tinged guitar and was lead vocalist, while his wife Iola provided harmony. At one point, only Rev. James Cleveland topped their sales figures on the gospel circuit. -Artist Biography by Ron Wynn

The most popular husband-and-wife singing duo during gospel’s golden age was Sullivan and Iola Pugh, better known as the Consolers. Their folkloric style, cultural historian Anthony Heilbut noted, combined elementary tunes with sentimental messages that expanded the thematic content of gospel lyrics.

Born October 1, 1925, in Moore Haven, Florida, Sullivan lost his mother at age three when she was among the estimated 2,500 killed by the Great Okeechobee Hurricane of September 26, 1928, one of the biggest natural disasters in United States history. Motherless, he and his siblings were adopted by James and Virginia Pugh. When he was grown, Sullivan moved to Miami.

Like Sullivan, Iola Lewis, born July 22, 1926, in Cottonton, Alabama, also lost her mother at age three. Raised by her maternal grandmother, Iola eventually moved to Columbus, Georgia, to complete high school and attended Claflin College (now Claflin University), an HBCU located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, before settling in Miami in 1949.

Iola and Sullivan met at a Miami tent revival service and married on March 11, 1950. Around 1951 or 1952, they and Pearl Nance-Rayford formed a vocal trio called the Miami Soul Stirrers. When Pearl left the group, the Pughs continued as a duo, first billed as the Consolators, but when a minister suggested “Consolers” was the more proper term, they changed to the Consolers. Sullivan played a percussive guitar and sang; Iola, whose inspirations included Marion Williams and Mahalia Jackson, accompanied on vocals.

The Consolers made their first records in Miami in 1952 for Henry Stone, an entrepreneur whose 1970s releases on George McCrae and KC and the Sunshine Band for his T.K. Records imprint helped usher in the disco trend. Between 1952 and 1954, the Consolers released three discs for Stone. Their first single, on Glory Records, was the only record released by the Miami Soul Stirrers with Pearl Nance-Rayford.

In 1955, the Consolers signed with Nashboro Records. Their initial release, Give Me My Flowers, was a huge and lasting gospel hit that inaugurated a more than 25-year span of successful singles and albums for the company. From Sullivan’s pen came such classics as Waiting for My Child, May the Work I’ve Done Speak for Me, Around God’s Throne and Thank God Things Are as Well as They Are. Religious audiences connected with these mini homilies and morality plays set to music.

As members of the Church of the Living God, a Holiness denomination, the Consolers adhered to the “in the world, not of the world” credo. It informed their no-frills traditional sound, the cautionary messages in their lyrics, their modest attire, their commitment to faith and family and their conventional public persona.

Nevertheless, Nashville producer Shannon Williams told Heilbut that on occasion, Iola would get so caught up in a song that she would shout, or “get happy,” in the recording studio. Heilbut added that Iola was also an astute businesswoman, selling candy and hats in addition to Consolers records at their performances.

The Pughs traveled the country on the strength of their record sales, propelled in large part by extensive exposure on WLAC, Nashville’s 50,000-watt radio station. At one time, the Consolers’ record sales were surpassed only by the Reverend James Cleveland in gospel music. Indeed, in the early 1960s, the Consolers regularly joined Cleveland and the Angelic Choir, the Caravans and the Staple Singers at the top of the Billboard gospel charts. The duo’s visibility expanded after Heilbut secured for them an appearance at the 1972 Newport Jazz Festival.

If gospel music had changed in the 1980s, the Consolers’ sound had not. The Pughs continued to record their country revival–style songs and melodies for Savoy (Jesus Brought Joy and Give God Thanks) and for Atlanta International Records (Jesus, I Love You). It was through their association with these two labels that they became connected with Malaco Records.

Iola’s death on October 11, 1994, marked the end of the Consolers, but the group’s impact on music endured. Sullivan (and Iola, posthumously) received a Florida Folk Heritage Award in 2002. The following year, they were inducted into the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The Consolers Progressive Charity Club continued to provide support to the Miami area’s needy.

In 2004, Sullivan sang Speak for Me on Malaco’s Gospel Legends DVD, joining fellow veterans of the gospel highway, such as Ira Tucker, Dorothy Norwood, Margaret Wells Allison and Shirley Caesar in this celebration of traditional gospel music. Sullivan Pugh died at age 85 on December 30, 2010. —Robert M. Marovich

1. Every Christian Mother 2:46
2. Another Days' Journey 2:38
3. Some Sweet Day After a While 2:35
4. Never Could Have Made It, Pt. 1 2:33
5. Never Could Have Made It, Pt. 2 2:28
6. By the Help of the Lord 2:33
7. Almighty God 2:19
8. I Know What It Means 2:48
9. After the Clouds Roll Away 2:41
10. Goin' Across the River 2:34
11. Glory Land 2:54
12. Waiting at the River 2:45
13. Say a Prayer for Me 2:26
14. Over Yonder 2:42
15. God Makes No Mistakes 2:51
16. How Long Has It Been Since You've Been Home 2:58
17. Long Long Journey 3:00
18. My Soul's Salvation 2:36

Note
Cover 2017

Peru

Forty-seven tracks from two distinct regions of the Peruvian Andes reveal the impressive diversity and beauty of local and regional Andean musical styles. These festival dances, agricultural ceremonies, marriage songs, and Carnival celebrations were recorded in the 1980s and reappear with detailed notes in English by researchers of the Archives of Traditional Andean Music in Lima, Peru. "A diverse and interesting glimpse into the soul of an old culture" — Massuchusetts Daily Collegian

Smithsonian work on Peru is just fantastic
This is the third album (out of a collection of 8 done in cooperation with the Institute of Ethnomusicology of a Peruvian University) with music recorded in peasant and indigenous festivities in different regions of Peru. The first part of the album is music from Cajamarca (to the north of Peru) and the second, is music from the colca valley in Arequipa, south of Peru. Why put two cds from so different regions together, puzzles me, yet it does no harm. The music is mostly for the ethnomusicologist or people with a heavy interest in the area of indigenous and traditional music, yet some music, particularly the string instrument pieces, can be enjoyed by anyone. The music is just impressive and is a finest example of the musical diversity and how rich the cultural heritage of Peru is. The wedding songs of Colca Valley are just some of the sweetest tunes you'll ever here in your life... There are extensive notes to understand better the context and the meaning of the music. -Legbamusic

1. Chunchos y Pallas - Group In Chetilla 3:52
2. Canto de Pallas - Three Women Of Chetilla 2:10
3. Chunchos: Kishke - Group In Llacanora 1:10
4. Chunchos: Adoración - Gropu From Llacanora 2:17
5. Chunchos: Paseo - Group From Porcón 1:38
6. Chunchos: Negritos - Group From Porcón 1:26
7. Rezo: Nuñay Pata - José Féliz Ayay Rojas 2:23
8. Rezo - Man From Porcón 1:23
9. Carnaval (Copla) - Group From Namora 1:23
10. Carnaval - Group From Namora 2:21
11. Alabado - Rafael Chirinos 0:26
12. Llamada - Rafael Chirinos 0:16
13. Minga - Rafael Chirinos 0:29
14. Despedida - Rafael Chirinos 0:33
15. Alabado - Rosas Bueno Villa 0:47
16. Llamada - Rosas Bueno Villa 0:30
17. Minga - Rosas Bueno Villa 0:35
18. Guayaya - Rosas Bueno Villa 0:39
19. Triste - José Cercado Huaripata 1:10
20. Triste - José Cercado Huaripata 0:48
21. Huaynito - José Cercado Huaripata 0:50
22. Kashwa - Group In Porcón 1:29
23. Kashwa: Arrocito con Gallina - Segundo Rufino, Fidencio Arce Zelada, And Manuel Antonio Gallardo Murillo 1:50
24. Kashwa: La paja brava - Segundo Rufino, Fidencio Arce Zelada, And Manuel Antonio Gallardo Murillo 2:30
25. Kashwa: La china María - Segundo Rufino, Fidencio Arce Zelada, And Manuel Antonio Gallardo Murillo 1:51
26. Wapi-Condor I - José Cercado Huaripata 0:56
27. Wapi-Condor II - José Cercado Huaripata 0:41
28. Yunta-Toro - José Ayay Valdez 2:05
29. Marcación del ganado: Tinkachi de alpaca - Epifanio Rimachi And Woman 0:58
30. Matrimonio: Pasacalle - Los Caminantes De Colca 1:14
31. Matrimonio: Huayllacha - Los Caminantes De Colca 4:04
32. Responso funerario: Responso de visita - Cantor With Harp And Guitar 3:20
33. Responso funerario: Responso para niño - Domingo Casaperalta 1:59
34. Escarbo de acequia: Khamile - Cuadrilla With Cornetas And Drums 1:55
35. Escarbo de acequia: Llamada general - Bugler 0:20
36. Barbecho y siembra: Khamile - Banda Unión Ichupampa 2:11
37. Barbecho y siembra: Haylle - Banda Unión Ichupampa With Male Khamile Dancers 0:53
38. Saludo festivo - Banda Santa Cruz 1:08
39. Danza del Witite - Banda De Coporaque 2:01
40. Danza del Turco - Banda San Santiago De Madrigal 2:51
41. Danza del Turco: Canto del Turco - Banda San Santiago De Madrigal With Turco Dancers 1:05
42. Torería: Corrida de toro - Band From The District Of Coporaque 1:54
43. Torería: Laceado - Banda Santa Cruz 1:37
44. Semana Santa: Canto de estación - Francisco Carpio And Villagers 2:06
45. Musica de carnavales o Puqllay - Women Of Canacota 3:19
46. Albanza festiva: Alabado - Banda Unión Ichupampa 0:53
47. Despedida festiva: Diana - Banda San Santiago De Madrigal 0:13

