New Music For September 2018

Can it be 30 years ago that I was sat with the woman lucky enough to be my companion in the well-appointed foyer bar of one of the concrete fun palaces on the South Bank of the River Thames eagerly awaiting a concert by the pioneering master trumpet player Don Cherry? I was raised to be respectful & to listen when someone is talking, notably good advice when you are hoping to make a good impression on the someone you have invited to share the evening. I admit that I was a little distracted when a very striking woman, Don’s step-daughter Neneh, stood nearby. I knew about Neneh from her time as singer with Rip Rig + Panic who released 3 LPs of Post Punk, Jazz Funk, did a couple of sessions for DJ John Peel & appeared on “The Young Ones”, the preferred TV comedy of the day for the nation’s youth.

 

Image result for neneh cherry rolling stoneBy the end of the year a lot more people knew who Neneh Cherry was. “Buffalo Stance”, a sparky, sparkling confection of Rap, R&B, Beats & sass, the first single from her solo LP “Raw Like Sushi”, was the brightest of modern Pop & in the UK Top 10. She appeared on Top of the Pops, almost 7 months pregnant, in stretch Lycra & she looked as good as she sounded. The single repeated its success in the US & in 1989 her music, videos & image were everywhere while she was celebrating the birth of her daughter Tyson with her husband-collaborator Cameron McVey.

 

 

 

It was 3 years before Neneh made the follow up record. “Homebrew” was good, not as commercially successful & I guess that she was not too concerned. Neneh was never too bothered about being a Pop star & since then she has worked when, where, with whoever she wanted & the music has always been interesting. The one you know is the trilingual “7 Seconds”, a 1994 hook up with Youssou N’Dour, a big hit all across Europe. The list of her collaborators is long, varied & very impressive.

 

Related image“Kong” is her first release since 2014’s “Blank Project” LP. It’s a serious , empathic commentary on the state of things, on the world in a state, “Goddamn guns and guts and history and bitter love still put a hole in me”. Back in 1988 Massive Attack’s 3D contributed to her song “Manchild”. He returns to co-produce with Four Tet & the talented pair have created an atmospheric Trip-Hop soundscape. “Kong” has more than a little of Massive Attack about it & that’s better than a good thing as there is not enough of that about nowadays. I put a friend on to the accomplished video & she was not just surprised that Neneh was still making music but also commented on how good she looked. Now I’m much too evolved to remark upon a woman’s appearance but I’m with Gigi on this one.

 

 

Extended exposure to “Joy as an Act of Resistance”, the powerful new collection of Punk pique by Idles, has created the need for a little time to chill so that I’m not gobbing on Life like it’s still 1977. The current soundtrack to the restoration of my equilibrium is “Lifted”, the new album, his fifth, by Israel Nash, a musician living in Texas whose work has passed me by for almost a decade. Seems like I’ve been missing out on something good.

 

Image result for israel nash liftedI became aware of Israel Nash Gripka, as he was then, with his debut “New York Town” (2009). The standout track “Pray For Rain”  sounded like the best track that John Fogerty had never recorded, I liked it but y’know, I have Credence records. Israel has got his band together, moved to Dripping Springs, Texas where he makes his records at home. He likes a full, chimeric, light-Psych sound. His mature lyrics are matched to mostly mid-tempo melodies & that’s OK,on “Lifted” perhaps the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Israel still can write a mean Neil Young tribute, the harmonies evoke Crosby, Stills & Nash, even the Beach Boys on “Sweet Springs”. His influences are easily identified & they are all the good ones. The swooning pedal steel brings to mind the first Jerry Garcia LP & there’s not a lot better than that. While you click on the terrific “SpiritFalls” I’m putting the new Calexico on hold for 2015’s “Silver Season” then working my way back through his catalogue. This is the kind of Americana I like.

