SUNNY AND THE SUNLINERS: SO SLY

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Sunny and the Sunliners: Dance to the Music (Key-Loc, 197?, Sky High)

Decided to go with back-to-back Sly and the Family Stone covers, this one from San Antonio’s finest. Fairly loyal cover all said but man could the Sunliners cook (the drummer goes in the kill shot early!)

365 Days of Soul, #118

KERRIE BIDDEL: DOWN UNDER SCREAMS

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Kerrie Biddel: Sing a Simple Song (Bootleg, 1973, S/T)

Best version of this classic? Naw.1 Pretty good, all the same, least of all from Australia? Yup. (Those high notes tho).

365 Days of Soul, #117

The best version isn’t even a real cover…it’s Tina and Ike ripping off the riff. But fiercely. ↩

LOS DESTELLOS: LA BAMBA’S TRAVELS

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Los Destellos: La Bamba (Odeon, 1976, Ojos Azules)

Just so you can follow…a Mexican American song, influenced by the musical traditions of Veracruz, Mexico, gets covered by a Peruvian surf rock band. I like that.

365 Days of Soul, #116

LOS HOLY’S: STRUTTIN’ THEIR STUFF

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Los Holy’s: Reunion Sicodelica (Cissy Strut) (Sono Radio, 1967, 7″)

This Meters’ hit traveled its way around the world, including to Peru. There’s a ton of covers of the song but this may be my favorite, especially for how biting the reverb on that guitar is.

365 Days of Soul, #118

KING FLOYD: A MAN ON THE SCENE

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King Floyd: Hard to Handle (ATCO, 1973, Think About It

King Floyd’s “Groove Me” was such a hit that it’s overshadowed all his other output so you might be forgiven if you missed him here, doing a raucous cover of Otis Redding’s classic. Can you dig it?

365 Days of Soul, #117

OTIS GAYLE: WHENEVER YOU CALL

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Otis Gayle: I’ll Be Around (Studio One, 1971, 7″)

I love reggae covers that are mostly loyal to the original but the difference in rhythm is always just enough to give it a special, distinct feel. This is more sparse than the original but the essence of the song is still all here.

365 Days of Soul, #115

MARIO ALLISON AND MANITO: SOUTHERN COVERS

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Mario Allison: Oye Como Va (Industria Electro Sonora, 197?, Caliente Caliente Caliente)

To me, you can’t beat Tito Puente’s cover of this Santana classic Tito Puente’s original but this version by Mario Allison and The Stars is charmingly stripped down while maintaining all the hook-y elements of the original.1

Manito: Tuck’s Theme (RCA Victor, 1972, O Incrivel)

One of the more random covers out of Brazil that I know of: Manito flipping on Bill Deal’s “Tuck’s Theme,” complete with both opening and bridge breakbeats. Manito’s LP has […]

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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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