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Grupo Irakere - Chekere

July 31st, 2012

Grupo Irakere - ChekereGRUPO IRAKERE

  • Chekere
  • Cuba
  • 1976
  • Finland

1973 formed Irakere is no doubt one of the best known groups that ever came from Cuba and they’re one of the most influental bands too. They created their own style with mixing together almost everything rhythmic they heard; jazz, funk, rock and traditional Cuban rhythms. They were busy with album recordings and even more busy with travelling around the world. They also used to record albums wherever they were performing and that was the case in Finland too. Irakere visited Finland in 1976 to play at the Turku Jazz festival and at the same time they visited the Finnvox Studio in Helsinki to cut an album that was then released on Finnish Love Records‘ Cuban music oriented sublabel Cuba. Otto Donner produced the album by the way. The time they visited Finland they weren’t yet known in the United States and they were playing with their original tight line up with Oscar and Chucho Valdés, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Jorge Alfonso and Enrique Plá among others.

Album starts with one of the best version I have heard of their standard “Chekere son”, a great funky son track with tight start and a nice break. Then comes two mellow tracks “38½” and “En nosotros”. They’re followed by another funky uptempo one, the magnificent studio version of “Juana 1600″. Side b opens with similar sounding uptempo Cuban funk track “Moja el pan”. It’s followed by Chucho Valdes‘ piano track “Este camino largo”. Then comes “Xiomara” that starts with a heavy beat and continue as a groovy midtempo vocal number. Last track is the horn driven Cuban funk track “Illa” with some serious fuzz guitar, heavy percussion work and a sort of a break.


Chekere son


38½


En nosotros


Juana 1600


Moja el pan


Este camino largo


Xiomara


Illa

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under afro-cuban, caribbean, europe | No Comments »

Boris Gardiner - Every nigger is a star

October 6th, 2011

Boris Gardiner - Every Nigger Is a StarBORIS GARDINER

  • Every nigger is a star
  • Leal
  • 1973
  • Jamaica

I have to say that when I first became aware of this record, I thought the name was at least a little bit controversially dubious. And it still is even though the n-word has established as a some kind of a ghetto standard. Every nigger is a star is a soundtrack to a totally forgotten 1973 Jamaican movie starring blaxploitation-smoochie Calvin Lockhart of West-Indian heritage. They propably tried to turn the meaning of the n-word upside down for the black population of Jamaica with this movie to make it more positive term. The film however flopped and sank into obscurity - maybe for good reasons.

Even though the movie more or less disappeared from the earth, the soundtrack didn’t. Handful of copies survived and were the grails of some hardcore collectors until last year, when Jazzman finally reissued the whole soundtrack. West Indian born Boris Gardiner made the whole soundtrack together with his brother Barrington Gardiner. The music is played by Boris’ band The Boris Gardiner Happening. It’s a fine cross-section of 1970s Jamaican music scene. The music varies from smooth soul ballads to sweet reggae songs and from Caribbean jazziness to heavyweight funk. The acoustic title track “Every nigger is a star” is a fine example the smooth side of the Gardiners. Uptempo classic “Ghetto funk” and downtempo “Funky nigger” instead represent the heavy Jamaican funk at it’s best. The great Caribbean jazz-funk track “Negril” is also worth to mention. For further reading, Boris Gardiner talks about the title track in an interview on The Gleaner.


Funky nigger


Ghetto funk


Negril

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under caribbean, disco, funk, jazzfunk, reggae, soul, soundtrack | No Comments »

The original tropicana steel band - The original tropicana steel band

January 30th, 2011

Original Tropicana Steel Band - Original Tropicana Steel BandTHE ORIGINAL TROPICANA STEEL BAND

