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What We're Listening to This Week

by COUNTERPUNCH STAFF

Jeffrey St. Clair

Steve Coleman and Five Elements: Functional Arrythmias (Pi Recordings, 2013)

Free funk at its most cerebral, which doesn’t mean that these abstracted grooves won’t make you want to swing your ass off. Chicago alto phenom Steve Coleman, once hailed as the next Charlie Parker, proves himself on this pulsating recording to be something of a hybrid of Ornette Coleman and that other Parker, a fellow named Maceo.

Zara McFarlane: If You Knew Her (Brownswood / Kartell, 2014)

In a musically deflated era when Diana Krall is considered a notable jazz singer, it’s arresting to come across the real thing. Zara McFarland, a British virtuoso of Jamaican descent, has a voice as nuanced as Dinah Washington and as soulful as Mary Wells. This incandescent record throbs with the after hours rhythms of the Caribbean night. Her cover of Junior Murvin’s “Police and Thieves” is a masterpiece of musical concision.  

Lone Justice: This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes, 1983, (Omnivore , 2014)

For a brief moment in the early 1980s, the feisty cowpunk of Lone Justice seemed poised to inaugurate a fresh (and much desired) new current in American music. A year later the LA-based group was kaput, fatally riven by internal tensions. But these demo tapes and early live recordings capture the raw, brash and cocky sound of a band, fronted by the riveting Maria McKee, who thought they just might conquer the world.

Jeffrey St. Clair once played two-chord guitar in a garage band in Naptown called The Empty Suits.

 

Joshua Frank

Linton Kwesi Johnson, In Concert with the Dub Band, 1985 (LKJ Records, 1985)

Poetry, radical politics and dub rhythm. What else do you want, man?

Beachwood Sparks, Desert Skies (Alive Naturalsound Records, 2013)

Psychedelic ear candy recorded in the 1990s (released last year) by the West Coast’s greatest cosmic country band.

Point Blank, Second Season, (Arista Records, 2006)

You may write off the Lone Star State, but don’t write off Texas’ own guitar slinging Point Blank. Straight up bar room blues rock, just as boozy and sublime as a hot summer night in Waco.

Joshua Frank is managing editor of CounterPunch.

 

Kristen Kolb

Ethiopiques Volume 13: Ethiopian Groove (Buda Musique, 2003)

Bardo Pond – Lapsed (Matador, 1997)

Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy (Asylum, 1990)

Kristen Kolb writes the Daydream Nation column for CounterPunch magazine.

 

Lee Ballinger

Louie Vega and Elements of Life: Eclipse (Fania, 2013)

Dierks Bentley: Home (Capitol, 2012)

Eric B and Rakim:  Follow the Leader (Geffen, 2005)

Lee Ballinger co-edits Rock and Rap Confidential.

 

Sally Timms

La Caita…a somewhat reclusive flamenco singer featured in Tony Gatlif’s film on Roma culture, “Latcho Drom (Safe Journey)”.  Here’s a clip of her in the movie,  beyond that there’s little out there which is a great shame.

Koudede: Guitars from Agadez Vol 7 on the wonderful Sublime Frequencies Label in Seattle.   Highly influential Tuareg singer and guitarist who sadly died in a road accident last year.   Parallels the fuzzed-out hill country blues of RL Burnside etc. Available here

Botanist.  Beautifully packaged, high concept, hammered dulcimer Black Metal sung from the perspective of plants who wreak their revenge on humanity.   Available at totalrust.com

Sally Timms is a singer, songwriter and member of The Mekons. Her most recent solo record is ‘World of Him.‘ She lives in Chicago.

 

David Yearsley

John Stetch: Off with the Cuffs (Addo records, 2014) 

This recording marks the extraordinary jazz pianist’s always imaginative and often irreverent encounters with beloved keyboard works of Mozart, Bach, Chopin, and Shostakovich, along with polyrhythmic rag thrown in as a coda.  

David Yearsley once played the world’s oldest piano and didn’t damage it … much.

 

Kevin Alexander Gray

Les McCann & Eddie Harris: Swiss Movement  (Atlantic, 1969)

The Patti Smith Group:  Radio Ethiopia  (Arista, 1976)

Curtis Mayfield: Curtis/Live! (Curtom, 1971)

The Cannonball Adderley Quintet: Live at ‘The Club'” (Capitol, 1966)

Kevin Gray’s latest book, Killing Trayvon, (co-edited with JoAnn Wypijewski and Jeffrey St. Clair) will be published by CounterPunch this spring.

 

Becky Grant

A little of this, a little of that…

Suzanne Vega, Jenny Scheinman, Tracy Chapman.

Becky Grant is CounterPunch’s business manager.

 

Ron Jacobs

Bob Dylan: John Wesley Harding (Columbia, 1967)

Jorma Kaukonen and Tom Hobson: Quah (Sbme, 1974)

Muddy Waters: Electric Mud (Chess, 1968)

Ron Jacobs’ book on the Seventies, Daydream Sunset, will published by CounterPunch this summer.

Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
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Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
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Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
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May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
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Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
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Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
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Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
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Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
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Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
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The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
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Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
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Opening the Closed Political Culture
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Waves of Nostalgia
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The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
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