Carib-Beat & Creole Funk


Jay Mitchell: Deep Heat

Jay Mitchell: Deep Heat

Kitch

The Caribbean has long been the crossroads of musical civilization, where African rhythm meets everything else. Reggae is just a drop in the bucket. West Indians dug 1960s and 1970s soul, jazz, and pop; covers of hit tunes by steel-drum bands are only part of the story. Eventually homegrown 1970s dance classics emerged, in the form of "Creole funk"; assimilated were elements from India, Brasil, Africa, France, Spain, Mexico, and other places.

Blue Note and Prestige soul-jazz LPs offer an extraordinary number of calypsos, and calypso-jazz efforts also came out of the islands. Jazz turned "instrumental calypso" from oxymoron into a novel, if not exactly successful, "new" rhythm for jazzbos. For dancers, calypso found counterparts in ska and mento. Without pop hits to cover, ad nauseum, ska would have gone nowhere. Then came a dance called "the regay," which slowly evolved into a style of its own. Serge Gainsbourg and other non-islanders dabbled in it, and reggae artists in turn covered many U.S. soul hits.

The Beginning of the End, with their smash hit "Funky Nassau" epitomizes the successful hybridization of West Indian with U.S. (or Afro-) funk. Carlos Malcolm, Boris Gardiner, and Sparrow's Troubadours prospected in the funk and soul mine. Latterday mining of rare and obscure recordings continues to turn up gems.

Below, a hodgepodge of classics and other items from post-calypso West Indies: interpreted funk, soul, pop, etc., as well as oddball soca, reggae, ska, dub, etc.

Buying: West Indian records continue to be overlooked by all but rabid calypso and reggae collectors, who nevertheless tend to focus on particular sub-styles and periods. Originals and compilations are good values.



