Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A little bit of music

1. Nappy Brown "Coal Miner". From the wonderful Locust Avenue, three perspectives on labour from 1961, including:
Napoleon "Nappy" Brown, mining technician. Work ethic is basically good, productivity noted by supervisors, but some attitudinal issues remain. Case recommended for further supervision.

"Coal Miner" was one of Brown's last singles for Savoy, the jazz label he had helped give a second life as an R&B purveyor. (Brown's 1955 "Don't Be Angry"--which Savoy's owner thought was partially sung in Yiddish-- was his biggest chart hit.) "Coal Miner" is an odd record, with Brown accompanied by an at-times harsh saxophone and flute (the mix is very trebly and sharp, to the point of distortion sometimes); the sound is quite unlike most of Brown's other Savoy tracks. I wonder if "Miner" was meant to be a spin on Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang," from the previous year. While not doing much in the U.S., it eventually became a prized Northern Soul record in the U.K.
A great track, but the thing that struck me was that thing about Yiddish. Here's wikipedia: At his first recording session, according to frequently repeated anecdotes, Brown's unique delivery featuring rolled consonants and improvised syllables allegedly led Savoy president Herman Lubinsky to believe that Brown was singing in Yiddish." And here's more on Lubinsky.

2. Desperate Bicycles "New Cross, New Cross 7" - Refill Records. This is a punk six-track from 1978 , which you can listen to at It's a new one on me, and joins Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, Ben Human and Half Panda in that elite category of bands who have name-checked South London's second coolest neighbourhood. Even though they're actually from across the river in East London. Read more here.

3. Danbert Nobacon The Library Book of the World. Anyone who has been around the same block as me politically has probably seen Chumbawumba live more times than they'd care to think about. Danbert Nobacon, of the aforesaid, has released a solo album. Danbert says:
The Library Book of the World... is a theatrical concept album about trying to write a book on our current global predicament, in which I play the role of psychic medium plugged into the mainline of human history, hearing voices from present ghouls and future ghosts as well. Well that was yesterday. Today it's vaudeville on a convict ship, a tale of being held in isolation in the hold, and cut adrift in the rising seas of the Atlantic, haunted by Perception Management Inc.'s best lines, and wrestling with every sleight of language in the attempt to dislodge the mirage of our consent. Tomorrow, as the waves are crashing all around, it will be fifteen songs which form a partial soundtrack to the history/current affairs book I am actually writing, (working title Smart Lies, Secret Wars and Climate Revolt).
Hmm. You can hear tracks at OregonLive or at MySpace. I have to say, it doesn't do too much for me, but give it a listen. Buy it from Bloodshot Records.

1 comment:

Waterloo Sunset said...

Yeah, Danbert's tracks didn't do it for me either.

I have to say, it sounds like the worst idea for a concept album ever. Has Dan been watching Rick Wakeman's "King Arthur on Ice" again?