First released in 1978, when mass-produced disco, corporate punk and over-egged arena rock ruled the airwaves, the smart-ass power pop of Nick Lowe’s Jesus Of Cool album was doomed to become a cult curio for later generations to better appreciate. It took 30 years but that time has apparently come, since Yep Roc’s expanded reissue of Lowe’s blasphemously titled debut – adding 10 tracks to the original UK version – is being greeted like the second coming by hipsters and pub-rock holdouts. And no wonder. Lowe’s lo-fi productions from the period are direct precursors of the contemporary indie rock sound, only his hooky tunes are more memorable, the lyrical turns consistently cleverer and this stuff actually rocks. Amen. www.yeproc.com
Bo knows funk
Those looking for the origins of the funky raw Daptone sound behind Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black breakthrough should check out In The Pocket With Eddie Bo (Vampi Soul), a stellar overview of the classic New Orleans funk, soul and R&B jams recorded by Edwin Bocage. Unlike previous collections that focused on Eddie Bo’s early 60s work, this 28-track comp includes some of his brilliantly rough-cut Bo-Sound productions like Chuck Garbo’s dance-floor destroyer Can I Be Your Main Squeeze, David Robinson’s I’m A Carpenter, Doug Anderson’s Mama, Here Comes The Preacher, James K-Nine’s Live It Up, Curley Moore’s Funky Yeah and others that provided the blueprint for the trademark Daptone bump.
While you’re at it, grab a copy of Vampi Soul’s reissue of the hard-to-catch Soul Fever album by Marie Queenie Lyons, which will appeal to fans of Sharon Jones’s hard soul shouting. www.vampisoul.com
How Swede it is
Considering the growing popularity of prog-bent Swedish groups like Dungen, Life on Earth, Paatos, Meshuggah, Tiamat, Landberk and many others, it seems like the world is finally ready for a multi-disc introduction to the Swedish music that inspired the current prog assault.
The four-disc Essence Of Swedish Progressive Music 1967-1979 (Premium) package – a companion to Ulf Henningsson’s excellent Encyclopedia Of Swedish Progressive Music – does the job nicely with 71 well-chosen tracks by 71 acts, along with a 48-page full-colour booklet that neatly documents the rise of the long-haired Svenska underground.
Those concerned about getting 60 King Crimson and Gentle Giant sound-alikes singing in a foreign tongue will be pleasantly surprised to hear how much these groups were inspired by the new-thing jazz, funk and psych coming out of the U.S. If you don’t know Trad Gras Och Stenar, Solar Plexus, Flasket Brinner and International Harvester, here’s your chance to find out what sort of fuzzy freakiness you’ve been missing all these years. www.premiumpublishing.com