One of the reissue projects that's been rattling around in the back of my head for the past few years was a compilation of the funky R&B joints recorded in the Bahamas by the king of Goombay Bump, Jay Mitchell , which I'd found at weekend yard sales and second-hand shops.
Well, it looks like the Numero Group beat me to it with their fabulous new Cult Cargo: Grand Bahama Goombay collection. It includes five of Mitchell's hard-shouting club rockers that demonstrate his Otis Redding inspiration, alongside island heat from his contemporaries Frank Penn , the Mustangs , Esquires LTD , Cyril Ferguson and the little-known Dry Bread , who contribute the sweet Words To My Song. The double-vinyl version comes with a bonus instrumental take on Sylvia Hall's Don't Touch That Thing, like you need another reason to pick up this stellar set. www.numerogroup.com.
Winehouse gets Stripped
Whenever I write about some obscure white-label single, I get a few e-mails from readers who can't understand why I'd bother mentioning such limited-run releases that aren't even listed on Amazon.
It's a fair question, but if no one wrote about exciting stuff like the Rumble Strips ' boss 7-inch cover of Amy Winehouse 's Back To Black, with their remix of her original version on the flip, how would anyone know to look for it during the short time it's available? You can't hear it on their MySpace page (www.myspace.com/rumblestripsuk). Same goes for the NYC-based Hypnotic Brass Ensemble's bold and beautiful new War b/w Mercury 10-inch, which just came out on their own HBE label, but at least you can check out the demo version of War on their MySpace page ( www.myspace.com/hypnoticbusiness) . Someone outta book these hombres.
Read more about Amy Winehouse in this weeks Cover Story.
For some reason, Michigan seems to have had more than its fair share of snotty teen punks forming garage bands in the mid-60s, and the fab double-disc set Scream Loud!!!: The Fenton Story (Way Back) documents the wild regional rippers cut at Dave Kalmbach 's Great Lakes Recording Studio in Sparta, Michigan, just north of Grand Rapids.
Drawing indie combos from nearby Cedar Springs, Flint and Traverse City, Fenton pumped out over 100 singles in a productive six-year run, and 61 of those snarling sides are included here by largely forgotten outfits such as the JuJus , the Mussies , the Fugitives , the Aardvarks , Me and Dem Guys , the Plagues , the Beaux Jens , the Black Watch , Tonto and the Renegades and the Soulbenders .
Compiler Mark Taylor and writer Frank Uhle should be commended for the diligent research and loving care they put into packaging the set while ensuring top-notch sound throughout. It puts Scream Loud!!! in the company of Bear Family's classy productions rather than the typically low-budget bootleg job you often get with garage punk reissues. Pricey, yes, but worth it. www.music-maniac.com.