Page 1 of 1

2006 - 18 Feb - Tony Allen - Playlist & Bulletin

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:46 pm
by Con Murphy
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label

1 - Son de la Frontera - Buleria Negra del Gastor - Son de la Frontera - Spain - Nuevos Medios

2 - Think of One - Essa Mesa - Tráfico - Belgium/Brazil - Crammed Discs

3 - Cheikha Rimitti - Dobri - N'ta Goudami - Algeria - Because

4 - Cheikh Lô - N'Galula - Lamp Fall - Senegal - World Circuit

5 - Fela Kuti - Roforofo Fight - The Best Best Best of Fela Kuti/The Black President - Nigeria - Universal

6 - Victor Uwaifo - Joromi - Lagos All Routes - Nigeria - Honest Jon's

7 - The Nigerian Union Rhythm Group - The Wind in a Frolic - London is the Place for Me 3: Ambrose Campbell - UK/Nigeria - Honest Jon's

8 - Tony Allen - Ise nla - Lagos No Shaking - Nigeria - Honest Jon's

9 - Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey - Eto Igbeyawo - What God Has Joined Together - Nigeria - OTI

10 - Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - The Freedom Rider - The Freedom Rider - USA - Blue Note

11 - Haruna Ishola - Pariboto Riboto - Lagos All Routes - Nigeria - Honest Jon's

12 - Hugh Masekela - Grazing in the Grass - Still Grazing - Hugh Masekela - South Africa - Blue Thumb Records

13 - Manu Dibango - Ekedi - Manu Dibango: Essential Recordings - Congo - Manteca

14 - Tony Allen - Gbedu b - Lagos No Shaking (vinyl) - Nigeria - Honest Jon's

15 - Forty Thieves Orchestra - Slow Burn Red - Forgotten Tales - UK - Crafty Music

16 - Scritti Politti - Sweetest Girl - 12" single - UK - Rough Trade

17 - Aynur - Keçe Kurdan - Keçe Kurdan - Turkey - Kalan

18 - Son of Dave - Devil Take My Soul - O2 - UK/Canada - Kartel

19 - Amadou & Mariam - Senegal Fast Food (feat Manu Chao) - Dimanche a Bamako - Mali - Other

20 - Maurice el Medioni - Je N'Aime Que Toi - Descarga Oriental - Algeria/USA - Piranha

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:04 pm
by Charlie
Fela Kuti’s former drummer, Tony Allen, has a new album, Lagos No Shakin’ (Honest Jons). I confess to having sceptical feelings about records made by drummers, unless they are also the main singer. As great and as vital as Charlie Watts is in the Rolling Stones, does anybody really need an album by Charlie’s own band? One of my all-time favourite drummers was Al Jackson, integral to Booker T & the MGs and the Hi rhythm section behind Al Green, who had the good judgment never to make an album under his own name. The whole point of the drummer is to buttress the vision and innovation of the creative leader in the group, who is usually the singer, sometimes the guitarist or keyboard player.

Tony Allen may be an exception to my rule. Unusually for Nigerian drummers at the time, Tony was already an ardent fan of American jazz when he joined Fela’s band in 1964, helping to forge a new hybrid rhythm, Afrobeat. The prodigious amount of music they recorded together over the next ten years provided a bedrock that has been mined with ever-increasing wonder and appreciation by musicians around the world ever since. Among the first Western musicians to follow up their new sound was producer Brian Eno, who played Fela Kuti’s music to Talking Heads as they started work on the album More Songs About Building and Food in 1978. During a game of Radio Ping Pong in 2002, Brian declared Tony Allen to be the greatest drummer of the past fifty years.

We began with a track by Fela from those golden years. ‘Roforofo Fight’ (‘Mud Wrestling’) showcases Tony’s flawless, inconspicuous style of embedding drums into the song’s arrangement. I faded out after about five minutes, at the end of a Fela sax solo, and praised Fela’s sax prowess. Tony was contemptuous. As far as he was concerned, Fela the sax player was a charlatan. When one of the band’s sax players left the band, Fela taught himself to play in a few weeks and took over the role, instead of recruiting one of Nigeria’s many experienced musicians. Tony much preferred him on keyboards, whereas for me Fela’s keyboard solos have always sounded like somebody demonstrating a cheap organ in an instrument hire shop. I still prefer his sax solos.