Peru

The 27 recordings in this collection are the first from the Andean department of Ayacucho to be made available since that region's period of heavy conflict in the 1980s and early 1990s. These songs, which range from melodic and beautiful to stark and simple, evoke water, fertility, and life events in their lyrical, aesthetic, and symbolic content. Liner notes in Spanish and English include translations of song texts in the native Quechua language. 28-page booklet with photos. 53 minutes. (FW)

While mostly of interest to ethnomusicologists, there's a lot to be gleaned from this recording, the first from the Peruvian Andean region since the fighting there in the '80s and '90s. Sung in the native Quechua language, the disc focuses on the festival cycle, the marking of the animals ceremony, music of the life cycle, and the festival of water -- all celebrations that take place during the year, as they have for many years, and often relate to events in the Christian calendar. "Belenes," for example, happens on January 6, the traditional 12th night of Christmas, while "Chunchos" coincides with the Festival of the Crosses on May 3. Musically, it's inevitably guitars and local charangos (a small ten-string guitar) that often dominate, with the vocals sometimes eerily high and almost unworldly. It's certainly not background listening, especially with some tracks, like "Song to Wankar or Tinya," running less than a minute, being little more than snatches. The quality of the field recordings is excellent and the songs themselves can have a wonderfully lyrical quality. Even if the entire disc isn't for everyone, almost everybody will find at least something enjoyable -- and certainly fascinating -- here. -AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson

Festival Cycle/Ciclo Festivo
1. Belenes 2:13
2. Negritos 1:21
3. Pasqakuymi 2:06
4. Iskay Sunqu Runa 3:28
5. Colqeñita 3:27
6. Señor Cáceres 3:14
7. Chimaycha 2:45
8. Chunchos 1:42
9. Harawi 1:43
10. Qaqupa 2:17
Marking Of The Animals/Marcación Del Ganado
11. Kimsay Pukllay Señor Wamani 1:48
12. Song To Wankar Or Tinya 0:51
13. Vaca Y Vaca, Toro Y Toro 3:39
Festival Of The Water/Fiesta Del Agua
14. Saru, Saruy 1:30
15. Sirenay, Sirenay 0:59
16. Harawi 1:17
17. Musical Duel 0:55
18. Musical Duel 0:42
19. Clavelchay 0:32
20. Qachwa De Reempujo 0:30
21. Qachwa De Reempujo 0:55
22. Tijeras 0:50
23. Tijeras 4:35
24. Huayno 0:56
25. Huayno 2:05
Music Of The Life Cycle/Música Del Ciclo Vital
26. Retamita 3:11
27. San Gregorio 2:06

Congo

There had always been music along the banks of the Congo River-lutes and drums, the myriad instruments handed down from the ancestors. But when Joseph Kabasele and his African Jazz went chop for chop with O.K. Jazz and Bantous de la Capitale, music in Africa would never be the same. A sultry rumba washed in relentless waves across new nations springing up below the Sahara. The Western press would dub the sound "soukous" or "rumba rock;" but most of Africa called it Congo Music.

Bantous de la Capitale, renowned Congolese rumba band, formed 1959. Notable early members: Jean Serge Essous (born Mossendjo, Congo-Brazzaville, Jan. 15, 1934; died Brazzaville, Nov. 25, 2009; saxophone, clarinet., vocal), Edouard "Edo" Ganga (born Brazzaville, Oct. 27, 1933; vocal), Célestin "Célio" Kouka (born Brazzaville, 1930s; maracas, vocal), Daniel "De La Lune" Lubelo (born Mambenga, Congo-Brazzaville, Mar. 15, 1934; bass), Nino Malapet (born Brazzaville, Mar. 8, 1935; saxophone), Papa Noel Nedule (born Kinshasa, Dec. 25, 1940; guitar), Saturnin Pandi (born Mpita, Congo-Brazzaville, May 31, 1932; died Brazzaville, 1996; congas).

Congo-Brazzaville nurtured a number of first-rate bands, none more important than the luminous Bantous de la Capitale. Four of its musicians, Célestin, Edo, Essous, and Malapet, had started their careers in Brazzaville in the early fifties' band Negro Jazz. Across the river in Kinshasa, Essous and two other Brazzavilleans, De La Lune and Pandi, became founding members of O.K. Jazz in 1956; Edo and Célestin joined the next year. In 1959, with the prospect of independence for the two Congos looming large, these five Brazzavilleans returned home to form Orchestre Bantou.

Important additions, Malapet (who had been in on the founding but unable to join immediately) and lead guitarist Papa Noel Nedule signed on near the end of 1960. As colonial dominos fell in 1960 and 1961, Orchestre Bantou (sometimes called Bantous Jazz) earned a considerable reputation entertaining at independence celebrations and in local night clubs up and down the West African coast. Group recorded several sides at Kinshasa's Esengo studio where Essous, Malapet, Noel, and Pandi had been members of the band Rock'a Mambo. More recording took place in Brussels. Célestin's "Les Bantous de la Capitale" emerged as the band's theme song, and the musicians took the title to be their official name.

Guitar section grew into the threesome of Mpassy Mermans, Gerry Gérard, and Samba Mascott following Papa Noel's departure in 1963. Future stars Pablito (later known as Pamelo Mounk'a) and Kosmos (Côme Moutouari) fortified the vocal corps in the early and mid-sixties. Kosmos's "Ebandeli ya Mosala" (the start of work) and Pablito's "Masuwa" (the boat), a story of parting lovers, were exceptional additions to the band's repertoire. "Danse des Bouchers" (dance of the butchers) by singer Joseph "Mujos" Mulamba launched the boucher dance craze of 1965.

In 1966 the band's leader, Essous, quit in protest over the "revolutionary" Congolese government's increased meddling in the group's affairs. Les Bantous continued to thrive under Malapet's leadership. Essous's return in 1971 was insufficient to prevent a three-way split the following year. Les Bantous re-grouped in the hands of Malapet and Essous; Célestin, Pamelo, and Kosmos became the Trio CEPAKOS; and Edo and Mermans formed Les Nzoi (the bees). A new crop of singers, Lambert Kabako, Théo Blaise Kounkou, José Missamou, and Tchico Tchicaya shored up Les Bantous during the seventies. Almost the entire band, except Célestin and Kosmos, reunited in 1978.

The eighties marked a period of steady decline. By 1986, the Congo-Brazzaville government, viewing the group as a national treasure, felt obliged to come to its aid. Essous's illness and departure for Paris in 1988 signaled another downturn. Several musicians including Edo and Pamelo split off to form Bantous Monument. Essous's return in 1993 sparked momentary optimism, but political uncertainties and eventual civil war in Brazzaville prevented any meaningful work.

Seeming to possess as many lives as a cat, Les Bantous began to re-group in 2003 as stability gradually returned to Congo. In spite of the death of long-time guitarist Gerry Gérard in August 2003, the band played a few live shows, but scarcity of funds meant that any new recording would have to been done intermittently. The outlook improved in 2007 when the band traveled to Europe for a brief tour that included an appearance at the festival Musiques Métisses in France. The line-up of musicians strongly resembled that of the group's best days, with Essous, Malapet, Edo, Kosmos, Célestin, and Mermans all back in the fold. A new CD, Bakolo Mboka, which had been in the works for several years, finally reached the market later in 2007. Les Bantous returned to Europe in March 2009 for appearances in Marseille and the Paris Olympia, but the death of Essous in November 2009 has markedly diminished the band's future prospects.

