Some records are just near impossible to find in good condition. They are usually the ones with universal appeal that cameo’d at house parties on the regular and were repeatedly played until needle burned. They include the likes of Bob Marley, Jimmie Hendrix, and Tito Puente and need no introduction or courtship. The Beginning Of The End, a family island soul and funk band from Nassau may not have the same appeal as the above mentioned legends, but you’ll definitely have a tough time finding any of their material in even decent condition.
It is with bittersweetness that I announce that after 10+ years I finally got my hands on playable original copy of this wish-list record (without playing inflated ebay prices). Every song is playable except for the title track and my favorite island funk bomb – Funky Nassau, which rests right on top of a prominent heat warp. Fortunately this billboard chart topper was a huge hit at home in the Bahamas, the UK, and in USA and was pressed on 45 and widely distributed so I have a pair to flip when necessary. So why was a record with such a hit and so groundbreaking for the region so difficult to find in album form? Your guess is as good as mine.
Even without the blockbuster Funky Nassau the album still holds it’s place as one of the most solid all-around island soul-funk albums to ever be recorded. I know I’m not alone in my thinking either. Just about every song on this album as been sampled by beatmakers, covered by bands, and played by DJs all over the globe.
Please join me as I listen to The Beginning Of The End for the fifth time today!
When She Made Me Promise
In the spirit of the holiday season and Junkanoo parties around the world I share with you an incredible interview with the legendary Bahamian musician Raphael Munnings (posted on Youtube by the man himself!), who breaks down his families rich musical and political history, the unprecedented musical feats of his band The Beginning Of The End, and of course their jumping Junkanoo roots. Rather than bump my gums, I’ll let Ray speak for himself. Be sure to check all fours clips in sequential order, as some heavy history is dropped chronologically. Take it away Ray!
(This post is dedicated to my fellow Pelanguero contributor Franz Tunda who’s been MIA on here. Hopefully these selections will inspire him to return.)
Does this sound familiar? You find a used record at a thrift store/garage sale/flea market type of marketplace that you don’t recognize, but the cover art looks intriguing enough to take a chance on. You go home to play it for the first time and realize you forgot the most basic inspection of checking that the actual record matches the sleeve. The disappointment of it all then has you filing the record away as a lost purchase.
A couple years back this very thing happened to me. I had completely disregarded the mismatched sleeve and record as I didn’t recognize the group or even the label and never gave it a real listen through (mistake #2). A few months ago while doing some reorganizing of my collection I came across this wrong sleeve to record purchase again and pulled out the plain looking labeled record and decided to hear what was really on it. WHOA! I couldn’t believe I had unknowingly been sitting on such a quiet killer of record by Les Professionnels, a Haitian group who from what research I’ve been able to find only made this one album in 1974.
The first song, Les Fiances begins with an incedible acoustic guitar break that isn’t hard to imagine being sampled for Mob Deep or WuTang and carries on with a type of sophisticated cool that I can only imagine comes with lots of cigarettes, coffee and quiet conversations to your lover in French while playing a guitar.
Though the knockout track for me is their song Marabout.
This one is tailor made for a smokey cinema scene with long deep stares from a femme fatale with everything moving in slow motion. I just love how the whole song just creeps up on you as if it’s going in for the kill. I don’t mind dying if I can get killed with this much sophistication.