 

Neneh Cherry may have my vote for the single of the year so far but here at Loosehandlebars Mansions we welcome the opinions of others & a good friend of the blog, Raymond Gorman, formerly of That Petrol Emotion, now a member of The Everlasting Yeah, has been canvassing support for this. I think that Raymond may be one of the dancers in this video…Yeah, he wishes.

 

 

Image result for chaka khan magazine coverOnly good things can be said about Chaka Khan. In her early twenties when the group she fronted, Rufus, broke through you watch her performances on “Soul Train” & she is a hootie tootie disco cutie, magnetic, a talent & a star. Here’s the first hit “Tell Me Something Good”, before the group became “…featuring Chaka”. I recently made a mix of 80’s R&B for a mate, helping to make the day in his cab a little funkier, & her super smash with Prince’s “I Feel For You” was an obvious ingredient. I had to match it with the abiding “Ain’t Nobody” by Rufus, a permanent fixture on our house party tapes in that decade.

 

Image result for like sugar chaka khan“Like Sugar” is the Great Khan’s first track for a decade, the lead for a new album. It’s recorded with Switch, formerly off of Major Lazer & producer for many, including M.I.A. The song proves that Old School or New School, what the heck’s the difference as long as it’s got the Funk. There’s a heavy sample of the Fatback Band/Sarah Ruba version of “(Are You Ready) To Do the Bus Stop” & the all-dancing video will make you smile. If you have missed this up to now then get your groove on & remember what a fine Summer we had. There’s a Switch remix that’s worth a listen too. Ms Khan is, of course, a legend, just this week she performed at Aretha’s funeral. It’s great to have her around again.

 

Gigi Mac’s Cool Chicks For Black History Month (Family Album)

Aseneth Imogene Allen McIntyre

You really think I’d leave my mommy out of this little party? Strap in. Nothing I write below could have been found via Google or from a book, and my brain is flooding with things I can say about my mom—it’s overwhelming & it might get rambly… but strap in nonetheless.

