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About a week before his Chicago show, I had a chance to talk to Henry Cole, a Puerto Rico-born, NYC-based drummer about his newly-released album, the Afrobeat Collective, and the exports of some brilliant Caribbean music into the U.S. altogether. Here’s what came out of it.
Identical twins Bill and Bob Alessi put out five LPs between 1976 and 1982. Today’s track, “Seabird,” comes off their 1976 self-titled debut, released on A&M Records. The group is probably best-known for their single “Oh, Lori,” released in that same year; eight years later, they contributed a track to the Ghostbusters soundtrack (“Savin’ The Day”) that most people who’ve seen the movie will probably recognize. Your mileage may vary when it comes to the rest of their material, depending mostly on how strong your taste for late-’70s AM pop is, your mileage may vary—but that first album’s pretty darn good.
“(He’s Our Dear Old) Weatherman” comes from Mark Wirtz’s Teenage Opera, which he began working on in 1967 but which was not released in its entirety until 1996. Wirtz began the project while working as a producer for EMI and tapped members of the band Tomorrow, including guitarist Steve Howe, along with the children’s chorus from Corona Stage School to record it. In 1967 he released one 7” of material from the opera, which nearly topped the charts in the U.K., but he was unable to convince EMI to continue financing the project and he ultimately left the label in 1969. He continued working on the project and the full soundtrack, including “Weatherman,” was released in 1996 by RPM Records as A Teenage Opera. Wirtz continues to record and produce, releasing Lost Pets 2 in 2010.