Leopard Men: Part One – Geography

June 6, 2014

This two/three part post promises to be pretty disorganised, but I have to get it out of my system since it has been hanging around my neck like the Rock of Sisyphus for ages.

Stephen Ellis The Mask of Anarchy: The Destruction of Liberia and the Religious Dimension of An African Civil War.
1999 Reprinted 2007 New York University Press
Liberia: History, Civil War 1989 – . Religion: Poro Society, Sande Society.
A quick synopsis of Ellis’ highly recommended study is outlined in this youtube clip.

You can find other equally critical reviews of Ellis’ study (see first link) of the character and role of religious institutions and religious ideology as a means of explaining the content and character of the Liberian Civil War (1997 – 2003) – when Charles Taylor grasped the Presidency – on the net, but I’ve lost the links.


Now, the above depiction of African Leopard Men found in the American Natural History Museum NY owes more to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan than to anthropology, ethnology and history. While there is a definite balletic quality to this composition, it would have been improved if Home Counties babe Jane – Tarzan’s significant other – was caught in a state of semi-undress, but hey, we don’t live in a perfect world.

More to the point, there is absolutely no record of Leopard Men ever attacking white men (whether in the guise of missionaries or colonial administrators) and extracting their vital organs for a spot of cannibalism or consuming them in toto after weilding that rather neat metal claw. To be sure, Leopard Men certainly practised cannibalism but it was within a highly religious context, and the actual victims chosen for human sacrifice will be the surprise which will be discussed in subsequent posts.
The obverse side of this comic strip colonialism is all that Heart of Darkness Conrad stuff, Black Barbarism, Darkest Africa etc, which has been alive since Europeans such as Livingstone and Speke first set foot in Africa’s heartland. While we view the consumption of human flesh as being totally repugnant – the stuff that has given many serial killers their notoriety – a totally different regime of cultural beliefs continues to exist throughout many parts of Africa.

If you wish to get a quick fix of Leopard Men fact and fantasy totally devoid of context, you should visit this SITE. However, since we are making a meal of this topic, lets begin with some geography.

West Africa

West Africa

The colonial carve-up of western Africa ignores the fact that cultural commonalities co-exist across the borders of Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta), Guinea and Cote d Ivoire. A case of colonial boundaries being imposed on non-state social and cultural identities.

Liberian Provinces

Liberian Provinces

Malian Empire - 12th to 16th centuries

Malian Empire – 12th to 16th centuries

When we also factor in those numerous Lebanese and Mandingo traders (the latter being descendants of the powerful Malian empire of the sixteenth century) who continue to play an important role in organising cross-border and cross-tribal commerce, the problems of definition become even more complex.

Tribal map

Tribal map

Tribal boundaries don’t necessarily coincide with commonly shared languages, even though colonial or indigenous elites shared the belief that tribal identities, via deals struck with their paramount chiefs, were the key to extending their sway/government power into rural hinterlands. That extension itself was a measure forced on isolated centres of government and commerce (Bissau, Conakry, Freetown, Monrovia, Harper @ Abidjan) as colonial borders became fixed on maps and in the eyes of global institutions such as the League of Nations and its successor, the UN.

Generally speaking, Islam predominates in north Liberia and Christianity has its foothold in the south, while traditional belief systems hold sway right across this part of West Africa. Furthermore, there is no contradiction in being a Muslin and also attending a Christian church, while also being a member of a secret society that practices cannibalistic rituals. All three institutions have/and do provide individuals with sources of power and cultural identity. And power is the key term in this discussion.

However, the concept of power – an extremely imprecise notion – remains devoid of meaning until we ask the question, what type of power are we talking about, and that will be addressed in subsequent posts.

The Western mind has a long way to travel if it is going to make sense of rituals involving the consumption of human flesh in this part of the world. Theories of colonialism only explain how surplus value and raw materials were extracted, and they can be readily grasped by a smart teenager. Marxism with its concept of totality comprising of economic base and superstructure is equally hopeless: it being the conceptual consequence of our Western experience – feudalism, industrial capitalism, etc.

Attempts to incorporate anthropological concepts and perspectives into Marxism by the likes of Maurice Godelier and Emmanuel Terray are clunky at best, whiles structuralisms as instanced by Levi-Strauss also fail due to their ahistoricity and over-reliance on linguistics as the privilieged explanatory structure.

I warned you that this post will be mess, but what the heck, my blog, my mess.


June 3, 2014

Back into the scribbling business early this month/June and with Africa in mind.

