Friday, September 21, 2012

Rail Band - Buffet Hotel de la Gare Bamako (1973)

ghostcapital recently re-upped this Rail Band record. it's mindfuckingblowing. the band also happens to have a great story; from GC:

"The Rail Band was founded in 1970, in Mali, with the sponsorship of the railway administration and the Ministry of Information. The National Railway Company secured a permanent venue at the Buffet Bar in the Station Hotel in Bamako. The band was formed with the hope of safeguarding and developing Malian music. The general idea was that weary travelers would tumble into the Buffet Bar where the Rail Band would perform real Manding music. Singing in Bambara, a Manding language spoken not only in Mali, but also in Guinea, the Gambia, and parts of Senegal, the band adopted traditional kora and balafon songs and rhythms mixing in an Islamic-influenced vocal style to what was becoming modern urban pop music. The Rail Band's music was Manding-influenced, latin-tinged, with with lightness and swing, and despite the modern instruments you can clearly hear the strains of the original Manding music." (African Music Encyclopedia)

it's such a brilliant idea to have a government ministry pay local musicians to lay out some of the best Malian music at the station buffet bar for everyone to enjoy. check the corporate record design, inc. the buffet hotel logo top right:

ok. so here goes. imagine being all angry and tired from travelling. to escape from the searing heat you order a beer in the Bamako railway station's buffet bar and you notice there's a band playing. and then this kicks off:

grab whole album here


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wendell Stuart & The Downbeaters - My World Is Empty Without You (1970s)

soul straight from the bahamas. the whole band seems enslaved by the rhythm, embellishing it with entrancing backing vocals and beautifully contained guitar riffs. subtle bliss.

so awesome


Monday, September 17, 2012

Little Ann - Deep Shadows (1970)

what makes northern soul vocals so sublime? why do we believe the message?
maybe it's the lack of self-consciousness, there's no space for irony. what's left is confidence in the raw emotions it tries to convey. what could be cheese turns to gold and when little ann sings "deep shadows surround me, nobody knows," we actually believe her.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Interview: Anthony B

Reggae legend Anthony B is in South London to play the Lambeth Country Show (if you don't know get to know), so I caught up with him for a chat. This interview originally ran on the wonderful Brixton Blog.

For the uninitiated, Lambeth Country Show (LCS) is a formidably diverse two-day festival held in Brockwell Park, which last year brought in a crowd of over 180,000. With an eclectic musical line-up of reggae, folk, jazz, dub, and electronic music providing the soundscape for over two hundred stalls of arts, crafts and foods from all over the world – there is something for everyone. It’s so good that clich├ęs become acceptable. I was lucky enough to catch up with some real picks of the weekend: reggae legend Anthony B and eclectic roots outfit Dreadzone.

Sunday 16 September will see Anthony B join the headline act Dennis Bovell Dub Band on the main stage (as if featuring legends like Janet Kay and Peter Hunningale wasn’t enough). I spoke to Anthony B, temporarily based in South London, about the upcoming show, Brixton, the importance of community and the universalism of reggae music.

“I haven’t played in Brixton before, but it’s beautiful”, he says. With this opening sentiment we were clearly off to a good start. We talked about the fusion of cultures represented at LCS, from cream teas to jerk chicken and folk music to dub, and I asked him what it’s like playing to such a cultural melting pot of a crowd.

“Well that was my first feeling when I heard about being part of this event. I feel wonderful – I’m honoured to be a part of it. It feels great and an honour to know Jamaica is being celebrated in Britain.”

Anthony is a strong believer in the universalism of reggae music and its ability to transcend social and cultural barriers.

“My second album was called Universal Struggle, and I think that’s what reggae music recognises. We don’t just sing about being in love. We don’t just sing about fighting. We sing everything. That’s what makes it so socially acceptable globally. Because it doesn’t matter where you are or if you’re from a different culture, we’re all just part of what we call a social community.”

And if there was one message which he would want to convey in his music? “Unity.”

His message is clear: “Together we find the strength to build a community, and from a community to a culture, from a culture to a nation: create civilisation.” And his parting words to the people of Brixton? “Keep embracing the Jamaican culture and the Jamaican people” and have a “peaceful, wonderful event” at Lambeth Country Show.

There is something deeply serious about the way Anthony talks about faith and politics and the power of music, but the overwhelming feeling is an uplifting and instinctively positive one.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Index - Index (1967)

these guys were onto something, then completely bombed.

apparently the album was recorded in a basement, sold 100 copies, and subsequently forgotten. their parents eventually threw out all the remaining copies, probably thinking they were worthless. according to this blog, "an original of the album was recently offered on eBay for over $3,000."

grab the album on ghostcapital


Monday, September 3, 2012

Colourvision - Stumbleine (2012)

gloriously chill. more at

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Geeshie Wiley - Last Kind Words (1930)

was watching Crumb, a mind-blowing documentary on robert crumb. through the eyes of crumb you're sucked into a dysfunctional, despairing america. it's dark, haunting and real.

there's a moment when crumb puts on one of his favorite records and it just makes the movie.

The last kind words I heared my daddy say
Lord, the last kind words I heared my daddy say

If I die, if I die in the German war
I want you to send my body, send it to my mother, lord

If I get killed, if I get killed, please don't bury my soul
I p'fer just leave me out, let the buzzards eat me whole

When you see me comin' look 'cross the rich man's field
If I don't bring you flour I'll bring you bolted meal

I went to the depot, I looked up at the stars
Cried, some train don't come, there'll be some walkin' done

My mama told me, just before she died
Lord, precious daughter, don't you be so wild

The Mississippi river, you know it's deep and wide
I can stand right here, see my babe from the other side

What you do to me baby it never gets outta me
I may not see you after I cross the deep blue sea