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.
The Nilsmen: Le Winston b/w The Sand Step (RJR 196?)
There’s actually two covers to this 45, one that has “The Sand Step” on the front and feat. a woman sitting on the beach, but I’m going with Bardot puffing on a cancer stick. “Le Winston” is a little too high energy for my tastes though it’s not bad per se. The real gem is the flip – “The Sand Step” is one smokin’, groovin’ mod organ banger. It sizzles on this infectious bassline and organ vamp that runs throughout and the drums break down three times to boot. At the beginning and end, a sexy, breathy female voice says, “sand step” and I don’t know if it’s a dance or what but I’m down for it.
Patti Drew: I’ve Been Here All The Time (Capitol 1969)
I admit – I’m a sucker for female vocals these days. Soul just sounds better when you have a soul sister scream and swooning on it and I’ve been collecting up a storm of different records featuring funk fatales. This Patti Drew record has been a personal favorite of late too because its two best songs are also covers (another obsession of mine). The first is the sizzling hot version of “Fever” that’s…well…hot. Not only does it scorch along but it also has the album’s most ambitious music, throwing in a slick electric piano alongside more conventional brass and a whipped rhythm section. Then there’s her cover of Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle” which is very loyal to the original but – and this is where it all comes together – it’s the fact that it’s sung by a woman that notches up the wickedness factor. Yow! (Alas, the rest of the album is not so noteworthy…still, two cuts is twice as nice as an LP with only one.)