Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Music in Brief

There are so many compilations of double-entendre-laden blues and R&B available that another one might initially seem unnecessary. But though Eat To The Beat: The Dirtiest Of Them Dirty Blues (Bear Family) swipes half of the tracks from Rhino's classic Risqué Rhythm: Nasty '50s R&B, it recasts them so well that collectors will want both. A few of these selections are previously unreleased joke cuts, like Jackie Wilson and LaVern Baker laughing their way through the dirty words of "Think Twice (Version X)," but most are legit, though obscure: legendary L.A. bandleader Johnny Otis cut the lowdown blues "Two-Time Slim" under the moniker Snatch & The Poontangs. But the best stuff isn't just foul-mouthed, it's also sexy as hell… A-

The Indian film industry churns out twice as many movies per year as Hollywood, dominated by musicals made in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Bollywood, as the genre is informally known, has also made inroads to American pop fans with a taste for the impure: Much of the music grabs from every genre within reach, and while the resulting songs can be jarring to Western ears, they're also as lively as anything on the radio. That's certainly the case with the first two volumes of Normal Records' smart new series: The Bombay Connection Vol. 1: Funk From Bollywood Action Thrillers 1977-1984 is as exuberant as its title promises, with snazzy wah-wah guitars, walloping breakbeats, and occasional English interjections ("Naughty boy! Ha-ha-ha-ha!") giving it an impeccably velour-lined aura. Bombshell Baby Of Bombay: Bouncin' Nightclub Grooves From Bollywood Films 1959-1972, the second volume, jumps more than it struts. Mohammed Rafi's "Jan Pahechan Ho," probably the most famous Bollywood tune in America from its opening-credits turn in Ghost World, sets the tone here, and the rest is nearly as great… Both volumes: A-


For years, the most consistent global-pop series around has been the Rough Guide titles pumped out like clockwork by World Music Network. The new Rough Guide To The Music Of South Africa (Second Edition) might sound redundant, but it's better than the first. It certainly ranges more widely, from the Soweto String Quartet (covering Sting!) to the quick-stepping, sax-led township jive of Big Voice Jack to the inevitable closer by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. All this plus Solomon Linda's Original Evening Birds' "Mbube," which was later rewritten by Pete Seeger as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." B+