Week 11: Dragons & Monsters
This post is dedicated to our man Cosmo, who passed on this funky jernt to us, bless his pointy head! He is the curator of the lovely blog A Pyrex Scholar, where his eclectic tastes unearth some wonderfully rare gems! Go pay him a visit and say thanks!
First of all, you gotta love the title of this album! Ooh Ooh The Dragon and Other Monsters! Ha! Sounds like one of those cut-out children’s records that you get from the back of a box of AlphaBits or something! Remember those? But there is nothing even remotely kiddie about this funky gem, my friends.
SoulStrut.com had this to say:
Marvin Holmes was a local Oakland musician. He released a few 45s on Bay Area labels and was signed by Uni. Ooh Ooh The Dragon was his first album. When I first gave it a listen, it immediately reminded of another California artist, Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. Like Wright and company, Holmes’ recording has a raw, almost live sound to it, the songs have the same feel, and Holmes has the same strained, almost shouldn’t sing quality about his voice. Most of the album is covers done quite well such as the upbeat Soul swingers I’ve Never Found A Girl and Lonely Too Long, Booker T.’s instrumental Grab This Thing, Grazing In The Grass, Who’s Making Love, The Horse, with the best being James Brown’s There Was A Time. There are also two original instrumentals, both of which are strong. First is the title track with a series of drum breaks, a fast pace, and bongos in the background. Second is Ride Your Mule – Part 1 that has a strong horn arrangement pushing it along and a series of breakdowns as well.
Dustygroove.com would like to add the following:
Nicely messed up funk from Marvin Holmes & The Uptights – the kind of southern-styled party group that would play plenty big on the live scene in the late 60s! The main focus of the group is the instrumentation – a very tightly crafted showband type of groove, with fast riffing guitars, heavy horns, and lots of snapping percussion at the bottom. Vocals are more in the “call” type mode – and done in a stoned-out, Charles Wright sort of style! Titles include “Scratch”, “Grab This Thing”, “Ride Your Mule”, “Ooh Ooh The Dragon”, “Who’s Making Love”, and “There Was A Time”.
All I can say is, this dragon is breathing FIYAH!!!