MARIUS CULTIER + GRUPO LOS YOYI: CARIBBEAN CRAZINESS


Marius Cultier: The Way It Should Be
Nathalie
Ochung
Zouk
From My Way (Magidisco, 1976)

Grupo Los Yoyi: Banana
Paco La Calle
From S/T (Egrem, 1977)

This is easily one of the most extraordinary albums I’ve come across in a long, long time. Cultier represents one of those ultimate examples of transnational musical mastery – a pianist born in Martinique but recorded in both Canada and France and sounds like he’s from everywhere and nowhere at once. Even though My Way is ostensibly a “jazz” album, it switches styles up with remarkable diversity, ranging from the straight balladry of “Nathalie” (sung in FrenchKreyol), to the unmistakably Cuban sabor of “Ochung” (sung in Spanish), to all that crazy ass moog elsewhere on the album, whether you’re talking about the overly seductive, bossa-like smoothness of “The Way It Should Be,” to the frenzied percussive thunder of “Zouk.” Seriously, what is the moog even doing on here? (and I don’t pose that question in any negative way): it’s just completely bonkers.

(I normally wouldn’t share this many songs off a single album but there’s just no way to capture the insane diversity of what Cultier does here with just a couple of examples.)

This album is so weird in fact, it managed to bump off my previously “most weirdly incredible Afro-Caribbean album, the self-titled LP by Cuba’s Grupo Los Yoyi. The latter has the funk tip on lock, especially with a beautifully groovy disco touch. I posted another song off this same LP a few months back but “Banana” and “Paco La Calle” are probably my two favorite cuts off that album (another Latin funk Grail, btw). The Yoyi LP is the better weapon in a dance-off but it’s hard to imagine too many other albums offering a greater set of musical styles than Cultier’s.

(As always, gotta thank Cool Chris. He was the first one to play me the Los Yoyi LP, about four years ago, now that I think about it and I picked up My Way from the Groove Merchant on my recent trip up to the Bay)

AFRO-LATIN-DELIC


Manu Dibango: The Panther
From Africadelic (Fiesta, 1975)

Perez Prado: Perdiendo La Cabez
From Mexico ’70 (Orfeon, 1970)

Grupo Los Yoyi: Tu No Me Puedes Conquistar
From 7″ (Arieto, 197x). Also on Revolucion!

Fruko y Sus Tesos: Mammy Blue
From 7″ (Fuentes, 197x)

Stereo 77: Bobby Conga
From Jibaro Beat EP (Research Deluxe, 2010)

I know this is usually the territory covered by my man Adam at Musica Del Alma but I’ve been getting in some decent Latin funk recently that I wanted to post up.

The most request acquisition comes from Africadelic, one of Manu Dibango’s several library-esque releases in the mid-70s (African Voodoo being perhaps the best known). I had heard about this album but never heard the tracks off it until this last weekend when my man Steve Kader brought it up for the Rose Bowl swap and damn, this is much on the same level of excellence as African Voodoo – fiery Afro-Latin rhythms for days (and a nice selection of slinky, cool tempo joints too). As the name also suggests – there’s a heavy psychedelic edge on other songs).

Next up: Perez Prado’s incredible cover of “Going Out Of My Head” from his Mexico 70 LP (ostensibly celebrating the 1970 World Cup in Mexico City). There’s a slew of very funky Prado material from this era but it can be confusing since at least half or more of those titles were recorded by the younger Pantaleon Perez Prado as opposed to the better-known Damaso. However, it was the elder who put together this LP (it’s also available under the title Latin Hustle…I believe the two have identical tracklistings but I could be mistaken).

From Mexico City, we end up over in Cuba for a single release off of the monster Grupo Los Yoyi LP. Not only is the rhythm section on this killing it but the vocals add unexpected flavor, as do the spacey synths (which is one thing this album is known for).

Heading further south, we run into Colombia’s Fruko y Sus Tesos with a song that I’ve only seen on 7″ (could be on some Fuentes LP though, for all I know). This one isn’t more on some killer groovy/mod tip and isn’t like very many other Fruko songs I can think of at all. As usual though, the piano riffs are just killer (I’m always confused as to who played piano with Fruko in this era…anyone know? Is this Hernan Gutierrez?).

Lastly, we time warp to the present with a new track off of Stereo 77’s Jibaro Beat EP. If those opening drums sound at all familiar, it’s because it’s from Bo Diddley’s cover of Odetta’s “Hit or Miss” (I still think Odetta’s drums knock harder but Diddley’s have more flavor). Overall, a fun composition with plenty of play-out potential.