MAGIC MIX

folk . americana . blues . rock&roll

WEEK STARTING 14 Dec

Genre pick of the week Cover of Diagonal Musik by Prins Emanuel.
Last time Prins Emanuel flexed his musical muscles on Copenhagen's vibrant Music For Dreams he delivered 'Arbete / Fritid' a double LP of analogue disco, Balearic boogie and leftfield house soaked in inventive melody, multi instrumentation and studio wizzardry. A big hitter with Balearic beards, disco heads and anyone with; a) taste and b) ears, the debut delight set a very high watermark for the Swedish producer. So, it's with complete incredulity that I sit here and tell you that "Diagonal Musik" is even better!
Over the course of eight delicate and divine compostions there's nary a kick drum in sight. In fact, Prins Emanuel ignores the dancefloor entirely, swapping the studio trickery for the honesty and immediacy of an entirely acoustic approach. Guitar in hand, accompanied by the most subtle of organic percussion, the Swede strums, picks and slides his way through a gorgeous set of jazz-folk instrumentals. Think autumn leaves, rain on the window pane and cold coffee - cigarette smoke and a tear stained moleskine. If you'd told me this was a lost folk private press from 70s Europe, I'd be calling Basso and demanding he source me a copy. Forget genres, labels, press or playlists, "Diagonal Musik" is absurdly beautiful; and when you're old(er) and gray(er) you'll still be listening to it.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: I've been a big fan of Prins Emanuel for a long time now, and his weirdo disco gem 'Arbete / Fritid' has been in my record box ever since it came out. Here he throws us the most delightful curveball, dodging the dance floor and delivering eight gorgeous acoustic guitar compositions. Intimate, otherworldly and deeply evocative, this is the kind of record you'll listen to until the day you die.

Galvanised by a passion for soul, jazz, funk, folk, and Brazilian samba, Judith Ravitz’s Bolerio (in Hebrew, Yehudit Ravitz – בוא לריו) brilliantly reimagines the music of the Brazilian legend Jorge Ben. Increasingly sought-after, housing as it does her seminal take on “Dia De Indio” – often re-edited and sampled, bootlegged but never bettered – it’s a uniquely thrilling LP in its own right.

The year is 1983, and Ravitz discovered that Jorge Ben was touring Israel with his crack backing band A Banda Do Zé Pretinho. After joining her in the studio, the ensemble reinvented a selection of Ben’s killer tracks that the band regularly performed. On Bolerio – “come to Rio” - Ravitz handed them equal billing as they aided a recontextualization of Ben’s music for an audience that was barely aware of him.

These versions are by no means straight re-treads. Far from it. The highlights are many and memorable. The aforementioned “Dia De Indio”, a strutting, electronic samba-funk with stabbing bass and fluid arrangements, sounds so current and fresh that it’s hard to believe it’s now 35 years old. Its vibrant ambience has been likened to the wiry dubbiness of King Sunny Ade’s Synchro System and it’s easy to see why. Indeed, the electro elements add a futuristic feel that the original could never comfortably possess.

Undeniably rocking more furiously than Ben’s versions, the album begins with a throbbing take on “Boiadeiro”, the opener from Ben’s Salve Simpatia. Ravitz flows wonderfully whilst the band get busy, introducing a heaviness and complexity absent from the original, as wild bass blends with an intensity to the guitar playing that’s quite stunning.

Ravitz’s cover of the infamous “Taj Mahal” incorporates the lush Brazilian boogie of the time
whilst “Santa Clara”, already a standout from Bem Vinda Amizade, is morphed into a deep electronic groove. Lent an airiness by this arrangement, the track benefits from Ravitz’s exquisite range and floats by on a bed of warm keys to conjure a gorgeous melodic melancholy throughout.

The timeless “Que Pena” from Ben’s classic self-titled LP, released in 1969, gets an injection of warm Israeli funk that eschews the downbeat vibe of the original. Led by an electric piano, A Banda Do Zé Pretinho elevate the track and turn it into a weighty samba boogie. So substantial is this take, it effectively renders Ben’s version to that of a bare bones sketch. Equally, the beautifully mournful piano and plaintive horns that grace “Que Maravilha”, coupled with Ravitz’s vocal phrasing of spine-tingling clarity, contribute a depth of feeling and longing that hit hard.

We’ve pressed just 500 copies of this gem with strictly no option for repress. The iconic artwork has been beautifully restored throughout, and includes a printed inner sleeve. Remastered from the original tape transfers by Simon Francis, it’s been pressed at 180g for the first time.


FORMAT INFORMATION

Ltd LP Info: 180 gram 2018 reissue – remastered from original tape transfers, carefully reproduced original art, strictly limited to 500 copies worldwide – no repress.

“Larry Jon Wilson? He can break your heart with a voice like a cannonball.” - Kris Kristofferson.

Larry Jon Wilson came to the party late. When he arrived in Nashville, country soul pioneer Tony Joe White had already made six albums. Townes Van Zandt had made seven, Mickey Newbury eight. Kristofferson, the accepted High Priest of the New Nashville, had made five. Larry Jon, by the time he arrived, had spent ten years in corporate America.

