Jimmy Sabater : Kool It (Here Comes The Fuzz)
taken from the compilation Explosivos: Deep-Soul From The Latin Heart on Vampi Soul (2005)
Lord Rhaburn : Disco Connection
taken from the compliation Cult Cargo: Belize City Boiil-Up on Numero Group (2005)
Don Atom ft. Tea Time : Mueve La Cintura (Live Version)
taken from the compilation Coconut FM: Legendary Latin Club Tunes on Essay Recordings (2005)
Long live the mix! And the mix masters responsible for putting out these collections that dig deep into worlds of oft-overlooked funky music, revealing to us our own ignorance yet again (just when we thought we was getting wise!). True, all the tunes I picked out have a Latin link, but beyond that, these albums all offer up some serious history lessons and celebrate the groovy side of globalization. Don’t put it past a record label (or a DJ for that matter) to be able to school you in more ways than rhythm and melody. Academics are all up in the mix, can’t avoid ’em.
If you’re looking to learn about the Latinized cross-pollinations of soul, rock, psych and funk that grew out of the late 60’s and early 70’s Spanish Harlem, then Explosivos is a very good starting point. Think you know a lot about Boogaloo and Shingaling already? Then check it out anyway, ’cause the cats at Vampi Soul are no joke! It’s a rare feat that’s accomplished here, where each song seems to be surpassed in quality by the next, rounding things off with the absolute dancefloor bomb Hit De Bongo by Tito Puente. Another highlight is the acid trip shakedown provided by Flash & The Dynamics. FUEGO!
I knew it was dangerous for the folks at Numero Group to start up some international business. After thoroughly enjoying their Eccentric Soul offerings, I thought they had built themselves a very comfy niche, and I wouldn’t have asked anything more than that they continue stirring up forgotten heart strings and wallowing wails from lesser known latter day saints. BUT BELIZE! Who would have known? Cult Cargo pulls together the best material from the ONLY record label that was recording in Belize through the 70’s (C.E.S.). With a wild assortment ranging from regggae to boogaloo to straight ahead soul to raw funk madness, it’s clear that Belize was finding inspiration in an array of Caribbean sources as well as drawing on styles from its relocated U.S. contingent. Disco Connection comes from Lord Rhaburn (pictured on the cover) who was perhaps the most prominent character from the scene, but other joints here include a breakbeat version of Theme From The Godfather played by the Professionals and the dirty, dirty Funky Jive Parts I and II from the Soul Creations. The liner notes make nice reading material with a substantial bit of historical background and scans of the original album covers. Get yourself a copy here.
Finally, I’m giving you one of the least kooky selections from Senor Coconut’s latest mix project. Coconut FM is a pan-latin ghetto booty bass work of art. Bridging the musical offspring of Cumbia, Reggaeton and Brazilian Funk Carioca (aka “Baile Funk” or just plain “Funk”) on a virtual frequency that “belongs to no terrestrial zone”, this radio station brings you the contemporary sound of our electrified globe (at least the spanish speaking portion of it), casio keyboards, 808 drum machines and all. It’s the latest in a line-up of releases from Essay Recordings, who brought us the groundbreaking collections of Balkan Beats from Shantel’s Bucovina Club, and the hype inducing Rio Baile Funk compilation. Check out what Pop Matters had to say about it. And look at some of the other work that Mr. Coconut has gotten himself into. If you’re not one who can appreciate a bit of humor with your groove or some kitsch with your cooking, then this probably isn’t for you. But for gumbo funkers such as myself, seeking the utopian union of our disparate forms of flavor, this is exactly what the doctor ordered. I could go on and on, “but half the story is already there in the edits, the beats, the borrowing. It’s all, at heart, the soundtrack of post-colonialism, where one person’s oil drum is another’s steel drum, where copyright takes a left turn and disappears in a crowded street packed with bootlegs, derivatives, and jury-rigged improvements humming with stolen electricity.”
–Philip Sherburne (taken from the liner notes)