As a long-time fan of Teena Marie I could easily say sacrilege to any cover version of her songs, especially if it’s a cover of her famous Portuguese Love. Whether sacrilege or not depends of course on the artists doing the cover version.
Well, I’m also a fan of Bah Samba since I’ve bought their Reach Inside 12″ from Estereo. And their debut album Bah Samba had me grooving for months. Bah Samba wouldn’t be Bah Samba if they hadn’t come up with a good version of Portuguese Love. Actually Alice Russell’s singing isn’t miles away from Teena it’s just the tempo of the song that has been raised. Together with an organic instrumentation like trumpet, saxes, flute, violin, cello and percussion this is a great update of Teena’s song. It’s the album’s first single (Phil Asher’s Restless Soul Mix with it’s epic 11+ minutes is also featured here) and hopefully it will finally be the first great hit Bah Samba deserve.
Not only do the member of Bah Samba know Teena Marie’s ballads but they certainly have listened to her old Motown dance songs as well. The discofied groove of Have You Got Your Bootz On? really evokes memories of I’m A Sucker For Your Love.
The first (uptempo) disc of the double album Bah Samba 4 brings us further quality dance tunes like the funky Soul King or Everybody Get Up. The latter is a good example that Bah Samba have their own sound with great percussion, horn section and captivating vocals by Alice.
On Let The Drum Speak Bah Samba are joined by Bill Curtis (drums, vocals) and Johnny Flippen (bass, vocals), two members of the Fatback Band, who originally recorded this song.
Add to this the great instrumental Doober and the fast, energy driven You! You! You! and you have an excellent CD to get any party started.
However Bah Samba has more to offer and that appears in shape of the second disc. Here they give us relaxed grooves that show Bah Samba’s Brazilian influences. They even switch to Isabel Fructuoso as lead vocalist on Calma, whose non-English vocals add a new dimension to Bah Samba’s sound.
The other songs like the slow bossa-soul of Inner Soul, the gentle soul-jazz of Just Want To Love You or the musical stripped down ballad So Many People are again sung by Alice.
The second disc closes with Morris, a beautiful song about a new born boy, something like an update of Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely.
If you neglect the The Latin Lounge Session album and the mixed by Bah Samba, Japan only Eclectica album, which weren’t albums with all new material, then Bah Samba 4 is the sophomore album to their Estereo debut. And if you know their debut release, you also can imagine that it’d be a tough job to surpass it. But Julian Bendall (keys), Alice Russell (vocals), Mark Ralph (guitar) and Timmy Walker (bass) supported by fellow musicians like Davide Giovannini (drums, of Snowboy & The Latin Section fame) or Finn Pertes (saxes, flute) have just achieved that. Bah Samba 4 will lead you on a great musical journey. So miss it at your own peril.
Disc one: 1. Portuguese Love/ 2. Soul King/ 3. Everybody Get Up/ 4. Let The Drums Speak/ 5. Have You Got Your Boots On?/ 6. Doober/ 7. You! You! You!/ 8. Portuguese Love (Phil Asher Mix)
Disc two: 1. Inner Soul/ 2. Calma/ 3. Don’t Let Them Get You Down/ 4. Just Want To Love You/ 5. So Many People/ 6. Coming Home/ 7. Far Away/ 8. Morris | released 2005 by BKO Productions
For more infos visit bahsamba.co.uk.
[If you want to discuss Bah Samba’s music, you can leave your comment below and also use the forum]