Sugar & Spice: Everything's Coming Up Rum!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 14, 2012 03:15pm | Post a Comment
ron jeremy rum ron de jeremy smuggler's cove san francisco bar tiki tropical cocktail rhum panama
Holy diver, have I got a stiffy for your cocktail! I had a singular experience with a familiar elemental over the weekend and let me tell you is wasn't as easy as...well, let's just say I took it rather hard.

It all began when I asked Steven Liles, a trusted barkeep at Smuggler's Cove - the best rum bar in San Francisco, nay, on this island earth (putting them in the running for best rum bar in this sector of our galaxy) - for a pour of something exciting and new from the less-than-extravagantly priced end of their extensive spectrum of Lord Nelson's Blood offerings. I knew I was in trouble when, uttering something like a giggle with a kill-devil twinkle in his eye, he motioned the nearest rum-runner to procure a bottle of "Jeremy" from below-decks. Then he turned and said something along the lines of, "you know that ron means rum in Spanish, right?" The kicker: it was an unopened, virgin bottle of Ron.

That's right, kids: adult film star Ron Jeremy's got his own signature rum, Ron de Jeremy - a seven-year old xxx rum from Panama. You too can cop a swallow and ear me now, believe me later when I say that you won't have you pants pulled down over the price (though too much of the stuff will likely bring you to your knees). Frankly, it's not that bad a rum for slow sipping what with the toasted-sugar nose packing vanilla notes and the attractive chestnut glow. However, the purportedly "long smooth taste" does not a happy ending make i.e. the finish lends disturbing embellishment to the term "hair of the dog" when giving head to Jeremy's hard stuff. It's good, but goes down dirty. Imbibers, ye be warned!

But that's not the only rummy that popped up last week!

west indies soul trans air label tropical caribbean slow jam world funk disco compilation cd lp vinyl

Last Thursday (a.k.a. Lana Del Rey day) this sweet baby arrived at Amoeba Music SF! It seems the good folks down at San Juan Puerto Rico-based label Trans Air are serving Soul Jazz some solid competition in the compilation arts department with their latest offering of island scorchers: West Indies Soul, Volume 1. How hot is that eye-popping red-on-green cover art featuring Antigua-shaped collage of rum labels? Hot enough to follow Trans Air's trailblazing streak of dance floor fire-starters like Disc'o'Lypso and West Indies Funk volumes one through three. This latest release showcases a softer side of the warm Caribbean sounds and breezy island rhythms with audio remastered from the original analog tapes for optimum sound quality. Standout tracks include covers of Dyke & The Blazers - "Funky Broadway" and Lou Rawl's venerable "Love Is A Hurting Thing" not to mention lesser heard Northern Soul jams like Richard Stoute's "Love is a Hurting Thing" and Dobby Dobson's take on "What Love Has Joined Together" (listen below). Tropical ballads like these leave nothing wanting save perhaps for a proper beverage pairing like a tall, cool Wray & Ting.

Continue reading...

A Valentine in Three Dimensions

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 14, 2012 06:06am | Post a Comment
joanna newsom portlandia ifc tom bombadil folk harp comedy sketch tv lord of the rings
Anyone familiar with "Lucky Night" by the Sugarcubes knows when to appreciate the magic of a good thing come in threes (as in 1+1=3). The latest coincidence of this two-at-once plus one more collision of indulgence coordinates occurred as a result of Joanna Newsom freewheeling a song that can only be called "Tom Bombadil" on IFC's sassy Portlandia sketch TV show. Well, I've seen a lot and most things excite me but what tops it all is enjoying several things at once. Seeing the lovely J-New (as we are wont to call her at the fort) perform a song about the most fried, free-loving hippie-drippy character Tolkien ever invented (yet sadly, like Radagast the Brown wizard, never made it into Peter Jackson's version of the Lord of the Rings saga) on a show that smacked love-at-first sight vibes upon initial encounter (more Women & Women First, please) was, altogether, not unlike taking a plate of your favorite thing - scattered, smothered, and covered with your other favorite things - to the face like a little pig divin' in the slop trough. A valentine inside a valentine inside... you get the picture. Check out the clip below and if you love this even half as much as I do then Happy Valentine's Day to you, friend - we're practically besties!

