Reggae Covers: Jackie Paris & Dennis Brown – Daydream Believer (The Monkees)

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Another fairly straightforward cover of a Euro-North American hit, this a 1975 recording by American jazz guitarist Jackie Paris and the legendary Jamaican master Dennis Brown does little to alter the 1968 hit for The Monkees except the addition of a whole mess of percussion.

Oh, I could hide ‘neath the wings
Of the bluebird as she sings.
The six o’clock alarm would never ring.
But it rings and I rise,
Wipe the sleep out of my eyes.
My shavin’ razor’s cold and it stings.

Cheer up, Sleepy Jean.
Oh, what can it mean.
To a daydream believer
And a homecoming queen.

Reggae Covers: Buster All Stars – City Riot (Cannonball Adderley)

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This 1964 Buster All Stars cover of the 1962 original ‘The Jive Samba’ by Tampa, Florida’s Cannonball Adderley sounds like an homage by horns-mad Prince Buster to his American contemporary. The melodic identification is strong, but as ever the temptation to skank to an expert rocksteady shuffle occupies too much of my consciousness to give it much thought.

Hugh Masekela – Puffin’ On Down The Track

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Witbank South Africa’s most honored son trumpet master Hugh Masekela here gives the South African version of the train song. Masekela is also known for his song ‘Stimela (Coal Train),’ which would seem to lend a certain thematic flavor to his music. My kids loved this song when they were bouncing babies.

Note: Apologies for the vacant video. Apparently whoever owns Hugh’s rights is all hell up in the internet preventin’ and clearly doesn’t understand the value of videos like this for Hugh’s record sales. Sorry.

Shuggie Otis – Rainy Day

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A seasonally-appropriate Shuggie Otis instrumental jazz number from the masterful Inspiration Information album:

Orlando “Maraca” Valle – Párraga

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A little Cuban jazz flute for Tuesday morning. It’s a familiar tune, though I can’t say what tourist video or toothpaste commercial in which  I first encountered it.

Merle Travis – Tuck Me To Sleep In My Old ‘Tucky Home

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Rosewood, Kentucky‘s Merle Travis must be Chet Atkins‘ long-lost brother. Both bring something of jazz to the country oeuvre; never fail to mesmerize.

Archie Shepp & Abdullah Ibrahim – Left Alone

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One of those jazz songs that happens in your head on a dark night and never fades. Love the delicate interplay of sax & piano. For those not in the know, Dollar Brand was Ibrahim’s former name.

Ernest Ranglin – She Cute

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Jamaican reggae-jazz guitar master Ernest Ranglin is just so damn smooth, people! You get a groove like this and must wind up ya’ waist. A hip-hugging skank for lovers and slow-rollin’ street cats alike. Must hear:

Sam Mangwana – Selica

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Oh, how I had this in my ears this morning. The howling, anguished, pleading voice of a man; massed horns & trilling guitars. I watched the scene in my mind, feeling at the end the way one does at the close of a good book: wanting just one more scene, a dénouement, to hear what words could possibly answer a performance of this magnitude.

From the 1981 US release “Est Ce Que Tu Moyens?” on Star Musique Records.

Bembeya Jazz Band – Mami Wata

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A whole mess of horns, guitar, and drums. Vocals used as an instrument. Genius.

A ‘mami wata’ is a sort of African water nymph or siren, what they call ‘Mamadjo’ in Grenada.