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Amanaz

Africa

    Issued in 1975, this is the articulation of Zambia’s Zamrock ethos. While other albums - Rikki Ililonga’s Zambia, WITCH’s Lazy Bones!! - are competitors, it’s hard to best this album as it covers each major quadrant of the Zamrock whole: it came from the mines; its musicians were anti-colonial freedom fighters, it envelops Zambian folk music traditions, and it rocks - hard. Amanaz were serious, and they made a serious stab at an album. They titled their album Africa, according to original band member Keith Kabwe, “because of how it was shared and how its inhabitants were butchered and enslaved, its resources stolen… all the atrocities slave drivers committed.“ Thus, their “Kale,” a blues sung in Nyanja, that traced the continent’s arc from slavery to Zambia’s independence closes the album. Kabwe and rhythm guitarist John Kanyepa have a winsome softness to their vocals, which sit politely aside the feral growl of drummer Watson Baldwin Lungu, bassist Jerry Mausala and bandleader/lead guitarist Isaac Mpofu.

    Africa’s vibe ranges from anxious (“Amanaz”) to escapist (“Easy Street”) to straight-up pissed-off. On the “History of Man,” his voice whiskey-burned, his distorted guitar buzzing like swarming hornets, Mpofu indicts his species. There’s a darkness to Africa not found on any other Zamrock records, and a melancholy drifts throughout, specifically on Mpofu’s more restrained “Khala My Friend,” which stands as an effective, bleak situation for the Zambian everyman, the average citizen of a struggling, new nation, who might have had relatives in conflict-torn countries on the horizon, who might have been struggling to find his next meal, who might have seen a bleaker future than his president promised. Then there’s the clear Velvet Underground-influence on the nostalgic “Sunday Morning,” which, as Kabwe recalls, was the first song written for the album, back in 1968, when Velvet Undergound and Nico was a new release - and the underground funk of “Making The Scene.” The album also tackles traditional Zambian music and early-‘60s rock – punctuated, of course by Kanyepa’s wah-wah and Mpofu’s fuzz guitars. But every time Amanaz get too deep, too violent, they come back with an accessible song and woo their listener back to the groove. “Green Apple” is a civil song, featuring Kanyepa’s sighing guitar. It is a perfectly arranged album, from the dichotomy of Mpofu’s and Kanyepa’s lead and rhythm guitars, to the vocal harmonies, to the rhythm section’s sense of space and time, which allows Africa’s funk to build. Inexplicably, Africa was given two separate mixes and two separate presses: one version is dry, with the vocals and drums mixed loud, the other slathered in reverb, with the vocals and drums disappearing into the mix, and with the guitar solos mixed much louder. We’ve presented them both here as they each have their appeal: it’s up to the listener to pick the one he or she prefers. This is a highpoint of the Zamrock scene and we hope that this can be seen as its definitive reissue

    Bubbha Thomas & The Lightmen

    Country Fried Chicken

      Drummer, bandleader and activist Bubbha Thomas had toured America with R&B revues, served as a session musician for Peacock and Back Beat Records, and played straight ahead jazz with legends before the political and social upheaval of the late 1960s led him to a path first charted by Coltrane. Country Fried Chicken, his fourth LP with his Lightmen band is his most accessible, a mixture of funk and spiritual jazz. Contains second disc with bonus tracks: alternate, synth-lead mixes of songs from his first two LPs as well as rare and unreleased disco and boogie tracks. Extensive booklet, download card for WAV files and footage of live performances included. 

      David Axelrod

      Songs Of Experience

        “Songs of Experience was supposed to have a different feel than Song of Innocence. You see, music is a great outlet. And regardless of what the titles say, and as close as I wanted it to be to William Blake, what was going on in my life took precedence.” – David Axelrod. Songs of Experience is visionary composer/arranger/producer David Axelrod’s second album; it was recorded after the death of his beloved son Scott. Experience is an ominous affair, an album concerned with mortality and spirituality – the solitary, pastoral musings of William Blake set to the urban bombast of a full Los Angeles orchestra, with Wrecking Crew vets grounding the proceedings with dark funk.

        This is the next Now-Again issue in a series of reissues centered around Axelrod’s Capitol Trilogy – Song of Innocence, Songs of Experience and Earth Rot – which will see release through 2018. LP Contains oversized, 28 page booklet that delves into Axelrod’s incredible life and music, replete with never before published photos and an interview with Axelrod by Eothen Alapatt and Wax Poetics’ Brian Digenti. (CD 32 page booklet) “There are very few people who see the Grand Picture of the Universe and understand the Nothingness that it all comes from. There are even fewer who can express these ideas through music - David could do it all.” 

        This is the first Now-Again issue in a series of reissues centered around Axelrod’s Capitol Trilogy – "Song of Innocence", "Songs of Experience" and "Earth Rot" – which will see release through 2018. This audiophile reissue was transferred directly from Axelrod’s original EQ’ed master tapes at Capitol Records by Ron McMaster. Axelrod’s debut, and a ‘60s masterpiece.

        Celebrated as psychedelic, the birth of jazz-fusion, the harbinger of hip-hop, "Song of Innocence" is a hybrid that no one, not even Axelrod himself, could describe. Grounded by Wrecking Crew vets Earl Palmer and Carol Kaye’s funk, torn between the juxtaposition of musical elements, put at ease, Axelrod’s sweeping arrangements, which utilize brass and strings in a way that no one of his era did. It’s both violent and sublime. LP/CD Contains 28 page booklet that delves into Axelrod’s incredible life and music, replete with never before published photos and an interview with Axelrod by Eothen Alapatt and Wax Poetics’ Brian Digenti. 

