Every week of this outdoor Mister Sunday season, the party begins with the airing of an entire album. This week our special guest, JD Twitch, a Glasgow resident who is one of our favorite DJs in the world, selects. He’s chosen Super Ape by The Upsetters. This is what he has to say about it.
At the first hint of summer, one of the records I most want to hear is Super Ape by The Upsetters, the 1976 Lee “Scratch” Perry album recorded at the height of his powers. This summer in Scotland summer pretty much went awol, but I’m optimistic I’ll get to experience a bit of a late summer in New York, so I chose this perennial favourite of mine. While the entire album is bathed in a murky dread, there is an inherent golden warmth to it. Familiar rhythms are revisited and reworked with chanting vocals, distant melodicas and mystical flutes rising up in the mix. It is a gentle ride that leaves me feeling as if I am wrapped in cotton wool. It also holds off on giving away all its joys too soon with side two in particular being just about a perfect side of music. I’ve never heard this played on a proper sound system so am very much looking forward to spending forty minutes basking in its sonic rays of light.
Every week of this outdoor Mister Sunday season, the party begins with the airing of an entire album. This week Justin Carter selects. He’s chosen Shahen-Shah by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. This is what he has to say about it.
Last Friday I went to the Shinnecock Nation’s Pow Wow in Southampton, NY. There were representatives of tribes from all over North America dancing in absolutely beautiful traditional clothes, and accompanying them were a couple of groups of singers and drummers. The music was an entrancing polyrhythmic, polyphonic combination of singers and drummers. I’ve been dreaming about it since and trying to find recordings.
I haven’t yet found anything, but I’ve pulled out this album by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the master of Qawwali, a devotional Sufi music that’s most often heard in Muslim areas of Pakistan and India. One day, when I go back to school to get my doctorate in musicology, I’ll figure out the cultural and migrational connections between the Native American music I heard Friday and Qawwali, but for now, all I can say is that both are evocative and trance inducing, and both are stunningly beautiful. I can’t wait to play Nusrat for you on Sunday…
Every week of this outdoor Mister Sunday season, the party begins with the airing of an entire album. This week Justin Carter, who’s playing solo, selects. He’s chosen The History of Jazz Vol. 3: Then Came Swing. This is what he has to say about it.
I’ve chosen this week’s album for couple reasons. One is that I love old jazz and blues, and this set from 1945 is full of great names like Coleman Hawkins, T-Bone Walker, Benny Carter and Nat Cole. But the other is because of the format and a question that it answers. Before I collected 78s, I always used to wonder, “Why do we call LPs albums?” Well, as I was digging through old collections, I started to find bound books full of records – they looked a lot like photo albums, actually, but inside, the pages would be sleeves holding 78s. Until the vinyl LP was widely introduced in 1948, the dominant technology was a shellac record cut at 78rpm. While the LP could hold twenty minutes of audio on a side, the 78 could only hold five minutes (most just held three-and-a-half), so if you wanted to hear a collection of songs, you’d have to buy a book of records – literally an album. The term stuck, and even though LP (short for long player) was the official term for the format that replaced the book of 78s, “album” stuck.
Beyond the trivial reasons for bringing out The History of Jazz, there’s a special bonus: I’ll have my player, so I can bring down some gems from the rest of my 78 collection, which I’ll try to squeeze in through the rest of the day. I’m looking forward to playing them for you on the big system!
Every week of this outdoor Mister Sunday season, the party begins with the airing of an entire album. This week, our special guest, Duane Harriott, is the selector. He’s chosen Pure Phase by Spiritualized. This is what he has to say about it.
2015 marks the twenty-year anniversary of this landmark album’s release. The second album from the band helmed by Jason Pierce (formerly of Spacemen 3) was an incredible Psychedelic rock album that combined the minimalistic modern classical feel of Steve Reich and Phillip Glass with the sonic bombast of Pink Floyd and My Bloody Valentine… but there was also an undercurrent of blues and gospel sensibilities that pervaded throughout. Like the album title suggests, this is a seamless album that washes over you like waves. It was a massive influence on young bands at the time such as Radiohead and Coldplay. It’s one of my favorite rock albums of all time and this OG double LP is gonna sound glorious on that soundsytem.
Every week of this outdoor Mister Sunday season, Eamon and Justin start things off by playing an entire album. This week it’s Justin’s turn. He’s chosen Reg King by Reg King. This is what he has to say about it.
I’m starting things off this Sunday with a relatively unknown but unequivocally brilliant English rock album from 1971. It’s the self-titled album from Reg King, the former lead singer of The Action, a mod group once tapped by George Martin (the Beatles’ producer extraordinaire) as the next big thing. After the mod movement fizzled, Martin moved on, but King, not losing hope, hunkered down for a few years and wrote and recorded this masterpiece. It’s largely overlooked, but it stands among the best English rock recorded in the early 70s, and that’s no small feat when you think about the titans recording then: Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Traffic, Yes, etc. I’m looking forward to hearing it on the big system Sunday!