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V/A - Hot Women: Women Singers from the Torrid Regions of the World

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Artist: V/A

Album: Hot Women: Women Singers from the Torrid Regions of the World

Label: Kein & Aber

Review date: Feb. 8, 2004

Much has been said and written on the art of assembling a good music mix. The “flow,” if you will (the sequence, if you won’t) can place other people’s creations in a context all your own. “Sequential art,” you might call it.

Anyone who’s scanned comics legend R. Crumb’s bio knows about his house full of crackly 78’s. A few moments of dramatic tension in the David Lynch produced documentary Crumb arose from the hassle of shipping said collection to France. The Hot Women compilation serves, on one level, as a mixed CD made for you by your crotchety old pal Bob Crumb, who shares his collection with you. Crumb takes you to school on forgotten pre-rock “world” music, with digressions on his own legendary concept of eros.

The songs are laid out geographically. Crumb begins in the Louisiana bayou, circa 1934, and hikes through Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Southern Europe, Africa, and finally Asia, Hawaii and Tahiti, picking up only the most crisp, festive, rhythmic proto-pop. Crumb’s punchy, well-researched liner notes don’t always elucidate his personal connections with the songs as much as one might like, but he’s never been the man to explain everything for you.

On another level, the sum of the parts can hang with the whole – as much as anything, it’s cool to have all this stuff in one place. Whether in foreign tongues or in English rendered unintelligible by dialect and sound fidelity, these women’s voices communicate flustered passion, spontaneous absurdity and unqualified joy with an abandoned you don’t get from the Music Industry.

Crumb leers with his ears, and I get 24 early 20th Century party-starters I’d never have stumbled on by my lonesome. Gracias, man.

By Emerson Dameron

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