From OYB: "U.K.E.: Comrade Cool" -- funky sosh pop
Welcome to U.K.E.! ...And to the land of Bart Casad! Courtesy of the OYB label!
U.K.E. = "ultra kitsch ensemble" ... (with an umlaut over the "u").
A socially relevant country ukele clever-fest, ensemble-style. --11 songs for $10.
It's the work of a wild, wacky, astute singersongwriter who plays the uke. But it's more than that. It's an ensemble. There's tons of great instrumentation on this album. It's fine and broad yet spare and tight. You hear each instrument and they each have something good to add. A fine bunch of musical genius, as it were. Nifty production values, to boot. You could say it's quirky, with a beat, and country in its bones.
Bart is a friend of ours who's originally from Kansas, who's in his 40's, like me. He's a PhD biochemist patent lawyer. An oldschool Renaissance wildman. Because, obviously, he's a singersongwriter as well.
He's also oldschool Kansan. Shorthair. Folksy expressions and stentorian obliquoy (?). Polite with his "Thank you, ma'am"s. Grammas like him. He's earnest, energetic and loving the courtroom.
And he plays ukele.
Lord knows why.
Because it's small?
Bart's been on the move a lot of his life. For a decade or so he did international science. Did you know you can't do a lot of cutting-edge science in the US? Not because it's unethical but because it IS ethical. Bart's first attempt to do some of his radical science revealed that the only place in the world that was as far ahead as he was, and so able to see what he was up to, was *the Soviet Union*. So that's where he went. They found lab space for him there. You gotta go where the work is, man! He made friends there in the rock scene and ended up bringing over the first (and only?) Soviet rock band in, what, 1988. It was still the bad old days and the band's lead singer was detained by the KGB on his way here. But I'm getting ahead of myself, I mean behind myself. A year or three earlier, Bart and Friends recorded "Comrade Cool." They toured it around town in Ann Arbor. They even made a couple videos from it which were aired on MTV. They played a big concert venue. The tape has since sat around, entertaining us from time to time. Bart recently rolled back into town (by way of Basel, Dominica and Kansas) and liked what I was up to online and gave me a CD of the tape and said to go for it. So here we are. There's lots more where it came from. (I hope I can bring you his "bikes'n'science" song soon.) Anyway, it seems like he was doing rap before it was cool, in the title song "Comrade Cool." His tunes are as timely as ever. The sample for "Live Together" doesn't reveal the clever and poignant political twist, but it's a fine little tune.