Wednesday, 4 July 2018

The Mohawks “The Champ” 1968 UK Soul Funk


The Mohawks “The Champ”  1968 UK ultra rare Soul  Funk
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https://www.deezer.com/en/album/13362105


The Mohawks consisted of a group of session musicians assembled by the British composer Alan Hawkshaw. They released the song The Champ 50 years ago in 1968, successfully re-released in 1987. The songs itself is based on the Lowell Fulson soul blues classic Tramp. This Hammond infused dance groove went on to be one of THE essential Hip-Hop samples of all time, used by artist like: Nas, MC Hammer, De La Soul, Dj Shadow and Mobb Deep. The Champ is used as a sample in over 600 songs. This record store day release also includes the ska songs “Sound of The Witch Doctors”. Both songs were recorded for the 1968 album The Champ. Alan Hawkshaw is known for his work as a composer for movies and television programs. He was rewarded a doctorate in 2016, giving him the title of Doctor for his contributions to the music. With the studio group Love De-Luxe he scored a number 1 single hit in the USA in 1979….~


Alan Hawkshaw has been acclaimed as “King of Library Music Composers” for his works in the late 60s, and on into the 70s and 80s, making stock songs for radio commercials, tv themes, and more notably for this very album. Much of his library tracks were recorded for KPM Music (a UK, production-music library owned by EMI) and later released under different names like The Mohawks or Rumpelstildtskin. He also lent production and pianist skills to Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin on their album, as well as Olivia Newton John and many others. You can find all kinds of neat information about tv jingles you might recognize by him at the wiki. 

This is seriously funky business, don’t let the stock music part throw you off. Apparently the jingles of yesteryear carried a lot more weight than the indie-pop-song, advertising revolution of today. (See Iron and Wine M&Ms commercial my personal, least-favorite example) You really don’t hear stuff like this anymore, in fact you’d have even been hard pressed to find examples of music this good at the time it was recorded. It’s the best of the best, which is probably why this album is so highly sought after by collectors and music enthusiasts alike, with many bootlegs and reissues in circulation. Apparently the real vinyl copies have a red fist on the cover, ftr. 

Hawkshaw takes the lead role throughout the album on his Hammond organ, backed by a jazz orchestra made up of other session musicians. Most tracks have no vocals, and the few that have very little are mostly like background girls for the chorus. It’s just good, funky jammin with wild solos by Hawkshaw throughout the album, most notably on the albums title track, The Champ. But not all of it is organs with Hawkshaw, like Funky Broadway is mostly horns swapping back and forth with eachother. Rocky Mountain Roundabout has some excellent rock-and-roll guitar stuff along with the Hammond solos, all backed by jazz horns. So much of this album is just fantastic, and you can really see how they’d all have to be studio musicians. The music is perfectly arranged, and played. These guys really know what they’re doing, no doubt about that. They don’t miss a note, nor is there a note that doesn’t sound perfectly placed to build the song continually, even into the fadeout on some tracks. 

The Champ is also a widely known song for having been sampled in so many other songs, notably because the actual word they’re shouting in the songs opening and chorus is actually Tramp, which may or may not have anything to do with it’s popularity amongst hiphop artists. One could also argue the point that the beat is so genuinely great, making it an obvious candidate for popularity. 
This album is a true gem, and comes highly recommended by me and many, many others…..~



Warning!! Put your fanciest dance shoes on because it’s time to boogie down! The Mohawks were a band fronted by arranger, Hammond grinder sumpreme and king of British Library music composers, Alan Hawkshaw. All top session musicians, not a ‘touring’ band, The Mohawks released their astonishing 1968 LP 'The Champ’, chockfull of incredibly groovy and funky tracks. Vampisoul, 40 years later, reissues this club/groove masterpiece with no less than SIX bonus tracks not included on the original album! This is a high-octane release with Soul/Jazz organ fueling hits, one after another. The songs herein contain arguably the best and grooviest Hammond heard east of the Atlantic, the heaviest bass ever played in London, tight-or-die drum work and a full set of explosive horns. An endless string of killer dancefloor fillers, from 1 to 12 (not to mention our bonus tracks, taken from 7inch singles!). You’ll sure recognize the title track (or at least its organ intro). A cult classic for more over 30 years, sampled by dozens of hip hop artists (like Erik B. & Rakim, De La Soul, DJ Shadow…), and always a favourite amongst cutting edge DJs from Tokyo to London, or from NYC to Reykjavik. Since the early 60’s, Alan Hawkshaw played his custom-built Hammond organ in thousands of studio sessions for a myriad of artists: Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin, Georgie Fame, David Bowie, Cliff Richard, Donovan, The Tremeloes, Dusty Springfield, Los Bravos, Barbra Streisand, Olivia Newton-John, etc. In addition Hawkshaw, considered one of the most important library music composers in UK has scored a number of television themes for British television, including those for The Dave Allen Show, Mysterious World, Countdown, Love Hurts, and Grange Hill. BUT, still, you groove fanatic, what you NEED to get from Alan Hawkshaw is The Mohawks 'The Champ’; a true masterpiece from the vaults of the 'connoiseurs’ and in-crowders, re-discovered and re-issued for you by Vampisoul!….~


This is a very, very good example of the 60’s funk/jazz/rock driven club scene, not just in England but the U.S. as well. Top notch organ grooves with a cooler and tighter than hot kickin’ horn section. The complete rhythm section bass and drums are superb, in top form. This is a funky, tight club dance gem. Alan Hawkshaw is a master of his craft on the hammond. This brings back loads of great memories. Many years ago I played drums in a band that played similar grooves as this, though a little more to the jazz/blues side of the track. This is a killer piece of work. If you like top of the line funk/groove/dance music with the grooviest organ, horn and rhythm section of the day then grab this session. I use the word groove and groovy a lot in this review because as you probably know, that was the spoken dig of the day then. It is five stars plus. Over the top. Highly recommended. ….John W. Shearer…~





Tracklist 
The Champ 2:42 
Hip Jigger 3:03 
Sweet Soul Music 2:37 
Dr Jekyll & Hyde Park 1:33 
Senior Thump 2:42 
Landscape 2:25 
Baby Hold On 2:25 
Funky Broadway 2:42 
Rocky Mountain Roundabout 2:05 
Sound Of The Witchdoctors 2:50 
Beat Me Till I’m Blue 2:33 
Can You Hear Me? 2:55 

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