Archive for the 'Latin Funk/Soul' Category

Day 21: Julio Gutierrez – Last Tango in Paris

I’ve been pressed for time the last few days, so sorry I have to poop out a really quick post here for you guys. Anyway, I found this 45 in the KRMX batch I’ve been pulling from for the last 3 to 5 years. But the awesome audioblog Office Naps actually did a really good article on this 45 a while back – you can check it out here. Enjoy!

1. Julio Gutierrez: Last Tango In Paris

Day 8: Two Covers From The Gas Label

The majority of the records and 45’s I own on the Gas label are really bad. It seems that they focused on smaller regional Mexican acts whose prerequisite for getting on the label was that the band had to be horrible. However, every now and again, the label seemed to be keen on allowing cover songs of really obscure US funk and soul music.

The early 70’s Mexican group La Sangre Caliente has had their seminal self titled Lp recently reissued and their rendition of La Culebra was a Vampi-Soul favorite for many years. I actually own their only album, but the dope cover Clarence Reid’s “Till I Get My Share” never made it on that record for some reason. The romantic balada group Revelacion 2000 even gets into the act with a cover of The Spinners “Just You And Me Baby” – they even do a version of “Killing Me Softly” but unfortunately I couldn’t find the 45.  

Anyway, sorry for the short post. I’ve been grasping for material lately. But hang in there, I just have to dig a bit deeper, I’m sure I have more surprises. Please please please Enjoy!!!

P.S. I told you the Packers would win.

1. La Sangre Caliente: No Me Ire De Aqui

2. Revelacion 2000: Tu Y Yo Nena

Day 3: Chicano Funk with Musica Del Alma

Welcome to the world’s best Latin Funk 45 (half joking). This Enrique Olivarez y Los Vampiros record is right from my backyard in Stockton, CA, so naturally I tried to contact the band and get as much info as I could.  The devastating funk track “Al’s Place” is named after the band’s guitarist, Al Olivarez, a tall guy known for jumping right off the band stand during shows and socking dudes in the face who looked at him wrong!  If it weren’t for this guy, Los Vampiros wouldn’t have made nearly as many funk songs.  He wrote the majority of their Latin Funk and Rock output as it turns out.  The band garnered regional popularity not from these funk tracks, however, but for their Rancheras and Corridos.  They even got marginal commercial success in Mexico with their “Hay Amor” hit balada on 45 (also on their Vol 2 LP), written by bandleader Enrique (Henry) Olivarez. 

“Al’s Place” is the obvious winner here, but I also really dig “El Coqueton” for the horn solos and Al’s epic fuzz guitar noodling.  You will only be able to find this second tune on Super Sonido!

Here’s a little backstory on how this record came to be reissued by the world famous funk reissue label, Jazzman from the UK (for the 3 people who care).  I spoke with DJ Shadow about this record and it turns out that he uncovered it in the mid 90s, and eventually hit up the Olivarez family through their now-closed furniture store in Stockton, which is something that happen often with the new furniture stores online always opening such as the Ivy and Wilde store.  He brought it over to the UK around ’97 and started playing it at funk nights, eventually catching the ear of Keb Darge who put it on a BBE comp.  It was so popular in funk collector circles that Jazzman eventually released two of their tracks on a 45 and later put one more funk instrumental on their latest California Funk compilation.

– Adam Dunbar

Los Vampiros: “Al’s Place” & “El Coqueton” (Discos Vampiros, 1971)

1. Los Vampiros: Al’s Place

2. Los Vampiros: Coqueton












Wow more amazing Latin-Funk from Adam who runs the Musica Del Alma blog. Adam thanks for the great post and gracing our ears with this gem. If you haven’t been to his site, I strongly recommend that you do – plus there is a great mix he just put up. Since Adam was throwing up some Rancheras gone Funk – I thought I’d take the opportunity to do the same. The only difference is that I know nothing about this group and I have nothing really more to say. Enjoy!

