T. Misago & His Tokyo Cuban Boys – La Macarena – Denon PCM

Posted in Uncategorized on May 17, 2017 by xxx

IMG_9460Once in a blue moon I’ll find something that is so perfectly up my alley that I’ll say to myself, “this really shouldn’t exist”. Tadaaki Misago and his Tokyo Cuban Boys is one of those things that shouldn’t exist, but thank the music gods it does. There’s very little information out there about this all-Japanese Latin Jazz big band, but the very brief jist of it is as follows: in post-war Japan, the Latin music that was exploding into the mainstream in the USA reached Japanese ears. Some very talented musicians led by one Tadaaki Misago formed a band and learned the latin jazz form. They became popular enough to release some 200 albums over the years, most of which are undocumented on the internet and presumably very difficult to find. From what is available on the internet (youtube, spotify, etc.)  the majority of their work is pretty straight forward latin jazz in the vein of Perez Prado, Xavier Cugat and so on. They broke up in the 80s and under the leadership of Misago’s son, the band was resurrected in 2005. There are some wonderful videos of the new Tokyo Cuban Boys on YouTube: here and here. You’re welcome.

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A Japanese Latin band called the Tokyo Cuban boys, is magical and all, but it’s just not enough to warrant a post that serves to resurrect this website after a 4 year hiatus. There’s something very special about this record. This particular record by the Misago and his Tokyo Cuban Boys is an aberration from the band’s available material. Instead of straight forward big band latin jazz, the cuts on this record are laced with a late-70s/80s dose of psychedelic funk fusion. It’s all Latin standards done through a really grooving 70s blacksploitation film soundtrack lens. The album starts out with a version of Angelitos Negros that would make Quentin Tarantino go hard. If Kill Bill was set in Miami this album would be the soundtrack.

Every cut is more marvelous than the last and what really makes this Garbage and Gold material is that this record barely has any presence on the internet. It’s very unlikely that you’ll hear these cuts elsewhere and certainly not at this quality. Here it is for your listening pleasure. From the over-packed shelves of Yesterday and Today records in Miami, FL… T. Misago and his Tokyo Cuban Boys… like you’ve never heard them before.

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Orquesta Aragon – The Heart of Havana – Cariño Records

Posted in Gold on September 4, 2013 by xxx
As always the download link is located at the bottom of the post.

This one is for the kids…

When a friend of mine asked me for some recommendations for retro Latin music I knew I had just the record for her. My friend Aurora is a school teacher, this week her class is focusing on Latin music. Aurora, previously a critic of Garbage and Gold, knew just the right place to find some quality Latin American tunes. This one is for her and her students. It is my hope that these quality sounds plant seeds in their heads that shall one day grow into some classy musical flowers.

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The record I knew I had to provide to these children is The Heart of Havana by Orquesta Aragon. A classic record of Cuban songs originally released in 1957 on RCA Victor. My copy is a reissue put out by Carino Records. These recordings are absolutely beautiful. The Afro-Cuban jazz beats move along at a danceable tempo and are never monotonous or uninteresting. The vocals, oh the vocals… they have that angelic quality that often characterizes old recordings. Vocal harmonies blend into one ethereal singing voice. Then comes the flute, oh that blessed flute and it’s fluttering like harmonies. All the pieces of the Orquesta Aragon come together to leave us with some highly memorable tunes.

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I could imagine children hearing these songs and just enjoying them for the funny lyrical sounds. The opening song “Tilín”, for example, feautures the Orquestra singing “Tilín Tilín” repeatedly followed by the flute matching the melody of the vocals. It’s fun in an innocent way and is almost reminiscent of a Walt Disney film score. There’s plenty of other songs that feature “Cha Cha Cha’s” or “Pa-Ran-Pa-Ran” that are understood by people of all ages and tongues. I know that the kids will love this music. The teacher might even want to inform them that this music was created perhaps even before Mommy and Daddy were born. That oughta get the little buggers thinking!

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There is an added level of enjoyment from a more mature and perhaps bi-lingual listener. The songs are clever, comedic and range from songs about beautiful women, island life and taking it easy, to songs about rice and steak and even a song about radioactivity. So there you have it!  A record of 1950s Cuban songs that can be enjoyed by children and adults all the same. So no matter who you are or where you are in your life throw this record on and travel back to a pre-Castro Cuba filled with fine tobacco, rum and tropicalia.

