Archive for September, 2011

Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band - Bongo rock

September 30th, 2011


  • Bongo rock
  • Pride
  • 1973
  • USA

First of all, this record is a classic with a capital c. nobody doubts it. I think there is not much people who hasn’t heard anything from this album nor anything it has spawned. wittingly or unwittingly. It basically started the whole hip hop movement and still remains as one of the most played record throughout the hip hop community. Most of the people know the record but the story behind it isn’t that widely known.

It all starts with a b-class horror comedy movie called The thing with two heads. It’s a movie about a dying redneck racist who wants his head to be pllaced into a healthy body so he can go on with his life. After things evolving really quickly, the only remaining option to save him is to place his head into a body of a black inmate. The things will never be the same again as the body with a white and a black head start it’s partly hilarious adventure. During the time of the movie a guy named Michael Viner (pronounced Vee-ner) was in charge of Pride, a subsidiary of MGM records. Viner used to work for MGM, but he was so effective and produced so many hit records, that they gave him an own label, Pride. He was given a task to oversee the soundtrack for the upcoming movie The thing with two heads. He did put there the cream of Pride’s hottest acts, such as The Sylvers, Billy Butler, Ollie Nightingale, Sammy Davis Jr. and Jerry Butler, but it seemed to be lacking something. The intelligentsia at MGM decided to put one more car chase to the movie and they needed music for that. And that was a task for mr. Viner. He then started to gather studio musicians for the session where the remaining songs were supposed to be recorded. Viner rounded up his favorite session musicians and they cut two songs. “Bongo rock ‘72″ and “Bongolia”. They also needed a name for the band so they made it The Incredible Bongo Band. MGM liked the two chase anthem tracks so much that they paired them up to a single release. To everybody’s surprise, it sold furiously. After a while MGM even put extra money in and printed a photo of the band as a cover of the single, but as soon as people saw the pic with white guys smiling there, the sales decreased dramatically. So they removed the pic, returned to plain sleeves and it started to sell again. The single sold eventually over two million copies and spawned a demand for a full length album. A filler became an entity.

Los Angeles based Viner made a strange decicion to pack his stuff and session musicians and go to Canada to cut the album. Eventually the reason was the money. Canada was way cheaper than the States so it was worth flying there to record than to stay in L.A. They arrived at CanBase studios in Vancouver in 1972 and started to bang. After few days of hard work of him, his studio group and some additional Canadian musicians, the album was ready. It was released next year with a reflective silver sleeve made with foil. It sold pretty well, but not even close to the sales of the single. The follow-up, The return of the Incredible bongo band, was released in 1974 and it sold poorly. Thus ended the story of the band. But back to the Bongo rock. Who were the infamous session musicians Michael Viner chose to his mission?

