Thursday, August 26, 2010

Johnny Pate Outrageous

Johnny Pate is a jazz musician, composer, producer, and arranger. In the early 1960's he came to reknown for his collaboration as producer and arranger for Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions and other Chicago soul acts.

In the 70's he composed some of the most killer blaxploitation soundtracks. He was responsible for Shaft in Africa which, in my humble opinion, is better than the original. He also did the soundtracks for Brother on the Run, Bucktown, Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde, and others.

In 1970, prior to the soundtracks, he released an amazing, funky, orchestral, sweeping, cinematic opus entitled Outrageous. At the time, the album was a departure for Pate, but it was the forerunner of all the smokin', funky shit he recorded for film in the years to come.
Dusty Groove has thankfully reissued this album and it is marvelous. Check out these tunes:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Blast from my past #3

Siouxsie and the Banshees live in '81 playing their greatest song and featuring the late, great John McGeogh on guitar.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Calibro 35 Redux

I've got Calibro 35 on the mind again because I just got their new album 'Ritornano Quelli Di...'. If you're not familiar with this band you are really doing yourself a disservice. On their first album they brought us an amazing batch of classic Italian soundtrack covers with a couple original tunes that are so lovingly composed in the vein of the great poliziotteschis that, if you were none the wiser, you would have thought were composed by Cipriani or Micalizzi. I'm pleased to say they've given us the reciprocal here. Just a few great covers, but a whole bunch of originals. Again they wear their influences on their sleeves, but what influences! These guys are a must for any fan of 60's and 70's Italian cinema and the music of Morricone, Umiliani, Ferrio, Ortolani, and of course Micalizzi and Cipriani.
Have a listen

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Books I read July 2010

Neil Gaiman-Anansi Boys
Gaiman's Anansi Boys is similar in a lot of ways to his novel American Gods. Although I think most people would probably disagree with me, I actually liked this better than American Gods. I really enjoyed the main character Fat Charlie. I think the main reason I liked this better is because a friend of mine had been hyping American Gods to me for years before I finally read it, and it didn't really live up to the hype. Gaiman is a natural storyteller though, and I've enjoyed all his books so far.

Dashiell Hammett-The Dain Curse
Clever novel by Hammett following the Continental Op as he works a series of cases over a few years all centered around the same family. You can't go wrong here.

Dan Simmons-Muse of Fire
Simmons novelette takes place in the far future when humans have become subjected by a hierarchy of greater and more powerful beings, and a space-faring Shakespearean troupe holds the fate of mankind on their stage. Quite entertaining.

Beach Reading-I read these 5 novels at the beach this month

The Hard Case books, The Cutie and The Murderer Vine, were trite yet engaging forays into two very different American underbellies. In Blue City MacDonald has written a novel similar in theme to Hammett's Red Harvest, which many have claimed to be the basis for Yojimbo, Fistful of Dollars, and Walter Hill's Last Man Standing. Corwainer Smith writes strange sci-fi which didn't do much for me, and as for A Voyage to Arcturus, I picked it up because I had heard it was a lost classic, with some luminaries going so far as to call it the best novel of the 20th Century. I was hoping for something along the lines of The King in Yellow, or House on the Borderlands, or even The Worm Ouroboros, but alas it was not so. A rambling, metaphysical, albeit imaginative, and meandering novel that didn't really do anything for me. 

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky-Noon: 22nd Century
I have lavished praise on the Strugatskys in these pages before, and I'll do it again. I think there's nothing I would rather read these days than one of their novels. This is actually a collection of short stories written between 1960 and 1966 which feature many recurring characters collected loosely together as a novel. Striking, far-sighted, insightful, and always human. I love these guys.

Translated by W.S. Merwin-Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Written around the 13th or 14th Century, but probably based on older legend, this extremely readable verse translation is highly entertaining. Honor, chivalry, love, lust, timeless themes in a timeless poem.

Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon-Preacher

Someone recommended I check out Preacher. I found the first six volumes of the series at a second hand book store, snatched em up and plowed through them voraciously. This is not the best comic series I have read, but with its loads of profanity, graphic violence, blasphemous rants, and tits, it's one of the funnest. Now I've gotta find the last 3 volumes.