This Just In: Haiti Direct

We get a lot of inquiries about Haitian records, and unfortunately we don’t come across too many. Surprising, seeing as we’re located in Little Haiti (hey neighbors, if you’re reading this and you have Haitian records for sale, bring them in). A lot of Haitian music is currently available on CD, but the vinyl remains elusive. Soul Jazz has a few compilations, zeroing in on Voodoo and Rara sounds, and now Strut Records and Sofrito have made another dent with their Haiti Direct compilation – “the first in-depth survey of the Caribbean country’s unique and varied musical history” (Vinyl Factory). Let’s hope this is only the beginning of archival labels bringing the sounds of Haiti back to vinyl.

Various – Haiti Direct – Big Band, Mini Jazz & Twoubadou Sounds, 1960-1978 2LP, 2CD:
“Hugo Mendez from Sofrito presents the first ever retrospective of the golden era of Haitian music from the big band sound of compas direct in the mid-’50s to the inspired mini jazz scene of the ’60s and ’70s. The album covers influential bandleaders such as Nemours Jean-Baptiste and Webert Sicot and the wave of smaller bands that followed in their wake, many building ultra-loyal audiences from their local neighbourhoods. Tracks also cover the more folk-based and acoustic twoubadou style, popularised by artists like Coupe Cloue. Many bands would later make the move to the States and enjoy further success among the Haitian ex-pat communities including Tabou Combo, Shleu-Shleu and Ibo Combo. ‘Haiti Direct’ tells the full story.” -Strut Records

“At the dawn of the ’60s, as Jamaica twisted American RnB into ska and reggae and musicians from Cuba and Puerto Rico codified the sound of Salsa, Haiti gave birth to Compas Direct – an updating of the traditional Meringue rhythm, adapted with a new swing and complex arrangements.The driving sound and irresistible beat of Compas swiftly dominated the French-speaking Caribbean as well as taking root in the urban centres of New York, Paris, Montreal and Miami.

As the decade waned, the big band orchestras of Compas-originator Nemours Jean-Baptiste and musical rival Webert Sicot gave way to new, smaller groups like les Shleu Shleu and les Frères Déjean. Raw electric guitars, wailing sax lines and driving percussion combined as the groups blended local rhythms with rock and jazz influences, producing a raucous, punchy and densely textured sound that paved the way for the next decade.

Into the ‘70s, the Mini-jazz sound had become a major force across the Caribbean and into mainland Europe and South America. Tabou Combo filled New York’s Central Park for a Summer concert and topped the charts in France, bringing the sound of Compas to a new and wider audience and would eventually form one of the cornerstones of the Zouk wave in the ’80s.” -Sofrito

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New releases, restocks and reissues from all over the place…
24 Carat Black – Ghetto (Misfortune’s Wealth) LP
Actress – Ghettoville 3LP, CD
Aleister Crowley – Original Wax Recordings LP
Andy Stott – Batillus-Concrete 12”
Ani Difranco – Not A Pretty Girl 2LP
Autre Ne Veut – Anxiety LP
Bibio – Green EP 12”
Black Lips – s/t LP
Bobby Bland – Here’s The Man LP+CD
Bonobo – North Borders 2LP
Budos Band – s/t LP
Cave – Threace LP
Charles Bradley – Victim Of Love LP
Cherry Glazerr – Haxel Princess LP
Circle Jerks – Group Sex CS
Cooly G – Hold Me 12”
COUM Transmissions – Home Aged LP
Cramps – Psychedelic Jungle LP
Crass – Feeding Of The 5000 LP
Daft Punk – Discovery 2LP; Homework 2LP
Dead Moon – Trash/Burn LP
Death Cab For Cutie – Plans LP
Elliott Smith – Either/Or LP; New Moon 2LP; s/t LP
Fabulous Wailers – At The Castle LP
Falty DL – Danger 10”
Family Fodder – Monkey Banana Kitchen LP
Fever Ray – s/t LP
Flamin’ Groovies – Shake LP
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours LP
Furry Lewis – In His Prime LP
Gaslight Anthem – B-Sides LP
Gary War/Purple Pilgrims – Split LP
Grey Wolves – Blood & Sand LP+CD
Grupo Oba-Ilu – Santeria 2LP
Guardian Alien – Spiritual Emergency LP
Guerilla Toss – Gay Disco LP
Habibi – s/t LP
Heterotic – Love & Devotion LP
Iggy Pop – Lust For Life LP
Jackson C. Frank – Forest Of Eden 10”
James Brown – Super Bad LP
John Cale – Paris 1919 LP
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme LP; Coltrane Plays The Blues LP+CD; Giant Steps LP
Justice – Cross 2LP
King Tubby – Controls LP; Meets Rockers Uptown LP
Laraaji – Two Sides Of Laraaji CD
Lightnin’ Hopkins – Lightnin’ & The Blues LP; Low Down Dirty Blues LP
Linval Thompson – Jah Jah Is The Conqueror LP
Little Richard – Here Is Little Richard LP
Mr. Bungle – California LP
Ngunzunguzu – Mirage 12”; Warm Pulse 12”
Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise LP
Nina Simone – At Town Hall LP; Sings The Blues LP
Nirvana – Cult 2LP (this is the 60’s psych band, not the other Nirvana…)
Ondatropica – s/t 3LP+7”
Oneohtrix Point Never – R Plus Seven LP
Peter Broderick – Float 2013 LP
Pontiak – Innocence LP
Red Fang – s/t LP
Reed, Cale & Nico – Bataclan ’72 LP
Russian Circles – Memorial LP
Secret Boyfriend – This Is Always Where You’ve Lived LP
Sharon Jones – Give The People What They Want LP
Shuggie Otis – Information Inspiration LP
Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time LP
Sonic Boom – Spectrum LP
Sun Ra – Atlantis LP; Jazz In Silhouette LP; Soul Vibrations Of Man LP
Supreme Cuts – Divine Ecstasy LP
Tape – Luminarium LP
Thurston Moore & Mats Gustafsson – Vi Ar Alla Guds Slavar LP
Tim Hecker – Ravedeath 1972 LP; Virgins 2LP
Thelonious Monk – Solo Monk LP
Vangelis – Blade Runner OST LP
Various – 100 Moons LP
Various – Bossa Nova Vol. 2 2LP
Various – Country Soul Sisters 2LP
Various – Cumbia Beat Vol. 1 2LP
Various – Cut It Up Def: Miami Bass Jams CD
Various – Legendary Studio One Records 63-80 2LP
Various – Mystic Soundz From India (Lost Field Recordings ’68-’79) LP
Various – Salam Alay 2LP
Various – Shik Shak Shok LP
Various – Township Jive Vol.2 LP
Various – Turkish Freakout Vol. 2 2LP
West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band – Part One LP