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Cymande – 1972 – Cymande

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Classic first album by the legendary British dub funk outfit Cymande – done with that gatefold cover and everything! A key part of the crumbling British colonial network that produced some excellent music in the postwar years, Cymande was comprised mostly of West Indians who’d emigrated to England in the 60s, eventually meeting up under a shared musical vision – a completely new blend of funk, dub, jazz, and soul that was unlike anything else that had been recorded before, save for the work of a few other Brit groups of a similar nature.

This first album’s one of their greatest – and it’s a refreshing batch of tunes that mix together heavy basslines, laidback drumming, and a righteous soul vocal style that’s got a bit of a stoner touch. The album includes the group’s massive cut “The Message“, a bit of a minor hit when it was released (and later sampled quite famously) – plus the funky classic “Dove“.

Pick this up, and sample one of the 70’s most unique funk groups! 

A1 Zion I 3:29
A2 One More 3:06
A3 Getting It Back 4:16
A4 Listen 4:37
A5 Rickshaw 5:50
B1 Dove 10:50
B2 Bra 5:00
B3 The Message 4:19
B4 Ras Tafarian Folk Song 3:08

Review by Goregirl

Well after hearing their awesome tune “The Message” on the Funk Box I was inspired to hear more.  They aren’t your typical funk band however, they are ecclectic involving really cool elements of soul, reggae, blues and jazz.  They remind me a bit of a more psychedelic version of WAR.  They are a eight member band who’s personnel hails from all over the Caribbean which is likely what gives their sound such variety.  They are all apparently self-taught which makes this all the more impressive, the guitarist particularly shines, some seriously fabulous playing (I think Red Hot Chili Peppers must have been fans).  It starts out with the joyful tune “Zion I“, which goes on to the slower more laid back instrumental number “One More“.  This get a little more reggae when we get into “Getting It Back” which reminds me heavily of Bob Marley though it builds into something a bit funkier.  “Listen” is more subdued, but the congo work on here is pretty nifty.  Speaking of which “Rickshaw” has a really cool congo intro and it starts to sound a bit like a deflated instrumental version of “Low Rider” not that I mind.  

Dove” has a really interesting atmospheric sound to it, it’s quite epic clocking in at nearly eleven minutes.  Actually their band name apparently translates from the Calypso language into the word Dove so perhaps it’s their theme?  “Bra” was sampled by such greats as Grandmaster Flash, Kool DJ Herc and De La Soul it’s definitely one of the best on here.  Then of course their biggest hit, “The Message” which is another favorite of mine.  Then the end this one off with “Rastafarian Folk Song” which starts out with talking, and ends up with a celebratory sounding about Allah and Jah and all that good stuff.  This is relatively unheard of, seriously one of the best unknown funk bands around that nearly everyone should love.  

All in all, Cymande is a marvelous collection that premiered a fine funk band.