Exhibit A in the case against great songs requiring meaningful lyrics is the Great Googa Mooga! (Ace) disc, which collects 26 wildly entertaining examples of goofy genius R&B blabbery from the 50s and 60s. The next time the folks complain about not being able to understand what people are singing about any more, haul out this nutty document as a reminder of such high holy headscratchers as the Falcons' Du-Bi-A-Do, the Penguins' Ookey-Ook, JJ Jackson's Oo-Ma-Liddi and Dolly Cooper's Ay La Bah. In the immortal words of Larry Williams, captured here while wrestling with a cover of Little Richard's Heeby Jeebies, "These words don't make no sense." Exactly.
Sure, the concept of harp funk seems like an oxymoron, but do yourself a favour and pick up Verve's neatly packaged reissue of jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby's magnificent Afro-Harping (Cadet) disc. As soon as you hear Ashby plucking away over the Richard Evans-arranged drum rumbling, it'll all make perfect sense. Check the sick Moog twitter on the dance-floor-destroying opener and you'll swear Soul Vibrations was cut last week. Bring on The Rubaiyat Of Dorothy Ashby.
Yet another killer comp of questionable legality presenting a desirable selection of club-ready jazz, soul and Latin obscurities, the vinyl-only High Jazz (Niteroi) set raises the bar for cheeky jackin' jobs. The producers have not only skimmed some of the cream of pricey floor-fillers such as Vince Andrews's The One Who Needs You, Moses Dillard's Tribute To Wes and current Jason Palma spin Billy Boy, by Philly soul great Billy Paul, but they've also copped the cover layout, font style, colour scheme and label logo from an old Junior English Brit reggae album. How low can you go?
It's too early to tell whether Lost Highway's decision to drop Drive-By Truckers was a financial faux pas, but judging by the quality of tunes on their new Decoration Day disc, the Georgia twang terrors may have the last laugh. New West Recordings has just announced they've picked up Decoration Day for release June 17, and the Truckers are threatening their long overdue Toronto debut soon after. Right on!