Parallel hiphop universe
While major-label hiphop releases continue to be pushed back due to sample clearance issues or shelved because of regular upper management shakeups, the parallel mixtape industry has been doing massive under-the-counter, street-corner and Internet business. Have you heard Killer Mike 's long threatened Ghetto Extraordinary CD/DVD debut for Big Boi 's Sony BMG -distributed Purple Ribbon boutique label? Didn't think so, but his bangin' new DJ Sense -hosted mixtape The Killer boasts an even more menacing slowed flow and bangin' collabos with Three 6 Mafia and MOP . Why wait for the official album?
Although Duke Reid 's Treasure Isle operation had a lock on the lovers' rock market for most of the rock steady era, the ever-competitive Sir Coxsone Dodd refused to go down without a battle, serving up a number of quality chilled thrillers that Soul Jazz has kindly compiled on the delightful Studio One Lovers disc. The clear highlights are the pair of warning tracks Never Give Your Heart Away by Carlton and His Shoes and Got To Be Sure from Horace Andy , but the Sharks deliver a strangely stirring version of How Could I Live, and the Mad Lads ' sweetly harmonized take on the Impressions ' Ten To One is a marvel. And you won't want to miss Bob Marley 's spellbinding early crack at I'm Still Waiting, which sneaks up near the end.
Flowers for Astatke
What impressed me most about Jim Jarmusch 's Cannes-approved new flick, Broken Flowers, was the clever use of Mulatu Astatke 's slinky, sexy Ethiopian jazz grooves, which actually leave the film's star, Bill Murray, in a supporting role. If you want to hear more of Astatke's wonderfully entrancing music, skip the soundtrack and head straight for the Ethiopiques Vol. 4 (Buda Musique) compilation, which appears to have been Jarmusch's source. You'll hear the three memorable tunes from the film and many more of Astatke's vintage Amha label classics from 1969-74. So where are the CD reissues of his even better Worthy label recordings?
It's been five years since Tito Puente bashed his last timbale, but there's no shortage of recorded material to reissue, as the people who put out the Rough Guide compilations discovered when they checked out the Fania holdings. Fortunately, Puente cut so much amazing material between 1956 and 85 that even someone who isn't overly familiar with his work can pull together a random sampling of 21 tracks and hit on some smokin' jams. So it is with The Rough Guide To Tito Puente (World Music Network), which despite some confounding oversights still includes 72's super-funky Black Brothers and the storming 59 version of Ran Kan Kan. Dope.