Archive for May, 2008

Belly Dance!Playlist for
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
May 30, 2008

Hosted by Greg Lyon on FRIDAYS at 2-4 pm
on WPVM Asheville (103.5 FM and www.wpvm.org)

This show is available for listening as an archive for one week after its airing at WPVM’s Archive Page (click on the STREAM button for this show–under the letter ‘G’)

Notes:

– Yet more belly dancing! This time just one album, from 1974, featuring Joseph Karkour on nay (a flute-like instrument) and Ahmed Menaymne on kanoun (a zither instrument similar to the cimbalom or ţambal, or even the Chinese guqin, which I featured last week), among other folks.

– I’ve been listening to a considerable amount of early UFO lately, spurred on by my discovery of the video for their 1972 jammer, "Prince Kajuku," which evidently aired for some TV program or other. Super heavy, with super heavy hair.

– I cleaned up the Johnny Thunders song "I’m a Boy, I’m a Girl" for airplay. I’ve wanted to play that song for ages. It appears on his killer live acoustic record, Hurt Me, but it was originally written for Actress, the original incarnation of the New York Dolls (see the release of rehearsal recordings, Actress: Birth of the New York Dolls).

– Shaina brought in two gems today: the weird, dissonant UK folk of the Watersons doing "Souling Song" from their 1965 debut, and the priceless "Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’," recorded in 1943 by the Golden Gate Quartet, a black jubilee-style gospel quartet from Norfolk, VA, which featured the song’s writer, Willie Johnson (not the blind blues guy, or the later not-blind blues guitarist). Robert Wyatt covered the song in 1980 for a single, and it later appeared on his 1982 album, Nothing Can Stop Us. See the wikipedia article on the song for more info.

Background Music: Joseph Karkour et al. – Belly Dance! Spectacular Rhythms from the Middle East (Peters International, 1974)

Artist Song Album Label Comments New
Randy Holden Fruit & Iceburgs Population II Guitar God Music 1970, legitimate reissue 2007  
Boris Buzz-in Smile Southern Lord with Michio Kurihara *
Geronimo Medicine Man Geronimo Three.One.G L.A., 2007  
Miles Davis Rated X Get Up with It Columbia 1972 recording, from On the Corner sessions  
UFO Prince Kajuku UFO 2: Flying Beacon/Repertoire 1972, check out the video  
Richard Swift Phone Coffins Richard Swift As Onassis Secretly Canadian L.A., 2008 *
Plastic Bertrand Ça Plane Pour Moi An1 Sire Belgium, 1977  
The Black Angels Science Killer Directions to See A Ghost Light In The Attic Austin, TX, 2008 *
A Place to Bury Strangers Breathe A Place to Bury Strangers Killer Pimp Brooklyn, 2007  
The Moles Rebecca Untune the Sky Flydaddy Sydney, Australia, 1991  
Johnny Thunders I’m a Boy, I’m a Girl Hurt Me New Rose 1984  
Sun City Girls 3D Girls Mister Lonely OST Drag City soundtrack also featuring J. Spaceman compositions *
The Watersons Souling Song Frost & Fire: A Calendar of Ceremonial Folk Songs Topic UK, 1965  
John Jacob Niles The Mad Creed from the Gallows My Precarious Life in the Public Domain Rev-Ola reissue of "Folk Balladeer" album, recorded 1939-1941. John Jacob Niles was from Kentucky.  
Singer Slow Ghosts Unhistories Drag City Chicago, 2008 *
Portishead Silence Third Island UK, 2008 *
Martial Canterel Refuge Underneath Refuge Underneath Wierd Brooklyn, 2007  
These Are Powers Chipping Ice Taro Tarot EP Hoss Brooklyn, 2008 *
The Magic I.D. Feet Deep Till My Breath Gives Out Erstwhile Berlin, 2008 *
Golden Gate Quartet Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’ VA – Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition: Songs of World Wars I & II New World compilation issued 1977  
Duke Ellington A Little Max (Parfait) Money Jungle Blue Note 1962  
Sun Ra Yera of the Sun Media Dreams Art Yard 1978, new expanded reissue *
Propinquity You Don’t Have to Hurry Propinquity * Boulder, CO, 1972  

Fred EliasPlaylist for
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
May 23, 2008

Hosted by Greg Lyon on FRIDAYS at 2-4 pm
on WPVM Asheville (103.5 FM and www.wpvm.org)

This show is available for listening as an archive for one week after its airing at WPVM’s Archive Page (click on the STREAM button for this show–under the letter ‘G’)

Notes:

– More belly dancing! Another week of the lovely Eastern Mediterranean shimmy discs. Be forewarned: there are even more coming in the next weeks. The cover for the Fred Elias Ensemble’s Artistic Moods for Dance Vol. 3 is easily one of the cheesier of the genre, which is saying something. The music, though, is of a high quality. And doesn’t bouzouki player John Tatassopoulos look happy!

