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They hailed from Guyana, St. Vincent and Jamaica they fused African rhythms with rock, funk and Latin jazz they were Cymande, and they sounded like no one else. Spike Lee and a generation of rappers have borrowed tracks from their 1972 debut: the R&B hits The Message and Bra plus Dove; Listen Getting It Back , and 12 more!
Short-lived but legendary, Cymande is oft-compiled on funk assemblages, but this CD of their first two LPs is altogether necessary, even if the music moves away from tight beats into Rasta-folk toward the end. Cymande's reputation has grown considerably over the last twenty years. Featuring a multi-national crew with a strong Caribbean influence, the band produced a few hits in the early seventies, then disappeared. But the epochal "Brothers On the Side," and the ingeniously structured "Fug" contain a subtlety and tension lacking in all but the best bands of the era. As usual, the Collectables label's sound quality is passable, but nothing to brag about. --D. Strauss
Top customer reviews
Months and many web postings later, and finally somebody writes "oh, that's Cymande." "A band?" I ask. "Yeah." Which just shows you no matter how long you have been collecting and no matter how much you know about music, something great ALWAYS slips through your fingers.
Obviously, I am pointing and clicking on this right away. I knew I had at least a fraction of a good song on my hands--it turned out that "Bra" was the short sample in the film. (What does bra mean in spanish? I don't think this is a song about underwear.) But I had no idea of how good this band was until I played the album
This is tight, taunt, latin funk--and I empahsize the word funk. By the time Cymande emerged in 1972, Santana was already into long fussion jams. This music is nothing like that. Some of the solos are long, but only when they fit. Cymande sets a tight, funky groove that always has a compelling rhythmic edge, and mine it for all it is worth. There is absolutely no fat on this music. The playing is excellent. A lot of little insertions happen in these ecconomical little grooves, and you hear more each time you play the album.
Fantastic record. Don't be an idiot like I was. Get this on your radar, now.
As time past I lost sight of them but not interest. I am refreshed to hear the wale, whine and harmony of CYMANDE once again.