Black Sugar – Black Sugar (1971)

Hello to all, we already covered a little bit of the Inca Rock scene in previous posts, so today we’re going straight to it. A band that is no surprise to all who enjoys Latin Rock, already discovered and re-released for the past decade Black Sugar feels closer to Malo than your correlated Peruvian brothers from the ’70. They’ve returned to play since the mid ’10, in spite of not having all its original members, so let’s attend to them and begin.

Let’s go to our artist:

Peru, Lima. An era marked by a military government that, after assuming power in 1968, brought, among many other consequences, the debacle of the first generation of Peruvian rock, discouraging everything that leaned towards the foreign, more precisely to the gringo. Black Sugar’s Latin touch was the safe-conduct for their survival within that hostile and repressive context of those harsh days (the entirety of Latin America).

Los Far-Fen

The roots of this band are in a group called Los Far-Fen (in allusion to the musical communion between the Farfisa organ and the Fender guitar), formed at the end of the sixties by the guitarist Víctor “Coco” Salazar, to solely animate parties. The breakpoint of this stage as party entertainers occurred when his music reached the ears of Jaime Delgado Aparicio, one of the most transcendental musicians in contemporary Peruvian history of which very little is known, and who sadly died at age 40 in 1983 (RIP).

At that time, in the early ’70, the then young but already renowned Peruvian musician who graduated from the Berklee School in Boston had arrived in Lima after a season of musicalizing films in Italy and held the position of manager of Sono Radio, one of the most important record companies in the country. It is Delgado Aparicio who proposes to abandon the repertoire of parties and record an LP with (all) original material.

There the sound of the group was born.

A Young Jaime Delgado

As trumpeter Antonio Ginocchio recalls:

“The studio was gigantic, the size of a soccer field (laughs). I was prepared to record a big band, with modular rails, a 36-channel console… and since Jaime was the manager, we had all the hours we wanted. We never got tired, we were around 20 years old.”

Re-baptized as Black Sugar and sponsored by Jaime Delgado Aparicio, they endorsed for a season the modern recording studio owned by the label at the capital Lima. Songs like Too Late (who even hit the seventh place in the charts in Miami), Viajecito, The Looser and Funky Man made this album an immediate success throughout Peru back in 1971/72.

Black Sugar Rehearsal

The group toured extensively over these years and around 1974 they released a (still successful) second entry at Sono Radio once more. By 1976 the group began to show an inclination towards the disco sound and this led to the departure of vocalist Carlos “Pacho” Mejía and Hermes Landa who was his manager since its beginnings. In addition to this, the curfew imposed by the military regime caused the contracts to begin to decrease substantially, hence this the original members began to abandon the ship.

Muevete, Muevete / La Camita 78 is their latest singles on 7-inch vinyl records by Corona Records, sadly it marks the departure release by the band in 1978-79.

Let’s go to our album:

Rehearsal II

With first-class musicians, superb arrangements and a passionate vocalist, the band owes nothing to the great Latin combos of its generation, in addition to compositions that overcame the question of time, their style is rather unique, with influences from Tower of Power, Blood Sweat and Tears and Chicago mixed with a Latin Funk flavor.

In the end, Black Sugar was a world-class Latin funk institution! And you can watch here as the band’s activities have resumed this past decade. Gracias Chicos!

The ‘IM’ highlights are The Looser and When You’re Walking.

Tracks Include:

A1 Too Late
Arranged By: V. Salazar
Written By: Black Sugar, C. Mejía

A2 Viajecito
Arranged By: J.D.A. (Jaime Delgado Aparicio)
Written By: J.D.A., M.C. (Miguel “Chino” Figueroa)

A3 The Looser
Arranged By:  M. Figueroa
Written By: Black Sugar, C. Mejía, M. Figueroa

A4 This Time
Arranged By: V. Salazar
Written By: Black Sugar, C. Mejía

A5 Funky Man
Arranged By: J.D.A.
Written By: Black Sugar, J.D.A., V. Salazar

B1 Understanding
Arranged By: V. Salazar

B2 When You’re Walking
Arranged By: V. Salazar
Written By: Black Sugar, C. Mejía

B3 When I Needed Someone
Arranged By: J.D.A.
Written By: Black Sugar, C. Mejía

B4 Pussy Cat
Arranged By: J.D.A.
Written By: G. Halligan

Musicians

Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Tambourine: Victor “Coco” Salazar
Alto Saxophone, Flute: Jorge Chávez
Bongos, Percussion (Tumbas): Coco Lagos, Miguel Salazar
Electric Bass: Roberto Valdez
Organ, Piano: Miguel “Chino” Figueroa
Percussion: José “Arroz” Cruz
Trumpet, Valve Trombone (Valve Bone): Antonio Ginocchio
Vocals: Carlos Mejía

Credits

Photography: Carlos Aramburú
Recorded By: Luis Temple, Manuel Bellido
Recorded By (Assistant): Willy Castro

Management: H. Landa
Mixed By, Producer: J.D.A.

