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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Classics IV: "Sunny" A thank you note for a lover, the most sincere, unique and honest affair songwriter Bobby Hebb ever had. Recorded in 1968 and from the album The Very Best Of The Classics IV.

Montefiori Cocktail: "Tequila Bum Bum." I found this twin brother combo by chance looking for a song on the internet and I thought "Tequila Bum Bum" would be the song I wanted, but it wasn't, in fact I thought I spent six dollars online to get this CD for nothing! Well, not exactly nothing. It turned out to be a nice experience discovering an italian dance-lounge act that even had a chance to show their musical virtues in the TV series "Sex And the City." Tequila Bum Bum was recorded in 1997 and it's taken from the 2005 CD Taste Of... Un Sorso Di Montefiori Cocktail.

Amigos Invisibles: "Ease Your Mind" They're from Venezuela and they're the hottest act

Al Stewart: “Time Passages” This is a personal, intimate favorite of mine because it has my favorite elements in a rock and roll song: first, it was released in the seventies, second, it features a Fender Rhodes electric piano and third, the songwriting is superb. Al’s favorite subject is the impotence of man against aging and becoming wiser. Al Stewart, Scottish as Rod (no relation,) lives in Los Angeles and performs frequently in small clubs around California and every once in a while does a World Tour. From the 1978 album of the same name.

Rod Stewart: “Young Turks” The song is a five-minute picture about a young couple who run away from their families to start one the hard way. The fast pace of the song makes you want to dance –and it was a big hit on dancefloors in the early eighties, of course-, but the storytelling in third person makes you want to know more about these kids. Definetly it could have been used for a movie and also for scholar debates about teenage runaways (“but there ain’t no point in talking when there’s nobody listening so we just ran away”). An underrated jewel, and probably Stewart’s best performace ever, from the 1981 album Tonight I’m Yours.

Jamiroquai: “Space Cowboy” Jason “Jay” Kay formed Jamiroquai in 1991 as a funk band with intense, extreme influences from the R&B sounds of the seventies. Stevie Wonder’s vocals, Roy Ayers’ musical flow and Weather Report’s bass player Jaco Pastorius styles come to mind first when we hear this tune, which is in my humble opinion the best song of the nineties. It’s an introspective ode to friendship and calm life, disguised as advertising for marijuana use. But don’t take the words too literate because your prejudice, or acceptance, will blur the real meaning of this tune: when Kay sings “I'm glad I found somebody who I can rely on,” and repeats the same phrase later in third person, isn’t he being coming out of himself?. rom the 2006 collection High Times. Also available in a longer, spacier version, on the 1994 album The Return Of The Space Cowboy.

The Ventures: “Tequila” The Ventures is an instrumental combo from Tacoma, WA that rocked the sixties prior to the “summer of love” musical revolution. They played mostly covers and this one, The Champs’ “Tequila” surpasses the original version. The sax riff is replaced by a well crafted and clean guitar solo. The Ventures were, with Dick Dale and The Beach Boys, the most representative acts of Surf Rock in the early sixties. Drummer Mel Taylor died in 1996, but the remaining members still rock the nights with tunes like this one. From the 1962 album The Ventures Play Telstar, The Lonely Bull and Others.

Kenny Burrell with the Gil Evans Orchestra: “Moon And Sand” Burrell is one of the most versatile jazz guitar players and this track, a collaboration with Canadian arranger Gil Evans, puts him on the spotlight. It's almost impossible not to identify Evans' arrangement style once you listen to his orchestra; and here, his horn section proves a haunting background for Burrell's tasteful, passionate acoustic riffs. This is one of the most interesting guitar performances with a Latin combo that I have ever heard. The congas are drastically panned to the left and the small drum kit at the right, giving the sensation of being stuck into the speakers. The orchestra is in the back, and Kenny's acoustic guitar (recorded unamplified and without any compression devices) is dramatically closer to the listener. Rudy Van Gelder's engineering skills give the listener the sensation of being in a nightclub. Reverberation is one of the "key signatures" of the analog Verve Jazz sound in the sixties, in this recorded by Van Gelder at his personal studio. From the 1964 album Guitar Forms.

Cal Tjader: “Cuchy Frito Man” Vibraphonist Cal Tjader's CDs can be found on the jazz section of your local record store but I think they could be in the Latin Music rack. He recorded lots of albums for Fantasy and Verve records and all of them are highly reccomendable. His long-standing presence in San Francisco eventually had a profound influence upon bands like Santana and Malo, thus Latin Rock. From the 1966 album Soul Burst.

Beatles: "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" John always had the last word.


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