Saturday, December 1, 2012


Enter Our Hero:
One of the VVers comes home saying "Guess what?!" and then brings in a box full of records when there are already piles of unlistened to records from a recent record fair stacking up.  The other VVer just sits there in disbelief.  The other VVer, being slightly upset that there are MORE records in the house, assumes that the hero has gone dumpster diving.  Sadly these records were ignored until the true vagabond VVer that scored them starts pulling out some of what's in the crammed box.  First out, some Allman Brothers At Fillmore East, Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here, Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life . . . then some George Clinton, Chuck Brown, Kurtis Blow single AJ Scratch/8 Million Stories!  DING DING DING!!!  This is some serious box.  Not just s scrappy junk pile!  Someone went through and discarded all their old, dusty albums.  Emphasis on ALL.  Digging deeper, we find lots of reggae, funk, and a bunch of international artists that we have never heard of before.  Other than a few tattered sleeves and a healthy portion of dust, we find the vinyl all in impeccable shape.  The former owner definitely took very good care of this collection and probably did not own a cat.  You can tell that these albums were well listened to and carefully selected to remain in said collection.  Why the big dump off then?  Well it's apparent that many vinyl folks of yesteryear have either buried their record players or been buried themselves. 

The Flashback:
The pile in question was sitting all on its lonesome on a mid-afternoon weekend.  While driving I saw a bunch of signs for estate sales in the area, but had to pass them up to go to work (boo-hoo).  By sheer luck I was driving a work van down a side street transporting some folks home at the end of our activity.  I spied a box of vinyl out of the corner of my eye and wrenched the steering wheel to the curb.  I shouted out "It'll just be a second, this is important!"  I started flipping through the stack and found each title seeming more interesting than the last.  When I hit upon Magical Mystery Tour I stopped.  This is a record that I already owned but my copy is in lousy shape.  I had to grab it.  The rest came along just in case.

Happy Endings:
Thank goodness for just in case!  We have since made our way through this box of records with most remaining in our collection.  There might need to be a new "International" section cornered out from our usual alphabetical categorization.  A contestant for our newly established International genre is Cuban congo drummer Mongo Santamaria's Afro Roots.  Probably will be writing about that one someday.

The major stand out from the vagabond take is a record by Sir Shina Adewale and the Super Stars International, titled Verse 7.  Circa 1979, this record hails from Nigeria.  Not a whole lot of information out on the web about this; virtually nothing in fact.  World music is not a subject I am very familiar with other than some Paul Simon and bits of David Byrne.  The genre in question here is dubbed "Juju," not the witchcraft type, but in fact, a strain of drum based music focused around the Iya Ilu or "talking drum."  According to my brief wiki search "Sir Shina" is actually afro-juju's most popular artist, Shina Peters.  So popular in fact, that when this strain of music was in its heyday it was dubbed "Shinamania."  That said, the tunes are easy to get into and the musicians are top notch.  There are plenty of drum break downs and quirky metallic percussion elements.  Moments are extremely calypso and others strike more towards Hawaiian.  Up pitched, guitar picking helps with the rhythms and lays a nice ground for the vocals.  The singers are often grouping and layering back and forth over each other.  It's extremely pleasing to the ears and highly danceable.  The VVers broke into spontaneous dancing the first two times this one spun.  No doubt, a keeper. 

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