MLK

shepard-fairey-mlkThis one’s for all the dj’s playing out this holiday weekend. House legend Larry Heard aka Mr. Fingers  “Can U Feel It ( Martin Luther King, Jr. Mix)” is the classic go to for tonight and tomorrow.

 
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Lesser known and never played, Martin Luther King by Max Romeo is another good one. And how fitting is “Reconstruction”  with the inauguration around the corner?

Barack The Vote! Cambio! Si Se Puede!

obama-date-farmer-1Ok, so it’s been awhile. Over a year in fact. I apologize for the neglect, but I am back…just in time for election day. This is a big one, as we all know. I’m sure that all of you reading this all agree who needs to win this time around, so I’ll refrain from my temptations on the making any of the abundant jokes on Grandpa and his Trophy Vice, and give you what I know best…Music to inspire Revolucion, and to send you off to the voting booths. Let’s make this a landslide, so the dirty right wing tricks can’t steal another election.

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I’ve been rinsing out all my favorite Obama songs every night in the clubs I’ve been djing at in NYC, and a ton of people have been begging me for them. So finally, here are a few, until I get my mix done. The illest one by far is by one of my favorite Jamaican singers, Cocoa Tea. Check ‘Barack Obama‘. On the more latin tip, there’s the Mariachi band from Cali, Mariachi Aguilas de Mexico. Toca ‘Viva Obama‘ to show that Chicano support. Even the Irish have an Obama anthem… belt out ‘There’s No One As Irish As Barack Obama‘ in the pubs tonight after a few pints. Still rightfully pissed about Aristide getting ousted by our current administration? Manze Dayila wrote this’Change‘ for you! The next track I’m giving you just soley on how ridiculous it is. It’s a seriously amature hip hop group called A.P.T. who take Lil’ Wayne’s ‘A Milli’ and turns it into ‘Obama, Obama’. Hilarious! Finally Taz Arnold aka Ti$a from Sa-Ra Creative Partners killed it with the Isley Brothers sample that Ice Cube used for ‘It Was a Good Day’ (hopefully will be) and flipped it into what should be today’s anthem. ‘Imma Vote Obama Way‘.

On a side note, although I won’t get into all the reasons why Mccain and Palin should NOT win this election, as that would take forever, (not to mention I agree with 95% of all of Obama’s positions on the issues) I do want to say one thing. I’m really suprised on how quickly people have forgotten that Mccain voted against Arizona celebrating the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday 7 years in a row. (1983-1990). I’m not suprised that the Obama campaign hasn’t brought it up, as that would be stooping to McCain’s level, and they would be percieved as playing the race card. But I am suprised that people like Bill Maher, or Jon Stewart, NBC, etc… haven’t brought it up. I lived there at the time, and I remember it because there were a ton of bands that I wanted to see but couldn’t because they wouldn’t tour through Arizona because of this. Fishbone, Living Colour, and Public Enemy just to name a few. Just a reminder check PE’s ‘By The Time I Get To Arizona‘.

Speaking of Arizona, make sure to check my man Z-Trip‘s masterpiece Obama Mix that he’s giving away on his website. I know he remembers the Public Enemy boycot, so It’s fitting that he’s been killing it at all those Obama fundraisers now.

It’s rare that we get a politician or any leader for that matter, that is this poignant and who has the potential to change the world into a drastically better place. So, turn it up, get out and vote, and make your voice heard!

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Tropicalia

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Tropicalia ou Panis Et Circensis was the manifesto to the Tropicalia movement that Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil started along with Os Mutantes, Gal Costa, Tom Ze and others in the late 60’s. In addition to being incredibly outspoken against the military dictatorship that silenced any form of expression and stripped people of their freedoms, they also set out to revolutionize form in addition to content. In all artforms involved in this movement (Theater, Cinema Novo, Poetry, Visual Arts, Music, etc…) they welcomed outside influences influences and embrassed them. Brazilian music at the time was overly-nationalist and frowned upon any outside influence. Artists like Caetano, Gil, and Os Mutantes rejected this idealogy and borrowed heavily from artists like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, etc… Rogerio Duprat, the arranger of most of the albums during this time including this one, lived in France to study directly from Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez just as Quincy Jones did. It was through all these influences a new sound was created. This movement was shortlived though, due to the government jailing and eventually exiling Caetano and Gil on December 27th, 1968. The 2 lived in London until they were allowed back in 1972. Caetano wrote this about the effects of the movement in his book
‘Tropical Truth: A Story of Music & Revolution in Brazil’…

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“We had not attained socialism, had not even found its human face; neither had we entered the Age of Aquarius or the Kingdom of the Holy Ghost; we had not overcome the West, had not rooted out racism or abolished sexual hypocrisy. But things would never be as they had been.”

