My jones for the Numero label soul compilations is well-documented here. However, this set is a step above: 2 discs of private-press girl groups. Garage rock, soul divas, big-haired songs about romantic gloom. It’s another alternate history of common experience that Numero does so well….
Michael Nesmith & First National Band / Re-issues
(Technically Magnetic South, Loose Salute, Nevada Fighter, Tantamount to Treason, And The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ and Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash, 1970-73.) After the Monkees, Nesmith assembled his own cosmic country band, and made these strange and surprisingly singable records.
Various Artists / Gumba Fire : Bubblegum Soul & Synth-Bogies in 1980s South Africa
Given the era of this music, this should not be as ridiculously fun as is it. Proof again that any style trans-mutated back through Africa, yields unique, infectious, mutant-synth results. Like an electro-psychadelic Cameo.
Erasmo Carlos / Sonhos e Memorias 1941.1972
Brazilian uber-star that I’d never heard of. Psychedelic, but tight and sonically awe-inspiring. Imagine the Zombies funneled through Os Mutantes, with a touch of space-baroque…..?
Came to this via my Hailu Mergia fascincation (he plays keyboards), but stayed for the completely other-world vocal style of Asnakech Worku. Recorded in Ethiopia in 1975, you could tell me this was recorded yesterday on one of Jupiter’s moons and I’d believe you.
Neil Young / Roxy – Tonight’s the Night Live
Ragged and glorious prime-era Neil. What’s really interesting is how less dour this version sounds than the record. Funny how alcohol can go both ways : )
Mark Renner / Few Traces
The worst 80’s productions sound dated and uninspired, a lame thud your ears recognize immediately. Renner plays with the ambient spaces that the 8o’s soundscape mostly ignored. Great catchy songs and quiet, atmospheric production. Imagine Another Green World but with a Baltimore lens.
Rosinha De Valenca / Um Violao em Primeiro Plano
More Brazillian badassery. This flat-out ripper from 1971, features my second favorite version of “Summertime” as well as “Concierto de Aranjuez” (Sketches of Spain fans, take note). One of the best random discoveries of the year for me.