1. Aventura- The Last
2. Los Amigos Invisible- Commercial
3. V/A- Panama! Vol. 2
4. Manu Chao- Clandestino
5. V/A- Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Nigerian Blues
6. Federico Aubele- Amatoria
7. V/A- Nigeria Disco Funk Special
8. V/A – Rudo Y Cursi Soundtrack
9. Oumou Sangare- Seya
10. Wisin & Yandel- La Revolucion
The Amoeba World Music charts for July 1st- 12th shows that if it isn’t Latino, it’s Africano. With the exception of Manu Chao, the rest of the releases come from either Latin America or the continent of Africa. Coming in at #1, as expected, was Aventura’s The Last, which has slowed down just a tad since its initial release. Los Amigos Invisibles comes in at number two, followed by yet another Soundway compilation, Panama! Vol. 2. In fact, the Soundway label not only has three releases in our top ten, but several releases in our top twenty-five. The Panama! Vol. 2 compilation ranks up there with the excellent Colombia & Nigeria Special Series. This comp focuses on the post-Panama Canal Caribbean, Afro-American and South American influences on Panama. At this point I have to say it’s better and a bit deeper than Vol.1.
1. Aventura- The Last
The native Angelino, born in Sierra Madre in 1912, died this past week from congestive heart failure at Hancock Park Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles.
In 1924 at the age of 12, Mitchell began playing organ at the old Strand Theater in Pasadena, improvising soundtracks to silent movies. But with the advent of talkies and The Jazz Singer in 1927, Mitchell's first career as a silent-film accompanist was about over by the time he was 16. 65 years later, in 1992, he once again sat at the organ accompanying films at LA’s Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax Avenue. His last public performance was this past May when he opened the Last Remaining Seats film series at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown LA.
Subway Art -- the legendary graffiti art book by Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper -- has just recently been republished in a nice big coffee table hard cover version appropriately titled Subway Art: 25th Anniversary Edition. The book has never been out of print since its initial 1984 publication but this new anniversary edition is just jaw-droppingly amazing and a must-have for any graffiti fan.
Its much larger scale and new dimensions of 17" by 13" full-color spreads allow the crispy clear photos to fully come to life in their bright, beautiful colors and hence make them so much easier to fully appreciate.
The new edition of Subway Art also offers numerous never-before-seen photos from that late 70's / early 80's era of New York City when Cooper and Chalfant were documenting this vibrant and rampant illegal public transit art form; one that would be gone by the end of the decade in which the book was first published. But over the years Subway Art has taken on life of its own and the influential book has gone on to sell a staggering half a million copies.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Henry Chalfant about this influential art book. A Stanford graduate who was first a sculptor, Chalfant has lived in New York City for many years and is now nearing 70. He is equally known in graffiti circles for his documentation of the art form via the book Spraycan Art which he co-authored with James Prigoff, and for Style Wars, the historic PBS documentary on New York graffiti that he co-produced with Tony Silver. Chalfant's work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A few years ago he directed the excellent Latin and hip-hop themed documentary about the South Bronx, From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale, that aired on PBS stations in 2006.
The art of the 12" company sleeve can really be quite entertaining. The middle sleeve above is not a Big Beat sleeve-- does anyone out there know what company made these? The Alicia Bridges and Travolta sleeves below are not company sleeves, but are good examples of the disco die cut promotional sleeve popular in the early years of the 12". Experiments with the 12" single format began in 1974 and by 1975 a decent amount of promo 12"s had been released. Within a couple of years the 12" single would become the format of choice for promoting dance oriented tunes. By the 80's, 12" records were pressed for most every mainstream hit, dance oriented or not. Springsteen w/ "dub version" b-sides, etc.
Above we have a couple of die cut sleeves used to market LPs, not 12"s. Below there's a Russian example. This sleeve may have been used for either LPs or 12"s, but this particular release is a disco-ish LP.