mixtapes for weathers and moods / music for good days and bad days


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2017. december 10., vasárnap

STREAMLiNE TRAiN. BLUES:MiX # 50 blues songs from the BLUES circle 2002-2009 # 3h 49m



STREAMLiNE TRAiN. BLUES:MiX # 50 blues songs from the BLUES circle 2002-2009 3h 49m # Jessie Mae Hemphill, Boo Boo Davis, Barrelhouse Chuck, Scott H. Biram, Carl Weathersby, Albert Castiglia, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Julian Fauth, Hazmat Modine, Charlie Musselwhite, The Mannish Boys, Chris Duarte Group, Elvin Bishop, Boo Boo Davis, Johnnie Bassett, Seasick Steve


M U S I C




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2002-2009


Mississippi blueswoman Jesse Mae Hemphill specialized in a folk-derived non-commercial blues indigenous to her region. 
Streamline Train (Jessie Mae Hemphill) 5:33
Feelin' Good (Jessie Mae Hemphill) 3:53
Shake It, Baby (Jessie Mae Hemphill) 3:22
from Shake It Baby 2003


The 12-song Heritage of the Blues: Shake It Baby collection of Mississippi singer/guitarist Jessie Mae Hemphill is certainly needed. She didn't have the opportunity to record very often. As a matter of fact, her greatest exposure came through an appearance in Robert Palmer's 1993 film Deep Blues, which featured footage of Hemphill playing bass drum as part of Jessie Mae's Fife and Drum Band and then playing solo guitar. The tracks on Heritage of the Blues were recorded between 1979 and 1988 and feature Hemphill on guitar, diddley bow, drums, foot tambourine, and bells...


Boo Boo Davis is a survivor and belongs to the last generations of musicians that write and play the blues based on first hand experience of a hard life in the Mississippi Delta.
Boo Boo Davis
Big House All by Myself 5:06
Can Man 4:30
Keep on Lovin' Me Baby(Otis Rush) 5:28
from Can Man 2002
Boo Boo’s father, Sylvester Davis farmed cotton and played several instruments. Musicians who he played with include John Lee Hooker, Elmore James and Robert Pete Williams. Boo Boo remembers these and other musicians dropping by and rehearsing at their house. At the age of five Boo Boo was playing the harmonica and singing in church with his mother. By thirteen he was playing guitar, and by eighteen he was playing out with his father and older brothers under the name of The Lard Can Band. This band travelled all throughout the Delta. In the early sixties he went north to St Louis and was around during the heyday of the St Louis music scene (Albert King, Ike Turner, Chuck Berry and many others). Together with his brothers they were the weekend house band in Tabby’s Red Room in East St Louis for eighteen years.

Barrelhouse Chuck (Charles Goering, July 10, 1958 – December 12, 2016) was an American Chicago blues and electric blues pianist, keyboardist, singer, and songwriter. He claims to be the only Chicago blues pianist to have studied under Sunnyland Slim, Pinetop Perkins, Blind John Davis, Detroit Junior, and Little Brother Montgomery. His work has appeared on fourteen albums.
Sitting on Top of the World (Lonnie Chatmon / Walter Vinson) 2:26
Mean Mistreater Mama (Leroy Carr / Bob Robinson) 3:00
Prescription for the Blues feat: Erwin Helfer (Eurreal Montgomery) 3:50
Chicago is home base for many of the top (but not necessarily well-known) piano blues (also boogie-woogie) artists in the country. The Sirens Records seems determined to document as many of them on disc as possible. This The Sirens CD features Barrelhouse Chuck (aka Chuck Goering), who gets a little help from his friend Erwin Helfer on three tracks. If any jazz style can make a piano wail and talk, it's piano blues...


Texas-based one-man band whose rough and relentless music is the place where country, blues, and punk cross paths. 
Goin' Down Slow 2:38
Brown's Ferry Blues 2:54
Sweet Thing 2:25
...Describing his music as "the bastard child of punk, blues, country, hillbilly, bluegrass, chain gang, metal, and classic rock," Biram was born in Lockhart, Texas and grew up in Prairie Lea (a small town of less than 250 residents) and San Marcos (a city of 50,000 not far from Austin). While in high school, Biram joined a local punk rock band called the Thangs, and played shows with them after moving on to college (Biram earned a degree in fine arts from Southwest Texas State University). As he developed a taste for roots music (in particular Lightnin' Hopkins and Doc Watson), he played with a pair of bluegrass bands during his college days, Scott Biram & the Salt Peter Boys and Bluegrass Drive-By...


Vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist Carl Weathersby is a soul-blues crooner in the classic Chicago tradition.
I'm Back Again 4:28
Angel of Mercy 6:56
Hold On 4:24
from Hold On 2004
Best known for his work with Billy Branch & Sons of the Blues, Weathersby's first album, 1996's Don't Lay Your Blues on Me, was hailed as genuine, state-of-the-art Chicago blues for the '90s. Weathersby released his second album, Looking Out My Window, in 1997, and the raves continued; the song "The Blues Follow Me Around," which Weathersby first recorded with Branch, was nominated for a Handy Award.

New York-born, Florida-based blues guitarist and singer with a powerful, electrified sound. 
Albert Castiglia
I Didn't Know 3:36
Burn 4:39
Hoodoo Man Blues 9:49
from Burn 2004
... In 1990 he joined Miami Blues Authority, and was the group's lead guitarist and vocalist for over seven years. After an audition with Chicago blues harp legend Junior Wells in 1997, Castiglia become the permanent lead guitarist for Wells' Hoodoo Man's Band. Following Junior's death in 1998, the band stayed together long enough to open shows for blues belter Sandra Hall. In 2001 Castiglia began writing his own material with the help of Graham Drout, guitarist and vocalist with the Miami-based band Iko Iko. With Drout's assistance, Castiglia released his debut CD, Burn, in 2002, followed four years later by A Stone's Throw on Blues Leaf Records...

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Alvin Youngblood Hart is continuing in the path laid down by acoustic blues practitioners like Taj Mahal, Guy Davis, and other '90s blues revivalists, but his roots go back much further than that, to the classic stylings of Bukka White, Charley Patton, Leadbelly, and Blind Willie McTell.
Alvin Youngblood Hart
Big Mama's Door (Might Return) (Alvin Youngblood Hart) 5:49
Motivational Speaker (Alvin Youngblood Hart) 3:56
In My Time of Dying (Traditional) 6:40
from Motivational Speaker 2005
Bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart's Motivational Speaker is his first outing since Down in the Alley, his stellar, acoustic collection of covers from 2002. Cut in Memphis with a very electric trio that includes Gary Rasmussen (former Rationals and Sonic's Rendezvous bassist) and drummer Ed Michaels, the album is a hard-edged, wooly, dirt-under-the-nails affair. Hart produced the set himself and brought in a number of guests including Jim and Luther Dickinson, Audley Freed, Richard Ford, Susan Marshall, Richard Rosenblatt, and Jim Spake...

Julian Fauth is a singer and piano player whose style is based on the tradition of pre-war barrelhouse blues and boogie woogie, with infusions of gospel and jazz. He writes his own songs in addition to re-interpreting traditional material. In his teens he was a protégé of the late Mississippi blues legend Mel Brown. He plays regularly in Toronto and has played across Canada, in the USA, Western Europe, Russia and Cuba.
Julian Fauth
Cobalt (Julian Fauth) 5:13
Red Richard (Julian Fauth) 3:40
Winter of '99 (Julian Fauth) 4:36
from  Songs of Vice and Sorrow 2005
The love child of Mississippi John Hurt and Billy Childish, Julian Fauth is an interesting mix of the old, the very old, and the merely retro... But from the Victorian ragamuffin cover photo to the weird mix of influences all over this double-album-length CD, Songs of Vice and Sorrow is a unique, idiosyncratic, and often fascinating statement.


New York-based folk group/ethnomusicology experiment Hazmat Modine draw from a wide array of influences and time periods. Performing music from the '20s through the early '60s, including genres such as swing, klezmer, hokum jug band, blues, rocksteady, and more, the dual harmonica-fronted band has earned a reputation as fearless world music alchemists.
Hazmat Modine
Yesterday Morning (Wade Schuman) 5:08
Broke My Baby's Heart 7:20
Lost Fox Train (Wade Schuman) 3:39
from Bahamut 2006
It's a fairly good bet you won't hear another record like Bahamut any time soon -- because there isn't one. Hazmat Modine tap into the deepest veins of raw, unpolluted prewar blues and ancient jazz, then whip them up in a blender, tossing in strains of Caribbean calypso and ska, Eastern European klezmer and Balkan brass, Middle Eastern mystery, and more than a few unidentifiable elements that just somehow fit...

A Mississippi transplant whose rangy, subtle harp playing made a splash in Chicago blues circles beginning in the 1960s. / ...Butterfield and Musselwhite will probably be forever linked as the two most interesting, and arguably the most important, products of the "white blues movement" of the mid- to late '60s -- not only because they were near the forefront chronologically, but because they both stand out as being especially faithful to the style....
Charlie Musselwhite
Church Is Out (Charlie Musselwhite) 3:32
Sundown (Charlie Musselwhite) 4:06
Town to Town (Charlie Musselwhite) 3:16
from Delta Hardware 2006
...The CD booklet is filled with pictures of the sites of his life in Mississippi. Delta Hardware was recorded with Musselwhite's road band, and it has the feeling of motion along with its looking into the past. Guitarist Chris "Kid" Andersen, bassist Randy Bermudes, and drummer June Core hop into the heart of the electric trancelike blues that have been a part of Musselwhite's backbone his entire performing career. The question is, why didn't he record with these guys before? Delta Hardware is a raw, squalling album heavy on brittle guitars, trancelike rhythms, and of course, Musselwhite's harmonica filling the gaps where his world-weary voice shouts, hollers, and bellows. Musselwhite and band dig deep here...

