Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Tip: to find the most obscure grooves that nobody else is playing, try browsing your favorite genre of records on eBay, and then sorting the results by "completed auctions" and "highest price first". What you end up with are the records that people are paying the most for, AKA some of the hottest sh*t in the world! Most of the time, the sellers of such gems will post soundclips or even whole tracks in mp3 form, which you can conveniently download without dropping $800 on what is, after all, just a piece of vinyl.

Using this method the other day, I happened upon a painfully short little piece of obscure West African soul, a clip from a band called Geraldo Pino and the Heartbeats. Apparently this band is not obscure at all if you're 60 years old and from Sierra Leone, in which case you see these dudes as the local version of the Beatles.

While you'll find plenty of commentators calling this music afrobeat, I'd much sooner call it funky soul: way more Philadelphia than Lagos. Somebody made a comp a couple of years back.

Five minutes of web research into these dudes had me stumbling upon what turns out to be an amazing African vinyl blog curated by--get this--the Voice of America! Turns out that the VOA has a gigantic trove of African vinyl and tapes from its many decades of making radio in Africa, and props to them for mining it. (Now only if they could make a decent news show. Sheesh.)

Soul Spectrum trivia nugget: Allen worked at VOA in DC during college.
Geraldo Pino & the Heartbeats - Heavy, Heavy, Heavy [snippet]

1 comment:

Flabbergast said...

Um, Gerald Pino and the Bluenotes are not the least bit obscure, actually. Their music has been available at places like Amazon or (greatest music shop in the universe) [url=]DUSTY GROOVE AMERICA[/url] for quite some time now