The Vampires - Vampires Underground
This new archival dispatch on Pharaway Sounds proves to be one of the label’s most interesting and, for my money, straight-up coolest releases yet. The Vampires were, according to the notes within, a quintet of anonymous Indian expats living in South Africa’s Durban port town, and Vampires Underground was their second LP. Recorded and released in 1971 in South Africa, the album is a beguiling yet wholly hypnotic mutation of chunky fuzzed-out garage rock riffage, swinging grooves that fuse together British jazz and US southern soul, and… lots of flute. In fact, the flautist is really going off as the band knuckles down behind him or her through covers of Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham, Herbie Mann, Wilson Pickett, Francis Lai, Deep Purple, Glen Campbell, and even Led Zeppelin — it’s a wildly eclectic mix of tunes, but the Vampires rip them up with impressive enthusiasm. It’s a real trip to hear these influences get blended together seemingly in real time, with the group sounding slightly awkward, yet simultaneously deft and skilled.

1. Memphis Underground (5:32)
2. Into The Fire (3:18)
3. Rose Garden (2:41)
4. Funky Broadway (4:25)
5. Exodus (3:24)
6. By The Time I Get To Phoenix (3:46)
7. Whole Lot Of Love (3:42)
8. Love Story (3:30)
9. Get Ready (3:08)
10. Unchain My Heart (3:34)
11. I’m Your Puppet (2:55)


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