Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Most Poliziotteschi compilations aim for more uptempo, rock and psychedelic oriented tracks to showcase the best of the genre. So I wanted to put together a mix that brings in the groovier, mid-tempo side of Polizio soundtracks. By no means do I neglect some heavier ones. It wouldn't be Polizio without them.



Friday, December 23, 2011

Nico Fidenco - Emanuelle Goes East (Black Emanuelle in Bangkok) (1976)


Nico Fidenco's Emanuelle Goes East was one of the seminal albums that set me on the Italian Groove odyssey. The film which stars Laura Gemser is the best and probably the most depraved of all the volumes of the Emanuelle series.

The soundtrack isn't as groove-driven as most of the stuff I've posted recently. On this effort Fidenco relies heavily on layered strings, horns, flutes, violins and an array of exotic instruments and aims for eclecticism in playing with the versions on the main theme. Tracks are variously named "Arabian Evasion Theme", "Thailand Sweet Sound" (though not sounding particularly Thai), "Belle's Orient Dance", "Sweet Bossa"...

"Sweet Variations" is probably my favorite track on this one. Rising and falling, lush strings are juxtaposed with the plucking of a banjo. Muted drums and electric guitars--an unusual mix... (takes a bit to load...)


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Edda Dell'Orso - Mondo Dell'Orso Vol. 5 - La Voce del Cinema Italiano (197x)

Edda Dell'Orso worked with virtually every great Italian film composer. It is her sweeping, breathless, typically wordless vocals that appear all over Italian films of the '60s and '70s. Even if you're not aware of it, you've surely heard her somewhere, most likely on any number of Ennio Morricone scored films like Once Upon a Time in the West or The Good, the Bad & the Ugly.  

This album is part of a five volume set. If you dig it, go buy the others...




Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Music That Doesn't Suck


I'm not a Christmas hater, but let's be honest, the great majority of Christmas music is annoying garbage. I dread the arrival of December when shops, adverts, etc, begin the Christmas music assault. The problem is not that we hear Christmas music everywhere; the problem is that we hear VERY BAD Christmas music everywhere. 

A special treat that we hope meets your approval...

Christmas Music That Doesn't Suck says all that needs to be said. Now download it and funk up your holidays.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Piero Umiliani - La Ragazza Dalla Pelle Di Luna (1970)

Piero Umiliani's La Ragazza Dalla Pelle Di Luna aka The Woman With the Skin of the Moon is propelled by a wicked title track and its shockingly delightful versions. This piano solo kickstarts the soundtrack nicely...

Umiliani is one of the great masters of the Italian Groove. I've found his later experimental phase a bit hard to penetrate, but his work is never bland or boring. We get a taste of some of his more daring stuff here (Il Santone Del'Isola, Danza Della Luna), but by and large, this is romance music, a score with more meditative little treasures that reveal themselves with every listen.

The music here is so fuggin' good it deserves a second sample, the beautiful "Funerailles d'un Heros".



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Guido & Maurizio de Angelis - Roma Violenta (1975)

Roma Violenta is one of more than 10 soundtracks scored by the legendarily prolific de Angelis brothers in 1975 alone. To my ear, the brothers de Angelis have one of the most recognizable sounds in all of Italian Cinemusic. 

This soundtrack is complete with the typical variations on the main theme we come to expect with Italian soundtracks: altered tempo, addition and subtraction of instruments from track to track, etc. Roma Violenta in particular forays into bossa nova and blues territory on certain efforts, and the tandem are particularly deadly when they bust out the electric guitars. 

The seven versions of "The Other Face" & "The Punitive Justice" are my particular favorites. Sample one here...

Then get the whole thing:


Friday, December 2, 2011

Franco Micalizzi - Laure (1976)

More Franco Micalizzi. I've never seen a majority of the films to the soundtracks I put up here. But I have seen Laure which is part of the Emanuelle series, the most famous of which star Laura Gemser (not the lady on the cover, but on the cover of the mix below this post).

Laure is a terribly cheesy softcore movie worth watching primarily for Micalizzi's groovy soundtrack. Start off with this bass and organ driven downtempo exotica-leaning track.

