Thursday 18 May 2023

When folks talk about hip-hop and it's origins and it's roots whether it be Malcolm McClaren "finding" Afika Bambaataa in New York wearing a Sex Pistols t-shirt or DJ Kool Herc's parties in the Bronx, it should not be long before Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band's 'Bongo Rock' takes centre of attention.

This incredible album is now 50 years old and considering it was an offshoot project of Mr Viner with session musicians, it's a credit to all involved and bongo lovers everywhere and hip-hop breaks/samples that have keep the album going.

Covers of popular tracks like 'Apache' (yes, it really is The Shadows' track) and the seven tracks are done in an extraordinary Latin, funk, rock, soul psych, surf way as if Santana recorded at Stax with Joe's Meek and Bataan commissioned by Pearl & Dean plus, of course, Hank.

Then any tracklist that could follow 'Duelling Bongos' with 7 minutes of  'In-A-Gadda-D-Vida' (yes, originally from the 1968 album by Iron Butterfly, the album with the psychedelic cover) that puts the drums and bongos in another dimension has to be one of the most bonkers, of the many bonkers, aspects of hip-hop. 

Mr Bongo originally re-issued this in 2014 (I seem to have lost my cover) and whilst it controversially came out as a 7" box set in 2016, I don't think any record collector worth his bongos should not have a proper LP version.

I know some people would have you believe 50 year albums are the "next thing", like Hawkwinds 'Space Ritual' released in May 1973 or Barbara Sipple's 'Barbara Sings For Life' as recently picked by Re:Warm's Micky Brown (#onlylikemusicreleasedon50yearanniversary) but "Bongo Rock" will indeed go on forever in this, or the countless samples used by nearly everyone from the great (Nas, DJ Shadow, Beastie Boys) and the not so great.

Artist: Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band

Title: Bongo Rock

Release date : 19th May, 2023

Label : Mr Bongo

Catalog Number: MRBLP11850

Format: LP / Bandcamp


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