K-Otix's Kanye coup
Inspired by Kanye West 's Bush-bashing missive, Houston's K-Otix hiphop crew immediately launched into action, reworking Kanye's current Gold Digger single into an incisive commentary on the U.S. government's appallingly inept response to the Katrina disaster. The brilliant George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People, credited to The Legendary K.O . aka Dem Knock-Out Boyz , has been rocking the Internet since last week when it began appearing on various websites like FWMJ (www.fwmj.com) and spread like a virus via e-mail. Record labels? Radio? Who needs 'em? You can bet even West's enjoying the unsanctioned remix with lines like "Five days in this motherfucking attic / I can't use the cellphone I keep getting static / Dying cuz they lying instead of telling us the truth / Screwed cuz they say they're coming back for us, too / But that was three days ago and I don't see no rescue." They should hire K-Otix to run FEMA.
A Shankar scorcher
In Ananda Shankar 's liner notes to his jaw-droppingly awesome second album, Ananda Shankar And His Music (originally issued by EMI India in 1975 and just reissued by Spain's FASS label) the late great says he aims to create a "nameless music which is pleasant to the ear, soothing to the soul and gladdening to the heart." But if nothing else, he succeeded in creating a funk bomb that destroys dance floors. Put on the charging, moog-squelching opener Streets Of Calcutta or the wickedly pounding closer Dancing Drums and you'll have a tough time believing this masterful ragadelic collision was concocted 30 years ago by Ravi Shankar's nephew. Makes Norah Jones look like the black sheep of the family.
Link's Big Pink
When Link Wray stopped seeing chart and jukebox action for his nasty guitar instros in the late 60s, he headed back to the family farm near Accokeek, Maryland, and began developing a countrified roots sound closer in spirit to the Band and Tony Joe White than anything he'd previously done, using a lo-fi system that brother Vernon had set-up in the backyard chicken coop. The two-disc Wray's Three Track Shack (Acadia) thoughtfully brings together these enjoyably raw sessions originally scattered over his self-titled debut, the Mordecai Jones album for Polydor from 71 and the unjustly overlooked Beans And Fatback album Virgin released back in 73. A twangy treat.
A long-time cult favourite prized by collectors of both obscure outsider artifacts and trippy stoner folk, Gary Higgins 's Red Hash album - just reissued by Drag City - is a wonderfully engaging marvel of DIY hippie chutzpah. Recorded in 73, in the days before Higgins was shipped off to prison for a two-year bid for pot possession, Red Hash crackles with a palpable sense of urgency. While there is an underlying melancholia throughout, this isn't as doom and gloomy as you might expect. There's a strangely uplifting quality to the songs that is an essential part of the disc's lasting appeal.