SAMBA SOUL: NO. 1 MAMBO NO. 5

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Samba Soul: Mambo No. 5 (RCA, 1977, 12″)

I’m not sure there’s a better bang-for-the-buck Latin disco 12″ out there. I also like that they’re covering Perez Prado who’s been known to lace a pretty good cover now and then.1

365 Days of Soul, #112

Yeah yeah, his brother, I know. ↩

EL FLACO FREDDY: MEDLEY MADNESS

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El Flaco Freddy: K-Jee/Viajecito (Discomoda, 1975, La Fiesta Vol. II)

“El Flaco” Freddy Roland released a slew of Latin party records in the 1970s, basically covering the hot jams of the day. “K-Jee,” as I’ve written about elsewhere, was huge in South America. It’s really extraordinary how well that Nite-Liters song managed to travel the world. I’ve shared a different medley involving “K-Jee” in the past but this one opens with the song and then unexpectedly slides into “Viajecito,” a song first made famous […]

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LOS AFRICANOS: SAME NEW DAY

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Los Africanos: Together People (Pamoja Watu) (TK, 197?, 7″)

I love “shadow covers” – songs that heavily, ahem, “borrow” from existing hits as part of their core melodies or rhythms but aren’t necessarily true covers. Case in point, “Together People,” by a little known Bobby Marin outfit from New York opens – unmistakably – with James Brown’s “It’s a New Day” riff and while JB clearly influences the song as a whole, this isn’t meant to be a cover of “It’s a New Day.” Still groovy though.1

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THE FUNKEES: THEY’RE CALLED THE FUNKEES. NUFF SAID.

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The Funkees: Slippin’ Into Darkness (EMI, 1973, 7″)

The flipside to this, “Breakthrough” (cover of Atomic Rooster) went onto Deep Covers 2 but surprisingly, I forgot to share the A-side, which was the original reason I copped this killer 7″ from EMI’s Nigeria catalog.

365 Days of Soul, #109

THE CIMARONS: LOOKING FOR THE PARTY PEOPLE

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The Cimarons: Wicky Wacky (Vulcan, 1975, 7″)

One of the first major reggae bands in the UK, The Cimarons unexpectedly take on the Fatback Band here. Feels kind of random insofar as there aren’t a ton of “Wicky Wacky” covers out there (well, aside from this other one). The Cimarons absolutely crush this groove; I may prefer this version to the original!

365 Days of Soul, #108

DIZZY GILLESPIE: BLOW YOUR HEAD

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Dizzy Gillespie: Manteca (America, 1974, The Source)

Dizzy first made “Manteca” famous back in the mid-1940s and it would become one of his most important recordings in terms of introducing Latin influences into American pop music (and obviously jazz).1 He’d go onto re-record the song many times throughout his career but if you’re looking for the funkiest one: here it is, recorded in France in ’73. Kenny Clarke is a beast on drums here but the whole rhythm section whips this into a jazz dance frenzy.

365 Days […]

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SUNNY AND THE SUNLINERS: SUNNY DOES HARVEY

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Sunny and the Sunliners: My Dream (RPR, 1968, 7″)

Sweet soul cover out of San Antonio.

I love that this is one of the kings of the Texas Chicano soul sound covering one of the kings of the New York Latin Soul scene.

365 Days of Soul, #72

SPONTAENOUS COMBUSTION: START TO CRY

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Spontaneous Combustion: Walk On By (Rod, 196?, 7″)

Psych/garage cover of Dionne Warwick.

I’m pretty sure this is not the same Spontaneous Combustion that did this song but beyond that, I can’t track down any info about these guys (they may be from Iowa). Cool Chris played this at a gig and it stuck with me given my obsession with cover songs. A very cool one at that.

365 Days of Soul, #71

MONTY ALEXANDER: MONTY DOES MARVIN

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Monty Alexander: Monticello (MPS, 1972, 7″)

Jazz single.

Speaking of undercover covers, this is such an obviously blatant flip on Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues,” it’s kind of boss that Monty tried to pass this off as his own original composition.

365 Days of Soul, #70

ROYALE JAZZ TRIO: UNDERCOVER COVER

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Royale Jazz Trio: Routine (Roper, 1977, Modern Jazz Elementary

Dance instruction album.

A cool little jazz dance album that features a slew of cover songs masquerading as different dance practice numbers. “Routine” is, of course, “Django.” There’s also covers of “Theme De Yoyo” and “A Night In Tunisia.”

365 Days of Soul, #69