Eastern Standard Time

Despite the title, this compilation features all non-standard instrumentals of western influenced oriental music from 60/70s Egypt, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Japan, Lebanon and two eastern-American meetings. Hypnotic belly-dances, psychedelic surf-guitars, crazy organs, melancholic strings and oriental beat- and funk rhythms by Omar Khorshid, Naushad, Baligh Hamdy, Takeshi Terauchi, Sohail Rana, and many others.

"Western influenced" is the key phrase when describing the music here. Not Western, but Western influenced. Sort of like how the Beatles didn't suddenly start making actual Indian music when George Harrison decided to pick up a sitar so these artists aren't really making Western music but they have internalized Western ideas, bringing those ideas into their own cultural contexts. Cool stuff. -stereobread

One of the guys from Notwist compiled this collection of 60s and 70s Eastern-styled instrumentals from the likes of Egypt, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Japan, and Lebanon. Highlights include "Dance of the Rice-Tresher" and the surfy "Aa Jane Jaan." The most recognizable name here would be Egypt's Omar Khorshid, who's Magic Guitar has already opened a lot of Western minds. Like the Waking up Scheherazade compilation from a few years ago, these songs seem to have been made with Western ears in mind. Most songs are in the novelty or exotica vein, but they're all deep cuts with a real psych vibe throughout. As one would expect from the Notwist affiliation, this compilation has some pretty unbelievable breaks. And for anyone who's heard the Sound of Wonder! compilation of Pakistani "Lollywood" songs, you might notice Shabaz Qualander's "Fore Thoughts" has the same melody as the opening title track. I've found similarly lifted melodies in a lot of Eastern music. Traditional melodies from the Middle East get swapped with Southeast Asian ones, and everyone steals Western pop hooks. But the songs never sound the same, even when it's a cover. Many times the melody gets warped at the service of the new song. It can be a weird and jarring experience. Like a dialogue between worlds. -murkyrecess

Vinyl rip by nicholab

A1 Layale Bourg El Hamam - Azef El Leyl 2:26
A2 Mohamed Abdel Wahab - Sahara City 5:32
A3 Baligh Hamdy - Gada 2:09
A4 The Sheiks Men - The Belly Dancer 2:48
A5 The Leon-Symphoniette - Dance of the Rice-Tresher 2:26
A6 Fore Thoughts - Shabaz Qualander 3:17
A7 Terauchi Takeshi + His Blue Jeans - Edo Komoriuta 2:20
A8 Sohail Rana - Saat Maatray 2:43
B1 Faiza Ahmed - Nootet Al Daaf 3:17
B2 Baligh Hamdi - Raks El Asie 1:59
B3 Omar Khorshid - Guitar El Chark 4:51
B4 Little Egypt - Snake Charmer's Delight 2:16
B5 Les Mogol - Madimak 1:56
B6 Naushad - Dream Ride 1:37
B7 S. Hazarasingh - Aa Jane Jaan 3:25
B8 Charanjit Singh - Jaaneman Jaaneman 5:23

Notes
Compiled By – Alien Disko
Limited to 500 copies.
Track 1: Toni Frangieh and Setrak Sarkissian (the artists on track 1) are uncredited on this compilation, and the track is credited to "Layale Bourg El Hamam". Layale Bourg El Hamam is not an artist but the title of their album.

India

Compilation of 78's by the master of Indian classical vocal music. Heavy & spiritual austere performances of 10 ragas. Not easy listening by any means but ultimately very rewarding.

"Ustad Abdul Karim Khan's recording of the composition 'Jamuna ke tir' in Raga Bhairavi stands as one of the great masterpieces of music. When I first heard the recordings of Abdul Karim Khan I thought that perhaps it would be best if I gave up singing, got a cabin up in the mountains, stocked it with a record player and recordings of Abdul Karim Khan, and just listened for the rest of my life." – La Monte Young, 2004

"If there is any real trace of miracle, of phenomena, of wonder, it is the voice." – Hazrat Inayat Khan, 1926

More than seventy years since his death in 1937, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan retains his reputation as one of the greatest singers India ever produced. Possessed of an elastic, honied voice that poured out like mercury, he influenced generations of singers including Mohammed Rafi, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, and Pandit Pran Nath. Born at the end of the 19th century to a family of musicians that extended back in time for centuries, his art was formed in the culture of the courts of the maharajas under British colonialism but was changed by his genius and imagination and a life marked by sacrifices for love, unsatisfied ambition, abandonment and heartbreak. These performances were culled from sessions made during his peak final years 1934-35, newly transferred and restored and with extensive notes by Ian Nagoski.

1. Gujri Todi: Beguna Guna Ga 4:24
2. Jhin Thumri: Piya Bin Nahin Avata Chain 4:16
3. Gujri Todi Tarana: Dim Dara Dir Dir 4:13
4. Basant Khyal: Ab Maine Man Dekheri 4:24
5. Basant Khyal Jalad: Phagava Brija Dekhana Ko Chalori 4:24
6. Bilawal: Pyara Nazara Nahin 4:11
7. Gara Thumri: Jadu Bhareli Kaun Albeli 4:23
8. Anand Bhairavi: Uigicha Ka Kanta Ganjila 4:23
9. Bhairavi Thumri: Jamuna Ke Tira Kanha 4:08
10. Sandhi Kafi: Nach Sundari Karun Kopa 4:23

Notes
AKA
Ustad Abdul Karim Khan – 1934-1935 (Important Records)

Jasraj Vaidya
April 12, 2016

Excellent collection of old 78s but the track listing for the first six tracks is completely off. Some tracks listed are not on the disk and others not listed are !! Some track numbers are exchanged

Here is the correct listing as per what I hear and looking for similar LP 78s that match.
#1 Kafi Thumri: Bawre Dam De Gayo Kanha
#2 Basant Khayal Jalad: Phagava Brij Dekhana Ko Chalori (Teental)
#3 Basant Khayal: Ab Maine Man Dekheri (Ektal)
#4 Gujri Todi Tarana: Dim Dara Dir Dir
#5 Malkauns: Piran Jani Dekhi
#6 Jhinjoti Thumri: Piya Bin Nahin Avata Chain (Adatal)
#7-#10 are identified correctly.

Spanish Harlem

Previously unreleased recording from 1967!

Ten tracks of boogaloo, mambo and latin jazz and a cover adorned by a retro Latina beauty? It’s not a new Ray Lugo LP already is it? No – something even more amazing and a massive coup for Spanish label Rocafort Records. It’s a 1967 LP believed to have been utterly lost and featuring the Nitty Gritty Sextet – a latin soul supergroup numbering among their personnel: the mighty Tito Puente, Jimmy Sabater and Louie Ramirez! Good lord! And the story of how this release came about is as good as the music – which is to say excellent.

There Rocafort were, giving latin production legend Bobby Marin a shout to see if they could license two extant Nitty Gritty Sextet cuts for a 45 when Marin tells them, there was actually a whole LP recorded back in the day. Score for Rocafort! Could they license this? Sorry – all the masters were lost decades ago. Bugger! And then in a coincidence so felicitous you’d castigate any story it appeared in as the work of a hopeless amateur the only existing master acetate re-surfaces in a Pennsylvania thrift store six months later! You wouldn’t dare make it up. But it happened – and here is The Nitty Gritty Sextet – by The Nitty Gritty Sextet.

The two cuts originally sought by Rocafort for a 45 release kick off the LP in a manner sure to excite mod-soul diggers with a penchant for a latin twist. Even these however pale beside the crazy Hammond and latin percussion antics of Fun City Hippy, the urgent salsa of Papel De Bambu, boogaloo soul closer Shingaling Now, Boogaloo Later and best of all the massive party boogaloo of Say Listen. Throw in a mambo and some mellow latin lounge numbers and you’ve got yourself some classic Nu Yorican gold. -monkeyboxing

1. Something New 2:47
2. Nitty Boo Boo 2:16
3. Would You Believe Me? 4:00
4. Rice And Beans 2:45
5. Dixie's Mambo 4:14
6. Fun City Hippy 2:47
7. Say Listen 2:45
8. A Fool Like Me 3:11
9. Papel De Bambú 3:32
10. Shingaling Now, Boogaloo Later 2:41

Credits
Arranged By – Louie Ramirez
Bass – Bobby Rodriguez
Co-producer – Bobby Marin
Congas – Ozzie Torrens
Coro – Bobby Marin, Jimmy Sabater, Willie Torres
Keyboards – Louie Ramirez
Lead Vocals – Bobby Marin (tracks: 10), Manny Roman (tracks: 9), Rudy Calzado (tracks: 4), Willie Torres (tracks: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8)
Organ – Louie Ramirez (tracks: 7), Ricardo Ray (tracks: 6)
Percussion – Tito Puente
Piano – Charlie Palmieri (tracks: 1, 5), Ricardo Ray (tracks: 3, 8)
Producer – Richard Marin
Songwriter – Bobby Marin (tracks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10), Louie Ramirez (tracks: 5)
Tambourine – Tito Puente (tracks: 1, 6)
Timbales – Jimmy Sabater
Vibraphone – Louie Ramirez

Spanish Harlem

Super-rare latin soul and funk LP reissued for the first time, plus three tracks from latin supergroup the Nitty Sextet featuring Tito Puente, Jimmy Sabater and Louie Ramirez.