Don't Dream It, Be It: Jero's Enchanting Enka Legacy

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 1, 2012 11:33pm | Post a Comment
In Japan, you'd have to living under a rock to not know Jero (or ジェロ) and prior to 2003 an event listing like the concert poster pictured below might have drawn attention for all the wrong reasons (see: Other).

enka singer jero african american history month japan jerome white

There is certainly nothing inherently other about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native Jero, Jerome Charles White, Jr., but he stands apart from the pack in that he has, before the age of thirty, achieved living his dream of becoming the first successful African-American Enka singer in Japanese music history.

jero jerome charles white enka singer japanese pop vocals black history month african american mixed heritage jero enka singer grandmother takiko japan american back history month african mixed heritage traditional pop vocals

Jero grew up among a str
ong influence of Japanese culture and began singing Enka at an early age due to his Japanese grandmother Takiko's enthusiasm for the genre. She had met Jero's grandfather, an African-American serviceman, at a dance in Yokohama during World War II. They married, had a daughter - Jero's mother Harumi - and eventually moved to Pittsburgh, his grandfather's hometown. Though his parents divorced when he was still very young Jero was reared under the cultural influence and familial guidance of his Japanese grandmother and his Japan-born mother in a mixed-heritage household.

Korean Psych-Folk Classic, NOW, Back On Wax!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, January 31, 2012 03:53pm | Post a Comment
Sometimes nothing brings more pride and satisfaction to the Amoeba Music experience than browsing the selections in vinyl new arrivals and finding a classic, diamond-in-the-rough title like Now by Kim Jung Mi and songwriter/producer/arranger/guitar shaman Shin Joong Hyun properly reissued with loving care!

kim jung mi now lp vinyl reissue lion productions shin joong hyun guitar korean psych folk 60's rock

Recorded in 1973 during the height of Korea's rock music scene, this little elemental wonder, reminiscent of Fairport Convention's savvy blending of folk-tradition-meets-kaleidoscopic-rock, is chock full of poetic musings about springtime weather patterns and other precious things voiced by Shin's protegée Kim Jung Mi - a bookish wallflower-cum-chanteuse à la Marianne Faithful or Francois Hardy. The newly reissued version of this quintessence of psychedelia features Korean/English lyric translations, rare photos, re-mastered audio, and comprehensive liner notes by Kevin "Sipreano" Howes and Shin Joong Hyun expert Jae-Myeong Ro (director of the Korean Classical Music Record Museum, and author of the book Shin Joong Hyun and Beautiful Country. The 180 gram vinyl version of Now comes in a deluxe old-style jacket, avec obi, and has a full color insert with liner notes and rare photos. Scoop yours up soon!

Also, it must be said that this record rates high on the list of apropos album artwork in relation to the record's overall sound. But don't take my word for it, find out for yourself! Click play on the album's opening track below and have a long, lingering look at that cover photo. Careful now, overexposure might lead to excessive use of the word "vibe" as a verb and an unconscious referral to the word "energy" in the plural form.

Kim Jung Mi - "Haenim"

Local SF Bands Unite for Blaze Foley Record Release and Tribute Show!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, January 25, 2012 04:49pm | Post a Comment
blaze foley tribute show amnesia outlaw country grace cooper sandwitches sf local bands
Blaze Foley's songs have been celebrated and covered by so many notable Country and Western heavy hitters like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Townes Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams, John Prine and Lyle Lovett that one could hardly say the man's work has gone unsung. However, despite his music being some of the best, most hauntingly honest and soul-stirring country yarns ever spun, his true voice and vision have long gone unheard and under-appreciated by mainstream Country audiences. This Thursday night at Amnesia will certainly prove to be something of a comeuppance fest for fans of Foley's works in the form of an album release and tribute show featuring a fresh & hot line-up of local San Francisco artists curated by Secret Seven Records. This is going to be the kind of show that feels balanced on choice cosmic alignment and I have a feeling that several impeccable answers to that silly old "what becomes a a legend most?" question will be provided as the night progresses.

For more info on Blaze Foley check out the Secret Seven record release profile here, read about his biography Living In The Woods In A Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley by Sybil Rosen here and check out info on the documentary film, Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah, here. There is also a special episode of the Astral Maps podcast dedicated to the works of Blaze Foley, featuring a guest appearance by Greg Gardener - the man behind the curtains at Secret Seven records, here. Incidentally, if you ever just want to talk it out concerning your esteem for lost country greats, all things Blaze and/or outlaw country in general be sure to seek out Astral Maps podcasters Andrew K. and Sterling the next time you visit Amoeba Music in San Francisco, feel free to let 'em know I sent ya!

Here is the trailer for Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah. Do come out and spread love for local musicians as they celebrate the life and work of Blaze Foley - it's going to be a phenomenal show!

Blaze Foley documentary trailer

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