Late Night Radio Hour #11: Open The Windows, Let The Breeze In

My friend Sarah has put together a rather wonderful Late Night Radio Hour. This is Issue #11 in our late night series of midnight slumber tunes.

Instructions for use: At the end of a warm summer’s evening, come home, kick off your shoes, open the windows and let the breeze in. Pour yourself a drink (maybe a whisky, but the choice is yours), get comfortable, and press play.

The playlist goes like this…

1. Kyu Sakamoto – Sukiyaki
2. Chad & Jeremy – A Summer Song
3. Django Reinhardt – Manoir de Mes Rêves
4. Duke Ellington – Take The “A” Train
5. René Touzet – Pachanga Differente6. Max Cilla – Crépuscule Tropical
7. Mulatu Astatke – Tezeta (Nostalgia)
8. Aziza Brahim – Calles de Dajla
9. Nina Simone – Suzanne
10. Etta James – Sunday Kind of Love
11. Cosmic Rays, Sun Ra, Sun Ra Arkestra – Dreaming
12. Allen Touissant – Southern Nights
13. Amy Winehouse – (There Is) No Greater Love
14. Jon Brion – Theme
15. John Lennon – Jealous Guy
16. Yves Montand – Rue St Vincent
17. Claude Debussy – The Girl With The Flaxen Hair

Late Night Radio Hour #4: Alone in the Wilderness

A musical odyssey into the wilderness. Best for late night journeys across open plains, desert regions and mountain ranges.

1 Gold Panda – Bad Day Bad Loop
2 Kraftwerk – Morgenspaziergang
3 Rokia Traoré – N’Téri
4 Jef Gilson – Unknown
5 Peter Ivers – Miraculous Weekend
6 Robert Parker – Caught You In A Lie (Original Mix)
7 Gurdjieff / de Hartmann – The Struggle of the Magicians Part Three
8 Dick Proenneke – Alone in the Wilderness (film extract)
9 Fleetwood Mac & Christine Perfect – Albatross
10 Donnie & Joe Emerson – Baby
11 Sam Amidon – Fall On My Knees
12 Todd Terje – Johnny and Mary (feat. Bryan Ferry)
13 Daft Punk – Night vision
14 M. Ward – Well Tempered Clavier
15 Elliott Smith – Thirteen
16 The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (Live – Rehearsal)
17 Harry Kalahiki – Claire de Lune
18 Johnny Coles – So Sweet My Little Girl

Late Night Radio Hour #3 Hurrah! It’s Christmas

A late night radio hour for Christmas. May you have a wonderful Christmas…

1. Unknown – Christmas With a Toddler, The Sound of Pure Joy, Circa 1953
2. Au – I’ll Be Home For Christmas
3. The Bird and the Bee – Carol of the Bells
4. Jim Croce – It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way
5. Belshazzar’s Feast – Gerald Road Mazurkas / Sans Day Carol
6. Half-Handed Cloud – A Favorite Christmas Gag Gift
7. James Brown – Let’s Make Christmas Mean Something This Year
8. Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
9. Joni Mitchell – River
10. Sufjan Stevens – Bring A Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
11. Blitzen Trapper – Christmas Is Coming Soon
12. Glockenbass – While by the Sheep (How Great Our Joy)
13. Arthur Lyman – Mele Kalikimaka / Jingle Bells
14. Ella Fitzgerald – What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
15. Fred McDowell – Woke Up This Morning With My Mind On Jesus
16. The Seeger Sisters – Shine Like a Star in the Morning
17. Nina Simone – Little girl blue
18. Joshua Stamper – Maker of Stars, Be Born
19. Mantovani and His Orchestra – Nazareth

Late Night Radio Hour #2: November At My Door

A Late Night Radio Hour for November. Inspired by dark winter nights, cobbled London streets and city lights, winter blues, socks and slippers, hats and gloves…