On drums was an L.A. player Jim Gordon (born James Beck Gordon) - once considered as one of the greatest rock drummers in the world. He got his skills under Phil Spector and played also on sessions for the Beach Boys and Duane Eddy. During the 1970s he backed The Byrds, Eric Clapton, George Harrison Merle Haggard, The Monkees, John Lennon, Minnie Riperton and countless others. He was a member of the group Derek and the Dominoes (along with Eric Clapton) and he co-wrote their big hit “Layla”. in 1970s Gordon toured as the drummer of Frank Zappa and what’s better, he was the drummer for Animal in the first Puppet movie. Gordon’s faith was however the drugs. In the late 1970s he flipped and started to hear voices inside his head. His purgatory finally ended in 1983 after several visits to mental hospital. He killed his mother with a knife and a hammer and was sentenced for life from a second degree murder. Currently he is imprisoned in State Medical Corrections Facility in Vacaville, CA and he is still collecting royalties for “Layla”. Steve Douglas (born Steven Douglas Kreisman) played saxophone. He was a pretty popular session musician and worked with many of the big names - Eric Clapton, Beach Boys, Keith Moon, Nilsson, Bette Midler, Bob Dylan, Ramones, Aretha Franklin and the king himself, Elvis Presley to name a few. During the time of Bongo rock -sessions, he was living and working in Vancouver. Douglas lived and literally died as a session musician. During a Ry Cooder session in 1993 he collapsed and died due to a heart failure. On guitar was Mike Deasy, also a very popular session musician in L.A. who was used by everybody from Billy Joel and 5th Dimension to Cannonball Adderley and Solomon Burke. He got his practice in same sessions that Jim Gordon did, with the Beach Boys and Duane Eddy. Born in the Bahamas, percussionist King Errisson (born Errisson Pallman Johnson) was also a top class session musician and his merit list contains sessions with a wide range of artists, including Bobbi Humphrey, Lenny Williams, Quincy Jones, Z.Z. Hill, The Four Tops, Cannonball Adderly among many many others. Remember the voodoo conga player in James Bond movie Thunderball? That was Errisson. Along drummer Jim Gordon, King Errisson played the key part in The Incredible Bongo Band. During the 1970s he was propably the best conga players in the world. Motown founder Berry Gordy even referred to him as “the unsung hero of Motown” for his contribution to Motown recordings. The other percussionist Michael Viner recalls from the sessions was L.A. based session musician Bobbye Hall. There was also some Canadian session musicians involved, most likely percussionists, but nobody remembers who they were. Michael Viner himself played on the background pretty much what he could get into his hands, from cymbals to drums and percussion. Arrangements on this album were made solely by Perry Botkin Jr.

And what about the music itself? As one can conclude from the name of the band, it is indeed very much percussion driven, and very much incredible. With Dick Dale‘ish surf guitars, tight percussion, heavy drumming and catchy horns it’s a mix of styles that is unique among the funky records throughout the history. First track, “Let there be drums” was originally a Billboard top 100 hit by Sandy Nelson, released in 1961. It was a guitar/drums-duet and it’s a pretty good example of early surf rock. The Bongo Band version has also quite banging surf rock drums with really nice backing with percussions and a catchy psychedelic surf guitar riff. And of course the break. Kind of laid back song “Last bongo in Belgium” sounds almost like they were trying to generate the mandatory ballad that appeared in almost every album that time. It follows the line of the album with it’s surf guitars and quite heavy drum-percussion beats having also some additional horn melodies. I’m not sure if they tried to resemble “Last tango in Paris” with the name but it’s however quite weird - at least for guys from L.A.. Needless to say, there’s a long phased drum-percussion break too. “Dueling bongos” is a sort of a version of “Dueling banjos”, an instrumental banjo composition from 1955 by Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith. It’s an accelerating three minute bongo frenzy - or should I call it a bongo mayhem. “Raunchy ‘73″ is a cover of Bill Justis‘ US chart hit “Raunchy” from 1959. It’s a nice (again) updated percussion driven version with no particular break, but really strong uptempo beat and catchy surf guitar melodies. Another updated cover is the one from The thing with two heads, “Bongo rock ‘73″. It was originally a top 40 hit recorded by Preston Epps back in 1959, but Bongo Band made it a heavier, more psychedelic and more banging. Uptempo beat, really catchy horn riffs and the break, what more do you need? The other one from the previously mentioned soundtrack is “Bongolia”, again a very heavy percussive track with psychedelic surf guitars, horn melodies and a long percussion break. In other words very similar to the other uptempo tracks on the album. Then there’s “In-a-gadda-da-vida”. A classic song on psychedelic rock scene. Original was a seventeen minute psych monster that was recorded by the legendary Iron Butterfly in 1968. Originally the title was supposed to be “In the garden of Eden” but the singer Doug Ingle was so drunk or high on lsd - or both - that “In-a-gadda-da-vida” was the only thing he could mumble. Therefore the title stuck and the song has been covered several times. Bongo Band’s version starts with a haunting melody and then turns into a banging midtempo track that follows the melodies of the original but is otherwise way more heavier on drums. There’s also a long, one and half minute break in the middle. Last but definitely not least, there’s the most important, and the most played track of the record, “Apache”. Originally first recorded by UK guitarist Bert Weedon in the spring of 1960, but as his single release was delayed several months, the version by the very well known UK surf rock band The Shadows was the first release of the song. The track was however written by songwriter Jerry Lordan way earlier and he used to play it on gigs with his ukulele. That’s where The Shadows spotted the song and made it a hit. It was a hit only in UK until 1961 when Danish jazz guitarist Jørgen Ingmann hit US charts with his version. Originally it’s a western movie themed song inspired heavily by the 1954 movie Apache (starring Burt Lancaster). Bongo Band’s version is totally different. It gets a point-blank start with heavy percussion with tight drumming before the riff joins in. The melodies are a true classic, from the laid back version of Jerry Lordan to this uptempo percussion frenzy of Bongo Band they have remained the same. But here everything else is different. And then there’s the break. A one and half minute combination of drums and percussion that has been one of the most re-used drumbreak in the history along James Brown’s “Funky drummer” and The Winstons‘ “Amen”. Short after the release of Bongo rock, a New York dj called Kool Herc discovered it and started to play it heavily. It was the first record he got doubles of and started to spin the doubles. In that magical night when he first played doubles of “Bongo rock” and “Apache” using only the break - in 1974 or 1975 Herc recalls - basically two things happened. First, people went crazy on the dancefloor and secondly, hip hop was born.

