Anansy Cisse’s New LP Holds Its Own Against This Year’s Current Crop Of New World Music Offerings

Courtesy: World Music Network

Musician/composer Anansy Cisse spent the better part of the past three years working on his latest album, Anoura (The Light) and now after almost not even happening, the 10-song record – his second – will finally see the light of day this week.  Set for release Friday through World Music Network, the 45-minute album is a presentation that will appeal equally to World Music fans and to those of the blues.  That is due to the musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The album’s companion booklet is directly connected with the record’s featured arrangements and the appreciation thereof.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too.  When that item is considered along with the rest of the album’s booklet and its arrangements, the presentation in whole proves itself to be an interesting addition to this year’s field of new World Music records.

Anansy Cisse’s new album Anoura (The Light) is a presentation that many audiences will find interesting.  That is due in part to the album’s featured musical arrangements.  In some cases, the arrangements blend elements of the blues with the more traditional sounds of Cisse’s home nation of Mali for a unique sound.  At other points, those elements are held to their own songs, making for even more engagement and entertainment.  Among the most notable of the arrangements that blends east and west is ‘Foussa Foussa.’  According to information provided in the album’s booklet, which again will be discussed later, the song finds Cisse imagining talking to his daughter about the festivities that he enjoyed when he was a child.  The blues side of the song lends itself to the best works of artists, such as John Lee Hooker and Bo Didley.  The African/Malian side meanwhile gives listeners a light introduction to some of the instruments and sounds of Cisse’s homeland.  The balance in the two sides as they combine ensures listeners will remain engaged and entertained.  ‘Talka,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is centered on the soku – for those unfamiliar with the instrument it looks like a cross between a banjo and a fiddle and is played like a fiddle.  That focus gives the song a much more direct Malian identity.  That is even considering the use of the guitar and shaker.  It makes for more interest in the album’s arrangements because of the contrast of the instrumentation within the song and even to the album’s other works.  On the other polar end of the album’s arrangements is ‘Cisse’.  This song’s instrumentation and its overall sound is very much a direct blues style work.  The layering and sound of the guitar couples with the subtle time keeping lend themselves wholly to comparisons to the old R&B-infused blues works of days gone by.  It is an approach and sound that audiences will welcome.  When this is considered along with the other arrangements examined here and the rest of the album’s compositions, the overall musical picture presented here creates a strong foundation for the record.  The album’s companion booklet builds on that foundation, making the album even more appealing.

The companion booklet that comes with Anansy Cisse’s new album is critical to the record’s presentation because of the background that it presents.  Audiences learn in reading the booklet’s liner notes, that Anoura almost did not happen.  That was because of a robbery and assault that happened to him in 2018.  The full story will be left for audiences to learn for themselves.  What will be noted here is that the delay happened as a result of the emotional impact that the incident had on Cisse. 

Also revealed through the booklet’s liner notes is that some of the songs present socio-political themes that are directly related to the unrest in Cisse’s home nation.  He does not just touch on political issues here.  As noted in the liner notes, the record’s opener, ‘Tiawo’ (which translates to ‘Education’), is a work that lyrically focuses on the need for more and better education among Mali’s children.  As if that is not enough, there is also a tribute to Cisse’s friend and legendary suko player, Zoumana Tereta in one of the songs. This is yet another tidbit that enriches the overall listening experience here.  Add in the fact that the album’s full songs – there are two instrumentals featured in the record – are sung in Cisse’s native language (also revealed through the liner notes), and the background offered in the liner notes helps establish even more appreciation for the album among audiences who do not speak the noted language.  That is because they offer an understanding of the songs through their brief windows.   Keeping this in mind, no doubt is left as to the importance of the album’s booklet to its presentation.  It is just one more element that makes the album a success.  The album’s production puts the final touch to its presentation.

The production that went into Anoura (The Light) plays its own part to the record’s presentation in that it ensures the various elements in each arrangement are balanced.  As noted already, some of the songs featured in this album blend east and west while others are distinctly either east or west.  The songs that blend the noted influences do so well in making sure each side is brought out best, making sure the fullest impact results in that balance.  From the guitars, to the soku, to the calabash and more, audiences get in this album, a collection of songs that makes sure no one part overpowers the others at any point.  The result of that balance is that each song equally engages and entertains listeners throughout.  When this final touch is considered along with the importance of the album’s musical arrangements and its companion booklet, the whole makes the album’s overall presentation fully engaging and entertaining.

Anansy Cisse’s sophomore album Anoura (The Light) is a presentation that his established audience base will appreciate just as much as general World Music and blues fans.  That is proven in part through the record’s featured arrangements.  The arrangements blend eastern and western influences at some points while also separating them at others.  Throughout it all, the arrangements offer something for every noted listener.  The companion booklet that accompanies Cisse’s new album adds to the record’s appeal thanks to the background information that it offers on the album and its content.  The production rounds out the album’s most important elements.  It ensures that each song offers listeners the best possible impact by balancing each element within each song.  Each element examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make Anoura (The Light) a presentation that holds its own against this year’s current field of new World Music offerings.  Anoura (The Light) is scheduled for release Friday through World Music Network.

More information on this and other titles from World Music Network is available online at:

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World Music Fans Will Appreciate WMN’s Musical Trip To Japan

Courtesy: World Music Network

World Music Network’s forthcoming compilation record The Rough Guide to Avant-Garde Japan is the first great new World Music compilation of 2021.  It is also another interesting addition to the label’s ongoing Rough Guide To… series.  That is proven in part through its featured songs.  The sequencing of that content adds its own touch of appeal to the record and will be addressed a little later.  The booklet that accompanies the recording rounds out its most important elements.  It brings everything full circle.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the compilation.  All things considered, they make the record in whole unique new entry to WMN’s ever-growing series of compilations that will appeal to most World Music fans.

