Eccentric Soul – Soul Messages From Dimona (2008) [VBR]


Dimona, Israel. Between 1975-1981, a group of American ex-pats took their native sounds of Detroit and Chicago and intermingled them with the messages of the Black Hebrew culture. The results are a heavenly mix of spiritual soul and jazz with an undercurrent of gospel psychedelia. Featuring the Soul Messengers, the Spirit Of Israel, Sons Of The Kingdom, and the Tonistics, Soul Messages From Dimona is the only living document of a thriving community at both the center and fringe of the world.

“Our success educationally, industrially and politically is based upon the protection of a nation founded by ourselves. And the nation can be nowhere else but in Africa.” ~ Marcus Garvey

Or maybe Israel?

While Marcus Garvey voiced a Black Nationalist movement in the 1920s, his words carried on for decades, inspiring various communities like the Nation of Islam and the Rastafari, who even view him as a prophet. The Black Hebrew Israelites were equally influenced by Garvey’s doctrine of purity and redemption, but in place of Liberia, their holy destination was Israel. In 1966, Ben Ammi Carter accumulated hundreds of followers from Chicago and Detroit suburbs, preaching their linkage to Judah and the Ten Lost Tribes. Among Carter’s followers were some supremely skilled musicians, including Charles Blackwell and Thomas Whitfield who would later help form the Soul Messengers. The road from Chicago to Dimona is a long one, and to reveal the journey would take too much time and ruin part of the fun of unearthing the story yourself. It’s enough to say that the tumultuous voyage eventually ended in the desert city, just west of the Dead Sea. As Numero Group describes it, this record is yet “…another stop on the soul diaspora tour.” But it might be more accurate to call this an otherworldly musical revelation. The dance floor-filling bass lines, spiritual grooves, and Jackson 5 family chants combine for a sonic journey that’s as adventurous and fascinating as Carter’s pilgrimage itself.

Soul Messages From Dimona stands out as one of the most conceptually cohesive compilations in the Numero Group catalogue. Certainly this can be attributed to the esoteric nature of the recordings. Then again it wouldn’t be Numero Group if it wasn’t esoteric. But it’s also displayed in other ways. The 16 songs on the album are divided among only four bands with the bulk of the selections coming from the Chicago-based Soul Messengers. There are no brief, minute-long outtakes or rehearsals that often fill up Eccentric Soul track lists. Instead, the tracks are fully fleshed-out with lyrical content that oscillates between general messages of salvation and deliverance, to more specific references to Judaic principles and history.

Anyone familiar with the label’s output will recognize the thick slices of funk, cool jazz, and soulful harmonies that make up Soul Messages. But this, more than any other album, seems to encompass all of the flavors and genres of Numero Group’s far-reaching discography. The Spirit of Israel provides a slightly psychedelic rendition of the spiritual “Daniel” that’s full of background gospel response. “Hey There,” by the Sons of the Kingdom, unwinds with an especially “soft jazz” horn refrain before it picks up cadence and develops into a full-bodied mesh of layered harmonies. The Sons’ second track on the compilation is a rather clunky, paranoia-filled future jam. The band pleads and wails that modernization will lead to some kind of apocalypse.

One of the most interesting features here is recognizing the different styles adopted by these artists. For instance, the Tonistics’ first entry “Holding On” is righteously funky and chock full of teenage spunk. But on “Dimona (Spiritual Capital of the World)” the boys sound more collective and free to linger on harmonies. And certainly this penchant for mixing it up is apparent on the hefty contributions from the Soul Messengers. They switch from freak-soul instrumentals to Hebrew croons to straight jazz. With all of these bands, the unexpected twists in sound are almost always a positive.

There is a noticeable innocence in the words of the Spirit of Israel’s second contribution. “A Place to Be” begins with a flock of female singers chanting, “It’s a place that’s free and easy / It’s a world of love and peace.” The tone is joyous and carefree, and of course, painfully ironic in light of the Middle East’s sociopolitical climate over the past decades. Then the lead singer enters with equally optimistic aspirations: “I just want to live in Israel. Live a life of purity. Away from the wild and wicked world, teach my children how to be free.” The song is gorgeously simple with only a light guitar strum providing the background instrumentation. But the way it speaks to the hopefulness and values of the Black Hebrew Israelites is no small measure.

At the time of this music’s production, Carter and his Black Hebrew followers were charging toward Israel without reservations. It was the revered holy land, free of the racial struggles and oppression that had afflicted the black American community for so long. The image of Dimona today, as a battered textile industry and placement ground for those Jews that Israel doesn’t quite know what to do with, well, that image doesn’t matter. Soul Messages is an incredible historical document. It’s an exploration of a very specific musical niche that, like all great albums, sounds utterly familiar, as if we’ve been listening to it for years and years.

