The vinyl (& CD!), newsy previews continue in this Music Magazine. Another 10 items for you this week
SOME VELVET MORNING
The name of this group sounds exactly like an Internet-based radio show I have memories of – and copies of which are on my hard disks, possibly. Or does the name relate to the Lee Hazelwood song penned by the man and recorded by the same with Nancy Sinatra in the late 60s?
No matter, this is the band’s fourth outing, Rough Seas is their new release and a Pandemic production to boot.
Offering an indie rock/power pop ethic based upon, not so much vocal harmonies, but crowd exhortations, this (mainly) high-energy outing is competent yet unremarkable. I can hear little derivative elements and influences here and there but not a great deal of unique creativity.
ALINA BZHEZHINSKA & HIPHARPCOLLECTIVE
Which contrasts wildly with the album name and the singular Reflections. Basically, Bzhezhinska is a jazz harpist. The ‘collective’ is her co-operative group, eight in all on this release. Specifically: Tony Kofi (Saxophones), Jay Phelps (Trumpet), Julie Walkington (Double Bass) and vocalist Vimala Rowe supported by Mikele Montolli (Electric Bass), Joel Prime (Percussion), Adam Teixeira (Drums) and Ying Xue (Violin & Viola).
The album is packed with varying textures from the harp itself which works well with the varied instrumentation heard here. The track Soul Vibrations, for example, has a lush violin/cello backing while Fire inserts the harp into a samba-shaped hole full of hard-edged sax shards for a full-on jazz outing. Sans End, on the other hand has an almost Bossa vibe combined with an Asiatic lead harp run.
Innovation? It’s all over this one.
USA – https://amzn.to/3UxQWCA
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3UPxj8U
They Only Talk About The Weather is Reykjavík, Iceland resident, Margret’s new 10 tracker (https://arnymargret.bandcamp.com/album/they-only-talk-about-the-weather). Born in the town of Ísafjörður, Margret’s voice is also little and isolated and sparsely populated.
Released on One Little Independent Records, the presentation does have a measure of the all-to-fashionable, overly breathy, vulnerable, please-don’t-hurt-me-I’ll-just-sit-in-the-corner-and-won’t-breath-a-word style. Which can be completely irritating. That said, Margret manages to (mostly) set herself apart from this stylistic tidal wave with a unique, slightly lisping vocal delivery with a touch of hippy ethic modified by rhythmic complexity. The track, Sniglar is a good example of this.
USA – https://amzn.to/3fVlbUW
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3AbeUeH
RICHARD WEIZE ARCHIVES
…or RWA, if you’re in a hurry, is the Bear Family founder’s record label of choice these days. Releases on RWA essentially provide a window into the great man’s own collection. I have two releases to share here.
First up is The Blues According to Hank Williams/Hank Williams According to the Blues. A lengthy title, I’m sure you’ll agree and one that features a single CD filled with 28 tracks and, in the Deluxe Limited Edition version I have here, a 32-page book set in a very nice 10”, hardback cover.
The work talks about how black artists drew inspiration from Williams’ work. Which surprised me, I have to say and serves to elevate Williams even higher than he already stands in terms of creative importance.
So we have a selection of covers from the like of Fats Domino, Louis Armstrong, Piano Red, Tommy Edwards, Five Blind Boys of Alabama and Titus Turner addressing the songs of Hank.
A worthy compilation and yes, an education too.
Also look out for Encore “Lovey” a 3CD package within the same style of hardback ‘book’ cover (in its Deluxe Limited Edition form). That’s 65 tracks alongside a book, this time spanning 48 pages.
Featuring the 12-strong (including violinist George Robertson Lovelace Baillie, the band’s leader and the ‘Lovey’ in the title here), Trinidad String Band dance recordings from way, way back. I’m talking 1912 to 1914 here utilising styles roaming across the Caribbean plus South America as a whole. There’s a lot of influence here.
The production work on these tracks is very nice indeed. This new release features music quality of a high order – especially when I reflect on hearing original 78s of the same.
The style is light, generally rather cheerful yet rhythmically complex and full of energy, drive while each player proudly bursts with chops.