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Delroy Wilson – The Best Of – Coxsone Original Twelve

Posted in Gold with tags , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2013 by xxx
As always the download link is located at the bottom of the post.

Feel the spirit down in your soul…

What does reggae music mean to you? Does it represent the heart and soul of the Jamaican people? Can you feel the catharsis deep in the song? 500 years of slavery and suffering could not keep down love and culture.  Or does reggae music mean Bob Marley, sand, sun and sea? Cold Corona’s on a boat somewhere? Does it bring images to mind? Hammocks on the beach? Marcus Garvey’s determined mug silkscreened in red and black? Red-eyed white kids practicing nihilism in their pot-smoke fumigated dorm rooms? 

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Reggae music has been pervaded by it’s misinterpretation and abuse in recent decades. Still all it takes is for one of the classic Burning Spear songs to come through your speakers and everything else melts away. All that negativity is gone. You feel the emotion in the Spear’s voice. It cuts into you. The rhythm swallows you up and heals you. That’s reggae.

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Before there was reggae, there was rocksteady. Compared to reggae, rocksteady is more upbeat, deals with more traditional pop-song topics (love, happiness, etc.)  than the spiritual/religious/political issues dealt with in reggae music. I’m no professional, but I think most of the songs on this record lean more towards rocksteady than they do reggae.


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Delroy Wilson started off recording ska tracks for Coxsone Dodd and quickly became a mainstay of the rocksteady vocalists. This record is an original Coxsone label compilation of Delroy’s best rocksteady songs. There are many classics on here. It’s a very enjoyable listen. The songs are all very cheery and smooth. The tight rhythms and horn melodies provide subtle backup and relief from Wilson’s confident vocals. His delivery is tasteful, it balances on the line between understated and gaudy. The result is a collection of songs that I could listen to on repeat all day. It’s real music and it’s really good.

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Happy Independence Day – Carmen Dragon – Stephen Foster Melodies – Capitol

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2013 by xxx

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I’m doing this one from the road, so I apologize for the lack of quality images or thoughtful writing. Here’s some good old-time music for the holiday. Carmen Dragon and his Orchestra perform Stephen Foster’s most famous compositions. These are beautiful versions of these songs, I much prefer them to the choral versions that you typically find. Perfect for driving through some southern landscapes or sitting in the comfort of your own home and reflecting on this great nation.

Tracklist:

1. De Camptown Races

2. My Old Kentucky Home

3. Old Black Joe

4. Old Dog Tray

5. Massa’s In the Cold, Cold Ground

6. Oh! Susanna

7. Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair

8. Old Folds at Home

9. Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming

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Smokey Robinson – Dr. Steve’s Selections, Vol. 1 – Mixtape

Posted in Gold with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2013 by xxx
As always the download link is located at the bottom of the post.

“You see you’re just like me, I hope you’re satisfied.”

My dad (Steve) loves music as much as anyone I know. His tastes aren’t that diverse, but he knows what he likes and that works for him. His favorite songwriters are Smokey Robinson and Bob Dylan. He loves to say that Bob Dylan once called Smokey “America’s greatest living poet”. It’s true, a quote like that is pretty heavy, coming from someone widely regarded as one of the greatest wordsmiths in American history, love it or hate it. At first glance, it might seem strange that his two favorite musicians were operating in very different genres. My dad likes to point out how many of their songs share similar lyrics, themes, titles…etc. I think that point only really applies to Dylan’s love songs, because every love song ends up sharing a bit with every other love song. But what I think isn’t  important. My dad created this connection between two artists of his admiration and if it’s true to him, it’s true. That’s his interpretation and maybe he’s right… after all, Dylan was a fan of ol’ Smoke.

