Perhaps the only thing as humbling as incredible music are people who share incredible music. That’s why I’m always thankful that people like Matthew Africa have gotten into blogging – his “I Wish You Would” is a must-read; if you’re not looking at his site at least as often as you check this one, you’re missing out. After all, Matthew is dropping that AAA grade butter tracks like Michael Sardaby’s “Welcome New Worth” and Frankie Beverly and the Butlers’ “Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)” on the regular. If folks knew how hard it is to come by songs like that, you’d understand where the humbling comes in.
Along these lines: a truly, devastatingly humbling song is what some call face-melters:
It requires more of a song than to be merely “good” to qualify as a face-melter. It has to be something so unexpectedly awesome that its inherent greatness is enough to slough flesh off your skull (metaphorically speaking). Here’s a trio of my favorites:
Black Rock: Yeah Yeah
From 7″ (Selectohits, 197?)
Los Amaya: Caramelo A Kilo
From 7″ (Sabor, 1972)
New Hope: Godofallofus
From Godofallofus (Light, 197?). Also on Strange Breaks and Mr. Thing.
Most people were introduced to Black Rock’s thunderous “Yeah Yeah” thanks to the now-legendary Chains and Black Exhaust mix-CD from 2002 and I had been put up on it a couple years earlier by DJ Om. The face-melt part comes partly from how the song opens so enigmatically, with its deep, booming “Blaaaaaaaack Rooooooooock” and those strings that build towards the unexpected hammer drop of piano, guitar and drums that come crashing in at about 30 seconds in. Hold ya head! This is still one of the best funk instrumentals I’ve ever heard (in fact, if you got ones that top it, comment please and share the wealth of knowledge).
“Caramelo A Kilo” is a bit of flamenco funk from a pair of Barcelona brothers. I can’t quite tell if “Caramelo A Kilo’s” origins are Spanish or Afro-Cuban (I’m inclined to say the latter) but regardless, Los Amaya give the song the rumba catalana make-over with those wicked gypsy guitars, heavy bongo beats and a swinging set of vocals: the sonic embodiment of caliente. Way too short at less than two minutes!
As for “Godofallofus”…*whistle* I’ve heard plenty of excellent gospel funk but New Hope finds some next level with a song that sounds like it was made for hip-hop use, just 30 years ahead of time. Those drums! That tuba! Those horns! Those crazy, Hair-era arrangements and ARP synths. As DJ Format and Mr. Thing knew to call it: Holy. Sh–. This whole song is one long mind-blower. (Props to Young Einstein for the hook-up on this LP).
You feel the heat yet?