I've been tearing through this week

So, I'm gonna repeat myself, too, in a way, and post the second Moistworks International New Year's Mix. It'll go up in three parts today, tomorrow, & pver the weekend - just in time for your own, personal New Year's celebration - and you'll be able to download a PDF of the cover soon, though the image above works nicely, too.

Back in the USSR, New Years was the new hotness; Santa Claus - Grandpa Frost - came on New Year's, and celebrants who wrote a single wish on a tiny piece of paper, folded it twice, and swallowed it with their first sip of stroke-of-midnight-champagne found that said wish always came true. Try it yourselves - but careful what you wish for!

1. The very young Leiber and Stoller record what is maybe the first rock and roll song, and what makes it so is that the Robins manage to get each and every biblical reference back-asswards. You can tell that Leiber and Stoller are real artists from the days/night get-go:

Well in the days of old King Sol

Every night was a crazy ball

The cats smoked hay through a rubber hose

And the women they wore transparent clothes...

2. 'Nuff religion; let's eat &

3. dance.

4. The mighty Prince Buster seems to incorporate verses based on "Turn, Turn, Turn," which came out just a few weeks after "Respect," into this recording of, er, "Respect." Mash-ups, too, are nothing esp. new.

5. One of the best songs Soul Sides posted this year, recorded in 1970 by Prince Charles' favorite girl group: "Wintertime is razor blade that the devil made/It's a price we pay for the summertime."

6. This song puts in an encore appearance later on in the mix, in an entirely different context. I've got lots to say about Johnnie Ray, and if my hand wasn't broken I'd say it here.

7. The Morning News singled us out as their favorite [MP3] blog this year (thanks, Morning News dudes!); they specifically mentioned my love of calypso. What can I say? I dig calypso.

NB: Vodun is the second of 4 (or 5, depending on whether you consider the Robins song Jewish or xTian) religions to appear on this mix.

8. The 5 Du-Tones - who recorded the original "Shake a Tail Feather" - are unheralded geniuses. Is there such a thing as soul/garage-core? If so, Du-Tones are the fuckin' Sonics.

This was too good to leave off

9. I've been getting into these Angolan compilations Buda's been putting out; they're spectacular. If anyone can tell me what this song if about, I'll be obliged - as far as I can make out, it's about trains, soap, and chickens.

10. Another thing I've been curious about is Asperger's, and the hidden horde. The Rock and Roll H.o.F. has some lyrics of David Byrne's up on the wall, next to drafts of Chuck Berry's "Schooldays' and The Replacements' "Bastards of Young." Byrne's are written on graph paper. They're a whole lot cleaner than Berry's or Paul Westerberg's.

12. 4 of 8 people found the following review helpful:

2nd Best Album of All Time, June 10, 200

Reviewer: Joseph C. Defilippi - See all my reviews

Besides "Exile on Main Street," this is the 2nd best album ever made. The songwriting is amazing, and it is an unbelievable record to drink to. Just ask my Live Jasmin friend Myles--a no-nonsense kind of guy. He's into Puerto Rican women, big jungle cats, hanging out without his shirt on, and paintings of race cars. He'll rock you. Hard.

13. Right now, the best girl groups were: The Crystals, The Cookies, The Shirelles, and Gems.

14. 'Orrible Beatles bridge. I could have written it better meself.

15. I was afraid that TVotR would be all downhill after that first EP; I was wrong - their career's been more of a sine wave. Here they are pleased to be playing in France

16. On last year's New Year's Mix, Prince Buster represented Islam. Here, Nigeria's Ofu The Black Company hold down the fort. Afro-acid rock that will rock you.

At some point

17. From this Globe and Mail article:

Truth be told, Hill[the guy who put the Velvet Underground Acetate, which MW posted here, up on eBay]'s not the most passionate of Velvet Underground fans. A recent graduate, in history, from Concordia University, he's president of the self-founded Irma Thomas and Minit Records Fan Club (Thomas is a New Orleans soul singer, Minit a now-defunct indie record label) and the publisher of a music fanzine called $2 (Comes with Mixtape).

"Right now I'm getting caught up in Christmas," he said. He'll be shutting up Backdoor Records and Pastries shortly to head out to Vancouver to visit his parents. Then early in the new year, he's off to Taiwan for a visit he describes as "part holiday, part scholarly."

18. Ask & receive.

19. From another article I wrote for FEED, c. 1998 or so:

One label that's made inroads into the twenty-something market is John Fahey's Revenant, a two-man startup dedicated to "raw music with a strong spiritual core." Thanks to sleek packaging and articles in major rock periodicals, Revenant is spreading the old time gospel sound far beyond the borders of the Yazoo/Folkways audience. Though not limited to roots releases - their most ambitious project to date is a five-CD set of Captain Beefheart rarities - Revenant has managed to sell 10,000 copies of Dock Boggs' 20's recordings. Though hardly impressive by major label standards, the live sex show figure is more than many indie cult bands have mustered, and indicates a burgeoning market for the music. "I think people are interested in not being fooled," Dean Blackwood, Fahey's partner, e-mailed me recently: "Irony is a very important tool in the 'post-modern' age - people my age tend to use it as a primary mode of expression... I think a lot of chaturbat people are just sick of it and want something direct and raw, much like they wanted when they found Elvis in '54-'55 or punk in '75 or garage rock in the '60s."