The The Mannish Boys is a loose coupling of great blues talent. The band changes without losing the blues thread that brought them together. Their ability to integrate new and different talent makes the blues real each time. Finis Tasby, Johnny Dyer, David "Kid" Ramos, Frank "Paris Slim" Goldwasser, Leon Blue, Tom Leavey, and Richard Innes have all played, and played well, building on each other's strengths. Randy Chortkoff is the guy who sings, plays the harmonica, and leads the blues revue.
The Mannish Boys
Border Town Blues 3:45
I Get So Worried 4:23
Carpet Bagger Blues (Rob Rio) 4:31
Gotta Move 3:43
from Big Plans 2007
The second studio album by contemporary electric blues supergroup the Mannish Boys delivers straightforward Chicago-style blues in an unfussy setting. The list of special guests is as long as the nine-piece band, including guest singers Jody Williams and Bobby Lee Jones, guitarist Rick Holmstrom, pianist Rob Rio, bassists Jeff Big Dad Turmes and Larry "The Mole" Taylor, harmonica player Mitch Kashmar and saxophonist David Woodford. As a result, no one singer or instrumentalist predominates, giving Big Plans a sort of R&B revue feel. The songs are mostly originals by members of the band including bandleader Randy Chortkoff and slide guitarist Frank Goldwasser; while the band get points for largely avoiding the temptation to simply bash out the usual electric blues suspects, none of the album's original material sounds likely to join the blues canon. A fairly low-key, genial album, Big Plans is considerably less than its title suggests, but it's likely enough for fans of contemporary electric blues.


San Antonio-born, Austin-based guitarist, singer, and songwriter who specializes in fiery Texas blues rock. / Austin-based guitarist, songwriter, and singer Chris Duarte has often been compared with the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. It's heady stuff for the musician, who plays a rhythmic style of Texas blues-rock that is at times reminiscent of Vaughan's sound, and at other times reminiscent of Johnny Winter. The truth is, Duarte has his own sound that draws on elements of jazz, blues, and rock & roll.
Chris Duarte Group
Amy Lee (Chris Duarte) 6:26
Hard Mind (Chris Duarte) 7:19
I'll Never Know (Toshihiro Sumitomo) 5:16
Sun Prairie Blues (Chris Duarte) 9:20
from Blue Velocity 2007
Chris Duarte's name is nearly always mentioned alongside those of the late, great guitar gods Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix. There is some validity to the comparison, as Duarte does specialize in that high-octane, lightning-bright, raw but intelligent brand of playing that Hendrix and Vaughan had so definitively put their names on, and he does quite often favor their tones and draw on their trademark licks. But those comparisons were only partially true even when Duarte emerged from Austin in the mid-'90s as a promising craftsman, and they're approaching irrelevancy now that he's working his way toward seasoned vet. Duarte has painstakingly absorbed his influences to develop his own signature style and gained his own coterie of fans, and Blue Velocity, Duarte's first release since 2003's Romp, is where it all comes together. With Dustin Sargent on bass and Damien Lewis pounding drums, Duarte emerges here as more of a total artist than in the past -- the guitar brilliance serves the songs, rather than the other way around...

Original member of the Butterfield Blues Blues Band who had a mid-'70s country-soul hit. 
The Blues Rolls On feat: Warren Harris / Kim Wilson (Elvin Bishop) 4:23
Yonder's Wall Feat: Ronnie Baker Brooks / Tommy Castro (James Clark) 4:06
Keep a Dollar in Your Pocket feat: B.B. King (4:53)
Bishop hops labels once again, this time to the relatively young and scrappy Delta Groove imprint, while calling up some names in his obviously well-stocked Rolodex to assist on his first predominately studio album in three years. Like most guest studded affairs, this is an inconsistent but enjoyable romp...As you can see, the album is pieced together from a variety of sessions in different locations, resulting in a patchwork set that, despite many excellent and above all enthusiastic performances, never quite gels. Like the collage of pictures on the back cover, this is more a scrapbook of Bishop playing with his pals and acquaintances than a focused project, but there is enough quality music here to attract established fans, even if this isn't the place to generate new ones.

