Here’s a round up of a mixed bag of 45s that have recently piled-up. Sides of roots, post-punk, post-C86 jangle, brassy fusion, funky novelty, dub, and Brazilian pop, that probably don’t qualify as a balearic beat, and probably wouldn’t suit a sunset.
The roots is care of Earl Sixteen. Freedom was originally released by Federal in 1977, but received a repress late last year from Belgian imprint, Roots Vibration. Produced by Lee Perry, it has Scratch`s distinctive bounced-down, aquatic Black Ark sound. All detail almost subliminal as it bleeds into one pulsating whole. The version starts with a burst of Earl`s vocal, before a brief volume drop, and then bang! its off, with the groovy guitar as its focus.
Roots Vibration have also just reissued Scratch`s amazing Black Ark work with Seke Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo – which, if I can, I`ll cover in more detail elsewhere (my copy only arrived this morning).
Professor Vivien Goldman has her 1981 debut single repressed by Staubgold. Originally signed to Ed Bahlman`s cult NYC label, 99 Records (that`s nine nine not ninety-nine), the punky funky reggae party of Launderette, a tale of love / domestic “bliss” gone wrong, was produced by John Lydon. The sessions born out of connections made at Lydon`s post-Sex Pistols Gunter Grove hideaway. Where he’d blast dub and kosmische at high volume on his high-end Japanese hi-fi, and punk’s movers and shakers would stop by to take part in the speed and weed fueled paranoia. Stroke Lydon`s cat, Satan.
Goldman who’d worked at Island, doing PR for Bob Marley, and was a staff-writer for music weekly, Sounds, recorded her single in the same studio as PiL, during their down-time. She’d previously contributed to David Cunningham`s Flying Lizards project, and that experience brought in Steve Beresford, on toy piano, and Robert Wyatt, on tambourine. Aswad`s George Oban provides bass. Keith Levene is on guitar. Vicky Aspinall of The Raincoats plays violin, and the recordings fall between that of The Raincoats and their adversaries, The Slits. On the flip is Private Armies, which features stellar production by Adrian Sherwood. A lyric of street violence – where the old bill are just another gang – backed by spinning proto-industrial ON U Sounds and incredible percussion sent skittering from the future.
The jangle comes from a repress of Metro Trinity`s 1987 E.P., the unfortunately titled, Die Young. I actually petitioned both Emotional Rescue and Be With for a reissue of this maybe half a decade ago. Back in `87 it was a 4-track 12, self-released on the band’s own Cafeteria Records. Three of those songs now reappear on an Optic Nerve 45. The country-tinged slide and violin of Spend My Whole Life Loving You once made the Boys Own fanzine charts – while the sadly missing Slip Away is one of the tunes jotted down in Andrew Weatherall`s Black Notebooks. Metro Trinity were centered around Jez Williams – who went on to form Sub Sub, and then Doves – and John Male. A firm friend of Boys Own, Male was later in Airstream alongside the collective`s Cymon Eckel – he also co-owned the Soho bar, Riki Tik with Eckel – before moving onto Soul Family Sensation and finding chart success with Republica. I spent many a Saturday afternoon pissed-up in Riki Tik, trying to hold onto my bag of freshly purchased vinyl, and many a Sunday afternoon crashing to the sound of Jhelisa Anderson singing Male`s SFS songs, I Don’t Even Know If I Should Call You Baby, and The Day You Went Away.
The pop and brassy fusion can both be found on a 7” from Club Internacional, who’ve licensed two tracks from Rio-based label, Top Tape. Jose da Silva AKA Zeca do Trombone blows in duet and then competition with a mad Moog-y synth on Temo Do Brisa, while Sambacanas` Panga Danga Panga is feel good, sunshine-filled, strummed, sing-along nonsense, in the vein of Franco Godi`s W La Felicita. Both tunes dating from mid-late 70s Brazil.
The novelty here was hand-picked by Pizzicato Five`s Yasuharu Konishi for a collaboration with Japanese label, Oldays. Lifting The 4 Instants` Bogattini from their 1965 LP, Discotheque. Its flatulent b-line interrupted by duck calls and drum rolls, and rock n roll guitar. To be honest I don’t know the history of this tune, but it sounds to me like it might well have been one of the “alternative 45s” – such as The Moving Sidewalks 99th Floor and The Kingsmen`s Louie Louie – that set Northern Soul fans frugging. See also the proto-glam of Jeff Britton`s Rub Out (someone reissue this, please!). If anyone knows more please get in touch.
There’s old dub from 12 Tribes Of Israel – the organ-led Bury The Devil – licensed from Orthodox by Common Ground International – and something right now from Japanese producer Tsuyoshi Hamada, who, in his DayZero guise, delivers Orbit Dub for Portland`s ZamZam Sounds. Clanking, crashing, doped, trip hop beats, blasted by sirens, whistles and building bashing bass.