A Good Old Circus

An inaction-packed couple of days leaves me little with which to entertain you peripherally–care to hear about my new crown or my crossing my own no-NFL-TV picket line?–so let’s get to the music.

Indeed, it is, as Al Johnson memorably sang (and still sings), CARNIVAL TIME! We always celebrate that in our house, and Sunday I lazily clicked on a YouTube playlist I made last February and ended up listening to the whole thing (at the expense of investigating any albums). It’s not half-bad, and it’s not just the well-known tracks, though those can be played endlessly. Let me offer it to you again–it features great songs from the above-pictured Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas, Danny White, Lil’ Buck Sinegal, and Betty Harris (clockwise from upper-left). Bon temps roulez all the way into March!

Heroes are Gang Leaders: The Amiri Baraka Sessions

The 2018 American Book Award winners for oral literature go way out, around, and inside the life and work of Baraka. It helps to have some of the poet’s oeuvre under your belt, but it isn’t necessary–you live in this world. Poetry-with-music of both a volcanic and bitterly hilarious nature.

Interjazz IV: Good Old Circus

Skeptics say you can’t tell wide-open free sessions apart, but when Willem Breuker’s in the house, even a neophyte listener’s earbrows are sure to be arched by distinct features. That title is perfect. With drummers by the name of Moholo and Oxley cracking the whip.

Sir Shina Peters: Sewele

The newest offering from Strut Records’ Original Masters subscription series is the first juju record other than King Sunny Ade’s that I’ve ever heard. Though the keyboardist can overexpress himself cornily at times, Peters’ singing and guitar are more than within shouting distance of his more famous compadre.

Stax Singles Volume 4–Rarities and The Best of the Rest

One would think that by a fourth volume (and each is a multi-disc set) the compilers would be loudly scraping barrel’s bottom. Not so. Yes, there are some mediocrities, but the many delights (instro-rockers The Cobras–guy named Cropper on guit–Rufus Thomas delivering a miraculous “Fine and Mellow,” the Nightingales’ scintillating “A Little Overcome,” Hot Sauce covering Swamp Dogg, The Dixie Nightingale’s heart-stopping “The Assassination”) beach them in their wake. I am strange, but, not planning to, I listened to the whole thing in a sitting. Also: if you didn’t know, Jim Stewart and Co. recording a lot more black music than soul.

…and still out in my truck is good ol’ Sandinista! One thing I forgot to mention the other day is how wonderful it was that the boys shared their tracks with a church choir, a little kid, and Timon Dogg (humanistic, democratic outreach in action) and moved their vocals into the mix’s midrange. It annoyed the ever-lovin’ shit out of me when I was 19, but I was a dum-dum; I totally get it now, and it makes me smile! Miss ya, Joe.

Cubano Beatitudes

I’ve been in an unshakable jazz mood for the most part the last two days, with a nice boost from fellow phono phanatic and ace Cuban cook Jimmy Trotter. I’m telling you, if you’re ever in Fulton, Missouri, between 11 and 2 in the afternoon, find The Fulton Cafe and ask Jimmy what you need–he will tell you with great accuracy and verve, then serve it to you with relish. Yesterday? A Cubano sandwich for me, ajiaco for Nicole, and fresh fruit salad, sweet espresso and poached guava with cream cheese and crackers for us both! Damn, man! And on his visits back to the table to check on us, Mr. Trotter educated us on the band Acetone, which I will be reporting back on in a few days. As I left, I was moaning to him about physical media, and instead of commiserating like most everyone else does, Jimmy enthused, “It’s all about building the perfect collection, man.” Yeah. I digress, but when I got home I jacked the Cachao comp referred to below in the changer and cranked it, and went ahead and ordered that Patato & Totico LP I’d been hesitating about for three weeks.

For your listening pleasure, here’s a playlist sampling the records below–including the entire Cachao compilation.

Also, did you know Carnival season has begun? Get yourself loosened up Louisiana style with yet another Living to Listen playlist! Shuffle these 47 tracks and you will be lit and lifted.

Cachao: Master Sessions, Volume 2

The titular master’s tumbling lope drives these tracks, but guest Paquito D’Rivera’s alto sax and clarinet often shift the mesmerizing rhythm into a classical gear. Volume 1 is terrific, too, and dig Doug Erb’s cover art for both volumes!