Meanwhile, a couple of music clips which I enjoy:
Tin Soldier by The Small Faces - a most under-rated group. Stevie Marriot had the voice to die for. In the charts the very month I saw them along with The Who.

A killer track by James Brown – live in Italy. Bass and drums, On the One big time.

Wanda Jackson and Jack White Shaking All Over plus that toothy old Letterman.
All the elements. Lots of glitz delivering one of my favourite tracks of all times. Razor sharp brass. Old doll Wanda reinventing her rockabilly career and good on her. Pixie from Iceland cleverly disguised as a rhythm guitarist. Brilliant steel guitar sounding very much like a theremin, and dare I say it, Jack White’s very noticeable bald spot.

Finally, performing the usual unappreciated public service.

Two new entrants in the ASP Women’s Tour to get you all hot and really bothered.

Miho Ihara

Miho Ihara – Ranked 38


Reiki Noro

Reika Noro – Ranked 41

Reika Noro

Reika Noro

Reika noro 6
Eat your heart out, aliens.

Columbian Sounds

February 23, 2014

After the recent infatuation with Lagos electro-funk circa 70s.

The fun event of this year presented by the Columbian Embassy, State Library of Queensland, Griffith Uni and Pura Vida Roadshow.

Booking information here State Library Queensland – 7th March, plus group synopsis.

Frente Cumbiero with some super-slick visual production values.

Frente Cumbbiero

Frente Cumbiero

La Chiva Gantiva

La Chiva Gantiva

La Chiva Gantiva

Brothers and sisters. That’s too much for the system.

Back in 2014

December 25, 2013

It’s the fire season at the moment, so am pretty busy.

Will be back with a vengeance next year.

And don’t forget to indulge in all Seven Deadly Sins on New Years Eve because things are definitely not improving.

My thoughts go out to the people of Mali, the CAE and the rest of the folk living in the Sahel.

And it was just fabulous that the BBC did a feature on Nigerian 70s electro funkster Willian Onyeabor on Xmas eve. Better than all that Christian claptrap that pollutes the airwaves this time of the year.

See previous post: Fun: Some African Musical and Other Resources – Sept 28 2013.

(Marvin Gaye would have cut his heart out.)

Lets bury 2013 with the exuberant sound of Armadou and Marian – Mon Cherie, Ma Cherie.

This site will be almost be focussing exclusively on music and affairs in Africa almost from now on, but with the occasional gorgeous Japanese surfer girl post for Readers who like to get hot and bothered.

Postscript. If you are a desperate still getting over that fizzer of a game between Arsenal and Chelsea, its time to follow a new sport, namely the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Its not exactly a good old fashioned blood sport, but in the past there have been capsizings, drownings, broken bones, concussion, groin injuries plus dramatic helicopter rescues. Qingdao/PRC resident Vicky Song is participating this year, and good luck to her after her truly fabulous interview on SBS recently.


Background to above photo here and with thnx.

Australian Civil Society

December 7, 2013

In the last post we focussed on the woof and weave of Australian civil society and the essentially corrupt and/or criminal nature of its police, judiciary, politicians and other members of the professional classes. To recap, I discounted the popular convict heritage effect to explain the current national character ie the fact that most of tubbyland’s citizens descended for convict stock, being shipped south from the UK in hulks for murder and assorted forms of thievery. The key concept here being that of deracination.

Rather, I opted for a climatic theory which argued that Australian civil society was shaped and organised by its climate. It’s corrupt because it’s bloody hot. Simple. Just think of all those movies where people are dying of the heat and consequentially decide that the old rules don’t apply anymore. The characters begin to focus on the essentials of life – monetary gain, murder and sexual lust – and before you know it things go all pear shaped. The Postman Always Rings Twice. Body Heat. The Treasure of Sierra Madre.

Now, a couple of unkind European commenters identified some weaknesses found in both theories, and one even went so far as to offer an alternative explanation which highlighted the importance of hereditary syphilis in the formation of Australian civil society. As this is an unfounded and cruel caricature I’m ignoring their nonsense, and instead resorting to the nineteenth science of phrenology. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrenology”>Classical phrenology:

focused on measurements of the human skull, based on the concept that the brain is the organ of the mind, and that certain brain areas have localized, specific functions or modules.