Then enjoy the whole damn thing here:


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Erotic Italia: The Insatiable Sounds of '70s Italian Cinema Vol. 2

More homespun Italian groove straight from the library of yours truly. Volume 2 is as groovy as the first. If you didn't grab that one, do so here. That's the incredibly hot Indonesian-blooded Laura Gemser on the cover looking her best (hope my blog doesn't get an X-Rating for showing some muff). Don't be shy about playing and replaying these awesome tunes; I haven't stopped listening to volume one since I posted it last month.

A pretty even selection of artists here. I had to find a way to get Nico Fidenco more involved in these mixes so there are three killer tracks of his including the opener, one of the coolest ever to start a mix (teased below in the sample). Listen to it and tell me that is not the way to kick off an awesome mix! Listeners of volume one may find the second volume a touch more mellow. Indeed, this blogger has located calmer spirits the last few weeks...

The teaser...

..and the whole shebang...



Friday, November 18, 2011

Armando Trovaioli - Una Magnum Special Per Tony Saitta aka Blazing Magnum (1976)

Without a doubt one of the best Poliziotteschi soundtracks, and by far my favorite Trovaioli album. This one smoothly transitions between downtempo lounge ballads and some hard swinging chase-type action sequences. It's an excellent commuting experience if that's your lot. Someday I'll get around to seeing the actual film, referred to by many Polizio and U.S. Action film buffs as something of a genre masterpiece, including a chase scene on par with those in Bullitt and The French Connection. The jury is out on that account, but I can vouch for the soundtrack. The gorgeous opening of "Louise", "Black Pearl Necklace", and the closing "The Story Concludes" are painfully beautiful romantic ballads. A must-have for Italian cineasts and groove-philes.

It doesn't get much chiller than this...


Monday, November 14, 2011

Arawak - Accadde A (1970)

I've never been able to find much info on this album. I've known a couple Arawak songs for some time as they appear on the famous Dusty Fingers collection. Locating a whole Arawak album was met with great excitement, and the record does not disappoint. For best results, play this rare Italian groove deep into the night.




Friday, November 11, 2011

Nico Fidenco: Black Emanuelle's Groove (197x)

A Collection of tracks done by Nico Fidenco from various Emanuelle sexploitation films starring Laura Gemser. Fidenco is one of my favorite soundtrack composers, he of the tight, sexy, deep groove. This one collects most of his best tracks from Emanuelle in America, Emanuelle Goes East, Emanuelle Versus Violence to Women...

Try it out...

The full slate:



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ennio Morricone - Morricone Happening: Acid Sides of the Maestro (196x-'7x)

If you've read this blog previously, you know that I will not shut up about Ennio Morricone. So I won't add to the hyperbole I've already thrust upon the readership. I'll just say that if there's a go-to Morricone album for me, this is the one. 

Whet your appetite on some psychedelic Morricone...

And now for the Main Course:




Thursday, October 27, 2011

Erotic Italia: The Insatiable Sounds of '70s Italian Cinema

Another mix I put together of stuff I've been into the last few weeks, this one heavy on Piero Umiliani who I'm currently digging. This collection just in time for winter's arrival. Find a warm spot, red wine or drink of choice, a hot babe and dig these chilled grooves.

First a sip..

Erotic Italia: The Insatiable Sounds of '70s Italian Cinema


Monday, October 24, 2011

Franco Micalizzi - Istantanea di una Rapina (Hold-Up) (1974)

Again, never seen this one. But any film that gets a 4.7 on imdb gets my respect. What I know for certain is that this is Italian Poliziotteschi at its best. Gorgeous soundtrack by Micalizzi. Lots of strings on this one, and a main theme that's reworked in a lot of interesting ways. Some raw guitar and breakbeat sections not unlike a lot of what we hear in Morricone's polizio work.

This particular song includes the flute and trumpet to give a particularly American Blaxploitation film feel. Check how the bongos/djembes are brought forward at about the one minute mark

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Piero Umiliani - La Ragazza Fuori Strada (1975)

I've been playing this soundtrack to a movie I've never seen pretty much all week. Doing a four hour commute on workdays in a city of god-knows-how-many-people (25 million?) and all that comes with it requires some form of therapy, and Piero Umiliani's gorgeous score has been the flavor of the week. The music is the perfect counterpoint to the madness of a big city. It's a complete tease of an album, full of songs that at first seem to be building slowly to some huge payoff. But one soon settles into the mellowest of grooves.

