Label: Be With Records
Preorder: Releases November 24th 2023
Vecchio's Afro-Rock is one big horn-heavy, bass-blasting, Latin groove funk-rock party. Only now, you're all invited because this, ladies and gentleman, is officially...a grail no more. With copies currently starting at 400 Euros for an original, this beautifully presented reissue, part of Be With's fresh campaign with Music De Wolfe, is well overdue. A magnificent and somewhat obscure library set that's just a total, cohesive joy from start to finish, this here is the soundtrack to all your smokin' summer BBQs and communal cookouts. Afro-Rock is the debut album by Argentine keyboardist Luis Vecchio. Recorded for the sound library label De Wolfe, the album is frequently mentioned in hushed reverence among the beat digger DJ collecting crowd. It features fiery brass charts, funky bass lines, fluttering flute, choppy organ and additional hand tribal percussion. The band let loose too and jam hard; yet there's a certain thread of solidity that runs throughout, the tracks just belong together, not disparate sound and rhythm experiments like some library records; this is just straight up, no messin', consistent funk-rock FIRE! Hips will sway, heads will nod to the steady vibes. It's insanely good.
The humid, building funk of the appropriately titled "Megaton" is a dramatic explosion of swirling, dazzling organ lines, ferocious beats and heavy horns throughout. It just don't stop. The tempo slows slightly for the deep and deeply addictive "Renegade". It's all heavy jazz horn refrains, always triumphant, coupled with devastating percussive breakdowns and killer guitar riffing. It's an insistent organ-led juggernaut. The frenetic "Facade", up next, is no less driving, horns high up in the mix over rattling percussion and brilliant organs lines. Just sensational. The bright "Chabati" is another glorious extension of the optimistic Vecchio sound, the organs wilder than ever before. The moody "Green Hell" is a real highlight and closes out the A-Side with some outrageously funky refrains - be it horns, organ or guitars - and is complimented by gorgeous flute work that galvanises the piece, elevating it to downright heavenly status.
Knowing full well that he's on to a surefire thing, Vecchio opens the flipside in much the same vein. Indeed, "Boss" is yet another uptempo highlight, a sensual orgy of proud horns, hand percussion and melodic flute playing over driving organ and guitars. It's followed by "Nsambei", which is rightly adored for its briefly open drum break, fantastically propulsive percussion breakdowns throughout and the jazzy, loose organ and guitar shreds. The bright "Waboco" ups the tempo and the pressure, hanging on one hell of a guitar hook and infectious horn refrain. Perhaps foreseeing how this album would come to be viewed, the aptly-titled "Cult" is possibly the finest song on the record. Which is saying something, because this record is insanely good. Riding a steady, confident organ groove straight out the gate, the kinda melancholic flute line over the top serves as a beautiful counterpoint which the horns often come in and imitate/riff off. Goddamn this is so so good, it needs to be played everywhere. The overwhelmingly mighty 7-minute jam "Ngoma-ku" rounds out this quite staggering record brilliantly in its heavy, mid-tempo blues with countless extended solos.
The audio for Afro Rock has been meticulously remastered by Be With regular Simon Francis, ensuring this release sounds better than ever. Cicely Balston's expert skills have made sure nothing is lost in the cut whilst the records have been pressed to the highest possible standard at Record Industry in Holland. The original, iconic sleeve has been restored here at Be With HQ as the finishing touch to this long overdue re-issue.