06/21/2012 03:33 pm ET Updated Aug 21, 2012

Give the Drummer Some 's Favorite Downloads From the MP3 Blogosphere

Originally posted on WFMU's Beware of the Blog.

Three weeks after sharing Soul Safari's posting of the Percy Sledge rarity Soul Africa, I'm thrilled to link to yet another unknown bolt from the blue, Electric Jive's stellar offering of a Timmy Thomas LP recorded live in South Africa in 1978. (See our first item, below.) History hasn't placed Thomas's 1972 anthem "Why Can't We Live Together" on the same iconic pedestal as Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?," but then, history hadn't heard this mind-blowing performance by Thomas of his plea for racial harmony before an adoring audience in Apartheid-riven South Africa.

The recent resurfacing of the Percy Sledge and Timmy Thomas recordings inspired me to produce this broadcast of my radio show, Give the Drummer Some, featuring American soul and jazz artists performing on African soil.

Timmy Thomas ~ Live in Africa
(Blog: Electric Jive)

Tell Me Why, Tell Me Why, Tell Me Why

It is a good time to revive that anthem that made Timmy Thomas so special to millions of South Africans. Milner Park Stadium, Johannesburg in December 1978 was an edgy place for thousands of black South Africans to sing songs like "Why Can't We Live Together" at a live concert. The song again became a big hit on the eve of South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994. For many, the song still holds relevance today, in South Africa and elsewhere in the world.

(Description from Chris Albertyn, at Electric Jive)

Stephen McCraven ~ Wooley the Newt
(Blog: Boxes of Toys)

McCraven Image

I don't know about holy grail, but this lovely private press improv swinger sure is a highly coveted find. The insipid phraseology "spiritual jazz" is usually applied to LPs like this, but don't let that dampen your curiosity.

Various ~ Performance (OST)
(Blog: Earl's Psychedelic Garden)

Mick Plays a Reclusive, Eccentric Former Rock Star

"Kick ass soundtrack to a weird mediocre film. The Randy Newman opener is a real gem as he rocks out like never before or since. Ry Cooder's guitar shines throughout. Enjoy."

(Description by 1x1head, at One Half Hillbilly, One Half Punk)

Buck Black ~ Mississippi Bluze Mass
(Blog: Flabbergasted Vibes)

Dave Dixon, Phone Home

"The trippy album cover design and the weird name are enough to make most people who stumble across this album think that it's going to be a lost psychedelic funk freakout. It's not. There's barely any songs that crack the three-minute mark and the only solos are taken by saxophone and trumpet (or in one case, harmonica); with the exception of the tune "Stuff I Uze" which seems to be a cuckold's love song to a drug habit, there is very little here to even place this record in the hazy days of 1973. Even calling the album "funk" (as record dealers seem to have done) is misleading, unless we understand "funk" in the way it was thought of perhaps in the late 60s rather than the early 70s. Buck "D.D." Black owes a lot to sweaty Southern soul of early Stax and Muscle Shoals and none of these songs would sound out-of-place nestled in that body of work. The horn arrangements are meticulously written and executed, the rhythm section is tight as Botox, and Buck's vocals cover a wide range of soulful. Well then, why was this record totally overlooked and to this day (as far I know) remained without a reissue? Good question."

(Excerpt of a description by Flabbergast, at Flabbergasted Vibes)

Minzoto ya Zaïre ~ Rythme Takinga
(Blog: Oro)

Congolese Cowboy Rumba

"In the 1950s, Lipopo (aka Leopoldville, now Kinshasa) saw its population swell to 400,000. More than half were under 18. There were already few economic opportunities for them and, with rebellion and war in the interior, even more youth ventured to the capital. At the end of the 1950s, several movie theatres opened up in the popular neighborhoods and youth flocked to them. Westerns, especially those with the adventures of Buffalo Bill and Pecos Bill, were wildly successful. So much so that youth gangs popped up, taking on American names like Bills or Yankees of Ngiri-Ngiri and riding bicycle-horses through the streets and chanting Bill-Oyee! Young delinquents found their culture hero in the buffalo hunter Bill. This phenomenon of the Bills who spoke Hindoubill had a wide impact: the late Mzee Kabila was also known as Sheriff and favored Stetson hats (and, in the past weeks, you may have seen Raila Odinga with a cowboy hat in Kenya). At about the same time, Jef De Laet, a Belgian Scheutist, arrived in Lipopo. After teaching in Matete, he became the parish priest of Ngiri-Ngiri where the Bills roamed and started working with the youth. Father Jef quickly became known as 'Pere Buffalo' through his work of channeling youth energies into a positive and more organized movement, following the example of the Flemish 'Catholic Worker Youth'. In the latter half of the 1960s, he helped start Minzoto Ya Zaire (and its successors), The Stars of Zaire, as well as a cultural centre, Cabaret Liyoto, which featured a recording studio."

(Description by Pieter, at Sea Never Dry)

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