Carib-Beat, Creole Funk, Etc. LPs

Rating
8Arrow: Hot Hot Hot; Chrysalis CHS-46002; 1983 (soca; 7:07 version)
9The Beginning of the End; Alston SD-33-379; 1971 (caribeat/funk/Afro-Beat; by the Munnings family of the Bahamas)
7Tony DaCosta: On His Way Up; Global [no #] (mento/reggae; covers "The Big Bamboo")
7Emile: Marie; RID 108 (Haitian soca)
7Serge Gainsbourg: Aux armes et caetera; Philips 9101-218; 1979 (reggae; w/Sly & Robbie; 1st press lacks "reggae" banner across bottom of jacket face)
4Boris Gardiner: Soulful Experience; Dynamic Sounds DY-3321 (pop/soul)
8The Boris Gardiner Happening: Is What's Happening; Dynamic Sounds DY-3330 (funk/soul/reggae)
7Greyhound: Black & White; Trojan TRL-27 (U.K.; bad reggae but a good Sly & Family Stone cover & drum-break cut)
7Lew Hanson & the Islanders: Just for You; Audio Fidelity AFSD-6259; 1974
7Kalyan; MCA MCA-2245; 1977 (disco-reggae)
7[Nassau Beach Hotel Presents] Kenny & the Beach Boys: Jurisdiction; Elite ER-1029 (caribeat/funk/reggae/calypso; covers James Brown's "The Payback")
8Byron Lee & the Dragonaires: Reggay Hot, Cool, & Easy; Dynamic DY-3328 ("Hot Pants" & "Shaft"!)
6Byron Lee & the Dragonaires: [Trinidad & Tobago] Carnival City 83; Dynamic Sounds DY-3427; 1983 (soca)
7Byron Lee & the Dragonaires: Soca Thunder; Dynamic Sound DY-3457; 1987 (soca)
6Joey Lewis Plays Yuh Cyar Get; Charlie's/JoeVan JVL-1005 (organ)
7Joey Lewis: Long Live Joey; Charlie's/JoeVan JVL-1006; 1974 (Caribeat/organ/Latin jazz)
7Carlos Malcolm & his Afro-Jamaican Rhythms: Rukumbine; Son (or Top) LP-1001; 1963 (mento; Carlos A. Malcolm...: Rucumbine; Sakanda 1002)
7Carlos Malcolm & his Afro-Jamaican Rhythm: Skamania; Federal/Upbeat 101
7Carlos Malcolm & his Afro-Jamaican Rhythms: Space Flight; Upbeat 102
7Carlos Malcolm & the Jamaica Brass: Carlos Malcolm Jamaica Brass; Scepter S-551 (compilation; 6 tracks from Upbeat 102, 4 from Upbeat 101)
7Carlos Malcolm: Don't Walk, Dance!; Roulette SR-25359; c.1964 (mod/Latin/calypso soul/jazz)
9Carlos Malcolm & the Fireburners: Bustin' Outta the Ghetto; AJP LPS-334 (funk)
6Reuben McCoy & the Hamiltonians [Bermuda Calypso-Twist-Limbo]; Bermuda BLP-4008 (calypso-twist!; w/bongos; liners by Hubert Smith)
->[Mighty] Sparrow's Troubadors
9Jay Mitchell: Deep Heat; Grand Bahama Records DM-10034 (organ-led trio; fantastic breakbeats and soul singing, particularly "Mustang Sally")
7Jay Mitchell [& the Mitchellites]: Spirits of Fire; Freeport Sounds 7201 (jacket: "Goom Rock")
5Jay Mitchell: [caribeat-disco LP featuring "Yellow Bird"]; 1976
7Jay Mitchell & Hot Ice: The Messenger; Bush Fire 10030; 1981 ("I Love Those Days" features great Moog funk; percussion by John Chipman & Co.)
5Jackie Mittoo in London; Coxsone/Studio One SOL-1129
7Jackie Mittoo & the Soul Vendors: Evening Time; Coxsone/Studio One [no #]
7Jackie Mittoo; Capitol/Liberty UALA-804; 1978 (Capitol/Liberty LT-51166; 1985)
6Lord Nelson: Mr. Kaiso; Camille LP-9033
7Pritchard's Orchestra w/Fats Greene: Fats Shake 'em Up; Camille LP-9021
4Rupert & the Rolling Coins: Circle of Life; Elite ERS-1020
6Shango; A&M SP-4195
6Wilfred Soloman & the Magnetics at the Fabulous Xanadu Beach Hotel; Xanadu 7175 (reggae covers, calypso, & "Disco Gone Calypso")
7Stamma & the Clubbites: Montego Beat; Federal Record Mfg. FRM-134 (funky-reggae "Shaft" & "Black Magic Woman" covers as well as calypso-jazz)
9Various: Creole Love Calls; Isma'a YEB-2001; 2001 (2-LP compilation; Creole funk)
7Various: Studio One Soul; Soul Jazz SJR-LP50; 2001 (2-LP compilation; Jamaican soul)


