Except for Nina, it's all Greek to me.
China Daani Chicunavvulu (Doob Doob O'Rama 2)
DDOR was a series of compilation albums with Indian film music - think raucous Bhangra-type festive chaos rather than orchestral serenity. Very funny. This is a thirty-sec clip that goes, "Hi everybody - welcome - I promise you a groovy evening today, hahhah ..."
Black Star Liner - Low BMW (Bengali Bantam Youth Experience!)
One of the best f*cking tracks ever. Some UK-Indian band, I'm guessing, hitching along with the Asian Underground trend back then with one hell of a bit of infectious mayhem. It's so funny/uplifting/cool ... I mean, if this track dont make you smile, you're, I dont know what - something not good <nods>.
Heeeeeeyyyy ... boomboBOOMboBOOMboomboBOOMboBOOMboomboBOOMboBOOM ... Bombay, Bombay dance!
Seth Ke Ghae Mein Aayo Beto (Doob Doob O'Rama 2)
See DDOR track above - brass, drums and a girl and boy festively crooning, Bollywood style
sound clip: World Cup Muffins (Goodness Gracious Me!)
Goodness Gracious Me was a hilarious, groundbreaking Asian-British comedy show. In this skit, the two teenage rasta Hindi London kids are quizzing each other who they were for in the world soccer championships. England or France? No man - for the motherland, of course, of our culture, our language our way of life --- Jamaica!!
Which neatly segues into ...
Buju Banton - Better Must Come (Unchained Spirit)
Buju is a dancehall great who on Unchained Spirit combined some bumpin ragga with some serious roots reggea. Better Must Come is a mix of both; a very uplifting God-loving bit of exhortation to live. "Better ago come I say (Better must come) / Dont put your mind astray (Better must come) / Work hard - and pray!"
Papa San - Poor People Struggle (Dancehall Liberation)
Catchy, deliberate dancehall track - bout the poor people's life and struggles - but with an upbeat sound
Tiger - Rough 'n' Cool (Irie Irie - The RAS Sampler)
More dancehall - "ROUGH and a READY", is what I think he growls throughout this fast-paced, cant-stay-still rolling dancefloor filler
UK Apache & Shy FX - Original Nuttah (DJ Kicks: Nicolette)
Pitching the fever up another notch - sirens heralding a rrollling bit of red-blooded jungle, a positively wicked tune - me a dah NUTTAh, original madman madmadman NUTTAH. Should have you literally bouncing across the room.
Oh, and Nicolette - who mixed this track into her DJ Kicks session - is worth a story of her own. She's a brilliant eccentric temptress of a hip-hop/trip-hop storyteller.
Ming + FS - CLS (Hell's Kitchen)
Whatever happened with that genre? Like, this industrial junkyard hip-hop? This track was a good example, anyway.
David Byrne and Selena - God's Child (Blue in the Face)
David Byrne you know ;-). This from the Blue in the Face soundtrack - and the track is as cute as the Brooklyn-lovin' movie. Latin flavour.
sound clip: Danny Hoch as Andy (Blue in the Face)
The Blue in the Face soundtrack is laced with the most hilarious bits of dialogue. This one is the kid defending himself for having put up tinted windows in his car - "For whatever, whatever - you're with your girl, you're smoking weed, you're with your mother - you dont want people to see that ****"
Ritmi i Rrugës - Botä Është e Jona (Gëzuar Lirinë)
Albanian hip-hop! And unlike most, this track is actually a catchy, poppy, sing-along tune, which I easily got very fond of. "Pristina, yo-ho, Tirana, yo-ho, Tetova, yo-ho, KOSOVA, YO-HO!"
sound clip: "I would be modeling in Albania, or some Balkan country ..." (Handsome Boy Modeling School/So.. How's Your Girl?)
"Handsome Boy Modeling School" must have been the weirdest name for a hip-hop project ever; but it did involve the Great Names Prince Paul and Dan The Automator, plus a host of guests like Biz Markie, DJ Shadow, Grand Puba, Cibo Matto, etc. I hear they had another CD out, White People, which people either loved or hated - havent heard it, myself.
