Doors to My Heart

Wayne Shorter: Emanon

A good friend gifted me with, um, a sampling of Ol’ Mr. Weird’s new opus, and on first immersion, I’m happy to report his playing is very powerful and imaginative for a 42-year-old–except he’s 85. The string arrangements create a disembodied aura for the music, but that’s perfectly weird. I’d love to sample the accompanying graphic novel.

The English Beat: Beat This! The Best of The English Beat

With the triumph of streaming, grocery store music ain’t like it used to be. I was piddling around looking for the right cough drop when “Save It for Later” danced out of Gerbes’ soundsystem–stunned, I looked down the aisle and saw another older person bopping his head happily. The soul, intelligence, and movement of the song lit a fire in me, so when I got home, I immediately pulled this and cranked it. They were pegged as ska, and they could nail that, but they grew it into something more personal and unique. With Special Beat Service, they seemed to still be growing–but that was it, after just three great LPs. They’ve reformed, but it’s not quite the same.

The Kampala Sound–1960s Ugandan Dance Music

The warmest and–this is a compliment–cutest sounding African comp I’ve heard. The vocals are mixed way up in the foreground and, along with the ass-tickling guitars, they’re seductive as hell. The whole kit and kaboodle‘s on YouTube, too.

The Flesheaters: A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die

I’ve not had any use for Chris D. except here. Maybe it has to do with the members of The Blasters and X who make up his band. If your mind wanders from the singer’s gaze into the abyss, and it will, it can concentrate on the rhythm section. Booga-booga, boogied.

50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong

And we’re not. This two-cd set’s a great intro to Mark E. Smith, a recently departed genius ranter, poet, eccentric, and curmudgeon the likes of whom we’ll never see again. Backing him, your grandma on bongos sounds great! And for a punk, he was surprisingly adaptable to the pop dance floor: a crank who wasn’t too invested in himself to have fun.

Patato & Totico

Carlos “Patato” Valdes (click that hyperlink, kids) invented the tunable conga drum, and I could swear I read that he also pioneered the three-conga attack, but I can’t locate the source. He’s at his best here, joined by a scintillating cast of Cuban masters, including Arsenio Rodriguez on guitar, Cachao on bass, and Totico on vox. Muy caliente!

Allison Moorer: Show

I received this as a gift from a dear cyber friend, and dug into it yesterday, finally, with great interest. I’d only heard Moorer backing up other artists (notably the much-missed Lonesome Bob) except for her song on The Horse Whisperer soundtrack (don’t ask–well, Dwight Yoakam covers Eddy Arnold on it). This is a superbly recorded, passionately performed live set, featuring Moorer’s sis, Shelby Lynne (their first recorded collab), Mr. Bob, and Kid Rock before he sunk into the pit (it’s a mid-‘Ought rekkid). Dang, she’s got a powerful voice, and she writes a fine, generic-plus country song. But she oversings, and some peculiar mannerisms in her articulation can be distracting; when Lynne takes her verses, the effect is one of mild relief. Still, a heartfelt and boisterous set.

Clifford Brown: The Singer Sessions

Brown’s sound is so burnished, so meticulously dynamic, that, while listening, you can easily get angry (all over again?) that he was taken so young. He’s amazing in a mostly accompanying role on this collection. The singers? Oh, just Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, and Helen Merrill. And should you be wrinkling your nose, perhaps, at the last, she belongs, at the very least by virtue of her great unsung debut, Brown with her every step of the way. Taste it right here.

CONGRATULATIONS to Ms. Jackie Shane and Numero Records for their Grammy nomination! Best Historical Recording: Any Other Way–get caught up on her story right here.


Enjoy a YouTube Playlist that samples these records!

“Baby, I’m Scared of You”: A Halloween Playlist! Plus: Best Records of ’18, 83% of the Way Through This Mess

Please ramp up your Halloween anxiety with this YouTube playlist of my favorite scary records! It’s not meant to be comprehensive–these are the ones we regularly blast out into the street when we await trick-or-treaters in the driveway, a firepot in front of us and libations beside us (tonight: a single barrel Four Roses). It’s heavy on Roky, Dead Moon, The Cramps, and Screamin’ Jay, but it ranges into punk, rap, jazz, and country, too.



Also, what would the end of the month be without an OCD update of my favorite records released this year? It’s been an outstanding one: after thinning the herd in September, I’m back up to 135 records I’d give a B+ or better to if they were my students (some of ’em do grow on you over time!). My list of reissues is up to 25 from 20 for those of you who range across the years or just think music’s been over for awhile. Sad to say, some new records (particularly the new Cloud Nothings) have not made it to my inner ear yet, but I got a sneakyloo listen to the new Pistol Annies and I’m betting heavy on that.

