Kent B Poop 08

Lists, Trends and Random Notes

Sweet Sixteen

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Orchestra Baobab – Made in Dakar
Their most accessible effort has flowing guitar lines, smoldering saxophones, Afro-Cuban accents and special guest star and secret weapon Youssou NDour.

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Robyn – Robyn
Combines Nenah Cherry and Madonna over hip hop, electronic beats and achingly beautiful melodies. Her Be Mine performance at the Nobel Peace Prize on YouTube is incredibly affecting.

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John Mellencamp – Live Death Love and Freedom
Who would have thought Jack and Diane could channel John Prine and John Hiatt, let alone John Lee Hooker. You always dig a little deeper when the subject is death.

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Lindsay Buckingham – Gift of Screws
He can’t help himself. He starts with pitch perfect Fleetwood pop, light harmonies and intricate acoustic guitar flourishes. Then his dark side takes over as a sweet guitar solo turns into distortion and he laments being mistaken for a pop whore.

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Hayes Carll – Trouble in Mind
A Texas country singer who sounds like James McMurtry, but funnier and less literary. His lament on “She left me for Jesus” ironically wraps up the whole genre as does “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart”. By the way, if he ever finds Jesus, he’s kickin his ass.

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The Fleshtones – Take a Good Look!
These garage rock revivalist have been around since the mid-seventies, but their farfisa and fuss tones are fresh and vital as on the best single of the year “Going Back to School” where a dropout proclaims “I goin do all my homework this time”. In sum, really stupid and honest rock and roll with the average tune clocking in at 2:30 except the last one where the singer adds a minute by simply groaning and barking like a dog.

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Jesus H. Christ & the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse – Happier Than You
Although this sophomore effort doesn’t have a hit single to match Connecticut’s for F*ucking, there are airhead receptionists with great racks, domineering waitresses, and alcoholics locked in porto-johns. Lots of yucks from studios pros who have the lyrical whimsy of They Might Be Giant but with a female up front so there is more sex.

Bob Dylan – Tell Tale Signs
Randy Newman – Harps and Angels
TV On The Radio – Dear Science
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Dig!!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music
Quiet Village – Silent Movie
Sons & Daughters – This Gift
Drive by Truckers – Bright than Creation Dark
Black Box Revelation – Set Your Head on Fire


Steinski – What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective
Rodriguez – Cold Facts
The Nerves – One Way Ticket

Retro Soul

V.A. – Eccentric Soul: The Tragor and Note Label
V.A. – Calypsoul 70: Carribean Soul
V.A. – Soul Message from Dimona
Duffy – Rockferry
James Hunter – The Hard Way
Al Green –Lay It Down
Raphael Saadiq – The Way I See It

The Eccentric Soul series are late sixties soul compilations from little known regional labels. The Trager and Note labels are from Atlanta, and are closer to Stax than Motown. In a parallel universe, Eulo Cooper and Bill Wright would be huge. Carribean Soul goes island hopping to mix American soul with steel bands, reggae and latin horns. Soul Message is from a seventies Black Hebrew movement that left Detroit for the Dimona desert of Israel. “Na Na Na NA NA NA, Get Ready, Baruckh Adonai”. Of course, Duffy channels Dusty Springfield, but don’t say she doesn’t have soul. She as every bit as good as Amy Winehouse – she just needs some p.r. and rehab. James Hunter has songs to kill for – every bit as good as classic Drifters (Carina) or Sam Cooke (The Hard Way). Al Green’s material is a notch below his Hi record glory days, but that voice… The big disappointment in the bunch is Raphael Saadiq. It is a pitch-perfect return to Motown, and these could be rarities from Smokey Robinson’s and the Miracles. I used to dream of such stuff. Not anymore. Even with Stevie Wonder joining in, the material is just not good enough, and you’ve got to bring something new to the table.

Live If You Want It

Jack Bruce – Spirit, Live at the BBC 1971-1978
The Who – At Kilburn 1977
Buena Vista Social Club – BVSC at Carnegie Hall
The Clash – Live at Shea Stadium
The Doors – Live at the Matrix
Quicksilver Messenger Service – Live at the Fillmore San Francisco, 4th Feb. 1967
David Bowie – Live Santa Monica ’72
The Police – Certifiable
Jeff Beck – Live at Ronnie Scott’s

Not a stinker in the bunch. Are they worth getting? You’ve got to ask yourself one question – Are you a fan? The Who DVD is worth it for a pissed off Townsend throwing things at roadies and screaming that the band sucks. They don’t, and I always hated Live at Leeds. Jack Bruce at the BBC is the most eclectic. One of his bands features such odd couples as Mick Taylor and Carla Bley; while my favorite is the progressive fusion with John Surman and Jon Hiseman (remember Coliseum?) The sound on the Doors release is lousy, but it’s refreshing to hear a restrained Jim Morrison before he became the Lizard King.