Oh, and I was just lucky, in the context of this CD, that they put in this "If it wasn't for Automator, I would be modelling in Albania ... still" skit ... nice segue.)
Fanfare Ciocarlia - Mr. Lobaloba (Baro Biao - World Wide Wedding)
Romanian Gypsy (brass) orchestra does a catchy tune, the refrain of which sounds suspiciously like a Roma wedding's version of Shabba Ranks' Mr. Loverman.
Yehuda Poliker - The Children Are Coming (Ethno Punk)
Israeli alto-pop/rock hero, apparently. I wouldnt know, but this is one of his hits - it's something political about peace and living together I think - and it was the coolest track on an otherwise disappointing world music compilation.
Fireball XL5 Theme Tune (Cult Fiction Royale)
Its the theme tune! To a TV series from, the 70s I'm guessing (note the CD title) ... is it the Thunderbirds?
Its also really cute: "OK Venus? OK Steve! Right - lets go!" I wish I was a spaceman / The fastest guy alive / I'd fly you round the universe / In Fireball XL5 / Way out in space together ... My heart would be a fireball / A fireball / Every time I'd gaze into your starry eyes"
Nina Simone - I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free (Stand Up and Be Counted)
(this one sometimes reduces me to tears -- and sometimes infuses me with a new-found strength, a new-found courage, hope and determination)
Brother Joe May (with Sister Wynona Carr) - It's All Right (It's Spelt Specialty!)
Specialty was a gospel and blues record label that put some fine underrated stuff out - collected on this compilation CD. This is a happy, bluesy sing-along gospel tune. "Jesus said he'd fix it / It's allright"
The Uniques - People Rocksteady (Trojan Rock Steady Box Set)
I already mentioned this Box Set on the other thread - all o'these Trojan box sets are great, but I only got two. This is a fine, pleasant, classic rocksteady tune. Nuff said. "I'm just a lonely boy / waiting for someone to love me / the way that I love you / People get ready / to do, do rocksteady / People get ready / to do, do rocksteady" -
With the cutest bit of Blue Moon trumpeted in in between verses!
Laurel Aitken - West Indian Cricket Test (The Pioneer of Jamaican Music)
LOL! Laurel Aitken is the godfather of ska, a legend (though he passed thru some other genres along the way too). And this tune is devoted to the not unimportant subject of a West-Indian cricket victory. "Oh Lord - West Indies won at last!", and (one for Gautam): "It was a bright and sunny day / when every man was happy and gay!"
I doubted long & hard which track to include tho: Aitken's lyrics are just too weirdly genial to pass by. Runner-up was the track that goes: "I'm tired of bachelor life / I'm looking for a wife / Cause a life withoout a wife / Is like a kitchen without a knife". (Ive always wondered about that one.)
One project I never got round to: collecting great songs about sporting events. I got this Zimbabwean song about a soccer match ...
Honey Boy Martin - Dreader than Dread (Trojan Rock Steady Box Set)
One more from the aforementioned Box Set. Cool, funny and straightforward.
"Ahhh ... rougher than rough / Aahhh, dreader than dread / and if anyone tried to stop me, boys / they will get sick in the head / and will end up in the cemetary / cause they'll be dead."
Hey, who said it all started with gangsta rap?
Silent Poets - Get Ready (Funkungfusion)
One of the finest breakbeat-leaning pieces of British hip-hop I know (one of my favorourite tracks, period, in fact). Sultry, looming background beats that make Ursula Rucker's calm but determined lyrics stand out all the more clearly, her voice at once as soft as velvet and unshakable as any angry black woman's. And great lyrics, good to mouth along to in your own determined, steadfast moods. On a Ninja Tune compilation.
sound clip: Danny Hoch with Basehead as Flex (Blue in the Face)
'Nother hilarious soundclip from the Blue in the Face soundtrack. Black kid ordering a pizza, in a store where they dont speak his language. "Nigges got signs up, dont know what the f*ck they got up".