If you need a quick recap on this arcane but valuable discipline, try David De Guistino’s Conquest of Mind: Phrenology and Victorian Social Though simply because I met him during my first year in the Big School.
Sydney mug shot
Okay. There was a bit of theory slippage here since the above is a mug shot informed by the Cesare Lombroso’s typology of criminal types. And many more photos of criminality Oz-style 1900 – 1920 can be found at this brilliant site and with thanks. A tremendous social resource and the collection also comes in traditional book form.

More True Confessions.

November 25, 2013

That Boston was a rats nest of civic corruption and Dark Side law enforcement was recently noted by the BBC. In fact, it was a total bloody sewer if you hit up google on the Winter Hill gang, do some back reading in The Boston Times or read Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Lehr and O’Neill or a host of other books on the subject. Really great moments in crime management and okay airport reads if you don’t like Paul Theroux.

Now, I know that when I mention tubbyland most readers conjure up images of drivelling politicians, thongs (the ones you wear on your feet, okay), beach babes, beer and bushfires. This however is a totally misguided perception, and one which fails to do tubbylanders full justice. Since the git go, we have had our own statistically significant share of venal cops and corrupt and/or completely criminal police commissioners, doctors, lawyers, solicitors, model citizens, accountants, federal police, airport officials, ethnics, magistrates, islanders, painters and dockers, pugilists, promoters, chancers, shoplifting teams, racing identities, attorney generals (commonwealth), plus politicians of all stripes. Since I want to bring this post to some sort of conclusion before next year, I won’t illustrate the above by naming manes.

Royal commissions, integrity commissions, independent oversight quangos and extended court cases on matters of deep and pervasive corruption appear as regularly as new strains of Asian influenza. And, as expected, they focus on the usual earners which tempt the constabulary – who operate within organisational charts as the Consorters, the Breakers, Licencing, the Dogs, etc – old (pot, smack, coke) and new school (precursor) drug importation, franchising crime and protection, giving informants hotshots, selling information to the underworld, nobbling or retailing evidence, etc. Repetitious, predicable, and, as expected the only beneficiaries are the silks and lesser members of the legal profession.

Now there are two theories as to why tubbyland is a latrine of mongrel copper corruption. One is the convict DNA which forcibly settled this great brown land some 200 years ago. Now, this is plain hogswash, since we are an exemplary model of a politically correct, liberal democratic system of government in action. Checks and balances and all that good stuff enunciated by David Hume. Sort of like a Scandinavian welfare state in the southern hemisphere plus outdoor barb-q-ques. Beats all that snow and pine forests.

Rather, I want to focus on the climatic explanation a bit like Lawrence Kasdan did in his script for Body Heat: When the temperature rises, folk start to think that the rules no longer apply to them. body heatTed Danson’s character made this point, I recall, some fifteen minutes into this modern noir fable of the Tarantula Woman. Anyway, it’s about the fucking climate and climatic effects, and yes, tubbyland is bloody hot for at least six months every year. That’s why we invented surfing and sandy beaches with big waves. Okay, I also have my doubts about this explanation, but its something to dwell on.

Anyway, on a stinking hot day the 16 January 1949 a massive storm descended from Mt Coot-ha, and it really hit the inner Brisbane suburbs of Bardon, Rosalie and Paddington. Power lines down, gardens flattened and roofing iron strewn everywhere. This weather event taken from Matthew Condon’s Three Crooked Kings (uni of qld press, 2013) also coincided with one Terence (Terry) Murray Lewis passing his police exams and being sent off to patrol George Street.

To be continued.


November 24, 2013

I would like to define pure reading pleasure for the Dear Reader. No, it’s not the high brows like William Gaddis, Don De Lillo (with the exception of Libra 1988) or for that matter Michel Tournier or even Louis de Bernieres whom I bloody detest.

Nor is it the pretty good page turners scribed by John Grisham who I quite enjoy. More along the lines of Elmore Leonard (his first four in particular), Jim Thompson, James Ellroy and Charles Williams. I should also throw in Marc Behm for his brilliant three novellas found in the now rare Zhomba Black Box set and the perennially brilliant PI Cliff Hardy series written by tubbyland’s very own Peter Corris.

