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CounterPunch Playlist

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

 

 

Hilton Ruiz: Enchantment (Arabesque)

New York-born pianist Hilton Ruiz was a child prodigy, performing at Carnegie Hall in 1960 at the age of 8. Over the next decade, Ruiz apprenticed with Joe Newman and Freddie Hubbard, before forming a fruitful association with the iconic Rashaan Roland Kirk. After Kirk’s death, Ruiz went on to lead his own bands, becoming one of the most gifted and innovative players of Latin and Cuban jazz. Earlier this week, Ruiz was mugged and severely beaten in the head as he left a bar on Bourbon Street. He now lies in a coma in a New Orleans hospital. The NO police, perhaps the worst crop in a nation of corrupt cops, have not launched an investigation into the near-fatal beating and initially reported that he had simply “fallen” on the sidewalk and smashed his skull. Like most musicians, Ruiz has only limited health insurance and his wife Aida is pleading for financial help in this time of crisis. Please wire transfer money to the below bank account. She wants people to call her when they have sent something so she will know that it’s there.

Aida Ruiz
Chase Bank
ACCT #: 711211359
ROUTING # 065400137

Her Phone # 201-925-6416 (Please leave message if she doesn’t answer)

Desmond Dekker: Rockin’ Steady (Rhino)

The King of Ska and Rock Steady music, Desmond Dekker died this week at the age of 65. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Dekker’s sweet voice and jubilant music laid the foundations for reggae and served as a running soundtrack for the Rude Boy culture. Dekker’s “Israelites” still stands as one of the greatest singles of the 1960s. His cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “You Can Get It If You Really Want It” is more biting than Cliff’s own version and landed on the soundtrack to The Harder They Come. Dekker became close friends with Paul McCartney, who immortalized him in “Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da.” In the late 1970s, Dekker’s rough brand of ska was rediscovered by The Clash and other Brit punk bands who merged ska dubs with punk angst in the so-called Two Tone movement. Unfortunately the punk movement didn’t lead to a resurrection of Dekker’s career. He was forced into bankruptcy in 1984 and lived a hard existence for the remainder of his life. Stands with Toots, Marley, Cliff and Tosh as one of the giants of the Jamaican sound.

Roxy Music: Country Life (Virgin)

Lives up to its album cover. And then some.

Anne McCou: Roll (Messenger)

Anne McCou writes sharply observed and caustic folk-rock songs, a kind of Canadian Lucinda Williams. McCou’s song “Stupid” is as challenging as anything Williams, a self-proclaimed poet, has ever written. But that’s where the comparison ends, because unlike Williams McCou has a supple voice and she has enough chops as a guitar-slinger to not only cover Hendrix’s “Machine Gun” but attack it.

Dave Alvin: Way of the West (Yep Rock)

Roots guitarist Dave Alvin covers some of his favorite California songwriters, from Jackson Browne and Brian Wilson to John Fogerty and Jerry Garcia, improving on most of them. The highlight of the set is his haunting, almost ethereal, cover of Merle Haggard’s “Kern River”

Gato Barbieri: Last Tango in Paris (Varese Sarabande)

Word comes that Bernardo Bertolucci is directing a film of Bel Canto, the curious romance novel about music and revolution in an unnamed South American country that sounds a lot like Alberto Fujimori’s Peru. One hopes that Bertolucci once again calls upon the Argentinean sax-player Gato Barbieri to score the film (and offers even a tiny role to Maria Schneider). Long before the recent craze for Latin music, Barbieri was crafting sultry, after hours jazz that sounds both erotic and slightly dangerous. Pass the butter …

 

Dead Kennedys: Frankenchrist (Manifesto)

And you thought the Da Vinci Code got under the skin of the fundies…Will “Stars and Stripes of Corruption” ever seem archaic? Here’s to you congressmen Cunningham, DeLay, Ney and Jefferson …

JEFFREY ST. CLAIR’s music writings (as well as CPers Ron Jacobs, David Vest and Daniel Wolff) can be found in Serpents in the Garden. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

 

 

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

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