Amp Fiddler has us amped

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By Todd Lavoie

A couple of weeks back on Noise, I was carping and crowing away about all those amazing import-only discs that demand a small fortune out of us till a domestic release finally sees the light of day – assuming that moment ever comes, that is. In some cases, it looks likely that American labels will continue passing up wonderful talents such as Candie Payne and Husky Rescue out of curious misperceptions about “the American market” – whatever that means – and we’ll be left with no choice but $20-and-then-some price tags. Yeah, I know – quite the tale of woe and all, this record-shopping dilemma of mine, but sometimes a dork’s just gotta shake his skinny little fists in protest at this great big spinning orb of injustice and say, “Enough is enough!” Feel me?

But fair is fair, they say, and so I should try to balance out that bitch fest with a bit of the ole happy. How about a small victory? And for Detroit, no less! I’ve heard they could use a few victories, so let’s trumpet this one up. See, up till very recently, one of the 313’s finest, cosmic-soul pioneer Amp Fiddler, was without an American record deal for a spell, thus making his latest release a challenge to track down in all but the most obsessively thorough of record stores.

In fact, Afro Strut has been available in Britain on the Genuine label for practically a year, while in his home country it was nearly absent from the racks! Talk about a cryin’ shame. Mercifully, this sad state of affairs has changed, now that Play It Again Sam US/Wall of Sound has issued a domestic version of Mister Fiddler’s sophomore release. Better still: they went and improved upon the original! Rather than simply re-issuing it as is, Amp – or, Joseph at the supper table – took the British edition of Afro Strut and did some, er, fiddling with it. (Yeah, a pun. Shoot me.)