Cult Cargo | Grand Bahama Goombay (The Numero Group)

cd_numeroHonestly, if you're a man, and it's summer, and you have a lady, and you love her, play this song. She'll kiss you right then and there.





It's 'bout to be summer and that means a bunch more sunshine, and driving with the windows down, and young ladies letting some skin show. A bunch more happiness. But happiness without tunes is, "Eh, I'm doin' alright," and so there has to be some soundtrack that turns an alarm clock's buzz into "Hell yeah, another perfect day," that turns summer into summer.

I consider myself a connoisseur of this great season, an authority on all things 83 and sunny. My connoisseurial recommendation: a little Goombay, courtesy of the Numero Group. Numero 014: Cult Cargo: Grand Bahama Goombay is everything we could want for our summer soundtracks—calypso, funk, reggae and soul, all of it drenched in sunshine. It's the Goombay drum on exhibition, it's beat so critical to the rhythm that the entire genre has taken its name. To our ears, Goombay sounds simply Caribbean. But to the musicians beating that drum, Goombay is distinctly and unequivocally Bahamian.

There's Jay Mitchell's "Goombay Bump," a supremely funky jam, lush with sound, highlighted by Mitchell's request "I said baby, come bump with me." Sylvia Hall out-funks Mitchell with "Don't Touch That Thing," as raw a funk record as you ever heard. "Don't touch that thing/ your mamma gon' know now/ how she gon' know/ your belly gon' grow." Nothing says "don't have sex" like a little waa waa guitar. Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" gets Goombayed in Ozzie Hall's cover, with an original piano intro that runs through the entire song. The Esquires LTD keep the Goombaying going, with their reinvention of Isaac Hayes' "Theme From Shaft." Dry Bread's "Words to My Song" is the dustiest record in the bunch, a song that Mr. Bread himself probably never expected us to hear. "Somebody took the words to my song/ next time I write a song/ there ain't gonna be no words/ let the music go on," he sings.

And then there's the crown jewel, "I Am the Man for You Baby" by Jay Mitchell and the Mitchellites. From the first seconds, they have us hooked. The horns blast as Mitchell sings "I am the man for you baby/ come on and walk with me/ come on and talk to me." It's an absolute diamond in the Bahamian rough, sweet and deeply passionate; soul music at its finest. Honestly, if you're a man, and it's summer, and you have a lady, and you love her, play this song. She'll kiss you right then and there.

And so once again, the Numero Group has treated us to a little sonic archeology—records that sat behind the scratched glass of Freeport jukeboxes or somehow survived being washed away by a hurricane's waves. It's poolside soul, second deck cruise ship karaoke, sand in your bathing suit funk. A little Grand Bahama Goombay never hurt anybody. Enjoy the summer, kids. | Sam Levy

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