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2009 - week 38, from 19 Sept - world hits Vol 11

PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:40 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Perez Prado - Patricia - Our Man in Havana - Cuba - RCA Camden - 74321 588102

2 - Mongo Santamaria - Watermelon Man - Rock Instrumentals - USA/Cuba - Rhino - R271604

3 - Hugh Masekela - Grazing in the Grass - Still Grazing - South Africa/USA - Blue Thumb - no number

4 - Ray Barretto - El Watusi - Rock Instrumentals - USA/Puerto Rico - Rhino - R271604

5 - Manu Dibango - Soul Makossa - African Soul: Best of Manu Dibango - Cameroon - Mercury - 534766-2

6 - Cymande - The Message - The Message - UK/Guyana/Jamaica - Castle - CMEDD1106

7 - Tabou Combo - New York City - Eighth Sacrement - Haiti - Decca - SKL 5227


As the range of what fits into this series widens, the hits get bigger.

Perez Prado

Who can now imagine a single by a Cuban bandleader selling millions around the world, as ‘Patricia’ by Perez Prado did back in 1959? And that was not a one-hit wonder situation - Perez did the trick again with ‘Guaglione’. At the time, Cuban music was marketed as mambo, and people really did dance the mambo, long before somebody came up with the less specific marketing term, ‘salsa’. There never was a particular dance called ‘Salsa’ but listen to Patricia and imagine those sensuous bottoms weaving slinkily around the dance floor.

Mongo Santamaria

Among the many Cuban musicians who became session musicians in New York in the early 1960s, percussionist Mongo Santamaria was soon recognised as being top dog, often playing for Atlantic artists including Ray Charles. But surely nobody could have expected him to have a huge hit in his own right, when his version of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Watermelon Man’ was picked out from his debut album and widely played first on juke boxes and then on a few radio stations, especially but not exclusively on those stations aimed at the Hispanic market.

Hugh Masekela

‘Grazing in the Grass’ by Hugh Masekela must be one of the most surprising number one hits in the history of the American charts, an instrumental version of a tune that had been first released in Zambia (does anybody know the original?), recorded in Los Angles by South African trumpeter Masekela with local session musicians doing a very good job of sounding South African under the production supervision of Stewart Levine.

Ray Barretto

Remarkably, in the same year as ‘Watermelon Man’ was a hit (1963), another New York session percussionist also made the national charts in the USA, as ‘El Watusi’ by Ray Barretto crept onto pop radio where it was heard and treated as a novelty record rather than the tip of the huge wealth of Latin American music, much of it recorded for the same label, Tico.

Manu Dibango

‘Soul Makossa’ by Manu Dibango is widely credited as being of the first American hits to surface primarily through exposure in dance clubs, rather than through the usual routes of juke boxes and radio. Actually, radio did play a big part once it had surfaced via the clubs, but in any case it was a remarkable, path-breaking record and set Manu up on a career that has flourished ever since, especially in France where he had his own TV show for many years.


Although it may have sounded like a studio session group, Cymande was a real band that played live in London clubs before producer John Schroeder discovered them and guided their records into the right hands, enabling the group to have American chart success and to play as the opening act on an Al Green tour. Most of the musicians were Jamaican, but leader Patrick Patterson was from Guyana. Was? He still is from Guyana. Not really given proper attention in the UK at the time, Cymande’s records have become familiar via the wide use of their grooves in rap and hip hop records. The keyboard riff from ‘The Messsage’ was at the heart of M C Solaar’s biggest hit, ‘Bouge de Lá’.

Tabou Combo

Finally, ‘New York City’ by the Tabou Combo, which was not as universally well known as everything else in this programme, but helped to bring the Haitian group to wider attention. Unusually, the group’s first album was recorded live, produced by Fred Paul and released on his label, Mini Records of Brooklyn (now relocated to Miami).


PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:43 am
by Charlie
emails from:

1. Marc Herring, Glastonbury, Connecticut USA

Thanks, Charlie! Great listening. A Masters Class in mojo music... Lifetimes fly by with such ease. Been seeking out global sounds for 25+ yrs myself. Love your show... worth getting up in the middle of the night to catch the feed here in the States. Keep it coming. Vital stuff.



2. Mayra Diaz y Ramirez, Orlando, Florida, United States


I was born in Cuba in '61, arrived in the NY area in 66.

I enjoy a variety of types of music including jazz, classical, african and of course I was raised listening to the bands and individuals from Cuba in the 40's 50's, 60's & lived the '70's.

Thank you for playing Perez Prado and "Makosssa" - brings back memories - u had me dancing.

Continue playing such an eclectic variety of the world's music - we are the better for it.

I congratulate the BBC for having such a knowledgeable presenter - you know your music!!



3. Kane Cunico, Singapore, Singapore

Dear Mr Gillett,

I am a frequent listener to your programme and the BBC World Service and just wanted to give you a special shout out for your fine selection on Vol 11 of "World Hits".

An energetic selection worthy to bring any party to life and give any party deejay a run for his money. A reminder of my university days in Melbourne, where I first discovered NuYorican hits.

Much respect and best wishes from Singapore.

Kane Cunico

Sub-editor, The New Paper


4. Patricia Quigley, Edinburgh

Have been tuning in regularly to your programme recently and heard the Tabou Combo from Haiti last week and their New York City. What a perfectly joyous and hopeful piece of music and impossible not to want to dance. It is also nicely complex and the accordion feels just right.

Patricia Quigley, Edinburgh


5. Martin Keats, Isleworth, UK

Charlie, a fantastic programme. Keeps me alive in the wee small hours when I'm awake at a time when I shouldn't be. Keep on truckin'


PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 8:33 pm
by liz molony
WOW...What a BUZZ Charlie!

Replaying your Friday show I turned round to find our 2 year old grandson in a burst of wild dancing to Chalachew Ashenafi's 'Munit'.

But it was Saturday's show of these exciting 60's pieces that had his grandad wide awake at 3.30 am ....What a selection - especially Tabour Combo he says.... Thank you !