This soulful, blues-ridden track is combined with the instrumental-only B-side ‘The Worm‘, which showcases the raw talent and unbridled rhythmic intensity that is the Putbacks.
‘Spanish Harlem’ is an upbeat, joyful cover of the Leiber and Spector song first released by Ben E King in 1960 (but you probably remember the 1971 rocking Aretha version that catapulted the song into the chart stratosphere), and in this Putbacks/Nai Palm recreation the vibe is chilled out to a sunday afternoon.
Also noticeably absent in this reinvigorated, freshly pressed version is the cheesy alto saxophone solo from the Ben E King version, which is definitely an added bonus.
The slightly more funk-oriented ‘The Worm’ is a salute to the 1970s, with screaming Hammond organs, garage-tinged drums and relentless pentatonic polyphony. The climatic highlight of the record is upon you now – if you aren’t getting down and groovy by this point in the record you’re clearly subject to severe emotional capacity deficits.
And as if that isn’t enough funk for your buck, the good folks at Hope Street Recordings have included a bonus track on the digital release of Spanish Harlem/The Worm entitled ‘In The Dirt‘.
The production on this record is in classic Hope Street Recordings style, with the listener getting the feeling that the entire 7″ has been soaked in a tub of hazy, summery 1960s-70s nostalgia.
This beautiful partnership between Nai Palm and The Putbacks is reminiscent of a funkier, more soulful lovechild of Hendrix and The Upsetters (Little Richard‘s group, not the reggae band).
Get your copy of the 7″ (plus a free download of all the tracks + bonus track ‘In The Dirt’) HERE!!! Do your bit to support and sustain the wonderful work of these artists and independent labels.
Australia’s very own Public Opinion Afro Orchestra are a seventeen-piece powerhouse blending elements of afro-beat from Nigeria and its surrounding neighbours with a politically-conscious funk/hip hop edge. ‘The System‘ and ‘Shake‘ were released by Melbourne’s Hope Street Recordings as a digital-only (which you can purchase directly off the Hope Street Recordings bandcamp here for $2!!), and the result is a lush, nostalgia-soaked sound that takes you right back to the heyday of 60s and 70s afro-beat funk.
‘The System’ is an unapologetically aggressive funk track with relentless driving motion from Senegalese percussionist/vocalist/dancer Lamine Sonko and the horn section (Tristan Ludowyk, Declan Jones, Nick Lester, Peter Slipper and Andy Williamson). POAO’s MCs and backup vocalists The Public Opinionettes are complemented by a dense texture that envelopes the listener in a cloud of Afrobeat rhythms and layers of brass harmony. Fela Kuti’s influence is clear – from baritone sax to jazzy muted Wurlitzer organ, POAO brings the best parts of 70s funk to meld perfectly with traditional Nigerian rhythms and melodies.
‘Shake’ kicks off with halting horn riffs and that beautiful Wurlitzer (credit to John McAll) sweeping across the cabasa and clave rhythms, before showcasing the vocal talents of the Opinionettes (Kuukua & Lydia Acquah and Fem Belling). Everything has its place within Public Opinion Afro Orchestra – the instrumental voices take as much precedence as the vocals and rhythm section, and the result is a unique and distinctive sound that pays homage to its musical ancestry while still breaking new foreground in the Australian international music scene.
As mentioned before, please show your support for Public Opinion Afro Orchestra and Hope Street Recordings by purchasing ‘System/Shake’ from the bandcamp site here.