World Music Network’s latest addition to its ongoing series of The Rough Guide To… is easily one of the most unique entries in the ever-growing series to date.  It is a collection of songs that takes listeners beyond the barriers of the typical music that they think of when they think of music from the “Far East.”  Case in point is the subtle ‘Daidai.’  Roughly translated, the title means ‘From Generation to Generation.’  It makes sense, too.  That is because it incorporates traditional Japanese instrumentation alongside some modern electronic effects for a unique whole that would make Trent Reznor proud.  Composed by the Japanese act Ken Sugai, that melding of modern and classical elements really is its own representation of generations passing yet joining as one.  It stands out as one of the record’s peaks.  On yet another note, EMiKO VOiCE’s gentle flowing ‘Sanosa’ boasts more of a modern jazz sensibility than anything Asian or even specifically Japanese, save for the song’s lyrics, which are sung wholly in Japanese.  Other than that one element, this composition could easily be likened to works from any modern American jazz act out there today.  What is even more interesting about the song is that the gentle use of the brushes against the snare alongside the bass, piano, and vocals gives the song thoughts of the smoky jazz clubs of the 1930s and 40s.  It is such an enjoyable presentation that will appeal not only to people who have love for all things Japan, but for all things jazz.  Add in the fact that it is such a starkly different work from the likes of ‘Daidai’ and the importance of the songs becomes even clearer.  That variety –even on that micro level — shows in its own way how much the compilation has to offer audiences in regards to the record’s musical presentation.  On yet another note (no pun intended) ‘Akkan’ proves just as sharply opposite ‘Sanosa’ and ‘Daidai’ as they are from one another and from the rest of the album’s entries.  At one point, the use of the strings lends itself to thoughts of the gypsy style music of Eastern Europe.  As the song progresses, the addition of the horns gives the song a more modern and truly avant-garde sensibility.  The hip-hop beat that is added on top of everything here makes for even more interest.  The result is a song that stands out just as much from the songs noted here as they do from it and the rest of the album’s entries.  It shows yet again, the diversity of the music in this recording.  That diversity is important to note because it serves to show how much Japan’s culture has grown and changed throughout its history.  Now in the 21st Century, it shows that despite the change in time, there is still a link to and respect for the roots of the nation’s music and culture even as the nation’s culture, including its music has evolved.  This in itself makes for more than enough reason for audiences to hear this compilation.

While the diversity in the musical arrangements featured in The Rough Guide to Avant-Garde Japan creates a strong foundation for the record, the sequencing of those songs adds its own share of engagement and entertainment.  It has already been noted that the arrangements are starkly unlike one another from one to the next.  That those behind the compilation’s sequencing clearly put so much thought and time into that diversity makes for even more appeal.  The changes in the songs’ stylistic approaches and moods are constant from start to end of the 75-minute presentation.  At no point do things ever get monotonous or boring as a result of the nonstop changes.  The picture that the sequencing paints here is one that is so fully immersive.  When this is considered along with the very diversity in the arrangements, the compilation becomes that much more appealing.  Those items are just a portion of what makes the compilation appealing.  The companion booklet that comes with the record has its own value.

The booklet that accompanies The Rough Guide to Avante-Garde Jazz is important because its information really serves to set the stage for the presentation contained on the record’s disc.  The booklet’s liner notes open by stating the irony in the contrast of Japan’s very structured culture and the free expression presented through the music in this collection.  It is a true, powerful statement.  As the notes continue, statements are made about the stylistic approaches taken by some of the record’s featured artists.  Those brief but concise discussions make for their own share of appreciation for the works.  That is because it sort of takes listeners behind the scenes so to speak in the songs’ creation.  That background, while brief, is still its own strong addition to the compilation’s presentation.  When it is considered along with the record’s songs and their sequencing, the whole makes the record overall a presentation that any World Music aficionado will agree is well worth hearing at least once if not more.

World Music Network’s latest addition to its ever-growing The Rough Guide To… series, The Rough Guide to Avant-Garde Japan is a good start to the year for the label and its series of compilations.  As noted, that is due in part to the songs that make up the album’s body.  They show the connection to Japan’s past while also reaching to the nation’s future.  The sequencing of those songs makes for even more appeal.  That is because it ensures there is not one mundane moment in this record.  The background information provided in the compilation’s companion booklet puts the finishing touch to the compilation’s presentation.  Each item noted here does its own share to make this presentation interesting for listeners.  All things considered,  they make the record in whole, a presentation that any World Music fan will find worth hearing.  The record is scheduled for release Friday.

More information on this and other titles from World Music Network is available online at:

Websitehttp://www.worldmusic.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/WorldMusicNetwork

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/WMN_UK

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

WMN Closes Out 2021 On A High Note With ‘The Rough Guide To Cape Jazz’

Courtesy: World Music Network

World Music Network has done quite a bit this year to take audiences into America’s rich musical history and culture.  That is thanks to successful compilations that present rich histories of the blues, gospel, and even country music.  Now as 2020 winds down, the label is presenting one more rich musical lesson in its brand new compilation, The Rough Guide to Cape Jazz.  The eight-song record is a presentation that will appeal widely to jazz aficionados and world music fans alike.  That is due in part to the compilation’s companion booklet, which will be discussed shortly.  The songs that make up the record’s body build on the foundation formed by the record’s companion booklet and add to the record’s appeal.  They will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be addressed later, too.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of the compilation’s presentation.  All things considered, the record proves itself an enjoyable way for World music Network to close out the year.

