With the release of the Stonesthrow compilation of Fela Kuti covers, the cat’s finally out of the bag on the Mosco Tiles Fontclaire Steel Drum Orchestra; I can quit pretending I’m the only person who knows about their LP “Funk, Steel and Brass”. It’s my greatest bargain score ever, found for pennies in a box on the sidewalk in front of a junk shop in Montevideo, Uruguay.
I ask you: how can this record even exist? The idea is so perfect it’s like something made up by a record nerd, like the fake “legend” of Clutchy Hopkins.
It’s a steel drum orchestra from Trinidad; OK whatever. But this is not just some tourist hotel band. They record with a heavy drum kit and electric bass.
That’d be sweet by itself, right?
But check the stats:
- Recorded in 1974 (if you know what I mean)
- They don’t do the obvious stuff like James Brown; instead they cover artists now adored by beat-heads the world over, like Fela Kuti and Lou Donaldson
- There’s a Cymande cover!
- And just to add to the intergalactic left-field radness, it has a John Prine cover, too.
Bonus: The Mosco Tiles Orch. version of Lou Donaldson’s “Caterpillar” may be the heaviest sound ever in the history of recording. Maybe even heavier than Gil Evans' Las Vegas Song (start at about 03:00 and turn up the bass).
BTW anyone heard the other Mosco Tiles LP?
Mosco Tiles - Caterpillar
Mosco Tiles - The Message