Acid Brass "What Time Is Love?" Version K (mp3) 7 MB
I'm not sure if I've blogged about Acid Brass before, the brainchild of Jeremy Deller, my second favourite contemporary artist, which married together the two quintessential working class arts of the British Northwest, acid house music and the colliery-style brass band (the latter as featured in the lovely movie Brassed Off, which I will blog about some day). Here, Stockport's Williams Fairey Band (a factory band rather than a colliery band), take "What Time is Love" by neo-situationist house pranksters the KLF - a song whose wikipedia page rates as a classic of citizen scholarship. Blog links: Music Like Dirt, cyberinsekt, cubikmusik. Buy Acid Brass.
Goran Bregovic "Get The Money"(mp3 4 MB/Youtube)
To me, Acid Brass sounds kind of Balkan. Balkan artist Goran Bregovic has featured heavily in the weird films of Emir Kustirica. Sarajevo-born, he is probably one of the former Yugoslavia's biggest exports. Although I prefer him when he tones it down a bit, in "Get the Money", Bregovic brings a kind of punk/ska sensibility, and a hint of Lionel Bart, to the proceedings. The first version of this song was for the Kusturica film Arizona Dreams, and featured the vocals of Iggy Pop. Bregovic did a version without Iggy for the albums Songbook and P.S., but this comes from his Greatest Hits, and I assume that's Goran singing and not Iggy, but am willing to stand corrected! Buy any of these.
Dirty Dozen Brass Band "Ain't nothin but a party" (mp3) 9 MB
Rebirth Brass Band "Do Whatcha Wanna" Part 3 (mp3) 5 MB
New Orleans deep and dirty brass band funk. Dirty Dozen "Ain't Nothin'" from Medicated Magic 2002 (buy). "Do Whatcha" fromMardi Gras Party 1991 (buy). Blog links: Lil Mike 1, 2 and 3, Mainstream Isn't..., Funkjester.
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra "Indictment" (mp3) 11 MB
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra "I.C.E." (mp3) 16 MB
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra "Si, Se Puede" (mp3) 14 MB
Super intense political pop in the tradition of Fela Kuti, Manu Chao or Ozomatli. Antibalas come from Brooklyn. Lots of their live music is available at the amazing Archive.org. Blog link: Swan Fungus.
MarchFourth Marching Band "Crackhaus" (mp3) 3 MB
MarchFourth Marching Band "YiddishBlues" (mp3) 6 MB
Like Antibalas, MarchFourth (website/myspace), from Portland, Oregan, are heavily influenced by Fela and the Rebirth Brass Band, but these two tracks highlight their more Balkan/Jewish side. "Yiddish Blues" is a 1919 composition of Lieutenant Joseph Frankel, also recorded by early klez-revivalists Klezmer Conservatory Band (featuring Don Byron) and more recently the CzechPrague Klezmerim, the fantastic Shirim Klezmer Orchestra and a German band actually called Yiddish Blues (mp3 of their version). The Frankel song is important and interesting because he came from Kiev, where he was classically trained, and then wound up involved in theatre music in New York. According to Mark Slobin, the song takes "the Mi Shebeyrekh cantorial mode" ["May he who blessed" - a healing prayer] and combines it with a ragtime rhythm, illustrating the crossover between urban immigrant Jewish music and the "Oriental foxtrot" genre dance bands were playing then, and which black bands like Duke Ellington's and Fats Waller's would develop more ambitiously later. Blog links: Guess I'm Floating, SoundRoots. Buy.
Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker "These Boots are Made for Walking" (mp3) 7 MB
1966. Lee Hazlewood's "These Boots..." was a hit for his muse Nancy Sinatra. According to Wikipedia, along with Chet's version, many other versions came out the same year: Hazlewood's own version, The New Christy Minstrels on the album New Kick!, Mrs. Milleron the Mrs. Miller's Greatest Hits, Jane Morgan on the Fresh Flavor and The Supremes on Supremes A' Go-Go. But the Chet Baker version, produced by the great Jack Nitzche, surely stands head and shoulders over most of these. The idea, obviously, was to replicate the commercial success of "musical mensch" Herb Alpert. Unbelievably, Chet churned out no fewer than four albums of this stuff. Info: Ace, and the Chet Baker Tribute site. Blog links: WFMU (also check out Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass - Downtown, The Yellow Rose Of Texas, Never On Sunday, Tsena, Tsena, etc etc), Lil Mike, and Lil Mike again.
Slobodan Salijevic "A Moj Babi" (mp3) 3 MB
I think I must have taken this from SoundRoots, from where I get all the information I know about Salijevic, a Gypsy musician from Prekodolce in Serbia (a town lacking a wikipedia page if there are any Balkan experts out there). Anyway, I thought it followed on well from the Chet Baker/Mariachi brass music, as the band has a nice bittersweet, kitschy feel ot it, above which the lead (presumably Salijevic) soars in a slightly Chet Baker-ish way. Buy Slobodan Salijevic.
A Hawk and a Hacksaw "Ihabibi" (mp3) 6 MB
A Hawk and a Hacksaw are a hipster faux-Balkan band from New Mexico. I disapprove of bands starting their names with the indefinate article, but there you go, at least they're not called something like "Architecture in Helsinki", "Radio 4" or "British Seapower", names of which I very strongly disapprove. I also mildly disapprove of the fact they did the soundtrack for the Slavoj Zizek documentary. On the other hand, I strongly approve of the fact they feature Willie "The Lion" Smith's "Echoes of Spring" on their website. Smith was a black and Jewish god of pre-war jazz. "Echoes of Spring" echoes the European romantic movement's interest in the folk musics of Eastern and Central Europe (thus influencing Duke Ellington's later work in this tradition) and as such has a kinship with klezmer and Balkan music. Anyway, "Ihabibi" is from AHAAH's 2007 collaboration with Budapest's The Hun Hangár Ensemble and sounds, to me, quite klezmerish, like a Romanian doyna.