The new album be the Rowland fronted band's second since they most recently reformed in 2012 and released One Day I'm Going To Soar. That return followed a long extended hiatus of two and a half decades - with some low-key under the radar reunions in the in between years. If the mid '80s lineup of Dexys hadn't broken up, they likely would have recorded this album back in that period. "We had the idea to do this album in 1984 or 1985. It was to be called Irish and was to feature songs like "Carrickfergus," "Curragh of Kildare," and "Women Of Ireland," recalled Rowland. "Dexys broke up not too long afterwards, so it didn't happen." The twelve track album contains reworkings / reinterpretations of mostly Irish but some non-Irish songs too. These include "Curragh Of Kildare," "I'll Take You Home Kathleen," "You Wear It Well," "The Town I Loved So Well," and "Both Sides Now." As if anticipating the complaints of Irish trad purists or others who might expect something other from this new album based on its title, Rowland stressed that, "The album is called Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul, not Become it. We're not trying to be Irish, and we haven't used too many Celtic instruments on there. It's our sound. We're bringing our style to these songs."
Today we rewind the clock back seventeen years to late March/ early April 1999 in Bay Area hip-hop. Back then Bay Area indie hip-hop acts with shows and/or new releases included 75 Degrees, Down-N-Dirty, DJ Quest and Mystik Journeymen. Still based out of Oakland, 1999 would also be the year that the Journeymen and their extended Living Legends crew would up and relocate to Southern Cali. 1999 was the year they released their Mercury Rising EP which offered up a nice sampling of their 1999 full-length album The Black Sands ov Eternia which featured such tracks as "The Piano Lesson" (hear below). Having formed a few years previously, the hard working, proudly independent and underground duo had built a rep with their unsigned and hella broke (UHB) lo-fi, gritty, punk rock approach to hip-hop. By the time they split for LA many in the East Bay knew Journeymen members on a first name basis from seeing them hustling their tapes all over, especially on Telegraph Ave. over by UC Berkeley (pictured left) and often right out outside Amoeba Berkeley. Back then the duo now known as Sunspot Jonz and Luckyiam well known to many as simply Tommy and Corey (or BFAP and PSC). Recent projects associated with the group is the latest Luck & Lana collaborative side project. That's is the EDM/hip-hop musical collaboration of Luckyiam with Lana Shea .
"In 1959, 1960 James Brown dropped off the original Flames in Oakland and he left them." "Louis Jordan was here all the time." "Slim Jenkins was the premiere club in Oakland in the '50s." These nuggets of Bay Area music history are among the many sprinkled throughout a typical conversation with lifelong music loving 70-year-old Oakland native Charles Presley, who everyone knows as Buck. This particular conversation (hear the full 10 minutes in the clip below) is one of countless engaging ones that I've had over the past two plus decades of stopping by the North Oakland coin-op laundromat this music fan owns and operates. But it could be any conversation with Buck who loves music and loves to talk music. And his conversations are always from the historical perspective of his beloved hometown of Oakland, CA. Buck loves all good music from soul and jazz to gospel, but blues and rhythm and blues, the music he grew up on, remain his favorite sounds. Most new laundromat customers' conversations are inspired by the the overhead soundtrack of RnB and soul grooves Buck plays from CD collections or the music-themed DVDs he might play on the overhead TV screens. Doing laundry at Buck's is never a dreaded chore, so long as he's there.
As heard in the audio interview clip below, once Buck starts reminiscing he goes off on detailed lists of artists and shows at long gone Oakland clubs back in the '50s, '60s, and '70s, most notably Slim Jenkins Cafe at 1748 7th Street that operated from the '30s through the '60s. It was just one of several businesses owned and operated in West Oakland by the Louisiana born Harold "Slim" Jenkins who was such a successful businessman that he earned the title of "Mayor" of West Oakland. Buck fondly remembers those times like he clearly remembers the very first records he ever bought and heard. One of the first records he remembers hearing was the 1951 single "Sixty Minute Man" by The Dominoes. He caught most acts in Oakland clubs, but for some he'd travel across the Bay Bridge. Most often those would be jazz shows. In 1961, he got to see Miles Davis playing San Francisco's Black Hawk. The famed jazz club, located in the Tenderloin on the corner of Turk and Hyde, operated from 1949 through 1963.
Famed prog rock keyboardist Keith Emerson of Emerson Lake & Palmer (and The Nice) fame died late last night (March 10th) as confirmed by the rock trio's Facebook page today. As yet no cause of death has been yet announced for the passing of the pioneering 71-year-old, British-born musical pioneer who was living in Santa Monica in recent years. An early adapter of and ambassador for the Moog synthesizer, Emerson leaves behind a legacy of recordings. His back catalog spans albums he recorded with his two main groups as well as solo and collaborative projects including soundtracks. Among albums for The Nice include the high concept, ambitious live performance piece Five Bridges. Considered by many to be the greatest live recording, it is all the more impressive when you consider that the musicians were only in the early/mid twenties. This album by The Nice was released in 1970, which was the same year of the self-titled debut by Emerson Lake & Palmer.
Clearly Emerson was a busy prolific artist. Over the career of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, the band would release nine studio albums including their fourth album, Brain Salad Surgery, in 1973 with its distinctive H.R. Giger cover art (right). The original soundtracks credited to Emerson are for 1980's Inferno by Dario Argento, and the interrelated film soundtrack for La Chiesta with Italian prog rockers Goblin. The most recent Emerson album to arrive in Amoeba was the November 2015 release of the rock jazz fusion seven track CD/Miniablum by The Keith Emerson Trio. (cover below)