HUNGARIAN HEAT

Zalatnay Sarolta: Hadd Mondjam El (Pepita 197?)

I’ve been on some weird European kick lately – Swedish, Polish, Finnish, etc. LPs and 45s have really been catching my eye. This Hungarian female rock LP has been seen gracing both the Groove Merchant and Sound Library’s walls o’ fame and I can see why. For them drum break junkies (of which I am admirer though not full-time addict), this record is pretty friggin’ sick and I’m just tickled that it’s on…well…a Hungarian female rock album. I mean, I’m sure this stuff grows like trees over in Hungary but out here, it’s pretty outstanding.

Sarolta’s vocals are ok but then again, I don’t speak Hungarian so what can I really say? Many of the arrangements don’t catch your ear per se, though there sounds to be a Wurtlizer or Rhodes somewhere in the mix. Maybe a clavinet too. But seriously, whoever’s working the drum kit on this MFer deserves some props. The drums on the title cut are ridiculous – big, fat, clean, as if Bob Powers cleaned it up. The opening break on “Ne Hidd El” sounds straight up like a twist on the “Put Your Hand in the Hand” pattern and song for song, this is probably the best track as Sarolta finally lets her vocals out to play a bit (she’s rather restrained elsewhere). The break returns midway through, this time accompanied by a firm bass guitar. And ending side A is “Egyszer…” which has a chicken scratch guitar accompanying the opening break as the song kicks into a swinging party jam.

Like I said, this LP might appeal more to break heads but as for me, it gets by just fine on the novelty factor.

GIMME THE LOOT

Loot OST (CBS 1970)

I was turned onto this album a few years back by Cool Chris at the Groove Merchant. It’s a soundtrack to what I can only assume to be some wacky British heist film (something the English seem to excel at making). What’s noteworthy is who cuts the soundtrack: Keith Mansfield of KPM/Mohawks fame. Not having heard most of the KPM LPs that the Mohawks played on (you got $500 for me to catch up?), I can’t compare this but I can say it’s been one of my favorite LPs that I’ve been listening to lately.

A lot of this soundtrack isn’t very notable – the vocals are particularly bad and most of the songs aren’t ’60s pop riffs. But “Loot’s the Root” is a surprise since it starts off with the aforementioned forgettable vocals and then midway swings into a jamming mod-groover (not unlike the Nilsmen joint I mention elsewhere on this blog) full of darting organs and slammin’ percussion. What’s strange is that, if you look at the LP, where you think the song is about to end just ends up being a transition where the track strips down and brings in a female vocal to close the song out. There’s also some cool clunky jazz bits on the short but sweet “Where It’s At.” The jam is “Stealth in the Night” which is one of those slow builders…the song kicks off with some dialogue from the film and ramps up two times until it really gets going. When it does, Mansfield just laces you with this zinger of a track – mid-tempo and superfly, bringing back his zingy organ and a fantastic rhythm riff.

The last butter track is “The Undertaker Song” (even the song titles are wicked) which is a return to the “Loot’s the Root” motif but this time, he whips it up with a conga break and the track is even fiercer than before as Mansfield goes nuts on the organ. Wild hot.