Boo Boo Davis is a survivor and belongs to the last generations of musicians that write and play the blues based on first hand experience of a hard life in the Mississippi Delta.
Dirty Dog (J Davis, JK Mittendorp, JH Gerritse) 4:10
Stay From The Casino (J Davis, JK Mittendorp, JH Gerritse) 3:47
Name Of The Game (J Davis, JK Mittendorp) 3:06
from Name of the Game 2008
Boo Boo’s music has been very popular in Europe during the 1990s to present. In fact, he’s been signed with the Black & Tan Records label out of The Netherland for several years, and has now had five releases on the label – which includes Name of the Game, his latest CD.
Name of the Game sees Boo Boo and his two-piece Dutch band performing in a stripped down mode, consisting of just drums, guitar, and Davis’ harp. There’s some of the down-home juke-joint-styled music Boo Boo is known for, but there’s also some songs done up in a more experimental, Fat Possum-like rock/blues hybrid.

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Johnnie Bassett grew up with blues music all around him in his native Florida. His unique ability to combine jump blues and Delta stylings gave his playing a distinctive sound. 
Johnnie Bassett
A Woman's Got Ways (Robert Codish) 5:04
Nice Guys Finish Last (Robert Codish) 5:43
from The Gentleman is Back 2009
...Now with national U.S. distribution from Mack Avenue Records, Bassett has a chance to break out on the commercial scene with a set of contemporary originals that can appeal to a wide range of listeners. His sleek and clean vocal style cannot be mistaken for anything other than what it is, with a sweetness and light that supersede any scolding he might dole out. An economical guitarist who is, to say the least, understated, Bassett keeps a light groove going, punctuated by the equally concise and controlled organ playing of Chris Codish. with his regular trio the Brothers Groove. A small horn section comprising some of the Motor City's best musicians join the band as they strut through this program of simplified, easygoing, no-nonsense current day blues...

Former hobo/indie rock recording engineer picks up the guitar late in life, playing raucous country blues from a bygone era. / Like T-Model Ford, Seasick Steve (aka Steve Wold) began recording his own music much later in life than other musicians. A storytelling singer reviving traditional country blues, Wold spent his childhood in California, but left home at 14. As a hobo, he traveled for several years, jumping trains and working odd jobs
Seasick Steve
Diddley Bo (Steve Wold) 3:53
Happy (To Have a Job) (Steve Wold) 3:06
Man from Another Time (Steve Wold) 3:14
Dark (Steve Wold) 3:55
from Man From Another Time 2009
... Man from Another Time follows in the footsteps of his breakthrough with a raw, unpolished sound that showcases Steve's skills on guitar, banjo, and diddley bo. The album was cut in real time on analog tape, and sounds as warm and funky as Steve himself...

2017. december 7., csütörtök

ANGEL DUST FAVTRAX:MiX ~ 50 FAVOURiTE tracks 1979-1986 / 3h 34m

Brian Jackson and Gil Scott-Heron
ANGEL DUST FAVTRAX:MiX ~ 50 FAVOURiTE tracks 1979-1986 / 3h 34m  >>Isotope, Soft Machine, Al Di Meola, Miles Davis, Robin Trower, Gong, Frank Zappa, Marianne Faithfull, Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson, Michael Bloomfield, The Fall, The Police, Japan, Robert Wyatt, David Bowie, Cabaret Voltaire, Chris Isaak, David Sylvian, Echo & the Bunnymen, Giant Sand, R.E.M, Suzanne Vega, Tom Waits<<

M U S I C


 
favtraxmix label The player always plays the latest playlist tracks. / A lejátszó mindig a legújabb playlist számait játssza.   

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1979-1986



Politically charged poet and singer of enrapturing 1970s jazz/R&B polemics, and a huge influence on countless hip-hop incendiaries. / One of the most important progenitors of rap music, Gil Scott-Heron's aggressive, no-nonsense street poetry inspired a legion of intelligent rappers while his engaging songwriting skills placed him square in the R&B charts later in his career, backed by increasingly contemporary production courtesy of Malcolm Cecil and Nile Rodgers (of Chic).
Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson
The Bottle (Gil Scott-Heron) 5:10
Angel Dust (Gil Scott-Heron) 4:18
from Anthology: Messages / Recording: September, 1973 - October, 1979 (2005)
Several Gil Scott-Heron compilations were released throughout the '70s, '80s, '90s, and early 2000s, but 2005's Messages was the first to concentrate on the material released between 1973 and 1979 -- a productive phase involving seven albums, most of which were represented by a track or two on the preceding overviews. Featuring multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Brian Jackson, these albums were often filler-prone but they were never lacking at least a few moments in which everything clicked...

