Cannibal & the Headhunters
“Listen – Out of Sight MP3″
I’m back with a rare (at least these days) mid-week post. The wife and kids are out of town visiting with my in-laws, and though I’d much rather they were here, I figured I’d make the best of my free time and get down (with a post).
I managed to avoid watching ANY of the State of the Union address last night, on account of the only thing I want to hear that goon say is GOODBYE (for the last time, not letting the door hit him on the way out and all that, you see…).
The track I bring you tonight is one I’ve had in the hopper for a while but I held onto until now so as not to engage in (any more?) JB related overkill (though I’m of the opinion, as I suspect some of you might be, that there’s no such thing as too much of that particular variety of good thing. Fortunately for those that might disagree, the track is not actually a James Brown recording, but rather an interrrrresting cover thereof, by none other than Cannibal & the Headhunters.
Now when most of you hear that name, I imagine your ears start wiggling back and forth (like Stymie) and your head fills with the
NA NA NA NA NAAAAAAs
NA-NA-NA-NAAAA NA-NA-NAAA NA-NA-NAAAA NA-NA-NA-NAAAAAAA
being that Cannibal and his amigos were the ones that brought that particular trademark to the table in one of the many noteworthy versions of ‘Land of 1000 Dances’ – written and initially performed of course by that mighty son of the Crescent City Mr. Chris Kenner.
Anyway, though you and I (and any number of similarly inclined music fanboys) might sit around the campfire all night arguing about who laid down the definitive LOATD (and anyone who says other than Wilson Pickett is getting a sock in the chops), you should also know that Cannibal & theHeadhunters not only recorded some other top shelf numbers (one of which we gather to celebrate this evening) but that they were also part of a dynamite scene of Chicano musicians in East LA in the 60’s which included luminaries like Thee Midnighters (who recorded LOATD before Cannibal et al) , the Premiers and the Blendells (who apparently provided the backing track on the record).
Anyway, Cannibal & the Heahunters (Frankie ‘Cannibal’ Garcia, Robert Jaramillo, Joe Jaramillo, Richard Lopez) recorded through the 60’s, first for Rampart (later home to the Village Callers and the East Bay Soul Brass among others), and later for Date and Capitol. Their sound was by and large R&B/Soul inflected rock’n’roll, with their debut LP featuring versions of tunes by the AdLibs, the Miracles, the Coasters and Jr. Walker & the All Stars.
Perhaps the heaviest track off this LP (aside from LOATD) is a smoking little cover of the Godfathers ‘Out of Sight’.
While nowhere in the vicinity of the super tight and allright Famous Flames, Cannibal & the Headhunters lay into the tune with gusto, backed by a meaty horn section and manage to give the record the kind of “house party” vibe that marked so many of the finest East LA sides (like the Premiers ‘Farmer John’ and Thee Midnighters ‘Whittier Boulevard’).
The rest of the album is pretty cool as well, and if you’re lucky enough to score a copy you could do a lot worse than slapping it on to liven up your next shindig.
There’s a very cool Cannibal comp on Collectables that includes their best early stuff (including ‘Out of Sight’) was well as some of their later 60’s sides which slide most excellently into garage rock territory. Well worth picking up to be sure.
See you on Friday.