Friday, April 20, 2018


An unrelated earlier record cover. Very cool.
If you go record shopping, you know how it is. You gather a stack with the intention of weeding some out before you make it to the register. All of a sudden you realize that the store is closing in a couple minutes and you have to sort through the possibilities really quick, The first couple of picks are the no brainers, then you get to the maybe-maybe not part of the stack. You weigh the price, the certainty, the hunch and the crap shoot factors. You settle on one, because it's just cheap enough to take a chance.

That happened to me. The crap shoot/hunch that was just cheap enough was an LP by a band called Chakachas, the title was Jungle Fever. What? Check the cover below, You can't tell shit. I checked the back, no credits other than a bunch of song titles, songwriting credits, the names of the engineer and producer. No mention of band members, studio or anything else to go on. But most of the song titles were in Spanish, there was a cover of "Harlem Nocturne", and another titled "Chica Chica Bau Bau". It was worth a gamble. Or so I thought.

When I got home I was anxious to find out if my crap shoot/hunch would pay off, so I started on "Harlem Nocturne", a song I knew well from the shitload of other versions. I was underwhelmed. It was passable, but not the surprise I'd hoped for. So it was on to one of the sure things I'd picked up.

Jungle Fever faded into the back of the stack of recent plays and was forgotten. Fast forward a couple months and I'm browsing old bookmarks. There was a page at Art Decade bookmarked with a song called "Turtle Soup" by Chakachas, but I didn't recognize the name of the band, that's how little of an impression I had from the crap shoot/hunch. I listened to "Turtle Soup" by this band that was essentially unknown to me. It was actually funky as shit, with wah-wah and strings and killer breaks, the whole Isaac Hayes shootin' match. Sounded early seventies. So I went looking for other stuff, most of what I found was older. Then I remembered that the post at Art Decade mentioned another song, so back I went. The other song that they mentioned was "Jungle Fever", but it's still not ringing a bell. I tracked it down and, holy shit, is this one a keeper. Sounds a lot like the early Budos Band stuff, but repetitive, with a sexy woman voice panting and uttering unintelligible sweet nothings. Just weird enough to give it the edge over the funkier "Turtle Soup".

The epilogue? I went looking for an image and found the one of the Jungle Fever LP. That's when it hit me that the song that I had been digging on was on the crap shoot/hunch LP that I hadn't fully listened to. That's some random shit.

Les Chakachas - Turtle Soup mp3 at Art Decade
Les Chakachas - Jungle Fever mp3 at ATumblr (?)

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