A week or so ago I was listening to the great radio program World Cafe. And the amazing host Talia Schlanger was interviewing one my idols (I have a few!)--Elvis Costello. And in that talk, she asked him about a quote he had said earlier about you can always get a sense of an album by listening to the fourth track (I’m paraphrasing of course).
This of course gave me an idea to see if this is true. So on this week’s World Music Show. (11/24) we’re going to hear nothing but the fourth tracks on a variety of CDs. Primarily this will be in hour one, but this investigation will also bleed into the second hour. Speaking of hour two, for this 59-minute chunk of time, I’ll play some B-Sides, rarities and tracks not pushed by record labels. Because I’m not forced to play songs, I can skip around the albums to hear what I think sounds good and what I hope you’ll think sounds good.
Before undertaking our Columbo detective work, I want to implore you--to plead with you if I may--to listen to the show on some type of Hi-Fi system, you know a real stereo. Or if you no longer have something of this nature, then perhaps you have some headphones you can put on (not ear buds). The reason being is that when musicians take the time to put together a whole album of songs, it’s worth it to actually listen with intent.
Now, I know this isn’t always possible in our hectic world. But perhaps once in awhile you can entertain the thought of doing this. And if not during the two-hours of World Music, then on your own, with an actual LP or CD. Take the time to read the liner notes, look at art, read the lyrics. I did this quite a bit as a kid (of course there was time!). But thankfully because of my job, I get to still do this. And it’s how I learn about the artists I’m listening to and playing for you. Too many times music gets pushed to background, where it sits among the refuse of the days news or television ads.
I want you to look at this week’s show as an album. Hour one, is “side one” or “side A.” And horu two...well, you get it.
So for Side A on the show, we’ll hear from the likes of Bombino, Oliver Mtukudzi and the Chicago Afrobeat Orchestra, who get the help from legendary drummer Tony Allen (who was one half of the two who founded Afrobeat. The other being Fela Kuti).
If I were to break the chunks of music into genres or styles, I could say the prior is West African guitar driven tunes, except for the Afrobeat. Following this, you could say that it’s a mix of South American inspired tunes. Starting with a look at track four from Paul Simon’s Graceland CD. On the track “Gumboots,” I think you can really get the feel for the entire album. It’s has that great South African guitar and it also features the Boyoyo Boys, who are a well-known group in South Africa, harmonizing and it just encapsulates the entire CD.
Paired with that will be a cut from the big band sound of Ondatropica, who recorded “De Mar A Mar,” in Bogota, Colombia and also nails the entire album Baile Bucanero. Also in this chunk will be Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and Los Lobos.
Another set of tunes can’t really be categorized. It starts with the Kinshasa band Jupiter & Okwess, but also features Jamaican legends Black Uhuru, but then shifts to the Fado singer Lula Pena.
Closing out our investigation of track 4, we’ll hear some Brazilian tunes from Domenico Lancellotti, the trio Mosquitos, the all-female band Ladama but we’ll end with a great cover of “You Are My Sunshine” done by Yusuf, who is Yusuf Islam, aka Cat Stevens.
For Side B--the B-sides, rarities and missed out tracks, we’ll hear from Boogat, who is a Canadian-Mexican musician from Montreal, Quebec. His style blends hip hop with Latin music styles such as cumbia and reggaeton. Also sharing the top spot will be Beck, Tom Ze and Seu Jorge.
Shifting to France, we’ll check out a song from Lo Jo, then hear a new song from Animanz, but then go back to the swinging 2000s to hear from the Japanese band Pizzicato Five. I say “swinging” because P5 really captured the 60s swing but deftly blended in those electronic/groove elements that were cropping up in that time frame.
Not to be missed will be songs from RAM 7, who are a band from Haiti and who celebrate when the slaves rose up against the French in August 1791 (the name of their album). Playing for Change and Bjork will also appear, though, sadly not together. And we’ll get some good feelings from David Byrne and The Atomic Bomb Band (and there is a connection between the two).
The World Music Show will be a great way to help you digest some great tunes. Tune in Saturday at 8pm on WCVE Music (93.1 & 107.3FM) or stream the show via this website. Get track listings when the show airs too. Follow me on Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE too.