Africa (the band) – LOUIE of the Week

africa Music From Lil Brown

This week, I’d thought I’d point the mighty LOUIE LOUIE spotlight towards one of my favorite semi-forgotten LOUIE LOUIE recordings of 1968.

I’ve never been a fan of naming a musical group after a city, state, country or worse yet, an entire continent. To me, it always seemed like a silly and extremely lazy idea that might have made sense to some stoned hippies in the 60’s and 70’s, but I couldn’t imagine anyone continuing that type of practice in 2014, when bands really need a unique name to distinguish themselves from any other existing entity.

That being said, I LOVED the band Africa, which released one album in 1968.

The album was called “Music From Lil Brown,” which was an inspired response to “Music From Big Pink” by The Band (another band with a silly name), which also came out in 1968.

band-bigpink-back

The front cover of “Music From Lil Brown” was an inspired swipe from the back cover of the “Music From Big Pink”….

africa-back-cover

.. and the back cover of “Music From Lil Brown”…

Band-Music_from_Big_Pink

…borrowed from the front cover of “Music From Big Pink” …

Africa was a band that consisted of doo-wop veterans Brice Coefield, Gary Pipkin, Chester Pipkin, Ed Wallace, and Freddie Wills, who came from such vocal groups such as the Sabres, the Valiants, the Untouchables, the Electras, and the Alley Cats. Music mogul Lou Adler produced this album and released it on his own Ode record label.

The Record Fiend blog shared some mighty praise for this tasty record..

So does this album sound anything like the LP whose packaging inspired it in the first place? Nope, not in the slightest. Instead, what we have here are some extremely imaginative cover versions of songs originally done by white artists coupled with some compelling soul performances.

Jason Ankeny also gave high marks for the album over at AllMusic:

Although performed by former members of the Los Angeles doo wop group the Valiants, produced by Lou Adler and titled in response to the Band’s classic Music from Big Pink, Africa’s Music from “Lil Brown” defies its pedigree by delivering Latin-tinged psychedelic soul covers of some of the era’s biggest pop hits. Credit all involved with pushing and pulling these familiar songs to their breaking points.

The album is loaded with some truly inspired interpretations of familiar songs by the Rolling Stones and the Doors, but the track that really works wonders for me is their recording of LOUIE LOUIE – a soulful fusion with Bobbie Gentry‘s “Ode To Billie Joe” like nobody had ever done before.

… and to think I was reminded of this version when someone sent me a link to Steve Hoffman’s Favorite LOUIE LOUIE Poll!

Wonderful…

Me gotta go now….

http://youtu.be/OQV8IA7PXdc

Reference Links:
Record Fiend: Africa – Music From Lil Brown
AllMusic Guide: Africa – Music From Lil Brown
Steve Hoffman’s Favorite LOUIE LOUIE Poll

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