Leonard Cohen: Can’t Forget

A weird live document consisting of mostly soundchecks, with the late scoundrel audaciously (not to say successfully) singing the blues and covering George Jones. Like his fellow “poet” Robert Zimmerman, he gets away with some serious shit.

Creation Rebel: Vibrations 1978-1982

Take several pieces of Prince Far I’s band–like a lot of instrumental reggae and Adrian Sherwood productions these leave me a little cold.

Global Unity Orchestra: Baden-Baden ’75

Check out the number of artists listed on the cover (and, of course, their names), and you might question how much orchestral unity is possible. Skepticism is good. But these folks have great ears, and the move as a team–it’s a matter of expanding your idea of unification. A turbulent, dense, and exciting session.

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society

Cute, wry, attractively loose, tuneful, this album is certainly one of their best, and it’s got philosophical teeth, too. I was delighted to hear my wife humming along in the next room to several songs about impermanence. I wish “Days” had closed the original release, but at least it’s on my expanded edition.

Charles Mingus: East Coasting

A foggy, restrained vibe–in contrast to the hot, direct sunlight and nearly wild atmosphere of better-known Mingus sessions–conceals a classic unit (Hadi, Richmond, Knepper in particular) playing with great soul and power. One of the bassist-composer’s most underrated records.

Phineas Newborn: Fabulous Phineas

The deft-fingered wizard from Memphis delivers his first solo session, and quicksilver would be an understatement in describing this ’50s solo session.

Charlie Parker: Early Bird–with Jay McShann and his Orchestra

I wager many have checked this Stash-label recording out strictly as Bird-watchers and have come away gobsmacked by one of the best swing bands of the war years. McShann was the man for many decades; every American house should have a record the pianist plays on. The kind of blues Albert Murray vaunted as an aid to stomping out of the briar patches of life.

Jimmy Scott: Falling in Love is Wonderful

The album cover will not delight the #MeToo movement, but inside the jacket the man who influenced as many female as male singers is at his absolute best, stretching and bending a set of heartbreaking standards. With Ray Charles playing piano and label-head.

David S. Ware: Godspelized

That title is a bit awkward, but Ware, a tenor saxophonist of gravid tone and wide beam, takes outward stylistically and upward spiritually. No gospel covers, unless Sun Ra’s “The Stargazers” counts, but a call is being placed to the beyond. Featuring Ware’s frequent partners Matthew Shipp and William Parker, with Susie Ibarra on drums–no slouches they.

Mostly Catching Up, Partly Second-Guessing—and Remembering a Question I Usually Forget

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House-cleaning: catching up on items from last year that I either slept on or hadn’t given enough time. Due diligence: checking out a hot item from 2019 (that adjective ain’t mine–yet). Inspiration and research: diving deeper into the work of a player featured in last year’s Oxford American Southern Music issue, which you should buy–it’s chock-full of goodness. Vehicular study carrel: revisiting a friend from 37 years ago I didn’t appreciate enough.

Bad Bunny: X100 PRE

I’m not sure how bad because my Spanish ain’t so hot. That trap rattle is so pervasive I’m either gonna have to practice or punt.

Etta Baker: One Dime Blues

I’d heard Baker pick on a great Music Makers CD book companion, but a wonderful article in the above-linked OA sent me scurrying to this, which not only induced me to read while listening to it, but also beguiled me with fluid-but-ear-tickling picking ala Doc Watson and David Doucet.

The Clash: Sandinista!

Still growing on me after four decades. Lord, I was green and impatient in (at?) the mercy of rockism’s means when I pouted at it in ’81! I’m not sure even London Calling is as interesting as its follow-up, and the band’s continuing drive to grow and learn (mentally and musically) misted by driver’s eyes as I beheld it once again. They had brains (always), brawn (when they needed it), and big blood-pumpers–bigger than any punks I can think of from their time to now. Now: if I can just better judge every record by how likely I’ll be to be listening to it when I’m 95….

Hop Along: Bark Your Head Off, Dog

Kid’s songs are sharp, especially “One That Suits Me.” But that voice–I’m not sure it serves the songs like it could. Half-hector, half-hyperhiccup, it defies me like Kleenex, Joni Mitchell, and Corin Tucker don’t; perhaps that’s the point. But I find myself listening through her for not only the words but the band, which holds surprises.

