Calypso Rose This is one of Rose's many great songs from the late 70's and early 80's, which was a great age for calypso or soca (soul calypso). Shadow and Black Stalin also put out a lot of great songs, but Rose was up there with them. Those are my three favorites from those days, but there were many others.
Boozoo Chavis Boozoo influenced a lot of zydeco players with his pumping accordion style. His best songs are variations of songs like this one. We first ran across this song in a 45 version which we found in a grocery in rural Louisiana. The lyrics were unexpurgated, which made the song interesting, but the lyrics aren't the important part in this music: the driving, happy energy is, and it's represented on this version.
Charlie Christian This long jam from May of 1941 at Minton's Playhouse in NYC includes an amazing relaxed flow of chorus after chorus of brilliant invention from guitarist Charlie Christian, who died less than a year later at the age of 25 from complications from TB and pneumonia. A fan named Jerry Newman recorded this, and the world must be grateful to him for capturing this extended evidence of Charlie's genius. (Thelonius Monk gets some solo space as well in this jam, but fortunately he lived a lot longer, and recorded many great performances elsewhere.)
Bill Akamuhou Hawaiian melodies have a beauty of their own, with the wafting of the slack guitar accompaniments carrying them along. There are many great songs from many eras; this is a standard from back in the '50's. Even when the reading is very straight, the rhythmic drive to hula is relentless.
Franco This is a slower Franco song than the one on the Jesse page, but it's once it hits the sebene, it's completely hypnotic and heartfelt, and I never get tired of it. Franco was brilliant as a singer, guitarist, and bandleader, and perhaps because his music wasn't discovered by the West until the last decade of his life, his music just kept peaking again and again with the songs getting longer and longer and more entrancing. (But his many earlier shorter songs from the late 50's onward were also beautiful, and will reach this page.)
Little Walter There were many great blues singers and instrumentalists, and there are a lot of styles to the blues, so there are hundreds of songs which I would like to put on this page. Little Walter first came into prominence as the harp player for the monumental Muddy Waters, and eventually branched out on his own because he knew he had a major vision going on, and he needed to express it, and not in the shadow of Muddy. Muddy was arguably the greatest single figure in blues history, and he left behind some of the greatest recordings of the 40's and 50's, but Little Walter's songs, singing, and harp playing were so hip and exciting that he's equally indispensable to me. Of course, the list of indispensable songs is long, and it's easy to see why people are content to get lost in the world of blues.
Kwabena Nyama Ghana is known for highlife music, and there were so many great recordings made in that style. I particularly love the ones from the late 70's which featured electric guitars and cheesy keyboards. But this simpler version recorded recently made by an acoustic guitarist named Kwabena Nyama has all the ingredients of the more filled-out, electrified version. The same melody and rhythm. I just love the warm feeling, though the fact that this music has pretty much died away adds a little haunting sadness to it.
Bembeya Jazz National Here's a song from 1987 by one of the top groups from Guinea, which is south of Senegal and Mali in Western Africa. The guitarist here is Sekou "Diamond Fingers" Diabate, and I love his playing. This is such a powerful, churning, and propulsive song. For some reason, the vocals of that part of the world always evoke the desert for some reason. There's some noble ingredient in this music which must be rooted in the people of Guinee because in general there is a lot of music from that country which shares the same lofty spirit which this song evokes.
Lynn Miles Canadian Lynn Miles is my favorite modern white singer/songwriter. I love her band also, as they are also devoted to her. (She has four CDs out, and the band I'm talking about plays on three of them. She has an earlier obscure CD released in Canada, and a cassette made in 1987 which she sold at shows, and we have those also.) I can't explain why I love Lynn Miles so much because no one but Libby and a few fans on the internet seem to feel the same. It's something in singing, in her voice, in the precision of the melody at every moment of the song and how saturated it seems in the whole world of emotion she's been going through. She probably has some planet lying on top of my Venus or maybe my Moon. I like many of her songs, and I've looked for other woman singers who I like nearly as much, but I haven't found any. She sings mostly about her relationships, and they don't seem to work out so well; she doesn't complain, but apparently writes another song. (She apparently likes Jennifer Warnes, particularly on the CD she sings Leonard Cohen songs, so I guess I should check her out. I liked Jennifer Warnes' singing with Joe Cocker on "Love Lift Me Up Where We Belong", but otherwise I'm not familiar with her.)
Martin Sexton I really like this guy, also, but not that many of his songs. But there are about five of his that I think are classics, and this is one of them. He's from the Boston area. He used to sing on the streets, and I wish more people like this were singing on the streets. (In general, I wish there were more street music going on in the US, and I think it will happen one day because it brings people together.) So, anyway, Martin has his own style, and is hard to compare to anyone. He's very musical, and he takes chances, and I'll keep buying his CDs, though I can't think of a song that I am devoted to from his last three CDs, so it's possible that his muse has abandoned him. But I'm expecting it will be back, and bring him more songs which wind around as interestingly as this one.
Marcel Dugas & The Entertainers This song came from a live concert recorded off WWOZ onto a recorder I'd brought with me in 1984 during a visit to New Orleans. There are three great songs from that concert and this is my favorite one. I love the original version of the song recorded by Tyrone Davis, but this song has a relaxed but relentlessly funky groove which goes into the stratosphere during John Hart's sax solos. Marcel binds everything together with his off-key accordion. A great live song from a concert which will hopefully reach CD at some point.
Richard Buckner Another modern singer/songwriter we own most everything by. This is my favorite song by him. It was recorded in the 1990's and I found a copy of the CD in a bin for $2. Many great CDs ended up being unappreciated at the time, but he's semi-popular now, I think.
2013/Kin Night (Medley).m4a