MP3 Monday: July 17, 2006

I’m sticking with my recent international theme with this week’s MP3 Monday. As always, songs will stay on the server for one week’s time.
URUGUAY: La Conferencia Secreta del Toto’s Bar by Los Shakers. Originally released in 1968.
This is new territory for MP3 Monday; I’m actually posting the entire album instead of just one MP3. (It’s a zip file, about 32 megs.) I linked a few days ago to a video by Los Shakers, the preeminent ’60s band of South America, whose sound I just love. The song I linked (“Rompan Todo”) is dead-on Beatles circa 1964. But their masterpiece, never released in this country and rare everywhere, was La Conferencia Secreta del Toto’s Bar, recorded just before their breakup. If you want to continue the Fab Four metaphor, it’s their Sgt. Pepper’s, but I don’t want to make them sound like no-talent Liverpool copy machines. It mixes in the psych-pop sound of the Nuggets compilations with a sunny optimism and some inventive instrumentation — including some Afro-Uruguayan street rhythms on songs like “Candombe” that are sort of a Pet Sounds-goes-bossa-nova. Of particular note: the title track, “B.B.B.Band,” “El Pino y la Rosa,” and “Una Forma de Arco Iris.”
In case you can’t tell, I really, really like this one and highly recommend you download it. It’s apparently been forgotten by the outside world; my off-handed mention of it a while back promptly moved me to Hit No. 2 in a Google search for its name, and apparently only 17 users have a copy. Help revive it from history’s back pages!
BRAZIL: “Blues A Volonte” by Baden Powell. From the album Images On Guitar (1971).
No, not the guy who started the Boy Scouts: Baden Powell de Aquino, the Brazilian classical/bossa-nova guitarist, who here works up quite a groove.
Another classic South American album unavailable in the U.S., alas. The great scat vocalist is the French jazz singer Janine de Waleyne, a frequent Baden Powell collaborator.
ZAIRE/CONGO: “Yuda” by Dackin Dackino. From the album Afro-Rock, Vol. 1 (2001).
Another album I can’t recommend enough: a compilation of some terrific (and super obscure) Afrobeat from the 1970s. In case you thought Afrobeat was just Fela, this album will set you straight. It was compiled by a fellow named Duncan Brooker, who tracked down all the original vinyl over nearly a decade of roaming the continent. Here’s his story of how he did it, and it’s really a terrific read. I can’t say I know anything about Dackin Dackino, other than this song was apparently recorded in 1974 in what was then Zaire. And it’s pro-Mobutu, which may be suspect in retrospect.
The whole album is available on eMusic, which you really should subscribe to. So is a lot of Baden Powell.
Speaking of Fela, I found this pretty good mini-documentary on the genius himself on YouTube — produced by MTV, of all people, in 1985: