Banda União Black Banda União Black

Soul and funk is not usually the first genre noted in Brazil’s famed musical history. But in late ’70s Rio, poor kids grew up dressing and maculating their idols James Brown and Wilson Pickett, packing into smoky clubs and stadiums and grooving to 13-piece bands like Banda União Black and Tim Maia, who were just as tight and funky as the American greats, but with a distinct sound of their own cured from samba and other Brazilian influences. Almost 25 years later, due to Strut’s anthology Black Rio: Brazil Soul Power and the Brasilintime documentary starring Rio musicians and trailblazers Cut Chemist and Madlib, long overdue due interest is being revived and bands like União Black are getting the chance to record again. Working with producer Daniel Collas (who helmed last year’s Joe Bataan comeback album), the band take it back to 1977 with an album full of colourful sing-along harmonies, slinky horn-powered grooves, and a sexy energy reminiscent of the Ohio Players and Parliament. Lyrically, the album is in Portuguese with good natured English-as-a-second language stabs on "Everyone’s a Winner” and "Been So Long,” and is simple with choruses that sometimes go on too long — but this isn’t music for pondering the meaning. Half way through, the songs slow to the kind of spaced-out groove Marvin Gaye frequented on I Want You, leaving you plenty of time to make your move. Also do yourself a favour and check out all the ’70s Brazilian bands name-dropped on "Yeah Yeah Yeah.” (Vampisoul)