[Mix for NTS Radio] Getting Warmer Episode 4

Listen to my fourth episode of Getting Warmer for NTS Radio below. I tried to make a make out mix, but I think it got too heavy-handed to be actually sexy and might be better suited for roller skating or something. Slo-mo disco, sleepy funk, breathy vocals. Lmk if anyone successfully soundtracks a make-out session with this. You can download an mp3 version here. Enjoy!

1. Vera — Come With Me
2. Karen Carpenter — Midnight
3. Andrea Lyn — Hold On To Your Heart
4. Virna Lindt — Underwater Boy
5. Zenit — Waitin’
6. Marti Caine — Love The Way You Love Me
7. Lustt — Pillow Talk
8. Linda Di Franco — The Look Of Love
9. Susan Cadogan — Feeling Is Right
10. The Makers — Don’t Challenge Me
11. Hector Zazou & Barbara Gogan — Dangerous
12. Rare Silk — Storm
13. Craig T. Cooper — Sweet Water

Dadawah – Peace and Love – Wadadasow, 1974

Guest post by Daniel Peters
Comprised of four long ruminative tracks, the classic Peace and Love – Wadadasow is probably reggae’s closest answer to Ash Ra Tempel — highly spiritual and free-wheeling, totally enveloping in its psychedelic nature with some of the brooding appeal of dub. 
It’s the second album by Ras Michael, released under the moniker Dadawah, and here his passionate chanting and singing is treated with expansive post-production effects courtesy of Lloyd Charmers. Willie Lindo provides incredible bluesy guitar improvisation. The rhythm section is held together tightly by a constant bass groove, and “Zion Land,” for instance, highlights the spiritual and emotional core of the album. It’s as much a spacey trip as it is an intensely devotional record. 
Dug Out’s 2010 reissue contains a slightly different mix, with more present vocals and heavier reverb, while the original pressing (provided here) focuses more on the spacious, atmospheric instrumentation.

Susan Cadogan – Susan Cadogan, 1976

An unusually romantic record from master Lee “Scratch” Perry. Sunny, sensual vocal layering from Susan Cadogan, whose voice I can’t get enough of. Perfectly gritty reverb. Apparently this didn’t attract much attention in Jamaica at the time of its release but it did well overseas, especially in the UK. I can’t really think of anyone who wouldn’t love this. Thank you Isabel for the tip!

Note that there are a couple small glitches in this copy–this is the highest quality I could find. Enjoy!

The Congos – Heart of the Congos, 1977

It’s a little weird for me to write about what is arguably the greatest roots reggae record of all time. I avoided reggae for most of my life after too much exposure to some pretty uninteresting reggae at the hands of my pretty uninteresting adolescent stepbrother. The Heart of the Congos is the first reggae record that I connected with, and while I’m no aficionado, this is unlike anything I’ve ever heard (more knowledgeable writeup here, nice interview here). It’s odd that the exaggerated stoner aesthetic that reggae got saddled with has clouded the recognition of the music itself as an intensely mind-altering experience, sans drugs. This serves as an excellent reminder of its psychedelic nature, in the more honest sense of the word. With dense, melted reverb, Heart sounds as if it was recorded under a few feet of water. Brilliant vocal interplay and amazing diversity of sound, from the sprawling aquatic bass groove “Congoman” to the sinuous, fizzed-out “Can’t Come In,” with the famous robo-cows lowing throughout. The range of emotion is equally bewildering, from cripplingly pointed mourning to the peaks of joy with intense spiritual potency in between. The title means business: this is thick, this plumbs deep.

Note: there are quite a few different versions of this floating around–apparently Perry himself was unhappy with the original mastering and made some dramatic changes, and of course there have been a slew of reissues. Of the versions I’ve heard, I’m pretty happy with this one.

Ken Boothe – Everything I Own, 1974

Chills. This album strikes me right to the core. Everything I Own proves to the world that Ken Boothe is obviously the ultimate lovers rocker. Keeping it incredibly real in the grooviest way, the work centers on themes of separation and divorce. The album also has a political message with anthemic songs like “Time Passage” and “Impossible Dream,” but all songs seem to cry out in funky protest. Vibe-wise, it has a cool, dark, soulful feel that can be likened to contemporaries like War and Richie Havens, with a judicious amount of synth swooshes. This particular version was released by Trojan for the UK and Germany, but I would recommend seeking out other versions which contain classics like “Is It Because I’m Black” and the cover of Bob Marley’s “African Lady.” In any case, it doesn’t get any better than this Jamaican crooner classic!

Brenda Ray – Walatta, 2005

A personal favorite. Brenda Ray rolled around with a handful of musical projects in the UK post punk scene, where she explored African rhythms, dub, hip hop, and electro grooves. After hitting it off with the legendary Roy Cousins in the early 90’s, she helped him remaster and reissue titles from his label, Tamoki Wambesi. Legend has it that it was Cousins’ idea that she make an album using original tapes of Tamoki Wambesi roots reggae tracks. I think this was mostly recorded in the late 90s, released in limited numbers via Tamoki Wambesi, and reissued by Japan’s EM Records (we’re still working our way through their catalog, because holy cow it is good).
Unlike anything else. Ray draped her breathy, 60’s-chanteuse vocals all over some of the best dub and reggae tracks ever made (tracks which she quite literally jazzed up), resulting in what Forced Exposure called “very disturbing slices of psycho-dub/doo-wop/jazz-fusion/exotica music.” Grooving all over Turkey, West Africa, and of course, Jamaica. Alternately shimmery, bossa-nova-flecked, and funky, with appearances by Prince Far I and Knowledge. The sonic equivalent of pink plastic palm trees. A salve for a brutally cold February day. Enjoy!

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