Tony & Tito of the TNT Band
“Listen – TNT Band – The Meditation – MP3″
I hope all is well on your end, and that you’re all ready to get down with a week full of Latin soul.
If you want to immerse yourself in something a little more long-form, you can always hit the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive and take a soak in Funky16Corners Radio v.51 Spanish Grease. I wasn’t ready to jump into another mix, but I did pull a couple of sweet boogaloo 45s out of the crates, so I thought I’d share them with you this week.
I’ve related the story here a few times, of how some years ago my most righteous father-in-law drove down from the hinterlands and dropped something like 3,000 45s on me, which I spent the better part of a summer going through. I pulled a grip of 45s for my own crates, a couple of boxes to sell/trade, and weeded out several hundred that ended up going to the landfill (though the percentage of quality vinyl to crap was exceedingly high).
One of the disc that caught my eye instantly was the only Cotique label 45 in the lot, ‘The Meditation’ by the TNT Band. It was pretty well rinked, but I put it aside in a box of to-be-listened-to stuff, where it sat for months. When I finally got around to checking it out I was blown away. I was also pissed off, since (as I mentioned) the record looked like it had been holding up the short leg of a kitchen table, and sounded like the TNT Band had recorded the song during a hailstorm. It was way too damaged to DJ with (or to record, listen to, or blog).
Naturally – as is always the case in these situations – ‘The Meditation’ went onto my want list, where it remained for a good long time.
Last summer I happened upon a much nicer copy (still not mint, but I won’t stand on ceremony), immediately digi-ma-tized it, and placed it into the to-be-blogged folder, where it sat waiting for some company (the rest of which you’ll be hearing this week).
The two T’s in TNT were Tony Rojas and Tito Ramos. Ramos had previously sung with both Johnny Colon and Joe Bataan. ‘The Meditation’ was released in 1969, charted regionally and was reportedly a big dancefloor hit in New York.
Aside from the fact that it’s a very groovy side, it falls into that particularly interesting subset of soulful records that find their inspiration in the model put forth by Archie Bell and the Drells’ ‘Tighten Up’ (there are a grip of those and someday I will assemble many of them for a Funky16Corners Radio feature).
The TNT Band recorded a handful of LPs for Cotique (also home to the La-Teens, Lebron Brothers, Chollo Rivera and the Latin Soul Drives, and oddly enough several records by “break-in” king Dickie Goodman) in the late 60s before fading away (sadly) like the rest of the boogaloo craze.
‘The Meditation’ is a stone classic that brings us a taste of summer in the cold air of January.
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Wednesday with something caliente