Saturday, May 10, 2008

eMusic MAY

*White Trash Girl by Candye Kane. Big beautiful Candye is a natural-born belter specializing in sexy blues "Work What You Got" is a song title on this 2005 album, but it's also Candye's guiding philosophy.

She does a tough, bluesy version of The Lovin' Spoonfuls' :What a Day for a Daydream"and a funny tune called "Estrogen Bomb." But my favorite here has to be a song that we used to sing in grade school "Let There Be Peace on Earth." (No, I didn't go to some hippie free school -- it was a regular public elementary school in Oklahoma in the '60s. Pretty hip, no?) Of course we didn't sing it with a fraction of Candye's soul.

Last month Candye underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer. She's recovering now and reportedly feeling better. Check out her Web site.

* Never Been Caught by The Mummies . They hailed from San Francisco, but they were a lot more Rice-a-Roni than Haight Ashbury. Spending more money on their Ace Bandage costumes, or so it would seem, than on their pawn-shop instruments, The Mummies called their sound "Budget Rock" (not to be confused with The Fleshtones' "Super Rock."). And it was a pretty apt description, as the production of their music did have a pronounced bargain-basement quality about it. This album, originally released in 1992, sounds like a lost cheap cassette bootleg of some teen dance at a VFW show in South Dakota in the mid '60s (Anybody remember Spider & The Crabs???!!!) When I hear The Mummies rip through The Young Rascals' "Come on Up" and The Righteous Brothers' "Justine" my first instinct is to scream out "Little Latin Lupe Lu!" And then there's "Mariconda's a Friend of Mine," the lyrics of which have been passed down generation to generation in elementary school boys' rooms.

* Memphis Sanctified Jug Bands 1928-1930. Jug band gospel music! What a concept! These tracks were recorded at a Church of God in Christ in Memphis. The album includes what has what has to be the greatest versions of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" I've ever heard. Unfortunately the individual artists aren't listed on the tracks, though the Document Records Web site indicates "Whole World" is performed by Brother Williams Memphis Sanctified Singers.

Not all the songs are jug tunes. There's also some good old fashioned Black preaching with a Holy Ghost-filled choir moaning the Word behind the minister, sometimes with a short jug-band interlude following.

(Memory Lane: In the late '70s I used to live a couple of doors down from a Church of God in Christ on Gallegos Lane right here in Santa Fe. Sometimes I'd hear some amazing gospel being sung there. The church, however, was sold by the early '80s. The building is still there though.)

* Daptone 7-Inch Singles Collection, Vol. 1 by Various Artists. How can you go wrong with Dap regulars like Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Lee Fields? There's also worthwhile offerings by lesser-known singers like Charlie Bradley and the deep-voiced Naomi Davis, who does a funk-filled tune called "Promised Land" (not the Chuck Berry classic) And there's a couple of instrumental groups -- The Sugarman 3 and Company -- who sounds as if they're making soundtracks for a new crop of Cleopatra Jones movies.

This compilation just serves to show why Daptone has become synonymous with 21st Century soul. I just saw that Daptone is releasing a Volume 2 of this. Can't wait.

THE BLACK ANGELS at Roky Erikson's Icecream Social March 2008
* Directions to See a Ghost by The Black Angels. This is the brand new album from Austin's psychedelic drone masters, released just a couple of months after I became aware of them. (I saw them at Roky Erikson's Ice Cream Social during SXSW). It's cool that eMusic had the album available a few weeks in advance of its release.

Virtually every track is a lengthy journey to the center of what's left of your mind, culminating in the 16-minute "Snake in the Grass," which features Oooga Boooga drums and layers of feedback.

* Trains and Boats and Planes by Laura Cantrell. This is a nine-song EP by this New York country gal. Most the songs are about modes of transportation. Her talent is only eclipsed by her great tastes. I knew it would be worth it alone for her covers of two of my favorite obscure country songs from the early '70s: Roger Miller's "Train of Life" (covered by Merle Haggard on his landmark Someday We'll Look Back album) and John Hartford's "Howard Hughes Blues" from his greatest Aereo-Plain. Plus there's versions of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and New Order's "Love Vigilantes," a sad soldier song that sounds like it was written as a country tune.

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