Just a few words about this 2017 40th Anniversary release of the classic "Two Sevens Clash" album. This is one of the greatest albums ever released by a Jamaican vocal trio and one of the best albums ever released in the Jamaican reggae genre. Culture, with leader Joseph Hill, is one of the best vocal trios from Jamaica. Just listen to the harmonies and you'll understand.
Robert Ealey is no spring chicken. After singing in local Texas bands for years, he finally started recording in the '90s – I Like Music When I Party was the fourth album he cut after starting his recording career. Like the others, it's a greasy colleciton of Texas blues, spiked with a bit of soul. Ealey's voice may be gravelly with age, but it's by no means gone, and with the support of his youthful backing band, he can really bring it home. There's nothing deep here – just party music, played good and simple. Sometimes, that's enough.
One of the first African musicians to gain widespread international recognition, Hamza El Din is a Nubian master of the oud, or the fretless lute. Western listeners are as likely as not to have been exposed to his work via the Grateful Dead, who played with him on-stage occasionally. (El Din also helped arrange the Dead's tour of Egypt.) He played an integral role in modernizing Nubian music, using his work to both evoke and tell stories of Nubian life. El Din was originally trained to be an engineer, but changed direction and enrolled in the Middle Eastern School of Music, where he began to compose his own songs. On a fellowship to study Western classical music in Rome, he met American Gino Foreman, who exposed Hamza's work to Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. This resulted in a contract with Vanguard. His mid-'60s debut, Al Oud – Instrumental and Vocal Music From Nubia, was one of the first "world music" recordings to achieve wide exposure in the West.