Brilliant 1960s blues-rock guitarist who made history with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Bob Dylan. / Michael Bloomfield was one of America's first great white blues guitarists, earning his reputation on the strength of his work in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. His expressive, fluid solo lines and prodigious technique graced many other projects -- most notably Bob Dylan's earliest electric forays -- and he also pursued a solo career, with variable results. Uncomfortable with the reverential treatment afforded a guitar hero, Bloomfield tended to shy away from the spotlight after spending just a few years in it; he maintained a lower-visibility career during the '70s due to his distaste for fame and his worsening drug problems, which claimed his life in 1981.
Michael Bloomfield
Maudie (Frank Biner) 3:11
Big C Blues (Michael Bloomfield) 3:36
from Living In The Fast Lane 1980
An artist's final album always sits heavily on the shelf, and even more so when that life has been cut abruptly short, becoming an unintended epitaph to what was a still flourishing career. Thus, Living in the Fast Lane has a weighty burden to bear, one that Michael Bloomfield never meant it to shoulder, yet the set does so with remarkable ease. There's a definite joie de vivre found within, partly, one presumes, a reflection of the happiness of reuniting with myriad former cohorts, among them Mark Naftalin and Bob Jones, who both played on Bloomfield's debut solo album back in 1969, and ex-Electric Flag Roger Troy. A gospel choir and an entire band provide backing vocals and a horn section, which hints at the many styles showcased within... The musicianship is sensational, the vocalists superb, and Bloomfield is on fire, yet there's no struggle and strain to succeed, just a sublime atmosphere. Fans will insist he made much better sets, and they'd be right, but regardless, this album remains a magnificent achievement, one that's lost none of its power over the years.

Harsh, jagged experimentalists whose style was defined by the razor-tongued yet highly literary invective of singer Mark E. Smith. / Out of all the late-'70s punk and post-punk bands, none are longer lived or more prolific than the Fall. Throughout their career, the band underwent myriad lineup changes, but at the center of it all was vocalist Mark E. Smith. With his snarling, nearly incomprehensible vocals and consuming, bitter cynicism, Smith became a cult legend in indie and alternative rock.
The Fall
Pay Your Rates (Mark E. Smith) 2:58
English Scheme (Marc Riley / Craig Scanlon / Mark E. Smith) 2:05
New Face in Hell (Marc Riley / Craig Scanlon / Mark E. Smith) 5:39
C'N'C' -S Mithering (Steve Hanley / Craig Scanlon / Mark E. Smith) 7:43
from Grotesque (After The Gramme) 1980
The Fall are the greatest band you’ve never heard of. No, seriously. Coming out of Manchester in the United Kingdom, a locale firmly imprinted in the group’s identity, the Fall are the all-time favorite band of famous British BBC DJ John Peel. They have been consistently making music since 1976, their lineup ever shifting around sole constant member Mark E. Smith, also their founder, main songwriter, and lyricist. Grotesque is the Fall’s third album, following underground favorites Live at the Witch Trials and Dragnet, featuring a five-man lineup of the multitalented Mark E. Smith (handling vocals, tapes, guitars, and kazoos), as well as a guitarist/keyboardist, second guitarist, bass player, and drummer...

British rock trio with an innovative rock/reggae fusion, superb songwriting, and crossover appeal that shot them straight to international stardom. / Nominally, the Police were punk rock, but that's only in the loosest sense of the term. The trio's nervous, reggae-injected pop/rock was punky, but it wasn't necessarily punk. All three members were considerably more technically proficient than the average punk or new wave band. Andy Summers had a precise guitar attack that created dense, interlocking waves of sounds and effects. Stewart Copeland could play polyrhythms effortlessly. And Sting, with his high, keening voice, was capable of constructing infectiously catchy pop songs. While they weren't punk, the Police certainly demonstrated that the punk spirit could have a future in pop music. As their career progressed, the Police grew considerably more adventurous, experimenting with jazz and various world musics.
The Police
Spirits in the Material World  (Sting) 2:59
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic  (Sting) 4:20
Invisible Sun (Sting) 3:44
Rehumanize Yourself (Stewart Copeland / Sting) 3:10
from Ghost In The Machine 1981
For their fourth album, 1981's Ghost in the Machine, the Police had streamlined their sound to focus more on their pop side and less on their trademark reggae-rock. Their jazz influence had become more prominent, as evidenced by the appearance of saxophones on several tracks. The production has more of a contemporary '80s sound to it (courtesy of Hugh Padgham, who took over for Nigel Gray), and Sting proved once and for all to be a master of the pop songwriting format...

