I have to say I don’t know anything about these guys expect they come from South Africa and they’re funky. It appears that there’s absolutely no info about them on the internet - or at least I can’t find any. That’s a shame because their sound is pretty tight and the record is a true curiosity. For some weird reason they, or their label Gallo, have censored three tracks from the album by scratching the record on their tracks. I fixed one of those when digitizing the album, but the other two I left alone. Maybe because they weren’t that good at all.
The album starts very strongly. First track “Soul satisfire” is very funky midtempo jam with loads of wah-wah, organ and synth melodies and even sort of a break. Next one, the instrumental “Follow me” starts as a funky midtempo jam before having a very hectic middle part and then getting back to mellow funkiness. There’s again very funky wah-wah’s, wailing organs and tight drumming on this one. Then comes another instrumental, time to time a little cheesy, but still mostly very good “Groovy love” with some wild organ work and funky guitars. Last track on side a is the best one on the album, “Treat me right”. It starts with a drum-guitar break and continues as a midtempo funky jam with nice guitar riffs, organ and funky drumming. They could’ve left some of the dominating electric guitar out though, it kinda disturbs me. First one on side b is “You’re gonna lose it”. It’s followed by “We feel great”, again a quite nice funky track. After that comes another standout track, the funky wah-wah and organ driven uptempo groover “Organ grinder”. It’s followed by “Chain reaction”. The last on side b is the mellow but groovy “Soul unlimited”
Everybody has heard about the king of mambo, Perez Prado. At least at some point. But most of the people don’t know that there was two of them. Brothers Damason Pérez Prado and his little brother, Pantaleón Pérez Prado both shared the same artist name. Neither of the Perez Prados used their first name, but only their last names and the confusion was quite obvious. While Damason Pérez Prado was mainly working on the States, his bass playing brother was in Europe acting as the “true king of mambo”. Even when Pantaleón Perez Prado died in 1983, the press announced the death of his brother as the news was only about the death of Perez Prado. In Spanish speaking countries people have two last names. First one is the paternal (father’s surname) and second is maternal (mother’s surname). That’s the reason for the name issue. So, Damason Pérez Prado was the more famous brother, the king of mambo, but his brother was the funkier one. Even though a lawsuit in 1956 eventually restrained Pantaleón from making further use of the name Perez Prado, there was still few of his albums released in the 1970s under that name. And they were pretty banging.
This album was most propably released originally in Italy, as it was licensed from Beat Records. I’m just not sure what the name of that version is. Tequila! was the name of the Belgian release and the album was also released in the UK by the name Now. Anyways, whatever the name is, it’s a very strong album. There’s no weak tracks, it’s just full of very funky afro-cuban groovers with a loads of breaks. Check for yourself.
Türkü, literally “of the Turk”, is a name given to Turkish folk songs as opposed to şarkı. In contemporary usage, the meanings of the words türkü and şarkı have shifted: Türkü refers to folk songs originated from music traditions within Turkey whereas şarkı refers to all other songs, including foreign music.
1941 born Erkin Koray is a very well-known figure in the Turkish music. Actually there’s no one like him in the history of Turkey’s rock scene and he is widely recognised as the first musician ever to play a rock n’ roll concert in Turkey. That happened in 1957 by the way, when his high school band played covers of Elvis Presley and Fats Domino. He was also one of Turkey’s very first electric guitarists, recording what is generally recognised as being the first rock’n’roll record ever released in Turkey. And, he is also acknowledged to be one of the inventors of the so called anatolian rock, a genre mixing traditional Turkish sounds with western rock and funk music. Therefore he has well earned his nickname Baba Erkin - that means of course Father Erkin - as the godfather of Turkish rock.
Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s he released a whole bunch of 7″ singles, but his first long play was released as late as 1973. And it wasn’t even a pure LP on it’s true meaning, but kind of a compilation of his single recordings from 1967 to 1973. In 1974 Koray changed label from Istanbul Records to Doğan Records and then he was finally able to present his true self in music. In a form that was contemporary, under his control and unrestricted by the short durations of singles. And what he brought up is widely considered to be his best album - the second LP called Elektronik türküler (Electric folk songs). On the album, there’s three original compositions of Koray, and as the title recounts, the remaining five tracks are contemporary versions of Anatolian folk songs from the past. And on this album Koray have his tight combo on fire. Along Baba Erkin himself on guitars, bağlama, piano and organ, there’s Ahmet Güvenç on bass and Sedat Avcı on drums and percussion. The additional session musicians Faruk Tekbilek on bağlama and kalem and Eyüp Duran on bongos rounded out the trio.
