Linton Kwesi Johnson – Tings An’ Times (1991)

Linton Kwesi Johnson
Tings An’ Times
1991 Intercord IRS 986.939 Germany

Four months into the year and this only the second blog post here (not counting the 12 days of Xmas series)? I wish I could tell you I’ve been off seeking wisdom in the Himalayas away from any internet, or retracing the path of Genghis Khan through the Gobi Desert. But if you were to peek at my Instagram you would find the truth in a succession of extremely similar yet always stunning sunsets and banal snapshots of food and LPs. But never LPs covered in food, because I don’t really ‘get’ most conceptual art, having narrowly escaped the ranks of the lumpen-proletariat in my youth. The no-calorie platters on my (turn)table this Spring have been fairly bourgeois fair, soulful white guys like Lee Michaels, Hall & Oates, or early Steve Miller Band. And I’ve been rediscovering my fondness for Weather Report and Tony Williams Lifetime (Old and New). None of which I apparently deemed worthy of blogging about. Either because it might tip people off that I’ll never actually be as cool as I once pretended in 2008 or simply that I don’t have time to put together coherent blog posts any longer. Is this a coherent blog post? Personally 2019 has been kind of a lousy year. People keep getting sick and dying around me; expectations of 21st-century longevity having gone the way of hover-cars and who really wants to live to 120 anyway? The politics of the entire world have gone to shit in a gilded hand basket in the last few years. Shouldn’t we all be doing something more revolutionary than reading/writing blogs? I guess that’s where LKJ comes in. He is a breath of fresh air in times like these. A brief description of this record is below the nitty-gritty details.

1 Story 5:20
2 Sense Outta Nansense 4:59
3 Tings An’ Times 6:32
4 Mi Revalueshanary Fren 5:19
5 Di Good Life 5:30
6 Di Anfinished Revalueshan 5:33
7 Dubbing For Life 4:03

Recorded At – Sparkside Studio
Mixed At – Fallout Shelter


Accordion – Ian Hill  
Drums – Paul Blake 
Guitar – John Kpiaye
Keyboards – Nick Straker
Organ, Piano, Synthesizer – Paget King
Percussion – Everald Forrest, Geoffrey Scantlebury, LKJ
Piano – Henry Holden
Bass, Percussion – Dennis Bovell
Vocals – Linton Kwesi Johnson
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Steve Gregory
Trombone – Fayyaz Virji, Henry Tenyue
Trumpet – Paul Spong
Violin – Johnny T.

Recorded, engineered, mixed, and produced by Dennis Bovell
Words, music, composition, and additional production by LKJ

Cover painting – Antonio Vignocchi
Photography By – Anthony Brennon

Early 90s and still hitting it hard, this is top-shelf LKJ. Some of the harder edges may have softened, just a bit, since his ‘Forces of Victory’ days but the trade-off is a broader sonic palette on the arrangements. The first track features a violin solo, and the recording features a variety of woodwinds, brass, pianos, B3 organ, and accordions. Whether or not the similarity to Brazilian forró on the track “Di Good Life” is purely coincidental, I can’t say. “Mi Revalueshanary Fren” is a highlight here, easily the funkiest reflection on the early-90s state of post-Soviet radical politics and black liberation you’re likely to encounter. Incidentally, the following year LKJ would publish a book of his poems with the same title that would go on to become (in the mid-2000s) one of the only Penguin Classic editions of a still-living poet.

16-bit 44.1 khz
320 kbs
320 kbs

password: vibes

Rufus Thomas – Do The Funky Chicken (1970)

Do The Funky Chicken
Stax Records 1970 STS-2028
Reissue 2011

There weren’t too many people who could almost steal a show from Isaac Hayes in the early 70s, but Rufus Thomas almost accomplished that feat at the famous Wattstax festival,w with his rendition of the title track from this album (see below for a great clip). Continue reading

Roberto Carlos – O Inimitável (1968)

1968 CBS Records (Brasil)
This CD pressing 199_? Columbia 850.105/2-464065

12 Days of Christmas – Day 12 – For Three Kings Day, you get one king. O Rei, the incomparable, inimitable Roberto Carlos.  This is a thoroughly excellent record with the exception of one song that annoys the crap out of me.  See if you know Dr. Vibes’ tastes well enough to figure out which one it is, and win a free year’s subscription to Flabbergasted Vibes!  I’m exhausted, too exhausted to give this album a worthy write-up, but maybe I will share the MONO version of it sometime soon and unloosen my tongue with aplomb.   Meanwhile this early CD pressing of the stereo mix sounds pretty good, at least it isn’t crushed / brick-walled like the version include with the “Pra Sempre” boxset.    I hope you have all enjoyed this 12 Days of Christmas, perhaps inaugurating a new tradition as the blog continues into its second decade (!!).  I’m going to be extremely busy in the next few months, so I don’t know how often you’ll hear from me, but may you all be free of trouble in this New Year!

Continue reading

Orchestra Harlow – El Jardinero Del Amor (1976) [FANIA SLP 00499]

Orchestra Harlow – El Jardinero del Amor
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Art at  300 dpi
24 bit 192khz 1.65 GB |24 bit 96 khz – 883 MB | 279MB 16-bit 44.1 khz
Fania Records SLP 00499 | Released 1976 | Salsa / Latin-Jazz

Dr. Vibes 12 Days of Christmas – Day 11 – Led by musical innovator and pioneer Larry Harlow (El Judio Maravilloso), Orchestra Harlow put out a string of top-notch albums for the Fania label.  Larry had led a storied life – he lived in Cuba before the revolution, studying music and anthropology.  He had helped revive the career of Celia Cruz with his “Latin opera” Hommy in the early 70s.  And he was an accomplished santero.  None of this prevented him from being ripped off by Fania – around the time of this album, he realized that they had not been paying what they owed to him, and he sued his own label.  Needless to say they were counting down the days left in his contract to drop him, and did little to promote his records from this period.   Which is a shame because this is pretty much non-stop greatness from start to finish.  Of especial note is the folkloric-themed Cuento Carabali that works as a great grand finale here.

Continue reading

Billy Paul – 360 Degrees of Billy Paul (1972)

Billy Paul – 360 Degrees Of Billy Paul
1972 Philadelphia International Records ZX 31793
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/96kHz | FLAC |  Art scans at 300 dpi
932 MB (24/96) + 297 MB (16/44) |  Genre: Soul, Funk

Dr. Vibes 12 Days of Christmas – Day 10 – Second day in a row that I’m featuring somebody who I’ve wanted to feature here for years, but never have. Billy Paul, who passed only a few years ago,  without a doubt had the biggest hit of his career off this record, and one of the most famous soul hits of the 70s, “Me and Mrs. Jones”.  They had a thing goin’ on.  Lots of people with lots of different memories tucked away between the notes of that classic.    The whole record is prime cut Philly soul from start to finish though.  Some great Gamble & Huff originals and the cover tunes are extraordinary – Carole King’s “It’s Too Late” and Elton John’s “Your Song”, both covered by scads of other artists, get a top-shelf Billy Paul treatment here.

Continue reading

Abbey Lincoln & Hank Jones – When There Is Love (1993)

Abbey Lincoln – Hank Jones
When There Is Love
1993 Gitanes Jazz Productions / Verve Records – 314 519 697-2
Genre:Jazz || Style:Bop, Post Bop

I have been wanting to do some posts about the great Abbey Lincoln ever since I started this blog, and yet for some reason it’s never happened.  Let this be the year, then.  I also never would have imagined that I would choose this atypical album as her first entry here.  But there is something very warm, charming, and relaxing about this collaboration with Hank Jones that seems to fit the mixture of exhaustion, laziness, and regeneration of energy to face a new and unknown world that’s marked these first few days of 2019 for me.  We can get into Abbey’s more intense material later, but right now this will do just fine. Continue reading