Audacious glam-inspired rockers whose sound eventually took in exotic electronic textures and art rock influences. / Japan's evolution from rather humble glam rock beginnings into stylish synth pop (and beyond) made the British group one of the more intriguing and successful artists of their era. Formed in London in 1974, Japan began its existence as a quintet comprised of singer/songwriter David Sylvian, bassist Mick Karn, keyboardist Richard Barbieri, drummer (and Sylvian's brother) Steve Jansen and guitarist Rob Dean. In their primary incarnation, the group emulated the sound and image of glam rockers like David Bowie and the New York Dolls; Sylvian's over-the-top vocals, much in the vein of Bryan Ferry, also earned Japan frequent (if derisive) comparisons to Roxy Music.
Japan
The Art of Parties (David Sylvian) 4:12
Ghosts (David Sylvian) 4:36
Sons of Pioneers (Mick Karn / David Sylvian) 7:09
from Tin Drum 1981
Partially growing out of their success in the country they were named after, as well as growing friendship and affiliation with such bands as Yellow Magic Orchestra, Japan, on Tin Drum, made its most unique, challenging, and striking album. It was also the final full studio effort from the group, and what a way to bow out -- there was practically no resemblance to the trash glam flailers on Adolescent Sex anymore. Rather than repeat the sheer restraint on Gentlemen Take Polaroids, Tin Drum is an album of energy, Sylvian's singing still the decadently joyful thing it is, but the arrangements and performances tight, full, and active. The fusion of exquisite funk courtesy of Karn and Jansen's joined-at-the-hip rhythm section and a range of Asian music influences, from instrumentation to subject matter, combined with an even wider use of technological approaches to create the dramatic, sly songs on offer...

Originally the drummer and vocalist of Soft Machine, Wyatt merged the avant-garde with English eccentricity.  / An enduring figure who came to prominence in the early days of the English art rock scene, Robert Wyatt has produced a significant body of work, both as the original drummer for art rockers Soft Machine and as a radical political singer/songwriter. Born in Bristol, England, Wyatt came to Soft Machine during the exciting, slightly post-psychedelic Canterbury Scene of the mid-'60s that produced bands like Gong and Pink Floyd.
Robert Wyatt
Born Again Cretin (Robert Wyatt) 3:11
Caimanera (Carlos Puebla / Traditional) 5:22
Stalin Wasn't Stallin' (Willie Johnson) 3:24
Strange Fruit (Lewis Allan) 3:38
from Nothing Can Stop Us 1982
This compilation of early-'80s singles includes some of Wyatt's finest work. Aside from "Born Again Cretin" (whose vocals recall the Beach Boys at their most experimental), all of it's non-original material that Wyatt makes his own with his sad, haunting vocals. You could hardly ask for a more diverse assortment of covers: Chic's "At Last I Am Free" (given an eerie treatment with especially mysterious, spacy keyboards), the a cappella gospel of "Stalin Wasn't Stallin'," political commentary with "Trade Union," the Billie Holiday standard "Strange Fruit," Ivor Cutler's "Grass," and a couple of songs in Spanish. The tracks have since been reissued a few times, with bonus tracks such as the "Shipbuilding" single; the best option for U.S. consumers is Compilation, which pairs Nothing Can Stop Us with Old Rottenhat.

The mercurial music icon widely considered the original pop chameleon and figurehead for countless musical movements. / The cliché about David Bowie is that he was a musical chameleon, adapting himself according to fashion and trends. While such a criticism is too glib, there's no denying that Bowie demonstrated a remarkable skill for perceiving musical trends at his peak in the '70s. After spending several years in the late '60s as a mod and as an all-around music hall entertainer, Bowie reinvented himself as a hippie singer/songwriter. Prior to his breakthrough in 1972, he recorded a proto-metal record and a pop/rock album, eventually redefining glam rock with his ambiguously sexy Ziggy Stardust persona. Ziggy made Bowie an international star, yet he wasn't content to continue to churn out glitter rock. By the mid-'70s, he'd developed an effete, sophisticated version of Philly soul that he dubbed "plastic soul," which eventually morphed into the eerie avant pop of 1976's Station to Station. Shortly afterward, he relocated to Berlin, where he recorded three experimental electronic albums with Brian Eno. At the dawn of the '80s, Bowie was still at the height of his powers, yet following his blockbuster dance-pop album Let's Dance in 1983, he slowly sank into mediocrity before salvaging his career in the early '90s. Even when he was out of fashion in the '80s and '90s, it was clear that Bowie was one of the most influential musicians in rock, for better and for worse. Each one of his phases in the '70s sparked a number of subgenres, including punk, new wave, goth rock, the new romantics, and electronica. Few rockers have ever had such lasting impact.
David Bowie
V-2 Schneider (David Bowie) 3:11
TVC 15 (David Bowie) 3:35
Heroes/Helden (David Bowie / Brian Eno) 6:03
Boys Keep Swinging (David Bowie / Brian Eno) 3:18
from Christiane F. - Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhoff Z 1982
A mid-'70s West German film about a 14 year old's descent into drug abuse, prostitution, and general sleaze led to this 1981 soundtrack, comprised entirely of previously released songs from David Bowie's "Thin White Duke" period. The bleak music of Bowie's collaborations with Brian Eno provides a fitting backdrop to the film, as his icy soul killer pose perfectly reflected the frozen and fragmented lives of Christiane and her gang: an "alternative family" taking respite in discos and underground train stations. Removed from that context, the album is still enjoyable for the sheer quality of the songs...