As well as being a legend in the world of latin music, producer and songwriter Bobby Marin was also in his younger days a champion of stickball, a street-based version of baseball played in and about the tenements of America’s big cities. Bobby’s neighbourhood was East or Spanish Harlem and his home was 107th Street, hence the name of the group that made this super-rare album. The spirit of New York is something that pervades the whole LP, which we are very pleased to reissue this month.

BGP returns to the scene of our January compilation The Soul Of Spanish Harlem to release the complete original album from which one of the standout cuts has been lifted. The 107th Street Stickball Team is one of the rarest of the rare Latin soul collectables, released in tiny numbers by Ralph Lews Dorado label and it is one of the finest releases to have been masterminded by Bobby Marin. This is the first ever reissue of its spectacular mix of soul, boogaloo and funk.

Marin was one of the busiest Latin producers of the 60s and 70s, with his productions for the Speed label being especially sought after, where his composition Ill Be A Happy Man by the Moon People recently formed the basis of Christina Aguileras pop smash Aint No Other Man. The 107th Street Stickball Bands LP was recorded in the period immediately after Bobby worked with Speed and has much of the same feel, from the funk workouts such as Barbara With The Kooky Eyes through the boogaloo workouts onto the wonderful soul grooves of cuts such as On Old Broadway.

The CD is finished off with the only three surviving cuts from a 1967 session put together by Bobby and his brother Richard (who produced the session). It is a Latin supergroup featuring among others - Tito Puente, Louie Ramirez and Jimmy Sabater, who went under the name Nitty Sextette. What they recorded was an absolutely amazing LP, which in their wisdom RCA rejected, and of which 40 years later only these three tracks remain, rescued from an acetate.

107th Street Stickball Team with Ricardo Marrero, Dorado LP 1008 (1969)
1. On Old Broadway 3:04
2. Toma Guajira 2:57
3. Look To Me 3:24
4. You Put A Hurt In My Heart 2:05
5. Rhythm And Soul 2:22
6. Mojo Shingaling 2:24
7. Barbara With The Kooky Eyes 2:20
8. Tell Her I Love Her 3:23
9. Let Me Do My Thing 2:20
The Nitty Sextet, Previously unissued (2009) Produced by Richard Marin.
10. Say Listen (Louie Ramirez) 2:40
11. Nitty Boo Boo 2:15
12. Something New (Bobby Marin, Louie Ramirez) 2:46
Mono

Nicaragua

Incendiary, psychedelic Latin jazzfunk/rock fusion with killer studio FX and percussion by the legendary Chepito Areas.

"The son of a prominent Nicaraguan politician, Alfonso Noel Lovo was an obvious target when Sandinista rebels hijacked a Managua-bound flight from Miami in December of 1971, ultimately putting several rounds through the talented musician’s torso and hand. After several years, and as many surgeries, he would break ground on this this psychedelic pastiche of Latin jazz and pan-American funk, recorded in his nation’s capital in 1976. The binary stars of the sessions would be the agile Lovo and percussionist Jose “Chepito” Areas, who’s timbale work can be heard on watershed records by Carlos Santana, including the Latin-rock milestone, “Oye Como Va.” Lovo’s unreleased masterpiece, combining the talent’s of Nicaragua’s most notorious players, recalls at once the spiritual funkiness of Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi, the studio tricknology of Lee “Scratch” Perry, and the dense propulsion of Billy Cobham’s Spectrum." -Boomkat

As decades go, the 1970s' status as an Alladin's cave for all things unreleased and heretofore unheard continues undimmed. The latest archival find to wash ashore in the present day arrives in the form of an ill-starred solo project by Alfonso Lovo. The son of a Nicaraguan politician, Lovo saw past simply aping commercially succesful groups of the period. He successfully translated this vision into a largely instrumental album bridging his Central American roots and the avant pop then brewing elsewhere in North America.
Although it never saw proper release at the time it was recorded in the mid-1970s, La Gigantona allows considerable insight into the aesthetic climate of its day. Santana would be the obvious influence here - that group's percussionist Chepito Areas was Lovo's principal collaborator - but listening beyond the screaming lead guitars coupled to Latin timbale patterns,  one hears shadings of modal trance jazz, the underground sound of Detroit's Tribe collective, Dennis Coffey's synth-intensive production of Sixto Rodriguez's two roundly ignored albums, and a playful approach to recording that brings to mind Shuggie Otis's unheralded solo discs from the same period. Let's emphasise the playful here, as the engineer controlling the recirculating tape echo in Lovo's studio obviously was having a great time.
The surface noise tied to ''Nueva Segovia'' an especially percussive solo flamenco guitar track, is a reminder of the lone test acetate containing La Gigantona which enabled this release. Past that historic artefact, Alfonso Lovo's music immediately declares itself as a vital entity. More's the pity, then, that we will never know where his muse might have taken him next. -Richard Henderson

1. Nueva Segovia 3:15
2. La Bomba De Neutron 8:02
3. Tropical Jazz 3:14
4. Los Conquestadores 6:01
5. Sinfonia Del Espacio En Do Menor 9:51
6. La Gigantona 3:04
7. Firebird Feathers 5:40
8. Rio San Juan Drums 2:29

USA

Sublime soul and ’70s funk sounding like the missing link between ROTARY CONNECTION, NEWBAN and 24 CARAT BLACK.

Introduction
The original plan was rather more straightforward. We had intended simply to license the masters for the obscure '77 Cali funk-soul single What About The Child, credited to otherwise unknown outfit Gold, for a direct 45rpm reissue. And so began the search for the men behind this lavish, expansive soulful spin, the men who were Gold. Writer and producer Avelino Pitts was taken aback on first contact, but duly set about the not-so-simple task of locating and delivering these thirty-five year old tapes. I dug around, I started going all over and asking, and nobody knew where this was Pitts remembers. And, no one - the studios, my brother - nobody had a copy of a tape. But my father had a shed in the back. Now this is in Las Vegas - not air conditioned - and this is a shed. And [after] all of these years of hundred-plus degree weather, he said, 'why don't you take a look in the shed?' So I'm digging through boxes, covered in dust, spiders, and I come across this box of tapes!

The Music
And from those very tapes comes this long-awaited album! Unheard by human ears since 1974, this is the super sound of psychedelic soul, dancefloor funk and soulful ballads astonishing for their power and beauty. It's incredible to find out that for one reason or another this album was never released at the time, and in our interviews and liner notes we reveal the fascinating story behind the band and why such good music has been kept in the dark for so long.

1. What About the Child 2:51
2. If You Can Dance 3:17
3. Ain't That Funky Enough 3:00
4. Plastic Lady 3:16
5. People Will Be People 5:39
6. Gimme Some Love 3:55
7. You Are so Wonderful 3:46
8. Without You 3:25
9. Now I Know 4:33
10. What About the Child (Instrumental) 3:31

Notes
Gold Featuring Avelino Pitts And Welfare - Lost Treasure From 1974: A 24K Nugget Of Previously Unreleased Psychedelic Soul (Jazzman, 2011)
AKA
Gold - What About The Child (Athens Of The North, 2012)

Jamaica

Perhaps one of the most popular vocal trios of the rocksteady era, The Heptones cut a potential hit on their debut with 'Gunmen Coming To Town' but were obscured by Delroy Wilson's smash hit version of 'Dancing Mood.' Was it the end of the group? Far from it, since the band soon closed a deal with Coxsone Dodd and began massively hitting the charts for the following four years. Documented here are the major successes of the trio in its pre and post-Studio One periods, with their unique vocal style always shining through despite multiple variations in genre.

