Michael Viner’s The Incredible Bongo Band – Bongo Rock cd

Music — Doctor Ninja on February 10, 2007 at 1:24 pm

The Incredible Bongo Band were a couple of dudes just havin� some fun. Basically they did cover songs, cut out the vocals and amped up the percussion, amped it up to�11. Bongo Rock�pretty self-explanatory. Now let me tell you the Incredible part�

Back in the day, Michael Viner promoted guys like Ramsey Lewis and Woody Allen at L.A. folk clubs. Then he got a job as an aide to Senator Robert Kennedy. After Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, Viner got back into showbiz. He got a job at MGM and one of the first acts he signed was Sammy Davis Jr. He produced hits like �Candy Man� and �Mr. Bojangles�. When an MGM movie called �The Thing with Two Heads� needed alast minute soundtrack to a chase scene, Michael Viner and his friend Perry Botkin Jr. recorded a song for it called �Bongo Rock� as a lark. They called themselves The Incredible Bongo Band. To everyone�s amazement the song became a hit single and sold over 2 million copies.

Bongo Rock was instrumental to the birth of hip-hop. It was the first song ever to be cut up by a DJ in the Bronx. In 1975 Kool Herc took two copies of the record and cut back and forth between them, just playing the breaks, so people could dance to the drums. And then there was break-dancing. And it was good. The first cut off the �Bongo Rock� album is �Apache�. �Apache� is literally the sound of hip-hop born. Babies cry when they come into this world, b-boys and b-girls �Apache�. I heard this song at least 500 times before I knew the name of the band played it�the Incredible Bongo Band. And for many years the Incredible Bongo Band didn�t even know their record helped sparked musical revolution.

The Bongo Band were studio musicians and consequently had a lot of different folks dropping in on sessions. Viner and Botkin had help from Phil Spector, Ringo Starr and John Lennon�just to mention a few. They even had plans to record with the London Symphony Orchestra! Contributing to almost all the tracks was drummer, Jim Gordon (who co-wrote �Layla� with Eric Clapton). At some point Gordon started hearing voices, lost his mind and killed his mother with an axe. He is currently serving a life-long prison sentence. Incredible.

In the last 30 years this album has been sampled a million times and Michael Viner has admirably never sued anyone for copyright infringement. That amazing drumbeat on the Beastie Boys� �Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun� (Paul�s Boutique) with that crazy wavy dub phaser sound� Notice the bongos? That�s break beat from the Incredible Bongo Band�s �Last Bongo In Belgium�. The production on that break is mind blowing.

There are 16 other songs on “Bongo Rock” that I haven�t even mentioned. This is a review not a novel, okay? Just go get the album and bongo your brains out. http://mrbongo.com/ Break!

Michael Viner’s The Incredible Bongo Band - Bongo Rock

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