World Music Network’s latest compilation record The Rough Guide to Cape Jazz is a work that will appeal just as much to jazz lovers as much as it will to world music fans.  That is thanks in part to the booklet that accompanies the record.  More specifically, the liner notes featured in the booklet are to thank for its appeal.  The notes lay the groundwork for the compilation, explaining the history behind Cape Jazz as a genre.  The notes point out that “Cape Jazz” as a genre is relatively young, having really gotten its start in 1993.  It is essentially popular folk and blues music paired with influences of the South Africa region of the African continent, according to the booklet’s featured liner notes.  This is just part of what is pointed out in the booklet’s liner notes.  The liner notes also the genre’s ties to South Africa’s own social and political culture, which adds even more interest to the genre’s story.  Between that, everything else noted here and the remainder of the booklet’s information, the whole of the information more than shows its importance to the whole of the compilation’s presentation.  It is just one part of what makes the compilation engaging and entertaining.  The record’s featured songs add their own value to the record.

The songs that make up the body of The Rough Guide to Cape Jazz are of note because while the genre allegedly is said to pair with South African musical elements for its presentation, none of the songs featured here would seem to reflect that pairing of influences.  Now ‘Liberation,’ which comes early in the 39-minute record’s run does seem to hint at the connection between the genre and region’s sociopolitical history and culture.  The energy in the arrangement hints at the emotion perhaps felt by the people of the region when apartheid came to its end in the early 1990s.  ‘The Dance of Our Fathers’ meanwhile bears quite the Westernized jazz sense a la Yellowjackets in its arrangement.  At the same time, the relaxed vibe that the arrangement exudes presents a sense of happiness that, considering the song’s title, seemingly reflects the upbeat tribute to the region’s history.  ‘Cape Joy’ come the closest of all of the compilation’s songs to featuring the noted combined South African and American jazz influences what with the use of the shakers, cowbell and other percussion.  Yes, what people call Latin is in fact African at its roots, so to that end, audiences will hear that noted pairing of influences here.  Between that and everything else noted here, along with the rest of the arrangements in all their presentation, the whole of the songs does plenty in their own right to make this record appealing.  They still are collectively just one more aspect of the record’s presentation that deserves attention.  The songs’ sequencing rounds out the compilation’s most important elements. 

The sequencing of The Rough Guide to Cape Jazz is important to address especially because this record is a compilation.  It ensures the record’s energy remains stable from the start to end of the nearly 40-minute record.  The record’s first half maintains a catchy, upbeat vibe thanks to the sequencing.  ‘Give A Little Love,’ the record’s midpoint breaks things up nicely as it slows things down noticeably.  The record’s energy picks back up from there, but never goes over the top.  The most energetic that the record gets from that point is in the funky ‘The Way It Used To Be,’ whose arrangement will appeal to fans of the likes of Weather Report.  As the album closes in ‘Crossroads Crossroads,’ the record’s energy pulls back one more time, landing listeners on a separate show so gently while also leaving them fulfilled.  Simply put, the record’s sequencing wholly ensures that its energy will keep listeners engaged and entertained just as much as the songs themselves and the information behind the songs.  All things considered, the record completely ensures its success and that it succeeds just as much as the other records released by World Music Network this year.

World Music Network’s final new compilation for this year takes the company out on a high note.  That is proven in part through the record’s companion booklet.  The booklet’s liner notes set the groundwork for the record’s presentation.  The songs that are featured in the record do their own part to entertain and engage audiences, as does the sequencing of those songs.  Each noted item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of this recording.  All things considered, they make the compilation a nice finale for World Music Network for 2020.  In the process, it leaves listeners looking forward to the company’s new slate of compilations to come in 2021.

More information on this and other titles from World Music Network is available online at:

Websitehttp://www.worldmusic.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/WorldMusicNetwork

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/WMN_UK

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

WMN’s New Compilation Will Appeal To Rap, Hip-Hop Fans From America To Mali, Beyond

Courtesy: World Music Network

Rap and hip-hop have for decades, been considered to be a purely American musical style.  While they might have started in America, rap and hip-hop have spread around the world and blended into cultures in countless nations.  Among those nations that has seen rap and hip-hop become part of their musical culture is the West African nation of Mali.  World Music Network will present a new collection of rap and hip-hop from Mali on Friday in another new addition to its ongoing Rough Guide To…series, The Rough Guide to Urban Mali.  The compilation will appeal to rap and hip-hop fans just as much as it will to World Music fans.  That is due in part to its featured songs.  This element will be discussed shortly.  The companion booklet that comes with the compilation sequencing adds an extra layer of appeal to the recording and will be addressed a little later.  The sequencing of the compilation’s songs sequencing of said songs rounds out the record’s most important elements.  When it is considered along with the rest of the noted elements, that whole make this recording a unique presentation that audiences will find is worth hearing at least once.

