It is a new year and so I needed a new home for mappinghappenings. Still mappinghappenings, but no longer found at http://www.sett.com/mappinghappenings. Changed username also. Now Popeswami (I’ll have to find the appropriate avatar). Actually this comes from an old Yahoo account where I used it. Interestingly, I must have set up this account in WordPress back then and did nothing with it, but I just do not recall. Nevertheless, here eye yam. If you want to see what this is all about go back to my beginning post(s) under Sett.com, or simply stay tuned right here. I will be learning about WordPress features as I go, so expect to see many visual changes as well as other treats in the coming months.
2014 brought many musical experiences my way, both locally and via CD and vinyl purchases. Some local artists that were pleasant surprises and outstanding performers include:
Robin Henkel and Whitney Shay as well as Robin Henkel Horn Band – country blues, rhythm & blues, jazz
Tomcat Courtney – Country blues, electric blues
Charles Burton Blues Band – electric blues, blues rock
Taryn Donath Trio – blues, jazz, “beatnik blues”
Three Chord Justice – country, country swing
Clay Colton Band – country rock
Western Collective – old time, folk, country-folk, eclectic jazzy folk
Jamie Shadowlight – violinist, member of Western Collective, but have seen perform also with Choro Sotaque, JazzMikan Trio, and Robin Henkel Horn Band – a mix of genres
Normandie Wilson – lounge, 60s pop, standards, singer-songwriter, member of Blue Velvet and Casino Royale
Blue Velvet – lounge-pop, cabaret
Casino Royale – 60s pop and rock
Some CD/vinyl acquisitions that came my way include the following highlights:
Valley of Ashes – Cavehill Hunters’ Attrition. This is a triple LP from 2006, from a Louisville, Kentucky based folk-experimental collective similar to the Jewelled Antler collective. There are six songs on this six-sided album, each about 20 minutes long, making it a 2-hour album of varied jams mellow acoustic to heavy guitar drones and free jazz sounds. There are even some bluegrass stylings on the last piece. Quite an amazing trip.
Crystalline – Axe Music. A remastering from the original tapes, and not doctored with additional sounds as was the prior bootleg. Both CD & LP sold together, issued on the Spanish Guerssen label. This was an official release, not a boot. Group was called Axe, Axe Music, and Crystalline. They were Crystalline when recording this album, back in 1970. Some of the best British heavy psych with beautiful female vocals and a touch of folk.
Anonymous – Inside the Shadow. Master tapes long lost, a private press from 1976 on A Major Label. The originals were off-center, giving a slowed-down-speeded-up sound. An acetate was found and cleaned up for this release on both CD and LP on the Machu Picchu label. Later in 2014, Machu Picchu released their (unreleased) second album – by this time going under the name J Rider and the album title, obvioulsy, “No Longer Anonymous“. The music from both albums sounds like this Indiana group had time traveled back to late 60s San Francisco. 12-string Byrds-like guitar, complex arrangements similar to Tripsichord Music Box, male-female vocals reminding me of Balin & Slick in Jefferson Airplane, and interesting lyrics. IMHO, Anonymous has a slight edge over J Rider.
Saturn – s/t. This is an EP reissued on 10 inch vinyl by Subliminal Sounds in a limited quantity of 500. Originally a private press “rhinestone dance rock” album demo from Colorado in 1978. Terrific female vocalist. Outer space and mystical themes. All original material, this demo album shows what this band was capable of – quite impressive.
Haley Loren – Heart First. Haley is headquartered in Oregon but has travelled and sang internationally. This singer just flips me out, with a rich and expressive voice, with incredible phrasing. Primarily a jazz singer, she writes her own music (such as the title track of this 2012 album) as well as singing some great jazz, pop, and even rock standards, always with a jazzy twist. Highlights of this album for me are the title track and “Sway (Quien Sera)”.
Eva Cassidy – Live at Blues Alley. How did I ever overlook this singer! Eva lost her battle to melanoma in 1996 but left a small collection of songs that prove she was one of the greats working in jazz, blues, folk, gospel, and pop. Some wonderful selections are on this album, recorded only months before her demise. Not only was she an accomplished vocalist but also a strong guitarist. This album shows her versatility of styles in a live setting.
I could go on, but I’ll stop here. Perhaps some of these I will feature in future postings.