During the sixties and seventies, Brazzaville's Bantous ranked with Kinshasa's O.K. Jazz, Afrisa, and African Fiesta Sukisa at the top of Congolese music's hierarchy. Many a Brazzaville musician had contributed to the success of Kinshasa's bands, but Les Bantous put Brazza on the map in its own right. An extraordinary number of talented performers passed through the group, and several of its songs are regarded as classics. No matter what the post-Essous period produces, Les Bantous have amassed a formidable legacy. -Gary Stewart

1. Badetty 8:11
2. Bubote Mona Pele 5:51
3. C'est sérieux tantine 4:40
4. À mon avis 5:18
5. Libala Ekeseni 5:20
6. Fifi 5:03
7. Bani-Bani (feat. Orchestre les NzoI) 5:16
8. Lemba (feat. Orchestre National) 6:30
9. Elekeli Ngai Nzoto 2:58
10. Yuda 9:25
11. Nzo Za Sueka Samu 8:58

1. Mayité 4:52
2. Jojo Georgettes 4:20
3. Alphosine 5:49
4. Nanité kadi 4:35
5. Celia 4:16
6. Gigi 3:48
7. Maria Linda 4:06
8. Suzy 4:51
9. Nabala to navanda monzemba 5:58
10. Martha 4:38
11. Ngai mobali ya tembé 2:41
12. Zenga nazongisa nzoto 2:57

1. Makambo Mibale 4:53
2. Mama Na Nwana 5:18
3. Monsieu on Va Se Marier 4:14
4. Ya Gaby 4:13
5. Damba 3:23
6. Carraguao Alante 3:53
7. Bolingo Ya Kosomba 5:15
8. Souvenir Ya Ngelele 3:32
9. Jojo Georgette 4:11
10. Batikela Mibale 5:18

Congo

Les Bantous De La Capitale

Also Known as Les Bantous, Orchestre Bantou, Orchestre Bantous, Super Bantous, Super Bantou, Bantous Jazz.

Created in august 1959 by former musicians from Orchestre T.P.O.K. Jazz and Orchestre Rock A Mambo, this band was one of the most famous Congolese rumba band in the early 60's.

Les Bantous de la Capitale is one of the longest-lasting and most influential groups in the musical history of the Congo (now Democratic Republic of the Congo). Formed in 1959, the band played a major role in the introduction and growing popularity of boucher, which vitalized the Cuban-influenced rumba, and soukous. Initially co-led by saxophonists Dieudonne "Nino" Malapet and Jean Serge Essous, Les Bantous de la Capitale made their mark with a series of dance-inspiring singles that are reprised on the three-CD collection Les Merveilles Du Passe. Les Bantous de la Capitale has withstood several personnel changes. When Essous elected to remain in Paris after recording with the group, Malapet assumed leadership. Despite geographical obstacles, Essous has continued to perform with the band. Although the Congolese government's issuing of an official cultural policy, Authenticit '67, resulted in the loss of several musicians, substitutes were found and Les Bantous de la Capitale has continued to tour and record. Singers have included Kosmos Kapitza, Pamelo Mounk'a, and Tchico Tchicaya. Guitarists have included former Franco & Ok Jazz member Nedule Papa Noel and Samba Mascott. Les Bantous de la Capitale can be found on solo albums by Mascott, Mounk'a, and Essous. -Artist Biography by Craig Harris

Sometimes pop music can teach us some powerful things about world history. For instance, the tuned in youth of early-50s Congo, inspired by singer and bandleader Joseph Kabasele, were mad about a super-romantic Corsican crooner called Tino Rossi. When local musicians ran their own melodies through the filters of Rossi's Euro-smoothness and American jazz a wonderful new music began to appear. At that time most of the musicians who would go on to form Les Bantous (The People) were playing in a Brazzaville group called Negro Jazz. Across the Congo, OK Jazz were filling the nightspots of Kinshasa. As the 60s – and independence – loomed, the two bands would team up to form the Orchestre Bantou and made a good living playing celebration dances and club gigs up and down Africa's west coast. Gradually they developed not only their own sound, but their own dance, Le Boucher (the butcher) too. The Bantous became justly famous for their striking blend of Cuban rumba, jazz and the liquid propulsion of what would later become known as afro-pop. This collection pulls together the band's early-to-mid 60s singles and it is a remarkable document because what marks the Bantous out is, well, almost everything, to be honest. Their voices are are just beautiful – listen to Gigi or Mayite and imagine how good you need to be to knock this sort of thing off in one or two takes on a day off between gigs. Martha and Zenga Nazongisa Nzoto both ride high on crisp horn riffs, with the latter breaking down into a fantastically funky shuffle. Fans of the brilliantly odd will want to start every mixtape they make for the next 12 months with Nabala to Navanda Monzemba which stirs some head-squeezing studio FX into the mix before the Bantous – as spectacularly languorous as ever – unspool the tune out in their own good time. Next time the sun pops out from behind a cloud (if it ever does) turn this up, open the windows and imagine yourself at an open-air club like Le Joie du Congo waving an iced-down beer and a gamoutch kebab. Truly joyous. -Rob Fitzpatrick

1. Comite Bantou 5:07
2. Ba Ngembo Bajuger 2:47
3. Sala Lokola Olinga Ngai 3:14
4. Nini Ekosi Yo Cherie 2:38
5. Manolita 2:58
6. Bantou Pachanga 2:52
7. Mama Naboyi Kosambwa 3:03
8. Ndele Okolela Ngai 3:13
9. Suzie Okata Loboko 2:38
10. Bolingo Elie 2:51
11. Omoni Resultat 2:46
12. Lolaka Lua Boso 3:25
13. Namaseni Boye Te 2:57
14. Sammy 5:06
15. Zuana 5:30
16. Malolo Makila Mabe 4:30
17. Marie Rose 3:49
18. Tango Mosusu 4:31

1. Isabelle 6:13
2. El Manicero (Mayeya) 9:30
3. Suzy 5:01
4. Pot-Pourri Sur Le Passé 8:16
5. Bongo 4:09
6. Na Gagner bango 5:16
7. Mokili 3:58
8. Yaka Dia Mama 4:53
9. Qui Es-Tu ? Un A Ou Un Démon! 5:59
10. Cest L'amour 4:49
11. À Mon Avis 5:25
12. Sisi 5:21

1. Osala NgaI Nini 10:24
2. Annie Teye 5:57
3. Mama Adele 6:24
4. Antho Na Nganda 4:52
5. Basili Koyo Kana 5:34
6. Nokotinda Recommandée 4:35
7. Auguy Na Fort Rousset 4:17
8. Meno Knubi Nzila 5:18
9. Bolingo Na Kozonga 5:03
10. Elili Ya Sanza 5:20
11. Dege 9:42

1. Masuwa 5:25
2. Mama Na Mwana 5:41
3. Congo NaBbiso 6:32
4. Mr On Va Se Marier 4:34
5. Amen Maria 6:27
6. Fidélité 4:25
7. Ya Gabi 4:29
8. Petite Lola 6:53
9. Querida Paola 7:04
10. Assetou Oun Djarabi 8:11
11. Jeriza 6:21
12. Djimo Ivi 8:02

Notes
Members are :
Édouard Nganga dit " Ganga Edo " - (vocals) / founder member (1959-1962 and 1964-1972 and 1979-1990)
Celestin N'Kouka aka " Célio " - (vocals) / founder member (1959-1972)
Daniel « De La Lune » Loubelo - (vocals, bass guitar) founder member (1959 - 1962)
Jean-Serge Essous aka " Essou " - (flute, sax, clarinet), founder member ( 1959-1969 and 1972 - )
Nino Dieudonne Malapet (sax) / (1961-
Saturnin Pandi (drums) / founder member (1959 -
Dicky Baroza (lead guitar) / founder member (1959 - 1961)
Jacques Dignos Dingari (rhythm guitar) / founder member (1959 - 1961)
Joseph Samba dit "Samba Mascott" (lead guitar) (1963 -
Pamelo Mounk'a (vocals) (1963-
Antoine Nedule " Papa Noel " Montswet (lead guitar) (1961-1963)
Côme " Kosmos Moutouari "(vocals) (1965-1972)

Detroit

The master vinyl cutter with the magic touch

Ron Murphy is legend who spanned two great moments of Detroit music: Detroit Soul and Detroit Techno. For the latter he cut vinyl for many of the luminaries of Detroit Techno.

