Formed in 1967 by former Motions guitarist Robbie van Leeuwen, the Dutch quartet Shocking Blue originally had a lineup of VanLeeuwen on guitar, lead vocalist Fred DeWilde, bass player Klaasje Van der Wal, and drummer Cornelius Van der Beek, and the initial configuration of the band had a minor homeland hit with “Lucy Brown Is Back in Town” a year later in 1968. Things really got moving, though, when DeWilde was replaced by sultry singer Mariska Veres, whose sexy presence and solid singing brought the band a second Netherlands hit, “Send Me a Postcard,” and then a huge international smash with “Venus” in 1970 after the group had signed to Jerry Ross' Colossus Records imprint.
Although Jane's Addiction's 1987 self-titled debut was an intriguing release (few alternative bands at the time had the courage to mix modern rock, prog rock, and heavy metal together), it paled in comparison to their now classic major-label release one year later, Nothing's Shocking. Produced by Dave Jerden and Jane's Addiction vocalist Perry Farrell, the album was more focused and packed more of a sonic wallop than its predecessor; the fiery performances often create an amazing sense that it could all fall apart at any second, creating a fantastic musical tension. Such tracks as "Up the Beach," "Ocean Size," and one of alt-rock's greatest anthems, "Mountain Song," contain the spaciousness created by the band's two biggest influences, Led Zeppelin and the Cure.
The extraordinary South African pianist meets his countryman, the late, very great bassist Johnny Dyani, and the result is one of the single most beautiful recordings of the '70s. The duo mix in traditional African and Islamic songs and perform with a fervor and depth of feeling rarely heard in or outside of jazz. From the opening traditional Xhosa song, "Ntsikana's Bell," the rich, sonorous approach of these two musicians is evident, both singing in stirring fashion, Ibrahim guttural and serious, Dyani as free and light as a swallow. Ibrahim treats the listener to some of his all-too-rarely heard flute work on the following track, using Kirk-ian techniques of sung overtones in a gorgeous original.