Joshua Redman: Still Dreaming

I have had an irrational aversion to Redman since the days of his rivalry with my man James Carter. But damned if this doesn’t sharply honor his dad’s and Ornette’s method and sound; in fact, he’s so inventively, confidently languid it’s almost a new reality. And Brian Blade? Somewhere, Higgins and Blackwell are smiling from ear to ear. Who knows: maybe this offering will lure Carter out of the recording wilds?

Henry Threadgill: Double Up, Plays Double Up Plus

I’m sorry: I love Threadgill’s alto (he doesn’t play on this at all) and respect his compositions, but that harrumphing tuba irritates the shit out of me. My New Year’s Resolution is to be more honest with myself.

Thurst: Project Isle Demotion

Though these slackers’ new EP is slacker than Cut to the Chafe, its ventings are so inventive they may catch you up short. Just after you’ve begun to muse about Mark E. Smith after two songs about titular “fuckfaces,” they assay “Reading Poetry Over Noise,” which features stiffened short hairs and post-nasal drip, then close up shop.

Miguel Zenón: Yo Soy La Tradición

The 42-year-old Puerto Rican alto saxophonist is fully integrated here with the deft Spektral [string] Quartet, playing with fire, imagination, lyricism, and discipline and achieving an admirable balance between the jazz, classical, and folk music that informs the project. At about the time it threatens to lapse into gentility, some flamenco-ized handclaps snap them and the listener out of it.

2019 Opening Gesture? Canasta and Soul Serenades

I am an album guy, just like I’m a novel guy. On New Year’s Day ’19, Nicole and I drank screwdrivers, played four hands of Canasta, and loaded up the changer with smokin’ soul, mostly in the form of compilations. Today, I shook out the cobwebs with a Alvin Youngblood Hart-dominated movie soundtrack from years ago about which I knew zilch–and AYH is my man.

I hope whatever you serenaded yourselves with as you passed into the last year of the Teens was equally soulful.

Chitlin Circuit Soul

The blossoming of what they still call soul blues (’73-’97)–not quite as raunchy yet as it has gotten, but Bobby Rush’s “Sue” points the way (also starring Z.Z. Hill, Bobby Bland, Latimore, Little Milton, Millie Jackson, and Marvin Sease).

Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures Taken from the Vaults…Volume 2

All of Godin’s comps are musts for soul fans who’ve just traversed the canon–here, the gems are underappreciated classics from masters like Otis Redding, Johnny Adams, and Irma Thomas as well stone eternals from the here-and-gone Wendy Rene, Eddie Giles, Doris Duke, Bessie Banks and Toussaint McCall. Better than Volume 1!

Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man the Way That I Love You

Re’s voice and piano are Olympian–but King Curtis’ tenor and Jimmy Johnson’s guitar are very worthy escorts.

Funky Broadway–Stax Revue Live at the 5/4 Ballroom

I just finished Jonathan Gould’s excellent Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life, which has re-whetted my appetite for all things Stax. Here’s a 1965 package tour document from Los Angeles that’s uneven but exciting. No Otis or Sam and Dave, but the MGs, Mar-Keys, William Bell, and Rufus Thomas shine.

The Genius of Ray Charles

Really, not much soul here–it’s mostly standards (a rollicking “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Am I Blue,” a couple by Charles’ idol Louis Jordan), delivered with panache–but “Two Years of Torture” is the essence of deep cut and “Come Rain or Come Shine” is seldom anthologized. The guiding format for his ABC years is taking shape, and why would anyone have been surprised?

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 1976

Way out of print, but definitely worth tracking down. Toussaint, Dorsey, Thomas, King, K-Doe, and Parker all deliver the goods with conviction and sharp backing, Lightnin’ Hopkins strikes from Texas with three raw bolts, and the set closes with Fess rolling out magnificent versions of “Tipitina” and “Mardi Gras in New Orleans.”

Sam Cooke: A Man and His Music

Not counting the opener, written by God, and the closer, written by a transported Cooke just prior to his demise, most of this material, had it been sung by, say, a teen idol of the time, would have been revealed as pretty crappy. But it wasn’t sung by them.

Soundtrack to film The Great Debaters

Alvin Youngblood Hart is one of the most underrated blues guitar players and singers alive, and he’s never felt limited to the blues. I’d heard of but not seen the film this music was recorded for, and didn’t know Hart was involved. Involved he is, aided and abetted passionately by none other than Sharon Jones and the Carolina Chocolate Drops. The material’s pre-war gospel and offerings from the likes of the Mississippi Sheiks and Tampa Red.