– My favorite track of the day was by the Chinese master of the guqin (a large dulcimer-looking zither instrument), La Ka Ping, from the Lost Sounds of the Tao collection. The liner notes compare the playing to that of blues guitarist Bline Willie Johnson. There was about a minute there where I could hear it clearly, but honestly it was the least-interesting minute of the track for me. Why make a reference to the familiar when there’s no need?

– Also in that set was Manitas de Plata’s "Hommage à Pablo Picasso," from the 1968 (at least according to my pressing from the U.K.) record Hommages. Allegedly, upon hearing Manitas de Plata play in Arles in 1964, Picasso proclaimed "that man is of greater worth than I am!" The picture on this record cover displays a close-up of Manitas’ guitar, which was drawn upon by Sr. Picasso. Other hommages on the record are to surrealists Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau, the latter of which is quoted as saying, "My dream, in music, would be to hear the music of Picasso’s guitars." There’s also an hommage to Brigitte Bardot. Little hands of silver indeed.

Background Music: John Berberian – Ode to an Oud (1974, Mainstream Records)

Artist Song Album Label Comments New
Fred Elias Ensemble Dance of Raija Artistic Moods for Dance, Vol. 3 Intrasonic 1978, with John Tatassopoulos on "bouzoukee"  
Gus Vali and His Orchestra Medley Number 3 Belly Dance Favorites Musicor 1973, Greek-American Gus Vali (clarinet, flute, sax) is on a slew of belly dancing records  
John Berberian Sevasda Ode to an Oud Mainstream 1974, Armenian-American oud master  
Róza Eskenázi Yati fumaro kokaïni (Why I Smoke Cocaine) Greek-Oriental Rebetica Arhoolie 1932  
Norma Jean Let’s Go All the Way The Best of Norma Jean RCA 1964 song, from Porter Wagoner’s sidekick pre-Dolly Parton  
Elsa Lanchester Never Go Walking Without Your Hat Pin Bawdy Cockney Songs Tradition Bride of Frankenstein actress (and singer)  
Vetiver Hook & Ladder Thing Of The Past Gnomonsong Norman Greenbaum song *
Washington Phillips Paul and Silas in Jail What Are They Doing in Heaven Today? Mississippi 1927. Played the dolceola  
Bum Kon Fighting Yourself Drunken Sex Sucks Smooch Colorado hardcore c. 1984 *
CPC Gangbangs Teenage Crimewave Mutilation Nation Swami Montreal *
Witch Eye Paralyzed Tee Pee Vermont *
Veronica Lipgloss and the Evil Eyes JJ Sax Strip Mall Glass 12" GSL San Francisco  
Factums The Disguise Alien Natives Siltbreeze Seattle (and perhaps Chicago?) band  
Mike Watt Dirty Blue Gene VA – Neon Meat Dream of a Octafish Animal World Captain Beefheart tribute album  
Lo Ka Ping Teals Descending on the Level Sand VA – Lost Sounds of the Tao World Abiter 1970/1 from Chinese guqin master  
Paul Brady Out the Door and Over the Wall Welcome Here Kind Stranger Mulligan 1978. One of Shaina’s favorite acoustic guitar tracks.  
Manitas de Plata Hommage a Pablo Picasso Hommages CBS 1968 flamenco masterpiece  
Phil Woods A Taste of Honey Greek Cooking Impulse 1966 Greek/jazz fusion  
Bardo Pond Push Your Head Batholith Three Lobed Recordings Philadelphia acid rock *
Ulaan Khol Track 1 I Soft Abuse Stephen R. Smith effort *
Fire Room Broken Music 1 Broken Music Atavistic Vandermark, Marhaug, and Nilssen-Love *
No Age Miner Nouns Sub Pop L.A. *
The Son of P.M. Lhow Lenum VA – Shadow Music of Thailand Sublime Frequencies new vinyl-only release *
Unknown How Many Cheeks Have You Kissed? (Mawrs) VA – Radio Myanmar Sublime Frequencies Burma *

Sultan's CaravanPlaylist for
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
May 16, 2008

Hosted by Greg Lyon on FRIDAYS at 2-4 pm
on WPVM Asheville (103.5 FM and www.wpvm.org)

This show is available for listening as an archive for one week after its airing at WPVM’s Archive Page (click on the STREAM button for this show–under the letter ‘G’)

Notes:

– First, I want to thank Shaina for filling in for me the last two weeks. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Shaina!!! She took the co-pilot’s chair today, just in time for…

