Benjamin & The Right Direction -Light Of My Life


It’s not very often that I get to bring you some latin soul from my collection, much less so something new but that’s exactly what I have for you today. Released in September last year on the obscure Palmetto St Recording Co and distributed via Daptone Records, Light Of My Life evokes memories of that late 6os/early 70s Nu-Yorica sound that was sweeping through The Big Apple.

I first heard it a couple of weeks after it’s release upon a visit to a record store in San Antonio during my U.S. Tour (the excellent Friends Of Sound) where two of my buddies worked. After digging for a few hours one of the guys asked the other had he played this 45 for me. Upon releasing he hadn’t, he dropped the needle on the record and within the opening few seconds I knew that I had to have a copy. For the sum of around $7, I was able to grab one and leave the store a happy boy with this and a few other purchases.

During my tour this 45 proved to be tremendously popular – pretty much every gig in Texas that I played, one of my fellow djs would spin this track to a great reaction from the crowd, but that also meant I never got to play it out! Ah well – maybe some time!

Fast forward to 2017 and this record is very much in demand after selling out almost immediately. If you slept in at the time you’ll have to part with £65+ for one which is remarkable for a track that is only about 4 months old. I hope you dig it!


Latin Blues Band Feat Luis Aviles – Take A Trip

It’s been a little while since I’ve passed the reins over to one of my friends to dig into their collection and share a little gem with you so it’s my pleasure to introduce you to our next guest contributor – Mr Gary Love.

Gary Love

For those of you who don’t know him, Gary has been a long time “face” on the Scottish mod scene and in recent years has developed a thirst for all things latin (quite like myself in fact!) This passion has led him to create one of the finest club nights in Scotland – Somethin’s Kookin’  The music policy features (as you would expect) latin interspersed with some northern soul, dancefloor jazz and rocking r&b. The great & the good of Scotland’s mod scene have all enjoyed guest slots at one time or another and this has afforded Gary the opportunity to guest at various other clubs across the country.

Gary’s selection for us this week is a lovely piece of latin soul from the Latin Blues Band who may be best known for their track “I’ll Be A Happy Man” which is basically a vocal version of Dave “Baby” Cortez’s “Happy Soul With A Hook” that gained some popularity a few years ago when it was sampled on Christina Aguileria’s smash hit “Ain’t No Other Man”. Gary, it’s over to you…

Take a trip on me…Speed Records. Avilés and his musicians were backed by some of the finest session players in the New York scene – most notably, Bernard Purdie on drums. His funky touch is especially noticeable on “Take A Trip”.” Bobby Marín points out that the unison horns that dominate the track were typical of Louie Ramírez’s genius.

Latin Blues Band - Take A Trip

Ray Barretto – Soul Drummers

Ray Barretto - Soul Drummers

Before I start with this week’s song selection I’d like to first say a few words about the sad loss recently of two titans of the music world – Dave Brubeck & Ravi Shankar.

Dave Brubeck was probably one of the first jazz artists I heard in my youth – with Take Five being my first introduction to his music (much like many other people I would imagine). This led me on to discover various other jazz greats and for this alone, I’ll be eternally grateful.

Ravi Shankar first came to my attention (again like many other people I suspect) via his work with The Beatles and in particular George Harrison. The sound of the sitar sounded so exotic to me and encouraged me to delve deeper into this sound upon which I discovered Dave Pike & Ravi Shankar’s nephew, the late great Ananda Shankar amongst others. The loss of two great innovators & originators will be sad for all genuine music fans – may they rest in peace.

On to this week’s update now and to a man who is our personal favourite latin artist here at Gazfunk HQ. The first track of his that I ever came across was this week’s selection – The Soul Drummers way back in the late 90s (before I’d reached my 18th birthday!). Shortly after that I began to seek out more of his back catalogue and I found that he had many other great tracks including Teacher Of Love, Together, Right On, Love Beads et al.

Ray was probably the artist who opened my ears to the joys of latin music and helped me discover other legends like Joe Bataan (who we have already featured here on the blog), Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria and Harvey Averne so it’s not before time that we feature him in his own right.


Mongo Santamaria – I Can't Get Next To You

It’s been quite a while since we delved into the world of latin music here on Gazfunk so it’s about time that was put right especially as it’s one of our favourite genres.

We’ve previously brought you some of the legends of latin music including Joe Bataan & Larry Harlow and this week’s update brings another artist who quite rightly deserves his place in the pantheon of latin legends – Mongo Santamaria.

The track we’re treating you to this week is actually the b-side of the record – the a-side is yet another cover version of the often covered Feelin’ Alright (as originally recorded by Traffic way back in the late 60’s) by in my personal opinion it’s the b-side which is by far the funkier of the 2 tracks.

I’m sure you are all well aware of The Temptations No1 smash hit I Can’t Get Next To You, well this time round the percussion and horn section has been dramatically beefed up to give this an ever more dance floor friendly feel than the original. This isn’t the first time of course that Mongo Santamaria has covered a  Temptations song (he also did a fantastic version of “Cloud Nine)