Monday, November 19, 2012

Two for the Road: Womex 2012 Collection and Junior Brown

Map of Portuguese Goa

Tomorrow, after more than three years, I return to the land of my birth, India. Taking the family for a three week business cum holiday trip that will take in Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer, Pushkar, Agra, Varanasi (hopefully Allahabad) and Goa.

So there may or may not be much activity on these pages in that time. I certainly will be doing lots of music shopping but will probably not post much until I’m back and settled.  More likely, I will be posting on my other blogs (Harmonium Music and One Photo At a Time) so by all means continue to swing around and check out what’s fresh.

Tonight, however, I post two volumes.

The first, is another from the world of roots music festivals. Womex proclaims itself to be the most professional market for international music in the world and was held this year in Greece. Next year in Wales.  This is a selection of the music from the 2012 event that recently finished.  The organizers obviously are able to attract the cream of musical artists to their event and this CD is one of the most enjoyable samplers I’ve heard.  Full of fresh and scintillating and unusual sounds from the prairies of the Canada, the folds of Europe, corners of Asia and Africa.  Like the Australasian Womex of which I’ve been posting quite a bit lately, the European focus of this selection serves the purpose of showcasing the diversity of the region’s musical talent.

            Track Listing:
            01 Ruhverikko (Finland)
02 Njoka (Radio Edit) (Zimbabwe)
03 Pancho Says (Bulgaria)
04 Maria no me Llevo (Colombia)
05 Caboose (Canada)
06 Mazurek Lakowy (Poland)
07 Na Mera Khuda (India)
08 Cab'Verde na Coracon (Cape Verde)
09 Frangosyriani (Greece)
10 Kheljar Man (Macedonia)
11 Electric Pow Wow Drum (Canada)
12 Go Marko Go (Robert Soko Mix) [Serbia]
13 Oi za lisochkom (Ukraine)
14 Cucaracha (Argentina/France)
15 Quaze Caindo (Brazil)
16 Ehe Gia, panda gia (Turkey)
17 Nu Te Fermare (Italy)
18 Movement on Silence (Republic of Korea)
19 Kuchelere Su sepmishem (Azerbaijan)
20 A foldon (Serbia)

The second set, switches gears somewhat. Junior Brown has a voice as deep almost at Johnny Cashs. While he might lose out (just) to the Man in Black, Junior could whup Johnny’s ass with his guitar playing. Brown, hails from outback Indiana which is probably why he poured so much energy into learning the guitar. He found work as a guitarist in a number of American country and swing bands, including the venerable Asleep at the Wheel, before taking up an ‘instructor’s’ gig at the Hank Thompson School of Country Music in Oklahoma. While there he invented a weird contraption that combined the electric and lap-steel guitar which he christened the guit-steel.

His approach to country music is broad.  Western swing, rockabilly and blues all vy for attention on his records and it is indeed, hard to choose his best style. He’s just such a damn hot guitar player, all of his songs are sheer pleasure.  I like Long Walk Back the best for one reason and one strong reason only, the closing blues scorcher, Stupid Blues.  If you’ve ever had a friend who just drank way too much or simply played the fool all the time, this song is the one you want to give him for Christmas.  And it stands on its own as a GREAT blues song, with no country aroma for a mile on either side of the opening and closing bar.

Junior Brown’s music is fun, funny, awesome and infectious.
            Track Listing:
            01 Long Walk Back to San Antone
02 the better half
03 read 'em and weep
04 rock a hula baby
05 lookin' for love
06 peelin' taters
07 freedom machine
08 just a little love
09 keepin' up with you
10 i'm all fired up
11 Stupid Blues

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