19 April 2007

On RS and Blogspot

What's up with R@pid$h@re? It made sense to me for a while: rs.DE shifted to rs.COM, end of story. A couple of months ago, I noticed I could extend my subscription on rs.DE and it accepts uploads again. There are no premium-points on rs.DE anymore but apart from that it seems nothing's changed.

I don't mind paying for a fileservice but I hate to pay twice. If anything I'd rather get me a premium account on MegaUpload or so too than 2 rs accounts. There are still plenty of uploads on rs.DE and I find myself frequently using it for downloads, not too mention that I'm too lazy to change all the links on this blog so I probably end up extending it. Does anyone know where it's heading with rs? What do you prefer: .COM, .DE or both?

Blogspot has been nagging me to change to the new-style blog. Hopefully you have no idea what I'm talking about and if you do, I hope you haven't noticed any difference. I think the new-style sucks in its use and I regret being sucked into it. The lame-asses at Google can't even properly code a website since I can't access this blog with Konqueror and use Gmail only half. You've probably lost me completely here but I enjoyed getting it off my chest.
Konqueror rulezzz but not every site, unfortunately.

12"/80s Pop

The single most important event to happen in the 1980's was me getting a cassette recorder. True, there was Pac-Man, 'The Wall' fell and I lost my virginity sometime too but we have to keep those things in perspective.
Without enough money to buy records, I depended on radio and cassettes to listen to music and cassettes made it possible to record radio and copy complete albums for a fraction of the price.
The disadvantages were great: I couldn't be too picky about what I got since it was second hand by definition and radio rarely played exactly what I wanted to record. Then there were the DJ's who felt it was their job to blabber through intro's and outro's and even if they didn't, they played the 12" or extended version of a song.
I really hated that at the time. The 7" single/ radio-edit version of a song was the 'original' version to me, it was the track that made the song a hit and I had no interest whatsoever for a remix or otherwise alternative cut.
My taste fortunately hasn't got stuck in the 80's. For sentiment I have a few cheap 80's compilations and I've learned to appreciate longer edits of songs, say by Tom Moulton or Walter Gibbons.
The 12"/80's CD set is comparable to the 70's set 12"s I've had before. It's a cardboard sleeve with 3 slimline CD cases, hardly any info and no artwork. It's the tracklist that has to do the selling. The 35 tracks are from the Universal catalogue but they're all typically 80's and fairly big hits. The UK Family Recordings label has some compilations, mostly in the dance-genre.
Family / Universal, 2007

12"/80s Pop (close to 300MB)
CD 1
CD 2
CD 3

16 April 2007

Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration

Another anniversary release, this time for the legendary Stax label. There's no shortage on Stax compilations (I've had a few up before, which I can't replace atm) and you probably have a lots of tunes on this set on other CDs too (tracklist).
It doesn't hurt that much since these songs are classics, both timeless and era-defining. You need to be aware of other Stax-collections because there is a lovely 9CD box set with all the singles and a 4 CD set called 'The Stax story', for example.
In line with the 50th anniversary there are 50 tracks on 2 CDs. This release is further OK because of the box and the booklet. The box is just a box with a 'lenticular image' sticker with ths Stax logo of the fingers actually "snappin'" when you tilt the box. The very nice booklet has the history of the label with details on the sound and loads of beautiful pictures of the artists. One complaint: the box is a bit too tight so the booklet curves a bit, as if it's been wet and dried.
So it's a great introduction to the awesome music of Stax, with recordings from 1961 to 1974, maybe not the definitive compilation and probably not the last. The rights are apparently partly owned by the Concord Music Group which has more classic stuff (jazz mostly) but also seems to release contemporary recordings.
Stax / Concord, 2007

Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration (209MB)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Identical files on RS.DE:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

13 April 2007

For Dancers Only

I've been addicted to the Kent releases of Ace records for a while now, they make up a large part of this blog. This year is the 25th anniversary celebration of Kent, celebrated with the re-release of the first Kent LP on CD. 'For Dancers Only' is copy of that first LP from 1982 compiled by "Harboro' Horace" (Ady Croasdell) who did this for the main reason of seeing his name on an LP sleeve...
I'm grateful for this of course, seeing the wealth of record archives he and other people made available to the public over the years.
You can find bits and pieces about the history of Kent, Ace and this album on the Ace website: here , here and here.
Happy birthday Kent and may you live long and prosper!
Kent / Ace, 2007

For Dancers Only

08 April 2007

Booker T & The MG's - Green Onions & Soul Dressing

Odd chances. Say you record a jam which is good enough as a single release ('Behave Yourself'), you need a B-side too. And then the B-side turns out to be even better, creating the smash hit and signature tune 'Green Onions'. Needless to say you need to follow up with an entire album to cash in when the fire's still hot. That, in short is the story behind this album.
There wasn't much (but a little though) before this as Booker T. Jones was 17 at the time and guitarist Steve Cropper only 21. There came a lot after Green Onions when the band became the house band of Stax, famous artists in their own right and influential writers/producers for other musicians.
The Green Onions album (1962) is a good collection but not particularly remarkable. The song 'Green Onions' still stands today and is probably the tune most associated with the band.