One of the most acclaimed British alternative groups of the 1980s, a band of gloomy post-punkers inspired by the darker aspects of '60s psychedelia. / Echo & the Bunnymen's dark, swirling fusion of gloomy post-punk and Doors-inspired psychedelia brought the group a handful of British hits in the early '80s, while attracting a cult following in the United States.
Echo & the Bunnymen
The Cutter  (Pete de Freitas / Ian McCulloch / Les Pattinson / Will Sergeant) 3:52
Back of Love  (Pete de Freitas / Ian McCulloch / Les Pattinson / Will Sergeant) 3:13
My White Devil (Pete de Freitas / Ian McCulloch / Les Pattinson / Will Sergeant) 4:40
from Porcupine 1983
The group's third album is a solid outing, a noticeably better listen than its predecessor, Heaven Up Here. Songs are intriguing and elaborate, often featuring swooping, howling melodic lines. Arrangements here owe a lot to 1960s psychedelia and feature lots of reverb, washed textures, intricate production touches, and altered guitar sounds. Ian McCulloch's vocals are yearning, soaring, and hyper-expressive here, almost to the point of being histrionic, most notably on "Clay," "Ripeness," and the title track. Driving bass and drums lend the songs urgency and keep the music from collapsing into self-indulgence...

Experimental, innovative English electronic outfit that formed in the 1970s, and stand as major pioneers of industrial and dance music. / Though they're one of the most important groups in the history of industrial and electronic music, Cabaret Voltaire are sometimes forgotten in the style's timeline -- perhaps because they continued recording long after other luminaries (Throbbing Gristle, Suicide, Chrome) called it quits.
24-24 (Richard H. Kirk / Stephen Mallinder) 5:55
Talking Time (Richard H. Kirk / Stephen Mallinder) 5:20
Crackdown (Richard H. Kirk / Stephen Mallinder) 6:23
from Crackdown 1983
One of Cabaret Voltaire's strongest albums, The Crackdown features the band working a number of menacing electronic textures into a basic dance/funk rhythm; the result is one of their most distinctive, challenging records.


Fronted by the charismatic Michael Stipe, one of the first alt-rock bands to make it big, maintaining their integrity and a sense of adventure over three decades. / R.E.M. marked the point when post-punk turned into alternative rock. When their first single, "Radio Free Europe," was released in 1981, it sparked a back-to-the-garage movement in the American underground. While there were a number of hardcore and punk bands in the U.S. during the early '80s, R.E.M. brought guitar pop back into the underground lexicon.
Harborcoat  (Bill Berry / Peter Buck / Mike Mills / Michael Stipe) 3:57
7 Chinese Brothers  (Bill Berry / Peter Buck / Mike Mills / Michael Stipe) 4:14
So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)  (Bill Berry / Peter Buck / Mike Mills / Michael Stipe) 3:16
from Reckoning 1984
R.E.M. abandoned the enigmatic post-punk experiments of Murmur for their second album, Reckoning, returning to their garage pop origins instead... On the surface, Reckoning may not be as distinctive as Murmur, but the record's influence on underground American rock in the '80s was just as strong.

Front man for Japan whose striking image and ethereal vocals made him a prominent figure in the New Romantic movement. / Following the 1982 dissolution of Japan, the group's onetime frontman David Sylvian staked out a far-ranging and esoteric career that encompassed not only solo projects but also a series of fascinating collaborative efforts and forays into filmmaking, photography, and modern art.
Pulling Punches (David Sylvian) 5:02
Nostalgia (David Sylvian) 5:43
Red Guitar (David Sylvian) 5:11
Brilliant Trees ((Jon Hassell / David Sylvian) 8:42
from Brilliant Trees 1984
Upon art-rockers Japan’s dissolution in 1982, frontman David Sylvian embarked onward to a long and fruitful solo career. To understand where Sylvian was coming from with Brilliant Trees requires the knowledge beforehand of the conflict within Japan and their artistic direction... Released in the summer of 1984, Brilliant Trees came about as the logical conclusion to Japan in general. The rhythmic grooves ever present on tracks such as ”The Art of Parties” had reached its limit; and yet ”Pulling Punches”, the opener, had all the elements that had made Japan a success – fluid, yet punchy bass work, booming drums and stellar guitar play. And that voice – that voice, jesus christ.

