Some Day Catch Some Day Down
Some Day Catch Some Day Down
The music of Talking Drums moves fluently between jazz and African genres, bending and stretching categories, crafting and elaborating new spaces beyond them. Originally released in 1987, Some Day Catch Some Day Down enables us to hear a rare and unrepeatable moment of collective musical interaction. This moment arose from a fresh mix of new compositions by ensemble members and traditional music from Ghana, infused with a strong dose of West African highlife sensibility. An early review in Cadence enthused that such music “is usually so joyous and infectious that it’s hard not to be drawn into it.
So it is with this LP.” Embracing the record’s double attraction, the reviewer concluded: “It’s very much dance music, but it’s also very good to listen to.” Other writers dug into some of the reasons why: Talking Drums…adds some modern instrumentation and faster rhythms to the highlife recipe, though some numbers here have a rootsier, almost reggae flavor…. The real breakthrough comes with “Ye’Pemso” and its fascinating mix of African influences and jazz improvisations. —The Chicago Tribune …progressive basslines and guitar and sax solos blaze on top of Ewe and Twi rhythms, with textured percussion and chanted vocals creating not only feel-good dance music but an album of highly listenable songs. From the delicate guitar riffs and thickly woven instrumentation of “Tu Tu Gbovi” to the post-bop saxophone and furious rhythmic structure of “Ye’Pemso” (We Are All Struggling) and the redemptive title track, the album offers a high-spirited exploration of expansive multi-ethnic delights. —The Beat
Master drummer Abraham Kobena Adzenyah has led varied incarnations of Talking Drums from the 1970s to the present. Active during much of the 1980s, the ensemble on Some Day Catch Some Day Down was an especially exciting collaboration by Ghanaian and American musicians. Talking Drums produced the record as an independent LP album shortly before the late master musician and dancer Freeman Kwadzo Donkor, a key member of this version of the group, passed away. Donkor’s poignant voice remains with us on many tracks. Reissued in 1989 and reviewed as “a rich and individual mix” and “outstanding stuff” (All Music Guide), the LP still fell quickly out of print.
This Innova release is the first digital version of its contents. Newly restored and remastered from the original analog master tapes, Some Day Catch Some Day Down is finally accessible to listeners who never could hear it until now. High-resolution remastering presents this richly intercultural music in more depth and detail than ever before. Along with its eight actual CD tracks representing the complete Some Day Catch Some Day Down album, this Innova release is an Enhanced CD. It also gives you over 45 minutes of bonus MP3 files from a 1985 Talking Drums session. Rough around the edges but full of fresh, exploratory energy, this key earlier material had been available only on a long-rare cassette. Made by a version of the group featuring most of the same musicians who would record Some Day Catch Some Day Down two years later, the nine free bonus tracks document an equally unrepeatable moment of musical collaboration. These tracks, too, were specially remastered. Some Day Catch Some Day Down will appeal to people who enjoy creative convergences of genres and traditions, especially jazz and African music, and to those focused on either one.
All told, this Talking Drums reissue gives you not only the original LP’s complete eight tracks, but a total of no fewer than seventeen long-scarce recordings: more than 95 minutes of music that sounds as excitingly vital and culturally deep as it did on the days it was recorded. This all is now yours to have and to hear to full advantage in expertly remastered form.
Talking Drums is a Connecticut-based group that mixes Ghanaians and Americans. Some of their material is traditional, some self-composed. The idiom is basically enriched highlife, with a strong traditional component, but also solo work that would be unlikely to be played by Ghana-based group. The result is a rich and individual mix: it's outstanding stuff.
- John Storm Roberts, All Music Guide