Every now and then I stumble across a track from an artist that I’ve never heard of and know very little about. This week’s selection is one such case. I don’t even remember when or exactly where I first came across this song, but as soon as I heard it I knew it was a winner and something that I would have to seek out to add to my collection.
I’m sure all of you have at some point in your life heard Louie, Louie – with so many versions of it over the years, I’d be amazed if you haven’t heard at least one of them. Far and away the most well-known of these has to be the Kingsmen’s version from the sixties. Now hands up who thought that was the original?
In fact the original version was written in 1955 by Richard Berry (although it wasn’t released until ’57). Despite the huge number of cover versions that were released (in fact it’s the second most covered song ever!), Berry never received any money after signing away his rights to the track in 1959. Berry has been very unfairly overlooked in musical circles because as well as many people not realising that he wrote & recorded the original, he also recorded another very well-known song that few people realise was his – “Have Love Will Travel” made popular by garage rockers The Sonics. We may well feature one or other of these originals at a later stage, but for now we’ll just focus on Simba.
As I said earlier – I don’t know too much about Simba. But what I do know is that they were formed out of two bands – cult Afrobeat band Assagai (best known for their excellent single “Telephone Girl” which is another song I’ll feature in the future) and Jade Warriors. This new collective only cut 2 singles (of which this is one) then disappeared without trace. So what does this version bring that others haven’t already? Well this is a heavy afro funk sound with psychedelic tinges and a slight latin feel to it – totally different to the hundreds of other versions I’ve previously heard and I’m sure you’ll appreciate the groove just as much as I do.