Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Fabulous Raindrops: People Need A Beat /El Putty (Infal IN-147)

This has to be one of the strangest records I've ever run across.
The label says it's from Commerce City, Colorado and it appears to be a Spanish-American group judging by the songwriting credits on both sides. Whoever had this before me wrote on the sleeve "Psycho Psoul." Crude soul is more like it. But that's only one side.

Let's talk about the instrumental other side ("El Putty") first. How to describe it? Think Mexican Link Wray after a few shots of straight tequilla in a dingy bar just over the Rio Grande. There's lots of hoopin' and hollerin' in the background while the guitar player strums away like a drunken mariachi and the drummer keeps up with him as fast as he can. It may not be as wild as I described it to your ears, but that's what I thought about when I listened to it. This side is labeled the "Ranchera" side.

The "soul" side is called "People Need A Beat" and it's indeed go a lot of funk to it. It's also got a lot of jerky wah-wah guitar and crazy organ going on, too. In fact, that wah-wah and organ dominate the first half of the song, making it sound like some kind of improvisational jazz-rock piece. In the interim, the drummer is doing all he can to keep the beat, but guitar and organ plow him under. Then, surprise, surprise, we get vocals, friends! We get a few lines ripped off from Sly and the Family Stone's "Dance To The Music" before everything just suddenly comes to a cold stop.

So, why does this strike me as strange? I don't know. It just feels like the kind of record bar bands would make to just give away to their friends or something. Do I like the record? Yes.
Do I think it comes from way out of left field? No question.

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