by Jason Gubbels

#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Mighty Diamonds | Right Time

July 17, 2015

The 1976 debut album from reggae trio Mighty Diamonds doesn’t usually get lumped in with other roughly contemporary works of Jamaican revolutionary agit-prop, and the reasons why aren’t difficult to comprehend. Burning Spear’s Marcus Garvey, the Abyssinians’ Satta Massagana, and Culture’s Two Sevens Clash all spelled out their apocalyptic intentions — even the album titles promised deep dives into sufferation. While Burning Spear’s dense tribute to Jamaica’s Pan-Africanist visionary featured the dignified visage of Garvey himself as artwork, the Diamonds took to Right Time’s cover as a bare-chested trio…

Continue Reading

#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Randy Newman | Good Old Boys

Few things rankle a Southerner quite like the feeling that they’re being condescended to or underestimated by an outsider, and Good Old Boys toes a very fine line between being a smug bit of regionalist condescension and a brilliant albeit witheringly cynical piece of sociology. It’s…

June 19, 2015
#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Magic Sam | West Side Soul

Samuel Gene Maghett entered Cobra’s recording studios in 1957 as “Good Rocking Sam,” and luckily for all of us, some other Samuel was already laying claim to the clunky sobriquet. Maybe it really was Sam’s old friend and bass player Mack Thompson who suggested…

May 1, 2015
#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Cecil Taylor | Cecil Taylor Unit

In a career marked by artistic triumphs, one might just as easily track Cecil Taylor’s long journey by highlighting his periods of exile. He was still scrubbing dishes in a food joint even while Down Beat gushed over his performances. The Five Spot Cafe kicked him to…

March 13, 2015
#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Tom T. Hall | In Search of a Song

There were country music concept albums before In Search of a Song and there would be many after, from modern sounds in country & western music to tributes to the best damn fiddle players in the world and red headed strangers. But Tom T. Hall’s modest eleven…

February 20, 2015
#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Tangerine Dream | Phaedra

The daughter of Minos and wife of Theseus has long fascinated many a romantic soul — Euripides, Racine, Swinburne, and Lee Hazlewood all wove the name of Phaedra into their offerings (Hazlewood via the 1967 Nancy Sinatra-aided schlock classic “Some Velvet Morning”). Edgar Froese’s reasons for…

January 24, 2015
#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Art Pepper Quintet | Smack Up

Alternate title: The Junkie Blues. Altoist Art Pepper only had a few sessions left before a lengthy stint for heroin in San Quentin loomed, and while all the gory details of that are available in his peerless autobiography Straight Life (jointly written with wife Laurie), what matters is…

January 2, 2015
In Review | Online film and music criticism