It may be two years late in coming, but the UK Soul Jazz label's brilliant Tropicalia: A Brazilian Revolution In Sound is the best-ever single-disc overview of Brazil's short-lived but highly influential Tropicalia movement of the late 60s. The selection is clearly weighted toward the nutty marvellous psych-pop indulgences of Os Mutantes (there are enough of their tracks here to pass for a greatest misses package), yet there are still loads of magically contemporary-sounding artifacts from Caetano Veloso , Gilberto Gil , Gal Costa , Tom Zé and Jorge Ben . The liner notes help explain why the freaky fab Os Mutantes may have been one coup d'état away from being the Beatles.
What the late John Peel once did to bring wider attention to geeky guys with guitars on the BBC, fellow Beeb star Charlie Gillett continues doing for musicians from West Africa, South America and Eastern Europe. The wow-inducing double-disc Sound Of The World (Wrasse) compilation gathers 33 of the most requested and gushed-over tracks Gillett featured on his show and serves as a great introduction to a number of undiscovered artists from 28 countries. To help sell some copies, there are a few numbers by marquee acts like Youssou N'Dour , Mariza , Ali Farka Touré and Seu Jorge , but the real reason to grab this is the stellar work of promising upstarts like Senegal's soulful Daby Balde , French chanteuse Camille , Portugal's twangy Dead Combo and Antwerp's finest Morrocan-style reggae group, Think of One . Delightful.
While there's some argument amongst Swedish vinyl junkies about who actually put out the country's first true DIY punk rock album, most can agree that the 1979 Manipulerade Mongon album by the PF Commandos from the northern town of Gävle was the raunchiest. As rock critic Mats Olsson reckoned at the time of its release, the primitive pounding of the PF Commandos "had more energy than all four sides of the Status Quo double live album combined!" Listening to the You Know, For Kids! label's lovingly remastered version of the album, packed with snarly two-minute blasts like Johnny Bugger and Get Fucked, there's no argument here. These Gävle grubs kick much ass. www.imperialrecordings.se.
The idea of pairing Man From U.N.C.L.E. co-star David McCallum and Ricardo Montalban (pre-Fantasy Island) to play street-savvy Interpol agents trying to smash an international drug ring, with Rip Torn as a ruthless Mafia underboss, doesn't seem like a recipe for a box office hit, and Sol Madrid wasn't. However, Lalo Schifrin 's Sol Madrid (MGM) soundtrack from 68- which mysteriously just resurfaced on vinyl - is a Latin funk bomb loaded with jazzy jams to accompany the car chases through the streets of Acapulco, the crazy nightclub sequences and the scenes of junkies getting high. Particularly worthy is The Burning Candle, a delightfully demented foray into free jazz unlike anything else in Schifrin's recorded canon. You need to hear it.