Merda he wrote
When you call your group Black Murder - even if it's spelled "Merda" on record labels - you're looking for trouble. That switched-on Detroit blues-funk combo, who once worked as Edwin Starr's touring band, definitely found it. Their two demented albums of guitar-heavy nastiness proved a bit too darkly twisted for Motown and Chess fans when they were originally released in the early 70s, and went straight to the cut-out bins. Thankfully, Tuff City has rescued Black Merda's forgotten LPs from obscurity and released them both on one badass disc, The Folks From Mother's Mixer (Funky Delicacies), proving that George Clinton's Funkadelic weren't the only psychedelically enhanced R&B unit blowing Motor City minds in the late 60s. A recent reunion gig in Detroit suggests that we have not heard the last of Black Merda.
Hart of country
By the time Freddie Hart scored his first number-one country hit with Easy Lovin' in 1971, the veteran Alabama-born honky-tonker had already been dropped by his label and was widely considered by Nashville insiders to be a washed-up loser who couldn't hit with his own compositions. Of course, Hart proved the Music City experts wrong, but his early hillbilly boogie and hardcore country material cut for Capitol and Columbia between 1953 and 61 has still been unjustly overlooked. Bear Family has collected the best of the bunch - featuring some of the hottest session stars of the era - for the Juke Joint Boogie comp, which should inspire a rethink of Hart's hard-luck years.
Hurray for Koray!
In Turkey, guitar god Erkin Koray is said to be revered as Jimi Hendrix , Link Wray and John Fahey all rolled into one mighty axe swinger. He's certainly got chops to burn, as can be heard on the recently reissued Erkin Koray 2 (World Psychedelia), originally released as a singles package in 76. While it's not as flat-out freaky as 74's Elektronik Turkuler, the elaborately orchestrated East-West fusions should appeal to psych-loving prog fans and more adventurous guitar geeks searching for some cool Anatolian licks to cop. Koray fans should note that the reissue comes with five great bonus tracks, including an acoustic version of Yalnizar Rihtimi from Elektronik Turkuler. Nice.
The best thing about SXSW is stumbling onto great indie bands you'd never otherwise encounter - like Auckland, New Zealand's girl-powered pummel-rock threesome the Coolies, who are typically too busy with high school assignments to go out on tour. I may have blown my cab fare on their rough, rockin' four-song Throwaway EP before seeing them tear it up onstage, but it was well worth the hike. Better take down those Bikini Kill posters and move those Sleater-Kinney votive candles - you'll need some space for that new Coolies shrine.