After Tropicalia there was complete acceptance to inovation in the arts in Brazil. People were granted more freedom of expression, and artists were no longer censored. The political system even got better. There is a great documentary that is available online that you should definately check out called ‘Brazil, The Tropicalist Revolution’.

There are a ton of Brazilian blogs out there that have an overwhelming amount of rare and incredible records. You can spend days at Loronix, Som Barato, Brazilian Nuggets, Quimsy’s Mumbo Jumbo, Sabadabada, Na Onda Do Samba, Sounds of the 70’s, J Thyme kind, Abracadabra, Som Do Bom, Capsula da Cultura and Toque Musical.
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Soul Jazz put out an incredible comp last year called ‘Tropicalia A Brazilian Revolution in Sound’. To keep the forum going and with an attempt to get more people involved, only registered users in the forum will recieve the link to this unbelievable record. So if you haven’t checked it out yet, go now…

EGREM: El Tesoro De La Musica Cubana

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This is possibly the greatest collection of Cuban music available. This 8 CD set tells the story of Egrem, (The Cuban government’s record lable) which was started in 1964 and is still going strong today. Thanks to Ry Cooder the studios and artists had an enormous spotlight shined on them a few years back with the Buena Vista Social Club project. By then, the lable already had thousands of releases and been in operation for over 35 years! This was and still is Cuba’s ONLY record lable since 1964. On one hand, it preserved the culture and harnessed it. The government pays the musicians to play the modest salary that everyone gets regardless if they are a doctor or street cleaner, and pays for all the recordings. Most of the musicians that you meet have no job, but to play music. Which is much better than most musicians have it here in the states! But, it is under their terms. Irakere had a rough time in the 70’s getting support from them because they had so many jazz and funk influences, and recently Cuban hip hop just won a 10 year battle for that same support. Again, as long as you don’t speak out against the government too much or embrace the capitalistic consumerism that is present in most of todays American hip hop.

The forum is coming along… there’s a link to an incredible Cuban Documentary (gracias Busquelo!) and few links to other incredible records. But it still needs to grow. So, in the tradition of the last post, this Egrem comp will be only available to registered users of the forum who have made at least 2 posts. I would act fast. I had to stop sending out the Si Para Usted comp as a request from the lable owner. The first registered users were lucky enough to get it though. The same could happen here. (Imagine…ok Fidel, I’ll take it down) So click on the forum button on the left hand side, register, and you will get the link sent to you…

Si! Para Usted!

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First off, I want to apologize for the lack of posts in the last 2 weeks. (I’ve been djing 5-6 nights a week these days) That’s why I’m going to make it up to you all… in a big way. I’ve just created a forum with the same theme of this blog. A forum to…post requests and links, get your questions answered, learn, inform, and discuss music and politics and everything in between. It’s time to get all of you involved… A true movement of the people! In an attempt to get all of you involved and get the discussions going, I will honor 1 request from the first 100 people who register. I do have 10,000 records and about 500 gigs of music to pick from, so if you request a few records, chances are that I will have at least one of them. The beautiful thing about all of this, is as more people get on the forum, the higher your chances are of someone having that record that you’ve been looking for for 10 years. Here’s the catch…you just have to become a registered user in the forum and make 2 posts (takes 2 minutes).

In addition to that, I will also send you the link to the comp ‘Si, Para Usted: the Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba’. Recorded in the 70’s these artists (Juan Pablo Torres, Irakere, Los Van Van, etc…) all were influenced highly by funk and soul and what was going on in NY at the time with Fania. Not to mention, most of the tracks on this are really difficult to find (good luck finding anything on Egrem in the states). Just click on the little forum button on the left side of this page , register, and I’ll send it to you…

Oye Mi Gente!

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Most of you have undoubtedly heard about Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez’s new film with director Leon Ichaso (Pinero) about the life of Hector LavoeEl Cantante‘. While I’m not really into anything that the 2 singer/actors have done so far, I think they’ve finally found their calling in this one. You can’t go wrong with a story about a kid moving from little Ponce, Puerto Rico to New York and becoming the one of the greatest Puerto Rican singers of all time. Willie Colon, Yankee Stadium with the Fania All-Stars in front of 50,000 fans…Throw in a huge drug habit (if you look closely you can actually see cocaine residue on his pinky ring), and many more tragedies unfortunately later in his life (I won’t ruin the movie for you), and you’ve got an incredible story.