The Stax/Volt Revue Volume 1–Live in London

More live Stax–March 1967. If I recall my recent reading accurately, this was the first time the MGs had ever played live behind these acts–cost-cutting was the motive, and Booker T and the boys were studio rats, normally. Here we do have Eddie Floyd, Otis, and a near-cataclysmic three-song closing salvo by Sam and Dave.

Sweet Soul Music–Voices from the Shadows

One of the greatest soul music compilations ever, assembled by Joe McEwen and Peter Guralnick as a companion for Guralnick’s just-as-great soul history of the same name. Like the Godin collection above (with which it shares a couple tracks), it is essential for listeners who’ve just kept to soul’s main roads. Honestly, as a whole, it aches, never more heartbreakingly than on George Perkins and the Silver Stars’ “Crying in the Streets,” the ballad of April 5, 1968.

Note: I would like to thank visitors for reading. I kind of fell off the cyberplanet for most of 2018’s second half, and I hope to appear more consistently in 2019.

Overeem’s Hot 100 Albums for 2018, Rendered Down to 100 Videos (PLAY LOUDLY, ON SHUFFLE) (December 12, 2018, Stephens College, Columbia, MO)

Tracey RecordVS. Rosalia


It’s End of The Year List time, and–as you know if you’ve been following along–I’ve been meticulously preparing for it. We have a couple more Fridays’ worth of releases in 2018, but I have a feeling not too much will change about my mile-long scroll of favorite what-we-used-to-call-records.

Don’t get me started on politics, but 2018 was an exciting and surprisingly transformative year for me in terms of what I listened to and how I listened to it. I worked very diligently to stay out of the curmudgeon’s bunker; popular and semi-popular music, just like the world that produces it, is in a state of constant flux, and were I to grouse about its current state, well–what would that run parallel to in the social and political world (I ask myself all the time)? When I think of grouchy white men shaking their fists at the sky and yearning for old times in non-musical sectors of experience, those would be the exact folks I’m not lining up behind. Perhaps my analogy is faulty, but it feels solid for me, and, quite honestly, I love and more importantly respect flux.

I don’t think I tried too hard to do it–often I was drawn as moth to flame, though I didn’t pay the moth’s price–but I indulged in far more pop and dance music than I have in awhile. Crucially, though, all four of my beacons (Tracey Thorn, JLin, Rosalia, Robyn) laced their fun with social commentary that was far from ham-handed. Plus, it was fun, like great pop is supposed to be. I make no apologies for feeling pleasure at this point in my life, especially from music.

Far more than in any musical year I remember, my listening was dominated by women’s voices. I have always tried to be a feminist, and the way our world’s burning right now I know I have to up my game, so one might suspect that I’m–hmmm–overcorrecting? I don’t think so. It just so happens that women have made made most of the liveliest, smartest, funniest, boldest, and most defiant records this year. I was suspicious of myself, so I triple- and quadruple-checked, especially things I lurved way back in January. Most of that stuff still works wonders.

Elsewhere? Not a lot of rock, but so what? Plenty of free jazz because it helps me with my brain. Some great international records because it’s not just about u.s. A nice tablespoon full of vivacious oldsters whom Death may find it hard to kill. Hip hop to the max. And really—the sheer amount of really solid records. This could be illusion, because I surrendered to Apple Music and thus listened to more records (at the expense of my old ones) than ever before. Thing is, though, I seldom felt I was wasting my time.

To test my theories and judgment, play this YouTube playlist loudly, on shuffle, and prepare to stretch some. Speaking of theories, I think being equally comfortable swiveling on the dance floor and tracking someone’s battle with entropy through your headphones in a darkened room is a worthy goal that might help you make friends and, if not influence your enemies, at least de-nut them.

