Lafayette Afro Rock Band


Lafayette Afro Rock Band
Lafayette Afro Rock Band

Lafayette Afro Rock Band in 1978
Background information
Also known as Bobby Boy Congress
Soul Congress
Ice
Captain Dax
Crispy and Co.
Origin Paris, France
Genres Funk rock, jazz, disco
Years active 1970–1978
Labels America (1972)
Musidisc (1973)
Makossa (1974–1977)
Superclasse (1978)
Associated acts Mal Waldron
Sunnyland Slim
Past members

Bobby Boyd (vocals)
Larry Jones (acoustic guitar)
Michael McEwan (acoustic guitar)
Lafayette Hudson (bass guitar)
Frank Abel (keyboard)
Ronnie James Buttacavoli (horns)
Ernest "Donny" Donable (drums)
Keno Speller (percussion)
Arthur Young (horns, percussion)

Music sample
Darkest Light

Lafayette Afro Rock Band was a French funk rock band formed in Roosevelt, Long Island, New York in 1970. Though almost unknown in their native United States, they are now universally celebrated as one of the standout funk bands of the 1970s and admired for their use of break beats.[1]

Upon their relocation to Paris, the local music scene influenced the group's work, and they adopted the name Lafayette Afro Rock Band after releasing their debut LP. The band's next two LPs, Soul Makossa and Malik, respectively included the songs "Hihache"and "Darkest Light," which would be sampled in numerous culturally significant hip-hop compositions. Following collaborations with Mal Waldron and Sunnyland Slim, the band's popularity waned, leading to their breakup in 1978.

Contents

History

The Lafayette Afro Rock Band was formed as the Bobby Boyd Congress in 1970, in homage to their original vocalist Bobby Boyd.[2] Upon deciding that the funk scene in the United States was too saturated for them to viably compete in, they relocated to France in 1971; with Bobby Boyd splitting from the group to pursue a musical career in America, they renamed themselves Ice.[3] After regular performances in Paris' Barbès district—an area made up primarily of North African immigrants—they caught the eye of producer Pierre Jaubert and became the house session band at his Parisound studio.[4] The influence of their surroundings led Ice to increasingly weave African rhyme schemes, textures, and beat tendencies in their original funk style, and as such they changed their name to Lafayette Afro Rock Band following the 1972 release of the poorly produced Each Man Makes His Own Destiny.[2]

In 1974, Lafayette Afro Rock band replaced guitarist Larry Jones with Michael McEwan and released Soul Makossa (released in the U.S. as Movin' and Groovin').[2] The title track was a cover version of Manu Dibango's international hit, "Soul Makossa." Despite the LP failing to chart, it made sufficient impact that its standout song, the oft-covered "Hihache", was sampled regularly for over 20 years by artists as diverse as Janet Jackson, Biz Markie, LL Cool J, De La Soul, Digital Underground, Naughty by Nature, and the Wu-Tang Clan.[3] Lafayette Afro Rock Band's followup effort, the 1975 LP Malik, prominently featured the Univox Super-Fuzz and liberal usage of the vocoder. It met equal enduring success, with a modified horn and saxophone sample of "Darkest Light" being featured prominently in Public Enemy's "Show 'Em Whatcha Got".[5] After Public Enemy's usage of the song was highly praised,[6] samples of "Darkest Light" backed numerous culturally significant songs, including "Back to the Hotel[7]", the multi-platinum 1992 single "Rump Shaker" by new jack group Wreckx-n-Effect[8] and rapper Jay-Z's 2006 single "Show Me What You Got".[9]

Mal Waldron, an American jazz and world music composer who came to fame after performing as Billie Holiday's accompanist until her death,[10] collaborated with the Lafayette Afro Rock Band in 1975, employing them to back him on his unreleased Candy Girl album.[4] Shortly later, legendary blues pianist Sunnyland Slim sought out the band's services, and recorded the collaboration album Depression Blues.[11] The group subsequently reverted to the "Ice" moniker, releasing material concurrently in Japan under the art-names "Captain Dax" and "Crispy and Co." After scoring with the mildly successful single "Dr. Beezar, Soul Frankenstein", they released Afro Agban and Funky Flavored to little fanfare before returning to America and permanently disbanding. In 1978, French record label Superclasse released ten uninspiring, previously unreleased recordings, followed by a 1999 Best of compilation which was more warmly received.[2]