Let there be drums



Last bongo in Belgium

Dueling bongos


Raunchy ‘73

Bongo rock ‘73

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under classic, funk, north america, rock | No Comments »

John Schroeder - Gangster movie vibrations

September 27th, 2011

John Schroeder - Gangster Movie VibrationsJOHN SCHROEDER

  • Gangster movie vibrations
  • Polydor
  • 1972
  • UK

UK born John Schroeder is propably best know of his work as an easy listening composer, arranger and producer. During his career he did a lot of covers of contemporary hits and of course some original material too. As a creative guy, he did not only produce easy listening hits after hits with his own name, but also with several pseudonyms and with an instrumental pop outfit called Sounds Orchestral, together with his fellow countryman, Johnny Pearson - best known for his work with various production music library companies.

During the early 1970s Schroeder did various “vibrations”-albums - including Party dance vibrations, Latin vibrations, Tv vibrations, Love vibrations and this one, Gangster movie vibrations. Of those, Gangster movie vibrations is propably the strongest one. Despite the continuous easy listening feel, there’s few good ones here. The very dramatic orchestral take of John Barry’s legendary Bond-theme “Diamonds are forever”, Quite airy but funky version of Isaac Hayes‘ Shaft-track “Cafe Reggio” and a very strong version of Gordon Parks’ “Blowin’ your mind” from Shaft’s big score. The last one being even better than the original. If these are not enough for buying, the real treat is still yet to come. The best track is a strong bboy friendly version of Quincy Jones‘ “Money runner” - originally from the $-soundtrack.

Diamonds are forever

Cafe Reggio

Blowin your mind

Money runner

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under europe, funk, jazz, soundtrack | No Comments »

Disco Blaze - Jump back

September 24th, 2011

Disco Blaze - Jump BackDISCO BLAZE

  • Jump back
  • Iyanda records
  • Mid 1970s
  • Nigeria

Almost nothing is known of this band called Disco Blaze nor their album Jump back. possibly only a handful of copies have survived the years and only one is ever seen on ebay - and that went for over 800 bucks in 2008. That is a true pity as the album is full of dynamite. Good thing is that the album was reissued in 2010, so we all have a chance to get it now. Despite their disco referring name, the music is heavy afro funk with influences of rock and soul. Of course there’s a mandatory ballad too, but it’s done in a good way with femme vocals and all. The group was from Ibadan, a city located in western Nigeria and they were propably performing in same places with the pioneering juju and highlice musician Tunde Nightingale, who was from the same city. Sade Adu - the singer and frontwoman of the British band Sade - was also originally from Ibadan.