Home Stretch: The Best Records of 2018, with One Month to Go (December 2, 2018, Columbia, Missouri)


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I feel like my life has been too hectic lately even for music. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, life…death: the month of November was a massive wave that washed over me and left me lying here on December’s shore. I might have written about music had any event really taken form; even my college pop music students were busy doing research, so not much entertaining (certainly from their perspective) was going in the ivory yurt. Upon reflection, at least these moments remain fairly vivid:

My wife and I listened to a ’50s/’60s blues playlist I made for her throughout our trip to my parents’ for Thanksgiving and back. Nicole: “I am just in love with the sound of this period of blues–the electricity, the voices, the power.” I cannot say I disagree. The playlist mixes icons like the above gentleman with characters from the shadows, many of them captured on great compilations like Super Rare Electric Blues 60s Era and Scratchin’: The Wild Jimmy Spruill Story.

I have been positively addicted to the music of Catalonia’s nuevo flamenco firebrand Rosalia. Her voice is powerful, the rhythms that support it–especially on her recent El Mal Quererare intoxicating and blood-quickening, and she seems better able than any artist I’ve seriously bent an ear to this year to chase demons out. A measure of my love and respect for this record is that I just ordered the vinyl–from Spain.

A week ago today, the Columbia, Missouri, rapper featured above died under circumstances that remain shadowy, though the local sheriff’s department says that, as indicated in its ongoing investigation, he was shot while perpetrating an armed robbery. I’ve known the kid since 2010, I was his teacher for 180 days, I’ve witnessed and heard testimony to his evolution into a positive force for good in our community, and, while he may have been up to something (and very well may not have), it wasn’t robbery. Whatever it was, as a friend says, Columbia now has a hole that is going to be hard to fill. The first essay he wrote for me, in August of 2010, detailed–really, in classical style–his journey through dangerous street episodes to an understanding that he had the charisma, skills, and energy to devote to positive change in his home city. The last eight years have provided plenty of evidence that he was evolving even further, but now we’ll never know. I’m pouring out a pint glass of white-man juicy haze IPA onto the curb for you, Ahmonta Harris–I know you will appreciate the mischief. Read more about who he was here.

Also, I have either being lazy or desperate or both in rescuing and “repurposing” on this blog some old, old pieces I once wrote under the nom de plume of “The Reverend Wayne Coomers” during the first half of the ‘Oughts, for a website I invented and commandeered called The First Church of Holly Rock and Roll. I actually wrote sermons. At one point, I even had a staff (here’s a notable contributor’s section). And we were very highly-principled. Check ’em out if you’d like a chuckle before they disappear.


Which brings me to this facile undertaking: tweaked oh-so-delicately from last month, 150 albums from this calendar year I pronounce “very good” (think of their grades as 86.5% or better, and fuck your charges of grade inflation–this is pop music!) and 35 issues of old music (some of it which has appeared before, some just excavated) that are also B-plussy. I know: you’re saying to yourself, “11 female acts in your Top 20, man? Sure you’re not letting the politics of the moment bleed into your critical acumen?” Yeah, I’m sure. It’s simply the music that moves me the most, that I’ve listened to the most, and if the moment is moving me, well, that’s life. Plus, I’m honestly evolving critically anyway, and I have the good fortune not to have to be done yet.

