While French out pianist Jef Gilson was touring through Madagascar in 1968, the student riots broke out back home in Paris, so he decided to chill in Tanarive with some local musicians. Duly impressed, he returned with a Revox tape machine and some microphones to record a Malagasy jazz collabo he termed "living folklore," beating the rest of the planet to the world music craze in the process. On the Isma'a label's 'Zao disc - credited to Jef Gilson et Malagasy - the pickup ensemble hammer out rumbling rhythms on balafon and various folkloric Malagasy percussion while Gilson's saxophonists trade licks with valiha virtuosos on an entrancing set of deep jazz joints topped by a majestic swing through The Creator Has A Master Plan. Double dope.
Well timed to piggyback on the release of Margaret Brown's Townes Van Zandt documentary, Be Here To Love Me, Varese Vintage has just released a second collection of live recordings, Rear View Mirror, Vol. Two, which covers the influential troubadour's peak performing years between 1975 and 79. The solo or small combo performances at various coffeehouse venues are surprisingly well recorded and feature early versions of songs like Snowing On Raton and Come Tomorrow and interesting cover choices like Bo Diddley 's stompin' Who Do You Love? and Harry Choates 's Cajun classic, Jole Blon - all chosen by Van Zandt himself before cashing in his chips.
Now that Oktoberfest celebrations are over, the Tramp label, based in Upper Bavaria, has gone back to the business of releasing funky-ass 7s, namely a reissue of the Blenders ' riotous house rocker Nothin' But A Party. But every bit as swank is the dance-floor-disrupting double sider of Gnaoua and Afrika Sun from some wiseacre nu-funk fans of Greek mythology calling themselves Castor Pollux & the Soul Department. Argonautically ace!
Eggs and Strings
Alshire budget label sharpies David Miller and Alan Sherman were always quick to jump on hot new trends with an appropriate 101 Strings cash-in release. Naturally, when exotica gave way to groovy psychedelica, they were right there with their mysterious 101 Strings sessioneers banging out rough beats with fuzzed-out guitars for Astro-Sounds From Beyond The Year 2000 . The UK Licorice Soul label has just re-pressed the period curio with the spectacularly nutty "dancing spaceniks" sleeve art and two bonus alternate takes credited to the Animated Egg . Titles like Astral Freakout and Re-Entry To Mog suggest the trippy kicks in store. Get it.