2017 redux

This blog was lov­ing­ly tend­ed for years. I wrote plen­ti­ful­ly, prob­a­bly too much, and had odd­ball opin­ions. I liked to tell sto­ries and I still do. I may revert to doing just that once I have a lit­tle more time to play with this blog – three posts in 2017 are not real­ly much of any­thing. (I always start a post these days by apol­o­gis­ing).

But, I will post a 2017 lis­ten­ing list: not best of 2017 but pos­si­bly my most played records, almost all on vinyl (except the Bill Evans and Beach Boys I think, although I have the core album of that – Wild Hon­ey – in the 2017 remas­ter on vinyl) and all with sub­stan­tial nee­dle time in the swamp.

    • Ghost Town – Ghost Town: I’m guilty of play­ing very lim­it­ed amounts of New Zealand music last year and when I do, it’s often by old friends. For me, this album was all about the two key Jed Town tracks, the aching ‘Is It You?’ and ‘Make It To The Oth­er Side’, plus the mag­nif­i­cent cov­er of David Wiffen’s ‘Dri­ving Wheel’ (writ­ten for Tom Rush). What an inspired choice.

    • SZA – Ctrl
    • Tyer, The Cre­ator – Scum Fuck Flower Boy
    • Kendrick Lamar – DAMN
    • Open Mike Eagle – Brick Body Kids Still Day­dream
    • Chance The Rap­per – Col­or­ing Book: With which I relinked with hip-hop and the appear­ance of this quar­tet is the result. My dis­con­nect with hip-hop in the 1990s was in part because I was uncom­fort­able with so-called gang­ster rap, with the implied and oft-boast­ed vio­lence and the clear misog­y­ny of the lyri­cal con­tent. I still have prob­lems with the lat­ter (I’m try­ing hard to con­vince myself that Chance’s “Start danc­ing, ho” on the oth­er­wise joy­ous ‘All Night’ is a gen­er­al call to the floor rather than an order to a woman), but, even though I’m as far from the tar­get audi­ence as pos­si­ble, I find the music/beats/inventiveness/freshness/delivery on all these LPs irre­sistible.
    • Sam­pha – Process: Odd­ly, I played side one over and over. And nev­er real­ly turned it over. That can be for 2018 per­haps.
    • King Krule – The Ooz: Lyri­cal­ly obtuse and a lit­tle unset­tling at times. Frac­tured sounds and an artist who mean­ders through his own record, drop­ping in and out seem­ing­ly ran­dom­ly. Some­times, it’s ‘oh, you are still here?’.
    • Tony Allen – The Source: An extra­or­di­nary Parisian swirl of a record that mash­es Allen’s roots with Fela and his pas­sions for Max Roach and Art Blakey.

  • Jim­ster – Silent Stars
  • Kamasi Wash­ing­ton – Har­mo­ny Of Dif­fer­ence
  • Thun­der­cat – Drunk: That time when I put on a record with Ken­ny Log­gins and that guy from The Doo­bie Broth­ers and admit­ted (under my breath of course) that I liked it (to be fair to myself I long ago rabid­ly loved the Jelly­bean Benitz 12″ remix of ‘Ya Mo Be There’ with James Ingram)
  • Var­i­ous – Innerpeace (Rare Spir­i­tu­al Funk And Jazz Gems. The Supreme Sound Of Pro­duc­er Bob Shad): The title says it.
  • David Bowie – A New Career In A New Town / Cracked Actor: The Berlin and post-Berlin era box set, flawed as the mix of ‘Heroes’ may have been (I’m on the fence) and the live, pre: David Live Philly era RSD five-sider.
  • Carl Craig – Ver­sus: I think review­ers liked the word Cin­e­mat­ic when try­ing to wres­tle with Craig’s, ahh, cin­e­mat­ic, orches­trat­ed-with-a-groove rework­ings of parts of his deep tech­no-soul cat­a­logue. It con­fused many, I loved it.
  • Carl Craig and Moritz Von Oswald – Recom­posed: Ver­sus took me back this ear­li­er release (2008) where­in Craig and Von Oswald very suc­cess­ful attacked Rav­el and Mus­sorgsky. It was, I was told ear­li­er this year, nev­er issued on vinyl. It was as I dis­cov­ered in Japan.
  • Solange – A Seat At The Table: a 2016 left­over that occu­pied ear­ly 2017.
  • Radio Bird­man – Radios Appear: It’s been a long time. I found a new (sec­ond press­ing, albeit 1977) copy in Syd­ney in June.
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    • Patrice Rushen – Pre­lu­sion: Until I saw this in a sec­ond-hand store in Silom I had no idea the soul chanteuse had an ear­li­er life as a jazzer, albeit a funky-fusion one. From 1974 and on the Pres­tige label of course.
    • Myele Man­zan­za — One­PointOne: the Elec­tric Wire Hus­tle per­cus­sion­ist live at LA’s Blue Whale.

