Monday, March 14, 2011

UPDATE: In The Congo?

Hello! Whoops, I forgot to blog again. But anyway, sometimes people leave comments on really old posts and, puzzled, I go ahead and publish them (comments on posts over a certain age have to be "approved"), knowing that hardly anybody will ever see them.

But this morning I was thrilled to see a comment on one of my old audioblog entries, the mysterious and wonderful "Congo Percussion" album, by a sadly anonymous informer who really seems to know a lot about the history of these beautiful recordings:

The whole thing seems to stem from a release on the short-lived RKO/Unique label: "Jungle Beat" by Subri Moulin and the Equatorial Rhythm Group. It had nothing to do with Chaino or Kirby Allen. RKO's LP line went under very quickly, and the recording was absorbed by Tops/Mayfair. Eventually it found its way to Pirouette etc.

The ping-pong percussion intros are not part of the original sessions; they were added on somewhere along the line. Just like the tracks were first given different spellings, then renamed completely, as the tapes passed from one supermarket label to another. Some labels have the version with the intros, others do not.

Very interesting! I always suspected that the intros were tacked-on (the rubber duckie noises and slide whistle were kind of a tip-off), but that the music was otherwise "authentic," whatever that really means. I've always been baffled by this record, and this information really clears it up. So it probably really is from the Congo! Or Cameroon! Or nearby! Neat!

So thank you, anonymous commenter, for making my morning (you and the creator of the "Bono Tracker"). If you haven't listened to this music yet, go ahead and do so; it will make your morning, too.


karen marie said...

Lucy the Wonder Dog really enjoyed the music but she found the tacky intros to be somewhat alarming.

Thanks to anonymous for bringing this album back to the front page.

Peteykins said...

I still love the intros, but I want to find a version without them, too.

The intros are obviously inspired by Command Records famous and popular "Persuasive Percussion" series, so that puts the tacked-on intros in the 1961-2 range. The main recordings, which are monophonic, are probably from five-to-ten years earlier.

Fan said...

What a wonderful weird record! Dont know if I ever heard the original "Elunde" but if permissable feel it my duty to report it is a cool contrast to PSP's own cover of the song done some time ago. Said cover is a wonderful piece of music; never realized how creative some of the lower register parts were. thanks for the post!