World Music Network’s new rap and hip-hop record is an interesting look into the worldwide reach of the genre.  That is the case even with the compilation coming without the accompaniment of English translations for the songs.  The lack of English translations is at least somewhat beside the point because Mali is a multilingual nation, and the songs’ musical arrangements clearly show the influence of so many popular American rap and hip-hop stars on the Malian rap and hip-hop communities.  Even using a respected application, such as Google translate is largely useless because of the variety of languages spoken in the country.  Rapper Alfi Boy’s song ‘Kankou Massa’ echoes the influence of Pitbull, considering Alfi Boy’s vocal delivery style and the tropical sounding musical arrangement.  The sound in the arrangement and the use of the percussion is a near direct exhibition of Pitbull’s style.  On another level, rapper Alka Po’s song ‘Chica’ can just as easily be likened to work from Lil Wayne.  That is evident in examining his own vocal delivery style and the apparent use of auto tuning in said delivery.  What’s more, the use of the keyboards and electronics presents a sound and stylistic approach that is similar to that of Lil Wayne.  One could even make a comparison to various works from equally famed rapper Drake in this case.  Zinoko’s song ‘Dire,’ which opens the record is another way in which the compilation’s songs prove so important to its presentation.  Its own instrumentation couples with Zinoko’s vocal delivery style make for a whole that lends itself to comparisons to works from Denzel Curry.  Other listeners might manage other comparisons, each of which is certain to be correct in its own right.  The point here is that while the lyrical content in the compilation’s featured songs is unavailable in this collection (something which hopefully the people at World Music Network will keep in mind with their next foreign release), the musical styles show a clear influence from American rap and hip-hop.  That in itself is certain to generate its own share of discussion among audiences.  it forms a strong cornerstone for the compilation.  The noted discussions will grow even more when the record’s companion booklet is taken into consideration with the songs.

The booklet that is featured with The Rough Guide to Urban Mali will add to the discussions started by the record’s songs because of the background that it offers audiences.  The booklet’s liner notes point out that the increase in popularity of rap and hip-hop in Mali did not start until at least “the end of the 1990s.”  That would explain why so many of the songs featured in this record exhibit arrangements that are so similar to works from the current wave of American rap and hip-hop stars.   Add in that the booklet’s liner notes point out that “more than 65 percent of Mali’s population is below the age of 25, and the picture becomes clearer as to why the similarities in musical styles are so apparent between American and Malian rap and hip-hop stars.  Just as interesting is the note that in Mali, the growth in the popularity of rap and hip-hop grew out of frustration over the nation’s sociopolitical state.  The notes add that the music evolved from being purely sociopolitical to being more centered on more commonplace topics, such as everyday life.  This is important to note because American rap and hip-hop has evolved in much the same way.  At the same time, there is still very much an avenue of the genre in American music that remains very political (E.g. Public Enemy).  Even with that in mind, audiences will find much in common between American rap and hip-ho and that of Mali in terms of the lyrical content, which is certain to add to the record’s appeal.  Referring back to the previous statement about the language barrier, the liner notes do state that most of the lyrics are delivered in Bambara, but most online translators do not offer such option, so again a lack of English translations is still slightly disconcerting, but not enough to make the compilation a failure.  The liner notes, while brief, are still rich in their own right.  They build on the discussions started through the songs and enhance them even more.  Keeping that in mind, the record’s presentation becomes that much more appealing for any rap and hip-hop fan.  It is just one more way in which the LP proves itself an interesting presentation.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

The sequencing of The Rough Guide to Urban Mali is important to note in that it does its own part to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  The record starts strong with the completely infectious ‘Dire.’  From there, the record’s energy pulls back noticeably in ‘A Kadiye.’  From there, the record’s energy slowly picks back up in ‘Kankou Moussa.’  That energy pulls back again immediately after in ‘Fan,’ but not too much.  This is just a portion of the record’s sequencing.  From that point on, the record’s sequencing sees the energy rising and falling in all of the right points and rhythms.  At the same time, the musical styles change just enough from start to end to add to that interest even more.  It’s yet another way in which the record’s sequencing proves so important to its presentation.  When it is considered along with the record’s featured songs and its companion booklet, the whole of these items makes the record a work that  rap and hip-hop fans the world over will agree is worth hearing at least once.

World Music Network’s latest addition to its Rough Guide To… series is an interesting new look at the global influence of America’s rap and hip-hop community.  That is proven in part through the compilation’s featured songs.  They show clear influence of so many of today’s biggest names in the rap and hip-hop community.  That in itself will generate plenty of discussions among listeners.  The companion booklet that accompanies the featured songs will enhance the noted discussions even more while adding to the record’s engagement and entertainment value.  The sequencing rounds out the compilation’s most important elements.  It ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment in its own way.  That is because it keeps the record’s energy rising and falling at all of the right points.  At the same time, the musical styles change just as much, ensuring even more, that engagement and entertainment.  All three items noted are key in their own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make the compilation a work that is sure to appeal to rap and hip-hop fans from Mali to America and beyond.

More information on this and other titles from World Music Network is available online at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.worldmusic.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/WorldMusicNetwork

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/WMN_UK

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Audiences Will “Sing The Praises” Of WMN’s New Gospel Compilation

Courtesy: World Music Network

World Music Network is taking listeners back to the world of spiritual music this week with its latest Rough Guide To… compilation.  The company is scheduled to release its new compilation The Rough Guide to the Roots of Gospel Friday.  The 26-song compilation is a fitting companion piece to WMN’s previously released compilation, The Rough Guide to Spiritual Blues.  That compilation was a brief introduction to the intersecting worlds of spiritual music and the blues.  This latest offering takes listeners even deeper into the result of that intersection and just as enjoyable if not more so.  That is due in part to the record’s featured songs.  They will be discussed shortly.  The booklet that accompanies the compilation builds on the foundation formed by the songs.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.  It will also be discussed later.  Together with the record’s featured songs and its companion booklet, it makes this compilation a widely appealing presentation for fans of gospel, jazz and blues alike.

