Wednesday, October 28, 2020

October Surprise | 7-10 PM EDT

Now Playing: The queen of Vietnamese soul. An unearthed Turkish "disco" series. Things take a turn for the worst in Nigeria. A most immaculately hip aristocrat. The elusive Egyptian icon. An Italian dance designed to quell the nymphomania brought on by spider bites. Japan's craziest pop group. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020



NOW PLAYING on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio, three hours of American women in hip-hop, 1979-2020

Listen to the show and join the conversation

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Alhaji Chief Dauda Epo-Akara | Omo Yoruba FLAC


A recent find, this Nigerian Yoruba artist hailed from Ibadan, a city of 6 million people, about 80 miles north of Lagos.

According to this website, Dauda Epo-Akara (1943-2005) recorded over 80 albums; Discogs lists half a dozen. Based on the overall look of the cassette, I'm guessing "Omo Yoruba" is from the 1990s, possibly late 1980s.

Although the J-card and each side of the cassette list individual tracks, there is no break between them on either side; thus, our rips of Sides A and B consist of a single FLAC file each.

The music is terrific, rhythm-driven. Opening Side B, there's about a minute of harmonica added to the mix; otherwise, the talking drum and a variety of other percussion is all that accompanies the vocals.

Sound is terrific for all of Side A; a bit mottled on Side B, but decidedly listenable all around.

Get it here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020


Bakisimba, dancehall, electronic, field, folk, hip hop, and pop sounds from Uganda

Listen to the show in the archives


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Mohamed el Marrakchi | Fassi Disque Cassette | FLAC re-rip

As you've probably noticed by now, I've been (not-exactly-systematically) ripping my cassette collection, including re-ripping earlier ripped tapes.

Why re-rip? Because there were a number of problems with my previous cassette deck. 

First, the sound was not terribly great. It was, at best flat. Second, it ran slow. At least 5.5% slow, because that's about the percentage at which I used to have to speed up rips in Audacity.

And I'm re-sharing re-rips with you because, my gosh! These things sounds amazing. Well, okay. Some of them sound amazing.

This one is one of the amazing ones. Even if you've got the earlier version I posted, get this one. It sounds [*chef's kiss*].

Get it here.

Original post (from 2017):

Hey, kids; here's our second cassette-to-digital offering, plucked from the shelves of Nassem Halal Meat and Mediterranean Grocery in Astoria, Queens. Super Bodega Pop thanks to hero blogger and musician Tim Abdellah Fuson for translation, transliteration, and context.

This is a beautiful and hypnotic recording, as you can hear for yourself on last night's Bodega Pop Live program, where I played يا عشقين نبينا (Ya Âshqin Nabina) in the penultimate set. 

Here's what Tim has to say about the cassette:

"Side 1 sounds like Aissawa-style religious songs, while Side 2 are melhoun-style songs in honor of the Prophet. Nice textures -- it's a modern chaâbi orchestra from the time before keyboards intruded into the texture. I can hear what sounds like electric guitar, bass, and drum set, along with the strings."

As Tim also noted: while someone named Mohamad el Marrakchi sounds as if they are from Marrakech, the music is "hella Fassi"; in polite English, from Fez. (Not surprising, considering this is a Fassi Disque tape.)

Track List:

Side A: Hali ma yekhfaq yal wahed Rbbi (حالي ما يخفاق يالواحد ربي), Ya Âshqin Nabina (يا عشقين نبينا)

Side B, Track 1: Nta Lâziz ya Muhammad (انت العزيز يا محمد)
Side B, Track 2: Lhorm ya Rasul Allah (الحرم يا رسول الله)

As I mentioned a few days ago, I picked up somewhere around 40 cassettes at Nassem; now, I don't want to startle you, but I went back today and picked up at least another 30 -- I thought I had gotten everything, but ... no. 


So, there's going to be a lot of cassette digitizing going on at the Bodega for the foreseeable future.

Link to cassette rip in comments.

Please leave a comment of your own if you like what you hear. Your comments -- or lack thereof -- will make or break this blog's second wind.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Najeeba Abdullah | Sabah Al-Khyr FLAC


Terrific, stripped-down cassette (two voices, string instrument, percussion) found in Nassem Halal Meat and Mediterranean Grocery on Steinway Street. 

I'm guessing this is Moroccan, but Tim will have to confirm or deny. UPDATE: Tim says it's Yemeni, and points to an Arabic Wikipedia entry for Najeeba Abdullah, who is apparently also a film star.