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My memories of childhood, and all the years since, are colored heavily with the sounds of Motown. We had this big jukebox filled with my dad’s 45s that used to run almost all the time. Later on it was turned on only during parties and pool games and things like that, but the library never changed. The thing is a fixture of my childhood. I used to watch the bubbles float up in front of the color changing pinwheel decorative things. My first psychedelic experiences were probably at a very young age sitting at the foot of the jukebox. I’d sit there taking in these songs usually misunderstanding the lyrics in the way that a 4-year old might. A classic lyrical mix-up for me was with the song “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest” off of Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding album. I always thought the song was about a conflicted “Jewish Priest”. Smokey’s songs were less cryptic and probably more soothing to a young boy.

I’ve got to thank my dad for having such passion for music and for sharing it with me. I never experienced any sort of repulsion towards my parent’s music. Their music was always “super rad”. My dad has always been pleasantly surprised to be reassured that I think that his music is cool. It is. Smokey Robinson is an unbelievable songwriter and an equally talented vocalist/musician. I think his work is timeless and I can’t imagine anyone finding most of his work tacky or unenjoyable. If you have felt emotion, you will like Smokey. It’s emotional music through and through, but not in the hitting you over the head way. It’s pleasant. It’s sweet. It’s hypnotic. Only one person can make music like this. Smokey Robinson.

A couple months ago my dad gave me a couple old cassette tapes and asked me if I could digitize them for him. I’ve been lazy about getting around to it, but I’ve finally done it and god damn am I impressed. This cassette is a curated greatest hits album of my dad’s favorite Smokey cuts. Sure, you could download most of these songs in a high quality CD form (well not all; there’s some alternate versions on here). But you’d be missing the point. There’s charm to these transfers. Almost everyone starts with a cassette tape sound of tape speeding up, each song has a little warble to it. This is a 15-20 year old cassette that was listened to heavily.  There are some surprises hidden in the mix. Track 6 is my personal favorite, it starts with the opening line of “Whose Gonna Take the Blame” and then cuts into some other jingle for a bar and then cuts again into “Different Strokes for Different Folks”. To some it is just the result of bad tape cueing; sloppy mix-tape making. To others, and I hope that’s all of us here, it’s a beautiful accident, the sort that not even the best DJ could emulate. This mix-tape is just begging to be sampled.

So on this Father’s Day, I’m not only going to share his digitized tape with him, but with all of you too. I hope you all enjoy it this summer. It’s perfect for playing during a nice evening with your closest friend(s) by candlelight.

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I want to thank my dad for instilling such good taste in music in me from a young age. I know that he secretly wishes he had become a musician. He gave up guitar lessons as a boy. Well Dad… don’t worry, I’ve got that locked down for the both of us. Just sit back and enjoy this music. I’ll take care of the rest.

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Tracklist

1. I Want to Be Your Love

2.We’ve Saved the Best for Last

3. If You Can Want

4. Here I Go Again

5. Baby, Baby Don’t Cry

6. Who’s Gonna Take the Blame/Satisfaction (medley)

7. We’ve Come too Far to End it Now/I’ll Try Something New

8. I’ll Try Something New (Alternate Version)

9. You Cannot Laugh Alone (Deep in My Soul)

10. Jasmin

11. Easy 

12. Just to See Her

13. Keep Me

14. One Heartbeat

Carnaval 87 – Sambas De Enredo – RCA

Posted in Gold with tags , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2013 by xxx
As always the download link is located at the bottom of the post.

Travel to Rio for Sex, Sand, Sun and Sambas!

Sambas De Enredo (Pronounced EN-HEH-DO) is a series of live recordings from Carnival 1987. There are plenty of resources out there to learn about Samba Enredo (start here and here). Basically it is a particular type of Samba that is performed during annually Carnival in Rio de Jainero, Brazil. These Sambas are performed by large masses of performes grouped into “schools”. The schools sing play their songs as a sort of performance as part of the Carnival festivities. Samba-enredo is one of the main forms of Samba associated with Carnival.