But back to the music. The hypnotic rhythms of their heavy afro sound with fuzz guitars, wah wah and banging drums are really amusing throughout the whole album. And there’s some nice long breaks too. Like “Jump back (comm’ of the fireballs)”, a long uptempo instrumental funk jam with a tight, half minute break in the end. Or slightly slower paced “Hear the musik”, another hypnotic funk jam with some hook vocals and a break in the end. Third one to mention is “Come show me the way”, a midtempo vocal jam with some nice guitarwork. Very similar is “Plastic feelings”, a midtempo psychedelic funk track with wailing guitars and similar beat to the others. The only ballad is “Medley/solitude/weariness” with quite heavy drums and trembling female vocals in the first part of the song.

Jump back (comm’ of the fireballs)

Come show me the way

Hear the musik

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under africa, afro funk | No Comments »

Paul Kass / Simon Haseley - Prototype

September 21st, 2011

Paul Kass / Simon Haseley - PrototypePAUL KASS / SIMON HASELEY

  • Prototype
  • Music De Wolfe
  • 1972
  • UK

Established in 1909, Music De Wolfe is the originator in production music library business. They started releasing their recorded library records in 1927 with the advent of ‘Talkies’ and the company is still active in the production music scene. With it’s over 80000 titles it’s one of the main players in the industry. During the 1960s and 1970s it was also among the funkiest production music companies, together with KPM, Themes International and Peer International. Music De Wolfe had also several sublabels for production library music such as Hudson Music, Rouge Music and Sylvester Music.

In 1972 composers Paul Kass and Simon Haseley made an album called Prototype. It’s one of the funkiest among all the funky library records. It’s full of breaks, funky rhythms, groovy organs and banging beats from funky easy listening to jazz funk, funk rock sounds and beyond. For example “Filibuster” by Paul Kass starts with a break and continues as a midtempo rockish heavy funk tune having another tough break in the middle. Another great song by Paul Kass is “Causeway”, again starting with a break and continuing as a bboy friendly uptempo library funk track with heavy breaks, some percussion and nice breakbeat rhythm. And there’s more to mention. “Heavy Mob” and “Fast burner” are great funky library tracks too. Although Simon Haseley’s side is not as funky as Paul Kass‘, it still has some really great tracks. Midtempo “Hammer man” is a cheerful but at the same time quite heavy track with its funky banging drums. The last track “Response” is clearly the best one from Haseley. Funky drums and organ along the driving wah wah guitar makes it a great library funk track. What’s also nice compared to most of the production music library records around is, that most the songs are full length instead of those one to two minute themes there usually are on this type of records.

Paul Kass - Filibuster

Paul Kass - Causeway

Paul Kass - Fast burner

Simon Haseley - Hammer man

Simon Haseley - Response

Simon Haseley - Prototype

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under easy listening, europe, funk, jazzfunk, library | No Comments »

Various - Disco sound special vol. 3

September 18th, 2011

VA - Disco Sound Special Vol. 3VARIOUS

  • Disco sound special vol. 3
  • Victor musical industries
  • 1976
  • Japan

This is the third volume of the Disco sound special series. Maybe it isn’t as strong as the second volume, but it also has it’s moments. It’s only a single LP release and it follows the line of the series except there’s no songs by any local bands. There’s some basic good disco tracks like “Save me”, “I like it” and “Fly, Robin, fly” by Silver Convention, “Lady pump” by Penny McLean, “Ooh what a night” by Linda G. Thompson and “Sexy lady” by Jumbo 76. What’s weird, there’s “Bump the bump pt. 2″ by Black Buster and “Bump me baby pt. 1″ by Dooley Silverspoon that both appear also on the second volume.