1. Tèshomè Meteku – Gara Ser Nèw Bétesh
2. Vashti Bunyan – Coldest Night of the Year
3. Emma Tricca – November At My Door
4. The Michael Garrick Trio – Sketches Of Israel
5. Joe Pass – Giant Steps
6. Robert Welch – What Shall I Do
7. Jackson C. Frank – Blues Run the Game
8. Beck – Sing It Again
9. Sun Ra – Dreaming
10. Mississippi John Hurt – Got The Blues, Can’t Be Satisfied
11. Barry Shultz – Bibb County Hoedown
12. Leah Siegel – A Little Love, A Little Kiss
13. Aaron Neville – She’s On My Mind (Original Mix)
14. Willie Mitchell – Groovin
15. Yamasuki – Aisere I Love You
16. Jerry Garcia, David Grisman & Tony Rice – Amazing Grace
17. Gonzales – Overnight
18. Jon Hopkins – Abandon Window

Alone Together: A Late Night Radio Hour

1. Jonny Greenwood – Changing Partners
2. Friends of Distinction – Great Day
3. Betty Carter / Ray Charles – Alone Together
4. Bill Evans & Jim Hall – My Man’s Gone Now
4. Nina Simone – He Needs Me
5. Aretha Franklen – One Step
6. Gladys Knight & The Pips – The Way We Were
7. Sufjan Stevens – Alanson, Crooked River
8. Ketil Bjøranstad – Intimacy
9. Animal Collective – Loch Raven
10. Deaf Center – Eloy
11. Jonsi & Alex – Atlas Song
12. Múm – Moon Pulls
13. Kamil Efendi – Hicaz Taksim 1
14. Stefan Lakatos – When I Am Deep In Sleep
15. Moondog – Viking 1
16. Detektivbyrån – Nattoppet

Ka La Ka Afrobeat Band

The Ka La Ka Afrobeat Band were a loose collective of musicians that got together in 1974 to record two sessions of afrobeat music. This album is the result of one of those sessions held in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, with musicians hailing from several countries including Nigeria, Ethiopia, Congo, Ghana, and the Cameroon.

The inspiration for the album was making the movement and philosophy of Pan Africanism a reality by bringing together musicians and combining their own artistic expressions. One of key figures of this movement in Ethiopia, who gets a mention on the sleeve is the late Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, and passing away the same year as the album’s release. Perhaps a story for another day, but Haile Selassie is the chap revered as the incarnation of God, or Jah Rastafari, by followers of the Rastafari movement.

Without any hand from the great pioneer of afrobeat, Fela Anikulapo Kutu, or anyone in the Anikulapo family, this album is thought to be a rare release for its genre. If you want to compare it to the music of Fela Kutu, then you could say it lacks that edge and sharpness that Fela’s afrobeat has. But perhaps we should be careful not to compare all afrobeat music back to Fela Kutu. It’s hard not to sometimes. Fela’s music was powerful, and the sound he created with the big brass sections of the Africa 70 and legendary drummer Tony Allen, do define what we know as afrobeat. But afrobeat is a genre, not a band.

The Ka La Ka Afrobeat Band is an impressive LP. All six tunes are strong. The rhythm arrangement and bass that provides the all important underlying groove are tight, as should be expected with any afrobeat, and they do not get dampened by the other instruments. The horns are provided by two Nigerians, Jaja Robo playing alto and tenor saxophones, and Oladji, known as the mouthpiece musician, playing the trumpet. Their solos are described as the roarings of two African lions. This is true. However the tunes themselves are not too heavy on the ‘roar’ factor. The dynamics are good, but without a vast array of musicians providing the sound, the tunes feel a little lighter rhythmically than Fela Kutu’s music (and yes, I just fell into my own trap of comparing to Fela). The melodies maybe also don’t get chance to mature and grow on you in the first listen, and this maybe due to song lengths, three of which are only 4-5 minutes; not what we are always used with afrobeat, and jazz in general for that matter.

However there are longer tunes. “No I’m not a monkey” is over 9 minutes, and No more colonial greediness stretches past 8 minutes. Although many of the tracks on the album fade out at the end. Not a big problem, but after a groove of at least 6 minutes, I like to get a bit of a finale. It gives you time to breath and appreciate where you have been. It also adds a greater personality, as bands let themselves go a bit at the end of a song.

But I’m being nit-picky here, because I am loving this record. I know it will be in my dj record box for a long time, and as it rolls around my record player, I am a happy man and glad it has been re-issued for the world to appreciate. Check it out, and you can listen to samples here.