Had Chip Taylor only ever written Wild Thing, which the Troggs transformed into a proto-?punk classic, his place in rock ’n’ roll history would be secure. But the prolific songsmith and poker pro whom Angelina Jolie calls “Uncle Chip” is also responsible for Angel Of The Morning, Son Of A Rotten Gambler and loads of other tunes made famous by other people.
Taylor made some sophisticated low-budget country-?rock recordings of his own for various labels that are now long gone, so Australia’s Raven label should be congratulated for attempting the first-?ever Chip Taylor career retrospective, Angels And Gamblers: Best Of 1971-?1979.
Unfortunately, Raven boss Glenn A. Baker left off Taylor’s fantastic singles tracks, but for a single-disc collection it’s a well-?balanced album sampler (including three tracks from two of his albums with Al Gorgoni and Trade Martin) that makes for an entertaining introduction to a guy who was alt-?country before such a thing existed. ravenrecords.com.au.
Kingston, Jamaica-born Johnny Osbourne, another Alpha Boys School grad, had been living and singing in Toronto in the 70s when he got the idea of returning home to cut an album with Coxsone Dodd, who had just upgraded his Studio One operation to 16 tracks.
By 1979, the roots reggae sound Osbourne favoured was already giving way to dancehall, but Dodd, thinking green, had some old-school Studio One rhythms he recycled for Osbourne to sing over. The transition from roots to dancehall can be heard on the resulting Truths And Rights album, which has since become a sought-?after classic. Props to Heartbeat/Rounder for going back to the master tapes for this deluxe edition reissue and for adding six bonus tracks (including a sweet double-?length version of the title track) never before on CD. heartbeatreggae.com.
Deep funk fans wondering whatever became of the Poets of Rhythm and the Malcouns will want to know that they’ve teamed up under the leadership of Funk Pilots main man Karl Hector to knock out their own twisted version of their favourite eccentric Ethio-?grooves, Afro beatdowns and crazed Colombian cumbia-?funk they’ve called Sahara Swing (Now Again). It sounds quaint, but this prime pounder hustles like a herd of rogue elephants on the one. To get a better idea of where Hector’s head’s at, check his mind-?expanding mix at soulstrut.com/mixes/listen.php?ID=131.
Dewbury does it
If celebrated UK dance-floor jazz DJ Russ Dewbury claims that the 21 years of his popular Brighton Jazz Rooms club night makes it the world’s longest-running consecutive club session, I ain’t gonna argue with the man.
What keeps the crowds coming back has little to do with fashion, trends or lovely Brighton. It’s all about Dewbury’s exceptionally good taste and stubborn refusal to simply play what every other overpaid selector has in his fancy steel travel case.
Unlike many of his contemporaries spinning jazz, Dewbury didn’t submit to the lure of house and throwback disco, but chose instead to seek out lesser-known contemporary indie recordings that wouldn’t sound out of place with the vintage rare groove joints that fill his sets, as can be heard on the delightful double-disc collection he’s assembled called A Night At The Jazz Rooms (Mr. Bongo). Party on! mrbongo.com.