Friday, November 25, 2022

Bring On the Knight

Gladys Knight & The Pips - The Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me

I know I was waffling about another post for November, but this one seemed too cool not to share so here we are.

For 40 years ago this weekend, what many feel is the single greatest music festival ever held took place.

At least for pure, bonkers eclecticism, it remains unrivaled in the four decades since it happened, at a brand new concert facility erected in honor of an all-time legend.

Probably the very first gigantic festival to feature all kinds of music to be held on the island of Jamaica -- a testimony to the galactic influence of Reggae at the time -- this 3-day shindig featured a diversity of acts never before seen on one stage.

The first night had the show I'm sharing today, plus The Grateful Dead, The B-52s, Peter Tosh and as if all that wasn't enough, Jimmy Cliff. And that's just half the performers for Friday.

Saturday's fare included Black Uhuru, Squeeze, and as headliner, Aretha Franklin, among others.

Sunday's closing bill had Rita Marley, Joe Jackson, Rick James and, to finish it all off, The Clash.

I've posted a few of them in the past, with the Rick James one -- where he dismisses the band for a 15-minute onstage spliff session and diatribe -- being perhaps the most memorable.

Which brings us to this little burner of a set, from when Soul immortals Gladys Knight and The Pips played.

Were these guys the first big group where the old saw of the dude backed by three chicks was reversed, and it was three guys backing the lady singer? I can't think of a previous one, but then I'm higher than Snoop Dogg at a Dispensary Expo.

Anyway, just be glad old Frank Streeter was there with his trusty tape deck to make yummy captures of almost the whole weekend, and that he passed off his tapes to the legendary sound boffin to the stars Charlie Miller, that we might have ample documentation of what made this festival The One.

Gladys Knight & The Pips
Jamaica World Music Festival
Bob Marley Performing Arts Center
Montego Bay, Jamaica

01 JWMF introduction and hijinks
02 Reach High
03 Taste of Bitter Love
04 Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)
05 I Will Fight
06 The Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me
07 medley: Every Beat of My Heart/Friendship Train/If I Were Your Woman/Daddy Could Swear
08 Midnight Train to Georgia
09 The Way We Were
10 band introductions
11 I Heard It Through the Grapevine

Total time: 46:59

Gladys Knight - vocals
Merald "Bubba" Knight - vocals
William Guest - vocals
Edward Patten - vocals
Rickey Minor - bass
Spencer Bean - guitar
David Knight - congas & percussion
Ron Rutledge - drums
Gail Dietrich - keyboards
Joe Lattimore - synthesizers
Victor Hall - musical director

master soundboard cassette, recorded by Frank Streeter and transferred/mastered by Charlie Miller
slightly retracked by EN, November 2022
281 MB FLAC/direct link

Barring some strange occurrence, that will do it from me for this month. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy 40th Anniversary to the Jamaica World Music Festival!--J.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Wild Turkey: Everybody's Erkin for the Weekend

Erkin Koray - Türkü

OK, I admit it: I can't resist a good pun.

So I am here to fill up your Turkey Day with... wait for it... some of the greatest music ever to emerge from Turkey.

Years back, I covered perhaps the most beloved musician ever to come from that country, and the fruits of 11 years of labor can be found here if you're curious... and you should be, because this shit bumps.

Today we shall cover maybe the second most revered Turkish rock musician, with a little tape I have in my phone for those moments when I need to hear something that sounds halfway between ancient Anatolian mountain music and the funkatized clavinet stylings of Stevie Wonder or Isaac Hayes.

I got into this crazy genre called Turkish Funk and Psych many moons ago... for the full story just read the other post I linked to above.

Anyway Erkin Koray has been at this a long time and (AFAIK) he is still alive in his eighties!

Sometimes referred to as the Hendrix of Turkey, his music is perhaps the most guitar-driven of the myriad Turkish rockers of the folklore of the last 60 years, since the first fuzzbox landed in Ankara.

I've never covered him before and this compilation's been in my phone for years, so I thought I'd use today -- it's associated with turkey! -- to drop it in your cranberry sauce like a big ol' Istanbul in a china shop.

Erkin Koray

01 Züleyha
02 Arap Saçı
03 İllaki
04 Suskunluğun Ötesi
05 Cümbür Cemaat (version 1)
06 Ay Bir Tane
07 Estarabim
08 Mağarada Düğün
09 Goca Dünya
10 Bekle
11 Bir Olasılık
12 Karli Dağlar
13 Dişi Kedi
14 Hele Yar
15 Cümbür Cemaat (version 2)
16 Türkü
17 Ve...
18 Şaşkın

Total time: 1:18:55

compilation from various out-of-print -- some bootleg! -- issues of 1970s/1980s funky Erkin Koray tunes, made by EN (who denoised and speed corrected some of the tracks) sometime in the mid-2010s
479 MB FLAC/direct link

I might do one more for November or I might not... I have had a nasty cold so I've been off audio remasterings for a minute.

The tryptophan might put you to sleep, but you better not slumber upon this 79-minute shot of Wild Turkey, which comes courtesy of psychmaster Erkin Koray! Happy Funksgiving everyone!--J.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Zbig As a Mountain

Zbigniew Seifert - Where Are You From

Let's bathe in the lush waters of the Poland Springs... that is, the Poland Strings, with the anniversary of one of my top 5 live records ever, not coincidentally courtesy of one of my all-time favorite players.

What is it about Poland and violinists? Henryk Wieniawski, Michał Urbaniak, Krzesimir Dębski, and nowadays, Adam Bałdych.

