The Mohawks The Champ

Let your backbone slide! If you're a self-respecting Canadian, you'll start grooving from the drop. "The Champ" is one of hip-hop's fundamental breaks, made most famous round these parts by Maestro Fresh Wes, but the rest of the mysterious Mohawks album rocks just as hard. It's like a long lost frat party circa 1968, but transposed to England. Alan Hawkshaw was (and still is) one of Britain's pre-eminent Hammond organists and was knee deep in session work during the swinging '60s. This album was intended for library use only but somehow the usually reggae-oriented Pama label picked it up for release, and "The Champ" became a top ten hit. The rest of the disc, appended via a few seven-inch-only releases, features the same no-nonsense, bruising soul with slightly tripped out organ that's somewhere on the mod side of Booker T and the MGs. Crowd-pleasing covers abound, like "Sweet Soul Music," "Funky Broadway" and "Mony Mony" but they're done with enthusiasm. A few anonymous-sounding tracks probably could've remained in the can but as a party-rocking soundtrack it works as well now as it did back then. (Vampisoul)