The best ones on this album include funky disco tracks “Funky lovin’” and “Hi fi woman” by the French group Ice - a band that used also names Lafayette afro-rock band, Bobby Boyd congress and Crispy & co. among some others. Ice tracks are both taken from their album Frisco disco (US release was named Import/export) from 1975. The Japanese also seem to have loved the Philippine group Black Buster a lot as there’s again three songs from them in this compilation. Besides the mentioned “Bump the bump pt. 2″, there’s funky midtempo song “Hassle pt. 1″ and quite similar “Old man”, that starts with a nice break. Latter is propably their best known track and have been reissued several times. All the three songs from Black Buster are originally released on their Bump the bump album from 1975. Can’t help it, I just got to love these Japanese compilations.

Ice - Funky lovin’

Ice - Hi fi woman

Black Buster - Hassle pt. 1

Black Buster - Old man

Black Buster - Bump the bump pt. 2

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under asia, compilation, disco, funk | No Comments »

Various - Disco sound special vol. 2

September 14th, 2011

Various – Disco sound special vol. 2 VARIOUS

  • Disco sound special vol. 2
  • Victor musical industries
  • 1975
  • Japan

There’s at least three volumes in this series of very interesting Japanese disco compilations called Disco sound special. The most interesting of them all is this second volume. First disc of this two lp set contains on quite basic American disco stuff. There’s seven songs from Van McCoy & the Soul city symphony; “Back stabbers”, “Love is the answer”, “The hustle”, “Disco baby”, “Pick up the pieces”, “Get dancin’” and “Shakey Ground” are taken from two different Van McCoy albums. First two are from their 1974 album Love is the answer and the rest are from their 1975 album Disco baby. There’s also “Hey there lonely girl” by The Softones, “I (who have nothing)” by The Chambers Brothers, “Heavy fallin’ out” by The Stylistics, “Maybe” by The Three Degrees and “I can’t help myself (sugar pie, honey bunch)” by Donnie Elbert.

Disc two is the better one. There’s two songs, “Young kung’s” and “Kung fu fighting”, by the Belgian group The Sumos, a band which actually consisted of various members of the more famous Belgian group El Chicles. Then there’s “Bump me baby pt. 1″ by Dooley Silverspoon and “Bump the bump pt. 2″ by the Philippine group Black Buster. The real treat here however is the eight songs of the local Japanese group Soul Sounds Symphony. All of their songs are instrumental covers of pretty well known disco and funk tracks. There’s “Funky stuff” and “Jungle boogie” originally by Kool & the Gang, both heavily funky and groovy versions. MFSB’s “TSOP (The sound of Philadelphia)”, here named as “Theme from tv show “Soul train”", is a funky one but a little thinner than the original. Carl Douglas‘ “Dance the kung fu” gets also a very nice treatment and was reissued together with “Jungle boogie” by Dynamite soul few years ago. The other songs by The Soul Sounds Symphony include the covers of Minnie Riperton’s “Lovin’ you”, The Three Degrees‘ “When will I see you again”, Philly Devotions‘ “I just can’t say goodbye” and BT Express‘ “Do it (’til you’re satisfied)”. Bonus points from the cover.

Soul Sounds Symphony - Funky stuff

Soul Sounds Symphony - Jungle boogie

Soul Sounds Symphony - Theme from tv show “Soul train”

Soul Sounds Symphony - I just can’t say goodbye

Black Buster - Bump the bump pt. 2

The Sumos - Young Kung’s

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under asia, compilation, disco, funk | No Comments »

Mike Jackson and the Soul Providers - The revenge of mister Mopoji

September 11th, 2011

mike jackson the soul providers - the revenge of mister mopojiMIKE JACKSON AND THE SOUL PROVIDERS