The master in his studio.
If you look closely at many of the great records that came (and are coming) out of Detroit, you may notice a tiny NSC with a circle around it right near the label. That is the mark of Detroit’s greatest cutter, Ron Murphy and his company Sound Enterprises (formerly known as National Sound Corporation or NSC.) He’s a craftsman with a cutting lathe, carving with pride the master discs from which countless copies follow (mastering). He was there from the very start, making Detroit techno legends sound like the legends they are on their albums heard in bedrooms, basements and parties everywhere! He continues to work with several prominent artists from around the world, still many from Detroit.

It’s safe to say Ron is a vinyl fanatic. His fascination began at a young age when his mother pulled the crank Victrola (with the giant horn) out of the closet and dropped the needle on George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” “My mother loved music and always had it on. I didn’t realize they were playing records. I used to think, man they had a lot of people at that radio station! Here comes so and so, they’d sing. I thought it was live! When she took that record off, I held it in my hand for about an hour trying to figure out how it worked. From that day on it stuck in my mind.”

In January of 1959, Ron bought Motown’s first release Marv Johnson’s “Come to Me” (Tamla 101) and others that year. “At age 12, I was analyzing records thinking this one is louder than that one. I looked at margins at the end, run in grooves, the spacing of the record, the label placement and more. This is kind of strange, but in my mind one record was better than the other. I got a perception in my mind which was good and which was bad.”

Ron’s first equipment purchase came from an ad in the back of a comic book in that year as well. “The ad said you could record your voice at home. Everything you need for only $6.98. I saved my money and got that thing. It had a plastic horn, steel needle, cardboard records, and little plastic tracking disc that hooked up to a turntable. You’d scream into the horn and next to nothing would come out on playback! I knew then it was going to cost me more than $6.98!” He laughs, “I thought I was getting away cheap!”

He persisted, worked as a sound engineer in studios around Detroit (started in 1966), acquired his own gear and by 1967 came up with a great cutting system that could master records, but it was mono. “I was a day late and a dollar short on that one. Stereo was coming in about 1968-69 on rock-n-roll 45s somewhat, but engineers really didn’t know how to use the equipment and blew their amplifiers… I learned!”

Ron continued working as a sound engineer in studios until 1972. “When Motown moved out, it seemed like everything went down. It had been tapering off for a couple of years…everything seemed to end with that. I figured I’d have to build my own studio to give myself a job, but what would that mean? Would I get any business anyway? I decided to get into insurance. I went to college, worked for and started my own insurance agency until almost 1988.”

Therein he met his partner Steve Martel, an eccentric, wealthy man from Chicago who actively collected vinyl, cutting equipment, jukeboxes, and more. When he came to Detroit to buy records, someone recommended he call Ron at his agency. Ron sold his 2 cutting systems to Steve over time when the financial outlook for cutting vinyl wasn’t all that great. Steve would still need help with records for his jukeboxes though. “My partner was a juke box nut, he had one in every room of his house! Everything but the bathroom! He gave three restaurants that he ate at regularly jukeboxes for free if he could put six of the records he liked on them. He would bring me his LP’s to put certain tracks on seven-inch records to play in the boxes. So I’d start off cutting. He laughed and said ‘don’t you see you have the touch? I’m too clumsy to do that.’ I never realized it before. There is a touch to doing this, the way you handle the equipment. Liking music has nothing to do with it. The question is, do you like physically making records?”

Ron and Steve later started National Sound, an oldies music store in Detroit (on Warren and Southfield Roads.) “I found out a (vinyl cutting) lathe was available. We thought we’d buy it just to cut records for people’s jukeboxes. There was no business for cutting masters… particularly in Detroit at that time. We bought it and eventually put it into the back window of the store.” Then Ron looked up and delivered the goods. “As the story has been told many times, in about 1989 Juan Atkins and Derrick May came in looking for old records. Most people in the store didn’t know what ‘that contraption’ was, but Derrick and Juan did. Derrick asked if I could cut a dub.” He came back the next day to listen to it. “I remember Derrick jumping up and down afterwards saying ‘now that’s the way a damn record should sound!’ Being in Detroit, working as an engineer, listening to Motown in the mid ‘60’s, I knew that the bass was important on a record. If it didn’t have that bottom end it wasn’t good to me. The bottom is a substantial part of Motown records. I did bring his bottom up where the other guy probably cut it the way it was, which is the way you usually do things but I take chances sometimes to make it sound better.”

That interest paid off big dividends for Ron. “Juan Atkins came back the following day. We tried to cut him one but the amp blew up. It wouldn’t take all that bottom. A tech and I worked on it morning and night. Finally we got it right and the guys came in.” Yes, indeed they did and still do. Ritchie Hawtin came in with Derrick May. Jeff Mills and Mike Banks came in bit later ready to start Underground Resistance. Many followed.

Ron eventually closed the record store, but the good word about NSC’s capabilities spread like wildfire. In 1994 he was dubbed the “hottest cutter in the country.” He wanted the artists’ records to be unique as possible. He encouraged Ritchie Hawtin to write “words of wisdom”, as Ron called it, on the early vinyl. He installed continuous loop grooves for Jeff Mills’ “Rings of Saturn” (the vinyl actually had giant spaces on it to make it resemble the planet.) He figured out how to groove two tracks into one side of a record for Underground Resistance. He even sold Basic Channel one of his old Ampex recorders to make they could get more source noise. Talk about going above and beyond!

“My job is to make the master record to be plated”, said Ron. Plating is the process where a mold is created from the master vinyl to stamp out each record at the pressing plant. He continued, “It is not to master the sound, per se. I may touch it up. Some engineers will only cut it just the way you gave it to them. It does start with a good mix though.”

Ron continues his business of cutting master records at his studio in Westland. He’s doing more hip hop and booty these days, but still works with a majority of house and techno producers. He is an inspiration, showing us that care, creativity, knowledge, and timing can help provide work for life, especially when the love is there!

1. Doni Burdick - Candle (In The Window) 2:30
2. Brooks Brothers - Lookin For A Woman 2:35
3. The Dynamics - Yes I Love You Baby 2:35
4. George Lemons - Fascinating Girl 2:12
5. Patti Young - Head & Shoulders 2:57
6. The Royal Playboys - Arabia 2:31
7. Johnny Rodgers - Make A Change 2:32
8. The Metros - Don't Let Her Give You Some Of Her Love 2:53
9. Frankie Garcia - I've Got That Feelin' 2:28
10. Doni Burdick - If You Walk Out Of My Life 2:24
11. Willie White - Nobody Likes Me 2:23
12. Nelson Saunders - It's Real 2:58
13. Satin Dolls - Lovin' Touch 2:48
14. Diane Lewis - Keep A Hold On Me 2:13
15. The Metros - What's Wrong With Your Love 2:46
16. Forest Hairston - We Go To Pieces 2:27
17. The Dynamics - Whenever I'm With You 2:37
18. Reggie Milner - She's Alright 2:14
19. Doni Burdick - Whatcha Gonna Do 2:53
20. Swingers - Opposites Attract 2:37
21. The Metros - We Still Have Time 3:31
22. Sammy Turner - Give My Heart A Break 2:14
23. Reggie Milner - Music In My Soul 2:51
24. Lafayette Vaughan - First Degree Love 2:30
25. Lloyd Williams & The Highlights - It Wont Matter At All 3:11
26. LJ Reynolds & The Relations - Stop Look Over Your Past 2:39

Gambia/Senegal

Brilliant Cuban style Afro latin tracks. El maestro of Afro-Cuban music in 60s Senegal was the former leader of the Star Band, famous for its covers of Afro-Cuban classics. Timeless!

"This monument of African music was amongst the first Africans to make an incursion into the international stage," said Gambian newspaper The Point.

Laba Badara Sosseh, the renowned vocalist of Senegalese and Gambian salsa.
A griot, Sosseh was born in Bathurst, British Gambia (now Banjul, The Gambia) on 12 March 1943. His family relocated to Dakar because of his father's work at the airport, and Sosseh engaged Dakar's musical scene, which was at the time strongly tilted towards son, rumba and other Cuban rhythms. As a founding member of Dakar's Star Band, he shared the limelight during the late 1960s with several future members of Orchestra Baobab.

b. Laba Badara Sosseh, 12 March 1943, Bathurst, Gambia; d. 21 September 2007, Dakar, Senegal.