More than anything, it's Revenant's refusal to segregate its old time releases in a folk music ghetto that gives me hope for the next wave of roots music releases. Surely, seeing Charlie Patton, Charlie Feathers, and Cecil Taylor side by side in their catalog is a sign that the next generation of folk fans will judge the music I love on aesthetic, rather than ideological terms. "We are not in the business of writing theses and finding music to support them," Blackwood said. "If we don't think the music makes for compelling listening independent of some sort of analytical framework, we do our best to leave it alone."

Among other things, "Deal Rag" features an early, passing reference to a certain "pig-skin game."

20. Another thing I got back into this year was 5% rap, which blossomed in the early 1990s, with groups like Brand Nubian taking a turn towards the radical, and Ice Cube producing uncompromising records by Kam and Da Lench Mob. The second iteration of "Allah u Akbar" to appear on this mix which, if it was a double-album, I'd have included the lead-off track from Kanye West's Late Registration

21. A sort of dry-run for Green's Belle album, and a song I must have listened to a thousand times this year. From Green's super-underappreciated Call Me.

22. Funny to find that this was recorded the same year as the Velvet Underground's Live 1969 - in part, because the organ, guitar, and arrangement sounds so much, and so unexpectedly like VU. And, like VU at their best, it's breathtaking.

Blame Justin Timberlake for that

I haven't posted anything for a while. No one does does early 80s Prince these days like JT. Or perhaps no one does mid-nineties Beck doing early-80s Prince like JT. JTs indeed bringing sexy back and he's bringing back from places like these:

Cheyenne Fowler was a bright flash-in-the-pan Native American soulstress. I can't tell you anything more than that, though a google search reveals she recorded some vocals for a Lalo Schifrin score.

The Pinball Number Count will make many people of a certain age very happy

Just about everyone I know remembers this regular animated feature from Seseame Street. The old Sesame Street, back when 50% of your parents tax dollars were diverted to a vast commune of stoned public education animators. That's the Pointer Sisters on vocals, and in this limited edition cut from DJ Food/Strictly Kev, segments from all the various numbers videos are stictched together to create a dazzling full-length jam.

Roger Troutman of Zapp was a funkapotamus who loved the talk-box. He loved it more than Peter Frampton loved it. He even conducted media interviews with his talk-box sometimes. Zapp was made up of many Troutman brothers. One of them, Larry, shot Roger to death a few years ago and then killed himself. I'm not trying to be a smart ass but I think it would have been cool if at the funeral he was eulogized through a talk-box. Bits of these Bootsy Collins produced songs appear in a ton of HipHop songs. So Tuff, So Tuff will ring a Beastie Boys bell, and forms the backbone of 2Pac's California Love

I came back with some broken bones

I was on assignment last month - and I did get the story - and the reason you haven't heard from me lately is I haven't been typing much. Typing hurts. And I can't tie my own shoes for a few months to come. But I'm here today to tell you that the Moistworks crue is pretty jazzed about this upcoming coupling of Jim Dickinson & Olu Dara. (Click here for tickets; the show starts at nine, & the afterparty goes past midnight. Full disclosure: the booker is a friend - in part bc he does stuff like book shows like this.)

Jim, too, is a friend, from visits to Memphis & its environs (and Jim's own, more recent, visits to NYC): A session man for Bob, Aretha, and the Rolling Stones. A producer who cut 3rd/Sister Lovers, Like Flies on Sherbert, and Pleased to Meet Me. And the last voice you hear on The Sun Records Collection (that's Jim singing, with Sam Phillips behind the board). I've spent many an hour in Jim's Mississippi doublewide, eating BBQ, arguing, & absorbing. I've got some of that on tape, and plan to post it here as soon as I, like Rocky Racoon, am able.

Olu Dara is probably best known as Nas's pop. (Fan at one, LA concert: "Hey, Olu - how many kids you got?" Olu: "In what state?") But his background - which stretches all the way back to grand-uncles who played alongside of Ma Rainey and Louis Jordan in the Rabbit Foot Minstrels - is just as interesting. More me: I had dinner with Olu, Nas, and Kelis, at a Manhattan steak house, a few years ago, and wrote about it for the New York Times. It was a trip.

Less me: The Paris Bar is small, intimate; the pairing is a stroke of genius, and should be worth every one of the fifty thousand pennies it'll cost to see. I'd say more but, these days, the cowgirls seem to be running this ranch...