"Aseneth Imogene Allen McIntyre You really think I’d leave my mommy out of this little party?  Strap in.  Nothing I write below could have been found via google or from a book, and my brain is flooding with things I can say about my mom—it’s overwhelming & it might get rambly...  but strap in nonetheless.  Mom always begins the story the same way:  “You were on the veranda still in your night shirt eating something in a cup, and you were crying…”  I watched my mother get into a car that morning when I was two years old, and I wouldn’t see her again until I was almost six.  At that point, in an unfamiliar place, looking at a confusingly familiar face, in the back of my mind I knew she was mom, but I also remembered her as the nice lady who would send me little cottony dresses with alligators on them, [other ones too, but the Izods were my favorites] really neat coloring books and dollies from America.  Leaving me then was a pang that haunts her until today.  I didn’t miss a thing tho, in theory… had my 6 siblings, my Aunt Lu who quickly filled the mom role when she came up  to help manage the household, our two 'helpers’ [basically, our maids… relax, everybody in Jamaica has helpers… helpers have helpers!] my pet goat & my ridgeback, named of all things 'Ridgie' [no, I did NOT have a hand in the naming] my cat Frowzie [nor that one] and my handsome & awesome daddy!  He was my best friend... It was four years, and that's not really a long time in the grand scheme, but for a toddler maybe it was... not sure... My mother left a country where things were hard, yes, but she was… trying not to use a cliché term here… but yeah, a ‘queen’ in her community—respected, cherished, honored… to come to a hostile alien place she had to navigate like walking on shards of glass, cleaning people’s homes, taking care of their snotty children-- MY mother, almost alone… and you wonder, WHY?  so does she sometimes, when we’re f*ing up—‘why oh why did I bring you children to this place??’ (I’ve heard that a lot! ha!) first thing that comes to mind:  Opportunity, the American Dream.  It’s an intoxicating thing, this Dream. Honestly, if my mom hadn’t been married and had eight children, [yes, if you're paying attention, the math isn't adding up-- there was one more, but that's another story, another day... perhaps] had actually completed school, you’d be reading books about her.  Physics, music, art, chemistry… those things are all rolling around that practical head of hers, and not in the formal, learned, syllabus-engineered way, but more rudimentary, organic even - different means, but the same results… she’s not boisterous, she’s rather reserved & thoughtful… wow, this is hard – I have so many things in my head!  I once saw a video of a Japanese artist who, when you’re watching him speed paint you’re wondering to yourself, what’s this fool doing??  It looks insane… is it abstract? is it surreal?? he whips thru the thing, then he flips it upside down, and it’s a spot-on, scarily perfect rendering of Bruce Lee, and your mind is reeling, but everything falls into place.  That’s mom with a plan, and at the same time trying to keep us sharp.   She’s also perceptive to the point of something that seems to be a 6th sense.   Keep nothing from this woman. She will find out.  I’m not sure about my siblings, but I happily share that with her— sometimes I choose to ignore stuff, but when I’m quiet, things get ‘interesting’ haha...  After the death of my father, mom and I got closer.  I think perhaps because I look like him so much, and have so many of  his personality traits [remember, he was my favorite] & she misses this man who was her husband for 50 years… and because I’m a little different from my sibs in the way I was raised, things I was exposed to in the US rather than JA, but still aware of the JA things, I have a unique perspective on alot—I go in with fresh eyes in a way, and she appreciates that. I’ve gotten to really know my mom, and I now see what the others see—I wish I’d seen it sooner! but nothing's ever too late. This year mom will be 89, and while her joints are getting a bit more creaky, and she’s getting a bit more forgetful, and doesn’t get to see her children as often as she’d like since everyone is scattered about the country-- leaving her lonely at times, but we still have her, and every moment of her life is golden. There's so much more... there's always more! but that's all ya get!! besides, knowing her, she'd be quite peeved at me for putting her business on blast. When I was @ 18 or so I had a really freaky dream starring my mom.  We were on a scooter of some kind… not a bike & not a proper motorcycle…  the kind you see in old Italian or French movies, I’m sitting behind her with my arms around her waist and we’re going down a mountain at top speed! back tire spitting rocks as we make each turn and I’m freaking out… I’m yelling, 'mom!  mom!  I’m scared!  why are we going so fast??'  But she’s smiling, and very calm, maneuvering everything with grace & skill…  and we’re winding down & down & down, and I’m gripping her tight, ‘come on mom, it’s too fast!’ and just as I convince myself that my mother & I, this very day, will perish on a mountain, she turns her head and whispers ‘don’t worry Georgie, it’s just a dream’ and when I see her face, she’s my age! or maybe a little older... Her hair’s long & thick & indigo black, whipping in my face with the wind and she is glowing, and her eyes…. her eyes are filled with fire & joy…  then I relax, and we almost seem to hover over the road as we careen down, laughing all the way– then I wake up, in my room, in bed tucked in safely, but I see her again, still 20ish, still wearing what she had on during the scooter 'operation'…  she's at the door, and grinning, she turns her head & winks at me, ‘told you it was just a dream’ and she whips out of my room, like on air—and then I REALLY wake up, heart in my throat, but laughing at the same time. This quote is something mom says alot these days... she turns on the patois full force for this one to make it adorable-- it's simple, but resonates: "yu is mi lass’ likkle baby...""Mom always begins the story the same way: “You were on the veranda still in your night shirt eating something in a cup, and you were crying…” I watched my mother get into a car that morning when I was two years old, and I wouldn’t see her again until I was almost six. At that point, in an unfamiliar place, looking at a confusingly familiar face, in the back of my mind I knew she was mom, but I also remembered her as the nice lady who would send me little cottony dresses with alligators on them, [other ones too, but the Izods were my favorites] really neat coloring books and dollies from America. Leaving me then was a pang that haunts her until today. I didn’t miss a thing tho, in theory… had my 6 siblings, my Aunt Lu who quickly filled the mom role when she came up to help manage the household, our two ‘helpers’ [basically, our maids… relax, everybody in Jamaica has helpers… helpers have helpers!] my pet goat & my ridgeback, named of all things ‘Ridgie’ [no, I did NOT have a hand in the naming] my cat Frowzie [nor that one] and my handsome & awesome daddy! He was my best friend… It was four years, and that’s not really a long time in the grand scheme, but for a toddler maybe it was… not sure… My mother left a country where things were hard, yes, but she was… trying not to use a cliché term here… but yeah, a ‘queen’ in her community—respected, cherished, honored… to come to a hostile alien place she had to navigate like walking on shards of glass, cleaning people’s homes, taking care of their snotty children– MY mother, almost alone… and you wonder, WHY? so does she sometimes, when we’re f*ing up—‘why oh why did I bring you children to this place??’ (I’ve heard that a lot! ha!) first thing that comes to mind: Opportunity, the American Dream. It’s an intoxicating thing, this Dream.