Nik Bartsch’s Ronin – Holon
Pat Metheny – Day Trip
Roger Kellaway – Live at the Jazz Standard
JD Allen – I Am I Am
Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis – Two Men with the Blues
Matana Roberts – The Chicago Project


Dennis Wilson – Pacific Ocean Blue
Brian Wilson – That Lucky Old Sun

Pacific Ocean Blue was the first solo Beach Boy effort. It’s from the Surf’s Up/Sunflower era, but better. There are majestic arrangements, some blues and kick-ass horns with songs about love and depression. All from the only real surfer in the Beach Boys who had studio aces play his drum parts on records, but loved to fool around on the piano. But Brian is still the more interesting case, and, oh boy, is he out there. The songs on Lucky Old Sun are comforting Smile mediations that pay homage to L.A. Yet, this concept album goes into left field with Brian’s poetry which is absolutely but unintentionally hilarious. He has Hollywood screenwriters quoting Shakespeare, Chop Shops, and coyotes coming home after nights on the town. Stay out of therapy.

Sonny Rollins – Road Shows Vol. 1
Neil Young – Live at the Canterbury House 1968

What becomes a legend most? An annuity! They both plan continuing releases of old live albums. The Saxophone Colossus is still on a quest for the perfect improvisational solo even though he stopped taking chances in the early sixties. Meanwhile, Shakey is getting us warmed up for the Neil Young Archives, only $310.00 on Amazon for 10 DVD. And that’s just Vol. 1.

Phideaux – Doomsday Afternoon
Opeth – Watershed

Old progressive or new progressive – your choice. Doomsday is a 70’s style art rock opus that is every bit as good as Genesis or Caravan. It’s got strings and renaissance guitars, and is even divided into acts. Other than that I have no idea what it’s about. I am enough of a nerd as it is. The new progressive, as with Opeth, may start with a guitar interlude, but then hits you over the head with thrashing speed-driven metal and cookie monster vocals.

V.A.- Arriba La Cubmia     V.A. – What’s Happening in Pernambuca: New Sounds of the Brazilian Northeast
Buddy Guy – Skin Deep       BB King – One Kind Favor
Rudresh Mahanthappa – Kinsmen      V.A. – Mile from India


Anthony Braxton, Milford Graves, William Parker – Beyond Quantum
Rob Brown Ensemble – Crown Trunk Root Funk
William Parker – Double Sunrise Over Neptune

Who is this guy? Suddenly he is playing bass or composing on every avant guarde jazz album out there. Beyond Quantum tops the list with Anthony Braxton’s sax playing that would make Ornette Coleman jealous. Double Sunrise has a 16 piece jazz band with three compositions. It’s got rhythms, textures, solos and a world music/Sun Ra feel that is less earth-bound than Maria Schneider’s jazz orchestras. Yet, even with Parker’s bass the Rob Brown Ensemble could use a few more constraints. It’s energy music that is a little too, shall we say, angular.


Franco – African Classics
Franco – Francophonic
V.A. – Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Nigerian Blues
Sir Victor Uwaifo – Guitar-Boy Superstar 1970-76
V.A. – The Rough Guide to Congo Gold

For more than thirty years, Franco was Africa’s biggest star. A guitar god whose fluid playing and wonderful bands tackled government repression and AIDS with infectious joy. He would have played at the inauguration.


V.A. – Love Train, The Sounds of Philadelphia
Hank Williams – The Unreleased Recordings
Roy Orbison – The Soul of Rock and Roll
V.A. – Titan: It’s all Pop


My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges: This genre-bending exercise is all over the place. But what sticks out is their soft spot for mid-seventies schmaltz with odes to Karen of the Carpenters. It’s not a spoof because they understand the beauty in these diverse types of music, and the melodies and production are spot-on
REM – Accelerate: It almost takes off. The stripped bare production brings sonic clarity to some lean guitar hooks. Yet, it is still not the real thing. There are still the cryptic, mumbling lyrics with Stipe’s vocals wrapped in a haze of intellectual retro.
Moby – Last Night: A shameless re-make of Everything is Wrong, but that is not a bad thing.
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes: Yes, all of the critics can be wrong.
Pandora Radio Free online internet radio where you enter a song or artists that you enjoy. The site then plays music from that artist and programs similar songs and artists based on your profile. Repeats aren’t possible and restrictions abound since Pandora is still in negotiation with music labels about royalty issues. It probably won’t last or it will turn into a subscription site, but, right now, it expands your music horizons.