SUMMER VIBES:It’s funny how many ‘forgotten gems’ I seem to be unearthing recently. This track, ‘Bongo Bong’ by Manu Chao is one that I must have forgotten about for the best part of a decade now. So when I stumbled across this track again tonight on Who Sampled it does what all good songs, it triggered all of those old childhood memories. The funny thing about this catchy reggae and jazz influence world pop song is that it is seriously one of the first pop songs that I remember hearing back in 1999. It is a track which highlights just how international my own life growing up as a child was; I heard this track by French-Spanish (or should I say Basque or Galician) artist Manu Chao on a German music television channel Viva, where it was played next to the likes of US and UK artists like Missy Elliott, Supergrass and Blink 182. The track is a remake of the track by Mano Negra, which was influenced by a 1939 track called ‘King Of The Bongo Bong’ by trumpeter Roy Eldridge. Chao’s version was sampled by R’n’B/Gospel artist Mario Winans for his ‘Never Really Was’ remix in 2004 as well. I love the instrumentation, Chao’s staccato rap-like vocals and the female vocalist’s melodic voice on the chorus. I wish that I heard more world/international music nowadays. Even though there is easy access to a diverse range of music, I am never inspired to look that far. It makes you wonder how much research the Internet really facilitates. At least looking back at this makes me realise how much great music I was exposed to at a young age. I didn’t always immediately gravitate towards it back then, but it helped to form my music taste today (which I consider to be relatively diverse). I have to give praise to the artists who unconsciously showed me the way to other great tracks, but also created music that I would be able to understand and fully appreciate later on in my life, even if it took twelve years.
SOULFUL SKANK: I am a big Anthony Hamilton fan and I always enjoy hearing music from the man. This is one of his more popular tracks, which is not one of my top favourites but it’s one which undoubtedly has it’s charm. Using an organic bassline and featuring trumpets playing the melody, it has a traditional reggae feel combined with Anthony’s gospel-influenced vocals. There’s a feel-good vibe to ‘Everybody’ that isn’t always present in Hamilton’s moody albums and there’s no doubt that the Jamacian vibes of the track enhance that optimistic feeling. A track that used to get rinsed on specialist R’n’B and reggae radio, it’s nice to listen to after five years to remind oneself of Anthony Hamilton’s versatility.