Tag Archives: chicago

Los Apartamentos – Water Di Garden


Los Apartamentos’ debut Lp – Water Di Garden – Due out April 2019

If you know Mento, you’ll know Count Lasher’s track for Stanley Motta, ‘Water The Garden’, all about a young man who is unhappily exposed, and haffi ‘Reel Out The Hose’ while watering his lady boss’s jardin, and hopefully not a Jardin Publique as I&I French would a say, or things could have got illegal, yah get mi Fam?

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So while mooching about the Mento driven corners of the internet one ‘Winston’ of Mento band Los Apartamentos and I got in touch with one another. I had immediately responded favourably to the tongue in cheek band name, as I’ve always wanted to have a Pan Pipe group called ‘Los Pastillas Urinarios’ (the toilet blocks, you know those rancid chunks of pineapple in the urinals, uh huh .. yep that.. ), and I think Winston could spot a fellow lover of Jamaican Mento music too, as did I.

These boys look interesting I muttered to myself while flicking through Instagram. Winston by then had also hooked up with my radio show bigmikeydread reggae radio, and he showed an obvious love for the Mento I was playing on it, educating me about Calypso in Germany, where the band hails from and which has a long history of interest in Calypso and Mento; as do one or two other northern European countries like the Netherlands and Belgium.

Then a short while ago he posted a video of a tourist postcard which played Mento, one of those old records on cardboard affairs. It took me a while to realise it wasn’t a 50s-60s antique collector’s item, but his band’s promotional item, for an Lp entitled ‘Water Di Garden’ due out on April 19th on Jump Up Records. www.jumpuprecords.com

I expressed an interest and today his ‘promo pack’ landed, the postcard went straight on my turntable, and you can view a video of it spinning below. I do apologise that the sound on my short video is woeful, but it’s such a nice object, I had to show you all.

Lost Apartamentos
German Mento band Los Apartamentos are busy playing Mento, the lost music of Jamaica

Basically the guys came together out of a love of Ska and Jamaican music in the city of Cologne, trading old instruments for new ones, they built a bass lammelophone (Rhumba Box) and off they went. Spreading the music and the joy for a few years before being invited to record an album by Chuck Wren of Jump Up Records.

Rather wonderfully they recorded to one Mic, just as the producers of early Mento had during the balmy night time recording sessions of noisy 1950s Kingston, and that Lp of one take renderings of vintage Mento songs is released in April of 2019. I’ll definitely be checking it out, the small excerpt on the postcard promo sounds pukka, and that’s pukka to the ears of a highly over-critical lover of Mento who would tell you in a trice if it sounded a mockery in any sense.. it doesn’t, it sounds sweet.

Check back here for a review hopefully later this year. I’ll be getting hold of a copy for sure.

©2019 Murphy ☜

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J.D McPherson – Signs and Signifiers + HiStyle Records Chicago


J.D McPherson – Signs and Signifiers

Rarely do I get the chance to listen to any music that isn’t in some way related to my main love, the music of Jamaica and the Caribbean, however, recently I have mostly been listening to this release. I all too infrequently spend my moolah on anything but the sweet sounds of Jamdown and yet I’d buy another copy of this cd if I had a good enough reason.

Read the Epilogue at the base of this page…!

Read on, to find out why…

Corkey is a Cat! – A short while ago a customer in the building supplies depot where I work, one Andy Corke, of Corke and Bellchamber general builders in the area of Crowborough, East Sussex, England and I engaged in another musical conversation. He, Corkey that is, what had recently been to Spain for a Rockabilly festival suggested that I check out one Bass player Jimmy Sutton, and one J.D. McPherson, Vocalist, Song Writer and Guitarist. The resultant You Tube session started early in the evening and lasted until a very late night. By the end of it I certainly knew who Jimmy Sutton was, had enjoyed the vocal stylings of J.D McPherson and I jess couldn’t get enough., yassuh, I wuz hooked!

How to honour the past, while creating newness of freshness like a blossom on the breeze….?

Histyle records, the label that produced this supreme long player prides itself in recording and releasing ‘exceptional roots music’. And with Jimmy Sutton at the helm, they will. No doubt about it.

He has equipped his Chicago based Histyle studio in state of the art Equipment. Equipment that was state of the art in the late 1950s and early 1960s that is. The studio is designed no doubt to give his recordings a sound unlikely to be equalled now, and perhaps even then. A pity for him in a way that his Long Players and other exquisite recordings have to be tuned into binary digits and pressed into little disgusting plastic coasters called cds (Yuk!). Though I understand one or two have made it to 45rpm records.

Indulgence,… no way jay

All this might to some seem like staring at your navel on a Saturday night with a bottle of weak beer and a bad show on the TV . . . but, what these guys have managed to do is create music that doesn’t suffer from an over indulgence in the past, but instead offers, not necessarily a new twist to 50s Rock n’ Roll, but something, an unknown something, something forward-looking, fresh, knowingly unheard and yet… as if you could have heard these tunes, countless times, as classics of an era long gone.

J.D.

He can sing this boy, variously sounding like an Eddie Cochran on tunes like ‘Dimes For Nickels’; and then riffing like Chuck Berry, or sounding on ‘Your love’ (All That I am Missing’) as if he might have been displaced from the 5 Royales for the crime of over exuberance, and with the merest hint of Jackie Wilson creeping in to his vocal ‘stylings’, he is multi gifted. Classic lines include from the now famous ‘North Side Girl’ – ‘I’ve got some good talk, but not enough game’ and from ‘I Can’t Complain’ – ‘I can’t complain, I stay pretty dry in the rain’. Going on to treat us to a guitar solo in the aforesaid ‘I Can’t Complain’ that he surely took a bottle of vintage 1950s drugstore pep pills in order to create? Ripping good stuff . . .

No amount of explanation can do what your ears can.

Just go get it Houndog, I’m listening to it while writing this, thinking, hell I could tell my readers who this might sound like, that it has a fine mix of rockin’ stormers, creepy ballads, and a strong hint of Tom Waits on a tune like ‘Country Boy’. There are Blues honourings, fabulously sensitive mixing, everything where it should be at the size it was always meant to be. A little distortion on the high end of the dry vocal, mixed down the middle to give the overall production that Mono ‘feel’ while at the same time keeping the spacewidth of the Stereo we associate later audio output with … and…. such sweetly recorded Brass, and Strings and what supreme arranging on the ‘extras’ and, and, and the list does and could go on.

Cosmic Daddy-O

And at the centre of it, circling around the gravitational pull of the black hole you thought was full up with enough Rockin’ good tunes to last us all another lifetime of listening, a whole heap of tunes that sound like they’ve been here forever, songs born with the universe, and every one of them, well almost every single one, a ‘Killer Diller’.

Web sites to check are:

http://www.histylerecords.com/

http://www.jdmcpherson.com/

Epilogue

So about a week after writing this blog article and sending a link to Jimmy Sutton, I get a record in the post, at first I think it’s just some eBay thing I’ve bought from the States turning up and then, I realise that Jimmy’s sent me the Lp (on vinyl) probably having read my comments here about recording to vinyl etc, as a lovely gift… what a great addition it is to not only be listening to some truly great music, but that the people behind it are so nice and friendly….. I’m still listening to the Lp a month after getting it, on frequent rotation. I can only say, you really need a copy, go and get one!