Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Cheerful compliance

This weekend I made some incredible choices at the WFMU Record Fair. It's intimidating upon entrance. There's probably 120 of the top record dealers in the country and a city full of every strata of obscuralia collector that makes just enough money to blow on whatever their vinyl kink may be. It's very tough to know where to begin if you don't come in with an agenda. I milled around for a while barely flipping through the bins just looking for an opening at a table. Then I realized that most of these people just butt their way in.

I found the dealer I liked from the other time I attended two years ago. He's a light-skinned Brazilian hipster with a big willowy afro. I got, in no particular order:

This came out in 1967 and the vinyl is perfect. Baden Powell is an early bossa nova guitar god and this is quite possibly the finest album I now own. "Vontade" is Portuguese and has two interesting definitions. One is "capability of conscious choice and decision and intention." The other is a rather insouciant little number: "Cheerful compliance."

Anyone with an interest in guitar playing will likely never forget listening to Baden Powell the first time.

"Cry Of Love," Hendrix's last album, completed and released in 1971, some months after his death. It's as if he had just got all hopped up after listening to Royal Trux "Sweet Sixteen" and "Highway 61 Revisited." Since some of these tracks were demos, the fidelity varies on a few songs and as a result you just get incredible Jimi Hendrix songs with tight guitar playing and none of the heavy Electric Ladyland production voodoo. The lyrics and singing are in particular probably the strongest he ever laid down.

The cover is haunting and postmortem but the back cover of my copy takes the cake with the concentric circles of wear radiating perfectly out of the sun. This is one of the greatest tributes to the beauty of vinyl that I've seen. Somebody take a picture.

Next, Buddy Miles' "A Message to the People"

Think about what kind of man it takes to put this on the cover of your album. Then think about the fact that on it, he covers "Midnight Rider" by the Allman Brothers. 1972. Truer funk soul brother than Fatboy Slim could ever be, drummer for Hendrix's Band Of Gypsies and foul mouthed bandleader who freaked out my parents when I took them to see him at Buddy Guy's Legends Blues Club on the south side of Chicago in 1992 when he screamed upon sitting down at his drum throne, "We gon get you out yo seat and ROCK YOU MOTHAFUCKAHS!"

This is sick 2nd-wave new-wave ska from the ashes of The English Beat. As you can tell by the white guy on the cover, this can get a little fey but the sentiment is true and if you don't believe in sentiment then you will never like a Fellini movie and then where will you be? Everybody likes those movies! Dubious credite (?): produced by David Byrne.

From the Native Tongues collective, Jungle Brothers are like A Tribe Called Quest but slightly stripped back towards an Eric B. and Rakim minimalist taunt. But they can be warm Brooklyn lovermen too and it makes their socially-activist intent all the more worthwhile. Released on 20 September 1989, it was a very good year for tucked-away gold.

That is all for now. Cheers to that Brazilian record dealer with his dandelion head and cool t-shirts. You got my money. And stay tuned to run down the week with the upcoming 4-day series: "Jim Asleep on the Couch: The Somnospective"


At 12:56 AM, Blogger jack said...

mostly I don't understand much of what you are saying in this bit...but I really dig that you feel as strongly as you do about it.

Dear Christ, man...what don't you listen to?


At 8:09 PM, Blogger DJ said...

The Jimi back cover is quite pretty. Could you send me a non-compressed pic so I can use it as my desktop? dj@usagainstthem.org


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