USA – https://amzn.to/3UqhFkq
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3ULIGP9
USA – https://amzn.to/3hyM6X4
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3A5GtpC
THE WEDDING PRESENT
Back in November 2021, I featured a news item on this website about a forthcoming singles project from the band. The monthly release of a 7” single featuring two songs (A- and B-side) to span an entire year so, 24 songs in all by the end of 2022.
I’ve been collating those singles and I’ll be giving the whole project a mention when the whole endeavour has been completed. There’s even a little box to put them in.
As lead vocalist David Gedge said to me during our wee chat in that news piece, the band have ‘previous’ on that score. They did the same thing back in 1992. Well, this newly issued, 30th Anniversary vinyl package, The Hit Parade (RCA), features two slabs of 12” vinyl, all of the songs that featured in the 1992 campaign.
Six songs per side, in fact.
There is something wholly synchronous about the entire project. It’s also a great alternative for vinyl fans who see flipping vinyl 24 times as a mite too exhausting after a long day at work and really, just want to cuddle up with a glass of red and a slice of Venezuelan, specialist chocolate.
The music? Typical Wedding Present of the times. Lots of guitar noise, Gedge talkie-singer vocals, there’s a whimsy humour in there too, more crashing indie guitars. All good stuff, basically.
USA – https://amzn.to/3TJjBnb
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3tnJnCA
DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES
Do It For Love (BMG) is the name of the 2003 original that has now been reissue on vinyl for the first time.
The album was a sort of comeback. Well, they tried to do that in the late 90s but the only response they received from that endeavour was the sound of the wind rustling wheat across the Prairies. This LP was Comeback 2.0. This time, they hit a wave of nostalgia and everything was coochy coo.
Musically, it harkens back to their very early work and a focus on soul. It also features some quality song writing and neat production work. Worth a look, folks.
USA – https://amzn.to/3UJ1hLu
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3EoIgIY
The band has released a weighty 3LP release called Snarky Puppy. This one, album number 13, was recorded live in Dallas at the Deep Ellum Art Company over a period of eight evenings.
So who are these guys? If you spin this release, you’ll be listening to a 19-piece jazz orchestra that is lead by bass man, Michael League. In fact, the chaps formed in University of North Texas which was only a few miles from this Dallas venue. So it proved to be a sort of homecoming for them.
The instrumental music itself is best described as fusion. Combing jazz with rock and funk and other fiddly bits rolled in, the music follows a real groove. It illustrates how ‘together’ the bad are here. There’s no conflict, everyone moves in the same direction. Rollicking good fun.
USA – https://amzn.to/3UNdFKz
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3EpfZSH
From Brazil and originally released in 1974, Molhado de Suor is Valenca’s debut solo release.
Valenca wasn’t afraid to speak out about matters of import, shall we say. So if he wanted to criticise the Catholic church or the politics of the day then bang, those thoughts would find their way into his songs.
Which is why he was often banned from performing or at the very least, disqualified for from numerous vocal competitions he entered.
Students loved him, though. One student newspaper labelled Valenca – who studied law, incidentally – the Brazilian Bob Dylan. So you get a sense of the man right there.
Valenca would move onto later acclaim but this album didn’t hit a large audience when it originally appeared. Even so, those who did get to hear it, lauded it. This reissue has been released via Vampi Soul in Spain (www.munster-records.com).
USA – https://amzn.to/3G9yJHg
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3DUBb1s
This is a self-titled LP release (Munster; www.munster-records.com), a pretty rare item in its original form I have to say, that was released in 1966 and yes, features Beatles covers such as Help, Yesterday, All My Loving and more. Well, 12 in total. The core of this outfit is keyboard player, the now legendary Manfredo Fest. Fest would become well know during his time as a band member with Sergio Mendes.
Here though? This is Beatles with jazz/bossa slant.
In terms of the music itself? Well, its rather lovely actually. The songs lend themselves rather well to the jazz/bossa style. They flow very easily indeed. Ticket to Ride? Oh man.
Actually, in terms of the keyboard style, I’m reminded of Charlie Brown hero himself, Vince Guaraldi, if you know that artist’s output. Well worth tracking down.
USA – https://amzn.to/3tkND5V
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3TvOA5I