Although the earliest recordings compiled here are rather fuzzy, and even the later recordings don't have terrific sound quality, the relaxed, rock steady warmth of the Heptones overcomes any thoughts of low fidelity. Starting with their earlier recordings in 1966, through some of their last sides of 1976 (right before lead singer Leroy Sibbles left the group), this collection presents an interesting mix of material that ranges from lovelorn cries ("I Am Lonely," "I'm Crying") to matter-of-fact warnings ("Hypocrite," "Babylon Falling")). Also included are gentle and pleasantly straightforward renditions of "I'm in the Mood for Love" and "You've Lost That Loving Feeling." Reggae's sunny and upbeat musical side is paired with the Heptones' particularly soulful vocals for a relaxed and soothing overall sound, even during essentially melancholy songs like "Suffering So" and "Meaning of Life." This is simply a wonderful compilation of Heptones material -- even if it is missing their first big hit, "Fatty Fatty" (1966), it includes their first recording, "Gunmen Coming to Town," with Tommy McCook & the Supersonics present as backing band. -AllMusic Review by Joslyn Layne

1. Gunmen Coming To Town 2:33
2. I Am Lonely 2:39
3. Ain't That Bad 2:32
4. Schoolgirls 2:41
5. My World Is Empty Without You 2:44
6. Hypocrite 3:07
7. I'm In The Mood For Love 2:59
8. You've Lost That Loving Feeling 3:52
9. I've Been Trying 2:57
10. H-E-L-P 3:26
11. I'll Take You Home 2:47
12. I Do Love You 3:06
13. Old Time 2:37
14. Meaning Of Life 3:23
15. Love Won't Come Easy 2:43
16. I Miss You 3:24
17. Let Me Hold Your Hand 2:47
18. Born To Love You 2:57
19. I'm Crying 3:11
20. Tripe Girl 2:43
21. Suffering So 3:31
22. Party Time 3:29
23. Mystery Babylon 3:30
24. Babylon Falling 3:15
25. Cool Rasta 3:01

The Heptones Meet Scratch The Upsetter At The Black Ark Studio

Created by JeanCalvin

In 1976/77 the Heptones met Lee Scratch Perry at the Black Ark studio and made some of the best music of their career. This torrent collects the fruits of their labour in one place: the album "Party Time" and 4 singles. I've also added 4 alternate versions of the album tracks from the "Heptones Disco Dub EP"; 2 dub mixes and 2 deejay versions from Jah Lion. -JeanCalvin

...Jah Lion on Mr President...killer...I never hear before this Disco Dub album, cheers!!!! -kavesoundmrnobody

PARTY TIME + bonus tracks (1977)
1. Party Time 4:06
2. Crying Over You 3:37
3. Crying Over You (Disco Dub featuring Jah Lion) 4:15
4. Now Generation 4:39
5. Mr. President 3:22
6. Mr. President (Disco Dub featuring Jah Lion) 4:12
7. Serious Time 3:47
8. I Shall Be Released 4:43
9. I Shall Be Released (Disco Dub) 4:44
10. Storm Cloud 4:25
11. Road Of Life 4:03
12. Why Must I 4:50
13. Why Must I (Disco Dub) 4:52
14. Sufferer's Time 4:06

BABYLON FALLING (7", 1976)
1. Babylon Falling 3:13
2. Babylon Falling (Version) 3:15

SUFFERERS TIME (7", 1976)
1. Sufferers Time 3:55
2. Sufferers Dub 4:17

PARTY TIME (7", 1977)
1. Party Time 4:04
2. Party Time Version 4:37

MYSTERY BABYLON (7", 1977)
1. Mystery Babylon 3:28
2. Mystery Version 3:23

Syria

Amazing selection of intense and driving Dabke - the style popularised by Omar Souleyman. Sham Palace, the label owned and operated by Sublime Frequencies associate Mark Gergis, presents an amazing selection of intense and driving Dabke - the regional folk dance style popularised to some extent in the west by Omar Souleyman. Not limited to Souleyman's native Syria, this selection spans the Houran region "...a swathe of south Syria and north western Jordan, beginning just below Damascus, and encompassing the Syrian cities of Daraa, Suweida, Bosra, and the Golan Heights. Its populations include Syrians, Bedouin, Druze, Palestinians and Jordanians." It takes in seven stunning examples culled from cassettes and discs found in the cities of Daraa, Suweida, and Damascus, Syria between 1997-2010, predominantly using native microtonal keyboards to play both the rhythms and sampled mejwiz tones - that distinctively shrill, droning and hypnotic bamboo flute cadence - together with vocals drenched in echo and reverb to emphasise their impassioned emotional messages. They range from Ahmad Al Kosem's incendiary warning shot 'Love Is Not A Joke' to the EuroTechno-like arpeggios and pitched childrens voices on 'Mili Alay' by Mohamed Al Ali, through the steppin' torque and whooping delirium of Abu Sultan's 'Your Love Made Me Head Hurt' to an incredibly warped and near-psychedelic wedding celebration called 'Afrah Houran'. For exotic-minded DJs, open-minded parties and clued-up dancers, this is a must-have record!!! -Boomkat

This compilation of 1990s-2000s Syrian dabke music, a jittery and buzzing staple of wedding ceremonies, was put together by Sublime Frequencies associate Mark Gergis for his Sham Palace imprint.

When Sun City Girls' Richard and Alan Bishop (as well as a few close allies) commenced transmitting world musics via their Sublime Frequencies label back in 2004, it was a flummoxing aural experience for many music critics, no matter how adventurous their palates might be. Across the label's intoxicating early run-- covering everything from Burmese skronk to Laotian folk to North Korean prop-opera-- it revealed a modern world (of) music that was as intense and surreal as anything imaginable in the Western music canon. The label even brought audiences vital modern acts like Tuareg guitarist Bombino and the astounding family band Group Doueh, not to mention the brusque, poker-faced Syrian pop vocalist Omar Souleyman via tours of Europe and the United States.

Late last year, fellow Sublime Frequencies conniver Mark Gergis started up yet another imprint called Sham Palace. The label's first order of business was to reissue a rare 60-minute cassette from Souleyman onto vinyl. With five Souleyman titles now available in American shops, this would appear at first to be an example of flooding the marketplace. Only, the double LP featured a king cobra of a track in the 30-minute version of "Leh Jani" (a truncated version of which appeared on SF's Highway to Hassake album). For those who had thought that the Sublime Frequencies catalog already exposed the rawest of sounds to be found in such far-flung locales, the Sham Palace record suggested that they could in fact always get deeper and harder.

So it follows with this compilation of 1990s-2000s dabke music, a staple of wedding ceremonies, and judging by the sounds of this compilation, the aural equivalent of vodka-Red Bulls: jittery and buzzing Bacchanalian dance grooves that are slightly metallic in tone. And while Souleyman hails from the northeastern part of Syria (his dabke featuring the bouzouk), this compilation culls its sounds from tapes released in the southern region Houran, ranging from Damascus in Syria into Jordan and west toward the Golan Heights. It's here that Gergis traveled about, recording live from the mixing desk at such raucous wedding parties in the region. And once again, the Sublime Frequencies folks explore the music of a region that doubles as a Western media hot topic, gratefully offering neither context nor analysis. Instead, we have only the music.

The notes state that this region of Syria jumbles together Syrians, Bedouin, Palestinians, Jordanians, and more, yet however acute the ear for noting regional differences might be, they are soon overwhelmed by the drone of the mijwiz that snakes through all seven of the songs. A double bamboo reed that's shrill, adenoidal, jolting, fly-buzzing, and ensorcelling with every swing of circular breath, the mijwiz is foregrounded in such wedding songs.

Traditionally, the sound was balanced between the reed, handdrums and vocal chants. But when the drums went electronic in the early 90s (read: hip-hop), the mijwiz-- much like the guitarist and lead vocalist scrambled to do amid jazz's big bands-- also went electric so as to remain out front. And now modern dabke interweaves sampled and mic'd mijwiz melodies, making for tightly interwoven melodic lines from the doubled mijwiz and synth. So the tone on Faraj Kadah/Ashraf Abu Leil's seven-minute dabke ranges from finely minced beeps to breathlessness to a tone not unlike the bleat of a sore-throated calf. Ahmad Al Kosem's fierce songs have their titles translate as "Love Is No Joke" and "I Will Grieve Until I See Her Again", fine wedding themes both. And amid an album full of tough and coarse male vocal plaints, my favorite remains the utterly bizarre chipmunk voices that crash the wedding of Mohamed Al Ali's contribution.

Again, the Sublime Frequencies family presents a snapshot of a region only just reaching our ears via the Western news media and tales of international crisis (see their compilations of Iraqi and North Korean music, for example). It's a complicated situation, one not easily gleaned from reading the Times or Al Jazeera, and rather than comment, Gergis and crew offer us a brief yet very human glimpse into a people all too often abstracted by the 24-hour news cycle. -Andy Beta

1. Ahmad Al Kosem - Love Is Not A Joke 6:38
2. Mohamed Al Ali - Mili Alay (Sway To Me) 6:31
3. Abu Sultan - Your Love Made My Head Hurt 7:10
4. Ahmad Al Kosem - Ma Dal Anouh I Will Grieve Until I See Her Again) 5:20
5. Abu Wafsi - Deg Deg Dagdeglo 6:17
6. Obeid Al Jum'aa - Instrumental Mejwiz 3:10
7. Faraj Kadah/Ashraf Abu Leil - Afrah Houran (Houran Weddings) 7:04

Notes
Culled from cassettes and discs found in the cities of Daraa, Suweida and Damascus, Syria between 1997-2010.
Dedicated to the People of the Houran.