Reception

Lafayette Afro Rock Band toiled in obscurity during their years of activity, but have now become of interest to Western critics and music historians due to their ubiquitous break beats.[1] Due to their unpopularity when compared to contemporary acts such as Funkadelic, few copies of their studio LPs have survived;[1] this has led to, with the exceptions of "Hihache" and "Darkest Light", the attention of critics and historians being drawn to the band's three greatest hits albums: Afon: Ten Unreleased Afro Funk Recordings, Darkest Light: The Best of and The Ultimate Collection. Music historian Dave Thompson unfavorably reviewed Afon, but praised Darkest Light, singling out "Soul Frankenstein," "The Gap," "Conga," "Malik," "Soul Makossa," "Scorpion Flower," "Nicky" and "Darkest Light" as the "high points" of the "ultimate point of entry" for the band.[2] British music newspaper Melody Maker[12] and Allmusic critic Jason Ankeny have also both favorably reviewed Darkest Light, with Ankeny stating that it is "one of the great documents of classic funk."[13] The Ultimate Collection received particular acclaim from Allmusic writer Jason Birchmeier, who asserted that it was "a gem" that "you can't go wrong with."[1]

Discography

Studio albums

  • Each Man Makes His Own Destiny (1972, as Ice)
  • Malik (1972) - America Records
  • Soul Makossa (1973)
  • Voodounon EP (1974)
  • Frisco Disco (1976, as Ice)[2]
  • Afro Agban (1977, as Ice)[2]

Singles

  • Oglenon / Azeta (1974)
  • Dr. Beezar, Soul Frankenstein (1976, as Captain Dax)[4]
  • Funky Flavored (1978, as Crispy and Co.)[4]

Compilations

  • Afon: Ten Unreleased Afro Funk Recordings (1978)[2]
  • Darkest Light: The Best of (1999)[12]
  • The Ultimate Collection (2001)[1]

Selected samples

Song Sampling recording[2]
"Hihache" (1974)
"Darkest Light" (1975)

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Birchmeier, Jason (2003). Bogdanov, Vladimir et al.. ed. All Music Guide to Soul. Backbeat Books. pp. 406. ISBN 0879307447. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Thompson, Dave (2001). Funk. Backbeat Books. pp. 156–157. ISBN 0879306297. 
  3. ^ a b Crazy Horse, Kandia (2004). Rip It Up: The Black Experience in Rock'n'roll. Macmillan. pp. 209. ISBN 140396243X. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Ankeny, Jason. "Lafayette Afro Rock Band: Biography". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p30306/biography. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  5. ^ Wang, Oliver (2003). Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide. ECW Press. pp. 138. ISBN 1550225618. 
  6. ^ Frere-Jones, Sasha (October 30, 2006). "Top Down; Pop Notes". The New Yorker 82 (35): 22. 
  7. ^ http://www.whosampled.com/sample/view/2913/N2Deep-Back%20to%20the%20Hotel_Lafayette%20Afro%20Rock%20Band-Darkest%20Light/
  8. ^ a b Breihan, Tom (May 3, 2007). "On the Continuing Resonance of "Rump Shaker"". The Village Voice. http://blogs.villagevoice.com/statusainthood/archives/2007/05/on_the_continui.php. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  9. ^ Dolan, Casey (October 21, 2006). "Downloads". Los Angeles Times: pp. E8. 
  10. ^ Clarke, Donald (2002). Billie Holiday: Wishing on the Moon. Da Capo Press. pp. 403–404. ISBN 0306811367. 
  11. ^ Charters, Samuel Barclay (1977). The Legacy of the Blues: Art and Lives of Twelve Great Bluesmen. Da Capo Press. pp. 133–144. ISBN 0306800543. 
  12. ^ a b Booth, Daniel (October 2, 1999). "Darkest Light: The Best of the Lafayette Afro-Rock Band". Melody Maker 76 (39): pp. 39. 
  13. ^ Ankeny, Jason (2008). Woodstra, Chris et al.. ed. Old School Rap and Hip-Hop. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 129–130. ISBN 0879309164. 
  14. ^ Garrity, Brian (November 25, 2006). "Same Sample, Different Ditty". Billboard 118 (47): 9. 
  15. ^ Endelman, Michael (December 1, 2006). "Executive Suite". Entertainment Weekly (909): 81. 

External links


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