Latin soul/funk pack Pearly Queen is Paco Rodriguez (bass), Carlos Salazarte (conga, bongos), Raly Guanche (drums), Alberto Arguelles (guitar), Kenny Combs (organ, trombone), and Iggy Gelabert (vocals). This sextette was founded in Miami during the late '60s. Rooted in South Florida's exile community, the members of Pearly Queen grew a hybrid sound with one foot in Cuba and the other in America. Pearly Queen is a find, and their underground vinyl releases are a collector's dream. The title "Super Star," from their 1974 release Quit Jivin': A Funk Anthology, is a crossover fantasia.
Artist: Pearly Queen
Song: Super Star
Album: Quit Jivin': A Funk Anthology
Legendary Bollywood playback singer Asha Bhosle was born in 1933 and comes from distinguished musical stock: she is the daughter of classical singer Dinanath Mangeshkar and sister of the legendary Lata Mangeshkar. In 1948, still in her teens, Asha made her film debut. By 1957, after years of hard work, she finally got her shot from composer O.P. Nayyar with films Tumsa Nahin Dekha and Naya Daur. Then in 1958, she released three more movies and started racking up hits. Asha would continue to work with O.P. Nayyar for the next two decades. In the '70s, she wed Bollywood pop master Rahul Dev Burman. Collaborations include sister Lata, husband Rahul, Zeenat Aman, and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Bhosle won India's National Award in 1987 for the film Ijaazat and was twice nominated for a Grammy, in 1997 and again in 2006. The 1974 title "Pyase Do Badan," from the 2001 collection Asha 75 Years: The Golden Voice of Bollywood, is a rich brew of artistry and ingenuity.
Artist: Asha Bhosle
Song: Pyase Do Badan
Album: Asha 75 Years: The Golden Voice of Bollywood
The Stanley Brothers
The Stanley Brothers are bluegrass heroes Carter (vocals/guitar), born 1925, and Ralph Stanley (banjo/tenor vocals), born 1927, who came from the Virginia mountains and a musical family. In their teens, the brothers started performing, and after serving in WWII, they formed The Clinch Mountain Boys. In 1947, the brothers began recording for the Rich-R-Tone label, later signing with Columbia and Mercury Records. Collaborations include Curly Lambert, Pee Wee Lambert, Chubby Anthony, and Bill Napier. In 1966, Carter took ill and that December passed away at the age of 41. Ralph continues to play and record, promoting bluegrass through the Ralph Stanley Museum and Traditional Mountain Music Center. The title "The Drunkard's Hell," from the The Complete Columbia Stanley Brothers, possesses some of the truest harmonies on earth.
Artist: The Stanley Brothers
Song: The Drunkard's Hell
Album: The Complete Columbia Stanley Brothers
Hip-hop unit Digital Underground was founded in 1987 by Shock G. (Greg Jacobs, a.k.a. Humpty Hump) and Chopmaster J (Jimmy Dright) in Oakland, California. Fashioned with a massive sense of humor (frontman Hump's Groucho Marx glasses and nose) and a respectful reverence (and sampling) of Parliament Funkadelic, but with its own voice and major charm. By 1989, they signed with Tommy Boy Records and added DJ Fuze, Money-B (a.k.a. Ron Brooks), and Schmoovy-Schmoov (a.k.a. Earl Cook). Digital Underground's bust-out chart-topper "The Humpty Dance," from their platinum album Sex Pockets, hit in 1990. Currently, the L.A.-based DJ Nu-Stylez, Liz Suwandi, BINC, Esinchill, and Buttafly fill out the lineup. The title "No Nose Job," from the Rhino Hi-Five: Digital Underground-EP, maintains that nostalgic essence and magic of '80s hip-hop. Complete and utter fun.
Artist: Digital Underground
Song: No Nose Job
Album: Rhino Hi-Five: Digital Underground-EP
Wire is the London-based heady-experimental punk outfit founded in 1976. The Wire core, Colin Newman (frontman/guitar) and Bruce Gilbert (guitar), met in art school; then Graham Lewis (bass/lyrics) and Robert Grey (drums) made it a quartette. Always ahead of its time, Wire originated, then burned through, styles--punk, electronica, post-punk--before breaking up in 1980. By 1986, the players reunited and now have nearly 50 releases to their name. Wire's artful oeuvre had a deep impact on Steve Albini, Graham Coxon, Richard Jobson, and Henry Rollins. The title "Lowdown," from Wire's 1977 classic Pink Flag, is the real deal.
Genre: Punk Rock
Album: Pink Flag
Singer-songwriter and visual artist DM Stith, a.k.a. David Michael Stith, was born in 1980 in Buffalo, N.Y., into a very musical family. His official biography lists his father as a former church-choir director/college wind-ensemble director; his grandfather a Cornell music professor emeritus; his mother a pianist; his sisters opera singers/piano and timpani players/tap dancers. Collaborations include Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), Sufjan Stevens, and Sebastian Krueger. The Brooklyn-based Stith recently recorded his first full-length project, Heavy Ghost, for Asthmatic Kitty Records, "in bedrooms, churches, kitchens and instrumental rehearsal halls around the North East," he writes. Stith's alternative-inspired classical edge is shaped by rushes of imagination and a mysterious elegance. The title "Braid of Voices," from his 2009 release Heavy Ghost, will reel you into its labyrinth of beauty. Currently on tour.