Various Hot Women

When legendary comic artist R Crumb decides to compile a disc of his favourite 78s, you can be sure the package will be striking. The somewhat leering title Hot Women: Women Singers from the Torrid Regions of the World and the caption "Exotic and Spicy" bring to mind his deeply weird perspectives on women so stunningly captured in the documentary film Crumb. This collection of music from around the world, recorded from the late ’20s to 1950 does not represent any coherent musical history; they're just some of the records from his vast collection of old music. He doesn't even claim to know much about the artists represented, although he's researched each of them as well as he could. From a musical perspective, we hear early sambas to pre-modern West African music, sub-continental Ghazals and majestic flamenco singing. Crumb tells us what he knows about them, in his usual self-deprecating style ("I'm not a scholar. I'm a record collector!") and we listen as though we are guests in his home. Those who are truly intrigued by individual selections on this disc should seek out the archival releases of Smithsonian Folkways, Yazoo and other historical labels for greater ethno-musicological perspectives — but those who simply who crave the thrill of discovery of music that "surprises and thrills the ears" will definitely enjoy this. (Kein and Aber)