The son of a Senegalese father and Gambian mother, Laba was born and raised in Bathurst (renamed Banjul in 1973), the capital of The Gambia, a British colony at the time. Regarded as one of the greatest musical innovators in the Senegambia sub-region, he grew up listening to Cuban dance music of the '40s and '50s. Johnny Pacheco was one of his favourites and he became known for his perfect imitation of the Dominican bandleader's style.

From a family of griots (praise singers), he played the sabarr drum at traditional ceremonies and later joined the Foyer Jazz Band, with whom he began singing popular Latin numbers, and African Jazz dance band. In the early '60s Laba accompanied his father, a civil aviation worker, when he was redeployed to Dakar airport in Senegal. There he joined the Star Band de Dakar, founded in 1960 by Ibra Kassé as the house band for his prestigious Miami nightclub to celebrate Senegal's independence. Sidemen included the Nigerian sax player Dexter Johnson, singer Amara Toure and conga drummer Lynx Tall. Besides the Miami, Laba performed with the band in many clubs in Dakar, Bathurst and throughout the sub-region. In 1964 the Star Band fell out with Kassé and, renaming themselves Super Star de Dakar, relocated to the Etolie nightclub.

While with Super Star, Laba composed his trademark hit "Aminata", which he went on to record a number of times during his career. The 2-CD set Dexter Johnson / Super Star De Dakar: Serie Sangomar 1 (CNR Music, 1998) contains a terrific rendition of the song by Laba with Super Star recorded live by Moussa Diallo in his nightclub Sangomar in Dakar between 1964 to 1974. Laba also features in Starband - Superstar De Dakar - International Band featuring: Dexter Johnson: Serie Sangomar 2 (CNR Music, 1999), performing his hit "La Bicycletta". Both CDs are essential collections of the roots of salsa africana.

He accompanied Super Star to Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast, where he took up residence and organised the Super International Band de Dakar, comprising Senegalese and local musicians, at the beginning of the '70s. Singer Pape Fall (b. 3 July 1947, Rufisque, Senegal) was briefly a member of Super International in the early '70s. The rare French vinyl albums El Sonero de Africa (N'Dardisc) and El Sonero de Africa Vol. 2 / El Manisero (Disques M.A.G.) compile Laba's early and mid-'70s recordings. Circa. 1977 he recorded with the Special Liwanza Band, making his debut on Aboudou Lassissi's Ivory Coast-based Sacodis label with Lassissi Presente A Formidable Laba Sosseh - Special Liwanza Band.

Lassissi took Laba to New York to record the classic albums Monguito El Unico Presents Laba Sosseh In USA / Salsa Africana Vol. 1, Monguito El Unico Presents Laba Sosseh In USA / Salsa Africana Vol. II and Lassissi Presents Laba Sosseh / Salsa Africana Vol. 4 (all Sacodis, 1980) directed by Afro-Cuban sonero Monguito "El Unico" (b. Ramón Quian, Manguito, Matanzas Province, Cuba; d. 26 May 2006, New York), who had made his own debut on Sacodis with the bestselling From Cuba To Africa / Monguito El Unico 1980 in 1979. Musicians involved in the sessions included pianist Alfredo Valdés Jr. and violinist Pupi Legarreta. The 2005 Sacodis reissue Salsa Africana - Monguito El Unico And Laba Sosseh In U.S.A. collects two tracks from the original Salsa Africana Vol. 1 and three cuts from Salsa Africana Vol. II. Standout tracks, both originally from Vol. 1, are "Sitiera", featuring solos by Valdés Jr. and tres guitarist José García, and "Mi Corazón" with Monguito chipping-in lead vocals and chat and Mario Rivera (1939-2007) contributing some exciting sax playing. 

Laba returned to New York to make two albums for SAR (founded in 1979 by Sergio Bofill, Adriano García and Roberto Torres): Roberto Torres Presenta A Laba Sosseh (1981), produced by Torres and arranged by Alfredo Valdés Jr., and Laba Sosseh (1982). The latter includes "Aminata" and "Diamoule Mawo", reinvented as "Yamulemao" by Colombian superstar Joe Arroyo for his 1987 album Echao Pa'lante on Fuentes. SAR's house musicians sessioned on the albums, including Valdés Jr. on piano, trumpeter Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros, trombonist Leopoldo Pineda, bassist Mariano Solano (d. 23 May 2007, New York City), conguero Alberto Valdés and tres player Charlie Rodríguez.

Laba journeyed to Paris in the early '80s to record Maestro Laba Sosseh con l'Orquesta Aragón: Akoguin Theresa (Disco Stock) with Cuba's Orquesta Aragón. He performed with the Cosmos Band in Benin. In 1998 he sang "Afromanicero" on Cheikh Ibra Fall (Dakar Audio Diffusion, 1998) by El Hadji Faye and Etoile 2000 de Dakar and joined the ranks of Africando for their fourth album Baloba! (Stern's Africa) to sing "Ayo Nene" and reprise "Aminata". In 2001 he celebrated his 40th anniversary in the salsa africana field with El Maestro: 40 Años De Salsa (Mélodie) featuring remakes of earlier hits like "La Bicycletta", "Sitiera" and the inevitable "Aminata". In July 2001 he joined singers Pape Fall, James Gadiaga and Mar Seck to record Los Afro Salseros De Senegal En La Habana (Pam, 2002) at Havana's Egrem Studio. He sings "El Manisero" and revisits "Aminata" yet again. 

After a long illness, Laba passed away in a private clinic in Dakar on Thursday September 20, 2007 at around 3:00 am local time. Pape Fall and guitarist Cheikh Tidiane Tall announced his death on RTS, Senegal's state-owned media corporation. He was buried at the Muslim cemetery in Yoff, Dakar, and is reportedly survived by 27 children. --from www.descarga.com

1. La Sitiera (1968) 6:20
2. Seyni (1968) 5:00
3. Recordando A Noro Morales (1968) 5:00
4. Slasa Na Ma (1971) 5:03
5. Aminata (1971) 3:00
6. El Manisero (1971) 4:58
7. Maria Elana (1968) 5:12
8. Yolanda Dime (1971) 4:54
9. Me Voy P'al Monte (1968) 2:57
10. Guantanamo (1975) 4:01
11. Charara (1975) 5:23
12. Caramelo (1970) 5:34

USA

Frank Hunter's White Goddess is one of the incredibly great and incredibly hard-to-find Holy Grail albums that die-hard exotica fans spend years looking for. Marty Manning's Twilight Zone is another. Like Manning, Hunter was an unsung hero of the great days of corporate popular music production, overlooked by musical histories that focus only on the many stars they made sound good. And like Manning, he might have been completely forgotten were it not for the band of exotica fans who discovered one remarkable album that stood out from the rest of his professional works.

Like Manning's Twilight Zone, Hunter's White Goddess combines original compositions and standards, orchestrated and arranged for an unusual combination of instruments. Like Twilight Zone, it incorporates space age pop's favorite odd couple, the Ondioline and wordless vocals, as well as other space age pop regulars like chromatic bongos, Chinese bells, and the buzzimba. It's something of a cross-over between jungle exotica and space music and right up there with the very best in both categories.

Hunter was another big band veteran who switched to the studio, getting his first big break arranging for Elliot Lawrence's Orchestra when it formed in the late 1940s (he was later joined by the young Gerry Mulligan). In the mid-1950s, he worked for Bethlehem Records, where he worked with Frances Faye and others, then moved on to work with a variety of labels and artists, including Mercury, Medallion, and Top Rank and Johnny Hartman, Ketty Lester, Carmen McCrae, Eddie Fisher, and Eddie Heywood. He worked for Kapp for several years, arranging for Roger Williams, Anita Darian, and Joe Harnell. It was during this time that he recorded White Goddess.

He left Kapp and continued to work with diverse mix of acts, from Pat Boone to Chad and Jeremy to the Quinto Sisters. He arranged two of Leo Diamond's later albums on Reprise, and did plenty of work composing music for commercials, some of which is captured on his Sesac album. When CBS started putting out its annual boxed set of orchestral settings of current hits attributed to the "Terry Baxter Orchestra," Hunter was a regular contributor. Unfortunately, after that, his life and works become harder to trace. Perhaps before too many more years, someone will reissue White Goddess and help knit together the loose threads of Frank Hunter's career. -www.spaceagepop.com

First of all: trombonist and conductor Frank Hunter's White Goddess of 1959 is one of the most fascinating Exotica records ever released during the pinnacle phase of the genre. Secondly, it is also one of the rarest, most expensive items to possess. Sure enough do several LP's appear at once on eBay, but the price range is dizzying. Thirdly – and here's the good part – has this record finally been re-issued in 2008 as a digital download version on iTunes, Amazon and Co. in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary. It was a great opportunity for me to chime in, as I've never heard it before.