– Franko

3. La Plaga: Sere Feliz

ritmo + sabor = manteca

Just returned from out of town and found this album in my mailbox. I’ve been looking for this LP for ages (I’ve been outbid on ebay numerous times for this one). Also, you may have noticed already that it’s been heavily written about and reissued a few times, yet I still wanted to share it. This album is massive. Really nice b-boy style Afro-Latin funk from Manteca. Reminds me a bit of the Understanding Latin Rhythms song Masacote I wrote about earlier. It should too, since it also has Carlos “Patato” Valdes playing on it. I also read somewhere that Cachao may be playing electric bass on this? What the hell?

Anyway, I’ve been super busy re-working my entire life and it seems to be paying off. Change or whither away. I would really like to get more posts on this site, which is my next goal – and I also wanted to remind anyone out there that they are welcome to do a guest post anytime (unless I really don’t like what you have to offer – but that doesn’t seem to have ever been the case so far). Eamon Ore-Giron & Marcos Juarez please do a guest post, I thought you guys were my friends?

Took this off the Orgy In Rhythm audioblog – I really liked what Bacoso had to say, plus he has a full rapidshare of the entire album. I selected my 3 favortite songs, but the whole entire record is amazing. Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy!

– Sonido Franko

Super heavyweight percussion/descarga session from Pla, plus Patato Valdes and Nelson “Flaco”Padron (Cachao on Bass???). If you liked Puente in Percussion this will blow you away. Just check out the ridiculous breaks on “Afro Funky” and “Cosas De Manteca” to get a flavour of how good this is. Percussionists who were lucky enough to witness Manteca play the bongos with this group, relate tales of an enormous man who could ignite a near riot by simply coming forward from the rhythm section to the front of the stage playing wild rhythms that became more and more complex as the audience cheered him on. Lazaro Pla, known as Manteca, was a master “bongosero” who first rose to fame in 1940s Cuba when he was a featured attraction with the great pianist and composer Ernesto Lecouna and the renowned Cuban Boys, a leading exponent of the Cuban musical wave who gained international recognition and subsequently toured the globe. Although Manteca is found on many recordings originating from Cuba, only a very small amount of material exists of him as a featured soloist or as the leader of a small combo. These famed sessions took place in the United States – Miami to be exact, sometime in the early 1970s. This was a very unique session indeed as two other Cuban expatriates join Manteca in the studio – two of his early admirers who grew up listening to his rhythms: master percussionists Carlos “Patato” Valdes and the amazing Nelson “Flaco” Padron producing these two of the finest examples of incendiary Cuban percussion ever recorded. The remainder of this session’s musicians are unquoted. (I’ve heard it suggested that the legendary Cachao could be on bass but this remains unconfirmed).

– Bacoso

1. Manteca: Afro Funky

2. Manteca: Son Montuno

3. Manteca: Cosas De Manteca

Los Gaiteros De Funk

It’s in the Caribbean coastal region of Colombia where the origins of the cumbia ensemble or the conjunto de gaitas began. However, unlike most popular Latin American music – the gaita was not just the amalgamation of African (drums) and European (lyrics) traditions – but it also fused an Amerindian ( flute) element as well.

Folkloric groups from the Atlantic region of Colombia still perform this early genre of cumbia to this day. Consisting of a very deep sounding drum choir – the bombo, the tambor macho, and the tambor hembra.  Accompanied by some wild sounding flutes: flauto de millogaita macho, and the gaita hembra. It’s this Amerindian sound that the big band style cumbia seems to have removed later on, replacing these folk clarinets (fashioned from cane) with brass ensembles. I partially don’t blame them in trying to modernize the sound, sometimes this form of gaita music can be almost too idiosyncratic to listen to.

With that, I went a step further and included some tracks in this post that blend this traditional form of Colombian music with a more contemporary sound. The results are pretty amazing. From big band cumbia, to funk, to a cover of Rod Stewart’s “Do You Think I’m Sexy”. I can contest, with heavy rotation, that most these songs have been pretty effective on the dance floor. It keeps the people moving and I’m always constantly being asked where this music is from. Anyway, sorry for the lack of posts lately, I’ve been super busy. I’ll try to get some more good music out this month. Like always…Enjoy!         