  • The revenge of mister Mopoji
  • Sam Lung Records (Desco)
  • 1996
  • USA

The Revenge of Mr Mopoji is an action-packed Kung-Funk soundtrack by Mike Jackson and the Soul Providers Explosive Action is the result when karate dynamo Billy Wang collaborates with director fight coordinator Lee Lung in the action-packed Kung-fu extravaganza, The Revenge of Mr Mopoji With the hope of escaping a violent past, Kung-fu Master John Mopoji (Billy Wang) leaves China with his daughter Lucy (Sue Bo Chuen) in hope of a new beginning as a restauranteur in the gritty Chinatown section of Los Angeles However when he refuses to pay off Mafia crime lord Big Sal (Gordon Jones), Mopoji finds his restaurant in shambles and Lucy missing, forcing him to break his vow of peace and return to the deadly ways of the Golden Buddha Fist, an ancient form of Kung-fu taught by his former Chinese Sifu, Master Shen (Jeff Hon San) An original script that could have been born only in the mind of Kung-fu cinema veteran Marvin Meyers is brought to life by a hard-hitting original soundtrack by Mike Jackson and an all-star cast culminating in one of Sam Lung s greatest efforts The Revenge of Mr Mopoji is in the style of James Brown s Slaughter s Big Rip-off, Black Caesar, and Payback soundtracks,

This is how the back cover introduces this album, a supposed-to-be soundtrack to a mysterious, unknown Sam Lung kung fu flick from the 1970s. In real life this was the second album by the Desco Records house band The Soul Providers. It was a funk band that was founded in mid nineties by US funksters Philip Lehman and Gabriel Roth (AKA Bosco Mann) and was disbanded in 2000. Funk sister Sharon Jones singing vocals on two of the songs in their first album Tequila (1996) was indicating what was about to be happen. After the split of The Soul Providers, Roth went on to form The Dap-Kings, a long time backing band of Sharon Jones and the house band of Daptone Records.

The album is packed with tight instrumental funk numbers and is a pretty good foretaste of what Dap-Kings later was about to be - one of the leading new funk bands in the world. Tracks vary from down- and midtempo James Brown / JB’s style funk jams to uptempo floorfillers. Wah wah guitars, catchy horn stabs, funky drums is what it’s basically all about. They obviously intended to add certain kung fu feeling to the album, but the try remained a little thin. There’s even a martial arts intro on one of the tracks. Despite the fact that there is no hit songs, this album is still a great funk album overall. All the tracks are good ones on their own way and it’s always a pleasure for me to listen it through over and over again. Personally I would’ve preferred a little more bass to the sound, but I still don’t complain…

The Wisdom Of Master Shen

Out The Door

Saturday In The Park

Unstoppable Oldsmobile

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under funk, north america | No Comments »

Oiling boiling - Oiling boiling

September 8th, 2011

Oiling Boiling - Oiling BoilingOILING BOILING

  • Oiling boiling
  • Ufo
  • 1971
  • Finland

Drummer Matti Oiling (RIP) is one of the legends in the history of Finnish funky music. 1942 born Oiling started his musical career at the end on 1950s. During the 1960s Oiling played “rautalanka”-music in Sweden with The Telstars and was forming the first Finnish supergroup The Jormas. He also played a short period in The Boys (backing band for Eero and Jussi Raittinen). Oiling’s own band Oiling boiling was formed in 1969 - at that time it was called Happy jazz band. Their self-titled debut Happy jazz band was released in 1970 on Finnlevy label. In 1971 the band released their second album on Ufo, Finnlevy’s small sublabel that released only 4 albums with really small quantities. In 1971 their name was already settled to Oiling boiling and therefore this second album was also a self-titled one.

