You have found the notes to GO Mechanism Number Seven. The GO Mechanism is a multi-discipline, multi-dimensional, multi faceted experience that is ultimately enhanced by both listening to the program and reading along to its companion Boogaloo Bag entry. GO Mechanism Number Seven will initially air on Luxuria Music on March 26 at 8:00 PM California time (10:00PM in New York). After it is aired, it will be available as a podcast for about four weeks on the Luxuria Music website before being posted on both the Mixclouds and below. If you are reading this before the initial airing on Luxuria Music, The GO Mechanism producers invite you to go to the Luxuria Music website, listen in and join us in the Lux Mu chat room. In the chat room each song will be announced as it is played. Plus, you will be able to interact with The GO Mechanism producers in real time.
The GO Mechanism endeavors to offer Groove and O’Rooney to a troubled world. In order to present more Groove than gab, the program does not stop to back-announce song titles and artists. All of that information is found here in The Boogaloo Bag. One aspect of The GO Mechanism is The Science Corner—a segment of the program that aspires to bring important information to the listener’s attention. It will take place near the beginning of the second hour of the episode. The O’Rooney will flourish naturally throughout the program.
In this episode of The GO Mechanism, The Science Corner looks at Manu Dibango’s song “Soul Makossa.” Most folks know it as the cool African funk record that was on the radio in 1973, but there is much more to the story than that. It was a sensation in the disco clubs of New York City before it was available in the United States. Thus, several acts—most of them one-off studio groups—recorded versions of the song in order to cash-in. These versions were all meant to exploit the popularity of the song without having to actually license it. An act called Afrique almost got away (reaching Number 33 on R&B charts) with it before Atlantic Records was able to license the original by Manu Dibango. Most of these versions are fairly faithful to the original, and thus are not that interesting. It seems the further one gets from New York City, the more original the arrangement of the song is. The Science Corner presents three versions of the song:
The Lafayette Afro Rock Band was a group from Long Island that moved to France in order to be an authentic American funk group operating in Europe. The group’s first album is called Soul Makossa and includes the track heard in The Science Corner. However, when the LP was released in the U.S., it was retitled Voodounon and “Soul Makossa” was not included. This may be because the group had a working relationship with Manu Dibango and they didn’t want to steal his thunder. Of the three versions presented here, this one is pretty close to the original.
Grupo Guerro – 78 was led by Carlos Guerra, a trumpet player from Venezuela. This version is one of the wildest, with its shouting and bird calls! The beat is more of a mambo than Afro-funk.
Brent Dowe was a founding member of the reggae group The Melodians. Their song “Rivers of Babylon” was featured in the movie The Harder They Come. Dowe co-wrote the song and left the group for solo career soon after that song’s original success in 1970. A few years later he cut his version of “Soul Makossa.” He actually cut it twice for his single; one side was a pretty straight reading, the other is the reggae version heard here. On both sides the word is misspelled as “Masooka.”
Here are some other cool versions of “Soul Makossa:”
The Afrosound (from Colombia)
Toño Quirazco (from Mexico)
Byron Lee & the Dragonaires (from Jamaica, also called “Reggae Makossa”)
Babatunde Olatunji (from Africa)
The Ventures (yes THOSE Ventures!)
King of the Be-Bop baritone saxophone, Cecil Payne is a GO Mechanism favorite. He first made a name for himself in Dizzy Gillespie’s post-war big band. He didn’t really lead too many sessions, so there are not a lot of records available under his name. However, he played on sessions by just about every important jazz artist you can name, from John Coltrane on down. When you see his name on a recording, you know it’s going to be boss.
If Wild Bill Davis never cut another record, he should be sainted for his work with Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five (1945-1949). Those records are fabulous and Davis was the pianist, and sometimes the organist. Davis is one of the earliest keyboard players to regularly make the electric organ swing. “Breaking Out” is a single-only release, and perhaps the only record he ever made that one can frug to.
Zimeno is a (mostly) reissue label run by our friend Danny Holloway—yes the same Danny Holloway who wrote for New Musical Express, produced The Plimsouls and Owen Gray, and managed The Heptones. Lately he’s been working as a DJ in posh Hollywood nightclubs and resurrecting super obscure Jamaican records like The Underground Vegetables version of the Booker T & the M.G.’s song “Melting Pot.” This record is GO!
“Cumbia Sampuesana” is like the “Louie Louie” of cumbia songs. There must be about a hundred versions of it. It seems that just about any group of musicians south of El Paso that ever worked a cumbia rhythm has played it. Indeed, a modern version was aired in GO Mechanism Number Six. It was originally recorded by Conjunto Tipico Vallenato from Colombia. The version here is by Afrosound, a group from Columbia made up of excellent, hand-picked musicians. Expect more from Afrosound in future GO Mechanisms.
Laika & the Cosmonauts are often called Finland’s Number One surf band, but upon listening to “Syncophant” one will notice that, after about a dozen years after it was formed, the group had progressed beyond it’s surf ’n’ Shadows influences in order to produce very modernistic instrumental music.
The version of Jimi Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary” by Hopeton Lewis is remarkable not only for its adaptation to a reggae beat, but also for never going to the chorus of the song!
Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band is a musical unit from South Africa. Here the group renders a version of Glenn Miller’s big hit record, “In the Mood.” The other side of the single is the original version of “Skokiaan,” if you know where that’s at!
This episode’s version of “Caravan” is by The Epics, who are from Australia.
“Life’s Too Short” by The Lafayettes is a favorite of The GO Mechanism producers. The group was from Baltimore. In the John Waters film Hairspray, there is a scene where the group (actors) plays (lip-syncs) this song as the kids dance. It is one of our favorite moments of the movie.
The Happenings Four were a Japanese rock’n’roll group of the sixties. The group is one of many bands who have become known as exponents of what is called Group Sounds or GS. The Happenings Four added their own lyrics (in Japanese) to Lou Donaldson’s soul jazz composition “Alligator Boogaloo” and recorded a winner! Astute GO Mechanism listeners will note that another Group Sounds track was played earlier in the show: the one by The Golden Cups. In fact, there are (and will be) GS songs sprinkled throughout The GO Mechanism macrocosm.
Quincy Jones’ “Rack ‘em Up” is from the soundtrack to The Pawnbroker. Although he is not necessarily a favorite of The GO Mechanism producers, it seems that he has already landed three songs in seven episodes of The GO Mechanism. How did that happen?
“Sugar and Spikes” by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band actually doesn’t have Captain Beefheart on it. It is from sessions for Trout Mask Replica that appeared on the compilation Grow Fins.
The GO Mechanism producers never liked the song “Summer Breeze” until they heard this boss instrumental version by The Isley Brothers. It features the way underrated guitar playing of Ernie Isley. Was he ever on the cover of Guitar Player Magazine? I don’t think so. It’s a shame that his playing has never really been celebrated as much as it should be.
Here is the complete track listing for GO Mechanism Number Seven:
• Earl Bostic—Lester Leaps In (King)
• Cecil Payne—Bongo Bop (Charlie Parker; from the LP Performing Charlie Parker Music)
• Wild Bill Davis—Breaking Out Part Two (RCA Victor)
• Underground Vegetables—Melting Pot (Zimeno)
• Charanjit Singh—Lekar Ham Diwana Dil (Odeon; India; from LP Instrumental Film Tunes)
• Cal Tjader—My Little Red Book (Skye)
• Clifford Brown & Max Roach—Mildama (EmArCy; from LP Brown & Roach Incorporated)
• Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra—Bunny Hop Mambo (Capitol)
• Tito Puente—Mambo Beat (RCA Victor; from LP Mucho Puente)
• La Bert Ellis—Batman Theme (A&M)
• The Golden Cups—Iwa-Mata-Noboru (Capitol; Japan)
• Afrosound—La Sampuesana (Discos Fuentes; Colombia)
• Laika & the Cosmonauts—Syncophant (Yep-Roc—from LP Absurdistan)
• Hopeton Lewis—The Wind Cries Mary (Dragon; UK)
• Bo Diddley—Bo’s Guitar (Chess; from LP Go Bo Diddley)
• Smokey Robinson & the Miracles—Backfire (Tamla—from LP A Pocketful of Miracles)
• Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band—In the Mood (Wena Buti Lalela (London)
• Astor Piazzolla—Michelangelo ’70 (American Clavé; from LP Tango: Zero Hour)
• The Epics—Caravan (His Master’s Voice; Australia)
• The Lafayettes—Life’s Too Short (RCA Victor)
• • • The Lafayette Afro Rock Band—Soul Makossa (Manifesto; from LP Afro Funk Explosion)
• • • Grupo Guerro – 78—Soul Makossa (Discolandia)
• • • Brent Dowe, The Gaynotes—Reggae Masooka (Gay-Feet/Dub*Store; Japan)
• The Happenings Four—Alligator Boogaloo (Capitol; Japan)
• Rene Hall—Cleo (Specialty)
• Quincy Jones—Rack ‘Em Up (Mercury)
• Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band—Sugar n Spikes (Revenant; from LP Grow Fins)
• The Four Shells—Hot Dog (Volt)
• Herbie Mann—The Scratch (Atlantic)
• Grupo Santa Cecilia—Africa Bump (Orfeon)
• Isley Brothers—Summer Breeze Part 2 (T-Neck)
• The Pioneers—Papa Was a Rolling Stone (Trojan)
• Tony Fox—I Dream One Day (Tri-Spin)
• Los Lobos—Revolution (Warner Bros.; from LP Colossal Head)
• Mahotella Queens—Incwepelezi (Gumba Gumba; South Africa)
• Lee Fields with Sugarman & Co.—Shot Down (Daptone)
• Herbie Hancock—Blow Up End Title (M-G-M/from LP Blow Up soundtrack)
• Curtis Mayfield—Freddie’s Dead – Boogaloo edit (Curtom)
• Manu Dibango & Hal Singer—The Soukous (Decca; France)
• Bonzo Dog Band—Slush (United Artists)
Extended Spoken word:
Dylan Thomas—Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Langston Hughes—Weary Blues (Verve; from LP The Weary Blues With Langston Hughes)
That’s the story for this installment of The GO Mechanism. After the program airs (this one on March 26) it will be in the Luxuria Music podcast section for about a month–as the Saturday Night Special entry dated 3/27/2022. Then it will be archived at the Boogaloo Omnibus Mixcloud Site and also at the end of this post.