For decades now, BBC DJ Charlie Gillett has been a one-man early warning system for global fusion breakouts. If your new favourite Romanian Roma group has just collaborated with a Brazilian kora player on an album of Khaled covers, chances are Gillett will play it first on his highly influential program The Sound Of The World. As a spin-off, Gillett's annual best-of CD comp presents the most popular tracks of the past year, and the just-released World 2004 (Wrasse) double disc set suggests it was a good one. Considering there are 34 artists here representing a stoopidly wide spectrum of music, Gillett proves he's got ears for a catchy tune and knows how to sequence 'em for a smooth flow. You might not yet be familiar with Argentina's Chango Spasiuk , Mali's Idrissa Soumaoro , Hungary's Amorf Ardogok and New Zealand's Fat Freddy's Drop but they could well be tomorrow's superstars. Don't bet against it.
The boisterously funky Better Get A Move On, by the little-known Louise McCord - who put out the obscure Tribute To Mahalia Jackson album on Stax 's Gospel Truth subsidiary - was a surprise standout track on Fantasy 's Music From the Wattstax Festival reissue last year, but thankfully for people like me who didn't want to shell out for the boxed set, BGP has snuck McCord's stormin' live work out on the B-side of the instrumental backing track used for Otis & Carla 's hipshaking take on Tramp. Wu-Tang Clan fans will recognize the break from Jump Off. Get those samplers fired up!
Sing along with Dubya
Sure, we've all had a chuckle at President George W. Bush 's speech malfunctions, but Steve McAllister realized there was a greater potential for comedy in the Chief Executive's slip-ups if they were set to music. On the George W. Bush Singers ' delightful Songs In The Key Of W (True Believer/Oglio), subtitled Celebrating The Eloquence Of Our President, McAllister and crew sample snippets of Bush's best gaffs and build songs around them, having his grammatically challenged phrases and made up words (embetterment? ingrinable?) resung by an enthusiastic choir. Like most comedy records, Songs In The Key Of W won't stand up to repeated listens, but it'll definitely leave you wondering how the man ever made it through grade 10. The perfect warm-up for the Bush Fire anti-Bush benefit concert tonight (Thursday, August 19) at Lula Lounge .
It may be hard to believe, but there's some indication that years before Wilco became the Jeff Tweedy Experience , the group's fearless leader once had a sense of humour. Evidence to support that theory has just turned up on the B-side of Wilco's I'm A Wheel (Nonesuch) single in the form of an unlikely Fall piss-take, Kicking Television, that has Tweedy hilariously yammering like a coked-up Mark E. Smith . Maybe they were in rehab together - you can't tell me Tweedy owns a Fall disc.