Translating that page, it looks like Abdullah's acting career took off in 1989 and that she withdrew from the art in the mid-90s to raise her kids; however, in 1994, she began releasing her first cassettes. 

Here's a scan of the track list:

I've got about 200 cassettes to rip and, as much as I want to share them all with you now, I'll have to pace myself. Ripping these things takes time.

Get it here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The World of Lee Perry


Six decades of hits, deep cuts, and experryments from Jamaica's pop genius

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Ghazal Al-Harizi | Al Khouidem FLAC


As promised in an earlier post, here's the second volume of two that we found on the shelves of Nassem Halal Meat and Mediterranean Grocery on Steinway Street several years ago.

Thanks again to Tim of Moroccan Tape Stash for the transliterations. Here's Tim's track list (note that, sonically, each side is a single, unbroken track, and I have thus not edited them into sections):

Al Khouidem - الجويدم
Maghnia - مغنية
Moula Baghdad - مولا بغداد
Touichia - تويشية
Hjerti ou T'haouel - هجرتي وتحول
Zaêri - زعري

Ben Âchir - ن\بن عشير
Malika al Gharbaouia - مليكة الغرباوية
Âlam al Khayl - علام الخيل
Raqsa âla L-Qa3da - رقصة على القعدة
Âwelti ou Mchiti Qata3 L-Bhour - عولتي ومشيتي قاتع البحور
Al-Ghaba - الغابة

Fair warning, Side A begins with a phase shift sound that works itself out after a minute or two. I tried re-ripping it, but the sound is clearly part of the original.

Get it here.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Ghazal Al-Harizi | Al-Amrawia FLAC


This raucous, energetic performance comes from the first of a pair of cassettes I'll be sharing that I found at the Nassem Halal Meat and Mediterranean Grocery on Steinway Street several years ago.

I've found nothing about the artist, Ghazal Al-Harizi (The Star Ghazal Al-Harizi on the J-card, or النجم غزال الحريزي), other than a couple of videos on YouTube.

Update: Tim Abdellah of the great Moroccan Tape Stash points to this Internet Archive posting of another cassette by the artist, transliterated there as Ghazal Lahrizi.

Tim's transliteration of the track list:

Al Amraouia - العمراوية
Halekni B-Nnkhwa - هالكني بالنخوى
Lli jabtou lqudra ishki b-dnoubou - لي جابتو القدرة يشكي بدنوبو
Lhit - الهيت
Sayeh Bu Derbala - السايح بودربالة

Sherqawi Buâbid - الشرقاوي بوعبيد
Ben Hsein - بن حسين
Âla Lhoudoud hah - على الحدود هاه
Al Halga - الحلـڭـة

And a note from Tim after a first listen: "Nice stuff - I'd put it in the chaabi category. The use of the lotar is cool and unusual. Heavy on the bendirs. 2nd tune on Side A is a version of Rouicha's 'Afak Al Hwa Hda 3liya.' Despite these Middle Atlas elements, the overall feel is more like stuff from Casablanca, which is where the label originates from. Well, the cover does state 'New Style (literally, new color) - لون جديد,' so I guess he was trying to mix things up a bit!"

Grab it here.

New FLAC Cassette Rip! Spice Ray | Spice Ray

I've re-ripped this terrific Moroccan cassette from a new TASCAM cassette deck in FLAC. Thanks again to Tim of Moroccan Tape Stash for translation of the track titles!

Original post (from December 2017):

Another cassette found on the grimy shelves of Nassem Halal Meat and Mediterranean Grocery in Astoria, Queens, Spice Ray is almost certainly an attempt to piggy back on the success of nineties Britpop sensations, Spice Girls. 

And that is precisely the point where any similarity between Spice Girls and Spice Ray evaporates like the 91% alcohol I used to clean the tape head prior to ripping this distinctly odd example of Moroccan pop.

I had erroneously thought this was an Algerian album; it is not. First, an Algerian in an Algerian music collectors' group on FB let me know it wasn't Algerian, and then our blog neighbor Tim confirmed that it indeed sounds Moroccan, not Algerian.

Tim sent along a track list and two bits of info about the cassette: 1) Mustapha Talbi is credited as the composer; and 2) the first track, "Mhemma Ikoun," is a song complaining about the deaths of children in Iraq. As Tim surmises, this cassette is likely late 90s, around the time the U.S. under the Clinton administration was bombing Iraq.

Here's Tim's transliteration of the track list:

1) Mhemma ikoun
2) Lemwima
3) Mama mia
4) Hala
5) Lillah
6) Instrumental
7) Yaoudarouha

Link to download in the comments.