World Music Network’s new gospel history compilation is another impressive offering from the company, which specializes in music from America and around the world.  That is due in part to the compilation’s featured songs.  The songs in question are centralized to one specific time frame, from 1926 to 1934.  Those were the real formative years of modern gospel music in America.  The compilation’s booklet, which will be discussed a little later, touches more on that topic.  The songs in question range from familiar tunes, such as ‘Children Wade in the Water,’ which is based on the timeless spiritual song ‘Wade in the Water,’ ‘Death’s Black Train Is Coming,’ and ‘Down on the Old Campground’ to lesser known pieces, such as ‘He Rose Unknown,’ ‘I Am Born to Preach The Gospel,’ and ‘Then We’ll Need That True Religion.’  Over the course of its 26-song sequence, the compilation paints a vivid picture of the evolution of gospel music in the early 20th century even within the compilation’s limited time frame.  It shows in its own way not only how gospel evolved, but also how jazz and blues played into that evolution, too.  ‘Down on the Old Campground’ is an example of a pure choral gospel work while ‘Death’s Black Train is Coming’ exhibits the tie between gospel and the blues, by comparison.  On another hand, one could argue that a song, such as ‘Don’t Grieve After Me’ exhibits a hint of classic country/bluegrass at its base.  The point of this discussion is that the cited songs show how the record’s organizers intentionally aimed to show the diversity in the roots of gospel music.  They succeeded in that effort, and deserve their own share of applause for that work.  What audiences get, in turn, is a presentation that as with World Music Network’s previous releases, is its own rich musical history lesson in these songs.   Keeping that in mind, the musical selections featured in The Rough Guide to the Roots of Gospel collectively form a strong foundation for this compilation.  Building on that foundation is the presentation in the compilation’s companion booklet.

The compilation’s companion booklet offers audiences its own history lesson, building on the lesson created through the songs.  Listeners learn quite a bit through the booklet.  There is a mention in the booklet, of Thomas A. Dorsey, who is noted as the father of gospel music, and his influence on none other than Mahalia Jackson.  Jackson is known fondly as “The Queen of Gospel.”  This is just one of the key pieces of history featured in the record’s booklet.  The booklet opens its history lesson by taking listeners back to the 1800s and the establishment of gospel in African-American churches.  The liner notes point out that it was at this point that the people in those churches started fusing jazz and blues together with spirituals to make what were the early roots of gospel.  From there, the story fast forwards to the 1900s and the influence of blind pianist and singer Arizona Dranes on the gospel community.  As the story progresses, audiences learn how street preachers played in the genre’s evolution, too.  As if all of this is not enough, there are even discussions on the role of country music and “jubilee quartets” in the evolution of gospel.  While each discussion is slightly brief, each also serves as its own starting point for people to do their own research and for classroom lessons.  Simply put, the liner notes build on the foundation formed by the compilation’s songs to make the record that much more appealing for listeners.  It is just one more aspect of what makes The Rough Guide to the Roots of Gospel another successful offering from World Music Network.  The production put into this compilation rounds out its most important elements.

The production that went into The Rough Guide to the Roots of Gospel is important to note because of its impact on how the songs sound.  As noted already, the songs featured in this recording reach back to the late 1920s and early-mid 1930s.  In other words, the masters for these recordings are extremely old.  That the recordings still sound as impressive as they do in this presentation is a testament to the painstaking efforts made to bring the music back to life.  The static is as clear as if the songs were featured on a vinyl (which is more argument in favor of CD versus vinyl, but that’s another matter for another time), as are the instrumentations and vocals.  Everything is so well-balanced in each song.  The result is a wonderful listening experience for this aspect just as much as for the sense of nostalgia that the record will create for some listeners.  All things considered, the compilation’s production adds its own special touch to its presentation as the songs themselves and the record’s companion booklet.  When all three items are considered together, they make The Rough Guide to the Roots of Gospel another successful offering from World Music Network whose praises audiences will sing in their own right.

World Music Network’s new compilation The Rough Guide to the Roots of Gospel is another successful offering from the company.  That is due in part to its featured songs, which will entertain audiences and serve as their own starting point for many musical history lessons.  The companion booklet that accompanies the compilation adds to the record’s appeal in its own way as it adds to the depth of the noted history lessons.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.  It leaves the record sounding impressive while also generating a welcome sense of nostalgia among listeners.  Each noted item is important in its own right to the compilation’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the compilation whose praises audiences will sing in their own right.

More information on this and other titles from World Music Network is available online at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.worldmusic.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/WorldMusicNetwork

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/WMN_UK

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

World Music Network Continues Its Success With Its Latest Compilation

Courtesy: World Music Network

World Music Network’s officials have been quite focused on the blues this year.  The independent music label released two blues compilations in Februay in the form on The Rough Guide to the Roots of the Blues and The Rough Guide to Charley PattonFather of the Delta Blues.  The compilations followed the release of the Rough Guide to Country Blues, which was released in June 2018 along with The Rough Guide to Hokum Blues.  Now Friday, the label will release another addition to its blues compilations in the form of The Rough Guide to Spiritual Blues.  The 26-song compilation is a work that will engage and entertain musicologists, blues aficionados and gospel music lovers alike.  The songs performed by the noted artists play their own part into the collection’s presentation.  The liner notes that accompany the record also play a small part in the overall presentation of The Rough Guide to Spiritual Blues.  When the notes are considered along with the album’s featured artists and songs, the elements come together to make the compilation in whole another welcome offering from World Music Network.