Indonesia

Sublime Frequencies initiate their Indonesian series with a retrospective collection of two albums from legendary garage rock group Koes Bersaudara. The group of four brothers were basically Indonesia's answer to the Beatles, taking profound inspiration from their revolutionary pop music and fashion imported from England circa 1965. But, despite the popularity of the scouse beat combo in Jakarta, the rulling President Sakarno was vehemently adverse to any form of western imperialism, deeming their non-indiginous sound 'ngak, ngik, ngok music' and would eventually imprison the group for up to three months due to the fact they were playing Beatles standards at their gigs. The brothers were released and returned to music, becoming one of the most loved bands of the era and today spawning over 60 Koes tribute bands on the island of Java alone. This CD compiles their 1967 garage-rock "masterpiece" 'To the so-called "The Guilties" with the slightly earlier 'Djadikan Aku Domba Mu'. "The Guilties" is remarkable not only for its raw but sweet garage sound, but also the fact that it's hailed as the first Indonesian album to directly challenge the ruing regime and deal with their experiences in the penal system. As with all Sublime Frequencies releases, the material has been deeply researched and compiled with a love and respect that comes across so eloquently in the sleeve notes and presentation. A treasure. -Boomkat

This CD features the first ever reissue of Koes Bersaudara’s two extremely rare and almost impossible to find albums from 1967 - To the so-called “The Guilties” (12 song full-length LP) and Djadikan Aku Domba Mu (8 song 10-inch LP). Guilties has long been considered by Indonesian music historians as their nation’s legendary garage rock masterpiece as well as the first record to directly challenge or speak out against the Indonesian government. Recorded live in the studio in a few hours, the album is laced with a raw, guitar-driven sound that forays into previously unexplored realms of the mid-sixties beat generation. Though Guilties is obviously inspired by Western bands of the period, the record possesses a unique feel throughout and will challenge you to find obvious derivative Western sources (with the exception of the Byrds guitar style on Apa Sadja). Djadikan Aku Domba Mu was actually recorded a few months before the Guilties album and has a much dreamier feel overall. Some of the tracks are more psychedelic and reminiscent of the ballads the Koeswoyo brothers would create at the end of the 1960s. Also included in this set is the extremely rare studio outtake Land of Evergreen, the only cut in this collection that was recorded in stereo. One of 4 tracks on this CD sung in English, Land of Evergreen features an absolutely stunning guitar intro and is one of the best songs Koes Bersaudara ever created.

Koes Bersaudara (Koes Brothers) formed in Jakarta in 1960. At the beginning, the group consisted of 5 Koeswoyo brothers – Jon, Tonny, Nomo, Yon and Yok. After their first album was released in 1964, older brother Jon quit reducing the group to a four-piece. Tonny (lead guitarist and songwriter) was the leader of the group with Yon (rhythm guitar) and Yok (bass) handling the vocals along with Nomo on drums. By 1965, the group started to grow their hair longer, wore high-heeled leather boots, and added Beatles’ songs to their stage show. President Sukarno began waging war against the influence of Beatlemania which had taken hold of the Indonesian popular music scene. Koes Bersaudara was arrested and spent 3 months in prison for performing a Beatles song at a private house party. They were released from jail at the same time General Suhuarto launched his military coup and former restrictions on Western pop music began to be lifted. By 1967 Koes Bersaudara was back in the studio recording what would become their most challenging music on Dick Tamimi’s Mesra Record label. Nomo left the group in 1968 and after Tonny, Yon and Yok found their new drummer Kasmuri (Murry), Koes Plus was born in 1969 and became the most popular Indonesian band of the 1970s. These reissued tracks have been coveted by serious “in the know” collectors worldwide for decades and will surely appeal to all fans of the pop and rock era of the mid-late 1960s as a significant missing piece of the global pop music history puzzle. (SF)

One doesn't hear much about British Invasion-style pop groups from Indonesia in the mid-'60s, and the story of Koes Bersaudara offers a good explanation why. Koes Bersaudara translates as "The Koes Brothers," and they indeed featured four brothers -- Koestono Koeswoyo (nicknamed Tonny, lead guitar), Koesnomo Koeswoyo (nicknamed Nomo, drums), Koesyono Koeswoyo (nicknamed Yon, rhythm guitar and vocals), and Koesroyo Koeswoyo (nicknamed Yok, bass guitar and vocals). The brothers became rock & roll fans in the '50s when the music began to hit the Indonesian airwaves through Voice of America, and they and formed a vocal group in the style of the Everly Brothers. But even though the Koeswoyo Brothers were hardly the only kids in Jakarta who fell hard for the Beatles, letting folks know you were a Fab Four fan could be dangerous. Indonesian President Sukarno was openly hostile to the influence of Western pop culture and harbored a special hatred for the Beatles; when a high-ranking Naval officer hired the brothers to play his daughter's birthday, their version of "I Saw Her Standing There" sparked a violent melee that led to them spending three months in jail. Given this, it's remarkable that Koes Bersaudara were able to cut two 10" albums for a major Indonesian label in 1967, and an even bigger surprise is how good they were. Sublime Frequencies have collected 21 Koes Bersaudara tracks on the album To the So Called "The Guilties" (named for one of their original albums), and while the recording quality is sometimes primitive, the performances are splendid -- Tonny was a fine lead guitarist, Yon and Yok's harmonies are excellent throughout, the band was tight and played Western-style rock with confidence and skill, and the songs, while in Indonesian, can often pass for lost gems of the Beat era. The album opens with material from Koes Bersaudara's second and more accomplished album, which is significantly more energetic and rocks harder; the earlier material shows more of a contemplative folk-rock bent, through the songs and performances are still quite impressive. Once you get past the language barrier, Koes Bersaudara sound significantly more "Western" than most Asian rock groups of their era, but if these guys didn't work much of their nation's musical heritage into their rock & roll, they certainly let their experiences inform tunes like "Poor Clown" "Di Dalam Bui (In Jail)," and "Balada Kamar 15 (The Ballad Of Room 15)," and this is music that speaks powerfully of its time and place while sounding very cool to boot. -AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

To The So-Called "The Guilties"
1. Hari Ini (Today) 2:29
2. To The So-Called "The Guilties" 1:42
3. Apa Sadja (Whatever) 2:01
4. 3 Little Words 2:18
5. Bintang Mars (Mars Star) 1:55
6. Poor Clown 1:45
7. Mengapa Hari Telah Gelap (Why Has The Day Become Dark) 2:47
8. Untukmu (For You) 2:13
9. Bunga Rindu (The Flower Of Longing) 2:12
10. Laguku Sendiri (My Song) 2:38
11. Di Dalam Bui (In Jail) 2:45
12. Voorman (Jailor) 2:12
Djadikan Aku Domba Mu
13. Bilakan Kamu Tetap Disini (I Wish You Would Stay Here) 2:06
14. Balada Kamar 15 (The Ballad Of Room 15) 2:11
15. Lontjeng Jang Kentjil (Tiny Bell) 2:37
16. Rasa Hatiku (The Feel Of My Heart) 2:42
17. Djadikan Aku Domba Mu (Make Me Your Sheep) 3:29
18. Bibadari (The Fairy) 2:50
19. Untuk Ajah Dan Ibu (Dear Mom And Dad) 2:30
20. Aku Berdjandji (I Promise) 2:59
Rare Compilation Track From 1967
21. The Land Of Evergreen 2:04

Notes
Tracks 1 to 12 originally released on LP as Mesra-11.
Tracks 13 to 20 originally on 10" as Mesra-41.

Tracks 1-20 recorded in mono.
Track 21 recorded in stereo.

Photos from vinyl cover art and Koeswoyo family private archives (Thanks to Yon Koeswoyo) with additional sepia toned photos courtesy of Mr. Handiyanto.
All tracks licensed directly from Koes Bersaudara.
Song lyrics provided by Jiwa Nusantara (Koes Plus Fan Club).
Thanks: Jiwa Nusantara-Jakarta (Koes Plus Fan Club), Dianto Yunardi, KPMI, Denny Sakrie, Mr. Handiyanto, RRI, Radio Sonora, Ben's Radio, Alex Chandra, Steven Farram, and Mark Gergis.
Very special thanks to Yon, Yok, & Nomo (koes Bersaudara) and their families.
Album dedicated to the memory of Tonny Koeswoyo (1936-1987).
This project would have been impossible without the amazing assistance from David Tarigan.

USA

!! !! !! This is simply sooooo gooood!! !! !!