 

Honestly, if my mom hadn’t been married and had eight children, [yes, if you’re paying attention, the math isn’t adding up– there was one more, but that’s another story, another day… perhaps] had actually completed school, you’d be reading books about her. Physics, music, art, chemistry… those things are all rolling around that practical head of hers, and not in the formal, learned, syllabus-engineered way, but more rudimentary, organic even – different means, but the same results… she’s not boisterous, she’s rather reserved & thoughtful… wow, this is hard – I have so many things in my head! I once saw a video of a Japanese artist who, when you’re watching him speed paint you’re wondering to yourself, what’s this fool doing?? It looks insane… is it abstract? is it surreal?? he whips thru the thing, then he flips it upside down, and it’s a spot-on, scarily perfect rendering of Bruce Lee, and your mind is reeling, but everything falls into place. That’s mom with a plan, and at the same time trying to keep us sharp. She’s also perceptive to the point of something that seems to be a 6th sense. Keep nothing from this woman. She will find out. I’m not sure about my siblings, but I happily share that with her— sometimes I choose to ignore stuff, but when I’m quiet, things get ‘interesting’ haha… After the death of my father, mom and I got closer. I think perhaps because I look like him so much, and have so many of his personality traits [remember, he was my favorite] & she misses this man who was her husband for 50 years… and because I’m a little different from my sibs in the way I was raised, things I was exposed to in the US rather than JA, but still aware of the JA things, I have a unique perspective on alot—I go in with fresh eyes in a way, and she appreciates that. I’ve gotten to really know my mom, and I now see what the others see—I wish I’d seen it sooner! but nothing’s ever too late. This year mom will be 89, and while her joints are getting a bit more creaky, and she’s getting a bit more forgetful, and doesn’t get to see her children as often as she’d like since everyone is scattered about the country– leaving her lonely at times, but we still have her, and every moment of her life is golden. There’s so much more… there’s always more! but that’s all ya get!! besides, knowing her, she’d be quite peeved at me for putting her business on blast.

 

When I was @ 18 or so I had a really freaky dream starring my mom. We were on a scooter of some kind… not a bike & not a proper motorcycle… the kind you see in old Italian or French movies, I’m sitting behind her with my arms around her waist and we’re going down a mountain at top speed! back tire spitting rocks as we make each turn and I’m freaking out… I’m yelling, ‘mom! mom! I’m scared! why are we going so fast??’ But she’s smiling, and very calm, maneuvering everything with grace & skill… and we’re winding down & down & down, and I’m gripping her tight, ‘come on mom, it’s too fast!’ and just as I convince myself that my mother & I, this very day, will perish on a mountain, she turns her head and whispers ‘don’t worry Georgie, it’s just a dream’ and when I see her face, she’s my age! or maybe a little older… Her hair’s long & thick & indigo black, whipping in my face with the wind and she is glowing, and her eyes…. her eyes are filled with fire & joy… then I relax, and we almost seem to hover over the road as we careen down, laughing all the way– then I wake up, in my room, in bed tucked in safely, but I see her again, still 20ish, still wearing what she had on during the scooter ‘operation’… she’s at the door, and grinning, she turns her head & winks at me, ‘told you it was just a dream’ and she whips out of my room, like on air—and then I REALLY wake up, heart in my throat, but laughing at the same time.