This one is a Moog-ish piece, a lovely number totally of its time:

La Ragazza Fuori Strada

Monday, October 17, 2011

Giuliano Sorgini - Under Pompelmo (1973)

Some psych, beat & rare groove here. This one is full of gems, the quality of which only various artist mixes are able to achieve. This ain't no va collection, just Giuliano Sorgini killing it. The 16 minute title track is a thing to behold, a legendary track among collectors of this sort.

Great breakbeat material on this teaser which has surely been sampled somewhere.

Under Pomplemo

Got this from Funky Frolic. Check his excellent site.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ennio Morricone - Molto Mondo Morricone (197x)

I'll start off this mondo madness with an album full of torrid, love-fueled, dripping-with-desire Ennio Morricone. Check this groovy cabaret-ish walking bassline track with some nasty horns and scatty vocal.

Morricone is a fitting starting point. Everything that draws me to the Euro lounge groove/cinematic funk genre starts and ends with Morricone. He is easily the most prolific and important pop musician Italy has ever produced, and along with the handful of British and American artists of the same era, among the most influential popular musicians of all time. Certainly when it comes to scoring a film, the man has no peer.

This album collects tracks from various Morricone-scored films from the late 1960s and early 1970s. This era of Morricone's work is some of the most glorious music you'll ever lay ears on, so incredibly sexy, and undoubtedly the soundtrack to the lives of thousands of lovers.

In addition to Morricone's mellow, unforced eroticism, there's also some very cool uptempo stuff, like the infectious "Intermezzino Pop" from Luciano Ercoli's Giallo film Le Foto Proibite Di Una Signora Per Bene (Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion).

Essential listening from a genius of our time.

Molto Mondo Morricone

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Euro Lounge Groove

I DJ-ed my friend Oliver's wedding last week. Had a blast first spinning some cocktail and jazz, a bit of Pachabel's D Minor for the bridal march, followed by erotic rare groove revelry at the Well Bar after dinner. Tales of extreme drunkeness and unique behavior... Props to Olly for putting on an excellent time. Best. Wedding. Ever.

In the next month High Plains Drifter will feature some of my favorite sleazy European albums from the '70s. Much of it will derive from sexploitation flicks, Library music, downtempo, lounge groove... I never know what to call it, but generally think of it as The Right Side of Cheese. Before that I thought I'd start by getting peeps in the mood with a custom compilation of some of the tunes from Olly's wedding reception party, mostly erotic Italian cinematic stuff, heavy on funky bass and breakbeats from the early to mid '70s with one or two non-Euro tracks thrown in. Here be the fruits...

First a little sample:


Monday, October 3, 2011

#1: Linton Kwesi Johnson - Forces of Victory (1979)


LKJ in Cardiff, 1980
While Ras Michael's Dadawah is the more intensely meditative, if not spiritual listening experience, it is LKJ's Forces of Victory that garners the top spot as the greatest reggae album on this deserted island.

Linton Kwesi Johnson was born in Jamaica, but like many Jamaicans in the middle to late 20th Century, his family moved to the UK, the Brixton suburb of London when Linton was a child. Johnson got his degree in sociology in London in the early '70s and later became a Black Panther with whom he began writing and organizing poetry sessions. Later he set his poetry, which dealt with socio-politcal problems like "fascism", racism, poverty in Thatcherist England, to infectious dub-heavy rhythms. His troika of releases in successive years starting in 1978, Dread, Beat and Blood, Forces of Victory and Bass Culture and later Making History, released in 1984, solidify him as one of the greatest artists of any genre.

The insert of Johnson's most recent release, Live in Paris, has this to say about his impressive resume:

"As recently as 1982, The Spectator (the oldest continuously published magazine in English) wrote that the Jamaican patois and phonetic spelling used by Johnson “wreaked havoc in schools and helped to create a generation of rioters and illiterates.” But this year Johnson was voted #22 in a poll of the top 100 Black Britons of all times. He became the first Black poet and the second living poet to be included in Penguin Books’ iconic Modern Classics series, with the publication of Mi Revalueshanary Fren. He was made an Honorary Visiting Professor of Middlesex University and received an Honorary Fellowship from his alma mater Goldsmiths College, part of the University of London. The UK’s original dub poet has come of age."

