The Capitalist Blues. Too right mate. The third LP from former Carolina Chocolate Drop member Leyla McCalla finds her delving deeper into the folk sounds of her ancestry. That means New Orleans jazz, Haitian rara, Zydeco and early blues all get a look in here. The resulting record is a damn good time for all concerned.
Vinyl LP £21.49 JV33570154
LP on Jazz Village.
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CD £9.99 JV570154
CD on Jazz Village.
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Reader fear not! I know that title might be off putting. You’re worried this music is going to be preachy and glum (thought that’s not always a bad thing). You might already be aware that capitalism is bad, or maybe you think that it’s actually good (you’re wrong). Whatever your reaction to the title of Leyla McCalla’s Capitalist Blues I think there might be something hear worth listening to.
McCalla is part of the long traditions of New Orleans jazz and all the many styles that bled into it, including the music of her own Haitian heritage. This means there are gently lolloping horn melodies, and chaotic swinging calypso rhythms and a lot (A LOT) of banjo. This also means that while yes, there are some tracks on which McCalla ruminates on the inequalities inherent to the economic system under which we labour (very wittily I might add), she also knows how to kick start a party. Album closer ‘Settle Down’ is an absolute riot to listen to, McCalla and her band sound like they’re in the midst of an utterly joyous party, and have the generosity to ask us along.
But yes, capitalism. If that’s your preferred economic system, I wouldn’t recommend listening to the heartbreaking ‘Money is King’ where McCalla plainly states the sad truth that often, dogs and rich murderers are treated better than the poor. These two moods can be difficult to balance, but McCalla pulls it off with a charisma that makes Capitalist Blues impossible to dislike.
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