Friday, August 12, 2005

Everybody gathers 'round and they eat it by the pound

MARIKA PAPAGIKA "I'll Smash the Glasses"
MISSISSIPPI FRED McDOWELL "Going Away, Won't Be Gone Long"
MICHAEL HURLEY WITH THE HOLY MODAL ROUNDERS "Slurf Song"

Ohh, that's right -- I have an MP3 blog don't I? And people expect me to update it sometimes? Well, OK. Really digging this Rounder comp. from five years ago called Women of Rembetica -- Greek women singing these amazing songs that were part of the "Greek underworld tradition." Apparently, these women were allowed far greater freedom within the world of the Greek mafia than outside of it; a "Rembetisse" was a free spirit. This song was recorded in New York in 1928. The first line is "I'll get drunk and smash the glasses for what you said to me." It's almost like a Greek Geechie Wiley tune or something! (Sample song titles from this collection: "Widow I'm Wild About You," "The Herb that Heals the Heart," "Good Time Girl," Don't Play the Heavy with Me," "The Dervish's Broad.")

There are not many musicians that I want to own everything by anymore -- that I need to own everything by, I should say. Fred McDowell is one of them, though. This song was recorded "one evening in March of 1968 at Chris Strachwitz's house with John Francis on drums." Got nothing but love for Chris Strachwitz and his Arhoolie label. This tune appears on the CD version of This Ain't No Rock N Roll, which you'd best not confuse with I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll.

"Slurf" reminds me of something Peter Orlovsky (probably the best writer from the first wave of Beats -- and if you don't agree with me let's meet at the schoolyard Monday in the parking lot at 3PM okay?) might write. It's fucking awesome. This era of the Rounders -- mid '70s -- is pretty amazing to me; 1976's Have Moicy! is a flawed but fascinating album, the kind of record you can never listen to just once. Yo La Tengo's lovely cover of the record's 'hit' "Griselda" on 1990's Fakebook might have hipped a few kids to this here record -- not sure how that stuff really works, though. I left the excellent new Jarmusch film thinking it must turn thousands of folks into instant Mulatu/ Ethiopiques fans. (Um, right!) One hopes if this does happen that at least they will not be as annoying as the Instant Folk Experts engendered by Oh Brother!-ism /the Anthology reissue...

2 Comments:

Blogger Disco:Very said...

Love the Mississippi Fred McDowell song, and thanks for the Greek track. You've given me a whole knew musical genre to seek out.

12:38 AM  
Anonymous Liz B. said...

Nice collection of tunes. I haven't heard any Rembetica in AGES.

I'd always understood Rembetica to be specifically drinking and drugging songs. A friend bought an official looking collection of tunes about 12 years ago that had drawings of pot plants under the script text.

It's good to see your spirits up. You're gettin' all cocky with the "you best not confuse" and the "meet me in the schoolyard" stuff.

Take care.

4:28 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home