Bikutsi bangers, warped jazz and psychedelic bayou amongst other things…
We’re absolutely hurtling into this new week with Little Simz and - finally! - a physical pressing of her thrilling 2022 album, NO THANK YOU. Normally we focus on the new-not-new from yesteryear rather than last summer, but irrespective of how old it is, this one is absolutely essential and has been selling direct off the stereo like nothing else of late. Produced deeply in collaboration with Sault’s Inflo, it sounds beautifully rich and soulful whilst providing so much space for ‘Simz to take centre stage. Poignant, funny, arresting and really captivating. She’s amazing.
+ Available on a very limited split Red & Yellow colour vinyl pressing.
Next this week we are in Cameroon circa 1989 for the absolutely glorious self-titled Roger Bekono LP on Awesome Tapes from Africa. Full of heat and sun, this is pure dance-pop gold from one of the Bikutsi scene’s leading lights. The lead single Jolie Poupée was a huge breakout across Cameroonian radio, but the power and pace of this release is so euphoric throughout. Fast, percussive and joyous, this really is a gem.
Leroy Walks! Was the first album as a band leader from double bassist Leroy Vinnegar as The Leroy Vinnegar Sextet. Late 50s LA cool with really lush changes of pace. Vinnegar drives it forward with such a rich and characterful tone and Victor Feldman’s vibraphone (amongst other fine turns form the sextet) is pretty dreamy stuff.
This reissued edition is pressed on 180-gram vinyl pressed at QRP with (AAA) lacquers cut from the original tapes by Bernie Grundman and is presented in a tip-on jacket.
The Blue Note Classic Vinyl Series gets around this week to Madlib's 2003 deep-dive into the esteemed Blue Note vaults. Jazz (and especially the BN label) cuts have become so deeply embedded into hip-hop sample culture, but Shades of Blue really was and remains an astonishing work; featuring remixes and reimaginings of classics by Donald Byrd, Bobbi Humphrey, Ronnie Foster, Bobby Hutcherson, Wayne Shorter and more.
Pressed across two LPs, the reissue has been mastered by Kevin Gray and pressed on 180g vinyl at Optimal.
Back in press via the esteemed Jackpot Records this week is the voodoo-soaked debut LP from The Night Tripper, Dr. John. The iconic Gris Gris is presented here in its original mono mix and on a limited Green colour vinyl pressing. A hypnotic and heady mix of New Orleans myth and psychedelic bayou; for those unacquainted, it really is a hot treat.
French Electro label Ed Banger Records have pressed a ‘Support Your Local Record Label’ compilation this week with twenty years of cuts from their vaults to include; Justice, Cassius, DJ Mehdi and more.
Domino reissue two bangers from The Kills discography this week with anniversary pressings of Keep On Your Mean Side (Transparent Red colour vinyl) and Midnight Boom (on Transparent Blue colour vinyl).
The Charlatans’ fifth studio album Tellin’ Stories gets a new double LP edition this week. The first disc is the original album, re-mastered and cut from the analogue studio tapes, while the second disc is a collection of the single B sides plus an unreleased, early version of 'Don't Need a Gun', originally entitled 'Rainbow Chasing'.
And lastly for today, Rough Trade Records have made a very special 7” reissue of their second ever single release: Augustus Pablo’s Pablo Meets Mr. Bassie. It’s a great story as founder Geoff Travis explained;
“Richard Scott was working with us, developing a mail order and then a distribution company, and had deep Jamaican connections as he had been part of the management team for Third World. He made a deal with Joan Higgins, a 15-year-old relative of Augustus Pablo, who worked the Saturday shift in Pablo’s Kingston Record shop. A man called Everton Da Silva was also involved, perhaps as a go between.”
Iconic and still sounding dub-heavy vital some 45 years later.
So lots there for you, enjoy diving deep.