World Music Network’s latest blues compilation The Rough Guide To Spiritual Blues, released April 24, is another positive offering from the label that will appeal to a wide range of listeners.  That is due in part to the artists featured throughout the course of the 78-minute record.  The performers are important to note because they bring full circle all of the different blues styles featured in each of this record’s predecessors.  From country blues musician Son Bonds (a.k.a. Abraham John Bond Jr.) to Piedmont Blues musician “Kid” Prince Moore to gospel blues guitarist Rev. Edward W. Clayborn to pure blues singer Bessie Smith to Delta Blues musician Charley Patton and more, audiences get a broad picture of the interconnectivity of not only gospel and the blues, but that of the various sub-genres of the blues themselves.  That in itself is a solid starting point for any discussion and/or lesson on the history of the blues and its wide reach in terms of genres.  On another level, the wide range of blues musicians featured throughout the album is its own starting point for any listener’s journey into the overall realm of blues as well as the blues’ specific various sub-genres.  To that end, the musicians who are featured throughout the course of The Rough Guide to Spiritual Blues are key in their own way to the compilation’s overall presentation.  They are collectively just one part of what makes the collection another enjoyable offering from World Music Network.  The songs that are featured throughout the record are just as important to discuss as those who perform them.

The songs that make up the body of The Rough Guide to Spiritual Blues are important to address here because of the overall statement that they make about the blues.  Right from the record’s outset, listeners are treated to a spiritual blues tune in ‘Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed.’  What’s interesting to note here is that despite being a spiritual song, one wouldn’t know it is, since its sound is very much that of traditional blues.  When one things of spiritual music, one doesn’t technically think of the blues, but this shows how close the two genres are.  ‘I Don’t Intend To Die In Egyptland,’ performed by Josh White is another spiritual that certainly does not present the stereotypical spiritual sound.  Rather, it is another Piedmont Blues style composition.  The reference to Egyptland is obviously biblical in relation to the Jews being used as slaves in Egypt.  Even with that in mind, one likely wouldn’t think of something from the bible being tied to the blues.  Yet it works so well here.  One of the songs featured in this compilation that does seem to fit the blues/spiritual hybrid is Son Bonds’ performance of ‘Give Me That Old Time Religion.’  The song’s blues influence is clearly there, but at the same time, it also exhibits some pure spiritual sound in its nearly three-minute run time.  The important message here is that while spiritual and secular music might be two different genres, they are so much more intertwined than one might initially think.  They are essentially one in the same.  This in itself is a key point for any music theory class, so yet again audiences get even more reason to take in this record.  It not only teaches about music history, but music theory.  The people at World Music Network are to be commended for this.

While the artists featured in World Music Network’s latest blues compilation record and the songs that they perform are crucial elements to the record’s presentation in their own rights, they are just a portion of what makes the LP notable.  The liner notes that are featured with the compilation round out its most important elements.  The liner notes are important to address because of the history that they add in their own right to the record.  Right from the opening lines in the booklet’s notes, the relationship between the blues and spiritual music are addressed.  As the notes continue, audiences learn as fact, “Many of the included artists would have started out singing music in church choirs early on before crossing over to the blues, whereas others remained gospel singers whose music was influenced by blues traditions.”  That very statement adds more to the music history and theory discussions even more.  As if that is not enough, there is even an anecdote about Thomas A. Dorsey, who performed the blues under the pseudonym Georgia Tom so as to avoid persecution from the hardcore religious types who knew him under his real name.  Although brief, Dorsey’s story is sure to generate its own share of engagement and entertainment.  Memphis Minnie is also addressed in the liner notes, as well as Blind Willie Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson.  The stories and the background are brief, but concise, and are just enough to create their own interest in the two genres – spiritual and secular music – and their histories that they become their own pivotal part to the record’s whole.  When the liner notes are considered along with the artists and music featured in The Rough Guide to Spiritual Blues, the whole of the record proves to be just as valuable and enjoyable for audiences as its predecessors.

World Music Network’s latest blue compilation The Rough Guide to Spiritual Blues is another positive addition to the label’s seemingly ongoing series of blues compilation records.  That is due at least in part to the artists who are featured throughout the course of the compilation.  The featured artists serve, in themselves, as a starting point for discussions on music history, specifically blues and spiritual music history.  The songs that make up the body of the record serve in their own way as a starting point on discussions about music theory.  The liner notes that are featured with the record add their own touch to the record’s presentation.  When they are considered with the collection’s songs and artists, the whole of the record becomes another piece that music educators will appreciate just as much as musicologists in general, blues aficionados and gospel lovers.  More information on this and other titles from World Music Network is available online at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.worldmusic.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/WorldMusicNetwork

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/WMN_UK

 

 

 

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Blues Fans, Music Lovers Alike Will Enjoy WMN’s Latest Addition To Its “Rough Guide…” Compilation Series

Courtesy: Worl Music Network

World Music Network is taking audiences back in time again with another compilation of timeless music from a bygone era.  The company released its new compilation, The Rough Guide to the Roots Of The Blues Friday.  The 25-song collection of classic blues tunes is an enjoyable presentation that blues aficionados and music lovers alike will appreciate.  That is due in no small part to the songs featured in the record.  They will be discussed shortly.  The actual presentation of the songs adds to the record’s appeal.  It will be addressed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important items and will also be addressed.  Each noted item is key in its own way to the whole of this compilation.  All things considered, they make The Rough Guide to the Roots of The Blues another positive addition to World Music Network’s ongoing series of historical musical collections.

