Ready for Christmas! New and old music and video releases


…with comments from Alan Dearling


On Youtube we are informed: “OTYKEN is an ethno-musical group from Siberia. The main members of the group are the Chulyms (a small indigenous people of central Siberia).” It almost sounds like the ultimate spoof band, Siberian Female Chillums, plus a few false beards! Throat-singing, jaws’ harps (vargans) interspersed with strange stringed and drum musical sounds… traditional music gone through a veritable shredder, plus more than a shade of K-Pop (Korean pop, methinks). An on-line sensation.

From Russia with love?

Otyken: ‘Legend’:

Otyken: ‘Storm’ (with additional screams and heavy-metalness):

But they are causing ripples and waves across Europe. Weird-indie, ‘yes, indeedy’ (to steal a phrase from Gene Kelly!)…

And, Billx & Otyken – My wing (Rave music edit):

Lady Blackbird – Black Acid Soul deluxe (double CD)

The deluxe double release of ‘Black Acid Soul’ with a second CD of additional tracks is pretty much  my favourite album of 2022. Think laid-back blues and jazz clubs. Old Skool with a coating of the new.  It’s a musical space crammed full of purity, musical joy, sadness – emotion-filled jazz with many resonances of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. A finely crafted set of songs to highlight the songstress skills of Lady Blackbird, with ripples of bass, piano – melodic and soulful, but also stripped to the bare component parts. The album was produced by Chris Seefried and features an absolutely stellar band including former Miles Davis pianist, Deron Johnson

A thing of joy for anyone who enjoys this genre and is looking for high quality playing and singing. It’s now the original album, plus 11 additional recordings including a number of remixes. It’s a fascinating blend of beguiling blues. The beginnings of an illustrious and transcendent career for Marley Munroe. As one Italian reviewer on amazon says:  “Una voce, a mio giudizio, calda ed avvolgente”  (A voice, in my opinion, warm and enveloping).

One of the tracks from the second CD: ‘I am what I am’:

And, ‘It’ll Never Happen Again (Live at Capitol “A”):

Ezra Collective – Where I’m meant to be

Sometimes billed as a ‘Hip-Hop’ band, the Ezra Collective are much, much more. An exhilarating British jazz-based collective, led by Femi Koleoso, with many guests including Sampa The Great, Kojey Radical, Emile Sandé, Steve McQueen, and Nao. MOBO best jazz act winners 2022, and well-deserved. The Guardian calls them ‘brilliant!’ Stellar playing, ‘genre-hopping’ is much more accurate. What it is says on Bandcamp: “Ezra Collective’s new era, a venture in discovered maturity and raised stakes, will be defined by their second album.

‘Where I’m Meant To Be’ is a thumping celebration of life.

A natural product of years improvising together on-stage, the album will light up sweaty dance floors and soundtrack dinner parties in equal measure”

Absolutely fantabadosie… ‘Victory Dance’ video:

Backstage ‘No confusion’:     ideos/806260113820960

Horace Andy – Midnight Rocker

A reggae survivor.  (He’s actually almost exactly the same age as me: 72 –next birthday). Perhaps best known, and loved, for his vocal contributions to all five of the Massive Attack albums. Really one of the greats of reggae and much respected in his home country of Jamaica.  And this new album, released earlier in 2022 is a fine addition. Lots of instant classic songs and ear-worms.  It’s produced by Adrian Sherwood of On-U Sound. Apparently, Andy’s vocals were recorded in Jamaica, with the tracks sent back and forth between vocalist and producer until they were complete.  Check it out. Possibly the best new reggae album of the year.