  1. Tracy Thorn: Record
  2. Rosalia: El Mal Querer
  3. CupcaKe: Ephorize
  4. Bettye LaVette: Things Have Changed
  5. JLin: Autobiography (Music from Wayne McGregor’s Autobiography)
  6. Chloe x Halle: The Kids are Alright
  7. The Internet: Hive Mind
  8. Zeal & Ardor: Stranger Fruit
  9. Noname: Room 25
  10. Makaya McCraven: Universal Beings
  11. Pistol Annies: Interstate Gospel
  12. Sly & Robbie and Nils Petter Molvaer: Nordub
  13. Orquesta Akokan: Orquesta Akokan
  14. Pusha T: Daytona
  15. Parquet Courts: Wide Awake!
  16. Elza Soares: Deus É Mulher
  17. John Prine: The Tree of Forgiveness
  18. Janelle Monae: Dirty Computer
  19. Berry: Everything, Compromised
  20. JD Allen: Love Stone
  21. Superchunk: What A Time to Be Alive
  22. Mary Gauthier and Songwriting with Soldiers: Rifles and Rosary Beads
  23. Toni Braxton: Sex & Cigarettes
  24. Cloud Nothings: Last Building Burning
  25. Joe McPhee: Imaginary Numbers
  26. Nidia: Nídia É Má, Nídia É Fudida
  27. Fat Tony: 10,000 Hours
  28. Blood Orange: Negro Swan
  29. Swamp Dogg: Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune
  30. Subtle Degrees: A Dance That Empties
  31. Daniel Carter: Seraphic Light
  32. Alice Bag: Blue Print
  33. The Necks: Body
  34. Michot’s Melody Makers: Blood Moon
  35. Hamell on Trial: The Night Guy
  36. Young Fathers: Cocoa Sugar
  37. Quelle Chris & Jean Grae: Everything’s Fine
  38. Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis: Wild! Wild! Wild!
  39. James Brandon Lewis: Radiant Imprints
  40. boygenius: EP
  41. Mitski: Be the Cowboy
  42. Peter Brotzmann and Heather Leigh: Sparrow Nights
  43. Tropical Fuck Storm: A Laughing Death in Meatspace
  44. Sons of Kemet: Your Queen is a Reptile
  45. Lisbon Freedom Unit: Praise of Our Folly
  46. Doctor Nativo: Guatemaya
  47. SOPHIE: The Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-insides
  48. The Goon Sax: We’re Not Talking
  49. Lyrics Born: Quite a Life
  50. Grupo Mono Blanco: ¡Fandango! Sones Jarochos from Veracruz
  51. DJ Juan Data: Ritmos Crotos, Volume 1
  52. Chhoti Maa: Agua Corre
  53. Ken Vandermark / Klaus Kugel / Mark Tokar: No-Exit Corner
  54. Tallowit Timbouctou: Hali Diallo
  55. Knife Knights: 1 Time Mirage
  56. Angelika Niescier: The Berlin Concert
  57. Young Mothers: Morose
  58. Kelela: Take Me Apart—The Remixes
  59. Becky Warren: Undesirable
  60. No Age: Snares Like a Haircut
  61. Kids See Ghosts: Kids See Ghosts
  62. Sidi Toure: Toubalbero
  63. Robyn: Honey
  64. Neneh Cherry: Broken Politics
  65. Tyshawn Sorey: Pillars
  66. Chhoti Maa: Caldo de Hueso
  67. Wynton Marsalis & Friends: United We Swing–Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas
  68. La Maison Noir: The Black House
  69. Jonghyun: Poet / Artist
  70. Serengeti: Dennis 6e
  71. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Hope Downs
  72. Mandy Barnett: Strange Conversation
  73. Dave Holland: Uncharted Territories
  74. Halu Mergia: Lalu Balu
  75. Full Blast: Live in Rio
  76. Mekons 77: It Is Twice Blessed
  77. Jeffrey Lewis: Works by Tuli Kupferberg
  78. Bombino: Deran
  79. Teyana Taylor: T.S.E.
  80. Earl Sweatshirt: Some Rap Songs
  81. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids: An Angel Fell
  82. Rapsody: Laila’s Wisdom
  83. Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt: Brace Up!
  84. Sarayah: Feel the Vibe
  85. Jinx Lennon: Grow a Pair
  86. The Thing: Again
  87. Tierra Whack: Whack World
  88. Lori McKenna: The Tree
  89. Chief Keef: The Kozart
  90. Nas: Nasir
  91. Speedy Ortiz: Twerp Verse
  92. Courtney Barnett: Tell Me How You Really Feel
  93. Car Seat Headrest: Twin Fantasy
  94. Makaya McCraven: Where We Come From (Chicago x London Mixtape)
  95. Evan Parker, Barry Guy, and Paul Lytton: Music for David Mossman
  96. Salim Washington: Dogon Revisited
  97. Beats Antique: Shadowbox
  98. Jon Hassell: Listening To Pictures (Pentimento, Vol. One)
  99. Charge It to The Game: House with a Pool
  100. JPEGMAFIA: Veteran
  101. The Beths: The Future Hates Me
  102. Various Artists: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun…and Rights!!!
  103. Apolo: Live in Stockholm
  104. Mdou Moctar & Elite Beat: Mdou Moctar meets Elite Beat In a Budget Dancehall
  105. Willie Nelson: Last Man Standing
  106. Mudhoney: Digital Garbage
  107. Wussy: What Heaven is Like
  108. Ahmoudou Madassane: Zerzura (Original Soundtrack Recording)
  109. Kiefer: happysad
  110. Meshell Ndegeocello: Ventriloquism
  111. Freddie Gibbs: Freddie
  112. Kamasi Washington: Heaven & Earth
  113. Don Flemons: Black Cowboy
  114. Cardi B: Invasion of Privacy
  115. Shopping: The Official Body
  116. Cypress Hill: Elephants on Acid
  117. Maria Muldaur: Don’t You Feel My Leg—The Naughty Bawdy Blues of Blu Lu Barker
  118. Dana Murray: Negro Manifesto
  119. Shame: Songs of Praise
  120. Henry Threadgill: .and More Dirt
  121. Ceramic Dog: YRU Still Here?
  122. Marc Ribot: Songs of Resistance 1942-2018
  123. The Coup: Soundtrack to the Film Sorry to Bother You
  124. ALLBLACK & Kenny Beats: Two-Minute Drills
  125. Van Morrison & Joey DeFrancesco: You’re Driving Me Crazy
  126. Various Artists/Sahel Sounds: Field Recordings
  127. E.S. Douze: The Stoned 1
  128. Kendrick Lamar, et al: Black Panther—Music from and Inspired by the Film
  129. Tal National: Tantabara
  130. Rodrigo Amado (with Joe McPhee): History of Nothing
  131. Hop Along: Bark Your Head Off, Dog
  132. MAST: Thelonious Sphere Monk
  133. Tirzah: Devotion
  134. The Chills: Snowbound
  135. Ambrose Akinmusire: Origami Harvest
  136. Eddie Daniels: Heart of Brazil
  137. Big Freedia: Third Ward Bounce
  138. Heather Leigh: Throne
  139. Amy Rigby: The Old Guys
  140. Busdriver: Electricity Is On Our Side
  141. Lonnie Holley: MITH
  142. Del McCoury Band: Del McCoury Still Plays Bluegrass
  143. Michael White: Tricentennial Rag
  144. Migos: Culture II
  145. Yo La Tengo: There’s a Riot Goin’ On
  146. The Carters: Everything is Love
  147. Sleep: The Sciences
  148. The English Beat: Here We Go Love
  149. Princess Nokia: A Girl Cried Red
  150. Santigold: I Don’t Want—The Gold Fire Sessions


