26 September 2006
THE HAR-YOU PERCUSSION GROUP
This super-rare legendary Latin funk release originally came out on ESP in 1969/1970. Although the title says Percussion Group, this is actually a Latin soul group led by master conga player Montego Joe as part of the Harlem Youth program of the 60's. (Alto legend Jackie McLean worked with the group at one point earlier). A fantastic raw mix of funky bass, heavy drums, burning horn lines and soulful vocals, this is quite simply one of the great Latin releases of all-time. Includes the monster tracks "Welcome to the Party," "Feed Me Good," and "Oua-Train."
ORIGINAL LINER NOTES BY MONTEGO JOE:
If you will recall, several years ago there were the Harlem riots, and problems with youth. It was necessary to come up with a plan for organizing the youth of Harlem in such a way that they would receive training, respect and the living conditions which are essential for creative lives. It was at this time that a carefully planned program came into existence. Its name was "Harlem Youth Opportunities, Unlimited", HARYOU ACT.
I came into this program in 1965 rather reluctantly. I had been asked by Mr. Julien Euell who was then Executive Director of the Arts & Culture Division of HARYOU ACT. Mr. Euell felt that with my professional experience I would be a great help to the black youth of Harlem, especially those who were deeply interested in music. My assignment was to teach percussion, both Afro and Jazz. I decided to combine both. After three or four years of training and trying to develop these young men for the outside commercial world, I suddenly decided that they were ready to record an album, one they would be really proud of. It would be a great musical experience. It would bring long range satisfactions.
The present Executive Director of HARYOU Arts & Culture, Mr. Leonard Parker, and I approached Mr. Bernard Stollman about the idea of recording these young men. He felt it was an excellent idea. And of course it was agreed that the monies earned as royalties would go into a scholarship fund.
In this album there is a great variety of music, most of it based on Afro-Cuban Blues, and Jazz themes. Most listeners would never imagine that the young black boys and Puerto Ricans were teenagers, and here is another surprise. Those of you who are used to hearing the type of music in this album, (Afro-Cuban and Latin), would be astonished by the fact that most of the young men on this album are Afro-Americans. Through my guidance and playing experience in this area of music, we were able to come up with what I consider a very exciting and colorful musical album.
The ages of these young men range from 16 to 19 years.
Vitality, versatility, depth, excitement, color and shading. . . all of these are in the music. It will be a great musical experience for those of you who will buy and listen to this album. Most of the tunes were written by Nick Quirks and David (Mousie) Edmead.
Although we are a group, I the instructor, and the eleven young men on this album-Puerto Rican and Afro-American- I consider all of us a spiritual family. They have a tremendous love and respect for each other, a closeness that is just there and is expressed most fully when they play together. I would like to go on record as saying that even though these young men have taken themes form Latin, Afro-Cuban Jazz and Blues, it's their music. Almost all the tunes were created by them. They set the rhythms and sounds and melodies, and when they recorded, it happened. When there's that interaction (and there always is) it's their music.
This is ripped from the re-issue vinyl on Luv n' Haight-the notes are taken from the great Ubiquity web site which is a gold mine of great music and information