Get the album at Babe (B) Logue

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Saturday, October 1, 2011

#2: Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus - Dadawah Peace & Love (1974)

"The hotter the battle is the sweeter Jah victory..." Underappreciated, underrated, mostly unknown, this is Ras Michael's opus to Jah, the ultimate Nyabinghi evangelical Rastafarian experience. Sparse, dark, foreboding, ominous, positive, uplifting. One imagines observing the gathering through a cloud of ganja from just outside the group's drum circle, where in reality drummings and chantings would be interspersed with poetry and speeches hailing Jah Rastafari--the Rastas were true bohemians. Beautiful piano and hand drums from the dark Jamaican night couple with Ras Michael's calls for brotherhood and repatriation to Zion.

Link to Dadawah at this interestingly named site...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

#3: Yabby You - Jesus Dread 1972-1977

A double disc compilation of 47 killer tracks with a list of star artists--King Tubby, Tommy McCook, Dillinger, Big Youth and Michael Rose performing on Yabby You penned and produced rhythms. Yabby You's work in the six year stretch between 1972-'77 is the pinnacle of deep roots reggae. If you are not a fan of spectacularly raw, versioning roots reggae, then this album is definitely not for you. If not, check your soul because the problem is definitely not with the music.

Link to Jesus Dread at Oufarkhan.

Vivien Jackson, aka Yabby You

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

#4: Hugh Mundell - Africa Must Be Free by 1983 (1978)

Hugh Mundell wrote and cut every one of these songs on this his debut album when he was 16 years old with the help of some people with a bit of experience--Jacob Miller, Prince Jammy, Robbie Shakespeare, Lee Perry recording two of the songs and Augustus Pablo producing and supervising the sessions. The socially conscious young Rastafarian delivers an impassioned statement on society, religion and politics. The sad irony to the title is that Mundell was murdered in 1983.

The most recent release of this album comes with the dub versions tacked on, making it a double album of sorts.

Hugh Mundell and Augustus Pablo

Sunday, September 25, 2011

#5: Burning Spear - Hail H.I.M. (1980)

Burning Spear's Marcus Garvey is rightly acknowledged by reggae fanatics as among the greatest albums ever cut. But for me his Hail H.I.M., a tribute to Haile Selassie, is slightly the better work. Maybe its my penchant for dub roots and lots of negative space that lets the music breathe, a sound that defines this album, that acts as the decisive factor. Like LKJ's Dread Beat An' Blood (#10 on the Desert Island list), this is a record with songs like "Foggy Road" that can and should be cranked to extreme volumes...it's the kind of music one should not just listen too, but feel.. as in let the literal vibrations wreak havoc upon your desktop/home stereo/headphones. When I get serious about listening, I bust out the Skullcandy, a headphone I cannot recommend highly enough.

Get Hail H.I.M. at Dub Roots

Winston Rodney, aka Burning Spear

Friday, September 23, 2011

#6: Ini Kamoze - Ini Kamoze (1983)

I'm not a real big fan of Ini Kamoze's work after this, but this album he cut with Sly & Robbie is sick. Honestly, just about anyone could have laid some vocals over these rhythms and the record would still be hot, but the youthful Kamoze lays down the perfect vocal for this session and vaults the album into one of the greatest ever recorded. Only 6 songs with lots of jamming and the familiar, heavy Sly & Robbie bass and drum.The greatest of the latest that reggae had to offer before digital dancehall ruined the party...for me at least.

Get it over at Global Groove.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

#7: Keith Hudson - Flesh of My Skin, Blood of My Blood (1974)

The darkest of dark roots that reggae has to offer. Not one to put on at a party. Rather, wait until all but a few of your guests go home, dim the lights, light some candles and a spliff and take the trip. A socio-political black [Jamaican] album, an indictment on colonial culture, a call to arms and revolution to blacks delivered with some great, great rhythms. Check the swamp-drenched understated funk rhythms of "Darkest Night", "Talk Some Sense" and the dub "My Nocturne". One of the top ranking, most unique reggae albums from one of its most under-appreciated talents.

Link to Flesh of My Skin, Blood of My Blood 

Monday, September 19, 2011

#8: Sugar Minott - At Studio One (197x)

Sugar Minott had the sweetest voice in reggae. He was given the best of the best rhythms from Coxsone Dodd's Studio One and makes good on each and every one. It's truly sickening how many classic songs there are here. It does, however, get docked a few notches to #8 by virtue of being a collection. Otherwise, the selections here are pretty much unsurpassed.