        David Axelrod

        Song Of Innocence - RSD18 Edition

          THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2018 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

          David Axelrod delivered one of the great psychedelic albums with 1968’s Song of Innocence, based around the poetry of William Blake. It is considered by many his masterpiece. Song of Innocence is this weird hybrid that no one, not even Axelrod himself, could ever really describe. The listener is pulled in by his melodies, simplistic at first blush, but colored by odd chord progressions and turn arounds, grounded by the drummer Earl Palmer and Carol Kaye’s funk, torn between the juxtaposition of musical elements – a jazz vibraphone solo here, a fuzz guitar tear here, a nod to the baroque in Don Randi’s clavichord comps – and put at ease, always, by Axe’s arrangements, which utilize brass and strings in a way that no 1960s arranger did. It’s worth noting that there are really count-on-your-hand examples of anything that might even be compared to Song of Innocence. Perhaps Arthur Verocai’s self-titled and only artist album, issued on the Brasilian Continental label in 1972, or the collaborations between Serge Gainsbourg and Jean Claude Vannier, which found their epitome in 1971’s Histoire de Melody Nelson. But even these albums, superb, in any thinking music fan’s canon of the best from this era, perhaps in their lives - and perhaps in line with Song of Innocence - are one-offs. Axelrod’s Song of Innocence set in path a series of artist albums on Capitol and other labels and influenced the world countless times over, from The Verve to DJ Shadow to Madlib to J.Dilla. Remastered from the original tapes in a new transfer, with extensive liner notes and unpublished photos. 



          Hunger

          Strictly From Hunger

            The latest release in Now-Again’s Reserve Series is Hunger – Strictly From Hunger: the band’s preferred version of the album, unedited, fuzz-guitar heavy late 60s psych-rock, restored and remastered from a rare test press. The CD is presented as a triple disc issue – packed with bonus material and a 31 page booklet filled with rare photos and liner notes by Clark Faville, Eothen Alapatt & Jim Cherry. Hunger arrived in L.A. from Portland in late 1967 as the Outcasts, a teenage cover band, but within a six months they had signed with a connected manager, played all over Los Angeles, embraced psychedelia and signed on to record an album of original music for the label their manager founded for them: Public! Records.

            They showed tremendous promise – and their producers invested heavily into a band that was going to be the next marquee act at the Whiskey A Go-Go, bringing in members of Strawberry Alarm Clock, including future Lynyrd Skynyrd star Ed King, to produce an album. But Hunger broke up before their album’s release and their entry in rock’s canon was shadowed for years. This is the definitive Reserve Edition reissue of a late ‘60s psych–rock classic, overseen by Hunger’s band members John Morton, Steve Hansen and Mike Lane: the band’s preferred, unedited, fuzz-guitar heavy version of the album, restored and remastered from a rare test press. This is the first time that band’s vision for the album has been issued in full on vinyl. Contains an extensive booklet by Jim Cherry, Eothen Alapatt and Clark Faville that corrects many factual inaccuracies told over the record’s celebrated past three decades as one of rock’s holy grails. The booklet is filled with never-published photos from lead guitarist John Morton’s archive. Here’s an example of what’s in store – the full version of “Open Your Eyes” featuring Ed King’s lead guitar lines – all but absent on the Public! Records issue – and nearly double the length of the issued version!

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            LP includes MP3 Download Code.

            Revolutionary, spiritual jazz from the unlikely city of Houston, Texas, reissued for the first time. Drummer, bandleader and activist Bubbha Thomas had toured America with R&B revues, served as a session musician for Peacock and Back Beat Records, and played straight ahead jazz with legends before the political and social upheaval of the late 1960s led him to a path first charted by Coltrane. "Free As You Wanna Be" predates the deep-set, maverick jazz issued by the likes of Tribe and Strata East and is a harbinger of best of the 1970s jazz underground, a collective voice of resistance to the musical and cultural status quo. This is the first time that "Free As You Wanna Be" has seen reissue, and it is presented in both the issued stereo and previously unissued mono mixes as a double LP. Bubbha and his band’s story is told in great detail by Houston music and cultural historian Lance Scott Walker (Houston Rap / Houston Rap Tapes) and Now-Again’s Eothen Alapatt, in a booklet that contains dozens of unpublished photographs.

            World's Experience Orchestra

            As Time Flows On

            World’s Experience Orchestra’s As Time Flows On has not been available as a stand-alone vinyl release since first being issued as a private pressing out of Boston in 1980. And those pressings where in small runs – set in motion by a visionary, bassist/composer/arranger John Jamyll Jones. Jones is a magical type, who communicates with his instrument, his ensembles, and jazz’s ancient lineage in a manner so profound that his late-‘70s album are out of time with jazz’s trajectory, but timeless when presented today.

            By the late ’90s the music of World’s Experience Orchestra was circulating throughout the collections of esoteric jazz fans, the likes of Gerald “Jazzman” Short and Gilles Peterson, who played WEO for those, the Coltrane-enthralled searching for something new, something different. Something spiritual and honest. As interest in spiritual jazz and WEO grew, Now-Again set about an ambitious plan to reissue Jones’ landmark works. “I knew it was going to happen, but I didn’t know when,” says Jones of the road to seeing his music re-issued. “It’s 35 years or more now, and I’ve been waiting for this, and I’m quite sure I’m not the only one.


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