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The recordings presented here are massive. Choruses of vocalists create a harmonized group-voice that creates beautiful vocal melodies over the pounding multi-rhythmic percussion that is the backbone of Samba. The rhythm has so many different layers to it that it can sound like caucaphony to the unaccustomed ear. I assure you that this is anything but sloppy. This is a very meticulous and calculated song form. These schools apparently Here’s a good video showing the many layers that construct a typical Samba-enredo beat:

I procrastinated releasing this album on G&G for months while I waited for the right person to translate the lyrics for me. After several months my drive to post to the blog completely disappeared. I am ashamed to admit it but in the end it was simply out of laziness and lack of drive. I am back now and plan on posting at least one post a day for the next week or two. In embracing this new sense of drive, I’ve decided that knowing the lyrics aren’t important. I’ve written a short poem about the album instead. I hope that you enjoy the songs.

The masses exclaim in melody

Like the song of the waves crashing

On different shorelines

In different countries, for different ears

Who understand vastly different tongues

Yet the song is the same 

And understood by all.

This record comes from Phil Elverum’s personal collection. I bought it from an online sale he had of some of his records. Also, if anyone wants to try and translate these songs or song titles for the rest of us that would be great. Just message me.

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Download Here

Jimmie Skinner – #1 Bluegrass – Gusto Records

Posted in Gold with tags , , , , , , on June 10, 2013 by xxx
As always the download link is located at the bottom of the post.

“Everybody’s askin’ what’s happened to Country…”

Jimmie Skinner confesses on his 1977 album, “#1 Bluegrass”. There’s weight behind those words. Skinner has experienced the lament of concerned Country music fans first hand as a touring Bluegrass musician. In the late 70s Country music  was experiencing a number of revivals. The “Outlaw” Country musicians were having their moment in the spotlight… guys like Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck, of course Johnny Cash had also embraced that ethos. Country was being influenced by rock music, the line between the two was becoming more blurred with each year that passed. On the other hand you had the more pop country tunes coming out from the likes of Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell and John Denver. Depending on your perspective you might call it progression, degression or evolution of a form. Country music was fighting to stay relevant. It was adapting to the changing times. Traditionalists were pushed to the fringes of the genre. Small neotraditionalists and revival movements popped up in different regions of the country. The acoustic/string band movement is experiencing a similar revival today. Just take a trip to any big city in the country and you’ll find that to be true. Everyone listener and critic had their opinion on the state of country music. But what did the old-timers think? What was it like being a long-time recording artist trying to stay afloat in a sinking form of musical expression? Jimmy Skinner put his thoughts on record for us to hear.

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“It’s blowing away.”

Jimmie Skinner was born in 1909 and died in 1979, two years after the release of this, his final album. With 50+ years of songwriting under his belt, Skinner felt no need to change his tried and true formula. These are straight-up, roots Bluegrass songs; the record is a sort of living anachronism. Despite what the opening paragraph might lead you to believe, there’s nothing doleful about these songs. Almost every song is uplifting and positive. There are songs about being an independent recording artist, as Skinner often was.  On the album’s third song, “This Old Road”, Skinner goes into a bit of spoken word about his place in the music industry. He talks about pressing his own records, booking his own tours and generally adhering to a DIY ethic. He expresses his struggles in keeping up with the likes of country music legends like George Jones. This song is a sort of proto-punk/indie anthem. In fact, a very interesting aspect to Skinner’s career is that he self-released a lot of his records. The guy was way ahead of his time. The record was way past it’s time. While other artists were conforming to whatever trend was hot at the time, Skinner stuck to his guns and delivers some real fine American “roots” music.

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“Big brown eyes and curly hair, lips sweet as sugar cane, ‘fore that evening sun goes down, I’m gonna change her name. That old moon’s a’ shinin’ down in lover’s lane.”

Some of the other highlights of the album are, “Whoopie Liza” a new version of Skinner’s classic single, “My Little Liza Jane”, “Don’t Do it and it Won’t Be on Your Mind”, a little morality number about the pitfalls of cheating and how to avoid it. In that song there’s a little tip of the hat to the classic Ernest Tubb number, “Warm Red Wine”. “Fallen Leaves” is a cheery up-tempo number for fans of faster Bluegrass music.

They say you should respect your elders, there’s a lot you can learn from someone who has been around the block. Jimmie Skinner is more deserving of that respect than any recording artist I know of. These songs have a special sting to them when sung through his matured throat. It’s a great album to enjoy sit back and enjoy the summer breeze with. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have. God Bless America and Long Live Country Music.

Download Here

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