World Music Network’s new blues compilation The Rough Guide to The Rough Guide to the Roots of The Blues is an enjoyable presentation that blues aficionados and music lovers alike will appreciate.  It is not the first blues compilation that the company has ever released.  Its most recent blues compilation The Rough Guide to Blues Women was released just last year.  Much like that compilation – and every “Rough Guide” compilation that the company has released – the songs that make up the body of the record form its foundation.  Jimmie Rodgers’ timeless ‘Blue Yodel No. 1’ takes listeners back to 1927 (the year it was recorded) while Cow Cow Davenport’s equally timeless ‘Cow Cow Blues’ goes even farther back, — two years more  to be exact – to 1925.  Bessie Smith’s ‘St. Louis Blues’ keeps listeners in 1925 while Scrapper Blackwell’s ‘Kokomo Blues’ is also here.  It was recorded in 1928.  Also from that same era is Weaver and Beasley’s ‘Bottleneck Blues,’ which was recorded in 1928.  Simply put, the songs themselves serve as a musical history lesson of the blues from its earliest days.  On a side note, PBS’ recent documentary Country Music noted ‘Blue Yodel No. 1’ was also part of the rots of country music.  The thing is that blues and country are very closely linked, so it could be seen why that song is considered blues just as much as it is country.

Staying on the topic of styles, the songs that are featured in this compilation are so important because they do represent just one style of the blues.  Blackwell’s musical style is considered to be a pure example of early Chicago and Piedmont blues.  In the case of ‘Kokomo Blues,’ audiences are treated to his more Piedmont blues style, with that distinct finger picking that relies on the alternating thumb bass pattern.  By contrast, Blind Blake’s ‘West Coast Blues,’ with its more upbeat style is a prime example of ragtime style blues, with its syncopated rhythms.  Here again is another distinct style of blues to which audiences are introduced thanks to this recording. Hambone Willie Newbern’s 1929 hit ‘Roll and Tumble Blues’ offers audiences yet another distinct blues style – delta blues – through the use of his slide guitar performance.  Newbern’s very vocal performance adds even more to that Delta blues style richness.  It’s just one more example of the varied blues styles featured throughout the recording.  Together with the consideration of the songs themselves – the very diversity of the artists and the era from which the songs were culled – what audiences get here is a virtual musical history lesson on the blues from this recording.  That in itself makes the compilation a worthwhile addition to any home and classroom setting.  It is just one part of what makes the collection stand out.  The very presentation of the songs plays its own key part to the whole of the recording.

The presentation of the songs is important because it plays into the never-ending discussion on whether one prefers vinyl or CD.  A close listen to this single-disc collection shows the original works were transferred to CD without a single bit of loss.  That beloved sound of static is there from start to finish while not a single bit of any arrangement is missing.  This is important to note in that it shows that despite what so many people and companies want people to think, there is still very much a place for CDs as well as vinyl and digital.  In other words, the sound quality of the recordings featured here is just as impressive as the songs and their intrinsic value.  That full sound presentation, which transports listeners back to that beautiful, bygone era enhances the listening experience for listeners that much more.  When this is considered along with the songs and the history that they teach, these elements collectively make this compilation that much more of a positive for any music lover just as much as any blues aficionado.  It shows that CDs will never be replaced, as their audio is just as good as any vinyl that any hipster wants to take in.

The songs featured in The Rough Guide to the Roots of The Blues and the history that they teach couples strongly with their presentation to make this record another positive offering from World Music Network.  As much as they do to help the recording, they are not its only key elements.  The recording’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  As already noted, the compilation features a variety of blues styles throughout its 76-minute body.  Those styles vary from one song to the next.  That in itself shows that those behind the compilation’s creation wanted to ensure at least in this aspect, that listeners were kept engaged and entertained.  The song’s tempos – and by connection their energies – vary just as much as the styles.  Case in point is the first trio of songs, ‘When The Levee Breaks,’ ‘Kokomo Blues’ and ‘Stack O’Lee Blues.’  ‘Stack O’Lee Blues’ will come as very familiar to many audiences.  It was the work that would eventually become ‘Frankie and Johnny,’ which itself would be reworked many times throughout the years.  Getting back on the subject at hand, the first two songs featured in this trio are mid-tempo works, but are themselves very different from one another in terms of styles.  As the record reaches ‘Stack O’Lee Blues,’ the energy and emotion changes very noticeably.  From there, things pick back up slightly with ‘West Coast Blues.’  That energy is maintained in ‘Fishing Blues.’  That song, too, will be very familiar to many audiences.  Things change distinctly again after that work, as the record progresses into Memphis Jug Band’s ‘Stealin’, Stealin’.’  The song is a good, mid-tempo work that does a positive job of illustrating the subject’s own thoughts on the things that he is doing even though he knows those things are wrong.  From there, the record pulls back once again in ‘Victoria Spivey’s T.B. Blues.’  The mournful nature of her vocal delivery joins with the equally bluesy guitar and piano run to make the whole another nice transition point for the record in whole.  The ups and downs in the record’s energies and tempos continues solidly from that point right to the record’s end.  Throughout the process, audiences’ engagement and entertainment is ensured without any doubt.  It is obvious in considering this that a lot of time and thought was put into the compilation’s sequencing, not just the songs and their value.  The compilation’s organizers wanted to make sure that every base was covered with this offering, and they succeeded in doing so.  The fact that the compilation’s organizers paid so much attention to this and other aspects of the recording results in a presentation that is another welcome piece for any classroom, and home setting.

The Rough Guide to the Roots of The Blues is a work that, like its predecessors, will be appreciated equally by educators and general audiences alike.  That is proven in part through the songs that make up the body of the recording.  They make the recording a rich history lesson on the blues that any blues aficionado and music lover alike will welcome.  The sound quality in the recordings is important in its own right to the whole of the recording.  That is because it shows it is possible to transfer vintage recordings to CD without a single bit off loss.  This is important to note in that it shows the CD is still very much a viable form of audio presentation, despite what many companies and consumers want people to think.  The sequencing of this record rounds out its most important elements.  It does its own share to ensure listeners remain engaged and entertained throughout the record’s hour-plus run time.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of the compilation.  All things considered, they make this another of this year’s best new offerings in the jazz and blues category.  More information on this another other titles from World Music Network is available online at;

 

 

 

Website: http://www.worldmusic.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WorldMusicNetwork

Twitter: http://twitter.com/WMN_UK

 

 

 

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Willie Nelson’s New LP “Rides” Its Way To The Top Of 2019’s Top New Country/Bluegrass/Americana Albums

Courtesy: SMG

This has been a productive year for the realms of country, bluegrass and Americana.  The genres are their own, but are so closely akin to one another that they are really one in the same.  To that end, the three genres deserve to be combined into one on any critic’s year-end list.  That is what this critic has done and is doing again this year.