 

 

    • Var­i­ous – Heed The Call: Alan Perrott’s rather fab­u­lous gath­er­ing of lost 70s and 80s Enzed Pacif­ic funk and dis­co. But you knew that.
    • Alice Coltrane: Ear­ly in 2017 I made some snide remark about Alice Coltrane on social media, along the lines of ‘who would ever turn an Alice Coltrane record over?”. I was quick­ly cor­rect­ed by more musi­cal­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed friends, and thus I delved. And I’m ashamed now of my ear­li­er oafish­ness. If any artist dom­i­nat­ed my 2017 it was Ms. Coltrane. These are all 2017 pur­chas­es and turntable obses­sives.
    • Cymande: I knew the funky sin­gles before this, but nev­er the album. It’s fab­u­lous.
    • Ramones – Rock­et To Rus­sia
    • Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Blank Gen­er­a­tion: Both this and the Ramones above being sym­bol­ic of the day to day punk rock I play. Also in 2017, Wire, The Adverts, Cabaret Voltaire and The Saints. I went to the orig­i­nal Cabaret Voltaire club in Zurich this year!
    • The Beach Boys – 1967 (Sun­shine Tomor­row): The year remas­tered, remixed with a sec­ond disc of out­takes and uneven live songs.
    • The 3 Pieces — Vibes Of Truth: Don­ald Byrd pro­duced band per­haps best known for the ’75 sweet club clas­sic ‘I Need You Girl’. The 2017 reis­sue of the LP shows that it’s the equal of that track.

    • Junior Byron – Sun­shine: This disco/roots dou­ble LP I know noth­ing about except it plays at 45rpm and I think he may be from Cana­da. Funky and fun.
    • The Bea­t­les – Sgt Pepper’s Lone­ly Heart’s Club Band: The big box. It sounds like it had nev­er sound­ed before but almost worth it alone for take 4 of ‘Straw­ber­ry Fields’.
    • Thelo­nious Monk — Les Liaisons Dan­gereuses 1960: The lost sound­track, with a stun­ning book­let of stu­dio imagery.
    • Bill Evans – Anoth­er Time (The Hil­ver­sum Con­cert): Anoth­er recent­ly unearthed con­cert, fol­low­ing 2016’s Lost Ses­sion From The Black For­est.
    • Paul McCart­ney – Flow­ers In The Dirt: Most­ly disc two, the Costel­lo col­lab­o­ra­tions, but not just. A record that proves that the 80s were not com­plete­ly a lost decade for McCart­ney.
    • Elvis Costel­lo & Burt Bacharach – Paint­ed By Mem­o­ry: On vinyl for the first time via MFSL. Okay, it’s at times Burt twee, but the songs are fab­u­lous and Declan was, as a lounge voice, peer­less. There was a rea­son he was man­aged by Tony Bennett’s son.

    • Yasua­ki Shimizu — Kakashi: I find Yasuaki’s ear­li­er jazz-fusions heavy going – they’re either cheesy or too overt­ly intense and are every­thing I dis­like about the genre in the 70s. Once he dis­cov­ered punk and veered towards no-wave, here, it was mag­i­cal.
    • Matthew Hal­sall – On The Go: Tran­scen­den­tal Man­cun­ian jazz from 2016, as wise­ly rec­om­mend­ed by Dub­ber.
    • Dan Penn — Nobody’s Fool: Reis­sued on vinyl, from 1973.
    • Tub­by Hayes — Mex­i­can Green: A lim­it­ed Japan­ese press­ing of this ’67 mas­ter­piece. This is why it mat­ters.

    • Duke Elling­ton — Black, Brown & Beige / Far East Suite: Two Elling­ton albums I played a great deal this year, the 1940s suite (record­ed here in the mid-1950s), and his musi­cal trek through the Far East from 1967. Both essen­tial releas­es.
    • Leon Rus­sell – Car­ney / Leon Rus­sell: His third and first solo albums, with ‘This Mas­quer­ade’ and ‘A Song For You’ in their orig­i­nal forms.
    • Black Dis­co – Night Express: Apartheid-era Philly jazz meets the Cape, from South Africa.

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