– BELLY DANCING!!! Yes, I acquired a stack of belly dancing and other Mediterranean treats from my dear friend Nick, who collects this stuff. I think Shaina was spot-on when she pointed out that if you just judge these records by their covers, you would expect them, well, suck. But oh my, you would be wrong. I’ve been listening to nothing but belly dance music for several days, and it never really gets old. It’s even good to work to! It turns out that a lot of the records that hit the market in the U.S. were made by completely assimilated first generation East-Mediterranean-Americans (Greeks, Turks, Lebanese, et al.–to lump several different ethnicities and cultures together, no doubt against their will) who were great musicians but obviously were pigeonholed into the "exotica" market. Ethnomusicologist Anne Rasmussen sums it up nicely, saying that the Orientalism of the Middle Eastern nightclub scene in America, beginning in the 1950s but peaking in the 1960s and early 1970s “served to enhance the foreignness of these Arab and other Middle Eastern immigrants and their families, placing them in an imaginary world that was exotic — even to themselves”[1]. The vast majority of the records have lovely, scantily-clad (if that), very fit (check out that tummy!) ladies on them. Now, this doesn’t bother me very much, but it might give you the wrong idea about the seriousness of the music. I’m sure there are a ton of cheesy belly dance records out there, but the ones Nick handed to me are not. So thank you, Nick! The best of the bunch, though, was recorded in Lebanon (I think), featuring only Toni Frangieh on buzuk and Setrak Sarkissian on tabla–simple but oh so effective. It was the background music (see below). If you want to know more about this music, well, there’s a website for you: Radio Bastet, complete with scans of the album covers!

Sublime Frequencies has released the Group Doueh record, Guitar Music from the Western Sahara on CD after it went out of print in a limited edition vinyl run. I think it’s the best thing they’ve ever done, so I recommend you go pick up one.

– Happy Birthday to Brian Eno, who turned 60 yesterday.

– I went to see Polvo in their reunion last Saturday night, and they simply kicked ass. If you get a chance to see them, you will likely be very glad you did. The new drummer, Brian Quast (from Regraped, Cherry Valence) is ferocious, and I had forgotten how good the bassist Steve Popson is. And Ash Bowie and Dave Brylawski had lost nothing on guitar either. They played new songs, and they were good, so I’m guessing they’ll put something out at some point.

– My favorite new music this week was by the Scorch Trio, a Norwegian out-there jazz outfit on Rune Grammofon records, featuring some super-fine drumming by Paal Nilssen-Love. The guitarist, Raoul Björkenheim, is actually Finnish-American, and he also plays a mysterious instrument called the "viola da gimbri"–but not on the track I played. Ingebrigt Håker Flaten plays the bass and electronics.

– The new Fall track, "Taurig," from Imperial Wax Solvent (out only in the UK), is their most addictive in years and years. Very krautrock. Hardly any vocals. You will put this on repeat–trust me on that.

– Singer to Nick Drake to Dando Shaft was one of my most pleasing mixes in recent memory. Dando Shaft were a UK folk rock group from circa 1970, obviously influenced by Nick Drake. I’d never played that Nick Drake track ("Know") before on the radio, and it was in listening to it that I realized how intense Drake’s playing is there, even if it’s the same riff over and over again.

Background Music: Toni Frangieh & Setrak Sarkissian – Belly Dance Nights (Layale Bourg El Haman) Vol. 1 – Voix de l’Orient Series (1977)

Artist Song Album Label New
The Topkapi Instrumental Ensemble Antalyanin Mor Uzumu Picture Yourself Belly Dancing Monitor  
Gus Vali Sesame Belly Dance Navel Academy P.I.  
The Sultan’s Caravan Quzo Belly Dance to Great Navel Music RCA  
The Free Pop Electronic Concept Planetary Gospel A New Exciting Experience Vampi Soul *
The Action 13 More Bread to the People VA – Nigeria Rock Special Sound Way *
Group Doueh Fagu Guitar Music from the Western Sahara Sublime Frequencies *
Human Switchboard Where the Light Breaks Who’s Landing in My Hangar? Faulty Products  
Pylon Feast on My Heart Gyrate DFA  
Busy P Rainbow Man VA – BIPPP: French Synth Wave 1979-1985 Everloving *
The Fall Taurig Imperial Wax Solvent Castle *
Scorch Trio Hys Brolt! Rune Grammofon *
Polvo Thermal Treasure Today’s Active Lifestyle Merge  
Brian Eno China My China Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy EG  
Singer Diving Unhistories Drag City *
Nick Drake Know Pink Moon Hannibal  
Dando Shaft Rain An Evening with Dando Shaft RPM  
Björn Ståbi & Ole Hjorth Gånglåt Folk Fiddling from Sweden: Traditional Fiddle Tunes from Dalarna Nonesuch Explorer  
The Flesh Eaters Digging My Grave A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die Ruby  
Bryan Ferry The Price of Love Let’s Stick Together Virgin  
Link Wray Fire and Brimstone Link Wray Polydor  
Rainman Vicious Circle Rainman Fallout *
Imaad Wasif with Two Part Beast Halcyon Strange Hexes Force Field *
Group 1850 1000 Years Before Agemo’s Trip to Mother Earth Pseudonym  
Caetano Veloso A Little More Blue Caetano Veloso (1971) Lilith  

1. Anne Rasmussen, "‘An Evening in the Orient’: The Middle Eastern Nightclub in America," Asian Music 23, no. 2 (1992): 63-88.