World's in a spin
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World's in a spin

Record Store Day saw some rare vinyl releases and an excellent Molam Bus compilation

World's in a spin
Molam Bus – Live Recordings From The Fields At Wonderfruit 2022.

Record Store Day has been part of the music scene for 20 years now, held twice a year in April and "Black Friday" in November. The day-long event is held to celebrate independent record stores around the globe, bringing together musicians, producers, media, DJs and retailers to enjoy new and reissued vinyl gems.

This year, April 20 was the designated day for special vinyl releases and record stores opened for live sessions, gigs and social events. In Bangkok, this year's event was spread over two days at The Corner House, which is called a "community space" on Charoen Krung 35 in Chinatown. The event featured gigs, presentations and racks of new and second-hand records for music fans.

For this year's Record Store Day, Hidden Tracks Records, Vinyl Die Hards, Metal Quest, Earquake Music (Chiang Mai) and Jakree Teerakulpisut (Langu) joined their international counterparts.

Over the years, some of the biggest names in rock have muscled in on the vinyl action, leaving indie music and non-mainstream, non-Western music in the shadows. The headline releases are nearly always from major acts, like The Beatles or Taylor Swift. That said, there is a list of "regional" releases (limited releases of local music, around 500-1,500 copies). So you can find some interesting music.

Looking at the list of major releases, there are some really cool albums hitherto unavailable. Here are some highlights.

Legendary and pioneering Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango's Manu 76 (Soul Makossa); a killer deep soul compilation, Various Artists – Where Southern Soul Began (Analogue October Records); one for blues fans, The Reissued 1963 Blues Festival – Memphis Slim, Sonny Boy Williamson & Matt Murphy (Red Lightening Records); jazz from bass maestro Charles Mingus with Reincarnations (Candid); Shake Hands With Shorty – North Mississippi All Stars (MNRK Heavy); Gil Scott Heron's classic (and prescient) Winter In America with Brian Jackson (Culture Factory USA); vital roots music from Skanking With The Upsetter – Lee 'Scratch' Perry & The Upsetters (Trojan); and 300% DYNAMITE! Ska, Soul, Rocksteady, Funk And Dub In Jamaica – Soul Jazz Records Presents (Soul Jazz Records). Soul Jazz also has an excellent compilation on Rudeboys. Jazz always features on the main Record Store Day list, and this year, fans might want to check out some seminal releases from Art Tatum, Sun Ra and Cannonball Adderley. More information from

Khammao Perdthanon and Sawai Kaewsomboon.

Being unable to attend the main event at The Common Room this year, I headed off to Zudrangma Record Store on Sukhumvit 51 to get hold of the latest release from the local label, Molam Bus – Live Recordings From The Fields At Wonderfruit 2022. Although the store has participated in the previous Record Store Day events, this year the label took a break and instead released a limited run vinyl compilation of field recordings from gigs held at the Molam Bus Stage at Wonderfruit in 2022. As I was unable to go to the big event, I thought I would support local music by buying the new compilation.

The new Molam Bus compilation is only available on vinyl (in a very fancy purple colour that is coordinated with the cover art by producer and DJ Maft Sai) and features seven tracks. All of the musicians appeared on the Molam Lam stage. The Molam Bus project has been part of Wonderfruit since 2015, managed by the Jim Thompson Art Center but more recently Zudrangma took over the bus project and extended the size of the stage, which now features three or more acts each night at Wonderfruit.

I remember 2022 quite distinctly as I curated the mini-exhibition in the Molam Bus that year, so got to see first hand how molam music has become very popular with Bangkok's smart set at the festival. The crowds in front of the stage are huge now.

The Molam Bus compilation kicks off with GA-PI of T-Bone fame, a standard, nicely done dub number, which segues into a killer spacey dub and khaen groove that features wailing lam vocals (is that Angkanang Kunchai's voice?) and is one of my favourite tracks. Toom Turn Molam Group, a popular molam bands that perform regularly at Studio Lam, closes the side with the driving Toomturn Swern Jai.

Bangkok Paradise's main man, phin player Khammao Perdthanon, and popular khaen player Sawai "Don" Kaewsomboon open side B with a khaen-phin workout and this segues into one of my favourite tracks, a wai kru (paying homage to teacher) glawn (poem) beautifully accompanied by Sawai. The album closes with a full-on Paradise Bangkok track, Exit Planet Lam, which fans of the band will enjoy.

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John Clewley can be contacted at

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