Her literate, artful, and intellectual brand of troubadourism rescued the singer/songwriter tradition from the clutches of sentimentality. / Suzanne Vega was the first major figure in the bumper crop of female singer/songwriters who rose to prominence during the late '80s and '90s. Her hushed, restrained folk-pop and highly literate lyrics (inspired chiefly by Leonard Cohen, as well as Lou Reed and Bob Dylan) laid the initial musical groundwork for what later became the trademark sound of Lilith Fair (a tour on which she was a regular).
Suzanne Vega
Cracking (Suzanne Vega) 2:49
Freeze Tag (Suzanne Vega) 2:35
Marlene on the Wall (Suzanne Vega) 3:39
Small Blue Thing (Suzanne Vega) 3:54
from Suzanne Vega 1985
Though early comparisons were made to Joni Mitchell, Suzanne Vega's true antecedents were Janis Ian and Leonard Cohen. Like Ian, she sings with a precise, frequently half-spoken phrasing that gives her lyrics an intensity that seems to suggest an unsteady control consciously held over emotional chaos. Like Cohen, Vega observes the world in poetic metaphor, her cold urban landscapes reflecting a troubled sense of love and loss. The key track is "Small Blue Thing," in which the singer pictures herself as an object "Like a marble/or an eye," "made of china/made of glass," "lost inside your pocket," and "turning in your hand." The sharply picked acoustic guitar and other isolated musical elements echo the closely observed scenes -- everything seems to be in tight close-up and sharp focus...

Influential alt country band whose sound evolved into a crisp mix of swing, country, rock and beatnik lyricism. / Giant Sand was the primary outlet for the stylistic curveballs and sun-damaged songcraft of Howe Gelb, a Pennsylvania-born singer/guitarist who formed the four-piece Giant Sandworms after relocating to Tuscon, Arizona in the mid-'70s. After releasing the EP Will Wallow and Roam After the Ruin in 1980, Gelb fired everyone but bassist Scott Gerber (although founding guitarist Rainer Ptacek returned to the fold many times in the future) and started over as simply Giant Sand, essentially a one-man band backed by a revolving cast of players.
Giant Sand
Valley of Rain (Howe Gelb) 4:17
October Anywhere (Howe Gelb) 5:08
Down on Town/Love's No Answer (Howe Gelb) 4:36
from Valley Of Rain 1985
The dry, dusty, and rambling sound that became Howe Gelb's trademark isn't much in evidence on Giant Sand's debut album, 1985's Valley of Rain. Instead, this early edition of the band recalls the distaff branch of the Paisley Underground scene that was still a big part of the Los Angeles scene when Gelb arrived there from Tuscon, as if Giant Sand were the oddball high desert cousins of Green on Red. Valley of Rain is tougher and scrappier than much of what Giant Sand would release later on, and it rocks noticeably harder, though Gelb's sense of lyrical wanderlust is very much evident here, and even when the guitars wind up and the drums crack, the melodies drift on and off path with an expressive glee...

American crooner channeled golden era Roy Orbison, became unlikely hitmaker in 1990s. / Songwriter Chris Isaak clearly loves the reverb-laden rockabilly and country of Sun Studios.
Chris Isaak
Dancin' (Chris Isaak) 3:45
Voodoo (Chris Isaak) 2:41
from Silvertone 1985
Chris Isaak's debut album, Silvertone, named after his three-piece backup group, sets the pattern for his subsequent albums in its meticulously constructed retro sound. Isaak enters a time machine and emerges around 1960, when Roy Orbison is ruling the charts with his melodramatic ballads and Elvis Presley has just returned from the Army...


A neo-beatnik songwriter who grew weirder and wilder in the '80s, earning a cult following that only grew larger as the years passed. / In the 1970s, Tom Waits combined a lyrical focus on desperate, low-life characters with a persona that seemed to embody the same lifestyle, which he sang about in a raspy, gravelly voice. From the '80s on, his work became increasingly theatrical as he moved into acting and composing.
Tom Waits
Diamonds on My Windshield (Tom Waits) 3:12
(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night (Tom Waits) 3:53
Martha (Tom Waits) 4:30
The Ghosts of Saturday Night (After Hours at Napoleone's Pizza House) (Tom Waits) 3:16
Grapefruit Moon ((Tom Waits) 4:50
from Asylum Years 1986
The second British Tom Waits compilation was a more extensive look at the 1973-1980 Asylum Records catalog than the first, Bounced Checks from 1981 (four more tracks), but it was another idiosyncratic selection... The overall unevenness of the Asylum albums cries out for a well-chosen compilation.