And just to show what a smart arse I could be, let’s include another three US writers James Crumley (whom I traded books with), Newton Thornburg and Barry Gifford (who I traded favourite songs with – recall the mechanics Sparky and Buddy discussing their twelve favourite songs of all times, while working on Sailor’s junker in Wild at Heart). The cover below comes from the short story which introduced Sailor and Lula before he hit the big time with David Lynch’s film. Try one of Gifford’s lesser known novels with the delightful title Port Tropique.
corrisbehmgifford first story
(Behm: The Eye of the Beholder, The Ice Maiden @ The Queen of the Night.)
The list is endless, very hardboiled and noirish and very few of these titles have been turned into decent movies with the exception of The Getaway (Thompson), The Grifters (Thompson), The Killer Inside Me (Thompson again – both the Betrand Tavernier version Coup de Torchon with Phillipe Noiret set in Mali, and the recent Michael Winterbottom remake with Casey Affleck which is also pretty good). Finally, we come to The Friends of Eddy Coyle which was adapted from the first novel by George V Higgins which starred Robert Mitchum and the very bald Peter Boyle.

Anecdote break: After being released from prison for marijuana possession, a reporter asked Mitchum what it was like in the Big House. The laconic reply: “Just like Palm Springs, but without the riff-raff”.

(And your mid-term homework here which requires you to hit a number of links as they have been chosen with care.)

George V Higgins - Bostons favourite literary.

George V Higgins – Bostons favourite literary son.

No, for that tropical island sojourn with one’s favourite reads, I would choose around ten George V Higgins novels, simply because I revel in dialogue. And Higgin’s had a pitch-perfect grasp of the argot of the Boston Massachussetts Irish/ Wasp/Italian milieu. Scumbags, working class Joes, loan sharks, political fixers, showboating pols, honest and less-than-honest criminals, Catholic priests, mob types and their bosses, slumlords, counsellors, prosecutors and the judiciary. The majority have some redeeming qualities and all are fun to follow as they gab their way thru their fictional vale of tears. Plotting their futures (crime and bringing perps to justice), yakking about problems with their wives/gfs, health issues, what to order on the menu, etc.

In his professional life, Higgins worked his way up thru the ranks of the Organised Crime and Criminal Division in Boston, wrote for newspapers, lectured in creative writing and had his own legal practice where he defended both G. Gordon Liddy of Watergate fame as well as Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver. He unfortunately died in 1999 and now the majority of his titles are being rereleased.
digger 3
coogansdekekennedykennedy 2

(Unfortunately, the above covers are from recent reprints but one, so something is lost.)

According to Higgins:

Dialogue is character and character is plot.

Nowhere is this more evident than in his third novel Cogan’s Trade (1974). Markie Trattman runs a high stakes card game for the Mob. Previously, Markie arranged to get his own game knocked over, and despite a bit of post-robbery bragging, got away with it. Johnny Squirrel Amato, fresh out of the slam for a bank robbery, thinks it might be a good idea to knock over Trattman’s game a second time, based on the reasoning that he will be home and hosed, while Markie will end up in the trunk at the airport. Then Amato recruits Russell and Frankie a couple of grubby ex Vietnam tunnel rats to do the heavy lifting.

While things don’t go as planned, it makes for beyond-hilarious reading, especially Frankie’s account of his recent dog napping business. First you steal all your dogs, going for mutts with high resale, to be sold out of state. Then you feed all your dogs hot tomato soup laced with a few litres of mineral oil. The dogs then screw up their noses and destroy a perfectly good lawn, and then you give them each some phenobarb and lay them out like cord wood in the back of the car and head off inter-state into a major rain storm. Quite naturally, the dogs wake up and respond according, with piss and excrement sluicing around the cabin, turning their profit making venture into a journey into hell. And that’s just the beginning of their criminal farce.

Dialogue within dialogue which introduces you to other characters, anecdotes which provide rounded characterisations, plus a lot of conversational digressions which add to plot and context. Higgins is positively dazzling and with a great dash of humour. His Boston landscape of politics, cops and criminals, with its wide cast of characters, cover about a dozen novels. (I’m less than entranced with the other ten or so he wrote, but have read them and still found a number of guilty pleasures.)

In addition to the above titles, I also recommend The Patriot Game, Outlaws, and especially The Diggers Game where he began building the foundations of his Boston fictionscape.

Forget all those glossy rubbish novels by Scandinavian writers which presently pollute bookshops, libraries and TV mini-series. Garbage of the first order, but that’s a post for another day.

Revised Blog Roll

October 6, 2013

Its that time again for some good old fashioned bloodletting in the approved reading materials in Tubbyland. Some sites have been dispatched to the basement of the Lubyanka and a quick exit to the fertiliser farm, and there have been some new appointments to the Central Committee.
Reasons are many and varied. Readers are by now heartily sick of my music posts, so a bit of blood and brain on the carpet is probably a welcome diversion. Blogs which fail to update regularly or which deal with Sino matters which even the cat finds boring have been kidnapped off the street and dispatched to the basement. Similarly, sites which refer to musical genres which should have been strangled at birth are also dogmeat.

