On Recent Vinyl Rotation: Island Digs!

I recently went to Gran Canaria for a short vacation. The island itself is beautiful, situated west from the West African shore it offers beautiful beaches, dunes, impressive mountains and 362 days of sun each year. One thing I always do before I head somewhere else: checking for record stores!

And indeed there is one situated in the capital Las Palmas called 33 Revoluciones. We spent some afternoon digging there and this are the things I found:

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Edgar Froese – Aqua (1975, Virgin)

Edgar Froese is most famous for being one of the founders and key figures of Tangerine Dream, but he also released some stellar solo albums, with this being his debut. It was released in two different mixes – one on Brain and one on Virgin – and features beautiful ambient Berlin School music, with an incredibly calm and meditative aquatic feel. His experimentation on the synthesizers is terrific, producing aquatic sounds like synth bubbles and flowing water, making this an interesting piece of electronic art music.

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Cat Mother and The All-Night Newsboys – The Street Giveth.. And The Street Taketh Away (1969, Polydor)

This record caught my eye because it is one of the two records Jimi Hendrix produced in his lifetime, which were a Non-Hendrix record. The album starts with the chart hit the band had in 69: Good Old Rock N Roll. It’s a medley of Rock N Roll songs from the fifties, which I do not care for at all, but the rest of the album features an intriguing mix of Blues Rock, Country and Psychedelia. The last song “Song in ‘A'” is definitely my favorite on here, being a 9:35 long organ fuzz freakout fest.

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Touch – Touch (1969, Deram)

This is the only album the Psychedelic Rock band Touch ever made. The Co-Founder Don Galluci was famous for playing the keyboard riff on The Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie”, but had to leave the band afterward because he was only 15 and could not tour with them. After founding Don & The Goodtimes, he started to form Touch, which released this Psychedelic gem, featuring his unique keyboard play very prominently. The recording sessions were held in a party-like atmosphere with illustrious guest like Grace Slick, Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger and this definitely reflects on the album: It is a powerful psych trip with a mind-blowing keyboard play (which sometimes even more sounds like an organ) that ought to be heard.

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Richie Havens – Alarm Clock (1970, Stormy Forest)

Richie Havens is easily the most soulful Folk Rock singer I have ever heard. You might know him from opening the Woodstock Festival with his outstanding interpretation of the “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” spiritual, his “Freedom” song. Besides his incredibly skillful rhythmic guitar play, his voice is one-of-a-kind: raspy, deep and soulful. Alarm Clock is his 7th album, starting with a beautiful interpretation of Harrisons’s “Here Comes The Sun”. The rest of the album features his own compositions and a beautiful blend of Folk, Blues and Soul, with his powerful voice, striking guitar play and almost experimental solo instrumental parts which make this a compelling listen.

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Archie Shepp – Kwanza (1974, Impulse!)

Kwanza was recorded in 1968 and 1969 with an incredible large line up featuring Grachan Moncur III, Robin Kenyatta, Beaver Harris, Cecil Payne and Leon Thomas, just to name a few. It was released five years after the recordings on Impulse! and might be one of the lesser known Archie Shepp recordings, but definitely an very interesting one: The large casts results in a big band feeling all over the record. “Back Back” and “Slow Drag” are heavily funky, with repetitive striking bass lines, “Free At Last” features Leon Thomas’ yodeling in a beautiful way and “Bakai” has an incredible hazy desert feel to it.

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George Russell Sextet with Guest Artist Don Cherry – At Beethoven Hall (1965, SABA)

The American Avantgarde Jazz pianist, composer and music theorist George Russell was one of the key figures responsible for the development of Modal Jazz with his Lydian Chromatic Theory. In 1964, he moved to Scandinavia and toured for five years with his sextet throughout Europe. This record was recorded live at the Beethoven Hall in Stuttgart, Germany in 1965. George Russell’s subtle piano play is accompanied by Cameron Brown (Bass), Al Heath (Drums), Ray Pitts (Tenor Saxophone), Brian Trentham (Trombone) and Bertil Löfgren and Don Cherry both on Trumpet, making this a great Free Avantgarde Jazz live recording.

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Stephan Micus – Till The End Of Time (1978, JAPO)

The German musician Stephan Micus is experimenting here with interesting traditional instruments like Table Harp, Zither and Kortholt. Those intstruments give the record a haunting and meditative feel, that spans over the two side long tracks, occasionally mixed up with soothing acoustic guitar and subtle vocals. An intriguing acoustic world music record with an unique soundscape.

Check out the needle drops of the records above in the video below:

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