1. Burn Devil Burn
2. Our Lord and Savior
3. Holding On
4. Daniel
5. Hey There
6. Go to Proclaim
7. Equilibrium
8. Prince of Zeal
9. Modernization
10. Heaven of Heroes
11. Victory
12. Dimona (Spiritual Capital of the World)
13. Junky Baby
14. Place to Be
15. Messiah
16. Savior in the East

Hey pal! I´ve been elsewhere lately and haven´t kept track at all. But suddenly I got a feeling of emptiness and was looking for you elsewhere. And now here… Doesn´t like your message at all. Whatever your situation is like I hope to see you around soon again. Take care and best wishes from one of your friends in cyberspace.
/k.
When you´re in the mood please check out this album. It´s really groovy!

Download
Updated link (sorry)

Siah and Yeshua Dapo ED – Visualize (1996) 320 kbs

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Siah and Yeshua Dapo ED (1996) 320kbs
Label: Fondle ‘Em
Catalog#: FE005

Tracklisting:
Fur Side

A1 The Visualz (3:44) Recorded By – Troy Davis
A2 Gravity (4:05)
A3 Glass Bottom Boat (2:32) Mixed By, Recorded By – Mark Morris [Featuring] – Ken Boogaloo
A4 No Soles’ Dopest Opus (4:55)

Side Beaz

B1 The Mystery (3:42) Mixed By, Recorded By – Mark Morris ([Featuring] – Ken Boogaloo
B2 A Day Like Any Other (11:00)

Credits: Mixed By, Recorded By – Hoover Le (tracks: A2, A4, B2) Producer – Jon Adler , Siah , Yeshua dapoED* Scratches – DJ Bless

VINYL RIP – Technical Specs: Music Hall MMF.5 Turntable with Goldring 1012GX cartridge, Gyger II diamond stylus, and MK II XLR Ringmat –> Projekt Speedbox II -> Parasound Z Phono Preamp -> Marantz PMD 661 digital recorder at 24/96khzDeclicked on very light settings with Click Repair -> DC Offset and track splitting in Adobe Audition 2.0 Dithering to 16-bit using iXotope Mbit
Converted to FLAC and mp3 with DbPoweramp . *** Note to those who really care about this: There is a chance that dithering was accidentally done with the Audition native algorithim rather than iZotope. I will try to reup some files I can be more certain about some time soon.

Description courtesy of Clint Striker:

This is a special one. A highly sought after record among hip-hop vinyl collectors, Siah and Yeshua DapoED’s EP Visualize was the fifth release on Bobbito Garcia’s Fondle’ em records, arguably the greatest record put out by the most progressive independent hip-hop label of the mid-90’s. Fondle’ em, founded in 1995, was at the heart of the independent hip-hop movement in New York City, putting out records by the like of The Arsonists, The Cennubites, Cage, and MF DOOM and conceived of as an extension of the famed Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show on WKCR 89.9 FM. This is cutting edge hip-hop at its best, documenting a short-lived and long-gone period of unbridled creativity. You only need to listen to the last cut on the B-side, the legendary 11 minute A Day Like No Other, with its ever-changing beat, to get a sense of what this is about. The most celebrated records of the period, J-Live’s Braggin’ Writes (Raw Shack), Shades of Brooklyn’s Change (Tape Kingz) or The Arsonists’ The Session (Fondle ‘em) are all one song wonders, Siah and Yeshua’s EP gets you six of them on one piece of wax. I missed it when it first went out and later paid 60$ dollars for a (then) mint copy. It was recently reissued on CD (Traffic Entertainment), but here you get it, dirty as it should be. The MC’s later output, like Yeshua’s Head Bop (Raw Shack) or Siah’s Repetition (Fondle’ em) are strong records worth checking out but they failed to match the creativity seen on the EP. This is a piece of history and might very well be the best record you’ve never heard of…

For more info check the Fondle’em page (still on the web): http://www.sandboxautomatic.com/fondle/

Freddie Hubbard – Keep Your Soul Together (1973) 320kbs

Track List:
Brigitte
Keep Your Soul Together
Spirits of Trane
Destiny’s Children

Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s CTI recordings have long been underrated and a bit
downgraded by writers who get them confused with his much commercial output for
Columbia. For this LP (not yet reissued on CD) Hubbard is heard in fine form on
four of his originals (highlighted by “Spirits of Trane”) with a septet that
includes tenor-saxophonist Junior Cook, keyboardist George Cables, guitarist
Aurell Ray, either Kent Brinkley or Ron Carter on bass, drummer Ralph Penland
and Juno Lewis on percussion. The music is sometimes funky but definitely
creative jazz with Hubbard heard during his prime period.
– Scott Yanow, All
Music Guide

