February 18, 2011
I love the postman. Not literally, just when he delivers something you are not expecting. I was lucky enough to just get sent some back issues of the rather nice Finger magazine out of Zurich, Switzerland.
There is a fair chance you haven’t seen it but basically it’s the dream magazine for a lot of us. It’s a magazine of lists, that has additional slightly longer interviews. Not massive longer, just slightly. I’ve always loved charts as they are such an honest keeper of history. You can’t mess about with charts. If you chart a bad record it stays in there and in ten years time folk can still see it. The honesty level is great. You can’t re-write a chart.
Also, finding out what music people you like and love are into is always one of the best ways to find out about new stuff. When you have someone with great taste recommending you their favourite records you instantly want to get on YouTube (weird how that has become the jukebox of choice – maybe cause you know it’ll probably be there) and check them out. So fairplay to Adrian and the chaps and chapesses at Finger for creating a magazine full of information that also has fine design.
They interview lots of people. And a good broad genre-crossing range across those people. It must take some putting together. For instance in the last issue (amongst others) they had Peter Kruder, Captain Sensible, Bjorn Torske, Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve, Saint Etienne, Moonboots, Matthew Herbert, Frank Black, Kevin Saunderson, David Rodigan, Midlake, ESG, Ray Mang and Wally Badarou. Here’s an idea of the kind of interviews they do. This one with Wally Badarou…
First record you remember?
My first memories were through the radio, not the turntable. Edith Piaf’s «La Foule», Marcel Amont’s «Bleu Blanc Blond», Guy Béart’s «L’eau Vive». First records I remember seeing and hearing, but not actually «listening to» were my father’s: mainly film soundtracks like «Orpheo Negro», George Cukor’s «Let’s Make Love», and lots of classical music.
A song that reminds you of school?
A song from pre-Zaïre Congo, which I never knew the title of.
A record you fell in love to?
I fell in love with music and songs, not records. From Beethoven’s «Violin Concerto in D Major», to James Brown’s «Give It Up Or Turn It A Loose», from Simon & Garfunkel’s «Bridge Over Troubled Water» to Jimi Hendrix’ «All Along The Watchtower». I fell in love with music, way before I knew I would make a living out of it.
Your ultimate heartbreak song?
Stevie Wonder – You And I. Very lo-res video of his solo performance can be found on YouTube. Pure genius.
A record that evokes the greatest summer of your life?
Mayaula Mayoni – Cherie Bondowe. Greatest summers were in the tropics.
First record you bought?
James Brown – Escape-ism on 7“. Brown overdubbed his vocals against slow-down backing tracks, yielding the funkiest slow groove ever. I wish I still had a copy.
Your boozed-up anthem?
Either Count Basie’s «The Kid From Red Bank», Lalo Shiffrin’s «Theme From Mannix», or Weather Report’s «Birdland». Pure energy from absolute masters in orchestration.
A song you use as a ring tone?
I keep my mobile silent at all times, as a courtesy to my neighbours and yet, never miss an important call.
A song you wish you wrote yourself?
Each and every Stevie Wonder ballad, period.
A song guaranteed to make you feel depressed?
Any song of the past, good or bad, when it happens to remind me of a close friend no longer with us.
A song that reminds your friends of you?
How could I know? Ask them.
A record that will make everybody dance?
A song that did make absolutely everybody dance, back in the 60’s in Africa: James Brown’s «There Was A Time» followed by «I Feel All Right», recorded live at the Apollo.
Best concert you ever attended?
Miriam Makeba at the Olympia, Paris, early 70’s.
A record you were looking for the longest?
Talking about Makeba, her first album ever (from 1960 on RCA), which I bought a copy on eBay for 70 euro.
Your Sunday morning song?
Thank god, Sunday is like any other day for us musicians. No darker, no brighter, just regular.
Best Beatles song?
The perfect anthem for London?
Talking about the Beatles, «All You Need Is Love».
The song to be played at your funeral?
I’ll let it up to my survivors. Music won’t be my concern anymore. They’ll be the ones to worry about. I don’t feel like imposing anything to them.
That give’s you an idea of what it’s all about. Fascinating in a short incisive way. I think you’ll probably be able to tell we are magazine fans here at Test Pressing and this format works totally. You can subscribe (pretty cheaply if you ask me) here with Finger being released bi-annually in limited runs of 6,000. Go check.