 

This quote is something mom says alot these days… she turns on the patois full force for this one to make it adorable– it’s simple, but resonates:

“yu is mi lass’ likkle baby…”

 

 

Hurray for leap years! one more day! and I’m making myself the last Cool Black Chick in my little indulgent series… well of course I would! because…. I’m a [reasonably] cool black chick!

You guys don’t want a long belabored profile thingy do you? meh, I’m here… life is life, whacha gonna do? et voilaaaaa…

[btw, this is my attempt at the disastrous ‘Seflie’ of which I normally find myself in the middle, attempting to impersonate a gargoyle… I was all set to do a whole fencing photographic series– utter fail… my jacket’s too big, my helmet made me look like a serial killer, and…. feh…. haha I’m getting slightly better at the selfie thing tho [maybe it’s my sister’s phone]]

 

 

That Girl Can Sing (70s Soul)

In 1970 Willie Mitchell took over the output of Hi Records in Memphis. His production talents & his nonpareil house band made Al Green one of the biggest soul stars of the early part of the decade. While O.V. Wright was not on his label Mitchell made some definitive Southern soul with the singer. Another protegé, Syl Johnson, released some fine tunes that sound like impressions of Green. It was his female star, Ann Peebles, who made the most distinctive records of this time that were not by “the Prince of Love”.

Ann is known for her biggest hit “I Can’t Stand The Rain”, covered by many artists of taste & for “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down”. “Rain” was sampled in 1997 by the always interesting Missy Elliott. From 1969 to 1975 she collaborated with Willie & made a run of great records which all have the unmistakable feel and precision of the Hi house band, the 3 Hodges Brothers, Al Jackson Jr & the Memphis Horns (Wayne Jackson & Andrew Love). “Beware” is from 1975. There will be no more of these gems. A collection of Ms Peebles’ work, including B-sides if possible is a lovely thing.

From a year earlier Syreeta’s “Spinnin’ & Spinnin'” is from 1974’s LP “Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta”. The couple were divorced in 1972 after an 18 month long marriage. They continued to work together, This is the 2nd record that Stevie produced for her &  all the songs are either his or are co-written with Syreeta. It is a delightful record, Stevie had produced “Perfect Angel” for Minnie Riperton (Oh My !) in this year & there is a similar lightness of touch. He was also working on “Fulfillingess’ First Finale” at this time & Syreeta’s record fits right in there with his unbeatable music of the first half of the 70s.

Well, I’m too old to make a fool of myself on a dance floor but in Chaka Khan’s case I may make an exception. “Once You Get Started” is a 1975 single from “Rufusized” the 2nd of 6 Top 20 LPs in the US. The band had gotten started with a hit “Tell Me Something Good” written for them by Stevie Wonder. The “& Chaka Khan” was added for the 2nd LP. You can see why. The young & beautiful Chaka was compared to Tina Turner & Aretha, she was a star. In 1978 her first solo LP included the Ashford & Simpson written smash “I’m Every Woman” but she did return to Rufus to record with them. A final recording session with the band produced “Ain’t Nobody”, a prized possession for anyone who had the 12″ vinyl single. Then it was off to Prince for “I Feel For You” & deserved legendary status. Watch the clip again…she’s great.

In the late 70s the sweet soul drifted into Disco &, I feel, some individuality was lost. I mean Donna Summer was good but…It was soon impossible to go a whole day without hearing something by the Bee Gees &, Jah knows I tried. These lip-synch clips from a Dutch TV programme are a high quality chance to hear some great music & see some great artists in their prime.