(Oh the soundtrack as a whole is kinda mediocre, btw - its got some great tracks, some so-so tracks and some lame tracks. Dont go and buy it or anything. Borrow it instead.)
Carl Craig's Innerzone Orchestra - People Make the World Go Round (Winter Chill)
Carl Craig's a famous old school Detroit techno DJ, sfar as I know - but this is a soulful, moody full-voiced seventies-style story, conjuring up a NY we know from Blaxploitation movies, but culminating every time in a comforting refrain: "People make the world go round".
John Cooper Clarke - I Married a Monster from Outer Space (web)
JCC was one of the original punk poets, all the way back to '77, when he cut the snarling "Innocents", which alone should make him immortal. This one is from a website that got a couple of skits from him - he's still touring, apparently. It's cute. "She pissed off to another age / she lived in 1999 / with a new boyfriend / a glob of slime"
Happy Elf - I'm Falling (Bright Normal Deep)
Full disclosure: Happy Elf is the home studio project of my brother in law. He's a jazz musician with a record label CD or two on his name, but also cuts his own private CD's in a style that I always considered oddly anachronistic but is now all the rage again, what with the 80s retro craze - call it electro. Some of it is pretty good, some of it is so-so -- and this one track is absolutely f*cking brilliant: moody, moving, gentle and yet driven along by a good beat.
David Holmes - 69 Police (Broadband / Revolution 5)
Fits right with the previous track, but a little less introverted, a little more driven by the beat. David Holmes is a Belfast DJ who put out some enticing, eclectic mixes after making his name "on the acid house and techno scenes". This track came on one of the free CDs that came along with each issue of Revolution, then America's own (only?) electronic music magazine: they had this great system where you could follow up each item in the mag with more available recordings online - but - doesnt exist anymore. <sighs>
Nina Simone - Ain't Got No/I Got Life (I Got Life)
No explanation needed. End all and be all of this CD, and the closing statement of a compilation that, at the time, was a triumphent declaration of the phoenix arising out of its ashes: enuogh with everything, let everyone know - I'm back - I'm good - and I'm here to stay.
Well, we know what came of that. But its still a pretty damn good CD, anyway.
Fireball XL5 Theme Tune (Cult Fiction Royale)
Its the theme tune! To a TV series from, the 70s I'm guessing (note the CD title) ... is it the Thunderbirds?
Wow djjd - i'm mostly surprised by how much is on there that i dont know or wouldnt have on - I thought we'd have more tracks in common!
Re: Yo La Tengo - do you know this track by 'em called Nuclear War? Its cute ...
by Michael Crowley
Post date: 08.24.05
Issue date: 09.05.05
Since the dawn of rock, there have been individuals, usually young men, of argumentative tendencies who have lorded their encyclopedic musical knowledge over others." So states the introduction of the recent Rock Snob's Dictionary, compiled by David Kamp and Steven Daly. I like to believe I'm not the insufferable dweeb suggested by this definition. Certainly, much of the dictionary's obscure trivia (former Television bassist Richard Hell is now a novelist; Norwegian death metal stars actually murder one another) is news to me. But I do place an unusual, perhaps irrational, value on rock music. I take considerable pride in my huge collection and carefully refined taste. And I consider bad rock taste--or, worse, no rock taste at all--clear evidence of a fallow soul. I am, in other words, a certified Rock Snob. But I fear that Rock Snobs are in grave danger. We are being ruined by the iPod.
While the term "Rock Snob" has a pejorative ring, the label also implies real social advantages. The Rock Snob presides as a musical wise man to whom friends and relatives turn for opinions and recommendations; he can judiciously distribute access to various rare and exotic prizes in his collection. "Oh my God, where did you find this?" are a Rock Snob's favorite words to hear. His highest calling is the creation of lovingly compiled mix CDs designed to dazzle their recipients with a blend of erudition, obscurity, and pure melodic dolomite. Recently, I unearthed a little-known cover of the gentle Gram Parsons country classic "Hickory Wind," bellowed out by Bob Mould and Vic Chestnutt, which moved two different friends to tears. It was Rock Snob bliss.
