Saturday, 24 January 2009


Yes, it is true. I was the man who let his teeth go to rack and ruin, despite Blue Oyster Colgates hit, 'Don't Fear The Dentist'. In the old days, when you had to have a tooth extracted, they just smacked you in the face with a mallet and then glued back in the teeth that weren't bad. I've seen it happen. One thing that put me off going to the dentist for so many years was the fact that my last one was a bluff Lancastrian pillock, who, during my first appointment managed to knock something over, chuckled and said, "I am a clumsy Claude!" He didn't like to give people needles (I've never feared the dental needle, I must admit) and on another occasion, he started to drill into one of my teeth and I immediately entered a World of Pain and said "Waaaaaaaoooooaaaargggh", or words to that effect. "Oh, did that hurt?", he said, "That's good! That means that the tooth's still live!" Surely there are ways of finding that out without drilling in and waiting for the patient to leap out of the chair?? So, it was with reluctance that I dragged myself down to my local dentists to have an extraction on Thursday. And, flipping crikey, it's all changed. My new dentist, a friendly bloke from Ghana with a slightly unnerving resemblance to Bernie Mac, had me injected and the tooth whipped out in less than 15 minutes. I swear I didn't feel a thing. I'm not saying I'll be nipping around there for a quick filling just for laughs, but I certainly feel better about visiting the dentist than I have in a long while.

Anyway, to celebrate my newfound dental freedom, I feel I have to buy a couple of this weeks new releases. One of the greatest labels around at the moment is Finders Keepers, never, to my knowledge, ever putting out a duff record. They specialise - ach,I'm sure you already know, but my job is to inform - in putting out reissues and compilations of international funkfuzzpopjazzmuzaklibraryfolkpsych rarities which have lain in obscurity for far too long. Recent classics have included Turkish funk prog legend Ersen and the mighty 'Well Hung', a twenty track compilation of Hungarian pop and funk from the '60s and '70s. This week, they issue the second volume of their 'B-Music' series, 'Drive In, Turn On, Freak Out', a 21 song selection picked by, among others, label bosses Andy Votel and Dom Thomas, DJ legends David Holmes and Cherrystones, Chris Geddes and Pete Fowler to name but a few! Among the selection is a laid back version of the theme tune from 'The Good, The Bad And The Ugly' and a fantastic Ennio Morricone find that sounds exactly like the mighty Yamasuki Singers - who have also had a record reissued by Finders Keepers! Every time we play it in the shop, it goes down a storm, so treat yourself in this long grey January to a kaleidoscope of World Pop nuggets and brighten your day!

Another label not to be sniffed at is Strut, who specialise in unearthing funk rarities and long out of print tracks that deserve a wider audience. This week, they release 'The Darkest Light', a compilation of tracks by the legendary Lafayette Afro Rock Band, who are either a bunch of American dudes who lived in France or a bunch of French dudes who lived in America. Whichever way around it is, this CD is also worth getting hold of - for a start, I was completely unaware that these guys also recorded the disco monster 'Dr. Beezar' under the name Captain Dax. But the main meat of it is the selection of tracks they did under their own name, including the title track of this comp, which has been sampled to death, but still sounds fresh to this day.
And finally, a quick word about the new Soul Jazz record, 'Fly Girls! B-Boys Beware' , a 2 CD or 4 LP compilation of female hip hop legends from 1969 onwards. 1969, I hear you cry, were they hipping and hopping back then? Well, no, not as such, but this comp takes a broader view to include such classics as Camille Yarbroughs 'Take Yo Praise' amongst more obvious names such as Cookie Crew, Queen Latifah and the mighty Missy Elliot, represented here by my personal favourite of hers, 'The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)'. Soul Jazz, of course, another great label whose back catalogue is well worth a thorough investigation.
And with that, I'm off. Wondering why the dentists don't offer the option of gas any more. I remember being put out like a light when I was a nipper, but apparently these days it's too dangerous. Goddammit, it's my body, I'll take that risk. I just took out an insurance policy with I. Pop and Sons and want to see how they handle a raging bearded man under the influence of dentists gas popping up at their head office brandishing a claim and insisting on talking to the head Stooge.Hey ho.

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