The other side of Memphis
Thanks to powerhouse R&B indie labels like Stax, Hi and Goldwax, Memphis was known as Soulsville, USA throughout most of the 60s and 70s. Yet all the while, the city still supported a lively local garage rock scene, as Ron Hall documented in his authoritative study Playing For A Piece Of The Door: A History Of Garage And Frat Bands In Memphis 1960-1975 and companion CD. The recently issued second volume expands on the conventional garage focus of the first disc to showcase some long-forgotten blue-eyed soul, hip-shakin' pop and psych-damaged curiosities. The classic fuzz-punker Don't Send Me No Flowers (I Ain't Dead Yet), by the Breakers , and the feedback-enhanced rave-up Blue Green, by the Los Angeles Smog Division , make it worth checking.
Of course, there weren't just mariachi music and Santana tribute bands playing in Mexico City clubs during the early 70s. Rudee Charles and his huapache hombres in Cosa Nostra were kicking out their own freaky-fried style of salsafunk with a Montezuman vengeance. Original copies of their first two albums, 71's Cosa Nostra and 72's Adopta Un Arbol (Adopt A Tree) now go for serious dough, but thankfully the folks at Vampi Sou l (www.vampisoul.com) have compiled tracks from both on the single boomin' 17-track Squeeze It Tight disc, which will definitely rock your next Cinco de Mayo hot tub party.
Conventional wisdom is that Little Richard 's recorded output was never quite the same after he renounced rock 'n' roll while on tour in Australia in October of 57. The quality of his Specialty recordings is beyond reproach, but there were always flashes of stirring studio inspiration through the 60s, namely his Larry Williams -produced sessions that resulted in The Explosive Little Richard in 66. Sony's Get Down With It: The Okeh Sessions reissues the tracks from that snazzy comeback LP along with stellar singles sides like A Little Bit Of Something (Beats A Whole Lot of Nothing) along with swingin' numbers like the unreleased Northern floater Golden Arrow and the screaming title track cut at Abbey Road during the same period. Boisterously boss.
Unless you happened to be in Bled to catch the second Yugoslavian Jazz Festival back in 61, where Tatum-school pianist Borislav Rokovic stole the show with his German rhythm section of Joe Sydow and Hans Hoitz , the initial release of the third volume of RTB's Sastanak U Studiju series may have slipped by unnoticed. But thanks to Cosmic Sounds (www.cosmicsounds-london. com), that corker of a session - featuring a storming sashay through Charlie Parker 's Donna Lee - along with the other two in the series have been neatly reissued as three 10-inch vinyl EPs complete with the swank period sleeve artwork and informative notes. Simply marvy.