Label: Numero Group
Series: Eccentric Soul
Released: 2012
Style: Soul

In the late ’70s, three do-right women from Cleveland forged a brief partnership with Ohio’s everything man, Lou Ragland. Unlike the prefabricated singing combos of the day, Lily Pearson, Annette Warren, and Avetta Henry swapped lead duties as situation demanded. When a Ragland-centric publicity stunt preempted a concert appearance, Love Apple disintegrated, abandoning this rehearsal tape within the lo-fi confines of Thomas Boddie’s cherished Eastside studio. Devoid of bass, the sparse instrumentation (only Lou on guitar and piano and Hot Chocolate’s Tony Roberson on drums) accentuates each vocalist’s aptitude, showcasing some of Ragland’s finest songwriting in the process. During any given take, Ragland can be heard calling audibles, directing his singers to repeat a passage, or lending his own sweet tenor to the vocal mix. Never intended for release, Love Apple’s six-song sketch is the perfect companion to I Travel Alone, bringing Ragland’s unique musical vision into sharper focus. (NG)

1. Man On The Side 4:49
2. Call Me When You Want Me 5:31
3. Guess I Always Knew 7:30
4. There's No Answer Without You 3:53
5. The Chasing TImes 5:45
6. What Will Tomorrow Bring 5:51

USA

Frank Fairfield may sound like he was born in a hollow somewhere in the Appalachians, his voice as old as the hills as he scratches out old forgotten blues pieces and murder ballads on banjo, guitar or fiddle, but he hails from the San Joaquin Valley and he spent his childhood and teen years bouncing around California working odd jobs, taking factory shifts and occasionally attending school. Eventually he settled in Los Angeles, where he discovered he was pretty good at busking on street corners, and his passion for old 78s and the music of a previous century began to bear fruit as he developed as a performer, turning himself into a virtual facsimile of the old time musicians he revered. A slot as the opening act on a Fleet Foxes tour resulted in a recording deal with the folk and traditional music label Tompkins Square, who released his debut album, the self-titled Frank Fairfield, in 2009. Fairfield's next release, 2010's Unheard Ofs & Forgotten Abouts, was actually an archival sampling of his massive collection of old 78s. A proper second album, Out on the Open West, appeared in 2011 from Tompkins Square. -Biography by Steve Leggett

Frank Fairfield loves old 78s and he’s learned how to replicate them as a performer, his high lonesome voice and his halting, ragged guitar, banjo, and fiddle style making him sound like he was born in some Appalachian hollow a century ago. He was, in fact, born in the San Joaquin Valley a mere two-dozen years ago, and whether by accident or design, he’s found a style that resonates deeply with audiences hungry for a glimpse of a time they must imagine was simpler and somehow purer than a 21st century world full of gadgets, twittering, and digitally driven supply-side economics. It’s probably not accurate to say that Fairfield is posing -- he truly loves his 78s and he’s simply playing music that he loves -- but it looks like a pose nonetheless, because when you tour with the Fleet Foxes as their opening act, you probably don’t need to ride freight cars. In a way, Fairfield is like a Civil War reenactor, re-creating a past in the safety of the now, a literal walking museum of old-time music. He is, quite simply, a facsimile as a performer, and that generally leads to a creative dead end because, well, the only way to not be a facsimile is to become the thing itself, and that’s impossible. It’s not a century ago, and all the recordings that Fairfield bases his sound on have already been made and are readily available in the digital realm. He can only approximate them. With his second album, Out on the Open West, Fairfield may have glimpsed a way out of this time/space conundrum. He still sounds like a backporch fiddler from the 19th century, but this time out, he’s written most of the songs himself, which joins then to now in a way that covering old 78s doesn’t. Songs here like “Frazier Blues,” “Someday You’ll Be Free,” and “Poor Old Lance” may sound ancient, but they aren’t. By writing and recording them, Fairfield turns himself from being a facsimile of the past into a reflection of it. It’s a small difference, but an important one. Life is lived forward. -AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett

The Fleet Foxes tourmate and old-time music practitioner follows an album of traditional tunes with a collection of his own songs.

Frank Fairfield's backstory is the stuff of old American legend: A troubled vagabond who eventually made his way home to Los Angeles, Fairfield rooted through the city as a street musician, pulling bow across fiddle and hammering away at a banjo or acoustic guitar on corners or in flea markets. One afternoon, the right musician saw him play, became his manager, hitched him to a tour with champions Fleet Foxes, and landed him a record deal with one of the country's most trustworthy syndicates of old sounds, Tompkins Square. Now, he's the subject of a documentary and a touring musician with audiences in multiple continents. In a time where musicians and their managers attend workshops on going viral, and when the companies that own the music plan album leaks in advance, Fairfield simply played because he somehow had to talk about his feelings. Everything else just found him.

Fairfield's debut collected his interpretations and arrangements of 11 traditional tunes; Out on the Open West, the follow-up to his 2009 entrée, features three arrangements of traditional tunes, and they're all instrumentals-- the halting "Haste to the Wedding/The Darling True Love", the ebullient "Turkey in the Straw/Arkansas Traveler", and the foot-stomping "Texas Farewell". But the best songs here are Fairfield's own, and they're tremendous achievements from a guy who once said he wasn't a songwriter: "But That's Alright" is a sad, spirited bit of self-medication, the title phrase muttered in the chorus with the same kind of bitter resolve that tides people through strings of bad news.

On "Kings County Breakdown", he bows with a get-out-of-town abandon, like he's racing away from a hard week's work for his favorite vacation spot, or more likely, his baby. "Ruthie" is a tender, torturous goodbye. Fairfield is a strong player, but here, he smartly fumbles along the banjo's neck, the lament's lyrical depression mirrored by the broken technique. "Who will set her coffin? Lord, who will lay her down? Who will lay sweet Ruthie in that cold rocky ground?" he sings before answering that he will. The despair is overwhelming. Out on the Open West, then, not only cements Fairfield as a remarkable performer but also suggests that he's an evocative writer with his own stories to share.

It also puts Fairfield squarely in the folk tradition of collaboration. His self-titled debut was mostly Fairfield. On "Kings County Breakdown", though, he's sawing his fiddle alongside mentor and guitarist Tom Marion. That's young colleague Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton singing perfectly content harmonies on "But That's Alright" and Old Crow Medicine Show's Willie Watson doing the cheery picking on the title track. But the most remarkable moment in Fairfield's slender catalog is "Poor Old Lance", a stunning bit of sadness that puts him squarely in the league of his heroes. Assisted by a trio of fiddle players, Fairfield sings with the sort of human moan that you can hear in Doc Watson's blues or any number of Harry Smith or Alan Lomax's field recordings. These troubles have never seemed more like Fairfield's own.

Fairfield is worthy of your consideration, even if you've never heard or considered the old-time music. He plays with a rare integrity, offering up his life in a way that does exactly what folk music must do-- it relates the world as the singer sees it, mixing sadness with sweetness, excitement with low-down and miserable depression. This has nothing to do with genre; hip-hop, jazz and rock all feel this way, too. Like the best of it all, Fairfield's music seems inexorably real and entirely necessary. -Grayson Currin

1. Frazier Blues 4:21
2. Kings County Breakdown 3:04
3. Someday You'll Be Free 3:26
4. Haste To The Wedding / The Darling True Love 4:33
5. Turkey In The Straw / Arkansas Traveler 2:47
6. But That's Alright 3:17
7. Poor Old Lance 3:50
8. Up The Road Somewhere Blues 3:37
9. The Winding Spring 1:49
10. Out On The Open West3:13
11. Ruthie 3:39
12. Texas Farewell 3:35

Georgia

Many years ago, the great folklorist Alan Lomax said, “The Georgia Sea Islands are the home of the American song.” Today, the McIntosh County Shouters are the last group still keeping the “ring shouts” of coastal Georgia alive 80 years after Lomax first discovered them. All who listen to the Shouters will hear how much truth was in Lomax’s words.

Acclaimed upholders of the African American ring shout, the McIntosh County Shouters keep the faith, form, and fervor of the generations-old tradition rooted in their small community of coastal Georgia. Companion songs to the shuffle-step devotional movement called “shouting” have resisted slavery, strengthened spirit, and left us a cultural keystone for the future. Through their classic shout songs and spirituals, the Shouters beckon us to remember the past while envisioning the future of the African American cultural legacy.

This album is the second collection of The McIntosh County Shouters recorded and produced by Smithsonian Folkways. The first, The McIntosh County Shouters: Slave Shout Songs from the Coast of Georgia was released in 1983. The Shouters belong to a third generation of people freed from slavery and their featured songs on this album are performed exclusively for the traditional ring shout. In 1993, the group received the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, which is considered to be the greatest honor for the traditional arts in the United States.

As part of the educational mission of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, each album on the record label includes comprehensive liner notes that are ideal for further research. The liner notes on this album include photographs, detailed biographies of the artists, interviews with current members, and historical and cultural contextualization of the traditional ring shout. Bolden, aka “Briar Patch,” on the coastal mainland of Georgia is the home of The McIntosh County Shouters. The Mount Calvary Baptist Church is the spiritual space of the Gullah/Geechee people, known as “the stopping place of the shout.”