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The best thing about all of this, is that all of his incredible music is now re-surfacing everywhere. Fania has released an incredible 2 Cd comp called La Voz. As well as a hits cd ‘The Originals: El Cantante’. Where every single track is a monster. Check out Aguanile for proof. There is also a nice radio edit of Louie Vega’s remix of Mi Gente. Who else are you going to get to remix that one? (If you didn’t know Hector happens to be Louie Vega’s uncle.) There is a 12″ coming out soon with an extended version and dub version on the flip that works much better on the dancefloor though. Definately cop that one! But until then, here’s the epic 11 minute version and the equally long dub version for all you serato heads…

and last but certainly not least…Sun of Latin Music is in the middle of posting the entire Hector Lavoe discography!!! Make sure you go and get all those Willie Colon records that he’s featured on as well as all of his solo records. Thanks Julien!

26 de Julio!

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Today marks the end of Carnival in Santiago de Cuba. It is hands down the most celebrated event in Cuba, and definately the best party. (We have inside sources here at ¿Revolucion, No? that have seen first hand in 2003, during the 50th anniversary). This date marks the beginning of the movement simply called El Movimiento de la 26 de Julio. This movement, led by Fidel Castro, brother Raul, and Che Guevara, originated from the failed attack on the Moncada Barracks, an army facility in the city of Santiago de Cuba in 1953. Fidel was then sentenced to 15 years in prison, but after serving less than 2 years he was released by Batista, who recieved a tremendous amount of pressure from the public to release him. Fidel reformed the movement in Mexico, which is where he met Che Guevara. Under this movement they overthrew the fascist Batista regime in 1959 and the Cuban Revolucion was born.

What happened after that is complicated, and the views vary drastically. Either way you look at it, the goal that the 26th of July movement had was admirable. It was to overthrow a conservative regime that only benefitted the rich and foreign investment (many straight out gangsters). The majority of the actual people in Cuba at the time suffered greatly from poverty. Who can disagree with taking over a regime like this? It’s a Movement of the People! The wealthy cuban-americans certainly can. Just go to Miami and start talking politics. But the fact of the matter is, the education system is better, the health care is renowned throughout the world (think about it there are no corrupt insurance-drug company scams), and noone is homeless. Unfortunately the embargo has caused a huge amount of suffering and the country is extremely poor because of it. At this point, I’m not sure what is worse. To be stubborn and fight the imperialism, or to open it up and have it look like Miami and Puerto Rico. At least the people would have more opportunities, right? I’m only saying that in theory the Cuban Revolution was an incredible thing. The embargo definately threw a wrench in the system, and corruption is always present. It’s difficult to be objective for many here in the states…we’ve got over 50 years of propaganda engrained in us, and not to mention all the angry ex-Cubans who had all their land and multiple homes taken away. (I for one, don’t think that one person should own 5 homes when there are millions of people homeless…but try saying that to people in Florida). I’m not saying that socialism is the way to go…I do feel it takes away peoples drive and therefore productivity. But I do believe a mix is good. Europe is a perfect example. National health care, education, getting rid of tax breaks on the rich… does that sound like a bad thing? Anyways, I’m ranting…I highly suggest going to Cuba right now, before it does open up. (I mean, uh….from what people tell me….)

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If you do go, (it’s simple, I hear you just go to another country close by and buy a ticket from Cubana in cash, and when you get there ask them not to stamp your passport. When you do go, bring lots of cash. Don’t use your credit card…otherwise they have proof that you’ve been there…so I hear) you will hear an incredible amount of music. The whole buena vista social club son thing is everywhere. Sundays, there are rhumba’s everywhere. Santeria rituals everywhere (especially in Santiago), and live salsa bands performing outdoors, and in clubs all the time. Los Van Van, Grupo NG, etc… There is also a big underground hip hop movement there. Granted some of them unfortunately listen to lil jon, and 50 cent, but most are into the conscious thing (i.e. Common, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, etc…) Most of you know the Orishas, who just put out a new record Antidiotico which is kind of a greatest hits record with a couple of new singles/re-works. They’ve since moved to France though, so you won’t see them there. You should, however look for Anonimo Consejo, Aldeanos, Danay, Explosion Suprema amongst many many more. I’ve put together a collection of unreleased material that I got directly from them while…um…someone from the ¿Revolucion, No? office while he was there 2 years ago. He was there for a few weeks working with Danay y Aldo, after an introduction from Pablo Herrera. It is given to me in good faith, so I’ve just included one song from each artist as an introduction to them. So if you like what you here go out and support them. I’m actually working on original material with them right now, so look out in the future….