The album starts with a traditional Anatolian ballad “Karli daglar” (Snowy mountains), a midtempo groover with catchy vocals, nice funky rhythms and the hypnotic bağlama work of Faruk Teklebik. Next up is an instrumental written by Koray, called “Sir”. It starts with a telephone ringing before turning into a belly dance’ish track. In the middle Koray let’s loose his psychedelic guitar on a solo and then the track comes back in. Then comes an acoustic rework of a 17th century folk song called “Hele ya” (Especially), a six and half minute track with a strong Anatolian feel. A really short (one and half minutes) instrumental track “Korkulu rüya” (Nightmare) is a really haunting drumless track with mean organs and weird panting in the end. Last on on side A is “Yalnızlar rıhtımı” (Waterfront of the lonely ones), a very western sounding groover with a really tight rhythm, some nice guitar work in the middle, very hypnotic vocals and Koray’s guitar solo in the end.
The first one on side B is an acoustic guitar driven ballad, “Cemalim” (My Cemal), written by the early 20th century folk composer Urguplu Refik Basaran. It’s a nice little groover based on Koray’s acoustic guitar work, with some fuzz guitar overdubbed in places and Ayzer Danga on drums. There’s a psychedelic guitar solo in the middle too. In their live performances they didn’t act as wild as you can imagine. They seem rather being quite stoned as it’s shown in their live video on “Cemalim”…
Next one is a strong fuzz guitar driven proto-metal instrumental “Inat” (obstinacy) that starts really promising but never seem to really start before it fades away after two minutes. The last one - and my personal favorite on this album - is the nine minute psychedelic monster simply called “Türkü” featuring the lyrics based on the poems of the well known early 20th century poet Nâzım Hikmet. With the main theme played with bağlama by Erkin Koray, the snake charming licks of Ahmet Tekbilek’s kalem (a double reed Turkish wind instrument) and the stoned sounding drumming of Sedat Avcı makes it one helluva song. Great album indeed as a whole.
founded in 1969, Devils was a six piece South Korean soul and rock band that released four albums between 1971 and 1977. Their second album 2 집 (Vol. 2) was released in 1974 and the band had already really strong orientation for funk and especially soul. The album was also known with the name 철창 (Behind bars), which the cover also reflects. During the times of this second album, the lineup was following: 홍필주 (Hong, Pil-Joo) on trumpet, 최성근 (Choe, Seong-Geun) on keyboards and tenor saxophone, 채완식 (Chae, Wan-Sik) on bass, 김명길 (Kim, Myeong-Gil) on guitar, 박문 (Bak, Mun) on tenor saxophone and 유기원 (Yoo, Gee-Won) on drums. Devils was sort of a trailblazer on the early 1970s soul boom in South Korea. You can hear that on their music. It’s very soulful with clear influences of the American soul and funk music. And it’s sung in Korean.
Among the soulful ballads there’s several midtempo groovers. Like “몰라요 몰라” (Mollayo Molla) - meaning “I don’t know, I don’t know” - with it’s horn stabs, funky soul beat and catchy lyrics is a very nice soul track. Another midtempo soul track with funky soul beat is “별들에게” (Byeoldeul-Ege). My favorite of these midtempo soul groovers is “괜찮아” (Gwaenchanh-a) - meaning “Fine” - with a quite strict beat, horns and some guitarwork at the end. There’s even a short break included. The album is of course not only about soul, there’s some funk too. “태양을 향하여” (Taeyang-Eul Hyanghayeo) - “Towards the sun” in English - is a cover of Kool & The Gang’s “Kool’s back again” from their 1969 debut album. Vol. 2 is in many ways a very marvellous album. With it’s Korean singing ja groovy ways of music, it’s also a very sympathetic one. It’s one of my favorite Asian records of all times.
