IAN & SYLVIA/Lost Tapes: If you need a reason to hate PC Nazis, how about their efforts at being indignant that folkies Ian & Sylvia had the temerity not to get political in the late 60s causing their career to hit the wall. They responded by inventing country rock and giving us Amos Garrett. Too bad it all unraveled professionally and personally by 1975 although perseverance led to vindication decades later as they are now celebrated as the most important figures in Canadian music. While house cleaning, Sylvia came across these boxes of live tapes from the Great Speckled Bird years which make a great cap off to their induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. While the audio might not be all it can be in places, the heart and soul are there front and center and it's like the years have never gone by. Killer stuff from greats that never failed us no matter where their roads led them. Don't call yourself a folkie if you don't grab a copy of this double album of things you never heard either in these versions or at all.
(Stony Plain 1408)
MARK SHERMAN/My Other Voice: A straight up piano man with a progressive edge leads a quintet in fine form through new and old jazz wrapping it all up in a nice package. With some stellar cats lending a hand in the ‘tet, this is a smoking set you'd like to hear more of, more often. Hard hitting stuff that really gets the blood moving, it almost feels like 52nd St. is open for business. Well done.
(Miles High 8633)
JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRRA/Jazz and Art: Wynton Marsalis is at the wheel and he delivers just what the title says. Kind of a throw back set, this music is inspired by art and sounds like it. Informed by when jazz was making in roads into nascent suburban rec rooms, this is a classy, without being pretentious, romp where everyone on board is having a good time doing some sonic exploring. Almost cinematic in scope, this is how to do classy right. Hot stuff.
AVIVA CHERNICK/La Serena: Talk about genre splicing world beat... This set of Ladino tunes sounds more Spanish than anything else and is based on stuff that's probably as far away from the end result as you could imagine. None of this stops the set from being a delicate, lovely outing that somehow finds it's way back to mermaids and fairy dust in a most roundabout way. It should be girl friend music but Chernick's extra effort at making it all inclusive is a great antidote for the current state of the world. Solid work from one that works as hard as she plays.
MARIACHI LOS CAMPEROS/De Ayer Para Siempre: It's got to be a combination of special sauce and heart that moves things from subjective to objective. Some indigenous world beat can be hopelessly corny and some can win multiple Grammys, connect and inspire. This bunch knows right where the corazon is and hits it squarely. Not at all gift shop or bodega music, this bunch plays and sings from the soul and makes mariachi as contemporary and pulse filled as anything. A wonderful trip through hot stuff that just won't quit, this ear opener is like traveling without the hassle.
(Smithsonian Folkways 40582)
MUSTAFA KHALIQ AHMED/Son of the Drum Song: If more opium den music sounded like this we'd have a lot more addicts---most of them showing up just to dig the music. A master drummer with decades under his belt, this is the career making tour de force that brings him out of the shadows. With a sympathetic crew that knows how to help him realize his vision, this date goes beyond the world beat pale, grafting and fusing what it needs to along the way but never dallying so long that it wears out it's welcome. A different kind of after hours set that can reshape your mood and sense of well being. Killer stuff.
MARIE CHABOT/Other Side: Are you tired of mopes whose idea of an introspective album about loss is to intone Joe Cobb crabbing "I've got the worst life in the world"? Despite her Italian heritage, Chabot finds that new age/Celtica sweet spot to look at her losses---but she does it with optimism and appreciation of what was. No wonder one of her top musical guides is Guy Clark's bestie---you might has well learn how to do it right from the best. Not your typical new agy set, this is such a delightful mind blower that anyone with a soft spot should make a point of not missing this. Out of the ordinary is the best possible way.
TEA SET/Back in Time for Tea: Kind of like a post punk Velvet Underground, this crew was way more influential for what they did on the side as opposed to what they did up the middle. Art school punks that went on to do videos, a&r, marketing etc for the crème of the crop, most of their stuff was only released on influential singles you'd have to hang at Wax Trax!! to know abut. Those goodies are collected here and show them to be proverbially too far ahead of their time. Using their deconstructed art school vibe as their lodestar, they prove anyone can be a star if they really want it. Wild stuff for malcontents of all ages from any ages that has gotten better as it's gotten older-----because everything else caught up to it.
HIGH SUNN/Coffin Blues: Oddly compelling in an odd way, this rock mash up of world beat/bedroom rock sounds as hazy as the smoke that surrounds it. The sound of suburban kids that think Lollapalooza is for sell out Lollpaloosers (although they enjoy looking at how slutty the young girls taking the train down to the fest look), fire up a video game, fire up a blunt and let the good times flow.
TOULOUSE ENGELHARDT with Tea/Lubbock Lights: The only thing wrong with this set is that we hear from Engelhardt so infrequently that he shouldn't tease us with just a single. Of course, he makes up for it by celebrating one of the big events in UFOlogy with a French Afro pop crew so all space cases should be pleased. The chops we know and love are here---we just want more of them.
(Lost Grove 1005)
Volume 43/Number 296
August 13, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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