I've never looked back since then either, as White Goddess, released on Kapp Records, sparkles and glows due to its verve, vivid aura and status as a rarity, but not in the physical sense, for I am referring to its aesthetic value, as Hunter never revisited the genre after the delivery of this sought-after piece and instead relied on lackluster Christmas singles, stale Mother's Day kitsch and lackluster Mr. Sandman renditions in the 60's and 70's. What a waste of talent! Anyway, I better stop my tirade, as I'm actually in a good mood when I get the chance to talk about White Goddess. What is so great about this album is that Hunter created it deliberately, a thing you don't hear often in the Exotica scene where record labels pressed many a conductor or producer to come up with some mix of renditions, and quickly so, in order to not miss the bandwagon.

Having gained artistic independence after his work with many vocalists and Jazz singers, among them Anita Darian and Pat Boone, Kapp Records allowed him total creative freedom, a thing only Robert Drasnin experienced during the concept phase of his Exotica classic Voodoo!, released in the same year. And like Drasnin, Hunter took this project seriously and came up with the usual 12 songs, a whopping eight of them unique compositions specifically written by Hunter for his album. The key instrument is without a doubt the so-called ondioline, an electric piano that can best be described as a hybrid between a shawm and a theremin. Thankfully, it is not used in each and every composition, thus keeping the variety intact. Without further ado, here comes the White Goddess.

Ritual Of The Torch is the auspiciously titled intro and the first of many original tracks. Launching with clinging tambourins, female chants that rise to sky-high regions later on and xylophone droplets that are glued to bamboo rods, the track morphs into a fanfare of brightness with alto flutes, a convivial trombone and a slightly increasing tempo. White Goddess as a whole is usually linked to jungle Exotica, but this song is brighter than expected, welcoming the listener to bathe in its blue-tinted aura of bliss. Even though the percussion is clearly audible, it is not convoluted at all, but almost streamlined to the point of mocking the Easy Listening scheme.

The Latin classic Poinciana remains in these content territories too, but adds a wonderful scent of mystique due to the delicate sustain of the vibraphone chords, the xylophone accompaniment and the paradisiac bass flute. Gentle shakers waft around the nucleus of the main melody as if not to lessen the crystalline dreaminess of this rendition. To be honest, there is no surprise attached to Hunter's version, but since it is so perfectly focused on maintaining a balmy atmosphere of emerald colors, I won't complain at all and hail it as one of the most beautiful Exotica-related versions of Poinciana out there that underwhelm at first only to stab the listener in the back, injecting the reverie-laden atmosphere into the spine. A strange comparison I may have delivered, but I want to stress that Hunter's compositions are usually produced to the point and not overly glitzy thanks to a reduced set of instruments per song.

Strange Echoes proves this point further, as Hunter's original merges the female voice with mysterious bass flutes, short clarinet bursts and xylophone drops that are connected via a thread of gently shaken maracas. It is only in the second half that these staccato sections – and all instruments but the flute are played in this way – are revved up occasionally, playing quicker than usual before calming down and reaching their original state. The signature instrument is the mosquito-esque shawm-like ondioline in the middle section that adds Space Age particles to an otherwise wonderfully enigmatic track. And it resembles the lead melody of Alfred Newman's Exotica classic The Moon Of Manakoora quite a bit, without ever fully admitting it.

Jungle Drums (Canto Karabali), originally written by Ernesto Lecuona inherits the Space Age mystery of Strange Echoes and places the ondioline in-between whitewashed alto flutes and lush xylophone accents that remind of Eden Ahbez's later work Eden's Island of 1960. The feeling is perfectly warm and cozy, the plasticity of the xylophones can't be beaten and depicts the aforementioned formula of jungle Exotica flawlessly. The weirdness of the theremin gets streamlined by "common exotic" instruments, to use an oxymoron.

While Hunter's Pulse is another cozy track with the paradisiac alto flutes, blurry xylophone percussion and the return of the altered mosquito trumpet altogether playing a catchy, slightly Far Eastern eight-note melody, Lost Plateau ends side A with a great percussive interplay with lots of stops, eruptions and drops of bongos, mallet instruments and crunchy shakers. The flute melodies are much reduced, allowing a glimpse at the spectral, pre-Ghouls 'n Ghosts vibraphone sweeps in the background. This composition is absolutely stunning, as it encapsulates both a slight tension and the aural paths of a presumably isolated plateau. But something might be lurking in the thicket. Seldom did a composer depict lush gardens and entangled ivy plants so skillfully as Frank Hunter does on Lost Plateau. Believe it or not, but this is actually my favorite track of side A. It isn't dangerous or tense at all, everything is perfectly calm, and yet does the track display a certain sneakiness and enigma; something is definitely not right at this plateau, and these doubts and thoughts can all be found in this arrangement. Stunning!

White Goddess is the titular opener of side B. Bringing back the female chantress, it is a song that oscillates marvelously between the slightest glimpses of tones played in minor, but relies otherwise on snugness and shelter. Cascading xylophones, triangle sparks, melodramatic indecipherable vocals and arcane vibraphone glints make this a resplendent title track. After many listening sessions, it's still not clear to me how this song can be both mystical and joyful at the same time, but I enjoy these opposite moods very much. Since the arrangement isn't overly crowded, it feels lofty and clean, allowing a better glimpse at the interdependence of the entangled instruments.

Temple Bells is the first track that mentions a sign of a higher civilization that is able to erect spiritual buildings. But instead of painting another panorama of hidden shades, Hunter delivers a gleeful, totally bright composition loaded with maracas, triangles and the most entrancing vibraphone-flute couple that I can think of. It's phantasmagoric, absolutely dreamy and enchanting, and since the melody is even hummable and polished, this is possibly the song with the most memorable hook of all the material on White Goddess. Whether it's also the best song is up to the listener. It's undoubtedly saccharine if seen in the context of the album. A fantastic composition it is regardless. 

On Kurt Weil's Lost In The Stars, the joyful mood continues, although in a gentler way. Vibrating xylophone creeks and a slowly meandering but unsuspectedly complex flute melody are traversing by, all the while the maracas and bongos are carefully shaken or beaten. Despite the title, there aren't any twinkling instruments used, a curious omission that doesn't degrade the majestic grace of this tune in the slightest. Zimbah seems to shift the faux-Polynesian jungle aura to African territories with a ten-note melody played on the clarinet and xylophone and a stronger emphasis bamboo rods. The polyphony of the clarinet expands the duskiness of this tribal but laid back composition. To my mind, this is the weakest track Frank Hunter delivers, but this doesn't tell you anything, for it isn't bad at all. It's just that the formulaic scheme of the melody, the related echo and the ritualistic drums are too reduced and easy even for my liking.

Mist Of Gorongoza, Hunter's final composition, is a much, much stronger track in technicolor, as the downspiraling bass flute melody, the almost inaudible shakers, the melodramatic but catchy female chants and the hollow percussion make up a potpourri of sweet melodies that seem to have bathed in sunlight, for I cannot spot any remains of mist on here. It is similarly syrupy as Temple Bells, but the better of the two tracks, so I think, because of the mellowness and less sugary tone sequences. The final song is a rendition of Esy Morales' Jungle Fantasy, and it is here that White Goddess winds things up, as it is the most jumpy tune with hectic, if smooth shakers, warbled flutes and xylophones and the atmosphere of a Latin lamento. The performance on the flute is the best ingredient, shuffling between sneakiness and a scent of madness. It's definitely not my favorite take and a weak closer overall, but what the heck, the whole album shines like a sun-lit marble anyway, nit-picking cannot destroy the atmosphere of this classic.