Notes

Sono Radio ‎– S.E. 9432

Recorded and Mixed for P.M.I. at Industrial Sono Radio S.A. – Lima – Perú – Studio I.

Live, 2019

Elektra – Keegi (1981)

One of the greatest things about running the ‘IM’ is having the curiosity to hear sounds from all over the world and that is why today’s post is the inaugural of a country that had not yet entered our route: Estonia. The work that the Frotee label has been doing for the last few years is priceless, thanks to them we can present you this unfamiliar artist, and for the most avid travelers we can forefront a couple of suitable names that came from this fantastic musical scene, groups like Väntorel, Keeris, Tornaado, Velly Joonas, Gunnar Graps and Magnetic Band, Fix, Ruja and many more deserve your close attention.

Along with our journey, other eesti-rock gems will be here, so please come always sõber!

Let’s go to our artist:

Elektra started out in the middle of the 1960s as a female vocal group with a fluctuating line-up which was accompanied by different instrumental groups.

Ansambel Elektra 60s

At the end of the 1970s, pianist Aarne Saluveer became the head of the backing musicians and his friends Agu Tammeorg, Meelis Punder, and Jaan Karp joined the band. During this period, Elektra performed together with the college girl band Kooli-Prii which Kadri Hunt, who was the daughter of Elektra’s conductor Märt Hunt, had formed together with her classmates. By 1981, the Kooli-Prii girls had replaced the former singers of Elektra.

Kadri Hunt loved songs with Afro-American influences, which she heard from radio or the few records she could get her hands on. Kooli-Prii played these songs at their concerts and (legendary) soul singer Marju Kuut taught them voice placing. The girls went to a school which focused on English teaching so they sang in English at their concerts but they had to get the lyrics translated in order to avoid problems with recordings (censorship).

Hiiglane Marju Kuut

In 1981, Elektra recorded only a few disco songs but that was it because the number of music studios in Tallinn was very limited. For example, the Estonian Radio studio where they could record with 8-track tape recorders was vacant only during the nights. (!)

During the next few years, disco music went out of fashion in Estonia and the repertoire of the band became more popular to match the musical taste of Aarne Saluveer (the band’s leader). In addition to that, Kadri Hunt became its only singer. In 1985, Elektra released its only record (a 7” EP) and their music had become way distanced from soul music. By 1986 the group had dissolved with some of its members going solo or engaging new bands.

Let’s go to our album:

Elektra 1981

Keegi with the original title “You Might Need Somebody” was based on Randy Crawford’s interpretation of the song which was released the same year, the original was a yacht-rock song performed by Turley Richards. The original version of Meid Kaasa Muusika Viib called “Jump To The Beat” was made famous by the teenage singer Stacy Lattishaw.

These two cuts from this single are amazing, I wasn’t aware of the originals the first time I’ve listened to, so I still think these covers are a MUST, there’s something with these gals vocals and Estonian phonetics that kept me mesmerized! Kas Sa Tahaksid Tulla?

Tracks Include:

A Keegi
Lyrics By: Märt Hunt
Written By: Nan O’Byrne, Tom Snow

B Meid Kaasa Muusika Viib
Lyrics By: Märt Hunt
Written By: Lisa Walden, Narada Michael Walden

Credits

Bass: Meelis Punder
Drums: Jaan Karp
Flute: Tauno Saviauk
Guitar: Agu Tammeorg
Keyboards: Aarne Saluveer
Vocals: Kadri Hunt, Kersti Raik, Signe Tükk, Tiina Kalle

Mastered By: Lynn Petrin
Photography: Arno Saar
Recorded By: Mati Brauer

Notes

Frotee ‎– FRO004

Mastered At: Ebony Cuts

Recorded at Eesti Raadio Studio, Tallinn, October 1981.

Tallinn Landscape