[84] Jorge Ben – Africa / Brasil

14 Nov

This album is a wonderful amalgam.  It is of its time without sounding dated, contains touches of African and South American flair without ever completely leaving its exceptional funk rock roots, and just as you are feeling comfortable with the formula it shows that it still has the power to surprise.

Africa / Brasil

Africa / Brasil

Africa / Brasil starts with such a heavy, electric bass driven riff that noone who hears it can hope to sit still – heads bob, toes tap, everybody grooves.  These are the sounds that remind me that Disco doesn’t have to be disposible, that it is  musically grounded in enthralling funk rhythms, guitar sounds, fun.

The “World” designation that Tom Moon goes for here is heard in the intricate drumming, in some of the instrument choices, but there is nothing on show here that would have alienated Top 40 fans in the US when this was released.

It certainly has my attention.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that this ranks up there with any of the best Rock I can think of.

While undeniably “70s sounding”, Jorge Ben’s tunes here do not sound out of date today – so much so that I wonder if these tunes and tones are regularly sampled.  There is a familiarity here that is palpable.  The vocals are warm, the vibe playful and positive, the result joyful.

And all this before hearing “Taj Mahal” – the melody that became Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” . . .

Where Bembeya Jazz National lost focus and outstayed its welcome, Jorge Ben’s shifts into spoken word over the drums and guitar, his whistles and ever changing instrumentation, his never-ending enthusiasm constantly leaves me wanting more.

There really is more amazing music out there than I am ever going to hear in one lifetime.

Next Week:  Salve Regina Gregorian Chant – Benedictine Monks of St Maurice and St Maur

Owned before blogging? No. (9 of 84 = 11%)
Heard before blogging? No. (12 of 84 = 14%)
Recommend? Yes. (68 of 84 = 81%)

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