Archived Magazine July 2014


A sneaky peek of just some of what is in the July 2014 issue.

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A lot of people like Bluey Maunick. Here’s an example of why.

“I travel a lot. I go to countries where I see that music is absolutely vital to the people, where they are truly hanging onto the music,” he tells me, expanding upon an answer to a question about the messages to be found on Incognito’s new album, Amplified Soul.

“The people in the Philippines are still rebuilding from the typhoon and when we went there I got to thinking, ‘Here we are, we’re getting paid and a lot of rich people are coming to see us, paying for some expensive tickets… how about if we find a way of giving something back to those who are struggling?’ I came up with an idea to buy a guitar for, maybe, £50 and then auction it at the gig – y’know, I’d play it on stage, it would be my guitar, and it would fetch decent money. But then Gibson guitars called and they gave me a guitar and said, ‘Auction this instead’. In the end we sold a £2000 Gibson for 10 grand – because we’d all signed it. So I said from the stage, ‘Next time we come, we’ll play in your living room for anyone who wants to bid another thousand – and we made another 10 grand!

“Man, I have a great life and career. I do Incognito, I travel the world, I get to MD for Chaka Khan and she smiles at me when I play guitar next to her on stage. I get all the thrill I want out of music, so I think I’d better use the opportunities to give something back sometimes.”

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Bobby Womack


Poised on a sofa in his home in the Hollywood Hills, rubbing the sleep from his eyes after a late night songwriting with Jim Ford, a relaxed Bobby Womack takes his acoustic guitar from his son Bobby Jr’s hands… and sings to me. It’s late August 1982. I’m, well, a nobody in this situation: a student from England, yes, a long-term soul fan – in fact, a huge Womack enthusiast – but a pretend journalist [with permission] using Echoes’ good name to blag an interview whilst holidaying in California. I never expected him to invite me into his home. And now he’s giving me a personal performance.

Bobby Womack literally changed my life. Because of him, because of his wonderfully visceral music and then two unforgettable interviews we did at the beginning of the eighties – a year later, he’d invite me into the studio to watch him lay vocals on The Poet 2 – I junked my legal background [and newly acquired law degree] to become a music journalist.

Bobby Womack is now dead: he passed away peacefully in his own bed on Friday, June 27…

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Open Mike Eagle


Rappers and comedians tend to get along. Whether it’s Dave Chappelle calling on The Roots, Busta Rhymes and Nas to play at his recent New York shows, Chris Rock cutting albums with Prince Paul or Madlib sampling Richard Pryor, the crossover between comics and rappers has long been a two-way street.

So it is with Chicago-bred, LA based rapper Open Mike Eagle’s new album Dark Comedy. He calls on comedian Hannibal Buress for the tickling Doug Stamper [Advice Raps] but Mike’s comedic efforts go back further. He’s been doing shows with funny men for years, and even made a case for the reinstatement of the disowned skit on rap albums with his WTF Is Art-Rap sketch on 2010’s Unapologetic Art Rap [more on that later].

“I’ve always been a huge fan of comedy,” says Mike. “Being in LA, that gave me a huge opportunity to start doing shows alongside comedians or be the musical guest at comedy shows. I find both audiences tend to be able to get what I do so those tend to work out for me! And for the last four or five years, I would say I’ve been doing things in that direction as often as I can.”

If that makes it sound like Dark Comedy is a punchline affair, out to get obvious LOLs, it’s not. Mike’s more interested in the humour he sees in unlikely places.

“The best comedy to me is the stuff that takes reality and pushes it to the point of absurdity. I like the comedy that comes from that.”

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Maxi Priest


It seems a far-fetched notion these days, but England was once the world’s number one market for reggae music outside of Jamaica. All the reigning superstars of the music toured here and many of them lived for long stretches in London, including Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown. The UK reggae industry had it all, but much of that power and influence has now dwindled away like rainwater on a summer’s day.

Maxi Priest’s career started and was nurtured in that environment, on the sound-systems of SE London where he was born and raised. After a while he began singing PAs in the network of small clubs scattered throughout the UK before signing with Virgin Records and heading for the stars. Thirty years later and he’s still the only British-born singer to graduate from our reggae grassroots and make it big internationally – not by topping some DJ’s playlist from overseas, but having a No. 1 hit on the US Billboard charts and enjoying lasting mainstream success in territories all over the world, including Japan and the Caribbean.

True to form, his latest album Easy To Love is another quality offering, except it’s the first to be released by VP Records whose involvement now “joins all the links, since they understand where the foundation of the music started,” he says.

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