Overeem’s “Best of 2018,” two months from New Year’s

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


  1. Various Artists: The Savory Collection 1935-1940
  2. Sonny Rollins: Way Out West (Deluxe Reissue)
  3. Neil Young: Roxy—Tonight’s the Night
  4. Erroll Garner: Nightconcert
  5. Various Artists: Voices of Mississippi—Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris
  6. Prince: A Piano and a Microphone
  7. Various Artists: Listen All Around: The Golden Age of Central and East African Music
  8. Gary Stewart: “Baby I Need Your Loving” / “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yester-Day”
  9. Peter Brotzmann and Fred Lonberg-Holm: Ouroboros
  10. Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms
  11. Joe McPhee: Nation Time
  12. Bruce Springsteen: 1978/07/07 West Hollywood, CA
  13. The Revelators: In which the Revelators perform live renditions of selections from the Billy Childish songbook
  14. Against All Logic: 2012-2017
  15. Grant Green: Live at Oil Can Harry’s
  16. Entourage: Ceremony of Dreams—Studio Sessions & Outtakes 1972-1977
  17. Kuniyuki Takahashi: Early Tape Works 1986 – 1993 Volume 1
  18. Various Artists: Africa Scream Contest, Volume 2
  19. Wussy: Getting Better
  20. Milford Graves: Babi
  21. David Bowie: Santa Monica ‘72
  22. Various Artists: The Beginning of the End
  23. Mulatu Astatke & His Ethiopian Quintet: Afro-Latin Soul, Vols. 1 & 2
  24. Various Artists: Two Niles to Sing a Melody—The Violins & Synths of Sudan
  25. Feeling Kreyol: Las Pale

Sweet Birds of Youth (June 21st, 2018, Columbia, MO)

An industrious day of exercise, reading, trip-planning, pretending we were on Bourbon Street, and enjoying rain, breeze, and 70-degree weather (it’s been hot here in Misery). But I had enough time to check out two new live recordings from the vaults, capturing two great acts in their late-girlhood, early womanhood.

Nicole and I always wonder, “Why don’t we listen to Bonnie Raitt more?” A great singer and guitarist, a class act, pretty good quality control, a sense of humor–what’s not to love? To some extent, maybe, she’s so damn consistent she’s either a bit boring or taken too often for granted. The above set, recorded on my tenth birthday, finds her delivering a combo of blues and pop covers, most of which eventually found themselves on her early records, with astounding maturity and command. Her guitar playing is still a shade rough, but it’s passionate. All in all, it might be my favorite Raitt recording, because it’s more alive than her studio output.

I have to admit, I’m not a huge Bangles fan. Their terrific debut, All Over the Place, conveyed garage toughness, featured fetching harmonies and melodies, and exhibited neat rock-historic savvy. For me, though, aside from two great singles and one good-plus corny one, it was all downhill from there. I admire this ’86 live set because it puts all the good-to-great stuff in one place, on a decent night, with just a touch of the toughness gone.

Short-shrift Division:

Revisited two old YouTube playlists from our faux-NOLA frozen-drink cloud:

“The Rhythm, The Rebel!” (June 17th, 2018, Monett, MO)

Since I’m on va-cay and out of pocket, I’m departing from my newly-established Sunday ritual of Spotifying the week’s listening and sharing another project I’m working on that might benefit and enlighten you and me.

I’m two chapters into Chris Weingarten’s so-far stellar 33 1/3 offering on Public Enemy’s Nation of Millions. I’ve read a passel of ’em; this is vying for my favorite, though it’s perhaps a shade too glib and overwritten. One neat thing Weingarten does is focus on the construction process behind a highly constructed album that, due to the profusion of samples the Bomb Squad layered in, couldn’t conceivably be made today, even by a moneybags like Jay Z.

What I decided to do was, chapter by chapter, include all the sample sources, influential tracks, and highlights in a YouTube playlist as a reading supplement. Needless to say, it’s under construction, but it’s already 29 tracks deep and is enjoyable independent of the book.

For our edification, enjoyment, or both:

Aaaaaand…this week’s awards!

Plucked from History’s Dustbin (best recent purchase of an old record): Everything But The Girl’s Amplified Heart.

Grower, Not a Shower (old record I already owned that’s risen in my esteem): Bettye LaVette’s relatively new Things Have Changed.

Encore, Encore! (album I played at least twice this week): Big Youth’s Screaming Target.

Through the Cracks (sweet record I forgot to write about): Busdriver’s Electricity is On Our Side.