Power was supposingly the only album by this obscure funk outfit that hailed from Sweden but consisted of one Swede, one Englishman and four Mexicans. And it’s not to be confused with the Danish group with the same name that was also active during the mid 1970s. Very little is known of these guys, except that guitarist Jörgen Höglund did a solo album in 1980 and some of the Mexican guys are still playing today. Along Höglund the other funky cats here are Rafael “Chatcho” Sida (percussion), José “Pepe” Ballote (saxophone, flute and bass), Jesus “Chuie” Sida (trumpet and percussion), Renato Lopez (bass, guitar and percussion) and Sam Mardsen (keyboards). They are all on vocals too.
The music on Power varies from downtempo funky soul like “Gotta find a way” to uptempo funk like “Someone to love”. The latter being definitely the best track here. Latin influenced jam “Amigo mio” is also worth to mention with it’s nice flute work and funky latin rhythms as well as the caribbean flavored “Cozumel”, that also has a small break in the middle. Then there’s “Smog city” with a hint of rock feeling and the midtempo instrumental funk track “Soraya”, that starts with a break and continues as a hypnotic funk jam. Overall this is a very funky little obscurity from the land of the elks.
The Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Graterford, also known variously as SCI Graterford (SCIG), Eastern Correctional Institution, Graterford Prison, Graterford Penitentiary, and the Graterford Prison Farm, is a Pennsylvania Department of Corrections prison located in Skippack Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States, near Graterford. The prison, located on Graterford Road off of Pennsylvania Route 113, is about 31 miles (50 km) west of the city of Philadelphia.
The facility, built in 1929, is Pennsylvania’s largest maximum-security prison, holding about 3,500 prisoners. The grounds include an extensive prison farm on 1,730 acres (7.0 km2); the 62-acre (250,000 m2) prison compound itself lies within 30-foot (9.1 m) high walls surmounted by nine manned towers. An $80 million construction program completed in 1989 added a new administration building, a 28-bed infirmary, and 372 additional cells.
“The power of attorney are 9 men from Graterford Prison with something to say…” says the introduction of the band in the covers. These nine guys locked up in Graterford prison definitely had funk in their veins. Very little is known of this band, only the guys involved: Charles McDowell (bass), Gilberto Albizu (congas), Otis J. Graham (drums), Brother Edward J. X Smith (guitar), William Smith (guitar), Wilbur C. Brown (keyboards), Ronald Aikens (percussion), Marion Wilson (saxophone) and Stanley Watkins (saxophone). They seem to have aroused the interest of James Brown himself as the godfather of soul helped them to get their only album published on Polydor.
Songs are mostly soulful vocal funk numbers in here but there’s of course some slow jams too. The lyrics concentrate mostly on the life in a prison and on the other hand, in the ghetto. Really funky “Life is nowhere in the ghetto” starts the album and promises good. After few ballads comes up “Buck naked”, a really tight uptempo instrumental funk track. Then there’s “Jelly roll”, a midtempo instrumental funk jam. “I wanna be free” is exactly what the title sounds like, a song about the life in prison ja the yearning of freedom. It’s a nice uptempo funk track and among the best in this album. From the inside is an obscure album in many ways. Unlike most of the prison band albums that were private pressings, this was released in a major label. And James Brown was involved in this. Whether he did or did not actually do anything for them, he is still involved and there’s a letter from him pressed on the covers. Too bad the guys didn’t got more material released for a reason or another. Hope they got their lives together though..
Gil Ventura (born Marcello Olmari) is an Italian easy listening saxophonist who began his career in nightclubs in the 1960s. Since 1972 he did a lot of albums similar in every way to those Fausto Papetti saxophone records. The songs are mostly covers, mostly really cheesy and there’s a naked woman on the album cover. In his career he has recorded over 50 albums so I must admit that he’s been a quite productive musician. In this fifth volume of his Sax club -series he dives into the world of soundtracks. As you can expect, the tracks mostly really cheesy orchestrated numbers with Ventura’s wailing saxophone on top. There’s however quite decent versions of Ennio Morricone’s “Il Mio Nome è nessuno” (”My name is nobody”) and Paul McCartney’s “Live and let die” (”Vivi e lascia morire” here). Of course there’s got to be something on this album, otherwise I wouldn’t have brought it up. The standout track is the groovy version of Armando Trovaioli’s “Sesso matto” (”Mad sex” in English). You know, the track with a catchy saxophone riff borrowed from Manu DiBango’s “Soul Makossa”, nice beat thoughout the track and even a break. It doesn’t beat the original though, but it’s still a good one. And this album is not that hard to find either.