garth cartwright

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Various artists: Ost Klub, Kapitel 2 (Chat Chapeau)

Various artists: Ost Klub, Kapitel 2 (Chat Chapeau)

The electro-ska Balkan/Russian sound seems to be taking off, what with internationally successful bands like Russkaja, Shukar Collective and Balkan Beat Box, and on the homefront too with the popularity of the Benka Boradovsky Bordello Band, and even The Mamaku Project who have assimilated just a smidgen of gypsy-rock into their sound....

Titi Robin: Kali Sultana (Filter/Shock)

Titi Robin: Kali Sultana (Filter/Shock)

Surprisingly, this French multi-instrumentalist (oud, guitar, anything with strings) hasn't previously appeared at Elsewhere, largely because his albums are in woefully short supply in New Zealand. Pity, he's huge in Europe for his inclusive approach which means he brings together North African styles with gypsy music, flamenco with Middle...

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE by JIM DeROGATIS: When the whip comes down

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE by JIM DeROGATIS: When the whip comes down

In 1976 the musician/producer and music theorist Brian Eno said to Punk magazine of New York’s the Velvet Underground: “I knew that they were going to be one of the most interesting groups and that there would be a time when it wouldn’t be the Beatles up there and then all these other groups down there. “It would be a...

MORE MILES THAN MONEY: JOURNEYS THROUGH AMERICAN MUSIC by GARTH CARTWRIGHT

MORE MILES THAN MONEY: JOURNEYS THROUGH AMERICAN MUSIC by GARTH CARTWRIGHT

Writing about music is a sedentary affair today: CDs are reviewed at home, and artists are interviewed by phone, in a comfortable hotel or their record company office. Latterly, to my regret, it has been like that for me -- but not so for Cartwright whose previous book Princes Amongst Men saw him on the road in some bad and strange parts of...

Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers: Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers (1971)

Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers: Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers (1971)

Although the blues can be a sophisticated music, there's something more earthy, vibrant and appealing about it when it is played from somewhere further south than the cerebral cortext. Hound Dog Taylor played from a point somewhere between the heart, the gut and the groin -- and made the most thrilling music to come out of the Chicago blues...

Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs: Wooly Bully (1964)

Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs: Wooly Bully (1964)

When this out-of-the-blue single raced around the globe at the height of Beatlemania it sounded like a typically gimmicky hit of the period. The band name, Sam wearing a turban and the group dressed like Arabs didn't exactly deny it. You might have expected them to disappear immediately. But they didn't. They came back with a...

Jim Carroll: People Who Died (1980)

Jim Carroll: People Who Died (1980)

When Jim Carroll died in September 2009 at age 60, it went largely unnoticed by the rock culture which had once embraced him, and had spoken about this New York poet-turned-singer in the same breath as Patti Smith and Lou Reed. Carroll's rock career was admittedly short -- a few albums in the early Eighties and little else -- but his...

Niko Ne Zna: Niko Ne Zna EP (Monkey)

Niko Ne Zna: Niko Ne Zna EP (Monkey)

The interest in good time "gypsy" music continues after the success of the Benka Borodovsky Bordello Band (with whose style I had some problem). This outfit from Wellington -- sax, trumpet, trombone, sousaphone, accordion and percussion -- work similar oompa/mad dancing/immediately familiar folk-framed tunes and by not having a...

Mahala Rai Banda: Ghetto Blasters (Asphalt Tango/Southbound)

Mahala Rai Banda: Ghetto Blasters (Asphalt Tango/Southbound)

Okay, definitely not for every taste but here is clubland, rocked up Gypsy music from Bucharest driven by a brassy horn section and hefty backbeats, and fronted by singer/composer/violinist Ionita Aurel. At times it sounds as much mad Mexican as Balkan and when guest voclaists Jony Iliev and Tato Garcia come in on Solo Part Ti there is an...

Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust (Shock)

Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust (Shock)

Los Lobos have always had a propensity to revert back to being a bar band (albeit a well produced one with terrific guitar playing) and that is their default position too often here for this to be truly satisfying -- and some dreary lyrics . . . "Down Main Street/down easy street, it's when I feel at home"; "Little darling I...

Taraf de Haidouks and Kocani Orkestar: Band of Gypsies 2 (Crammed Discs)

Taraf de Haidouks and Kocani Orkestar: Band of Gypsies 2 (Crammed Discs)

The rather mouthful of an album title tells you that this is forced marriage of two Romany groups teaming up to celebrate the Taraf's 20th anniversary. This album comes a decade on from the first Taraf Band of Gypsies album (which had the Orkestar playing on three pieces) and with both bands by sharing a Belgian musical director...

Bo Diddley: Say Man (1958)

Bo Diddley: Say Man (1958)

The late Bo Diddley was perhaps best known for that distinctive self-titled riff that he bequeathed to rock. He used it on a number of songs -- Hey Bo Diddley, Pretty Thing, Hush Your Mouth and others -- and it came into rock with Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away, the Downliners Sect's Be A Sect Maniac and Sect Appeal and many others. Bo referred...

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