Robyn Hitchcock turns 60 this weekend. The British singer and guitarist has traveled a long way to this point, beginning in the 1970s as the frontman of proto-punk group The Soft Boys and continuing through a solo career that has produced hundreds of songs. He's even appeared in a few films: Jonathan Demme showcased the singer in Storefront Hitchcock and gave him a cameo as a Russian operative in the 2004 verison of The Manchurian Candidate.
Many music lovers know Juan de Marcos González as the man who teamed up with guitarist Ry Cooder to create Buena Vista Social Club. But González was busy celebrating the history of Cuban music long before Cooder arrived on the scene.
Concurrently with the Buena Vista project, González was recording an album with his own band, The Afro-Cuban All Stars. The orchestra now contains expatriate Cuban musicians, young and old alike, from around the world.
The Relatives teamed with members of members of Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears to record the new album <em>The Electric Word</em>. Left to right: Matt Strmiska, Earnest Tarkington, Zach Ernst, Rev. Tommie West, Dale Burns, Rev. Gean West, Tyron Edwards.
In 1970, brothers Gean and Tommie West, both reverends, started a gospel group together in Dallas. They called themselves The Relatives, pressed a few singles and amassed a good following.
By 1980, The Relatives had gone their separate ways, and for three decades that was that. But a few years ago, a Texas DJ and record collector who'd heard their music came knocking, and brought up the idea of a reunion. Now, they're releasing their first album of original work in 30 years, The Electric Word.