Category Archives: News

Various ‘Mexico – Luz de Luna – The Best Boleros from the Costa Chica’ (ARC) 4/5

Just over a decade ago, this writer went on a extended musical journey to locate one of the seemingly hardest to find compilations of roots music, searching the southern most states that border Mexico. It was a box set on the Carasón label of the very roots of Mexican folk mu,sic and it opened up a whole new world of sounds, the magnificent son de Mexico, influenced by its Cuban brother, el son Cubano, but newly adapted to the Mexican landscape and with a pared down instrumentation. The same team that brought you ‘El Son De Mexico’ returns on this terrific updating of the anthology to take on board the bolero sounds of an isolated part of Mexico, inland from the Pacific coast and where commercial labels would not even be aware of their existence. The guitar groups and the repertoire they practice is representative of diverse ethnic and musical traditions and these include mestizos (mixed race), native Indian and the Afro-Mexican traditions. A major inspiration to all musicians is the late Alvaro Carrillo, a composer who was born in Costa Chica. All of the musicians are featured at least twice which enables the listener to gain a real flavour of what they are capable of, pride of place going to the irrepressible Pedro Torres with no less than five appearances.

Indeed, it is Pedro Torres on his requinto guitar, who opens up the compilation, interpreting a Carrillo composition, and one with a mysterious ‘eso’/’that’ (the song title) in reference to the woman in the verse that hispanophiles can debate endlessly. No less than the seminal bolero band of the 1950’s and beyond, Los Panchos covered this song. Elsewhere, families are represented such as Las Hermanas García, and they interpret the highly respected composer, Marcos Martinez, on ‘Un amigo como tú’/’A friend like you’, while on ‘Cancionero’/’Songman’, the Carrillo composition refers in fact to a self-portrait of the writer’s father. Other singers worth checking out include Fidela Pelaez and the male harmony trio, Los Tres Amuzgos.

Detailed liner notes by co-Corasón label founder Mary Farquharson, with a plethora of colour photos of the musicians in traditional costume, and in some cases, being recorded and filmed simultaneously, place the music in its rightful historical context. Full lyrics in Spanish with an explanation in English of their significance. One of the year’s most interesting discoveries of roots music. This is what compilations should be all about, finding a niche where other labels have not previously trodden (outside of Mexico at least). With the twentieth anniversary of the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon, you might question whether there is anyway left in the world of music to (re)discover. Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar featured bolero music from mexico in his 1987 classic, ‘The Law Of Desire’, but it passed most viewers by. Mexican roots music might just be the antidote.

Tim Stenhouse

Julian Lage ‘Modern Lore’ Vinyl/CD (Mack Avenue) 3/5

Guitarist Julian Lage is another young Turk out to conquer the world of jazz and he is heard here in a trio setting with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wolleson who also doubles up on vibraphone. The leader’s musical influences take in electric jazz guitarists such as Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny and especially the sound of John Scofield. There is a country-folk feel to both the opener, ‘The ramble’, with nice melodic interplay between the musicians, and to the gentle, reposing piece, ‘Atlantic limited’, with fine rim-drum work from Wollesen. For fans of jazz-rock, the drum propelled groove of ‘General thunder’ will impress, while in stark contrast, a lovely lyrical duet between bassist and guitarist ensures on ‘Wordsmith’, and indeed it is this more introspective side to Lage’s work that this writer would like to hear more of on future releases. Some of the self compositions need to be stronger lyrically, but there is nonetheless a good deal to praise equally, as on ‘Rodger the dodger’, where the influence of Frisell is once more felt and country-folk-blues does suit this guitarist down to the ground. A definite case of work in progress on this talented young guitarist.

Tim Stenhouse

UK Vibe Records present… Chris Bowden ‘Unlikely Being’

UK Vibe celebrates 25 years with the release of
CHRIS BOWDEN ‘UNLIKELY BEING’

Album launch Wednesday 28th February 2018
Riverside
Tiddington Road
Stratford-upon-Avon
Warwickshire
CV37 7AB

ukvibe at 25

What a journey we have had these past twenty five years and a huge thank you to the contributors new and old, active and dormant, who set the seed all those years ago and have fed our musical growth ever since.

Michael J Edwards, Tim Stenhouse, Sam Turnell, Mark Wallace, Andy Allen, Donald Palmer, Thomas G.J. Sharpe, Steve Ward, Bruce Q, Glyn Phillips, Andy Hazell, Mike Gates, Nadjib LeFleurier, Alan Musson, Richard Trew, Carl Hyde, Suzy Mariott, David S. James, Matthew Hart, Kerstan Mackness, Chris Menist, Nic Vipond, Sarah Triggs, Fechedo, Brian Parsons (Deceased), Graham Radley, Stephen Parker, Howard Bowen, Damian Wilkes, Elizabeth Holden, Andrew Gray, Gibsy Rhodes, Wendy Douglas, Manwai, Brian Homer, Steve Funkyfeet, Deborah Jordan, Jonathon Abbott, Kate Green, Ben McDonnell, Michael Payne, SHG, Erminia Yardley, Sammy Goulbourne, Aurélie Gérardin, Julian Walden, Mark Harrington, Patricia Harris, Garry Corbett, Maya Golt, Steven Cropper, Keith Parsons, Suzanne Bull, Simon Rawles, Pete Buckenham, Brian Goucher, Lexus Blondin, Haji Mike, Lindsey Evans, Madeye, Tony Stewart, Peter Sampson, Robert Moore, Bill Shannon, Dzifa Benson, Nigel Madhoo, Andy Frazer, Gavin Mills, Mami, Jacque Henry, Yoshi Nakase, Ife Piankhi, Michael Fordham, Jedhi, Mickey Nold, Bill Randle, Stuart Baker, Jabba and Julia Warrington.

I salute you.

Steve Williams (Editor/Founder)

The Floyd Harvey Robinson Project ‘Here To Stay’ (Private Press) 4/5

Anything to do with FHR is acquired asap, he has a very unique way of presenting the music I have listened to all my life, his voice has an instantly recognisable timbre and musically he is never afraid to try something different. This album has a cavernous production for a contemporary album but even within this genre he’s created a sound that won’t be imitated too often by his peers. This project has presented us with 8 tracks, all danceable with not a ballad in sight which is a shame, but hey, I’m not complaining. Not a duff track on the album, you can play from start to finish or pop it on shuffle – it will not disappoint.

Let’s point you in the direction of the tracks that hit me on the first play. ‘Friends Indeed’ is a rolling mellow toe tapper which seeps into your head, you do wonder for a moment if you have popped on an old friend from the shelves rather than a new tune. ‘Don’t You Know’ is another slightly more urgent but not by much, with huge production making it clear that the calibre here is high. ‘We Got The Loving’ is simply stunning, sounding like it could have come off an Isaac Hayes’ album – this is a serious rewind here. As for the title track, well it is destined to become a weekender anthem once the word gets out, its got that heavy weekender swaying going on, you know the score; your favourite woman in one hand and your beer in the other (and you don’t spill a drop), head back giving it your best vocal. I feel like a kid in a sweet shop these past few weeks. It appears to be raining soul music releases and ‘Here To Stay’ is a fine example of what is big right now.

Several tracks have already been plundered on soul radio shows, it just remains now for the club jocks to get on board. As is always the case here, we really would like this release to be pressed on vinyl. Failing that, at the very least a CD as it thoroughly deserves it. It would be a travesty if it simply got lost in the world of ‘Downloads’.

Brian Goucher