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Wrasse Vinyl, CD & tapes from this label at Norman Records

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David Attenborough
My Field Recordings from Across the Planet

The People’s Princess aka David Attenborough releases a collection of field recordings that he made in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Surprisingly this set is more Alan Lomax than Chris Watson - many of the tracks here are tapes of indigenous musics from Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Madagascar and many other places Attenborough went on his travels. My Field Recordings From Across The Globe comes with photographs and extensive liner notes.
  • CD (WRASS358)

Various
Zaire 74

Excellent documentation of the excellent festival in Zaire in 1974. The most famous part of the event was the Muhammad Ali and George Foreman fight,followed by sets by American artists like James Brown, but this compilation focuses on the lesser-considered performances by African artists. Zaire 74 features complete sets from acts including Abumba Masikini, Miriam Makeba and Tabu Ley Rochereau! Presented on two CDs or three LPs,  with an accompanying booklet.
  • Vinyl Triple LP (WRASS350)

Serge Gainsbourg
Aux Armes Et Caetera EP

The Wrasse label are bringing a few of old Gallic smoothie Serge Gainsbourg’s singles back into circulation on limited edition 7 inches, and Aux Armes Et Caetera is one of them. Here we have the original tracks, plus the surprising addition of dub versions. It would never have occurred to me to combine Serge and dub, but why should labels do what you expect?

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin
Jane and Serge 1973

One for you collectors out there. A limited edition boxed set of the Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin albums “Di Doo Dah” and “Vu De L’Exterieur” on CD. The latter came in 1973 and was the next album from the French master after the forever brilliant “Histoire de Melody Nelson” while “Di Doo Dah” is Birkin’s 1973 solo album which is obviously lathered in Gainsbourg style. 2CD, DVD and a book of other goodness.

Fela Kuti
He Miss Road

‘He Miss Road’ was created during one of Fela Kuti's most productive periods as an artist. This lush vinyl reissue (on long time Kuti curators Knitting Factory records) presents the fruit of lavish 70s funk combining with Fela's trademark Afrobeat sound. Using Ginger Baker as producer adds a nice footnote along with an opulent and psychedelic twist. Backed up steadfastly by Fela's Africa 70 band it's almost impossible not to feel the groove.

Fela Kuti
Sorrow Tears & Blood

'Sorrow Tears & Blood' is one of Fela Kuti's most politically significant records, made with the Soweto Uprising of South Africa which staunchly rejected the continued attempt to enforce colonial ideology in colleges, such as the teaching of Afrikaans. Unlike many of Fela Kuti's records, the sense of joy found in funk and jazz rhythms is reduced, with a more brash, lyrical confrontation taking to the forefront. 

Fela Kuti
Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense

'Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense' offers up three massively long compositions from Fela Kuti that delve deeply into his interest in mixing Afrobeat with soul, while still maintaining a strong amount of horns. There's also signs of the politically charged artist listeners of Fela Kuti will have come to expect in the thirty-minute, two-part "Look and Love", which is about an attack on his hometown from Nigerian soldiers.

Fela Kuti
Expensive Shit

Nigerian police, seeking to frame Fela Kuti, tried to plant a joint of marijuana on him during a gathering at his home. Wise to their plan, he quickly swallowed the joint. However, the police threw him in jail to wait for the evidence to make its way through his system. With some wily plotting Fela escaped charges and subsequently produced this opus mocking the police for wasting resources on hassling him instead of furthering justice in Nigeria. Opening brass sounds give way to interplay between Fela’s narration about the episode and responses from his group of female singers.