Shawn Sage is one of the few musicians I’ve actually known. I first met him when he worked tables at the defunct Renaissance Cafe. I didn’t realize he was a musician until a week or so later when he did a set at one of many shows at the Cafe. So his cd ‘One Of The Good Guys’ is more than great music but also full of fine memories. His ‘She Don’t Want My Eyes on Her’ is one of the best country songs ever.
Next on the shelf is an mp3 collection of around-the-world international hits. Starting with: Kyu Sakamoto (Japanese): Best 9 + 2: Best remembered for “Ue o Muite Arukō” (1961) (“I look up when I walk”) under the Americanized title “Sukiyaki” (1963) which has no actual connection to the song. Sakamoto was killed at 43 in 1985 in a plane crash. This is one of my all-time favourite songs. I can’t describe the emotions it calls up in me. This was the start of my love of most things Japanese. He is a sort of Bobby Darrin type. His other songs are nice but none as resonant at his hit.
Domenico Modugno: The Very Best Of Italian. He is best known for his 1958 international hit song “Volare – Nel blu dipinto di blu“, for which he received 1958 Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year! I’ve heard dozens of versions of this song but never the original, so auditioned it on YouTube first then found this hits compilation. An Italian version of Dean Martin.
Lucienne Boyer: French – Parlez-moi d’amour – wiki tells me she “reigned as queen of Paris nightlife during the 1930’s.” I’m not sure how she came to my attention but she fits in with US singers like Ruth Etting who were popular through there 30’s & then were forgotten. Sound quality is good & she’s clearly the forerunner of Edith Piaf – only with a less emotionally overwrought voice & style.
Hermeto Pascoal from Brazil transcends genre. His experimentalist approach covers samba, folk, jazz, music concrete, string quartets & choral. I have some of all scatted through my collection. Here is his Slaves Mass (1977) that includes some of the best musicians of the time i.e. Ron Carter, Flora Purim & makes an excellent introduction to Hermeto if you are unfamiliar.
I ran across a YouTube video by Filho da Mae out of Portugal for his album Mergulho (2016).Visually stunning it lead me to download the lp. The music is a soothing mix of organic (acoustic guitar) and electronic. I’d love to name off a hit by popular Venezuelan musician Hugo Blanco but I suspect he’s too obscure outside of South America. Here is his 40 Anos 40 Excitos. Hits from the 50’s to 90’s. If you are a soccer fan you may hear on his songs which has become a popular chant at games. A Venezuelan Frank Sinatra.
Finally something quite different & almost modern from 2017: Finland’s Herra Varjojen Herra: Loputon Yö 2017 which includes their amazing reworking of Arthur Brown’s Fire. I was looking to see fig anyone had done a cover of the song & this was one of the ones that I found. Good fun. I am the God of hellfire & I bring you to Finland lol.