A lucky cheap find on the Internet. From the obscure Dum Dum, India label The Twin. The legendary and revered female singer Ascharyamoyee Dasi singing a traditional Urdu ghazal: Ham jaayenge kasade dile divaannaa jahaan ho. This is devotional music: in praise of the Most High: with a backing band of harmonium, hand drums, hand claps, and voices: this music seems to be related to the later art of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1948 – 1997), master singer (genius) of Pakistani quawwali music.

Super rare in any format: a document as much as a song about a different time in India.

I cannot determine the year of this recording. No idea. Maybe between 1935 and 1955?

Ascharyamoyee Dasi – Ham jaayenge kasade dile divaanaa jahaan ho <<PLAY

One of my all-time favorite Satchmo sides: both with the singing & trumpet beauty. Just a fine lyric, too. Recorded on October 16,1947, right here in Chicago, with his All Stars:

Jack Teagarden , trombone

Barney Bigard , clarinet

Dick Cary , piano

Arvell Shaw , bass

Big Sid Catlett , drums

Louis Armstrong – Before Long <<<PLAY

Red Foley was born in 1910 to  a musical family from Blue Lick,Kentucky, and by 1930 he was touring around America as a singer with the John Lair Cumberland Ridge Runners. His 1951 version of “Peace in the Valley” was one of the first-ever-million-selling gospel hits. Throughout his recording life he sold more than twenty-five million 78s and is an important figure in the history of country music.

He was also a big inspiration for a couple of future rock n’ rollers named Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley, both playing many of Red’s songs; and both absorbing Red’s country boogie style which would be the foundation of all that 50s Sun Records rock-a-billy.

Lately, I havin’ been really digging his version of the little remembered Bob Russel tune “Church Music.” On the Decca label from 1950, the melody is catchy and Foley’s baritone/tenor voice sounds so good around this simple, genuine ditty.

Red Foley – Church Music <<PLAY

Maggie Teyte (1888-1976) is one of my favorite singers of all time, and although her interpretation of Debussy’s songbook is one of my all time favorite works, I decided to post this song: L’heure Exquise by Reynaldo Hahn.

Together with Gerald Moore, who is regarding the piano accompaniment most tenderly, she sings this beautiful tribute to “the exquisite hour”. This one is dedicated to my beautiful Venus, with whom I have listened to this side over & over again all throughout these last couple seasons.

Maggie Teyte – L’Heure Exquise <<<PLAY

Dear Most Honorable Tomomi Stankiewicz,                                                                                                                                                                             

I found this amazing 78 rpm folk recording, on the Japanese Victor label, at some junk store on Lincoln Avenue.

The song is entrancing, so musical & overwhelmingly meaningful, but I do not know what the record label says or what the lyrics hope to reveal. Will you help out with the translation and interpretation? so that we can all better understand this beautiful music??

Best & Regards,

K.J.

Japanese Victor 78 rpm – 52016-A <<<PLAY

UPDATE: Courtesy of Lucy (Akiyoshi) Dierks

The singer of this song is Koume Akasaka (1906-1992). She was a geisha in her young life and

later on became a renowned songstress, also appearing in movies. The title of this Victor side

alludes to a Japanese city, Sasebo. The stringed instrument heard is the shamisen, common in

Japanese folk and classic works.

Miss Akasaka’s version of the Kuroda Bushi is her most famous recording.

Thank you to Lucy for her insight, kampai!

The pajarillo cautivo, the little captive bird.

Mestizo is the historical/traditional way to denote a person of mixed indigenous American and European blood.

A yaravi is a song form in triple meter, in the minor tonality, sung in the Peruvian Andes mountains; these are songs of passion and loss, complicated love affairs etc.

I put this song on today and, against a backdrop of full sun and slightest browning leaves, a bit hot and humid too, it completed a feeling which I cannot explain, but which this beautiful music would explain to anyone with love in their heart.

It sounds like a three piece to me: harp, guitar, singing.

There is an old fire to this music which I have never experienced in person, and might never. And what a shame that most of us living now together in the future will never either.

Music of Peru, Ethnic Folkways – Pajarillo Cautivo (mestizo yaravi) <<<PLAY

Brazilian composer Paschoal Melillo doing a characteristic baiao, which is the name for the basic rhythym of this music. Baiao, samba and bossa nova are the three most important structures in Brazilian folk sounds.

On the Rio de Janeiro label Copacabana from the early 50s, Ciganinha is a right example of this type of music and its intentions: warm, virtually always in a major key, and ever so swinging. A perfect warm weather tune, with or without the caipirinha.

Paschoal Melillo e Seus Guitarristas-Ciganinha <<PLAY

Chester Arthur Burnett, otherwise known as Howlin’ Wolf, was born in 1910 in White Station, Mississippi; he would go on to become one of the most important blues musicians of any era. His sound was hard and direct, the sand-grit howl and tough delivery would eventually transform music in the 1950s, laying foundation for sounds to come. Rock n’ roll and the inevitable British invasion in the 1960s, for examples, owe much to Wolf’s recordings and aesthetic.

He made records mostly for Chicago’s Chess label and his 78s are gems to anyone interested in blues shellac.

This particular side, recorded in 1958, was my first ever introduction to Howlin’ Wolf and it has a special place in my heart. I still listen to it often; the raw, wild energy sounds fresh every time.

Howlin Wolf – Moanin For My Baby  <<<PLAY

John Lee Hooker, blues legend, doing the self-penned Dimples.

Recorded 27-March-1956 in Chicago, Illinois. Session:

Eddie Taylor (guitar), George Washington (bass) and Tom Whitehead (drums).

John Lee Hooker – Dimples <<<PLAY

Sabah (born Jeannette Gergi Fighali in Lebanon, 1927) is a world-renowned singer, movie star and stage actress. Her repertoire of songs is in the thousands,somewhere around 3,500; but I have also read that she has upwards of 4,500 (!) in her songbook. She is a polyglot, fluent in Lebanese, Arabic, Turkish and the Egyptian tongue, which is now Egyptian Arabic but has the shadings and history of the original Coptic language. Unfortunately, not enough of her movie and stage career has been released in any medium: you had to have been in the theatres and movie houses of the middle east to have seen her, although a few movies can be still be found if you peep around.

Sabah’s musical output, however, is fairly well documented and she can be found on over fifty albums: plenty of CDs and 45s to be dug up; but to hear her on a 78 is rare. Her perfectly intonated, confidently sung phrases are such a thing of beauty, undulating and water like, as the Arabic scale is apt to be in the hands of a master.

This song, Wassaltina Lilbir, is a two part-er, and a short epic, on the Voix de L’Orient label.  It was recorded and manufactured in France sometime in the 1940’s. I have “glued” the two sides together with the agency of GarageBand, only the slightest tick happening at the beginning of what is the bridge(?) section. Sabah’s voice during this pivotal part of the song has to be one of my favorite female vocals of all time: her control, compassion and honesty shine, bringing the gravity back to the final swing through the main themes and ending.

Sabah – Wassaltina Lilbir (parts 1 & 2) <<PLAY