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Thursday, November 2, 2006

Bongo Rock

Posted on Thu, Nov 2, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Bongo Rock
Label: Mr. Bongo
Length: EP
Rated: NONE
Media: CD
Format: Reissue
WorkNameSort: Bongo Rock
After James Brown's 'Funky Drummer,â?� the second and third song on the list of most-sampled of all time are doubtless 'Apacheâ?� and 'Bongo Rockâ?� by the Incredible Bongo Band. Big, funky and (most important) easily isolated, the drum breaks in these three songs fueled the original street parties thrown by DJs like Kool Herc. They were also the foundation for scores of songs that defined the Golden Age of hip-hop. While everyone knows that Clyde Stubblefield was the man behind the kit on 'Funky Drummer,â?� the history of the Incredible Bongo Band is cloudier. Like the Abbey Road'born Afro-funk of Mandingo in the late '70s, IBB was not a band, but the project of an overwhelmingly white cast of studio musicians. The studio for IBB was MGM, where in 1972 a young executive needed to fill a couple of slots on a soundtrack album (The Thing With Two Heads). Employing the prodigious talents of the soundtrack musicians at MGM, 'Bongo Rockâ?� and 'Bongoliaâ?� were quickly cut, and upon release as the A- and B-sides of a single, found themselves an audience of their own. The full-length Bongo Rock album followed soon after, opening with a cover of 'Apache.â?� Though IBB also covered 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidaâ?� and '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction,â?� the hard-hitting groove of 'Apacheâ?� is alarmingly powerful, even after decades of oversampling. This excellently remastered reissue presents the entirety of the Bongo Rock album, along with most of the less-than-stellar follow-up, 1974's Return of the Incredible Bongo Band; the two Return tracks that are omitted are replaced by two remixes, including, appropriately enough, a Grandmaster Flash remix of 'Apache.â?�

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