October 30, 2010
We got in touch with Wally Badarou to find out how his contribution to the classic Gregory Isaacs ‘Night Nurse’ album came about. Here’s what he said.
What do you remember about the Night Nurse sessions?
Everything, because my involvement was brief and very simple: February 22nd 1982, I flew from Paris to Nassau, no specific project in mind. The very night I arrived, I left my suitcases still packed in my flat and went down the studio just to say hello before crashing back in my bed, so jetlagged I was. As I sneaked into Studio A, there was Godwin Loggie, whom I’ve known from the days of Countryman soundtrack recording (he had done Toots “Bam Bam” magnificent version for it), now sitting at the desk mixing some great music. “Hey Wally ! Glad you came by ! Here is the Prophet ready for you !”. The synthesizer was up and ready indeed, God knows who for, prior to my showing up. I had never heard of Gregory Isaacs before, and what came out of the speakers was irresistible already. So despite my near 20 hour trip exhaustion, I agreed to have a go at a couple songs. Less than a couple of hours later, I had overdubbed on the whole of the album, somehow reinvigorated by the “less than two takes or leave it” performance, hypercritical of what I did (as usual), and never realizing this unplanned last minute session would land me to be part of one of reggae’s indisputable classics.
That album is one of the very few I contributed to, that I can listen to from start to finish, skipping no song in the process, with absolutely no favourite in mind: from “Night Nurse” to “Sad To Know That You’re Leaving”, each of the songs bears special momentum, groove, grace and spirituality within.
I met Gregory only once, a few months later, still at Compass Point Studios. We just ran into each other one day, with a “Hi Prophet!” and a “Hi Gregory!” informal exchange, mutually respectful, yet quite brief since, as far as I can recall, each of us was busy doing something. So I never got to know the man really, nor any of the brilliant musicians who performed on that album: I did not attend the main sessions. My contribution was a during-mixing totally unplanned injection, with just Godwin, some assistant and myself in the studio.
March 5, 2010
All your lucky Parisians are in for a good one. On March 19th Wally Badarou is getting a bit of an all star crew together for a concert at La Machine, 90 Bld de Clichy, Paris 18, France. Phil Gould, Mike Lindup, Manu Dibango, Alain Chamfort, Berenice (“M” Robin Scott’s daughter), Jim Palmer (of Robert Palmer), Paulo Goude (of Grace Jones & Jean-Paul Goude), Barry Reynolds (Compass Point All Stars), Mark King and many other guests will be appearing.
Tickets are €15 and you can reserve tickets here (recommended) by sending your last name, first name and number of tickets required. Put ‘WB’ as the subject. Should be a good one.
January 6, 2010
December 31, 2009
After ‘Fisherman’, Wally Badarou returns with ‘The Daiquiri Diaries’, a new release from ‘The Unnamed Trilogy’. As Wally describes it, ‘A fresh start, with a yellow glimpse of humour, banana or strawberry, your choice’.
You can hear and download the track here.
November 5, 2009
If you’ve been following Test Pressing for a while then you would know we are massive fans of Wally Badarou – from his keyboards on many classic Compass Point recordings (from Grace Jones to Joe Cocker) through to his wonderful solo albums on Island Records. So, it’s been a while, but Badarou has returned from a brief hiatus (well a long one), with a new release ‘Fisherman’.
In Wally’s words, “Here is ‘Fisherman’, a 15 minute imaginary conversation between an african fisherman and the surrounding elements. What started as a tutorial test on a newly acquired synth, landed in this Fela Kuti meets Booker-T meets Herbie Hancock type of marathon; this clearly is ‘vintage’, entirely auto-produced as usual, with my trusty analog synths and drum-machines of the times past.”
The releases will be split into different parts for initial release before being collated into a ‘physical collector sets’. His reasons for doing this are explained thus, “I want each piece to be given proper attention. With conventional album releases, only 2 or 3 so-called ‘singles’ get focused on, most of the time; I have always felt for those many pieces that the industry deemed simple ‘album tracks’: there is never such thing for a genuine artist. By releasing the pieces in 3 distinct genres alternately, I hope I can depict best 3 worlds that still shape my life in music: classical, tropical and urban. The resulting trilogy – that “The Dachstein Angels”, “Hi-Life” and “Chief Inspector” respectively pioneered for example – will not be immune from cross-influences. Yet, I am longing to offer 3 views on a common subject, 3 different sets of experiences, fully identifiable in their style and their fabric.”
Fisherman is available here on digital release.
August 18, 2009