He did not start playing guitar until the age of 30, but five years later he released his debut, New Beginnings (1975) and followed it just a year later with Let Me Sing My Song To You, both on Monument Records. A revelation among the hipsters and critics of Nashville, the LPs ensured Larry Jon was immediately embraced as part of the mid-70s “outlaw country movement” that eschewed slick production in favour of a raw, gritty approach. When a film crew came to document this burgeoning sound, they made straight for Larry Jon's door. The legendary Heartworn Highways (1981) featured his mesmerising performance of “Ohoopee River Bottomland”.

He was a singer and writer of intensely private, painfully moving tales of southern life. With his deep, papa-bear voice, funky southern groove, and richly evocative narratives of rural Georgia, Larry Jon was a unique stylist but his gutsy, greasy sound did not translate into sales. Too funky for the country crowd, too heartfelt for pop radio, he fell between the cracks. We hope the long-overdue reissue of his first two albums will go some way to rectifying this. Indeed, both New Beginnings and Let Me Sing My Song to You - so similar they play like two halves of a double album – showcase his unique mix of country, folk, soul and swampy blues.

New Beginnings failed to propel Larry Jon to even the relatively modest cult acclaim enjoyed by his likeminded contemporaries. And some of the frustration this conjured can be heard on 1976′s Let Me Sing My Song To You. Both the title track and the self-deprecating “Drowning in the Mainstream” speak of Wilson’s hope to inch at least a few steps towards the big time without making too many compromises. Any album containing the likes of the heartfelt, deeply beautiful tribute of “Ballad of Handy Mackey” and the superlative country-gothic funk opus ‘Sheldon Churchyard’ – the lead track from the lauded Country Got Soul compilation - must rank as essential listening.

The audio for Let Me Sing My Song To You comes from the original analogue tape transfers and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the striking cover art and we were honoured when Larry’s close friend Jeb Loy Nichols kindly agreed to contribute wonderfully unique liner notes, presented beautifully on the printed inner sleeve opposite a gorgeous black and white shot of Larry, mid-performance.


FORMAT INFORMATION

Ltd LP Info: 180gram 2018 reissue – remastered from original tape transfers, carefully reproduced original art, strictly limited to 500 copies worldwide – no repress.

2018 REISSUE – REMASTERED FROM ORIGINAL TAPE TRANSFERS, CAREFULLY REPRODUCED ORIGINAL ART.

Larry Jon Wilson came to the party late. When he arrived in Nashville, country soul pioneer Tony Joe White had already made six albums. Townes Van Zandt had made seven, Mickey Newbury eight. Kristofferson, the accepted High Priest of the New Nashville, had made five. Larry Jon, by the time he arrived, had spent ten years in corporate America.

He did not start playing guitar until the age of 30, but five years later he released his debut, New Beginnings (1975) and followed it just a year later with Let Me Sing My Song To You, both on Monument Records. A revelation among the hipsters and critics of Nashville, the LPs ensured Larry Jon was immediately embraced as part of the mid-70s “outlaw country movement” that eschewed slick production in favour of a raw, gritty approach. When a film crew came to document this burgeoning sound, they made straight for Larry Jon's door. The legendary Heartworn Highways (1981) featured his mesmerising performance of “Ohoopee River Bottomland”, a boogaloo funk monster.

He was a singer and writer of intensely private, painfully moving tales of southern life. With his deep, papa-bear voice, funky southern groove, and richly evocative narratives of rural Georgia, Larry Jon was a unique stylist but his gutsy, greasy sound did not translate into sales. Too funky for the country crowd, too heartfelt for pop radio, he fell between the cracks. We hope the long-overdue reissue of his first two albums will go some way to rectifying this. Indeed, both New Beginnings and Let Me Sing My Song to You - so similar they play like two halves of a double album – showcase his unique mix of country, folk, soul and swampy blues.

Driven by a crack rhythm section that included Elvis guitarist Reggie Young, New Beginnings is a rich, literate record. Anyone with even a passing interest in the union between soul and country music will be able to tell they’ve located solid gold as soon as Larry Jon’s deep baritone utters the first appreciative “mm-hmm” a few bars into the opening ‘Ohoopee River Bottomland’, a fat-bottomed swamp-funk account of hard times in the city and country alike. Funny, nostalgic, sad, wistful, righteously pissed-off: New Beginnings is country-influenced American songwriting at its finest, from the feverish country-got-soul groove pulsating behind the weary sigh of “Through The Eyes of Children” to the elemental lament “Things Ain’t What It Used to Be (and Probably Never Was)”, a country standard that somehow got away, Wilson’s compelling presence and rich voice keeping saccharine and self-pity at bay at all times.

The audio for New Beginnings comes from the original analogue tape transfers and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the striking cover art and we were honoured when Larry’s close friend Jeb Loy Nichols kindly agreed to contribute wonderfully unique liner notes, presented beautifully on the printed inner sleeve opposite a gorgeous black and white shot of Larry, mid-performance.


FORMAT INFORMATION

Ltd LP Info: 180 gram strictly limited to 500 copies worldwide.


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