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Soul Makossa

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Album Review

Now here's an odd one. The track "Soul Makossa" was a hit for Manu Dibango in early 1973. After it was issued, a lot of acts covered it — most badly. But in this case, that single spawned a band of studio musicians hell bent on creating not only a club and jukebox 45 hit from the Dibango original, but an entire set of groove-driven instrumentals that could be issued as 45s for the juke market. Afrique which was comprised of organist Charles Kynard, guitarist David T. Walker, bassist Chuck Rainey, Joe Kelso and Paul Jeffery on saxophones, drummer Ray Pounds, and a host of percussionists including, Chino Valdes and baritone honker Steve Kravitz. There were 13 members in all for this one-off. So the deal is simple: this is a hell of a slab of lost funk. Sure, there's a groovin' greasy version of the title track, but the real gems lie in "House of the Rising Funk" on side two, the "Mustang Sally" knockoff "Sleepwalk," the tripped out sax ballad "Kissing My Love," the dirty, chunky funk of "Hot Doggin," and the lubricious "Let Me Do My Thing." There is plenty of wah-wah excess, saxist angst, and drunken careening rhythm to propel a soul train from one end of the continent to the other. And if you can dig the guitar breaks against Kynard's hammering, contrapuntal cut up chords on "Slow Motion," then you are ready for anything. For those for whom groove is everything, this album is to be procured at any cost.

Soul Makossa, Afrique
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Blues
  • Released: May 08, 1973

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