Partly Caribbeat, Creole Funk, Etc. LPs

Rating
6Arawaks: Only Man on the Island; Arawaks A-001; 1974 (Nassau)
7Max B: Bananaticoco Parts 1 & 2; Virgo V-5050; 1973 (Max Boulois; possibly Haitian)
7Gary Bartz Ntu Troop: Follow, the Medicine Man; Prestige 10068; 1973 ("Etoiles des Neiges")
7The Blue Notes at the Rum Keg; Carib LP-2033-S; 1962 (2 caribeat cuts & one w/scat, "Calypso Be Bop")
8Willie Bobo: Let's Go Bobo!; Roulette SR-25272 (mod Latin twist/Latin rock/Latin soul/caribeat; "Ala Bobo")
7Mickey O'Bryan Quartet: Jamaica's Gift to the World; Ivanhoe IV-12345 ("Hey"; Caribeat, calypso jazz, mod soul, twist, calypso, bossa)
7The Happening BDA; Edmar ELPS-1123 ("Shaft" & "Freddie's Dead")
7Lord Kitchener: Home for Carnival; KH KDS-2006; 1976 ("Soul Love")
7Joey Lewis & his Orchestra; Charlie's/JoeVan JVL-1007 caribeat/calypso jazz/soca; jacket: Joey Lewis at the Lion's Den)
7Enoch Light & the Light Brigade: Future Sound Shock; Project 3 PR-5077-QD (percussion/sitar/Brasil/caribeat; "St. Thomas! Everybody!")
6Mandrill: Composite Truth; Polydor PD-5043; 1973/1972 (funk; "Polk Street Carnival")
6Ralph McDonald: Sound of a Drum; T.K./Marlin 2202; 1976 ("Calypso Breakdown")
7Rasheed Mohamed: East Indian Drums of Tunapuna, Trinidad; Cook 5018 ("The Moslem Drums that can be heard five miles away")
->[Mighty] Sparrow's Troubadors
7Ronnie [Butler] & the Ramblers: An Evening with Ronnie; R&R 9823 (caribeat/calypso/funky rock; Ronnie Butler at Ronnie's Rebel Room in the Anchorage Hotel)
7Ronnie [Butler] & the Ramblers: Party Album #1--Direct from Ronnie's Rebel Room; R&R 9824 (caribeat/calypso/funky rock)
6Tony Seymour & the Nightbeaters [Let's Go Native, Over the Hill with]; Elite LP-OE-5 ("Twine Time")
6Trinidad Tripoli Steel Band: Hits of the Trinidad Tripoli Steel Band--Trinidadian Reggae Style Music; American Variety International AVI-1025; 1973 (steel-band; covers "Cissy Strut")
6The Tropical Islanders: Musical Adventure; Wirl W-009 (instrumental caribeat similar to Sparrow's Troubadours)
6The Tropical Islanders: Do It Your Way; Wirl W-013
6The Tropical Islanders: Musical Pot-Pourri; Wirl W-017
8Ed Watson & the Brass Circle: One More Time; Circle CRL-1006
7Various: Antigua We Come From; Camille 9036; 1974 (Lord Lee, Calypso Franco, Lord Destroyer, Lord Tennyson, Mighty Swallow w/Joey Lewis Orch.)
7Various: Caribbean Dance Party; Gateway GSLP-3544; 1977 (Ti Emile, Gramacks, Johnny Grey, Black Affairs, Gilles Sala, Puissance 8)
9Various: A Nation is Born--A Musical History of the Bahamas; Bahamas Nationhood Ltd.; 1973 (w/unique [live] material & rare grooves; note by Sidney Poitier; w/Eloise, Beginning of the End, Blind Blake, Ronnie Butler, Biosis Now..)
8Various: Rare Funk Vol. 1; Cobalt COBLP-1004 (Esquires: "Think"; Jackie Mittoo: "Stereo Freeze")
9Various: Rare Funk Vol. 6--Mod Funk; Cobalt COBLP-1009 (Dynamics: "Make it Reggae")
8Various: West Indies Funk; Trans Air TRA-424003; 2011 (Syd Jones & the Troubadours, The Troubadours, Dutch Rhythm Steel & Show Band, St. Vincent's Supersound Latinaires Orchestra, The East Side Symphony, The Esso Trinidad Steel Band, Willie Dickson & the Playboys, Wendell Stuart & the Downbeaters, The Guinness Cassanovas)


Caribbeat, Creole Funk, Etc. 45s

Rating
8African Music Machine: Black Water Gold (Pearl)/Making Nassau Fruit Drink; Soul Power SP-109; 1973
8Arrow: Hot Hot Hot/instrumental; Chrysalis CHS-45002; 1983 (4:20 & 5:00 versions)
The Boris Gardiner Happening: Ghetto Funk/?
8The Gayletts: Son of a Preacher Man/That's How Strong My Love Is; Hour Glass HG-005 (ska vocal; arr. Ken Lazarus)
9Jambalasie: Chains on the Mind/Back to Africa; Straker's GS-170 (very rare/obscure)
7Grace Jones: Private Life/My Jamaican Guy; Island IS-273; 1983 (reggae disco; from Island Life a.k.a. Living My Life; ILPS-9722)
7Fred Munnings, Jr. & Sid Engel: Goombay Jump Parts 1 & 2; Bahamas Islands/Bahamas Island ToursB-1003; 1976 (promo; vocal Side 1, Moog-funk Side 2)
6Pritchard's Orchestra: Carib Soul/Green Bananas; Camille C-117
7Wildfire: Try Making Love/Part 3; WIRL B-578; 1977 (Tony Wilson; Barbados disco-funk)


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