Good Music We Can Know

Friday, July 19, 2013

Flash Strap Presents: Jungle Shadows Vol. 4- Discover Jungle Shadows

I present to you, in the dead center of this summer, the fourth volume of Jungle Shadows, a slightly-experimental installment inspired by (and functioning as an homage to) Van Dyke Parks' phenomenal Discover America.

Using that album as a launching-point, conceptual guide, and loose framework, I have designed this Jungle Shadows as an exploration of cultural relationships: between the U.S. and its Southern neighbors, the western world and the greater "exotic" world; the various two-way streets of appropriation, collaboration, homage, and cross-cultural pollinations; the cover and the covered, the artist and the producer.

Many of the original versions of compositions from Discover America are included (notated below with an *).  Several of the selections have complex or at least very specific reasons for their inclusion, while others are just great songs that loosely fit the theme.  Its not airtight-- give me a break-- but it ought to be interesting, and a fun listen, anyway.  The Bermuda triangle of Caribbean music, Black American music, and experimental "pop" music plays a large role here, exemplified perhaps by The Beach Boys diaspora of pop, the soul/funk of Allen Toussaint and Lee Dorsey, and Calypso.  WWII-era American obsession with Brazil and Latin America checks in as well.

Please enjoy, make sure to grab both parts (links at the playlist head), and drink some palm soda or coconut juice or something.  Have a great week.


1. Have You Been To Baia? (from Three Caballeros)
2. Baia- Cults Percussion Ensemble
3. Four Mills Brothers- The Radio*
4. Riverboat- Lee Dorsey (composed by Allen Toussaint)*
5. Slave (feat. Bert Inniss and the National Recording Orchestra)- Mighty Sparrow
6. Aren't You Glad- Beach Boys
7. Summertime- Sharon Marie (produced by Brian Wilson)
8. Out On The Rolling Sea When Jesus Speak To Me- Van Dyke Parks (cover of a song by Bahamian musician Joseph Spence, and apparently an occasional bonus track on some reissues of Discover America)
9. Sinnerman (1956 original with vocal by Will Holt)- Les Baxter (recording of the classic spiritual from which most modern versions are derived)
10. Our Prayer- Beach Boys
11. Born Again Cretin- Robert Wyatt
12. Out Of The City (Into Country Life)- Allen Toussaint
13. Storm Chant of the Skraelings- Robert Calvert (from Lucky Leif and the Longships, a concept album dealing with how American culture might have been different had the Vikings managed to colonise the continent, produced by Brian Eno)
14. Surf Rider- Eden Ahbez
15. Taboo- Buddy Collette (jazz version of the Margarita Lecuona composition from the awesome album Polynesia)
16. Hindou- Lecuona Cuban Boys
17. Caravan- The Mills Brothers (A capella, save for the guitar accompaniment)
18. Danse Arabe- Xavier Cugat (Rhumba version of the Tchaikovsky composition from The Nutcracker)


1. You Belong To My Heart (from Three Caballeros)
2. Bing Crosby- The Lion*
3. Occapella- Lee Dorsey (composed by Allen Toussaint)*
4. Bacon Fat- Andre Williams & His New Group
5. John Jones- Rudy Mills*
6. Tambo, Tambo- La Cumbia Soledeña
7. Taboo- Cyril Diaz & His Orchestra (1950's Trinidadian, an intense reworking of the M. Lecuona composition)
8. River Come Down- Andre Tanker (the Trinidadian genius)
9. Take Me Away From The River- Fletcher Henderson
10. G-Man Hoover- Sir Lancelot*
11. I Wish I Was a Cowboy- S.E. Rogie (Sierra Leonian palm wine guitarist)
12. Cool Water- Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters
13. Cool, Cool Water- Beach Boys
14. Ports O' Call- Paul Page
15. Ode to Tobago- Lord Kitchener*
16. Jingle Bells- Brute Force Steel Bands

As a parting note: if you haven't heard Discover America, one of the greatest albums of the 70's if not all time, then allow me to gently encourage you to to change that fact about yourself.  It is a masterpiece and a deep pleasure, and you need it in your life.  Either way, anybody might enjoy this incredible video of Mr. Van Dyke Parks talking about the album.


walkingtrees said...

long live the jungle shadows series!

Whip Wilson said...

Flash, good sir, I am of course thrilled at the prospect of another volume of Jungle Shadows, but I am even giddier than in years past due to your note on Mr. Parks' pinnacle achievement. It remains perhaps my favorite album for myriad reasons that deserve exploration in a forum much longer than this comment box. Suffice to say, that, without ever connecting the two directly, my love for albums like Discover America mirror my affinity for your going concern in this corner of the World Wide Web perfectly. As always, Flash, many thanks for your efforts past and future and for sharing your enthusiasm on both the albums you share with us and those that we share with each other.

A-B-C-D-E-F-G, G-Man, G-Man Hoover...

-The Whipper

jb said...

Terrific stuff! Thanks

Siphonophoros said...

I just wanted to tell you that I really, really love your selections. I also highly appreciate the fact that you are still blogging and sharing stuff when so many others are just quitting these days. The faith you have in what you do and for your followers is inspiring.Thank you dear Mr Flash.

Anonymous said...

owl hail flesh straps, thanx chief.

Anonymous said...

wonderful, this one and the dub hot dubs 3 made my summer!

thank you

Anonymous said...

Great barbeque soundtrack for me!--Bill

Holly said...

Flash -

This is brilliant. Really astonishing. What a labor of love! Thank you.

Steinar said...

Flash Strap - please consider creating a "secret" contact address people can reach you at (thru your profile).

Blogspot has started nuking blogs en mass. Recently, the following blogs were killed:

And these five are on the list I follow - meaning: Other people might have lost their favorites. It's really worrying!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a million! Great work! As allways. I love your mixtape series.

Ozvaldo said...

Late to the party here-must have missed it during the summer daze. Really you've put together a genius tribute to a genius album.

Flash Strap said...

You guys- thanks for being so nice, and saying these nice things. You're real pals.

Anonymous said...

Rxcellent, excellent. And here I thought I was about the only VDP fan left in the world. For me personally, Tokyo Rose is an even greater musical achievement, and equally concerned with US econo-cultural presence abroad, albeit in the larger Pacific arena.

Allow me a couple of small corrections: the originator of "Out On The Rolling Sea" is not John Spencer, but Joseph Spence - a most gruff-voiced fellow. And the term for unaccompanied singing is 'a cappella', although Toussaint's song is indeed named "Occapella".

Flash Strap said...

Correct on both counts, friend, and I'm rather surprised those errors (one minor, one fairly significant) escaped my own eye for so long, even if they did originate from the lazy brain of summer.

Tokyo Rose is amazing as well, I do declare.

singingdetective said...

Hello Flash Strap,

I stumbled on your blog only yesterday when lookin for Full Circle by Holger Czukay et all, and spend yesterday evening downloading all your compilations. Great stuff there! I will be enjoying this for the weeks to come.

(PS. Excuses my grammar, I'm no native speaker)