This year’s list of the top new Country/Bluegrass/Americana records features a number of familiar names and some who might be slightly less familiar, but are still names worth getting to know.  There are also some compilations featured on this critic’s list this year.  From The Magpie Salute to Son Volt to Willie Nelson and the Carter family and more, this year’s list is full of music that fans of all three genres will enjoy.  As with every previous list, this collection features this critic’s Top 10 titles and five additional honorable mention title for a total of 15 titles.Each title is deserving of its own accolades as there is no negative title.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 Country/Bluegrass/Americana albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2019 COUNTRY/BLUEGRASS/AMERICANA ALBUMS

  1. Willie Nelson — Ride Me Back Home
  2. George Strait — Honky Tonk Time Machine
  3. The Magpie Salute — High Water II
  4. The Shootouts — Quick Draw
  5. The Vegabonds — V
  6. Old Salt Union — Where The Dogs Don’t Bite
  7. Country Music: A Film By Ken Burns
  8. The Carter Family — Across Generations
  9. Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues — Roots & BranchesThe Songs of Little Walter
  10. Steve Earl & The Dukes — Guy
  11. World Music Network — The Rough Guide To The Roots of Country Music
  12. Zac Brown Band — Owl
  13. Mandolin Orange — Tides of a Teardrop
  14. Michael Cleveland — Tail Fiddler
  15. Hootie & The Blowfish — Imperfect Circle

 

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Lakou Mizik’s Sophomore LP Leads This Year’s List Of Best New World Music Albums

Courtesy: Cumbancha

Having a global view on things is one of the most important things that anyone can do today.  We as a people do better when we see and understand other nations’ cultures than when we look at our own backyards.  One of the most important part of those other cultures that everyone should take in is the music connected to said ways of life.  Much of that music is made available to audiences every year through various record labels.  With their release is a justified annual list of the year’s top new World Music albums.  this year’s list brings music from France, the nations of Africa, Hungary and many other parts of the world.  The styles are just as varied as the nations from which they come, too.

As with every list from this critic, the top 10 new titles are featured along with five honorable mentions.  That brings the list to a total of 15 titles.  Looking at the albums’ overall content, it made this list as difficult as every other list to assemble, but here for your consideration is the final list for those titles for this year.  Without further ado, here’s Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New World Music Albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2019 TOP 10 NEW WORLD MUSIC ALBUMS

  1. Lakou Mizik — HaitiaNola
  2. Amankor — The Exile
  3. Romano Drom — Give Me Wine
  4. The Good Ones — Rwanda, You Should Be Loved
  5. Dexter Story — Bahir
  6. Grupo Fantasma — American Music Volume 7
  7. Sessa — Grandeza
  8. Ateshkhan Yuseinov — Strange Suite
  9. Jake Shimabukuro — The Greatest Day
  10. World Music Network — The Rough Guide To Eastern European Music
  11. World Music Network — The Rough Guide to World Jazz
  12. Putumayo — Putumayo Presents Africa Cafe
  13. Putumayo — Putumayo Presents Paris Cafe
  14. Putumayo — Putumayo Presents Ska Across The World
  15. Carlos Xavier — Viva Todo Ahora

 

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Jazz At Lincoln Center’s ‘Jazz And Art’ Paints The Year’s Best New Musical Picture Of 2019’s New Jazz, Blues Albums

Courtesy: Blue Engine Records

The worlds of jazz and blues are intertwined with one another and have been for ages.  From their earliest days to the modern era, a close listen to records from the two genres exhibits this connection.  Keeping that in mind, it makes sense to combine the two genres when considering year-ender lists.That is just what this critic has done for years and is doing again this year.  This year’s list of top new jazz and blues albums touches on lots of different artists and groups.  The Jazz AT Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis has released a handful of noteworthy albums this year, as has World Music Network.  Blues artists Keb Mo and Kenny Wayne Shepherd are also featured on this year’s list with their new albums.  The same can be said of Diana Panton, as her new album is featured in this list, too.

As with every list this critic produces, it features the year’s top 10 new albums and five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 albums.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks Top 10 New Jazz & Blues albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2019 TOP 10 NEW JAZZ & BLUES ALBUMS

  1. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra w/ Wynton Marsalis — Jazz & Art
  2. Joel Ross — Kingmaker
  3. Diana Panton — Cheerful Little Earful
  4. World Music Network — The Rough Guide To Blues Divas
  5. Mark Clive De-Lowe — Heritage
  6. Mark Clive De-Lowe — Heritage II
  7. Keb Mo — Oklahoma
  8. Pancho Sanchez — Trane’s Delight
  9. Tedeschi Trucks Band — Signs
  10. Miles Davis — Rubberband
  11. John Coletrane — Coletrane ’58The Prestige Sessions
  12. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra w/ Wynton Marsalis — Big Band Holidays II
  13. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra w/ Wynton Marsalis — Jazz For Kids
  14. World Music Network — The Rough Guide To World Jazz
  15. The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band — The Traveler

 

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