So, after much factional horse trading and backstabbing, here is the new reading curriculum.

In line with my interest in the more violent aspects of Japanese cinema, Japan Focus has been added.

The Arabist looks like it provides precise analysis of North African affairs in addition to being link rich.

For the most comprehensive overview of Malian and related musics, I have added Sahel Sounds.

If you enjoy musical exploration, try Groovemonzter an Australian site which features classic West African sounds. The King Sunny Ade compilation is awesome.

Finally, a recent discovery Blaxploitation Pride. If you enjoyed Cleopatra Jones and are now ready for Black Emanuelle. Okay, many of these flics went straight to video, but be assured most of the sound tracks are killer.

I’m quite sure that this wasn’t what William Bell had in mind.

Okay, I’ve now hosed the blood and gore off the walls, so you can relax again and read in comfort.

(A couple more sites will be added in the next few days.)

Fun: Some African Musical and other Resources.

September 28, 2013

Where did it start this morning?

This truly eccentric (now defunct) blog site titled Big Head Stevenson which has the wildest musical cloud categories I’ve ever encountered.

Spend some time exploring as it is quite an education in the world of highly marginal sounds and genres. Very taken with his Soul and perfectly ghastly Krautrock selections, and all the African categories are killers. Unfortunately, the sound files appear to be corrupted or beyond my skill set.

When one reflects upon the big musical influences of one’s life, there are no straight lines. By way of example, liner notes on a cassette I purchased of James Chance and the Contortions Live in New York led to a massive binge on Fela Kuti LPs….months of my student scholarship in fact. Short of becoming an international gunrunner, this was the only way of extending the musical boundaries into Afro Beat.

The truly overwrought Mr Chance’s version of JBs King Heroin. 1980. Pre- rehab, rehab,….

Anyway, todays less than linear straight line went from Big Head Stevenson’s blog to The Guardian and music wonk Alexis Petridis HERE on Who is William Onyeabor??

So lets get down with some Lagos funk circa the 1970s, positive lyrics encased in electro-funk. Funk bass lines and brass riffs to die for. And your IQ test for the day: Just what is it about funk musicians and their preference for cowboy hats???

OMG, that is fucking great, so lets have it again.

Onyeabor self-released 8 albums between 1978 and 1985, and his biography is a bit hazy. According to liner notes quoted by Discog, he has enjoyed an interesting life to put it mildly:

William Onyeabor studied cinematography in Russia for many years, returning to Nigeria in the mid-70s to start his own Wilfilms music label and to set up a music and film production studio……. William has now been crowned a High Chief in Enugu, where he lives today as a successful businessman working on government contracts and running his own flour mill.

Beside the Born Again thingy, there is also mention of an English law degree.

Anyway, 13 of his best tracks have now been rereleased on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label.

Interested in extending your knowledge of Afro Beat. Here is an interview with master drummer Tony Allen, the power house who anchored over 30 of Fela’s records.
And you can read about his biography on THIS SITE, which I follow on my twitter account.


On the internet radio front, try RadioPalmWine Nigerian Igbo Radio, and if you are into talking books, try Misha Glenny’s McMafia: Seriously Organised Crime. Glenny has an excellent if hilarious account of the genesis of the Nigerian 419 scam set within the context of the Potemkin state institutions of post-colonial Nigeria and the Biafran civil war where the Igbo people were on the receiving end of induced famine and global indifference. Subsequently deprived of access to the corruption possibilities offered by the institutions of State, the Igbo turned their attention to other means of fraudulent gain. Initially via the fax machine, and then to the instantly global possibilities offered by the internet. Educated and highly creative folk who cleaned big time before the scam became too well known.

For a fictional account of the Igbo perspective prior to and during the Biafran civil war, try Half of a Yellow Moon by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Half way thru this tome at the moment, and its nice to have the female protagonist perspectives of the two sisters.

Back to the 419 scam and think of it as payback for colonial greed. At least that is how many Nigerians view the whole scamming thing. “I go take your money and disappear / 419 is just a game, you are the loser I am the winner.”


Now, if the peasants in Tubbyland paid their taxes, I would be buying all 28 volumes of Ethiopiques, a free ranging and diverse collect of Ethiopian musics covering the 1960s and 1970s. Google album cover images HERE.

