Bob Marley & the Wailers- Ceu- Fela Kuti & Egypt 80- Kitsune America
It seems that at this point there is little that needs to be said about the music of Bob Marley; the late reggae artist is universally loved all over the world and millions are capable of singing along to songs like "Could You Be Loved," "I Shot the Sheriff," "Get Up Stand Up" and "No Woman No Cry," all included on this 2-CD soundtrack companion to the movie Marley. So what do fans need to know about this album? There are quite a few early cuts here maybe not too familiar to fans who only know Bob's most popular songs: the R&B-informed "Corner Stone," early ska numbers "Judge Not" and "Simmer Down" and the early Rasta reggae of "Small Axe" among them. The bulk of the set though finds Marley Trenchtown rockin' through "Crazy Baldhead," a dub mix of "Exodus," a live version of "War" and a never-before-on-record live version of "Jammin'." Introspective numbers like "Redemption Song" and "Three Little Birds" are also among the 24 featured tracks.
Caravana Sereia Bloom
Inevitably all contemporary female Brazilian singers are compared to Bebel Gilberto; Ceu has a similarly bright voice but she uses it a little more forcefully than the laid-back Gilberto, grooving along here on the sunny psychedelic-tinged pop number "Falta De Ar." She also sings almost exclusively in Portuguese; the reggae tune "You Won't Regret It," the one-minute-long neo soul of "Fffree" and the slinky "Streets Bloom" are the only songs that are sung in English. That's okay; there's something very appealing about the breathy mystery that comes from not understanding the remainder of the lyrics.
Fela Kuti & Egypt 80
Live in Detroit 1986
The first CD of this 3-CD set is dedicated to just one song, "Just Like That." Fela introduces the song with a bit of a pithy explanation of how the song got it's title, about how in Africa you can be "doing nothing" and end up in prison "just like that" or how you can turn on the tap for water and find that there is none, "just like that." The late, oft-arrested Nigerian musician always peppered his music with political commentary and that fervency translated into a palpable urgency that's heard throughout his Afro-jazz/Latin-beat mash-up. Three other long jams round out this show, considered legendary by Fela aficionados.
French label Kitsune puts out lots of various artists compilations, usually focusing on up-and-coming European acts. This first look at North American artists, timed to coincide with the label's opening of a New York office, features cuts from the likes of Childish Gambino, St. Lucia, Dwntwn, Gigamesh, White Shadow, Selebrities and eight others.