Lagos No Shakin’ is one of three recent releases on Honest Jons Records with Lagos as the first word in their titles. The other two, Lagos All Routes and Lagos Chop Up are both compilations of Nigerian recordings from the 1960s and 1970s, most of them previously unreleased on CD. ‘Joromi’ by Sir Victor Uwaifo was a big Nigerian hit in the late 1960s, but its high-life style seems to belong to a much earlier epoch than Fela Kuti’s music, which by comparison has hardly dated. ‘Pariboto Riboto’ by Harun Ishola is something entirely different again, just vocals and percussion in a style from the West of Nigeria identified by Tony as ‘shakara’ (not sure if I have spelled that correctly). These two compilations are treasure troves, but their usefulness is drastically diminished by a sleeve design that makes their running orders and liner notes unreadable: no track numbers or timings; hand-written titles printed in non-contrasting colours; graphic images printed over the text. Hard enough to decipher in daylight, the albums become unusable in the gloom of a dance club.

By contrast, the sleeve notes and photographs on the three volumes in Honest Jons’ series London is the Place for Me are exemplary. Following two various artist compilations, Volume 3 is devoted to the music of Ambrose Adekoya Campbell, a Nigerian musician who moved in 1945 to the UK, where he recorded regularly during the 1950s and 60s using several different band names, including West African Rhythm Brothers and Nigerian Union Rhythm Group. Tony recalled listening with wonder to Ambrose’s records when they arrived in Nigeria, like postcards from another planet, an unimaginable hybrid of West African High Life, Caribbean Calypso and American Jazz.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 7:34 pm
by Martin_Edney
Charlie wrote:When one of the band’s sax players left the band, Fela taught himself to play in a few weeks and took over the role, instead of recruiting one of Nigeria’s many experienced musicians.


I'm sure I remember reading that Fela was initially a trumpeter, but had to stop playing the trumpet after a run in with police split his lip, and so switched to saxophone. Still, Tony Allen should know!

I'll see if I can track down the reference.

drummers

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:08 am
by Guest
hey Charlie. What about Ginger Baker as a drummer/leader with the musical goods? Watched the Disreali Gears making of prog the other night and still can't see the point of Cream except for Ginger's drumming. Wasn't Airforce quite good and his African stuff? I'm also personally relieved that Robert Wyatt decided to go on and make his own records and of course in jazz there are some fine examples of drummer led ensembles - Pete LaRocca's Turkish Women At The Bath eg.
Also, talking about illegible sleeves, I remember having to mark up my copy of your very own Jali Musa Jawara LP on Oval so I could id the tracks in the gloom 'cause it was all yellow and light green... another fine show. mike gavin

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 11:32 am
by Guest
I've mentioned this album before on the forum, as it was one of the turning points in my listening habits which pointed me along the African and world music path. Now seems the perfect moment to remind people about it, as one of the few moments in Saturday's show where Tony Allen seemed to speak with real enthusiasm was when he mention Art Blakey's influence on him.

It was in the early 80's that I discovered Art Blakey and the Afro-Drum Ensemble's 'The African Beat' recorded for Blue Note in 1962. It features eight Nigerian, Senegalese and Jamaican percussionists along side Blakey's trademark splashy, bombastic style. It sounds as fresh, powerful and vibrant to me today as it did then - goodness knows what it sounded like when it was first released. Beautifully recorded too.

One of my fondest memories of that time was my band going back to the drummers flat in Brockley after a gig - usually somewhat inebriated - sticking this album on, and all of us sitting around joining in by hitting coffee mugs with biros, or hitting anything with anything for that matter - stuff often got broken. But it was a great way (believe it or not) of winding down after a performance.

Anyway, I'd be curious to hear what some of the jazz fans who contribute to this forum make of this album. Is it an established classic or a just a bit of an oddity? For those interested in investigating it there are currently used copies on Amazon for £3.40 (or new for £7.99).

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 11:34 am
by howard male
The above was me - forgot to sign in!

Blakey

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:55 pm
by mike gavin
Howard - working in Ray's Jazz Shop some of the older heads prefered Blakey's earlier stuff - with Monk and the Messengers, but the African record was a hit with the jazz dance crowd who strted to come in in the late 80s. For me Blakey didn't make a bad album in the 60s. I always liked the Horace Silver/Art Blakey/Sabu Martinez on conga album, also on Blue Note (Horace Silver Trio). It's a shame jazz and 'world' music tend to be mutually exclusive on the radio - very nice to hear Blakey on the show. Which reminds me, going back to the drummer theme, of the Charlie Watts album with Jim Keltner with the tracks named after famous jazzers but no apparent connection with the music. but then I'm no drummer.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 3:17 pm
by Con Murphy
Like with most jazz acts, I'm only really familiar with Art Blakey's most famous work (ie Moanin'), but I can see where there might be some mutual admiration with African drummers. I'll have to check out that album you mention, Howard.

Anyway, I'm only just over hearing Scritti Politti's The Sweetest Girl again after all these years. I'm not normally that prone to attacks of nostalgia, but it just sounded so heart-breakingly beautiful that I'm wondering whether it was some Pavlovian response or whether it really is that good? I'd be interested to read the opinions of anybody who was hearing the song for the first time on Saturday.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 7:20 pm
by ritchie
Every now and again a song hit's that spot and sometimes it's with a hammer. The number of albums I've bought because of a track from Charlie's show have contributed to my 'bowing' cd shelves (actually it's poor workmanship really)

This week it was as Con put it ;-

Anyway, I'm only just over hearing Scritti Politti's The Sweetest Girl again after all these years. I'm not normally that prone to attacks of nostalgia, but it just sounded so heart-breakingly beautiful that I'm wondering whether it was some Pavlovian response or whether it really is that good? I'd be interested to read the opinions of anybody who was hearing the song for the first time on Saturday.


It seemed like the first time and I had nt a clue who it was by. Great track thanks Charlie.

I nearly rang up but probably would have got into a panic and said I was a woman who liked drum solo's. (probably stemming from watching the 'Felling Fusilers' or the 'Pelaw Hussars' practising on the next field whilst we were playing football.)

Ritchie

PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:47 pm
by Charlie
Con Murphy wrote:I'm only just over hearing Scritti Politti's The Sweetest Girl again after all these years. I'm not normally that prone to attacks of nostalgia, but it just sounded so heart-breakingly beautiful that I'm wondering whether it was some Pavlovian response or whether it really is that good?


When this single came out in 1981, I had a show on Capital called Undercurrents, playing my pick of indie music, and the two that hit me like a hammer were Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division, and this one. I played both of them several times, wishfully thinking I could contribute to making a record into a hit. Unfortuanately, I could never make any difference. Love Will Tear Us Aprt beceme a hit anyway, because everybody else played it too, The Sweetest Girl didn't because they didn't.

The Sweetest Girl

PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:06 pm
by Ted
I hadn't heard it since it came out.
Hadn't even thought of it since a month after that.

I thought it sounded gorgeous.

I don't remember the bass being so strong and dubby. That's probably because I only heard it on my sisters Dansette.

TW

Re: drummers

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 11:17 am
by Charlie
Mike Gavin wrote:Also, talking about illegible sleeves, I remember having to mark up my copy of your very own Jali Musa Jawara LP on Oval so I could id the tracks in the gloom 'cause it was all yellow and light green... another fine show.


Fair cop.

I was almost in tears when the finished album arrived - the problem had not been apparent on the proofs. We never used that designer again.

I remember Ian Anderson used to experience this kind of thing with fRoots at times, winding up with unreadable pages that had looked fine at an earlier stage. He has wisely become more conservative in the use of coloured pages, and the magazine is an infinitely better read as a result.

In the case of the Honest Jons sleeves, the problems are inherent in the design of the three Lagos albums. The absence of track numbers and durations is a constant irritation, also applicable on the otherwise much clearer artwork of their three volumes of London is the Place For Me. World Circuit used to be guilty of leaving out track durations too, although they have improved.

Scritti Politti in Carol Street

PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:50 am
by zee
Charlie played "The Sweetest Girl" again last week. I had resisted the opportunity for some name dropping after he played it the first time - but I just can't let it pass this time, because I know who the Sweetest Girl is! She's Lynne who used to live three doors away from me and was Green's partner for a while. She now lives in Newcastle and some mutual friends have, just last week, been to her 50th birthday do. She'll be thrilled, I hope, to hear that "her song" has been playing on the radio around her 50th birthday. Green, Nial and Tom (the original members) also used to live in the street....we still talk about the time when Green's room had to be rewired (we were a housing cooperative then) while he was still in bed in the afternoon totally off his head and about the time Nial accidently set fire to his mattress and almost the whole house after a night of extreme debauchery. Tom and Nial were bought out and with the proceeds Tom bought a flat in Bloomsbury (where they used live in squares and love in triangles!). He still lives around there, still with his locks and these days does corporate team-building drumming sessions for a living. Nial went off to some Marxist outfit in Wales and no one has heard of him for a long time.
They have an entry in Wikepedia here here if any one's at all interested.

Re: Scritti Politti in Carol Street

PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 10:01 am
by Charlie
zee wrote: Tom and Nial .... used to live in squares and love in triangles


How many other sites can boast a webmaster who doubles as a poet?

The Bloomsbury set

PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:44 am
by zee
Thank you Charlie...but much as I would want to claim that , it was in fact somebody else's description of the Bloomsbury set (Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Gerald Brenan, Roger Fry, EMForster etc). I suppose I should have put qoutes around that sentence.