Thursday, November 17, 2016

Batti Mamzelle - 1974 - I See the Light

Batti Mamzelle 
I See the Light

01. Lament
02. San Juan
03. Caroni
04. Seasoning
05. Voodoo Man
06. Get Out Of My Way
07. Love Is Blind
08. Bird
09. I See The Light
10. Streaking

All music arranged by Batti Mamzelle Special thanks to Robert Bailey who had a jam on Mellotron Produced by Robert Bailey for Straight Ahead Productions Recorded at Essex Music Studio, London, 1974
Engineer: John Rollo

Front cover illustration by Peter Goodfellow
Backcover photo by Brian Cooke/Visualeyes Ltd

Peter Duprey – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Winston Delandro – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals, Electric Piano, Spanish Guitar
Richard Bailey – Drums, Backing Vocals, Percussion, Timbales
Miguel Barradas – High Tenor Pan, Backing Vocals, Percussion, Timbales and other Pans
Ralph Richardson – Tenor Pan, Backing Vocals and other Pans
Russell Valdez – Double Tenor Pans, Backing Vocals
Frank Ince – Congas, Backing Vocals
Jimmy Chambers – Lead Vocals

Batti Mamzelle at John Peel

This Album has been a long time coming. Seems like Batti Mamzelle have spent the best part of a year in various recording studios trying, perhaps too desperately sometimes, to capture on vinyl the essence of their live music. It’s been a struggle. The band originally started on this album way back in June 1973, but always there seemed to be one basic problem. That fusion of raw excitement and musical expertise, which works to well for the band on stage, never quite made the right connection.

Well, a few months back, Batti finally picked up on Robert Bailey as producer. Bailey, of course, was formerly the Keyboards player with Osibis. His kid brother, Richard, is Batti’s drummer and their father. McDonald, is the band’s manager. A family affair. This album is the result. Enjoy it.

The idea behind Batti Mamzelle has been floating around for some time now, even before Richard Bailey joined up with Johnny Nash’s backing band, The Sons Of The Jungle, in 1972.

Richard, you see, is from Trinidad. His idea, quite simply, was to form a rock band incorporating Trinidadian steel pans. It all began to take shape during the early part of 1973 when he finally assembled the pan section – Miguel Baradas, Ralph Richardson and Russell Valdez – and discovered the whole concept knitted together just fine.

All the band are from Trinidad and the name Batti Mamzelle is French patois for “crazy lady”, the local term for a dragonfly. The focal point of the band is, obviously, the pan section. All three of the pan players came to Britain in the early Sixties as members of Dixieland which was, despite the name, Trinidad’s premiere steel band. They stayed on in Britain, eventually forming a spinoff band called Les Flambeaux. Miguel was the leader of the band in those days, but he finally split some three years ago to do session work. And then, of course, came Batti. Richard, together with lead guitarist Winston Delandro and bass player Peter Duprey started out in some band called Ojah who were so rumour suggests, quite hot in Europe. Then Richard and Winston found themselves touring America as Sons Of The Jungle.

Vocalist Jimmy Chambers, meanwhile, was with Dada for a time. When the band finally became Vinegar Joe. Jimmy tried to make it as a solo singer before he was offered the gig with Batti. I first heard the band one May afternoon in a small rehearsal room off London’s Charing Cross Road. They’d been together for just about two months but, even at that time, they sounded formidable.

They had one of the tightest rhythm sections I’d heard. Still do, in fact. And Richard, today has got to be THE best young drummer in Britain. No messing. That rhythm section made a superb job of underpinning the pans, with Frank Ince’s conga work filling out the overall sound. Pretty weird it was, too. The pans had both rhythmic and melodic capabilities, colouring the band’s music. They gave a whole new depth and range, opening up different possibilities.

All that was a year ago. Since then Batti have been through something of a frustrating time. But they’ve been on the road, played a couple of weeks residency at London’s Howff Club and, well, they’ve finally recorded this album. The highlights, for me at least, are “Love is Blind”, “Bird” and the atypical “Voodoo Man”.You might find others. It’s a good first album, one which ably demonstrates the band’s potential. Be the first on your block to pick up on Batti Mamzelle.....
Rob Partridge, Melody Maker

This is the sole record from this little known band from Trinidad. Batti Mamzelle went to the UK to record ‘I See The Light’ on the very small Cube label. The album is an exciting mix of deep funk/soul grooves blended with the sounds of Trinidadian traditional Steel Drum and simple fuzzed out guitars.
The project was driven by the Bailey family. Produced by Robert Bailey (formerly the keys player with iconic psych/Funk band Osibisa), and managed by McDonald Bailey (father) but more importantly, lead by a 17 year old Richard Bailey (brother), who would go onto become a very prominent drummer/percussionist, forming several bands and line ups throughout the mid 70’s and touring across Europe and the US.
The whole album is driven by the awesome percussion sections and the solid bass grooves.
Key tracks are Voodoo Man and I See The light/Streaking which is an awesome Fuzzed out Funk jam session.
This is a pretty funky record and should be picked up if ya find it. Though supposedly being rare, it’s quite an affordable LP

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