VARIOUS: 25 Years Of Mr Bongo (2014)

25 Years Of Mr BongoLegend, label and former record shop Mr Bongo celebrates 25 Years Of Mr Bongo with this two disc set of 28 tracks of what the PR blah describes as “jazz/latin/hip-hop.” If we’re being honest though – there’s a fair bit of quality reggae present courtesy of Hollie Cook (Looking For Real Love), Hollie Cook & Prince Fatty (Milk And Honey), Horseman (Computer) and Prince Fatty’s remix of Mungo Hi-Fi’s Scrub A Dub Style. There’s also some orchestral psych-soul (courtesy of Swedish one-off Doris and her Did You Give the World Some Love Today) and some funk action too. Examples of the latter include the Gruff & Grey edit of CK Mann’s Asaafo Beesoun Medley, Fab 5 Freddy’s classic Wild Style cut Down By Law and the brace of super famous bongo anthems (of course) which bookend the compilation in the form of Grandmaster Flash’s big-ass scratch mix of the Bongo Band’s Apache and an unadulterated Bongo Rock as closer.

While I think about it, (and notwithstanding Fab 5 Freddy’s appearance – whose vocal contribution amounts to a few shout outs over the beat or Grandmaster Flash’s – see above) the hip-hop on this is really only represented by implication – as a generic presence which has sampled from the tracks hereon – on which note, look out for Eminem-sampled I Got The from Labi Siffre. Oh, and then there’s the jazz. Well, I say ‘the jazz’ but anything vaguely jazzy on here is pretty much latin jazz and so comes under the broader heading of ‘latin’ if one were to be anal about such things – as musos tend to be. On that note, anal musos might like to bear in mind that approximately half the tracks on here are ‘latin’ and that more than half of them appear to be of Brazilian origin and as well as jazz include bossa and psych rock influenced work. For the latter check out Junip’s massive spacey gem Ola La Vem Ela which appears to be a major inspiration for Ian Brown’s post Stone Roses career. You’ll also find some non-Brazilian latin grooves in the form of Pete Rodriguez’ boogaloo cut I Liked It Like That.

In retrospect then, really this is a bit more like Mr Bongo celebrating 25 Years Of Mr Bongo with reggae, funk and latin. Mind you – if you weren’t going into the Mr Bongo shop for the hip-hop back in the day, you were almost certainly going in there for the latin. And we all like a bit of latin…
(Out 17 November on Mr Bongo Records)

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