Catching Up: Great Re-Issue Compilations missed in 2012
“Catching Up” is a feature where we attempt to make up for the sin of getting buried in promo emails by writing a few sentences about some of the stuff that has left an impression of the last couple months but hasn’t made its way into a post of its own. Today I am catching up on awesome re-issue compilation records that came out in 2012 that I didn’t get around to writing about (or, I didn’t know about them until seeing some awesome year end lists). Forgive the brevity and dig some (relatively) new music.
Taking a left field turn from their wheelhouse of funk/soul, Numero Group compiled some of the most saccharine power pop from the vaults of 70’s AOR on their 2012 record store day release. Songs are influenced from a range of artists who walk the line between cheesy and amazing, ranging from the Randy Newman esqe “Nite People” to the Steely Dan homage “I’d like to touch a star.” If those artists make you throw up in your mouth, stay away from this comp. A fairly big jump from the usual stone cold jams from this seminal label, but a fun album that can soundtrack your next boat party.
Personal Space Electronic Soul 1974 – 1984
Think the concept of “electronic soul” sounds weird? You have no idea. Personal Space collects 17 songs that have the groove of soul music juxtaposed with the hazy ambiance of analog electronic music that were crafted and recorded from ’74-‘84. Songs like “I Finally Found the Love I Need” highlight the general ambiance of the record, with slinky bass, soulful vocals and twitchy electronic flourishes meshed together in an amalgamation of the cold sound of electronica and the warm-blooded soul that was sweeping the world at the time. A cool collection of music that was way ahead of its time.
I didn’t know there was a genre such as Country Funk, let alone a time that could be called the “glory days.” But I guess there was, and it was 1969-1975. These songs are cowboys with really glittery rhinestones on their pants. The chugging groove of wha’d out guitars and slinky bass lines mixes with the outlaw songwriting on songs like “Hello LA, Bye-Bye Birmingham,” “Lucas was a Redneck” and the sexy “He made a women out of Me” by Bobbie Gentry. Some songs have a bit less “funk,” like the rollicking Link Ray version of “Fire and Brimstone,” but overall this record shows clearly how oil and water can sometimes come together in a very funky way.
African Electronic Music 1976-1982
Melding the burgeoning synth instrumentation that was swelling worldwide with the idiosyncratic music that birthed afrobeat, African Electronic Music 1976-1982 is a stirring, original collection of music from Cameroonian musician Francis Bebey. The songs are colorful and vibrant, bringing to life instruments that at the time could be dusty and stoic. Bebey’s vocals, spoken and sung in French (I think), add a layer of intrigue to songs that already are buoyant and lively. Even more than the fact that this interesting music was recorded over 30 years ago, this is a fun and wily collection that sounds like something created in 2012, not 1982.
Tim Maia- Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia
Despite diving into a few different Tropicalia compilations and thinking of myself as something of a music fan, I spent my formative years not knowing of Tim Maia. Shame on me. While I have come to understand that this collection isn’t a be all/end all, Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia is a great collection that helps to showcase the diverse talent of Maia. Diving into funk, soul and Tropicalia, Maia was an out-sized figure in music history and his music leaves nothing on the table. A fun, confident and commanding collection that works to open the doors into the wild and crazy world of Tim Maia, if you dare.
Castle Face Records and Friends cover: Velvet Underground and Nico
When covering a classic album start to finish, artists have a fork in the road that they have to navigate. Do you march lockstep with the sound/style/aesthetic that made the album famous or do you reinvent the wheel, making sure everyone sees you flying your freak flag high. For artists on (or around) the Castle Face Record label, including Ty Segall & label founders Thee Oh Sees, they aren’t known as bands who bend to the whim of popular culture, which makes this LP interesting. Some (like Kelly Shultz on “Sunday Morning”) pretty much toe the line, some find middle ground (the slightly echo’d out take on “All Tomorrow’s Parties from Fresh and Only’s) while others decide to light fire to building (like Ty Segall on the blown out “Femme Fatale”). This is a fun and engaging LP for both fans of the classic original and those unfamiliar with it (if these people actually exist).
Writer / co-founder