Even upstate New York wasn't safe from the punk rock outbreak of 76, where basement-dwelling delinquents Eliot "Spike" Kagan and pal Jack Lipton were hatching a home recording project that would eventually become the mighty Penetrators . In the group's short-lived reign as punk kings of the Syracuse scene, they managed to release a couple of classic 7s and a not-so-memorable live album, but the Penetrators' nasty best has been lovingly compiled on the pogo-inspiring Basement Anthology 1976-84 (Swami). Now that the Hot Snakes and Rocket from the Crypt are finito, Swami boss John Reis should have tons of time to dig up more fab punk rock artifacts.
The postcard-style sleeve art of palm trees at sunset might look totally appropriate for an album called The Caribbean Suite, but don't be fooled by the schmaltzy design or song titles like Mango Walk and Dance Of The Zombies - this ain't no cheesy exotica cash-in. On the contrary, soulful saxophonist Harold Vick 's 1966 debut for RCA - just reissued on disc by BMG Spain - is actually a cookin' Afro-Cuban jazz set, and the session lineup, which includes Blue Mitchell , Walter Booker , Mickey Roker and Montego Joe , is a good indication of just how deep it gets. Props to Jordi Pujol at Fresh Sounds for the overdue reissue.
Jet-setting music collector Emory Cook , who travelled the world with his trusty Nagra recorder documenting exciting music wherever he found it, fortuitously encountered classical guitar great Luiz Bonfá in Rio. For Solo In Rio 1959 (Simthsonian Folkways), Cook let the tape roll as the creative genius behind the Orfeu Negro soundtrack effortlessly picked through his repertoire, including the only solo guitar take on Samba De Orfeu, spontaneously adding compelling new figures and intriguing variations along the way. Even the brief afterthoughts are keepers. A beautifully candid snapshot of a true master artist at work.
Another of the many unsung heroes of Jamaican music is Trinidadian session guitarist Lyn Tait , who's credited with the concept of slowing down ska's hyperactive beat - leading to the advent of rock steady. The two-disc Hold Me Tight (Trojan/Sanctuary) anthology comes jammed with Tait's own easy-swinging grooves, recorded with the Jets and augmented by Roland Alphonso and Tommy McCook . The entire second disc is devoted to a sampling of single tracks to which Tait added tasty guitar parts, including Hopeton Lewis 's Cool Collie, Keith & Tex 's Leaving On That Train, the Gaylads ' Joy In The Morning, Joe Higgs 's You Hurt My Soul and Johnny Nash 's hit Hold Me Tight. Sweet.