It is satisfying to hold such a project in your hands, with 17 tracks and a 40-page booklet accompanying the physical CD. Each song incorporates the essential elements of the ring shout: the rhythmic hand-clapping, a stick beating the floor, the soul-filled spirituals, and the fusion of call-and–response singing. All that is missing on this album, as described in the liner notes, is the visual element—the ability to watch the shouters shuffling in a counterclockwise circle. To amend this problem, Smithsonian Folkways created an accompanying short documentary film that shows the Shouters singing and dancing together. Brenton Jordan, the youngest Shouter today, looks forward to the future of the tradition and believes the strength of the shout community will continue to thrive. -Reviewed by Jennie Williams

1. Jubilee 2:23
2. Believer, I Know 3:40
3. I Come To Tell You 4:36
4. Walk With Me 4:41
5. Drive Ol' Joe 3:31
6. Went To The Burial / Sinner Weep So 5:31
7. Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit 4:06
8. Move, Daniel 2:38
9. I Won't Turn Back 2:37
10. Oh, My Loving Mother 2:51
11. Army Cross Over 4:44
12. Walk Through The Valley In The Field 3:34
13. Daniel Saw That Little Stone 2:41
14. In The Field We Must Die 2:36
15. Oh, Lord, I Want You To Help Me 4:42
16. I Wade The Water To My Knees 3:07
17. This May Be Our Last Time 3:30

USA

Nuanced picking, waterlogged drones, and rowdy singing … captures the same spirit as his mentor, Jack Rose. – John Mulvey, Uncut 

Mesmerizing! "America's Instrument"—the 5-string banjo—has found a profound new exponent in Nathan Bowles. His writing for the instrument is exploratory, at times wonderfully dissonant and always soulful; his playing sure-footed and hypnotic. One of my favorite musicians playing today. – Glenn Jones 

Hypnotic. Like John Fahey, who conceived of American Primitive Guitar as a means of purging inner demons, Bowles has turned his emotions, memories, and preoccupations into a multifaceted work of art that can draw you in even if you don't know a thing about the guy that made it. – Magnet 

On his exquisite third solo album, Nathan Bowles (Steve Gunn, Pelt, Black Twig Pickers) again augments his mesmeric clawhammer banjo pieces with piano, percussion, and vocals. Instead of the programmatic place-based narratives of its predecessor Nansemond (PoB-16), Whole & Cloven offers a stoic meditation on absence, loss, and fragmentation, populating those experiential gaps—the weighty interstices and places in-between—with stillness and wonder. Straddling Appalachian string band music and avant-garde composition but beholden to neither idiom, Nathan proves himself heir to deconstructivist tradition-bearers like Henry Flynt and Jack Rose. 

Nathan Bowles has the power to transform the sound of a banjo—and traditional folk music—into something transcendental, often bringing the spirit of Americana to new heights.

Nathan Bowles may be best known as a banjo player, but he’s not 'just' a banjo player. Aside from playing drums, piano, and organ in Steve Gunn’s touring band as well as supporting roles in Pelt and Black Twig Pickers, Bowles’ solo albums cover a wide terrain. On 2014’s Nansemond, guitarist Tom Carter nearly stole the show. His solos helped bring Bowles’ compositions—which recall both early American folk and more contemporary revivalists like Jack Rose—to thornier and heavier places. Nansemond positioned Bowles as a crucial force in folk music, showcasing his ability to interweave the genre’s communal spirit with chilling moments of ambient introspection.

The latter informs the most beautiful composition on Whole & Cloven, Bowles’ colorful, uplifting follow-up to Nansemond. Despite its on-the-nose title and extended runtime, the 11-minute “I Miss My Dog” is an exercise in subtlety, a gorgeous and impeccably paced elegy. Its slow-building structure touches on the darkness within Nansemond, but the song ascends with a feathery rhythm that serves as the album’s heartbeat. Remarkably, it uses traditional folk elements and instrumentation to reach something closer to New Age music.

In a recent interview, Bowles explained his attraction to the banjo "because it’s a drum with strings on it. I tend to play everything percussively.” He puts that sentiment into practice throughout his performances on Whole & Cloven. An earthy buzz created by an acoustic guitar echoes through the beatific “Words Spoken Aloud,” sounding at once like a jaw harp and a kazoo. The sunshower of keys in “Chiaroscuro,” meanwhile, suggests that he looks at the piano just like the banjo: an even bigger drum with strings on it. Playing all the instruments himself, Bowles transcends their primary sounds, reinventing them to better suit his compositions. Even his banjo playing, which is as rhythmic and virtuosic as always, more closely resembles a sitar in most songs. In “Gadarene Fugue,” the actual percussion flitters from his picking like sparks from a campfire.

After using something like an entire music store’s worth of instruments, in “Moonshine Is the Sunshine,” as on several Nansemond tracks, we get to hear Bowles' actual voice. He sings exactly like you’d imagine a guy with a banjo to sing: a lazy, gravely holler that sells the obscure folk song’s “Wouldn’t it be funny if all the fish dropped out of school?” cutesiness. It’s one of the only tracks on the album that scans immediately as standard folk music: the kind of song a traditionalist like Sam Amidon might color with sadness, or Gillian Welch might stretch out into a cavernous ballad. But Bowles just plays it straight, stomping his foot, and bellowing along. It’s not his most revelatory performance, but it’s certainly his most joyful. On an album that reshapes folk music into something boundless and new, “Moonshine” is a testament to how far he’s come. -Sam Sodomsky

1. Words Spoken Aloud 6:01
2. Chiaroscuro 3:26
3. Blank Range : Hog Jank II 6:23
4. Moonshine is the Sunshine 3:50
5. Gadarene Fugue 4:52
6. I Miss My Dog 10:58
7. Burnt Ends Rag 3:10

Iran

Singles from the jet-setting 1970's world of Iranian pop. Funky bass grooves and stabbing strings adorn the centuries-old melodies of Persia.

Ohhh, those rolling 6/8 time signatures, wah-ed out guitars, throbbing bass lines and shimmery disco strings. After two sets of singles from the jet-setting 1970s Tehran pop scene, Pharaway Sounds brings you a third round-up of tunes from just before the Iranian revolution. You'll find rockers from bands like the Rebels, making their way through the western sounds of the late 70s. But maybe more important, hear the voices of the girls, sweet and tough alike, who all ran out and got their hair cut in a foxy Hamill camel just like trend-setter Googoosh. A set that veers from gypsy fiddles to crime jazz piano to Abba knock-offs, and it's all from the teen idols of stage and screen who once filled glossy magazines to promote their latest musical adventures.

Amazing sounds from the pre-Ayatollah years in Iran – an incredible blend of different global influences, coming together in the sort of sound you'd expect from one of the most progressive scenes in the Mid-East. The work here has some of the same psych elements of Turkish work from the time – but also borrows lots from other sources too – including elements of Bollywood grooves from India, heavy funk from the US, and even some of the more inventive post-colonial sounds from London and Paris. Vocals are almost never in English, but the song structures create a really universal feel to the music – a transcendent sound that's documented perfectly by the selections in this well-done set.

1. Shahram - Asheghi Ham Hadi Dare 3:38
2. Beti - Nazr 3:57
3. Soli - Nasim-E Yaar 3:21
4. Nooshafarin - Pichak 4:26
5. Amir Rassaei - Tisheh O Risheh 4:33
6. Neli - Ki Bood 3:55
7. Habib Mohebian - Maadar 6:25
8. Shoreh Solati - Dele Khoshbavar 4:40
9. Morteza - Sabr Kon 5:13
10. Sattar - Sar Sepordeh 3:57
11. Shahram - Leila 2:29
12. Neli - Yek Rooze Taazeh 4:12
13. Fereidoon Farrokhzad & Mahnaz - Baroone Bahari 3:08
14. Ramesh - Delakam 3:13
15. Beti - Khoeneh Khaleh 3:23
16. Afshin Shad - Dige Base 3:34
17. Sattar - Asal 5:20
18. Gita - Eshghe To 5:19

United Kingdom

Newcastle singer-songwriter Richard Dawson twists his compositions into gruesome shapes at the exact moment you start to get comfortable—but Peasant contains his most accessible music to date.

Richard Dawson’s records are not easy listens. His nightmarish spin on British folk music has spanned six heady LPs, somewhere between John Frusciante’s whacked-out guitar work on Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a T-Shirt and Scott Walker’s brutal avant-garde epics on Bish Bosch. Dawson’s last album, 2014’s Nothing Important, consisted of two lengthy compositions bookended by two noisy instrumentals. While his guitar playing is a fascinating thing—precise and chaotic, strings plucked with a dangerous physicality—the real power of the album was in Dawson’s writing. The title track seamlessly slipped between autobiography and eulogy, and “The Vile Stuff” wrung apocalyptic drama from a drunken adolescent field trip. These were songs designed to be scoured for meaning, with enough plot development and cosmic payoff to earn spoiler alerts. If he would have included more than two of them on the album, it would have been impenetrable.