VINYL RIP – Technical SpecsMusic Hall MMF.5 Turntable with Goldring 1012GX cartridge, Gyger II diamond stylus, and MK II XLR Ringmat –> Projekt Speedbox II -> Parasound Z Phono Preamp -> Marantz PMD 661 digital recorder at 24/96khzDeclicked on very light settings with Click Repair -> DC Offset and track splitting in Adobe Audition 2.0 Dithering to 16-bit using iXotope Mbit
Converted to FLAC and mp3 with DbPoweramp

Bobby Hutcherson & Harold Land – San Francisco (1970) 320kbs

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01 – Goin’ down south (7:05) (Sample)
02 – Prints Tie (7:24) (Hutcherson)
03 – Jazz (5:18) (Sample)
04 – Ummh (7:42) (Hutcherson)
05 – Procession (5:40) (Hutcherson)
06 – A Night In Barcelona (7:20) (Land)

LINK HERE!

Bobby Hutcherson – Vibes, Marimba, Percussion
Harold Land – Tenor Sax, Flute, Oboe
Joe Sample – Acoustic & Electric Pianos
John Williams – Acoustic & Electric Basses
Mickey Roker – Drums

Produced by Duke Pearson at UA Studios LA
Recording Date: July 15 1970

Review by Steve Huey

Bobby Hutcherson’s late-’60s partnership with tenor saxophonist Harold Land had always produced soulful results, but not until San Francisco did that translate into a literal flirtation with funk and rock. After watching several advanced post-bop sessions gather dust in the vaults, Hutcherson decided to experiment with his sound a bit, but San Francisco still doesn’t wind up the commercial jazz-funk extravaganza that purists might fear. Instead, Hutcherson and Land stake out a warm and engaging middle ground between muscular funk and Coltrane-style modality; in other words, they have their cake and eat it too. Joined by pianist/keyboardist Joe Sample (also of the Jazz Crusaders), acoustic/electric bassist John Williams, and drummer Mickey Roker, Hutcherson and Land cook up a series of spacious, breezy grooves that sound unlike any other record in the vibist’s discography (even his more commercial fusion sessions). The selections — all group-member originals — often skirt the edges of fusion, but rarely play it as expected; they might float some spare tradeoffs over a loping, heavy bass groove, throw in an oboe solo by Land, or — as on the slowest piece — keep time only with intermittently spaced piano chords. It’s all done with enough imagination and harmonic sophistication to achieve the rare feat of holding appeal for traditional jazz and rare-groove fans alike. It’s a shame Hutcherson didn’t explore this direction more, because San Francisco is not only one of his best albums, but also one of his most appealing and accessible. [Note: The song descriptions in the liner notes often match up with different titles on the CD reissue, suggesting that the tracks may have been scrambled to a startling degree. If the liners are correct, the actual CD running order is “A Night in Barcelona,” “Goin’ Down South,” “Procession,” “Ummh,” “Jazz,” and “Prints Tie.”]

Freddie Hubbard – Red Clay (1970) 320 kbs

I’m not typically a huge fan of the CTI catalog. Creed Taylor’s production aesthetic leans towards a sterile polish, with a dampened sense of dynamic, and with the listener feeling like they are hearing everything through headphones even when they’re not. Everything feels close-mic’d to me — the drum sound favors close-mic techniques over overhead microphones that are more common in jazz recordings from the hard-bop era where cats like Hubbard cut their teeth, resulting in a drum sound that doesn’t “breath” or have much “air,” to use the usual sound engineer metaphors. And all this in spite of the fact that the one and only Rudy Van Gelder was manning the controls as lead engineer. But I don’t really know anything about what the CTI situation was like behind the scenes.. Perhaps some kind blog visitor will set me straight.

But this record stands as a shining exception for me. Not that those production elements aren’t still there to some extent, but Hubbard’s vibrant arrangements and the energy of this ensemble overcome them easily. To borrow some imagery from my friend Clint Striker, CTI records are often just too “clean” — they could benefit from being more “dirty.” Well this one still has some grit to it, some “dirt,” particularly in the lovely Fender Rhodes work from Herbie Hancock and Johnny Hammond, the latter on the previously unissued live performance of the title track. This track is in itself worth the price of admission of this remaster. It highlights the funky loose-booty tightness and explosive dynamism that Hubbard’s band was capable of when they were not reined in by Taylor’s hermetic controls.

I think the best way to hear this album is on wax. If I had time – which I don’t — I’d give you all a vinyl rip. But this remaster, loud and brash as it may be, should hold you over. Enjoy!
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Freddie Hubbard – Red Clay (1970) 320 kbs in em pee three

Originally released on CTI
Reissued in 2002 as a Legacy Remaster

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