INSTRUMENTAL GEMS VOL. 1: SPANISH FUNK AND GROOVE 1974/1977.

Instrumental Gems Vol. 1: Spanish Funk and Groove 1974/1977.

Label: Adarce Records.

During the seventies, many Spanish musicians found themselves struggling to make ends meet. Times were tough, especially for up-and-coming musicians. Some of them had dreamt of becoming a professional musician since the first started to play the guitar, bass or drums. Eventually, after years of practise, dedication and hard work they some able to fulfil their lifetimes ambition and become a professional musician. It was what they had worked towards and dreamt about for as long as they could remember. 

The young musicians had grown up dreaming of being in a successful pop or rock band, who recorded ambitious and innovative albums. This would lead to them touring the world and finding fame and fortune. Sadly, it hadn’t turned out like that, and they weren’t about to record the Spanish equivalent of Dark Side Of The Moon. 

Some of the musicians ended up joining the many dance bands and orchestras that had sprung up across Spain. While it wasn’t they had hoped for, they were about to make a living doing what they loved, making music.

This they hoped was one step nearer the fame and fortune they had dreamt about. However, as they looked enviously at the new bands who were making a breakthrough in Britain and America, they realised how different things were in Spain.

The music the dance bands and orchestras were playing was very different. When they played live their sets featured Bossa Nova, easy listening, lounge music and soul as well as the light music that was popular at that time. This included rhythm ’n’ blues-pasodoble and Spanish soul. It was a case of playing music that people knew. That was why they covered popular Spanish songs and the current international hit singles. However, not many of the dance bands and orchestras ever entered the recording studio.

When dance bands and orchestras entered the studio some recorded cover versions. It was a case of recording music that was familiar, which they hoped would appeal to record buyers. This they often augmented with their own compositions when they recorded their album.

Sometimes, the orchestra changed their names for the recording sessions. This was often an attempt to sound modern. Other times it was purely for commercial purposes. They weren’t alone.

At the same time, many artists who entered the studio were using nicknames. They also recorded albums that include cover versions and new material, and along with the dance bands and orchestras were part of a new scene that was soon blossoming.

Especially in Aragon and Catalonia where new labels were founded, often to release and promote the albums the artists and orchestras were releasing. However, these small, independent regions labels didn’t release huge amounts of music. Within their back-catalogues are a number of hidden gems which, over forty years later, have become particularly sought after. 

Especially some of the oft-overlooked instrumentals with were released during the mid to late seventies. They’re already firm favourites of a number of DJs and collectors of disco, funk, rare groove and soul. However, they’re sure to appeal to a wider audience which is why Adarce Records have compiled two volumes of instrumentals. The first is  Instrumental Gems Vol. 1: Spanish Funk and Groove 1974/1977 which is a limited edition of 500.

Instrumental Gems Vol. 1: Spanish Funk and Groove 1974/1977 features fourteen tracks from Gregorio García Segura, Los Brandis Con María Nevada, Lin Barto, Blas and His Friends, Jorge Enrique, Roberto Serrano, Rafael Martínez, Orquesta A. Latorre, Orquesta Miramar, Conjunto Nueva Onda, Ramón Gil, Mesie Bató, Red-Key and Unidades. They’re responsible for some of the rarest instrumental tracks that feature the early Spanish funk and groove sounds. These tracks were released by small regional Spanish labels. 

Side A.

Opening side A is Gregorio Garcia Segura’s cinematic funk epic Harlem Pop, which was released by Beverley Records in 1976. 

Los Brandis Con Maria Nevada’s Life’s Song was released by BOA in 1974. It’s a dancefloor friendly slice of Spanish groove which showcases some truly talented musicians. 

Magnetic released Sax Pop in 1976, and finds Lin Barto fusing funk, pop and easy listening on this hidden gem. 

The DMB label released Blas and His Friends’ Supermarket in 1974. It’s a dramatic filmic sounding track that brings to marries the music of the late-sixties and early-seventies to create a track from a lost soundtrack.

Jorge Enrique is responsible for one Go Go a driving slice of filmic funk released by BOA in 1976. It’s one of the compilations highlights.

Although Roberto Serrano’s Retorno was released by the Audio label in 1976, it sounds as if it has been influenced by sixties soul jazz. A churning, swirling Hammond organ plays a starring role in the sound and success of the track.

Moody, atmospheric, cinematic and describes Rafael Martinez’s Funny Comic which was released by BOA in 1975.

Side B. 

Orquesta A Latorre’s genre-melting Hotel Don Felipe was released by BCD in 1975. Elements of groove, soul jazz and funk have been thrown into the musical melting pot and left to simmer. 

Orquesta Miramar’s Pop Song was released by DMB in 1975. Horns are to the fore for much of the track although the rhythm section play a supporting role. It’s a quite beautiful track and a real find that showcases the considerable talents of Orquesta Miramar.

Conjunto Nueva Onda’s A Su Aire was released by the Magnetic label in 1976. It’s another track where horns are to the fore as the track swings and conjures up images of Spain in the seventies.

BOA released Ramon Gil’s Mercurio forty-five years ago in 1975. He fuses elements of rock, funk  and jazz to create a timeless dancefloor friendly track. 

Mesie Bato’s Violeta was released by Audio in 1975, and combines funk and jazz with bursts of drama to create a joyous, dramatic  and memorable sounding track

Another track released by Audio was Red-Key’s Morning. They combine elements of funk, fusion and jazz to create a futuristic and innovative sounding track. It’s one of the compilation’s highlioghts. that’s one of the comp 

In 1976, the Zarton label released Unidades’ Caballo Salvaj. It’s a melodic and memorable hidden gem that is the perfect way to close Instrumental Gems Vol. 1: Spanish Funk and Groove 1974/1977.

The tracks on Instrumental Gems Vol. 1: Spanish Funk and Groove 1974/1977 are already favourites of a number of DJs and record collectors who manage to unearth these fourteen hidden gems. That would be almost impossible to do nowadays as these tracks are rarities. They were released in small quantities by regional record labels and very few copies will have survived since the seventies. 

There is another way and that’s to pickup a copy of Instrumental Gems Vol. 1: Spanish Funk and Groove 1974/1977 which is a lovingly created compilation. Adarce Records have dug deep into the vaults of several  small Spanish labels in search of musical treasure and have struck gold. Proof of that is Instrumental Gems Vol. 1: Spanish Funk and Groove 1974/1977.

Instrumental Gems Vol. 1: Spanish Funk and Groove 1974/1977.

2 Comments

  1. Very interesting piece. I’ll definitely try to listen to these tracks. DQ

    • You can listen to the album on You Tube. Copies of the album are hard to find as it’s a limited edition of 500. I hope that you enjoy the album.

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