  1. Various Artists: The Savory Collection 1935-1940
  2. Dead Moon (2LPs, 1 book)
  3. Sonny Rollins: Way Out West (Deluxe Reissue)
  4. Neil Young: Roxy—Tonight’s the Night
  5. Danny Barker: “Tootie Ma Was Big Fine Thing” / “Corrinne Died on the Battlefield” and “Indian Red” / “Chocko Mo Feendo Hey”
  6. Willie Nelson: Things to Remember—The Pamper Demos
  7. Erroll Garner: Nightconcert
  8. Various Artists: Voices of Mississippi—Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris
  9. Charles Mingus: Jazz in Detroit/Strata Concert Gallery/46 Selden
  10. Joan Jett: Bad Reputation (Music from the Original Motion Picture)
  11. Prince: A Piano and a Microphone
  12. Various Artists: Amarcord Nino Rota
  13. Various Artists: Listen All Around: The Golden Age of Central and East African Music
  14. Gary Stewart: “Baby I Need Your Loving” / “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yester-Day”
  15. Peter Brotzmann and Fred Lonberg-Holm: Ouroboros
  16. Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms
  17. Joe McPhee: Nation Time
  18. Bruce Springsteen: 1978/07/07 West Hollywood, CA
  19. Various Artists: Oxford American, North Carolina Music Issue, 2018
  20. The Revelators: In which the Revelators perform live renditions of selections from the Billy Childish songbook
  21. Against All Logic: 2012-2017
  22. Grant Green: Live at Oil Can Harry’s
  23. Entourage: Ceremony of Dreams—Studio Sessions & Outtakes 1972-1977
  24. Various Artists: Africa Scream Contest, Volume 2
  25. Wussy: Getting Better
  26. Bob Dylan: More Blood, More Tracks—The Bootleg Series, Volume 14
  27. Milford Graves: Babi
  28. David Bowie: Santa Monica ‘72
  29. Various Artists: The Beginning of the End
  30. Mulatu Astatke & His Ethiopian Quintet: Afro-Latin Soul, Vols. 1 & 2
  31. Various Artists: Two Niles to Sing a Melody—The Violins & Synths of Sudan
  32. Feeling Kreyol: Las Pale
  33. Neil Young: Songs for Judy
  34. Joe McPhee: One Day…A Lightning Storm
  35. Camarao: The Imaginary Soundtrack to a Brazilian Western Movie 1964-1974

Lovin’ a 45: I Choose Vinyl Over Soundcloud for No Really Good Reason (November 6th, 2018, Columbia, MO)

VOTE! Intelligently! Doesn’t matter if the weather is bad or the lines are long or you have to interact with other humans–just do it.