On Peasant, Dawson refines that album’s scope into his most accessible and elusive music to date, focussing on more conventional song structures while further developing his voice as a storyteller. According to Dawson, Peasant is a concept album, taking place “somewhere between [the years] 500 and 700, after the slow withdrawal of the Roman Empire from the north east.” Over 11 tracks that are mostly named after the profession of their narrators, Peasant presents the most primal and hideous aspects of the distant past. There are “houses cast with clay and sheepdung”; there are “pummelled gall-nuts afloat in urine.” There are miscreants, malingerers, dastards, and knaves. In “Weaver,” the narrator notices a crab caught in a woman’s hair as he holds a newborn baby, “still dangling from a string.” Discussing his medieval inspiration, Dawson has said, “Certainly, I don’t have an interest in writing a ‘Game of Thrones’ album,” and he’s succeeded in avoiding that categorization. The images here are far too graphic to appear on HBO.

Yet this is also the most beautiful music Dawson has ever recorded. The arrangements are period-appropriate, all Renaissance Faire flutes and choirs chanting in unison like an angry mob. The production is both visceral and lush, its gentle instrumentation punctuated with jarring bursts of percussion and horns. In “Soldier,” Dawson plays acoustic guitar with a deft musicality, akin to Dave Longstreth’s knotty riffs in Bitte Orca’s “Temecula Sunrise.” As the melody evolves into something smoother and simpler, Dawson’s lyrics also find a sense of peace. On an album that features enough archaic diction to warrant a glossary, “Soldier”’s plainspoken lyrics are its most effective ones. It’s heartbreaking when Dawson simplifies the narrator’s anxiety into an artless phrase: “I’m really scared of going.” It’s equally stirring when, upon imagining a future with his family, Dawson bellows the closing lyric, “My heart is full of hope,” his voice rising to a triumphant howl.

Dawson grows as a singer throughout these songs, sometimes with humorous results. He finds his lowest reaches in the chorus of “Weaver” and strains for his highest falsetto in “Beggar.” Right before the rousing finale of “Ogre,” he stretches out the syllables of the word “morning,” groaning in pain like a goose kicked in the gut. Other moments illustrate how pleasant a musician Dawson has become. The sprightly melody in “Beggar” is downright gorgeous, accompanying a tragic story of a homeless man and his beloved collie. But Dawson knows when his music approaches anything resembling convention; he twists his compositions into gruesome shapes at the exact moment you start getting comfortable. This quality helps maintain Peasant’s masterful pace and keeps things invigorating when his tales of toadsong and dogshide start erring on the side of parody.

In a deeply moving track called “Prostitute,” the titular character ponders her existence and dreams of a better life for her hypothetical children. It ends with her standing over a man as he chokes on vomit, when she decides to steal his horse and flee “this country of demons made flesh.” Like all of Dawson’s best work, there’s a glint of horror to it (are these demons literal or figurative?) and a shocking sense of real-world application. “It’s hard to explain, but it happens again and again,” Dawson sings, hinting that these songs are as much ancient archetypes as they are modern cautionary tales. In moments like these, Peasant becomes a breakthrough for Dawson: an overwhelming, vulgar, and deeply rewarding record. His only limitation is the world he lives in. Here, he begins to transcend it. -Sam Sodomsky

Richard Dawson never seems entirely comfortable with being described as a folk musician – “anything but that,” as he recently asserted in an interview with The Quietus.

An inoffensive term, one might think, that try as the nauseating likes of Marcus Mumford might, is associated with far more with wordly balladry and tactile human exchange than it is with translucent “authenticity” and dodgy vocal approximations of Farmer Palmer from Viz. Yet if we subject Dawson’s career to closer scrutiny, clearing away the rattling acoustic guitars and meandering, apparently provincial narratives (which are never anything like as region-specific as they might seem on the surface), it’s easier to see why he might object to such a label. For although Dawson might borrow from and work within many of the aesthetics of the British – well, Celtic – folk tradition, with some bluesy inflections and a consistent gaze towards the shadowy vistas of experimental rock and noise music, there’s little that’s genuinely “traditional” about his work at all. His songs are not adaptations of troubadour classics, nor are they the ramshackle ‘60s-pop-tunes-disguised-in-Fairport-Convention-costumes that apparently pass for folk music post-Mumford. They’re weirder, wider in scope, infinitely more profound than that. They always have been, and, on Peasant, are perhaps more so than ever before.

Since the record was announced with the expansive, resplendent “Ogre” – personally, my favourite song of 2017 so far – we’ve had an inkling of what to expect. That song is one of his greatest so far, a dizzying maelstrom of primal guitars, primitive percussion and howled, evangelical melody that dervishes into a transcendent climax from its quaint, unglamorous introduction. One of Dawson’s great powers – of which there are many – is his ability to instil his work with a sense of the ultimate, the apocalyptic, no matter how prosaic its superficial content may seem. Songs like “Wooden Bag”, which begins as an obsessive listing of the appearance and contents of the eponymous receptacle and fast becomes a devastating rumination upon the transience of all things human, or “The Vile Stuff”, in which the songwriter manages to perfectly express the terrifying powers of vice and religion via an allegorical tale of a Year Six school trip, are masterful cases in point, and “Ogre” is more than worthy of that canon. By focusing on the tiniest specifics of archaic life, Dawson manages to express the timeless profundities of family bonds and local identity with an eloquence that is unrivalled by virtually any British songwriter working today.

So although “Ogre” is undoubtedly the record’s early highlight, by no means does the rest of Peasant pale in comparison. Never a man to shy away from his grand narrative ambition, Dawson has set his album in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Bryneich, whose territory covered much of North-East England and South-East Scotland in the 6th and 7th centuries. The period details are (to a layman like myself at least) exactingly and beautifully realised. Although he sings in modern English, Dawson constantly harks back to small but significant facets of the era – “we’ll pitch a tent of pig-skin on the beach” et al – and this constant focus on such minutiae lends those moments in which he opens out into timeless sincerity even more powerful than they have been in the past. For instance, when the first two lines of “Prostitute” (“There has to be more than this; is there no reason for me to exist?”) enter after the frenetic workout of “Weaver”, the singer’s extraordinarily versatile voice loses its drama, and the vulnerability that is always at the heart of Dawson’s work is laid bare. Then, just as the mask is about to slip entirely, the song leaps up (literally and figuratively) into a passage that expresses a period-bound but contemporarily relatable outrage: “How is it so that a child can be bought for a year’s worth of grain in this day and age? It’s hard to explain, but it happens again and again”. Once again, Dawson’s allegories are almost unnerving in their spot-on pertinence, despite their apparent obtuseness.

I could go on and on about this album – the stunning guitar playing, those magnificent end-times arrangements, Dawson’s remarkable vocal – but I won’t. Like much of this man’s work, Peasant is an album whose power is best discovered via extensive personal investment. It’s not a grower as such, but one simply cannot digest a record of this scale and ambition all in one go, and my two-pence-worth isn’t going to speed up that process. Suffice to say that it deserves that investment. Its significance, its profundity, its sheer exhilarating force will stay with you for far longer than just about anything else you’re likely to hear this year. -Luke Cartledge

1. Herald 2:17
2. Ogre 6:56
3. Soldier 4:51
4. Weaver 5:57
5. Prostitute 4:00
6. Shapeshifter 4:30
7. Scientist 4:48
8. Hob 5:57
9. Beggar 7:24
10. No-One 1:19
11. Masseuse 10:49

Credits
Chorus – Dawn Bothwell, Jake Billingsley, Nathalie Stern, Nev Clay, Rachael Macarthur, Sally Pilkington, Vic Eynon
Pedal Harp, Lever Harp, Gong – Rhodri Davies
Recording Supervisor, Producer – Sam Grant
Violin – Angharad Davies
Voice, Guitar, Drums, Electronics, Other, Producer – Richard Dawson

New Orleans

KILLER NEW ORLEANS FUNK PARTY BOMB!!

It is a very limited first edition 300-copies pressing - save yourself a few hundred quid!

One of the rarest of all New Orleans Funk singles issued here in exact repro artwork. The SEMINAL Dap Walk plus the mega-rare HEAVY B-side - hardcore!

Recorded early 1972, New Orleans, 'Dap Walk' is one of the greatest, most sought after funk 45s of the 'never quite made it' category. Says Funky 16 Corners: "If there were ever a feel-good funk song, it’s “Dap Walk” by New Orleans stalwarts Ernie and The Top Notes. A happily rumbling bass line, cyclic, syncopated drumming and the catchiest melody this side of “Tighten Up” have made this song legendary in deep funk circles." 'Dap Walk' was recorded live according to band leader Ernie Williams and perfectly exemplifies the up-beat, post-big-band jazz sound of classic New Orleans funk... even though, in an interview at Funky 16 Corners, Williams claims "We didn’t sound like New Orleans. I prided myself in sounding more commercial."

