Before there was Bob Marley, and even before Toots and the Maytals, there was calypso music and there was Lord Executor. Listen past the rag-timey piano staccato in his “Three Friends Advice” and you will hear the calypso-infused predecessor of Jamaican reggae music. Forbidden to speak with one another, calypso music was a way for African slaves in the Caribbean to communicate with one another while they mocked their slave masters. Lord Executor (Philip Garcia) was one of the pioneers in Trinidad who spread English calypso songs around the Caribbean. Although he spent most of his time in Trinidad, he recorded many of his songs in New York in the late 1930s.
Lord Executor – “Three Friends Advice“ (play/download)
Lydia Mendoza – “Los Besos De Mi Negra“ (play download mp3)
The natural cadence of Lydia Mendoza’s voice complimented the sound of a twelve-string guitar. A musical bond was formed and used to transmit the vast oral traditions of popular Mexican songs. With natural beauty and integrity she traveled as a solo artist carrying her cultures rich history through a rapidly changing area of the United States. It is the music that emerged from the experiences of native peoples within the colonial context of the nineteenth century. This MP3 is a rarity that I’m honored to share.
Lee “Scratch” Perry – “Santa Claus”
It seems Lee “Scratch” Perry‘s musical evolution will never stop. Jamaican music innovator number one, Perry has from the early 60′s to the present been a core author of the operating systems for ska, reggae, and dub, spawning myriad sub-genres and altering the perceptions and priorities of generations of fans and musicians world wide. Quite a resume. Now on, like, his ten thousandth LP or something, “madman scratchy” has a new release on the lovely Narnack Records label. This track, a wild riff on Perry’s already wild “Having A Party” which I posted earlier, is closer to a dubby downtempo or house vibe than the Reggae based work he’s most famous for. But the unique voice and mind bending take on life are instantly recognizable as no one else’s. Here’s holiday music of a kind I promise you, you have never heard before. Santa Claus is coming, so catch Scratchy on his short US tour they just announced, and be good!
Lee “Scratch” Perry
This mp3 by The Kingpins has been burning up the bandwidth for ska fans young and old around the world. With a base coat of late 70′s two-tone, and a Pollockian splatter of new wave angst, this picture is completed by the bold and colorful strokes of a female French Canadian vocalist named Lo. The Kingpins don’t tour under that name anymore, but they left their mark with an incendiary live show and some excellent recordings, which helped kick off what would become known as 3rd wave ska. You can catch them in their new incarnation as Lo And The Magnetics, and follow the “Need more!” link below to find this album and other juicy merch and tunes from this fun and influential act.
Hot damn Andy is one sexy mofo. Grab your drink with the little umbrella inside, have a seat on a white-sand beach, and watch as beautiful hula girls with naughty hula eyes give you a parade of dark and steamy eye candy. Mr. Iona, your the man!
Andy Iona and his Islanders – “Naughty Hula Eyes” mp3
A masterpiece of sweet Hawaiian pop. Wow, this music really takes you there.
Andy Iona and his Islanders – “Pretty Red Hibiscus” mp3
Mmm, I just float away on this mp3, like an umbrella drink sailing a soft breeze to a postcard island in the sun. Bye now.
Hawaiian Quintette – “Aiaihea” mp3
Mariachi Acosta sings their ode to the darling Chinese and Blacks in their community. That is all I have been able to translate so; however, if you don’t speak Spanish, I suggest one of those learn Spanish while you sleep tapes so you can interpret the rest of the lyrics. Music is still a universal language. Enjoy!
Mariachi Acosta – “Ojitos Chinos Y Negros” mp3
I traveled south of the border again to find another beautiful Mp3 from El Ciego Melquiades. His fingers bring out the language of love for our ears like no other. The title in English, “For me and my girlfriend.” But forget about words for a moment…El Ciego plays the universal language of love and music for all…
El Ciego Melquiades (The Blind Fiddler) – “Para Me Y Mi Novia” mp3
An Mp3 diamond in the rough. A rare find for us, here. Talk about having the blues! Big Chief Henry soars into the skies of historic empathy, under the eyes and ears of the Great Spirit. His vocal delivery is visionary and is sure to ruffle your feathers in retrospect. Accompanied by his two sons, Clarence on guitar and Harold on banjo, Big Chief Henry really stakes out his claim with “Indian Tom Tom“.
Big Chief Henry’s Indian String Band – “Indian Tom Tom” mp3