However, like peasants the world over, they ignore their fiscal duties to the State/Me, while privately gorging and guzzling themselves into oblivion when I’m OS on goodwill visits, surfing safaris etc. Consequently, we will have to settle for some Ethiopian funk courtesy of Ethiopian TV with a bit of salacious babe dancing thrown in for good measure.

All linked out.

It’s nice to have a new follower:


This site is well worth a visit.
Subtitled: Why the internet is a joy to the world.
Came across this tremendous article in Pop Matters: Lagos Disco Inferno by David Maine which was a review of a 70s compilation release. The title speaks for itself. David, a writer who bears a resemblance to Richard Brautigan, and who runs his own site davidmaine.blogspot.com focussed my attention on another site http://voodoofunk.blogspot.com.au/ run by David Gossner, a music archaeologist/indie music entrepreneur of older Nigerian sounds.

All the above are worth a visit, especially the latter since you will be purchasing a copy of Lagos Disco Inferno. I know you will, after listening to Grotto’s Bad City Girl taken from the above compilation. And if the montage of really bad babes gets you all hot and bothered and leads to domestic discord, don’t ask me to mediate.

See ya.


September 14, 2013

Readers with too much time on their hands would be aware of the electoral shambles which took place in Tubbyland last weekend. Following a subsequent exchange with Justrecently, I’ve decided to form my own political party grounded in the key realities of the 21st century. As of yet to arrive at a name which will capture the essence of this new vehicle of political power, and readers are invited to make polite suggestion.

Key policy positions include:

The incorporation of the Pirate Party’s raft of left libertarian proposals for the management of the digital economy and intellectual property rights;

Non alcoholic ginger beer will be the only beverage served at State functions;

Julian Assange will be given the Order of Australia and installed as Governor General;

All males will take mandatory Creative Cooking Classes beginning in their primary school years;

Full civic rights for gay, trannie and transgenderist folk;

The State will take responsibility for the quality and distribution of all Old School Drugs (marijuana, LSD and high-end opiates). Individuals involved in the distribution of party/designer drugs will be prosecuted with extreme prejudice;

All web lords will be given full journalistic accreditation with the aim breaking the existing sodomistic relationship between mainstream media and the political classes;

All Australian country music will be banned forthwith. No ifs or buts. Its plain fucking embarrassing. (And there is a shattering backstory to this proposal.) As an adjunct to this proscription, Australia will establish a strategic relationship with Mali and other Sahelian states with the aim of re-engineering the musical taste of all citizens here in Tubbyland;

Mainland China would be classified as a Nation State Gaming the Rest of the World and treated accordingly in matters of trade and Sino investment (housing and agriculture in Tubbyland).

I anticipate considerable electoral success, and am certain to capture both the donkey vote and other disenchanteds, as this new grass roots party will be generously staffed by a bevy of Japanese surfer girls.

Furthermore, ASP Pro Surfer Nao Omura will be appointed Minister of Grrrl Power.

JR will be offered a ministry of his choosing, and if secret negotiations with two other weblords are successful, the electorate will have real voting options next time round.

To be sure, the above involves the renunciation of the principles of hereditary monarchy and absolutist rule (my preference), but sometimes one must consider the greater public good.

Now, to musical matters.

As young sprouts, we spent our teenage years living in a Police State, and I’m not overstating matters.

 Just before the Tower Mill police riot

Prior to Tower Mill police riot

In retrospect we should be thankful for that state of affairs, since it gave rise to great taste in all matters musical. The anthems of our teenage years were for the most part derived from Soul Music. Otis. Sam and Dave. The Four Tops. James and Bobby Purify. In fact, just about anything produced by Motown, Stax and Stax Volt. Being a bit of an Aretha fan is a hard gig sometimes, given that she covered a lot of plaintive dreck penned by the likes of Lennon McCartney, Dionne Warwick and Burt bloody Bacharach- swill of the first order.

Now, there is no denying that Chain of Fools is right up there in the pantheon of killer soul tracks. Alan Parker of The Commitments knew a centrepiece tour de force when he heard one, and he threw a ton of production dollars into his cover version.

This is Aretha at her torchiest best displaying her complete Gospel credentials. You are my Sunshine. Aretha Arrives. 1967. Perfect call and response. Understated brass. (As my producer friend Mark once advised in the studio: “How would Aretha cut it?”.)
Crank up the volume, children.

Finally, as part of this Australia-Mali pivot, this is what to expect to hear on all Tubbyland Ipods in the future:

And a nice description of the Desert Music Blues Project is found on this website.

Lot more on the net if you are interested.



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