Saturday, March 17, 2007

C.D. Review; Sensacional Soul (Vampi Soul)

After a few years of releasing some of the most exciting Latin music collections from around the world, Madrid's Vampi Soul label have put together a double c.d. of some home grown Spanish grooves.
One of the hallmarks of garage bands is their ability to clumsily merge a couple of monster hits of the era, and turn out an enjoyable romp. It might sound uncannily like the riff from "Foxy Lady" or something equally well known, it won't soar to the top of any chart, but the brazenness is outmatched only by the sheer energy on the best sixties garage tunes. Such is the case on Sensacional Soul. Songs like "Black Cat" by Los Dixies, which borrows liberally from "Going To A Go Go" and the Spencer Davis song "I'm A Man", epitomize much of the spirit of garage rock.
Sensacional Soul lives up to its name though, and the funk flows surprisingly freely over this double disc compilation.
A lot of the music is upbeat, go-go sounding pop with groovy Hammond leads such as the Martes 13 cut "Espejo Roto". Some songs are heavier on the lounge tip than they are soul, but the music is completely enjoyable throughout. A few cuts are translated covers of hits like "Get Ready", "Keep On Running", and "Raise Your Hand", all enthusiastically delivered. The funk jams run the gamut, from restrained instrumentals like "Golden Soul" by Conjunto Nueva Onda to the chunk-a-funk J.B.'s stylings of The Presidents.
The second disc kicks off with "Tabasco" by Los Pekeniques, which sounds like a late sixties Yusuf Lateef style jam. Each disc only runs for about 55 minutes, but at least there is no obvious filler on these discs.
There are a few covers of funk songs on the second disc, including "Kool and the Gang" (from that band's first record) and a version of "Family Affair" that sounds almost like Sly himself singing.
Another track under the influence of Sly and the Family Stone is a driving slice of funk by Las Cuatro Monedas Y Gregory, featuring plaintive vocals backed by singers imitating the background vocals on "Dance To The Music".
Overall, Sensacional Soul is an excellent primer for funk fans and collectors unfamiliar with sixties Spanish soul, even if the running time is on the lean side. There are plenty of 'newly reissued' funk nuggets here which haven't shown up on other compilations, that make this double c.d. an excellent additiion to any funk collection.

1 comment:

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