Wednesday, September 14, 2005
A Trio From Mr. Jamo
Mr. Jamo is Jamo Thomas, a bongo player/singer who came from the Bahamas to Chicago and recorded his best known song "I Spy (For The F.B.I.)" and then went down south and recorded for Shelby Singleton's labels. (See the Funky16Corners blog for more info.) What follows below are reviews of three of Mr. Jamo's 45s which date roughly from the 67-69 period. All three of them are different and worthy.
First up is "Bahama Mama, Parts 1 and 2" (Decca 32406) It should be noted that he's credited here as Jamo Thomas and the Party Brothers, which is more than appropriate as this is a truly hard piece of solid funk! Jamo calls out "1..2..3..4" after which bass, guitar, drums and bongos kick in to a slow, but deadly funky and loud groove.
Accompanied by blasts of brass, Jamo declares "Bahama mama, you got soul!" A brief interlude of a bongo solo follows before all hell breaks loose like an island typhoon. The band cooks up a frenzy behind Jamo as he yells out at random such things as "Shake what you got!" and "Tell your station, it's smokin'!"
And he keeps up the pace right to the end of Part 2!
SIDE NOTE: Strange thing about this is, unlike most two part records which fade out on one side and fade in on the other, this one simply cuts off at the end of side one and cuts back on on the other. Hearing the song cut off after Jamo shouts "It's groovin'" has the effect of the plug being kicked out of your stereo. It's as if Decca didn't know how to properly fade in and fade out on a two-part record. Oh well, it doesn't detract.
On the next two 45s in our selection this evening, Thomas is credited as Mr. Jamo. Both of these are on Shelby Singleton's SSS International label. "You Just Ain't Ready Parts 1 and 2" (SSS International SSS-808) takes a bit more of a psychedelic approach to the song, particularly in the way a fuzz guitar is the predominant instrument.
Jamo doesn't do as much singing on this one, standing back to let a chorus take over much of it. The song is still pretty funky, but I think it's a bit weaker because of the chorus. But not so fast, because if you like guitar fuzz noise with your funk (in other words, if you think they're two great tastes that taste great together, heh heh), you will want to flip this over for part two in which fuzz guitar and organ battle for supremacy with the fuzz winning out.
Finally, it's time for "Shake What You Brought With You Parts 1 and 2" (SSS International SSS-798). Here we have another slow funk groover, not as intense as "Bahama Mama," but more than out there in its own way. (I recommend again the Funky16Corners blog for a superb write-up on this 45. I echo many of the same statements.)
This time around, Jamo raps out various sayings in a smooth demeanor, something like this:
Shake it, shake it, shake it,
Ah, whoop it on me, whoop it on me
Shake what you brought with you,
Ah go ahead, go ahead,
Mercy, baby, mercy, baby.
Sounds like he's getting some serious action while his band plays with a bit of Carribean-influenced flute and even a little sitar. This sounds like it could be music from a really cheap blaxploitation flick of the seventies. Heck, it could be the background music for a pimp marching onto the scene with his posse of ladies in waiting, if you get my drift.
So there ya go, three different tunes, three different flavors.
You want variety, you got it.