Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gonzalo Castro: El Arpa de Gonzalo Castro con el Conjunto Los Gatos

Gonzalo Castro apparently is (or was) a heavy hitter in Ecuadorian music. I think I remember hearing that his sons are also successful musicians today too. The blog http://ritmosymelodiasecuador.blogspot.com has put up some nice albums of Castro playing with other musicians and of the backing band from this album, Los Gatos, backing up some other leaders. For me, though, the combination of the songs, execution, and instrumentation on this album (all strings) makes it really unique. For some reason the dynamics on this rip seem off on some sound systems. The lower ranges can be barely audible, but in my experience it's always sounded fine over headphones. I'm not sure of the year, but I would guess it's from some time in the 70s.

Corazon by Easyjams

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Prince Adé-Oyé: Juju Music Made in R. Benin, 1995

The composition and execution of this album totally blow my mind. As far as I can tell, this is the only album recorded by Prince Adé-Oyé. Too many guitars to count, talking drums that reproduce vocal melodies and seem to take the only solos that weren't prewritten. It was recorded in Benin by producer Nel Oliver, the first Black African to own a recording studio in Europe. The production quality is so clean that when I first heard it I thought the cowbell and shaker were played on a drum machine. You can hear how meticulous Oliver was about every sound on this disc, and the result is unlike any album I've heard. The musicians are:
Prince Adé-Oyé: Lyrics, composition, solo guitar
Zannou Guy: Solo guitar
Kounasso Laurent Lolo: Hawaiian guitar
Adanvo Pierre: Rhythm guitar
Assogba Fredy: Tenor guitar
Rock Dedegbé & Kounaso Rene Zom'bo: Bass guitar
Daouda Abdouyale & Ajinakou Pascal Gobi: Talking drums
Assogba Bonito: Keyboard
H. Gervais, A Mechac, & A. Chedrac: Agogo-glocke
Prince Adé-Oyé, Kounasso Laurent Lolo, Assogba Bonito, Jean da Silva, & Jean-Claude Kakpo: Chorus

Adé-Oyé Ni Mon DJè (Instrumental) by Easyjams

Mariachi Mexico de Pepe Villa: El Auténtico Son Jalisciense

This is the best recording I have heard of Mariachi Mexico de Pepe Villa, one of the greatest Mariachi bands of all times, and it's one of my favorite albums of any genre. The musicianship and production on this album are totally insane, and the dynamic sound makes these takes on classic sones both heavy and fun. I'm not sure when this first came out, but my guess would be the late 50's.

El Carretero by Easyjams