What a great album! And readily available, degrading its status as a hard-to-find item without killing off its collectibility entirely. Frank Hunter delivers an absolute gem of jungle Exotica where mystique and joy, downbeat and frantic sections, xylophones and flutes as well as exotic percussion and balmy shakers meet. The strangest of all instruments, the ondioline, isn't overused, thank the White Goddess, but only featured on three to four tracks. If it was included on virtually the whole material, my praise for it would have been lower, but Hunter chose wisely. Each and every composition is flawlessly arranged, and while I have my strong favorites and little duds, I have to acknowledge the focus which was put on the pool of instruments. No arrangement sounds overproduced, there are no surprising addendums or deus ex machina conclusions to be found. Everything is streamlined in a good way, and while I sometimes wish that the percussive section was more varied and a bit more savage, the maintenance of the dreaminess is actually closer to my heart than convoluted drum patterns which can be found in many other Exotica releases anyway.

Frank Hunter's single trip to Exotica lands is a huge success, and I recommend it to everyone who is at least slightly interested in the Exotica genre. Neither is this a smashing orchestral record, nor an intimate quartet offering; White Goddess sits somewhere in-between both ends of the scale, its melodies are easy to grasp, the soothing mood electrifying and the compositions unpolluted and sprucely. A hammock-friendly release to dream the night or day away. -www.ambientexotica.com

1. Ritual Of The Torch 2:52
2. Poinciana 2:43
3. Strange Echoes 3:08
4. Jungle Drums 2:17
5. Pulse 2:37
6. Lost Plateau 2:05
7. White Goddess 2:53
8. Temple Bells 2:50
9. Lost In The Stars 2:53
10. Zimbah! 2:27
11. Mist Of Gorongoza 2:27
12. Jungle Fantasy 2:21

Note
Incl. booklet

Cambodia

Spanning the mid 60s through mid 70s, Cambodia had a thriving music scene where traditional styles met Western influences. In 1975, many of the country’s most popular musicians were executed by the Khmer Rouge. Sinn Sisamouth, Ros Sereysothea and Pan Ron were all victims.

Don’t be mislead by the the volume number. This is only Lion Production’s second Cambodian compilation, with volume one in the Groove Club series being La Confiserie Magique, a French groove compilation.

There were no deluxe studios for the musicians who recorded the devastating tracks contained on this CD collection. Nothing so grand. Most of these tracks were recorded live, with traditional instruments finding a place alongside any keyboards or guitars that could be found.

And yet, it was these experiments of Khmer rock musicians which transformed the nightlife of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh—and which many years later have seduced countless listeners around the world with their groovy sound. Alas, in 1975 came an entirely different type of transformation: the rise to power in Cambodia of the fanatical, anti-Western Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot. Within roughly four years, implementing their “concept of Year Zero,” Pot and his regime were responsible for the deaths of an estimated two million Cambodians, many in the notorious “killing fields.” Even the most famous and beloved Khmer musicians could not escape. Sinn Sisamouth (“the Emperor of Khmer Music”), Ros Sereysothea (“The Golden Voice of the Royal Capital”), and Pan Ron—all featured on this collection—met their deaths at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. Cambodian rock music is (rightfully) adored in Cambodia.

The music is wild and anarchic, rhythmic and undulating (in an “Ethiopiques” way, we’d say), or sweet and lyrical, but always moving, and with that deep soulfulness (regardless of actual musical genre or style) that singles out the best music. We have assembled what we consider to be the most definitive collection of classic Cambodian rock music to appear thus far—without the later overdubs that confuse the mind, without the artificial speeding up of tracks that often has marred compilations over the years; what you’ll find here are crucial Khmer rock tracks, made available in the best possible sound, assembled with love and respect for the artists who made the Khmer rock scene as thrilling as we find it to be.

And so, without further ado, welcome to “Cambodia Rock Intensified!”

1. Thra Kha Band - Crazy Loving You 5:12
2. Pan Ron - Chnam Oun 31 (I'm 31) 4:00
3. Ros Sereysothea - Gunya Rouh Sroh (Miss Beautiful) 4:50
4. Pan Ron - Pros Reang Yeh Yeh 4:23
5. Houy Meas & Dara Chom Chan - Nek Na Min Rom (Who Isn't Dancing?) 3:00
6. Ros Sereysothea - Sra Mouy Keo (Glass Of Wine) 3:16
7. Pan Ron - Tonsai Mok Pi Na 2:42
8. Sinn Sisamouth - Prous Teh Oun (Because Of You) 2:48
9. Sinn Sisamouth - Onguyng Keuy Bey 3:09
10. Ros Sereysothea - Jah Jou Aem (Old Sour And Sweet) 3:43
11. Sinn Sisamouth - Kchol Kdot Tirk Jonn (Cool Water Falling) 4:05
12. Pan Ron - Jom Nor Trocheak 2:38
12. Ros Sereysothea - Kairch Har Cut Stung (Bowl Flies Across The Creek) 3:38
14. Im Songserm & Houy Meas - Berk Tvea Auy Bong 3:04
15. Thra Kha Band & Keo Sokha - Oun Jong Prolung Saravan 2:40
16. Pov Vannary - Tirk Ho (Water Flo) 2:58
17. Ros Sereysothea - Kom Nirk Oun Euy (Don't Miss Me Baby) 4:03
18. Yos Alarong - Sora 4:04

Chicago

A Collection Of 60s Soul Rarities

Blessed with an abundance of recording companies in the '60s, this disc features a healthy dose of soul tracks from Chicago whose quality outstripped their public recognition. Two songs escaped city limits -- Otis Leavil's "I Got a Right to Cry" and the Ideals' "Go Gorilla Go" -- but most were just local hits. This interesting compilation includes Wade Flemmons' "Two of a Kind," the C.O.D.s' "Coming Back Girl," Geraldine Hunt's "Cheaper Than One," and Lee "Shot" Williams' "Love Now Pay Later." A satisfying compilation and a good indicator of the quality of soul music emanating from Chicago at the time. -Allmusic  by Andrew Hamilton

1. Magnetics - When I'm With My Baby 2:52
2. Earnest Mosely - Stubborn Heart 2:25
3. The Fascinators - In Other Words 2:37
4. The C.O.D.s - Coming Back Girl 2:26
5. Mamie Galore - No Right To Cry 2:41
6. The Fantasions - G.I. Joe We Love You 2:32
7. Bobby Copney - Ain't No Good 2:30
8. Johnny McCall - You Can't Get Away 2:18
9. Charles Farren - You've Changed My Whole Life Around 2:17
10. Bobby Guitar Wood - It's Mighty Nice To Know 2:14
11. The Inspirations [Milwaukee] - Your Wish Is My Command 2:13
12. The Topics - Have Your Fun 2:21
13. Otis Leavill - Gotta Right To Cry 2:16
14. The Majors - Lost In A City 2:26
15. Mel Britt - She'll Come Running Back 2:20
16. Kenya Collins - Love Bandit (Barnabus Collins) 2:43
17. LaShawn Collins - What You Gonna Do Now 2:42
18. Wade Flemons - Two Of A Kind 2:49
19. The Age Of Bronze - I'm Gonna Love You 2:21
20. Holly Maxwell - Don't Say You Love Me Until You Do 2:37
21. Gloria And The T-Arias - I'm Satisfied 2:19
22. Geraldine Hunt - Cheaper Than One 2:19
23. The Venturas - Heart Of Love 2;08
24. The Ideals - Go-Go Gorilla 2;39
25. The Profiles - Got To Be Your Lover 2:31
26. Robert Taylor - So Much Love 2:23
27. Lee Shot Williams - Love Now Pay Later 2:25
28. Don Gardner - Is This Really Love 2:15

Ultra Rarities From The Windy City

1. Magnetics - Count The Days 2:54
2. Jimmy Robbins - I Can't Please You 2:35
3. Wade Flemons - Jeanette 3:01
4. Ronnie Savoy - Pitfall 2:30
5. Venturas - Baby Be Mine 2:08
6. Monique - Never Let Me Go 2:01
7. Jimmy Burns - I Really Love You 2:29
8. Syl Johnson - Do You Know What Love Is 1:54
9. Invaders - Best Is Yet To Come 2:34
10. Gloria And The T-Arias - Running Out Of Time 2:20
11. Jo Armstead Band - The Urge Keeps Coming 2:12
12. Living Color - Thank The Lord For Love 2:50
13. Admirations - Heaven Is In Your Arms 2:44
14. Chuck Bernard - Every Hurt Makes You Stronger 2:32
15. Lenny Vestel - In Paradise 2:56
16. Drake And The Ensolids - Fight For Love 2:44
17. Kittens - Wait A Minute - R. Moore 2:16
18. Phil Orsi - Lovin' On Borrowed Time 2:45
19. Harold Currington - One Day Girl 2:19
20. Tyrone Davis - I'm Running A Losing Race 2:59
21. Wendy Woods - Don't Hurt Me No More 2:01
22. Eddie King And Mae B May - Please Mr DJ 1:51
23. Buckner Brothers - A Change Is Gonna Come 2:39
24. Don Gardner - Ain't Gonna Let You Get Me Down 2:29
25. Conquistadors - Lonely Was I 2:23
26. The Del-Tours - Sweet And Lovely 2:03

