DEEP COVERS: 1 OF 4, HNOS FLORES

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Orquesta Hnos Flores: La Mula
Estoy En Onda
From La Bala (Cicesa, 1970)

(For the next few days, I’ll be posting about random singles and albums with notable cover songs.)

La Bala, “the bullet,” was the first full-length LP recorded by El Salvador’s Qrquesta Hnos Flores. I wasn’t able to find too much on them in English (sí, lo sé, realmente debería aprender español) but I’m fairly certain they weren’t small time, but rather, a band of significance into the 1980s and ’90s. Their inaugural LP is a mix of different styles and as you might imagine, heavily influenced by Central/South American Latin musics but it does include two covers of American pop songs.

Or so I think? I’m almost positive that “La Mula” (the mule) is a cover of some funky R&B song of the era (similar to, say, Cliff Nobles’ “The Horse”) but I’m wracking my head to remember who does the original of this. It’s not Marvin Holmes “The Funky Mule” (aka “Ride Your Mule”) though sounds in the same vein. Anyone help me out here? No matter what,

I initially thought “La Mula” was a cover of Cliff Nobles’ “The Horse” but while in a similar vein, it wasn’t. Nor was it a cover of Marvin Holmes’ “Funky Mule” (aka “Ride Your Mule”) and this was driving me a little nuts until our reader Leroy ,in the comments, filled in the blank: it’s a cover of Johnny C’s “Hitch It To the Horse” (also, like Nobles’ hit, on Phil-A-Soul, so it was probably an “answer” song). No matter what name it goes by, “La Mula” it’s a killer dance cut filled with quick drum breaks and a tense, frenetic energy.

“Estoy En Onda” (“I wave”?) is clearly a cover of Traffic’s mega 1968 smash, “Feelin’ Alright” (aka one of my favorite songs to get covered. In fact, I think that’s why I even hunted down this LP to begin with.) The best cover of this song ever? No. But a pretty cool rock en español flip regardless.

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