Soul Dressing is the second album (1965) and is more interesting as a whole, imho, but lacks the obvious successor to 'Green Onions'. It's a bit hairsplitting because the sound and musical quality are the same but on Soul Dressing the songs written by the band outnumber the covers, contrary to Green Onions. There shouldn't be a clear distinction either between the albums as the songs from Soul Dressing were recorded over the 2 years between both albums and not in a short time frame.
The CDs I've ripped are remastered re-releases from early 90's. The linernotes contain the cover and track info and can be folded open to display the original LP linernotes. These CDs are still available afaik and so are 'best of' sets. The biggest hits can usually also be found on Stax compilations; I'll get one up next week or so.
Atlantic, 1991

Booker T & The MG's - Green Onions & Soul Dressing (90 MB)

06 April 2007

Dyke & The Blazers - We Got More Soul

"The Ultimate Broadway Funk", because that's what this is about, funk rather than soul. Dyke wasn't one of the inventers of funk but was one of the shapers of it and the first to use the word "funky" in a songtitle, as the original artists behind 'Funky Broadway'. That song became #1 in the RnB charts sung by Wilson Pickett.
Dyke was moderately successful in live and shot at 27 in 1971 his career was cut dramatically short but he was already a heavy heroine user at the time too. Just prior to his death, he'd been considering working with one Barry White...
This is a 2CD containing as many tracks as could be found (32), in the full length versions whenever possible, most previously unreleased. The recordings range from 1966 to 1970. It's steaming and raw, very raw!, with a noticeable development through the years. For fun there's a track with a few takes from radio promo's included.
The CDs are divided in a 'Phoenix' part and a 'Hollywood' part, reflecting the recording places.
This release makes Dyke's funk history accessible. You get extensive info on the band, the songs, the recording sessions and it's littered with pictures in the 23 page booklet. The label is Beat Goes Public which is a child of Ace records, and that's the quality you can expect.
BGP / Ace, 2007

Dyke & The Blazers - We Got More Soul (+/- 195MB)
CD 1
CD 2

03 April 2007

Andre Williams - Movin' On With

The follow up on the 'Movers!' post. "Greasy & explicit soul movers 1956 - 1970" contains 28 tracks by Andre Williams under various names and with various bands, mostly sung by Williams but a few instrumentals too.
How much fun Movers! is, it can only contain a little depth due to it's breadth. Considering this CD has music from a 24 year period (emphasis on late 60's), you'll understand there's more than just soul but it spans everything from R&B to funk, very much funky actually. So if you got excited by the Movers! set (I was) there's every reason to check this one out.
The CD has not so much information, on the sleeve and booklet a few pictures. The booklet contains a (9 page, small print) monologue written by Andre Williams himself, detailing his life and career. An ass kicking release (CD or 2LP) from Vampi!
Vampisoul, 2006

Andre Williams - Movin' On With (106 MB)
Part 1
Part 2


I'm usually silent for no good reason but last week I wasn't in because I had to test some cocktails and sample some cigars. A rather good place to do this is Cuba where you can concentrate on this serious business in nice weather, with beautiful women around you and music everywhere. Hard work, I tell you.
Tourists look for entertainment and Cubans look for convertible pesos and where both parties meet there's music. Next to asking for a contribution, the musicians generally offer a CD too. It doesn't sound as good at home as in a bar, just like the pictures don't capture the feel of sipping a daiquiri under a palmtree or smoking a Romeo y Julieta on the backseat of a 1956 Buick. You also shouldn't take this too seriously because the music played for tourists doesn't reflect the wealth of Cuban music (see Wikipedia), although I suspect young Cubans are more into reggaetón.
Cuarteto GalaI met Cuarteto Gala in tourist center Varadero, in the bar atop the Dupont mansion (picture). I was taken there by a convenient airconditioned bus; the musicians had been hitchhiking since 5 AM. These are the guys you hire to liven up a formal gathering, starting out in the background but will eventually attract attention with their renditions of Cuban classics. If the tourists want to hear "Buena Vista Social Club" they'll play that but they know their revolutionary tunes too. 'Hasta Siempre Comandante' (Che Guavara) is a popular song with everyone. 'Guantanamera' will get played at some point. Always.
Septeto Tradición is a bar band, you can probably find them in bar/restaurant La Lluvia de Oro in Havana. Enthousiastic showmen and -woman who'll try to get you to salsa with them. Not only more enjoyable live than on CD but their main singer Porfilio Maure has a truly impressive voice which can't be fully appreciated on the CD, at least not in the way he blasted through the cafe on a rare solo performance.
The CDs are 'home-pressed' or sort of at least. Cheap printwork, simple recordable CDs and the recordings leave a bit to desire but nothing worse than what the local band in the bar around the corner at home sells. It's not bad to spend money in Cuba and in stead of other tacky souvenirs these CDs bring 10 CUC (seems the price they're all asking, it's roughly 1:1 to the US dollar and the Euro) to the guys who work for it.
So mix yourself a Cuba Libre or blend a Piña Colada and enjoy the music, I can't think of another way to share the wonderful experience I had in a beautiful country with great people.

Cuarteto Gala - Volumen 1 (47 MB)
Septeto Tradicion - Yo Soy Cuba (76 MB)