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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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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JOSE LUIS RODRIGUEZ: HE’S THE MAN

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Jose Luis Rodriguez: El Hombre De La Cima (Top Hits, 1980, 7″)

Venezuelan rock single.

I can’t quite figure out if this is a cover of an Edgar Alexander song or of Alexander first wrote it for Rodriguez. Either way, I’m all about these kinds of unexpectedly funky tracks from the late ’70s and early ’80s since they take the borderline cheesiness of rock production in that era but marry it with some slick rhythm section. It’s a good combination.

365 Days of Soul, #65