“Listen – Heavy Heavy Heavy MP3″
I hope y’all are ready to groove, because the tune that I am about to whip on you today is, quite literally, figuratively and in title, Heavy Heavy Heavy.
But first, a word from our sponsor…
I had this record all stacked up and ready for blogification when I got the high sign from my man Sascha at the Lucky Cat in Brooklyn, asking me if I was up for a little expeditione du disque on the Thirty First of this very month. Naturally, eager at all times to strap my wax onto my mule and venture out into the wilderness I accepted eagerly. Then I found out that my slot would be opening for the mighty Afro funk powerhouse the Budos Band, and promptly flipped my wig, passing right through excited to psyched.
I assure you all, no matter how much heat I pack in the Funky16Corners porta-crates, the sounds of the Budos Band – emanating from the Daptone stable of stars – are pure heat and if you are within reach of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, you should…nay you MUST, head on out for the last Friday night of the Summer to shake it at the Lucky Cat.
That I had some Afro funk ready to go when this opportunity rolled along is pure, happy coincidence.
When you talk about Afro funk (beat, rock, whatever) the name that first comes to mind is of course that of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Unless you have a more than passing acquaintance with sounds African, you may not have heard the name Geraldo Pino. Rest assured, though, that in the earliest days of his funkiness, Fela knew Pino – a native of Sierra Leone who was very popular in Nigeria – and his band the Heartbeats as perhaps the funkiest band in all of Africa.
Pino – born Gerald Pine – started out as a devotee of Latin sounds, moving on into American influenced soul and funk via the influence of James Brown. In the words of Fela himself:
“They were great, I must be frank with you. They copied James Brown throughin, throughout every note, every style. And they had the equipment…Before they came into my country, bands only used one microphone, at the time a whole band. But they came in with five microphones, and the sound, it’s deep you know, so nobody wanted to hear anyone but the Heartbeats…they drove everyone out of the market.”
After seeing this Pino I knew I had to get myself together, quick!”*
When you hear today’s selection, ‘Heavy Heavy Heavy’, which was recorded in the late 60’s and released clear on the other side of the continent in Kenya on the Suzumi label, it’s immediately obvious why Fela dug these sounds so much.
There are clear parallels to the sounds of Fela – especially to the ’69 sessions with Koola Lobitos – but Pino’s sound is even more Westernized, compacting the funk into smaller, harder portions. A record like ‘Heavy Heavy Heavy’ is like Fela concentrate, taking the epic scope of an Africa 70 sidelong opus, running it through a Sex Machine and coming out the other end ready to set the dance floor on fire.
‘Heavy Heavy Heavy’ has a groove that’s positively unfuckwithable, with Pino jiving over a seriously propulsive organ line and some pounding drums. If you aren’t shaking your ass halfway through this burner, you need to check for a pulse.
So, download the ones and zeros, begin shaking, continue shaking and drag that ass out to Lucky Cat this Friday.
I hope to see you there.