In the last few weeks, I’ve been knocking down a few “long term wants,” which in some cases means “finally finding a cheap copy” or, in other cases, “finally saw this become available.” This album, for example, simply isn’t something that comes around every week:
Michi Sarmiento: La Primavera
From Anacaona (Fuentes, 197?). Also available on Colombia!.
I first heard this tune off that great Colombia! comp from three years back; easily one of my favorite tracks off the anthology given its jangling, lively arrangement and lo-fi (but charming) vocals. This whole LP is fire; one of the most consistent (non-cumbia) Fuentes titles I’ve heard yet (another song from Colombia! also came from this same LP, “Mirame San Miguel”) but damn hard to come by. There are other Michi Sarmiento titles that you’ll see pop up but this one is especially scarce ones (and he has some other, super-heavy Fuentes’ releases too).
Wait: 3+ years.
This Mary Lou Williams isn’t anywhere near as obscure but it’s still been elusive:
Mary Lou Williams: Ain’t Necessarily So
From Black Christ of the Andes (Saba, 1963)
From the moment I first heard this song, I totally fell for it and I can’t really explain what makes this any more alluring than any other piano ballad in the same vein but I love the slight swing to the rhythm that opens the song, the overall moodiness of its melodies, and Williams’ gorgeous little touches here and there. Clearly, I’m not alone in my infatuation – the song was comped by Jazzman as a B-side to a reissue of Williams’ funky “Credo” (not on this same LP) and I was tempted to just cop that reissue to get this but I figured if I waited long enough, a cheaper (i.e. less than $70) copy could roll around. Surprisingly, it took much longer than I would have imagined despite the fact that this LP came out on multiple Saba issues (based on country; my copy is a Spanish Saba release) as well as Williams’ own Mary Lou imprint (diff. cover though). There’s a weird pressing issues on my copy though thankfully, it spared most of “Ain’t Necessarily So” (I would have been mega-bummed otherwise).
Wait: 2 years.
Last and, in this sense, least:
The Fantastic Epic’s: Fun and Funk Part II
From 7″ (Tories, 197?)
This is by no means that obscure or rare but I was hella cheap about it and just didn’t want to pay more than $10. In hindsight, I’m not sure what my reticence was; it definitely sounds “bigger” than a ten-spot (though, I have to admit, I had no idea this was the basis for DJ Shadow’s “Napalm Brain“). Super-solid, slow burning funk instrumental. Reminds me of Ray Johnson’s cover of Calvin Arnold’s “Funky Way” but heavier. The obvious question…since the flip of this is “Part 3″…what happened to “Part 1”???
Wait: 14 months
Michi is on fire. His Salsa con Monte is also pretty great. Would love to socre that Anacaona too…
Wow, the sound quality on the Mary Lou song is off. It sounds echoey, like it’s from a dub. I think the pitch might be off slightly too. I’m comparing to the version on the CD reissue Folkways did a few years ago. Amazing album though–great reissue.
Syl: if you have a lossless or WAV version from the CD, I’d like to hear it and compare. Hit me at: email@example.com. I’d be happy to send you a lossless version of what I digitized from vinyl.
Yeah, “It Ain’t Necessarily So” sounds slower (i.e. pitched down) from the versions I have as well.
Weird. I digitized it from vinyl at 0 pitch…