This summer has been filled with funky bits–from the dodgy weather to the sounds of one of my favorite funk outfits, 1970s Long Island-based French funk masters, The Lafayette Afro Rock Band.
Most well-known for their use of break beating in funk tunes, the LARB spent much of their time in France developing their unique sound; and two of their most influential LPs would go on to influence–and often times be predominantly sampled by–the emerging hip hop genre.
My two favorite records from LARB are Soul Makossa and Malik (release in 1974 and 1975 respectively), which feature their best fusion of funk beats with traditional French Afro Beat rhythms. But unfortunately, the group had a relatively short shelf life–forming in 1970 as the Bobby Boy Congress before breaking off with their front man (a one Bobby Boy), relocating to France, and dubbing themselves ICE (which, actually, had an amazing instrumental record, The Afro Instrumental LP), before eventually settling on LARB and breaking up by 1978.
While every hip hop artist has been influenced or sampled the great tracks of Soul Makossa and Malik (most notably “Hihache” and “Darkest Light”), it is the unknown work they did with Mal Waldon, who did instrumental backing for Billie Holiday and cemented a sick reputation in the American jazz scene, on his unreleased Candy Girl record that I’ve been hoping to track down.