  • The original tropicana steel band
  • Peters International
  • 1976
  • USA

I must admit that I don’t know anything about this band, except the two albums they released. The producer behind their albums is Gordon Gray, the same guy who also produced Alan Hawkshaw’s Non stop Hammond hits album. And that does not tell anything either. Whatever the story is behind them, they did pretty funky job with this one. Of course not everything is funky down here. There’s nice mellow numbers like the covers of Johnny Nash’s “I can see clearly now”, Syreeta’s “Your kiss is Sweet” or Kris Kristofferson’s “Help me make it through the night”. There’s groovy but a little cheesy cover of Love unlimited orchestra’s “Love’s theme”. And then there’s funk. “Funky Abbey road” with its fast pace sounds like it’s taken straight out of a blaxploitation chase scene and there’s also kind of a break at the end too. The really funky version of “Yellow bird” is an outstanding track too. It was originally a 19th century Haitian song with lyrics from a poem by Oswald Durand and it was then rewritten with English lyrics in the 20th century. The best track in this album however is the bboy anthem “Calypso rock” that starts with a long banging break backed by steel drums and continues with some nice guitar work. There’s also another version of this same album named Tropicana with a cover of a woman lying in a beach of some tropical island. In my opinion The original tropicana steel band is one of the funkiest steel albums of all times along the first album by the Dutch rhythm, steel and show band.


Love’s theme


Yellow bird


Funky Abbey road


Calypso rock

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under caribbean, funk, north america | 2 Comments »

Dutch rhythm, steel & show band - Dance, dance, dance!

January 17th, 2011

Dutch rhythm steel & show band - dance dance danceDUTCH RHYTHM, STEEL & SHOW BAND

  • Dance, dance, dance!
  • Negram
  • 1976
  • Holland

Dance, dance, dance! is the second album from the Dutch rhythm, steel & show band. This six piece steel pan orchestra from the Netherlands consists of musicians from Trinidad and Suriname. It was originally founded by ex-members of the Silvertone Steel Orchestra Adolf J. Tevreden and Bernito E. Riley. After the success of this second album and particularly the hit song “January February”, they toured a lot abroad using a name The original Trinidad steel band. Along Tevreden (double tenor pan) and Riley (double second pan) the other musicians on this album were Mitchell Callender (bass), Romano Veldwijk (drums), Benjamin Joseph (double second pan) and Lucien Gorré (guitar).

The music is of course mostly Trinidadian steel pan music and the album is not as funky as their debut. There is however two songs worth mentioning. The funky soul number “I want to get down to you” and the bboy track, cover of Jackson 5’s “Life of the party” called “What you gonna do is dance, dance, dance”. There’s also a German release of this album under a pseudonym Trinidad oil company from 1976. Besides, this original version cover is one of the coolest album covers ever. The band is still active in this day, with few sons of the original members playing along. And as a merit Dutch rhythm steel & show band did the interval act in the Eurovision song contest 1980…


I want to get down to you


What you gonna do is dance dance dance

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under caribbean, europe, soul | No Comments »

Upsetters - Eastwood rides again

January 5th, 2011

Upsetters - Eastwood rides againUPSETTERS

  • Eastwood rides again
  • Trojan
  • 1970
  • Jamaica

Upsetters was a studio band of Lee “Scratch” Perry that was formed in 1968. It’s quite hard to find any infos about the musicians on this album, but supposingly the line-up consists of former The Hippy Boys members Alva “Reggie” Lewis (guitar), Aston “Family Man” Barrett (bass), Carlton Barrett (drums) and Glen Adams (organ). The musicians were changing constantly and there was three major line-ups. The Hippy Boys line-up was the second one formed for the Lee Perry’s European tour in 1969.

By the cover you can maybe assume that the album is about Jamaican reworks of old western themes. The title and the cover picture indicate a close relation to some Ennio Morricone type of stuff. But what do you know. Nothing. All the songs - except one - are instrumental reggae tracks strongly influenced by soul, funk and rhythm n’ blues. The only vocal track is “Baby baby”, credited to saxophonist Val Bennet. The album is a collection of tracks produced by Perry with his unique experimentation on new sounds and recording techniques. And there’s no weak songs at all. For example the haunting title track along the funky “Power pack”, “Red hot”, “Tight spot” and the Eddie Floyd cover “Knock on wood”. On this album is also the frantic drum frenzy “Popcorn” that is well known from the dancefloors. Eastwood rides again is clearly one of the funkiest albums that ever came from Jamaica.


Popcorn


Power pack


Red hot


Tight spot


Knock on wood

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under caribbean, funk, reggae | No Comments »
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