Choice Cuts Vol.7

The last Choice Cuts was posted over four years ago, so I figured that it was high time for a new entry in this series.

It is once again time for me to reach back in the refrigerator for some "choice cuts". Each time, I will be featuring sizzling and succulent morsels that are grabbing my ear right now that range from funk to country, from afro-beat to garage rock, etc. Sometimes there will be a theme to these songs that ties them all together in a nice bow, but other times the songs featured will just be a musical hodgepodge of eclectic delights. Without further ado, lets see what "choice cuts" the vinyl butcher has prepared for us today.

Blo- Chant to Mother Earth
From: Chapter One [1973, EMI]

Last week I was in my car listening to the Nigeria 70 compilation from Strut Records when this song by Blo instantly captured my attention. It starts out with a shimmering cymbal splash that segues into a slow groove featuring bass, congo, drums and acidic guitar. Once the first vocals of the track appear, it's abundantly clear that the listener is experiencing the calm before the storm. Clearly, Blo aren't interested in rushing the proceedings any more than necessary. The first verse of the song doesn't even appear until the one-and-a-half minute mark, and subtly prepares the listener for a lysergic experience like no other.  The second verse is even more trippy than the first one with so many layers of reverb and echo that it sounds like the vocalist is singing in a cavernous hallway away from the rest of the band.

Right after the second verse came to a close, I said to myself "The only thing this song is missing is a head-spinning guitar solo." I must be clairvoyant because the band instantly complied with a seriously acid-fried fuzz-filled screecher of a guitar solo that goes on to dizzying heights while the tempo of the song steadily increases. The solo seems like it could go on forever, but it comes to a sudden halt just shy of the five minute mark, only to return to the mellow chant where the journey first started. This is one of those tracks that I could listen to on repeat, and always find something new that I hadn't heard before. Dig in, and trip out!

Television- Ain't That Nothin' (Early version)
From: Adventure  [2003, Elektra]

Typically, when the band Television is brought up in a conversation with music aficionados, it's followed with an endless flurry of accolades for their 1977 debut Marquee Moon. As understandable as this is, Television's second record Adventure featured a few songs on it that are well worth your time. One of these is an early instrumental version of "Ain't That Nothin'" that is held together nicely with a solid backbeat and steadily strummed guitar chords.   It sounds like a song that started out with modest ideas that exploded into a punk-inspired jam that ebbs and flows with various tempo changes and impeccably tight musicianship. What's amazing to me about this song is that it clocks in at close to ten minutes, but there is really no guitar solo to be found. Also, who would have expected the song to end so abruptly at the end when it's seemingly right about to pick up the pace again?  This was a happy surprise of a track that was left off the original release in 1978, and was finally made available to the listening public on the CD reissue of the record in 2003.

I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Choice Cuts, and would love to hear what you guys think about these tracks!


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