I’m happy to announce Haji Maji’s first official release:
LUK THUNG, Classic & Obscure 78s from the Thai Countryside
UPDATE: This appears to be out of print. There may still be some shops that have copies left or you can try good old Ebay.
I’ve collaborated with Peter Doolan, of the great Thai cassette blog monrakplengthai, on an album of 14 early Luk Thung 78s from Thailand, published by the Grammy Award-winning label Dust-to-Digital on their vinyl imprint Parlortone.
That’s right, VINYL!
It was compiled by me from my collection. Peter researched and wrote the notes while living in Bangkok last year.
The album explores similar ground as Sublime Frequencies’ “Thai Pop Spectacular”, “Thai Beat A Go-Go” from Subliminal Sounds and Soundways’ “Sound of Siam”, but with a focus on the earlier, down-home roots style instead of the rock and pop influenced material found on these other reissues. The garage band/proto-Thai rock stuff is cool, but here at Haji Maji our interest tends toward the raw, rural and traditional sounds.
Here’s a sample track from the album:
Ruedu Haeng Khwam Rak (Season of Love) by Phloen Phromdaen
Included in the album is a 6 page, full-color insert with detailed notes and images of the various record labels.
From the notes:
“Luk Thung is known to many as Thailand’s “Country Music”; it’s a vibrant and syncretic genre of pop song which aims to give voice to a disenfranchised rural population… farmers and migrant workers, as well as gamblers, drug addicts, outlaws and other marginal figures…the strain of Luk Thung captured on this album is one marked by a conscious move away from Western influence and an embrace of traditional musics…”
Special thanks to Jon Ward, Michael Graves, Debbie Berne, Rob Millis and the Dust-to-Digital crew.
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