Mexico; United States

I really don't understand why more people outside of the target market don't listen to this stuff. Lydia Mendoza's voice is astounding. There's an operatic quality to a lot of this music that's just arresting. -stereobread

Featuring only Mendoza and her guitar, Gloria de Texas is one of the most moving Tejano/Tex-Mex recordings ever made. With its spare, bare-bone arrangements, it's closer to folk than country or blues, yet that is what makes it so distinctive and powerful. -AllMusic Review by Thom Owens

“At various times in a career that’s spanned six decades she’s been known as La Alondra de la Frontera (The Lark of the Border) and La Cancionera de los Pobres (The Poor People’s Songstress) but one night in Houston in the mid-70s an MC divinely inspired introduced her as The Glory of Texas the title by which Lydia Mendoza will now always be remembered. Born in Houston in 1916 and now retired from performing due to ill health she is beyond argument the greatest singer and most popular and enduring star Texas has ever produced .

Since her first session as a 12-year old in 1928 cutting a 78 with her parents and a sister as Cuarteto Carta Blanca Mendoza has recorded well over 1000 songs in a dazzling range of styles accompanied by her guitar orquestas mariachis and conjuntos making it well-nigh impossible to compile a single representative album but this one has a particular charm and purity.

Recorded in 1979 at her daughter’s home in San Antonio on Chris Strachwitz’s classy field recording rig Mendoza warmed up from an afternoon concert accompanies herself on 12-string guitar and sounds like she’s in your own sitting room. The 19 songs include rancheras corridos a tango a bolero Don Santiago Jiménez’ `Margarita Margarita’ a paso doble her own `Amor Bonito’ (Beautiful Love) and a version of one of her biggest hits `Besando La Cruz’ (Kissing The Cross).

The feeling and emotion Mendoza can convey in song are so intense that ignorance of Spanish is simply not a problem her power and passion transcend language. As 1993 draws to a close one can count many good even great Texas albums but only this one is essential.” -John Conquest — Music City – Texas

Lydia Mendoza

Pioneering Mexican-American singer, she became known as the Queen of Tejano. By Garth Cartwright

The pioneering Mexican-American singer Lydia Mendoza, who has died aged 91, rose to fame across the south-west of the US in the 1930s. She became known as the Queen of Tejano (as Texan Mexican music is called) and was widely seen as the first icon of Mexican American popular culture.

Singing in Spanish, she entertained and inspired generations of Latinos before achieving wider fame, winning accolades from presidents Carter and Clinton. Chroniclers of American music history now acknowledge her as a pioneer, but because she always sang in Spanish, she never received her full due - despite her talent in shaping her music into a distinctive 20th-century sound and style.

Lydia was born in Houston, Texas, to an impoverished Mexican family who had fled the Mexican revolution. Her grandmother and mother were both musical, and from early childhood she and her siblings were taught a variety of instruments. The family's patriarch, Francisco Mendoza, disillusioned by disappointments and discrimination, turned to drink, forcing his children to earn money by playing music on the streets. Lydia never went to school. Instead, her early prowess at singing and playing the 12-string guitar led her to become the family's main earner, even before adolescence.

In 1928, an advertisement in a local newspaper announced that auditions would be held in San Antonio, Texas, by Okeh Records who were searching for new talent. Lydia's father persuaded a friend with a car to drive the family to the audition, and they were subsequently paid $140 to record 20 songs. Before the discs were pressed, the family left for Detroit, seeking work picking sugar beet.

In 1930 the family returned to San Antonio where they performed regularly in the city's public market. The following year, Manuel J Cortez, a radio broadcaster who fronted San Antonio's only daily programme in Spanish, heard Lydia sing and invited her to be a guest on his show. She performed two songs and the phone lines lit up. Cortez offered her a regular slot, and her mother insisted she be paid to perform. An advertising sponsor was found and Lydia began performing two songs each night for $3.50 a week.

"With that three-fifty we felt like millionaires," she recalled later. "Now at least we could be sure of paying the rent. Life was nothing but working in order to live. That is the reason I had so little gaiety in my youth, just bitterness and sadness."

As her popularity rose, Cortez insisted she stop singing in the plaza and booked her and the family group into restaurants, tent shows and talent contests (which Lydia easily won). This helped her reach a wider public, yet Cortez kept the bulk of the fees, paying the Mendozas only a basic stipend.

In 1934 Bluebird Records came to San Antonio to audition local talent. Lydia was paid $60 to record four songs. Two months later, Mal Hombre (Evil Man) was released and immediately became the first of many of her hits across the south-west's Mexican communities. Bluebird offered her a contract that guaranteed royalties but her father, ignorant of how the music industry worked, insisted she receive a fee of $40 for each two songs recorded.

In 1935 Lydia married Juan Alverado, a cobbler who first encountered her as she sang in the plaza. Later that year the couple received a demand for $30,000 in taxes. Bluebird dealt with the tax authorities and it would not be until decades later that the family realised Lydia had missed out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties.

Although Lydia became a popular concert attraction, discrimination against Mexicans was strong, with many motels and restaurants bearing signs stating "no dogs or Mexicans allowed". The family overcame this by staying in Catholic churches, taking their own cooking equipment with them. Lydia was by then the most famous Mexican woman alive, her music so valued by her compatriots that they nicknamed her La Alondra de la Frontera (the Meadowlark of the Border) and La Cancionera de los Pobres (the Songstress of the Poor).

Lydia retired during the early 1940s to raise her three daughters, but in 1947 she was persuaded to go on the road again. Much to her surprise, she was still capable of packing venues. She returned to recording, often backed by a Mexican orchestra, so creating a richer tejano sound that appealed to the tastes of America's burgeoning Spanish-speaking population. In 1950, her debut performances in Mexico found her welcomed as a superstar, playing to 20,000 people a night. From then on, she toured regularly and recorded in Mexico, Cuba and Columbia.

In the 1970s, Lydia's pioneering recordings were re-issued, introducing her to a younger audience and leading to employment as a music teacher at California State University, Fresno. Les Blank's 1976 documentary, Chulas Fronteras, focused on Texas Mexican culture and featured Lydia singing and cooking.

Then, English-speaking America, so long oblivious to her talents, began to offer recognition. She sang at President Jimmy Carter's inauguration in 1977 and went on to become the first Texan to receive a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage fellowship at the inaugural awards ceremony in 1982. In 1999 she received the National Medal of Arts at a ceremony at the White House in which she shared the stage with Aretha Franklin, Norman Lear, Michael Graves and George Segal.

She continued to tour and record into the 1980s, releasing a live album and also La Gloria de Texas, a superb album recorded by Chris Strachwitz in Lydia's kitchen.

In 1993, Lydia Mendoza: A Family Autobiography was published. She recorded more than 800 songs and released at least 50 albums. A stroke in 1988 curtailed her ability to play guitar, yet when I travelled to San Antonio to interview her in 2005, I found an articulate woman who, although having lived in the US for nearly 90 years, had never concerned herself with learning to speak English.

Her husband and two of her daughters predeceased her. She is survived by her daughter Yolanda, 13 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

· Lydia Mendoza, singer-songwriter, born May 21 1916; died December 20 2007

(#15-18 previously unissued all others previously released on LP/C-3012).

1. No Es Culpa Mia 2:48
2. Mi Problema 2:52
3. Mujer Paseada 2:50
4. Amor Bonito 3:05
5. Collar De Perlas 2:51
6. Luis Pulido 2:42
7. Aunque Venga Muy Borracho 3:16
8. Sin Fe 2:32
9. Malaguena Salerosa 3:53
10. Ojitos Verdes 2:44
11. Besando La Cruz 2:58
12. Hace Un Ano 3:28
13. Tango Negro 3:34
14. Silverio Perez 2:45
15. Olvidarte Ja Mas 2:56 *
16. Zenaida 4:07 *
17. No Puede Dejar De Quererte 3:12 *
18. Margarita Margarita 3:04 *
19. Delgadina 4:15
(* = on CD only)

Note
Incl. booklet

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