There’s pretty strong line-up on this album. Matti Bergström on Fender bass, Martti Metsäketo on saxophone and flute, Pentti Lasanen on saxophone, trumpet and flute, Kaj Backlund on trumpet, Tuomo Tanska on piano and organ, Kalle Lae on guitar and Matti Oiling himself on drums and percussion. Like their first album, this one also mixes jazz with strong influences of rock and funk. Along the funky drumming and breaks there’s a strong funky feel even on those jazzier tracks. “Simple pimple” and “Soul rock” are both quality soul-jazz tracks, where latter has some serious guitar working too. Funky midtempo “Boom bang basch” has a quite long percussion breakdown in the middle. Besides those, there’s two standout tracks that are both nice bboy friendly uptempo funk-groovers. “Polar carneval” starts with a banging beat and later some strange slightly sitar-a-like horn sounds follow. The whole song is a continuous latin-esque breakdown with occasional whistles. “Beka” has slightly less tempo but is still a great one. It starts with a nice break and continues as a horn driven jazzy funk track. Like all the Ufo label releases, this is really tough to find and pricy album, but it’s been reissued as a cd and is also rumored to be reissued as a vinyl too. Luckily the two best tracks “Polar carnival” and “Beka” are released as a double side groover 45 (Ufo S 201) that is a little easier to find and could be found with a reasonable price.

Soul rock

Simple pimple

Boom bang basch

Polar carnival


Written by Mista Tibbz, at 12.08, filed under europe, funk, souljazz | No Comments »

Here we go again…

September 7th, 2011

It’s been a while since the last post. In fact, over five months already. Times have been busy and have eaten my time so efficiently that I simply haven’t had any time to concentrate on this blog. What a pity it is, but it will all change now. The posts will appear again every now and then. I also had to turn off the comments section due to a massive amount of spam comments. I try to open it again with new settings, but if the spam keeps coming I have to close it again. In that case sorry about that, PM me if you want to leave feedback or have something else on mind.

As always, it’s hard to decide where to start. So many good records, so much good music around. Therefore I start with a post that I was thinking about in April. A short look what was happening in certain southeast Asian cities during the spring of 2011. Of course I usually talk about records and music in general, but this time there’s more to come…

HK-1 KL-1

First stop Kuala Lumpur


I had no special expectations of this city and it turned out to be a really positive surprise. Almost everything was in order, places were rather tidy and when you knew how to negotiate, even the taxis were very cheap. I definitely got to get there again.

Malaysia seems to be rather rich country (29th largest economy in the world). Commuter trains were from the late 1990s and the monorail was from the 21th century. And everything was working very precisely. The only thing that I didn’t quite catch the first time when I tried to buy train tickets, was the “mesin tikit, mesin tikit” that the guy on the counter was yellin at me. Apparently their official language, Bahasa Malaysia, has a lot of loan words and “mesin tikit” of course meant “ticket machine”. Finally when I got the ticket, I was ready for the adventure - the search for most likely the only record store in Kuala Lumpur area. Rumors told that there is another store about 100 kilometers up north, but that was naturally out of question.

KL-2 KL-3

There was our train going to the mall

After some stops with the LRT we got to the mall where the store was supposed to be located. It was a huge 27 storey office complex including a hotel and the headquarters of a local bank. Bottom five levels were reserved for the retail stores and restaurants. We wandered through the floors without finding any traces of records, we found only stores selling boomboxes, old stereo equipment, trendy turntables and a lots of other stuff.

KL-11 KL-12

Finally we noticed that there was also a basement floor and there was the record store located. It appears that every weekend they had also a fleamarket on the basement floor so there was more to see. At least three fleamarket sellers had vinyls on their tables but the musical selection wasn’t that wide. Not the exotic stuff I was after, only western rock and pop. The sellers were really kind though.

KL-4 KL-5

After the brief browsing on the fleamarket tables I dared to check out the record store. Or it was actually not just a record store, they were selling a lot of other stuff among records. Books, guitars, drums, synthesizers, memorabilia, sheet music, amplifiers, turntables, ghettoblasters, clothes, souvenirs, toys. You name it, they have it. But what was the most important, they had records. A lot of those. In the store I even bumped into a local rock star looking exactly like a Malay version of Slash. I should’ve taken the fan pic with him. Damn.

