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Crispy & Co. – 1976 – Funky Flavored

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Crispy & Co. Funky Flavored front

Lafayette Afro Rock Band was a French funk rock band formed in Roosevelt, Long Island, New York in 1970. Though almost unknown in their native United States, they are now universally celebrated as one of the standout funk bands of the 1970s and admired for their use of break beats. The band also recorded as Ice and as Krispie and Company (or Crispy and Company).

A rare beauty, never released on CD.

Crispy & Co.Funky Flavored back

The Lafayette Afro Rock Band was formed as the Bobby Boyd Congress in 1970, in homage to their original vocalist Bobby Boyd.Upon deciding that the funk scene in the United States was too saturated for them to viably compete in, they relocated to France in 1971; with Bobby Boyd splitting from the group to pursue a musical career in America, they renamed themselves ‘Soul Congress‘, then ‘Ice‘. After regular performances in Paris’ Barbès district—an area made up primarily of North African immigrants—they caught the eye of producer Pierre Jaubert and became the house session band at his Parisound studio. The influence of their surroundings led Ice to increasingly weave African rhyme schemes, textures, and beat tendencies in their original funk style, and as such they changed their name to Lafayette Afro Rock Band following the 1972 release of the poorly produced Each Man Makes His Own Destiny.

In 1974, Lafayette Afro Rock Band replaced guitarist Larry Jones with Michael McEwan, and released Soul Makossa (released in the U.S. asMovin’ and Groovin’). The title track was a cover version of Manu Dibango’s international hit, “Soul Makossa“. LP though it failed to chart, it made sufficient impact that its standout song, the oft-covered “Hihache“, was sampled regularly for over 20 years by artists as diverse as Janet Jackson, Biz Markie, LL Cool J, De La Soul, Digital Underground, Naughty by Nature, and the Wu-Tang Clan.

Lafayette Afro Rock Band’s follow-up effort, the 1975 LP Malik, prominently featured the Univox Super-Fuzz and liberal usage of the vocoder. It met equal enduring success, with a modified horn and saxophone sample of “Darkest Light” being featured prominently in Public Enemy‘s “Show ‘Em Whatcha Got“. The original sax solo on “Darkest Light” from the Malik LP was played by Leroy Gomez who later became popular as the lead singer of Santa Esmeralda group with the 1977 mega-hit single “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood“. After Public Enemy’s usage of the song was highly praised, samples of “Darkest Light” backed numerous culturally significant songs, including “Back to the Hotel“, the multi-platinum 1992 single “Rump Shaker” by new jack group Wreckx-n-Effect and rapper Jay-Z’s 2006 single “Show Me What You Got“.

 

Crispy & Co.Funky Flavored label 1

Mal Waldron, an American jazz and world music composer who came to fame after performing as Billie Holiday’s accompanist until her death, collaborated with the Lafayette Afro Rock Band in 1975, employing them to back him on his unreleased Candy Girl album.  Shortly later, legendary blues pianist Sunnyland Slim sought out the band’s services, and recorded the collaboration album Depression Blues.

 The group subsequently reverted to the “Ice” moniker, releasing material concurrently on an “Various Artists” formatted 1975 released LP “Tonight at the Discotheque” under the art-names “Captain Dax”, “Les Atlantes” and “Crispy and Co“. (spelled in French and German speaking countries as “Krispie & Company“). As the latter they even scored two UK charts hits, “Brazil” in 1975 made No. 26, while “Get it together” made No. 21 in 1976. After success faded in Europe the band found luck in Japan.

After scoring with the mildly successful single “Dr. Beezar, Soul Frankenstein“, they released Afro Agban and Funky Flavored to little fanfare before returning to America and permanently disbanding. In 1978, French record label Superclasse released ten uninspiring, previously unreleased recordings, followed by a 1999 Best of compilation which was more warmly received.

Studio albums
Each Man Makes His Own Destiny (1972, as Ice)
Soul Makossa (1973)
Voodounon EP (1974)
Malik (1975) – America Records
Tonight at the Discotheque (1975, various artists)
Funky Flavored (1976, as Crispy and Co.)
Frisco Disco (1976, as Ice)
Afro Agban (1977, as Ice)