The Electrostats - 21st Century Kenya
Greetings all. Monday is upon us, and I can assure you that I was no more eager to depart the safe, warm confines of my bed this morning than any of you were. I had a sort of weird yin/yang weekend, one day spent hanging with old friends and family – good times all around – and another unable to convince anything thicker than tap water to stay in my stomach. It was, I assure you, a hoot. As I write this morning, all appears to be well. Was God punishing me for saying unpleasant things about his loyal servant George W. Bush? I mean, you’d kind of hope that God would be cooler than that, but you never know. Anyway... Today’s entry will be considerably less verbose than most, because just about the only incontrovertible fact that I can supply you with about today’s selection is that it was recorded in New Orleans, Louisiana. The record I speak of is ‘21st Century Kenya’ by the Electrostats. Released on the Three Oaks label - which was also home to Walter ‘Wolfman’ Washington’s "Heavenly Vibrations (You Give Me)" / "Sun Ain't Gonna Shine" – the record features the funky instro by the Electrostats on one side, and the band backing vocalist Hillary McGinnis on the ballad ‘Weak As You Want To Be’ on the other. I first heard of the Three Oaks label back when Wax Poetics ran their comprehensive Eddie Bo feature. The Walter ‘Wolfman’ Washington 45 I just mentioned was an Eddie Bo production (one of three 45s he produced for Washington on various N.O. labels) that was previously unknown to me, as was the label itself. Not too long after reading that feature, while a-Googling, I happened upon mentions of the Electrostats 45. After seeing a couple of positive comments from reliable sources, I decided to seek out my own copy. I finally scored onerecently, and the search proved to be worthwhile. Opening with heavy wah-wah guitar, the organ (which takes the lead for most of the song) comes in, followed immediately by the bass, drums and percussion. While the title and to a certain extent the percussion suggest an attempt to latch on to other Afro-centric funk sounds of the era (which I guessing is the early 70’s), the record doesn’t exactly scream dashikis and naturals. It reminds me a little – especially the organ - of another NOLA funker from the same era, Larry Foster’s ‘Funky Belly’ on Big Beat. There’s also a nice fuzzed out guitar solo. The Electrostats released at least one other 45 on Three Oaks, the extremely laid back ‘Setting The Mood’.