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For now, here’s what you get…

Masekela!

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Masekela continues on with the revolucionary African music theme. The back of the record says it all ‘The music contained herein speaks for itself. Nothing more need be added. All there remains to do is to do.’ There are so many strong stongs on this record. It starts with Mace and Grenades, which talks about the harsh realities of the times (1968) and says ‘It looks like It’s be safer to be in Jail…I’m in jail out here’. ‘Gold’, which you already heard on Bobbito’s mix cd, is about the oppression during the apartheid, and how South Africans are essentially forced into slave labor mining for gold and diamonds, and see nothing in return. Even the instrumentals have incredible titles…’Blues for Huey (Newton), and Riot. The record ends with the incredible. ‘If There’s Anybody Out There’.

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BBE just released ‘The Chisa Years (Rare and Unreleased 1965-1975)’. I can’t recomend it enough. If you don’t know BBE(Barely Breaking Even) is an ill label out of London, and they’ve been putting out solid releases for a minute, so support them! They’re selling the cd for 5 pounds, or you can get it on itunes, or of course on vinyl. When this came out over a year ago, Wax Poetics hosted a remix competition for the song Mahlalela, and of course, being a trumpet player who does remixes, I did one. It didn’t get picked…I like to think that it’s because they didn’t get it in time. (I sent it the night before the cutoff day, went to sleep, woke up to see that it didn’t get sent. So I wrote a letter, re-sent it sucessfully, but never heard from them.) Either way, I play it out on a regular, and I always get people running to the dj booth ‘Where’d you get this remix?!’ So here it is…

Hugh Masekela was close with Fela, and he actually wrote ‘Fela’ in tribute to him. The two were very similar in many ways. Hugh was exiled from South Africa in 1960 during the Apartheid for 30 years, along with many other musicians from South Africa. (Among them his wife, Miriam Makeba) There is an incredible documentary that I urge all of you to check out called ‘Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony’.

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In short, it talks about how music was instrumental (excuse the pun) in lifting the Apartheid. In one point of the film, they actually talk about how they weren’t able to post notices around town or announcements with directions to the next protest/demonstration. So they would actually sing in Zulu the directions to the protest, and the song would get sung throughout the country. The British had no idea what they were singing, and this was one way that they would communicate. Many of the musicians would regularly visit and write to Nelson Mandela while he was in prison and write lyrics based on that. This is one of the reasons so many musicians were exiled. Years later Masekela wrote ‘Bring him back home’ and was the anthem of the Free Nelson Mandela Movement in the 80’s. There were a ton of other huge songs written for him as well such as The Specials ‘Free Nelson Mandela’, Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’, among many more. It became a trend in the 80’s and all the songs, tribute concerts, and press shined a huge spotlight on what England was doing. It essentially shamed them into lifting the apartheid. Hopefully this model, now being used to shine a light on the genocide in Sudan, will continue to work. (A huge Sudan post is coming, don’t worry)
It is a perfect example on how music is, as Fela said ‘The Weapon’.

Movement of the People

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and finally…the fourth and final box set! It starts out with Kalakuta Show. Yet another story about his constant battles with the Nigerian police. He dubbed the most recent attack on he and the republic the ‘Kalakuta Show’. The back cover has actual photos of the attack, and a close up of Fela’s head wound that he recieved from it. To make matters worse, Fela recorded the hit Zombie, which was a metaphor for the Nigerian Soldiers, who are dead inside, and just do what the government tells them to do. In the song he commands the soldiers “Attention! Double up! Fall In! Fall out! Fall down! Get ready!” with his queens chanting Zooommmbiiii….throughout. This one become such a hit at the time (1977) that the people would walk by a soldier and flash a blank stare and say ‘Zombie’. This angered them so much, they went all out on what was to be the most vicious attack on the Kalakuta Republic. Zombie is what egged them on to send in over 1000 soldiers, severely beat everyone, raped the women, through Fela’s mother out the window causing fatal damages, nearly beat Fela to death, burned the entire Republic down, and threw everyone in jail. Never underestimate the power of music! Masters At Work also did a version of this a few years back…and it still wrecks the dancefloor. Lucky you…I included it in the zombie download.

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also note, that in addition to having all the album artwork added (just click on the arrow above the artwork once it’s added into itunes and you will see the front and back cover, etc….) I also included the lyrics so when you load up the track in itunes, click on the track and apple and the letter i and then on the tab lyrics, and you will see them. I will do this when possible for all future downloads.

‘Brothers and Sisters…The secret to life, is to have no fear. We all have to understand that’ Fear Not For Man was his call to all his fellow Nigerians who were afraid of resisting oppression by the government. The b-side, Palm Wine Sound features trumpeter Lester Bowie of The Art Ensemble of Chicago. Bowie lived with Fela for 3 months in 1977 and recorded with him on this one, and an incredible solo on Dog Eat Dog, on the 4th album in this set No Agreement. ‘No Agreement today….No Agreement tomorrow’

Shuffering & Shmiling is his rant on all the colonial religions dividing the country, and behaving hypocritically…stealing, killing, and oppressing the people, etc… He continues with this theme in his elegy for his mother, Coffin For Head of State, denouncing the corrosive effect of Christian and Muslim influence on African life and takes to task the leaders that perpetuate the “Bad bad bad things/Through Jesus Christ our Lord.” After his mother died after her fatal damages that she recieved from the Nigerian military under Christian President Obasanjo, Fela and 57 others laid a coffin on the steps of Obasanjo’s Dodan Barracks, the headquarters of the military government.

So there it is. All 4 box sets in their entirety! 24 Albums in total. Easily the greatest collection of bathroom break records in history. (You dj’s out there know what I mean) Fela recorded 77 albums in his highly prolific career, and while these records are some of his best, there are many many more equally as good as these. I encourage all of you who happen to have any of the others to post a link to them in the comments section.

His legacy lives on through his sons, Femi, who still runs The Shrine in Lagos just recently played Central Park for the 3rd time, and is currently on tour. His brother Seun is also doing his thing. Tony Allen, his drummer since ’69, continues to record and collaborate with tons of people, and still puts out incredible records. Check out his last release on Damon Alburn’s (Blur) label Honest Jons. There has also been a whole slew of new afro-funk bands that are directly influenced by Fela… Check out Antibalas, Wunmi(who sang on that MAW version of Zombie) and the links on Afrofunk Forum for a ton more…

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Here’s a collection of all the album artwork for these 4 boxsets. It isn’t all of them, but most, and the ones that I did scan have both the front and back covers, as well as the inserts. If you want the postcards then you will have to go to the previous post. The same goes for the Booklet that is part of the first set. You can get that in the Music is the Weapon post.

King Of Afrobeat

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‘Let’s start…what we have come in the room to do…’ this 3rd set kicks off with the Live! With Ginger Baker record. Ginger, if you didn’t know, he gained his fame from playing with Cream and later Blind Faith. He sat in on this record (with Tony Allen) and was the start of a long friendship between he and Fela. He eventually built the 16-track ARC Studios in Ikeja (the area of Lagos where the Kalakuta Republic is).

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Next, is Roforofo Fight. Trevor Schoonmaker, who started the Fela Project and put together a great book called ‘Fela: From West Africa to West Broadway’ (which is a collection of essays from people who were either influenced by Fela or were close to him personally), and ‘Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti‘ translated this song perfectly.

‘Fela sings about a very angry friend who, against all the demonstrations of his colleagues, engages in a nasty brawl in a pool of mud with an unspecified assailant. Consequently, the mud (roforofo) claims both assailant and defender as the two brawlers come to “look like twins,” their spearate identities indistinguishable in their grotesque, muddied appearance.’

The flip is nice too, Go Slow is a fitting 17 minute complaint about the traffic in Lagos. Zero G just put up the cd re-issue of this that also has an extra 4 songs. (I’ve included them in this download as well) One of which is ‘Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am’ which is hands down Fela’s most beautiful song. It’s about the daily struggles, and how society lacks compassion, and will kick someone when they are down. Baaba Maal and Taj Mahal did an incredible cover of this on the Red, Hot, and Riot record a few years back. If you don’t own that record yet, you’re sleeping (its been 5 years now!). The Red Hot orginization has donated 7 million to AIDS relief around the world, so no…I’m not going to post it. I’m just going to give you that one song to give you an idea of how incredible it is. So if you haven’t done so already…go buy it!

Next, is the lp Alagbon Close, which is the Lagos headquarters of the federal government. The lyrical melody on this one is one of his strongest. The lyrics themselves are an angry discourse of all the goings on in the Alagbon Close. He Miss Road is a nice break…much more atmospheric and relaxed than the others…

Everything Scatter re-tells what happens when the police come into the Kalakuta Republic, and the b-side ‘Who No Know Go Know’ is his call for African Unity. The last record in this set is Ikoyi Blindness. This marks the end of Fela ‘Ransome’ Kuti and the beginning of Fela ‘Anikulapo’ Kuti. He said that Ransome was a slave name, and so he changed it to Anikulapo which means “he who carries death in his pouch”. He believed that he could not be killed, and also that because he is selfless with his music and plays it for all humanity that he actually gets younger.

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Black President

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Now…the second Fela box set in it’s entirety! This one is the rarest and hardest to find. I’ve been looking for this one for awhile now, and still haven’t found it. If anyone out there has it, and wants to sell it to me, hit me up! So, since I don’t actually own this, I put it together through downloads. Unfortunatly half of it is only at 128kbps. I also don’t have the back of the cover art like I do for the other 3 box sets. I appologize. If I end up finding it I will re-up with the higher bit rate. However, this music transends all of that, and you immediately forget about any slight loss of fidelity.

The first lp in this set is Shakara, an early classic. The second is Expensive Shit…where he re-tells teh story about when the police came to his house with a warrant and then planted a joint on him so they could lock him up. He wisely swallowed it, and they took him in, locked him up and waited for him to take a shit so they could inspect it and lock him up for a long time when they find that it contains thc. Fela was one step ahead though, and he gave them another inmates feces and was freed. The flip is Water No Get Enemy, which at first, I thought it was about the fact that 95% of the people in Lagos don’t have any clean drinking water, due to contamination from all the oil companies, but when you listen to the lyrics closer he uses water as a metaphor for the Nigeria’s common people, talking about the people as being the life and flow of the country of which, without it you can’t survive. The next is Monkey Banana… where he says simply, ‘Before I jump like monkey, give me banana’. Then into Na Poi, and then the epic Sorrow, Tears, and Blood which was written after the famous police raid of 1000 officers who burned the whole Kalakuta Republic, beat everyone almost to death, his mother thrown out of the window and incidently killed her, and threw Fela in jail. The b-side Colonial Mentality is another classic political song…’You done be slave man before, Them done release you now but you…Never release yourself…colonial mentality’. The last record in this set is Authority Stealing, where he compairs the petty street crimes of the citizens and their lengthy jail sentences, to the much larger crimes that the government officials commit without punishment. Unfortunately this song is timeless, and is true not only in Nigeria but of the US and most other countries…

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In each box set there are 6 postcards of images of his ‘Queens’ or wives… many of which performed with him on stage either by singing or dancing. Here is all 18 of them (minus the ones from the second box set).

Music Is The Weapon

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Squinting? Click on this link to see it blown up

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Here it is! The first of a series of posts that will include all 4 limited edition box sets that Barclay put out a few years back that has since been out of print, of hands down the greatest revolucionary musician to come out of Africa. If you didn’t act fast a few years back, you might have a hard time finding these now. Each volume has 6 remastered records, 6 color postcards of his ‘queens’ , and the first volume comes with a 10 page 12″ booklet which I have scanned and you can download it here. Most of these records have been re-issued, but it can still take some serious amount of time (and $) to track them down. I’m assuming most of you know Fela, but I’m still continually suprised at how many people have no idea who he was. If you don’t know, he was an Nigerian musician who played stretched out endless grooves that would last at times hours. He formed an autonomous commune that he named the Kalakuta Republic and declared it independant of the Nigerian government, which was a trigger happy puppet dictatorship put in power by all the multi-national oil companies, of which would hire local Nigerians to literally machine gun anyone down who was in opposition. Fela lived his life speaking out against all the attrocities that the Nigerian government committed, and set up a nightclub called Afro-spot and then The Shrine in which he performed on a regular basis. The Shrine also was a hub for the community and was a learning center on everything from the Yoruba religion to politics. He was considered public enemy # 1 by the Nigerian government, and they did everything in their power to stop him. They arrested him on any charge they could, invaded the Kalakuta Republic with 1000 soldiers burning it all down(including his recording studio and tons of master tapes), threw his mother out of a window causing fatal injuries, and beat him almost to death and imprisoned him countless times. Stirring up more controversy, he married 27 women at one time, who he called ‘Fela’s Queens’. Most of them sang and danced for him. The Fela vs. State conflict only worsened over time and, he eventually created his own political party called M.O.P. Movement of the People and ran for presidency unsuccessfully. Even with all of these struggles, he was incredibly prolific and has left behind a huge musical legacy. There is a great documentary called Music Is The Weapon, that has some incredible footage, and gives an in more depth view on his life. (that link is the full 52 minute documentary in quicktime format ready for your ipod/itunes)

