Nicky and the Magnificents – Pasame el Hacha (Pass the Hatchet)

By , August 9, 2012 1:52 pm

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Listen/Download Nicky and the Magnificents – Pasame el Hacha

Greetings all.

Welcome to the end of another week here at the Corners.

I should remind you all that the Funky16Corners Radio Show hits the airwaves of the intertubes this and every Friday night at 9PM on Viva Radio. You can also pick up an MP3 of each week’s show on Saturday, either via iTunes as a podcast, or as a straight download over at the blog.

The tune I bring you today is an example of one of the oddest mysteries in the world of 45s (at least as far as I’m concerned).

It was some years back, during one of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions that my man Jack the Ripper dropped the needle on a tune that had me running up to the decks as fast as my legs would carry me.

While it didn’t grab me immediately, after about 15 seconds it was obvious to me that I was hearing a cover version of Roger and the Gypsies ‘Pass the Hatchet’.

Thing was, I had no idea that the song had ever been covered, and so the story begins.

The version he played that night, is the same one you see before you today, by a South American band by the name of Nicky and the Magnificents.

It would be years before I’d manage to score my own copy, but by then things had become even more curious.

I have gone on the record several times – in this space and elsewhere – that the OG version of ‘Pass the Hatchet’ is probably my favorite record of all time.

As far as I knew, it was probably little-heard outside of the New Orleans region when it was first released.

What I didn’t know until I was much deeper into the game, was that the Roger and the Gypsies 45 was issued again in South America in 1970, where, if bits and pieces of internet chatter are to be believed, it was a localized “hit” of some kind.

This would go a long way in explaining why ‘Pass the Hatchet’ was covered at least twice by South American groups, first by El Comite on the the Microfon label, and then later by Nicky and the Magnificents.

Though I haven’t been able to find out anything about either group, the sound of the records give up a hint or two.

The El Comite version (which seems to be Colombian Argentinian*) is closer in sound to the original recording, and seems to date somewhat closer to the 1970 SA issue of the Roger and the Gypsies 45.

Nicky and the Magnificents, in which the pressing of the record, if not the band itself hails from Argentina, dates to 1977 and sounds like it too.

If I had to venture a guess (especially factoring in the sound of the flipside, an upbeat cover of the Human Beinz ‘Nobody But Me’, en Espanol, natch) I would think that Nicky and the Magnificents were something more along the lines of a New Wave/Power Pop band.

The synthesizers and the flanged guitar, as well as a somewhat more laid back feel (my inclination would be to pitch it up +5 if I were playing it out) have a much later sound.

Either way, it’s fascinating to me that a record out of the Southern US, which was never a hit of any kind, managed to get released a few years after the fact in South America, and then get covered at least twice.

If anyone with deeper South American crates/knowledge has any more info to flesh out this saga, I’d love to hear it.

Until then…

Keep the faith

Larry

 

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*Brian Harris aka DJ Midnite Cowbwoy informs me that El Comite were in fact from Argentina

NOTE: The authorship credits on the songs/labels are reversed, with Theriot, Oropeza and Leon getting credit for ‘Nobody But Me’ and “R. Osley”/ Isley  getting credit for ‘Pass the Hatchet’.
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They are $2.00 each, with free shipping in the US ($2.00 per order shipping outside of the US).

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2 Responses to “Nicky and the Magnificents – Pasame el Hacha (Pass the Hatchet)”

  1. ana-b says:

    Very nice.

    I wish I could remember who said it, but a comment about the New Orleans beat being ‘half a clave + a backbeat’ comes to mind.

  2. W. Kiernan says:

    …talk about keeping calm and staying funky! so darn smoooove…

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