I fell for its charms when I first heard the single, written for Horace by his friend Jeb Loy Nichols:

‘Try Love’:

And an excerpt from Jeb Loy:

From On-U Sound we find out more about this relationship:

“Jeb Loy wrote three songs for Horace Andy on Midnight Rocker: ‘Easy Money’, ‘Today Is Right Here’, and ‘Try Love’. When asked about his relationship with Horace Jeb Loy said:

“I first met Horace in 2001 when I was asked to both open and DJ for him on a tour of Britain. Horace was doing an acoustic show, just a guitarist and a percussionist. We all shared a van and Horace was in charge of the video player. His favourite videos were highlights of Muhammed Ali’s fights, Enter The Dragon with Bruce Lee, The Making of Songs In The Key Of Life, and The Best Of Richard Pryor. It was, from the beginning, a pure joy. On the second day he began referring to me as Conscience Brother. The entire tour was a blessing. Thanks Horace.”

Jeb Loy’s album track, ‘The United States Of The Broken Hearted’ is here:

Ministry of Echology

Reggae music-makers from Vilnius in Lithuania. But now entering into new musical territories. Ugnius from the band contacted me asking me to check out their new album:

Ministry of Echology have just released their 4th album HORIZON. 

This album was created in Vilnius, Lithuania and the dubby sound of it is what the band is like in their live concerts. After three initial albums Ministry of Echology opened up to the exploration of multiple genres, soaking them in what they love about reggae and dub – word, sound and power. 

You already heard its first single ‘Čiobreliai’ that I sent you a few weeks ago and the album just showed up online today:

See what you think… good to see and hear a soul-gospel-reggae-techno collision alive and well in the Baltic States.

Here’s the video for the single, ‘Čiobreliai’ (meaning ‘Thyme’ in Lithuanian). Definitely a ‘rave’ anthem:

The Doors – Paris Blues

“I wish I was a girl of sixteen

Be the queen of the magazine

I’d drive around in a great big car

I’d see the world as a great big dream

All night long you could hear me scream

Hear me scream”

Here’s an unofficial, evocative video as background for the ‘Paris Blues’ track. Not the bestest best of The Doors’ blues, but good to have out and about – Jim’s voice and some great blues noodling on guitar and organ.

The album I learned was released on vinyl for Record Store Day, November 2022. So, Paris Blues is a compilation of some of The Doors’ live blues recordings both in the studio and on the stage. The never-before-released track ‘Paris Blues’ is the jewel in proverbial crown. And the original artwork created for album was created by Robby Krieger. From (but not too sure who wrote these notes):

“An original blues song written by the band, the track was recorded during one of the band’s recording sessions for either The Soft Parade or LA Woman (no one seems to remember). The master tape of the song was lost, and the only surviving copy was given to Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek. Sadly, this copy was partially damaged by his son Pablo — a toddler at the time — who recorded over a few short parts. Now, through some creative editing, the song has been rescued from obscurity for the new album.

Other highlights include two previously unreleased live recordings of singer Jim Morrison and Krieger performing as a duo at a benefit for Norman Mailer’s mayoral campaign on May 31, 1969, in West Hollywood. The first song is ‘I Will Never Be Untrue’, a band original written for, but left off of, 1970’s Morrison Hotel. The other is a cover of Robert Johnson’s ‘Me And The Devil Blues’. Both songs were recorded by Frank Lisciandro, a filmmaker who befriended Manzarek and Morrison when all three attended the film program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Paris Blues also contains a pair of outtakes recorded during the band’s sessions for 1969’s The Soft Parade – ‘(You Need Meat) Don’t Go No Further’ and ‘I’m Your Doctor’. Both feature Manzarek on vocals backed by Krieger and drummer John Densmore. In 2019, bass by Robert DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots was added to the songs.

The flipside of Paris Blues collects three songs from Live in Vancouver 1970, a concert album released in 2010 by The Doors’ Bright Midnight Archive label. Recorded during the band’s 1970 tour, these live tracks spotlight legendary bluesman Albert King, who joined the band onstage during its June 6, 1970, show at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. Morrison’s introduction of King is included along with live versions of ‘Little Red Rooster’, ‘Rock Me Baby’, and ‘Who Do You Love?’ ”

A wonderfully demented Jim vocal on ‘Little Red Rooster’:


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