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These are the 6 albums that are included in the first box set. Open And Close, Gentleman, and the anthemic Upside Down featuring Sandra Akane Isidore (the woman who introduced Fela to The Black Panthers in ’69) are up. Now Yellow Fever, J.J.D., and I.T.T. are up. All the files have the full album artwork embedded, so when you add it to your itunes it will already show up. I do this for every record I post, and with this box set I’ve also embedded the full booklet at high resolution so you can blow it up and read it. There has been quite a few blogs that have posted other Fela records. So, until I get the rest uploaded, check them out. The one that seems to have the most Fela is Oufar Khan. He’s got Shakara, Confusion, Afro-Desiac, Music of Many Colors with Roy Ayers, No Agreement, Expensive Shit, He Miss Road, etc… Metrobase has the Ginger Baker record as well as the incredible Nigeria 70′ comp. I’m sure there is more, if anyone knows of any please post a link in the comments.

Un Verano En N.Y. !!!

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it’s officially summer now… and what better song to put into rotation than this one. Un Verano En N.Y. is a classic by El Gran Combo De Puerto Rico, recorded in 1975 just a couple years after they opened for Fania All-Stars at Yankee Stadium in front of 50,000 people. Here is the full length!

y mas de la Sol de Musica Latina!

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Lucumi Macumba Voodoo is one of my favorite covers of all time. With all the Orisha’s represented on her neck, ¿Revolucion, No? has now been officially blessed! As you can imagine the percussion on this one is incredible. Eddie enlisted the best…Dom Um Ramao, Francisco Aguabella, and on trumpets he’s got Chocolate, Faddis, Lew Soloff… this record is as beautiful as the cover!

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and again, Mike at Orgy In Rhythm came through with the Justicia! record. This is the lead in record to the Harlem River Drive records, and is the first step into his more socially conscious stage of his career.

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also check out the new latin music blog Pepanito. He’s posted Sueno and he’s also got quite a few other nice records, and it seems more to come…looks promising.

The massive Eddie Palmieri post!

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Sing Sing Sang! Here it is the classic record Eddie Palmieri did with his Harlem River Drive band recorded live at the Sing Sing Prison in 1972. This record can be summed up by the closing statement…’For man, for all mankind, there should be never no walls, never no fears. Only one thing in life…Liberty in the coming years. The real statement on this record though is…’Jibaro/My Pretty Nigger’ by the great Felipe Luciano. Felipe, served time himself for manslaughter and upon his release, became the an original member of The Last Poets, and a co-founded The Young Lords. (see the P.R. Pride Parade post). The long list of incredible musicians all hold it down and are able to stretch out in this one! (each song is 10 minutes plus) Along with the long list of incredible musicians, brother Charlie also comes in on the organ along with Eddie playing piano. De Nada!

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The Sun of Latin Music has the distinction of being the first ever Grammy Award for Latin Recording in 1974. Un Dia Bonita is a epic 14 minute long cinematic classic. As a trumpet player, Victor Paz has always been one of my favorites, and he kills it on this record. Just check out Nunca Contigo, or Nada De Ti. And my favorite to play out is hands down Mi Cumbia. ‘Ay mi cumbia…Colombiana!’

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Metrobase has put up a few Eddie Palmieri Records as well…definately worth combing through his archives for some other jems too…after spending a considerable amount of time there, I saw that he had already posted the live at sing sing album, in addition to that though…he posted Champagne, a nice boogaloo/salsa record. Aye Que Rico, and African Twist are boogaloo classics!

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also at Metrobase…is the great latin jazz record he did with Cal Tjader ‘El Sonido Nuevo’ (Verve 1966)even though its not as hard hitting as his later stuff it’s still worth a listen…

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and again…over at Orgy In Rhythm, he’s got ‘Super Imposition‘ posted. Make sure you go get this one. Its a heavy one… There is also the Tico All-Stars which features Eddie Palmieri, so while you’re there pick that one up too. And, with any luck, maybe he will re-up Eddie’s righteous Justicia. Let’s cross our fingers…

The Message

Ray Barretto (who in addition to running his own band was also the musical director of The Fania All-Stars), was the first of the latin musicians to approach the Young Lords and ask them what he could do to help. What came of it was a benefit concert on 110th street…and was the start of an ongoing relationship with them. This is the soundtrack of that movement. There are so many of his records that I could put up…but I decided to go with The Message. This is salsa duro at it’s best. Also check the lyrics on O Elefante with the trumpets mimicing elephants. Incredible!