KL-6 KL-7

KL-8 KL-10

I literally spent the whole day listening to records that I couldn’t tell what was in them. They had a lot of Chinese stuff from Hong Kong and also stuff from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and India. Seems that there’s a quite strong Indian population in Malaysia and they have pressed a lot of Bollywood soundtracks there. I already had several good ones as Malay pressings but the amount they had was impressing. Not any good ones though. After buying some 20 records I finally took off and headed back to the hotel. There was some sights and attractions to see during the next days so I wasn’t sure if I was able to get back again.

KL-13 KL-14

We also checked the nightlife and found one partically interesting looking bar where was supposed to be a house band and all. The name of the house band was really an interesting choice, although I was pretty sure it wasn’t the real deal.


We had bad luck that night, ‘cos the band had a day off and there was only some trance music playing. I really wanted to see what the band was all about. Luckily we found another bar with a band and they were playing Malay covers of some well known rock and funk songs. Nice. On the last whole day I decided to go back to the record store again as the girls were heading to the “girls’ shops” and I wasn’t that interested about that. I talked this and that with Terry, the really nice worker at the store and he told me that there had been another Finn visiting the shop just few weeks earlier. Although I later asked around about it here, the identity of the mysterious fellow countryman remained hidden and was haunting me almost four months until it finally revealed…

With more records in my bag it was time to finally head to the next destination.

Second stop Bali / Gili Air


It was clear that there was no record stores in Bali, so it was time to spend next week relaxing. First stop in Bali was Lovina, nice and quiet little place up north. After Lovina, the next stop would be the island of Gili Air so we needed a transport. This is what we found..


Despite the obvious tempting of the slow ferry, we still decided to take the fast boat and finally got to the Gilis. Gili Air is the second smallest of the three Gili islands located northwest coast of Lombok and it has a population of approximately 2000 people. It’s kind of a small paradise with no cars or motorcycles, limited electricity, clean waters and very friendly locals. And there’s much less tourists than in Gili Trawangan - which is the largest of the Gilis. The nature was also nice…

Gili-1 Gili-2

Last stop in Bali was the city called Sanur located in south-east. There we bumped into a traditional wedding party, although we didn’t dare to crush in. We were just digging the band from the distance. Besides that, there was basically nothing else to see.


Third stop Hong Kong


Last three days were dedicated to the home of kung fu flicks and Bruce Lee. I had done some advance research so the locations of several record stores were in my map. Although the local transportation was working very smoothly, the navigating wasn’t that easy.

HK-1 HK-2

The thing is, that in Hong Kong the main interest in music is on classical music. And all the stores were packed with Beethovens, Mozarts, Vivaldis and Sibeliuses. I heard from a local friend that people in Hong Kong have always been interested only in classical. That sounded kinda bad. I still decided to try my luck and look around. I had a list of stores that I got from my friend and I even managed to find one extra spot that he didn’t know. Besides records, almost all the stores were selling other stuff too. Amplifiers, turntables, stereo equipment, instruments, books, souvenirs, etc. Just like in Kuala Lumpur.

HK-3 HK-4

HK-5 HK-6

HK-7 HK-8

At least they knew how to handle the listening spots.

My absolute favorite was the one I visited the last and where I had the least time. It was a weird store in the middle of a shopping street packed with flea market and regular market booths and all kinds of other sellers and hustlers. In the store they had piles after piles of records in a total mess and they also had piles after piles of Harley Davidson shoes. What a weird combination it was. Gladly I managed to find some Korean stuff among some nice Hong Kong soundtracks, so I didn’t have to get back empty handed. Too bad I had so little time to visit there, it really looked promising.

HK-9 HK-10

HK-11 HK-12


And I still haven’t listened through all the records I bought…


Nam Hong - Kong fu fighting

Nam Hong - Kung fu back again

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 22.01, filed under cratedigging | Comments Off
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