Vol 7: Rock and Roll!
We start things off with a version of the greatest rock and roll song of all time, La Bamba, actually a Mexican folk song, flipped with an Afro-American rocking rhythm by young Mr Ritchie Valens of Los Angeles, California in 1959 (17 year old Ritchie would die later that year in a plane crash along with Buddy Holly in the infamous "day the music died") Here we enjoy a nice Haitian Kompa version of La Bamba by none other than Wyclef, from his awesome globe-trotting album, "Welcome to Haiti: Kreyol 101".
From Haiti it's just a quick jump across the islands to Trinidad where Soca is the music and Soccer (I mean football) is the sport. Here is the official anthem of Trinidad's national team, Soca Warrior. Try to catch some of the lyrics: "We will defeat dem by de feet... Every net a get a riddled..."
From Trinidad we catch a quick flight to West Africa, Cote D'Ivoire in particular, and check out Magic System with their international superhit Premiere Gaou, which my by calculations, translates to "number one dude". Magic System recorded a follow up to the song, Gaou A Oran, a collaboration with French-Algerian rappers 113. Oran, of course is a city in Algeria, homeland to many immigrants living in France alongside other french speaking Africans. What do they call that Arabic Algerian African music again? Rai! And here's Cheb Mami, the much more refined counterpart to my favorite Rai singer, Rachid Taha, to tell you what its all about. (although Mami's actions seem not so refined, he's currently incarcerated in France for assaulting a pregnant lover)
And speaking of African unity, here's Somalian rapper K'Naan with a tune sampling Nigeria's Fela Kuti. The song comes from the upcoming J.Period/K'Naan mixtape featuring samples from strictly three sources: Fela, Bob Marley, and Bob Dylan. Damn.
Allright, allright, wasn't this supposed to be about rock and roll this week? Fine, let's get back to the roots! Here's Otis Redding, premiere soul man, paying tribute to Britain's finest soul men, the Rolling Stones. You see, the Stones were one of those british blues/R+B groups that actually supported and acclaimed the Black American artists they stole from (not so Led Zeppelin, Elvis) and they were well respected by Black artists for doing such. Well done, fellas!
Up next are two jams from The Sonics, all the way from the Pacific Northwest early 60's garage rock scene. Have Love Will Travel was written by Richard Berry, the same dude who wrote Louie Louie, made famous by The Kingsmen's 1963 version, also straight outta the Seattle garage rock scene. Strychnine is an original, and some might even call it... punk rock?!
And further blurring the punk/rockandroll distinction is the infamous Misfits. Originally fronted by crooner Glenn Danzig, they take all the themes of 50's rock, the balladry, the horror films, and smash them all together making such a nice sazón. Oh yeah, and he kind of sounds like Jim Morrison from the Doors.
And who said I don't like Indie Rock?? Arcade Fire are one of the most passionate bands out there and they way they pack 20 people on a stage, all freaking out together is inspiring. This ain't no shoegaze music. Here's a jam from their breakout concept album Funeral, this is Neighborhood #2 (Laika).
Speaking of inspiring, let me tell you about The Equals. They formed in 1965 in the UK, with a multi-racial lineup and some bold lyrics. Eddy Grant (of 1980's Electric Avenue fame) was the main songwriter. And they wrote this anthem, Police on My Back, covered by the Clash on their Sandinista triple LP. (You know I had to get my dudes in here somehow this week!!)
We ride out this edition with a track from Mulatu Astatke, Ethiopian Jazz that sounds like a mix between a Pharoah Sanders/Alice Coltrane record and Santana. Check out the entire Ethiopiques Vol 4 album, its beautiful.
Allright that was a lot of travelling, next stop: New Jersey! See you there?
La Bamba - Wyclef Jean - Welcome to Haiti: Creole 101
Soca Warrior - Maximus Dan
Premiere Gaou - Magic System
Cheb Mami - Cheb Mami
Let's Start (fela kuti tribute) - K'naan and J.Period - The Messengers
Satisfaction (Live at Monterey Pop) - Otis Redding
Have Love, Will Travel - The Sonics
Strychnine - The Sonics
We Are 138 - The Misfits
Whiskey, Mystics, and Men - The Doors
Neighborhood #2 (Laika) - Arcade Fire
Police On My Back - The Equals
Tezeta (Nostalgia) - Mulatu Astatke