Barretto Power was recorded in the same year as The Message, and has that same energy…Oye La Noticia!

Oufar Khan posted ‘Tomorrow Live in NY 1976’ a couple months ago.While your there getting this record, check out his archive. He’s got tons of Fela, Funk, Soul, Latin… this man has great taste! if anyone else has any others please let me know, I’ll add a link to it…thanks!

and if that wasn’t enough…A close friend and one of my favorite dj’s, Busquelo put up this great Homange a Ray Barretto that he did with Captain Planet (you bloggers may know him from Captain’s Crate)right after Ray passed away (R.I.P.) Definately go check out his site for that mix plus tons of other damn good mixes by him… and others (Nickodemus, Quantic, Martin Perna of Antibalas and Ocote Soul, and tons more…)

P.R. Pride Parade…


check this article on why this person doesn’t go to the parade anymore. Definately worth a read. The music being played these days exemplifies what Robert ‘Dube’ Colon had to say. Reggaeton is the commercialization of the culture, and what it did to latin music is even more extreme than what new commercial hip hop has done to the golden era of hip hop. Granted we live in a much more capitalistic society, and not all music has to be socially and politically concsious, but…does ALL of it have to be ignorant? Just a thought.

There is this incredible book called We Took The Streets: Fighting for Latino Rights with the Young Lords by Miguel ‘Micky’ Melenez that talks about what the Young Lords did for the community. Also check the documentary… They both talk about the involvement of all the musicians in those times, i.e. all the artist on Fania, Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, Ruben Blades, Hector Lavoe, etc…and how they would do free concerts to support whatever cause that the Young Lords would be working on. In a lot of cases, people like Ruben Blades and many others would actually be more involved with the protests, community improvements, etc….themselves when they aren’t doing the music. A huge contrast to say the least.

So…in a few hours I will be posting a few records by those people, who not only had something profound to say, but the music itself was incredible. That’s real energy…instead of yelling “con la lengua afuera” over an 808. So keep coming back today because there’s some serious records comin…

Revolucion En N.Y.

The secret is out! Those of you know, realize it was only a matter of time before I posted this one. It was originally released as self titled, but recently re-issued as Llego La Revolucion (based on the first track that is classic and obviously a huge inspiration for this blog). When I first saw this in record stores I immediately bought it for the cover, not knowing what the music would be like. When I got home though, I couldn’t stop listening to the first track, and now play it out every chance I get.

Extra Extra! Revolucion En N.Y. is what we need for this weekend. The Bobbito mix is a good start, and I already gave you Che Che Cole, Pedro Navaja, and Plastico, which are all must plays this weekend, but this is one that not everyone will play out. ‘Soy de Boriquen’ is the obvious choice, but also check ‘Asi Es La Humanidad’. *note….also check the Los Hermanos Latinos singles for the ‘Puerto Rico’ remix. Stay tuned…this is just one of a few posts to come…

Joe Bataan Tonight in the BK!


That’s right the Riot! man himself! Playing with Bronx River Parkway…
See you there!

Here’s Bataan’s version of Gil Scott Heron’s The Bottle.

and Bronx River Parkway’s Mas y Mas taken from the 7″. If you want mas y mas de la Bronx River Pkwy. then go to Truth and Soul and pick it up! They’ve got a few other singles by them…so grab them while you can.
I’d put the whole thing up here, but they are all friends and I respect the shit out of them and want to support them as much as possible. So go give them some money!

Where Do We Go From Here?

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Orgy In Rhythm (easily one of my favorite blogs out there) has posted some incredible records in the past few years and this is one of them. Since the link has since gone dead, I’ve decided to re-up it myself. Harlem River Drive is a serious righteous latin funk supergroup spearheaded by the great Eddie Palmieri with Jimmy Norman singing! Most know Eddie Palmieri, and what he has done for salsa and latin jazz…pushed the boundries with his complex harmonies, and is insurmountable. I will be posting more records from him in the future, don’t you worry. But Jimmy Norman?! Did you know he wrote 40 plus songs for Bob Marley?! (Ahh…thats why the lyrics on this record are so good!) Not to mention 30 years with the Coasters, colaborating with Jimi Hendrix, and wrote ‘Time Is On My Side’ made famous by the Stones. So…if anyone has any other records by this man please post them or get at me with a link! in the meantime download this one, and put on repeat…