As always with proper releases, buy it if you like it. This one is available through Soul Jazz Records

Saturday, September 17, 2011

#9: Ken Boothe - Black, Gold & Green (1972)

Technically Rocksteady, proto-regggae or whatever you want to call it, and not an obvious choice even as the best Ken Boothe album as most would probably nominate his Everything I Own, which is also terrific. This was one of the first reggae/rocksteady albums I ever bought, as much a soul record as anything that falls under the reggae heading. I've always felt Boothe had the best, most soulful voice in reggae, something like Jamaica's Al Green. I love every song on this record. When people talk of the uplifting, positive vibrations of reggae music, this is the kind of stuff they mean.

Link to Black, Gold & Green

Friday, September 16, 2011

#10: Linton Kwesi Johnson - Dread Beat An' Blood (1978)


The first of two albums from dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson that I rate in my top ten. Several tracks from Dread Beat An' Blood have been staples in my own DJ sets for years, perfect because of the deep bass and negative space that gets people feeling it. It's the kind of foreground music you can play at max volume without disturbing those whom the vibe is lost on. Most of the time, though, even the unknowing are sucked into the LKJ groove.

Link to Babe(B)logue site for the download. Scroll to the comments. After you choose Sharebee.com, take the Megaupload option.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Electric Blues from the Sahara

In 1999 I acquired a copy of an Ali Farka Toure album. It was my introduction to African music. Ali was first described to me as the "African Bob Marley", a comment which, stereotypical of an American university student, initially appealed to me. It's an assertion which now comes off as ridiculously under-informed, a shortcut to thinking as Mr. Morrison would say. Though I appreciated its novelty, the affair was brief, the music didn't stick, and I was in the midst of discovering Miles Davis, so perhaps I wasn't quite ready for it.

African music has come a long way in the decade or so since my first foray into it, and we no longer need to make unthinking statements like, "The African Bob Marley". Unquestionably, the internet has been the harbinger of musical fortune when it comes to the unearthing of rare treasures from around the globe. I think it's fair to say our musical sensibilities, if we allow them to take hold, are able to grow exponentially in the climate fostered by the world of the internet. The good people who procure and share the wealth have become almost as important as the music itself, for without them we would never be able to hear and learn about stuff like Desert Blues. It ultimately allows us to extend beyond the typically narrow temporal, race and gender-specific fields of vision in which we tend to pigeonhole ourselves. For me at least, music has always been the central gateway from which I set out to discover unfamiliar histories and cultures. Undoubtedly, an understanding of the various musics of a people suggests at least some understanding of their traditions and history, etc.

Late 2004 I had my precipitating African music moment when I first heard Tinariwen's Amassakoul. I felt like I was in possession of something truly rare and significant. Cranking that album to deafening levels in my Circuit City bought Sennheisers brought me tears of euphoria. I simply could not believe this kind of music existed. In many ways it was the album that set me on the path of discovery. Like Steve Martin enthusiastically exclaimed when hearing a jazz number in The Jerk: "If this is out there, think how much more is out there!"
Ali Farka Toure ca. early 1970s
At that time there was literally one internet page (that I could find) that had any unique biographical information on Tinariwen. Now the band is a huge international success, their most recent album involving a collaboration with the guys from TV on the Radio. As great as they still are, nothing the band has done since approaches the high energy, electric Amassakoul. The last several years have seen a great number of recordings from Tuareg bands like Tartit and Group Inerane and, while not nearly as well-known internationally, they should be among the earliest selections if one wishes to reference the rawest of the Desert Blues sound.

Lobi Traore
Martin Scorsese's first volume of his Blues series did a lot to bring African Blues into the the public eye. In it the great Corey Harris visits West Africa and meets various musicians, Ali Farka Toure, Toumani Diabate and Malian star Habibe Koite among them. The connection between American bluesmen like John Lee Hooker and Ali are highlighted. Early deep Delta Blues performers like Charley Patton and Son House are juxtaposed with indigenous African rhythms, revealing some of the similarities and the reciprocity between African and Delta Blues.

A great website for music of this sort and other African stuff is freedomblues. I've been visiting the site for years and owe a great thanks to nauma for his fantastic shares and information over there.

The mix here will not surprise anyone with deeper interest in Desert Blues. It's more of a primer, a selection of the songs that have been with me the last several years. If you have any appreciation for American Blues and an operative pulse, I guarantee you cannot possibly be disappointed with this selection.

Just a song before you go: