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Hot and not so hot tips

PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:41 pm
by Rob Hall
I was moaning earlier in the year that there was nothing much new around, so I went out and spent far too much money looking for things to get excited about. In no particular order, here's a quick run through some of what I've picked up recently (ish).

Fat Freddy's Drop - Blackbird. Good but not great. If you already have their other albums, you don't really need this.

Trombone Shorty - Say That To Say This. I liked his other albums quite a bit, and really wanted to hear him put something together that would sustain over a whole album. This isn't it. It's produced by Raphael Saadiq, who I like, but the two are not well matched. There's a couple of tracks that stand out, but I've been disappointed by this album.

Garifuna Collective - Ayo. Very pleasant, a nice companion to their previous album.

Buika - La Noche Mas Larga. What a horrible CD. I could barely listen to it. Trying much too hard to be "jazz". Dreadful.

Rokia Traore - Beautiful Africa. Forgettable, made no impact on me whatsoever.

Pat Metheny & Anna Maria Jopek - Upojenie. I've already enthused here about this album. I like it, though it may not be to everyone's taste. Classy pop music with a jazz sensibility.

Ry Cooder & Corridos Famosos - Live At The Great American Music Hall. I'm a huge fan of Ry Cooder, but this album is really for completists only. A couple of good tracks, and La Banda Juvenil sound great but, overall, it has the feel of the dreaded 'contractual obligation album'.

Mulatu Astatke - Sketches of Ethiopia. I was very disappointed with this album. It's very dry, and it lacks passion.

Valerie June - Pushin' Against A Stone. I really like this. Her voice might divide opinion, but it's produced by that Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys, and I like his sound. This is a pretty consistent effort.

Chastity Brown - Back Road Highways. This was recommended to me by Garth. It's pretty much mainstream Americana, but she does have a lovely voice. Unfortunately, the material struggles to come across, apart from "Leroy", which is the standout track.

Vieux Farka Toure - Mon Pays. Not bad, but hardly an essential purchase.

Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit. This is getting better the more I play it. At least as good as his previous efforts, but probably no better.

Allen Toussaint - Songbook. AT sitting at a piano and playing for a small club crowd, running through some of his greatest hits. If you're a fan you won't be disappointed, but these aren't neccessarily the definitive versions of these wonderful songs. The Deluxe version has a DVD with an interview and footage of him playing many of the same songs, but I haven't had a chance to watch it yet.

Let Me Play This For You - Rare Cajun Recordings 1929-1930. This only arrived today and I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but I mention it because some of you might be interested to discover that it exists. It's on the usually reliable Tompkins Square label, and even before I hear it, I love it just because it features an artist by the name of Blind Uncle Gaspard.

Re: Hot and not so hot tips

PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:07 pm
by DavidM
What a horrible CD.


Could you be more specific (!).

Re: Hot and not so hot tips

PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:12 pm
by Chris P
Thanks for these reviews Rob, I appreciate the frank appraisals: just because one's put cash down there can be a tendency to scrabble for the redeeming features with rosy lens desperately attached. These are very clear & concise, from someone who knows the potential they could have had (or do live up to)
Spotify, Deezer or even YTube could've maybe saved some money, although I guess they don't suit everyone's preferred listening set-up. I've already checked Mulatu's new one & decided against. Really liked the previous 2, but on first listen the new one didn't seem quite as special.

Re: Hot and not so hot tips

PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:25 pm
by NormanD
Such a difference between someone who puts hand in pocket (quite a large amount spent too) and a paid reviewer who says nice or indifferent things, then sticks them straight on amazon.

I think Buika's CD is not quite as bad as you say, Rob. We played a track on No Reason, but choosing one was a bit of a struggle. Gary bought it, by the way.

Gregory Porter? Great voice, terrible hat - it never matches his clothes.

Re: Hot and not so hot tips

PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:21 am
by Jamie Renton
If I've said it once, I've said it...well, quite a few times. You should write about music more often Rob and in a professional capacity if possible.

Of the albums you review that I've heard, I pretty much agree with what you say. Although I like the Cooder more than you appear to (I know it doesn't add anything to anything, but I just love that sound) and once I got over the Mulatu Astatke being a jazz, rather than an Ethio soul-jazz, album, I found some things to like on there too (Maybe worth another listen?)

Re: Hot and not so hot tips

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:08 pm
by matt m
I wasn't blown away by any of the albums on your list either Rob (not that I've heard all of them, mind) That Cajun comp sounds fun.

If you like Dan Auerbach's production, have you heard the Bombino album from the start of this year? I liked it a lot.