1. Los Gaiteros De San Jacinto: Magdalena Ruiz

2. Cumbia Siglo XX: Los Esqueletos

3. Pedro Beltrán: Puyalo Ahi

4. Rafael Machuca: La Batalla De Flores

5. La Cumbia Moderna De Soledad: Cres Que Soy Sexy

Neo Boogaloo with Spanglish Fly

I have to admit that when I got the PR kit from a band called Spanglish Fly, I wasn’t to enthusiastic. Maybe I was just turned off by the name or maybe I’m just leery of anything with words that contain latin, soul or bugalu – in a contemporary context that is. Anyway, I’m a horrible man who has the fucked up penchant to judge a book by its cover…and I am sorry for that.

After collecting dust in my office for the last month, I decided to set aside my one-sidedness and actually listen to the 45.  And with all fairness, I was pleasantly surprised. New York City’s Spanglish Fly really pulls off that Ray Barretto Hard Hands era groove that I love so much. You’d think someone would have done this already, right?  In fact, I can’t think of any other group that has tried to embrace that sound today – much like Sharon Jones did for neo soul/funk. So with that I give them credit where credit is due. I really like that they made the effort to press 45’s also – big fan of that. The track I put up is a really low quality MP3, but check out Spanglish Fly at their website and I think you’ll be able to buy their 45 at Dusty Groove soon. Enjoy…

1. Spanglish Fly: Let My People Bugalú

Gal Costa: 1968 to 1974

The arrival of Tropicália on the Brazilian music scene began in 1968 with the seminal collaboration album Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis. Although this new genre was also embraced by the visual arts community, it was largely seen as a musically driven movement. The key to the Tropicália manifesto was antropofagia, or the cultural cannibalism of all societies. Essentially it was the digestion of all other influences, from all other genres, in order to create something totally new.

Musically it consisted of a fusion between regional Brazilian and American/British psychedelic rock. Also, the experimentation with studio production was another key element . Take the first song Mamãe, Coragem, which I couldn’t record on its own. Most tracks on the Tropicália album segway directly into each other – the whole album is on some Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club trip.

Please know that Brazil was experiencing their third military dictatorship at the time, which lasted from 1964 to 1984. So a new musical movement that rejected most conventions could only be deemed as politically engaging or a form of activism, to say the least. And the Tropicalismo movement pretty much ended with founders Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil being forced into exile in 1971.

It is ironic to think that even though Gal Costa was a big part of the Tropicália movement, she never wrote any of her own songs. Most of her music was composed either by Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, or both. While the two were in exile, it’s as if Gal became their default artist in their absence.  However, her strength really lies in the way she expressed herself through other composer’s music and lyrics. Gal has the ability to take any genre and turn it into her own. She really captured the movement’s dense lyricism with her voice. Her singing appears unorthodox at times, with unusual time structures, always creating a thin line between happiness and sadness. It’s in my opinion that she is probably has one of the most unusual, original and beautiful female singing voices I’ve ever heard.

Presented here are a few tracks from each album in chronological order. I tried to select songs from multiple genres as an example of what was going on with the movement at the time. I am missing a few of her late 70’s records, which I’ve partially heard and appear to be impressive as well. If you like what you hear, don’t hesitate to pick any album up for yourselves, most songs on the albums given are amazing from beginning to end.  On a side note, popular Forró musician/singer Dominguinhos plays accordion on a few of her records. Forró is a popular regional music from the Northeast of Brazil. It’s almost like Zydeco. I find it amazing that he played and toured with Gal for many years, really a reflection on the influence, longevity and all-inclusive nature of the Tropicalismo movement. Peep the funky track Relance. Enjoy!

1. Gal Costa: Mamãe Coragem + Gal/Caetano/Gil/Os Mutantes: Batmacumba

2. Gal Costa w/ Gilberto Gil: Sebastiana

3. Gal Costa: Vou Recomecar

4. Gal Costa: Tuareg

5. Gal Costa: Com Medo, Com Pedro

6. Gal Costa: Lingua Do P

7. Gal Costa: Acauã

8. Gal Costa: Fruta Gogóia

9. Gal Costa: Presente Cotidiano

10. Gal Costa: Relance

11. Gal Costa: Da Maior Importancia

12. Gal Costa: Pontos De Luz

13. Gal Costa: Barato Total

14. Lua, Lua, Lua, Lua

15. Gal Costa: Flor Do Cerrado