The Sombrero-delic Ernie & the Top Notes
All credit goes to jAZzMan

1. Dap Walk 3:07
2. Things Are Better 2:20

Colombia & Panama

Quantic presents Tropical Funk Experience features the steamiest vintage cumbias and hottest tropical rhythms from Colombia and neighbouring countries compiled by the Colombian-resident and globe-trotting DJ and music producer. His latest artist album “Tradition In Transition” was a peon to old-time cumbia and Latin jazz and on “Quantic presents Tropical Funk Experience” he features many of the old cumbias & vintage tropical grooves that have inspired his recent musical outings. Virtually all the tracks are impossible-to-come-by outside of Latin America and have been mastered by Quantic from his personal collection.

Well this might not have the extensive liner notes of a Soundway or Soul Jazz compilation, it can however match their quality. Quantic compiled here music from 70s Colombia and Panama, 2 countries that have been a little more in the limelight since Soundway started putting out their series of compilations on the obscure music of those countries. And this really just continues the digging further, the unusual combination of way down south latin rhythms with funk, jazz and other genres from all over blending in together. Top cuts all over, the switch from Panama to Colombia in between most tracks doesn't mess up the flow at all, Quantic had a great idea combining both together. Wonderful compilation and definitely worth grabbing for those who are looking to hear more from Colombia and Panama. -diction

1. Wganda Kenya - El lobo 2:56
2. Abelardo Carbonó - Muevela 3:43
3. The Soul Fantastics - Soul Cucaracha 2:49
4. Pianonegro [COL] - La danza de la tanga 3:03
5. Víctor Boa y sus estrellas - Ruffles 2:50
6. Son Palenque - Cumbia Africana 3:25
7. Little Francisco Greaves - Hiko-iko 2:51
8. Afrosound - La pava congona 3:12
9. Mauricio Smith - Getting It Together 3:35
10. La Banda Africana - To clavo la....mano 3:00
11. Wganda Kenya - Bayesa 3:00
12. Sugar Ice Tea - Palo bonito 4:08
13. Pedro Beltrán - El negro lambio 2:56
14. Fruko y sus Tesos - Full salsa 8:49
15. Los Autenticos de Gamero - Caracuche che che 3:08
16. Pedro Beltrán - Puyalo ahi 3:01

Floyd County, Virginia, USA

Black Twig Picker and Pelt member Mike Gangloff self released the fantastic Poplar Hollow in an edition of only 200 copies earlier this year, and upon seeing it sneak out we instantly got excited to hear it with the potential for a vinyl edition. And hell, what we heard we loved, and are real pleased to drop it on glorious vinyl for the masses! Poplar Hollow perfectly blends his other projects together, merging experimental sounds with traditional American folk and roots music. Comprising of Mike performing vocal/banjo/violin duties, he brings a new eclectic and at times psychedelic vibe to much of this record. Poplar Hollow is a record unlike any I have heard recently, Gangloff is a truly individual force in the American scene, and this record further cements that status.

Mike Gangloff has been picking, stroking, and sawing at various instruments with Pelt, the Black Twig Pickers, Spiral Joy Band, and Keyhole since the mid-90s. He hasn't spent much time putting himself out from as a solo performer, probably because he didn't have to; between his various ensembles, he's been able to play anything he wanted, from ceremonial gong music to entropic rock to rustic airs learned from his elders and neighbors in Southwestern Virginia. Also, as a family man, until recently he's confined his touring to short jaunts with one of his in-demand ensembles.

But things change, and recently Gangloff toured Ireland and the UK under his own name. Practicality is likely one of the reasons that this record exists — a musician needs merch to sell in order to buy that next tank of gas! But Poplar Hollow remains a chance to savor Gangloff's banjo and fiddle playing without competition from the accompanists that generally vie with him for places in front of the microphones. Save for a droning shruti box on a couple tunes, Gangloff is alone here. Mostly he fiddles or plucks a banjo; on two tunes, he sings in the same unvarnished drawl he pitches into the mix with the Twigs.

While the aura of sonic shamanism that Pelt has indulged ever since Ayahuasca is evident in the big, broad ring he obtains from open tuned strings, what he actually plays are lyric melodies he either learned from Appalachian bow-pullers or wrote in emulation of them. Some of them are pretty familiar; Melvin Wine's ''New Orleans'' is mighty close kin to ''Shady Grove,'' and Gangloff's notes traces opener ''Queen of the Earth, Child of the Skies'' to sources in three different states. Gangloff's violin tone is big enough to knock the hunters out of their blinds as it wings from valley side to valley side, and his taste is ornamentation is as splintery and true as his singing. On the three tracks where he switches to banjo, Gangloff once more favors pulse, resonance, and presence over flash. This is music to feel and use, by turns as practical as your grandfather's favorite pocketknife, as moving as a sad letter from a loved one, and as fun as a night out with good friends. -Bill Meyer

1. Queen Of The Earth, Child Of The Skies 4:36
2. New Orleans 4:24
3. Cat Mountain 5:59
4. Waiting On My Rider Back From Town 2:53
5. Snowbird 2:06
6. Sally Coming Through The Rye 5:18
7. Ironto Farewell 4:03
8. Piedmont Field Hand I & II 4:58
9. Little Sparrow 3:22

Iran

Khosh Amadid, friends, to this 4th volume in a series of compilations highlighting fiercely rare 45s from Tehran’s pre-revolutionary golden age. Vivacious ladies with sassy Dorothy Hamill haircuts and skin-bearing pantsuits were once plastered across Tehran’s newsstands. Those gorgeous sirens and their hunky male counterparts made all the teens sway to hand drums that boinked in 6/8 time.

Plush brass & string arrangements took their cues from Latin grooves, psychedelic guitars, ritzy soundtracks, and sugary pop from the West. Within months of the 1979 Islamic revolution, pop music was labeled a symbol of the previous regime and became illegal overnight. In those same months, it also became illegal for women to be in public without conforming to the hijab dress code. By hook and crook, these little round records survived, and they attest to a time when Tehran’s homegrown and exiled populations would have been united in an easygoing love for funk bass & buzzing synthesizers.

Hear the tunes that rivaled the hits of Googoosh & Kourosh by singers who only recorded a few precious singles. -Light In The Attic

Amazing sounds from the last Western years of Iran – really incredible music that shows what a cultural crossroads the nation had become. While some might criticize the culture as embracing the west too strongly at the time, music like this is a great illustration of the way that the cognoscenti were really onto something unusual – able to weave together the local and the global in really cool ways – crafting funk and grooves that are unlike any thing happening in neighboring scenes at the time. The mix of regional and western modes is not unlike Turkish music from a few years before – but the styles here are also much more soul-based, with a range that flows between funk and club, and includes some instrumentation you'd never hear on an American record at all – a perfect complement for the echoey style of vocal recording used on many numbers. The package may well be the most compelling so far from this mighty cool label. -Dusty Groove

Pharaway's excellent series of Iranian psych-funk and pop returns with a brimming third volume spanning unimaginably exotic party sounds from the Persian '70s. The lead cut, Zia's 'Helelyos' may well be recognised by any Finders Keepers freaks - it was versioned by RD Burman as 'Heleh Maali' - but we'd daresay this original is way better - check that nutty bit of scat on the intro - while Farrokhzad delivers the fruity pomp of 'Avazekhan Na Avaz', and the legendary composer and "ladies man" Shamaizadeh gives two highlights with the glamorous strings, rolling percussion and lush accordion of 'Agar Bekhai Mitooni' and the latin slink of 'Be Man Tekyah'. There are total zingers to be scored in Nooshafarin's creamy disco ace 'Gole Aftabgardoon', and the Dabke-like Kurdish mixture of reedy synthlines and swinging grooves to Beti's enchanting 'Hele Dan Dan', and the breaks-hunters should be all over Satar's rolling groover 'Sedayeh Del' which give this comp its title, and the final cut, Maziar's symphonic strings and synth-lead ace 'Mahigir' is a big ballad for the disco romantics. -Boomkat

1. Zia - Helelyos 4:35
2. Farrokzhad - Avazekhan Na Avaz 3:14
3. Shohreh - Del 5:36
4. Shamaizadeh - Agar Bekhai Mitooni 4:21
5. Nooshafarin - Gole Aftabgardoon 3:25
6. Zia - Kermani 4:20
7. Azita - Yaare Chaghalo 3:27
8. Shahrokh - Koolehbaar 5:12
9. Shamaizadeh - Be Man Jekyeh Kon 3:57
10. Beti - Hele Dan Dan 4:07
11. Azita - Baba Heydar 4:41
12. Sattar - Sedayeh Del 4:36
13. Soli Feat. Neli - Jasvire Yek Fasl 4:49
14. Afshin - Jarhe Khoshbakhti 4:09
15. Shoreh - Omadi 4:30
16. Maziar - Mahigir 4:06

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