OK, now that that’s over with, have you ever dreamed of having your own jukebox? I do, all the time. I am fortunate enough to have everything in life that I really need (as long as music and books keep comin’), and I for damn sure don’t need a jukebox. But I have a small but powerful collection of 45s that are just dyin’ to get inside a machine, and I still buy the little boogers, really, because I think that I am bound to one day own a working model. Guests will be able to play songs gratis (just like they do at Milton’s Cocktails in Fulton, Missouri!), and I’ll set it up right next to my free beer-vending machine!

I had planned ahead for a musical buffer to arrive for the midterm elections, and just in time the postman delivered. From 12XU Records came a sampling from the newest project from Niangua (MO)-born rock and roller John Schooley, Rocket 808. I’ve been following Schooley’s work for over twenty years, from his time in Columbia, MO’s long-lost and -missed Revelators to his raving One Man Band 45s (on Goner) and albums (on Voodoo Rhythm) to his defiant albums with The Hard Feelings to his exciting team-ups with master harp-blower Walter Daniels on Dead Mall Blues. I’m committed to his records ’cause he’s committed to making good ones, and the new 7″ (album coming soon) is no exception. If I told you he deliberately set out to meld instro guitar-hero twang-‘n’-tremble with nerve-rattling Suicide-inspired mechanical percussion, then realized that idea’s potential straight out of the gate, would you believe me? Yeah, I encourage you to question authority, too, so here:

On the flip, Schooley is the latest to hop on “Mystery Train” for a ride, and while it doesn’t provide as unique a rush as “Digital Billboards,” it does wail–as does the artist, trading Presley’s whoop for a hanging-from-a-railcar scream.

I will keep you posted on that album, folks.


Also stuffed in the mailbox was a package of singles straight from the New Orleans streets–specifically, from the mysterious mostly-vinyl-only Sinking City record label. I do not know much about the folks behind Sinking City, and they (rather refreshingly) do not issue releases in torrents. I will say that since my first purchase, a 12″ re-release of Ricky B’s absolutely essential, absolutely addictive, absolutely yellable “Shake For Ya Hood,” I’ve bought almost everything the label’s released with great satisfaction. They’ve marched into my home as if they owned it (and they do)–they are Louisiana-stamped. Stooges Brass Band’s Street Music, maybe the best brass band record of the decade. 79rs Gang’s Fire on the Bayou, a Mardi Gras Indians record stripped down to the basics like Run-DMC did their attack (also, it teams 7th and 9th Ward Indians). A classic 45 RPM-set reissue of the first commercially-recorded Mardi Gras Indian chants, fired by legendary guitarist and NOLA griot Danny Barker. This year’s haunting Blood Moon, by Michot’s Melody Makers, easily a best-of-2018 candidate and too powerful to be called a Lost Bayou Ramblers spin-off.

Their newest gem, released in tandem with Urban Unrest Records, is simply titled “The SCR Hip Hop 45 Series.” Three new, very street, very historically aware, very catchy singles by the likes of Blackbird & Seprock, Paco Troxclair, and and Ze11a, with guest appearances by Anderson Paak and (no surprise) Mannie Fresh–plus (enough of an inducement to buy it right here) the great “Shake For Ya Hood” itself. Subject matter? Customary for (and lovable about) a NOLA hip hop offering, a neighborhood call-out; the ins and out of not being in one’s right mind; duffy-ness; nostalgia for ladies coloring their hair with “all flavors” of Kool-Aid; a boast that one’s “honey will get her nut / like Cheerios”; and observations of the dangerous life. I’ve already played all four of them four times since I opened the package last night at 5:30 pm, so my enthusiasm is not just jerked from my knee. You try ’em:

Only quibble: Sinking City should have thrown in a 5th single, by NOLA MC Charm Taylor, a woman whose handle is both perfectly fitting and subtly ironic. You can buy her newest tracks for a buck (as well as her reissued 2015 album) on Bandcamp, or sample her here: