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 by Peru’s Black Sugar.
365 Days of Soul, #111
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.
365 Days of Soul, #110
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: 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: 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). 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 of Soul, #107