Maybe my all-time favorite of them wasn't around too long before cancer claimed him, but anyone that comes along knows deep down that he is the stick to which they will have to measure up.

The violin is one of those instruments that has so much emotion in it, so much Romantic pulse just in the sound alone.

That's why there are so many movies where the big scene has some sort of violin passage playing, whether in a swelling string orchestra or solo.

This makes it all the tougher to make a sound on it that is individual and recognizable as one's own, and why players spend whole lifetimes finding their voice within it.

That's what makes Zbigniew Seifert such a cut above, even in his tragically-limited footprint left from not quite a decade of recording.

Once again, the cliché bears repeating: this guy plays one phrase and it cannot be anyone else.

Which brings us to maybe the last time he was recorded before he passed, which resulted in the "Joshy's Top 5 Live Albums" claim.

It's come out in several different -- and fragmented -- permutations on several grey area labels in Poland in the 44 years since it was taped, but it's only ever been assembled complete on one, bootleg issue.

So you better get your climbing gear on right away, because we're about to go to the peak of Kilimanjaro.

Zbigniew Seifert Quintet
the complete Kilimanjaro
Kraków, Poland 

01 Coral
02 Impressions
03 Kilimanjaro
04 Bez tytulu
05 Where Are You From

01 Spring On the Farm
02 Materna
03 Antoni Krupa interview with Zbigniew Seifert

Total time: 1:48:41

Zbigniew Seifert - violin
Zbigniew Wegehaupt - bass
Janusz Grzywacz - keyboards
Jarosław Śmietana - guitar
Mieczysław Górka - drums & percussion

the complete, unedited session for the 1979 live album "Kilimanjaro" 
only ever partially issued in the digi-era on mysterious grey area releases in Europe
sourced from the 2002 silver boot CD on the Rare Jazz Recordings label, itself apparently sourced from the original master tapes
very slightly declipped and retracked -- with CD2 slightly remastered to better match volume and tone of CD1 -- by EN, November 2022
721 MB FLAC/direct link

To say that the playing on this 87 minutes of thermonuclear grade fusion -- it also comes with an extensive interview in Polish that plays over a reprise of one of the tunes -- is liable to set your headphones ablaze hotter than a Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial sounds hyperbolic, but it's hard to argue once you've gone up Kilimanjaro, and you're gazing down at the mortals trying to imitate "Actual Proof" for the 1000th time.

Anyway Zbig Seifert's been dead since 1979, but this music will sound alive-n-vibrant forever if you ask me... and it was committed to oxide in the city of his birth on November 14, 1978. So it seemed germane to toss it up before its birthday was over, having wanted to put it on my page since I started this thing.--J.

6.7.1946 - 2.15.1979

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Birth of the Coolsville

Rickie Lee Jones - It Must Be Love

We interrupt the Jazz Snob Sausage Fest to bring you a birthday celebration for one of the great ladies.

For today marks the 68th voyage 'round the flaming hydrogen sphere for a truly beloved songstress of our age.

Somewhere between Blossom Dearie and Joni Mitchell, her style has influenced a million imitators but few equals.
She had the good sense to have a global chart-topper on her first record, so the record company could leave her alone from the jump.

Born in 1954, she's 68 today and, as far as I know, still records and tours.

Her albums and concerts are like intimate glimpses into the world of the artist, and she's one of those vocalists blessed with that ineffable quality where each person listening is convinced she is singing directly to them.

Today's share, for instance, is as good an example as any of what she does and how she does it.
Ever since her 1979 advent, when she exploded on the scene like a Jazz-capped ball of cool fire, there's been no one exactly like Rickie Lee Jones.

If the purpose of a live setting is to weave a web of sultry intrigue and bring the audience into that sense of mystery, this is a performer that checks every conceivable box.

Let's time travel back 31 years to the city of Minneapolis, and toss our hats into the air all freeze-framed, for this 102 minutes of magnificence then, shall we?

Rickie Lee Jones
Guthrie Theater
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA

01 Bye Bye Blackbird
02 The Second Time Around
03 It Must Be Love
04 Last Chance Texaco
05 Satellites
06 Up from the Skies
07 Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most
08 Dat Dere
09 I Won't Grow Up
10 I'll Be Seeing You
11 Coolsville
12 We Belong Together
13 Deep Space
14 On Sunday Afternoons In 1963 
15 Bolivia
16 Weasel and the White Boys Cool/band introductions
17 My One and Only Love
18 Love Junkyard
19 Comin' Back to Me
20 Something Cool

Total time: 1:42:34
disc break goes after Track 13

Rickie Lee Jones - vocals, guitars, piano & percussion
Michael O'Neill - guitars & vocals
Sal Bernardi - accordion, guitars, harmonica & vocals
John Leftwich - bass
Keith Fiddmont - saxophones
Ed Mann - percussion & vibraphone

mono DAT straight from the mixing desk, remastered by plaz 
very slightly retracked -- with volume increased throughout & Track 15 identified -- by EN, November 2022
502 MB FLAC/direct link

This was initially remastered by the exceptional plaz a ways back, but I felt it really needed some more volume throughout so I gave it some, using the tasty Audacity Limiter tool that aims to approximate the Sound Forge Wave Hammer tool my version of SF has only as a demo because of a bug.

I'll be back after the weekend with some anniversary goodness from Eastern Europe.

But today is the day to pay tribute to Rickie Lee Jones, the first Mayor of Coolsville!--J.