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RICARDO LEMVO & MAKINA LOCA/La Rumba SoYo: Ever notice how more and more real life things sound like the beginning of shaggy dog stories? How about this? A guy leaves the Congo for LA to be a lawyer but 30 years later, he's an international music star that really puts the Afro-Cuban in Afro-Cuban. Lemvo is so hot it hurts. Mixing Ricky Ricardo with Tito Puente with his native Angola vibes, this cat knows how to deliver. Underpinned by a vibe that feels like progressive calypso, if you're one of the many still cursed with staycations, this is what you need blasting to make it feel like a getaway. Killer world beat that really cooks.

PETE SEEGER/Sing Out America! The Best of: I've always held that all that commie sympathizer stuff aside, Seeger always wanted to be a pop star. This twofer underscores that pretty easily. Everything here is at least 50 years old and the compliers had so much to work with that they wisely chose to widen the lens as much as possible to really show Seeger's depth. Including a bunch of tracks with Weavers and Almanac Singers, this set hits you between the eyes just how well Seeger could hold the audience in his hand with just his voice, banjo and stomping foot. He always seemed old even when he was young so he was probably always America's grandpa. Certainly if you were a folkie, this well rounded overview is essential listening all over again---and if you're a newbie, well, this is where so many of the camp and kiddie songs you sang came from. Killer stuff.

EMMYLOU HARRIS & CARL JACKSON/I've Always Needed You: Recorded as a duet album when her star was slipping in the 80s and super banjo man Jackson was just starting to make a solo name for himself, this isn't a hidden Harris album that you might have missed. Jackson brought the songs and the banjo, Harris brought Picky Ricky, his in-laws and extended family and Jerry Douglas. The result was a sweet, low key somewhat traditional country album that still lopes along nicely nearly 30 years later. Tasty stuff that might not be powered by hits but is loaded with real pros playing off the clock and making it sound great because they want to. I know you missed it the first time around and it's time to right that wrong. Well done.

HANK MOBLEY/The Classic Blue Note Collection 1955-61: Between 1955 and 1970, Mobley recorded 20 albums for Blue Note and half of them are packed into the years represented by this collection. The man that didn't want to wear the burden of replacing Coltrane in Miles' band makes you wonder where he left his self confidence. Coltrane was a killer improviser, Mobley was a lyrical, hard bopper that could hold his own with anyone no matter how straight he was playing it. Among these ten full length albums are two stone, cold classics of hard bop that still scream ‘daddio!' loudly to this day. There's over 6 hours of killer stuff from Mobley and his uncredited Blue Note pals that have to include AT and the rest of the bunch. If you ain't down with this, your hipster cred is in serious jeopardy and poseur.com will probably soon be flagging your location everytime you use the app. This is a cornucopia of killer stuff so you might as well gather round the gate of horn and dig it while you dig in.

HELIO PARALLAX: After not getting his calls returned from anyone at Island (as well as not getting any royalty statements), you can just imagine Bill Laswell figuring he was too old for this shit and going totally indie on his own dime. Since there's no such thing as just another Bill Laswell record, he's older but not mellower. Exploring the outer reaches of coloring outside the lines, just like he had free reign to do at Axiom, this set of ethereal, left lean dub ambience is right in line with the unexpected the Laswell fan can expect. It's not going to give Pharell Williams any sleepless nights but it is going to fill a need for the real sonic progressives.

NAMASTE YOGA/various: Here's one to send you know it alls to Wikipedia. Kiran Murti sounds unabashedly like Buzzy Linhart doing his own "Sing Joy". Who's zooming who? Once again we find the label dipping into it's back pages, old and new, to craft a themed work that also spreads the word to people that haven't been in the tent yet. A well programmed set for yoga that doesn't make you break a sweat unless you wan t to turn up the thermostat, you can get a lot of mileage out of this set because yoga is supposed to make you clear your mind. Good stuff for getting to be one with the universe, just remember that moola mantra isn't something you order at the Korean/Indian fusion restaurant. Well done.

Volume 38/Number 223
June 10, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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