Dig that funky beat!

Having a good old nose in my parents' record collection put me in good stead...


Well, guess who's just been to Spain and seen his CD collection newly burst at the seams ?? Here's what I found...


I've been a fan of this band for a few years now; ever since I heard their Basico album ( the Spanish version of " unplugged " ), I've been picking up copies of their latest records every time I pop to see my family over there. I was hoping that they'd released more stuff this time round, as I hadn't been back for a couple of years - popping into my favourite pyramid-shaped record shop in Valencia, I discovered there were TWO new records, one of which ( Basico 2 ) was the - surprise! - follow on to the first live album, but with new songs, many of which were from their excellent " Eldorado " album ( 1995. )

Their latest studio effort " Calle Mayor " seems on first listen to be basically more of the same, but distinctly lacking in inspiration. Having said that, the new songs that appear on the " Basico 2 " record - once they've been played in concert and the like, and once people have had a chance to break the tunes in - do sound better. Carlos' Bruce Springsteen leanings ( hey! no bad thing - I have nearly all the man's albums myself... ) are highlighted in the liner notes, which point out that E-Street Band pianist Roy Bittan plays on the title track. It's a shame that he hasn't got that much to do, apart from an intro that has been tacked on. After that, the piano is more drowned out by the other instruments than actually incorporated in the Revolver sound. Shame. Still, this is all based on first impressions, and it wouldn't be the first time that an album hasn't pleased initially, and then has gone on to become a favourite. Fingers crossed.

Jarabe de Palo - La Flaca

Now here's a pleasant surprise. Whilst I was over in Spain, a family friend lent me a copy of the Amigo music awards ( think MTV / Brits and you're on the right lines... ) and this bloke kept being nominated, so you kept hearing snippets of different songs. So I thought, well, why not, and bought the CD on the way home. And I wasn't wrong. This is excellent stuff - funky little tunes that don't take themselves too seriously, and all the better for it. There are quite a few songs about love; not ballads, but rather his little observations - mostly with a funny line in self-depreciation. The title track stands out in both it's original form and the live acoustic version at the end of the album. Any song that includes the line " She dances all night... drinking beer after beer, but she never gets fat " is alright by me - especially when he also he declares that he would do anything for one kiss from this girl. Excellent, unassuming music.

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