In some ways, then, the iPod revolution is a Rock Snob's dream. Now, nearly all rock music is easily and almost instantly attainable, either via our friends' computers or through online file-sharing networks. "Music swapping" on a mass scale allows my music collection to grow larger and faster than I'd ever imagined. And I can now summon any rare track from the online ether.
But there's a dark side to the iPod era. Snobbery subsists on exclusivity. And the ownership of a huge and eclectic music collection has become ordinary. Thanks to the iPod, and digital music generally, anyone can milk various friends, acquaintances, and the Internet to quickly build a glorious 10,000-song collection. Adding insult to injury, this process often comes directly at the Rock Snob's expense. We are suddenly plagued by musical parasites. For instance, a friend of middling taste recently leeched 700 songs from my computer. He offered his own library in return, but it wasn't much. Never mind my vague sense that he should pay me some money. In Rock Snob terms, I was a Boston Brahmin and he was a Beverly Hillbilly--one who certainly hadn't earned that highly obscure album of AC/DC songs performed as tender acoustic ballads but was sure to go bragging to all his friends about it. Even worse was the girlfriend to whom I gave an iPod. She promptly plugged it into my computer and was soon holding in her hand a duplicate version of my 5,000-song library--a library that had taken some 20 years, thousands of dollars, and about as many hours to accumulate. She'd downloaded it all within five minutes. And, a few months later, she was gone, taking my intimate musical DNA with her.
I'm not alone in these frustrations. "Even for a recovering Rock Snob, such as myself," Steven Daly told me, "it's a little disturbing to hear a civilian music fan boast that he has the complete set of Trojan reggae box-sets on his iPod sitting alongside 9,000 other tracks that he probably neither needs nor deserves." It's true: Even if music leeches don't fully appreciate, or even listen to, some of the gems they so effortlessly acquire, we resent them anyway. One friend even confessed to me in an e-mail that "I have been known to strip the iTunes song information off mix CDs just to keep the Knowledge secret."
But resistance is futile. Even the Rock Snob's habitat, the record shop, is under siege. Say farewell to places like Championship Vinyl, the archetypal record store featured in Nick Hornby's High Fidelity. "The shop smells of stale smoke, damp, and plastic dust-covers, and it's narrow and dingy and overcrowded, partly because that's what I wanted--this is what record shops should look like," explains Hornby's proprietor, Rob. Like great used bookstores, the Championship Vinyls of the world are destinations where the browsing and people-watching is half the fun. (A certain kind of young man will forever cling to the fantasy of meeting his soul mate as they simultaneously reach for the same early-era Superchunk disc.) Equally gratifying is the hunt for elusive albums in a store's musty bins, a quest that demands time, persistence, and cunning, and whose serendipitous payoffs are nearly as rewarding as the music itself. Speaking of book-collecting, the philosopher Walter Benjamin spoke of "the thrill of acquisition." But, when everything's instantly available online, the thrill is gone.
Benjamin also savored the physical element of building a collection--gazing at his trophies, reminiscing about where he acquired them, unfurling memories from his ownership. "The most profound enchantment for the collector is the locking of individual items within a magic circle in which they are fixed," he said. But there's nothing magic about a formless digital file. I even find myself nostalgic for the tape-trading culture of Grateful Dead fans--generally scorned in the Rock Snob world--who used to drive for hours in their VW vans to swap bootleg concert tapes. My older brother still has a set of bootleg tapes he copied from a friend some 20 years ago during a California bike trip. Having survived global travels from Thailand to Mexico, the tapes have acquired an almost totemic quality in his mind. I feel the same way about certain old CDs, whose cases have become pleasantly scuffed and weathered during travels through multiple dorm rooms and city apartments but still smile out at me from their shelves like old friends. Soon our collections will be all ones and zeroes stored deep in hard drives, instantly transferable and completely unsatisfying as possessions. And we Rock Snobs will have become as obsolete as CDs themselves.
Michael Crowley is a senior editor at TNR.