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Archive for December, 2011

Remember those record inner sleeves with the logo: “Home taping is killing music and it’s illegal”?
The record companies were trying to tell us that making a cassette copy of an LP would lead to the music disappearing because the taped copy represented a lost sale.
Rubbish.

A dire warning

Sometime in 1986 or 1987 Luke let me copy his Batsumi record. It was love at first listen.

On side A of that tape was Freedom’s ChildrenAstra. Astra I had recorded from Brian Davidson who had been the lead singer of Freedom’s Children. At the time Astra was impossible to get hold of. The master tapes were destroyed in a fire, so no record company could release it. In the CD age it was released after a copy was made from a vinyl album. Ironic, nĂ©?. Brian’s girlfriend made me the copy from his tape. When she turned both tapes over she mixed up source and destination, so Brian’s side B was wiped and mine remained blank. I never did find out which album disappeared, but I suspect it was Galactic Vibes.
Anyway that was how I had side B available to record Batsumi.

That tape powered my VW Beetle all over the place for many years. It only stopped receiving play when I was finally able to buy a CD of Astra and was driving a car without a cassette deck.
In the intervening years I have never laid eyes on a copy of Batsumi for sale (and in years gone by I spent a lot of time in record stores so I would have noticed!)

Batsumi

Now in 2011 Matsuli Music has rereleased Batsumi and I finally have my own copy. Take a listen to it there. Buy a copy, it’s well worth owning.

It still is magnificent and my enthusiasm for it is just as great as it ever was.
The remastering has removed a bit of the murkiness of the sound, but the tremendous atmosphere of the original album is still there. As the needle drops on side one and Zulu Bidi’s bass plucks forth from the speakers, I wait in anticipation for the mangled flute that sounds like a kudu horn and then I’m off again on that wonderful journey into the unique sound world of Batsumi.
It’s a magnificent masterpiece and I would have bought it decades ago if it were possible.

Home taping did nothing to kill this music – it’s very much alive and for me probably only because I did once tape them.

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