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Except where noted, all original text & art ©2010 Eddie Flowers

Guitars from Agadez Vol. 2 [Sublime Frequencies LP, 2008] Group Bombino is an amazing guitar-based band
from the city of Agadez in northern Niger. Recorded in 2007, during a period of open rebellion between the Tuareg people of Agadez and the national government of Niger, this is fiery music born from real-world shit--not dainty "world music" nor commercial attempts at playing Western music. But if you want, think of it as the equivalent of something like the MC5's Kick Out the Jams, recorded during our own "revolution"--except with unknown numbers of casualties and internal refugees in Agadez (well, maybe you could make the same arguments about Detroit!).  Led by guitar master Omara Mochtar (Bombino), only 25 or 26 when these recordings were made, Group Bombino is part of a bigger scene in Agadez where equipment, band members, and songs are swapped among the bands. This is their first LP. The first side, gathered from Bombino's archives, features the group's "dry guitar" sound--acoustic guitars, percussion, and singing in a relaxed setting. Great stuff. But it's on side two that things burst open as the band of three electric guitars, bass, and drum kit set the sky on fire during an outdoor live performance, their equipment powered by generators in the desert. The staggered guitar riffs, fluid runs, and blues-like stings bring to mind all kinds of things: Hendrix, the Magic Band, Sun City Girls, John Lee Hooker. But it's finally all theirs and all Nigerian--if also without a doubt universal. Even in the midst of jagged polyphonic rave-ups, the music  still winds its way into that snakey trance which permeates so much music from "the East." This is the raw, uncut sound of liberation revolution anger joy LIFE!!!

GROUP DOUEH -- Treeg Salaam [Sublime Frequencies LP, 2009] Second album by Salmou "Doueh" Baamar and his group. From Western Sahara, the sound is a whirl of male and female voices, traditional modes mixed with bits of outside sources, distorted guitar pulling it all together. Doueh claims Hendrix and James Brown as influences, but this is definitely not Western style psych or funk--it's much wilder! Dig the desert-echo wah-wah chank 'n metallic clank buzzin' like some ominous flying reptile circlin' overhead. The four tracks on the first side are delicious. ecstatic bursts of North African energy music--each with its own distinct flavor. Then flip the record over and dig the side-long "Tazit Kalifa"--a long meditative sprawl to come down from the earlier frenzy. Killer stuff! The LP is now out of print, but there is a CD reissue available (same for Group Bombino above).

VARIOUS ARTISTS -- Musical Brotherhoods from the Trans-Saharan Highway [Sublime Frequencies DVD, 2005] Totally awesome film by Hisham Mayet presenting beautiful, raw, ecstatic string'n'drum musicians mostly at outdoor nighttime street performances in Essaouira and Marrakech in Morocco. Dig the wild, fluid bass-like thrum of Jamel Babamer's sentir (with what almost sounds like a typewriter as percussion)--the positively psychedelic swirl of the Hamadasha Brotherhood, powered by a loud metallic electric banjo and lots of dancing drummers--Imzwajin Del Hussein's folk-ballad variation on the metal-banjo approach--the mystical, mystifying Troupe Majidi's combination of comical street theater, unknown (to me) rituals, drumming chanting dancing with prominent electric oud weaving loud and distorted throughout--etc., etc. Not to mention Hisham Mayet's footage of other random street scenes--a vendor selling well-worn vinyl singles, smoke billowing from open-air food sellers, a man with a small monkey, two boxers going at it for the crowd, veiled Muslim women and cute Western-style chicks, young guys dancing together in pairs, children joining the fun--fascinating, entertaining, exciting sounds and images!

Back in 1974, Brownsville Station mainman Cub Koda hepped me to the fact that you could order original unplayed Sun Records singles from Shelby Singleton's mail-order outfit in Nashville. So, I saved my teenage pennies and ordered a bunch of things, including a Cub recommendation called "Cadillac Man" by the Jesters. It cost me two whole dollars! It's a hot rockin' black (I thought!) R&B thing, maybe somewhere 'twixt Chuck Berry and the Coasters--except much rawer, and it's not a group vocal like the Coasters--a kinda typical mid-50s hot-car fantasy, except this was supposedly released in 1966. The songwriting credit goes to Minga, whoever that may be. On the flip is a decent version of Willie Dixon's "My Babe" that doesn't sound quite as black! Okay, fine--right? Nope. In the 1980s, I bought The Best of Sun Rockabilly on Vol. 2 on Charly Records. It has the Jesters' "Cadillac Man"--same song, but this version is an obvious white garage-rock record that sounds like teenagers imitating the Yardbirds. Indeed, the band contained the young Jerry Phillips (son of Sun Records titan Sam Phillips) and Jim Dickinson (later to become a legendary Memphis producer, musician, and madman). So, what's the story? About a year ago, it dawned on me that I should try to contact Mr. Dickinson and ASK HIM! Then, well, the fella up and died--R.I.P. Hey, does somebody out there have the scoop on this? Even in the internet age, I haven't been able to figure out this one!

Baptize me in wine!
COBRA KILLER -- sexy bitches "Try It"!

Big-booty classic!
95 SOUTH -- "Whoot! There It Is"

June 14, 2010


Intro (Crawlspace live!)
This Week in Slippy Town
Uncle Jim Q&A w/ Crawlin' Ed
An Unexpected Bend in the Tide (1933 lost movie)
Paul Revere & the Raiders (part 2)

Swangin' Sounds!

Public Service Announcement 1968

Outro (R.I.P.)

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