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

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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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

GREENWOOD RHYTHM COALITION: PURE GROOVE

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Greenwood Rhythm Coalition: Puro Rock (Names You Can Trust, 2014, 7″)

Dub cumbia remix.

An absolute killer remix of El Combo Chimbita’s “Puro Show.” GRC have never failed me and this one is amongst their very best. I think they add those sleepy, mournful ska guitar lines at the beginning of the song and it’s a genius touch.

365 Days of Soul, #64

FRUKO: CALI COOKIN’

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Fruko Y Sus Tesos: Mi Rio Cali (Fuentes, 1977, El Patillero)

Colombian salsa album.

I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face but I will never, ever tired of the Fuentes’s salsa duro sound of the 1970s. Even on this, one of Fruko’s less collectible albums, the whole vibe is just incredible.

365 Days of Soul, #62

CLAUDIA DE COLOMBIA: UNTIL THE WHEELS COME OFF

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Claudia de Colombia: Los Ejes De Mi Carreta (CBS, 1981, Enamorados

Colombian rock album.

Best as I can tell, this is a cover of “The Axels Of My Wagon”, originally by legendary Argentinian folk musician Atahualpa Yupanqui. But by the early ’80s, someone decided to hook up Claudia with some funky psych elements. It’s enough to burn that wagon down.

365 Days of Soul, #61