Fantastic Negrito: The Last Days of Oakland (Album Review, Videos & Full Album Stream)

Fantastic Negrito’s debut full-length album, The Last Days of Oakland, churns classic blues, soul, and funk with modern garage rock like somebody spun Lead Belly, Buddy Guy, Otis Redding, and Black Joe Lewis records in a blender.

Fantastic Negrito, led by singer and multi-instrumentalist Xavier Dphrepaulezz, first caught my attention jammin’ with Jamal in a club on Fox’s Empire. At the time they only had a couple of EPs out, so I was very excited for this album’s release. It more than lives up to the anticipation.

The entire album is a nonstop brilliant and bombastic rumination on injustice and inequality of both social and economic natures. My personal favorite tracks…

“Working Poor” has a fiercely catchy guitar riff and twisted refrain of Little Richard’s “Keep on Knockin'” with lyrics about the working class’ struggle to survive despite working as hard as we possibly can.

When I was curating Muruch.com for RAINN, I tried and failed to arrange a worthy cover of the traditional Appalachian folk song “In the Pines” (aka “Black Girl” aka Lead Belly/Nirvana’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”), so my heart just about exploded when I saw the song title on The Last Days of Oakland‘s tracklist.

Fantastic Negrito not only delivers a magnificently revamped, reverberating rendition of “In the Pines,” they also composed a new, gut-punch verse envisioning the “Black Girl” as the single mother of a son shot by police. It is the most perfect cover, beyond anything I could have imagined.

photo credit: Robbie Welsh

Other highlights are “Hump Through the Winter,” which follows the same theme as “Working Poor,” “Rant on Rushmore,” and the song they jammed with Jamal, “Lost in a Crowd”…

Fantastic Negrito Official Site

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Allison Crowe: Newfoundland Vinyl 3 (Album Review & Mp3s)

Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe continues her Newfoundland Vinyl traditional folk series with the release of Newfoundland Vinyl 3. Allison gives new meaning to the word multi-tasking by once again arranging, performing, producing and engineering a collection of traditional Canadian and Celtic folk songs from the local theatrical production for which she serves as Musical Director. Following is my review of the album along with several mp3s, including three songs premiering here on Muruch.com…




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Anna & Elizabeth: New Album

By: Brn

I have loved the purity of mountain music since seeing the movie Songcatcher. Anna & Elizabeth carry on the tradition and I am thrilled with the exposure they’ve gotten this year. You can read about their 2015 album on No Depression, listen to their Folk Alley Session, watch or download their recent Tiny Desk Concert and purchase their album at Free Dirt Records. Here’s the video for their song “Long Black Train”…

Allison Crowe: “The Wild Rover” Lyric Video

Allison Crowe just released the new lyric video for “The Wild Rover,” one of the many traditional folk tunes found on her new album, Newfoundland Vinyl II


The Wild Rover from Allison Crowe on Vimeo.

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Allison Crowe Official Site

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Allison Crowe: Newfoundland Vinyl II

It’s here! Allison Crowe just released Newfoundland Vinyl II and it’s the perfect followup to her traditional folk masterpiece, Newfoundland Vinyl. Like its predecessor, Newfoundland Vinyl II is comprised of traditional Canadian, Irish and Scottish folk songs newly arranged, performed, produced and engineered by Allison Crowe from a local theatrical production for which she serves as Musical Director.



The jauntier Irish-influenced ditties “Paddy McGinty’s Goat” and “The Wild Rover” are very fun listens. Allison’s use of her own multi-tracked choral vocals as part of the arrangements continues to amaze.

My absolute favorite songs are the ballads: the shipwrecked first single “The Water Witch,” the soulful, quintessentially Allison Crowe sound of “30 for 60” and the album’s beautiful finale “Saltwater Joys.”

You can stream the entire album and watch the new lyric videos below…






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Allison Crowe Official Site

Muruch Allison Crowe Posts